by Joy McCarthy
• People are completely time-starved these days. Not cooking at home as much and eating fast food on the go has created the need to maximize the nutritional content of every morsel consumed. This is why adding supplements such as fish oil or a protein powder to your diet is a growing trend and a simple way to improve overall nutrition.
You can easily increase fibre in your diet – so important for intestinal health, weight loss and proper detoxification – by adding a high-quality fibre supplement to your meal. To increase the omega-3s in your diet, add a supplement to your salad dressing or smoothie or just drizzle it lightly over pasta. There is an array of flavoured omega-3 fish oils that don’t taste fishy at all. Protein powders are another supplement that easily mixes in with just about anything – you can choose unflavoured or flavoured (vanilla, chocolate, berry). And lastly, greens powders are another great alternative that provide a megawatt dose of bio available minerals.
Organic foods have many benefits
When possible, it is ideal to incorporate organic foods into your diet for several reasons:
- Organic products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures, without persistent toxic chemical inputs.
- These foods are made without the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
- Organic farming practices help maintain a clean water supply, as well as soil health and fertility.
- Organic farming can use 30-50% less energy so going organic reduces your carbon footprint and helps fight climate change.
Tips for enhancing your diet
- Mix in 1 tbsp. vanilla or chocolate protein powder into yogurt.
- Mix protein powder into your pancake mix in place of flour.
- Mix 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder into oatmeal with 1 tbsp. chia and mash a banana into the mixture. Protein balances blood sugar, keeps you fuller longer and increases your body’s metabolism rate, which means you burn fat more efficiently.
- Mix 1 tbsp. of a flavoured omega-3 oil into your favourite salad dressing concoction. The omega-3s will help you to beautify from the inside out. Omega-3s have been extensively studied for their heart health benefits as well.
- Mix 1 tbsp. of any greens powder into your smoothie. Add a banana and a protein powder and you won’t even notice the taste of the greens. You will get a hit of alkalizing minerals, fibre and chlorophyll.
It is important to consult your health care practitioner about your health concerns and to determine a regime and the products appropriate for your condition. In addition, always follow the directions found on the label and allow the specified amount of time allocated for the product to be effective.
Supplements for detoxing
B vitamins form a vitamin complex that is made up of several different nutrients. The B-complex, which consists of thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, cobalamin, niacin, pantothemic acid, folic acid, biotin and paba, makes up a group of essential nutrients that aid cell growth, fight aging, depression and fatigue, and keep the mind and body healthy. When it comes to healing and rebuilding tissue, the B vitamins are absolutely essential.
Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin that has many functions in the body including the support of immunity, wound healing, healthy skin and bones, collagen formation and tissue growth and repair. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that helps detoxify or cleanse the body from harmful substances.
Any greens supplement is good for daily cleansing, which helps to keep your stomach clean. Usually, green super foods include wheat grass, barley grass and chlorophyll and sea vegetables that are packed with fibre, antioxidants and minerals to clean out toxins from the day before. Also choose foods with natural cleansing properties including fruits, vegetables, raw foods and whole grains with lots of fibre to keep your system moving.
Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that reside in the gastrointestinal tract, enabling us to properly digest any food and absorb vitamins and other nutrients. They also make your bowel inhospitable for bad bacteria and help to eliminate the effects of toxins and environmental pollutants in your body. Ideally, healthy and pathogenic micro-organisms balance each other out in the intestines. However, the balance is easily disrupted by the modern diet based on foods high in refined carbohydrates and sugars, chlorinated water, antibiotic and medications, etc. Yeast overgrowth starts in the intestines, causing digestive problems such as gas, bloating and constipation. This overgrowth can also become systemic, resulting in allergies and autoimmune disorders. Taking a probiotic supplement is an important step in establishing normal intestinal flora and it also boosts immune response and inhibits growth of pathogenic organisms.
NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine) is a natural sulfur-containing amino acid derivative found naturally in foods. It is a powerful antioxidant and cell detoxification co-factor and works to eliminate your body of free radicals and heavy metals such as mercury and lead. This improves your cellular health tremendously.
Fibre supplements: Harmful toxins in our air, water and food can slow down your metabolism, resulting in increased storage of body fat and low energy levels. Dietary fibre supplements support healthy detoxification, increase transit time and cleanse the colon. They assist your body’s ability to flush out harmful toxins and become more naturally energized.
Supplements that can help reduce stress
Vitamin C: People who have high levels of vitamin C do not show the expected mental and physical signs of stress when subjected to acute psychological challenges. They also bounce back from stressful situations faster than people with low levels of vitamin C in their blood.
B vitamins (see page 8 )
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is a herb that has long been valued for its prolific medicinal importance. Chamomile is a natural aid for those suffering from sleep disturbances. Chamomile is most commonly sold as an herbal tea, either loosely, to be used with an infuser, or in tea bag form.
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium): Recent research shows it can be an important rebalancing agent for women during their hormonal change of life. Generally, American Ginseng supports the adrenal glands and increases tolerance for stress. It also helps mental concentration and gives you an energy boost.
Green powders are one of the best ways to get the body back on track toward total wellness and there are many benefits on many different systems of the body, including detoxification, blood sugar regulation, cholesterol regulation, and more. One benefit many people are not aware of is that it boosts energy.
Supplements with adrenal tissue (porcine): As far back as 1918, scientists were able to show that, when a particular gland is consumed, the constituents of that gland are incorporated into the same gland within the body. These constituents provide natural building blocks that can be readily incorporated into your same glands to strengthen them and support their healthy function.
Rhodiola rosea (golden root, roseroot, Aaron’s rod) is a plant that grows in cold regions of the world. It has been extensively studied in Russia and in Scandinavian countries for over 35 years and is categorized as an adaptogen because of its ability to increase resistance to chemical, biological and physical stressors. Rhodiola has been found to inhibit stress-induced depletion of important brain neurotransmitters
Magnesium citrate (mineral) is the anti-stress mineral. Serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical that is boosted artificially by some medications, depends on magnesium for its production and function. Magnesium deficiency is responsible for nervousness that prevents sleep. Magnesium-rich foods include kelp, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses and brewer’s yeast.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a root that has been used as a sedative for years and is now a proven anti-anxiety herb. Valepotriate is the main substance found in valerian and has the sedative effect. Valerian is safe, effective and natural and hence it is widely accepted. It reduces stress, anxiety, agitation, tremors and disturbances and is advantageous if you want to lessen mild to reasonable anxiety or stress during the day. It leads to prolonged sleep, less time in falling sleep and it promotes deep sleep.
Detoxifying decoctions are made by boiling roots, barks and herbs in water and reducing the volume before straining out the solid bits to make a tea. Herbs used in these decoctions include dandelion roots (for liver, gall bladder and kidneys), marshmallow root (to sooth digestive membranes), licorice root (for adrenal glands), burdock root (a diuretic for blood, kidneys and the urinary tract), rhubarb root (for the immune system, the liver and colon cleansing) milk thistle (for the liver) and ginger root (for the kidneys).
Please visit www.chfa.ca for more information. Joy McCarthy is a registered/certified holistic nutritionist CNP RNCP, who coaches clients from around the world including Australia, Europe, the US and Canada. She has attended CHFA West 2012. www.joyoushealth.ca
Orange infused walnut kale salad
Ingredients (Try to use organic ingredients.)
- 6-8 handfuls of kale (I used baby kale that was organic and pre-washed)
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- 2 small oranges sliced
- 1/3 cup sesame or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup brown rice vinegar
- 4 tbsp orange (naturally) flavoured omega-3 fish oil. (Note: This does not have a fishy taste. I used the Genuine Health brand.) If you don’t have this or you are vegan, use hemp or flax oil.
- 1/2 cup fresh mint
- Fresh juice from 1 orange
- 2 tbsp orange rind
Place all your dressing ingredients into a food processor and blend until the mint is completely chopped up, about 30 seconds. Place your leafy greens into a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Sprinkle with walnuts and orange slices.
Makes 4 generous servings.
kale in a basket photo © Silencefoto