Kick Start Your Metabolism

 

Now that we’re through December and heavy, holiday foods have left us feeling bloated and sluggish, it’s time to figure out how to get back in the swing of things. And, if you’ve set New Year’s Intentions that include healthier eating and activity, then starting with a kick start to your metabolism can help make the difference to living your intentions well. These are some of our favourite ways to get your metabolism back into gear:

Stay Satiated

Even if you’re trying to lose a few extra pounds that appeared over the holidays, staying fairly full is key to your success in managing your metabolism and your weight. Eat slowly, until you’re about 90% full, and then stop. This will allow you to determine if you really do need more sustenance or if you’re just eating out of habit. Even if you’re aiming to reduce your caloric intake, starving will only make your metabolism slower as it tries to store the limited energy its being provided – and that’s the opposite of our goal.

Commit to Breakfast

It’s not surprising that those who don’t eat breakfast actually tend to gain more weight over time. That’s because those who skip this meal tend to make up for it (and more) by overeating at lunch, snack times and dinner. After a good night’s rest your body is primed to accept the fuel it needs to move through the day. In fact, it needs more fuel because it’s been hours with your metabolism in resting mode! Trya breakfast that’s high in protein, and has some complex carbohydrates and a bit of fat to jumpstart your metabolism and keep you satisfied until lunch time.

Add Tea or Coffee

The antioxidants and small amounts of caffeine found in black, green, and white tea as well as coffee are beneficial to revving up your metabolism and keeping it chugging along healthily. One or two cups a day can provide the most beneficial amounts without going overboard. And, even better, adding herbal teas such as fennel, mint, or ginger tea after a meal can assist your digestion processes, helping meals to settle better and digest more easily – without added caffeine.

Up That H20

Whether via glasses of water or broth-based soups, giving your body quality fluids is essential to having a well-hydrated metabolism. Water helps keep nutrients flowing into yourcells, carries toxins out of your body, and is key to a happy digestive system. It also keeps you feeling full, and can help you burn more calories by keeping your metabolism higher over time! Moreover,the extra nutrients found in broth-based soups are ‘soup-er’ ways of digesting much needed vitamins and minerals with minimal taxing of the digestive system. And, after a season of indulgence, that’s something from which we can all benefit! 

Include Intervals

Any form of exercise can be bolstered with the addition of the short bursts of cardiovascular activity also known as ‘Interval Training’. Adding in 2-5 minute bursts of jumping jacks, skipping, or burpees seem like they’re ‘in the moment’ kick starts but they’re all great ways of building long lasting metabolism increases.

Spice Is Extra Nice

Studies show that adding spicy hot peppers or hot pepper sauces can help toincrease your metabolism! Studies are showing that the thermogenic properties of peppers and capsaicin, a compound in chiles, can temporarily increase your body temperature, helping it to burn more calories in short bursts of time. So, try adding some extra spice to those soups or other foods, and see what benefit you might derive!

Turn Down Stress

It’s been long understood that high levels of stress hormones like cortisol can result in a slowed metabolism and eventual weight gain. The opposite is also true: by turning down the stress in our lives we can help our brains, hormones, and bodies relax, a natural reboot for our metabolism.

Stimulate Your Stomach

If you consistently experience symptoms like heaviness after a meal, acid reflux, or bloating, food allergies, undigested food in stool, flatulence, or even nausea after taking supplements you might be suffering from low stomach acid which, in turn, can result in lowered metabolism. Stomach acid, or HCL (hydrochloric acid) is a core requirement to digest effectively is one of the essential building blocks to a well-functioning metabolism. Try stimulating your stomach acid with beneficial celery juice and see how much better you feel.

Excel With Enzymes

Sometimes there are particular foods that make us feel sluggish, heavy, bloated, or uncomfortable. In that case it might be time to consider digestive enzymes to help break down food to make it more digestible and the nutrients within it more absorbable. Try adding enzyme rich foods like fermented foods, papaya (which contains papain), pineapple (which contains bromelain), mango (which contains amylase), and honey (multiple enzymes). Interested in supplements instead? Look for the ones that help with your food difficulties: protease for proteins, amylase for help with carbohydrates, lipase for help digesting fats, cellulase for breaking down fiber, and maltase to help convert complex sugars from grains into glucose.

Sleep Soundly

The quality of your sleep doesn’t just affect your moods and alertness, it also has a profound effect on your metabolic state because deep REM sleep, is the body’s time for rest and repair – and that includes how the body manages stress hormones, blood sugar levels, and growth hormones – all of which play critical roles in our metabolism. We’re still learning much more about how important consistent sleep and rest are for our health, but what we do know for sure is that a sleep deprived body is slower and more lethargic which means weight management is harder. So, if you choose just one of these tips to follow, make it to get more sleep, more often, first!

Looking for personalized assistance in maintaining a healthy metabolism? We can help you navigate this and provide you with a fully customized plan to better your health.To book your appointment with one of our naturopathic doctors or nutritionist please call us at 416-234-1888 or email us at wellnessreception@sympatico.ca

To your good health,

Wellness Institute

The Goods on Gluten-Free – Should You Try It?

 

One of the most talked about nutrition topics of the past couple of years has been whether or not gluten should have a place – or be forbidden – in our diets. Until recently, even the word ‘gluten’ would have been used almost exclusively in culinary, confectionary, and severe allergy professions alone. But, due to the recent increase in understanding about gluten, its properties, and health effects, the idea of going gluten-free has gained major popularity and as an understandable result, has left many people wondering whether or not gluten-free is the way to go in their own lives. If you’ve been curious about gluten, even if you’ve already experimented with gluten-free living, it’s important to have a good understanding of the basics around the topic, so you can make informed decisions about the nutrition you and your family access.

What is gluten anyway?

Gluten is the name of a family of proteins found in wheat and wheat related grains. Gluten itself is what enables foods made of ingredients to hold their shape. They act almost like ‘glue’ to give foods texture, and hold it together. It can be found in many foods, even where you might not expect it.

There are three big categories of grains that are known as ‘glutinous grains.’ These include:

  1. Wheat (including wheat berries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, kamut, and einkorn)
  2. Barley
  3. Rye

Things like breads and crackers, pastries, pastas, cereals, beer, soups and sauces (which could contain grains or flours as thickeners), brewer’s yeast, and food colouring are some foods and beverages that contain these grains and therefore naturally contain gluten but; sometimes, gluten itself is also used in other foods to act as a binding agent to give texture and hold to other products.

Are most people allergic to gluten?

You may have heard that most people cannot tolerate gluten, or that grains today are different than the grains our ancestors used to eat. However, many studies have shown that in fact, grains and gluten are well-tolerated by the majority of people. That being said, there are three key groups of people who greatly benefit fromremoving gluten from their diets.

Celiac disease, suffered by 1% of people, is a condition of the immune system in which eating gluten triggers an intestine-damaging response. Symptoms of celiac disease are serious and uncomfortable and include abdominal pain, skin rashes, headaches, diarrhea, vomiting, and even unexplained weight loss. In cases of celiac disease, it’s imperative for the individual to remove all sources of gluten from their diets as well as from any personal care items they use, since some of the unlikely sources of gluten can include lipsticks and balms, body and handy creams, and cosmetics which could introduce trace amounts of gluten that would trigger a reaction.

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

While celiac disease is rare, the percent of people who suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity is unknown and triggers similar symptoms. Unfortunately, because validated biomarkers or tests are have not yet been developed, accurate diagnosis of this condition is still challenging. That said, it’s still important for this group of people to remove gluten from their diets to ensure they are not taxing their immune systems unnecessarily.

Those with Other Gut Disorders

There’s still a third group of people who also benefit from removing gluten – those who suffer from other gut-related illnesses such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis and who require a FODMAP diet. FODMAPs are a group of small carbohydrate molecules found in all kinds of foods. While they are extremely common, they may be poorly absorbed in the small intestine of some people with already compromised digestive functions. Taking out glutinous foods is a key way of relieving part of the strains on a weakened digestive system because it naturally removes the FODMAPs that cause them to begin with.

What do I need to know to go gluten-free?

Whole grains do contain a number of important nutrients, suchas fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, folate, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B12, and vitamin D, and some protein. So when deciding to remove whole gluten-containing whole grains from your diet, be sure create a robust diet that can replace these, and/or take supplements to add to your security.

Know too, that while many gluten-free substitutes like cookies, brownies, and breads usually contain higher levels of fats, sugar, and salt than their conventional counterparts. If you crave the comfort of baked goods or cereals, we recommend creating your own gluten-free versions at home for the healthiest alternative.Going gluten-free will take time, patience, and practice – we know, because we’ve helped dozens of families doit with success! Sometimes you don’t even realize how much gluten is affecting your system until you eliminate it. Check our Facebook page where we feature monthly gluten free recipes and you’ll find a few tried and true favourites to get you going.

If you suffer from symptoms such as constant stomach pain, headaches, bowel issues or other symptoms that could be related to gluten sensitivity, please book an appointment so we can do a full naturopathic intake and properly test you for celiac disease. We want to make sure you’re living your healthiest life possible! If not, but you’d still like to explore the health benefits of removing gluten, we’d love to help you make a plan to get your health back on track by managing your gut health.  

To book your appointment with one of our naturopathic doctors or nutritionist please call us at 416-234-1888 or email us at wellnessreception@sympatico.ca

 To your good health,

Wellness Institute