For the month of January, I will be focusing on the current health and wellness trends. They are in no particular order but a great way to learn the trends and see which ones you can incorporate into your life this year!
Strong is the new skinny! Whether performing progressive body-weight training, power lifting, or traditional strength training, the benefits are enormous. Building strong bones, reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and fighting obesity by adding lean muscle are just a few. And let’s not forget about the confidence it builds when you are strutting around – and energy it builds too! The more muscle you have the better your energy because it is metabolic tissue. Most importantly, however, get proper instruction on movements and on the amount of weight you should use. Weights should be done with 12 to 15 repetitions per exercise set – with enough weight that the last one or two are barely doable!
Body-weight training it is super convenient—you don’t have to worry whether or not you have all the equipment you need because you are your equipment. Working without added external resistance allows you to master movement fundamentals adaptable to your body and progress when applicable. Some of our faves: squats, pushups, and pull-ups. Body weight training provides all the same benefits of strength training. Using this style is what I call metabolic training at Clear Medicine, it’s super effective as it boosts the hormones that burn fat and build muscle. Check out our personal trainer Heather’s Instagram account for fitness tips @heathnhealth.
More importantly, do this in a group setting. It is more motivating and fun – and let’s face it, a little competition also gets your muscles working hard! Studies have found when people committed to a weight-loss and exercise program with a friend they were more successful than those that began this journey alone.
Research demonstrates that mood and energy levels are altered when exercising in the presence of others. BONUS: exercise with your romantic partner and consider it foreplay. Win – win!
Whether you are beginning a new weight training program or continuing your already effective one this year, we want to point out how important it is to be aware of physical issues that may arise. Don’t ignore pain. We highly encourage a visit to an osteopath to have your body assessed and evaluated. An osteopath will perform a general examination to assess the patient’s mobility. Restoring optimal mobility is their focus. Better mobility of the body’s tissues will prevent certain stress injuries and, consequently, increase the athlete’s performance. Make an appointment to see Frederic or Antoine at Clear Medicine this year!
With the increase of high intensity exercisers along with the growing popularity of strength training, it seems only natural that flexibility and mobility rollers would gain popularity. When training with high intensities and heavy loads, the importance of preparing your soft tissues for exercise is critical for your performance and recovery. Self rolling and release techniques are a great way to be proactive about self care and can help to enhance performance and reduce pain – they might even help beat cellulite too!
Packed with antioxidants, fiber, iodine and healthy fats, seaweed is set to step into the limelight as the next star super food for the nutrition-savvy shopper. Sea vegetables (aka as seaweed) will help reduce cardiovascular disease, they may also help stabilize blood sugar and are an amazing brain food.
This ocean veggie has surged in popularity due to its wide availability and “umami appeal,” referring to the Japanese word for the fifth basic taste. As dark, leafy vegetable option, seaweed is a power-packed nutrient dense food. Just one gram of seaweed provides enough iodine for your daily needs, which is essential for healthy thyroid and cognitive functions (in fact, a deficiency of iodine in children is linked to cognitive changes and learning impairments if left unaddressed).
Seaweed offers a rich source of calcium and contains almost as much protein as many legumes. As a source of soluble fiber, it can assist with slowing the absorption of cholesterol and sugars.
If you are struggling with ideas on how to actually incorporate this super food into your diet, here is some more helpful information. Also, below are 10 ways you can incorporate this superfood this year!
1. Add spirulina or blue/green algae to your green smoothies or fruit smoothies. I’ve also added it to my green juices, it makes for a fun mix.
2. Make raw maki or sushi veggie rolls, using nori seaweed sheets as the wrapper.
3. Slice up a nori sheet to top your salads or add to wraps for extra crunch.
4. Use Irish Moss in raw pies and desserts to solidify the fillings, and get some extra seaweed into your diet through your sweet tooth.
5. Soak kelp buds and add these to your salads and wraps. I do this one several times per week, and it adds a different flair to my salads!
6. Add kelp noodles (these are raw!) to your raw soups, raw salads, or make a raw noodle dish with them.
7. Use soaked kelp buds or your favorite type of seaweed to your salad dressings by blending with quality oils and vinegars. You get a great Asian tasting dressing, and you sneak more seaweed in!
8. Dehydrate nori crackers by blending regular cracker batter and spreading it on a nori sheet. Then dehydrate and watch the salty nori turn into a delicious cracker you can’t put down.
9. Make a seaweed salad with any type of soaked seaweed, sliced cucumbers, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for an Asian feel.
10. Bring nori sheets in the car or to the office, they make for a great dry snack or can be combined with fresh veggies for a super simple wrap.
It’s still a hot trend that isn’t going anywhere soon. It’s the perfect guide to a reset and detox. When setting goals for weight-loss, it is imperative you find a diet that is not harmful to your hormones and one that is sustainable long term. Yo-yo dieting it NOT the way to go. Want to try out the Supercharged Hormone Diet but not sure how to go about this? Join our special New Year Edition of The Hormone Diet.
You’ve heard of ‘Dry January’ but have you heard of ‘Veganuary’? Many people are pledging to only eat a plant-based diet this January! While this might feel extreme for you at this moment – it is a wise idea to delve into the idea of less meat and more vegetables.
While a completely vegan diet can run the risk of protein deficiency, which often leads to weight gain and hormonal imbalance (I had a patient gain 30 pounds on a vegan diet!), this does not have to be the case. Plant-based diets simply refer to a more sustainable eating pattern typically for both health and environmental reasons. It also means alternatives to the traditional animal-based products like omega -3 fish oils and whey protein powders. There are now, however, excellent plant-based products available for sources of both omega and protein supplements. For instance, you can avoid whey by opting for pea or hemp protein powders and avoid fish oils with the use of plant-based omega supplements like Pure Form Omega, the first product I have found that has zero risk of rancidity. We have so many new vegan protein powders at Clear Medicine. Check them out here.
Plant based doesn’t have to mean you never eat meat. Think of it as simply making an effort to eat more plants and less animal products. If you are new to plant-based eating…try out Meatless Mondays to start. Even eliminating meat one day a week is a start. There are loads of fantastic plant-based blogs with recipes out there that will make you wonder why you didn’t make the change sooner. We love Oh She Glows – a fellow Canadian!
2019 is the time to make room for minerals. The common complaints of modern life that affect us all—fatigue, tension, cravings, restlessness and sleep disruption are the result of our fast-food lunches, fancy coffees, and pop-a-pill for this habits that are depleting our mineral levels, particularly magnesium and zinc.
Just last week a patient asked me, do you believe in multivitamins? The simple answer is only once I see a patient is balanced and healthy. Until then I used individual nutrients in higher dosages for therapeutic effect. Magnesium and zinc are always my first prescriptions – as they are the most common deficiencies. Functional medicine docs say that 80 percent of us are deficient in magnesium. Why that’s a problem? Magnesium is linked to improving your muscle and bone strength, and controls over 300 enzymatic reactions in your body! Zinc in a nut shell – helps all your hormones work better and aids blood sugar balance and immunity.
We’ll see more people making sure they’re “remineralizing” this year, either by taking supplements, or using a magnesium gel, which are said to be just as beneficial. Transdermal absorption [through the skin] is an effective way to increase your magnesium levels – some sources say it happens even faster than taking it orally. If you prefer capsules then we have magnesium at Clear Medicine. I recommend zinc 50 mg once per day for 12 weeks, then change to a lower dose or a multivitamin.