Categories Uncategorized

Metabolic Testing

What is VO2 max?

VO2 max, otherwise known as maximal oxygen consumption, is the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense aerobic exercise. A VO2 max test is performed on a treadmill or bike while being connected to a machine that is able to analyze your expired air while exercising. This test will give you information about how efficiently your body uses oxygen and burns fat. Metabolic testing is essential for people wanting to lose weight because with this information, we can determine how your body burns fuel. This test guides us to calculate exertion levels corresponding with calories burned from fat and carbs, along with total calories burned. Also it measures specific caloric output at each heart rate helping us pinpoint the optimal heart rate range for you to be exercising in. With that information, we can manage your diet and exercise habits to make smart decisions to support your lifestyle goals. 

Benefits of VO2 max testing:
  • Accurate measurement of current fitness levels
  • Ability to personalize an effective training program focused on your goals
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of training program 

What is Resting Metabolic Rate?

A resting metabolic rate (RMR) test is a noninvasive but highly accurate way of determining daily calories needed to maintain your current body mass. This test will determine the amount of calories your body burns during rest. The activity tracker that you might be using like an apple watch or fitbit is proven to not always be accurate so you can’t rely on it to help you reach your weight goals. Having this professional test done and receiving accurate information will give you a better understanding of how to reach your goal weight. This data can also tell you if your metabolism is slow, normal or fast on the spectrum, along with being able to compare the data to other people of your same sex, age, height and weight.

Benefits of RMR testing:
  • Understanding how many calories you need to consume to lose/maintain/gain weight
  • Accurate data compared to fitness trackers or other calculations
  • When RMR is monitored, you can know how your body is responding to weight loss plans/what to do when hitting a plateau
Categories Healthy Food

Diet Habits Affecting The Liver

The liver’s main job is to detoxify and metabolize whatever comes into your body. This includes all the soda, cake, alcohol and medicine you are putting in your body, causing your liver to work extra to make toxins less harmful and remove them from the bloodstream. What you are consuming is impacting your liver and causing a health crisis that most people don’t even know they have. It’s called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and it affects about a quarter of the American population. While having some fat on your liver is normal, too much can become a serious health problem. Obesity, high blood sugar and insulin resistance can all be factors that play a role in NAFLD. This disease has very few symptoms so most people don’t know they have it until after a comprehensive blood panel where their liver enzymes were up causing their hemoglobin A1C to also be up. The foods that our society eats regularly are those that negatively impact our liver the most. 

  1. Sugar and Sweet Beverages
    • Lots of sugar is a major contributor to excess fat on the liver
    • Sugary drinks contain ingredients like high fructose corn syrup that are more commonly stored as fat on the liver rather than used by the body for energy
    • Common “healthy” foods like yogurt and bottled smoothies have tons of added sugar so reading the nutrition label is very important when choosing what to buy at the grocery store
  2. Refined Carbohydrates
    • Refined white flour is devoid of fiber and has added sugar; common foods we eat with refined white flour are cookies, bagels, doughnuts, pastries, white bread, pizza dough, crackers, white rice, pasta
    • These foods will raise your blood sugar, leading to insulin resistance which is believed to be the key cause of fat infiltrating the liver
  3. Processed Foods
    • Almost anything you find in the middle of the grocery store is highly processed food. If it comes in a box, bag or can like potato chips, soups and frozen dinners it is a processed food
    • These foods typically have refined carbs, added sugar and are loaded with excess salt
    • Studies show that high sodium diets can lead to liver damage and fibrosis
  4. Foods High in Saturated Fats
    • Red meats, fried food, whole milk and cheese are all high in saturated fat 
    • Saturated fat has been linked to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
    • Compared to foods with polyunsaturated fats, saturated fat increased triglyceride droplets in the liver leading to boosted liver fat content
  5. Alcohol
    • Heavy drinking can lead to alcoholic fatty liver disease but even moderate alcohol consumption can cause fat accumulation in the liver
    • If you already have NAFLD, it is recommended you stay away from alcohol completely 

Good liver health comes from reducing toxins like alcohol, preservatives found in processed foods, sugars, refined carbs and saturated fats in your diet. This lifestyle change will not only prevent the silent disease of NAFLD but it will also be beneficial when it comes to weight loss. If you lose just 10% of your current body weight, you have an increased chance that liver fat will be reduced. This disease can cause irreversible damage to your liver known as cirrhosis, which is severe liver scarring. Cirrhosis increases your risk of liver cancer and liver failure so it is important to stop the damage to your liver before it becomes irreversible. Changing your diet habits is a crucial step when trying to reverse NAFLD. For the best outcome, it’s important to follow a doctor’s recommended treatment plan. Contact us if you have any further questions about this lifestyle change. 

Categories Healthy Food

Unhealthy Ingredients Not To Eat

Being able to read a nutrition facts label is a great first step in taking control over your own health. Even if something is labeled as healthy, it could contain an ingredient that in reality is actually very unhealthy for you. Unhealthy fats, artificial ingredients and unnecessary preservatives are hazardous to your health and unfortunately a lot of the foods that are hard to resist like sweet treats and comfort foods are loaded with these things. The ability to recognize ingredients like the ones listed below on a nutrition facts label will help you make healthier choices and find alternative foods that do not contain these very unhealthy ingredients. Some of these ingredients are known to cause weight gain, increased body fat, raise glucose levels and be carcinogenic. 

  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Advanced Glycation End (AGEs) (inflammatory oils)
  • Alkali processed cocoa
  • Ammonium sulfate
  • Arsenic
  • Artificial colors/flavors
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Aspartame
  • Azodicarbonamide (bleaching chemical)
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  • Canola oil
  • Calcium chloride
  • Caramel coloring
  • Carnauba wax
  • Carrageenan
  • Cottonseed oil/partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil
  • Corn syrup
  • Diglycerides
  • Disodium inosinate
  • Fiber-less fruit
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • High heat (charred foods)
  • Lard/hydrogenated lard
  • L-Cysteine hydrochloride
  • Maltitol
  • Margarine
  • Monoglycerides
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Nitrates/Nitrites
  • Palm oil
  • Phthalates 
  • Polysorbate 60
  • Polysorbate 80
  • Potassium bromate (bromated flour)
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Preservatives
  • Propylene glycol
  • Red #40
  • Refined carbs
  • Refined white flour
  • Saturated fats
  • Sodium
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Sodium citrate
  • Sodium nitrite
  • Sodium phosphate
  • Sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP)
  • Sorbitol
  • Soybean oil/Hydrogenated soybean oil
  • Sucrose
  • Sucralose
  • Sugar/added sugar
  • Sugar alcohols
  • Sulfites 
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Vegetable oil/hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • Yellow 5/Yellow 6

Some common foods you might not realize contain ingredients from this list are coffee cream, instant oatmeal packets, “light” butter substitutes and salad dressing. All of these items have soybean oil in them which can cause chronic inflammation, increased body fat and fatty liver. Not all oil is bad though, finding foods and using oils like avocado, coconut, and olive can actually be a good source of healthy fat in your diet. Another common category that most people would assume to be healthy but is not are bottled smoothies and fruit juices. Both of these contain now fiber-less fruit after blending and juicing, which makes them fall short on nutritional value. They also almost always have a lot of added sugar, sometimes in the form of high-fructose corn syrup or fructose. This can cause the juices and smoothies to have more sugar in a serving than a donut. Even if something is labeled diet or low fat, you can not assume it has all healthy ingredients in it. Take for example diet ice cream, it contains polysorbate 80. This is a preservative that can cause inflammation in the intestines. Another food that contains the same preservative is pickles, specifically the popular brand Vlasic. Reduced fat peanut butter seems to be healthier by the name of it but really the ingredient list goes on forever and contains added sugars, sodium and preservatives. You’re actually better off just getting full fat natural peanut butter with a short ingredient list, this way the additives are kept down to a minimum. 

Recognizing unhealthy ingredients on a nutrition facts label is a great start in taking control of your eating habits. Finding healthier alternatives to some of the common foods you buy that contain unhealthy ingredients will help you achieve an overall better lifestyle. If you need help educating yourself on nutrition facts labels and how to make better diet choices, please contact us. 

Categories Nutrition

Nutrition and Heart Health

Heart healthy eating is a common phrase that most people are familiar with, but what does it actually mean? The dietary guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) have changed over the years and become more refined. The diet a person consumes is not the only factor that influences CVD but it is the single most significant contributor in developing a heart disease. Long term dietary success does not come from extremely strict, unrealistic plans. The key to success is pleasure, education and sustainability. A healthy diet can reduce your risk for heart attacks, stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity and many more. 

The new research being done is part of a broader effort to revamp the old food pyramid that most people are familiar with. There are some similarities with this new research and the information that everyone already knows, but there are also some conclusions being drawn that are more advanced. Researchers found that eating more plant based foods and avoiding refined cereals and starchy foods is still better for your heart health. One major difference from the old studies to the new ones is no strong association between full-fat dairy products and CVD. This is thought to be because the probiotics in dairy products improve the intestinal flora, which promotes growth of good bacteria. It has also been shown that chocolate, coffee and moderate alcohol consumption might not negatively affect CVD like people believed it did. 

Eating from a variety of food groups not only helps you get the nutrients your body needs to prevent CVD, but it also helps with living a pleasurable and sustainable lifestyle. Choosing from different fruits, vegetables, dairy products, low fat protein sources and whole grains keeps your meals interesting while also getting the nutrients you need. It is important to limit nutrient poor foods that are high in calories but low in nutritional value. We are aiming for a sustainable lifestyle here so completely eliminating those foods is not necessary but being educated on what kind of foods are nutrient poor will help you make smarter choices when it comes to heart healthy foods. 

It is important to look at a diet as a whole and understand that if you reduce the amount of a certain food, you need to choose a healthy replacement. The way one person eats might work well for them but may be unhealthy for the next person. We are fairly confident that fruits and vegetables are good for us and foods high in fat, salt and sugar are not. There’s a lot of gray area in between those that still needs to be researched to get a better understanding on how it affects your heart health.

Categories Gut Bacteria

How Gut Bacteria Affects Cancer

The foods you put into your body determines the type of bacteria that will live in your gut. Your gut microbiome, the largest collection of bacteria in your body, starts forming when you are born and continues to change as you age. The bacteria in your gut is supported by your diet and also helps digest food and absorb nutrients. There are many studies being done that are contributing to the idea that a person’s gut health is related to obesity and cancer jointly. Along with those studies, there is more research being done about how gut bacteria can help fight off cancer as well

To fill your body with a healthy balance of bacteria, a diet that includes a variety of plant foods like fruits, vegetables and beans can greatly help. This tends to be the case because these foods are a good source of fiber, which helps nurture a strong gut with healthy bacteria. Another important category of food to eat is pre and probiotic foods. These foods can change existing gut bacteria to keep a healthy mix and also prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Since your gut bacteria plays an important role in how your body uses energy from the food you eat and also decides how many calories to store as fat, it plays a crucial role in lowering a person’s risk for obesity. A known risk factor for many different types of cancer is obesity so having good gut health could reduce your risk for cancer. 

Not only can a healthy gut reduce your risk for some cancers, but it can also help your body fight cancerous tumors. Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are produced when dietary fiber is consumed and fermented in the gut which helps encourage a healthy gut environment. SCFAs have a few positive health effects including being able to boost the activity in T cells by reprogramming the way they work and encouraging tumor cell destruction. A common cancer treatment, immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy, blocks the proteins on tumor cells that T cells can bind to that will spare the cell. This allows the T cell to do their job and destroy tumor cells. This research is showing that a balanced gut could boost the effectiveness of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy which will help cancer patients have a more successful treatment. 

It’s believed that microbiome based therapies will help more cancer patients respond better to immunotherapies, like immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy, but more research needs to be done. Right now, typically less than 40% of cancer patients receiving these types of therapies are having a successful response. The goal is to find ways to push the patient’s microbiomes to energize their tumor fighting T cells which will result in destroying cancer cells. Your gut health is incredibly important to preventing and fighting cancer, along with many more diseases.

Categories Fermented Food

Fermented Food Diet

The addition of fermented foods in your diet is key to obtaining optimal health because it enhances diversity of gut microbes and decreases inflammation in the gut. Certain proteins, such as interleukin 6 that have been linked to conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, was also shown to be less active after implementing fermented foods in a person’s diet. The modern Western diet is usually heavy on processed, unhealthy foods which can throw off the balance of your gut microbes and lead to gastrointestinal issues. 

A diet focused on fermented foods can help with weight maintenance, improved digestion and better immunity. Implementing fermented foods in your diet has also been shown to decrease the risk of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. The consumption of fermented foods can rapidly alter the gut microbiome and change the status of your immune system quickly. 

There are many reasons a healthy gut is essential and it is important to know how to improve your gut health. Your body needs good bacteria to break down complex carbohydrates which is important because this process releases other beneficial substances to your body. Good bacteria is also needed to fight off the bad pathogenic bacteria you swallow every day. Having good bacteria in your gut creates an acidic environment in your intestines that bad bacteria normally cannot live in. Your body naturally produces some vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 and K, that can only be synthesized if your gut is healthy and full of good bacteria. 

There are many options to integrate fermented foods into your diet. 

  • Kombucha – a slightly fizzy tea that contains potent health promoting properties from the synbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. 
  • Probiotic yogurt – produced from milk that’s been fermented with lactic acid bacteria. It is high in nutrients and contains live cultures. It is important to get yogurt that still has these beneficial bacteria and has minimal added sugar.
  • Sauerkraut – shredded cabbage that is fermented by lactic acid bacteria. To actually receive the health benefits from sauerkraut, make sure to get the unpasteurized. 
  • Kefir – is a type of cultured dairy product that is slightly fizzy and has a consistency thinner than yogurt. It is known to decrease the markers of inflammation and improve digestion of lactose for people with an intolerance. 

It is important to restore your gut health after eating unhealthy, processed foods and also after taking antibiotics. Eating an excessive amount of processed foods can throw off your gut balance, making it harder for your body to digest any food. Antibiotics wipe out both the good and bad bacteria and because of that, sometimes even cause diarrhea. Eating fermented foods will help restore your gut microbes back to normal after either of these situations. Along with restoring your gut, the probiotics found in fermented foods have been associated with improving many different conditions such as gastrointestinal problems, immunity and weight loss. Fermented foods have many benefits so it’s worth finding your favorite food in this category and implementing it into your diet daily.

Categories Gluten Free

Gluten Free Diet

A gluten free diet is a way of eating that excludes all foods that contain gluten. Gluten is in the family of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale. While this glue-like property gives bread it’s chewy and satisfying texture, it also can leave many people feeling uncomfortable after eating. There are many different degrees of sensitivity to gluten, celiac disease being the most severe reaction. A gluten free diet is essential for people with celiac disease and very popular among other people who claim following this way of eating will improve their health, aid in weight loss and increase your energy. Research has shown a gluten free diet is essential to those with medical conditions related to gluten but we still need more information on how the diet improves overall health. 

Who this diet is targeted to:

  • Celiac disease – an autoimmune disease, triggered by gluten, that damages the villi of the intestines making it impossible to absorb nutrients. The symptoms of celiac disease are very uncomfortable, including constipation, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue and many more things.
  • Non-celiac gluten sensitivity – has some of the same symptoms as celiac disease but does not damage the small intestines. This process is not well understood yet but cutting gluten out of the diet has been shown to alleviate symptoms.
  • Gluten ataxia – an autoimmune disorder that affects nerve tissue resulting in loss of muscle control and voluntary muscle movement when digesting gluten. This disease slowly progresses and can be difficult to diagnose. A wheat allergy is like other food allergies, causing the body to mistake gluten as a virus. The immune system prompts a response by creating antibodies to combat the protein gluten, resulting in congestion and breathing difficulties.
  • IBD (specifically Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis) – there isn’t enough research yet to fully understand if the benefits of the gluten free diet for IBD patients are directly related to gluten or if it is because of the reduction in fructan in their diet. Foods containing gluten are also a significant source of fructan which is part of the FODMAP foods.

Foods that are naturally gluten free like fruits, vegetables, eggs, unprocessed meats, beans, nuts, and most dairy are good to incorporate in a healthy gluten free diet. There are grains and starches like arrowroot, buckwheat, corn, flax, quinoa, rice, soy and a few more that can be part of a gluten free diet as well. The grains not allowed are wheat, barley, rye, triticale and sometimes oats. While oats are naturally gluten free, during production they could be contaminated with another grain that contains gluten. Being able to read a nutrition food label is very important when determining if a processed food is gluten free. 

The benefits to a gluten free diet for people with gluten related medical conditions are undeniable and extremely helpful. Eliminating symptoms and reducing flare ups can improve someone’s quality of life greatly. On the other hand, this diet can be restrictive and cause malnutrition especially in people who don’t require being on a gluten free diet. For someone without a gluten related medical condition, following a gluten free diet could result in them losing weight and feeling healthier but not for the reasons you might think. Eating gluten free often leads someone to making healthier choices and eating more whole foods like fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Just because someone eats gluten free does not mean it is automatically healthier. A piece of fruit and a gluten free sugar cookie are both gluten free but nutritionally, you are better off eating the piece of fruit. You can not lose weight by just avoiding gluten, you must expend more calories than you consume.

While there is almost no harm following a gluten free diet, it is good to be aware of the vitamins and minerals your diet might now be lacking. Restricting your diet when it is not necessary can decrease your quality of life and increase risk for malnutrition. But for other people with gluten related medical conditions like celiac disease, following a gluten free diet is absolutely necessary for living a happy, healthy life. One of the most important things for anyone following a gluten free diet is to read the nutrition food labels, not only for gluten content but also for overall nutrients levels from fats, sugars and calories. To get a better understanding on how a gluten free diet could be implemented in your life, please contact us.

Categories Carbohydrate Diet

Specific Carbohydrate Diet

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is an elimination diet that removes certain types of carbohydrates. It is a very strict grain free, lactose free, and sucrose free diet. This diet is targeted for those with gastrointestinal disorders, including IBD, IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease and many more. The goal of this diet is to improve the function of the enzymes on the intestinal cell surface. These enzymes were damaged from the growth of bacteria and yeast caused by carbohydrates in the form of sugar. This imbalance and overgrowth of bacteria prevents proper digestion and absorption of carbohydrates meaning this also causes a nutrient deficiency along with gastrointestinal issues. The goal of SCD is to correct the digestional imbalance by eliminating most carbohydrates and only allowing specific ones that can be well absorbed. The carbohydrates that are being removed from your diet include those that have two or more linked sugar molecules. Any food with disaccharides, oligosaccharides, or polysaccharides are not allowed when on this diet. That includes foods like potatoes, processed foods, grains, most dairy, nuts, sugar and most legumes. 

An advantage of this diet is that many people with gastrointestinal problems who follow this diet strictly will see a positive change in their symptoms. While this diet does prohibit many kinds of carbs, it does allow for unbounded sugar molecules called monosaccharides because they are easily digestible. Some examples of foods you can still eat are fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables except those high in starch, meats, eggs, nuts, homemade yogurt and natural cheeses . Fruits and low starch vegetables should be consumed as close to their natural state as possible to get all the nutrients they provide. All meat is allowed as long as it is not processed because processed foods might have added sugars and grains. While most dairy is not on the plan for this diet, there are a few cheese options that are allowed along with yogurt that has been fermented for 24 hours. 

While a SCD seems to be the answer for some people with gastrointestinal problems, it does have many negatives that deter people from trying it. The diet is very restrictive, eliminating entire food groups that could provide you with lots of nutritional value. It is very important to be aware that if you follow this diet, you will need to combat nutritional deficiencies with supplements. This is especially important for vitamin D and calcium because these nutrients are naturally in a lot of dairy and grain products that will be cut out from your diet. Since the list of foods not allowed is so long, it can be very hard to follow for most people. Ingredient labels on the back of packages can be hard to read, especially when they use hidden names of sugar instead of the common names that are easily recognizable. Another disadvantage with this diet is since it is so restrictive, a person following this plan could not consume enough calories causing them to lose weight when they did not want to. Being underweight is already a problem when it comes to people with gastrointestinal problems so restricting their foods more could cause this problem to get worse. One of the main reasons the SCD is not highly recommended to try yet is because of the lack of research. There are a few small clinical studies that have shown improvement in patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis but that isn’t enough to recommend this diet to anyone who wants to try it. While most experts don’t think this diet is harmful, it is important to have the guidance of a medical professional to make sure you are getting enough nutrients, eating the correct foods and maintaining a healthy weight. It is important to note that the SCD is not a weight loss plan like other low carbohydrate diets. 

Since the SCD diet is so restricted and there’s little research on the effectiveness, people with gastrointestinal issues could try other diets like the low FODMAP diet or a gluten free diet. These diets are less restrictive and have been proven to help some people with IBS and IBD. It is important to consider all the pros and cons of any diet before starting. SCD can improve your health if done properly, given your unique health needs based on age, race, activity, health and other factors affecting your overall well being. To tailor this diet to your specific needs, contact us for further information, guidance and direct health coaching.

Categories Carbohydrate Diet


Adaptogens are a class of herbs that help your body resist and build a tolerance to emotional and physical stress. According to The American Institute of Stress, 33% of people report feeling extreme stress. The physical effects of stress on your body can affect your day to day life and while adaptogens don’t always work, it is worth understanding what the benefits of them could be. Along with dealing with long and short term stress, adaptogens can also help improve immunity and overall wellbeing. Adaptogens are starting to gain popularity now, but actually there is research going back to World War II times. When soldiers needed to find a way to deal with stress in natural ways, scientists found that adaptogens like rhodiola helped dull mental and physical fatigue that is known to cause stress. Recently, adaptogens have gone through rigorous scientific studies which have resulted in all positive results. There still needs to be more research done on this topic but for now they are seeing a correlation between adaptogens and decreased stress. 

The adaptogen herbs interact with the sympathoadrenal system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis which are a part of your endocrine system. The endocrine system is a collection of glands that produce and regulate hormones, including cortisol. When you’re stressed, your body overflows with different physical responses that affect your immune system, hormones, cognitive function and circadian rhythm. A common hormone response to stress is an increase in cortisol levels, which is released from your adrenal glands when your body is in fight or flight mode. Excess cortisol can make you gain weight, especially in the stomach area. When you reduce stress, your cortisol levels will decrease meaning you are less likely to gain weight from being stressed. When our bodies are faced with stress, it goes through something called general adaptation syndrome (GAS). GAS has three stages: alarm, resistance and exhaustion. The adaptogens job is to help your body stay in the resistance phase longer to hold off exhaustion. This allows your body to work through stressful moments instead of crashing in the middle of one.

Adaptogens like Holy Basil and Licorice Root can help decrease your cortisol through reducing stress. The adaptogen Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory benefits and immune modulating properties that will boost white blood cells, fight fatigue, and improve autoimmune health that decreases when stress increases. Having a strong immune modulation response is very important when fighting off cancer cells. If your body is under too much stress already, a suppressive event will occur and cancer fighting abilities will be limited. This is why controlling your stress and possibly taking adaptogens could be very important to your overall health. There are many different kinds of herbs you can take so it is best to do research to understand which one is best suited for your needs. 

There are many forms adaptogens come in and many ways you can consume them. Some herbal supplements come in capsule form you can take or break up to add to smoothies. Another way to get your adaptogens in is to eat adaptogenic foods like dried root astragalus, which has an earthy flavor, in soups. There are also stimulating teas that can be made from licorice root, fennel seed, fenugreek seed and flax seed that have many nutritional benefits along with reducing stress and inflammation. It is important to note, in general liquid versions of adaptogens are better than powder. This is because when the liquid extract is made they have the ability to pull out all the important components whereas the powder version could just be the entire herb ground up. When they grind up the entire herb, it is not as pure as when it is in liquid form therefore you don’t know how much of the adaptogen you are actually getting versus fillers. It is important to be consistent when taking an adaptogen to get the results you wish. Taking it every once and a while will not give you the benefits you are wanting. With a few exceptions, adaptogens should be taken in the morning due to your cortisol levels being the highest. Taking them in the morning when you wake up will also stimulate your body’s natural rhythm to wake up, creating a better sleep schedule. One reason you would take an adaptogen in the evening is if you are taking it specifically to calm down for sleep. Adaptogens can be taken for days up to weeks and even longer if you are going through an especially chaotic time in your life. After about six weeks it is recommended that you switch adaptogens though to experience the subtle differences and benefits they offer. Also by doing this your body won’t get accustomed to it and lose the effectiveness. Like other supplements in the US, adaptogens are less regulated than prescription medication making it harder to find reliable and pure adaptogens. It is important to do research or have a doctor recommend specific kinds of adaptogens to gain the best results from taking them.

Adaptogens are not a cure-all medicine that should replace stress management techniques and other medical care, but evidence does show it can help ease stress. If you go through prolonged periods of times in life that you are extremely stressed like during the holidays or tax season, adaptogens could alleviate some of the stress to make it more manageable. Adaptogens should not be used as a bandaid for chronic stress when a lifestyle change is needed to be healthier in the long run. While adaptogens are generally safe, it is best to consult with a doctor before taking any because it could interact with other medications you are taking. Along with that, finding the correct dosage can be challenging so having someone observe your reactions and its effectiveness will help ensure the specific adaptogen and amount is right for you. If adding adaptogens to your wellness routine interests you, contact us for further information and guidance. 

Categories Glycemic

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) is a tool used to promote better blood sugar management. This is done by giving a value to specific foods for how much they will increase blood sugar levels. Many things can affect a food’s GI including nutritional composition, cooking method, ripeness and amount of processing it has gone through. Knowing what foods are in the different categories of the GI can help people who want to lose weight or someone trying to manage their blood sugar and cholesterol. It is important to note that glycemic index (GI) is different from glycemic load (GL). GI does not take into consideration the amount of food eaten whereas GL takes the carbs in a serving of food to determine how it will affect your blood sugar. Both GI and GL are important to consider when choosing foods that will promote healthy blood sugar levels. 

The three categories of GI are:

  • Low (55 or less) 
    • Examples – apple, barley and soybeans
  • Medium (56 to 69) 
    • Examples – ripe banana, corn and multigrain bread
  • High (70 or above)
    • Examples – watermelon, potato and white bread

When the GI in a food is lower, it will not affect your blood sugar as much as it would if it was high. Foods with high GI levels are the ones that can be digested quickly like sugars and refined carbs. Low GI foods take longer to digest, like high in protein, fat and fiber. It is surprising for most people that watermelon has such a high GI but it is because of all the natural sugar it contains. The reason soybeans have such a low GI is because they are high in fat and protein making them slower to digest. 

Not only can the macronutrients of food affect the GI value but also how the food is prepared will change value. Fried foods often tend to be lower in GI value because the fat it is fried in will slow down digestion whereas if you roast or bake a food it will break down starch in the food that slows down digestion causing digestion of that certain food to actually speed up. This will increase the GI value of the food. Boiling foods is one of the best ways to cook when trying to eat low GI foods because it doesn’t add any additional fat when cooking but also maintains and sometimes even lowers the GI value due to retaining the resistant starch. When cooking foods like rice and pasta, it is best to not overcook them because the longer they cook the more easily  digestible they become. The stage of ripeness can also affect GI values, especially in fruits like bananas.


The glycemic index diet is a plan that follows the index as the primary guide for creating meal plans. This diet is unlike others because it doesn’t specify portion sizes or count calories, it’s just based on how the food affects your blood sugar. A low GI diet is targeted to people with obesity related diseases like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. For most people with diabetes, counting carbohydrates and understanding the glycemic index can lead them to being able to control their blood glucose levels better. On the other hand, a low GI diet has also been criticized for not being very reliable. 

An advantage to following a low glycemic index diet is it can help manage your blood sugar levels, which is especially important if you have diabetes. Maintaining proper blood sugar levels can help delay the onset or even prevent complications like heart disease, stroke, and damage to the kidneys or liver. Studies show that the long term effects of following a low GI diet can reduce hemoglobin A1C levels which is a marker for blood sugar control. Low GI diets have also been proven to lower cholesterol, reduce risk for cancer and help you succeed in long term weight loss. 

Following a low GI diet also has its drawbacks. The glycemic index doesn’t give a full nutritional picture because it doesn’t take fat, protein, sugar and fiber into consideration. An example of this is french fries are 75 on the GI but a baked potato is 93. This is due to how the potato was prepared and could lead someone who is trying to pick the lower GI food, to pick the one with more fat. The GI value given to a particular food is not based on a serving size so while the GI of watermelon is around 75, but since watermelon has very few digestible carbohydrates you would have to eat a lot of watermelon to actually raise your blood sugar that much. This is why understanding GL, that does take serving size into consideration, is very important when following a low GI diet. 

Oppositely, following a high GI diet is linked to a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Eating high GI foods can spike your blood sugar quickly, putting stress on your body. Foods high on the glycemic index are typically full of sugar and overly processed. Lowering the GI of foods you eat is the best way to relieve some of this stress on your body. On the plus side, there are low GI versions of our favorite high GI foods, like bread and rice, that can make keeping that weight off a little easier. 

Not all foods high on the glycemic index are “bad”, they just aren’t the best choice for you if you are prediabetic, diabetic or predispositioned for other diseases. That being said, not all foods low on the glycemic index are good for you either. Some are extremely high in fat so while they may not raise your blood sugar, they will still make you gain weight. While following a low glycemic index diet has some great benefits like reducing blood sugar and losing weight, it should be used in tandem with other diets that include tracking calories, fat, fiber and vitamins. Following a high GI diet is almost never a good idea, even if you are not currently overweight. This will ensure you are getting a healthy, balanced diet while also being proactive about reducing your blood sugar. If you are interested in learning more about reducing your blood sugar levels, please contact us.