Apple Noodles with the Spiralizer

Have you ever made apple noodles? They are super easy and fun to make for dessert with the spiralizer (which I use to make zucchini noodles as well). I like to drizzle a little honey and sprinkle some cinnamon and sliced almonds on top and perhaps some Greek yogurt for a delicious, fast and healthy dessert. You could also add some nuts, coconut and yogurt for breakfast. My kids love them for a after school snack as well.

If you want more inspiration for the spiralizer and how to make delicious, healthy meals, check out Ali’s fabulous blog Inspiralized. See how cooking with the spiralizer helped her get healthy and shed over 20lbs!

The Biggest Mistake Emotional Eaters Make

One of the questions I get asked most often is “Why do I eat emotionally – and how can I stop?”

In my mind, noticing when and why you reach for the cookies as a way of coping is the first step in interrupting the cycle.

Wanting to eat emotionally is because part of your mind converts intense, turbulent feelings into hunger. For emotional eaters, at some point in our life we learned that eating could take away bad feelings. That’s why we eat too much when we’re stressed or depressed.

We all have the natural hunger our body generates when it needs energy. That’s called physical hunger. We also have the hunger our mind generates when we’re seeking comfort, reward and nurturing. That’s called emotional hunger.

What is Emotional Eating?

Emotional eating is essentially “non-hunger” eating as a way of coping and when we do too much non-hunger eating with addictive food devoid of nutrients, we get fat, sick and tired.

Truth is, we all have emotional hunger. We all just want to be loved and valued.

Since we were babies, we’ve all learned to equate food with love and comfort to some degree. Eating for love, reward and comfort only becomes a problem when we misuse this quick fix too often.

Reaching for a second helping can creep up on us. Unconsciously, over time it can become so habitual that we’re hardly aware we’re using food as a strategy for coping with anxiety, boredom, stress and anger.

So what’s the biggest mistake emotional eaters make?

In a nutshell, it’s remaining emotional unaware.

This is where self-inquiry and careful observation becomes crucial at fixing the problem.

In her bestselling book Women, Food, and God, Geneen Roth says self-inquiry allows people to be aware of something they don’t yet know but are yearning to find out.

With emotional eaters, often that yearning is to find out “What am I really hungry for?” And is this bag of chips the best way to get it? Here’s the thing, if you eat to manage your emotions, you have likely discovered that it doesn’t work, because food can never satisfy our deep emotional needs.

4 Steps to Interrupting the Cycle

There are several ways to interrupt the automatic, unconscious grab for food;

1) Notice when you are wanting to eat emotionally

2) Feel your emotions

3) Identify what you need: a hug, social contact, stress relief, sleep, letting go of what you can’t control

4) Take another action: call a friend, give your spouse or children a hug or ask them for one, cuddle with your pet, watch a funny movie, say affirmations, go for a walk (even though you may not feel like it), take a nap or go to bed early, meditate or pray, scrapbook, or read a book. Practicing doing something different each time the struggle arises moves you closer to the goal of avoiding emotional eating and toward other coping skills.

It Gets Easier Over Time…

Each time you do something different, your brain builds new pathways that recognize an alternative way of coping. Over time, it gets easier to do, however, it is a process and we must be patient with ourselves, much like we would a young child who is learning something new.

On the occasions that you do eat instead of healthy coping, don’t feel hopeless or beat yourself up.  Instead, know that you are making a choice, and you are in charge no matter what. You are not a victim but an individual who had choices. You are strong and you can do this.

If you are ready to experience emotions without consuming them, then food freedom awaits you at the other end.

If you need support on your journey, join my Thin For Life Coaching program and let me help you get there.

The 5 Best Sugar Alternatives for the Sugarholic

For most people I know, the thought of giving up sugar fills them with dread and fear. We have been so conditioned from birth to use sweets as a “pick me up”, reward and to celebrate, it’s truly daunting to imagine life without those sweet little pleasures.

So, what’s a sugarholic to do?

In my mind, the secret of letting go is to know that life will still be beautiful without sugar and instead with the healthier alternatives we now have available.

The good news is, we can still enjoy our sweets treats without any detriment to our health, metabolism or weight – we just have to go about things a little differently.

Thanks to the newest sugar substitutes, it’s becoming easier and healthier to bake your cake and eat it too. If you want the sweetness in your life, without the downside, this is what I recommend:

-Use the herb stevia. It has zero calories and has zero impact on blood sugar. I like Stevia in the Raw, which I buy in bulk from Costco. In Australia, I used Natvia. It works well sprinkled over plain yogurt, in tea, coffee or hot cocoa or in desserts as a one for one for sugar.

-Bake treats with erythritol (which has zero impact on insulin). I now use the brand Swerve for baking, but since it has a “cooling effect”, I cut the cooling effect with Sweet Leaf stevia drops, which balances out the taste in baked goods beautifully.

-Use organic coconut sugar in moderation, for a “brown sugar” effect. Coconut sugar has more iron in it and four times the amount of magnesium in it than regular sugar. However, since it is still sugar, it will raise blood sugar, so always consume it with protein and healthy fat to tame the insulin response.

-Use organic raw honey or real maple syrup in the smallest possible quantities. They are both super sweet, and will raise blood sugar, so you only need a dab.

-Avoid ALL artificial sweeteners, which can damage your health even more quickly than fructose.

-Avoid agave syrup, since it is a highly processed sap that is almost all fructose. Fructose is bad news because your body metabolizes fructose in a much different way than glucose – the entire burden of metabolizing fructose falls on your liver. With agave, your blood sugar will spike just as it would if you were consuming regular sugar or HFCS. Agave’s meteoric rise in popularity is due to a great marketing campaign, but any health benefits present in the original agave plant are processed out.

On top of this, I recommend avoiding the many energy drinks, diet drinks and sports drinks because they are loaded with sugar, sodium, and chemical additives.

Rehydrating with pure, fresh water is always the best choice. Personally, I love mini Perrier bottles that come with a dash of lime in them – my kids love them too.

And when you do eat have it, be sure to eat your sugar with fiber … as in a piece of fruit (natures candy). Personally I love a small bowl of frozen blueberries or tart cherries for dessert. As Dr. Lustig says, “When God made the poison, he packaged it with the antidote: fiber.” The fiber in whole fruits slows down absorption and minimises the impact on blood sugar levels, which is far better for our health and weight.

I always have some stevia sweetened cookies, muffins or cakes made with nut and coconut flours in the freezer, ready to eat, which really helps me avoid feeling deprived.

What’s your favourite natural sweetener?

How to Eliminate Candida Overgrowth

If you’ve ever tried, you’ll know that Candida overgrowth is hard to kill off.

Scientists estimate that 70% of us have it, but it often gets overlooked or misdiagnosed. We crave sugar, feel exhausted, have depression, anxiety, bloating, headaches and sinus infections. We may  have recurring thrush, nail fungus or athletes foot and difficulty losing weight.

Before I get into the nitty gritty of how to kill the “yeast beast” for good, I would like to enlighten you on a nagging reason why you should take this yeast problem, if you have it, seriously.

The Link between Candida and Cancer

Candida sabotages your weight loss efforts because of the toxicity and inflammation it causes. It’s also a serious threat to your health for another reason – cancer.

According to many leading cancer experts, there is an astounding connection between yeast and cancer.

The Italian doctor, Dr Tuillio Simoncini, oncologist and author of “Cancer is Fungus”, believes that the root cause of all cancer is fungus. His extensive research has lead him to believe that Candida is the leading cause of cancer, that cancer itself is in fact a fungus. What we refer to as a tumour is nothing more than your body’s attempt at protecting itself from that fungus.

Several studies have linked the presence of candida with cancer, showing that anywhere between 79 to 97% of all cancer patients also have Candida.

Dr Simonicini’s explanation of how this phenomenon works is that Candida takes hold in the body and weakens and exhausts the organs.

When Candida roots itself in your deep connective tissue of various organs, this evokes an organic defensive reaction as the connective tissue of your invaded organ attempts to encyst the fungi colonies through cellular hyperproduction, which results in the formation of tumours.

Growths continue as the fungi spreads, both in the surrounding tissue and in other parts of the body that may be weakened also. It is still the same Candida attacking different tissues, but due to its highly adaptive qualities, it is able to mutate and adapt itself to whatever environment it can. Since it’s very opportunistic, it will invade whatever parts of the body are weakened.

As a result, your body becomes progressively more exhausted, which allows the fungi to spread and take over more rapidly. Eventually, you die from “cancer” or in fact a systemic fungal overgrowth.

If cancer is actually a fungus, as Dr Simoncini and others propose that it is, it would make sense that anti-fungal drugs would then treat cancer.

But here’s the dilemma. The problem with anti-fungal drugs is that fungi are extremely adaptive, and can adapt to a new environment in 3-4 days. This makes most anti-fungal drugs largely ineffective.

Although yeast infection can feel like its overtaking your life, your body is more than capable of fighting back, and winning, if you give it the right tools, and make your body an unhospitable host to Candida.

But Candida is hard to kill off. You have to be committed.

So How Do I Eliminate Candida?

The first step is to stop feeding the yeast what it loves – sugar and refined carbohydrates.  A word of warning – the anti-yeast diet is not for the faint hearted! It nearly killed me, but I was determined to be done with it.

Usually, I don’t advocate a super strict, deprivation diet, but if you are suffering from Candida, you need to eat this way for at least 6-10 weeks;

-Go sugar free, gluten free, soy free and dairy free (avoiding all grains is recommended)

-avoid yeast and mold containing foods such as peanuts, mushrooms, aged cheeses, alcohol, vinegar and Vegemite.

Along with a diet that aims to starve the yeast, you also need to kill it with specific herbs. You can start the diet and the herbs at the same time.

There are many herb concoctions on the market that specifically target Candida. The supplement should contain all or most of the following; caprylic acid, pau d’arco, oregano oil, olive leaf extract, zinc and berberine. Personally, I like Designs for Health Gi Microb-X. In addition,  I also like to take Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract which are potent aged garlic capsules.

But these herbs alone won’t do the trick. To properly kill the microorganism that is causing trouble, you also have to break down the biofilm (the fungal cell wall) that’s protecting it. Biofilms act as a protective shield around yeast and other microorganisms, making it even more challenging to eradicate the yeast, because the anti-fungals/antibiotic herbs cannot get through biofilm matrix. This is how yeast protects itself from being destroyed and why it is so challenging to get rid of.

I do this with InterFase Pluswhich contains enzymes to break down the cell wall.  In addition, I recommend drinking food grade Diatomaceous Earth. It’s a bit like drinking clay, but it’s marvelous for targeting the yeast.  These old tiny fossils don’t harm the human body, but act like razor blades to the exoskeleton of the candida.

Once you’ve finished killing off the Candida, you need to reinoculate the gut with good bacteria and starve out the remaining yeast.  I recommend using a very good quality probiotic. I like Threelac Probioticor Prescript-Assist.

I also recommend taking Bi-carb soda baths daily. Simply add two cups of bi-carbonate soda (I bought a huge bag from Costco) to your bath. It’s incredibly alkalizing, and yeast hates an alkaline environment!

Stay as strict as you can with the diet. I know it’s not fun, but trust me; it’s worth it to be symptom free!

If weight loss is your goal, you’ll notice fewer cravings, more energy and you’ll see the scale start to shift once you build your gut with healthy bacteria.

As you can see, you have to be committed to beat the yeast beast, but there is every good reason to take action and knock it on the head. Good luck!

 

 

 

Is Candida Making You Fat?

Did you know that one of the biggest saboteurs to weight loss and health is caused by a single celled fungus we cannot see? This fungus belongs to a family of yeasts called Candida albicans, and under normal circumstances, it’s harmless, but when our defences are down, it starts to overgrow in our body and causes sugar cravings, brain fog, chronic exhaustion, anxiety, depression and the frustrating inability to lose weight.

In my mind, Candida overgrowth is one of the reasons people continue to overeat sugary starches, despite the fact that all they want to do is get slim. Yes, the “yeast beast” is that powerful! And yet the more sugar and simple carbs we eat, the more the yeast grows out of control.

Personally, I had one of the worst cases of Candida overgrowth I’ve seen, since I was raised on a cocktail of sugar and antibiotics. Yeast feeds on sugar, which is why the more we have, the more we crave and we wonder why we feel awful.

What’s worse is that most conventional doctors do not recognize the symptoms of Candida and are clueless about how to cure it.

So how do we get Candida?

If Candida gets the opportunity to overwhelm the good bacteria that’s normally in our digestive tract, an imbalance of intestinal flora, called dysbiosis, occurs. Our gut gets out of balance from taking antibiotics, the contraceptive pill, over consuming sugar and grains, environmental toxins (such as aluminium, mercury and lead), excess alcohol and even stress.

Even if we haven’t taken prescription antibiotics as such, many of us are consuming them, unwittingly on a daily basis through our food. This is because non-organic meat, eggs, fish and dairy contain antibiotics, because the animals are treated with them (which is why it’s best to buy grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free food, to protect your gut). Most of us also consume excess simple carbs and grains, which yeast loves to feed on!

Antibiotics kill bacteria; both the good and the bad and they also thin our gut lining, leaving us vulnerable to leaky gut syndrome.

Unfortunately, when our gut is like a sieve, our body is then ill-equipped to wrap up pathogens and parasites and transport them out of the body. We then become vulnerable to all sorts of foreign invaders, including yeast overgrowth.

Leaky Gut Syndrome – Where it all begins

When gut imbalance occurs, and the intestinal wall thins, Candida can then actually burrow into your intestinal wall, creating tiny gaps in our intestinal lining. What happens when we have gaps in our intestinal wall?

Well, yeasts produce 180 toxic by products, all of which become free to leave our digestive tract and enter our bloodstream, where they are subsequently delivered throughout our entire body. Partially digested food particles also go along with them. Our body’s immune system then works overtime to attack these perceived “invaders” – which really zaps our energy.

This leaky gut syndrome can pave the way for a host of illnesses, from autoimmune diseases like Hashimotos, depression, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, asthma and liver toxicity.

How Do You Know if You Have Candida Overgrowth? – The Easy Test!

Fortunately, there’s a free and easy test you can do at home that is very accurate. It’s as simple as analysing your spit, first thing in the morning. When you wake up in the morning, fill a glass halfway with room temperature water (before you eat or drink anything), work up a dime size (5 cent coin size) amount of saliva and spit it into the glass. Over the next 45 minutes, check your spit to see if it grows legs or sinks to the bottom of the glass. If it sinks or grows legs, then you can be sure that yeast is overgrowing in your body. If your saliva stays on the top, you are all clear.

Why Is Yeast Making You Fat?

Put simply, a leaky gut, caused by yeast overgrowth, allows toxins to enter our bloodstream. These toxins cause an imbalance in your thyroid hormone, excess production of cortisol and even autoimmune disease, all of which work directly against our weight loss efforts.

In some people, an inability to lose weight is their only symptom of candida overgrowth. So not only does yeast overgrowth and leaky gut pave the way for numerous health problems, it makes losing weight extremely difficult and frustrating.

Curing your candida may just be the ticket you need towards improved health and a slimmer waistline.

In next week’s blog post, I will outline how to get rid of Candida for good with a detailed protocol.

Meanwhile, give the home spit test a go!