Sorry, I’ve Been Too Tired to Post

Well, I think after I gave up coffee that was it… I just didn’t have the energy to post for 6 months. Rough times. 

Haha okay so I really did not have the energy to post these last few months, but it wasn’t because I gave up coffee! Let me give you a quick synopsis of the health issues which have been keeping down these past few months… 

Last summer the severe fatigue began settling in. I struggled to get through every day and regardless of how much sleep I got, I just needed more. Things that I used to enjoy, like hanging out with family and riding horses, became nothing more than a big vacuum sucking the life out of me. I thought it was just the summer heat and all the running I was doing in preparation for my half-marathon, so I brushed it off and told myself to just suck it up and push through. In hindsight I really should have listened to the big loud warnings my body was giving me to just slow down a little, but of course hindsight is 20/20. When I noticed my hair falling out and a bald spot on my scalp in September, I began to realize something actually might be wrong. So I went to the doctor, who took some blood and told me everything was fine. Thanks, doc, that really helps me feel better! Not.

I began to suspect hypothyroidism, as I had the classic symptoms (fatigue, hair loss, cold feet and hands, brain fog, migraines, poor exercise recovery, and on and on…). I went to a naturopath, who seemed to agree that I had something going on with my thyroid and also likely adrenal gland imbalances. It felt amazing to finally have someone listen to me and believe me! However, I still didn’t have the lab results to prove it and while the natural remedies I used did help some, I never really felt 100%. And then I crashed again over Christmas break, where I did little but sleep and lose more hair, gaining another bald spot!

I was luckily able to get in with a new doctor in January. Ah yes, this doctor would run a complete thyroid panel and answer all my questions! Or so I thought. While he was a nice man, he refused to run a thyroid panel based off the excellent blood work that had been drawn months ago (despite my numerous symptoms…). He referred me to a rheumatologist, suggesting I might have lupus or fibromyalgia. The rheumatologist didn’t seem to agree, but he also didn’t have any idea why I would have these symptoms, but finally agreed to run two of the thyroid tests I had asked for. Those came back normal, though I never was actually able to see the results, so they could have very well been low but in range.

Frustrated with doctors telling me it was all in my head, I forked over the cash and purchased my own thyroid assessment from True Health Labs, the results of which I got back a few weeks ago. While several numbers were quite normal, several others were not (like my free T4 hormone which fell at the bottom of the reference range), and could very easily explain many of my symptoms. 

Enter AIP…

AIP, the autoimmune protocol, is a special diet used to reduce inflammation in those with autoimmune disease or chronic illness (read more about it here). Even though I don’t have a diagnosed autoimmune disease, I had thought about trying out this diet for several months to see if it could help with my symptoms, because inflammation is a huge factor in any type of chronic illness. My Canadian visa expired recently, and with it my healthcare, so I decided to jump in a give it a go because I am quite literally out of other options. I have been on AIP for 3 weeks now, and I feel AMAZING!!! While I am still experiencing many symptoms, the worst one, fatigue, is disappearing. I have energy and motivation again! Hence why I am blogging again. 

I still don’t have a really clear picture of what is going on. Could it be the beginning of Hashimoto’s disease (a thyroid autoimmune condition) or are my thyroid problems secondary to my adrenal dysfunction (resulting from high physical and mental stress)? I hope to find an answer in the coming months and in the meantime I plan to share more about my journey! 

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My brush with insanity: giving up coffee!

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Let me begin by making one thing clear: I love coffee. I love coffee black, I love it in a latte, I love it in its many other forms. I’ve been drinking coffee every single day for at least ten years. The amount I drink each day has varied, from 1 or 2 cups to an entire pot. Unfortunately, I don’t think coffee loves me (not right now anyway). 

It’s really about the caffeine, not so much the coffee. Drinking caffeine first thing in the morning causes your adrenal glands to shoot adrenaline and cortisol into your system in a classic “fight-or-flight” response. This is what makes us feel more awake and alert, especially if we didn’t get enough sleep the night before, and is partially why we love it so much. It may not seem like a very big deal, but to your body, it’s a fairly stressful experience. This, coupled with many lifestyle factors, can lead to some problems with your adrenals and their natural rhythm. 

Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you give up your daily coffee. Most people living healthy lives can handle a daily cup of coffee without problem. However, if you’re in place where you are under chronic stress, which is in and of itself already taxing on the adrenal glands, it may be worthwhile to think about checking your caffeine intake. So when I discovered that I have some degree of adrenal dysfunction (more on that in another post), I knew it was time to ditch the caffeine. I decided to to just go for it and quit cold turkey. I’m still fairly sentimental about my daily coffee ritual though, so I’ve switched to decaf coffee for the time being. Here’s how it went:

Day 1

The worst day. I was up at 6am, in my usual fog, and got ready for a full day at school sipping my decaf. The fog never subsided, and the headache had set in by 9am. I struggled to stay awake through my first two classes. I was hoping eating lunch would help, but alas, I ended up dozing in my chair for 20 minutes after I finished eating. Just to be clear, I’ve never been the “falling asleep at school” type. I aroused myself, and set out to find something sugary to give me a jumpstart. Since I was on a Whole30, actual sugar wasn’t an option so I settled for a Larabar, followed by a walk around campus. It helped a little, but I struggled through the afternoon. I took Tylenol mid-afternoon, and by evening I was feeling a bit better. Unfortunately this led to difficulty in getting to sleep that night.

Day 2

I had a late class and was able to wake up naturally and this made a huge difference in how I felt. I was a bit foggy and had a dull headache, but overall I didn’t feel too terrible. It gave me hope that I could do this!

Day 3

I was back to waking up early to my alarm, and this definitely made things more difficult. This day was a lot like the first day, though perhaps not quite as bad. Luckily I only had two classes later in the day, but it was a struggle all day to get anything accomplished. My brain just didn’t want to function! I ended up taking a nap mid-morning and that helped a little, but not much. Once again though, as evening came, I started to feel better, leading to sleep difficulties that night. I’m thinking that perhaps because I am no longer use caffeine as a crutch to help me through the mornings, that I am now feeling the true dysfunction in my adrenals, which is low cortisol in the morning and high cortisol in the evenings, opposite of what it should be.

Days 4 and 5

These days were not great. I felt a cold starting in on day 4, so naturally I was tired. My brain was still foggy and I had a dull headache, which I attribute to the caffeine withdrawal, but the fatigue was certainly because of the cold. Luckily, I was able to manage one good night of sleep and rested a ton throughout both days.

Day 6

This was the light at the end of the tunnel. Despite sleeping horribly, I woke up feeling quite good. Sure, I would have loved for bit of coffee to give me that extra boost, but I felt like I could manage without it. No headache, no brain fog, and my cold symptoms had subsided. I made it through the day feeling relatively good! Who knew that was possible without coffee?! 

Day 7

Yes, I can do this. Coffee is not necessary for life, contrary to popular belief. I felt good upon waking and throughout the day. I did (and still do) feel a bit slower getting fully awake in the mornings. I’m no longer jolted into the day with coffee, and now it’s more of slow roll into being fully present.

 

So, is caffeine out of my life for good? I don’t think so. But for the time being, daily consumption isn’t an option. I mean, I’m not going to let these days of misery go to waste! 

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“Did Not Start”: Choosing not to the run the Huffin Puffin Half-Marathon.

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I shared much of journey training for the Huffin Puffin half-marathon on here, so I thought I should explain why I never actually ran it this morning. Making the decision not to run was not easy. Even last night I found myself still going back and forth in my head: to run or not to run? But the answer was ultimately no. 

I would be lying if I said I didn’t shed tears this morning as I watch the competitors run by my house this morning. I worked SO hard this summer to be able to be one of those runners. But it just wasn’t meant to be. You may remember 5 or so weeks I sustained a strain to my lower quad muscle. I thought for sure I would be healed and back running within a week, but every time I tried to run, it hurt. It hurt in weird ways and in all sorts of different places between my hips and my knee, during a run and long after I had finished. Running was not going to help anything, so I thought if I just stopped running altogether, it would heal in time for me to run a slow and easy half-marathon.

However, last Sunday I attempted an easy 3 miles to test out how it was feeling, and it became apparent to me that if I ran 13.1 miles I would likely end up in worse shape than when I first got hurt. That’s when I came to realize that my half-marathon dreams were not going to come true. Not this time anyway. I have no idea when I will be able to run again. My body is resistant to healing and demanding rest right now, so that’s what I’m going to give it. 

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Small Steps to Sustainability: Personal Hygiene

I talk a lot about food on here. I love food. Talking about it, making it, eating it… it all makes me happy. But as it turns out, there are a few things other than food that are worth my attention. Once I started paying attention to what I was putting into my body and how the food I purchase affects my community, the environment, and the world, I started thinking about what I put ON my body too. It’s been a real eye-opening journey realizing how many hundreds of toxic chemicals are in a basic body care products. These toxins are not only absorbed directly into our body, but also make their way into the environment when we wash them down the sink or throw away that mostly empty bottle of shampoo. 

I’m still working on making changes to less harmful products, but I thought I would share some of the basic personal hygiene areas where I have made changes and the products that I use and love! And if you looking for more information check out the Environmental Working Group’s consumer guides, especially their Skin Deep database, which allows you to search different products to see how safe they are!

Soap/Body Wash

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Dr. Bronner’s is my all-time favourite soap. I use it as a body wash and for shaving, but it can be used a million other ways (like as shampoo or as a veggie wash). The ingredients are completely natural, with most of them being organic and fair-trade. I feel good using it knowing it’s less harmful to the environment, to those that grow the ingredients, and to my own body. And it actually works really well! Another bonus is the bottle is made from recycled plastic. My favourite scents are peppermint and lavender!

Deodorant

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Pretty much every conventional antiperspirant or deodorant you can find on you local grocery store’s shelves are chock full of bad stuff, like aluminum, parabens (estrogen mimickers), and triclosan. Antiperspirants of any kind are not the best for you, because sweating is a actually good thing– expelling toxins, cleaning pores, and maintaining optimal body temperature. I’m not looking to mess up the good thing my body has going, so I just stay away from antiperspirants unless I have a big presentation or a job interview.

That leaves me with natural deodorants. I’ve tried quite a few, and most of them didn’t work. That was until I found Primal Pit Paste! I used it all summer, where I worked outside on a farm in 90+ degree heat, and I didn’t send anyone running from my stench. It does take a little time to get used to natural deodorants, and sometimes there is even a short period where you seem to sweat more and stink worse. But if you just hang in there, it’s worth it! Lavender and Jasmine are my favourite Primal Pit Paste scents so far. I have used both the stick and the paste, and I like them both equally, but the stick is a lot more convenient for travel.

Shampoo/Conditioner

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I tried going totally crunchy and did the no-poo method, using a baking soda wash and apple cider vinegar rinse, for about 5 months. It actually worked quite well, but my hair just didn’t feel as soft or have as much body. So I switched back to store-bought shampoos and conditioners. Instead of going back to Dove or Herbal Essence, I sought out a more natural formula, especially one without parabens and phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors (they mess with your natural hormone system!) Currently, I’m using the Jason line of products and I’m quite happy with it. I have also used Hugo Naturals with success! These brands are typically easy to find and don’t break the bank. 

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Small Steps to Sustainability: Switch Up Your Fats!

When you’re diving into the “real food” movement and trying to learn what’s healthful for your body, it can be so overwhelming. There’s a lot of information out there and even more ways to change your diet and lifestyle. If you are looking to change, it can be very helpful to just start small. No need to overhaul everything at once (though if you are up for it, feel free!) These small changes are much more sustainable in the long run than being overwhelmed by one huge one. When I first started reading about real foods, my mind was boggled because it was just so radically different from anything I had ever heard before. I was committed to trying it though, and I began by making simple changes, such as swapping out bread for a lettuce wrap.

            One simple and fairly easy change that can have a drastic influence is switching up the fats you use. Fats are so important to the proper function of our bodies. Taking it back to high school biology, every one of our cells has a lipid (that is, FAT) membrane, which gives the cell its integrity. It prevents molecules from entering and exiting the cell all willy-nilly. There are a few different kinds of fats:

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-Saturated fatty acids (SFAs). They have no double bonds in their carbon chain allowing them to sit very tightly next to one another and remain stable. Because of this, these fats are often solid at room temperature.

-Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). They have a single double bond in their carbon chain, which throws a “kink” in the chain and makes them slightly more unstable than SFAs. They are usually liquid at room temperature, but solidify when chilled.

-Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). They have multiple double bonds in their carbon chain, causing more kinks and even more instability than MUFAs. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are PUFAs and are necessary in our diets, as our bodies cannot synthesize them.

-Trans fatty acids. These are unsaturated fatty acids that have been hydrogenated in a lab to change the type of double bond in the fatty acid chain from a cis to trans double bond. This removes the “kink” in the chain so that the fat resembles a SFA. These fats are rarely found in nature, and they are very reactive in the body, making them a pretty bad deal. Some countries have even banned them.

 

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So, what’s good or bad?

Saturated and monounsaturated fats are good! We need both in our diets and in our cell walls. SFAs give our cell walls rigidity, while the MUFAs provide enough flexibility to our cells they can slide around without causing damage.

Trans fats (sometimes called partially hydrogenated oils) should be avoided at all costs. They are foreign to our bodies and have been found to be associated with heart disease. There is just nothing good about them!

 

What about PUFAs?

Polyunsaturated fats are… well, it’s complicated. We certainly don’t need a ton of PUFAs in our diet, and what we get from eating a well-balanced, whole foods, diet should provide us with exactly what we need. They are found in nuts, seeds, seafood, and meats. However, because of their instability, PUFAs have a tendency to become oxidize, form free radicals, and wreak havoc in our bodies. This is especially true when you are using high-PUFA oil for cooking and eating, where it has a huge opportunity to oxidize, which can happen anytime it’s exposed to heat, light, or air. Generally, it’s best to steer clear of these types of cooking fats and plan on getting your omegas from food sources, 

 

Now that you’re an expert in fats, here’s a list of some common cooking/eating fats to avoid, followed by a list of what you can use to replace them!

 

Avoid:

-Corn oil

-Soybean oil

-Canola oil

-Sunflower seed

-Safflower

-Grape Seed

 

Enjoy:

-Butter: no one needs to be told how delicious butter is. Now you can eat it without fear!

-Ghee (clarified butter): It’s better tolerated by those with dairy intolerances and great used anywhere you use butter. Ghee also has a fairly high smoke point, making it great for sautéing and roasting. I love roasting sweet potatoes in ghee, cinnamon, and salt!

-Rendered animal fats: lard, tallow, duck and chicken fat… it’s all pretty darn tasty. They are great for frying or roasting, and lard in particular is perfect for baking. Try to source your fats from the best possible source to ensure they haven’t been bleached, hydrogenated, or had anything else weird done to them.

-Avocado oil: this fat is mild in taste while also being quite stable, allowing it to hold up well to heat. It’s great for roasting or for making mayo and salad dressings.

-Coconut oil: coconut is high in SFAs, making it veeeeery stable and excellent for high heat cooking. Not to mention it’s delicious. Try to stay away from the refined and stick to the virgin oil. I use it every day to fry my eggs in!

-Olive oil: it’s no secret olive oil is a good fat! However, it’s best for use at low heat or for finishing a dish and in dressings. It doesn’t have a high number of SFAs, allowing it break down more readily when exposed to heat. Plus, the flavor is much better when it hasn’t been cooked!

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Homemade Mayonnaise

I’ve pretty much been a mayonnaise hater my whole life. Really, I just haven’t been a big fan of condiments in general. They just seemed so strange and full of mysterious ingredients (and this was long before I actually cared about what was in my food). But after I started dabbling in the real food world, I came to realize it was possible to make my own condiments. This took all the mystery out of what was in them and got me thinking that maaaaybe they just weren’t so bad (still never touching ketchup though).

Homemade mayo was my “gateway” condiment into a whole new world of condiment-filled deliciousness. It’s the base for sooooo many fantastic sauces that can take any food from super boring and bland to lick-your-plate good. Once you’ve got plain mayonnaise, you can make ranch, garlic aioli, or southwestern dressing. And then there are the multitude of other recipes you can use it in… chicken salad, potato salad, egg salad… you get the idea. 

Why make your own? Well, most store-bought mayos use questionable fats, like soybean oil or canola oil. Even the ones that tout “Made with olive oil!” on the label are still mostly made with shady oils. They also often have other strange ingredients and preservatives. Homemade mayo is just SO easy, and I must say it tastes a lot better than store-bought. Also, don’t be scared away by horror stories of the egg and oil separating, as this has never once happened to me after a full two years of making mayo. Give it try!

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Homemade Mayonnaise
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: ~1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup extra light olive oil
  • 1 tbls lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp mustard powder
  • Salt (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Crack the egg in your blender and allow to come to room temperature for at least 20 minutes (this helps the egg emulsify with the oil).
  2. Add lemon juice, mustard powder, and salt.
  3. Turn your blender on low, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream. It should take around 2-3 minutes to pour in all the oil. At first the mixture will be fairly liquid, but it will thicken as you go. Using a dish towel as a guard may help keep some of the initial splashing at bay.
  4. Blend for one additional minute after the all the oil has been added.

 

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Half-Marathon Training Week 12 + What I Ate In A Day

It seems like I’ve been training for this half-marathon for forever… and it also seems like I still have forever to go. I’ve run around 270 miles since the beginning of June, and boy do I feel it. Sure, I feel the good, like being stronger. But right now I just mainly feel tired. So, so tired. The Hansons were not playing around when they designed this training program. This has been the most I have ever run, and a huge change from my first half training plan, where I only ran 3x week. 

To be honest, I’m ready for it to be over. I know I’m bound to feel this way at least once during a training cycle and this is the time where I need to just dig in and push forward. Despite this, I’m still really enjoying my runs once I get started. It’s just the getting started that is a bit harder right now. Even though I struggle to get out of bed to go running each morning, I find myself researching potential full marathons, which makes no sense whatsoever. Am I insane?

 

What I Ate In A Day

Anyways, let’s move on to talking about food. More specifically, I thought I would share what I ate on a long run day! This particular day’s long run was 10 miles. I use dates as my running fuel source, and I’ve been playing around the timing of consumption and how much to eat on my long runs so that way there aren’t any surprises come race day! I typically only have a few nibbles mid-run, then scarf down the rest once I finish.

Pre-run: one fried egg.

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Mid/Post-run: one coconut date ball.

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Breakfast: PaleOMG’s Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes, bacon, and a fried egg! I ended up having a fourth pancake too… what can I say, I’m always starving after my long run!

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Lunch: A simple garden salad (with feta!) and two chicken gouda sausages. And a pup patiently watching for anything dropped…

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Dinner: I went out to dinner to Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe for dinner with some of my family. I had the chicken feast, which includes a salad, grilled chicken, roasted potatoes (they are underneath the chicken), and tzatziki sauce. I also got an extra order of chicken, which I split with my husband.

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Dessert: I had about 1/2 cup of this AMAZING ice cream. It is seriously so good… and fairly clean. I wish I could eat it all day, every day.

 

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How to Eat Vegetables: Part 2

Alright, so last week we looked into why vegetables are such an important part of your daily diet. That’s great and all, but if you anything like I was, you have no idea how to start incorporating them into your meals in an enjoyable way. Vegetables do not have to be bland and mushy and weird. There are endless possibilities for eating vegetable, but I’ll outline a few ways to help you get started eating (and liking) them.

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  • Incorporate veggies into something you already love.

            The first time I really ate vegetables I had a mix of corn, carrots, and peas. It came from a bag in the freezer, and they were heated up, slathered in butter, and topped with salt, pepper, and chopped walnuts. I love nuts and had always added them to my desserts for their wonderful texture and taste, but I had never thought to add them to vegetables. It just seemed off-limits. But, as it turns out, there really aren’t any rules when it comes to cooking and as adults we can do pretty much whatever the flip we want. Think outside the box here. If you are crazy about pesto, pour it all over some steamed broccoli. Love BBQ sauce? No big deal, mix it in with some sautéed cabbage. You can even try “sneaking” veggies into your normal dishes. For example, chop some carrots up really small and add them to your pasta sauce. Sneak a few handfuls of spinach into your smoothie. Add a bit of finely chopped red pepper into your scrambled eggs. Keep the vegetable:other food ratio fairly small at first, and gradually increase it as you get used to the new tastes and textures.

 

  • Roast them.

Roasting does something totally magical to things. Okay, it’s actually not magic, it’s called caramelization, but that’s beside the point. Roasting completely changes the flavor profile of any vegetable you roast. There are several types of vegetables that I do not like eating unless they are roasted, such as brussel sprouts and cauliflower. You can roast pretty much any vegetable, though ones with a lower water content usually roast better.

Here is what you do: pre-heat the oven to a high temperature (~450F), chop veggies into manageable pieces, toss in cooking oil (avocado oil is my fave) and spices (S&P will do just fine), place evenly spaced on a baking sheet, then roast for 20-30 min (note: white potatoes take about 2x as long and at lower temperature). I like mine with a lot of browning/blackening, but you may like yours with more or less. Smaller pieces will allow for more browning, while bigger piece will give you less. Play around with cook time and piece size until you find what you like best. Once again, there are no rules.

 

  • Try a lot of different kinds of vegetables until you find “the one”.

Don’t worry if you don’t love every single vegetable you eat. I hate raw tomatoes. Whatever. The important thing is that you don’t give up altogether. Be sure to try a vegetable prepared several different ways before you write it off completely, but if it still makes you gag after a few attempts, move on to the next! I promise if you keep trying different vegetables prepared different ways, you will find your vegetable soulmate. The one that changes your entire outlook on vegetables. Don’t give up… it is out there! My veggie soulmate is roasted cauliflower, and it is that gorgeous veggie (love you cauli!!) that led the way to many others.

      Overall, take your time but don’t give up. You absolutely can change your taste buds and the way you think about vegetables. I never thought I would eat brussel sprouts for breakfast, yet I do it all the time. That’s a whole other post for a different day, but the point is, if you really want to work towards better health, you will find a way to do it.

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Halfway to the Huffin Puffin + What I Ate In A Day

I’ve made it halfway through half-marathon training! I’m really feeling like I’m in the groove of things, running early the morning followed by eating shit-tons of good food. I’m digging it. I may just go into perpetual half training just so I can keep up this level of food intake. GIVE ME ALL THE FOOD!!!

 Okay, so in all seriousness, I really am enjoying myself. My body is getting so much stronger and I LOVE that. And that is making me love my body, regardless of weight, and that is something to celebrate. I mean, it’s capable of running 10 miles on a Sunday morning before breakfast, so that’s pretty badass, right?! I’m relishing my morning runs (most days…), watching the sunrise and listening to podcasts. It’s an excellent time to just think and dream and plan, some of my favourite things.

I did end up skipping two easy runs last week so that I could fully enjoy a lake weekend with my family, and I have no regrets about it. I just was not up for running hilly, humid miles while everyone else was hanging out in the lake relaxing. I was also experiencing some uncomfortable ankle pain and figured a few days rest would do me good. I reworked my schedule to make sure I still got my long, tempo, and speed runs in.

Unfortunately, my ankle has remained a bit cranky. I have no idea what it could be, as the location of the pain changes, and sometimes it just doesn’t even hurt at all. I’m running through it for now, and it has slightly improved. Crossing my fingers it keeps getting better!

 

What I Ate In a Day

Just to note, every bit of it was Whole30 compliant!

Pre-run: handful of almonds and iced coffee, as usual! This particular day’s run was 6 miles, consisting of 6 x 800m intervals with recovery jogs and a warm up/cool down.

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Post run breakfast: 3 fried eggs and leftover grill potatoes. I think I probably had a collagen peptide berry smoothie too….

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Lunch: freakin ah-mazing chopped salad with a sweet and spicy “peanut” dressing. Plus an apple.

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Dinner: Leftover 5-Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie (you have to make this from PaleOMG!), roasted cabbage and onion, and fried sweet plantains. A totally random assortment of food, but also totally satisfying and easy.

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Dessert: fresh fruit! Peaches, blackberries, and pineapple. <3

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How to Eat Vegetables: Part 1

There are a lot of us out there that know eating vegetables is a good, important thing. We are told this over and over throughout our lives one way or another. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that we actually eat vegetables, let alone like them. Perhaps you are traumatized by your parents’ mushy peas and carrots or find you’d rather make room on your plate for other things (like dessert). Or maybe you are just simply overwhelmed by what to do with the darn things. Either way, if you landed here because you are wondering if and how you should start eating veggies, you are in the right spot.

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I understand the aversion to veggies. With the exception of corn, potatoes, and the occasional salad (i.e., lettuce doused in ranch), I did not eat vegetables until I was 23. TWENTY-FREAKIN-THREE!!! My plates were devoid of colour. Bread, pasta, chicken—all shades of beige. Somehow I survived without any major nutritional deficiencies, though I think it is safe to say I was far from healthy. Anyways, it was around this time that I started looking longingly at my friends’ colourful plates of food (they were just so pretty!) and thought that maaaaybe I should expand my diet to include a few vegetables.

So here is the deal: yes, you need to eat vegetables. It’s true! They are vital to your health and well-being and you simply cannot be at optimal health without these. When you are at your optimal health, you feel like a badass, and who doesn’t want that?! Let me break down a few of the reasons veggies are so important, that way I’ve got you fully convinced of their importance before we dive into how to actually eat veggies.

 

  • Nutrient Intake

Vegetables are the best source of bioavailable nutrients there is! Veggies are excellent sources of fiber, with some types having more fiber content than whole grain bread. They also provide potassium, a mineral which is necessary for the normal function of every single cell in our bodies. Vitamins A, C, and E are also found in vegetables and are essential in our diets as they cannot be synthesized by the body. It is important to note that ingesting these substances in the form of pill is NOT the same as consuming them from their naturally-occurring sources. I won’t delve into that too much here, but just know that taking a multi-vitamin will not replace your need for vegetables!

  • Disease Prevention

Due to the actions of the nutrients available in veggies, they help to prevent diseases. For example, a diet high in potassium has been known to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Overall, the nutrients in veggies work to prevent heart disease and cancer, boost immune function, and aid in the normal function of every cell within the body.

  • Weight Loss/Maintenance

Despite being packed full of nutrients, vegetables are typically low in calories. They provide a way to fill you up and keep you satisfied, without adding a ton of calories into your daily diet.

 

Tune in next week to learn HOW to cook all those veggies you are now convinced you need. 😉

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