12 Simple Nutrition Changes That Make A Big Difference

When it comes to making changes some people are ready to go all in right away, and others need much smaller habits that are built over time.

Neither one of these approaches is better than the other. I have noticed that a lot of people do much better developing small habits that add up over time to big  lifestyle changes.  

I speak with clients frequently who have made large changes going all in on diets and exercise routines. As a result they lost twenty pounds and got in good shape for little bit, but it didn’t last.

Eventually they returned to their old default habits which isn’t surprising. Habits built over time allow people to lay the groundwork for long term change.

I like to use the example of laying the foundation for a house to illustrate my point. You can build the foundation for a house out of poor quality materials and go too fast to meet a deadline.

That house will look good and stay up for a bit, over time though it will fall apart because it lacks the foundation to support the house.

This is the equivalent of the diet mentality. The foundation of this house is just like trying to take on too many big habits at once  - poor quality materials are used,  and the foundation is built too fast, as a result the house can be held up for a short while but eventually falls apart.   

A different example is the foundation for a house made out of good quality materials carefully crafted over time.

As a result of the quality materials and the time spent to build a solid foundation the house is built to last. The foundation of this house took longer to build, and it will last longer as a result.This type of foundation is the equivalent of building habits over time. With a foundation like this you can make add ons to the house without worrying about the foundation falling apart.

In this blog I am going to be discussing the small habits that people can implement on a daily basis that can will over time lead to a new healthier lifestyle.

In my nutrition practice I have clients work on a new habit every two weeks, but you should go at whatever pace you need to keep things move forward in a sustainable fashion.

The beautiful thing about using habits is that they allows you to rely on a routine instead of willpower. The problem with willpower is that we have a limited amount each day, it is a limited resource.

We are bombarded with decisions from the moment we wake up until we fall asleep each night. The more decisions you can put on autopilot per day using habits and routines the more you can use that willpower to focus on other aspects of life and health.

Changes pertaining to lifestyle and health can be very challenging in the beginning, but over time the more you develop these habits the easier they will become. By mastering one small habit at a time you will achieve long term success and end up with a healthier long term lifestyle.

Drink More Water Daily

Our bodies are made up of 60% water, yet as  society water is the most common macronutrient deficiency. Water is the most important macronutrient in the body, period.

No matter what your health goal is drinking more high quality water on a daily basis will help you reach that goal quicker. Drinking more water is one of the smallest habits  that will elicit the big changes.

One of the biggest problems is that most folks assume all liquids contribute to their daily water consumption. The majority of liquids people drink on a daily basis are diuretics, and pull water from the body instead of adding to it.

The most common diuretics are: coffee, caffeinated/some herbal teas , soda, fruit juice, dried fruit and alcoholic beverages.  

Habit: If you currently drink 32 ounces of water a day start by drinking 48 ounces of water 4  times a week for the next two to three weeks. Set a timer or keep a water bottle on your desk to to help remind you about the habit. Over time work your way up to half your bodyweight in ounces as a goal.   

Keep Your Own Snacks On Hand  

Preparation is key when it comes to changing food habits. Food temptations are everywhere and making sure you have good quality snacks on hand reduces temptations.

If you have already paid for a food and brought it to work, you have invested time and money into this habit change.  

Everyday life will throw schedule changes and delays, if you find yourself unprepared and hungry, no worries.

It's easy these days to track down a place that has nuts and a piece of fruit or hard boiled eggs and veggie sticks. The goal is over time to not reduce the need for snacking in-between meals.

Habit: Keep a stash of healthy snacks on hand to make sure you are not left with poor options or tempted by the typical afternoon hunger. When you feel the afternoon low, instead of grabbing coffee and a pastry have small healthy snack. The goal is over time to reduce the need for snacking.

Include Vegetables At Every Meal

There are a lot of subjects up for debate in nutrition, but everyone can agree that eating more vegetables is a great to improve health.

Vegetables are some of the most nutrient rich foods on the planet and provide tons of vitamins, minerals, fiber and nutrients that contribute to health. Another added benefit is that vegetables are very low in calories and leave people feeling fuller for longer.

By increasing the vegetables in your diet you are leaving less room in your stomach for processed carbohydrates.

Habit: If you are currently eating one serving of vegetables a day, make a habit out of having one serving of vegetables at every meal 3-4 times this week. Aim for a fist sized portion of veggies on your plate 3 times a day. As this becomes a habit over time, make a greater percentage of your plate vegetables.

Batch Cook

When adopting a healthier lifestyle you are going to end up doing more cooking, there is  no way around it. It is not sustainable to try to cook every meal from scratch three times a day, but there are ways to save time while cooking healthier meals.

The biggest time saver is to cook large batches of food instead of single meals, and eating leftovers.

You may end up chopping  extra veggies or waiting for the larger batch to cook. The trade off for this is that you have healthy leftovers that can be eaten for breakfast,lunch or dinner without having to make a decision about what to eat.

Habit: Pick one night a week and set aside extra time to make one of your favorite meals in a larger portion than normal. Over time as this becomes a part of your routine, increase the batch cooking to 2-3 dishes or 2-3  times per week. Another option is to pick a day like sunday and make that your meal prep day where cook a few different meals to fuel you throughout the week.

Embrace The Salad

Salads are a quick and easy on the go lunch that includes everything we are looking for in a meal. Salads have lots of vegetables and when you add a protein source and some healthy fats in the way of dressings you are good to go.

An added benefit of embracing the salad is even if you are out to lunch/dinner salads are served served everywhere. Making requests to add or subtract something from a salad or opt for olive oil and vinegar as a dressing are simple changes that allow you to keep on track.

Habit: You can batch make a huge salad packed with veggies and store in the fridge at home. Each day toss a few handfuls of pre made salad in your lunch container and add some protein. To avoid the soggy salad situation bring salad dressing to work leave there for daily use.

Use The Crock Pot

There are very few things on this earth as simple as using a crock pot, it literally does all the cooking for you. From cooking roasts to making soups and even batch cooking quiches, the crock put is a gift from the powers that be.

My typical crock pot recipe includes a large chunk of meat with spices rubbed all over, chopped root vegetables, and a 1 cup of water or broth. I leave these ingredients in a crock pot and turn it on medium. When I come home I have a few days worth of meals that have been cooked for me.

Habit: If you are low on cash and need a  crock pot visit the nearest Goodwill. Goodwill always has a few crock pots in great shape at a great price. Pick one morning or night and make sure you have fifteen to twenty minutes extra to get everything ready. Put all the ingredients in the crock pot and turn it on and let the magic happen. The crock pot is an awesome tool for meal prepping and batch cooking. There are millions of healthy crock pot recipes on google.

Relax and Chew Your Food

We have our parasympathetic and sympathetic states that are better known as the rest and digest and fight or flight. To adequately digest foods we need to allow our bodies the relax and not be stressed.

The problem is that people do not take the time to relax before or while eating. Meals are eaten while staring a computer, TV or cell phone screen leading to digestive problems.

To add fuel to the fire most people are inhaling their food, and barely chewing before swallowing.  Chewing is an important part of the digestive process. Saliva contains an enzyme named amylase which begins the breakdown of carbohydrates in the mouth.

The more we chew our foods and break them down, the less our stomach has to pick up the slack left by our lack of chewing.

By not taking the time to chew our foods we can also consume much larger quantities of food than we need. We have finished our entire meal before our body has the time to realize we have over eaten.

When eating the gut sends a signal that it is full and well nourished in effect turning hunger off in the brain. When you eat very fast and do not chew you can eat far more food than your body requires. You will end up exceeding what your body needs, and excess will be stored as body fat.

Habit: When you sit down at a meal take 5 deep breaths before your first bite and look at your food for a few seconds. Over time increase the amount of breaths you take before the first bite. When you are starting a chewing habit don’t worry about the number of times you chew, but instead put your fork or spoon down between bites to start with. By putting your utensil down you will naturally slow down and chew more. Focus on one meal a day that you are not going to be rushed at and put the fork down between bites. As the habit progresses aim to chew every bite  20-30 times and make it a liquid before you swallow.  

 Eat More Protein To Stay Satiated For Longer

Eating more protein boosts your metabolic rate increasing the amount of calories you burn while resting. Protein also helps to curb appetite making people eat fewer calories overall.

By consuming more protein rich foods you will feel fuller for longer. Not to mention whether you are trying to build muscle or burn fat, consuming more protein can help with either of these goals.

Eating more protein is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to give your metabolism a push in the right direction. By keeping appetite regulated and not focusing on hunger other changes will be much easier to make when food is not on your mind all the time.

Habit: When eating more protein avoid the bars and protein powders, they are packed full of nasty ingredients. Focus on high quality whole food sources from animals and plants. You can begin this habit by batch cooking three different different protein sources for the week.Then focus on eating a palm sized portion of protein at each meal. If you find yourself hungry in between meals include more protein at meal times to help.

 Replace Bad Fats and Oils With Quality Ones

Something as simple as switching out the processed unhealthy fats for traditional ones  can have long reaching health impacts.

Most people today consume large amounts of trans fats and hydrogenated oils from processed foods. Vegetable oils are another problem with our current diet.

These rancid vegetable oils create inflammation oxidative damage in the body. The vegetable oils I’m referring to include: soybean, corn, safflower, sunflower, canola or cottonseed oils.

Replace these highly processed fats with the nutritious traditional fats that have nutritive value such as grass fed butter or ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil.

Raw nuts or nuts that have been soaked are another good source of fats. The caveat  with nuts is that they are very easy to over do. Use nuts like condiments in the diet, sparingly!

Habit: Read labels on foods at the grocery store to avoid  trans, hydrogenated and vegetable oils.Remove these fats and oils from the house, and throw them in the trash. Next time you go to the store purchase grass fed butter/ghee , coconut oil and avocado oil to cook with at medium to high temps. Use olive oil for low temp cooking or cold uses.

 Eat a Protein, Fat and Veggie  Breakfast

By eating a breakfast that is mostly protein and fats you are able to feel more satiated on less food, and stay full for much longer.

When you choose a fat and protein breakfast instead of something like a breakfast cereal you can avoid the need for constant snacking and that  mid morning coffee crash.

The protein and fat breakfast combination allows you to keep more stable blood sugar for longer. You will be able to avoid the blood sugar highs and lows that most people experience when eating processed carbohydrates and sugar for breakfast.

An added benefit to the stable blood sugar is that your body burns body fat and dietary fat for fuel in the absence of carbohydrates. By keeping insulin low you allow the body to take advantage of the fat burning hormones.

Habit: If you are currently eating breakfast cereal with skim milk and toast don’t try to overhaul everything at once. Start adding more of the protein and fats every few weeks. If you are currently eating a bowl of cereal with low fat milk and two pieces of toast with jam start with one or two small  changes at a time. Two immediate changes would be using whole milk in your cereal instead of low fat milk, and adding one hard boiled egg while subtracting one piece of toast. After those changes have become a habit reduce the cereal by ⅓ and add another hard boiled egg to breakfast. On your other piece of toast substitute grass fed butter or peanut/almond butter instead of the jam. Continue making small tweaks to breakfast until you eat a breakfast that looks like a few eggs and ½ avocado or leftover meats and some veggies drizzled with olive oil.

 Read Nutrition Labels

When it comes to food advertising and packaging every food company would like you to believe that their product is a healthy option.

When you flip over most packages and read the ingredient list it tells a very different story. Most of these foods contain multiple sources of hidden sugars, vegetable oils, chemicals, preservatives,dyes  and are very dense in processed carbohydrates.

By simply flipping a package over and taking a few seconds to read the ingredient list and knowing what you are putting in your body you have the necessary information to  make better decisions about what you are going to eat to improve your health.

Habit: If you are currently going to the grocery store and not looking at labels I encourage you to read the full label of every 3rd item going in your basket. Ask yourself the honest question: Is this food going to make me healthier or damage my health ? Use this label reading habit to seek out healthier alternatives to foods you know will damage your health. Over time read more and more labels, and make the transition to buying whole natural foods that don’t have labels.

 Know The Difference Between Thirst, Boredom and Hunger

With the amount of people walking around chronically dehydrated everyday our  bodies are screaming out for water. The problem is that we as a society ignore this thirst signal to such a degree that we mistake it for being slightly hungry.

Another common theme amongst people is eating out of boredom. We are very lucky to live in a society of abundance, especially with regards to food. Many people eat because they are bored, not because of hunger.

Many common snack foods are so hyper palatable that they trigger the pleasure centers in the brain and release feel good hormones. This food gets associated with the feeling good which in turn keeps us going back for more. This mindless overeating leads to weight gain and many health problems.

Habit: The next time you feel hungry in between a meal drink a glass of water and wait 10 -15  minutes. After the 10- 15  minutes check in if you still feel the hunger grab a small snack. If you are not feeling hungry anymore chances are good you are thirsty not hungry and should have another glass of water. Next time you find yourself looking in the fridge or cupboard even though you are not hungry stop and think am I hungry or bored ? Instead of giving in to mindless eating go for a walk outside.

If you’re tired of working hard, and not getting the results you want, I can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health or fat loss goals.

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained. I’ll be there every step of the way to support and keep you accountable.  

Get on a Strategy Call with me to Discover how to achieve your health or fat loss goals, and make them yours to keep this time around.

Whether you decide to work with me or not I can guarantee you will leave this call with more knowledge on how to achieve your goals.

 

Evolve Nutritional Therapy Strategy Session


Name *
Name
Phone *
Phone

Why You Should Eat Your Carbs At Night

Everybody has heard the common wisdom that you should consume the majority of your calories and carbohydrates early in the day.

The reasoning behind this  is simple, when you consume your calorically and more carb dense meals earlier in the day you have more time to burn those calories off.

Going against the grain is pretty typical here on the Eat To Evolve blog. Contrary to popular belief there is a good amount of evidence that consuming the majority of your calories and carbohydrates specifically at night is more beneficial than having them earlier in the day.

I read about this theory from leaders in the fitness and nutrition industry Nate Miyaki and Jason Ferruggia.

I’m well aware that this goes directly against what you have been told by folks in the health fitness industry, but if they were right more folks would be walking around in great shape.

If something is not working for the majority of people the approach needs to be changed, not clung to with the vulkan death grip.

In this blog post I’m going to explain the benefits from a scientific, evolutionary and willpower  standpoint of why eating the majority of your calories and carbohydrates at night time can help you reach your health and fitness goals.

Follow The Evolutionary Leader

One of the most innate reasons for this style of eating is our evolutionary patterns of fasting and feeding. As early man we regularly spent the day hunting, fishing, gathering  and tracking animals and highly active.

Many times these hunts were done in a fasted state without food relying on stored body fat as fuel.

Digestion is an energy intensive process ,and these fasting periods allowed our early ancestors to be more active and alert without being slowed down by a full stomach.

Our ancestors would return home with the days gathering or catch ready to feast. During the night was leisure time spent with others  feasting on the food caught or gathered throughout the day, allowing them to relax and refuel for the next days hunt.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying I want to live exactly like a caveman I love the my iphone, fridge and hot/cold running water.

However from an evolutionary standpoint we are hunting and gathering in the  form of going to work and training in the gym these days.

We should follow evolutions lead, eating lighter during the day and use our nights to feast and recover from the days activities in preparations for the next.

We are designed for this style of eating, people want to typically eat bigger at night anyway, and from a practical and sustainability standpoint it fits most peoples lives very well.

Win Against Willpower

How many times have you heard of someone going off the rails eating a ton of cookies or a pint of ice cream at breakfast or lunch?

it’s not common, and the main driver behind our decision making is our willpower. Our willpower is a limited resource that we expend throughout the day with every decision we make.

By the end of the day most people have emptied their willpower piggy bank with countless decisions.This decision fatigue  is why the cookies and ice cream binges happen at night,  we have the least willpower to resist ben and jerry or the keebler elves.

We still operate on the same sacrifice and reward systems that have helped us survive for thousands of years. With this evolutionary framework we have the basic hard wiring to overeat and store excess energy as body fat for times of famine.

The problem with this evolutionary framework is we rarely have famine, but food is available everywhere. We should construct our diet in a way that allows us to fulfill this need to eat large while not consistently overeating all the time.

Folks are are going to be able to eat lighter during the day, and make much better food choices if they know that they are going to get to eat a larger more satisfying meal at night.

On the opposite side it is going to be more difficult to feast all day, and then eat lighter at night. Larger meals at breakfast and lunch are going to leave you feeling sluggish and make it more difficult to focus and get things accomplished.

Looking at things from the practical side most people are not as hungry during the day when they are working, moving and handling stressful situations.

Folks are going to be the hungriest at night time after they have completed the days endeavors and are ready to relax, eat and prepare for the next day.

This larger meal at night time with denser carbs also triggers that satisfaction we are looking for, reducing the cravings for processed high sugar desserts.

Have Your Cake, And Burn It Too

Naturally most folks are going to eat a dinner that is larger than lunch or breakfast because they get to cook and eat it with no time constraints or stress around the food.

Being extra hungry is typical if this meal is following a hard trip to the gym or an athletic endeavor. The body has the need to restore the glycogen your muscles burned during your exercise.

This means that by consuming those carbohydrates later in the day post exercise, you will use them to repair and restore before any are allowed to get stored as fat, unless you eat significantly beyond your needs.

By eating lighter during the day and avoiding dense carbs you allow the body to take advantage of fat burning hormones for a longer stretch of time as well.

You can have your carb cake and eat it too, gluten free hopefully. Think of eating light during  as your fat burning portion of the day.

Try to consume proteins, healthy fats, non starchy vegetables in your fat burning portion of the day. At night time after a day of activity or a hard training session at the gym again consume protein and safe starches (yams, potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro, plantains, white rice) and some veggies and smaller portions of fat.

You should match the amount of carbs you are consuming to your activity level to prevent fat gain.These night time carbs allow you to build muscle, repair and refill the tank for the next day.

There is the long standing misnomer that eating bigger at night time will lead to fat gain, but we have come to realize that food choices, total calories and macro breakdown as a whole for the entire day are what is most important.

Each individual meals numbers don’t matter nearly as much as the numbers as whole at the end of the day.

Improve Your Sleep

By keeping those larger more carb dense meals at night time you can relax and digest while winding down for the night and getting ready for bed.

Try to eat two hours prior to your bed time to give adequate time for digestion before sleep. In the same way that the larger meals early in the day will make you tired and sluggish, this same reaction can be used to improve sleep. Below I’ll explain why this sleepy reaction dense carbs can happen.

The neurotransmitter serotonin is converted into the hormone melatonin which is needed for falling and staying asleep. Tryptophan is an amino acid that needs to cross the blood brain barrier for conversion into serotonin which becomes melatonin.

Other amino acids compete with tryptophan for entry across the blood brain barrier and into pineal gland making it less available for uptake.

The release of insulin in response to carbohydrate consumption drives these competing amino acids into the cell and makes the tryptophan more available with far less competition.

If you are eating a low carb diet and find that you are in a bad mood and are suffering from poor sleep it would be a good idea to try doing some denser carbs at night and see if sleep or mood improves.

Maybe pick a day and do a clean carb refeed meal for this purpose.

Enjoy Yourself Socially

Nobody wants to be the person who continually orders salads whenever they are out to dinner. We want to enjoy ourselves, be social and have a larger more relaxed meal when out with people.

Good food and great people are meant to be enjoyed together. Think steak and potatoes or sweet potatoes if you will.

This goes hand in hand with the psychology of our sacrifice and reward centers, it is much easier to eat lighter and healthier during the day if we know that our reward is going out at night with loved ones.

The key here is to make this way of eating fit your life not the other way around. When folks start allowing their nutrition plan to rule their lives it is going to be a recipe for failure.

You may gain some short term success from the diet quick fix, but the long term lifestyle changes win the race.

What Does This Approach Look Like ?

Depending on what your goals are a morning fast may provide benefits for you. Black coffee or with a few added tablespoons of heavy cream can help with extending fasts.

You can have lunch be our first meal of the day, or If you have no interest in fasting make your breakfast a protein and fat only combination such as eggs and bacon or eggs and ½ and avocado.

For lunch it should consist of a solid proteins source, non starchy veggies and some healthy fats.

You could even include a serving or two of fruit in this eating lightly stage. Some folks perform much better in the gym when they have some fruit beforehand but you will have to experiment to see if this works for you.

At night time use the tendency to eat more calories and carbs to your advantage by eating mostly protein and denser carbohydrates at this stage.

Try to avoid a ton of fats in this meal as we are looking to purposely spike insulin and drive amino acids into the muscle and recover and get ready for the next days hunt or work

If you’re tired of working hard, and not getting the results you want, I can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health or fat loss goals.

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained. I’ll be there every step of the way to support and keep you accountable.  

Get on a Strategy Call with me to Discover how to achieve your health or fat loss goals, and make them yours to keep this time around.

Whether you decide to work with me or not I can guarantee you will leave this call with more knowledge on how to achieve your goals.

 

Evolve Nutritional Therapy Strategy Session


Name *
Name
Phone *
Phone

Fixing Your Digestion (Part 2)

When you have digestive problems it is on your mind frequently, and takes away from the pleasure of eating and sharing great  food with people that you care about.

Take it from someone who suffered from these type of problems for years. My digestive struggles always left me frustrated because I felt as though I couldn’t do anything to help my situation.

It wasn’t until I became a Nutritional Therapist and felt empowered to solve my digestive puzzle that I started to make progress and learned just how important and complicated the digestive system is.

If you have any digestive problems this blog posts should get you started on the path. If you have any further questions feel free to contact me evolvent.pdx@gmail.com

Pancreas: Enzymes Be Breaking It Down

When everything is working properly the highly acidic partially broken down food named Chyme enters the upper section of the small intestine.

This upper portion  of the small intestine stops chyme and is where the release of pancreatic juices take place, but this is dependent on the chyme being acidic enough, in most cases it is not.

When the chyme is not acidic enough the pancreatic juices are not secreted to break foods down further. Food also needs to become far less acidic before entering the small intestine to prevent burning the lining and causing ulcers.

The reduction in acidity is caused by a pancreatic juice named bicarbonate that doesn’t get released when the stomach doesn’t secrete adequate acid.

Gallbladder: All ABout The Fats

One of the biggest roles of our gallbladder is the secretion of bile which aids in the breakdown of fats for our body to use.

If you have made it this far in my blog you understand that fats from the right sources are a crucial part of nutrition. By going on low fat diets we make it very difficult to digest any of the fats in our diet.

 

What Is Leaky Gut ?

All undigested foods, but in particular undigested proteins from the poor digestive processes upstream cause these foods to wear down the microvilli of the small intestine.

These microvilli have the important job of letting digested foods into the bloodstream. As the microvilli gets worn down further it lets less and less digested foods into the blood stream.

These undigested fats and proteins that have been let into the blood stream causes an immune system response. When this immune response is triggered by foods all day long the immune system will get overwhelmed.

Our body only recognizes the properly digested foods,  the undigested foods are seen as a foreign invader in the body.

 

Large Intestine: Gut Flora Galore

Yet again the large intestine deals with the leftovers from digestion. When dysfunction happens these maldigested foods get to the colon full of undigested fats, microorganisms and and sometimes parasites. These poorly digested foods can feed the wrong bacteria in the large intestine causing a disruption in the natural balance of our gut flora. This imbalance in the large intestine can lead to inflammation causing problems with too frequent or inconsistent elimination.


Supporting You Digestion Tips Part: 2

Review Supporting You Digestion Tips Part 1: The fact of the matter is that supporting the digestion from the top is the best way to support all the functions that follow below it. Review these tips and make sure you are doing these.

Digestive Enzymes: We have a certain amount of digestive enzymes that we are given for our life. If we burn through those digestive enzymes by over burdening our digestive system it could be helpful to get take enzymes with meals so foods are broken down and digested better.

Eat Quality Fats: When you eat quality fats it stimulates your gallbladder  to produce bile which breaks down fats and allows the body to use these fats.

Eat Beets Cooked or Raw: Beets contain betaine which supports the liver/gallbladder in breaking down and digesting fats.

Bone Broth: Bone broth has a ton of gut healing nutrients, if you have any kind of digestive issue try having at least 4-8 ounces of bone broth a day to support overall digestion and gut health.

Consume Probiotic Rich Foods: Eating foods rich in probiotics helps to support the healthy gut flora in the large intestine. These foods would be sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, beet kvass, poke around your local health foods store. You can also get a probiotic supplement if you want to throw back a pill instead.

Magnesium: Magnesium can be helpful for constipation because of the role in the contraction and relaxation of muscles. You can get a good amount of magnesium from leafy green or you can use a magnesium citrate supplement to help.

If you’re tired of working hard, and not getting the results you want, I can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health or fat loss goals.

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained. I’ll be there every step of the way to support and keep you accountable.  

Get on a Strategy Call with me to Discover how to achieve your health or fat loss goals, and make them yours to keep this time around.

Whether you decide to work with me or not I can guarantee you will leave this call with more knowledge on how to achieve your goals.


Evolve Nutritional Therapy Strategy Session


Name *
Name
Phone *
Phone

Fixing Your Digestion (Part 1)

Hey folks, if you haven’t read my previous post “Top To Bottom: How Your Digestion Works” I recommend reading it to give you the background necessary to get the most out of this post, and help resolve your digestive issues.

Your digestion works top to bottom (pun intended) starting with your brain ( top) and the anticipation of food, and ending with  elimination (bottom).

When addressing any kind of digestive dysfunction we need start from the top and work our way down. Problems start uphill and roll downhill in our digestion.

Before getting started I want to ask if you ever experience any of the following ?

  • Upset stomach

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Heartburn

  • Constant burping (especially around meals)

  • Indigestion

  • Feeling of excessive fullness after eating

  • Bloating

  • Indigestion

  • Gas within 1 hour of eating

These are all common signs that dysfunction is happening in your gut, or that the body is experiencing a healing reaction.

Most likely the body is trying to send you message that something is wrong and  needs to be addressed.

Most people experience the symptoms listed above and brush them off as “normal”. We tend to use medication to suppress symptoms, leaving the underlying cause unaddressed.

Enough with the doom and gloom though! the purpose of this post is to help inform and arm you with the knowledge and tools to begin solving your own digestive problems.

Throw away your package of tums and keep reading if you’re interested in improving your health and empowering yourself.

The Brain: Rest and Digest

We need to be in a parasympathetic state (rest and digest) to allow the body to get ready for food. This sets the stage for proper breakdown of foods in the stomach.

As a culture we are stressed out, and many people shovel lunch out of their tupperware into their mouth barely chewing.

All the while working on a on a new cover letter for the TPS report...your digestion did not get the memo.

Taking the time to get away from screens and relax around your food is crucial. It allows you to better digest foods , and gets you in tune with with your hunger. Are you still eating because you are hungry or are you in a robot like work mode ? Aim for eating until you are no longer hungry for the next bite, not until you are full.

The Mouth: Breaking It Down

We all know the person who inhales their food at a remarkable rate, then complains about how full they are or how bad their stomach hurts. Don’t be that guy.

Chewing is a fundamentally ignored part of our digestion, I’ll admit it is not sexy to talk to people about chewing and how their mom was right all along.

When you don’t adequately chew your food the brain doesn’t get the signal to prepare the stomach for the incoming food. Stomach acid is a critical part of our digestion, when we lack it we can’t properly break down and digest foods.

When we do not chew well enough passes the rest of that burden on to the stomach, and the production of saliva is not triggered. Who cares about saliva right ? it’s just our spit...well not exactly.

Saliva: Why Give a Spit ?

Out saliva is a complex blend of electrolytes, hormones and enzymes that play roles in our digestion. The main enzyme in our saliva is amylase which is responsible for the chemical breakdown of carbohydrates.

If we do not chew well enough amylase is not secreted and the breakdown of carbohydrates does not begin in our mouth.

By not properly breaking down carbohydrates in the mouth we leave the burden to finish job on our small intestine and pancreas, but without adequate chewing the stomach and pancreas can’t do their own job as well.

The key here is to chew your food well, at least 20-30 times per bite. Your food should be a liquid when you are done chewing. To help try putting your fork down in between bites.

The Stomach: All About The Acid  

As you learned from reading my last blog post, the stomach is all about creating an acidic environment so foods can be broken down and trigger enzyme release.

But there are a number of factors that prevent the body from creating the necessary acidic environment some include:

  • Not relaxing before Eating

  • Not chewing foods well enough

  • Stress

  • Excess carbohydrate consumption

  • Nutrient deficiencies ( Zinc & B Vitamins)

  • Alcohol Consumption

  • Allergies (Food or environment related)

The above bullets describe the average american which makes it  safe to assume that most of us are not producing enough stomach acid to digest foods optimally.

So what happens when we don’t have enough stomach acid ? Nothing good...

To begin with our first line of defense against pathogenic microorganisms is gone. The acidity of the stomach prevents bacteria, viruses and parasites from living and making it into our digestive tract and then blood making us sick.

The Heartburn Myth

When we are deficient in stomach acid the ability to break down foods and trigger further digestion is hindered. The partially digested foods sit and wait for the next step in digestion.

Over time these foods sitting in our gut  start to ferment causing bloating and pressure to build. The pressure has to be relieved and the valve between our stomach and esophagus is not meant to open upward - but with enough pressure it will be forced open.

The release of pressure upwards creates a reflux or backward flow of the acidic foods from the stomach into the esophagus. It burns the esophagus because it is not made for an acidic environment like the stomach.

Supporting Your Digestion Tips:

  • Relax Before Eating  - Put away all electronics and move away from the TV. Smell, see and even touch your food before eating to allow the body to begin digestion, and get ready to break down food.
     

  • Support Stomach Acid Production: Drink 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice in 4 ounces of water  15-20 minutes before a meal to kickstart HCL production. You can use Digestive bitters 15 minutes before a meal or use a HCL supplement.
     

  • Drink Slowly At Meals: If you throw back two full pint glasses of water along with a lot of food at meal this will only further dilute stomach acid. Try to consume less liquid with meals and Sip slowly when you do.
     

  • Chew Your Food Well: No one wants to hear that their mom was right, but she was. Try chewing each bite 20-30 times, it should be closer to a liquid than a solid by the time you swallow it. Try putting your fork down between bites as  reminder.
     

  • Hydrate Throughout The Day: We are all chronically dehydrated. Too much fruit juice, coffee and soda and not enough clean pure water. Digestion is a taxing process for the body and many fluids are required , the base of those fluids is...water.
     

  • Eat Slower and Take Pauses: By chewing your foods better you will naturally slow down your eating a bit. This will allow your body to signal when you are no longer hungry for the next bite. Ask am I really hungry for the next bite ? When we overload our digestion with too much food we get bloated, gassy and have digestive pain.
     

  • Consume Less Alcohol and Processed Carbs: By consuming these alone or together at meals we squelch the production of stomach acid. Not to mention the extreme blood sugar spike and potential fat gain.

If you’re tired of working hard, and not getting the results you want, I can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health or fat loss goals.

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained. I’ll be there every step of the way to support and keep you accountable.  

Get on a Strategy Call with me to Discover how to achieve your health or fat loss goals, and make them yours to keep this time around.

Whether you decide to work with me or not I can guarantee you will leave this call with more knowledge on how to achieve your goals.


Evolve Nutritional Therapy Strategy Session


Name *
Name
Phone *
Phone

 

Part 2 Coming Soon...

Top To Bottom: How Your Digestion Works

Copy of An argument for faster fat loss (1).png

When discussing health challenges people are quick to overlook digestion as a root cause of the issue, but recently people have started to overstep the bounds of what we can prove when it comes to gut health.

Now If we can’t properly break down and use the nutrients from foods we eat on a daily basis then yes we will lack the fundamental raw materials the body requires to make hormones, recover, repair and function properly. 

The big thing to keep in mind is that gut health while very important is not the cure all some people are claiming it to be, and there’s a lot of claims made that are plain untrue such as gut health stopping someone from losing body fat.

Fat loss is a calorie balance equation and microbes and or poor digestion can not change that, while they may make you feel bloated that is not true body fat.

 A future blog is going to be devoted to how dysfunction can take place at each stage of digestion, and how to address the underlying problem, not just the symptom of the problem.

It's important to understand how things work before trying to understand the reason for dysfunction  

Where It All Begins: The Brain

We have the rest and digest (think relaxing and eating) or fight, flight and freeze (think an argument with a stranger or doing a boxing class) states.

To be able to properly digest foods you need to be in the rest and digest state, as this allows your body to prepare for the process of breaking down and digesting food.

By taking the time to cook, smell, touch and just be around your food before eating it your body is allowed to prepare for food and you dive into the rest and digest state.

The salivary glands secrete saliva, and the stomach starts to release the proper gastric juice in anticipation of food. 

The Physical Gatekeeper: The Mouth


The mouth is where chemical and mechanical breakdown of the foods begin with our chewing.

Our mother was right when she told us to chew our food well as it can be a really helpful step in improving your digestion.

Saliva contains an enzyme named amylase which begins the breakdown of carbohydrates in the mouth.

The more we chew our foods and break them down, the less our stomach has to pick up the slack left by our lazy jaw habits. 

Interestingly enough some indigenous cultures that eat a very high carb diet naturally have much higher levels of amylase in their saliva

Big Poppa: The Stomach

When you food is swallowed it travels down the esophagus and enters into one of the most important organs of the digestive system, the stomach.

Because you did such a great job chewing your food the brain and stomach knew food was on the way.

Your stomach prepared for the that food by releasing the highly acidic gastric juices that are necessarily in this stage of digestion.

Those digestive juices include hydrochloric acid (HCL) and pepsinogen/pepsin.

The acidity of the stomach is important for killing bacteria and parasites from outside the body and from food as well. The acidity of the stomach is important for activating pepsin which breaks down proteins.

When the food arrives in the stomach it is coated in HCL further mechanically and chemically broken down and mixed until it becomes an acidic “paste”.

I know this sounds gross but its what happens every time we eat…

This very acidic paste named chyme is then released into the upper part of the small intestine. 


Small Intestine: An Organ and Gland

The small intestine secretes two important hormones into the bloodstream: Secretin and Cholecystokinin (CCK).  

Secretin triggers  the pancreas to release bicarbonate and pancreatic juices. Bicarbonate reduces the acidity of the chyme so it doesn’t burn the small intestine.

CCK signals the gallbladder to release bile, which is released to break down and absorb fats.

Pancreatic enzymes are released that breakdown of protein, fats and carbs once the chyme is less acidic.

Carbohydrates become glucose molecules, proteins becomes amino acids and peptides and fats are broken down into fatty acids and glycerol molecules.

By the time that the chyme leaves the small intestine it is almost completely digested, but not yet absorbed.

Millions of small finger like projections named villi stick up from the small intestine with the important job of absorbing the nutrient molecules.

The nutrient molecules are distributed throughout the body where needed. The leftover chyme consisting of indigestible fibers, bile and water get passed into large intestine (colon).

The Great Recycler: The Large Intestine

In the large intestine water is reabsorbed and recycled, and any lost nutrients that are still available are converted to fuel to nourish the colon cells and bacteria.

This colon also where the majority of the bacteria in your digestive system live as well.

These bacteria play numerous roles in everything from helping with digestion all the way to producing the Vitamin K2 thats import for bone and cardiovascular health.

These gut bacteria can impact mood and much more, however that is a subject for another blog! The digestive journey comes to an end with the forming and expulsion of the feces. 

If you’re tired of working hard, and not getting the results you want, I can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health or fat loss goals.

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained. I’ll be there every step of the way to support and keep you accountable.  

Fill out the coaching application and let’s chat about how to get you to your goals in record time while still eating your favorite foods.

Let’s set a game plan to finally fit back into those favorite pants, stop hiding in family and friends pictures and allow you to walk around with more confidence in yourself and your body everyday!


Coaching Application

Name *
Name
Phone *
Phone