Self Care is the Key to Optimal Well Being

Self Care is the Key to Optimal Well Being

Life is very busy and fragmented for most of us these days.

We are pulled in many directions at the same time with lots to do, and it can be overwhelming.

Usually the first thing to ditch is caring for one’s self.

  • skipping exercise and fresh air
  • ignoring the need to relax and destress
  • not getting proper sleep
  • eating on the run and not making the healthiest food choices

The immune system is often compromised by poor self-care.

A strong immune system needs to be nurtured, these tips might help you

  • yoga, walking, dancing or working out are health giving
  • find 5 or 10 minutes each day of “me time” to unwind
  • slow down in the evening before bedtime to encourage good sleep
  • fuel the body with wholesome natural foods is huge
  • wholesome foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and clean lean protein
  • drink adequate water during your day; the general formula for water intake is body weight divided by 2, converted to ounces

About the author ...

Kathy Shackleton, is a Holistic Nutritionist and Health Educator practicing in Dufferin County Ontario. She is passionate about using food as medicine and medicine as food. In her spare time Kathy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, yoga and volunteering with local groups and events such as Savour Fair which raises funds for students of agriculture and creates community awareness for local, clean food.

Let’s Talk Stroke Prevention

It’s Stroke Awareness month! While a stroke can be life altering, or even deadly, the good news is there is a fair bit you can do to improve your heart health.

So what is a Stroke? 

A stroke is a sudden loss of brain function. It is caused by the interruption of flow of blood to the brain (ischemic stroke) or the rupture of blood vessels in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). The interruption of blood flow or the rupture of blood vessels causes brain cells (neurons) in the affected area to die. The effects of a stroke depend on where the brain was injured, as well as how much damage occurred. A stroke can impact any number of areas including your ability to move, see, remember, speak, reason and read and write. http://www.heartandstroke.on.ca/

Are strokes preventable? 

The good, short answer is yes.  Dietary choices and lifestyle can prevent strokes.  Knowing the facts and being proactive are key.  Atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries often leads to stroke and is preventable and reversible.  If you have high blood pressure (hypertension) or issues with arteries, you can improve your situation.

Foods to prevent strokes and promote optimal wellness:

Beets

The greens and roots contain betacyanin which promotes healthy heart function.  Compounds in beets can dissolve calcium deposits and therefore prevent hardening of the arteries.  Research states that eating beets can prevent clotting, lower the blood pressure and reduce inflammation.  Dr. Oz & Readers Digest.

Kale

For starters, kale boasts a bumper crop of heart-healthy antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin E. It’s also rich in lutein, which correlated in the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study with protection against early atherosclerosis. Kale even contains an unusual compound, glucoraphanin, that activates a special protective protein called Nrf2. “It creates a sort of Teflon coating in your arteries to keep plaque from adhering,” – Dr. Joel Fuhrman.  (most dark green vegetables such as broccoli, collards, bok choy and sprouts are great too) 

Fiber

Eating high-fiber foods may protect against stroke, a new analysis of research suggests.  The data, pooled from eight observational studies, all with at least three years of follow-up, indicated that each seven-gram increase in daily fiber intake reduced the risk of a first stroke by about 7 percent. The findings were published in the journal Stroke.  Ideal fiber intake is 35 grams per day, most North Americans are getting less than 10 grams, so we can all improve. Increase the intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Protein

Great choices are lean poultry, bison, venison, lamb, legumes, quinoa.  Wild salmon, skip jack or light tuna, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, are also healthy options.  Note that true grass fed beef is a good choice and will not create a stroke risk if eaten in moderation.

Cured deli meats are not recommended, the nitrates may damage blood vessels. –National Stroke Association.

Good Fats or Oils

Nutritionists call omega-3 6, & 9 fatty acids “essential” fats for good reason. The human body needs them for many functions. Our bodies can’t produce them. The best way to get them into your body is through food. –Dr. Andrew Weil MD.

There is growing evidence that the right fats help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.  Good fats, bad fats, trans fats?  How to choose? Good fats include olive oil, flax oil, coconut oil. Raw nuts & seeds, avocados, wild salmon & olives contain good fats.  Not so good fats might be called trans fats and are found in prepackaged foods, fast foods, deep fried foods and many store bought baked goods and margarine.  Note that coconut oil is a saturated fat that has been studied extensively and proven to be good for stroke prevention.

Less Salt

A diet high in salt (sodium) can increase blood pressure and the risk of stroke. The more sodium in your blood, the more your blood volume increases because sodium attracts and retains water. The heart has to work harder to move the increased volume of blood through the blood vessels. This creates increased strain on the arteries and high blood pressure.

Use grey unbleached sea salt or Himalayan pink salt. (salty taste with the benefit of naturally occurring minerals and less sodium)

500 mg (1/4 tsp) of sodium is required to maintain fluid balance, nerve & muscle function, ideally do not exceed 1500 to 2000 mg. 

Be especially aware of diet pop and soda

Earlier this year, research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference showed that people who drink just one diet soda a day may increase their risk of stroke by 48 percent!

“This study suggests that diet soda is not an optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages, and may be associated with a greater risk of stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death than regular soda.” Wed Med MD.   Note please that there is no health benefit to any soda pop.  There are many great options, like mineral water with a splash or juice or water infused with fruit. http://www.yummly.com/recipes/infused

Other tips on Stroke Prevention:

Vitamin D Deficiency is being linked in studies to Stroke risk

Stroke patients with low vitamin D levels were found to be more likely than those with normal vitamin D levels to suffer severe strokes and have poor health months after stroke, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2015.  Ask your doctor to check your Vitamin D levels or to suggest a dosage of a Vitamin D3 for you.

Tummy Size

Tummy size increases the risk of stroke, women’s waist measurement ideally should be under 31 inches and men less than 37 inches.  Tummies can be trimmed with diet and exercise, I can help you with an easy food plan and help you find a fitness activity that suits you. 

About the author ...

Kathy Shackleton, is a Holistic Nutritionist and Health Educator practicing in Dufferin County Ontario. She is passionate about using food as medicine and medicine as food. In her spare time Kathy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, yoga and volunteering with local groups and events such as Savour Fair which raises funds for students of agriculture and creates community awareness for local, clean food.

Detoxing and Cleansing

March is Liver and Kidney Health Awareness Month!

Your liver and kidneys are vital organs.  They process and filter everything that you put into your body.  If your liver and kidneys are healthy, then you will be too.  Periodically, these organs need some extra support and a bit of a rest.

Let’s look at the facts and history regarding detoxing and cleansing.

Spring is the time to renew, refresh and do some spring cleaning.  In holistic and natural health, spring is thought to be a good time to detoxify or cleanse the body.  The concept is not new.  Historically throughout the ages, there is reference to fasting and cleansing.  Many cultures and religions observe periods of dietary change and elimination.  These days there are juice cleanses, herbal detox programs, cleansing diets, and much more.

The choices are endless and the information is confusing to many people and more information does not make the decision easier!

  • Is detoxing necessary for everyone?
  • Is detoxing safe for everyone?
  • Is a cleansing diet better than fasting?
  • Can detoxing or cleansing be harmful?
  • Are there any contraindications for individuals with health conditions or those taking medications?

Seek the advice of a professional who can assess your individual needs and help you with a plan.  I don’t try to assess and repair my automobile, because I am clueless in that area – I go to a great mechanic who is my auto expert.  A nutritionist is a body systems expert.  Consider booking an appointment so that we can meet and discuss your journey to “Optimal Wellness”.

About the author ...

Kathy Shackleton, is a Holistic Nutritionist and Health Educator practicing in Dufferin County Ontario. She is passionate about using food as medicine and medicine as food. In her spare time Kathy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, yoga and volunteering with local groups and events such as Savour Fair which raises funds for students of agriculture and creates community awareness for local, clean food.

Bring on Christmas – Hold the Stress

Some people refer this time of year as the “Holiday Season”. To me, a holiday is kicking it back on beach, or road trip. I love Christmas time, the sights, the sounds, time with family and friends, as well as the food. Planning and preparing for Christmas does not really feel like a holiday. We all know too well, there’s plenty of work involved in preparing for the Christmas. Take the stress of shopping, deadlines, putting in extra hours at work, over-indulging, over extending the credit card, and the mother-in-law visiting. Add all that to the rest of the stress that’s been accumulating over time and you’ve got the perfect recipe for burnout.

If you could change one aspect of your life that would give you the greatest chance of living a very long and healthy life, what do you think it would be? The answer is – reduce your stress. Research shows that the people who live the longest are at their ideal body weight and have the ability to handle stress well.

Our adrenal glands are our stress helpers. Their role is to help our bodies cope with all kinds of stress by releasing hormones like adrenalin and cortisol into the blood stream. Stress can be physical, emotional, psychological, environmental, or a combination of these.

What is adrenal fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is when the adrenal glands fail to carry out their normal function. This happens when stress overextends the capacity of the body to compensate and recover. Consequently, the adrenals become fatigued and are unable to continue responding adequately to further stress and ultimately, we lose our ability to cope.

Many people get into a vicious cycle of relying on coffee, and other stimulants to keep them going throughout the day. Stimulants actually weaken the adrenal glands making it harder for us to get going in the morning, so we drink more caffeine, perpetuating the cycle. High sugar intake can deplete adrenal function, so be careful with the sweet stuff.

Supplements of B Vitamins and Magnesium can be helpful in times of stress. The good news is that dark chocolate is a source of magnesium. Try to eat lots of dark leafy greens to stay strong.

If you are stressed to the max, I can help you with specific dietary and lifestyle recommendations, to assist you on your journey to optimal wellness.

To un-stress during the Christmas season, find joy in your life; delegate some of your responsibilities to others in your family. Cut back on holiday season expectations. Eat well; find time for fresh air, meditation, yoga. At the end of the day, your family and friends want you healthy. The dinner feasts, decorating and numbers of gifts under the tree are not so important……

This smoothie will have you feeling better in no time due to the high antioxidant content, magnesium and B vitamins.

STRESS BUSTING SMOOTHIE

smoothyIngredients

  • 1 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • handfuls of baby spinach

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Kathy Shackleton RHN Nutritionist
KathyShackleton.com 519 941-0280
betterhealthclinic.ca     519 415-2266

About the author ...

Kathy Shackleton, is a Holistic Nutritionist and Health Educator practicing in Dufferin County Ontario. She is passionate about using food as medicine and medicine as food. In her spare time Kathy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, yoga and volunteering with local groups and events such as Savour Fair which raises funds for students of agriculture and creates community awareness for local, clean food.

Gluten …

Have we talked enough about gluten and gluten-free?  Maybe not!

Not all gluten free foods are “health giving”

Just a few thoughts to share. Gluten free is trendy to some; and a necessary lifestyle to others.

Anyone can benefit from a break from gluten.

For certain people, gluten free is not an option. Those with Celiac Disease or serious Gluten Intolerance must live gluten free or their   well-being is severely compromised.

The word “gluten” from latin translates as glue. This is the key point. Gluten holds baked goods together and thickens soups and sauces. When gluten is removed, other methods of ways of “gluing” are required.  This could mean adding more sugar or gluten free white pasty flours that provide no nutritional value.                                                                  

With a little work and knowledge, gluten free baking and cooking can be delicious, nutrient rich and have a perfect texture.  Some of the “gluten free” products on the grocer’s shelves are not good for you. Fiber is often lacking, and sugar and sodium content is high.  If you are interested in healthy, nutrient dense gluten free baking, cooking, and store bought choices; I can help.

Please read labels carefully and make wise choices.   For breads and crackers, I like to see per serving: 3 grams of fiber and 0 grams sugar. 

Read more on how to understand our nutritional labels here:   http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/nutrition-labels-to-be-easier-to-read-health-canada-proposes-1.2706310

About the author ...

Kathy Shackleton, is a Holistic Nutritionist and Health Educator practicing in Dufferin County Ontario. She is passionate about using food as medicine and medicine as food. In her spare time Kathy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, yoga and volunteering with local groups and events such as Savour Fair which raises funds for students of agriculture and creates community awareness for local, clean food.

The benefits of steel cut oats

Steel cut oats are my first choice for cooked oats cereal.

Steel cut oats are whole grain groats (the inner part of the oat kernel), which have been cut into a few smaller pieces. Unlike rolled oats or instant oats, they haven’t been partially or fully precooked, meaning they retain more of their natural taste, texture and nutrients. As far as calories, carbs, fiber they are similar to old fashioned rolled oats, however steel cut oats “stick to the ribs” a little better.. 

Steel cut oats have 7 grams of protein per dry ¼ cup (44 grams) serving, so the oats alone are a good start for a high-protein breakfast

Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan. Since 1963, study after study has proven the beneficial effects of this special fiber on cholesterol levels.  Oat bran has not been removed in steel cut oats.

Oats are naturally free from gluten, but might contain traces of gluten, depending on the processing from farm to package.

If you need gluten free, look for it on the label.

Steel cuts oats are a great source of nutrition and are most certainly a super food.

Links to help you on the path the optimal health

About the author ...

Kathy Shackleton, is a Holistic Nutritionist and Health Educator practicing in Dufferin County Ontario. She is passionate about using food as medicine and medicine as food. In her spare time Kathy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, yoga and volunteering with local groups and events such as Savour Fair which raises funds for students of agriculture and creates community awareness for local, clean food.