The Blog

My Top 3 Tips for Simply Balanced Hormones

By Kim Banting,

Balancing hormones is complicated, but these three tips help to build a solid foundation that you can continue to grow on.

Tip #1

Lower Stress:

When we are stressed, the adrenals work overtime to protect us from what they consider physical stress (even though we are not really in danger). This is our fight or flight response. It causes the adrenals to produce higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol.

Because we can only produce adrenaline for a few seconds, our fight or flight response is dependent on excess cortisol, and this is where the havoc begins. Excess cortisol has been linked to depression, blood sugar problems, reproductive issues, anxiety and weight gain around the middle.

You can help support the health of the adrenals with foods rich in B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium. Practising meditation or deep breathing helps lower cortisol.

Tip # 2

Support the Liver and Digestive Tract:

Excess hormones like cortisol, estrogen and testosterone all need to be detoxed out of the body. This is a key process that the liver performs to make sure we do not suffer from the excess of these hormones. Supporting the health of the liver, therefore is critical. A milk thistle supplement helps the liver to function more optimally. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale, apples, grapefruit, garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, lemons, limes and berries are just a few foods that help support the liver.

We also need good gut health to help make sure the toxins leave the body. This is easier said than done but it starts with adding probiotics and fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi or sauerkraut (these foods must be high quality and are found in the refrigerator section of some grocery stores and health food stores.  The shelf stable varieties have been pasteurized and contain no active probiotics). Prebiotic foods such as garlic, onion, potatoes, whole wheat, broccoli, berries and apples, just to name a few, feed our good bacteria and help keep our gut healthy.

Tip #3

Balance Blood Sugar:

Bad eating habits and stress can cause our blood sugar to swing up and down throughout the day. When our blood sugar drops, we can experience anger, fatigue, weakness and depression. Normally, we then receive a signal such as a sugar craving or a desire for coffee or alcohol. If we respond to the craving, and consume something, this will bring our blood sugar back up. Caffeine, sugar and alcohol all cause our blood sugar to swing up high. This causes a high insulin release. And too much insulin can affect other hormones.

If we do not respond to the craving, then our adrenals send a signal to tell the liver to release stored glucose and bring up blood sugar. Again, it tends to be a lot of glucose since cortisol is a powerful hormone. Blood sugar swings high and again, large amounts of insulin are released.

To keep blood sugar stable, eat small meals throughout the day with healthy fats, fiber and protein. Blood sugar stabilizing foods such as Jerusalem artichokes, cinnamon and legumes can be very helpful. Lowering stress also helps keep blood sugar stable.

These are just three simple steps. Give them a try and see the difference they can make.

 

Health and Happiness,

Kim Banting

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Limiting Poisoning Perceptions

By Kim Banting,

When it comes to balancing hormones, stress is a huge component.  (Do I sound like a broken record yet?)  One of the most difficult aspects of stress is our perception of the world around us.  The more negative our view, the more difficult it is for us to turn off the stress hormones that are affecting our health.  According to Go Big Coach Kristen Howe, these thoughts are called poisoned perceptions.

So, what is a poisoned perception?  Basically, when you have negative expectations – your actions support these and then the negative expectations are realized.

A couple of years ago I was working with a client who wasn’t sleeping and it was affecting her energy and mood.  When I looked at her food journal I noticed that she was consuming quite a bit of sugar and drinking up to 5 alcoholic drinks some days and had very few alcohol-free days.  She was really insistent that she wanted a solution that didn’t require her to stop drinking.  While she was making efforts to eat healthier substitutions for her sugary foods, she would message me with quite a bit of frustration about it and complain that it doesn’t taste the way she wanted it to.  She even told me that she didn’t think her sugar or alcohol consumption was contributing to her insomnia.  The whole process of working with me caused her to be bitter and resentful and she stopped coming to see me and her sleep issues didn’t get resolved.

Thinking this way means that you are always focused on what is going to be wrong as opposed to seeing what could be right.  Call it an energetic mismatch for achieving your desired outcome.  Essentially you become a magnet for failure.

You have probably heard this before.  The answer, as I am also sure you have heard, is to change your thought patterns and beliefs.  But the issue with this is that when you feel down, when you are feeling insecure about the challenges you have created for yourself or when you are just feeling fearful – how do you possibly feel positive and create new patterns of thinking?  We are creatures of habit and our subconscious mind is at the wheel and making decisions for us based on our early programing.  If we have not had the experience of the positive outcome – how do we change our thoughts?

The answer comes in two forms.  The first is finding the courage to take a risk.  Choose a goal that you are pretty certain you can achieve.  The best way to build confidence is to succeed and a small task that you know you can handle, is the best way to do this.  The small tasks can be anything that lead to achieving bigger goals but instead of being overwhelmed by the size of the big goals, focus on what you can do now, in order to move toward achieving a big goal.  For example, if you want to start eating better, rather than overhauling your entire diet all at once, begin with breakfast.  Make a list of some healthy breakfast foods you think you will enjoy and commit to eating a good breakfast every morning until it becomes habitual.

Gradually learn to increase the size of the task or the nature of the task.  Ie: once you have your breakfasts down, start to look at your lunches.  Ask yourself: Can I handle this and be okay if it does not succeed?  As long as the answer is yes you can move forward.  If you feel the failure is no big deal – then you have nothing to fear and if the control of the task is yours, then you also have no fear that you need to rely on someone else to make it happen for you.  Remember that failing at the little tasks does not mean you have failed at the big goal.  It is just a piece of the plan.  I always remind myself that the only true failure is to not try at all.

The second element that can be helpful is letting go of the past.  Think of today as ground zero.  The past does not exist. When old thought patterns creep into your mind, tell yourself “today I start at zero”.  There will be many days where you are starting at zero again.  Depending on how bad your past is, you may want to consider doing this with the help of a professional counselor.  Overtime, this process will gradually quiet the ghosts from the past.

Consider this as you are contemplating your life and what it will take to achieve your goals.  What is your mind-set?  Do you engage in negative self-talk and what can you do about it?  Don’t try to take on too much and keep the tasks small to build your confidence.  It’s the journey, not the destination that counts.

Whole Health and Happiness,

Kim Banting

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My Body is Really Sensitive to Stress

By Kim Banting,

It’s true.  Years ago, after my daughter was born, I developed symptoms of PTSD.  I was under so much stress, that I felt like I was losing my mind.  I didn’t know who I was anymore.  I wasn’t sleeping, I was always irritated and impatient and it took nothing for me to fly off the handle.  I was afraid of going out on my own with the kids, so we just stayed home.  I felt like an awful parent because I was too tired and depressed to engage with them.  I beat myself up for this every day, but I didn’t have the motivation to change it.  I was losing a lot of weight and I was already thin, so I looked emaciated even though I was eating a lot!  People (even my friends) would make comments, not understanding that I wasn’t trying to lose weight and it made me feel ashamed of my appearance.  Every day felt overwhelming and the depression and anxiety just got worse.

 This was in my pre-nutritionist days and I didn’t have any reference to how diet and lifestyle could help improve the way I was feeling.  In fact, I was making it worse because I drank a lot of coffee to fight the exhaustion and then used alcohol to try to relax.  You only know what you know, right?

Later, when I was in nutrition school and I was practicing all the new information I was learning on myself, I did a 30-day whole body detox.  The impact was incredible!  I actually couldn’t believe it when on day 3 of the detox, I woke up without an alarm and realized I had slept through the night for the first time in 3 years!  I felt rested and excited to begin my day. I felt joyful.  I remember thinking “is this how other people feel?”. I was calm and relaxed, my digestion felt good and I was productive with my day.  I didn’t need a nap and at 9:30 that evening I went to bed and fell asleep easily.  All I kept thinking every day after this was that I never wanted to lose this feeling again.

When I did this detox, I was still a student and didn’t fully understand yet, all the different things I had helped to heal that changed how I felt.  My liver had gotten a break and was able to deal with stored toxins in my body.  I was eating a high fibre diet and taking probiotics, so my gut and colon were functioning better.  I was eating fresh, whole foods that were nourishing my body and I wasn’t eating sugar or drinking coffee or alcohol, so my adrenal glands were able to relax.

I hadn’t realized that being stressed and not eating well were keeping my cortisol levels high, which was affecting my thyroid function.  Stress was also affecting my liver and gut and impairing their ability to detox excess cortisol and estrogen.  This means they accumulate in the body and wreak havoc on your energy, mood, weight, sleep, emotions, memory, bones and joints, blood sugar levels and more.

Our bodies are very complex, but it is often the simplest things that help them to function optimally.  Good food, fresh air and sleep can work wonders.

Today I live with a low level of stress.  We can’t avoid it completely, right?  We can’t.  I know because I’ve tried!  If I deviate from my usual routine, go away for a weekend, stay up too late or find myself spending time in stressful situations, it can take me days to recover. However, I do know how to keep myself from spiraling out of control and I am super-aware of when the stress begins to climb too high.  What do I do to prevent going back to that dark place?

  1. I spend time with the people who I know lift me up.  This is sooo important!  Our relationships can either fill up our tanks or drain them. Try to identify the people who make your heart sing with joy when you are with them and make time to be with them.
  2. I make sure to have time for myself to exercise.  Making sure that I move my body makes a big difference in how I feel energetically, emotionally and physically.  I still get tight muscles and joints in the mornings and movement helps me to feel limber and flexible.
  3. I also know that I need time to do things I love that relax me like spending time in a forest, reading and knitting.  No matter how much stress I feel, if I take time to nurture my soul, it is manageable.
  4. I make sure I get to bed before 10 every night because staying up late even one night can disrupt my energy for days afterward.
  5. And finally, I take care to incorporate foods that I know keep my body balanced, like fermented foods, adrenal adaptogens, complex carbohydrates and plenty of water.  These are foods that help to nourish the gut, liver and adrenal glands so that they are able to perform optimally.  A sluggish gut or liver is going to make me feel sluggish and I’ve been there, done that and don’t want to go back!

Are you wondering if these tools may help you to better manage your stress?  Are you curious if a detox may help you?  Not everyone is suited to all forms of detoxing, but there are many ways you can do it that are safe and comfortable for you.   Call me for a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to find out what the best detox method for you could be.  In the meantime, check out my handy handout for my Top 10 Hormone Balancing Foods!  Click Here

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What Do Your Hormones Do?

By Kim Banting,

Hormones are chemical messengers that circulate in our body and tell it how to function.  If we want to feel happy and motivated, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight and manage stress, we need them to be produced in the right amount at the right times.  They control everything from reproduction, digestion, metabolism, emotions and even hunger and satiety. When our hormones function properly, we feel great and when they do not, we can have health issues that make us miserable.

After my daughter was born 14 years ago, I was going to the gym every day and was in great physical shape, so, like a lot of people, I thought that meant I was healthy!  The funny thing about this is that at the same time, I hadn’t slept in months, I was always exhausted, I had anxiety, was often depressed, my skin was bad, I had PMS, mood swings, heart palpitations and I alternated between constipation and diarrhea.  Then I injured myself and couldn’t get the pain under control.  At this point I couldn’t ignore the other issues and I was feeling beaten down and just miserable!

After doing a 30-day clean eating detox, I felt amazing!  All of the symptoms I mentioned above were gone!  I was sleeping soundly and waking up in the morning rested and excited to begin my day.  I couldn’t believe how significant the change was!  Why did this help?  Mainly, the detox targeted my gut and my liver, two key players in hormone balancing.

Let’s take a look a few key hormones systems and you will get the picture as to how important they are.

  • Hypothalamus: It signals the production of other hormones and in doing so, helps regulate things like hunger, moods, sleep, body temperature and sex drive.
  • Thymus: It produces the hormone thymosin, which helps regulate the immune system. The thymus shrinks as we age but scientists are not sure it is supposed to, which means that, perhaps, good nutrition could help maintain immune function as we age.
  • Pancreas: Insulin produced in the pancreas is a key hormone and its sole function is to help blood sugar get into the cells so we have the energy we need for our cells to function. However, too much insulin has been implicated in many health issues.
  • Thyroid:  Hormones produced by our thyroid are associated with metabolism and heart rate. If you have trouble losing weight – your thyroid may not be functioning optimally.
  • Adrenals: There are many hormones produced by the adrenal glands but their main function is to help us cope with stress, both physical and mental. Because of this, the adrenals rule the roost in the body. This is because protecting us from danger is considered to be one of the most significant functions of the body and because of that, when we are stressed, the adrenals can cause all kinds of havoc with other systems.
  • Pituitary: This is a master endocrine gland that produces hormones that tell other glands and organs to produce more hormones. However, hormones from the adrenals like cortisol or insulin from the pancreas can exert pressure on the pituitary and interfere with other hormone relationships where the pituitary is involved.
  • Ovaries: In women, the ovaries produce estrogen, progesterone and small amounts of testosterone before menopause. After menopause, it is the adrenals that produce these hormones to keep women healthy.
  • Testes: For men, the testes produce testosterone and small amounts of estrogen and progesterone.

These are just a few hormonal relationships – it really is complex and often hormone problems are a result of several hormones exerting influence in a way that causes more than one issue. Food and lifestyle can help immensely to feed the various body systems so they work in a more balanced way. A holistic nutrition professional can help you do this.

Balanced hormones are the key to a having a body in balance. Even small imbalances can cause an issue. Getting a proper diagnosis is key and from there decisions can be made to help correct the issues.

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Skipping the Carbs Could Be Messing With Your Weight Loss Efforts

By Kim Banting, Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Going low carb may sound like the answer to your weight loss issues, but the consequences could cause you to actually gain weight!  WHAT????!!!

 That’s right.  If you are one of those women who have tried or are trying a low carb diet for weight loss and it isn’t working, there may be a reason why.

The HPA-axis, or the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal-axis is a negative feedback loop in your body that helps manage stress of all kinds:

  • Physical stress from an injury or illness,
  • Psychological stress from having a fight with your partner or feeling anxious and
  • Metabolic stress which is not getting enough energy from food to satisfy your body’s needs (specifically for workouts).

All of these will activate the HPA-axis which is designed to protect your body from danger.  Your body wants to protect you from death at all costs, so when this system is activated, it will downregulate anything not necessary for survival like thyroid function, digestion, sex drive or fertility.

Here’s the other thing that’s going to thwart your weight loss efforts: when you restrict carbs, your thyroid function slows and your cortisol levels rise, causing weight gain around your middle. Other side effects from restricting carbs are fluctuating testosterone levels, muscle breakdown, poor immune function, low energy and impaired memory and cognitive function.  These symptoms don’t happen right away, but eventually you will begin to feel tired, spacey, moody and just generally lousy, plus your risk of getting sick will be greater.  Just wonderful.

As if that weren’t enough, we have another hormone in the mix: leptin.  Leptin is an appetite suppressant hormone.  It signals when our body has gotten enough energy from food.  However, it is influenced by insulin.  When we eat carbohydrates, we secrete insulin to make sure that the glucose moves from our blood into our cells and when insulin levels go up, it signals leptin levels to rise to tell you that you are full.  If you are eating a low carb diet, you are producing less insulin, and as a result, less leptin; therefore, no satiety signal and you may still be hungry after eating an appropriate volume of food. Leptin is also associated with our fat stores: the more fat you have, the more leptin you will produce.  So, picture this: let’s say you are fairly lean (ie: you have less than 10 lbs to lose), you don’t overeat and you are eating low carb; you may be sending stress signals to the HPA-axis telling it to downregulate because your body thinks you are starving!  This means that your metabolism will slow down, so that normal amount of food that you are eating will cause you to gain weight.  Crap!

That all being said, there are definitely carbs we want to reduce.  Refined, white flours, sugary foods and fried foods are all bad choices for our health. These foods will raise our insulin to very high levels which causes stress on the body as well.  This raises our cortisol, which increases belly fat and will also lead to poor sleep, poor concentration, low thyroid function and estrogen/progesterone imbalances.

The women who should watch their carb intake are:

  • Those with estrogen dominant conditions like PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids
  • Insulin resistance or type 2 Diabetes
  • SIBO or yeast overgrowth
  • You have more than 10 lbs to lose
  • You aren’t very active
  • You are fighting cancer
  • If you have a neurodegenerative disease

You need to eat more carbohydrates if:

  • You have difficulty sleeping
  • You have a low functioning thyroid
  • You are highly active, HIIT training, always on the go
  • Have less than 10 lbs to lose
  • You aren’t getting your period or your cycles are irregular
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding

Now, all this begs the question: how much carbohydrate should we be eating?  That isn’t an easy answer, because we all have very unique needs.  I would begin in the range of 200 grams a day and either reduce or increase based on your energy levels.  This takes time and you may need the help of a qualified nutrition coach. Always stick to whole foods and good carbohydrate choices like brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, beets, whole grain bread or beans and lentils.  These will help to keep your blood sugar stable, which keeps insulin levels balanced and prevents weight gain around the middle.  In fact, beans and lentils have been shown to be amazing at keeping blood sugar levels balanced not only with the meal they are consumed, but at the following meal as well.

Healthy and Happiness,

Kim

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Balancing My Hormones Changed My Life!

By Kim Banting,

I want to tell you all why my Healthy Hormone program is so important to me.

I began my journey to better health about 10 years ago.  When I started studying nutrition in 2007, I suffered from chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations, acne, diarrhea, constipation, PMS, mood swings (just ask my husband!) and  extreme exhaustion.  The funny thing is,  in spite of all of my above issues, I thought I was in great health!  LOL!  I went to the gym every day and was in great physical shape.  I cooked all of my meals from scratch, even though I later learned that they weren’t always very healthy… so, before I started learning about nutrition and what a healthy body looks and feels like, I thought I was doing well, just because I was thin and muscular.

Isn’t that  a common misconception?  I looked great on the outside, but inside I felt like I was falling apart.

Moving forward in school, I was my own guinea pig and tried all of the new things I was learning on myself.  I did my first detox and ate clean for 30 days and I can’t tell you how incredibly it changed my life!  Every issue (except the neck pain) that I had went away.  Just like that!  It was such a powerful experience!  I slept soundly each night and woke up in the morning feeling rested and excited about starting my day.  I continued to exercise daily and started to take joy in my routine!  It was amazing.

I had cleaned out my liver and colon and helped my entire digestive system to function more efficiently.  I thought this was the extent to what I had accomplished.  At the time, I had ignored the level of stress I had been suffering and didn’t see the connection to the above health issues.  Now, after practicing nutrition for 10 years, I understand how much of an impact our adrenal glands have on our overall health!  My detox had helped a lot, but slowly, over the course of few years, some of my issues began to creep back into my life:  depression and anxiety first, then I couldn’t sleep and my pain got worse and would often flare up to a point where I couldn’t perform normal activities.

I knew that I had to get a grip on my stress management!  I began to focus on stress and it’s affect on the body.  Where I really got curious was when I realized that the adrenal glands have the ability to over-ride the pituitary and create cortisol at the expense of other hormones!  Your adrenal glands have the job of protecting your body at all costs.  Your adrenals don’t know the difference between being hit by a car or being yelled at by your boss, or running late for work.  It’s all the same, and so, cortisol is being made to keep you going through these times of stress.  This disrupts not only your hormonal system, but also other body systems, like your digestion and nervous system.

Did you know that when women go through menopause and our ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, our adrenal glands are tasked with picking up the slack?  Imagine if you have lived most of your adult life in a state of stress and are now beginning to feel run down, exhausted and depressed or maybe you don’t sleep well or have been steadily gaining weight in the midsection?  Are your adrenals up to this task?  The closer we get to our transition time into menopause, the more we are going to feel these effects and the more uncomfortable our experience of menopause will be.  Now is the time to help our bodies heal and build so that we can go through our transition with grace!

We do not have to suffer.  Women of other cultures that live a more natural lifestyle barley notice their change and they sometimes don’t arrive at menopause until 60 years old!  This tells me that it is possible to have a good experience.

I am making it my mission to share my journey with other women like me.  I want to help you to feel like the amazing women you are!

Health, happiness and miracles,

Kim

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4 Weeks to Healthy, Happy Hormones

By Kim Banting,

A “Hormone Reboot” You Can Do In 30 Days?

Here’s How You Can Stop the Annoying Issues That Are Making You Miserable

Discover Why You’re Just Days Away From

Regaining Control Over Your Life!

Have you ever felt that your body and you are not on the same page?

 There’s a reason for that.  There are players in your body, called hormones, that are making decisions for you.

 And the foods you are eating may not be doing what is best for you.

 Does this sound familiar?

  • Getting through the day is a struggle
  • You feel tense and ready for a meltdown at any moment
  • Your body feels sluggish and achy
  • You have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night
  • Weight gain seems to be your new reality
  • You crave sweet or salty foods all the time
  • One minute you are happy and the next minute the world is coming to an end
  • Maybe you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis, PMS, or menstrual issues
  • Gas and bloating seems to be happening much more often
  • Hot flashes are driving you crazy!

If you suffer from any of these, then you are experiencing the effects of whacky hormones.  When they are balanced, they make you feel amazing and when they are out of balance, they make you feel miserable.

Here’s the good news…

There is a way to turn it all around, and it does not involve buying expensive supplements or doing complicated exercise routines.  It involves something you really like to do – eating.  So ask yourself…

 What Would You Do to Feel Like Yourself Again and Be Able to Lose Weight, Gain Energy and Have More Control Over Your Body?

Have you ever said to yourself: “I would do anything to feel good again?”

Have you ever felt: “This should not be happening to me!”

If you have, then you have probably tried many things to feel better: supplements, medications, working with MDs/NDs and avoiding all kinds of food.  And like most people, you are tired of the fight.  You are busy, stressed and fed up.  But I have more good news;

This is why I’ve worked with a fellow holistic nutritionist to develop a complete hormone balancing program that allows you to eat your way to rebalancing your hormones.

Introducing the:

 Healthy Hormones for Women Group Program

4 Week Program: $320

6 Week Program: $500

 The complete “Healthy Hormones for Women” group program will help you rebalance your hormones, using the foods that the systems in your body need to function properly.

You are steps away to a more balanced body, starting with food: delicious, wonderful food, full of flavour.  As your body adapts to this new way of eating, you will start to notice the headaches disappear, your energy returns and you’ll feel inspired and invigorated.  With a step-by-step process, I will guide our group through the program.  What you will gain is knowledge and power – you will learn how you function and what works best for you.

This is not a quick-fix but a real proven solution and you will see:

Noticeable Improvement in Just 30 Days.

Remember, you are a woman and you have a cycle and your cycle needs to reset, too.  That means no more PMS, irregular periods or bloating before your period and more energy, clear thinking and beautiful, wonderful calmness.

Each week of the program, I will teach you more information to understand the interaction of the various hormones that have been playing games in your body. You will easily recognize what has happened in your life that led you to be where you are now. As you go through the program (adaptable for all diet types such as gluten-free or vegan), each week you will feel better and better.

In this program, you’ll discover…

  • The role of the liver and how easy it is to support its 400 functions. Learn about the foods your liver loves.
  • The top ten hormone-balancing foods and how easily they can be worked into your diet.
  • The other players in the game; the adrenals, the thyroid, the intestinal system and digestive system and how they are affecting you – they all involve hormones so if you have issues with any of these, you will now know why.
  • How to support your body by eliminating toxins and feeding it with the nutrients it needs to stop the weight gain, improve your moods and stop those insatiable cravings.
  • Why the results you can achieve will be so dramatic when you are just eating food.
  • A complete menu plan plus delicious recipes that will inspire you.
  • How I will support you and the other group members through the program and be there to answer all your questions.

 Here Are the Tools You Will Receive to Help You Have Healthy Hormones:

  • 28 Day flexible Menu Plan with 90 amazing recipes
  • Weekly shopping lists
  • Complete instructions to understand what you are eating and why
  • Lifestyle suggestions to help guide you through the process
  • How to eat for each stage of your cycle
  • Are You an Emotional Eater? – handout
  • Conscious Eating – handout
  • Kitchen Makeover – handout
  • Hormone Questionnaire to help you understand what you are experiencing
  • Chart and instructions for monitoring your cycle
  • Weekly group sessions with complete support to get the answers to all your questions

Plus the Bonus for signing up:

7 Day Hormone Reboot and Shopping List
Signs You Need to Detox – handout
Top Ten Hormone Balancing Foods – handout
Food Substitution List – handout

Improve your metabolism, lose weight, end cravings and find a new way to live your life with energy and vitality.  You will be amazed with what you can accomplish and so will your friends and family.  By using these tools, the menu plans and all the instructional information, you will see your body transform in a manner that can last a lifetime.

Just think what you can do and how great life will be with the new motivation and vitality you will have by participating in this program.  Call me today if you are interested in learning more about this program and if it is right for you 647-202-7649 or email at kim@flourish-nutrition.com

 

 

 

 

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5 Things You Can Do Today To Banish Bloating

By Kim Banting,

Bloating is a major problem for a lot of people.  It can range from mild discomfort to great pain.  Occasionally it can be sign of a big problem like IBS, Crohn’s disease, allergies, autoimmune disease or cancer, but most often bloating and the gas that causes it are tied to what and how you eat.  About half of the gas in your digestive tract is from swallowed air (usually from eating too quickly), the rest is produced by the bacteria, yeasts and fungi that reside in your gut.  Slow digestion and the range of microbes living in your digestive tract can cause unwanted gas to build up and create bloating.  Eating too much, eating too fast and eating rich, fatty foods can all make this worse.  Of course, we also know that there are specific foods that are notorious for causing gas and bloating; foods like beans and lentils, fruit, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sugary foods, dairy products and whole grains all have the ability to cause severe discomfort for some people.  However, I am going to tell you today, that it isn’t the food that’s the problem!  The issue lies in your gut.

Gas and bloating are problems with inefficient digestion and poor eating habits:

  • Low stomach acid causes inadequate digestion of proteins, so food sits for too long in the stomach and can cause carbohydrates to begin fermenting
  • Low enzyme secretion means an inability to break down proteins, sugars and starches efficiently
  • Imbalanced gut bacteria (your micro biome) means you are feeding bad microbes which create much more gas and waste products
  • Slow intestinal motility causes constipation which is sure to make you bloated
  • Eating too quickly or eating too much puts a lot of stress on the digestive tract
  • Eating when you are stressed, in a hurry or preoccupied can reduce the amount of stomach acid and enzymes that are secreted, impairing digestion

What Your Gut Microbiome Has to do With It:

The human microbiota consists of 10-100 trillion symbiotic microbial cells harbored by each person-primarily in the gut; the human micro biome consists of the genes these cells harbor and is a sort of catalogue of your gut inhabitants.  Scientists have long known and understood that there is a strong connection between an individual’s health and their micro biome.  In fact, in the 1690′s, a man named Antonio Van Leewenhoek studied microbes from both oral and fecal samples of healthy and sick people and noticed vast differences in the populations of good and bad bacteria.  This tells us that there are things that can disrupt the environment of our guts and that this disruption may have consequences to our health.

Poor diet, high stress and medications like antibiotics are just some of the factors that can create a disharmonious environment in your digestive tract.  Studies have shown that an altered gut ecosystem is frequently associated with poor digestive health, increased susceptibility to infections as well as other diseases like obesity, metabolic syndromes, allergies and other inflammatory diseases.  Also, this altered ecosystem may not be so easy to correct; another study showed that 3-4 days after treatment with a broad spectrum antibiotic like ciprofloxacin, the gut mircobiota experiences a decrease in the number and diversity of microbes, many of these will fail to return ever and for some species, reestablishment can be affected for up to 4 years following treatment.

What do we do about this?  There is evidence that taking a multi-strain probiotic (contains 10 or more different strains of microbes in a dose of 10 billion or more per capsule) along with different types of fermented foods (see #4 below) is very effective in the relief of bloating and that it can begin to help repopulate good microbes in the digestive tract.  While we still need larger and better-designed studies, anecdotally, I’ve personally experienced and seen with my clients great results from taking a range of different probiotic and prebiotic foods.  The foods you eat do have a big impact on correcting your gut issues; specific bacteria have jobs to break down polysaccharides and make new vitamins to benefit our health while others feed off the junk foods we eat and create havoc in the gut.  We want to build up the numbers of beneficial microbes and this will help to bring down the communities of harmful microbes and help us to find relief in our digestive tract and better absorb the nutrients in our food.

The following are some possible signs that you may have an imbalance in your gut micro biome:

  • digestive issues of all kinds
  • fluid retention
  • dehydration
  • constipation
  • food allergies and sensitivities
  • SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
  • infections
  • bowel obstruction
  • hormonal changes
  • cancer

Here are some simple strategies you can implement today that will go a long way toward helping you restore harmony in your belly!

  1. Chew your food!  This seems like a simple idea, but putting it into practice can be a challenge.  Take your time and chew your food thoroughly!  Not only will you be mixing your food with more saliva that contains enzymes that break down carbohydrates as well as producing leptin and ghrelin (hormones that manage appetite), but you will also slow down how quickly you eat.  Slowing down will help you to eat smaller portions and not overwhelm your digestive tract.
  2. Don’t eat when you feel stressed.  Your digestive tract cannot produce enough hydrochloric acid or enzymes needed for digestion when you feel anxious, worried or are in a hurry.  Take a few moments to create a calm, relaxed environment, take a few deep belly breaths and pause to look at and appreciate the food you are about to eat.  If you can’t relax at that moment, it might be better to hold off on your meal and go for a short walk or do something else to clear your mind.  Manage your stress by getting enough sleep and taking time to care for yourself.  We are all living pretty stressful lives and your body’s coping mechanism for dealing with being on the go is to produce cortisol.  Excess cortisol can keep your body in a fight or flight mode for very long periods of time.  This has a negative impact on digestion and gut health by slowing down digestion, not producing enough of the acids and enzymes needed for digestion, and damaging and killing the good bacteria in our guts!  Your enteric nervous system is located in your gut and it is in communication with your brain.  Have you ever had butterflies in your stomach before a big event?  That’s your enteric nervous system at work, and when it is activated through a stress response, this is what can cause problems like constipation, bloating and diarrhea.
  3. Try food combining.  Proteins, carbohydrates and fats are all digested at different points in our digestive tracts.  Carbohydrate digestion begins in the mouth and then continues in the intestines.  Protein needs the high acid content of your stomach to begin breaking down, and fats are emulsified with bile in the intestines and further broken down when lipase enzymes begin to do their work.  Protein actually stays in the stomach for about 3-4 hours before hydrochloric acid has broken it down enough to continue into the intestines, however, if you aren’t producing enough hydrochloric acid, this can take much longer.  If you have eaten both meat and a starch at the same meal (spaghetti with meat sauce or steak and potatoes) then the carbohydrate portion of the meal is going to begin to ferment.  Compared to proteins, carbohydrates move through the stomach in under an hour, so if you are having a difficult time digesting complex meals, food combining can be very helpful.  You may find this chart helpful https://beyondhealth.com/media/wysiwyg/kadro/articles/food-Combining-chart.pdf or you can also work with a Nutritionist or Naturopath for more individualized assistance.
  4. Make it a priority to take a probiotic supplement each day (https://www.healthambition.com/best-probiotics-men/) and incorporate more fermented foods into your diet on a regular basis.  Foods like sauerkraut, kimchee, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, miso, tempeh, and pickles have been fermented as a way to preserve them.  This type of fermentation does not contain any vinegar; it is a natural fermentation and the benefit of eating these foods is that many will provide your gut with a variety of beneficial microorganisms as well as helping to make the food more digestible and nutrient-dense.  One of the many jobs of good bacteria is to produce vitamins and make them more available to our body.  Be sure to find these in a refrigerator section of your local health store or try making them yourself!  I have a recipe for an easy sauerkraut that can be used to pickle just about any veggie combination you would like.  http://flourish-nutrition.com/recipe/simple-sauerkraut  Also, sprouting seeds, nuts and legumes is another way to make the nutrients more available and easier to digest.  http://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/sprouting/how-to-sprout-black-beans/
  5. Nature has provided us with many foods, herbs, spices and essential oils that can assist us in an acute situation of bloating, gas or other digestive upset.  Try them as a tea, chewing a small amount whole or use 1 drop of therapeutic grade essential oil such as Young Living* to get fast relief.  You won’t believe how well these remedies can work!
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger steeped in hot water for 3 minutes for bloating, gas or nausea.  Add 1/2 tsp raw honey.
  • Chew a pinch of fennel seeds for bloating and gas.
  • Chewing peppermint leaves or make a peppermint tea for bloating, heartburn and nausea.  Sip slowly.
The bottom line for all of this is that it is not the food itself, but our lifestyle choices that bring about digestive issues.  My reasoning is that if we create the problem with our poor choices, then implementing some new and better choices will help to correct the problem.  I can speak from experience that healing your gut will open you up to being able to eat just about any food again (in moderation) and I can help you achieve that as well!

 

http://www.jnmjournal.org/journal/view.html?uid=327&vmd=Full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28042926

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24664520

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25917520

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/findings-from-the-gut-new-insights-into-the-human-microbiome1/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3426293/

 

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Stressed? Let’s Fix That!

By Kim Banting,

It’s no secret that our lives are stressful.  We are all feeling it, even if we don’t talk about it, even if we put on a big smile and carry on through our day, it’s there.  We feel like we are on a hamster wheel and we are going through the same motions day after day.  We accomplish one task, but there is always another.

Work days seem to be getting longer, and many of us have obligations once we get home…making dinner, doing laundry, homework, bath time, PTA meetings, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping…the list could go on and on.  Where do we find time to care for ourselves, spend time with friends or do activities we enjoy?  These are the things that nurture us and bring joy into our lives.  Don’t get me wrong, making dinner for our family and helping our kids with their homework could be joyful, but if it has become part of the hamster wheel, it can quickly turn into an activity we resent doing.  The feeling of exhaustion, apathy or hopelessness that accompanies this is a sign of prolonged stress and it can have a tremendous impact on our health.

Prolonged stress places a heavy load on our heart, blood vessels, immune system and endocrine system and is associated with many common diseases.  Do you ever experience any of the following?

  • insomnia or disrupted sleep
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • digestive issues like gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, constipation
  • upset stomach
  • irritability

These are just a few symptoms that you may be stressed.  Why do these symptoms come up?  When the body is under stress, it puts more pressure on some body organs and systems which requires a greater amount of nutrients like magnesium, folic acid, zinc, vitamin C and B vitamins.  Over time, if we aren’t replenishing these nutrients with a really healthful diet, these nutrients become depleted and disease may begin to set in.  This is a very condensed explanation of why someone who is chronically stressed could develop:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Lung Disease
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Chronic Inflammation
  • Chronic Pain
  • Cancer
  • Liver Disease
  • PMS
  • Poor adrenal function
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Food Allergies/Sensitivities
  • IBS/IBD
  • and more

Not only does the extra burden on our organs deplete nutrients, but some of our coping mechanisms could be sabotaging us.  For example, if you tend towards an alcoholic beverage to unwind or find yourself eating a lot of sweets or refined carbohydrates, this can cause hypoglycemia and other hormonal imbalances that will exacerbate your stress symptoms and may affect your ability to get a restful sleep.  This in turn might cause you to reach for a morning cup of coffee to get you going which puts more strain on your adrenal glands and might cause cortisol to remain too high and consequently, raise blood sugar levels.  In the end, these coping strategies will fail us and will ensure we remain on our stressful hamster wheel.

I know, because I have lived through this scenario and I’m on the other side with a great foundation of knowledge and tools to help my clients overcome their stress patterns and create a new way of managing their stress and maintaining great health and vitality!  I know first hand how much impact our eating choices can have on how we feel mentally, emotionally and physically.  In fact, I would go so far as to say I am a completely different person than I was 10 years ago when I was suffering from anxiety and depression, insomnia, digestive problems, acne, mood swings and other uncomfortable issues.  I thought everything I was feeling was normal.  It all crept up on me so gradually that I didn’t attribute it to any one thing I was doing.  Once I went back to school and began my studies in Nutrition, I put into practice everything I was learning about a healthful diet and very quickly saw results from all of my health problems.

Scientific studies show that a healthy lifestyle and proper diet not only prevents, but also reverses chronic diseases.  The changes don’t have to be hard and deprivation isn’t part of it, but an understanding of how to make simple substitutions and include the right foods will make big changes!

I am offering a Stress Management Program in partnership with my colleague Robert Mayeda, RMT to combine Nutrition with Massage Therapy to help people who are looking for a better way to manage their stress and improve their health.  If you would like to know more about this program, you can contact me at 647-202-7649 or email me at kim@flourish-nutrition.com for a FREE 15 minute phone consult to see if this program is right for you.

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Spring Cleaning for Your Home

By Kim Banting,

Spring is a time when we naturally want to let go of extra stuff cluttering our homes, get in behind the furniture we haven’t moved for a while and really give our living space a good cleaning.  It feels so good and afterward there is a powerful feeling of satisfaction!

But what if the cleaning supplies we are using are actually bringing harmful chemicals into our homes and hurting our health or the health of our families? Unfortunately, most of the common cleaners available to us are filled with ingredients that are known carcinogens (cancer-causing), disrupt our hormones and can even affect our fertility, as well as irritate our skin.   Have you heard that the air inside our homes can be many times more toxic than the air outdoors??!!  Did you know that more than 80,000 chemicals have been introduced into our environment in the past 50 years and many of these have been untested for safety.  Of those that have been tested, many have been found to be toxic, irritating to skin and eyes, cause tumors in laboratory animals and cause reproductive issues.  Parabens, pthalates, sodium laurel (laureth) sulfate, VOC’s, fragrances, triclosan, and the list goes on.

So what do we do?  One of the simplest things you can do is to open your windows daily for a little while, but of course, we also need to clean our homes and there are lots of great products and simple ingredients in your pantry you can use right now.  Baking soda is a great scouring agent.  Vinegar kills salmonella, E coli and may other bacteria and leaves a nice shine on windows, mirrors and chrome.  Dr. Bronner’s castille soap can be used to create your own cleaning solution and can be used as a body wash and shampoo as well!  Essential oils can be used to create a nice scent that won’t harm you or your loved ones and many have antimicrobial properties.  Also, there are great products on the market that we can buy from companies like Norwex that are environmentally friendly and safe for your family.

Here are a few of the recipes that I use in my home:

Cutting boards:  Wooden cutting boards harbour a lot of bacteria!  They can get deep into the wood and come out when moisture is present.  How to get them clean?  First, give your board a good scrub with hot, soapy water.  Lay it flat and sprinkle the surface generously with salt and scrub, rubbing the salt into the board.  Allow it to sit for 30 minutes and rinse well.  I also like to give it a final spray with white vinegar and allow it to sit again for a few minutes before wiping it with a clean, dry cloth.

All purpose cleaner:  Combine 1 tsp castille soap and 2 cups of water to a spray bottle.  You can also add a few drops of pure, organic, high quality essential oil like tea tree oil, oregano oil, lemon oil or even Thieves.  I use oils from Young Living which are certified organic therapeutic grade essential oils.

Floor cleaner:   To cut through tough dirt, use 2 tbsp liquid castille soap to 1 gallon hot water.  For shine combine 1 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon hot water.

Scrubbing paste:  To cut through soap scum in your bathtub, shower or sink, combine 5 tbsp baking soda with enough castille soap to make a paste (about 3 tsp).  Dip a cleaning cloth in this paste and rub into your surface and rinse clean.  You can also prevent soap build up in the shower by spraying down the walls with vinegar after showering.

Mold and mildew in your towels:  No one likes the smell of mildew in their towels and we all know that simple washing in regular detergent won’t get rid of this.  You will need to run your washing machine for two cycles.  Round 1, use 1 cup white vinegar and no soap for a full cycle.  Next, run the same load again with 1 cup of baking soda, no soap.  In the dryer, I love using dryer balls and you can even scent them with a few drops of essential oil from lavender, lemon or any scent you like!

One last idea:  Get some green, living plants in your home.  They help to clean the air while bringing some life into your surroundings.  Two of the best plants to buy are spider plants and Boston ferns.

Have fun with these ideas and feel great that you aren’t just cleaning your home, you are also helping to protect your health!

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