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Archive for the ‘diet’ Category

Foundations of Health…Healthy Food Choices

Posted on: October 27th, 2019 by TouchStone Health

Written by: Amanda Cressman, N.D.

This time of year holds a lot – a lot of excitement and anticipation for festivals, parties, celebrations and events.  Amongst all this, there can be many who are feeling overwhelmed and stressed from the expectations placed upon them by others and most importantly, by themselves.

This past week has been an interesting one for myself and for many that I’ve spoken with.  The changing of the season to real Autumn weather has been hard – many have colds and coughs, the reminder that a new season is now here, where the nights are quickly dark, the wind is sometimes harsh and the temperatures are dropping, making it a little less easy to be outside.

This is a wonderful time to come back to centre, back to self and remember some key things you can do to support your health for a healthier and more comfortable winter season.

This week we are talking about healthy food choices, but I want to take a moment to highlight some key foundational pieces to health that will be highlighted in the coming weeks.

Healthy Food Choices
Digesting your Food/Choices
Digesting your Emotional Experience
Detoxifying your World
Giving your Body the Rest it needs
Inspiration/Breathing
Moving Stress Out
Being Understood
Belonging/Connection

Although these may seem obvious, they are surprisingly hard to do and even more surprisingly have been forgotten by many amongst our busy world.  I’m always amazed at how many of us, myself included have forgotten simple truths, such as – ensuring you are outside, daily…even for a few moments, taking at least one deep breath in a day, ensuring you are eliminating your food regularly, having a daily bowel movement, letting yourself feel emotions when they come up or at least soon after to honour what has been, sweating regularly, doing something you enjoy every day, remembering your body needs to sleep and loves routine of familiar bedtimes, etc…the list goes on and on.  When things are off in our health, it can be a great opportunity to reflect and reassess priorities and goals for oneself. For many of us, we know what to do but the doing can be difficult. Like Dr. Seuss said, “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

So, today’s focus is healthy food choices.  This is one that we are all confronted with daily, yet continues to be hard to accomplish in a world where food prep takes more time than what most people have and the convenience of prepared foods is becoming easier and more affordable.

So, I don’t like to cook.  It doesn’t come naturally, I’m not super good at it and I just haven’t ever enjoyed it.  I don’t enjoy grocery shopping and find it always just takes way more time than I allot for it and thinking about new and exciting foods is stressful for me.  I am working at changing this because when healthy food choices don’t work out, the following takes place.

BAD FOOD CHOICES = IMBALANCED BLOOD SUGAR = INCREASED CRAVINGS FOR CARBOHYDRATES = INCREASED INTAKE OF CARBOHYDRATES = LACK OF DRIVE/AMBITION = MOODINESS = SHAME AND SELF LOATHING FOR BAD FOOD CHOICES.

Obviously, not a great place to be but one that many experience, sometimes daily.  And it can be avoided but it takes looking at your day/week honestly and prioritizing healthy food choices to ensure blood sugar is balanced, helping mood, mental focus, digestion and all the other systems that are positively supported when good foods come in to your body.

I could go on about the benefits of eating local or in-season or organic or non GMO foods…that is all great, but first, looking at the foundations of health, I think it’s important to focus on eating regularly and to do so with whole foods…ideally foods that you or someone you know have prepared.

There are many ways to do this.  In our house we have a weekly menu chart with foods picked out for each day and the designated cook who will make it.  This ensures all foods are purchased for the week on Sunday, as coming to Wednesday night and seeing no vegetables left in your fridge is a sure fire way to eating poorly and generally thereafter feeling poorly.  When we do this, everything is easier and less stressed when it comes to food choices.

Many apps are available to help with this and luckily we live in an era of phenomenal online recipe bloggers, creating new and healthy recipes for all different types of dietary plans and preferences.  I am so grateful for this as I need real recipes and real advice to ensure I can serve something that is edible and delicious.

One thing we enjoy doing at TouchStone Health is putting together meal plans to help with this.  Melanie Reidl, N.D. and myself put together meal plans for those wanting support. We can put together plans for various dietary needs, health or weight goals.  My favourite parts of the plan are knowing it’s all figured out for the week, so no extra mental work is needed trying to be creative mid-week. And the best part is the shopping list, knowing all that is needed before the week begins is purchased or available, brings peace to my mind.  I’ve attached below a 3-day Paleo Plan to show how it works. Please use it, hoping the recipes are easy to work with, delicious and create a more peaceful experience in the kitchen, even if just for 3 days.

We can put together these plans for existing patients, with more information about the meal plans, here.

Even doing just this – ensuring you are eating Whole, healthy foods is a major piece in the bedrock of your foundation of health.  Your body, your mind and your emotional health will all benefit…helping you digest the rest of this busy world we live in more easily.

3 day meal plan

Meal Plans to Help Make your Life Easier

Posted on: August 21st, 2017 by TouchStone Health

Do you find it intimidating or overwhelming to prepare healthy foods for yourself or your family?  This is a common reasons why most people struggle with clean eating.  We all know the basics of eating better – lots of vegetables, added fruits, healthy proteins and clean carbohydrates work for many but it’s hard to actually do this on a consistent basis.

Diet meal with friends

Many people’s lives are full…full of many things and eating healthy foods generally falls off the priority list or is forgotten.  By the end of a busy day/week, it’s hard to make good decisions that are in alignment with how we wish to be eating.  Check out this article on Decision Fatigue by The Harvard Business Review.  Do you ever find yourself eating well and clean for the first part of your day but by the end are eating foods you wish you hadn’t?  We make dozens, some studies report hundreds of food-related decisions throughout our day and after deciding many things throughout the course of a day, we are tired and start making easier decisions which usually results in poorer choices for our health.  I know for myself, I have ideals of eating healthy foods but sometimes the inspiration falls short and I’m eating the same thing over and over or eating rice crackers and hummus at the end of a long day which although is an ok food, not a match for my constitution which does better on vegetables and a light protein.

So, we have begun a new program to help you eat clean and take away the work of deciding what to eat and when.  We are now developing Healthy Meal Plans to suit your specific dietary needs.  Weekly or Monthly recipe plans are put together for your specific needs.  Foods can be avoided specific to your needs and menus can be created specifically for your health goals (example: dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, FODMAP, Anti-inflammatory, PCOS, Thyroid, Autoimmune, etc).

What’s included:

-a detailed shopping list is given for your plan

-a to-do list for the week of prepping food

-all the recipes

-micro and macronutrient breakdown

-caloric breakdown

And…we can make it for whatever serving size you want.  If you have a family of 5 we can ensure all recipes are specific for your 5 people or for one person. Prepping your week/month is incredibly easy as we do the work for you.

We started this program a month ago as many people were sharing their desire to eat well but that more support was needed to stay interested and consistent.  We hope this is the solution to help.  Pricing is located on our Meal Plan page and ask Dr. Cressman, N.D. if you have any other questions.

Attached is a sample 3-day eating plan to let you know what a plan would potentially look like.  sample-diet

This helps make eating delicious, healthy foods easier.

 

JUICING vs. BLENDING: The Juicy Facts on Which is Better for your Health

Posted on: March 20th, 2014 by TouchStone Health

Written by: Dr. Melanie Reidl, ND

You’ve probably heard about the ongoing dual between the benefits of juicing versus blending your drinks.Both of these stellar kitchen habits have their benefits, but is one really better than the other? Will you feel better drinking a smoothie over a juice, or the other way around? It’s a confusing topic, so today I’d like to provide you with the facts so that you make the best choice for your health!

Blending is the act of pureeing whole foods (ex. bananas and hemp seeds) with liquids (ie. almond milk and water), thereby retaining all portions of the initial ingredients. Nothing is discarded, the fiber is left in the drink, and your finished product can be a thick or thin consistency.

Juicing, on the other hand, separates the fiber from the liquid in fruits and vegetables by processing them through a juicing machine. What’s left over (and usually discarded) is the pulp of your produce, and you’re left with a nutrient-rich, concentrated vegetable/fruit drink. So as you can see, both blending and juicing are delicious forms of liquid nutrition.

In order to create these nutrition powerhouse beverages, you’ll need to invest in a good blender or juicer. I’ve done some research on the pros and cons of each option to make your purchasing decision a bit easier.

Blenders come in all shapes, sizes, powers and prices. I can speak from experience that investing in a good blender that does the job right the first time is a GREAT decision. Blenders range from $99 basic Magic Bullets, to $500 Vitamix high powered blenders. Basically, the more you spend, the greater capabilities and power your blender will have. I HIGHLY recommend the top of the line Vitamix if you’re looking for a kitchen appliance upgrade. This highly powered machine can blend hard produce like apples and beets into a liquid juice, almonds into almond flour or almond butter, or act like a food processor for bean dips and homemade salad dressings. I promise you won’t regret buying a Vitamix!

Smoothies are the most common use for blenders, since they are a quick, nutrient-rich, and refreshing meal or snack at any time of the day. Your options for smoothie ingredients are virtually endless, and you can create a fully balanced meal in one drink. A smoothie is also easily digested in the body since it has already been broken down into smaller parts, and the nutrients are also readily absorbed. I recommend keeping your smoothies on the ‘green side’ by loading them up with veggies first, and then adding in some fruit for sweetness. This is a wonderfully simple way to ensure that you’re getting enough greens into your diet each day.

Juicing machines can run you anywhere from $50 to $500 dollars. A cheaper juicer will likely operate with centrifugal force and the teeth will shred the ingredients through a fine mesh filter. These juicers do not work well for leafy greens, and are best suited for hard or juicy produce such as cucumbers and apples. A centrifugal juicer operates with more power and tends to heat things up as they pass through, causing some destruction of natural enzymes in your foods. The alternative is a masticating juicer, which slowly crushes and squeezes more liquid out of your ingredients. This type of juicer is generally a bit more expensive, but it is capable of juicing your greens such as kale and wheatgrass. Because this type of juicer works at a slower speed and does not heat the produce, the enzymes stay intact and the juice will stay fresh for longer.

There’s no doubt that juicing is a wonderful means to consuming more fruits and vegetables in a day, especially if you can afford it. I generally recommend that you keep your juices at 70% vegetables and 30% fruits so as not to spike your blood sugar from all of the natural sugars. Pure fruit juices should be avoided as they can pack in enough carbs and sugars for an entire day. It is also important to choose organic produce if finances permit, otherwise you are drinking up a whole lot of conventional pesticide-laden food.

So now for the verdict; is juicing or blending a better choice as part of a healthy lifestyle?

The answer is both. Different habits seem to work better for different people, and a machine that collects dust is no good in any diet. The optimal choice comes down to which method you will be able to incorporate into your lifestyle, and which one you’ll enjoy drinking on a day to day basis. If your blender makes a mean kale, banana and avocado protein smoothie – get blending!  And if your juicer makes a potent immune elixir of ginger, pear and lemon – keep on pressing!

We are Literally What we Eat

Posted on: May 14th, 2012 by TouchStone Health

This is another wonderful quote by Joshua Rosenthal, founder of Institute for Integrative Nutrition and author of Integrative Nutrition.  In this quote, Joshua reminds us that our most basic level, we are what we eat.  A wise reminder as we make food choices to eat foods that support and build up our bodies.

“The food we take into our mouth goes into our stomach, where it gets digested and eventually assimilates into the bloodstream. Our blood is what creates our cells, our tissues, our organs, our skin, our hair, our brains and even our thoughts and feelings. We are, at our most basic level, walking food.” ~ Joshua Rosenthal

Cut Up Vegetables

Posted on: February 13th, 2011 by TouchStone Health

I was visiting my parents yesterday and was reminded of the fantastic habit of having cut up vegetables in the house. Growing up, there were always cut up carrots, celery, radishes and peppers in the fridge. When one went grocery shopping, the vegetables were immediately cleaned and shredded and sliced to have available when a hunger craving presented itself.

Yesterday, promptly upon our arrival, the container of pre-cut vegetables was placed upon the table and we immediately started snacking, enjoy the colours and flavours. 10 minutes of work after grocery shopping can make a big difference to get more vegetables into the system.

What a great reminder for all of us.

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