All About Digestive Enzymes

Not everyone should be taking digestive enzyme supplements and not all of them are created equal. As a wellness ambassador, I find that many people with digestive issues want to jump straight into using a supplement and many times I would rather try other strategies first. Not to mention that some supplements can be harmful if used inappropriately. So let’s dive into a few of the common digestive enzymes, what they do, and who should NOT take them.  

What are digestive enzymes?

Technically, enzymes are compounds that help critical biochemical reactions to happen in your body. These reactions can be anything: from making neurotransmitters like serotonin, to burning food for energy, to breaking down food we eat into smaller pieces that our guts can absorb. Oh, and they all end with “ase”. As I just hinted, digestive enzymes are specifically those enzymes we use for digestion. They’re enzymes that our digestive system naturally makes and secretes when we eat. Now, all of the macro nutrients we eat (carbs, protein, and fat) need to be broken down into their smaller parts so that we can properly absorb and digest them. They’re just too big otherwise. f we don’t absorb them properly, we can get symptoms of fatigue, malnutrition, digestive distress, or a host of other symptoms.  It is these smaller parts that our body amazingly rearranges and uses to create other larger molecules that our body needs. The most common digestive enzymes you’ll see on product labels are:
  • Amylase - helps to break down starch into its sugars.
  • alpha-Galactosidase - helps to break down specific fermentable carbohydrates into its sugars.
  • Lactase - helps to break down lactose into its sugars.
  • Protease - helps to break down protein into its amino acids.
  • Bromelain and/or Papain - help to break down protein into its amino acids.
  • Lipase - helps to break down fats into its lipids.

Who should consider taking digestive enzymes?

I would always recommend that you see a qualified health care practitioner for an expert opinion on whether your issues can be related to digestion, and which, if any, supplements can help you. In general, the most common digestive symptoms that enzymes may help with are bloating, cramping, and/or diarrhea. Particularly, if it happens after eating certain foods (think lactose-intolerance symptoms after eating dairy). One reason for these symptoms can be that food particles are not broken down properly and the larger pieces travel further down the digestive tract to the microbiota where those little critters start breaking them down themselves. This is definitely troublesome for certain people. Don’t get me wrong, a healthy gut microbiota is absolutely essential for good health. More and more research is showing just how it can affect not only our digestion, but also our immune system and even our mood!  

What do I need to know? - Medical conditions

Of course, you should read the label of any products you take and take them as directed; especially if they’re not specifically recommended for you by your health care practitioner who knows your history. Here are two critical things to be aware of:
  1. Digestive enzymes that break down carbohydrates into sugars are not recommended for diabetics, or pregnant/breastfeeding women.  This is because taking them breaks down more carbohydrates into sugars than your body normally would; so anyone at risk of blood sugar issues should take caution.
  2. When it comes to enzymes that break down proteins into amino acids, there are a few people who should avoid them because of potential interactions: if you have an ulcer, are taking blood-thinners or anti-inflammatories, or if you’re having surgery. The reason is because the digestive enzymes that break down protein are thought to cause or worsen ulcers, as well as have the ability to thin the blood and prevent normal clotting.

What do I need to know? - Possible Side effects

Using digestive enzyme supplements for a prolonged period of time may well justify an appointment with a knowledgeable practitioner. There may be strategies other than daily supplementation that can serve you better. If you find that your symptoms get worse, or even if they don’t get better, you should probably stop using them. Allergies are always a possibility, so if you know or suspect you’re allergic, then you should avoid them. As always, keep supplements away from children.  

Before considering a digestive enzyme supplement

You shouldn’t just jump to supplementing with digestive enzymes without a proper diagnosis or trying a few strategies first. My first recommendation for digestive distress would be to relax, eat slower, and chew more thoroughly. This helps to break down food and can put less stress on your digestive tract. Most importantly, see if eliminating troublesome foods from your diet can help (i.e. dairy and gluten; as I touched on during the food intolerance blog).  


While many supplements are safe products, they’re not all for everyone. I recommend that you:
  • Read your labels carefully (who should take them, how to take them, and when to stop taking them).
  • If you have a medical condition or are taking medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • If you want expert advice on whether a specific supplement is for you, speak with a qualified health care practitioner.

Recipe (food containing bromelain & papain): Tropical (digestive) smoothie

Serves 1

[caption id="attachment_32316" align="alignright" width="150"]digestive smoothie sourced from Transformation Time Fitness[/caption]
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1 cup papaya, diced
  • 1 banana*, chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ice if desired
  1. Put all ingredients(except ice) into the blender and blend. Add ice if desired.
  2. Serve & enjoy!
*Tip: The levels of enzymes in whole pineapple and papaya aren’t as concentrated as taking them in a supplement; so if you’re not allergic to these delicious fruits, you can try this smoothie. A combo of kiwi and avocado is a good substitute for the banana for those with sensitivities.   Best, Shannon.  

References: Natural Medicines Database, Bromelain, Papain, Retrieved January 21, 2017 from  

Integrative Nutrition

The Role of Health Coaches

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Can My Symptoms Actually Be a Food Intolerance?

Food intolerance or sensitivities can effect you in so many ways. They’re a lot more common than most people think. I'm not talking about immediate allergic reactions that involve an immune response which can be serious and life-threatening.  If you have any allergies, you should steer clear of any traces of foods you are allergic to and speak with your doctor or pharmacist about emergency medication, if necessary. What I'm talking about is an intolerance; meaning that you do not tolerate a specific food very well and it causes immediate or chronic symptoms anywhere in the body. Symptoms can take hours or even days to show themselves and can be located just about anywhere in the body. This is what makes them so tricky to identify.

Symptoms of food intolerances

There are some common food intolerances that have immediate and painful gastrointestinal symptoms, such as lactose intolerance or Celiac disease. These can cause stomach pain, gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea.  Symptoms can start immediately after eating lactose or gluten. Other symptoms may not be linked to foods in an obvious way. Symptoms like:
  • Chronic muscle or joint pain
  • Sweating or increased heart rate or blood pressure
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Exhaustion after a good night's sleep
  • Autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto's or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rashes or eczema
  • Inability to concentrate or feeling like your brain is "foggy"
  • Shortness of breath
If your body has trouble digesting specific foods, it can affect your hormones, metabolism, or cause inflammation and result in any of the symptoms listed above. These can affect any part of the body, not just your gastrointestinal system.  

How to prevent food intoleranceGF DF badge

The main thing you can do is to figure out which foods or drinks you may be reacting to and stop ingesting them. The best way to identify your food or drink triggers is to eliminate them for three full weeks and monitor your symptoms. If things get better, then you need to decide whether it's worth it to stop ingesting them or if you want to slowly introduce them back one at a time while still looking out to see if/when symptoms return.  

Start Here: Two common food intolerances

Here are two of the most common triggers of food intolerance:
  • Lactose (in dairy - eliminate altogether, or look for a "lactose-free" label - try nut or coconut milk instead).
  • Gluten (in wheat, rye, and other common grains - look for a "gluten-free" label - try gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa & oats).
This is by no means a complete list, but it's a good place to start. Lactose intolerance is thought to affect up to 75% of people, while non-celiac gluten sensitivity can affect up to 13% of people. If you can eliminate all traces of lactose and gluten for three weeks, it can confirm whether either or both of these are a source of your symptoms. Yes, dairy and grains are a part of many government-recommended food guidelines. However, you can get all of the nutrients you need if you focus on replacing them with nutrient-dense foods. A reliable way to monitor how you feel after eating certain foods is to track it (check out the food diary/journal download below).  After every meal or snack, write down the foods you ate and any symptoms so you can more easily spot trends. Click here to download a free copy of my Weekly Diet Diary/Food Journal to help you monitor your symptoms. As mentioned earlier, symptoms may not start immediately following a meal. You may find, for example, that you wake up with a headache the morning after eating bananas. You might be surprised what links you can find when you track your food and symptoms! When in doubt, ask the server in a restaurant about hidden ingredients, read labels on sauces/packaged foods, or consider cooking at home from scratch (its the best way to monitor how you are feeling). IMPORTANT NOTE: When you eliminate something, make sure it's not hiding in other foods or the whole point of eliminating it for a few weeks is lost. Restaurant food, packaged foods, and sauces or dressings are notorious for adding ingredients that you'd never think are there. You know that sugar hides in almost everything, but did you also know that wheat is often added to processed meats and soy sauce? Even lactose can even be found in some medications or supplements! It's really important to read the ingredient labels. If you are unsure of any ingredients.   What if it doesn’t work? If eliminating these two common food intolerances doesn’t work, then you can go one step further to eliminate all dairy (even lactose-free) and all grains (even gluten-free) for three weeks. You may need to see a qualified healthcare practitioner for help, and that's ok. I don't want you to continue suffering if you don't need to!     Recipe (dairy-free milk): Homemade Nut/Seed Milk Makes 3 cupsalmond milk
  • ½ cup raw nuts/seeds (almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds)
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  1. Soak nuts/seeds for about 8 hours (optional, but recommended).
  2. Dump soaking water & rinse nuts/seeds.
  3. Add soaked nuts/seeds and 2 cups water to a high-speed blender and blend on high for about one minute until very smooth.
  4. Strain through a small mesh sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Squeeze if necessary.
Serve & enjoy! Tip: You can double the recipe and store the milk in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.   References:

Integrative Nutrition

Take the Breakfast Experiment

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Best Breakfast Foods to Support Menopause

During menopause women tend to gain weight.  While this isn't great, it is pretty common. Here are two reasons why women gain weight during menopause.
  • Reason #1: Reduced muscle mass. Muscle mass uses energy (burns calories) so when we have less of it, the body burns less energy leading to weight gain. Unfortunately, this weight gain may appear as increased belly fat.
  • Reason #2: Feel hungrier. During menopause, there is an increase in the hunger hormone ghrelin.  With an increase in this hormone comes the tendency to feel hungrier.  Menopause also decreases the satiety hormone leptin, which helps us feel full after eating. More ghrelin and less leptin leads to increased hunger and a decreased feeling of that’s a problem!

What does all of this have to do with breakfast?

Eating the right type of breakfast has been shown to help maintain muscle mass, balance levels of leptin and ghrelin, aid weight loss and maintain that lower weight.  

What makes a food optimal for breakfast in menopause?

Foods that help to increase metabolic rate, fill you up, and keep you feeling fuller longer. Let's have a look at the characteristics of these optimal foods.  


Make sure to get protein in the morning as eating protein is critical for women in menopause. Protein helps to slightly increase metabolism and give your muscles the amino acids they need to stay strong.  Protein also helps keep you feeling fuller longer which is great to try to offset that hunger hormone ghrelin. It also helps to reduce bone loss that can happen very fast during this time. Which foods are high in protein?
  • Meat and poultry
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Beans and lentils
  • Nuts and seeds (contain more fat than protein but still a great source of amino acids)
Read on and check out the great breakfast recipe at the end of this blog to try tomorrow morning.  


Fiber is very important to help stabilize your blood sugars to reduce cravings.  The reason this is particularly important in menopause is because the risk of diabetes and heart disease increases after menopause due to an accumulation of visceral fat in the abdomen.  (Yes, I'm talking about the infamous “belly fat”). Also, did you know that certain fibers you eat actually feed your friendly gut microbes?  The ones that help you digest food and even make certain nutrients for you. Which foods are high in fiber? Here are just a few of the items you could add to your diet to increase fiber intake.
  • Vegetables (squash, peas, sweet potato, artichokes, collard greens, pumpkin, parsnips, Brussels sprouts etc.)
  • Fruit (pears, avocados, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries etc.)
  • Nuts (almonds, pistachios, macadamia, hazelnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, walnuts, dried coconut etc.)
  • Seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flax etc.)
  • Gluten-free grains (oat, quinoa, wild rice etc.)
  • Beans and lentils


What are optimal foods for breakfast in menopause?  Ones that give you protein and fiber.   Bonus Recipe: Maca Power Porridge (Vegan) Maca is a turnip that grows high in the Andean mountains. It is well known for its endocrine balancing properties. I have consistently witnessed people reduce and in many cases even eliminate hot flashes by just adding Maca to their diet. Personally, I went from taking a tablespoon daily to now only taking 1/2 teaspoon a week to manage my hot flashes. This recipe is high in vegan sources of protein and fiber as well is rich in Omega-3's which are also helpful for reducing hot flashes and inflammation.Maca
  • 3-5 tablespoons chia seed
  • 2 tablespoon hemp seed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts*
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao
  • 1 tablespoon goji berries
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • honey to taste
  • 1 cup hot water
  1. Place all ingredients into a bowl
  2. Pour water over ingredients
  3. Stir until combined
  4. Let sit for about 3 min
  5. Enjoy
*optional ingredients: sunflower seeds, oats, toasted buckwheat, ground flax, pumpkin seed; if you use more than 3 tablespoon of chia,  stir in more water. For ALL the benefits of Maca or to order from the same source I use, check out The Maca Team.   References:  


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.  


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:  


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:

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


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


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.  


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.  


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?  


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.  



Three Important Nutrients if You're Over the Age of 45

Unfortunately, there are just some all-too-common nutrients that we simply don't get enough of that are crucial for optimal health and wellness.  Especially as we age. I sifted through the top nutrients and boiled them down to three that can have the best effect for us.

Vitamin D

It's the “sunshine vitamin”. Vitamin D is very important for everyone, but especially women over 45.  Want to know why? It helps to protect our bones! Vitamin D helps our body absorb and keep the calcium we get from our food and drinks.  And we all know that calcium is one of the main things our bones are made of. Want to know something funny about vitamin D (but it's true, I swear)? People who get enough vitamin D tend to fall less frequently.  Especially as we get older. Seriously! By far the best way to get Vitamin D is to get brief exposure for 15-20 minutes per day when the sun is low.


Magnesium is an essential mineral needed for over 300 reactions in your body. As with vitamin D, it's very common for us to simply not get enough, not even the 320 mg per day that's recommended. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, low bone density, and even migraines. Magnesium is found in so many healthy whole foods like beans, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables.  In fact, the magnesium element is central to a plant's chlorophyll – it's actually what causes green plants to be green!  And most of us just don't get enough greens into our bodies on a regular basis.  (You know I have a delicious recipe with leafy greens for you below, right?).  


We've all heard that we need to get more omega-3 essential fatty acids, right?  They're good for our hearts, brains, and help to reduce inflammation. But not all of us are ready, willing, and able to eat fish three times per week.This is one of the few times that I will recommend using a supplement as it is very difficult to get the optimum amount of Omega-3’s otherwise. While fish oil supplements contain the “brain healthy” fats called EPA and DHA, those two are not technically the “essential” fats.The plant omega-3 known as ALA is essential and that is because our bodies can convert ALA into EPA and DHA when necessary. The best whole food sources of Omega-3's are wild salmon, hemp and chia seeds, and walnuts. As an oil, you can add to your diet (and especially for my Vegan friends) Nordic Naturals' Algae Omega and I currently use Melaleuca’s Omega-3. This product is plant-based and has those essential ALA fats.      


Three nutrients to consider now that you're 45 are: vitamin D, magnesium, and omega-3s. Of course if you have any medical conditions or take medications, it's always a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting anything new.  

Recipe: Salmon Quinoa Buddha Bowl

(Serves 2)
  • 4 cups baby spinach kale mix
  • 1 cup quinoa (cooked)
  • 2- 3oz wild salmon fillets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • ½ red onion (diced) (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • dash salt and pepper
  • optional toppings: craisins, goji berries, walnuts, pecans.
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, Apply 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil on small baking sheet. Place salmon, skin side down, and bake in oven for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Split spinach, quinoa, sesame seeds, and onion (if using) between two bowls Add each salmon fillet on top of ingredients.
  3. Mix sesame oil, rice vinegar, and lemon juice together and pour on top of prepared Buddha bowls.
  4. Garnish with additional toppings such as walnuts for a boost in Omega-3.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.Serve & Enjoy!  References:

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