Trouble sleeping? Waking up in the middle of the night?

trouble-sleeping

Do you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night? Are you following a certain diet? Trying to lose weight? You may be restricting your carbohydrates too much!

Let’s begin with glycogen… what is glycogen?

  • “Carbohydrate stores” in the body
  • Stores are very limited
  • Reserves are smaller than protein and fat stores
  • Stores are located primarily in the liver and muscle

So how does glycogen impact your sleep?

  • Liver glycogen can maintain its stores to keep your blood glucose (blood sugars) normalized through the night
  • A morning meal will refuel and replace these stores used up overnight while sleeping

HOWEVER, 

If you’re not consuming enough carbohydrate = drop in blood glucose = hunger = waking up in the middle of the night!

Make sure to choose the right carbohydrates to fuel your body and replenish those glycogen stores throughout the day.

Foods such as: sweet potatoes, berries, vegetables, root vegetables, apples, beans, oats, nuts, ancient grains (e.g. quinoa), large flake oats, etc. These carbohydrates are the best source of fuel that are high in fibre and nutrients.

 

Grocery List Breakdown: Shop for healthy carbs, fats, and proteins.

Happy Wednesday! See below a small list of items I tend to always buy at the grocery store. These are all foods that are healthy choices of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that will provide you with high nutritional content and satiety value. These products are quality sources of nutrition. Remember quality > quantity. The higher the nutritional value, the longer you stay satisfied, the less you feel inclined to over eat and snack 🙂

Try to make every one of your meals contain a carbohydrate, a healthy fat, and a protein source. That is a balanced plate. 

salmon2

Carbohydrate: Sweet potatoes, rolled large flake oats (usually gluten-free Hilray Whole Grain Oats), beans, lentils, fruits and vegetables, quinoa, whole grain tortillas/breads

Fats: Almonds, coconut oil, avocado, flax seed, chia seeds, olive oil, peanut butter, almond butter, whole nuts and seeds.

Protein: Chicken, turkey, eggs, egg whites, Greek Yogurt, White fish (tilapia is my fav), Salmon, protein powder (without added sugars and fillers), cottage cheese, seitan (a vegetarian protein), and quinoa (another vegetarian protein).

What the heck is Matcha?

Hi guys! I thought I would share a tid bit about Matcha powder as it is becoming very popular in our culture today for its great health benefits. Today I made myself a matcha latte at home to combat the cold I am currently fighting and I realized I haven’t written about it before.

What is Matcha?

  • It is a potent, powdered, and more concentrated form of green tea.
  • It contains caffeine. You will get more caffeine per cup (more than double) in comparison to a cup of regular steeped tea.
  • It is high in antioxidants. Antioxidants known as polyphenols are found in green tea and found in higher amounts in matcha powder. Antioxidants protect your body’s cells from free radical damage (e.g. pollution, cigarette smoke). Antioxidants may help lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and much more.
  • How to consume it? Traditionally, matcha has always been consumed as a beverage and began to be used during meditation practices. Now you can find recipes from matcha lattes, matcha smoothes,  all the way to matcha brownies. So whatever you’re into… I’m sure you can find a recipe for it! (check out foodgawker.com). Starbucks also serves matcha latte’s, also known as a “green tea latte”. Try it out for your next order: “Green tea latte, made with soy or coconut milk, with 1 honey” ….maybe 2 honeys depend on your level of sweetness 😉 …let me know what you think!

How to make yourself a matcha latte at home?

  • 1- 1.5 tsp matcha powder (David’s Tea has great matcha!)
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 3/4 cup steamed/frothed milk (I use Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Cashew Milk)
  • Add honey to taste (1-2 tsp)

Directions: Boil your water and froth/steam your milk. When complete, whisk matcha powder and hot water together in a beaker. When matcha is completely broken down, pour this mixture into your mug, and add the frothed milk on top. Stir in your honey 🙂 voila!

You can also add all of these things to a blender and mix if you do not have a milk frother. You should heat  the milk first and add all ingredients to blender, blend. Enjoy.

matcha-latte

Until next time.. have a great weekend friends!

xoxox

B

Feeling Sluggish? Learn how you can you eat for energy…

Do you ever have those mornings where you feel tired, sloth-like, have a lack of motivation, and are crying for energy? (I thought this photo of the pup was a great way to demonstrate that feeling).  Trust. I think we have all been there. So how can we get out of that tired rut?

tired-pup

Diet plays such an important role in our activities of daily living (so does rest). If you are not eating well, choosing the wrong foods, and not getting enough sleep…. you are going to crash and you are going to stay in that rut until you kick those bad habits.

Here are a few tips to help boost you energy level, motivation, and maybe athletic performance.

  • Never skip a meal: listen to your body. Food is fuel. Ensure that you are eating well balanced meals throughout the day with a good balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Carbohydrates are our bodies primary source of fuel make sure to choose nutrient dense complex carbs such as, quinoa, nut/seed crackers, large flake oats/steel cut oats, sweet potatoes,lentils/beans. These items will keep your blood sugar stable, leaving you satisfied longer.
  • Always stay hydrated! Many of us are not consuming enough fluids on a daily basis. Adults are required to consume a minimum of 2.7L of fluids per day. Remember, to replace fluids after a workout as well. If you way yourself before a workout and after a workout, the weight lost is the weight you have lost in sweat. REPLENISH!
  • Choose high iron foods: Iron is crucial for oxygen transport throughout the body to our muscles and tissues (aka we need it for ENERGY). Choose foods such as, spinach, kale, dried beans, peas, lentils, cream of wheat, oatmeal, and red meat.
  • Choose foods high in B vitamins: B vitamins (especially Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Niacin) play an important role in helping with energy production in our bodies. Foods  to choose for these vitamins include: whole grains, dried beans, eggs, nuts & seeds, mushrooms, and soybeans.
  • Avoid highly processed foods: Avoiding fast food & junk food can help keep your blood sugars balanced and at a healthy equilibrium. These foods tend to be high in unhealthy fats and packed with refined sugars (that’s why they are so addictive). High fat foods tend to make us feel sluggish. High sugar foods cause a quick spike of energy (due to a fast rise in our blood glucose) followed by a quick drop. This effect makes us feel tired and hungry for more unhealthy treats!

Food Fact of the Day: Broccoli

broccoli

October is the last month that you will find broccoli in season in Ontario, therefore, I wanted to give you a reason why to grab it local while you still can!

Broccoli is a great source of: 

  • Folate: cannot be made in the body, helps make red blood cells
  • Vitamin C: needed for growth and repair of skin, teeth, bones, and other tissues
  • Vitamin K: helps heal wounds, maintain blood vessels, and keep your bones healthy
  • Provides a source of fibre: maintain a healthy digestive system
  • Potassium: needed by your bones, kidneys, nerves, and muscle for proper function
  • Vitamin A: maintains normal vision, keeps immune system, skin, and eyes healthy

Ideas to incorporate more broccoli in your diet: 

Why you should avoid storing bread in the refrigerator.

whole-grain-bread

A quick little kitchen tip of the day. The most common mistake I come across with friends and family is storing bread in the refrigerator to slow down the “stale” process. The fridge is known to maintain freshness and quality of fruits and vegetables and many other products.. so wouldn’t it do the same for bread? NOPE!

Why shouldn’t you store your bread in the refrigerator? 

  • This causes the bread to go stale FASTER.
  • Starch molecules in the bread begin to form back into their original shape that they were before baking (hardened molecules).
  • Some findings have shown that storing your bread in the refrigerator can make staling occur 6 TIMES faster versus just keeping your bread at room temp on the counter.

How should you store your bread? Leaving it at room temperature on the counter is your best bet. If you aren’t able to consume it in time before it goes stale, put it in the freezer.

 

Eating for your Eyes

Who new that your diet could play such a detrimental role in every aspect of your health? 

With my need for glasses, aging grandparents with vision loss, and a recent sty (ugh!).. the importance of maintaining a healthy vision has become more apparent to me.

Nowadays, our eyes are exposed to so much light which can be damaging to our retina. Through increased computer screen time, cell phone use, television, and just the regular day light…. the light exposure to our eyes is never-ending!

So how can your diet impact your eye vision? 

Two very important nutrients play a role in maintaining a healthy vision. Lutein and Beta-Carotene. If you are not regularly consuming a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables…. you are likely not getting an adequate dose of these nutrients. Beta-carotene, as I have mentioned in many previous posts, converts to Vitamin A within our bodies. Vitamin A is important to maintaining a healthy vision in addition to keeping your skin healthy. Lutein plays a similar role as it works with another antioxidant, zeaxanthin, to prevent damage to our cells and maintain healthy eyes.

What foods should I eat? 

Increase your intake of lutein by consuming dark green leafy vegetables (e.g. kale and spinach), eggs (FYI brown and white have the same nutritional content), corn, red peppers, and grapes.

Increase your intake of beta-carotene/vitamin A by consuming: yellow and orange fruits/veggies (e.g. sweet potato, cooked carrots, carrot juice, pumpkin, papaya, mango, etc).

Chervil-Carrots

Overall good health and nutrition is critical to maintaining healthy eyes. Don’t wait until your eye sight starts deteriorating to make changes. Get ahead and take preventative measures to prevent any deterioration. Nutrition is the greatest form of preventative medicine.

Try some of my personal recipes high in lutein and vitamin-A content:

Quick & Easy Sweet Potato Fries

Kale & Sweet Potato Chicken Soup