Tag Archives: diet

What your cravings are trying to tell you

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We all get food cravings from time to time, but if you’re fighting off cravings on a daily basis, you need to arm yourself with the right foods! Nutritionist Peggy Kotsopoulos is here to tell us what constant cravings mean!

IF YOU ARE CRAVING SUGAR…

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REASON: Sugar cravings can be caused by:

  • Blood sugar imbalances and Insulin resistance
  • Candida – yeast overgrowth in the intestinal system

EAT THIS INSTEAD: PROTEIN!

  • Lean protein, such as chicken, fish, and eggs, helps to balance blood sugar levels. Protein acts as a blood-sugar stabalizer by slowing down the rate at which sugar is absorbed in your blood stream.
  • Chicken is rich in chromium which is a mineral that helps to balance blood sugar levels and reduce carb cravings. Chromium is a mineral essential in regulating the body’s response to insulin. (You can also take a chromium supplement.)
  • Sweet spices: Cinnamon helps to balance blood sugar and insulin levels. Studies show that cinnamon improves the body’s ability to utilize the insulin it already produces by enhancing muscle and liver cells’ response to insulin.
  • Probiotics – Candida is a yeast overgrowth in the intestinal system that feeds off of sugar.  Probiotics help to replace the “bad” yeast colonies with good, benefitial bacteria and help to overcome yeast overgrowth.
  • Peu d’arco Tea helps to overcome yeast overgrowth by assisting in the treatment of fungal infections.

IF YOU ARE CRAVING CARBOHYDRATES…

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REASON: Carb cravings mean low levels of serotonin (in addition to blood sugar balances as noted above).  Serotonin is our “feel good” neurotransmitter. If we are feeling down and depressed our serotonin levels may be too low. Carbs actually increase serotonin levels making us feel good “temporarily,” without necessarily dealing with the issue at hand. And in the end, they leave us feeling more bloated, fat and depressed.

EAT THIS INSTEAD: 

Choose foods rich in tryptophan, such as sacha inchi seeds, turkey, or wholegrains like quinoa. Tryptophan is a precursor to the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Complex carbohydrates, such as quinoa, oats or sweet potatoes, increase the absorption of tryptophan stimulating serotonin production. However, complex carbs/wholegrains are also richer in protein and nutrients than refined carbs; they keep us fuller longer and curb cravings.

Sacha Inchi seeds:

  • Sacha inchi seeds are one of the highest sources of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino responsible for the production of serotonin.
  • Sacha inchi seeds contain the highest plant-based source of omega 3 fatty acids, which help to alleviate depression .

*Turkey is also high in tryptophan

Complex Carbs – Quinoa
Carbohydrates increase the rate at which tryptophan enters the brain. These complex carbohydrates are also high in tryptophan, promoting the calming effects of serotonin production. Eating carbohydrates with tryptophan-containing foods makes this calming amino acid more available to the brain. Quinoa is also rich in B-vitamins, essential for mental health.

ARE YOU CONSTANTLY CRAVING CHOCOLATE?

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Research suggests that up to 97% of women and 68% of men experience food cravings. Chocolate is the most common one of the craved foods. Almost 50% of women reportedly claim to prefer chocolate to sex!

REASON: What you body could really be craving is Magnesium, B6, or B12. Chocolate releases endorphins, which suppress pain triggers, and give us a euphoric feeling. Magnesium also helps to relax nerves and tension that alleviate pain triggers.

HAVE THIS INSTEAD: 

  • Raw cacao nibs – raw chocolate is the highest source of magnesium!
  • Blue-green algae (E3 Live) contains 50 times more PEA than chocolate, giving you that “happy love bug” feeling!
  • Go for a run, exercise, have sex!  These activities release the same endorphins, and not only are they calorie-free, but will actually help BURN calories! And they don’t cost a cent!

CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THOSE SALTY FOODS?

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REASON: STRESS! 
Many times, if we are over-stressed or anxious over long periods of time, we can exhaust our adrenal glands. Our adrenal glands, located on top of our kidneys, are responsible for distributing several hormones through our body, including cortisol (which is our stress response hormone) and aldosterone, which regulates sodium levels. When our adrenals are compromised due to stress, it causes our body to search for essential nutrients and minerals to compensate. In addition, our adrenals may produce less aldosterone, which results in an excessive loss of sodium through the kidneys, and we begin to crave salt.

HAVE THIS INSTEAD:  

  • B-vitamins: B-vitamins are essential for mental health and serve many functions in the brain and nervous system. B-vitamin help your body respond and adapt to stress. In particular, B5 helps the body adapt to stress and supports the adrenal gland function. B6 is useful in correcting elevated cortisol levels. Because B-vitamins are water-soluble, they pass through your body quickly, so we want to make sure we replenish them regularly.
  • Natural sea salt: natural sea salts are unrefined (unlike table salt) and still retain the minerals your body needs to function optimally.
  • Passion Flower is a calming herb that helps to improve the activity of GABA, which is a neurotransmitter that helps you relax.
  • Relora: relora is an herbal supplement that is clinically proven to reduce stress and anxiety. It works to reduce cortisol levels (our stress hormone) and raise DHEA (coined the “anti-aging hormone”) which helps to control stress, maintain proper mineral balance, and can help increase lean mass and reduce body fat.

DO YOU  HAVE AN UNQUENCHABLE THIRST?

If you find yourself ALWAYS thirsty no matter how much you’re drinking, you may be washing away precious electrolytes and your body may be lacking the minerals needed to absorb fluids.

TRY THIS INSTEAD:  

  • Coconut water – naturally loaded in electrolytes to help quench your thirst and restore precious minerals. Also makes a great hangover remedy!  (It solves the dehydration issue that causes nausea and headache!)
  • Emergen-C Electro mix – this is a powder that contains all your electrolytes. Just mix with water and you have an instant sports drink!
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diet that might beat breast cancer

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A breast cancer patient refused to take powerful drugs she  was offered to stop the disease returning – and chose to depend on a spicy low-fat diet instead.

Following surgery, Vicky Sewart, 44, was worried about possible side-effects from taking the medication.

So instead, she launched herself into a health regime of exercise and specially chosen foods, including turmeric, which she claims ‘makes cancer cells commit suicide’.

Experts have warned there is little scientific evidence to back up her claims.

But Miss Sewart believes that the diet she followed after undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery was a vital part of her recovery from the disease.

Her experience will now form part of an academic study into how lifestyle can affect the body’s response to cancer.

After she was diagnosed, Miss Sewart did her own research into which foods might have a positive impact on her recovery.

And following an operation to remove a breast and lymph node four years ago, she told doctors she would not take Tamoxifen during remission but would be following her own ‘anti-cancer’ diet instead.

She said: ‘It’s very unusual for breast cancer patients not to take the drug.

‘When I told the doctors I didn’t want to take it, they just advised me to keep oestrogen out of my body, which is basically what the drug does.

 ‘The doctors absolutely will not say that the diet is going to do anything to help the cancer in any way, other than to say a healthy diet is going to help in the fight against any disease.
Recovering: A picture of Vicky in Antigua, 2008. Concerned about the side-effects of medical drug Tamoxifen Ms Sewart, 44, designed a vegan, diary free diet which included a range of superfoods from frozen berries to curry spicesRecovering: A picture of Vicky in Antigua, 2008. Concerned about the side-effects of medical drug Tamoxifen Miss Sewart, 44, designed a vegan, diary free diet which included a range of superfoods from frozen berries to curry spices

This was four years ago and I think attitudes are changing a bit now so that these ideas are running alongside the more usual treatments.

‘I believe absolutely enormously that my diet has assisted my recovery.’

Explaining her decision not to take Tamoxifen, she went on: ‘It was the worry  of the drugs and the side effects, I didn’t want to have to worry about it, I wanted  to be free.’

Turmeric, a spice used when making curry dishesTurmeric, a spice used when making curry dishes

The jewellery designer and gallery owner started her health regime with a mostly organic vegan diet, cutting out all dairy products, adding plenty of ‘super-foods’, and taking moderate exercise.

She said: ‘Fresh fruit, vegetables and juices are great, and frozen berries are fantastic as a super-food. Turmeric kind of makes cancer cells commit suicide and ginger and garlic are great to cook with.’ 

For the past four years, Miss Sewart has provided blood and urine samples and filled in regular questionnaires as part of national research into how lifestyle can help prevent the recurrence of breast cancer after surgery.

The largest study of its kind in the world, it involves 56 hospitals around the UK and 3,400 patients who have had the disease.

The full results will be published next year.

Meanwhile, Miss Sewart, from Plymouth, is hoping to mark her five-year remission next summer and is due to marry later this year.

Describing her experience of cancer, she added: ‘People can die, or come back from it and enjoy life.

‘You’ve just got to be thankful you’re still around.’

Strawberries is a superfood
Ms Sweart used ginger root in her diet

Vicky Sweart used both frozen berries like strawberries and ginger root in her diet which she claims has helped recovery from breast cancer

However, experts urged other cancer sufferers not to abandon conventional treatments.

Sara Hiom, of Cancer Research UK, said: ‘It’s not recommended that alternative therapies are  used in place of conventional medical therapy.

‘There is little scientific or medical evidence to indicate that alternative therapies are more effective than the proven treatments used by cancer specialists on the NHS.

‘We would urge anyone to talk to their specialist if they’re contemplating them.’

Dr Steve Kelly, who specialises  in breast cancer at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, said: ‘Breast cancer deaths have been going down steadily for over 20 years thanks to surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

‘But there are three things patients can do to help themselves. It doesn’t guarantee survival, but it does help.

‘The first is to exercise for 30 minutes, three days a week. The second is to not gain any weight, and the third is to reduce fat intake.

‘These things help to reduce the chance of cancer coming back. For this patient, four years on now, it is still early days.’

He added: ‘My job is not to make people have Tamoxifen, but advise people of the risks and benefits.

‘Treatment comes down to a patient, and height, weight and exercise levels are helpful in making a decision.’

Tamoxifen is Britain’s most widely-used breast cancer drug,  given to more than half of patients to stop tumours from returning after surgery.

The tablets, which cost as little as aspirin and are taken for up to five years, also prevent the development of new tumours in an unaffected breast.

The drug, originally developed as a contraceptive, is the gold standard treatment for breast cancer and has been given to millions around the world since the 1980s.

It works by blocking the female sex hormone oestrogen from fuelling the growth of tumours.

Used after surgery, it cuts the odds of the tumour returning by around 30 per cent. However, it does not work in all cases.

In contrast, the evidence for curry spices such as turmeric beating cancer mainly comes from the study of cells in a dish – while evidence from the treatment of actual patients is sparse.

In laboratory studies it seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing, particularly in breast, bowel, stomach and skin cancers.

It has also been shown to appear to stop the spread of breast cancer cells to other parts of the body in mice

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2164034/Vicky-Sewart-The-woman-says-beating-breast-cancer-thanks-low-fat-diet-including-curry-spices–claiming-make-cancer-cells-commit-suicide.html#ixzz1ynWlAJzn