Not So Sweet On Sugar

Written by Dr. Natasha Turner ND on Wednesday, December 18 2013

The typical adult consumes 15 to 20 teaspoons sugar a day, which works out to an average of 60 lbs over a one year period! While it is often easy to spot in common treats like cakes, cookies, and candy, sugar is also lurking in foods that we may not recognize. For instance, did you know that a tablespoon of ketchup contains a full teaspoon of sugar?

Any of the following ingredients listed on a food label, should be considered as added sugar: white sugar (sucrose, a.k.a table sugar), brown sugar, cane sugar, sugar in the raw, maple syrup, molasses and high fructose corn syrup. But products high in carbohydrates such as refined flour, white bread, chips, pretzels, muffins, white rice, cereals and pasta end up as sugar in our body as well. Since sugar typically gives us an immediate rush, most products labeled as an “energy” drink or food normally contain a very high amount of sugar. Even sugars in their natural, unprocessed forms such as maple syrup or honey – possess similar health risks.

The Shocking Ups and Downs of Sugar

When we consume foods high in sugar or carbohydrates, the sugar enters our bloodstream, causing blood sugars to rise. Our pancreas responds by secreting insulin. The greater the amount of sugar, the greater the insulin release. Insulin allows for the surge of sugars in the blood stream to enter our cells to either be used as energy or stored as fat. An excess of insulin is the main cause of weight gain, especially belly fat and those dreaded love handles. An understanding of this connection between sugar and insulin, then, is the primary reason why becoming “sugar conscious” offers lasting effects on our body composition. Too much sugar will, however, also cause the following side effects:

• Suppress the immune system
• Contribute to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, concentration difficulties
• Produce a significant rise in triglycerides
• Reduce helpful high density cholesterol (HDLs) and raise harmful cholesterol (LDLs)
• Increase the risk of coronary heart disease and high blood pressure
• Increase fasting levels of blood glucose and contribute to diabetes
• Promote tooth decay
• Speed the aging process, causing wrinkles and grey hair
• Contribute to weight gain and obesity
• Cause toxemia during pregnancy
• Increase the risk of fatty liver disease
• Increase the water retention and bloating
• Cause headaches, including migraines
• Increase bacterial fermentation in the colon
• Increase risk of certain types of cancers including breast, colon and prostate
• Increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Kick Your Sugar Habit
There is little doubt that repeatedly eating sugar throughout the day eventually leads to chronically high insulin and ultimately to insulin resistance, the underlying metabolic disorder for heart disease and diabetes. Clearly taking steps to reduce your sugar intake offers both immediate and long term health benefits. Here are some tips to get you started on a sugar-free path to health:

• Avoid products with any form of added sugar listed in the ingredients as often as possible. If you need to sweeten your foods or baking, replace the sugar with natural alternatives such as date paste, fruit, raisins, apple sauce, brown rice syrup, coconut sap and stevia. Spices such as cinnamon, vanilla, or cocoa can also add flavor and sweetness to your recipes.
• Avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, splenda, saccharin, or acesulfame potassium. Although these products do not increase blood sugar levels upon consumption they still trigger insulin release, which increases cravings and the tendency to overeat. Select products that are sweetened with xylitol, erythritol or stevia instead.
• Maintain consistent blood sugar as this is one of the most important steps to reduce your carbohydrate intake and ensure that your metabolism stays in high gear. You can do this by balancing your meals and snacks with a blend of protein, fats and low glycemic carbs. Fruits, for instance, fruit should always be consumed with a protein and fat source such as nuts or low fat yogurt. When you eat is also important. Eat every three to four hours and at the same times daily. This will keep your insulin lower than if you eat at irregular times daily.
• If necessary, supplement your diet with 200 to 400 mcg of chromium per day. This simple mineral helps to balance blood sugar and assists in the transition from a high to low sugar intake.

Imagine - you can feel the difference by your very next meal using this one simple guideline: if you can last for three to four hours without feeling hungry and remain free of cravings, it is a good indication your intake of carbohydrates (or sugar) has not been excessive. Less PMS, increased energy, weight loss, a healthy immune system, and improved mental focus are just a few of the lasting health benefits you can expect to enjoy.

To kick your sugar habit, curb cravings and boost your metabolism, call 416.579.9105 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


 

Clear Medicine's Tasty Alternatives To Coffee

Written by Liz Cardoso on Monday, October 28 2013

While the first two weeks of The Supercharged Hormone Diet detox is free of former coffee habits, it doesn't mean that you can't replace them with a hot and healthy alternative. Here are my favourites:

HEALTHY HOT CHOCOLATE

  • 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk such as almond, soy or coconut
  • 1 tsp organic cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp natural sweetener such as coconut sugar or xylitol

Whisk together 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, sweetener, cocoa, vanilla and cinnamon in a small bowl until a smooth paste forms. Heat the remaining 1½ cups milk in a medium saucepan until steaming.  Remove from heat and whisk vigorously. Whisk the cocoa mixture into the milk and pour into mugs.

 

MATCHA GREEN TEA LATTE

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk such as almond, soy or coconut
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp matcha green tea powder
  • 1-2 tsp xylitol

In a small saucepan, combine the non-dairy milk, water, green tea powder and xylitol. Warm over medium heat while whisking until hot and foamy and pour into mugs.

 

SPICED COCONUT LATTE

  • 1 tbsp dandy blend herbal beverage
  • 2-3 tbsp full fat coconut milk or coconut milk creamer (So Delicious)
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

Whisk together 1½ cups of non-dairy milk or creamer, sweetener, dandy blend, vanilla nutmeg and cinnamon in a small bowl until a smooth paste forms. Heat the remaining 1½ cups milk in a medium saucepan until steaming.  Remove from heat and whisk vigorously. Whisk the mixture into the milk and pour into mugs.

 

CHICORY ROOT COFFEE

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1-2 tbsp roasted chicory root – depending on how strong you like it
  • ¼  cinnamon
  • ¼ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk such as almond, soy or coconut
  • 1-2 tsp natural sweetener such as coconut sugar or xylitol – optional

Whisk together non-dairy milk, chicory root, sweetener and cinnamon in a mug until a smooth paste forms. Add boiling water and stir vigorously

By Clear Medicine nutritionist Liz Cardoso. To book an appointment with Liz call 416.579.9105 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

3 Ways to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution

Written by Natalie Shay on Thursday, January 03 2013

Now that the Christmas is over, it’s time to start thinking about our New Year’s resolutions. Will be to stop smoking, lose weight, start balancing work and personal life? Those are just some of the biggies. So before you create a New Year’s resolution, ask yourself how many times you have created one that you were successful with. Why did it work? Why didn't it work? Here are three steps to make this New Year’s resolution stick.

1) Make a list of all the things you are considering for your resolution.
Get a piece of paper and think about the different areas of your life that you would like to work on. This is not about judging yourself or beating yourself up, so do it from a place of nurturing yourself.

2) Pick one resolution
You may want to work on many different things that have been on your mind for years, but let’s tackle one at a time. You can save the others for future resolutions.

3) Break this one resolution down into smaller steps
For example, if it is to lose weight then it will be hard to start exercising and change your diet at the same time. So break it down into steps and add a timeframe to it. Slowly add the next step when you feel that you are ready for it.

Step 1: Research and join a gym. Timeframe: one week.
Step 2: Start going to the gym two to three times a week. Timeframe: six to eight weeks.
Step 3: Meet with a nutritionist. Timeframe: one week.
Step 4: Implement a change in one meal of the day. Timeframe: three to four weeks.
Step 5: Implement a change in a second meal. Timeframe: three to four weeks.
Step 6: Implement a change in a third meal. Timeframe: three to four weeks.
Then you can focus on snacks.

You may feel that you want to do everything at once, but think about how many times that has failed. Bestselling-author Leo Babauta estimates that when people focus on changing a single behavior at a time, the likelihood that they’ll retain their new habit for a year or more is around 80%. Those who try to change two or more at one time have a success rate as low as 20%

I hope you have a Happy New Year, and I look forward to sharing my stress-management techniques with you in 2013!

Natalie

Natalie Shay is a Psychotherapist and Stress Management Counsellor at Clear Medicine. She works with individuals and consults with organizations with respect to topics such as stress management, burn-out prevention, work/life balance and emotional eating. She works with clients to help them overcome ineffective habits and create healthier new ones. Natalie can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (416) 726-5631.

 

Five Ways to Conquer Your Inbox

Written by Natalie Shay on Wednesday, September 26 2012

Q: The number of emails I get daily stress me out! Do you have any ideas on how to organize and make dealing with my inbox less stressful?

I remember coming back from vacation five years ago and being stressed about what my inbox would look like. So it was time to do some research and find ways to help those who felt the way I did. Over the past five years, this question has come up time and time again. How can we manage something we all need, but that overwhelms us? Below I have provided the top five tips that have helped my clients the most.

1) Book off time in your calendar
It is important to set time aside every day for an hour to focus on emails. This means you are not going to try to multi-task by answering a phone call or listening to a conference call. Also, do not reschedule this hour. Schedule this time in your calendar, and keep the appointment every day as faithfully as if you were meeting with your boss.

2) Limit the amount of emails back and forth
If you’ve gone back and forth on a topic more than two or three times and you’re still confused, pick up the phone. Call the person and get clarification: it will take much less time and be less stressful.

3) Have less emails coming through
 If you subscribe to a lot of blogs, newsletters or flyers, consider re-routing them to another email address or creating a folder to put them in.

4) Only get the ones that are “to” you
 If you are using Outlook, you can set up a “rule” that highlights the emails that are sent directly “to” you and leave the ones in which you’re cc'd as secondary. You can Google how to do this.

5) Say no thanks!
If you are being cc'd on emails that do not relate to you, kindly ask to be taken off the list, or you can set a rule in Outlook to send such emails automatically to another folder. (Once again, you can Google information on how to do this.)

This is the first step to managing your emails. Over time, managing your email will get easier and become more natural, and before you know it you will be wondering why your inbox is empty.

 
Natalie Shay is a Psychotherapist and Stress Management Counsellor. She works with individuals and consults with organizations with respect to topics such as stress management, burn-out prevention, work/life balance and emotional eating.  She works with clients to help them overcome ineffective habits and create healthier new ones. Natalie can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (416) 726-5631.     
 

 

3 Steps for Treating IBS, Crohn's and Colitis

Written by Natalie Shay on Wednesday, September 05 2012

Q: I have Crohn’s and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and I do not know how to manage my symptoms. Could stress be as big of a factor as I have heard?

Working with stress management over the years has introduced me to hundreds of clients with Crohn’s, Colitis and IBS. Clients have come to me to learn how to alleviate their physical symptoms and the stress they cause.

The symptoms of these diseases can be debilitating, and they include abdominal pain, diarrhea, depression, fatigue, anxiety, bloating, and difficulty having bowel movements. Many people do not realize that these symptoms can be drastically reduced with stress-reduction techniques. When Amy first came to see me, she was symptomatic seven-fourteen times a week and was nervous about leaving her house. She learned new techniques to identify what triggers her symptoms and what changes she needed to implement. After four months of working together, she now says: “Working with you has been extremely advantageous. I am able to leave my house without fear that I will need to run to the washroom. I have my freedom back. I understand myself better and can now see that stress played such a big role in this. Thank you for taking the time to teach me about how stress affects my health.” Amy F.


Here are three steps that can help you begin to manage the symptoms.

Step 1: Pay attention to yourself

Start tracking your symptoms for a month and try to identify how they are related to stress. You may experience symptoms before or during the stressful event, and especially afterwards, when your body is finally able to relax.

Step 2: Breathe

A simple way to start incorporating breathing techniques into your life is to start with 30 breaths a day. The key to effective breathing is to breathe using your diaphragm and inhale deeply with a four-second count, then exhale with another four-second count. When we are stressed, we tend to hold our breath, and when we breathe deeply, we begin to reduce our stress.

Step 3: Learn to use your voice effectively


One of the most important ways to manage your symptoms is to start looking at how much you internalize your feelings. If you find that you do not express yourself when something bothers you, it may be helpful to start changing this pattern. Changing the way you express your feelings can be done simply by implementing the WIN formula. This stands for “When (you did this), I (felt this) and Need (you to do this).”

For example, let’s say you had plans with a friend and they cancelled on you at the last minute. If you are non-confrontational, you are likely to tell your friend that the cancellation isn’t a problem. This reaction causes you to hold all your frustration and anger inside. Instead, a positive approach to this situation is to call the friend up and say: “When you cancelled on me, I was really upset that you did not give me more notice, and I would appreciate it if you could let me know ahead of time in the future.”


People who do not confront others tend to not realize how much their passivity can impact their health, but time and time again I see the difference it makes.

Natalie Shay is a Psychotherapist and Stress Management Counsellor. She works with individuals and consults with organizations with respect to topics such as stress management, burn-out prevention, work/life balance and emotional eating. She works with clients to help them overcome ineffective habits and create healthier new ones. Natalie can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (416) 726-5631.

 


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