The Wonders of Healthy Fats: A Simple Guide

Byline: Lynn Louise Wonders

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All the science around the different kinds of fats in your diet might leave your head spinning! Never fear!

I am going to simplify all that science so we can get you on your way to greater health and well-being. Let’s chew the fat on fat, shall we?

You’ve probably heard a lot about good fats and bad fats right?

Let’s talk in terms of healthy vs. unhealthy instead.

And, while we’re at it, let’s also consider something called ratio and, of course, moderation.

The only really unhealthy fat to always avoid is hydrogenated fat or trans fat.

I must warn you, we just can’t trust the labels on commercial foods that claim “no trans fats.”

Sadly, companies are allowed to make that statement if the levels are below a certain number. The truth is if the ingredients label lists the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated”,  trans fats are likely lurking in that food item. Best to skip that one.

Omega 3s, 6s and 9s…oh my!

Both omega-3 and omega-6 are considered essential fatty acids (EFA). They are essential to the health of our bodies BUT we have to get these healthy fats through foods or supplements. And in the right RATIO.

Let’s begin with Omega 3

Some of the benefits science tells us we get from consuming Omega 3s are:

  • Lower elevated triglyceride levels
  • Decreased inflammation for arthritis or other autoimmune disorders
  • Helps with ADHD
  • May help prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease

Fish has the most easily absorbable source of healthy Omega 3s.

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But hold on…

It is really important we get our fish and/or our fish oil supplements from clean, non-toxic fish sources. 

Access a list of fish healthy to eat and those to avoid by clicking HERE. 

There are other kinds of Omega 3s we can derive from walnuts, flax seeds, expeller pressed canola oil, wheat germ and soybeans.

But before you run out and gnosh on a whole lot of nuts and edamame, make sure your walnuts are raw and fresh. If they have an odor… bad news…the oil in them has gone rancid.  As for soybeans, well, only eat them in moderation, make sure they are certified organic and check with your doctor because too much soy (or sometimes any at all) can affect hormone levels.

What about Omega 6?

Omega 6 essential fatty acids are easily and readily found in a variety of foods. In fact, the typical American diet is far too heavy on Omega 6s causing health problems including obesity. You’ll find omega 6s in all sources of animal protein, most nuts, and eggs. The key here is ratio. Americans are typically way out of balance. You can fix your ratio though!

And Omega 9s?

Omega-9 fatty acids are monounsaturated fats. Omega 9s also offer a lot of health benefits. They are important for heart health and blood sugar control and can be obtained in the diet through foods such as expeller pressed canola oil, nuts and avocados.

So how do we find balance? The right ratio.

The easiest  way to be sure your healthy fats ratio is a good one is to eat the following foods regularly:

  • Raw (preferably organic) nuts and seeds, such as fresh organic flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts
  • Fish that are sourced from clean waters and found on the list of sustainable seafood
  • Organic grass-fed or pasture-fed butter
  • Organic eggs from pastured, free-range hens are rich in beneficial omega-3s
  • Meat from animals that are free ranging and/or grass fed, which are higher in beneficial omega-6s
  • Unprocessed organic oils such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados and avocado oil
  • Coconut oil, (though not an omega-3 or omega-6 fat)- is a MOST beneficial dietary fat with benefits for heart health, metabolism, immune system, skin and thyroid
  • Avocados are a source of omega 9 and they have special properties in their fat content that have been shown to have all kinds of health benefits

The gifts of healthy fats

Healthy fats derived from clean, healthy sources in combination with your whole foods diet rich in phytonutrients from veggies and high fiber fruits help your body to run like a well-oiled machine. Healthy fats in the right ratio aid in reducing inflammation, improve brain functioning, assist in having healthy skin, provide lasting energy and much more.

Eating healthy fats will NOT make you fat!

Let’s dispel myths and get the facts straight here.

Dietary fat IS high in calories whether it’s unhealthy or healthy fat, yes. Too many calories consumed with not enough activity can results in weight gain, absolutely.

But the quality of the fats you are consuming in moderation, proper ratio and in addition to your healthy whole foods diet makes all the difference in how your body assimilates and utilizes those nutrients.

Eating just the right ratio of healthy fats will help your metabolism to operate more efficiently! The key is to consider portions and moderation when adding healthy fats to your larger portions of vegetables throughout the day.

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Leptin is a special hormone. Its job is to communicate to your brain how much fat your body has and how much your body needs.

As women, in particular, grow older, we sometimes develop resistance to leptin. In order to address our leptin resistance, Science is finding that eating significant portions of protein and healthy fats in the morning, as soon after waking as possible can really help signal a sense of satiety and build a health leptin connection.

 Weave Healthy Fats Into Your Diet: Tricks and Tips

  •  Add a scoop of chia seeds and a scoop of organic pea protein to your green smoothie
  • Scramble some organic, free-range eggs in a tablespoon of coconut oil
  • Chop raw walnuts and sprinkle a tablespoon over a big green salad
  • Make your own salad dressings with expeller pressed walnut oil, canola oil and extra virgin olive oil
  • Nibble on pistachios and raw almonds instead of buttered popcorn at the movies (small servings will suffice!)
  • Buy a coffee grinder to be used for flax seeds ONLY – grind flax seeds and mix into your smoothies and drink right away to get the benefits into your body
  • Shop for sustainable fish and aim for 4-5 servings each week
  • If you eat chicken, beef or other meats, opt for grass-fed and free-range only

May your relationship with healthy fat be long-lasting! Here’s to your health!

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Lynn Louise Wonders, LPC, RPT-S, CPCS, E-RYT is s holistic psychotherapist, yoga teacher, nutrition enthusiast and wellness coach providing programs and all natural, organic products to support health weight loss and wellness for women over 40. Lynn has studied nutrition and whole health in-depth with qualified nutrition experts and sources her information from the latest research and scientific findings. You can read more and connect with Lynn at www.wonderswellness.com

 

 

 

3 Ways To Cut Your Kitchen Time In Half

cut your kitchen timeByline: Ashley Srokosz showing us how to cut your kitchen time!

If you’re on the healthy eating bandwagon, you probably know that there are about a billion different “diets” or ways of eating that all seem to have their own specific benefits.

  • There’s paleo for the auto-immune crowd.
  • There’s vegan for the disease fighting and anti-eating-animals crowd.
  • There’s gluten free for the gluten intolerant and celiac crowd.
  • There’s GAPS or SCD diet for the intestinally challenged crowd.

The frustrating part, even as a holistic nutritionist, is figuring out what way of eating your body performs best on. For example, even though I know that being vegan has huge health benefits, I feel dizzy, unfocused, and flighty when I eat it too many days in a row. My body does best with some locally, organically, and ethically raised meat at least once every few days.

I’ve heard it said that there are 7 billion diets for 7 billion people … but there’s one thing that they all have in common:

Eating minimally processed, whole foods that are prepared and eaten in the most nutrient dense way possible.

What does that mean?

You’re going to be spending a whole lot of time cooking and doing dishes.

Even though I love cooking, and consider it my own form of meditation as it’s one of the few things that forces me to focus (for no other reason than I want all 10 of my fingers), I don’t want to spend every waking moment thinking about my next meal.

In my former DINK life (dual income, no kids), I had oodles of time to spend making the most beautiful and tasty gluten-free vegan cupcakes, and it didn’t matter what time dinner was. I ate when I was hungry.

Then I had a baby, and my whole life changed. Now that 18-month old toddler has a penchant for pulling my chef knife off of the kitchen counter, and dismantling my extensive cookbook collection in a matter of minutes. I had to get creative and find ways to cut my cooking time in the kitchen, since most nights I’m making dinner solo while my hubby is still working, and my son is too hungry to wait until he gets home to eat.

These time-saving kitchen hacks can be used for any busy person, parent or not, who knows that they want to eat healthier, they just don’t know how to make it fit into their busy schedules.

1. Use a food processor:

I have a few fave, veggie heavy recipes that can take 20 minutes of chopping, slicing, and dicing. With the help of my food processor plus the slicing and grating attachment, I can reduce prep time to less than 2 minutes.

2. Do batch cooking:

Along with meal planning, which I never understood the need for before having a baby, batch cooking is the #1 thing that has reduced my overall stress and helps our weeks to feel easy and calm instead of rushed. Sundays are when I know my husband never works, so I try and spend 1 or 2 hours in the kitchen (with a super fun playlist so it feels more like a dance party than slaving away over the stove) while he watches our son.

I cook as much as possible that can be made in advance without the taste or quality suffering. I chop all the veggies and assemble crockpot meals for the week (you can also do this for an entire month, too!), which get put into a large Ziploc bag. If I’m making it in less than 2 days, it can stay in the fridge. If it’s being cooked more than 2 days away, I put it in the freezer and put a reminder in my calendar to thaw it in the fridge the day before.

I make a batch of muffins or raw vegan energy balls, and always double the recipe and freeze the extra. I make a huge batch of quinoa or brown rice that can be eaten over the next 3-5 days (re-heat them in a pot with a teaspoon or two of water, and it’ll come back to it’s freshly cooked texture).

There’s nothing better than knowing that on Friday, when I’m exhausted after the work week and know that I’ll be tempted to eat crappy fast food, I just have to open a bag in the morning, throw it in the crockpot, and voila! Dinner accomplished before my make-up is even done. A healthy, homemade dinner can be made in less than 5 minutes!

3. Use your freezer:

I hate throwing out good food, and if I keep leftovers in the fridge for too long, I inevitably forget them and have to throw out the fuzzy remnants 2 weeks later. Instead I started freezing the leftovers, but in single serving containers so that I could eat them for lunch when I’m home with the baby by myself, when my husband is working late, or when I just don’t feel like cooking. It works so well that I double or triple batches of soup, anything that goes in the crockpot, or large casseroles. Just re-heat in a 375°F oven for 30-45 minutes, or on the stovetop over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until bubbling and hot. Add a side salad or fresh herbs for added nutrients, digestion power, and a flavor lift.

These tips can save you hours in the kitchen each week, so you can stop stressing about supper and start turning cooking time into a party in the pantry.

Cheers smallAshley Srokosz is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, meal planning mediator, and founder of lovewhatyoueat.ca, who helps busy mamas avoid spontaneous combustion by solving the never-ending “what’s for dinner?” debate.

Click here to get your free guide “6 Steps to a Stress-Free Supper”, complete with a 3-day whole foods meal plan, weekly planner, and done-for-you grocery list PLUS a booty-shaking Party in Your Pantry playlist.

3 Ways to Choose YOUR Best Diet

nutrient factsByline: Cathy Cochrane

So many of my clients start their sessions by saying, “I don’t know what to eat.”

We’re bombarded with information about healthy food, but we’re hard-pressed to know what to do in our own kitchen.

You find yourself frozen in uncertainty or with a bizarre case of nutritional ADD – only to end up making a poor choice out of desperation. You need a miracle to help you. If you ask Gabrielle Bernstein, she’ll tell you a miracle is a change in perception.

That’s all you need: the attitude & inner understanding to figure out what’s right for YOU.

With so much emphasis on details about the best superfoods, diet & exercise regimens, we’re at a point where food has become a religious obsession. Like religion, we feel the need for an outside guru to lead us to the manna.

Yet, as much as we need the facts of research and proven methods as guidelines, the truth of what works for you lies, well, with you.

If you want to choose your best diet, ask yourself these questions:

1. What’s your Intention?

target fruitTo succeed at anything, you gotta know what you’re doing. Maybe it’s

  • Less weight
  • Lower pain or chance of disease
  • Better energy
  • Better sleep
  • Stronger contact with the environment

The list goes on…

Make your clear intention part of your daily awareness – pin an image to the fridge, write an affirmation on your mirror, post your mantra on your desktop – whatever keeps you focused.

When you act from a place that’s true to you, the necessary choice of food falls into place.

2. Are you trying to be perfect?

Someone once told me her biggest health frustration was, “I still enjoy the taste of unhealthy food.” My initial response was to laugh, then realized, no, this was a serious concern.

plumOne of my clients talks in terms of “when I’m good” and “when I’m bad”, another refers to certain meals as “virtuous”.

We’re putting judgment on the food we eat, and worse, we’re putting judgment on ourselves when we want, let alone eat, anything we “shouldn’t”. It gets back to that religious aspect. Be good as gold, and if not, confess your sins and do penance.

Throw that need for perfection out the window; it’ll just cause trouble.

You’re human. You have wants, desires and cravings; they may involve Oreos, Diet Coke or a burger & fries. It’s part of what is. There’s no judgment or need for punishment.

The key is in the conscious choice: either you eat the Oreo or you don’t.

  • Will the momentary enjoyment make you feel ill?
  • Set you back on a roller coaster of sugar cravings?
  • Can you fully enjoy the moment & move on?

Even if you do find yourself dazed in front of an empty cookie bag, there’s always forgiveness.

Rest assured, the more you make whole food choices, the more your body will learn how that feels, and will actually start to crave the “good” stuff.

3. What do you LOVE?

I don’t care how packed that kale & chlorophyll smoothie is with antioxidants, if you have to pinch your nose to get it down, it’s not good for you.

If you cringe at the drinking, your digestive tract and cells will be cringing at the assimilation.

Last week, a client told me breakfast is her favourite meal, then she went on to tell me how she spends half the day starving because it’s “healthier” to eat half a banana & some protein powder instead of eggs & toast. How can suffering & spending half the day ready to eat her agenda be healthy? All that does is put her body into stress response.

Love appleAt a certain point you’ve got to be who you are and eat what you love.

List what you absolutely love to eat.

See where there’s room to tweak & improve the quality: think of the upgrade to having salad instead of fries. Do you now need to think cold-pressed oil over refined, leafy greens to roll your yummiest wrap fillings, zucchini strips instead of pasta?

Now think of the How.

As much as whole food is more vibrant than its refined counterparts, there’s also a dynamic relationship that happens with the sensual contact you have with what you eat. When you hand-pick the beans from the bin, when you smell the nuts for freshness. When you think fondly of your grandmother while making her famous soup, listen to music as you chop, laugh with friends around the table.

When you bring a bit of love for what you’re doing into the kitchen, that energy gets infused into everything you prepare. Raising the vibration of the meal, of your cells, of your health.

Bring joy back into your meals, and let the body respond accordingly.

 

CathyPic137x167Cathy Cochrane has a holistic health practice based in Montreal. She guides women (be it with digestive issues, monthly pain or anxiety) to heal from the inside out. Beyond whole food and lifestyle choices, she looks to the themes and images of a woman’s story as keys to her healing. Learn more about Cathy through her blog, or dive more deeply into your own needs with her e-book: 3 Steps to Feeling Yourself.