Shannon12

Foods to Reduce Night Time Hot Flashes

Do you get hot flashes? Are they mostly at night? Let's get you some solutions! Before we do that, just some quick info on why hot flashes occur so we can try to effect the root cause of these hormonal symptoms.  

What causes hot flashes?hot flashes

  As you can imagine it's all about hormonal balance or imbalance. During the menstruating years, your estrogen allows for your ovaries to respond when “luteinizing hormone” (LH) says to release those eggs every month. When it gets to the point where your estrogen levels start dropping (i.e. perimenopause), those ovaries start to simply ignore the LH. And guess what your body's response to this is? It releases adrenaline! This causes your body to heat up for a few minutes until it cools itself back down.  

What triggers hot flashes?

  You may have already identified some of the triggers of your hot flashes.  Perhaps they're related to the food and drinks you consume (i.e. coffee, spicy foods, sugar, citrus fruit, large meals).  Maybe they're related to lifestyle factors (i.e. stress, alcohol, smoking, certain medications or intense exercise). Or maybe they get worse as your weight slowly climbs (higher BMI)?  Did you know that some menopausal women who lost weight were able to eliminate their hot flashes?  Win-win!  

Let's reduce those hot flash triggers naturally, shall we?

 

Food #1 – FlaxFlax Seed

Flax contains a phytoestrogen named “lignan”.  Phyto (plant) estrogens are thought to help our bodies better balance hormones by mimicking them and binding to certain hormone receptors. Flax also contains fiber and omega-3 essential fatty acids.  Both are powerhouses for better gut and heart health, an additional benefit! But here's where it gets interesting. One study looked at thousands of women who experienced at least 14 hot flashes per week.  Researchers had them add four tablespoons of flax meal to their day. After 6 weeks the number of hot flashes they had dropped in half and the intensity of those hot flashes dropped by more than half! Scientists think that's due mostly to the lignan content of flax seeds. That's some super-food! It's also pretty easy to increase your intake of flax.  You can add one or two tablespoons into your smoothie or sprinkle it on just about anything (breakfast, salad, nut butters, etc.).  Not to mention how easy it is to add to your baking.  (Hint, see recipe below). Pro Tip:  Flax seeds should be ground up in order to get most of their benefits because much of the healthy compounds in them are stored beneath the hard, outer shell. 

Food #2 – Water

OK, maybe this is more of a “drink” than a food but hear me out. When you get hot flashes, you're losing more water than you normally would.  Similarly to when you exercise. Make sure you replace those critical fluids by drinking enough water.  A good habit is to make sure that you don’t get to the point of feeling overly thirsty by keeping a bottle, glass, or cup beside you all day long for frequent sips. Water is definitely something to add (or increase) to your daily intake when you're experiencing hot flashes.  

Conclusion:

There are two critical things you should do if you experience hot flashes: increase your intake of both flax and water. Consistency is key. In addition, do things that reduce your stress levels and weight. If weight is an issue and if its off due to Hypothyroidism, check out this article (from an earlier blog post). Remember, these are healing FOODS, the body does not change over night and no one is "textbook" in their symptoms; no two bodies are the same. As a society, we tend to expect a magic pill that will instantly fix our health issue. This is unrealistic and sets us up for failure. On the other hand, if we apply everything out there that is available to help with hot flashes at once, you will not know what is really working for YOU. It is a process and I'm here to help you start and maintain lasting health and lifestyle changes. I imagine that is why you are here. For now, enjoy a delicious recipe and here is a homework assignment for you until next week: closely observe how you feel as you put these changes into action. Yours in Health & Happiness, Shannon  

Recipe (flax): Gluten-Free Oatmeal Muffins

Serves 6GF Muffins
  • 1 banana (very ripe)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 egg (or flax egg substitute)
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar (optional)
  • ½ cup flax meal*
  • ¼ cup oat flour* or other gluten-free flour
  • ½ cup oats (gluten-free)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup nuts or dark chocolate chips (optional)
 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line 6 muffin tins.
  2. Add banana, oil, egg, and sugar (if using) into your blender and blend until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (oats, flax meal, gluten-free flour, and baking soda).
  4. Add wet ingredients into dry and stir. Do not over mix.
  5. Add nuts or dark chocolate chips, if using.
  6. Spoon into muffin tins. Bake for 15-20 min.
  7. Serve & Enjoy!
*Tip:  You can blend flax and/or oats to make your own freshly ground flax meal or oat flour.   References: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-menopause https://authoritynutrition.com/11-natural-menopause-tips/ http://www.precisionnutrition.com/incorporating-flax-into-diet http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-flax  

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Shannon12

5 Reasons You Bloat More After Age 45

Bloating is generally the result of not being able to properly digest foods.  These not-so-digested foods feel like they're just sitting around causing discomfort and a general feeling of being stuffed and “gassy”. It can happen at any age but if it seems to be more frequent as you're getting older it can very well be because of your stomach's reduced ability to produce enough acid for proper digestion. Normally, when we eat cells in our stomach release more acid which is important for so many digestive processes like breaking down foods and activating enzymes.  As we age this process can become less efficient and the result can feel like it's wreaking havoc on the rest of the digestive system. Unfortunately, this can have wide-ranging effects on all of our digestion abilities “downstream” and that can result in bloating.  

Bloating Reason #1:

Sometimes our bodies are or become sensitive to the fiber in certain fruits or veggies.  This can also occur when we introduce new ones into our diet as it may take a while for our body to get used to them. Pro Tip:  Try chewing your vegetables more thoroughly, or lightly cooking or steaming raw ones.  If a fruit or veggie seems to be consistently related to bloating, try eliminating it for a few weeks and monitor your symptoms.  

Bloating Reason #2:

Decreased stomach acid can reduce the activation of a key protein-digesting enzyme “pepsin”.  This means that the proteins you eat aren't broken down as much and they can pass through your system somewhat “undigested”. Pro Tip:  You may consider reducing the amount of animal-based foods you eat and see if that helps you out.  

Bloating Reason #3:

One thing that can seriously cause bloating is when your digestive system slows down.  Then things seem to be a bit stagnant, just hanging around in there a bit (a lot?) longer than you'd like. Ginger has been found to help with digestion and reduce nausea for certain people.  And peppermint is thought to help your digestive muscles keep pushing food through, so it doesn't stay in one spot for too long. Pro Tip:  Consider drinking a digestive tea like peppermint or ginger.  See my recipe below.  

Bloating Reason #4:

All this lack of digesting in your stomach and small intestine puts extra stress on the large intestine.  The large intestine is the home of all of your wonderful gut microbes that have SO many functions in the body.  The problem is when undigested food enters the large intestine, it can feed the not-so-great microbes.  These “unfriendly” bacteria produce waste material and gas as a part of their natural metabolism.  The more of these microbes you have in your system (they will multiply if they are constantly being fed by undigested food in the large intestine), the more gas that will be produced in the large intestine. Pro Tip:  Try eating more fermented foods.  Fermented foods contain probiotics which will feed the good bacteria and microbes in your system to keep the bad guys at bay  This includes things like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi (as long as these don't cause bloating for you!).  Make sure they're unpasteurized and contain live cultures.  If you cannot tolerate dairy based yogurt and kefir dairy free options are available or you could make your own dairy free versions. You can also consider taking a probiotic supplement. Just check the label first to make sure it's right for you.  

Bloating Reason #5:

With reduced stomach acid you also have a reduction of the “activation” of several of your digestive enzymes (protein-digesting pepsin being one of them).  In order for certain enzymes to go to work digesting your food they need to be activated.  This usually happens with the assistance of stomach acid. Pro Tip:  You may consider trying an enzyme supplement to assist your body in digesting food while you work on reestablishing your own production of stomach acid (a healthy diet and lifestyle can do this!).  But before you do make sure you read the labels because some of them interact with other supplements, medications, or conditions, and may not be safe for long-term use.   Conclusion: You can try the “pro tips” I've given you in this post.  Maybe you'd prefer working with a practitioner on an elimination diet to get to the bottom of which foods you may be sensitive to?  If bloating is a serious problem you should see your doctor or alternative health care practitioner.   Recipe (Tummy Soothing Tea): Ginger Tea (This is also great for soothing a sore throat) Serves 1
  • Fresh ginger root (about 2”)
  • Hot water
  • Lemon slices (optional)
  • Honey (optional)
  1. Pour the water into a saucepan and heat it on the stove.
  2. Grate the ginger root into the saucepan.  Let it come to a boil, and then simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Strain the tea into a cup with a fine mesh strainer and add lemon and/or honey as desired.
  4. Serve & Enjoy!
Tip:  If you don't want to use a grater and strainer then you can peel the ginger and thinly slice it into your cup before adding boiling water.  The pieces should be big enough that they will sink to the bottom.   References: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-menopause https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-ways-to-reduce-bloating/ http://www.dietvsdisease.org/how-to-get-rid-of-bloating/ http://summertomato.com/too-many-vegetables-how-to-prevent-gas-and-digestive-problems-caused-by-healthy-eating http://www.precisionnutrition.com/elimination-diet https://nccih.nih.gov/health/peppermintoil https://nccih.nih.gov/health/ginger

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Integrative Nutrition

Yes, There’s Plastic in Your Seafood

Researchers have been warning about the dangers of ocean pollution – especially the accumulation of plastic – for decades. However, it is only recently that comprehensive studies have begun to emerge showing just how contaminated life in the ocean has become. Read More

Shannon12

Haven't Changed Anything in Your Diet But Still Gaining Weight?

  You are positive that you're not eating more food or “junkier” food but you're still gaining weight. Is this possible? Yes!  You are NOT crazy! And here's why. We both know that the whole “calories in, calories out” argument is an overly simplistic view of weight. There's definitely more to the story than just what you're eating. A lot of this comes right down to your metabolic rate which is affected by things like your activity level, history of dieting, body composition, and even what you eat. But, let's go beyond the “eat less and exercise more” advice and dive into some of the less obvious underlying reasons why you may be gaining weight even though you're eating the same. Things like:
  • Aging
  • Hormones
  • Sleep
  • Stress
 

Aging

Funny things happen the older we get.  People commonly experience lower energy levels, more digestive discomfort, weight gain, as well as aches and pains. Aging can result in hormonal changes for both men and women.  And these can contribute to loss of some lean muscle mass, as well as increases and changes in fat storage on our bodies. The good thing is that, this is very common and not your fault one bit.  

Hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism and can be a massive contributor to your weight gain.  There are several things that can affect it and throw it off course. When your thyroid gets off course and produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  And when your metabolism slows down you can gain weight.  Even though you're eating the same way you always have. Pro Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your hormones tested.  Make sure you ask or a Full thyroid panel that includes, Reverse T3, TSH, free T3,free T4. I have personally used the protocols in Conquering Any Disease to reverse my own hypothyroidism primarily using the healing power of food.  Not everyone is textbook so right now I am offering a package that includes a free consult.   Oh, and try the thyroid-friendly recipe that I created for you at the end of this post. (yum).  

SleepGet the recommended hours of sleep.

There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate and as we age it can become harder and harder to get a good night's sleep. The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night to help avoid weight gain.It's true!  Lack of sleep is linked with weight gain. Who ever thought you can sleep off your weight? Pro Tip: Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.  The first place to start is by adopting a calming bedtime routine that suites you (such as a hot bath or essential oils or herbal tea); and most importantly laying off the electronics screen time at least an hour before bed.  

Stress

It seems to be everywhere!  So many things that can cause stress responses in your body. And you know that stress hormones are not going to help you sustain healthy habits or maintain a healthy weight, right? While you can't necessarily change the stressors, you can try to adjust your stress response to them. Pro Tip:  Try meditation or yoga.  Or even mindful eating.  What about those new adult coloring books that are all the rage now?  

Conclusion:

There are lots of factors that can affect your weight, even if you're eating the same way you always have.  Aging, hormones, stress, and sleep are all interconnected to each other and can all contribute to weight gain, even if you're eating the same way you always have.  

Recipe (Thyroid friendly iodine): Seaweed Sushi Bowl

Serves 2
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 avocado (thinly sliced)
  • ½ cucumber (diced)
  • ½ red pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 1 green onion (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp dried seaweed (arame, wakame, or crumbled nori sheets)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp gluten-free tamari sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ garlic clove
  • dash salt and pepper
  1. Split the first seven ingredients into two bowls.
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients together to make the dressing.
  3. Pour the dressing over the sushi bowls.
Serve & Enjoy! Tip:  This is a great lunch to take on the go.  Keep dressing in a separate container so you can give it a shake before adding it onto the sushi bowl.  

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/lose-weight-in-menopause/ http://www.precisionnutrition.com/sleep-stress-and-fat-loss[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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