“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever!” 1 Chronicles 16:34

Holidays can bring stress–the stress of traveling, preparing our homes, shopping and cooking, financial stress, social stress, cold weather challenges, and other health stressors (sugar, lack of sleep, mental and/or emotional overwhelm, cold and flu viruses, etc.).

Holidays can also be a beautiful time of thanksgiving and reflection on all that is good! Philippians 4:8–“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

Holiday health challenge: Determine that you will not allow stress to rob you of meaningful celebrations. I always tell my four grown children and their spouses that they should plan their own holiday celebrations with no pressure or stress from my husband and me to conform to our plans.

Write out your stressors and find ways to manage them that will help you experience the most joy and stay in good health.

Give the gifts of gratitude and forgiveness to yourself and others! “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. We know that doing God’s will always results in blessings. For more Bible verses about thanksgiving, check out this page on the Bible Study Tools Website.

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13. We all need forgiveness, and giving it to others is the best gift and stress reliever of all! For more Bible verses about forgiveness, check out this page on the Bible Study Tools website.

Eat foods rich in beta-carotene to help keep your immune system strong. These include pumpkin, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, cranberries, and dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, collard and mustard greens, etc.). Basically, eat your seasonal vegetables! Just one or two servings a day can go a long way in helping you stay healthy!

Give the gift of health to yourself and others this year. My Eat to be Healthy DIY Program is less than the cost of one coaching session and is on special for only $39 through December 1. It will give you all the downloadable tools you need to start eating healthier. Here’s the link for more information: Eat to be Healthy Program.

Thanksgiving blessings,

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.

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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.

Links to Some of My Favorite Products

 

People often ask me for product recommendations, so today I am giving you a list with links to a few of my favorite products that I order from Amazon and Nature’s Sunshine. If you have any questions about any of the items, please feel free to ask me!

Here’s the link: List of Links to Some of My Favorite Products

Autoimmune conditions are on the rise, affecting old and young alike. For free education about this growing health concern, check out the free online Autoimmune Summit from November 5 to November 11.

Here’s the link: Autoimmune Summit

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

www.learningtobehealthy.com

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

This information is for educational purposes only and is not to intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

The Bone-Strengthening Power of Vitamin K

Vitamin K1 is well known for it’s important role in blood clotting, but there is also much scientific evidence that vitamin K plays a crucial role in both the reduction of bone fractures and in reducing abnormal calcifications in the body. This makes it an important nutrient for both bone and heart health.

Vitamin K not only helps preserve calcium in the bones, it aids the dissolution of calcium elsewhere, including in the arteries and kidneys. Studies found that those with a higher dietary intake of vitamin K2 had less heart disease and less calcification of the coronary artery. Also, it was shown that vitamin K1 supplementation slowed the progression of coronary artery calcification.

Remember, when there is an excess of calcium in the blood, there is usually a deficiency in the bones. (See Why I don’t Take Calcium).

Vitamin K1 was shown to increase bone mineral density in rats, and vitamin K2, was shown to improve the quality of bone and strengthen itagainst fracture. Calcium supplementation may increase bone density without improving its resistance to fracture, and at the same time increase calcifications throughout the body.

One study done on rats showed that vitamin K2 in the form of MK-4improved the strength of bones that had been weakened by a magnesium deficiency. (See The Role of Magnesium in Balancing Calcium).

According to Dr. Thomas Levy in his book, Death by Calcium, human studies indicate that supplementing with 45 mg daily of vitamin K2 (MK-4) will sustain bone mineral density and prevent fractures from osteoporosis. He further recommends taking a multi-K formula that includes K1, K2 (MK-4), and K2 (MK-7), as found in a product like Life Extension Super K with Advanced K2 Complex.

The good news is that there is no known toxicity or undesired side effects associated with vitamin K, even when given to newborns or pregnant women.

Even though vitamin K is a blood clotting agent, it does not cause abnormal clotting. You will still want to check with your doctor before taking vitamin K if you are taking a blood thinner like warfarin or have another medical condition.

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

The price of my Eat to be Healthy program will go up on Monday. You get a complete healthy eating program for less than the cost of one health coaching session!

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.

The Case for Taking Vitamin D Separate from Calcium

Vitamin D is essential to the optimal health of nearly every organ and tissue in the body. Studies have found vitamin D supplementation to be beneficial in strengthening bones, boosting the immune system, reducing the incidence of high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, inflammation (the root of chronic disease), and many other health conditions.

Here’s the paradox: Vitamin D is essential for calcium metabolism and, when taken simultaneously with a calcium supplement or calcium-fortified food, increases the absorption of calcium from the intestinal tract. This might seem like a good thing, except that it may be adding to the already excessive calcium levels in the body. We want calcium in our bones, not calcifying our arteries and triggering inflammation that leads to more calcium loss from the bones. (See Why I don’t Take Calcium).

Studies have indicated that adequate vitamin D blood levels lower the risk of fracture and improve bone mineral density.

Other studies show bone loss and calcifications throughout the body when there is an excess of vitamin D, much like an excess of calcium.

Calcium taken alone showed no protection against fractures. Vitamin D taken apart from calcium showed the same degree of protection against fractures as when it was taken with calcium.

Bottom line: We need optimal levels of vitamin D for good health, without supplementing in a way that contributes to excess calcification in the body. Excess vitamin D levels can pull calcium out of bones. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the body for many months and slowly released, even after supplementation has been discontinued.

To know if you have optimal levels of vitamin D, have your blood levels checked every two or three months until you are in the optimal range. Then, continue to monitor your levels about every six months.

The current recommended target range for vitamin D levels is between 40 and 80 ng/cc. Dr. Levy, in his book Death by Calcium, recommends a long-term maintenance range of between 50 and 60 ng/cc. The best tests measure 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the preferred form, not vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).

Read the ingredients on food and beverage labels for the common additive of vitamin D2. Also, consider avoiding these products when calcium has also been added. This is commonly found in plant-based milk alternatives.

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.

Why I don’t Take Calcium–#2

In Why I don’t Take Calcium–#1″, we learned that, according to research, taking calcium supplements and/or increasing dietary intake of calcium does not reduce the risk of bone fracture. Also, that an excess build up of calcium in the body can increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, and other degenerative diseases.

There’s no doubt that bones need calcium to build new bones, but Dr. Levy, in his book Death by Calcium, states that “Calcium migration from the bone is not the cause of osteoporosis, but rather a symptom of it.” So, then, what is the root cause?

It might surprise you to find out (it did me) that a vitamin C deficiency in the bone can lead to a severe loss of bone-building cells and an increase in bone-dissolving cells. Vitamin C acts as an anti-oxidant to protect bones from cellular damage, which contributes to osteoporosis. Studies have confirmed that oxidative stress plays a role in the cause of osteoporosis.

Collagen is necessary in both the formation and strengthening of new bone. Vitamin C is essential to making collagen.

Clinical observations show that a vitamin C deficiency decreases calcium deposition into bones and increases calcium excretion from bones. The excreted calcium can accumulate in other tissues, like arterial walls.

There is a loss of estrogen during menopause, which results in a loss of calcium from bones. Vitamin C has been shown to strengthen bones in both post-menopausal women and lab rats who had their ovaries removed to induce menopause.

The Framingham Osteoporosis Study found that those with the highest vitamin C intake had significantly fewer hip fractures compared to those with the lowest intake.

Research continues to find that the combination of excess calcium and vitamin C deficiency is found at the tissue sites of chronic degenerativediseases. Excess calcium deposits contribute to oxidative stress, and vitamin C is an anti-oxidant to help prevent damage caused by this stress. When oxidative stress is kept in check, calcium can stay in the bones.

In the case of atherosclerosis, the body uses calcium from the blood to produce plaque in the arteries to support weak vessels (due to chronic oxidative stress). The body then pulls calcium from bones into the bloodstream so it will be available for more arterial repair. Sufficient vitamin C levels would help reduce this stress on the arteries, diminishing the need for more calcium to support the arteries.

Besides the coronary arteries, excess blood calcium can be deposited into cells throughout the body (brain, breasts, prostate, etc.). Excess blood calcium can come from dietary calcium, calcium supplements, and/or calcium pulled out of bones. When there are optimal levels of vitamin C present, dietary calcium is deposited into the bones, and any excess is excreted via the kidneys.

Eliminating a vitamin C deficiency is one important step toward improving bone health, as well as reducing the risk of other chronic diseases.

In the next newsletter, I’ll explore various types and benefits of vitamin C supplements and their therapeutic uses.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

www.learningtobehealthy.com

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

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.

Two Hormones that may be Contributing to Excess Belly Fat

To help balance your appetite, you need balanced levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin signals hunger and then decreases for approximately three hours after a meal.  When levels remain chronically high, abdominal fat is often formed, which can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Leptin signals fullness, affecting your appetite and metabolism.  The right amount is beneficial for weight control.  Studies have shown that foods can either block or increase leptin levels.  You neither want too little or too much.

Eating low-nutrient foods (sodas, refined flours, refined sugars, etc.) can block the production of leptin, which can keep you from feeling full and result in overeating.

Eating low-nutrient foods can also, over time, lead to chronically high leptin levels, and the body can become leptin resistant.  This is similar to how chronically high blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance.  Most diabetics are also leptin resistant.  Both conditions can contribute to weight gain, especially around the abdomen.

The good news is that losing excess weight helps increase sensitivity to leptin!

Factors that affect ghrelin and leptin levels:

*MSG (monosodium glutamate) can decrease leptin levels (www.msgtruth.org).

*Omega-3 fats found in walnuts, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, and seeds (flax, chia, hemp) help balance leptin levels.

*Eating approximately every four hours can help keep ghrelin levels from getting too high so your appetite doesn’t get out of control.

*Eating high-fiber foods can reduce ghrelin by helping you feel full.

*Refined sugars and refined grains increase ghrelin levels.

*Eating too few calories can interfere with ghrelin and leptin levels, actually contributing to weight gain.

*Eating protein at every meal and snack can help lower ghrelin levels.

*Less than seven hours of sleep each night can result in higher ghrelin levels and lower leptin levels.

*Too much stress affects everything, including ghrelin and leptin levels!

My Eat to be Healthy online program is now available!  This is the basic nutrition program that I use with my clients to help them lay a foundation of healthy eating.  I’ve packaged all the PDFs together into a do-it-yourself program, making it extremely cost effective–only $39!

You get 20 PDF documents that you can download to your computer or other device:

Eat to be Healthy Guide to give you a recommended plan of action.

Why Diets Don’t Work

Goal Setting Worksheet

Connecting the Dots template to help you keep track of what you eat and how you feel, along with a link to the Bristol Stool Chart so you can make poop observations.😛

The Healthy Plate Guide (ratio of protein, fat, starchy & non-starchy carbs)

The Healthy Plate Meal Planner Guide template (you can make copies)

and two weeks of Sample Meal Plan Menus

2017 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Seven Tips for Adding Healthy, Whole Foods

20 Healthy Snack Ideas

Guide to a Rainbow of Nutrients

Mindful Eating Tips

Water Works

Factors Affecting Weight Loss

Label Reading Guidelines

Eating Out Tips

List of Healthy Lifestyle Habits (three pages of recommended habits to learn)

Resources (a list of books, websites, apps, and more to help you eat to be healthy)

Scripture for Memorization and Encouragement (God-power vs. willpower)

As a special bonus, when you purchase this program through the link in this blog, I’ll send you a PDF of my 16-page Learning to be Healthy Recipes.

Of course, you can email me with any questions you have about the program and receive additional support, encouragement, and accountability in the private Facebook group:  www.facebook.com/groups/learningtobehealthywithlisa.

Here’s the link to get your Eat to be Healthy online program:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=U6KKG824BHUDJ

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.