Author Archives: admin

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What is “disordered eating” and how might it be effecting you? – Th HETA guide add on

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Ever heard of disordered eating? Well the concept has been around quiet a while but has only recently got more attention as intermittent fasting grew in popularity. “Disordered eating” is not the same as “eating disorder” in that disordered eating is a term used for unhealthy eating habits and their correlation to body image, that are not as “extreme” as having an eating disorder would be.

I see this in several of my clients and what i see, to help you understand more, is — they will have a lot of irregular timed eating or an erratic eating schedule and this can throw their whole sense of routine and circadian rhythm off. It is this type of disordered eating that we will look at in this post… This irregular eating pattern can decrease metabolism because their bodies expect food at specific times, and the result can be dysregulated appetite and messed up metabolism.

I find that in a lot of my clients, they do very well with structure and routine, especially women, as I feel women have a lot more demands on them (no sexism implied, just stating what I see) and having structure helps reduce stress and keep all our ducks in a row, as they say. And my most successful clients DO have structured eating…they have set times when they eat and stick to those times as much as possible. *They also eat very simply but that’s another post.

Some people can do fine on an irregular eating schedule but many will not.

Research suggests that having a regular eating schedule can improve your metabolic response to meals, particularly in women. So, if you’re struggling to lose body fat… rather than having sporadic meal times like; skipping your first meal some days and eating it on others, having dinner late some nights and early the other nights, or hopping from restaurant to restaurant for your lunch choices, you might benefit more by simply establishing structured meal patterns and stick to them as much as possible.

Women and irregular meal timing — A study done on  healthy normal weight women found that an irregular meal pattern resulted in lower postprandial energy expenditure or thermic effect of food, than a regular meal pattern….so they had a lower metabolic increase after eating and had a higher glucose response.

Lower hunger and higher fullness ratings were seen pre-meal and post-meal during the regular period

 

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/104/1/21/4633920

 

Another study where lean women who ate meals on a regular schedule had much better insulin sensitivity and improved blood triglycerides.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15220950

 

If your struggling with health and fat loss, this could be something to think about, right?!


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‘Self care’ – The HETA guide add on

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Because my only program The HETA guide is so large already, I have decided to do some ‘add ons’ that will add to its purpose, support my clients further but also make them accessible to the public for free. There won’t be many as I only like to focus on what I feel will absolutely benefit people and the below is one aspect of health that, doesn’t get overlooked by media per say but, gets forgotten by the individual. Enjoy xo

Self care – so cliché nowadays but such an important aspect of health and well being. There are articles everywhere on self care so I didn’t really need to do this but I wanted to, because my followers know my language, know I will only teach what I feel will support them and I have noticed many still not put DAILY self care into practice.

 

Making time for yourself……… Most of us are busier than ever and that means less time to take care of ourselves and our needs. The vast majority of moms don’t take time for self care — we wake up early to get kids up and ready for school, or feed and keep small children both alive and entertained. We try to keep our partners, parents and in laws happy. We say yes to the requests and demands from clients, bosses and co workers. We also attend kids activities and birthday parties even when we are exhausted and running on empty. Then free time is spent on house cleaning, meal preparation and if we are lucky – showering and grooming ourselves so that we are presentable for others before collapsing into bed exhausted, just so we can catch some sleep and do it all again tomorrow.

But here’s the thing – weather you are married or single, have kids or not – healing and being your best can not happen if your constantly running on empty. Running on empty will not only effect your health both physically and mentally, but also your ability to care for others!

Subtle signs like feeling overwhelmed, irritable or annoyed when your spouse, children or boss want something are an indication that you are not fully taking care of you. Cravings, fatigue, anxiety, memory loss, weight gain are unfortunately also side effects of neglecting yourself too. These are hormones going out of wack! Insulin taking over and causing inflammation, cortisol increases – driving estrogen up and thyroid down.

 

REMEMBER that an empty cup can not fill another. You must fill your own cup first!

 

I encourage you — that when you fill your own cup, you fill it so much that when you do care for others, you will give from your overflow and it will feel effortless. This is is why I encourage my clients to allocate at least 1 hour to themselves each day – they make that hour all about them and something they enjoy doing. It can be a walk, hot bath, listen to a podcast, chat with a friend, take time for their morning and evening routines, whatever they want. But it must be consistent for you to reap the rewards.

Set up routines, avoid doing needless tasks that are just time sucking. Ask for help with the household chores from your partner and kids. Instead of going to the grocery store every day because you forgot something – create one big list and stick to it with one big grocery run. You get the point. Treat yourself as you would your best friend or youngest child — someone you would drop everything for, to take care of them or spend time with them. Prioritize yourself xo


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Eating outside your plan ‘hacks’

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The perfect diet for each of us is one that considers our goals, current health status, genetics, hormonal blueprint, abilities, preferences, age and gender.

Your diet exists to serve your lifestyle, not the other way around.

Nothing will directly affect how you feel, how you think, how you look and your overall quality of life more than your nutrition.

And for most people, I believe that if you are dialing in your nutrition five days a week, you can have a little more flexibility 1-2 days a week. But if you do plan to eat outside your normal ‘healthy’ eating style or diet (this is just a word), then I recommend;

  1. you avoid carbs if you have a meal planned for later in the day or even the following day that may be more carb heavy
  2. you add in an extended fast or two if you feel you will be or have been particularly bad
  3. you practice awareness and maybe postpone your eating for later in the day —- as overeating is much more likely to take place when we consume ‘bad foods’ earlier in the day. Why? Because it initiates a roller coaster effect, driven by spikes and dips in blood sugar levels that make us even hungrier and crave even more. Here is how it generally works;
  • you eat some processed carbohydrates
  • blood sugar spikes
  • insulin gets released to push sugar into cells to get used or stored
  • satiety hormones get silenced so you feel hungrier
  • so you eat more
  • and its probably not vegetables, its more processed sugar laden foods because they give our brain a quick hit and warm fuzzy shot of feel good neurotransmitters as soon as they hit your tongue
  • then the cycle continues until you either eat until you feel nauseous or go to bed for the night

So essentially when you postpone those refeed or cheat meals to later in the day, it shortens the window available to you to make bad decisions in. And thus allows you to start the next day with a clean slate 😉

 

Always make smart choices where you can!


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Fibromyalgia pain

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So if its been confirmed, you have fibromyalgia — Basically you have central allodynia pain, which is kind of like this pain that may be in like 11 different random spots of your body, tender spots — shoulders, chest, hips, back. To get a diagnoses, your medical practitioner looked for at least 11 out of the 17 or so spots that care concurrent with Fibromyalgia. And if you have them, well, you have fibromyalgia or central allodynia.

So what is a central allodynia? Allodynia is ancient Greek for ‘other pain’. That means your nervous system is so hypersensitive that it’s detecting you rubbing even simple things off your skin or body – things that shouldn’t cause pain. But they do, you have an increased nervous response. And that’s a big issue because the nervous system is so unregulated, it’s like having an antenna that’s so hypersensitive that it’s picking up stations that it shouldn’t be picking up.  And it’s basically the same thing in your body. Your nervous system is an antenna that’s picking up all these nociception’s or pain sensations where it shouldn’t be. You/we want to get to the root cause of why that is. It could be caused by adrenal fatigue, issues with the HPA axis, leaky gut or an autoimmune issue, even too much stress in your life from either external stressors or mental / internal stressors.

 

 

Ok so how did this happen? Well there’s like over a 180 autoimmune conditions. An analogy I like is  —- anytime you have a physical, chemical or emotional stress — imagine having this fancy pearl necklace, every time you pull tight, that’s a physical chemical or emotional stressor in your life. And let’s just say every little spot where that pearl connects to the necklace, they’re not all the same strength. There maybe some part to that chain that are little bit weaker. Think of that as genetic predisposition ….. So you may have certain genetic links in the chain that are going to be a little bit weaker. Now what does that mean to you? Well as that stress comes on, that part of the chain may be more likely to break than another part. Let’s say Pearl 10 is more likely to break or is weaker than Pearl 3 or 4. Now, Pearl 10 may be Fibromyalgia. And that stressor may be Roundup or junk food or alcohol. That could be just enough stress to break that link and activate your genes for Fibromyalgia. So think of every little link in that chain as a different disease that could manifest if that link is broken . And what that link looks like for you, is gonna be based on your genetic predisposition. But we have control over your environment and a choice of not over stressing those weak links. Even when we look at daily stress — Let it go, relax! How do we do that? Self care, walk, exercise, shop for a new dress, meditate, laugh, sing and so on.

What else can we do to support or help turn over fibromyalgia? 

Address all of the diet (nutrition) and lifestyle things. Just cutting down on Roundup and eating organic can be a big help. That takes away some stress. And getting that good quality sleep, having good thoughts, fixing your gut, fixing infections, making sure you can digest and break down all that really good food that you’re eating. So looking at digestive enzymes can help. Get your hormones under control if there’s imbalances there too.

Even if you are predisposed – its like you have a loaded gun but its up to you if you pull the trigger or not. You an control your environment and make things easier on yourself.

In life, sometimes we don’t have the best options always available either, when we’re traveling or we’re going out to eat. But if we can control the 80 to 90% when we’re home and we’re in our house and the foods that we choose in our area, that’s gonna be the most important thing — we are always trying to stack conditions in our favor. Also, when you’re healthy, you get a little bit more wiggle room because your already stronger. But when you’re chronically sick, you don’t. So if you’re chronically sick, then you really got to be careful and make the best decisions possible. And if you’re going to get exposed to toxins and things, activated charcoal is a great option, as is Chlorella and Spirulina for binding to said toxins. Taking some extra liver support may be helpful, too. These are some things to keep in mind if you know you’re going to be getting exposed to ‘not so good’ things.

Also taking in digestive enzymes can be great if your having issues breaking down food, get a good quality methylated B vitamin and make sure your keeping a nice acid pH in your body. This is important for breaking down foods in your stomach and fighting off bad bacteria.

Hopefully all this will help you to start getting a hold on your fibromyalgia condition 🙂

 


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Holiday hacks!

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Happy Holidays!

Firstly, I know not everyone reads these articles but for those few who do – I give holiday thanks and even if you only take away 1 piece of information and implement it into your life, or even if I only help 1 person, then I’m doing my job right.

Secondly, I wanted to give you some hacks you can use to help you, not just survive the holidays and its temptations but ALL YEAR! Because, come on, who are we kidding – we don’t just struggle at Christmas! Whether it’s Halloween, Christmas or Summer vacation, there is temptation lurking around every corner. And if I’m being honest —- I give into cravings BUT I utilize hacks I have learned over the years to minimize their damage 😉 .

The winter holidays are a time of cookies, baked goods, and sugar plums, not to mention parties, gift-buying and big family get-togethers BUT so is every other day. Let’s be realistic… and all raise your cortisol (stress hormones), blood glucose levels, play havoc with insulin and inhibit lipase (the enzyme that promotes fat breakdown). I will admit it feels downright rude to decline carbs at a dinner party, wine at a celebration or some of aunt Bessie’s homemade brownies, but they can wreak havoc on your hormones and blood glucose and thus your health and weight loss goals – that’s not to say you can’t have them EVER but do pick and chose your battles this holiday season.

We know that sugar is responsible for a long list of health issues, so I’ve put together a survival guide for the sweetest, most carb-filled temptations. Our goal? Celebrate and live life feeling confident, lithe, and like you’ve not just survived another week without gaining fat, but thrived.

  1. Defeating cravings – Sometimes when your body craves one thing, it needs another. When your brain tells you it needs sugar, NOW, it may be because of a lack of protein or good fats in your diet. Eat the amount of protein I recommend, which is 0.7 grams of lean protein per pound of lean body mass or load up on good fats like coconut cream and avocado. Another way to cut down on sugar cravings is to stabilize cortisol with 200 mg of Rhodiola once or twice per day.
  2. Navigate parties – DON’T ARRIVE HUNGRY. Filling up on soup before you go will help you only eat the couple of things you really want to try – instead of gorging on everything. DRINK RED WINE, VODKA OR TEQUILA INSTEAD OF MIXED DRINKS – AND LIMIT YOURSELF TO 1-2 GLASSES. After that, consider switching to sparkling water (drink it out of a wine or champagne glass so it still feels celebratory). If your weight is creeping up, nip it in the bud, and consider taking activated charcoal before you drink alcohol or Food of Unknown Quality (FUQ – for instance, you don’t know if it’s organic or contains GMOs or gluten or in the case of fish, Mercury). Focus on the conversations and people instead of food. Get curious about the people there. Take pictures. Play a game. Dance your heart out. Enjoy the social aspect of parties – its not all about the food xo
  3. Smart swaps – If every event seems centered on carbs and alcohol, try to change the focus. Switch from a pizzeria to a savvy salad bar. If your friends want to meet for drinks, opt for a walk instead or head to a trampoline park. Escape rooms can be great too! If treats are an absolute must, go with high-quality dark chocolate instead of something high in carbs and low in nutrients. Also switch to nutrient dense snacks rather than calorie dense junk. A healthy festive pot luck can be very helpful.
  4. Manage metabolism – Blood sugar, stress, and your metabolism are closely tied to one another; if one is off, there’s a good chance the other hormonal process is struggling to keep up. A sluggish thyroid means weight gain, a bad mood, and thinning hair. If you suspect your thyroid is dragging, I recommend the following:  Eliminate gluten from your diet as much as possible. If you have a gluten sensitivity or even celiac disease, gluten could be the reason you’re overweight, fatigued, and bloated. Balance your levels of copper (look for a multivitamin that contains it), selenium (22 mcg per day), zinc (less than 50 mg per day), and iron (50-100 mg per day). All are crucial for proper thyroid output. Add vitamin D3 to your daily regimen. The best food sources are liver and low-mercury fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, herring, sardines, and cod. Sunshine is still the best way to get vitamin D.
  5. Movement magic – Most people see exercise as an integral part of a weight loss strategy. I agree, but I also think that many people use the wrong types of exercise. Intense cardio and high impact workouts actually raise cortisol instead of lowering it – which can lead to weight gain rather than loss. Instead, I always recommend targeted exercises that have been shown to balance hormones and drop pounds. Here are my favorites: Pilates, Yoga, Barre, Swimming, Weight training, Hiking and walking – Aim for 12,000 steps per day. Setting the goal to walk 12,000 steps will increase your movement level every day. Make it a priority to walk after dinner too, this will aid in digestion and studies have shown that those who walk directly after dinner can lose up to 6 lbs in a month.
  6. Skip the yoga pants – Have you noticed that wearing black yoga pants every day doesn’t keep you honest about weight gain at your waist and hips? Me too. Whether you’re trying to maintain weight or just navigate the holidays, a vacation healthfully or even breaking a larger goal (“I want to fit into my totally hot dress by……..”) into small, concrete goals (“I will wear my jeans – the ones that don’t lie – twice per week for the next four weeks.”) is far more effective. Keep fat burning a priority by reminding yourself daily!
  7. Create a FOOD CODE – Nobody’s perfect but everyone’s imperfections can be improved. Create your food code now. Your food code is your operating instructions – the rules that you will operate within. Here’s an example of my food code —>  “I will eat only in my feeding window, and take 3 deep breaths before each meal.”  “When I’m tempted to eat sugar or other refined carbohydrates, I will hit the pause button and ask myself why”. “I will practice movement on a daily basis”. “I will remind myself that I am in control of food, it is not in control of me”.
  8. Supplements for cravings – The following supplements have been shown to reduce sugar cravings: ● Glutamine 500-1000mg – empty capsule on your tongue when you have a sugar craving. ● 5-HTP – If you choose to use this to help combat your sugar cravings, I recommend you work with a health practitioner. Follow directions on the bottle. 5-HTP must NOT be taken with a prescription antidepressant because of the risk of serotonin syndrome. A typical dose is 50-100mg at night, and twice per day (max 300 mg per day). ● Tyrosine – 1,000 mg/day ● Apple cider vinegar, make sure its unpasteurized and organic, 15-30mls/day

It is also smart to use fasting protocols over the holidays, remember you goals. Enjoy the holidays but do not make things harder for yourself. Above everything, AVOID sugar and vegetable oils and make walking a priority xo


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Problems pooping?

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Have you been experiencing pooping or in medical terms – have you experienced ‘constipation’ much recently? Its nothing to be embarrassed about but it is a topic that needs to be addressed.

Poopin is essential for eliminating waste, toxins and for helping the gastrointestinal tract work in favor of what’s ‘inside’ the body. ( I put the word inside in inverted commas, because technically the GI tract is not inside the body ). Constipation has been associated with Parkinson’s disease, colon cancer, kidney disease, hemorrhoids and other health illnesses. In an ideal situation you would poop 1-2 times daily with ease. It’s also not unusual to feel back pain or IBS like cramps with chronic constipation. The number of stools you have each week is closely linked to the types of food you eat, the amount of exercise you get and your hydration status. While many people may have a bowel movement each day, the normal amount ranges between four times each week to several times a day – there can be quite a difference depending on your lifestyle.

Unfortunately, lately, I am seeing more and more people telling me they are having issues with bowel movements. So hopefully this article can address this and give so helpful tips on how to poop not only more regularly but easily too 🙂 .

There are many choices that you make each day that increase your risk of developing chronic constipation. One is learned constipation, as your rectum is flexible and can stretch. In a study using college students, researchers found participants could easily train themselves to evacuate their bowels every 51 hours instead of every 28, leading the scientists to conclude bowel habits may induce constipation. Other factors that may cause constipation are —-

  • Low fiber diet
  • Dehydration – not drinking enough water
  • Insufficient good fats in your diet
  • Poor nutrition
  • Lack of regular movement or exercise
  • Changes in your routine or enviroment
  • Avoiding pooping when you have the urge
  • Certain medications
  • Iron supplements
  • Frequent use of laxatives
Natural solutions to improve constipation and support good bowel movements;
  • One of the most popular short-term natural supplements that is effective against constipation is magnesium. I recommend magnesium citrate as this is the form that has the most effect on your intestinal tract and helps produce loose stools. ( If you are taking magnesium supplements for other health reasons though, I also like magnesium threonate as it appears to more effectively penetrate your cell membranes and boost your mitochondrial health, thus boosting your energy levels ).
  • Epsom salt bath or magnesium sulphate, again this is the same idea as above but by adding about 1 cup of pure Epsom salt to a hot bath and soaking in it for about 20 minutes, can help get things moving.
  • Swap out processed foods for whole, high-fiber foods, such as leafy green vegetables, almonds, squash and broccoli. These foods feed your gut microbiome, reduce your vulnerability to infection and promote softer stools that keep your intestinal walls intact.
  • Aim for 1 gallon or 3.4 liters of water a day. Coffee can act as a mild diuretic too.
  • Avoid sugars, artificial sweeteners, gluten, lectins and toxins like Glyphosate and Atrazine as these can damage the gastrointestinal cell wall.
  • MOVE! Movement helps increase the motility in your digestive tract and can stimulate the urge to have a bowel movement.
  • When you feel the urge to poop, don’t wait. The longer the poop sits in your colon, the more water is removed and the more difficult it is to pass.
  • Incorporate fermented foods like Kombucha, Kimchi and Sauerkraut to help “reseed” your gut with good bacteria that will help you regain and maintain bowel regularity.
  • Fish oil – experts suggest that if we aren’t eating enough omega-3 fats we may be more likely to be constipated.  If you don’t eat much oily fish such as salmon, you might try a supplement. I recommend Krill oil as it has minimal Mercury and is eco friendly. Look for the IVO cert on the bottle for purification and integrity of product. https://ivopure.org/
  • Use a stool or Squatty Potty – when you squat, your knees are brought closer to your abdomen, which promotes a good relationship between your rectum and sphincter, positioning your organs and muscles in a way that relaxes your rectum. This maximizes the efficiency of your elimination.
  • Dandelion tea carries a history of treating a range of digestion issues, including both constipation and diarrhea. Dandelion root not only has mild laxative and diuretic qualities, but it also appears to promote healthy bacterial function in the digestive tract.
  • Psyllium husk provides a big fiber punch, helps bulk stool and has a minimal impact on insulin. The powder must be mixed in with water and drunk rather quickly, as it forms a thick sort of gel as the fiber absorbs the water.

 

I really hope you found this helpful. If you are following a low carb diet and are experiencing constipation this is not unusual. As people sometimes don’t realize that the norm on a low-carb diet is to double or triple the amount of non-starchy vegetables to be eaten. Also adding Chia seeds to salads and soups can increase the fiber content. As can using Psyllium husk as a thickening agent in soups, chilis and gravies 😉


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Strep throat…..and treatment

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Guess what I have right now…….I had to reschedule all tonights client sessions because – yep you guessed it, I have strep throat #notimpressed!

So I figured that seems as I have the evening off, I might as well do something productive and put together a little information to help future victims of this deadly disease 😉 . It came on so quickly – I felt a slight irritation in my throat this morning and before I knew it I had throat, ear and head pain. Literally in the space of 4 hours my irritation grew into this monster of pain. Of course I immediatley set to work on it with as many biohacks as I could – the above picture is a grounding patch on the area that is most painful (Yes I do have crazy Irish freckles). Grounding is well renowned for improving inflammation, blood flow, headache relief, reduction of pain and more. Did it work? Read to the end to find out xo

What is STREP THROAT?
Strep throat is a contagious infection caused by group A streptococcus bacteria (Streptococcus pyogenes) that can be passed from one person to another via close contact. If you’re experiencing throat pain, difficulty swallowing, swollen tonsils and lymph nodes, fever, headache, rashes, ear and body aches, and/or nausea, then watch out: you might already have a case of strep throat.
While strep throat may seem like a nightmare because of the pain that it inflicts, the disease can heal in two to five days, up to a week when you use natural methods. Antibiotics are the conventional method used to treat strep throat, but this class of medicines can set you up for more health risks that you might be unaware of.

What is the best treatment for strep throat?
Aside from antibiotics, over-the-counter painkillers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are also used to relieve strep throat but really not something I recommend. Capzasin cream would be a better alternative to massaging into the affected area – which uses the power of the pepper to bring localized pain relief to specific areas.
These simple strategies can also help:

  • Drink warm liquids such as lemon water and teas for their antibacterial properties and antioxidants
  • Drink cold liquids to numb the throat
  • Turn on a cool-mist humidifier – add some tea tree or eucalyptus oil if you have some
  • Use wild cherry bark lozenges – just don’t go for sugar-based lozenges
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan salt to 1 cup of water, and gargle the mixture
  • Suck on a teaspoon of Organic Raw Honey or Organic Elderberry syrup (Honey is better though)
  • Have a hot Epsom salt bath – the magnesium will help ease pain (my answer to nearly everything lol)
  • Take a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar in the morning, afternoon and before bed – this therapeutic amount will help kill bad bacteria and support your good bacteria in fighting the good fight!

You can also relieve pain from strep throat or even prevent future pain by practicing Grounding or walking barefoot on the earth, which can work against inflammation.

Natural pain relievers are also reliable. Not only are they inexpensive and available near you, but they also have little to no harmful side effects. Some I like to use are:

  • Ginger: This herb treats pain, settles the stomach, and boasts of anti-inflammatory properties. You can add fresh ginger and steep it in boiling water, or grate and add to yogurt or soup.
  • Boswellia: Also called boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb has anti-inflammatory ingredients.
  • Bromelain: This enzyme, which has anti-inflammatory properties, is found in pineapple. It’s available in supplement form, but you can eat fresh pineapple, including some of the stem since this is where the enzyme is abundant but remember the sugar content in this fruit – especially if you have blood glucose issues.
  • Cinnamon and Turmeric: These spices have anti inflammatory properties and antimicrobial. Cinnamon has been found to stop the growth of fungi and bacteria. While Turmeric contains Bioactive Compounds with powerful medicinal properties that help fight infection. ( Don’t forget your black pepper too which when combined with spices increases its absorption rate by up to 2000% !)

Right so I’m off to make a Turmeric Cinnamon tea while I continue to ground. I hope you can use some of the tools or hacks above to help with your next throat infection xo

 

Oh and yes I do believe the grounding patch has helped, I will continue to wear it for the remainder of the evening. Feel free to email me if you are curious about how it progressed 🙂 .


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Adrenal fatigue

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Adrenal fatigue is on the rise, we are seeing so many people suffering but not knowing what the causation is or how to help. In my line of work, especially over the last 12 months I have had more and more people coming to me, only to discover adrenal fatigue is at the root of their problem. But what is adrenal fatigue and what are the symptoms? Also — can it be ‘fixed’? xo

First, lets look at what the adrenals are. The adrenal glands are 2 glands that sit on most commonly sitting on top of your kidneys, but there actually is some variation. There’s times in which they’re not at the same spot, or there’s more than two of them, or they’re elsewhere, but typically you’ve got oneon top of each kidney.
To be really accurate, because of your liver, the right one sits a little bit lower than the left, it’s kind of pushed down a little bit. And they’re about the size of a dice, like a
little rolling dice. Belonging to the endocrine system they produce 57 or so hormones, with the most recognizable being Cortisol (our stress or fight or survival hormone). These glands are vital to your well being and any dysfunction gets commonly termed as Adrenal fatigue. (**Studies are now showing that this may be an inaccurate term and the term HPA dysfunction may be more fitting because it is actually the Hypothalamus and Pituitary gland that determine whether or not we go into fight or flight mode. But for this article we will continue to call this syndrome ‘adrenal fatigue’ ).

Adrenal fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a syndrome, that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level or inadequately. Most commonly associated with chronic stress, it can also arise during or after acute or chronic infections, especially respiratory infections such as influenza, bronchitis or pneumonia.

When we look at stress and its relationship to cortisol. Prolonged chronic stress causes the adrenals to continually pump out cortisol until eventually the adrenals get fatigued and can no longer meet the body’s cortisol demands. This then leads to symptoms showing up in your daily life like;

  • constant fatigue
  • inflammation
  • crankiness
  • change in mood
  • lack of enthusiasm
  • short temper with people
  • restlessness
  • digestive issues
  • struggles or plateaus with weight

Now let’s take a step back and refresh your memory on what cortisol does, if you are a student of mine you will have heard me discuss this essential hormone many times. Understanding what cortisol does is essential to healing yourself if you suffer with adrenal fatigue. There’s a couple of main roles cortisol plays — it regulates blood sugar, controls inflammation (so if you over train, get sick, have some kind of
a trauma, your body needs to make its own internal anti-inflammatory to stop that
and protect you). It also controls blood pressure and blood electrolytes.
And the last big role is that it controls cell permeability relative to other hormones. So – your cells have this cycle of opening up and absorbing thyroid hormones, ovarian hormones, testicular hormones —- and the cortisol rhythm of day to night is what controls that cell permeability cycle. 

So you can see, cortisol is not a bad guy. You need cortisol, but the real issue is that if it’s produced in the wrong amounts, and at the wrong time as well, it can be an issue. Cortisol is low because your body wants to lower it, and wants to adjust it to give
you space to heal. But if your adrenal glands are not producing cortisol properly at the right levels, adrenal fatigue will then set in and you are then at risk of getting sick and even developing some sort of auto immune disease. And the circle continues.

Alas, all is not lost. There are many ways to address adrenal fatigue — one of the best places to start is to remain calm. You are not alone. I have many recommendations for ‘fixing’ adrenal fatigue, with one of my best being LAUGH! Laughing helps produce many hormones like strong NK cells, endorphins, serotonin, growth hormone and interferon-gamma (IFN) that counteract the stress response in the body and thus give your adrenal glands a well needed break. These  hormones have also been show to strengthen the immune system (this makes a lot of sense). Yay!

Another thing I recommend is reevaluating your caffeine intake – this may need to be totally eliminated for some or only removed for a short period of time for others.

If you feel adrenal fatigue may be an issue for you, feel free to reach out to me or your local health practitioner for support – this is not something that you need to endure for the rest of your life. xo


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PMS and cravings!

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chemain-in-social-supper-eatingWhy do you get food cravings around your period? Inappropriate carb loading with chocolate cake, pizza and other assortments of ‘not the best choice’ foods. Don’t be coy, we all do it! This question drives me, my clients and pretty much every woman I know crazy every month! But there are answers — reason to this madness! Read on to find out xo

Many women ditch their diets and struggle to say no to junk food around period time. We shamelessly swap our Lara bars for a slice of chocolate cake, a bowl of pasta, or both to satisfy our ravenous appetite for carbs. A study published in Annals of Endocrinology suggests food cravings before our period are triggered by fluctuating levels of hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, and may lead women to eat 500 extra calories per day. HAHAHA who are they kidding – more like an extra 1500 calories a day!

These craving for carbs re triggered by the brain, not our taste buds. For example, carb craving around period time is a signal we need to eat something sweet or starchy, because the brain needs to make serotonin or our happy hormone. Typically, this food craving is accompanied by a bad mood. You know what I’m talking about. Studies have shown that when people have an urge to eat carbs, they’re usually stressed, irritable, angry, depressed, or tired, among other things. These moods are reflective of a change in neurotransmitters or signaling in the brain.

Researchers from the National Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology in Tunisia looked at whether a change in diet before menstruation is linked to fluctuating serotonin levels and mood swings. A total of 30 healthy women between the ages 18 and 45 were monitored for changes in hormone levels, calorie intake, and weight. They found that between day one to three of the “follicular” phase, or menstruation, the women consumed an average of approximately 1,700 calories a day. However, in the three days leading up to menstruation, the women ate an extra 500 calories a day. More than half of the increase in calories was due to carbohydrates, usually from snacking. Women gained 0.66 pounds more before their period than while they were ovulating.

Also, changes in estrogen and progesterone levels are known to affect serotonin levels, which in turn affects mood swings and cravings. Oh thank god it’s not all my fault!

So when your serotonin levels are low during the late “luteal” phase, or right before your period, eating foods high in sugar/carbs will lead to a spike in serotonin and dopamine (another feel good hormone) levels, boosting our mood and making us feel better, according to a 2003 study in PNAS.

The truth is that these cravings are a chemical reaction that you have some but not all control over. When you brain craves sugar as to increase serotonin production, it will haunt us until we give in. Which can also make us feel like we are a failure and thus the cycle goes again as we turn to more food for comfort. BUT you do have control of the carbs you choose to eat — I go over carbs in more detail and what are the 10 Chemaine’s Model Health approved carbs in The HETA guide.

The moral of the story is; if you do have some extra sugar around PMS time, don’t beat yourself up, the brain wants what the brain wants, but do try go for upgraded sugars that won’t slow down your health or weight loss goals as much 🙂

Resource – National Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology in Tunisia. Menstrual Cycle and Appetite Control. Annals of Endocrinology. 2016.


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Everybody is talking about fat…….

Category : Uncategorized

You can’t escape it. It’s everywhere. Everybody is talking about fat. Whether it’s a Paleo, Keto or Mediterranean diet – people are talking!
You’re likely familiar with many of  the older beliefs like — Fat makes us fat, contributes to heart disease, leads to diabesity; saturated fat is bad; vegetable oils are good…I could go on, but I think you know what I’m talking about.

But that has all changed as new strong studies and cases are being brought forward by some of the world’s best scientists and doctors. The right fats can help you become lean, healthy, and vibrant!

Fat is one of the body’s most basic building blocks. The average person is made up of between 15 and 30 percent fat! But for years, we’ve unfairly demonized dietary fat, diligently followed a low-fat diet that almost always equates into a high-sugar and high-refined carb diet that contributes to insulin resistance,obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and numerous other problems.

Simply put: Sugar, not fat, is the real villain that steals our health and sabotages our waistlines.

  • Ok so let’s look at some FAT FACTS;
    1) Sugar, not fat, makes you fat. The average American eats 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour that converts to sugar every year. That’s nearly a pound of sugar and flour combined every day! More sugar means your cells become numb to insulin’s “call.” Your body pumps out more and more insulin to pull your blood sugar levels back down. You can’t burn all the sugar you eat. Inevitably, your body stores it as fat, creating insulin resistance and overall metabolic havoc among other mayhem.
    2) Dietary fat is more complex than sugar. There are some 257 names for sugar, but despite very minor variations, they all create the same damage. In other words, sugar is sugar is sugar; it all wreaks havoc on your health. Fat is more complex. We have saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and even trans fats, not to mention subcategories within each group. Some fats are good; others neutral; and yes, a few are bad.
    3) Saturated fat is not your enemy. A review of all the research on saturated fat published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no correlation between saturated fat and heart disease. As with all fats, quality becomes key here. The fats in a fast-food bacon feedlot cheeseburger will have an entirely different effect than saturated fat in coconut oil. Let’s stop classifying it all as the same.
    Some fats are unhealthy. They include trans fat and inflammatory vegetable oils. Unfortunately, these fats have increased in our diet as they make us fatter and contribute to inflammation, which plays a role in nearly every chronic disease on the planet.
    4) Everyone benefits from more omega 3s. About 99 percent of Americans are deficient in these critical fats. Ideal ways to get them include eating wild or sustainably raised cold-water fish (at least two servings weekly), buying omega-3 rich eggs, and taking an omega-3 supplement twice a day with breakfast and dinner that contains 500 – 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 fats (a ratio of roughly 300 EPA to 200 DHA is ideal).
    5) Eating fat can make you lean. Healthy cell walls made from high-quality fats are better able to metabolize insulin, which keeps blood sugar better regulated. Without proper blood sugar control, the body socks away fat for a rainy day. The right fats also increase fat burning, cut your hunger, and reduce fat storage. Eating the right fats makes you lose weight, while eating excess sugar and the WRONG types of fat make you fat.
    6) Your brain is about 60 percent fat. Of that percentage, the biggest portion comes from the omega-3 fat called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Your brain needs DHA for communication between cells. Easy access to high-quality fat boosts cognition, happiness, learning, and memory. In contrast, studies show a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
    7) Your body gives you signs whether or not you are getting enough quality fat. The higher-quality the fat, the better your body will function. That’s because the body uses the fat you eat to build cell walls. You have more than 10 trillion cells in your body, and every single one of them needs high-quality fat. How do you know if your cells are getting the fats they need? Your body sends signals when it’s not getting enough good fats. Warning signs include:
    – Dry, itchy, scaling, or flaking skin
    – Soft, cracked, or brittle nails
    – Hard earwax
    – Tiny bumps on the backs of your arms or torso
    – Achy, stiff joints

Aim to include fat in each meal of your day and supplement with a good Omega 3 supplement to keep levels optimal in your body xo