March 13, 2016

the blog

 Welcome to the Radicata Nutrition blog!

Here’s where you will find all my latest blog posts.

Be sure to also use the search function
(on the right hand side from here)
to look up any specific topics you’re interested in! 🙂

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    Why are we so shocked and offended by this "unicorn drink"?

    Why?

    Not why so much sugar but rather why do we care so much and why are "health-conscious" people so OFFENDED by this drink?

    It's so easy to judge things at first glance and try to feel morally superior by comparing.

    It's easy to look at people living in larger bodies and think they eat too much or don't go to the gym enough. And to make them feel like all of their problems are due to their weight. But do we really know their whole story? And aren't we perpetuating old dogmas that aren't even founded in science?

    It's easy to look at this drink and believe it's so awful when:
    1) there are tons of other foods with a similar profile, and
    2) there are tons of more important issues in the world that we should get OFFENDED about.

    Why aren't we OFFENDED that the diet industry is the only industry that is thriving with a faulty concept that causes 95% of the population to fail by making us believe it's our fault?

    Why aren't we OFFENDED that this kind of messaging and labeling of food as good vs bad is one of the biggest contributors to disordered eating and eating disorders?

    Why aren't we OFFENDED that most chocolates, even "healthy" dark ones, are still the product of child slavery today?

    Why aren't we OFFENDED that the cheap clothes we buy, made in third world countries, are contributing to putting workers in terrible and sometimes even deadly conditions?

    Why aren't we OFFENDED that most of our foods travel thousands of miles while our local farmers are barely making a living?

    Why aren't we OFFENDED that most of the coffee we drink that isn't fair trade and shade-grown is contributing to deforestation?

    I mean, what did you expect? Just look at it.
    Personally, I have absolutely no interest in it other than finding the name cool. I've never been a candy type of person and I'd rather have chocolate and brownies.

    But I have no problem if you want to give it a try, as long as it isn't an act of rebellion and that you do it in a way that's respectful to your body by feeling how it feels and using that information for future decisions.

    It's not about self-control, it's about self-care and about caring for the rest of the world and planet too. 🙂

    Nutritionally yours,

    Aglaée

    read more

    21 gift ideas for the health conscious

    Whether you're looking for gift ideas for your loved ones or want to treat yourself, the following 21 items should help you find some inspiration, especially if you want your gift to be in line with your health-conscious mindset.

    From kitchen gadgets to tools to help you better deal with stress and healthy (but delicious!) foods, here are some things that I either have already received (or treated myself to) or that are on my list right now. 😉 Click on the images below each description to learn more and buy them directly online.

    Disclaimer: All the links in the images below are affiliate links. Clicking on these links doesn't cost you anything but gives me a small percentage of what you spend so I can keep providing valuable free content to you here at Radicata Nutrition.

    giftideas-01

    Kitchen gadgets

    Health starts with cooking real food in the kitchen! Adding a few of these gadgets to anyone's kitchen can make healthy eating a lot easier and tastier too!

    1. Spirooli

    The spirooli is really the best gadget out there to make noodles with almost any kind of vegetables. You can transform zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes and many other of your favorite veggies into noodles that you can use to create a grain-free version of your favorite pasta dishes. This should definitely be in the kitchen of anyone trying to eat more veggies!

    spirooli

    Spirooli ($30)

    2. Slow-cooker / pressure cooker

    This is one of my favorite kitchen gadget that I use all the time to make bone broth and have my dinner make itself! I have had a few slow-cookers in the past but because I am a bit concerned with the type of lining / coating inside those, I now want to switch to the Insta-Pot. If I don't get it for Christmas or my birthday, I think I'll have to get it myself!

    Insta-Pot ($125)

    Insta-Pot ($125)

    3. Safe cookware - Le Creuset

    The foods you eat are absolutely crucial to your health but what you use to cook your foods also matters! Unfortunately, many skillets, pots and pans are lined with dangerous anti-adhesive coating. Le Creuset is one of the safest brand of cookware you can find and it comes in all the prettiest colors. My dream is to have a whole set... maybe one day!

    lecreuset

    Le Creuset cookware ($50-299+)

    4. Food dehydrator

    A food dehydrator is a great gift for your health-conscious friend or family member. I love using mine to make kale chips, to dehydrate fruits and fresh herbs, to dry nuts after activating / soaking them and even to make my own green banana flour (one of the best sources of resistant starches, which is great to support a healthy gut flora!).

    food dehydrator

    food dehydrator ($50)

    5. Water filter

    Tap water is unfortunately not usually the best type of water to put in your body. Filtering is a healthy (and environmentally-friendly) option over buying plastic bottled water. There are tons of options out there but here's the water filtration system (Berkey) I have at home. Don't forget to get the additional fluoride filters if there's fluoride in your municipal water.

    Berkey water filter

    Berkey water filter ($230)

    Stress management

    6. Non-Toxic Yoga Mat

    Many studies are now showing how effective yoga is as a stress management strategie! But did you know that most yoga mats are made with PVC or vinyl, a known carcinogen? Non-toxic, eco-friendly yoga mats are made from natural rubber (did you know that natural rubber comes from a tree?) Just make sure that the rubber is harvested from a sustainable source. Another good thing about natural yoga mats is that they are biodegradable so you can really feel good and relax while doing your yoga without having to worry about how your yoga mat is affecting your health or the environment.

    yogamat

    non-toxic yoga mat   ($30-80)

    7. Yoga toe stretchers

    I wish I could have a foot massage everyday.... but the next best thing are these yoga toe stretchers! I love wearing them whenever I want to relax or even in bed and they're really good for the health of your feet, which is so important for the health and alignment of your whole body. If you don't believe me, read Katy Bowman's Every Woman's Guide to Food Pain Relief.

    yoga toe stretcher

    yoga toe stretchers ($40)

    8. Adult coloring books

    Adult coloring books are getting really popular, and for a good reason! Studies are now showing that they are as effective as meditation to help you better manage the stress in your life. By using your creativity and focusing on that task, you are really able to switch your monkey brain off and be in the present moment. Don't forget to also get nice coloring pens to go with your gift!

    coloring books

    coloring books   ($5-12)

    9. Beeswax candles

    Did you know that candles are one of the biggest sources of toxins in your home? The chemicals released when you burn regular and scented candles are the same as those released in diesel fuel fumes! Beeswax candles are more expensive but they last longer, don't release any harmful chemicals and can even help clean indoor air by releasing negative ions. For extra points, combine with a yoga session or a warm bath.

    candles

    beeswax candles ($15-30)

    10. Gratitude journal

    Feeling and expressing gratitude are some of the most powerful ways of activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of your nervous system that allows you to feel relaxed, to better digest and to heal. Using a gratitude journal is a great reminder to spend the last 5 minutes of your day cultivating gratitude. It might sounds like an insignificant habit but I dare you to try it and see what it can bring to your health and your life!

    gratitude jounral

    gratitude journal ($7-12)

    Digestive health

    You have probably heard the old adage ''Health starts in the gut''. Well, I strongly believe that it is true. If you truly care about your loved ones' health, you should definitely care about their gut health too!

    11. My book & cookbook: Digestive Health with REAL Food

    Disclaimer: shameless promotion! In case you didn't know, I wrote a book called Digestive Health with REAL Food: a practical guide to an anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense diet for IBS & other digestive issues and a companion cookbook Digestive Health with REAL Food: The Cookbook. If you know anyone with digestive issues looking for natural answers, this is THE book to get. 🙂

    My books! ($7-27)

    My books! ($7-27)

    12. Squatty potty

    Everyone should have a squatty potty in their bathroom! Humans are not designed to eliminate seated but if you are not willing to go dig a hole and squat in your backyard to poop, the alternative is to use the squatty potty. This alone can help many people dealing with constipation and hemorrhoids. If you don't believe me, watch their hilarious video This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop.

    Squatty potty ($33-80)

    Squatty potty ($33-80)

    13. Gut-healing gelatin

    Gelatin is a superfood / whole food supplement that can not only benefit gut health, but also help with decreasing inflammation, improving the health and appearance of your skin and keeping your joints healthy and pain-free. I love the brand Vital Proteins because their gelatin is made from pastured / grass-fed cows. The green container (see picture below) is great for adding to hot beverages or making tummy gummies (recipe in my book and to come on the blog soon). The blue container has the same properties but can be diluted in cold beverages (think smoothies).

    collagen

    collagen to make tummy gummies! ($46)

    14. Fun silicon molds to make gut-healing tummy gummies

    A great way to complement gift idea #13 above is to add these fun silicon molds to make my gut-healing tummy gummies. This recipe is super easy to make and can be found in my cookbook Digestive Health with REAL Food and I'll post it on the blog shortly too. You can also google ''gelatin gummies recipe'' to find a ton of recipes on how to make these healthy and fun snacks for the whole family.

    silicon

    silicon molds for your tummy gummies ($5-15)

    Food and more!

    The food you eat every day can make a huge difference in how you feel and how healthy you are. Giving healthy foods is giving the gift of health and love, so make sure to check out gift ideas #15 and #16!

    15. My favorite foods at One Stop Paleo Shop

    I love shopping at OneStopPaleoShop.com because, as its name implies it, it's a one-stop shop! You don't need to eat Paleo to shop there. All the foods they offer are made of the most natural and high-quality ingredients and are all gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and GMO-free. That's food everyone should eat, really!

    Here are some of my favorites:

    • coconut secret coconut aminos (soy-free sauce)
    • lovebean superfudge spread
    • kasandrinos olive oil
    • otto's cassava flour
    • epic bars, exo bars, Rx bars
    • jerky
    • ghee and coconut oil
    • sauerkraut
    • primal kitchen mayo (made with avocado oil)
    • jackson's honest chips
    • bone broth co. - grass-fed pasture-raised bone broth
    healthy & tasty foods! ($3-25)

    healthy & tasty foods! ($3-25)

    16. Yearly membership to Thrive Market

    Thrive Market is another great resource to shop for natural and organic foods at wholesale prices. You can get a free 30-day trial to check it out and then give a yearly membership (only $60) to someone you love who would enjoy the convenience of shopping online.

    thrive

    Thrive Market yearly membership ($60)

    Personal care products

    17. Natural creams, deodorants, tooth powder and makeup

    Many of the personal care and body care products we use on a daily basis are filled with questionable ingredients... If you don't believe me, look up the products you use in the EWG's Cosmetic Database. Fortunately, there are tons of natural alternatives to try, whether you're looking for a healthier moisturizer, deodorant, toothpaste or even make up. And these make great gifts too! I personally would really want to try Primal Life Organics' Vitamin C serum and Fat Face Skincare Body Butta.

    primal life organics

    Primal Life Organics

    Fat Face Skincare

    Fat Face Skincare

    * Canadians: Check out Clementine Fields to find all the natural body care products you need. 🙂

    Movement

    18. Multi-gym bar

    Confession: I can't do a pull-up...! But I'm sure that having one of these would be exactly the reminder and motivation I would need to work on it. This multi-gym bar can be installed in most doorways and is great to help you improve your upper body strength and flexibility. Even if you can't do a pull-up (like me!), you can still use it to stretch your arms and to try to hang for as long as you can. Katy Bowman's book Move Your DNA would go very well with this to explain how important it is to work on your monkey hanging skills and vary the way you move!

    multi-gym bar ($30)

    multi-gym bar ($30)

    19. Fluidstance

    I love standing when I work, especially when Skyping with my clients or even writing. I can never stay in the same position for too long and this is probably a good thing since studies are now showing that sitting kills! I just got a Fluidstance and love how comfortable it is and how it allows me to stand longer without fatigue. For those who can't afford a standing desk (like me!), putting your laptop on a high table (using a few boxes if needed) and using the Fluidstance is the next best thing.

    Fluidstance ($289)

    Fluidstance ($289)

    Something different

    20. Adopt an organic olive tree

    Adopting an organic olive tree is a great way to support organic agriculture and to reap the harvest too! As part of the adoption, you are entitled to receive part of the olive oil your adopted tree produces! Check out this olive orchard in Spain and this one in Greece to find the tree that you want.

    adopt an organic olive oil tree ($60)

    adopt an organic olive oil tree ($60)

    21. Scandinavian baths

    Water has powerful healing properties and can be very beneficial to support the body's detoxification abilities and to boost the metabolism. A couple of tickets to Scandinavian baths and hydrotherapy bath treatments make a great gift... and by giving 2 tickets you can keep your fingers crossed that you'll be invited to join!

    Scandinavian baths

    Scandinavian baths ($50-100)

    What would YOU like to receive?

    Please add your favorite gift ideas in the comments below. 🙂

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    Sick of getting sick all the time? 15 tips to boost your immunity!

    How often do you get sick?

    a) Is it 2-3 times a year?
    b) Every month? 
    c) Whenever someone around you is sick?

    If you answer anything more than once a year, you are definitely NOT alone...

    ... but even though it is common to get sick often,
    it doesn't necessarily mean that it is normal

    Boost your immunity naturally

    Even though we commonly refer to winter as the cold & flu season, there is NO season for getting sick! Colder weather is NOT what makes you sick. A weak immune system is the problem. 

    Listen to your body!

    Getting sick too often is a sign that your immune system is weak. 

    Here are 15 things you can do to avoid getting sick this next year.

    I know 15 are a lot, but start with the ones that are easier for you to implement and keep adding until you feel like your immune system is strong enough to protect you.

    Stop weakening your immune system

    If you're sick of getting sick all the time, the first thing to do is to stop overloading your body with toxins, like sugar, that weaken your immune system.

    Reducing your toxin load will help decrease the burden your liver, immune system and whole body are under on a daily basis so it can start focusing on what really matters to keep you healthy and make you feel better than ever.

    1. Slow with the sugar to speed up your immune system!

    Anytime you eat sugar, it slows down your immune system by 50% within 10 minutes and for up to 5 hours.

    Imagine if you have orange juice for breakfast, then a bit more in your yogurt and/or muffin for your afternoon snack and then a bit more in a treat like ice cream or cookies after dinner.... Your immune system will be working at only half capacity for most of the day!

    Take a closer look at the food you eat and try to eliminate sugar wherever you can.
    I know it's easier said than done but remember that small changes can go a long way.

    Keep in mind that studies show that sugar can be MORE addictive than cocaine so it is normal to experience sugar cravings and other unpleasant side effects when first giving it up. Stay strong, it gets easier with time, especially as you reap all the health benefits that goes with detoxing from it.

    2. Ditch processed foods

    Most foods that come in a package contain ingredients that can dampen your immune system.

    Try avoiding ingredients like grains, flours, corn, soy, sugar, vegetable oils (canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil...) or any impossible-to-pronounce ingredients with more than 4-5 syllables.

    If you can't pronounce it, chances are your body won't know what to do with it.... As it tries to figure it out, your body will waste valuable energy and resources trying to dispose of it or store it in your body instead of being ready to fight invading virus and bacteria.

    And you don't have to say goodbye to all of your favorite foods!
    Here are a few simple tips to make the transition easier:

    3. Avoid the dirty dozen

    Many of the foods we eat unfortunately contain a lot of pesticide residues and other chemicals used in conventional agriculture. Most people are exposed to 10-12 different pesticides EVERY SINGLE DAY!

    One of the best ways to decrease the toxic burden our poor immune system is under is by choosing organic (organic means free of GMO and free of chemicals). If eating organic all the time isn't possible for you, avoiding the dirty dozen alone will reduce your exposure to these dangerous chemicals by 80%.

    Here is the dirty dozen list:

    • apples
    • peaches
    • nectarines
    • strawberries
    • grapes
    • celery
    • spinach
    • sweet bell peppers
    • cucumbers
    • cherry tomatoes
    • snap peas (imported)
    • potatoes (not sweet potatoes)
    • hot peppers
    • kale
    • collard greens

    Remember that you should NOT avoid nutritious vegetables and fruits. Simply make sure you choose organic for any of the foods in the dirty dozen list or any of the non-organic vegetables and fruits that are not on the dirty dozen list (buying organic all the time is of course ideal to protect your health and the environment).

    Strengthen your immune system

    Avoiding weakening your immune system is one part of the equation but if you're really serious about not getting sick as often in the next year, you also need to work on strengthening it.

    It's just like your budget. Taking a closer look at your expenses should help you keep your bank account healthier but there is no doubt that maximizing your income at the same time will give you the best results.

    4. Start with your gut health 

    Ever heard that health starts in the gut? Well, it's SOOOOOO true!

    In fact, 70-80% of your immune system is located in your gut.

    Making sure you have a smooth digestion will ensure that your body can properly absorb and utilize the nutrients your immune system and whole body needs while keeping the inflammation low and making sure your immune system is kept in check.

    I could spend all day writing about how to improve your digestive health (and that's why I wrote a book about it!), but the easiest thing you can do right now is to introduce some gut-friendly bacteria in the form of fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha...) or probiotic supplements.

    Daily. You'll feel the difference!

    5. Vitamin A, NOT beta-carotene!

    Vitamin A is a really important nutrient that is often missing in our diet.

    Unfortunately, many people think they can rely on beta-carotene from carrots to get enough vitamin A...  Although it is true that you can convert beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A), only a very tiny amounts can be converted into vitamin A which is the nutrient your body needs the most. 

    Especially your gut and immune system.

    Get liver from grass-fed meat, grass-fed butter and ghee and egg yolks, but also in an even more concentrated dose in liver from organic / pastured animals (read more about liver and how I eat it here) and extra-virgin cod liver oil.

    6. Don't be deficient in vitamin D!

    This one is also super important vitamin for your immune system but almost impossible to get from food alone. 

    Fortunately, we can synthesize it in our skin after being exposed to the warm rays of the sun but this process happens ONLY IF your skin is exposed to the sun (no clothing or sunscreen), ONLY IF you have a relatively fair skin and ONLY IF you don't live at a latitude where the sun isn't strong enough for half of the year.

    The best way to ensure you don't have a vitamin D deficiency is to get tested and to supplement. Don't supplement too much without knowing were your blood levels are at. Too much is not better than too little. What you want is to have just the right amount so your immune system works optimally to keep you from getting sick.

    7. Get your vitamin C and antioxidants daily

    Vitamin C is also really important for your immune system.

    Eat vitamin C-rich foods every day and supplement with extra vitamin C (1,000-2,000 mg) whenever you feel like your immune system needs a little boost.

    Here's a list of vitamin C-rich foods (eat one a day!):

    • Citrus fruits (orange, grapefruit)
    • Kiwi
    • Strawberries
    • Bell pepper
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Cantaloupe
    • Cabbage
    • Sauerkraut
    • Cauliflower

    8. Protein are the building blocks

    You need protein to build antibodies and many other important key molecules part of your immune system. I recommend aiming for at least 15-30 g of protein for breakfast and 25-30 g for lunch and dinner, which can be as simple as adding: 

    • 2-3 eggs or a scoop of protein powder to your breakfast, and
    • 3-6 oz of wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, pastured poultry or pork to your lunch and dinner.

    9. Homemade bone broth

    Ok this might sound weird to some of you if you never read any of my stuff before.

    But yes, I do believe that bone broth is MAGICAL!

    I wrote about the benefits of bone broth here and share my easy recipe here.

    Not only is bone broth AMAAAAAAAZING for your gut and skin, but its easy-to-absorb minerals can help support your immune system and whole body. 

    Don't run to the grocery store to get bone broth instead of making your own though... commercial bone broth is completely FAKE and doesn't contain any of the goodness traditionally prepared bone broth provides.

    A few companies doing things right like Kettle & Fire as well as Bare Bones Broth now popping out so keep your eyes open for those.

    10. Sleep more and stress less

    This one should probably be at the very top of this list but I was afraid you would stop reading if I did that.

    The common sense advice of prioritizing sleep and better managing stress have been proven times and times again to make a HUGE difference. After all, don't you recall getting sick after not getting as much sleep as usual or a stressful time in your life at some point? More than once, right?

    But I completely get it that you sometimes have too much to do to go to bed by 10pm. Or that you only have a couple of hours to yourself during the whole day after the kids go to bed. Or that you need some time to wind down and catch up with your favorite Netflix series. 

    It sucked to be told to go to bed when you were a kid.
    And it still sucks today as an adult.

    But you know what sucks even more?

    Being sick a few weeks every week.
    And spending the rest of the time not functioning as optimally as you could.

    So be a grown-up and go to bed by 10pm tonight. It will get easier and you will learn to borrow time from elsewhere in your day. It is so worth it. YOU are so worth it!

    A good night sleep is the best place to start to manage your stress too, but you can also look into:

    • spending time with loved ones,
    • listening to music,
    • going outside,
    • learning to say no,
    • take an Epsom salt bath (added benefit of supporting your immunity),
    • end (or at least minimize) toxic relationships,
    • batch cook earlier in the week so dinner is ready when you get home,
    • doing some yoga or
    • getting an adult coloring book.

    Prepare to fight

    If you start feeling under the weather, add the following 5 strategies to your daily routine to prepare your troops for the battle and get a get out of jail free card this time.

    11. Supplement wisely with zinc

    Zinc is a very important mineral and studies show that it can shorten the duration of a cold IF you take it at its onset.

    You can either treat yourself to a serving of oysters (the world's best food source of zinc) or supplement with 10-20 mg of zinc (try these lozenges) every 4-6 hours during the day for 3-7 days (reference).

    12. Use Mother Nature's antimicrobials 

    Garlic, honey and lemon are 3 strong antimicrobials that can assist your immune system and help you fight any bugs invading your body. Here's how to take them in all at once!

    Here's my Radicata Cold-Fighting Tea:

    • 2 cups of boiling filtered water
    • 2-3 of minced organic garlic
    • 1/2-1 organic lemon juice
    • 1/2-1 tsp of raw honey

    Preparation: Add the boiling water over the minced garlic. Let infuse for 5-10 minutes. Add the lemon juice and honey. Stir and drink 2-3 times a day! 

    It actually tastes a lot better than it sounds and it usually helps me feel better right away! (maybe a placebo effect, but I'll take it!)

    13. Add a dose of coconut to the rescue

    Coconut contains two very special fats called lauric acid and monolaurin which have been shown to have antimicrobial activity. You can use coconut oil to cook your food, use coconut milk (this one is free of guar gum and in a BPA-free can) to make your smoothie or indulge in a spoonful of coconut oil or coconut butter

    14. Get more tiny soldiers on your side with extra probiotics

    We already talked about the importance of gut health to strengthen your immune system. Taking an extra dose when you're feeling under the weather can help boost your immunity and put all chances on your side so you can get rid of the invading bug ASAP.

    Both fermented foods or probiotic supplements work so use what you have on hand (and make sure you always have some on hand just in case!). This one and this one are shelf-stable and make great options to keep at home, in your purse or at the office.

    If you buy ready-to-eat fermented food like sauerkraut, make sure it is NOT pasteurized. If it is, it means that all the beneficial bacteria your body needs are dead and you won't get the immune boosting effect you're after. 

    15. Rest and sleep some more!

    That advice again? 

    YES! There is no way to get around this.

    Your body needs all the energy it needs to prepare for battle.
    Sleep and rest are what you need if you don't want to get sick.

    Listen to your body.

    Slow down. 

    Your to-do list will still be there tomorrow.

    Taking a bit of time to ensure your body has all the strength and energy it needs to fight is better than getting really sick and dragging it for days or even weeks.

    So take an Epsom salt bath with beeswax candles (regular and scented candles are toxic and your immune system doesn't need that extra burden right now... or ever actually!) and go to bed early. 

    Grab your free checklist!

    Grab YOUR checklist with the 15 strategies to boost your immune system
    as a pdf to print out and keep with you at all times.

    I want my free list-01

    signature

     

    p.s. What do you think? 

    When is the last time you got sick? How many of the things listed here are you doing? 
    Let me know in the comments below!

     

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    The only multivitamin I ever take

    Do you take a multi?

    I used to take one everyday... until I realized that a multi wasn't doing anything that food couldn't do and that some of the synthetic nutrients in the multi I was taking were actually NOT doing anything to improve my health.

    Personally, taking a daily multi left me anemic and often made me make less than optimal food choices just because I felt like I could since I had a back up to get my vitamins & minerals.

    Multivitamins are like a deflated life preserver 

    I guess they're better than nothing. Especially if you have a diet comprised of only water and bread. But you can do way better.

    It turns out that the nutrients found in multivitamin are:

    • NOT always present in the most easily absorbed and utilized form for your body 
    • NOT accompanied by the right co-factor to make them more bioavailable
    • NOT present in the same ideal proportions found in natural foods

    In addition, many of the nutrients in multis are way too high or way too low, they are not individualized to your body's needs and many nutrients are missing, especially vitamin K2 as well as the wide variety of antioxidants and phytonutrients found in plant foods.

    A big meta-analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2006 and another one in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013 even shows that they do NOTHING to keep you healthy, prevent chronic diseases or reduce your risks of dying.

    In fact, there is even some evidence (including a group of almost 40,000 elderly women published in 2011 in JAMA) that multivitamins could INCREASE our mortality risk (at least in elderly women). 

    Doesn't that give you some food for thought?

    So what do I take now? And what should YOU take?

    Nothing.

    Except during pregnancy and for the first 6 months postpartum where nutritional requirements are really high, I do not take any kind of mutlivitamin supplement. 

    What I do take though is one to two weekly servings of liver.

    the (5)

    Liver? Yew!

    I know. You'd probably rather spend double what you now spend on multivitamins and take a handful at each meal rather than eat liver.

    At least, that's what I wish I could do at first.

    But there is NO way around it. Believe me, I've tried.

    Nothing compares.

    Not even close.

    And because I hear you thinking right now, your excuses won't work.

    It is false to say that liver stores toxins. It is true that liver metabolizes toxins but it doesn't store them. What it stores is nutrients.

    To make sure you maximize the amount of nutrient you get from liver and decrease the (very low) risk of eating toxins, I recommend choosing liver from pastured/organic animals. I personally find the taste of grass-fed bison and organic chicken liver to be the mildest.

    The only 3 ways I can eat liver

    I don't love liver.

    But I know it's good for me so I try to eat 1-2 weekly servings.

    Here is how I get it down without suffering. 🙂

    Number 1 - Liver pâté.

    Liver pâté is the easiest way for me to get my liver in.

    If the texture of liver grosses you out, this is the best way to not have to deal with it.

    I also add plenty of onions, butter and balsamic vinegar in my recipe to hide the taste of liver. Let me know if you want my recipe!

    Since I don't eat grains, I like spreading my liver pâté on apple slices, cucumber slices or plantain chips.

    ★ Get my liver pâté recipe here!

    Number 2 - Bacon bribe.

    For this one, I start by caramelizing onions (just a lot of onions cooked for a very long time until caramelized). Then I cook bacon (organic/pastured) in a skillet.

    Then I cook my liver in the bacon fat, making sure I don't overcook my liver because I personally don't like chewing on rubber-like food.

    Once ready, I serve my liver with the caramelized onions, a big splash of balsamic vinegar and a couple of slices of my bacon.

    I accompany my meal with roasted veggies and / or a sweet potato purée (with butter) and that's enough of a bribe to get me to eat my liver.

    81ql9UcbUuL._SY679_Number 3 - Liver pills.

    This last option is perfect if you can't even consider trying options #1 or #2, if you can't get quality liver or if you're traveling or on the go. Here's the brand I recommend because it comes from nutritious quality liver from grass-fed cows.

     

    Note about vitamin D

    Even though I don't recommend multivitamins, I do think many people benefit from targeted supplementation. One good example is vitamin D, which I believe most people need especially during the winter.

    Remember that everybody is different and that you should work with a qualified health professional to identify the supplements that are best for you.

    Read more about how you should start counting nutrients instead of calories here!

    Don't forget to get my favorite liver pâté recipe here! ★
    My son loves it too and eats it by the spoon. 🙂I want my free recipe-01

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    15 Healthy Portable Snacks: pack nutrition & taste on the go!

    Are you looking for ways to refuel while on the go?

    We live in a busy world and sometimes it isn't always possible to eat at regular times or eat the best foods for us. This is where planning ahead can make a BIG difference.

    the (7)

    Stock up on at least 3-5 of the snack ideas below and keep them at home, in your car, in your bag, purse or suitcase, at the office or wherever you go. You never know when you might need them.

    Most of these snacks can be kept at room temperature but a few of them require refrigeration.

    Don't wait to become hungry... and then hangry before trying to find something to eat because it will be too late and you know as well as I do that this is not a state conducive to making healthy food choices.

    To avoid any regrets, pack these nutritious AND tasty portable snacks.

    Your body (and the people around you) will thank you! 🙂 

    * Note: Most of the links in the images below are affiliate links.
    This means that clicking on it and buying something send a few cents my way. This doesn't cost you anything at all but is really helpful so I can continue putting great content out there. Thank you for supporting my work and my mission to improve the world one meal at a time.

    My 15 favorite portable snacks
    (that pack nutrition & taste)

    1. Roasted seaweed

    I love these! I know it might not sound very appealing, but you have to give it a try. They come in many flavors and are perfect to satisfy a crunch craving.

    In addition, seaweed is a good source of iodine, which is a very important nutrient for your thyroid and that is difficult to get from food (especially if you don't use iodized table salt).

    Sea-Snax_Original

    Roasted Seaweed

    2. Grass-Fed Jerky

    Whenever looking for a snack that will sustain you for a bit longer, you should think of protein. I can't think of a more concentrated source of protein than jerky. And the good thing is that, unlike meat, it is shelf-stable and you can always leave a couple of sticks in your bag as an emergency snack.

    Grass-fed also means that it's better for the animals, for your health and for the environment. You can also make your own. I'll post my recipe soon!

    Grass-Fed Jerky

    Grass-Fed Jerky

    3. (not your typical) Protein Bars

    Most protein bars out there are filled with processed ingredients so don't eat the first one you find. Do your homework and find a brand that satisfy both your taste buds and your body's nutrition needs.

    My 2 favorite ones are Epic bars (they have amazing bison & cranberry as well as some with real bacon, all from pastured/grass-fed animals!) and Rx Bars (made with egg whites, dried fruits and nuts). 

    I use them when on the road or traveling (because they cost a little more than the other snack options on this list). 

    BisonBaconBar_n

    Epic Bars

    rxbar

    RX Bars

    4. Nuts

    A handful of nuts can give you everything you need to keep going for 1-2 more hours until your next meal. Almonds, macadamia, hazelnuts, cashews or walnuts are all good options.

    They key really is in keeping the serving to a handful and not the whole package. Portion it out if you know you can't stop once you start going.

    Nut butters are also a good idea. I like natural almond butter or other natural nut butter without any oils or sugar added. You can even find them in squeeze packs now if you don't want to carry the whole jar. Nut butters are delicious by the spoon or spread on a piece of fruits.

    IMG_5231

    A handful of organic cashews (not the bag!)

    5. Fresh fruits

    Most fruits already come in a packaging that make them very portable. Think bananas (check out this banana keeper for fun!), apples, oranges, cherries, grapes and kiwifruits. Even fruits like pineapple, watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, mango and papaya can work provided you do the prep work ahead of time and store the ready-to-eat fruits in a portable (ideally glass) container.

    Best paired with a bit of protein or healthy fats (try combining with snack #4 or snack #10).

    Caution! Avoid fruit juices and dried fruits as much as possible because they are easy to overdose on. Even the sugar-free varieties contain a lot of natural sugars that can make your blood sugar (and energy) levels go on a roller coaster. 

    IMG_5226

    Now I see that I should have done a happy face with all of my fruits! 🙂 Another time maybe!

    6. Hard-boiled eggs

    Eggs are such a compact and nutritious food but many people often forget about them. What makes me very sad is to hear clients tell me that they actually avoid eggs because of the high cholesterol content of the yolks. Or that they do omelets with egg whites only, throwing the yolks away. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE NEVER DO THAT! 

    The yolks are the most nutritious part of the eggs and we have plenty of studies showing that the cholesterol they contain don't cause any damages to your heart. And egg yolks provide many B vitamins as well as some choline and cholesterol that are both really important for your brain.

    Hard-boil half a dozen or a whole dozen at the beginning of the week and keep them handy in the fridge. I like having them with a bit of mustard, avocado oil-based mayo or guacamole.

    IMG_5240

    Hard-boiled eggs make a concentrated source of protein!

    7. Smoked salmon 

    This one is such a treat for me! And it's a treat you can have too, without guilt! Not only is it rich in protein but it also contains precious omega-3 fats that can help balance your moods and boost your brain power. I prefer to choose wild-caught smoked salmon from Alaska because it is tastier, more nutritious and also without the negative impact on the environment that farmed fish has.

    Try a few slices of smoked salmon on its own or pair with avocado/guacamole, cream cheese or my favorite (avocado oil-based) mayo.

    IMG_3963

    Smoked salmon - a treat with avocado!

    8. Avocado

    Avocado might not be something you think to eat as a snack but I promise it works! Their high monounsaturated fats and fiber content will keep you full for 1-2 extra hours until you're ready to sit down for your next meal.

    It is also convenient to carry with you but just make sure you have access to a knife to cut it in half. You can scoop it out directly with a spoon

    If you want to be fancier, remove the skin, put it in a place and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with some pink salt. You won't regret spending an extra 2 minutes to bringing your avocado to the next level. Also goes well with snack #7.

    IMG_5286

    I love avocado + extra-virgin olive oil + balsamic vinegar + pink salt!

    9. Prosciutto and olives

    This combination reminds me of Italy every time! Prosciutto gives you protein and olives gives you some healthy fats. And both together give you a lot of flavor! Choose the best quality you can find and enjoy.

    10. Cheese

    Does anyone not like cheese? Or maybe I'm fantasizing a little bit too much about it because I'm on a dairy-free elimination diet right now? Either way, I still think this is a great snack option, provided you tolerate dairy of course.

    The quality of the cheese you choose is really important. Choose organic and ideally cheese made from the milk of grass-fed cows (or goats / other ruminants). A little bit of cheddar, Gruyere, Camembert, brie, mozzarella or goat cheese are all great options but other quality cheeses work too. I just have to stop here because it's getting a little bit cruel for me. 🙂

    Good on its own but also goes well with snack #4 or #5.

    11. Chips...!
    Kale chips, coconut chips or plantain chips

    That crunch is so satisfying, but you don't need to get it from heavily processed and nutrient-devoid potato or corn chips. How about stepping it up and trying kale chips, coconut chips or plantain chips

    kale chips

    Kale chips

    You can also make homemade versions of all of these chips... more recipes for me to share with you soon (you can find all of them in my book & cookbook Digestive Health with REAL Food).

    coconut chips

    Coconut chips

    The first two are low in carbs while plantain chips is a great source of starches for more active people. I don't think potatoes are necessarily bad for you once in a while but it's good to try something different. Just remember to always choose organic with potatoes because they are on the dirty dozen list.

    plantain

    Plantain chips

    12. Dark chocolate

    When you choose quality food, there is no need to put them in a box and have them only for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack or dessert. The typical chocolate bar is NOT a good idea and its high sugar content, unhealthy fats, agricultural chemical residues and other unnecessary ingredients will leave you feeling like crap.

    Choose at least 70% cacao and organic.

    Let the squares melt slowly in your mouth and you'll see that the deeper flavor of dark chocolate is so much more satisfying. 🙂

    dark chocolate

    Dark chocolate (70%+ cacao)

    13. Dates + coconut butter

    If you've never had coconut butter, give it a try! It is NOT like coconut oil. Think of it as a nut butter (peanut butter) vs an oil (peanut oil). Coconut butter is the whole white coconut flesh turned into a purée. And I love it with dates!

    coconut butter

    Coconut Butter

    I know I said to be careful with dried fruits but a small amount in a trail mix (comprising raw or natural nuts) is definitely okay. And so is having 3-5 dates with 1-2 tbsp of coconut butter. Dates are quite dense in carbs but adding the healthy fats of coconut butter really helps slow and minimize the impact on your blood sugar levels. Try it and you'll be hooked!

    IMG_5234

    Coconut butter-stuffed dates!

    14. Grain-free muffins  

    Don't get any of the ready-to-eat muffins out there if you care about your health. Even the muffins labeled healthy are far from it. With a ton of added sugar, high-glycemic flours, bad oils, gluten and other unnecessary ingredients, you better make your own. 

    And it doesn't take that long to make your own. A quick 15 minutes on the weekend to prepare the batter and then you leave them for about 20 minutes to cook in the oven and that's it!

    My Radicata Banana Muffin recipe is more satisfying because it contains the perfect ratio of low-glycemic carbs and the right balance of healthy fats. I like using coconut flour because it is lower in carbs and higher in fiber. 

    Keep an open mind because the texture is different. I've warned you. But I guarantee that they will grow on you after a couple try, especially when you see how great they help you feel!

    Radicata Banana Muffins

    Radicata Banana Muffins

    15. MCT balls

    This is another snack idea that requires some planning ahead but investing a quick 15-20 minutes earlier in the week will will be so worth it when you get hungry for a snack!

    If you haven't noticed yet, I love coconut everything! These coconut balls are sugar-free and filled with a healthy kind of fat called MCT (medium-chain triglycerides). These fats are easy to digest and absorb and they will quickly energize and satisfy you. They can even help your body better utilize (burn) fats as a source of energy, which is a very good thing because fats give you more long-lasting energy compared to sugar.

    Disclaimer: they can be addictive! 🙂

    DHRF_MCT-Coconut-Balls-579x740

    MCT Coconut Balls

    Alright, that's it for today! Click here to download a handy list of my 15 favorite snacks.

    I want my free list-01

    What do YOU think?

    What are your favorite snack ideas and are there any on this list that you'd like to try?

    Happy snacking this week!

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     p.s. Sharing is caring!
    Click on one of the social buttons on the left of this screen to help me on my mission to spread the real food word! Thank you! 🙂 

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    Friday Food X-Ray: "Olive Oil" Mayonnaise

    Mayonnaise... yum! 

    This creamy spread definitely brings comfort to many of our favorites, like sandwiches, dips and salad dressings.

    In the last few years, the food industry has been listening to health-conscious consumers looking for healthier versions of this timeless classic.

    Enters "Olive Oil" Mayonnaise.

    FridayFood X-Ray

    It sounds like a great idea. At first glance that is.

    Olive oil and free-run eggs are healthy, aren't they?

    Not so fast!

    If we look closer with my powerful Radicata X-Ray Machine, we can see that the expression "don't judge a book by its cover" definitely (and unfortunately) applies here.

    IMG_5209

    It looks like a good idea... but not so fast!

    Let's have a look at the ingredient list.

    Canola oil is actually what comes first, not olive oil (although they try to mix them together so we don't really know). 

    IMG_5210

    Wait! I thought it was olive oil? Why is canola oil in there?

    By law, ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. This means that the first ingredients are present in the largest amount and the last ingredient is found in the smallest amount (by weight).

    As a no-nonsense registered dietitian & nutritionist, I have a big pet peeve with canola oil. 
    Even though other dietitians and even health associations (unfortunately) claim it's a "heart-healthy fat".

    I actually go out of my way to AVOID it.

    I know why they add it.
    First, it is cheaper than olive oil.
    Secondly, it has a more neutral taste that is more acceptable for most people's palate.

    Why is canola oil bad?

    1. Canola oil is highly refined and processed (including degumming, neutralizing, drying, bleaching and deodorizing) using hexane and other chemicals (which residues can be present in the oil). You can read the full process here and see a video here.
    2. 98% of canola is genetically modified (GMO) and in addition to not fully knowing the impact of GMOs on human health, we know GMOs are grown using more pesticides and agricultural chemicals (including glycphosate or Roundup) which WE KNOW is VERY detrimental for our health and the environment.
    3. Canola oil is high in polyunsaturated fats and is devoid of nutrition. Polyunsaturated fats are highly sensitive to oxidation and rancid fats are harmful to our health by causing inflammation. Unlike ther more traditional fats like olive oil, canola oil does not provide any nutritional value. 

    The REAL healthier alternative to regular mayo

    If you're looking for a healthier alternative, I would suggest making your own mayo with quality oils. That's the best way to control the quality of the ingredients used! It is actually more simple than you think and there are many videos online that can teach you how to do it.

    Avocado oil and macadamia oil are the best ones to use for both nutrition and taste.

    If you're not up for that challenge just yet, I recommend looking for mayonnaise made with avocado oil (not mixed with other oils!) and with organic eggs. Like this one from Primal Kitchen.

    Here are the ingredient list: Avocado Oil, Organic Cage-Free Eggs, Organic Egg Yolks, Organic Vinegar, Sea Salt, Rosemary Extract.

    That's what I'm talking about!
    And the taste is really good, I tried it!

    mayo

    What is your verdict?

    Are you convinced to ditch commercial "Olive Oil" mayonnaise and canola oil?
    I challenge you to start looking at food labels to become aware of all the foods containing canola oil.
    Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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    p.s. I am not picking on any brands. This is just ONE of MANY examples of how the food industry is trying to trick us into buying their products... The goal of Friday Food X-Ray is to shed light on this impostors and find healthier alternatives that help you feel as good as you deserve to feel!

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    Counting calories is like adding your savings and debts together

    It doesn't tell you anything at all.

    Calories are not all equal and it took me a   v - e - r - y   long time to figure it out. 

    As a recently graduated registered dietitian & nutritionist, calories were my whole world. I knew how many calories were in every food and used a tracker daily to try to stick to the amount my body needed... with the only result of turning an already distorted eating pattern with an even worse relationship with food.

    I even gained unwanted weight from counting calories and trying to stick to the 1,400 calories I thought my body needed.

    calories-

     

    Calories in and calories out is WRONG!

    Because I was taught calories in and calories out are all that matters when it comes to weight loss, I even experimented with days of getting all of my calories from whole grain cookies, fruits and low-fat yogurt. After all, aren't all calories equal?

    But calories in and calories out DO NOT work!

    I have tried for years. Yes, years. 

    I thought I was doing something wrong. I thought my body was broken. 
    I thought if only I would try harder, I should finally be able to get at my ideal weight.

    I thought I was the worse dietitian in the whole world.

    All counting calories do is leave you tired, sick and fat...
    and it also leads many to develop an unhealthy relationship with food.

    Counting calories is like adding your money and debts together

    Counting calories doesn't tell you anything at all!

    This is because you are not really what you eat.

    You are what your gut digests and absorbs.
    You are what your body utilizes these absorbed nutrients.
    You are how your hormones and body respond to your food AND life.

    Your body couldn't care less about what a calorie is.

    I don't meant that calories don't count at all because they do to a certain extend. I still use them to a certain extent with my clients (usually not disclosing numbers), but it's only one of the many factors I use to assess their diet and make nutritional recommendations.

    What I believe matters even more than calories is... the nutrients they bring.

    Count nutrients instead of calories

    This concept is so unfamiliar that you probably have no clue how to do that.

    This is not something I was taught in dietetic school either but once I learned to count my nutrients, my health starting to improve and I started feeling a lot better in my own skin.

    I don't like reducing food to numbers, grams and percentages and it's also important not to fall into that trap when trying to count nutrients.

    How does counting nutrients help you?

    If not paying attention to calories sounds scary... it's a good sign that you NEED to stop!

    I remember when I first stopped, I thought I would become out of control. I thought it would be like driving on the highway without the speedometer. I thought my body wouldn't be able to tell me when to stop eating and that I'd end up gaining a ton of weight.

    But none of these things happened.

    I'm not saying I became a perfect intuitive eater and that I magically improved my relationship with food. It took a lot of time and I'm not always there every day. But that was the turning point where things started heading in the right direction.

    Counting nutrients allow your body to get the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it's cravings.

    The nutrients that it's lacking and the reason it is sending hunger signals all the time in the hope that you'd finally eat these nutrient-dense foods.

    The very nutrients that your body needs to function optimally, stop the cravings and naturally reach a weight that is best for you. 

    Counting nutrients help me (and can help you):

    • feel strong and awesome,
    • feel comfortable in my skin,
    • don't get sick more than once a year,
    • have a healthier radiant skin,
    • not feel HANGRY anymore, and
    • finally feel like yourself again.

    Ok, I'm convinced! What should I count exactly then?

    Does that seem to make sense so far but you aren't even sure what I'm talking about when I say to count nutrients?

    Counting nutrients is NOT a black and white thing. And it is not precise.

    Rather, I simply try to make sure that I get a source of each of these key nutrients each day.

    The 15 key nutrients you need to start counting NOW!

    Here's a list of 15 of the key nutrients I try to get every day (or most days for some of them). It is NOT an exhaustive list but I know that if I hit these 15 nutrients from food, I'm very likely to get a good balance of all the nutrients my body need.

    1. Protein: grass-fed beef/bison, pastured chicken, wild-caught fish,
      pastured eggs, organic cheese, nuts... (at most meals)
    2. Carbs: fruits (berries, bananas, citrus fruits, melons, apples)
      or starches (sweet potatoes, potatoes, plantains, yucca...)
    3. Healthy fats: grass-fed ghee/butter, avocado, extra-virgin olive oil, grass-fed tallow, pastured lard, coconut oil, coconut milk or butter... (at most meals)
    4. Omega-3s: wild-caught salmon or sardines are my favorite (2-4 times a week)
    5. Folate: liver from grass-fed beef/bison or pastured chicken (weekly)
      and leafy greens (daily)
    6. Choline: egg yolks (daily) and 
      liver from grass-fed beef/bison or pastured chicken (weekly)
    7. Vitamin A & K2: grass-fed ghee/butter or grass-fed tallow (daily) and 
      liver from grass-fed beef/bison or pastured chicken (weekly)
    8. Vitamin B12: quality animal protein - meat, poultry, eggs and fish (daily)
    9. Vitamin C: fresh fruits and vegetables and/or camu camu powder (daily)
    10. Vitamin E: extra-virgin olive oil or avocado (daily)
    11. Iron & zinc: grass-fed beef or bison (daily) and 
      liver from grass-fed beef/bison or pastured chicken (weekly)
      (oysters are also great for zinc)
    12. Collagen: homemade bone broth or hydrolyzed gelatin powder (weekly)
    13. Probiotics: fermented foods like sauekraut and/or kombucha (daily)
    14. Antioxidants: a large variety of vegetables, herbs, spices, fruits and plant foods (I aim for at least 10 different ones a day)
    15. Vitamin D & L: food is not a very good source of vitamin D so I try to get out in the sun for at least 10-15 minutes a day and get some vitamin L (for love!) at the same time by taking a break and spending time playing with my family 🙂 (daily)

    What do you think? 
    Do you count calories?
    Are you ready to try counting nutrients?

    Click here to get a pdf of the list of these 15 most important nutrients
    you should start counting today (delivered right to your inbox)!

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    IMG_2024Your no-nonsense registered dietitian & nutritionist,

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    p.s. Please delete all of your calorie-counting apps NOW and share this with your loved ones that might still be stuck counting calories (use the buttons on the left of your screen).

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