A Recipe for a Healthy Thanksgiving

Over the last two weeks, I’ve received dozens of questions about the big holiday on Thursday.

You know. Thanksgiving. The day devoted to family, food, festivities, and football.

For some of us, this sounds like heaven on earth. For others, it can induce some serious stress.

Regardless of the camp you’re in, there are ways to enhance your day to make sure your Thanksgiving is both happy and healthy.

Just follow my five step recipe for Thanksgiving success and you’ll be well on your way!

Step 1: Exercise in the morning

Exercise.jpeg

First things first. Start your Thanksgiving with a sweat. This way you’ll get a shot of stress-relieving and feel-old hormones that will be sure to help you feel fantastic for the rest of the day.

Does this sound too boring to you? Then make it a social event and rally a group to sign up for a Turkey Trot or head to a Thanksgiving themed class. Organize a group hike.

Prefer the solo approach? Hit the gym, walk, bike, jog ... the options are endless.

Just make sure to start your day with a sweat.

Step 2: Have a healthy breakfast

Smoothie .jpeg

It can be tempting to fast all day and binge at dinner. However, I NEVER recommend this approach. Why?

If you head into your Thanksgiving meal totally famished, a few things will happen. One, you’ll be a grump. Coupling that with your annoying Uncle could be a recipe for disaster. Two, any alcohol you have will go straight to your head. Which could precipitate awkward conversations about politics with your right or left wing extremist relatives. Three, you are more likely to binge on the first thing you see. Which could be the weird hor d’oeuvres your cousin brought that doesn’t even taste good.

Having a good breakfast doesn’t mean you need to eat a Denny’s grand slam. Instead have a lighter breakfast that will leave you feeling great and that loads you up on nutrients.

Need some inspiration? Try this green smoothie (from this post) or my favorite oatmeal (in this post).

Step 3: Avoid the pre-meal snacks

Vegetable.jpeg

Now, this one depends on your personal preferences. If you wait all year for a special artichoke dip or special appetizer, please savor and enjoy each and every bite.

But if you’re just grazing on food mindlessly to kill time until the big meal, skip on the snacks. And if you feel like you must snack on something, have some raw veggies.

Bottomline: Indulge in the foods you love on Thanksgiving and pass on those that aren’t doing it for you.

Step 4: Seriously enjoy your meal.

Pie.jpeg

I mean this. Thanksgiving comes once a year (unless you’re Canadian-American). So savor and enjoy the holiday.

Appreciate the feast. Breathe in the delicious aromas. Relish in the fluffiness of the mashed potatoes, the complex seasoning on the stuffing, and the heartiness of the gravy. Truly taste the wine and cider.

Consider Thanksgiving a serious holiday for your senses. And enjoy every moment.

Step 5: Lose the guilt

Thanksgiving.jpg

Really.

There is no reason to feel guilty for enjoying your Thanksgiving meal. If you find yourself feeling guilty for eating your favorite holiday foods, may I offer you a suggestion?

Gently close your eyes and take a few deeps breaths. On your inhalation, breathe in celebration. On your exhalation, breathe out any guilt or anxiety you feel.

Seriously. Give this a try.

And if you need more help on savoring the day and losing the guilt, check out my post here.

Now you have my cooking-free recipe for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

I’m wishing you and your loved ones a happy, healthy, and better Thanksgiving.

With gratitude,
Skye

How to Buy the Best Multivitamin for YOU

Okay.

Based on the number of questions I’ve received in the last two weeks, I can tell you want more guidance on multivitamins.

So in addition to my intro post on multivitamins and my list of favorite multis, I made you a special treat.

Why? Because I want to make sure you are aren’t wasting your money on a multivitamin that doesn’t work for you. Because it’s the season for giving. Because I want to help you create a life imbued with wellness.

So what’s the special treat? It’s a downloadable Multivitamin Guide that will help you pick the perfect multivitamin.

My exclusive Multivitamin Guide will:

  • Teach you multivitamin basics

  • Cover 6 things you NEED to know before buying a multivitamin

  • Give you a checklist to find a high-quality multivitamin that suits you and your individual needs

This guide is my gift to you as a way to thank you for being part of the A Better Way Wellness community.

All I ask is you share it with friends, family, colleagues, or anyone you think you benefit from the information. Because we’re all about paying it forward around here.

Ready for your gift? Click HERE or the image below to access the Multivitamin Guide for Adults.

Sending you health & happiness,
Skye

My Favorite Multivitamins

I normally NEVER do this.

But since last week’s post (5 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Multivitamin), I’ve received so MANY questions about which specific multivitamin you should buy.

Without knowing your personal health history, I cannot recommend you use a specific product. If I knew all about your health conditions, allergens, health goals, and sensitivities, I could tell you the product that would best suit your needs. (If you are interested in working with me privately and getting a personal recommendation, contact me here.)

However, what I can do is provide you a list of multivitamins I have personally used and am happy with. The caveat is companies can change formulations and ingredients at any time. But as of today, my list is current.

Keep reading for four of my favorite multivitamins that I have personally used.
Please note: As usual, I DO NOT have any financial relationships to any of the brands/companies listed below. Please discuss starting a multivitamin with your healthcare providers.

Smarty Pants Prenatal Complete

SPV_ProductPages_PN180.png

Smarty Pants multivitamins are chewable gummies and contain high quality vitamin forms. I personally used this during my pregnancy. Please note, this product does NOT contain iron. If you need to supplement iron, this is not the best option.

Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy often has sales on Smarty Pants vitamins. So does Vitacost.


Thorne Research Laboratories Basic Nutrients 2/Day

vm2.jpg

If swallowing horse-pills isn’t for you, this multivitamin may be a good option. It comes as a capsule that is easy to swallow. This product contains calcium - which may be a pro or a con. It also contains beta-carotene which is not a good choice for smokers or those with asbestos exposure.

It’s rare to find Thorne Research on sale. If I find a source or sale, I’ll be sure to post it here.

mykind Organics Multi

658010117647-.png
658010117739-.png

The ingredients in these multivitamins are certified USDA organic and non-GMO. Most ingredients are food derived, which some people like. These multivitamins contain calcium and an organic food blend- which may be a pro or a con depending on your personal needs. They also contain beta-carotene which is not a good choice for smokers or those with asbestos exposure.

mykind multivitamins often go on sale at Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy. I suspect they will have a special Thanksgiving sale as well.

Pure Encapsulations O.N.E. Multivitamin

lrg_one6_1.jpg

Pure Encapsulations makes a high quality multivitamin for adults. Fact: many multivitamins contain common allergens (like gluten, soy, or eggs). If you are gluten-intolerant, the Pure Encapsulations multivitamin may be a good choice for you as they are gluten-free. And if you avoid animal products you can rest easy knowing they are vegetarian. Please note, this multivitamin contains beta-carotene which is not a good choice for smokers or those with asbestos exposure.

Pure Encapsulations has 30% off friends and family discounts throughout the year so be on the watch for sales.

Recap


There you have it! Four multivitamins that I have personally used and happy with. Please remember, picking a multivitamin is an individualized process and depends on your specific health history and needs (which may be different from mine). And be sure to check with your healthcare providers before starting a multi.

In health,
Skye

5 Things You NEED to Know Before Buying a Multivitamin

If you take a multivitamin, you are not alone. One-third of Americans use a multivitamin to help supplement their health and wellness. Unfortunately,  many people use multivitamins incorrectly.

Expecting false outcomes and purchasing harmful or inferior products are the most common errors.

If you don’t want to make these mistakes, read the following MUST KNOWS about buying a multivitamin.

IMG_2489.jpg


1.) Using a multivitamin may not decrease the risk of cancer or heart disease. However, multivitamin users tend to be healthier overall.

This may be a big surprise to vitamin users. Randomized clinical trials do not show cancer or heart disease reduction with the use of multivitamins.

However, most Americans do not eat a balanced diet and could still benefit from taking a multivitamin. Additionally, if you have any dietary restrictions it is likely you could benefit from using a well-balanced multivitamin.

Even though randomized trials do not show cancer or heart disease reductions in multivitamin users, people who use multivitamins are healthier.

This may seem counter intuitive at first. However, multivitamin users tend to be more health conscious and take better care of themselves. They exercise more and tend to eat better.

2.) Some vitamin ingredients can be HARMFUL.

Not all multivitamins are created equally and savvy multivitamin consumers should beware of certain ingredients.

Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is found in most multivitamins. However, there are many different forms of vitamin B12. The most commonly used is called cyanocobalamin. This manmade vitamin combines vitamin B12 with cyanide. Cyanide is a well known toxin that can lead to confusion, airway irritation, seizures, and even death. While the amount of cyanide in cyanocobalamin-containing vitamins is small, it is best to avoid this form of vitamin B12. Instead, opt for safer forms such as methylcobalamin or hydroxycobalamin.

Beta carotene, an antioxidant, can be harmful if used by smokers or those with asbestos exposure — it actually increases the risk of lung cancer. It’s best to avoid beta carotene entirely in your multivitamins.

3.) For Best Results, You Should Eat With Your Multivitamin.

There are two reasons you should eat when you take your multivitamin.

First, certain vitamins (such as A, D, E, and K) are fat-soluble. This means they are best absorbed when taken with a small amount of fat. It is best to take your multivitamin with food that contains a small amount of fat.

Second, taking your multivitamin with food can help prevent stomach upset or nausea.

4.)  Certain Vitamin Forms Are Superior to Others.

It is best to take the active form of vitamin D, otherwise known as cholecalciferol (D3). Cholecalciferol is better absorbed and utilized by the body compared to other vitamin D forms.

Vitamin E comes as d-alpha tocopherol and dl-alpha tocopherol. The d-alpha tocopherol form is vitamin E in its natural state; the dl-alpha tocopherol form is synthetic and less potent. D-alpha tocopherol is much better absorbed by the body.

Be cautious with vitamin B9. Folate describes natural vitamin B9 while folic acid is the synthetic form. Folic acid can be difficult for the body to process into active (usable) metabolites. Furthermore, folic acid has been linked to enhanced tumor development. If you are not a woman of child-bearing potential, consider skipping folate in your multivitamin. Instead, fill your diet with naturally folate rich foods such as leafy green vegetables. If you are a woman of child-bearing potential, be mindful of the form you take. Methylfolate is the safer form.

5.) Taking a daily multivitamin is not a replacement for a healthy and balanced diet.

Taking a multivitamin does not give you a free pass to eat junk. A healthy and balanced diet is one of the best ways to positively impact your health. Research reveals that whole foods contain balances of vitamins and nutrients that our bodies can best absorb. Isolating single vitamins and nutrients does not always have the same effect.

Congratulations! Now you have a firm grasp on the five things you need to know before buying a multivitamin. Make sure to keep this post in mind next time you buy.

In health,
Skye

What Foods are BAD for Your Health?

Last week, we talked about the BEST foods for your health.

The natural follow up is which foods are the WORST for your health.

The truth is there are foods that significantly contribute to illness and disease. It’s the cold and hard truth.

We know certain foods increase your risk of early death. The bad news is Americans often eat way too much of these foods.

Where does this information come from? It comes from a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

So which four foods should you avoid to decrease your risk of early death? Read on for the details!

Sugar Sweetened Beverages

SSB.jpeg

Sugar sweetened beverages are drinks that have sugar added to them. Examples include sodas and soft drinks, flavored juice drinks, sports drinks, sweetened tea, coffee drinks, energy drinks, and electrolyte replacement drinks.

While sugar sweetened beverages may seem innocuous, they are anything but. They are associated with 15% of deaths related to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

If you’re a die hard soda or sweet coffee drinker, it may take time to wean yourself. However, I know you can do it. And to help, here are some healthy swaps.

  • Instead of Coca-Cola or Pepsi, try La Croix La Cola.
  • Instead of sodas, try sparkling water (Trader Joe’s sells a variety of flavors - lemon, lime, berry, and pina colada to name a few).
  • Instead of Gatorade or Powerade, try water with fruit infused (think oranges, limes, or stawberries).
  • Instead of sweet tea, try iced tea with lemon. Or make iced tea with naturally sweet tea leaves (basically anything with licorice).
  • Instead of a caramel macchiato, try an Americano with milk.
  • Instead of energy drinks, try black coffee.


Processed Meats

Processed meat.jpeg

Processed meats are meats that have been preserved (by canning, curing, salting, smoking, or drying). Commonly consumed processed meats include sausages, hot dogs, salami, bacon, ham, corned beef, salted and cured meat, smoked meat, dried meat (think beef jerky), and canned meat.

Processed meats are associated with 8% of deaths related to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Patients often cite convenience and cost as a reason for turning to processed meats, which I completely understand.

The good news is there are healthy, affordable, and convenient alternatives to processed meats.  

Instead of making a ham sandwich or hot dog, try a nut butter and fruit sandwich on whole grain bread. Instead of beef jerky as a snack, try nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds are great this time of year). Or some veggies and hummus. Your heart and health will thank you.

Unprocessed Red Meats

red meat.jpeg

I know this one may surprise you.

Especially because some popular diets sing the praises of red meat.

The reality is red meat consumption is associated with 15% of deaths related to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

You may be thinking red meat was eaten by our ancestors. Which in some cultures is true. However, the quality of meat consumed by our ancestors was much different from what most people today consumed. The animals roamed free and ate grass, insects, and whatever else was available in the environment. Today most red meat is raised in factory farms and the nutrient profile of the meat is very different from the meat of our ancestors.

Instead of red meat, try to increase your intake of legumes. Beans and lentils have a rich and sturdy texture and can fill you up. Or try mushrooms. Mushrooms have a meat like texture and pick up the flavor of marinades well.

High Sodium

salt.jpg

Sodium. Salt. Table salt. Whatever you call it, too much is associated with 10% of deaths related to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Most salt in American diets come from processed foods (think processed meats, packaged foods) and fast food. If you avoid these, you should be in good shape.

Now What?

I love recommending foods to ADD to people’s diet instead of focusing on what to ELIMINATE.

But there are cases where you should eliminate or decrease your consumption of for your wellness.

Things you should eliminate entirely? Trans fats and sugar sweetened beverages.

Foods you should eliminate or decrease? Processed meats and red meat.

And salt is something you need to be mindful of.


So take an assessment of what you eat and determine where you can make tweaks to boost your wellness.

Until next week,
Skye

AIHM17SpeakingSticker1.png

Four Foods to Eat NOW

"What foods are good for my health?"


This is one of the most common questions I receive.

It’s also a loaded one. Because with few exceptions, I don’t believe foods are innately good or bad.

A food with a certain nutritional profile can be excellent for you in certain amounts — too much or too little can be a problem.

However, there are four foods that we know can decrease your risk of early death. The bad news is these foods are notoriously under consumed by Americans.

Where does this information come from? It comes from a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

So which foods should you eat to decrease your risk of early death? Read on for the details!
 

Nuts and Seeds

seeds nuts.jpeg


Low nut and seed consumption is associated with nearly 10 percent of cardiovascular deaths.

That's HUGE.

Especially considering nuts and seeds are delicious.

Aside from eating nuts and seeds plain, there are easy ways to infuse more into your diet.

  • Blend almond butter/cashew butter/sunflower butter into your smoothies
  • Sprinkle ground flaxseed on your steel cut oats
  • Add shelled hemp seeds or chopped nuts to your salads
  • Blend walnuts or cashews into your favorite soups
  • Make homemade trail mix with raw nuts and seeds
  • Make a sunflower butter and fruit sandwich


Vegetables

veggies.jpeg


If you’re a regular around these parts you know I often sing the praises of vegetables. And for good reason.

Vegetables are one of the most nutrient dense food groups you can eat. Low consumption of veggies is associated with nearly 8 percent of all cardiovascular deaths.

The beauty of vegetables is there is such a wonderful variety and everyone can find ones they love.

A lot of my clients think salads are the only way to get vegetables. This misconception is easy to fix. Here are a few easy (and tasty) ways to get your veggies:

  • Blend fresh greens into your smoothies (spinach is particularly mild tasting when blended with fruit)
  • Roast carrots, sweet potatoes, and Brussel sprouts with rosemary and a small amount of oil
  • Make a succotash with corn, tomatoes, red peppers, and lima beans
  • Spiralize zucchini and carrots and use them with pasta sauce
  • Add shredded cabbage to noodles
  • Stir fry carrots, bamboo shoots, sugar peas, mushrooms, and water chestnuts


Fruit

fruit   copy.jpg


Most of my clients come to me thinking fruit has too much sugar so they avoid fruit. But still continue to add lots of sugar to their coffee, eat refined grains, indulge in several sweet snacks a day, and have foods they don’t even realize are loaded with sugar.

While small groups of people may need to limit fruit, it is pretty hard to eat too much fresh whole fruit.

Newsflash: the natural sugar in whole fresh fruit is not the problem. It’s all the added and refined sugar in food that’s the issue.

And low fruit consumption accounts for 8 percent of cardiovascular deaths.

How should you eat fruit?

Eat fruit in the whole and fresh state. This means eating fresh apples instead of apple juice. Or oranges instead of orange juice. And this means NOT adding sugar to your fruit.


Seafood

salmon.jpeg


Seafood is really getting at omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that are crucial for many bodily processes.

Low omega-3 fatty acid consumption is associated with 8 percent of cardiovascular deaths.

Certain seafood is rich in omega-3s. Typically, it is your fatty fish (like salmon). But there are other ways to get omega-3s. The easiest way is through algae consumption (eaten or taken in supplement form). Algae is an excellent option if you are concerned with fish contamination or you enjoy a vegan diet.

There are other ways to get omega-3s through diet, but they require your body to convert them first. This is less efficient than eating seafood or algae, but you still should consider the following foods:

  • seeds (ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • soybeans (tofu)
  • walnuts
  • vegetables (spinach, broccoli, tomatoes)


Now What?


I love recommending foods to ADD to people’s diet instead of focusing on what to ELIMINATE.

Now you know the best foods to eat for your health: nuts and seeds, vegetables, fruit, and seafood.

So take an assessment of what you eat and determine where you can add health boosting foods.
 

Until next week,
Skye
 

 

Are You Taking Care of Yourself After Las Vegas?

Unless you’re superhuman, your nervous system is on overdrive.

The events over the last few months have been horrendous — natural disasters, manmade forest fires, and acts of violence. Even if you did not directly experience any of these events, you have been impacted.

And whether you realize it or not, your mind and body are under stress.

People have asked me what they can do to support their minds and bodies during this time. 

So today my goal is to provide you comfort and actionable ways to take care of your whole self and support your sympathetic nervous system.

Please note this post is not meant to minimize the direct impact millions of humans experienced. I recognize the grief I’ve experienced pales in comparison to the heartbreaking loss others have suffered. Even so, I want to acknowledge the stress we are all experiencing and provide ways to help us all cope.

Here are three actionable and evidence-based ways to help support your nervous system.

 

1. Meditate

pexels-photo-536021.jpeg

 

By now, you know I am a huge fan of meditation. Particularly during stressful times. 

 

So what type of meditation is best?

 

There isn’t one type of meditation that is better than others. However, there are types that have been better studied. For example mindfulness meditation, a form that focuses on awareness and being in the present moment, has been shown to decrease stress and improve mood. 

 

Want to learn more about how to meditate? Check out my post on How to Meditate.

 

2. Fuel Your Body with De-Stressing Foods

pexels-photo-326281.jpeg

While it can be easy to reach for comfort food (like chips, cakes, and fries), they may actually make your mind and body feel worst.

Green leafy vegetables — spinach, kale, lettuce — are a great way to support your body. They are full of wonderful micronutrients that decrease stress and promote feelings of wellbeing.

Berries, which contain antioxidants and phytonutrients, improve your body’s response to stress. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and reduce surges of stress hormones. Omega-3’s can be found in fish, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and egg yolks. 

3. Move Your Body in Ways that Make You Feel Good

pexels-photo-374882.jpeg

Exercise can be a serious stress reliever so don’t neglect it during tough times. 

Right now focus on forms of exercise that make you feel you good and is supportive to your wellness. 

My personal picks right now include yoga, running, and biking.

Action Time

There you have it. Three actionable and evidence-based ways to help support your stress and wellness. Which will you choose to incorporate into your wellness routine? Let me know below!

Until next time,
Skye

 

 

Is Coconut Oil Bad for Your Health?

Do you use coconut oil? If so, you’re not alone.

Coconut oil has been American’s sweetheart for the past few years. In fact, 72% of Americans consider coconut oil to be a “healthy food.” It’s been touted to help burn fat, kill bacteria, improve your cholesterol, and even reduce seizures. For awhile, it seemed like coconut oil could do no wrong.

Like the Tom Brady of oils.

And then, like Tom Brady, coconut oil’s pristine reputation came into question.

The American Heart Association said coconut oil isn’t healthy . . . and never has been. Basically, it was deflategate for coconut oil.

The American Heart Association’s recommendation to avoid coconut oil caused quite a stir. Folks defending and prosecuting coconut oil popped up giving their “expert” opinions.

So what’s the real deal with coconut oil?

I’m here to break it down for you and give answers to the questions you and my patients have.

coconut oil.jpeg

Question 1: What Exactly is In Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is a fragrant and edible oil extracted from the meat of coconuts. It has a pleasing taste to many people and can be used in cooking and baking. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature and liquefies when warmer.

Coconut oil is over 80% saturated fat. For comparison, olive oil is about 14% saturated fat and canola oil is about 7%. This matters when we get to question 3.      
The fatty acid that makes up nearly half of coconut oil is lauric acid. This is followed by myristic, palmitic, decanoic, caprylic, and oleic fatty acids.

Question 2: What Are the Benefits of Coconut Oil?

This is trickier to answer for several reasons. First, the quality of studies looking at health benefits of coconut oil varies greatly. Second, coconut oil is still being studied. Third, many of the claimed coconut oil benefits come from anecdotal experiences.

What I’m going to cover are the evidence-based benefits of coconut oil. This means the benefits that have quality studies to support them.

The best evidence for coconut oil deals with dermatologic conditions. Eczema and other skin disorders can be improved with topical application of coconut oil.

In terms of the heart, it appears coconut oil does not either increase or decrease the risk of disease.

For cholesterol, there is evidence that coconut oil increases HDL-C (the so called “good cholesterol”). There are studies that show coconut oil also increases LDL-C (the so called “bad cholesterol”).

In terms of obesity, coconut oil does not appear to change weight or body mass index.

However, coconut oil is associated with decreased waist circumference. And decreased waist circumference is associated with decreased risk of heart disease.

Question 3: What Are the Negative Effects of Coconut Oil?

The most common negative effects of coconut oil include diarrhea and weight gain.

Question 4: Why Does the American Heart Association Say Coconut Oil is Bad?

The American Heart Association says coconut oil is bad for you. Why?

The American Heart Association says LDL-C cholesterol (so called “bad cholesterol”) increases your risk of heart attacks.  They also say saturated fat increases your so called bad cholesterol. Therefore, the American Heart Association says coconut oil is bad for you because it is over 80% saturated fat.

Basically, the American Heart Association is saying coconut oil increases the risk of heart disease.

So is this evidence-based?

Not precisely.

There is NOT definitive evidence showing coconut oil causes heart disease. Nor is there evidence to say coconut oil prevents heart disease.

What we do know is coconut oil increases HDL-C (so called “good cholesterol”) and may increase LDL-C (so called “bad cholesterol”).

You may be alarmed that coconut oil raises so called “bad cholesterol.” However, cholesterol is not that simple.

The type of cholesterol is more important than the cholesterol itself. This is a topic I could write extensively about, but allow me to over simplify. LDL cholesterol particles, when small and dense greatly increase your risk of heart disease. LDL cholesterol particles, when larger do not increase your risk of heart disease. Coconut oil does the latter - it increases the size of the particles and should not increase your risk of heart disease.

Bottomline: Even if coconut oil increases the LDL-C number on your cholesterol test, it improves the QUALITY of your LDL making it less likely to promote heart disease.

Question 5: Should I Use Coconut Oil?

If you’re a regular around these parts, you know safety and efficacy are my main concerns with alternative therapies.

Is coconut oil safe? It is likely safe when used appropriately and in moderate amounts.

Is it effective? That depends on what you are considering. In terms of dermatologic issues, it appears there is good evidence to show coconut oil works. The evidence for other treatments is less solid.

Question 6: Do You Use Coconut Oil?

Do I personally use coconut oil? Sparingly.

That is because coconut oil, like every other oil, is a processed food. Typically, I recommend eating food in its whole form (like oranges instead of orange juice and avocados instead of avocado oil). Coconut oil is no exception.

There is no reason to completely avoid coconut oil. But like any processed food, I suggest using it sparingly.

Do You Have a Burning Health Question?

Send it my way! Next week we will continue this series on frequently asked questions.

Are You Making THESE Smoothie Mistakes?

The Case for Smoothies

Are you looking for something that tastes delicious, is easy to digest, and packed full of nutrients? If so, smoothies may be just what you are looking for.

Last week we uncovered the truth about juice. Read more about it here.  

Smoothies are an excellent alternative to juice. This is because they have the pros of juice (easy to drink and digest) with few of the cons.

When you juice, you remove much of the fiber from the fruit and vegetable ingredients. Remember, fiber helps keep your digestive system moving and stabilizes blood sugar.

When you make a smoothie, you retain the beneficial fiber. You also keep your portions in check.

Smoothie .jpeg

Not All Smoothies are Created Equally

Smoothies, like most food, can vary dramatically based on how they are prepared.

I commonly work with people who think they are making wonderfully nutritious smoothies. But when we get down to the details, we discover their smoothies are full of sugar and keeping them from their health goals.

I don’t want this to happen to you! So I compiled the top 5 smoothie mistakes I see people making.

Keep reading to make sure you aren’t making one of these very common mistakes.

Smoothie Mistake #1: Using dodgy protein powders.

This is the MOST common smoothie mistake my client’s make.

Most protein powders do NOT do you any favors.

Basically, the vast majority of protein powders are over priced and ultimately underperform. They are filled with strange protein sources and even stranger additives. Plus, most taste gross. Or the gross taste is masked with tons of sugar or artificial sweeteners (both wellness sabotagers).

There are a few exceptions, but you have to really be purposeful in your purchase.

Still looking to add protein to your smoothies? No problem. Try these whole food protein options:

  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Nuts
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Silken tofu

Smoothie Mistake #2: Adding fruit juice instead of whole fruit.

It’s tempting to add sweet fruit juice to your smoothies. However, fruit juice adds a whole lot of sugar to your smoothies without the help of blood sugar stabilizing fiber.

Instead of adding fruit juice, add whole fruit! That way you get the great taste and the beneficial qualities of eating the whole food.

Smoothie Mistake #3: Forgetting the green vegetables.

Does the idea of adding spinach or kale to your smoothie gross you out?

It shouldn’t.

A handful or two of green leafy vegetables adds serious nutrition without taking away from the taste.

Does the idea of drinking a green colored smoothie make you cringe? If so, add some dark colored fruit (like blueberries) to mask the color. This is also a great trick for sneaking vegetables into children smoothies.

Smoothie Mistake #4: Using yogurt as the base.

Many smoothie recipes use yogurt as its base.

Why’s this a mistake? There’s so many reasons I could devote an entire post to answering this. Bottomline: most yogurts are full of sugar and odd preservatives that don’t do you any health favors.

If you crave a creamy smoothies, use alternatives to yogurt to get the consistency you desire. Nut milks (like almond or cashew), hemp milk, or flaxseed milk are all great options. Also adding a handful of nuts or a tablespoon of nut butter can up the creamy factor.

Smoothie Mistake #5: Buying expensive premade smoothies.

Store or restaurant smoothies, while tasty, can cost $7 or more per serving. If you’re drinking one day, that’s $49 a week or nearly $2500 a year.

You can easily make homemade and nutritious smoothies for a fraction of the price. And to save time, you can blend up a few at a time and drink them over the next few days.

Good for You Smoothie Recipes?

Looking for mistake-free smoothie recipes? Check out my smoothie recipes.

Glow Getter Smoothie

Skye’s Detox Smoothie

A Better Way Breakfast Smoothie (from The ABC’s of Wellness)

Sending you health, light, and love,

Skye

To Juice or Not to Juice - Is Juice Really Healthy?

Have you noticed advertisements for juice fasts? Or seen a juice bar pop up in your neighborhood? If so, you’re not alone.

Juice fasts and juice bars are more popular than ever. Juice fasts promise detoxification, weight loss, and even beautifying. And juice bars have morphed from granola establishments to hip and modern hang outs.

So is the hype true? Is juice really healthy for you?

Juice.jpeg

Like most things, the answer isn’t so simple.

First, we have to break down the two most popular types of juice - fruit juice and vegetable juice.  When you juice fruit or vegetables, you remove the solid portions and are left with liquid.

In the case of fruit, this is typically a bad thing.

One reason is because the juicing process removes fiber (a vital part) from fruit. Fiber helps keep your digestive system moving AND helps stabilize the natural sugar found in fruit. When you remove the fiber, you ingest the natural sugar in fruit without the blood sugar stabilizing effects of fiber.

Another reason is when you juice, you often consume much more than you would if you were eating the whole fruit. A glass of orange juice can contain as much as FIVE orange’s worth of liquid and sugar. It is pretty easy to swig a glass of OJ (and five orange’s worth of calories and sugar) and barely notice feeling full from it. If you stuck with solid fruit, you would definitely notice feeling full after eating five oranges.

Bottom line: Steer clear of fruit juices.

If you want to juice, vegetable juice is the safer bet.

While you still miss out on the fiber, vegetable juice is lower in sugar compared to its fruit counterpart while allowing you to ingest important nutrients in a concentrated form.

But I suggest sticking to pure and fresh vegetable juice. Many premade vegetable juice cocktails contain added salt or hidden fruit juice.

To juice or not to juice? Fruit is a nay, but vegetables are a yay.

Do you have a burning health question? Send it my way!

In health,
Skye