immune system

Top 4 Foods to Remove From Your Diet Today

Top 4 Foods to Remove From Your Diet Today

"Once I've added some nice, beautiful, healthy whole foods into my diet, which foods should I squish out first?". This is a good question, so here are my recommendations:

Lessons from the Mediterranean

Lessons from the Mediterranean

Maybe it's because I live in the Okanagan Valley with its lovely Tuscan feel. Or maybe it's because I love whole, healthy, yet simple food. Whatever it is, I love mediterranean cooking.

Brain Fuel for School

Should we consider our child’s diet as a tool for learning? Absolutely! Leading nutritional researchers are learning more every day about the power certain foods have on growing bodies. A healthy diet helps to build a better brain and a stronger immune system. As well, it can supply school-aged children with the focus needed to sit through math class, enjoy a good book, or have the energy to play a fun game after school.

Breakfast

This is a meal that can make or break your child’s day. A good breakfast will fuel your child’s energy and mind, but a high carb/high sugar breakfast may lead to energy lows and mood swings all day. Instead, start your child off right with a healthy, higher protein breakfast.

A good breakfast includes a good source of protein, whole grains, and is balanced nutritionally. Some examples of great breakfasts include: a poached egg on sprouted grain toast, 5% fat yogurt with homemade granola, and long-cook oatmeal with hemp seeds and berries.

Lunch

The best lunch for your child is always one you pack yourself. A sandwich made with sprouted grain bread, leftover meats, lettuce, and hummus makes a fantastic balanced lunch. Some carrot sticks or an apple rounds it out nicely. Juice packs and sugary drinks can cause an energy dip at the end of the school day. Pack water instead, or dilute 100% fruit juice with water.

After School Snack

Growing kids need more than 3 meals a day and an after-school snack is a must. This is also a great time to give them another serving of fruit or veggies that are a great source of vitamins and minerals to help support a healthy immune system. Vitamin C can help the body fight off colds and infections. Oranges, strawberries, and bell peppers are great sources of Vitamin C. Alternatively, a sugary snack after school may lead to problems sleeping, weaken his/her immune system, and make your child more prone to getting a cold.

Dinner

The best dinner for your child is one eaten with the family. This is a wonderful time to talk and come together as a group. It is also a great way to expand the palate of your picky eaters. It can take 8 – 10 introductions to a new food before your child begins to enjoy it, so be patient and keep trying. Prepare a healthy meal full of quality protein, a variety of colourful vegetables and whole grains, and he/she will get all of the nutrients requires for a strong body.

Overall, spend some time watching how your child reacts to different food choices. What meal choices keep his/her energy steady, mood balanced, and body strong? Provide a healthy variety of food for you and your family and you’ll child with have fewer sick days and better concentration through this school year.

Lisa Kilgour Headshot
Lisa Kilgour Headshot

Lisa Kilgour is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. She provides one-on-one consultations and teaches workshops in the Okanagan. To find out the underlying cause of your symptoms, or to find the diet that helps you feel your best, visit www.EatMoreRealFood.com or call 250.869.9434.

Copyright © 2008- 2013 EatMoreRealFood.com. This article is of the copyright of EatMoreRealFood.com and the author; any reproduction, duplication and transmission of the article are to have prior written approval by EatMoreRealFood.com or the author.

Take Control Of Your Allergies!

It would usually happen around this time of the year. I would wake up in the morning and suddenly become a giant ball of mucous. Yes, it was really that attractive :). For most of the spring I would sneeze and sneeze and then have a bit of a break in July...until August hit. Oh, ragweed season. Itchy, watery eyes joined my sore, runny nose for August and most of September. It wasn't a nice way to spend the summer.

sneezing
sneezing

All of this ended about 5 years ago when I gained control over my allergies. You see, when our immune system is over-stimulated, it gets confused and stops being able to recognize the difference between a virus/bacteria and pollen/dust. This causes our immune system to react to things we inhale...things that shouldn't stimulate our immune system. On the other hand, when your immune system is balanced and happy, it can tell the difference between pollen and a virus and we can enjoy our spring and summer. How do you balance your immune system? For many of us, it's through food.

Food, specifically undigested protein, looks just like a virus or bacteria and our immune system creates an antibody to it. We see this in life-threatening reactions like anaphylactic shock to nuts or shellfish. We can also have a much quieter, non-life threatening reaction to an undigested protein, which can over-stimulate our immune system and lead to seasonal allergies, eczema, and many inflammatory conditions. These are usually referred to as food sensitivities. What I've seen over and over again in my practice is that once we discover the foods that you aren't digesting properly you can gain control over allergies, eczema, and many inflammatory conditions!

You don't need to suffer this summer, take control of your health today!

6 Weeks to Allergy-Free

happily allergy-free
happily allergy-free

Are you tired of spending your summer dealing with allergies? Are you dealing with the horrible itch of eczema? Join me for 6 weeks to discover your food triggers and balance your immune system.

I will take you through the protocol of discovering your food triggers and balancing your immune system. When you join this online program, you will get:

- The allergy protocol - Weekly healthy, whole food meal plans and recipes - email advice and support - Information on how to continue the program long-term and begin to reverse your food sensitivities*

*This only includes food sensitivities. True food allergies, ones that stimulate an anaphylactic reaction should be removed from the diet permanently.

Investment: $100 for the online program

Contact me to answer your questions and to register for this program.

Why We Don’t Eat What We “Should” Be Eating

I need to start with a spotlight on the word “should”…it’s a big pet peeve of mine. We’re constantly weighed down with what we “should” or “shouldn’t” be doing. We “should” all over ourselves! This is not helpful. The moment we use the word “should” we judge ourselves.

Look at these two sentences:

  1. I should be eating more vegetables.
  2. I could be eating more vegetables.

The latter is a statement, while the former has a big weight of judgment added to it. After a while, all of these “shoulds” we fill ourselves with start spilling out and we start to tell others what they “should” be doing.

“Should” doesn’t help us move forward, it holds us down. When it comes to diet we all know what we “should” be eating, but few of us do it. Let’s throw away the unhelpful word “should” and replace it with non-judgmental words like “could”, “can”, or even “will”.

Ahhhh, that feels better :). So, why don’t we eat the healthy diet that we could be eating?

Chocolate chunks
Chocolate chunks

Our daily diet is made up from a collection of decisions, and I feel that to get to the core of our dietary dilemmas we need to look at what drives these decisions. My hypothesis is that our state of mind when we are choosing what to eat drives what we choose to eat. Let me give you some examples:

Scenario 1: You come home from work and you’re STARVING! You could eat almost anything that’s put in front of you. You’re craving a fast hit of sugar or carbs, and you want it now. Your energy is low and the prospect of spending the next hour chopping, cooking, and waiting for dinner is very unappealing. So…what do you do? Make a big healthy meal, or just grab some chocolate from the cupboard? Or, do you just pick up something quick for dinner on your way home?

HEFEA10305_A.RGB
HEFEA10305_A.RGB

Scenario 2: You come home from work and you're feeling a bit hungry. You feel like you could eat in the next hour or two. Your energy is pretty good and you would really like to eat a big pile of vegetables (yes, this scenario is possible). You look in the fridge and put together a gorgeous coconut milk curry full of veggies, chickpeas, served over brown rice. The process is enjoyable and ready in about 40 minutes.

What is the difference between Scenario 1 and 2? You might say #2 is almost impossible, or only happens once in a blue moon…or only happens for super-healthy people who don’t eat anything close to a “normal diet”. …what if I said you’re dead wrong?

What if the difference between Scenario 1 and 2 is simply the difference between an imbalance in blood sugar and balanced blood sugar? What if Scenario 2 was possible for everyone with only a few small changes to your diet?

We tend to think of blood sugar issues only in relation to Type II Diabetes or Hypoglycemia, but the fact is many of us are dealing with mild-to-moderate blood sugar issues every day. These are imbalances we feel, but don’t turn up on blood tests. These blood sugar issues lead to weight gain, low or fluctuating energy, sugar/carb cravings, and a lack of motivation. They affect our life every day and are the driving factor behind poor food choices.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you feel Scenario 1 at least one time per week?
  2. Is hunger immediate? Do you need to eat relatively quickly (within the next hour) when you feel hungry?
  3. Do you have energy dips throughout the day?
  4. Do you crave sugar, carbs, or sugary drinks throughout the day?
  5. Do you carry food with you all the time just in case you suddenly feel hungry?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your blood sugar isn’t balanced.

Balancing your blood sugar is surprisingly easy and it allows you to make better decisions with your diet. Imagine having one hour or more to make a meal when you feel hungry! If you had this time, what would you make? That big healthy meal sounds more appealing now, doesn't it :)?

The first step towards finding balance is to look at how food makes you feel. How do you feel immediately after eating? How about after one hour? How long can you go before you feel like you're “starving”?

Balanced energy, weight-loss, and a healthy diet are all within reach with just a few small changes! Starting today, stop thinking about what you “should” be doing, and look at how your current diet is affecting your decisions.

Lisa Kilgour Headshot
Lisa Kilgour Headshot

Lisa Kilgour, Registered Holistic Nutritionist from EatMoreRealFood.com, loves to help others find balance and be happy.

Lisa has clients from all over Canada and consults in person, and via phone and Skype. Contact Lisa today and take the first step towards good health!

There Are Pigs in My Yogurt?!

Yup, you heard it correctly - there may be swine bacteria in that yogurt you're enjoying! But, don't get me wrong, yogurt can be incredibly healthy. Knowing what is healthy and what isn't is the question.
Yogurt can be very confusing! This is mostly because the mass marketing of yogurt products have made it confusing. All yogurt is made with good bacteria (probiotics) and the good quality yogurts still have the probiotics in them when they're on the grocery store shelves. The problem is with the over processed yogurts.
Highly processed yogurts (low-fat, high in sugar) kill off the probiotics in their high heat processing. But, good bacteria is important so they needed to fix that. What they did was they found a probiotic that can withstand the high heat of processing...and they found it in pigs. This was a few years ago... remember how the media was suddenly all over probiotics and their health benefits? They've always been healthy and an important part of a healthy digestive system, but I find it interesting that it didn't hit the media until the big food manufacturers were able to patent specific strains.
Now things get interesting..."Bifidus Regularis", the bacteria promoted in a certain popular yogurt that promotes regularity, used to be called "Bifidus Animalis" - and it's swine bacteria. Does it help with regularity in the short-term? Possibly, I've heard some good things. Does that help our digestive system in the longterm? We don't know, we've never had swine bacteria in our yogurt before. As well, Danone was just sued for incorrect marketing, specifically for promoting their patented probiotic strains as being more beneficial than they've been proven to be.
And to top it all off, they remove all of the blood sugar balancing fat and piled in tons of high-fructose corn syrup. Exactly what studies have found to raise cholesterol and increase arterial damage. Not exactly the health food they promote it to be.
It's not all bad news, there are still very healthy yogurts on the market. The problem is they don't have the best shelf space (that costs a pretty penny). When you're at the yogurt section of your favourite grocery store, look up or down. They'll be on the very top row, or in a corner at the bottom. They'll be unsweetened (sweeten it yourself with honey and/or berries) and have at least 5% fat. The best yogurts are made with unhomogenized whole milk, although these yogurts have become very hard to find. 
Most importantly, the best yogurts have "active bacteria cultures" in the ingredients but don't scream "I have probiotics!" on the label. If a yogurt just says "bacteria culture" in the ingredients then it had it, but it was killed off in the high-heat of processing. The ones who advertise they contain specific probiotic strains usually contain some form of patented swine bacteria (yummy!). 
We have 4 - 10 times more cells of bacteria in our gut than cells in our body! This organism is very important to our overall health and an imbalanced gut bacteria (too few good guys, too many bad guys) can lead to digestive issues (including IBS, Crohn's, and colitis) and immune system irregularities (allergies, etc). Take care of your gut bacteria by removing refined sugars and refined grains from your diet, supplementing with probiotic supplements (necessary to rebalance an imbalance), and eating fermented foods daily like healthy yogurts, sauerkraut, and miso.
Don't stop eating yogurt just because it's been invaded by swine, simply choose differently and read the labels! Remember to look for: Active bacteria cultures in the ingredients, at least 5% fat (fat won't make you fat ), and no added sugar. 

How to Stay Healthy This Winter

At this time of the year I'm asked the same question over and over again - How do I stay healthy this winter? My answer -  trust your body. Why? Because, when we give our body everything it needs, your immune system can fight any virus that comes around. Seems too simple, right?

We all know how important our immune system is to our overall health. Everyday it's searching our body for viruses, bacteria, and anything else that doesn't belong there. Like our digestive system, our immune system functions best when we're happy and relaxed. If you're stressed, how well is your immune system working? Think about it...if there was a bear chasing you, how much would your body really care about fighting a virus? It would be a pretty low priority compared to your immediate survival. This is how your body reacts to a virus when you are stressed about anything (otherwise known as fight or flight :).

When you're stressed your body doesn't care about your long-term survival. You're either stressed OR you're fighting off a cold or flu.

Our immune system has "guards" set up in our throat to signal the arrival and trap any viruses or bacteria that are attempting entry. These guards are our tonsils and adenoids. Put your hand up if you have had your tonsils and/or adenoids removed....yup, that's what I thought. Many of us will have our hands up as this was a very routine procedure until fairly recently. As well, our immune system has its own super highway (the lymphatic system) to move immune cells throughout the body. This amazing super highway is large but doesn't have a central pump (like the heart). It moves when you move. When you're moving around your lymph is moving around as well. It's one of the many reasons why regular exercise keeps your immune system strong!

What can you do to help your body fight off any infection that comes your way? Here are some simple steps you can take: 1. Reduce Stress - you're either stressed OR you're fighting off that bug! So stressing about getting sick is very counterproductive :) 2. Remove White Sugar - completely and totally. Studies have found that a moderate intake of refined sugar will suppress the immune system for up to 5 hours! FIVE hours! Yikes! 3. Identify Food Sensitivities - Food sensitivities can overwhelm the immune system and may allow things it should be fighting (viruses and bacteria) through its defenses. 4. Exercise - Keep your lymph moving! 5. Garlic - Its a great way to keep vampires away and its a potent anti-viral and anti-bacterial...when raw. If you're worried about the smell, simply feed everyone in your household raw garlic. Believe me, no one will notice :)

Remember, your body knows how to fight off anything that comes around. If you do come down with a cold or a flu this winter, rest, drink lots of water, and stay far, far away from white sugar. You'll be better in no time - and now your body has natural anti-bodies to that virus :). And as always, feed your body with real food. Eat More Real Food (sound familiar :)