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This month's newsletter discusses:
  • Choosing sweeteners
  • Fixing your gut
  • Fueling your public speaking
  • Choosing the best foods when eating out 
  • Blanching your vegetables to save you time!
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Which sweeteners should you choose?

 

Many people ask me: What do you think about artificial sweeteners? How about Stevia? My answer is always that I do not recommend any of them, not even for diabetics.
 
Let me explain briefly why. Artificial sweeteners, like the name already implies, are artificial, man-made foods. They are created by mixing chemicals in a laboratory that form substances with highly increased power of sweetening things. Most of them have no calories, others have starch (a sugar chain), dextrose (sugar again, yeah, I know…), a combination of amino acids, or sugar alcohols. These components are naturally present in the foods you eat, but when chemically manipulated and consumed out of the normal ratios, these components can bring you problems. For example, artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, have been shown to induce migraines. 
 
Naturally, people choose artificial sweeteners over sugar to lose or maintain weight. But this replacement actually has the opposite desired effect. When you eat something with regular sugar, it triggers a feeling of pleasure and you feel satisfied. Your body will store that sugar as fat or you will burn it as energy. Now, if you eat something artificially sweetened, you won't have the feeling of satiety... And you need that. So you end up eating more. One study showed that rats that ate yogurt mixed with an artificial sweetener consumed fewer calories from the yogurt but ate more of their chow, that was also given to them, than rats that ate sugar-sweetened yogurt. Both groups of rats ate similar amounts of total calories, but the rats that ate the artificial-sweetened yogurt gained more weight than rats that ate the sugar-sweetened yogurt. This suggests not only that artificial sweeteners make you want to eat more, but that they also promote more weight gain and increased body fat!
 
But weight gain is not the only problem. Logically, diabetics are told to choose artificial sweeteners over sugar to control their blood sugar. Well, studies have been shown the effects of artificial sweeteners on sugar tolerance, linking its consumption to an increased risk of developing diabetes! Wait, what? That is because artificial sweeteners promote the release of insulin just like sugar, but insulin does not find blood sugar to deliver energy to your body cells… So after a while, insulin can stop working properly and bring you trouble. It also damages your gut bacteria. It is so important for your gut bacteria to be healthy that you can call them your second brain as they are responsible for many crucial functions in your body, such as to keep you away from infections.
 
Finally, even though the evidence for risk of developing cancer is inconclusive, there have been studies since the 1970s demonstrating this link with cyclamate, saccharin, and aspartame, while other studies show no relationship. In my opinion, I would just stay away to be on a safer side.
 
Here you have all of the reasons why you should use naturally sweet foods.  Sweeten your drinks and foods with dates and raisins, vanilla extract, brown sugar and coconut palm sugar, raw honey and agave, fruits, and also spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg powders. 

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September Nutrition Tips 

Fuel Your Public Speaking




Use Food to Improve Concentration and Reduce Anxiety during Public Speaking 


Did you know the foods you eat can contribute to your success, or failure, when speaking in public?

Public speaking is a necessary requirement for most professions. Therefore, knowing how to effectively communicate in public has become a basic requirement for those seeking promotions, new jobs, excellence in sales, or even to maintain their current employment. Delivering an effective presentation is a technique that can be taught, but even then, many professionals panic just thinking about speaking before an audience — causing butterflies in the stomach, shaking, a trembling voice, and excess sweat. The solution is preparation. You should not only prepare your words, gestures, posture, and materials, but also your diet!

Eating the right foods before a speech can make a noticeable difference in the overall quality of a presentation. Pronunciation, energy level, concentration, and mental clarity should all be considered!

This article will give you a little direction in this decision-making process so that you might have yet another tool to make your public presentation the best it can be.


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Fixing Your Gut – 5 Steps

How have you been getting along with your gut bacteria? 
 

Hopefully pretty well, as you have trillions of them living in your gut and they are responsible for your immunity, metabolism, and brain health! And this list keeps increasing with more research being published

Most of the studies, though, are associational, but there is evidence that your gut bacteria is dictating the direction your health is taking. The composition of your gut bacteria is determined by some factors that cannot be changed, like age, gender, region of origin, birthing method (C-section vs. vaginal delivery) and first foods (breast milk vs. formula). But other factors also influence your gut bacteria composition and can be changed such as:

  • Pollutants in your environment
  • An unhealthy diet
  • Lack of exercise or training overload with no appropriate recovery
  • Use of laxatives and antibiotics
  • Poor chewing
  • Changes in salivary, stomach and intestinal pH and weakened immunity
  • Frequent consumption of food dyes and preservatives
  • Low intake of water

Remember, your healthy gut bacteria have to be replenished every day. Your small intestine is large, I mean it’s larger than a tennis court! And it is the gateway of nutrients that will be distributed throughout your body. All the varieties of healthy bacteria participate in digestion, absorption, formation of short-chain fatty acids from fiber, formation of vitamins B3, B5, B6, B12, folate, biotin, and vitamin K, cholesterol reduction, toxin and pathogen elimination, and hormone formation (including brain and satiety hormones). From fermentation, bacteria can produce anti-inflammatory  components and the gut immune system is made up of specialized immune cells that produce antibodies. Gut bacteria also produce conjugated linoleic acid, a potent anti-cancer and anti-obesity component. Yes, they are busy!

But your gut bacteria can be the unhealthy variety and make you sick. When the gut wall is irritated or inflamed, the tight junctions between your gut cells loosen up and you get increased permeability. Then you may get unpleasant symptoms like:

  • Constipation and / or gas,
  • Brain-related symptoms. Your brain and gut are connected through the hormonal (cortisol), immune (cytokines) and neural (vagus and enteric nervous system) pathways:
    • depression, insomnia (tryptophan which would be converted into serotonin, the hormone of well-being, and melatonin, will be converted by pathogenic bacteria in other toxic substances),
    • memory loss (inflammation favors the death of neurons),
    • stress (lack of bacteria which are capable of controlling the levels of cortisol),
  • Increased urge for sweets (stimulated by the lack of serotonin and other nutrients that had their absorption compromised),
  • Weight gain (due to increased inflammation and decreased serotonin levels. In addition, gut bacteria affects the amount of energy taken from your diet and consequently helps increase the storage of fats; it also regulates genes related to obesity); or weight loss (due to malabsorption).
  • Developed metabolic disorders, such as insulin resistance
  • Increases in cholesterol (due to the toxicity that is generated, favoring an increase in endogenous cholesterol, which is produced by your body),
  • Poor immunity and increased inflammation and allergenic reactions: such as migraines, rhinitis, sinusitis, arthritis, cellulitis, among others,
  • Urinary tract infections,
  • Fungal infections like candidiasis or ringworm,
  • Acne or skin irritation,
  • Gastritis by H. pylori bacteria,
  • Symptoms related to lack of vitamins and minerals (due to malabsorption) like anxiety, hair loss, nail weakness, osteoporosis, and anemia among many others.

I am a dietitian and I talk a lot about poop! What does your poop look like on an average day? Your answer will say a lot about your health. Going to the bathroom every day is not a sign of a proper healthy bowel. Your daily stool should be brown, smooth with no cracks, whole, without food debris, mucus or blood. You should not have difficulty eliminating it. Healthy feces are so important that people have been doing feces transplantations to fight infections, inflammation, or chronic diarrhea here in the U.S. Isn’t that insane? Hopefully, you are taking this seriously by now, your gut bacteria are the boss of your body. But even if you go to the bathroom every day, you may still have the above symptoms that are related to poor gut bacteria.

If you want to lose fat, gain muscle, improve your sports performance, and boost your health and your mood, you will first need to take care of your gut bacteria. I recommend that you take these 5 steps to address all of your problems by fixing your gut:

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September Recipe

Blanching and Freezing

 

Blanching is a great pre-preparation technique. When you want to freeze fruits and veggies for later use while keeping their nutritional value and freshness for up to 6 months.  

 
 
FRUITS: This works best on fruits with a consistency similar to that of an apple.  Fruits like pineapple or papaya are too soft and this technique does not work for them. VEGGIES: You can blanch a large variety of vegetables, leafy and non-leafy ones.
  1. Wash the fruits or vegetables well. If needed, remove any skin, seeds, or any other non-edible bits and cut them up into small pieces. 
  2. Create an ice bath by putting water into a container with ice and set that container aside for now.
  3. Bring water to boil in a saucepan, more than enough to cover your fruits or vegetables completely.
  4. In the saucepan water, add a few drops of lime juice to stop enzyme action and consequent oxidation of fruits. For vegetables, you may also add a pinch of salt. 
  5. When the water starts to boil, add about 1 cup of the fruit or vegetable and let it sit for 2-5 minutes, depending on the firmness of the food. Note: 2 minutes for softer fruits like pears and 3 for apples. Check the chart with boiling times for different vegetables below.
  6. Then remove and place the fruit or vegetable into the container ice bath for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Remove the fruit or vegetable with a strainer and pat them dry with paper towel. 
  8. Place the food into BPA-free reusable storage bags while removing as much of the air as possible. Keep secure with a rubber band if needed. Note: if you don’t want large pieces of frozen vegetables stuck together, first put the pieces in the freezer separately. About 1 hour later when they are firm, you can put them together in storage bags.
  9. Then write or place a label on the bag with its expiration date, which is 3 months after that day for fruits and 6 months for vegetables.
  10. When you’re ready to use them, you just put them directly into your blender, saucepan, or Crock-Pot®. No need to thaw them before cooking. Note: you may save and freeze the water you boiled your vegetables to use for soups and sauces later. Better yet, use it to water your plants.  

Tip for potatoes: it’s best to cut them into strips
Time to boil specific vegetables:
 
Vegetable Time (min)
Eggplant 2
Bell pepper 2
Cabbage 2
Endive 2
Spinach 2
Potato 2-4
Peapod 2-4
Carrots 2-5
Green beans 3
Cauliflower 3
Corn 3-4
Cassava 3-4
Broccoli 3-4
Beets 3-5
 
 
 
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What's New: Third subtopic of Livia's class

Becoming an expert on choosing the best foods when eating out 

 

Health Coached: Healthy Eating On the Go — Part 3

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Click here for Nutrily, LLC services
 

Full house for Livia's talk on August 26th!

Health Coached: Healthy Eating‬ On the Go‬

Thank you for attending this event. Stay tuned for future ones!

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This newsletter was created and designed by Livia Ly, MS, RD, LDN
 

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