5 Ways To Reduce Belly Bloat

fat woman's tummy for obese concept isolated over white background

Do you wake in the morning and your stomach is pretty flat and as the day goes on your waistband feels tighter and by the time you go to bed at night you look 6 months pregnant? If you answered yes then you are experiencing bloating.

Bloating is often caused by eating too fast, eating high amounts of fatty foods or poor digestion. Here are my top 5 tips to help you banish the bloat:

  1. Reduce the sodium in your diet as it could be causing water retention. 80% of the sodium in our diet comes from packaged, refined, processed and fast foods so if these make up a high percentage of your diet you need to start looking at bringing in more whole foods.
  2. Increase the water in your diet, this will help flush the sodium out through your urine reducing the water retention. Remember that if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated so you need to ramp up that water intake. Set an alarm on your phone if you really keep forgetting!
  3. Eat smaller, more frequent meals and take more time over your meals, eat slower and remember to chew. Undigested food gets into your stomach and intestines and if not broken down properly will sit and ferment causing bloating and gas. Put your knife and fork down between bites and chew until the food is a paste – remember your stomach doesn’t have teeth!
  4. Include foods that aid your digestion such as ginger and if after eating you are experiencing some digestive discomfort have some ginger or peppermint tea. One of my favourite tea blends for this is called ‘Eaters Digest’ by Traditional Medicinals, i always have some on hand just in case!
  5. Another way to help your digestion is to include fermented foods in your diet but not all fermented foods are created equally. Choosing the right foods will make all the different in the benefits you receive. The trouble with the majority of commercial fermented foods is that they have been pasteurized, are much higher in sugar, alcohol and have been heated at high heat causing the beneficial probiotic bacteria to be killed off therefore losing the health benefits. Here are some traditional fermented foods to consider:
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Raw kefir
  • Raw apple cider vinegar
  • Kombucha
  • Miso

If you want to try making your own fermented sauerkraut, check out the recipe below and if after making this your bloating is still showing up on a regular basis, make an appointment with your friendly nutritionist (aka me 🙂 ) to get to the root of the problem.

Traditional Sauerkraut

Yield: 1 quart (32oz) Mason Jar

Days to Culture: 5 Days-3 Weeks

1 Cabbage, thinly sliced

1-2 Tbsp Full spectrum Sea Salt

  •  Place chopped cabbage in a mixing bowl.
  • Add sea salt and massage together well.
  • Add any other desired ingredients (variations below) and massage until juices are abundant.  The thinner the slice the easier this is.
  • Mix well and pack kraut into the mason jar.  Firmly pack until approximately an inch of liquid (brine) is covering the kraut.
  • Use a weight such as a sterilized stone to keep down the kraut down so the brine is creating a seal

Play around with this recipe substituting your favourite vegetables, herbs and spices such as cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, carrots, beets, radishes, dill & garlic, ginger & turmeric or garlic & onions.

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How Much Sugar Are You Drinking?

Group Of Various Soda Drinks In Aluminum Cans Isolated On White

From my experience as a nutritionist many people are very conscious of the food they are putting in their mouths but don’t take much notice of what they are drinking and believe me, that can be enough to derail all their hard work.

Sometimes when i show clients just how much sugar they are consuming through their drinks they are amazed and sometimes I am too.

One tip that can really help you get a handle on your sugar consumption is this. On a food label 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams, i’m going to say that again 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams. So for example if a product you are drinking (or eating) has 20g of sugar in it, divide that 20g by 4 and it will give you 5 teaspoons of sugar.

Here are just some examples of common drinks that could be preventing you from reaching your health goals:

Coca cola

  • 355ml can – 39g sugar (9.75 teaspoons)
  • 590ml bottle – 65g sugar (16.25 teaspoons)
  • 1 litre bottle – 108g sugar (27 teaspoons)

Rock Star Energy Drink

  • 480ml can – 62g sugar (15.5 teaspoons)

Red Bull Energy Drink

  • 250ml can – 27g sugar (6.75 teaspoons)

Vitamin Water b-relaxed (Jackfruit & Guava flavour)

  • 590ml bottle – 33g sugar (8.25 teaspoons)

Minute Maid Lemonade

  • 590ml bottle – 67g sugar (16.75 teaspoons)

Minute Maid Orange Juice

  • 480ml bottle – 48g sugar (12 teaspoons)

Nesquik Chocolate Milk

  • 480ml bottle – 58g sugar (14.5 teaspoons)

Gatorade Thirst Quencher

  • 500ml bottle – 30g sugar (7.5 teaspoons)

‘Water is boring’ is something i hear alot in my practice but it’s easy to spruce up your water. Here are some quick ways to create a cooling drink on a hot summer day.

  1. Raspberry lime water. In a large sealable jar, add 1 cup of fresh raspberries and 1 lime cut into quarters. Pat down with a wooden spoon to get some of the juice out without smashing them to smithereens. Put in about a cup of ice cubes then fill the jar with water. Sweeten to your liking with maple syrup. Keep in the fridge until you are ready for it (the flavors improve over time).
  2. Cucumber mint water. Wash about 2 inches worth of cucumber then slice into 1 cm thick discs. Wash a sprig of fresh mint, gently bruising it before placing it into a sealable jar with the cucumbers. Cover with water and add ice (optional) – enjoy right away. If cucumber isn’t appealing to you try pineapple instead.
  3. Watermelon water. Ever wonder why watermelon isn’t a traditional juice flavor? Me too! Create your own watermelon infused water by freezing cubes of watermelon then adding them to your drinking glass with a squeeze of lemon.

If you want to kick the sugar habit, try out my 72 hour Sugar-Free Challenge for no cost. Click here to get your copy. 

10 Tips For Healthy Grilling

Man with tongs cooking on a back yard barbecue.

It’s nearly summer and is the perfect time to invite friends and family over for a bbq but before you dust off the grill I wanted to share some tips so you can continue to nourish your body and get the most health benefits possible from the meals you prepare on the grill.

Here are my top 10 tips for a safe and healthy grilling season:

  1. Charring your meat creates carcinogens that could cause cancer.
  2. Be sure to watch the heat and flames so it doesn’t get away on you.
  3. Keep a water bottle sprayer handy so you can douse the flames.
  4. Cut excess fat from the meat, as it will burn easier.
  5. Avoid store bought marinades or pre-packaged meats with marinades. They can be loaded with sugar and trans fats.
  6. Try silicone muffin tins for the veggie frittata cups, or a silicone baking sheet for veggies.
  7. Try using a plank for fish if you are looking to minimize your exposure to aluminum. Aluminum has been indicated in cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
  8. Buy a stainless steel baking sheet and avoid teflon as it is highly carcinogenic!
  9. Cast iron works really well on the bbq. Don’t skimp on your cast iron and buy good quality pieces that will last for generations. Season it with coconut oil and remember, coconut oil has a high flash point and heat threshold, as does butter or grape seed oil.
  10. If you are going to be cooking at a high temperature the oils mentioned in number 9 are the preferred oils. Once oils hits their flash point they start to break down and create free radicals. Free radicals can cause cancer.

I couldn’t leave you without sharing one of our recipes from our new Ebook ‘Grillin’ & Chillin’ Healthy Style’ It’s my friends Amy’s turkey burgers that I absolutely love, i hope you enjoy them too. If you haven’t downloaded your copy yet, click here  and remember it’s free until midnight June 19th!

Turkey Burgers

1 lb ground turkey

3 granny smith apples, peeled & finely chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 stalks celery, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 egg

Oatmeal to hold mixture together – usually about ¼ cup.

2 tbsp. Lime juice

Salt & pepper Worcestershire sauce

  • Sauté apple, onion & celery.  Set aside and cool before mixing into meat.
  • Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Mixture will be moist but will hold together much better if you refrigerate the patties for ½ hour before grilling.
  • Each time I make them, they are a little different because I never measure how much Worcestershire sauce, salt or pepper and sometimes I add something different. Be creative! I like mine with hummus & fresh tomato.
  • This recipe will make about 7 patties.

Choose Your Carbs Wisely

 

Carbs are not the enemy. Say it with me: “It’s the type and amount of carb you eat that makes it good or bad.”

What does that mean? Well, i’m sure you’ve heard me say this numerous times before but carbs are the body’s primary source of fuel, it gives us energy. Its like putting gas in the car, if we don’t put gas in we will be running on empty and if we put the wrong gas in the car, it will eventually break down, pretty much like us when we get sick. This is why it’s the quality and the quantity of the carb that matters most. Enter the Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL)

What is the Glycemic Index (GI)?

The Glycemic Index, or GI, measures how fast a specific carbohydrate (e.g. a banana) will convert into sugar (glucose) in your blood. The GI of a food can be thought of as the impact it makes on the amount of sugar in our blood that is circulating to all our organs and altering the level of inflammation in our system, normally not in a good way!

Glucose is ranked 100 and all the other foods are given a ranking by comparison of 0-100. The higher the number, the quicker they will convert into sugar in your blood. The ”white stuff” – white sugar, white bread, pasta, potatoes all have a high GI and a high intake of these foods can often lead to emotional and physiological roller coasters, often associated with mood swings, skin flare-ups, and sleep disturbances.

Fibre, fat and protein all promote even-keel blood sugar levels via different mechanisms. Fibre expands in the digestive tract, slowing the entry of sugar from a carbohydrate source into the bloodstream. This is why a minimum daily amount of 35 grams is recommended. A high fiber diet can also help with lowering cholesterol and blood pressure as well as preventing other serious health issues such as cancer. It can also help with losing weight and keeping it off!

Classification GI range Examples
Low GI 55 or less most fruits and vegetables (excluding root vegetables), oats, buckwheat, quinoa, whole barley, All-Bran
Medium GI 56 – 69 sucrose, candy bar, croissant, brown rice
High GI 70 or more corn flakes, baked potato, jasmine rice, white bread, white rice

What is the “Glycemic Load”?

A food’s GI ranking is based on a standardized 50 grams of carbohydrates and this leads me to the big limitation of the glycemic index. It does not take into account the actual serving you are eating. Let’s take carrots as an example. Carrots have been given a bad rap because of their high GI ranking of 74 but, in order to consume 50 grams of carbohydrates from carrots, you would have to eat approximately 50 baby carrots. I want to point out though that just 1 cookie or 1 cup quinoa would cause the same spike, this is where the quanity aspect or portion size really comes into play.

Using the glycemic load ranking ensures you are choosing the best carbohydrate options that are based on the actual serving size you are eating. The glycemic load is a way of using the GI ranking to make them apply to food as people actually eat them – which is not always 50 grams of carbohydrates!

Glycemic Load Ranking:

  • Low GL = 10 or less is good
  • Medium GL = 10-19 is OK, should be eaten in moderation
  • High GL = 20+ is bad and these foods should be avoided

How To Calculate the Glycemic Load:

GL = GI ranking x serving size of carbohydrates in grams

For example:

  • 1 Can of Classic Coca Cola:  0.97 (GI Ranking) x 39 (grams of carbohydrates in 1 can) = 38 (Gross!)
  • 1 cup Watermelon: 0.72 (high GI ranking) x 12g (grams of carbohydrates in 1 cup) = 8.64 ( 🙂 )

A great website that i use alot is www. nutritiondata.self.com this will give you the glycemic load ranking of any food you search, check it out!

Watermelon Gazpacho

Serves 4-6

15 oz watermelon

1 large vine tomato

1 red bell pepper

1/4 English cucumber, peeled

1/8 fresh chilli

1/4 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 celery stalk

Juice of 2 limes

1.5 Tbsp cilantro

Put all the ingredients apart from the cilantro into a blender and blend until smooth. Then add the cilantro and pulse just for a few seconds. Serve super-chilled.

These are great served in shot glasses as appetizers.