Do You Find Yourself Overeating on the Regular?


Do you find yourself overeating on the regular? Your hunger and fullness cues are probably out of whack. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. It shouldn’t be so difficult, should it? Oh, but it is. Often times it’s because we lose the ability to know when we’re full, or we confuse various sensations with what we think is hunger.

 

On a basic level, we generally all understand what hunger cues are: Sometimes they start with us having trouble concentrating, and maybe we feel a bit tired and our stomachs start to grumble. If we don’t get food soon, our irritability likely increases to the point of becoming angry (or HANGRY). This soon escalates into feeling weak and shaky. Some of us maybe even end up with a headache. If if gets to this point, when we finally get our hands on food, we’re often so ravenous we binge on way more food than our bodies need.

 

Fullness cues, on the other hand, are a bit harder for us to detect. Part of the reason for this is that it takes 20 minutes after eating for our hypothalamus in our brain to receive the signal that we’re full and should stop eating. At this point, it’s often too late: We have continued to eat for 20 minutes!

 

 

Two of the biggest keys in stopping our habit of overeating, therefore, are:

1) Don’t let yourself get to the point of being ravenous.

This one is pretty simple: Be more organized with your food prep, so you have access to food before the point of HANGER and binging.

2) Become more aware of your body’s hunger and fullness cues

This one involves being more mindful when you’re eating—being in the moment—to truly pay attention to what your body is telling you.

 

 

Two fullness cues we often ignore include:

Cue #1: Ever find yourself taking more bites of your food, yet you’re no longer really even enjoying the food? If you get to this point, you’re probably full.

Cue #2: Your stomach actually starts to feel uncomfortable, almost to the point of pressure. Again, you’re full!

 

 

On the other hand, sometimes we think we’re hungry when we’re not. Here are four tips to get you moving in the direction of mindful eating and respecting your hunger and fullness cues:

 

Slow Down

The basic idea is you should be chewing your food as many as 30 chews per bite. This will help you not only digest your food and absorb it more effectively, but it’s also a deliberate way to get you slow down your eating. This buys you some time for your hypothalamus to tell your body you’re full before you have already overeaten. Another deliberate tip to slow down is to put your utensils down between bites.

 

 

 Drink Water Regularly Throughout the Day

Not only does water satiate you, sometimes we confuse the sluggishness we feel from being thirsty and dehydrated with being hungry. So drink first and then reassess how hungry you really are.

 

 

Learn to Recognize “Mind Hunger”

Sometimes we think we’re hungry because it’s noon and it’s lunch time and it’s when we normally eat, so we almost force feed ourselves because it’s time to eat. Your hunger can change day-to-day based on sleep and activity levels and various other things, so don’t assume you always need the same amount of food at the same time of day each day.

 

 

Try a Silent Dinner

This obviously isn’t practical if you’re eating with others, but if you eat any meals alone, try doing it in silence, without your devices or any others distractions, to really pay attention to your thoughts as you’re eating. Pay attention to what’s going on in your body and to how to food tastes. You never know what you might learn when you’re truly in the moment.

 

 

These tips aren’t meant to guilt trip anyone. We have all overeaten before, and we will all overeat again at some point, and there’s no point in beating ourselves up about it (our stomachs probably already feel bad enough). But the more in tune with our bodies we can become through mindful eating, and the more we learn to recognize when we’re hungry and when we’re full, the less likely we’ll be to overeat, and we’ll be much happier and healthier for it.

Why the One-Sized Fits All Approach to Nutrition Doesn’t Work!


Eight glasses of water a day.

Six servings of vegetables.

Make sure you get the recommended daily intake of calcium.

 

We tend to like to think general nutrition prescriptions have value. Why else would our governments put out food guides for us to follow (of which most people pay no attention to anyway, other than to serve as a source of guilt because they realize they’re not following the guide very well)?

 

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, though, does it? It’s pretty obvious that various foods—for example bread and dairy—affect us all differently: Some of us pack on pounds and get congested if we touch a piece of pizza, while others can eat a block of cheese on an entire loaf of bread and carry on as if nothing happened.

 

Despite our obvious differences, both in body compositions and in the way our bodies handle different diets, there are a ton of people out there who are adamant they know the best diet—for everyone! On the soap box, they yell:

I lost 50 lb. on the Ketogenic diet! Everyone should try Keto!

Plant-based changed my life. Meat is evil and will give you cancer. Switch to plant-based!

What about we get off our soap boxes for a bit and do some self-experimenting to see what’s right for our own unique selves?

 

 

This is exactly what they did in the recent Personalized Nutrition Project for Prediabetes (http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/using-personalized-nutrition-in-prediabetes-to-reduce-future-complications/) study. This cohort study observed glucose levels in 800 people in response to 46,800 meals consumed. The results: Identical meals led to different blood sugar levels in different people.

 

 

This study suggests that general dietary recommendations may have inadequate usefulness,” said the study’s authors, who suggest these differences might be linked at least partially to microbiota composition and function (basically meaning our gut health). Thus, as much as we like to think of nutrition as a science that can give us black and white answers, it’s also most certainly a bit of an art, and might take some trial and error to figure out what’s best for you.

 

 

In light of this, here are five diet-related principles—ones where the verdict is clearly still out (i.e. there is no generally agreed-upon consensus)—you can experiment with to see what might work for you:

 

1. Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?

 There’s a lot of debate about whether breakfast within an hour of waking up is really necessary. Some think it was just a clever marketing ploy started by the cereal companies to get you pounding your Shreddies or Special K in the a.m.

 

Only one way to find out: Try a month where you have your first meal at noon. See how you feel and what happens to your body. Check out more here if you’re interested in digging deeper into the breakfast debate: (https://www.precisionnutrition.com/skipping-breakfast-and-obesity)

 

2. Intermittent Fasting

 Another contentious issue, some people swear intermittent fasting helps them not only lose weight, but also feel better and more energetic. For an always balanced Precision Nutrition approach, check this out for more about intermittent fasting: (https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-intermittent-fasting)

 

 

3. 30-day Elimination

 Are you sensitive or gluten? To dairy? Eggs? Try eliminating different foods from your diet for a month as an experiment. Go back to the food after a month and see what happens. Read more here: (https://www.precisionnutrition.com/elimination-diet)

 

4. More meals a day? Less, smaller meals?

 It’s the three larger meals versus six small meals debate! Try both and decide for yourself. And check this out for more: (https://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2018/02/6-meals-day)

 

 

5. Post-meal carbohydrates?

 Do you really need carbohydrates within 30 minutes of working out? Some say you do, some say you don’t: (https://www.precisionnutrition.com/about-post-workout-nutrition)

 

Here’s the thing: Your best guide is what your body is telling you. If you’re super hungry the moment you wake up, maybe you do need breakfast first thing. If you get a stomach ache from eating cheese, maybe stop eating it. The point is you are a unique individual, not a template who should follow a good guide your government made for you. Don’t be afraid to take matters into your own hands to figure yourself and your body out. Or hire a coach who can steer you in the right direction.

Meal Prep 101


6 Steps to becoming a master at the meal prep, and two meal prep ideas to get you started! Whether or not people are truly as “busy” as we advertise, we all seem to like to talk about how busy and crazy our lives are. For some of us, it might actually be true.

Often times, the result of our business is that our intention to cook a healthy meal for dinner gets thrown out the window for something quick and easy, or our intended day of meal prepping just doesn’t happen.

If this is you and you want to turn a new leaf and actually honor your commitment to yourself to meal planning and meal prepping, here at 6 steps to becoming a master meal prep-er!

You’ll realize when you follow these steps that meal prepping really doesn’t have to be time-consuming at all. If you’re efficient, you can easily churn our five prepped meals by just spending an extra hour in the kitchen per week.

 

 

Step 1. Keep it Realistic and Do-able

If you’re new to meal prepping, don’t bite off more than you can chew. We’ve had clients tell us they’re going to make 12 elaborate dinners and lunches with all these obscure ingredients every Sunday. That might be a bit aggressive!

Maybe just start with devoting two hours each week to make five lunches for that week. And keep it simple: Start with just one meat and a veg. Get used to the routine of meal prepping first before you get all elaborate. Being too fancy and ambitious will just end up being too time-consuming and might cause your well-intended motivation to dwindle.

 

 

Step 2. Get a Slow Cooker (or two!)

A slow cooker is your best friend when it comes to meal prep as it does 95 percent of the work for you 🙂

Let’s say as you’re making dinner on Saturday night: While you’re cooking, take the time to pop a couple pork shoulders with some spices in the slow cooker. It only takes a few minutes to prep, but then when your meal prep Sunday rolls around, all you have to do is cook some vegetables and pull your pork. Literally within 30 to 45 minutes, you could have 10 lunches prepared and packaged and ready to freeze.

 

 

Step 3. Take an Inventory of Your Fridge Beforehand

Though it’s great to have an exact idea and execute it, it’s also efficient to use what you already have on hand, as it saves you money, and you’ll reduce food waste in the process. It might also help you mix and match, for example, vegetables. This way, your meals for the week won’t necessarily be the exact same each day.

 

 

Step 4. Get all of the Tupperware

Invest in good quality Tupperware with solid lids that aren’t going to fall off. If they’re all the same then you never have to search and search for the lid that fits the container you put your food in (missing Tupperware lids are kind of like the sock that disappears in the dryer: A mystery).

But seriously, get 12-20 Tupperware containers of the same brand and size and you’re set for life. Or at least for a couple years.

 

 

Step 5. Use Leftovers to Your Advantage

Another time-saving tip is to use leftovers in your plan. If, for example, you know you’re making a ham for dinner, use the leftover ham in a soup you’re planning on meal prepping for next week’s lunches.

 

 

Step 6. Cook Once, Eat Twice…. or Three Times.

Like the measure twice, cut once rule, if you’re bothering to cook, cook extra on purpose. Meal prep doesn’t always have to mean batch cooking 7 to 10 meals every Sunday. It can also mean making just one or two extra meals for later.

So if you know you’re not going to have to skip this Sunday meal prep day, but are cooking a meal on Friday night, at least make enough for a couple extra meals that you can package up and freeze or refrigerate right away.

Ok, here are two meal prep ideas to get you thinking in the right direction:

 

1)Pulled Pork with Mashed Yams and Spinach

 

Step 1: Throw a pork shoulder or two (depending on how much you want) in the slow cooker. Add a little bit of water and some seasoning. Think salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder and oregano, but really the options are endless. Cook for 6 to 8 hours. Then pull the pork.

 

Step 2: Cook 3 to 5 yams (in the oven or on the stove), depending on the size and how much you want to make. Put them in the food processor and puree (or mash the old fashioned way with a potato masher). Add a little butter or ghee and some cream or coconut milk, and some salt and pepper.

 

Step 3. Cook a few bundles of spinach—or just place raw spinach at the bottom of each container. When you warm it up later before you eat, the spinach will cook in no time.

 

Step 4: Add some pork and yams in each container on top of the cooked or raw spinach. Seal them and freeze them, or keep them in the fridge if you’re planning on eating them in the next three days or so.

Optional: Douse each meal with hot sauce if you’re into that!

 

 

2) Beef Brisket and Pork Chili

 

Step 1: Slow cook a beef brisket for 6 to 8 hours (it’s best to do this overnight so it’s ready to go when you’re ready to make the chili).

 

Step 2: Get a giant pot!

 

Step 3: Saute two or three chopped onions and plenty of chopped garlic in butter.

 

Step 4: When they’re soft, add chili powder, paprika, dry parsley, oregano, basil, salt and pepper to taste (you can always add more later, but start with a couple teaspoons of each).

 

Step 5: Add chopped vegetables of your choice. Maybe red pepper, green peppers, carrots and mushrooms. Other great options include kale and celery. Throw in whatever leftover vegetable you have in your fridge, in fact.

 

Step 6: Chop some tomatoes (or use canned tomatoes): Approximately 3 cans or 10 to 12 tomatoes, depending on how much you want tomatoes to dominate the chili.

 

Step 7: Add cup or so of water or chicken broth to thin out the chili, if need be.

 

Step 8: In a separate pan, cook the ground pork (2 to 3 lb.) until cooked through.

 

Step 9: Add 3 to 4 cups of beans (either raw or canned). Any beans will suffice, but usually you can use a blend of kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans.

 

Step 10: Add the meat —the beef brisket and the ground pork—to the giant pot of chili.

 

Step 11: Let simmer on low heat for a couple hours until all the flavors have a chance to develop. Make sure you taste the chili as you go and add more spices and salt and pepper as needed.

 

Good luck. Keep it simple. And once meal prepping becomes a habit, you won’t even think about it!

 

 

 

 

 

Is Foam Rolling Actually Useful?


 We often see sore-looking athletes walk into the gym and the first thing they do is grab a foam roller and grimace as they knead out their sore muscles. Then again after the workout, it’s straight to the foam roller. Most people’s thought process behind this self-administered, myofascial release (SMR) technique is that it will help them be less sore the next day—that it will prevent DOMs.

 

Foam rolling your quads after 150 wall balls will probably next to nothing when it comes to the muscle soreness that will overtake your body the next day. This, however, doesn’t mean foam rollers don’t have their place in our lives: They just aren’t doing what you think they’re doing. Foam rolling works a bit like a massage and is good for flushing your lymphatic system out so your muscles relax and calm down, but in terms of mitigating soreness created from damaging your muscles temporarily in a workout, foam rolling won’t really help. Foam rolling is like Lipton chicken noodle soup when you’re at home sick: It’s not going to cure your cold or flu, but it provides comfort to your body.

 

 

Another Myth: The IT Bands

Many people, especially those who spend a lot of time running, have notoriously tight IT bands. Sometimes knee pain is the result. Because the IT band—the tendon that runs down the length of the outer thigh from the top of the pelvis to the shin bone—is difficult to stretch the way we stretch the muscles in our bodies, foam rolling has often been seen as a good alternative.

But there’s plenty of evidence now that foam rolling your IT only exacerbates the problem, especially if the pain you’re feeling actually stems from your glutes not firing properly. Read more about why foam rolling your IT bands isn’t as useful as you thought it was in this Breaking Muscle article: (https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/your-it-band-is-not-the-enemy-but-maybe-your-foam-roller-isWhen is a good time to foam roll then?

 

1. To Increase Range of Motion (temporarily)

 It’s shoulder press day and your shoulders and pecks are feeling tight. Foam rolling your lats before you lift, or between sets, can help relax your shoulder blades so you can get into a better, anatomically safer overhead position. But foam rolling before heavy squats might not be a good idea, because it relaxes your muscles and you want to build as much tension in your body as you can when you squat.

 

 

2. To Reduce Pain (temporarily)

 Foam rolling—or a more acute acupressure type of rolling with an acupressure ball or a lacrosse ball—can help alleviate pain from an injury (temporarily). For example, if you slip a rib in your back and the muscles are tight all around it, foam rolling can provide some temporarily relief. It won’t, however, fix the injury long-term. If you have chronic pain or an injury, foam rolling before bed can provide the relief you need in the moment to get a good night’s rest.

 

The message: Foam rolling is good for helping you in today’s workout in some cases, but it’s not going reduce DOMs and it’s not a solution to an injury.

The Carbonated Water CRAZE is in Full Effect: Is it Healthy?


Perrier and Club Soda used to dominate the carbonated water market. But in recent years—probably because we are now more convinced than ever that sugar is evil—new brands of carbonated water have slowly been taking over the shelves, one bubble at a time. LaCroix, Voss and more recently Bubly (thanks to the Super Bowl commercial), have become a few of the more and more recognizable brands. Not to mention, everyone and his dog has a SodaStreams, and serve-yourself carbonated water taps are becoming par for the course at coffee shops and restaurants.

But have you ever wondered if all the carbonation you’re consuming is bad for your health? On a basic level, all carbonated water is water that has been infused with carbon dioxide gas under pressure.  Some brands have added sodium (and other minerals), like most Club Soda brands, but many don’t. Carbon dioxide and water together produce carbonic acid, which stimulates the nerve receptors in your mouth and triggers that prickly sensation many of us seem to enjoy.

 

Is The Acidity Bad For Me?

One of the concerns some have is that carbonated water is acidic. Its pH level is between 3 and 4, meaning it is slightly acidic. But rest assured, this doesn’t make your body more acidic, because your kidneys and lungs get rid of the carbon dioxide and help keep your blood slightly alkaline regardless of what you eat or drink.

 

What About My Teeth?

Something else some of us have wondered is whether carbonated water is bad for our teeth—does the acid erode our enamel? This 2001 study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11556958) doesn’t think so. It concluded: “Mineral waters appear to offer a safe alternative to more erosive acidic beverages and their complex mineral ion compositions may positively influence any dissolution processes at the tooth surface.”

 Other studies have shown carbonated drinks do have a negative effect on enamel, however, it’s the sugar, rather than the carbonation, that is likely doing the damage. In fact, Gatorade, which isn’t carbonated, has been shown to be worse for the teeth than Diet Coke.

 

 

Does It Hydrate Me As Well As Tap Water?

 Though there isn’t huge amount of research on the topic, the answer appears to be yes. And dieticians and nutritionists tend to agree: Sparkling water is just regular water infused with carbon dioxide, so yes it hydrates you as well as tap water, experts agree.

 

 

Is It Bad For My Calcium Levels?

 This fear seemed to have started because of some research showed that older women who drink various types of sodas have lower bone mineral density. Again, though, this likely came down to the sugar in soda, not the carbonation, so best we can tell is this is but a myth! So if it’s not bad for you, then we might as well ask the question, ‘Is good for you?’ There is some evidence carbonated and sparkling waters might have some health benefits, specifically on digestion, relieving constipation and helping you feel satiated.

 

Some people have a hard time swallowing still water, especially older adults. There’s some evidence that carbonated water is easier to swallow (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26607248). 

Second, this 2007 study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16995969) found that drinking ice-cold carbonated water helped people with a persistent need to clear their throats reduce those symptoms. 

As for constipation, though this study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21551998) only included 40 elderly participants, it found that 58 percent of them felt constipation relief when they switched from tap to sparkling water.  

Meanwhile, other research has suggested sparkling water can help improve various symptoms of indigestion, like stomach pain and gallbladder emptying. When these symptoms are relieved, constipation decreases. Finally, we think we have all experienced that carbonated water helps us feel full, at least more than tap water. It appears carbonated water might also stay in your stomach longer than still water, helping keep you feeling full longer and making you less included to eat too much.

 

Bottom line: If you’re digging your SodaStream or are getting into the cans of Bubly on the regular—especially if it’s getting you to drink an appropriate amount of water and you find it easier to swallow—keep on guzzling!

 

If You’re 50-plus, You Might Not be Getting Enough Protein


A lack of protein is a marker of not just a port diet, but of overall health, says a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging. Here’s a link to the study published in February 2019: (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12603-019-1174-1)

 

Though we all know protein is important, the reality is many middle aged and older adults—close to half of American adults over the age of 50, in fact—still aren’t getting enough protein, says the study.

 

If you’re in this 50-plus crew, it might be even more important to consume adequate protein than when you were younger, as your body starts to lose muscle mass. Though lifting weights and strength training helps, sarcopenia (muscle loss due to age) is a natural part of the aging process and leads to a decrease in strength, as well as an increased risk of fractures. In other words, a lack of protein over time will limit overall quality of life: If you’re weak and frail, your day-to-day life will suffer. Period.

 

This study looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from the years 2005 to 2014, which gathered information from almost 12,000 adults in the 50-plus age range. Specifically, the researchers examined protein intake and dietary patterns and their impact on physical function.

 

The result:

 As many as 46 percent of older participants aren’t eating enough protein. There was also a link between low protein consumption and overall diet choices. Low protein intake seemed to go hand-in-hand with a lack of other healthy foods, such as green vegetables, and seafood.

 

Further, the researchers discovered those who didn’t eat enough protein were also the ones who were limited in various daily activities, such as standing, kneeling, crouching and walking. The whole quality life thing again…

 

Finally, the research found a lack of protein was also linked to various vitamin and mineral deficiencies, namely zinc, selenium, Vitamin C, D and E. Being deficient in those vitamins and minerals can have negative affects on the immune system, which is also something you want to avoid as you age, as your body becomes less efficient at fighting off illness and disease.

 

So How Much Protein Do You Need?

 It’s dicey to make blanket dietary recommendations, as diet is so individual—it depends on your age, size, activity level, goals, body composition, genetics and on and on—and even the experts can’t seem to agree on how much protein we should consume. Thus, it’s a dilemma when it comes to prescribing a general number of minimum protein grams per day. Check out this article by Robb Wolf about the confusion surrounding HOW MUCH PROTEIN YOU SHOULD EAT, even among the experts: (https://robbwolf.com/2016/11/07/how-much-protein-do-we-really-need/)

 

With all that being said, what we have noticed with our clients is when they increase their protein and reduce their carbohydrate intake, they tend to feel better and stronger and have more energy, not to mention they usually increase their lean mass and reduce their body fat.

 

This happens when they start consuming approximately 40 percent of their daily macros in protein(along with approximately 30 percent carbohydrates and 30 percent fat). This varies person to person, but 40 percent or so seems to be a good number to strive for, and it’s certainly much higher than most people are getting now.

 

Just to compare this to other information out there: If we look at “general guidelines” that exist, they tend to be more conservative on protein requirements than what I just suggested. The US Dietary Guidelines, for example, suggests a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight (https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/This would mean the average (albeit sedentary) person who weighs 75 kg (165 lb.) should consume 60 grams of protein a day, which is likely not going to amount to 40 percent of their daily macros.

 

However, it’s important to note that 0.8 g per kg of bodyweight is simply the minimum amount of protein a person of that size needs to consume to avoid losing muscle mass, and to avoid getting sick etc, whereas we’re striving for more than just avoiding being not sick (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-much-protein-do-you-need-every-day-201506188096)!

 

Whether you’re in the 50-plus crew or not, come talk to us if you want some help figuring out how much protein you should be eating.

Improve Your Productivity at Work Through Fitness


If your job is physically demanding, it certainly goes without saying that increased fitness will make your job easier. But even if you sit at a desk all day, there’s a boatload of evidence that suggests a connection between exercise and productivity at work, namely through helping you be more alert.

When you workout, you essentially increase the blood flow to your brain. This helps increase your awareness and alertness, as well as improve your energy levels. On top of this, there’s evidence working out also leads to improved concentration, a sharper memory, faster learning, enhanced creativity, and lower stress, all of which seem like helpful benefits to improve performance in various jobs and careers.

There’s even evidence that working out helps improve interpersonal interactions with colleagues, namely because you’re in a better mood from the workout, and thus less likely to react in ways you might regret later. Here are a some interesting studies that examined this very phenomenon:

 

 

Office Gyms for the Win:

A study done at Leeds Metropolitan University (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235275530_Exercising_at_work_and_self-reported_work_performance) looked at the affect of exercise among office workers who had access to a company gym at work.

 

The study looked at more than 200 employees from different companies. They discovered on the days the employees went to the gym during the day at work, they managed their time at work more effectively, were more productive and had better interactions with colleagues. And at the end of the day, they returned home happier.

 

Concentration, productivity and motivation:

 A similar study from Briston University (https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/17538350810926534) looked at 200 people for three different companies. On the days the employees worked out, their concentration scores improved by a fairly significant 21 percent.

 Not only that, they saw a 22 percent improvement in finishing their work on time, a 25 percent improvement for working without unscheduled breaks, and on average they felt 41 percent more motivated to work.

 

Memory:

A University of British Columbia study (https://news.ubc.ca/2014/02/06/how-exercise-can-boost-brain-power/) discovered regular exercise that gets your heart rate up tends to increase the size of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that affects verbal memory and learning. The ultimate theory here is that exercise might be able to help fend off dementia, which obviously will keep you in the workplace longer.

 

Mood:

This 2016 study published in the Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review (https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/the-relationship-between-physical-exercise-and-job-performance-themediating-effects-of-subjective-health-and-good-mood-2223-5833-1000269.pdf) discovered that participants who exercised not only felt more productive at work, they also felt healthier and their mood was higher.

 

Their recommendation was for business owners and managers to encourage all their employees to exercise. Not surprising is the fact that it is becoming more and more prevalent for businesses to help subsidize various fitness programs for employees.

 

If you think you, or a group of your colleagues, could benefit from a fitness regimen—there’s also evidence that working out with colleagues goes a long way in improving your connection and communication with each other— contact us now.

Coconut Oil: Your Answer to Better Oral Health and Whiter Teeth


You probably know oral health is important and you have likely heard coconut oil is a healthy fat to consume: It helps moisturize the skin, helps reduce your bad cholesterol and is associated with better brain function.

But did you know coconut oil might also help improve your oral health? In fact, not only is it known to help prevent tooth decay, plaque build-up, gingivitis and keep bad breath at bay, it actually also cleans your teeth, and is even a natural teeth whitener.

How can this healthy fat made from medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) do all this? Well, 50 percent of coconut oil is made from Lauric acid, which your body breaks into monolaurin. Both Lauric acid and monolaurin are able to kill unwanted things, like bacteria, viruses and fungus. And in terms of maintaining good oral health, keeping bad bacteria away is incredibly important.

Two ways to include coconut oil in your oral heath routine include oil pulling and through homemade coconut-oil infused toothpaste:

Oil pulling

It started in India long ago, but basically oil pulling involves swooshing coconut oil for 15 minutes or so in your mouth like you would do with mouthwash. As you’re doing this, think about pushing and puling it between your teeth. This helps remove the bacteria and plaque from your mouth. Then brush your teeth afterward.

The main reason for gum disease comes from a build-up of bacteria that turns into plaque, thus swooshing with coconut oil can go a long way in protecting your teeth against this bacteria that eventually turns to plaque, and potentially gum disease if not treated. There’s evidence oil pulling can make a difference to your oral health in just 30 days.

This 2016 study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5109859/) showed that after just 30 days, people experienced a significant decrease in Streptococcus mutans, the most common bacteria that contributes to tooth decay. 

 Meanwhile, this 2015 study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25838632) found a decrease in both plaque and gingivitis after just one week of coconut oil pulling. Plaque build-up is also at the heart of why teeth become yellow or discoloured, and hence why oil pulling is known to whiten teeth.

 

 

Coconut oil-infused toothpaste

 You can actually make this yourself pretty easily by using 1/2 cup coconut oil, 2 tablespoons baking soda and a few drops of essential oil like peppermint oil, or cinnamon if you prefer. 

 All you do is heat the oil until it’s a liquid and then stir in baking soda until a paste forms, and then drop in 10 drops of oil or a pinch of cinnamon. From there, just use it the same way you would a normal toothpaste.

 

Give it a shot and report back in 30 days with your oral health, and tooth whitener, results.

 

 

 

 

 

Is Your Collagen Supplement Really Helping You?


So you sipped on a collagen-powder infused beverage every day of 2018 expecting it to transform your skin into the vibrant sheath it once was, or at the very least to stop your skin from acquiring more age-related wrinkles.

It makes sense that you believed collagen was your answer: After all, the collagen we make naturally is needed for healthy hair, skin and nails, as well as for strengthening our bones, tendons and ligaments. And as for the skin specifically, collagen is what keeps skin looking young as it helps it maintain its elasticity. Once you get into your 30s, your natural collagen production starts to decline. The new trend of getting collagen facial fillers, which is similar to Botox, pumps collagen into your skin to help prevent and eliminate wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Here’s the thing with taking collagen in supplement form though: Your body doesn’t use the whole collagen the way it uses the collagen you make naturally, so your skin may never see the effects. What your body does do is break down the collagen from a powder supplement, for example, into amino acids, most of which probably never make it to your skin. Some experts say it’s unlikely that any of this whole collagen you’re getting from supplements even makes it into your bloodstream.

This, however, DOES NOT mean collagen supplementation might not be beneficial in other ways: It’s just unlikely to offer magical powers for your skin. Here’s how it might be more valuable:

As mentioned above, collagen is needed for much more than the skin, and there is legitimate evidence that a collagen supplement can provide value to your body. The amino acids from a collagen supplement can still be distributed to areas of your body that need them most, like the heart or the brain, but the skin itself is essentially a low priority.

Our bodies have cells called fibroblasts. Their job is to produce collagen, but in order to produce collagen they need amino acids, specifically glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. Collagen supplements, in the form of hydrolyzed collagen, then can help deliver these amino acids to where your body needs them most. And from there, your body can start making more collagen. So while the collagen itself from a supplement might not be usable collagen, per se, the amino acids it breaks into are used to make more collagen naturally. And the older you get, the more this becomes important.

Further, there’s some evidence that collagen supplementation helps decrease joint pain. A 2008 study from Penn State University found collagen supplements helped reduce joint pain in 147 athletes (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885).

Other potential benefits include:

• Reduce inflammation (especially in people with osteoarthritis)
• Improves gut health
• Supports a healthy metabolism
• Promotes healthy brain function
• Helps with sleep

If you’re interested in taking a collagen supplement, here are three tips for selecting a brand that has the most chance of helping you:

1. Make sure it’s hydrolyzed collagen (this means it is in a form that make it more absorbable and usable in the body).

2. Marine collagen is best: The four main sources of collagen peptides come from either cow, pig, chicken or fish. Marine is best because it’s in the purest form and is most easily absorbed into the blood. If you do choose a collagen sourced from a cow, pig or chicken, make sure it’s grass-fed.

3. Check to label to ensure the collagen peptides do not have any fillers.

This, however, doesn’t mean you necessarily NEED a collagen supplement. If you’re eating well, you could very well be making enough of your own collagen. If you eat a lot of protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, beef and eggs, and are getting enough Vitamin C, zinc and copper, then you might be good without a collagen supplement. On top of this, three great ways to boost your natural collagen without taking a supplement include consuming bone broth, organ meats and sardines. If the above doesn’t sound like you, then consider a collagen supplement.

We would love to hear your experiences if you have been taking a collagen supplement. Have you noticed any health benefits?

Are Blue Blocking Sunglasses the Answer to Your Poor Sleep?


Would you wear sunglasses around the house after the sun sets if it meant you are sure to sleep more soundly? Before we get into the blue-blocking glasses part of this story, let’s talk about what exactly blue light is, and why it could be hurting your sleep.

About to get geeky for a minute: Sunlight contains red, orange, yellow, green and blue light rays, all of which have different wavelengths and emit different levels of energy into your eyes. All combined together, this big spectrum of colored light rays creates what we know as sunlight, or “white light.” The rays on the red side of the spectrum have longer wavelengths and emit less energy, and rays on the blue end of the spectrum have shorter wavelengths and emit more energy to your eyes.

While sunlight is the main place we take in blue light, we also get a lot of blue light from our man-made, indoor sources of light, both the old-school lightbulbs we used to use and even the more efficient LED lights, as well as the screens—TVs, computers, phones, tablets—we love so much. While the sun does give off way more blue light than our cellphones do, we don’t stare directly into the sun for hours on end the way we do our phones. So not only is this a problem for long-term eye health, it’s also a problem for your sleep.

It’s an issue for sleep because taking in too much blue light, especially right before you go to bed, suppresses your body’s natural melatonin production, which then disrupts your circadian rhythm. This essentially means your body gets tricked into thinking it’s daytime and not bedtime, even when it’s way past your bedtime. The result being you have trouble falling asleep.

While technology, and specifically our phone companies, are allegedly trying to protect us from blue light at night — Apple introduced a new feature in 2016 that they called “night shift,” which shifts the color of your phone’s display to emit less blue light once the sun goes down—it’s still unclear (not yet proven by science) whether this effort by Apple is really making a difference for our eyes and our sleep.

Another option: Blue blocking glasses. Basically, blue blocking glasses are glasses that block most of the blue light we take in once it’s dark outside and we’re meant to be winding down and prepping for bed. You wear them inside to block the artificial light. There are certainly blue blocking glasses critics out there who say they don’t really help but there is also a decent amount of research that does suggests blue blocking glasses might be worth looking into, especially if you’re someone who needs to be on a computer late at night finishing work or whatnot.

Specifically, one study done at the University of Houston College of Optometry and published in the Journal Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/opo.12385) suggests blue light from digital devices are contributing to the increasing number of people with reported sleep dysfunction. The study found those who wore short wavelength-blocking glasses three hours before bed for two weeks experienced a 58 percent increase in melatonin levels. As a result, these participants said they slept better, fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer when they wore the blue blocking glasses.

Have you ever tried blue-blocking glasses? Do you recommend them? Tell us about your experience.