MCT Oil: What it is and Why You’re Going to Love It!

There’s been quite a bit of talk about MCT oil lately, and for good reason. MCTs, or medium-chain triglycerides, are outstanding for your health. They’re very special fatty acids that contain anywhere from 6 to 12 carbons in length. That’s technical-talk, though, so let’s get down to what it really means.

So, what does all of this mean for you?

These healthy MCTs are not hugely present in the typical Western diet. Your body needs good fats and our diets are swarmed with trans fats, instead. You can get MCTs from certain foods naturally, or you can take supplemental MCT oils which are great to enhance your diet with.

However you take your MCTs, through food or by choosing a high-quality MCT oil, you’ll get a ton of benefits. Some of these include…

  1. Improved memory and brain health
    If you always feel like your brain is in a fog or you’re tired of trying to remember where you put your keys, MCT oil helps improve your overall brain health and function. It can sharpen your mind and make you more alert — no jittery caffeine involved!
  2. It boosts energy
    Because it absorbs easily, you’ll be given a boost of energy quickly. Having 1 tablespoon in a cup of green tea in the mornings is the perfect way to start your day. It does leave an oily residue floating in your cup but have no fear, you cannot taste it in tea. It does add a bit of a flavor to a cup of coffee, but tea is the magic potion for not being able to taste it. Nutiva, Bulletproof, St Francis and Perfect Keto are some of my favourite brands.
  3. It promotes a healthy microbiome
    Keeping your immunity strong is a surefire way to avoid being stuck in bed sick. MCT keeps things in balance and kills off bacterial infections that you may come into contact with, allowing you to feel good each day.
  4. Wonderful for weight loss
    If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll love MCT oil. It makes you feel fuller faster so you’ll wind up eating less. It also lowers your metabolic rate and reduces the conversion of carbs into fat. In studies, it showed people lost more weight from their hips and waist when taking it, which is another outstanding benefit.
  5. It gives you more stamina during workouts
    If you really want to shred it at the gym, take MCT to keep up that stamina. It’s been shown to help keep you going even during high-intensity workouts. And that’s not all! It helps balance your blood sugar, keeps your liver healthy, and helps to balance cholesterol.

If you want to get in on all the wonderful benefits, you should start taking it now. If you’ve never taken it before, use caution as it can irritate your stomach if you overload on it too quickly. A teaspoon each day is an excellent way to start. If you are struggling with health issues, speak with your medical professional first.

You can add it to bone broth, smoothies, soups, even tea, and coffee, or just about anything else you can think of to get closer to your best health every day!

Healthy Snacks to Fuel You All Week

There comes a point when you feel tired of eating the same snacks over and over again.

Prepping them each week can become mundane, and that trip to the vending machine to make a snap decision seems exciting, easy, and spontaneous. Undoubtedly, the snack you’d get from the vending machine may momentarily taste good, but your returning hunger and sugar crash an hour later will remind you why you need to pack a healthy snack.

As long as you keep a variation, you can rotate these snacks to keep things interesting.

The ones I am going to share are super easy to put together, easy to take with you, and they don’t need to be kept cold, so if you’re on the go, you won’t have any excuses to run to the break room for free donuts.

1. Apple Sandwich
Take an apple, cut out the core, and slice it horizontally so you can layer it with almond butter (or any other nut or seed butter,) bits of dried fruit, and chia or hemp seeds, and it’s a gourmet treat for the taste buds. Plus, with all that nutrition, you’ll feel full and completely satiated.

2. Trail Mix
I love the variety with trail mix, there are so many different types you can create. Switch it up each week to keep things interesting. You can either buy the trail mix Prana and Central Roast are my favourite clean brands (Prana is available at Costco for a great $) or you can mix up a great big batch at home on the weekend and portion it out into ¼-cup servings.

Bag those up and have them ready to go. Stash them in your purse or gym bag, and you’ll never have a reason to eat unhealthy snacks again. Choose your own nuts, dried fruits, and other tidbits, plus you can add seasonings to make it even more exciting so you’ll never grow bored. Savory or sweet, what will it be?

3. Roasted Chickpeas
Add spice to make them extra tasty, or even try them with a mild, ranch flavor. However you roast them, you’ll forget all about chips. You can snack on these guilt-free and get all the fantastic antioxidant benefits to boot. You can find these in most grocery stores now and even in Winners/Homesense.

4. Hummus Pockets
Grab a whole grain pita (I like the Ozery Bakery brand available at most grocery stores & Costco) and stuff it with hummus. Add cucumber slices, carrot shreds, and anything else you like. You can prep your veggies at the beginning of the week so it can be a quick grab-and-stuff snack to run out the door with. For a grain-free option, use large lettuce leaves instead.

5. Baked Sweet Potato Chips
All you need is a good-sized sweet potato, a little olive oil, and sea salt, or a little curry powder if you’re adventurous. Slice thin and bake for 40 minutes at 275F. Flip them over, and bake 40 more minutes and you’ll have heavenly preservative-free and healthy chips to snack on for the week.

6. Scaled-Down Deli Snack Box
If you tend to flock to certain chains for coffee and café eats, try making your own protein-filled box to go. Make it full-size to serve as lunch, or create a smaller version for a snack. Take it to Pinterest to find some perfect box combinations for your preferred way of eating — there are lots to choose from or check out my recipe for your very own Deli Snack Box.

With snacks like these, you’ll never want to stray from your healthy path.
What are your go-to snacks currently? Mine are Prana Kilamanjaro trail mix, fruit and a hot cocoa elixir with collagen & nut butter.

Foods That Cause Bloating & What You Can Eat Instead

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With so many different and contradictory claims when it comes to eating healthy, it can be hard to know what to eat and what to avoid.  This confusion leads so many to throw their hands up altogether and feel those feelings of “why even try?!”

The thing is we are all different, or I like to say unique. What is one persons health food can be another’s poison.

Even foods touted as healthy can still cause you discomfort.  Bloating is our bodies attempt to let us know it disagrees with something we gave it and can be a big clue to the types of foods you should cut down on or avoid. Remember symptoms are our body’s language, it’s way of communicating with us.

Here are a few of the main culprits when it comes to foods that can cause bloating…

  1. Beans

Beans are great for protein and good carbs, but many of them contain a type of sugar in the FODMAP group (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides, and polyols). If you have digestive issues, beans can cause gas as they digest which gives you that unpleasant, bloated belly. Soaking the beans can usually help, but if you’re in a hurry, choose pinto or black beans — they’re easier to digest.

  1. Lentils

Another high protein legume with loads of fiber, lentils can also bring on the bloat. Choosing the light-colored lentils is a better option for keeping that bloating under control.

  1. Wheat

Whole wheat has always touted as a healthier alternative, but it doesn’t sit well with a lot of people due to the gluten it contains. If you have a sensitivity to gluten, your gut will show it by bloating after consuming wheat products. Wheat also has FODMAPs, as we discussed above, so if you’ve shown a tendency to bloat after eating wheat products, you should look for gluten-free options like quinoa, buckwheat, pure oats, or things made with almond or coconut flour.

  1. Cruciferous veggies

While cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts are super healthy, they can lead to stomach inflation. Cooking them makes them much easier to digest, but if that still doesn’t seem to help, focus more on spinach, lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes.

  1. Garlic and onions

These two are great for flavoring just about anything you can cook up in your kitchen. If eating either of them raw sets you off, you should make sure they’re cooked first.  If that still doesn’t do the trick, you should try swapping them out for fresh herbs like thyme, basil, chives, or parsley to keep your dishes flavorful.

  1. Dairy Products

If you’ve noticed bloating coming on after eating yogurt, cheese, butter, or drinking milk, switch to lactose-free dairy products to get all the flavor without the agony.  Many people cannot process dairy well, in fact, it has been estimated that seven million Canadians suffer from lactose intolerance.1, so give dairy-free a shot and see how much better you feel. Milk, in particular, has many other alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, or cashew milk. Check out my recipe for Homemade Cashew Milk that can be made in under 10 minutes!

Just because certain foods are healthy doesn’t mean they are helping you out. If you frequently bloat after eating, keep a journal of what you eat (like we talked about in last weeks blog) and write down when you get bloated. You’ll be able to identify the offender, learn more about your body and the best foods to feed it.

Do certain things tend to bloat you more than others? Hit reply and let me know what your problem foods are.  I may have some useful tricks up my sleeve for you!

 

Reference:

1. Canadian Digestive Health Foundation. http://www.cdhf.ca/en/disorders/details/id/13

These Easy Tips Can Help You Quit Overeating

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Whether it be emotionally charged, out of boredom, or pure mindlessness while at the table — overeating is something we’ve all done at some point.

Our culture tends to overeat in general with larger portions than ever, but you’d be surprised how much smaller of a portion you can eat and feel satisfied.  Somewhere along the way, we’ve been programmed to eat until we are full, instead of eating enough to satisfy our hunger and return to neutral.

My Grandma was of the World War II generation and so she had brought up my Mum never to waste food and that included eating everything that was on your plate and that habit was passed down to me. It didn’t matter whether I was full or not, my goal was to always clear my plate and that was one of the biggest struggles for me to overcome with my eating.

Whatever reason it may be to you, there are some simple tricks you can use on a daily basis to make sure you’re more mindful of your consumption and keep things at a healthy level.

Some of my favorite tricks are…

  1. Drink more water

This may sound like a no-brainer, but the majority of people just do not drink adequate amounts of water.

Dehydration accounts for countless ailments and symptoms we encounter on a regular basis, and you may not even be thinking your water intake is related. For example, hunger and cravings are often overcome by drinking a big glass of water. So whether it be getting a smart water bottle that’ll remind you to drink enough water, using a water intake app, or keeping your bottle by your side throughout the day — do whatever is necessary to stay properly hydrated. You’ll find your cravings disappearing, and you’ll be less likely to overeat.

  1. Don’t eat while distracted

Whether it’s in front of the TV or while playing with your phone on your lunch break, distracted eating can cause you to eat more than you were planning to eat. Even if you only have a limited portion in front of you, you won’t feel satisfied when you’re done, making you more likely to grab something unhealthy to “fill” you up the rest of the way.

How many times have you sat down in front of the TV, your phone or laptop eating something only to realise only a short while later that it’s all gone. Did you even taste or smell the food? Be mindful when you eat, and you’ll find that satisfaction.

  1. Write it down

Sometimes, we’re unaware that we’re overeating, which can be even worse. Keep a food journal with you and write down every little thing you eat, even if it seems minuscule or unimportant. It also helps to note how you’re feeling so you can correct behaviors once you spot a pattern. There are lots of online apps you can use but i’m old school and like the paper and pen variety – here’s a great food journal you can find on amazon.

  1. Focus on your portions

Instead of putting all the food on the table for the whole family to grab, portion it out, at least for yourself. You should have a well-rounded meal with half your plate veggies, followed by a lean protein, and then a healthy carb such as whole grains or starchy veggies.

Choose a smaller plate too so you’ll trick yourself into thinking you’re eating a more significant portion. Our side plates were dinner sized plates a few decades ago, so go back to using a side plate if you need to.

If you still feel hungry after eating your whole plate, start with another serving on veggies, that will fill you up.

If you are a snacker, make sure your snacks contain fat, fiber and protein to help keep you satisfied and those cravings at bay. Try out these Double Chocolate Mint Energy Balls, just one or two of these will hit the spot!

  1. Take it home

And finally, I can’t forget a tip about restaurants.  Even with healthy lifestyles, there will be times you go out to eat with friends or family, we tend to eat or order on average once a week. This was another habit that was hard from me because growing up I always associated eating out with a treat and therefore used to always overindulge whether it was in the amount I ate or the choices I made.

Don’t get me wrong, even I, a Nutritionist doesn’t want a plain old boring salad, a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be bland or boring. There are some awesome hearty salads and buddha bowls now available in most restaurants and you can always make changes to your option as in hold off the carbs and have extra veggies or have a lettuce wrap instead of a bun.

Make a healthy choice and ask your server to box up half the order from the start or see if someone is willing to split the portion with you. If not, you’ll have another perfect portion for tomorrow, which will make you look forward to lunch! Ordering a healthy appetizer and pairing it with a side salad is another great way not to overeat, but still, leave satisfied.

These little things make a big difference in keeping you from overeating, and they’re so simple to do, they’re effortless.

What’s your trigger for overeating — boredom? Stress? Zoned out in front of the TV?  Hit reply and let me know.