For the winter months, I’m continuing my own health regime (like several other websites as well). I suffer from IBS, Menopause and Migraines but am researching ways to deal with these for myself (and hopefully offer helpful tips for others). I also want to look and feel better in my 50’s. Please share your ideas also. This post includes bits from Snacks That Can Help Fix Annoying Health Problems and also Best Healthy Pre-Workout Snacks and What a Nutritionist Eats Post Workout. You can read the full articles on the links.
Snacks for Annoying Health Problems:
When I’m feeling sick, (the flu is still quite rampant here in Seattle), I’m much more likely to pop open a can of chicken noodle soup and pour a glass of orange juice than reach for the Tylenol Cold + Head. Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise of Sakara Life, an organic meal delivery service that aims to provide nutrient-rich, plant-based options to its customers. DuBoise also happens to be a certified holistic health coach. From fatigue to headaches, here’s a few of their tips and snacking tricks.
While Tingle and DuBoise say there are many type of headaches, they note that migraines can often be from low levels of magnesium. “Most Americans—as many as 80 percent—aren’t getting enough of this vita mineral,” they tell me. If you’re looking to add this to your diet, some snacks they suggest include 1 cup of spinach, 1/8 a cup of pumpkin seeds, 1 cup of yogurt or Kefir, 1 medium avocado, figs, dark chocolate, and even bananas.
Studies have shown that women who eat plant-based diets high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and herbs have fewer PMS symptoms. Also, make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats! Avocados are great for hormone health—their nutritional profile is rich in omegas, fiber, magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin B6,” they suggest.
Again, Tingle and Duboise say that magnesium can potentially help in this department. “Stress causes elevated cortisol (the stress hormone), which leads to more stress…it’s a vicious cycle. But magnesium can help stop that cycle, calming the adrenals, lowering cortisol levels, protecting the brain against stress hormones, and ultimately helping the body cope with stress in a healthier way.”
Plants that help the body deal with stress by lowering cortisol: are ginseng, holy basil, ashwagandha, and medicinal mushrooms, like chaga and reishi.
Lack of Energy
Among all the complaints Duboise and Tingle hear are bloating and lack of energy. And they say that many times, the symptoms of these complains are related to what they call the “gut micro biome,” which they explain as “the six pounds of bacteria living in your digestive system that dictates everything from leanness to happiness and level of energy.”
Interestingly enough, they also explain that the typical American diet—which is often high in sugar, low in fiber, and processed—can negatively impact this microbiome. “The gut needs a ton of plant based fiber and fresh, water-dense, whole plant foods. This encourages the right kind of bacteria to flourish and discourages the growth of unhealthy bacteria,” they say.
To help promote a healthy gut, they suggest eating lots of leafy green—like four to eight cups—every single day. In addition to the greens, two to three servings of colorful veggies and staying hydrated by drinking and eating your water. “This means eating plenty of water-rich fresh produce—romaine, cucumbers, zucchini, and melon are good examples—so that the water stays in your body longer and deeply hydrates your cells. Not only will you have more energy, but your skin will be brighter and younger-looking too,” they say.
Apart from keeping your gut healthy using the tips above, Tingle and Duboise say their Sakara bloat-fighting secret is using bitter foods, like fennel or arugula, in their meals, as they help with digestion by activating the liver and stimulating the production of gastric juices. “We put bitter herbs like meadowsweet and gentian in our new Digestive Tea to help get rid of bloat…it’s perfect after a big meal,” they note.
Best Healthy Pre-Workout Snacks:
by Carolyn Brown – MindBodyGreen
What you eat pre- and post-workout can have a make-or-break effect on your results
Everyone is different, but as a general rule, if you wake up and work out immediately, you may not need to eat anything. Our bodies can actually burn more fat as fuel when we work out on empty first thing in the morning. That said, some people do feel light-headed if they work out without eating anything prior, and for them I’d recommend half a banana or an apple.
As the day progresses, though, working out on empty is not ideal. You need fuel to burn fuel. While calorie obsessing doesn’t work, I also don’t want you eating too much pre-workout and feeling like you’re going to toss cookies (or almond butter) on the spin bike in front of you.
If it’s an hour before you work out, aim to have something with about 100 calories. If it’s two hours before, you want to go for a 200-calorie snack.
Of course, all calories aren’t created equal. Our bodies immediately burn carbs, so I like my pre-workout snacks to include a piece of fruit. Research (both personal and scientific) says that caffeine can also give your serious workout boost, so a small cup of coffee, or including coffee in a smoothie (see recipe No. 2), can help performance big-time, too.
Here are a few of my favorite pre-workout snacks:
Almond Butter & Apple Slice Sandwich
½ small apple, cored and cut crosswise into ¼-inch-thick rounds
1 tablespoon almond butter
optional toppings: coconut flakes, cacao nibs
Spread almond butter on one side of apple slice. Add any optional toppings. Top with another apple slice. Munch away!
¼ cup cold-brew coffee
1 tablespoon almond or sunflower butter
½ cup almond milk
Put all ingredients in blender and blend on up. Try to keep to under 10 ounces if you’re working out sooner rather than later, as you don’t want to overeat pre-movement. Happy sipping and sweating!
What A Nutritionist Eats Post-Workout
By Liz Moody – MindBodyGreen Sr. Editor
These carrot cake balls, from nutritionist Christal Sczebel’s new book Energy Balls, are packed with ingredients to speed muscle recovery and help you get back on your feet post-workout. They’re perfectly portable and ready for your gym bag, and—perhaps most importantly—they taste just like carrot cake!
These carrot cake balls help to increase energy levels for optimal mental and physical performance
They contain almonds, walnuts, raisins, dried pineapple, dates, shredded carrot, coconut, and those classic carrot cake spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. These ingredients bring vitamins A, C, and E—powerful antioxidants that aid immune function and exercise recovery time—as well as minerals that support muscle and bone health. The icing is the perfect finishing touch as it is loaded with protein for performance and a delicious vanilla flavor!
Carrot Cake Energy Balls
Makes 12 balls
¾ cup [90 g] almond meal or ground almonds
½ cup [85 g] pitted dates
¼ cup [70 g] dark raisins
¼ cup [45 g] dried unsweetened pineapple
¼ cup [30 g] raw walnut halves
1 cup [90 g] shredded carrots
½ cup [40 g] shredded unsweetened coconut
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
For the icing (optional)
1 tablespoon vanilla protein powder of choice
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
⅓ teaspoon melted coconut oil
1 drop pure vanilla extract
- In a food processor, combine the almond meal, dates, raisins, dried pineapple, walnuts, and 1 tablespoon water and process for 1 minute until everything is incorporated. Add the carrots, shredded coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, and process for 1 to 2 minutes until a sticky mass forms.
- Using a tablespoon, scoop the mixture and, with clean slightly wet hands, shape the mixture into a ball between your palms, and set on a plate. Repeat with the remaining mixture until you have 12 balls, each just smaller than a golf ball. Place the balls in the freezer. Continue to the next steps if you’re icing the balls (optional).
- Meanwhile, place the protein powder in a small bowl and pour in the almond milk, coconut oil, and vanilla extract, stirring continuously until the icing is the consistency of heavy cream.
- Remove the balls from the freezer and spoon icing onto the top of each one; it will run slightly but should not run off the balls. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on the top of each ball and return to the freezer for 1 hour to set. Store in the freezer until required (the icing will become soft if stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature).
Diet, exercise, walking and meditation – that’s my goals!