Eleven Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

I originally wrote this as a handout for my Nutrition Classes. I wrote up a Condition and Nutrient Report for Anxiety Disorder Management and decided to focus on Sleep for my Educational Handout. Since SLEEP is elusive for many of us AND since almost any health concern can be helped with a better night’s sleep, I thought I’d share it here on the blog. What tips help you to get a good night’s sleep?

Here it is!

It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep is good for you. It is your body’s time to repair and regenerate. But not only is sleep good for you, but it can also help with managing Anxiety Disorders.

Eleven Steps to Ensure the Best Night’s Sleep:

  1. Humans thrive on routine and having a nighttime routine can help to get your body and your brain ready to power down for uninterrupted sleep (Ramos, 2015).
  2. Reserve your bed for sleeping and making love. Avoid watching TV or working in bed because the brain will associate those things with the bed and have trouble powering down (Scott, 2010).
  3. Sleep in a room that is as dark as a cave by getting rid of lights from alarm clocks and other devices. In order to produce enough melatonin (and therefore serotonin), your body needs it to be dark. If you can’t get your bedroom pitch black, try an eye mask (Scott, 2010).
  4. Shower or take an Epsom salt bath before bed because it raises your body temperature. After, there is a slight drop in body temperature that signals your brain that it’s time for sleep (Breus, 2006). The Epsom salts contain magnesium, which is also relaxing.
  5. Noise can make falling asleep challenging. Being awoken in the middle of the night also makes it challenging to fall back to sleep. Try earplugs, a noise machine, SleepPhones with music or meditation music to help fall asleep or to fall back asleep when woken up in the middle of the night (Scott, 2010).
  6. Meditate for at least five or more minutes before bed to create a relaxed state of mind (Bauman, 2015).
  7. Keep your bedroom cool (Scott, 2010).
  8. Avoid technology (especially tablets and smart phones) for about an hour before bed. The lights emitted really disturb sleep patterns (Breus, 2006).
  9. Keep a consistent bedtime, preferably around 10pm (Scott, 2010).
  10. Try diffusing essential oils for relaxation. Lavender, Roman Chamomile, and Valerian can support relaxation and sleep (Higley, C. & Higley, A., 2013).
  11. Count backwards by threes (400, 397, 394, etc.). Dr. Breus (2006) suggests that this is challenging enough to keep your interest but boring enough to put you to sleep. I have also tried an “appreciation body scan” where I start at my feet and legs, thanking them for their hard work for the day and work my way up. I almost always fall asleep before I get to thanking my head.

Things to Avoid:

  1. Caffeine is a common sleep disruptor. Depending on the person, even caffeine consumed early in the day can disrupt sleep. It is stimulating to the body by raising cortisol and adrenaline levels and it depletes serotonin and melatonin (Scott, 2010).
  2. Alcohol often causes people to have disrupted sleep. It is best to minimize alcohol intake to improve sleep (Bauman, 2015).

Supplements to Try:

  1. Try drinking Calm – a magnesium supplement before bed. Magnesium is a natural relaxer and is stress reducing (Bauman, 2015).
  2. Tart cherry juice contains melatonin, which supports sleep (Breus, 2006).
  3. Melatonin is the precursor to serotonin, so supplementing with melatonin can help support a restful night’s sleep and less anxiety (Bauman, 2015).
  4. Vitamin B6 supplement can help to improve the quality of your sleep (Scott, 2010).

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Registered Dietician or Medical Doctor. As such, I do NOT provide medical nutrition services, or diagnose and treat disease. Rather, I educate people on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to improve their quality of life. I advise people with existing medical problems to consult with medical doctors. I shared evidence-based health information, whether to class participants, wellness counseling client sessions, or on this website.

References:

Bauman, E. (6/20/15-9/30/15). Personal Communication

Breus, M. (2006). Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health. New York, NY: Penguin Group Inc.

Higley, C. & Higley, A. (2013). Quick Reference Guide for Using Essential Oils. Spanish Fork, UT: Abundant Health.

Jacobs, A. (2012). Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Scott, T. (2010). The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Ramos, M. (2015, September). Sex Food Therapy retrieved from: http://www.sexyfoodtherapy.com/

Asian Style Turkey Lettuce Wraps [Paleo, Primal, GF]

Ever since going paleo a few years ago, we’ve been trying to expand our repertoire of recipes. A colleague suggested lettuce wraps and boom this recipe was born. It’s been tweaked over the years, but here it is in its latest form.

Asian Style Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Recipe:Asian Style Turkey Lettuce Wraps

1 lb. ground turkey (I prefer the higher fat content over the lean version)

5 medium carrots, tops trimmed

4 stalks of celery, tops and ends trimmed

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered

10-12 romaine lettuce leaves, washed and trimmed

2 T Rendered Duck Fat or Ghee

2 T Coconut Aminos or Gluten Free Tamari (if you can have soy)

2 T Coconut Vinegar or rice vinegar (if you can have rice, I prefer this one)

1 T fresh ginger, grated

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 T sesame seeds

1 T sesame oil

Directions:

1.) Melt the duck fat or ghee in a skillet over medium heat. 2.) Brown the ground turkey. 3.) While the turkey is browning in the pan, grate the onion, celery, and carrots in a food processor, using the grater blade. 4.) Once turkey is nearly all browned, add the coconut aminos, vinegar, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds and oil. Mix to combine. 5.) Add the grated vegetables and bring to a simmer until veggies are cooked. 6.) Place ground turkey mixture on the romaine lettuce leaves and enjoy!

Makes about 4 servings.

Onions are a good source of vitamins C and B6, potassium, and manganese. They are also rich in antioxidants, particularly quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin, which all play a role in cancer prevention. Onions also help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Quercetin plays a large role in healing the gut.

Carrots are good sources of vitamins A, C, B6 & K, biotin, potassium, thiamine (B1), and fiber. They are also rich in antioxidants and good source of starchy carbohydrates.

Turkey is rich in glutamine, which is an important amino acid for healing the small intestines of those with leaky gut. It is also rich in vitamins B6 and B12, protein, niacin, phosphorous, selenium, zinc, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, iron, potassium, and magnesium.

Ginger has long been used for gastrointestinal problems, making this an ideal food for those with leaky gut and other GI troubles. It relaxes and soothes the intestines and promotes the elimination of gas. It is also anti-inflammatory. Always choose fresh over dried, as it has higher levels of ginger’s active protease.

Nutrition Facts for one serving (this recipe yields about 4 servings)

asianstyleturkeylettucewrapslabel

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Registered Dietician or Medical Doctor. As such, I do NOT provide medical nutrition services, or diagnose and treat disease. Rather, I educate people on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to improve their quality of life. I advise people with existing medical problems to consult with medical doctors. I shared evidence-based health information, whether to class participants, wellness counseling client sessions, or on this website.

Sources:

Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.

Reinhard, T. (2014). Super Foods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books.

Robinson, J. (2013). Eating On the Wild Side. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding [Paleo, GF, Primal, Vegetarian]

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding

Recipe:

strawberrychiaseedpudding1 can full-fat coconut milk

2-4 tbsp. chia seeds (2 for a thinner pudding and 4 for a thicker pudding)

10-15 organic strawberries, rinsed and trimmed

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. raw honey

Directions:

  1. Place coconut milk, chia seeds, and strawberries in food processor and pulse until it becomes a smooth consistency.
  2. Add the vanilla and honey. Pulse until just incorporated.
  3. Place into small jars and store in refrigerator for 1-2 hours or overnight. Chia seeds become gelatinous and will thicken the pudding as it sits. It can also be eaten right away.

Modifications:

There are many other options for chia seed pudding. Try experimenting with other seasonal fruits like peaches, raspberries, pears, blueberries, and even pumpkin. Also consider adding nuts, other seeds, and spices. The possibilities are endless!

Coconut Milk comes from the coconut and is found in tropical regions in Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific Islands. Coconuts contain healthful medium chain fatty acids such as lauric acid and capric acid, which are antiviral and antibacterial. These medium chain fatty acids are easily absorbed by the body and help to increase the metabolism. They also protect against heart disease and promote weight loss. In addition to fatty acids, coconuts also contain healthy carbohydrates and some protein. Coconuts are a good source of manganese, molybdenum, copper, zinc, and selenium. When choosing a coconut milk, avoid the low fat options because the beneficial medium chain fatty acids have been removed.

Chia seeds are those same seeds that are used in the popular Chia pets. They come from the plant Salvia Hispanica that grows in the deserts of Mexico. They help to reduce food cravings, reduce blood pressure, control blood sugar, and they are easier to digest than flax. Chia seeds should be soaked in water before using, creating a chia gel, which helps to hydrate the body. Chia seeds are rich in Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a good source of antioxidants, potassium, calcium, iron, dietary fiber, and they have some protein too!

Strawberries are the most popular berries in the world and are native to many parts of the world. Strawberries are rich sources of vitamins C, K, B6, and B1, silicon, fiber, flavonoids, manganese, pantothenic acid, iodine, folic acid, and biotin. Their flavonoid content helps to protect against inflammation, cancer, and heart disease. When storing berries, do not wash them until you plan on eating them because berries start to breakdown when they are moist. Strawberries are consistently on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, so it is very important to buy organic strawberries.

Honey is one of the four items that bees produce. Honey is rich in riboflavin, iron, manganese, and vitamin B6. It is also rich in antioxidants and it is an antiseptic. Local honeys are also said to help with seasonal allergies.

Nutrition Facts for one 1/2 cup serving

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding Label

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Registered Dietician or Medical Doctor. As such, I do NOT provide medical nutrition services, or diagnose and treat disease. Rather, I educate people on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to improve their quality of life. I advise people with existing medical problems to consult with medical doctors. I shared evidence-based health information, whether to class participants, wellness counseling client sessions, or on this website.

Sources:

Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014). Foundations of Nutrition. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College.

Environmental Working Group (EWG). (2014, April). EWG’s 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Retrieved from http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.

Nuts.com (2014, April). 7 Good Reasons to Start Eating Chia Seeds. Retrieved from http://www.nuts.com/cookingbaking/chia-seeds/premium.html

WebMD. (2014, April). The Truth About Chia. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-chia

Candida Cure – My Progress so far

I started my candida cleanse on August 31st, 2015. Some friends have asked how it’s going, so I thought I’d post a mid-way through update. 55 more days to go!

I have been taking a ton of supplements to help heal my inflammation that accompanies a systemic candida overgrowth. Supplements include: digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid (stomach acid), an antifungal, vitamin E, probiotics, molybdenum, a blood sugar/adrenal support, vitamin C, and gallbladder support. The supplements switch at this mid-way point, so I’ll be swapping some of these for others.

I have also been avoiding all refined sugar, alcohol, most grains, nightshades, legumes, most fruits, starchy/sweet veggies, red meat, shellfish, processed meats, dairy, and fermented foods of all kinds. I’m not going to lie, I am getting bored. SO. BORED. I can deal with a very restricted diet, but this is nuts. I could not live like this forever.

I was feeling pretty great that I was about one-third of the way through, when my husband asked how much longer I had. I told him “day 30 or so” and he was crushed. He thought I was so much closer to completing it than I am. 😦 He would like to be able to enjoy some “cheat meals” with him.

How am I feeling? I feel fine. My digestion feels significantly improved. I am much less gassy, my stool is more well formed, and I haven’t had much GERD, bloating, or stomach pain. I have not yet lost much weight (about 3 pounds, depending on the day). Considering that I’m eating “cleaner” than pretty much the entire world, I’m disappointed. But, I haven’t been very active. And I think I’ve been eating too much fruit. I’m allowed berries, grapefruit, and green apples. But there are some days that I have had 3 servings of fruit. (Sigh.) I was listening to the the second Balanced Bites podcast today and they were talking about one of the biggest paleo pitfalls is leaning way to heavily on fruits. After all, sugar is sugar.  It’s like they were talking to me. So, that’s another big thing that I’m going to change. 1-1.5 servings per day. Must make the change.

My other concern is my upcoming surgery this week. I will have the second part of my reconstruction for my mastectomy on Wednesday. They are going to give my antibiotics. 😦 And I hope to be able to eat normally in the hospital afterwards. I’m going to do my best and not let it ruin my progress so far.

I’ll update again as I make more progress!

Health & Hugs <3,

Katie

Countdown!

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Registered Dietician or Medical Doctor. As such, I do NOT provide medical nutrition services, or diagnose and treat disease. Rather, I educate people on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to improve their quality of life. I advise people with existing medical problems to consult with medical doctors. I shared evidence-based health information, whether to class participants, wellness counseling client sessions, or on this website.

In Season, in October

October is finally here! I love PUMPKINS more than just about anything, so I am a excited that October is upon us. I’m not a PSL (pumpkin spice latte) girl, actually I don’t even drink coffee. I don’t like artificially flavored things, so even if I drank coffee, you couldn’t get me near it (no judgements if you are a PSL person)! With that said I do love to bake and cook with pumpkin puree. My other favorite on this list is butternut squash. I’ll be posting my favorite butternut squash soup recipe soon. Keep your eyes peeled! What’s your favorite thing on the list?

Hugs & Health (and Pumpkins too!) ❤

Katie

In Season, in October

This image comes from a poster made in San Fransisco by an artist collective called This is YA.

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Registered Dietician or Medical Doctor. As such, I do NOT provide medical nutrition services, or diagnose and treat disease. Rather, I educate people on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to improve their quality of life. I advise people with existing medical problems to consult with medical doctors. I shared evidence-based health information, whether to class participants, wellness counseling client sessions, or on this website.