Food and Energy

We all want energy. I can’t recall meeting anyone who didn’t want energy. Food is a necessary component of energy, but it can both provide and rob us of energy. Let’s take a closer look.

Calories are fuel we get from proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, but “empty” calories can only take us so far. Calories from food that provides vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber give the body energy to work, play, think, fight off disease, and build healthy cells. In addition, we need enzymes to digest and absorb these nutrients, or they don’t do us much good.

Two key points for more energy: Eat nutrient-dense foods and cultivate a healthy digestive system.

Eat twice as many nutrient-dense plant foods as animal foods. These include unprocessed whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Eat them as closely to the way God created them as possible. Eat a variety of colors for a variety of nutrients.

Proper digestion and absorption of nutrients from food depends upon a healthy digestive system. Eating some raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds provides enzymes for digestion. Most cooked and processed foods contain no enzymes, so the body has to provide them via the pancreas, liver, small intestine, and salivary glands. Too much processed food, over time, can overwork these organs.

Healthy gut bacteria also plays an important role in digestion. Many factors can affect the gut microbiome and lead to digestive issues. Among those are the use of antibiotics and other medications, drinking fluoridated water, eating refined foods (sugar, flour, oils, chemical additives, etc.), artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors, MSG, genetically-modified foods, a lack of fiber, water, and nutrients that nourish healthy bacteria, and chronic stress.

Improperly digested foods and an unbalanced microbiome can lead to inflammation in the digestive tract. Chronic inflammation can contribute to a “sick” gut. A “sick” gut interferes with digestion and absorption of nutrients. A lack of nutrients results in less energy.

Healthy Actions:

Chew food well to give starch-digesting enzymes in saliva time to mix with food before it’s swallowed.

Eat some raw, colorful fruits and veggies every day. Refer to the Dirty Dozen List (ewg.org) to avoid those most heavily sprayed with chemicals.

Eat a handful of raw nuts and/or seeds on most days. Add them to salads, oatmeal, or smoothies.

Eat enough fiber-rich foods to help feed the good bacteria in your gut. Drink enough water. Fiber and water work together to keep the digestive system healthy.

This is a good start! Give your digestive tract time to adjust as you begin to make changes. It may respond with some bloating and other discomforts as it starts to “clean house”. You may need to take a plant-based digestive enzyme with meals and/or a multi-strain probiotic until things settle down.

If you need a plant-based diet with meal plans, grocery shopping lists, recipes, and daily email coaching tips, check out my 6-Week Health Transformation Online Program.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your healthcare provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

The Flu Vaccine–Yes or No?

It’s that time of year to decide whether or not you will get a flu vaccination. My advice as a health coach is to always make an informed decision about anything that affects the health of you and your family.

Information comes from everywhere–the internet, television ads, magazines, billboards, doctors, pharmacies, people you know, etc. Consider the sources–are they trying to sell you something or were they educated for marketing purposes (e.g. pharmacy companies educating doctors and clinics)?

Are you being made aware of any adverse effects? Are you reading the labels? Is what’s right for someone else right for you?

I believe in self-education, because no one knows your body like you do. Learn more about the flu vaccine at National Vaccine Information Center (www.nvic.org).

Personally, I do not get the flu vaccination. Instead, I strengthen my immune system to help fight viruses. My biggest concern with vaccines is the many toxic additives (like aluminum) that may contribute to chronic disease.

Here are a few things that I do at the first sign of illness:

Drink a cup of water with the juice of half a lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper. Sometimes, I add a little raw honey.

Take elderberry, which has been studied and shown to reduce the “shelf life” of viruses. It comes in syrup, tea, capsules, tinctures, and chewables.

Take vitamin D3 to help support my immune system. Have your levels checked every six months or so to see if you fall within the optimum range of 50-60 ng/ml. In the absence of adequate sunlight, especially during winter, levels can drop, providing less protection against the flu and other viruses.

Eat seasonal foods rich in vitamin C: citrus, organic peppers, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, organic potatoes.

Eat seasonal foods rich in sulfur: onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables, eggs, sardines (eggs and sardines also contain vitamin D3).

Make sure that my digestive system is working well to eliminate toxins by eating plenty of fiber-rich plant foods and taking a probiotic, since 70 to 80% of the immune system is in the gut.

Hydrate with lots of water and nourishing soups to help flush toxins and keep mucous thin so secondary respiratory infections don’t easily take hold.

Take very warm detox baths with a few drops of lavender essential oil, which has anti-viral and calming properties. Diffusing eucalyptus essential oil is wonderful for a stuffy nose and congestion.

Stop eating refined sugar. Instead of reaching for carbonated soft drinks, popsicles, ice cream, etc., try bone broth, fruit and veggie smoothies, homemade soups, green tea, and herbal teas (God’s pharmacy). I like peppermint, ginger, chamomile, raspberry leaf, elderberry, and holy basil (tulsi). Try stirring a little ground cinnamon into a cup of warm water with some raw honey.

Have some natural cough syrups on hand. Two I like are Olba’s Cough Syrupand Zarbee’s Naturals Kid’s Cough Syrup + Mucous.

Rest, pray, and nourish my spirit with the Word of God–“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory.”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

Register now for the free online Autoimmune Revolution from November 5-11.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

A healthy lifestyle is the best detox!

After the holidays, we seem to instinctively know that we need to detox.  There are many popular detoxes on the market, but in my opinion, a lifestyle detox is the best choice.

There’s nothing wrong with a short-term cleanse, like juicing or using special detox aids (apple cider vinegar, activated charcoal, bentonite clay, aloe vera juice, chlorophyll, etc.), to help us push the reset button and head in a healthier direction.  These aids an also help us recover from a health crisis (food poisoning, virus, bacterial infection, etc.).  A cold or flu is one way the immune system cleans out toxins, which are eliminated through the colon, kidneys, lymphatic system, skin, and lungs.

On the down side, if a detox causes an overload of toxins to be released from the cells into the bloodstream, you can feel pretty lousy.  Some people may even get too sick, because their bodies aren’t strong enough to eliminate an influx of toxins.  Once the crisis has passed, without the support of a healthy lifestyle, toxins will continue to accumulate and affect our health, including weight loss.

Eat foods that naturally detoxify the body.  Add a serving of sulfur-rich foods to your daily diet.  These include eggs, garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, arugula, watercress, and radish).  Eat a minimum of 25 grams of fiber each day from whole foods.  This will help bind toxins and move them through the colon before they can enter the bloodstream.

Drink enough pure water to help dilute and eliminate toxins.  Add some lemon to aid the liver.

Replace unhealthy fats (hydrogenated and refined oils) with healthy fats at every meal.  Avocados, coconut, olives, olive oil, flax oil, fish, nuts, and seeds, are some good choices.  This will help reduce inflammation in the body.

Eat healthy protein at each meal to help build a strong immune system.

Eliminate refined sugar from your diet for 10 days and see what happens!  You’ll have to avoid most processed foods and become a label reading detective.  This one step alone, especially when accompanied by the above recommendations, will go a long way toward improving your health!

Make a plan to manage stress from all sources:  emotional, physical (lack of or too much exercise, lack of sleep, toxic food and personal care products, environmental toxins, etc.), mental, and spiritual.

These are some good first steps to creating a healthy lifestyle detox!  It’s easier when you have some ongoing support, so I’ve created a Facebook support group for this purpose.  It’s free, and you’re invited to join if you want to connect with others to give and receive support and encouragement for your health journey.  I’ll pop in to answer your health questions and post health-related information, and it will also be a great place to share healthy recipes and tips for staying healthy.  We can also pray for each other.  (Please don’t use the group for soliciting products or services.)

Here’s the link to join:  www.facebook.com/groups/learningtobehealthywithlisa.  You’ll need to click on “join” to be part of the group.  The group is closed, so any posts will be seen by members only.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Beans and chocolate–a disease-fighting duo!

Just one-half cup of cooked beans a day has been shown to reduce cholesterol by an average of 10%.  They are an excellent source of fiber, help regulate blood sugar levels, and are linked to lower rates of some cancers.  Beans contain phytoestrogens, which can help reduce hot flashes.

Flavonoids are antioxidants that help defend against heart disease and cancer, and cocoa contains three to five times more flavonoids than green tea.  In one study, the flavonoids in chocolate made the linings of blood vessels more supple, which helped to lower blood pressure and protect against a buildup of arterial plaque.  Flavonoids also help keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots, which guards against heart attacks and strokes.

So let’s put these two disease-fighting foods together in a yummy, healthy dessert!

Blend together until smooth:

1/2 cup cooked beans (black beans work well).  If using canned, drain them first, and make sure they have no added ingredients (a little sea salt is okay).  You could even use refried beans.

1 to 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (raw, organic cacao powder is even better).  The more cocoa you use, the stronger the flavor.

4 tablespoons pure maple syrup (more or less).   You could also use raw honey or stevia.  Refined white or brown sugar will negate some of the health benefits.  Make sure that you don’t use “pancake syrup,” which is made with artificial ingredients and high-fructose corn syrup.

1/2 teaspoon unsweetened vanilla extract

This is really rich and makes about two servings.  One-half cup of black beans contains five grams of fiber, seven grams of protein, and zero fat.  Raw cacao powder contains one gram of protein, zero grams of sugar, and almost two grams of fiber per tablespoon.  It’s also a good source of magnesium and iron.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

1 Corinthians 10:31–                                                                                                                             “Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com                                                                                                             (Grab your free 10 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Healthier You!)

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.