Clean Eating with Kids: How to Get Kids to Eat Healthy

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Nobody likes a picky eater. With a picky eater in the family, meal planning can feel downright impossible and can make even the most committed parents to healthy cooking want to just give up. A lot of our clients at Thrive Nutrition are parents, so when we work with them, we are also indirectly working with their families. To help our clients transition to healthier eating as a family unit, we have plenty of tips to encourage the most stubborn little eaters to trying new foods!

Check them out:

  • We are Programed to Prefer Sweet: At the end of the day, we are all genetically designed to prefer sweet foods. Even breastmilk is sweet. Excess sweet foods are quick sources of energy and can be easily stored as body fat (to presumably be used at a later time during famine). If your kiddo is having a hard time embracing sour or bitter foods, don’t take it personally!

 

  • Be Persistent with Exposure: The trouble with getting kids to try new foods is that most parents just aren’t persistent enough. According to a  2004 study, more than 90% of caregivers offered kids food they did not like only three to five times before giving up. A 2007 study suggests that sticking it out just a little longer can yield results. They conclude that toddlers can be made to like a new food by introducing it 5-10 times. Kids aged 3-4 may need to try it 15 times before developing a taste for it. 

 

  • Encourage Food Interaction that Feels Safe: Who doesn’t have memories of sitting all alone at the dinner table because you needed to eat 3 Brussels Sprouts before you can leave? In my case, it was fish - the same day I watched my dad “clean” an alive fish I was supposed to eat it for dinner. Did I sit at the dinner table for a long time that night and multiple other nights we had fish for dinner? Yup! Do I eat fish as an adult today? Nope! I have discovered with my clients that a lot of food aversions stem from childhood. So how can we get our kids to try new foods without forcing them to try it? One method researchers suggest is called “tiny tastes." Start with just having the food on their plate without making them eat it. Then progress to having them smell it. Next the child is asked to eat a pea-sized morsel of a new food. Even licking counts. Do this again and again. Realize that there will just be some foods out there your kid just won’t like and that’s okay!

 

  • Keep your Cool: Don't make a huge deal when your child wants to try or doesn’t want to try something -- the more casual you are about it (offer him a piece, but don't watch him eat it for instance), the more likely it is that he'll actually follow through. The dinner atmosphere is also important. Parents need to be warm and engaged, rather than controlling and restrictive, to encourage healthy eating in their children

 

  • Try New Foods Together: We love to get our client families to try new foods together, to make it an adventure! One way we do that is to challenge our clients to find one fruit or vegetable per month with their kids that neither has tried before. Farmer’s markets are great for this because they offer lots of variety not always found at typical grocery stores! This could mean trying avocado, mango, kumquats, garlic scapes, celery root, artichoke, fennel, etc etc! Bonus: If your kid is old enough, find a recipe together that you want try with the new food! 

 

  • Get them involved with grocery shopping and food preparation: Kids nowadays aren’t very involved in the cooking process. We as nutritionists feel that cooking is a dying art as less and less of our clients seem comfortable in the kitchen. One way to get more comfortable is to get back into the kitchen! Let go of perfectionism and thinking that in order for recipes to taste good you need specialty ingredients and you  need to spend all day cooking. Find simple recipes with 5-8 ingredients and get your kids in the kitchen with you! Whether they’re teens or tots, kids of any age can start to build their culinary skills. Check out this handy guide to help identify tasks that suit the skills-and attention spans-of tots, and challenge and engage older kids.

 

  • Try Different Preparations: Just because your kid doesn’t like boiled Brussels Sprouts (EWW, who does?!), doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like roasted Brussels Sprouts in bacon fat with a drizzle of real maple syrup! The lesson: Don’t nix an entire food if it was only prepared one way! Try presenting roasted, grilled, juiced, blended, steamed or raw options!

 

  • Offer Choices: Who says you can only have one vegetable at dinner? Offer two or three vegetable choices with meals. Serve roasted cabbage and carrots along with an avocado, cucumber + tomato salad. Try a kale salad with veggies kabobs. The possibilities are endless!

 

  • Scale Back on Snacks + Drinks: Kids who resist new foods may eat snack foods or drink (other than water) all day long, which limits their hunger for foods at meals. Kids are more receptive to trying something new because they're truly hungry.

 

  • Serve “Build it Yourself” Meals: What can be more fun than creating your own dining experience? Provide a base for your family and then offer different toppings for each person to put on their plate! For example, offer a Mexican brothy soup with protein and then have toppings to choose from like: sour cream, limes, avocados, shredded cabbage, cilantro, and crumbled cheese. Pasta as you like it: offer lentil pasta and with the choices to put on: steamed broccoli, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella sliced, grilled chicken, parmesan, pesto, olives, grilled vegetables and tomato sauce.

 

  • Incorporate Play: At some point during dinner, exclaimed “broccoli moment!” Everyone grabs a piece of broccoli, holds it up, counts 1, 2, 3 and everyone together munches down. Not sure why, but for the little ones it works like a charm! (This moment can be dedicated to any vegetable you are serving!)

 

  • Hide Vegetables: If all else fails, hide vegetables in your meals! Blend spinach or peppers into spaghetti sauce, toss a chunk of cucumber in a smoothie, put some cauliflower in mac and cheese, throw some shredded carrots into burgers. Look here for more ideas.
Posted on May 16, 2018 .

Brain Boosting Nutrients + 3 Recipes!

Brain Boosting Nutrients

Ever have that moment when you walk downstairs to get something, but by the time you get there, you forgot what it was you were planning to get? That tends to happen more frequently as we age.
 

Since scientists first discovered that many diseases affecting the brain like alzheimer's and even depression1 were influenced by lifestyle, the race to adapt was on. Media surrounded the idea that playing games such as sudoku or word puzzles would boost long-term memory, and that exercise was also a front-runner to these necessary lifestyle changes. What many don’t realize is that food plays an important role, not just to your physical health, but your mental health as well. You may be thinking, how important is food to my mental health? Very important actually.

What we eat is primarily responsible for the health of our gut. Our gut health keeps inflammation and immune response in control. The healthy gut produces hormones that enter the brain and serve to enhance cognitive ability and response to hunger and fullness signals2. Additionally, the risk of brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's and others, can be reduced by eating foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats. Provided below are some examples of the brain boosting foods 3,4:

 

  • Avocados and Salmon- Being a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, these foods help maintain brain function, both memory and concentration. The dietary fatty acids are crucial for the plasma membrane of your brain, making it permeable to neurotransmitters and hormones. These foods also contain vitamins that help prevent against blood clots in the brain and help regulate blood sugar.

 

  • Berries- especially dark berries like blueberries, are a rich source of flavonoids and antioxidants that boost memory function, reduce chronic inflammation, and may protect against diseases like cancer and type 2 diabetes.

 

  • Walnuts- because of their high level of antioxidants, vitamin E and other vitamins and minerals, walnuts can protect against Alzheimer's, improve mental alertness and as a bonus, are good for your heart.

 

  • Broccoli and Leafy Greens- these and other vegetables may have an impact on memory by keeping it sharp and protecting against dementia by utilizing the antioxidant properties to protect against free radicals. These vegetables are also high in vitamin K and full of fiber which will keep you fuller longer.

 

Not only will these foods promote brain and gut health, but they are also representations of a diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals, promoting weight loss and longevity.


Current research shows an increase in brain diseases like depression and Alzhiemers, but these preventative measures could lower your risk of such future impairments. If you have any concerns about how your gut or brain is being affected by your diet, contact Thrive Nutrition today and let us help you determine a healthy lifestyle for you.

 

Walnut Flour Pancakes

2/3 cup ground Walnuts

1.5 tablespoons coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons almond milk

DIRECTIONS

Spray a pan with non stick and heat over medium heat. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix. Add the egg, vanilla and syrup to the dry ingredients. Mix.. Batter should be sticky. Add in the almond milk and mix until combined and the batter has thinned slightly. Portion the batter out into three even circles. Cook uncovered for around 6 minutes until edges are starting to brown. Flip and cook another 3-4 minutes until they look mostly done

 

Paleo Broccoli Salad

4 cups broccoli florets

6 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup onion, diced

1/2 cup Mayonnaise 

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

Salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, and honey in a small bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Place broccoli, bacon or ham, raisins, onions and sunflower seeds in a large bowl, add dressing and stir until all ingredients are evenly coated with dressing. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

 

California Sushi Bites

1 avocado

1 Juice of 1 lemon

1 large cucumber, sliced into 1/4" coins

8 oz. lump crab meat

1/2 c. mayonnaise

2 tsp. sriracha

3 green onions, thinly sliced (plus more for garnish)

Sesame seeds, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Thinly sliced avocado then toss slices in lemon juice. Top each cucumber slice with avocado and season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, combine crab meat, mayonnaise, Sriracha, and green onions. Season with salt and pepper, and squeeze more lemon juice into the mixture, if desired. Top each cucumber sliced with a small scoop of the crab mixture. Sprinkle sesame seeds over each serving. Serve with soy sauce.

Posted on May 9, 2018 .

Are Supplements REALLY Necessary?

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Nutritionists often get asked about supplementation and whether or not supplements are necessary. Today I'll share with you our stance at Thrive Nutrition on this topic. 

Ideally, we want to get our nutrition from real food because: 

  1. Real foods will always be the most affordable way to get nutrients.
  2. Real foods contain co-factors that can compound effects, increase absorption, and increase bioavailability of nutrients.
  3. Real foods may contain nutrients we haven’t identified or isolated yet. (This one is a biggie! Did you know vitamins were still being discovered in the late 1950s and that bacteria which produce vitamins for us are still being discovered today!)
  4. Real foods contain often overlooked components essential to health that are often overlooked – like fiber, water, and phytochemicals.
  5. Real foods are less likely to contain fillers and unwanted ingredients (some of which may not be positive for your health).

When we consider these points, it's pretty clear that nutrients from food are the way to go. However, it can be pretty difficult to get all of the vitamins and minerals we need with just diet alone:

  • Between 1996 and 2005, 70 diets were computer analyzed from the menu of athletes or sedentary subjects seeking to improve the quality of micronutrient intake from food choices. Not a single one even achieved the minimum micronutrient suggested by the American Dietetic Association!
  • 75 Percent of Americans Say They Eat Healthy — Despite Evidence To The Contrary. More than 80 percent of Americans fail to eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables.
  • Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA’s) do little or nothing to prevent against our epidemic of chronic degenerative diseases. RDA’s were first introduced in the 1930’s, with minor changes later, for the purpose of reducing scurvy, rickets, and pellagra. They did a very good job for what they were intended. Today, we live in a sea of pollution. Air pollution, contaminated sources of water, radiation, over-processed foods, soils that are depleted of their critical trace elements, countless new toxic chemicals every month, and more and more prescriptive drugs. Couple these factors with less than adequate lifestyles and growing levels of psychological and physical stress, and you can see why the American Medical Association report recommends supplements for virtually everyone. Check out this chart that compares RDA's vs Optimal Intake levels.
  • Fruits and vegetables are less nutritiousBecause of soil depletion, crops grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. Nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, found “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century. The scientists chalk up this declining nutritional content to the preponderance of agricultural practices designed to improve traits (size, growth rate, pest resistance) other than nutrition.
  • Our meat is usually farm-raised or grain-fed, instead of wild-caught or grass-fed which reduces the fat quality. Studies show that grass-fed meat is higher in anti-inflammatory omega 3s and CLA, an essential fatty acids that help the body increase metabolic rates, boost the immune system and keep cholesterol levels in check. Grass-fed meat also has higher levels of carotenoids (antioxidants), making the fat appear yellow. Further, antibiotics in conventional meat decreases the good bacteria in our gut. Those bacteria create B vitamins and vitamin K2. 

So, as you can see, it is very easy to be lacking nutrients, even in healthy individuals. At Thrive Nutrition, we view supplementation as a "safety net." We don't want to rely on it, but it's there if you need it. For healthy persons, we recommend a pharmaceutical-grade multivitamin, a high-potency fish oil for omega 3s, magnesium, vitamin D3 and a high-quality probiotic at least 30 billion CFUs with 5-7 strains. There is also a time and place for additional supplements:

  1. When a deficiency has been identified and targeted supplementation will be the quickest and most effective way to turn things around.
  2. When digestion is not working properly.
  3. Those in a deep healing phase working with a functional medicine practitioner to troubleshoot complex issues.

Start getting 15% pharmaceutical grade supplements right now! Thrive Nutrition offers the discount to everyone, even non-clients!

Adapted from Autoimmune Wellness.

Posted on April 25, 2018 .

The Obesogen Effect

Being overweight is not just the result of diet or not enough exercise. According to leading-edge science, there are silent saboteurs in our daily lives that contribute significantly to our obesity epidemic: obesogens. These weight-inducing offenders, most of which are chemicals, disrupt our hormonal systems, alter how we create and store fat, and change how we respond to dietary choices. Because they are largely unregulated, obesogens lurk all around us: in food, furniture, plastic products such as water bottles and food storage containers. Research has even shown that the effects of some obesogens can be passed on to future generations by irreversibly interfering with the expression of our genes. The good news is we can protect ourselves by becoming more informed consumers.

Posted on March 31, 2018 .

How much of a role do genetics play in our health?

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There are many factors that play a role in our development of chronic diseases.  One of the most common chronic diseases we face today is obesity. There is not just one root cause to this condition, but many such as environmental factors, stress, food availability, social factors, etc.  However, the most common factor that many people think of when considering chronic conditions is genetics.

At most visits to your family practitioner, they review your health and family history.  This isn’t just mundane paperwork they must fill out, there is a reason to the 100 questions about grandma Betty’s breast cancer. A family history of chronic disease increases the likelihood of that chronic disease being present in our future1. However, though our genes can be prone to certain disease, ongoing research in epigenetics continues to show that environment IE what surrounds us and our choices determines 70-95% of the risk  for developing most disease because it is those things that influence the genetic expression of health or disease.

Similarly with obesity, many studies have been done exploring the relationship between genes and obesity. In particular, one review article explains that certain individuals have predisposed genes to obesity and that those genes interact with the environment, allowing the individual to be more vulnerable to obesogenic environments2. Obesogenic environments are those that have unlimited supply of food, a promotion of physical inactivity, or other factors making it easier to gain weight.

With the enormous amount of research that has been compiled over the years on looking at specific genes and obesity, scientists have found that this relationship is polygenic, meaning the interaction of many genes contribute to obesity.  In another study observing twins (identical, fraternal and virtual), researchers identified that the differences among sets of twins in BMI change was due to heritability (~65%) compared to environmental influencers3. With genetics playing a large role in our perceptibility to chronic conditions like obesity, there are still preventative measures we can take to counteract our DNA.

  • Physical activity can diminish the effect of fat promoting genes4
  • Having a balanced diet of healthy foods can promote satiety and decrease hunger
  • Anti-inflammatory diets counteract part of gene-related, long-term weight gain. And obese individuals with genetic susceptibility to obesity can experience a greater chance of weight loss success by following the dietary patterns based on a whole foods, anti-inflammatory approaches like the Mediterranean diet
  • Decrease time spent in sedentary activities (watching tv, computer time, etc.) Aim for at least 10k steps/day.
  • Decreasing the amount of processed foods

As one scientist puts it, “Genes may co-determine who becomes obese, but our environment determines how many become obese.”5

Depending on your family history and ethnicity, most of us probably have a genetic predisposition for obesity.  Conscious of that, changes can be made to counteract the chances including changes in lifestyle, diet or environment. Let Thrive Nutrition partner with you today to help you lead your best lifestyle!

Posted on March 28, 2018 .

Bladderwrack for Metabolism Support

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Guest post by Natural Healthy Concepts

Although many of us try to make time for weekly visits to the gym, a run or walk here and there, or maybe yoga, most of us have a 8-5 job that keeps us in a chair in front of a screen all day. In today’s work culture, the majority of jobs consist of staying stationary throughout the day, parked at a desk, without much physical activity.

Being less active can result in less energy, as well as a lower metabolism. Outside of our job it can be hard to have the time or energy to be as active as we need to maintain a healthy metabolism. On top of limited personal time, we are one of the most stressed and overworked generations to date. And guess what else can lead to a lower metabolism? You got it, stress!

So combine the stress of work, minimal personal time, and lower energy, and our metabolism begins to suffer as we mature. Luckily there is an herb that may not only help maintain and balance your metabolism daily, but also offers an array of other health benefits. This herb is called Bladderwrack.

What is Bladderwrack?

Bladderwrack is a brown seaweed that thrives in icy cold coastal waters. It is a part of the 124 species of plants in the kelp family. Kelp, including bladderwrack, lives together in “forests” and develop an ecosystem full of smaller sealife.  It has a leathery texture and air pods that keep it afloat, as well as long roots that keep it grounded on the ocean floor.

Bladderwrack is also made up of flavonoids that are antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage, mucopolysaccharides that are chain sugar molecules that support joints and synovial fluids, and other trace minerals that are essential to maintaining your body’s optimal function. It contains large amounts of iodine, magnesium, and potassium. Although this marine plant has been around for centuries its many medicinal properties were not discovered until more recently.

How Bladderwrack Supports the Body

Bladderwrack is said to offer many potential benefits such as support for the immune system, thyroid gland, hormone balance, mineral levels, energy levels, and a healthy metabolism. Providing healthy energy and metabolic levels go hand in hand, making bladderwrack an ideal daily supplement for healthy weight management.

Bladderwrack’s ability to support a healthy metabolism is the result of the iodine content. Iodine is essential for hormone production in a healthy thyroid, which in turn help to regulate the body’s metabolic rate.  As your metabolic rate increases, food is more efficiently converted into energy, thus helping to increase vitality that can be used for exercise or getting through the day.

Bladderwrack has also been used for centuries as a weight loss supplement and is gaining quite the following, especially among women. Studies have shown that it provides support for healthy weight management, helps maintain resting energy rates, and supports focus and alertness without the side effects of a higher heart rate/ anxiety that can result from caffeine.

Add Bladderwrack to Your Daily Regimen

We could all use a natural and healthy way to boost metabolism and energy on a daily basis. Bladderwrack, being one of the few oceanic plants readily available to consumers today may be an ideal way to get optimal support for the body.

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Bio: Natural Healthy Concepts is a leader in educating people to change their lives through wellness and natural health. They have been offering education on essential oils, collagen, turmeric, and more since 2004.

Posted on March 19, 2018 .

How + Why You Should Be Working Towards Longevity Now

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For centuries, people have been in search of the “magic bullet” that will grant them a long life. Many forms including pills, diets or surgeries have been explored. However, the question remains, how can we achieve a longer, better quality life?

Most Americans live a lifestyle that is constantly pushing on the gas pedal, so is there is a brake? The most common accelerators include stress, lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and inactivity. Many of these factors have been shown to have an inverse relationship with chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer1,2. There have been numerous research studies on how to prevent these diseases, but one expert has traveled the world to seek out the longest living people and ask them how they have lived such a long, high quality life.  Author and explorer Dan Buettner has written a book titled The Blue Zones (which is also our April Book Club pick!) describing his findings on how centenarians have lived. The 9 lessons he has concluded to be the best practices include:

 

  1. Plant Slant--Centenarians have a diet consisting of plant-based foods, beans and few helpings of meat 

  2. Move Naturally--Forgoing the weights and machines, these people live in a place where they move without thinking, growing gardens, house or yard work or simply walking for their commute

  3. Purpose-- they may have their own phrase for it, but it simply means “why I wake up in the morning”. Knowing your sense of purpose can add on years to your life.

  4. Down Shift-- taking time to relieve stress can be anything from taking time to reflect on your day, or spending time in a yoga practice. Whatever your go-to relaxer is, make sure to incorporate it in your day

  5. 80% Rule-- In Japan they call it “Hara hachi bu”, meaning stop eating when your stomach is 80% full. Since it takes time for your stomach and brain to get on the same page regarding when you’re full, this could aid in the benefit of weight loss.

  6. Wine @ 5-- Most of the centenarians drink red wine, but the idea is to drink 1-2 glasses a day, not save up and drink it all on the weekend. The antioxidants in red wine have been linked to an increase in HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol"), possible decreasing the risk of heart disease.3  **We are not encouraging anyone to start drinking alcohol, especially if there is a family history of abuse!

  7. Belong-- All but a handful of centenarians interviews belonged to a faith-based community. 

  8. Loved Ones First-- Putting their families first meant keeping aging parents at home, caring for the children and committing to a life partner. 

  9. Right Tribe-- The longest living people surrounded themselves (whether by choice or birth right) with a social community that supported healthy behaviors. Studies have shown that smoking, obesity, happiness and more are contagious and spread by those you surround yourself with.45

 

While all these lessons might be hard to incorporate into your lifestyle at once, start off with a couple you know are achievable. At Thrive Nutrition, we love to help people overcome barriers that might be in place to help achieve a healthy lifestyle. If you are interested, we will be reading this book as a part of our book club next month on April 30th (below for details). Hear the stories and interviews of the longest living people, and discover why changes in your lifestyle may be necessary to extend your quantity and quality of life.

Posted on March 13, 2018 .

Low Carb Or High Carb?

From The Diabetes Coach

It seems like a pretty simple question, but alas, it is not.  The American Diabetes Association (ADA) admits that low carbohydrate diets would help patients manage their blood sugars, but the organization still recommends a high carbohydrate dietary approach.  Why?

According to Regina Wilshire, science writer, the ADA feels that low carb diets are too difficult for people to follow.  This is obvious if you pick up any diabetes publication off the supermarket shelf.  Most of them have a picture of a chocolate cake or plate of cookies right on the front cover. 

The over-riding position is that patients can’t or won’t do it, so we shouldn’t deprive them unnecessarily.  There are new drugs and medications approved and many more in the pipeline to control blood sugar, so why ask people to give up their favorite foods? 

This type of thinking, of course, is dangerous and narrow-minded.    And, it’s led us to the position of having a run away train destroying the health of our country and the developed world.  Diabetes is beyond epidemic already, and it’s predicted to triple in the next 35 years. 

Other so-called experts tell patients that low carb diets can even be dangerous.  That if they don’t get enough carbs, their brain will starve, that it will put them in a state of keto-acidosis, or that too much protein will destroy their kidneys.  None of this is true. 

“Carbohydrates, whether derived from gluten-containing foods or other sources, including fruit, sweetened beverages, and starchy vegetables, are dangerous as they relate to brain health in and of themselves” – David Perlmutter

The Nurses Health Study, a large study conducted using over 1600 nurses found that a high protein diet was not dangerous or harmful in women with normal kidney function.  They also found no detrimental effect of animal protein in comparison to vegetable protein.  That said, the diet we recommend is not high protein and it is important to limit protein consumption for other reasons.

These same experts warn that fat is the real enemy and that the ideal diet for diabetics is low in saturated fats and high in whole grains.  Again, this is simply not true.  In fact, the Women’s Health Initiative, an eight year, $415 million study, showed that a low fat diet had no reduction in risk for diabetes or heart disease. 

“The new research suggests that it’s not the fat in your diet that’s raising your risk of premature death, it’s too many carbohydrates – especially the refined, processed kinds of carbs – that may be the real killer”.

In contrast, several studies have shown a benefit to low carb diets in diabetes management.  One such study, published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism, showed an average reduction in HgA1c from 7.5, down to 6.3 in the group eating a low carbohydrate diet.

Is it really that hard to eat low carb?  Well, that may depend on your brain function, physiology, hormone balance, and addictions.  Carbohydrate addiction is really real and it’s a powerful force that can be difficult to resist.  Insulin resistance leads to a relative lack of sugar in the cells, which triggers the body to crave more carbohydrates.  Extra adipose tissue, or fat, over produce leptin which makes you resistance and takes away your body’s natural protection against over-eating.

To overcome all of these obstacles, you need a plan, a good system, and you need support.  You need strategies to overcome your carbohydrate cravings and/or addiction, and you need to address the root cause of diabetes, rather than just trying to suppress sugar levels with medications.

“Insulin is not a cure for diabetes; it is a treatment. It enables the diabetic to burn sufficient carbohydrates so that proteins and fats may be added to the diet in sufficient quantities to provide energy for the economic burdens of life” – Frederick Banting

Traditional medical care and endocrinology does not address these things.  Most conventional medical practices follow the ADA guidelines and recommend a diet high in whole grains, wheat bread, fruit, vegetable oils, and unnatural products, like artificial sweeteners.  Carbs turn to sugar.  Sugar in the diet raises blood sugar.

This all seems so logical, it’s hard to imagine or rationalize why the mainstream, conventional diabetes community is still recommending a diet high in carbohydrates for anyone, especially those with diabetes.  Regardless, the evidence is clear that low carbohydrate diets are more effective at reducing blood sugar and preventing post-meal glucose spikes.  Perhaps it’s true that common sense is not so common. 

Posted on March 1, 2018 .

Winter Hunger: Why is our hunger elevated during the winter?

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Do you ever notice how you’re often hungrier once the cold season hits? Granted, there are many opportunities to endlessly bake and celebrate with family over food. However, on a daily basis you crave more food with substance (ie, higher calorie food) and maybe you have snacks throughout the day. Some researchers suggest there may be a primitive response in us, warning us to stock up on calories for the winter ahead. However, the dwindling daylight hours, colder temperatures and the increase of time spent at home can all contribute to changes in eating habits during the winter months.


The sun has many benefits, allowing us to get adequate vitamin D, which builds our melatonin and increases our serotonin levels.  Melatonin is a hormone that is key to the ever revolving sleep and alert cycle of your body. It is important to get enough, resulting in a good night’s sleep.  Melatonin is produced in the nocturnal hours and stops when the body is exposed to optimal sunlight in the morning (or screen time at night!).  The sun is often clouded or rising later in the winter, resulting in a longer duration of melatonin production, meaning this could be a reason you are often drowsy during the days1.  When you are sleepy throughout the day, or don’t get enough/good quality sleep, it leads to over-consumption. The hormone that tells the body when you are full, Leptin, is stunted and the hormone, Ghrelin, that tells us when we are hungry is amplified by lack of sleep2.

 

The precursor to melatonin is serotonin, which is a hormone responsible for your positive and calm moods. Serotonin has been effective against seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a type of depression found in the winter months. With low levels of serotonin coming from the sunlight in the winter, people often consume more carbohydrates, which also increases serotonin levels. Because of the insulin secretion causing the serotonin boost, people often crave high-carb foods during the winter to improve their moods3.

 

With colder temps and darkness settling in sooner, we often hunker down in our homes and are less likely to go outside for any activity. The more time spent in our homes creates a greater temptation to snack between meals. The decrease of physical activity, along with the increased chance of over-eating has many people gaining weight during the winter months. Some helpful tips to get you through, until the light at the end of the tunnel called Spring arrives, are:

 

  • Consume foods that are higher in protein and healthy fats, which will have you feeling fuller longer

  • Enjoy your winter favorites, just remember our favorite saying “everything in moderation”

  • Whether you have to bundle up and take a stroll outside during your lunch break, get some physical activity (hopefully involving sunlight!)

  • Get a good night’s rest

  • Avoid snacking, instead drink a cup of hot tea or warm water which creates that fullness affect

 

Partner with Thrive Nutrition today and let us help you tackle obstacles that might be preventing you from living your best, healthiest life!

Posted on February 27, 2018 .

When the sky is gray: The importance of Vitamin D

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It’s that time of year again, when the holiday season has passed and Spring seems too far away. You start to notice the sky is more cloudy and gray. With the sun being less frequent, we need to be mindful of our Vitamin D intake. About 50% of the population gets an insufficient amount of vitamin D.1The benefits of getting adequate vitamin D include maintaining bone strength by aiding in the absorption of the important minerals calcium and phosphorus (without vitamin D, we would only absorb about 15% of calcium and 60% of phosphorus we ingest), helping muscle function and supporting the overall health of your immune, brain and nervous systems.2 

Several studies have found that vitamin D can even be a better preventative measure against the flu than the actual flu vaccine! Researchers have found that when individuals are low or deficient in vitamin D, they report more cold and flu cases. Antimicrobial peptides have an increased presence in your lungs with greater vitamin D intake, offering protection from respiratory infections. The theory that scientists have come to believe is that the reason we see most flu and cold cases in the winter is because there is less sun, therefore we intake less vitamin D.3 The sun is a great provider of this vitamin, but on dreary days, where can you seek solace?


SOURCES

Honestly, sun is the best and most natural way to get vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight (ultraviolet B rays). This can happen very quickly, particularly in the summer. You don’t need to tan or burn your skin to get vitamin D. You only need to expose your skin for around half the time it takes for your skin to begin to burn. In the winter, UV levels are much lower making it almost impossible to make vitamin D in our skin. The other way to get vitamin D is through what we eat, though there are not many foods that are good sources of vitamin D. Options include:

  • Fish - the most common sources are salmon, tuna, cod liver oil and wild-caught fatty fish
  • Beef liver, cheese or eggs have smaller amounts
  • Fortified milk and cereals, as well as yogurts, soy beverages or orange juice however these food tend to be processed and aren't generally a recommended way to get your vitamin D
  • Supplementation - Most people benefit from some form of supplementation, especially in the winter. Recent research found that vitamin D3 is twice as effective as vitamin D2 at raising blood levels, which is important because a lot of prescriptions for vitamin D are in the D2 form. 

 
The recommended intake of Vitamin D according to the Institutes of Medicine are4:

  • Infants 0-12 months - 400 IU (10 mcg).
  • Children 1-18 years - 600 IU (15 mcg)
  • Adults to age 70 - 600 IU (15 mcg).
  • Adults over 70 - 800 IU (20 mcg).
  • Pregnant or lactating women - 600 IU (15 mcg).


DEFICIENCY DISCUSSION

Current recommended intakes for vitamin D is to achieve a serum level status of 20 ng/mL. That level has been hotly debated as not nearly being high enough. Multiple studies support the need for vitamin D levels above 20 ng/ml for optimal health, finding that levels below 40 ng/ml are linked to chronic diseases like lung, colon, prostate and breast cancers, depression, autoimmune diseases and reproductive disorders like PCOS. The published journal article: The Big Vitamin D Mistake calls for new vitamin D recommendations as follows: 1000 IU for children <1 year on enriched formula and 1500 IU for breastfed children older than 6 months, 3000 IU for children >1 year of age, and around 8000 IU for young adults and thereafter. That's a big difference from current RDA guidelines!

Research has shown that lifeguards, farmers near the equator and sun dwelling hunter gatherers maintain blood levels between 40-80 ng/ml on sun exposure alone. As Dr. Cannell once said, “Humans make thousands of units of vitamin D within minutes of whole body exposure to sunlight. From what we know of nature, it is unlikely such a system evolved by chance.”

Because vitamin D is not overly common in our food, supplementation may be a solution for you. Those at risk of having deficiencies are older adults, those with chronic conditions, infants, those with darker skin, immune compromised patients, those living in northern climates (Hello Minnesotans!) and obese individuals. However, at Thrive Nutrition we see that most healthy adults not supplementing are deficient as well, which makes sense because adults rarely go outside during the week due to 9 am to 5 pm jobs. When we recommend vitamin D supplementation, we also either tie in vitamin K supplementationeither in with Vitamin D, in a multivitamin or through your diet with fermented foods. Because vitamin D increases calcium absorption, we need to make sure vitamin K is there to tell the calcium to get out of your arteries and into your bones, where you want it! *Consult your health care practitioner before starting supplements. 

We partner with Fullscript for supplements, and through it we offer a discount of 15% off on pharmaceutical-grade, pure and potent supplements. Even non-members get  the discount, so start getting cheaper supplements today, sign up is easy!

Posted on February 6, 2018 .

Sex Hormones, the Microbiome, and Autoimmune Risk

From The Institute of Functional Medicine  

The impact of the microbiome on the onset of autoimmune conditions is well established—especially in the connection between ankylosing spondylitis and Klebsiella infection.1 Research on other autoimmune conditions, the microbiome, and the effects of sex hormones is unfolding. For instance, children with type 1 diabetes are known to have dysbiosis when compared to healthy controls.2 This dysbiosis creates a pro-inflammatory state, and in animal models, modulating the microbiome can reduce type 1 diabetes risk.3-4

Strategies to introduce bacteria into high-risk individuals are being explored with fecal transplants in animal models. Transfer of the gut microbiota of adult male non-obese diabetic mice into young female mice led to “elevated testosterone and metabolomic changes, reduced islet inflammation and autoantibody production, and robust T1D protection. These effects were dependent on androgen receptor activity.”3

In a mouse model of lupus, microbiome treatment improved symptoms in female mice and castrated mice but not in intact males,5 reinforcing the role of sex hormones in the link between the microbiome and autoimmunity. The impact of sex hormones on autoimmunity is not new; as far back as 1991,6 prevalence of autoimmune conditions was known to follow a woman’s menarche to menopause, increasing during the former and declining during the latter.7Since the microbiome affects sex hormone production, and vice versa, the role of estrogen and the microbiome in autoimmunity continues to be of interest.8-9 Tailoring treatments for each gender may have beneficial effects in a range of conditions, including IBS.10  LINK

What a Healthy Plate Looks Like - Are You Close?

Healthy eating can be quite confusing. I hear about it all of the time and I get it. We get bombarded with advertising, we are told we need to count calories, track everything on our smart watches, that fat is something to fear, sugar entices us around every corner and we're busy living our lives, which means we don't have time to research all of the facts. Plus, a lot of associations that we look to for advice have been bought out by Big Ag, Big Pharma or both (I'm looking at you American Heart Association!)

As you can see below, I've provided a picture of what I believe healthy eating looks like on a plate. No counting, weighing or scrutinizing required! When I give this handout to my clients, most often my clients see that their vegetable intake needs a big boost and there are usually plenty of questions about ferments and how about that amount of recommend fat intake?!  

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Here are some pointers on how to get started with eating more like the plate:

  • The ultimate goal is to eat healthy/according to the plate 80% of the time. However, if you're currently eating this way 25% of the time, the next step for you may be 35% and slowly work your way up. Big changes happen from continuous small changes over time. 
  • If you don't get in vegetables at breakfast, make it an extra effort throughout the day to eat them. This may mean having a salad for a meal (I am a huge promoter of having one salad a day), offering two sides of vegetables for dinner and/or having veggies for snacks. Breakfast ideas that include vegetables can simply be throwing in some spinach and onions with your eggs or an easy vegetable hash with sweet potato, peppers and chorizo. The possibilities are endless!
  • Vegetables are always more delicious with fat, so top some butter on them (bonus points for grass-fed options like Kerrygold)! I make sure my salads have lots of healthy fats such as avocado, seeds, cheeses like feta, hardboiled eggs and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. A beautiful salad like that keeps me full for 3-4 hours and no energy crashes. 
  • Remember when I mentioned veggies for snacks? Well, don't have them plain, pair them with healthy fat and protein like string cheese, guac, hummus, homemade blue cheese dressing, etc. The amazing this is that we actually NEED fat in our meal to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K offered by vegetables.
  • Ferments are becoming more popular, but are new to most people I work with. Fermented foods are a traditional way of preservation (before canned foods and refrigerators). Through this process natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics. Fermented foods aids in promoting digestion, immune function and balance bacterial populations. 

*Clients with compromised digestion would eat differently to help their GI system heal. Once their digestion is working better, we would focus on eating according to the above recommendations.

Posted on January 11, 2018 and filed under Food.

18 Body-Loving Resolutions for 2018

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Hey Friends!

It's officially the New Year! We have survived the holiday frenzy and have entered into a time of self-reflection, self-improvement and resolution setting. I have a proposition for you. Instead of setting a New Year's Resolution - IE lose weight, lose 50 pounds, exercise more, insert repetitive New Year's goal here, I want you to come up with a word or phrase that inspires you to dedicate to 2018. For instance that word or phrase might be: joy, one more (one more vegetable, one more walk, one more glass of water), play, slow down, phoenix (one of my clients chose this to symbolize rising from the ashes after a particularly hard 2017). 

As you can see, these words and phrases are positive, not numerical and ultimately powerful.  There is no pass or fail with this approach. The cool thing is, you'll remember this word and be excited about it for the whole year, not just the first month or two. Give it a shot!  

Lastly, I came across this article yesterday and I love it so much I needed to share it with you, it's another view on how to flip the script on setting New Year's resolutions. Click for link.

We all want the best of ourselves. We want to do our best, look our best, perform our best. So it’s natural to make goals that we hope will bring us closer to our own ideals. This isn’t a bad thing! But what often happens is that we inadvertently pick up other peoples’ standards and pin our self worth on achieving those.

At the start of the new year, we often make resolutions that are a reaction to what we dislike about ourselves. I don’t think this is loving or constructive. Too often, these goals revolve around dieting and becoming thin.

I’m afraid I have some bad news: Becoming thin will not make you happy or more valuable. And punishing your body into submission will not make you love it more.

So why make these your top priorities? Our bodies are always (always!) doing their best for us. We don’t need to beat them into submission– we need to practice gratitude and do our best to nourish and protect them so they can keep on helping us live life to the fullest.

So how about some body-positive, alternative resolutions for the new year?

Here are 18 Body-Loving Resolutions for the New Year

  1. I will stop using numbers (weight, clothing size, inches) to influence my sense of self-worth.

  2. I will never talk about food or body shapes/ appearances (including my own) negatively in front of children and I won’t let others do it when I’m around, either.

  3. I will remove morality-related words from the way I talk about food (like sinful, naughty, bad, guilty etc.).

  4. I will eat for nourishment and pleasure, without guilt.

  5. I will find ways of moving my body that feel pleasurable to me.

  6. I will rest when my body needs it.

  7. I will respond to my body’s messages when I am in pain– I will get bodywork or a massage, take a hot epsom salts bath, stretch, take it easy, etc.

  8. I will eat when I am hungry.

  9. I will get more sleep– which means I will have to make it a priority in my busy life.

  10. I will purge my closet of all of the clothes that no longer fit me or that don’t make me feel good when I wear them.

  11. I will not say mean things to myself about my body. And if I do, I will apologize and find something honest and kind to say.

  12. I will express gratitude for all of the things my body does for me every day.

  13. I will accept compliments instead of deflecting them, simply saying “Thank you.”

  14. I will treat my body as a friend, not a foe– after all, it is with me from the beginning of my existence, until the end– who else can I say that about?

  15. I will practice listening to my body, and hearing what it is trying to say to me– that I need to slow down, speak up, avoid certain situations, etc.

  16. I will try new ways of taking care of my body– from seeing a chiropractor to getting acupuncture or scheduling a bodywork session.

  17. I will help others to relax and enjoy their bodies by showing them love and acceptance, and modeling this in the way I talk about and treat my own body.

  18. I will try new ways of moving my body– to give myself new opportunities to see what it can do, and what it enjoys.

Posted on January 3, 2018 .

Holiday recipes every one will love

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Hi there,
 
Hope you're doing well this holiday season! We have just a week and a half left until Christmas, so I thought I would help you out a bit with some holiday recipes you can add to your meal plan. These recipes will go over well with everyone you might be sharing your food with!
 
Savory
 
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta & Sage

  • 2 lbs Brussels Sprouts, halved
  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced
  • 4oz pancetta, thinly sliced
  • 1 TBSP fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Cooking Instructions
Set your oven to 375. Place the Brussels Sprouts, leek, pancetta, and sage on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add the olive oil and salt. Toss until coated. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the Brussels Sprouts begin to lightly brown and the pancetta becomes crispy.
 
Slow Roasted Prime Rib
Prime Rib is a holiday tradition for many and oh so delicious.
 
Honey Garlic Chicken Wings
There are plenty of people who don't like spicy, so these wings are a nice option along side the hot ones.
 
Tahini Vegetable Dipping Sauce
Serve with carrots, cucumber, radishes, olives, cauliflower, and broccoli.
 
Sweet
 
Cranberry Sauce
With cranberry sauce like this, no need to limit it only to Thanksgiving!
 
Superfood Chocolate Bark
Just yum. Simple and delicious.
 
Snickerdoodles
I recommend using the coconut oil with these snickerdoodles. They're a huge hit every time! If you don't have a sifter, put the flours through a fine strainer. And remember they need to rest in the fridge for an hour before going in the oven.
 
Salted Caramel Pecan Pie
A new family favorite and easy to make!
 
Christmas Cutout Cookies
It's nice to have a healthier option for this fun holiday tradition!
 
In case you missed it, I talked all about staying healthy over the holidays in the newsletter right before Thanksgiving. Even if you're not able to cook all the healthy options you desire, the tips I shared will help you to let go of the guilt and take actions that will still support your health.

Posted on December 15, 2017 .

Handling Holiday Stress with Self-Care & Hygge

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Hello!

The holidays are a stressful time of year for many people. It's definitely not supposed to be, but all the plans, the food, the gifts, the traveling, and the days full of family time can really wear you down. It's a lot! Especially when we have 2 major holidays within about a month of each other. Who thought that was a good idea?!

It's important to stay on top of your stress during this time of year. Focusing on reducing it and maybe even having an action plan to get ahead of it can help you enjoy the season as intended.

Tips for managing holiday stress

Get your hygge on

Hy-what? Hygge is a Danish term for getting cozy and you pronounce it "hue-guh". My favorite thing about hygge is that you don't need to buy anything to help bring this into your life. I really like the way Hygge House talks about it. It's something that can be experienced in completely different ways by each individual. For me, hygge is curling up in a cozy blanket on the couch with a warm cup of tea and a good book. It's enjoying the moment for what it is by being present to the simplicity and charm. It can also be eating your favorite nourishing meal and savoring every bite. Maybe it's lighting a candle and taking a bath, or meditating in your favorite room. Finding ways to hygge every day, to take care of yourself and notice the simple, cozy moments in your life can really go a long way for helping manage your stress.

Plan ahead & delegate

Knowing where you have to be and when is half the battle. The other half is knowing what you're bringing, whether it be food or gifts.  If you're hosting an event, create a list of the foods needed. Ask people to pick a dish or assign a dish to everyone so you're not  the one cooking all the food. For the things you do need to cook yourself, don't be afraid to make things ahead of time. Most things can be prepared 2-3 days in advance, or even a couple weeks in advance if you throw it in the freezer. Leaving it all for the day of is a recipe for stress.

It might be a little late to use this tip for this year, but I like to keep a list of gifts I find throughout the year for my family members on my phone. Whenever I hear them talking about something they want or see something that would suit them perfectly, I hop into the note on my phone and write it down. This makes gift buying so much easier each year, especially for those who say they don't want or need anything.  I also keep a running list for myself so when someone asks me what I want for Christmas, I can send over something from my list really easily.

Don't feel obligated to spend $ on gifts

The holidays can be a financially stressful time of year due to the cost of gifts. It definitely doesn't have to be that way. Consider giving experiences over physical gifts. These experiences may cost money, like a trip to the zoo or dinner at a popular restaurant. But you can also give experience such as a half day hike at a local state park. Gifts like these cost time, but are very achievable financially. They're fun to give as well because they're often cashed in at a later date. If you're going along on the experience you're gifting, you get to spend some time together again outside of the holidays.

Take time for yourself

Spending some extra time and maybe even $ on self-care this time of year is definitely worth it. A client of mine spent the morning of Black Friday on self-care after spending Thanksgiving day with a lot of family. She went to yoga, then got a massage, and then did an infrared sauna session. It took a little over 3 hours and allowed her to recharge and de-stress. Consider carving out some time for a candlelit bath, a meditation, or a bundled up walk in the woods. Self-care doesn't always have to cost money, but sometimes a massage or facial is just what you need to get back on track.

Only say "yes" to things that bring you joy

There are so many awesome events that could easily fill up your nights and weekends during the holiday season. For many people, this doesn't bring joy at all. It brings a whirlwind of socialization that leaves you exhausted and wishing for it all to be over already. Consider saying no to the things that don't sound as exciting. Maybe there are multiple events happening with the same people and you can attend the one that works best for you. Or maybe you can suggest postponing until January to spread things out a bit. Whatever it is, consider if it'll actually bring you joy, make you feel good, and give you energy. If not, it might be best to say no. And you never have to feel guilty about taking care of yourself.

But, there will always be some things that you're obligated to attend, so to that I say...

Set a time limit

If you have to attend an event and you're not wild about it, agree to attend for a specific amount of time. There's nothing wrong with looking out for yourself. People will be glad you attended even if you couldn't stay the whole time.

I hope these tips help you to have a wonderful holiday season.

If you need more support with your stress or getting back on track after the holidays, you know where to find me!

Posted on November 30, 2017 .

Need Metabolism Support? Try Biotin for Wellness!

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Guest Post by Natural Healthy Concepts Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that our bodies need for multiple functions like creating energy, supporting healthy-looking hair, skin, and nails, and the liver. But did you know that some studies suggest that biotin may also boost metabolism and encourage weight loss?

How Biotin Supports Healthy Weight Management

Biotin, sometimes referred to as Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H, is essential to our metabolic process as it breaks down amino acids and processes most foods we ingest, including carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The idea is, if we maintain regular or elevated biotin levels, this will help our bodies process these foods faster, turning them to energy and boosting our metabolism instead of leaving them to become fat cells.

We all know that our bodies turn excess calories into fat, but before that can happen a specific enzyme involved in this process requires biotin. Without biotin, this enzyme may not synthesize available fats for energy, and instead will seek energy from other available sources such as glucose or protein. As a consequence, the body will store the unused fats and thereby increase body weight.

Other helpful enzymes in the body also use biotin. For example, one type of enzyme supports the production of glucose in the liver to help maintain blood sugar levels when your body needs energy but lacks the dietary carbohydrates required. This support for glucose levels in the body is essential for certain health conditions, such as diabetes, those who are moderately or severely overweight, and individuals with metabolic concerns.

People who suffer from enzyme or biotin deficiencies may greatly benefit from taking a biotin supplement and can also consider changing their dietary habits. There are many great food choice that contain biotin and may help to fill nutritional gaps and help ensure healthy biotin levels in the body.

Common Sources of Biotin:

  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower, Raw
  • Cheese, Cheddar
  • Egg, Cooked
  • Fortified Cereal
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts
  • Pork, Cooked
  • Raspberries
  • Salmon, Cooked
  • Whole Grains

If these foods don’t fit your taste profile or you can’t eat them as a result of dietary challenges, a biotin supplement may be ideal when looking to address nutritional gaps.Taking these supplements will help you reach or exceed your daily requirements.

Daily Recommended Intake of Biotin:

  • Infants 0 – 6 months: 5 mcg (microgram)
  • Infants 7 – 12 months: 6 mcg
  • Children 1 – 3 years: 8 mcg
  • Children 4 – 8 years: 12 mcg
  • Children 9 – 13 years: 20 mcg
  • Adolescents 14 – 18 years: 25 mcg
  • Adults 19 years and older: 30 mcg
  • Pregnant women: 30 mcg
  • Breastfeeding women: 35 mcg

While one primary reason to take a biotin supplement would be to correct a biotin deficiency, you can potentially glean other positive benefits as well.

The Beauty Vitamin
Biotin is much more than a vitamin for support of enzymatic production and activity.  Biotin is also known for helping to structure amino-acids that bind proteins and other compounds found in the hair, nails, skin. That is why you will find many health and personal care products advertised as containing biotin. The benefits of biotin also extend to our vital organs, such the eyes, liver and even the central nervous system.

Central Nervous System
People who suffer from a disabling neurological condition may, in fact, have damaged or destroyed myelin. Myelin protects the nerve fibers in the brain, spinal cord, and eyes. Biotin is believed to assist in the production of myelin. In a pilot study, early results showed that 90% of participants had experienced some degree of clinical improvement primarily in their vision and spinal cord health after consistently taking biotin supplements.

Get The Biotin Your Body Needs
Biotin is available as single supplements or as part of multivitamins in gelatin, capsules, vegetable capsules, soft-gels, tablets, lozenges, oral strips, gummies, chewables, drink mixes, smoothies, energy bars, and kids’ vitamins. You will also find it in personal care and beauty products that you apply to your hair, skin, and nails.  Knowing how readily available biotin is, there is no excuse not get the biotin your body needs.


Bio: Natural Healthy Concepts is a leader in educating people to change their lives through wellness and natural health. They have been offering education on essential oils, collagen, turmeric, and more since 2004.

Posted on November 25, 2017 .

The Healthiest Ways to Eat Your Holiday Favorites

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Depending on when you are reading this, it’s either winter and everyone is prepping for the holidays, or its Summer and everyone is kicking back.  Regardless the time of year, its always good to have a holiday game plan you can stay on track for your health goals.

In many situations, the holiday season ends up being a time warp, so it’s extra important to stop and think early about genuinely realistic ways to maintain your health. However, breathe a sigh of relief: you can eat your holiday favorites and stay on track with your health goals.

Goodies and health goals can happily coexist with some strategic planning! By creating specific action steps to use at holiday meals, dinner parties, galas, cookie swaps, or work outings, you can maintain your health over the holidays. This means that you don’t have to restrict yourself from eating anything “fun.” Honestly, that would be lame and would create an opportunity for binging later, which is the opposite of reaching health goals. Below are some examples of the healthiest ways to eat your holiday indulgences!

Eat Your Calories, Don’t Drink Them

Drink lots of water, especially on days where you might be tempted with lots tasty treats. If you sit next to a treat cube, you may want to drink lots of water all of the time! Not only is drinking water good for dry winter skin, but it also helps keep you from having excessive cravings. Sometimes when we are dehydrated, we mistake those thirst signals for hunger. Fewer cravings let you zero in on your favorites and less of the other stuff. There are lots of apps out there that can help you track your water.

Only Eat Your Favorites

This seems simple. We think that we would only eat the foods we like and love, but we can often find ourselves eating just to eat. Are you bonkers for mashed potatoes but also end up eating 2 store-bought dinner rolls that are just so-so? Is your grandma’s pumpkin pie the best but your dinner plate also has Auntie Kate’s creamed corn that is just meh

Our advice: skip those foods! Don’t waste your holiday eating on things that don’t taste special or delicious. Save room for the good stuff. Also, sometimes we eat a holiday favorite and it, unfortunately, is a major letdown. It’s okay to not finish it. You hopefully will have the opportunity again very soon to have a delicious version, or you can make your own!

Make Veggies The Centerpiece

Veggie trays are a sad afterthought. It’s sort of a last-ditch effort at getting in a measly serving of vegetables. Instead, put them front and center, next to the turkey even! Play with mashed cauliflower with butter and cream. Brussels sprout slaw with bacon, almonds, and cranberries is quite festive! Try a “better” veggie tray: a crudite board that has ferments, raw veggies (try radishes, baby peppers, thin asparagus spears), pickles, olives, nuts, dried fruit and spreads like hummus or guacamole.

Eat Slowly

When you eat slowly, you are able to taste every morsel and savor every bite. You can really pick up on the nuances. Not only is the meal more enjoyable, but you also allow your brain time to assess the food. That process better helps your brain determine when you should finish your meal. Can you even have the ability to leave the meal with more energy and not feel what most people end up feeling: stuffed and lethargic. This is intuitive portion control; you aren’t forcing yourself to stop, you’re letting it happen naturally.

Eat a Breakfast High in Healthy Fat and Protein

When you eat a breakfast high in healthy fat and protein, you might find that you have fewer sugar cravings the rest of the day. It’s also easier to say ‘no’ to the goodies the look good, but you’re not crazy about. Start your day off with eggs, cheese, and salsa. Or try chicken sausages with avocado and a small amount of fruit.

Eat With Pleasure!

When you give in to pleasure and thoroughly enjoy the food you are eating, you speed up your metabolism and better regulate your appetite. Would you believe me? Most people think that pleasure is entirely separate from the nutritional process and serves no metabolic function. People believe that if food makes them feel good, the body is automatically stimulated to eat more. However, author of The Slow Down Diet, Marc David examined the relationship between our biochemistry and the chemical cholecystokinin (CCK). CCK is produced by the body in response to protein or fat in a meal and performs some versatile functions. First, it directly aids digestion by stimulating the digestive organs. When it’s released in the brain, it shuts down appetite, and it encourages the sensation of pleasure in the cerebral cortex, the highest portion of the brain. 

The same chemical that functions to metabolize our meal also tells us when it’s time to finish that meal and makes us feel right about the entire experience. It shows us how pleasure, metabolism and a naturally controlled appetite are interwoven to the core. If you’re still not convinced, know that consuming treats with a full measure of delight prompts the hypothalamus to send activation signals via parasympathetic nerve fibers to the majority of our digestive organs. Digestion will be stimulated and you’ll have a fuller metabolic breakdown while burning calories more efficiently. It’s a win-win!

Go For a Walk! 

Nothing beats a nice walk outside in the fresh, crisp holiday air. A quick walk can suppress your appetite, refresh you and help you burn up some energy.

Final Words

Hopefully at least one of these suggestions is something you would like to try. At the very least, consider the timing of everything. The holidays may not be the best time to lose weight compared to the rest of the year. It’s okay to cut yourself some slack. Most of my clients are focused on weight maintenance during this time. They find that they feel less pressure and it makes this time of year more enjoyable. Whatever your goals may be – have a happy, nutritious and pleasure-filled holiday!

BONE BROTH BENEFITS + AN EASY RECIPE

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I hope this newsletter finds you in good health as we move into cooler weather. I always get really into soups this time of year. Purees with seasonal squashes are amazing, and I love making my own homemade bone broth as the base for all my soups.

If you've never tried making your own bone broth, I highly recommend it! The flavor is incredible and you can easily make an incredibly gelatinous, nutritious, healing broth.

Bone broth has been around for thousands of years, but it's not as common to find people making it at home these days. I'm glad it's becoming more popular again, because the nutrient density is pretty incredible. As Chris Kresser says, it's a "nutrient gold mine". Check out his article about the benefits of bone broth. Some of my favorite nutrients in bone broth are collagen and glutamine. Collagen is important in our bodies as it is the main component of our connective tissues. It gets a lot of credit for how nice (or not so nice) our skin looks since it plays an important role in cell development and regulation. Glutamine is an important amino acid, especially for healing the lining of our gut. A lot of my clients suffer from leaky gut, and bone broth is one of my top healing recommendations for gut issues.

When I started making bone broth a few years ago, I'd pick up whatever beef bones were in the frozen case at Whole Foods and throw them in my slow cooker. The broth was always great, and definitely nutritious, but I'd see people online making gelatinous broths and wonder how they were getting it to be like that! Mine always stayed pretty thin and watery. I wanted the jiggle! The more it jiggles, the more collagen-rich it is. (Don't worry, it only jiggles when it's cold. It turns back into soup when warmed.)

I quickly found out that certain types of bones were a lot richer in collagen. These bones include chicken feet, which creeped me out for a long time. Okay, they still do. But sometimes I take one for the team (the team being my health) and use them in my broth. Since I've started braving the chicken feet (with tongs, of course), my broth has been incredible!

Bone broth has to cook for a while in a slow cooker or on the stove top, but the effort is really minimal. Some of my clients use their Instant Pot, which is a pressure cooker that takes 2-4 hours instead of 24 hours. It's definitely a game changer.

A simple bone broth recipe

Ingredients

  • Beef or chicken bones (2+ lbs. - fill roughly half full)
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • Water - fill about an inch from the top (or a little below the max fill line)
  • Optional: Add an onion, celery, carrots, garlic, or herbs to add flavor

Cook

  • Slow cooker or stovetop: Cook on low for 24 hours
  • Instant Pot: Press "Soup" and set the time for 120 minutes
  • Let cool a bit before straining through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Store in large mason jars for easy access in the fridge or freezer.

Tips & Tricks

  1. You can usually find “soup” bones in the fresh or frozen section of a co-op or Whole Foods-type store. Ask at the meat counter and they can point you in the right direction.
  2. Cook a whole chicken, and use the chicken carcass for broth + a few chicken feet for extra collagen.
  3. Purchase soup bones + a package of chicken feet, then use half of each and freeze the other half for your next broth.
  4. If you're using an Instant Pot, fill it 1-2 notches below the max fill line. You could have issues with pressurizing when filled too far.
  5. Freeze half to use another day if you don't need it all. You can pre-measure common amounts your recipes call for to make it super easy on yourself.
  6. You can reference this article if you need help troubleshooting your bone broth consistency.
  7. There's really no perfect way to make broth, and you'll figure out what you like best over time. Don't over think it!

When you're in a pinch, you can even buy bone broth pre-made. You can often get it hot at a co-op, or find it refrigerated or packaged as well either in store or online.  Here are a few brands I recommend:

Happy soup season! Hope your broth turns out fabulous!

If you need help with any of your health goals, set up your free consultation so we can discuss how Thrive Nutrition can help.

Posted on November 5, 2017 .

Warm Up, Relax + Detox your Body all at Once with THIS Powerful Tool

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It's that time of year where things start to cool down and I sometimes find myself longing for some heat. The days are shorter, which means a lot less sunshine to boost our spirits (and our vitamin D!). We're also moving into "sick season", and I'm all about finding ways to avoid coming down with anything nasty. This is where my love for the infrared sauna comes in!

Infrared saunas are a healing modality I often recommend to my clients. You can find many claims of health benefits, like these outlined by Sunlighten, a maker of infrared saunas. There hasn't been in-depth research on many of the benefits though, so some may be skeptical. I can say from personal experience, and the experience of my clients', that I definitely notice some of the benefits when I use the infrared sauna throughout the winter months.

Besides warming my body up when it's -20 below, I experience a boost in my mood and my immunity. And it feels so good to sweat out all the junk in my system! Whenever I feel something coming on, or if I have a stuffy nose, the infrared sauna provides relief. It's also a great place to disconnect and catch up on some reading or meditation.

How does an infrared sauna work?

The temp in an infrared sauna is much lower than a traditional sauna. It's usually adjusted between 110-150 degrees and your session is 15-40 minutes. If you've been in a sauna in the past, know that an infrared sauna will feel very different.

These types of saunas use heat and light to create the warmth that penetrates your body and helps you to detox. It's similar to the infrared rays of the sun, which are the healthiest rays. There are near, mid, and far infrared rays and each have different benefits. It can be most beneficial to get the full spectrum, which many infrared saunas have available. Fun fact: these rays are the same type used in neonatal units for premature babies.

Some of the immediate effects you'll notice:

  • Lots of sweating:  This is how your body detoxes. It can sometimes feel like you're doing a super intense workout even though you're just sitting there. Definitely bring a couple towels with you and water to replenish.
  • Increased heart rate: Your body is heating up and your circulation and blood flow are improving, so your heart rate increases slightly as well. It can truly feel like a little workout even though you're not moving.
  • Relaxation & decreased stress: This is similar to effects you may get from exercising, but you're relaxing in an infrared sauna instead.

What are a few of the potential benefits?

  • Detoxification: All that sweating you'll be doing? It's helping move the toxins stored in your body out through your sweat.
  • Pain relief: The heat penetrates your muscles and can provide relief from chronic pain.
  • Stress reduction: It's easy for your stress to reduce when you're in a relaxed state. The gentle heat relaxes you and can also improve your sleep.
  • Lower blood pressure: Your heart rate and blood flow increase while your blood pressure lowers.
  • Skin purification: You can notice glowing skin immediately after detoxing in an infrared sauna because the impurities are pushed out.
  • and so much more!

For more info on infrared saunas, benefits, and even some research, check out this article from Dr. Axe or this article on 23 Health Benefits of Saunas, According to Science. And if you want to read about someone's experience in an infrared sauna, you can read this article from the HuffPost.

Feeling enticed? Awaken for Wellness in St. Paul is my favorite place to go for infrared sauna if you're in the Twin Cities area. If you're not, there's likely a holistic practice, yoga studio or spa near you that offers it.

As always, I'm here if you need support for detoxification. It's so important that it's built into many of my healing programs here at Thrive Nutrition.

Posted on October 19, 2017 .

Exciting Nutrition Research for Autoimmune Disease

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Something super exciting happened recently in the real food community that I wanted to be sure you all heard about! It's great news for anyone who believes in or has experienced the healing power of food. There was research done on the efficacy of the autoimmune protocol, also known as the AIP diet, and it was a success! If you don’t know what the AIP diet is, it’s a more modified version of Paleo. Sometimes I work with my clients to start Paleo first, see how they feel and then progress to the Autoimmune Protocol. Not all clients with autoimmunity need to go full AIP, so we modify based on symptoms and progress.

In this study, a total of 15 individuals with autoimmune diseases followed the autoimmune protocol. By week 6, 11 out of 15 of them had achieved clinical remission. They maintained remission throughout the remainder of the study as well. You can read more about the study itself in the link above.

This is only the first of many studies to come, but it's really encouraging to see evidence building around this healing lifestyle. There are thousands of people who suffered for years before discovering AIP and finding relief. The more evidence we have to show that healing diets are working, the sooner we'll hear doctors recommending special diets as a way of healing disease over medicine.

Many of my clients have autoimmune diseases and follow AIP to reduce inflammation and remove common food allergens until their guts heal. It's pretty rare to find a standard medical doctor who has studied nutrition and knows the healing power food can have. Autoimmune diseases are often treated with a variety of medicines that don't bring any relief for some people, don't bring lasting relief for many others, and others still are left with symptoms they can't get relief from. I've seen people start to get results in a matter of days after starting AIP. That's how powerful food can be!

It's all about getting to the root cause of the problem instead of masking the symptoms with medication. This is exactly what we do at Thrive Nutrition. Once we figure out why the autoimmune disease, or any other adverse health condition, has happened in the first place, we can treat the root cause and work to alleviate the symptoms that stem from it.

If you have an autoimmune disease or digestive issues, Thrive Nutrition is here to help. When you schedule your free 30 minute consultation, we can discuss your symptoms and what an approach to healing might look like for you.

Posted on October 19, 2017 .