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10 Ways to Stay Healthy at the Cottage This Weekend

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Ever find that you leave for the cottage in such a good routine with diet and exercise and then come back feeling like you’ve eaten everything that you normally avoid, drank a few too many “somethings”, didn’t move more than walking from the cottage to the dock to the kitchen and back, and were not able to get enough zzzzz’s?

If your cottage weekends are anything like mine, there is always an abundance of food and snacks. Thanks to my brother-in-law, we are on a schedule at my cottage. Saturdays look like this: French toast at 9 am; snack at 11:30 am (a fruit and leftover chocolate twist); Bagels, lox and cream cheese at 1pm; white wine, chips and guacamole sharp at 330pm; wine and cheese at 7pm; dinner of BBQ, salads and sides at 8:30 pm and finishing off the night with snacks consisting of chips, an assortment of candy and Kawartha Dairy ice cream.

It ALL looks so good and likely tastes even better. So how are you going to make this long weekend different? Plan ahead. Stay on track (80% of the time) and leave the weekend having had a great time but not feeling like you need a detox.

Incorporate these 10 tips to stay healthy this long weekend:

1. Balance your meals to balance your blood sugar levels and to keep you satiated. This will prevent you from being ravished and overeating at happy hour. Meals should include protein, fat and complex carbs to keep you well fueled and your metabolism revved.
2. Build your plate so that 50% is vegetables, 25% is protein, 20% complex carbs and 5% healthy fats.
3. Have snacks that pair a protein or fat with a carbohydrate to balance your blood sugar levels and to keep you feeling full longer.
4. Make a big salad (or two) that can keep in the fridge over the weekend so that when you are looking for something quick, there is an easy and accessible option. A quinoa or bean salad are my go-tos as the flavour enhances with time, they don’t get soggy, they are high in fiber and they are filling.
5. Bake some healthier snacks for the cottage so that you don’t feel deprived and have alternatives. I like to bring black bean brownies, granola, gluten free muffins etc.
6. Remember that it takes 20 minutes for your mind to register that you are full. Slow down during the meal: chew your food, put your fork down, enjoy the flavours in each bite and engage in conversation.
7. Stay hydrated – bring your water bottle and add lemon, lime, berries, orange, mint etc to keep your water interesting.
8. Tea is a great after dinner beverage that can often fill the sweet craving. I love David’s Tea as they have so many options depending on the flavours you are looking for.
9. Keep active – swim, walk, run, play sports with your kids. Re-connect with your surroundings. There is something so grounding about being outside, near the water and away from the chaos of everyday life. Let go of the stress of the week and just enjoy your time.
10. Follow the 80/20 rule. Don’t expect perfection. Allow yourself to be in the moment (20% of the time). Give yourself space for balance and moderation – this will lead to long-term sustainable healthy habits versus suffering restrictive, rigid dieting.

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Immune Support

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Wondering why you are getting slammed with virus after virus? 80% of your immune system is located in your digestive system, making a healthy gut a key factor in maintaining optimal health. Rather than OTC meds and antibiotics that further disrupt your microbiome, look at prebiotics, probiotics, fermented foods, diet, stress management, exercise and sleep habits. Build up your internal (natural) security system!

‪#‎empoweredwellness‬ ‪#‎healthyliving‬, ‪#‎healing‬ ‪#‎guthealth‬ ‪#‎crohns‬ ‪#‎colitis‬ ‪#‎nutrition‬ ‪#‎wellness‬ ‪#‎ibd‬ ‪#‎paleo‬

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Fermented food notes

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Did you know that your gut produces neurotransmitters and has a direct connection to your brain? And that probiotics and prebiotics can have an effect on brain chemistry thereby reducing anxiety and creating a more positive outlook? Try adding fermented foods to your diet as they are a great source of good bacteria. And try different types to add diversity to your microbiome.

‪#‎microbiome‬ ‪#‎gutbrain‬ ‪#‎probiotics‬ ‪#‎fermentation‬ ‪#‎mood‬ ‪#‎instagood‬ ‪#‎realfood‬ ‪#‎cleaneating‬ ‪#‎food‬ ‪#‎eathealthy‬ ‪#‎eeeeeats‬ ‪#‎friday‬ ‪#‎empoweredwellness‬ ‪#‎crohnsnomore‬ ‪#‎crohns‬ ‪#‎celiac‬ ‪#‎glutenfree‬ ‪#‎ulcerativecolitis‬ ‪#‎ibd‬ ‪#‎paleo‬ ‪#‎vegan‬ ‪#‎wildbrine‬ #

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Wine Lovers Take Note

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A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people have higher levels of good bacteria and lower levels of bad bacteria in their intestines after drinking 2 glasses of wine daily. ‪

#‎nutrition‬ ‪#‎probiotics‬ ‪#‎weekend‬ ‪#‎wellness‬ ‪#‎thingsthatmakeyougohmmm‬ ‪#‎paleo‬ ‪#‎vegan‬ ‪#‎instalike‬ ‪#‎tgif‬ ‪#‎empoweredwellness‬ ‪#‎crohns‬ ‪#‎Colitis‬ ‪#‎ibd‬ ‪#‎enjoylife‬ ‪#‎healthy‬

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Reflection

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The New Year is always a time of reflection and goal setting; and why would this year be any different? This year my resolution was to be kind to myself and to treat my body and mind with respect. What does that mean? Well……I have always had a love-hate relationship with food. Depending on how my stomach is feeling, if I am in a flare, if I know I have to be somewhere, doing something for a period of time with no bathroom close by, if I have to slip into a dress and am bloated and uncomfortable and/or if I have been feeling well and just going on doing my thing. These physical symptoms dictate what, where and how much I eat and can spoil a great meal or social gathering.

 

As a nutritionist, I know food is medicine and food is fuel. I know what to eat and what not to eat to manage a flare. I have tried different diets, different food combinations and sequences and believe after much experimentation, I know what works for me and what I need to do. And for a chunk of time, I do the anti-inflammatory nourishing diet. I am diligent about planning my meals, prepping ahead of time, not cheating and being on track. And then when I start to feel good again, I self-sabotage. I’ll taste test my baking, I’ll munch on some of the snacks at work or I’ll enjoy popcorn or nuts with the rest of my family. And for a little while, I feel okay so I continue sneaking in bites of gluten and dairy here and there. And then slowly but surely, my symptoms creep back in and before I know it I am back in a flare. Those benign little indulgences alone are not the issue. It is the continuous insults that cause inflammation and the immune reaction in the gut.   I get frustrated with my body and myself for falling back into a flare but know exactly what I have to do – and so, the cycle begins again.

 

I am not sure why I self- sabotage and have thought about it a lot over the last while. It may be out of deprivation or it may be testing the waters to see if miraculously I have completely healed my gut. Change is hard but suffering a crohn’s flare is harder. I am a better mother, wife, friend and nutritionist when I am healthy. I notice these changes in myself and will use this as motivation to stay accountable. Having willpower is a skill that takes time to master but 2016 is my year to do so. I know what to do – I coach clients on this every day. But even for me, this is difficult. So this year, I will stay accountable to myself and next time I go to the movies with my husband, his bag of popcorn really will just be for him!

#newyear #resolution #selfcare #crohnsnomore #crohns #colitis #IBD #CCFC #empoweredwellness #nutrition #wellness #accountability #motivation

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Wet Sock Treatment

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Scenario: my husband has been sick with strep throat, my boys both have green snotty noses with deep chesty coughs, I have not slept in days as I sleep beside a raging animal (a.k.a. my husband snoring), I went for my remicade infusion (total immune suppressant) on Monday and I am busy running between work and home organizing to leave for vacation on Friday morning. I knew it was coming, I have felt the tickle in my head for the past 3 days and then last night on my way home from work, “it” hit – the virus finally made its way to me.
I hate being sick and that’s mostly because when I do get sick, I get REALLY sick as my immune system is so compromised from the meds I take for ‪crohns‬ and ‪‎colitis‬.
Rather than let this virus get the best of me and ruin the first leg of my trip, I crawled into bed last night at 8 and put on my “WET SOCKS” .
Before you shut down this idea as an old wives tale, understand how it works:
Our bodies are always striving toward homeostasis, so when we put cold wet socks on warm feet, the body responds with a rush of blood to the area to warm up what has become cold. The wet-sock treatment stimulates systemic circulation which in turn, fuels the immune system to work overtime to fight acute colds and viruses.
Ready to give it a try? Here’s what you do:
1) Find 1 pair of cotton socks and 1 pair of wool socks.
2) Warm your feet up in a hot bath.
3) Completely wet the cotton socks in cold water and then ring them out so they’re no longer dripping.
4) Put on the wet socks and then cover with the wool socks.
5) Close your eyes and fall asleep. You will wake up with dry socks and reduced symptoms. On the side, “wet socks” promotes improved sleep and has been used as a treatment for insomnia.
6) For best results, use this treatment 3 nights in a row.
Definitely worth a try – quick, easy, can be done at home, kid-friendly and cost effective. Start boosting your immune system tonight!
‪#‎immunesystem‬ ‪#‎healthy‬ ‪#‎wellness‬ ‪#‎coldandflu‬ ‪#‎winter‬ ‪#‎thursday‬ ‪#‎webstagram‬ ‪#‎paleo‬ ‪#‎ibd‬ ‪#‎crohnsnomore‬ ‪#‎momlife‬ ‪#‎ccfc‬ ‪#‎wetsocks‬ ‪#‎kidapproved‬ ‪#‎empoweredwellness‬

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Fennel

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Fennel has become my new go-to vegetable on the table. It’s got the crunch and flavour factors covered and is high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Fennel can improve digestion, increase iron in the body, lessen menstrual cramps, protect against aging, help a colicky baby and support weight loss. If you’re like me and have a love for black licorice and can use any extra digestive support- don’t walk by this vegetable next time you’re at the market!!!

‪#‎foodismedicine‬ ‪#‎motivation‬ ‪#‎monday‬ ‪#‎paleo‬ ‪#‎vegetarian‬ ‪#‎vegan‬ ‪#‎food‬ ‪#‎nutrition‬ ‪#‎fall‬ ‪#‎empoweredwellness‬ ‪#‎cleaneating‬ ‪#‎realfood‬ ‪#‎loveit‬ ‪#‎digestion‬ ‪#‎ibd‬ ‪#‎crohns‬

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Crohns and Colitis Awareness Month: Keeping Your Head Held High

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November is Crohns and Colitis awareness month. Share this post to empower a community of awareness!
As someone with both crohns and colitis, I often reflect on what it means to have this disease and the impact that only someone with this auto-immune disease can ever truly understand. No one wants to really talk about IBD due to the nature of the disease. People always think “we’re fine” because “we look fine” but no one knows what goes on within each day, what thoughts flood one’s mind and how this disease effects more than just the gut. I wonder if it is normal to be envious of a friend who had a total colectomy and is now symptoms free? Is it normal to plan the route to work based on the need for an urgent bathroom break? Is it normal to look forward to a day of fasting to avoid symptoms? Is it normal to always be “that person” at the restaurant asking for substitutions to a meal? Is it normal to fear germs due to being immune-compromised from the meds that keep symptoms in remission? Is it normal to crawl into bed before the kids due to iron deficient complete exhaustion?
The reality is that this is NORMAL for someone suffering from crohns and/or colitis.
Rather than being down and out, try to ride the waves, push within limits and try to take the best care of your body by combining both conventional and holistic methods.
1.Follow the diet that works for you! There are 100 diets for 100 different people. It is not a one-size fits all approach. Food can be both nourishing and aggravating and this can change over time. Know your triggers, learn your sensitivities and listen to your body. For an in-depth analysis and plan, meet with a nutritionist.
2. Stay hydrated. Start your day with warm water and lemon, sip on a green juice, enjoy endless bone broth, have herbal or green tea to soothe and carry around a water bottle. All this will hydrate, alkalize, nourish and sooth your GI tract.
3. Supplement as needed. Due to poor appetite, inflammation, diarrhea and poor absorption, IBD’ers often lack nutrients that are essential for health and wellness. Check in with your healthcare practitioner to ensure you are supplementing with your diet with what your bodies specific needs. Check out my blog for some of my go-to recommendations: https://www.brightalmond.com/…/9-ways-to-manage-a-crohns-f…/

4. Stay active (within your safe limits). Walk, run, bike, swim, take a yoga or pilates class, dance or play. Staying active can reduce stress and anxiety associated with IBD, build bone mass (bone loss is a side effect of steroid treatment), improve quality of life, improve symptoms, promote restorative sleep and make you feel strong from the inside out.

5. Rest and sleep. Sleep is the time that our bodies repair and rejuvenate. Ensure that you listen to your body and get the shut-eye that you need and deserve.

6. Stay calm! (this one I still need to practice). When in a flare, I panic and try to retrace my every bite of food, action and possible cause, in hopes of reversing whatever I did. What I have learned is that IBD has a mind of its own and sometimes, whatever I do, doesn’t matter. I am learning (slowly) to ride the wave, to trust my doctors and mostly to trust my own body. My body is amazingly strong. I might have crohn’s and colitis but I will never let this disease define me!

#‎crohns‬ ‪#‎colitis‬ ‪#‎healthier2gether‬ ‪#‎crohnsnomore‬ ‪#‎ibd‬ ‪#‎ccfc‬ ‪#‎health‬ ‪#‎wellness‬ ‪#‎holistic‬ ‪#‎foodismedicine‬ ‪#‎Makeitstopforlife‬ ‪#‎empoweredwellness‬ ‪#‎getyourbellyout‬ ‪#‎UC‬ ‪#‎purplepower‬

Disclaimer: the information contained in this blog post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only and you should understand that if you decided to experiment and apply the ideas on this blog post, you are taking full responsibility for your actions. This blog post is not meant to diagnose or to treat any medical condition. I encourage you to consult with your primary healthcare practitioners to diagnose any medical condition and to discuss any changes with your doctor should you be concerned. The blogger is not liable for any damages or negative consequences resulting from any action by a person reading or following the information on this blog.

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Serious Squash

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Serious squash season! I love butternut squash roasted with a little coconut oil or in a ginger lentil butternut soup. But the taste is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the health benefits of butternut squash. High in fiber, potassium, B vitamins, vitamin A and C – making this powerfood heart healthy, anti inflammatory and immune boosting. How are you using your squash this week??

‪#‎paleo‬ ‪#‎foodismedicine‬ ‪#‎realfood‬ #realfood #foodismedicine ‪#‎ibd‬ ‪#‎crohns‬ ‪#‎vegan‬ ‪#‎nutrition‬ ‪#‎fall‬ ‪#‎empoweredwellness‬