How to Make a Chia Egg

Chia seeds are one of the healthiest foods on the planet that are loaded with nutrients that can benefit your body and your brain. A massive amount of nutrients with very few calories. Chia seeds have fiber, beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and a fair amount of B complex vitamins. But they don’t just deliver on just vitamins and minerals, chia seeds are also packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants help the fight against ageing and even some cancers.

Chia seeds are also a complete protein.

Because of the nutrients found in chia seeds they have been shown to help control appetite, improve memory and mood, control sugar cravings, improve skin, hair & nail health, lower cholesterol, and normalize blood pressure.

You can see that chia seeds are a powerhouse! All you have to do is sprinkle them in your diet. Throw some in a smoothie, oatmeal, granola, or your salad. Or like I like to do, replace eggs in a recipe with chia seeds. You get the binding action you are looking for all with the incredible nutritional benefits of chia seeds. (And no, it doesn’t compromise the taste. In fact, I never taste the chia seeds regardless of how I use them)

For 1 egg:

1 tbsp chia seeds

3 tbsp water

  1. Mix chia and water in a small dish and wait a moment. It will turn gelatinous.
  2. Use this mixture in place of an egg in your baked goods.

** For 2 eggs, just double it. For 3 eggs, triple it. **

The Trouble With Gluten

What if I told you that you had an autoimmune disorder or a potentiality to one right now and you don’t even know it?

What if I told you that you had a gut lining that was wrecked and allowing substances to enter into your bloodstream before it was broken down small enough for your body to recognize it and synthesize it appropriately.

Once these substances get into the blood stream, your body perceives them as a threat and your immune system starts attacking. This causes inflammation. If this inflammation doesn’t heal, then it leads to autoimmune disorders.

There are nearly 160 conditions related to gluten causing inflammation. Most might seem, on the surface, that they have nothing to do with the food you are eating. But these recurring “annoyances” you feel are signals from your body. Little messengers letting you know something is not right. While it may be commonplace for the majority of people to not feel well (fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, acne, bloating, depression, obesity, insomnia) they are in no way normal. Our body was not designed to feel that bad. We chalk it up to aging, but aging doesn’t have to be painful and disease-ridden.

So what is the culprit causing this distress in our body? In EVERY body? GLUTEN.

I highly recommend EVERYONE read a book called Autoimmune Fix by Dr. Tom O’Bryan. In his book he states, “The spectrum of autoimmunity is a progressive state of disease that runs from vibrant health at one end to degenerative disease at the other. In between lies a broad range of varied but related stages that build on each other, usually moving in the direction of more disease….The health deterioration can be measured in terms of its intensity by the level of antibodies. Where there is a slight elevation of antibodies, some people may have noticeable symptoms, while others with tremendously high levels of antibodies may have no symptoms at all….We can’t feel when antibodies are killing off our cells in the earlier stages, so there is nothing to alert us to the tissue damage until it progresses to the point where clinical illness is apparent.”

That’s scary stuff! What does gluten have to do with it? Gluten is what causes your gut lining to become permeable, allowing substances to enter the blood stream and cause the inflammation which leads to tissue damage. This tissue damage leads to organ inflammation which leads to organ damage, which is the point you might start feeling symptoms. Organ damage leads to a fully diagnosed disease.

No one should be eating wheat. The human body was not designed to adequately break down and process it. Even if you don’t have an allergy to gluten (celiac disease) you still have a sensitivity to gluten. Dr. O’Bryan explains, “There will be just as much or more inflammation with gluten sensitivity as there is with celiac disease.” So you aren’t home free just because you don’t have celiac disease.

I have never felt this strongly that everyone MUST read a book as I feel with Autoimmune Fix. One tiny bite of gluten containing food and it ignites a fire in your gut that spirals out of control. Stop fanning the flames and get the gluten out.

You must read this book! I have a link here to order it or a link on my homepage. This will be the most important book you read pertaining to your health and the health of your family.

 

 

 

KITCHEN GADGETS I USE AND LOVE

You wouldn’t embark on any endeavor without all the correct gear, right? You wouldn’t go out for a winter hike without snow pants, hats, mittens, scarves and boots. It would make your excursion an unpleasant and non-enjoyable experience.

I feel cooking is the same. It can be cumbersome and sometimes difficult (but still possible) if you don’t have the rights tools and gadgets.

I have here for you some of my top favorite MUST-HAVES for my kitchen. Just click the link in the title and it’ll take you to the item description.

Cooling Rack –  Talk about a space saver! When you have fresh goodies from the oven that need to cool, I like the 3 tiered cooling rack.

Large Food Processor – I use my food processor a lot. This is a great quality large sized processor for the bigger jobs.

Small Food Processor – Sometimes you just have a small amount to process and don’t want a large machine to use (and wash!) when you are done. This is another one that gets used pretty much daily in my home from grinding oats to make my own oat flour to coarsely chopping up carrots for a meal.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer – Picking a favorite kitchen tool is like picking your favorite essential oil….I can’t pick just 1! But this definitely TOPS the list. I make/mix nearly every dough, including my homemade gluten free bread dough, in my KitchenAid Stand Mixer. It really does save time because you can be starting to clean up while it mixes and kneads whatever you have in there. If you get nothing else, get THIS.

Ceramic Loaf Pan – I stay clear of aluminum based cooking apparatuses. You can read about the dangers here. Because of that, I use ceramic, stainless steel, or silicone (for low temperatures). When baking bread I use ceramic loaf pans. I have found the bread comes out more evenly cooked, plus the ceramic pans just look prettier. 🙂

Silicone Baking Molds – I love my silicone muffin mold. The muffins fall right out (without greasing before hand) after about 5 minutes of cooling.

Silicone Candy Molds – These are somewhat new to me. I became kind of obsessed with these molds over the holidays. At Halloween I wanted my kids to be able to have candy treats without indulging in the truly harmful conventional candies they’d get from door to door. It spilled over into the Christmas season when making cookies. Especially the Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies and the chocolate dipped PB cookies. I didn’t want to have to use the traditional candy (loaded with milk and sugar) topper, so I melted down dairy-free/low sugar chocolate and put them in a mold. That spilled over into making our own chocolate covered raisins, chocolate covered cashews, chocolate covered anything! And they come in so many fun shapes and sizes!

Nutribullet – Like I said before, how can I possibly pick 1 favorite?! I love this little guy, too! I use it for making smoothies, nut butters, and for milling seeds such as flax seeds or chia seeds. It gets used a lot. And I bet yours will, too!

Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls – My friend just recently alerted me to this find. She got a set for herself and since I was looking for something like this myself (stainless steel bowls in various sizes with lids) so when she told me she found it I of course got a set as well. And I LOVE them!! Go. Get. These!!

15 Things You Should Know About Essential Oils

It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I LOVE essential oils. All things natural and healthy, really. But especially my oils! They smell good, they are powerful, and they WORK. We are at the point now that even my kids run to the oil cabinet and apply something when they need it because they know what oils help with what injury or ailment.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about oils before getting started. Then WHEN you are interested in getting started (because I know you will be 🙂 ) then click the link at the end of this post. Or contact me! As an essential oil educator I LOVE talking and teaching about the wonderful world of essential oils!

  • What are essential oils?They do not contain the fatty acids that constitute what we would consider an actual oil. What they are: highly concentrated plant constituents that possess potent medicinal and cosmetic qualities. They are the life force of the plant.

 

  • Most essential oils are high in anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties: This makes them an excellent addition to your homemade cleaning preparations. Oils that are best for cleaning are: Lemon, Thieves, Purification, and Tea Tree.

 

  • Essential oils are minuscule in molecular size, which means they are absorbed well by the skin and break the blood/brain barrier – making them perfect ingredients in personal care items intended to heal, soften, and nourish. However, they do not accumulate in the body over time – they offer up their healing properties and then pass on through.

 

  • Scientific studies have shown that rosemary essential oil helps your brain perform.Specifically, smelling rosemary essential oil helps memory recall and performance on tests. Interestingly, studies have also shown that groups that inhaled either rosemary or lavender essential oil felt much more relaxed than those who inhaled no odor at all. This is a combo I love to use for my kids while doing school work.

 

  • Not only can essential oils help with physical ailments, they can help with mood, too. Citrus oils (orange,lemon, or grapefruit), or peppermint are found to have uplifting properties.  When you think about it, this makes sense.  Smells affect us. Pharmaceutical companies use nasal delivery for some medications, so the nose is one means of delivery into the body.

 

  • Many essential oils have been documented, through extensive research, to have many beneficial properties. Essential oils can be supportive to the immune system, moods, skin, muscles and more.  And each oil can serve many different purposes. They can be relaxing, uplifting, enhance clarity of thought and support emotional well-being.  Each essential oil contains several to several hundred different kinds of molecules, each of which offers benefits in promoting good health, healing and regeneration.  The more oils we use, the healthier we get.

 

  • Fragrance oils and essential oils are NOT the same thing.Generally, if you see the word “fragrance” or “fragrance oil” or even “perfume” on anything, you can assume this is synthetic and NOT natural. (Even if it says natural fragrance.) There is no regulation on the cosmetic industry. They can say “natural” when it is NOT.

 

  • Enormous amounts of plants are needed to produce essential oil.In fact, on the extreme end, it takes 4000 pounds of Bulgarian roses to produce 1 pound of essential oil. Other plants like lavender only take 100 pounds of plant material to produce a pound of essential oil.

 

  • Essential oils must be diluted when applying them, to start. They should be combined with carrier oils, waxes, butters, alcohols, or other diluting measures. Because they’re so concentrated, if you don’t dilute, you may end up with an unfortunate reaction (and unhappy skin). There are a few essential oils that are generally recognized as safe to use undiluted, but I recommend to always test first!

 

  • Never use an undiluted essential oil on a baby or child.Children have much thinner, more delicate skin than adults have, and tend to be very sensitive to the potency of essential oils.

 

  • To test if you’re sensitive to an essential oil (which is probably best to do before using it in a skincare preparation):Combine one drop of essential oil with 1/2 tsp carrier oil (like olive, jojoba, or sweet almond). Rub this on the inside, upper portion of your arm and wait a few hours. If no redness or itching develops, you’re most likely not sensitive to that essential oil. Everyone has a different biochemistry. What works for one person may not work as well for another.

 

  • Keep all essential oils out of the reach of children – and avoid contact with your eyes.These are standard safety precautions.

 

  • Not all essential oils are created equally. When you see a wide fluctuation in price, you can bet that the far less expensive one is likely lower in quality. Do your research!

 

  • Purity is paramount! Essential oils are absorbed easily through the skin and carried by the bloodstream to every cell in the body within minutes.  They can increase oxygen uptake, enhance absorption of nutrients, enhance longevity and help our bodies detoxify.  By simply inhaling therapeutic grade oils, we can uplift our mood and increase our feeling of peacefulness and well-being. So when applying or diffusing oils, you want top-notch PURE oils.

 

  • Store your essential oils in dark glass bottles and out of direct sunlight.This will help preserve their potency.

Here is where you need to go to get your starter kit and begin your journey to natural health and wellness. 

Stress-Free Eating for Optimal Nutrient Absorption

HOW we eat is just as important as WHAT we eat.

Our digestive system’s job is to take in and then break down food.  It is through the process of digestion that bits of food are transformed into vital nutrients.  A well-functioning digestive system has the wisdom to break down, absorb and utilize the nutrition it needs from the food we eat and let go of the parts and pieces that it does not.  When digestion is not working well, one can eat the healthiest, most pure, organic food in the world, but not absorb any of the nutrients.  Improperly digested food (whether of poor or high quality) over time, can lead to larger health concerns.  We spend so much time focusing on WHAT we eat, I think we often forget to look at HOW we eat and whether or not our body is able to process and assimilate nutrition from that food.

Our digestive processes are connected to our nervous system.  The enteric nervous system, which has almost as many neurons as the spinal cord, runs the length of our digestive system from our mouth to our anus.  The enteric nervous system is responsible for the secretion of digestive enzymes, bile and other fluids, the movement of peristalsis and the opening and closing of sphincters that allow food to pass from one digestive organ to another.  Tissues that contain these “communicating and thinking” neurons and neurotransmitters (the same as those found in the brain) surround the primary organs of the digestive system – esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine – and are responsible for much of its functioning.  When our senses are stimulated (smell, sight or taste), the enteric nervous system is triggered to begin the digestive process. Hence, digestion begins at the first whiff of food.

That being said, our digestive processes are influenced by all the same factors that influence our nervous system and to all those things that relax and worry us.  When the body is stressed out, anxious, sad or angry, these emotions trigger our sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response). When the body is in this state, it goes into survival mode and digestion slows way down.  On the contrary, when we are relaxed, happy and at ease, the parasympathetic nervous system is active (rest and digest state).  When we are in the rest and digest state, the enteric nervous system functions optimally and there is better digestion, absorption and elimination.

So, if you want to get the most out of your food, to digest properly, the body has to be in a relaxed, (parasympathetic) state.  Otherwise, the enteric nervous system, which makes all these amazing digestive processes work, will be impaired and sluggish.

Digestion is about breaking down, absorbing, processing and letting go of far more than just the food we consume.  Supporting healthy digestion is also about acknowledging how we process experiences, emotions and energy.  The state and health of our digestion can have a direct impact on our emotional state and vice versa.  If you have an irritated, inflamed gut, you will feel irritated in your life.  If you have sluggish, slow digestion, you will feel slow, unmotivated and perhaps depressed in your life.  Supporting your digestion will positively influence how you feel, perceive, respond, react and initiate in your life.  Here are a few tips to support better digestion:

1. Don’t eat late at night. Consider intermittent fasting.

2. Eat regular, balanced meals and don’t snack when you are not hungry.

3. Do not drink cold liquids with meals. 

4. Do not drink more than 6 – 8 oz. of liquid with meals.

5. Be grateful for the food you are eating, for those who grew it and prepared it and for anything else you want to honor.

6. Take a quiet moment before eating to relax and take a few deep breaths.

7. Chew slowly and mindfully.

9. Prepare and eat your food with love regardless of how simple or elaborate the meal is.

10. Eat Bitter!  Bitter is the most metabolically active of all flavors, it stimulates the entire digestive process, supports absorption and elimination and is excellent for liver health.  Bitter foods include bitter lettuce, radicchio, dark leafy greens like dandelion greens and kale, and herbs like gentian, elecampane, angelica, artichoke leaf and dandelion root.

11. Support your digestive system with spices.  Spices increase metabolism and the absorption of nutrients.  They also help to relieve gas and bloating.

12. Eat fermented foods.  Fermented foods are full of probiotic bacteria that help support the health of our colon.  They support absorption of B vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins and folic acid and play a large role in immunity.  Healthy probiotic flora have also been linked to mental and emotional health.  Fermented foods include: sauerkraut, kim chi, kombucha, kefir, lacto fermented pickles, miso, and raw apple cider vinegar.

Essential oils can help promote a feeling of calmness in your body. The sense of smell is the strongest sense. Smell goes immediately to the brain which is like sending an instant message to the limbic system. Emotions attach themselves to cell receptors which compromises the cell’s ability to function properly. If a cell is not able to receive the molecules/information it needs then you won’t absorb the nutrients you need, even if you are eating the healthiest food on the planet. Certain essential oils can help promote the body’s ability to clean the cell receptor sites, and therefore function properly.

The following is a list of 4 top oils that help calm the body for optimal nutrient absorption:

  • Frankincense – to get clear minded.
  • Fennel – helps when feeling overwhelmed
  • Myrtle – relaxing to the limbic system (also promotes hormonal wellness)
  • Lavender – promotes relaxation

Some other essential oils that can be used to create a sense of peace are:

  • German or Roman Chamomile
  • Bergamot
  • Sandalwood
  • Rose
  • Citrus oils (lemon, orange etc.)
  • Cedarwood

Oils to assist in and promote healthy digestion:

  • Fennel
  • Peppermint
  • Nutmeg
  • Patchouli

To get started with  your own collection of the purest essential oils, click here and I’ll help you get started.

Curbing Sugar Cravings with Essential Oils

Essential oils have so many uses and each individual oil can be used for numerous things. If one doesn’t work for you as you were hoping it would, you can just try another one. Everyone has a different biochemistry so we all respond differently to the oils.

When trying to keep your hands out of the sugar jar, there are several oils that can help curb that craving:

Bergamot

Sometimes people eat when they are angry, sad, or are feeling stressed out. Bergamot can help reduce those feelings by lifting your spirits so that you can avoid eating when you really aren’t hungry.  This sweet smelling essential oil is known to be a natural mood lifter, as well as being packed with polyphenols. These polyphenols help your body burn more sugar and stored fat.

Peppermint

Inhaling this uplifting scent can curb hunger pangs. Studies have shown that peppermint essential oil stimulates the brain’s satiety center, which will prevent overeating. It can also aide indigestion.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is another essential oil that will not only suppress your appetite, but it can increase metabolism as well. Cinnamon will help your body break down sugar and use them for energy, rather than store it as fat. Like peppermint, cinnamon essential oil also improves digestion.

Lemon

This is a powerful essential oil that will definitely increase your energy levels, shrink fat cells, and help remove toxins. Lemon also contains the potent antioxidant d-limonene, which helps support the liver in detoxing the body.

Grapefruit

Grapefruit essential oil is similar to lemon essential oil in that it also helps to remove toxins, dissolve fat, lessen appearance of lumpy bumpy skin, prevent bloating, and curb the appetite as well as increase energy levels. There is something about the scent of grapefruit that is uplifting and improves the mood.

How to use the oils

Any of these oils can be added to a glass of water (always a glass, never plastic, as the oils, especially citrus oils, will leech chemicals from the plastic into your water). Cinnamon and lemon are great in a warm mug of tea. I’ve applied them, with coconut oil as a carrier oil, across my abdomen with great results. Diffusing, or inhaling directly from the bottle is another great way to use them. You could apply to your wrists to inhale, as well.

I personally only trust using Young Living Essential oils. You can read why here. They are the only company that I know of that has complete ownership and control of the ENTIRE process of making oils, from the seeds to slapping on the seal. No middle man. No leaving someone else in charge of the fields, or the distillation, or the packaging. That’s how you know you are getting a top notch product.

Click here to get started with your own kit, if you don’t already have one!

You can always send me a message if you have any questions about any oils or how to use them! I love talking oils!! 🙂

Damaging Effects of Sugar

Sugar

Giving up sugar is one of the greatest things you can do for your health, but it is also one of the hardest. Sugar is addictive and most people have been hooked since childhood.

But it tastes so good, right? And it is SO hard to stop eating it. Why is that? Because when consuming overly processed sugar, it creates a hormone cascade that starts a “positive feedback” loop in the body which only encourages more consumption. Brain scans have shown how sugar lights up the “pleasure centers” in our brain.

If sugar is found naturally in plants, then why is it so bad for us? It’s all in how it is processed. Highly processed sugar, coupled with excess consumption, leads to many detrimental effects on the body. When your sugar is white/refined, it has been put through a complicated process of being heated, stripped, heated some more, chemically altered, heated, stripped, etc. What is left over is something not even closely resembling anything found in nature.

So what is the difference between natural (glucose and fructose) sugar and processed (sucrose, and other types such as high fructose corn syrup, agave, etc.) sugar? You can’t really pit the two groups against each other as it would be like comparing apples to apple juice. The main difference between natural and processed sugars is how each one delivers glucose and fructose. Fructose contains a pile of nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Where as your typical table sugar doesn’t. This full spectrum of nutrients allows the body to slow down the absorption of fructose.

Let’s explore high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is a highly processed form of sugar and 20 times sweeter than table sugar. It is found in almost all types of processed foods and drinks. The bad news is that the human body is not made to consume excessive amounts of sugar. Especially when it is devoid of nutrients.

According to Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, your body can safely metabolize at least 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Unfortunately, most Americans are consuming at least over three times that amount, usually in form of HFCS. This overload of sugar is metabolized as fat which leads to the debilitating chronic diseases that people are struggling with today.

Damaging Effects of Excess Sugar

Liver Disease – When we eat fructose, it goes to the liver. If liver glycogen is low (such as after a workout) the fructose will be used to replenish it. However, consuming fructose when glycogen levels are not depleted, the liver turns the fructose into fat. This fat build up, over time, can ultimately lead to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.

Weight gain – Sugar will trick your body into gaining weight, as it affects your insulin and leptin signaling. Fructose fools your metabolism, by turning off your appetite control, causing you to eat more.

Increased uric acid levels – Having high uric acid levels is a risk factor for kidney and heart disease.

A sugar-rich diet stresses the heart in other ways, too. With each swallow of a high sugar food/drink your blood sugar rises. To bring levels back to normal, the pancreas releases insulin which lowers blood-sugar levels by sending the sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells. If energy needs are high at the time the sugar hits the bloodstream then that sugar is put to good use. But too frequent or too heavy of a supply of sugar causes the pancreas to work in overdrive and release too much insulin. Excess release of insulin leads to inflammatory trouble. When that inflammation is deep inside the body (such as your arteries and heart) heart disease becomes a real possibility. See the correlation here? Weight gain is a symptom of a poor diet. It should be viewed as a signal, a loud and clear message, from your body that it is struggling. That weight gain could mean, amongst other things, that your heart is in trouble.

Cancer – Even more frightening is the link between sugar and cancer. Studies have found that fructose is readily used by cancer cells to increase proliferation – it “feeds” the cancer cells, promoting cell division and speeds their growth, allowing cancer to spread faster.

A list of other dangers of consuming too much sugar:

  1. Feeds candida
  2. Promotes aging
  3. Leads to osteoporosis
  4. Depletes the body of minerals
  5. Contributes to gallstones
  6. Suppresses the immune system
  7. Can weaken eye-sight
  8. Can contribute to eczema
  9. Can cause arthritis
  10. Rots teeth

Ok, but what about fruit and the natural sugars found in plants? Many people believe that because added sugars are bad, the same must apply to fruits, which also contain fructose. However… this is wrong, because fructose is only harmful in large amounts and it is almost impossible to overeat fructose by eating fruit, certainly not enough to do harm. That’s because fruits are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and water and have significant chewing resistance (pre-digestion). For this reason, most fruits take a while to eat and digest, meaning that the fructose hits the liver slowly.

Bottom line, stick closer to natural sugars found in plant foods and detox your body’s addiction to added sugars in the form of processed foods and drinks and your health will improve greatly!

How to Boost Mitochondria Function and Why It Matters

Mitochondria is an organelle in every cell in our body that extracts energy from nutrients to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Our body uses ATP to create energy for a host of cellular processes, be it breathing, running, pumping blood or even just thinking.

Mitochondria can burn sugar, but it burns fat much more efficiently. Burning sugar causes free radical damage.

We want high-functioning mitochondria to have the energy it needs to perform its myriad of functions that are crucial to our health and survival, and the single most fundamental – and simplest – ways to boost mitochondrial function is to switch from sugar burning to fat burning mode.

Your levels of leptin determine if you’re a sugar burner or fat burner.

Leptin is a hormone that tells the brain when you are full. It is labeled the “satiety” hormone. Its primary target is the brain, to tell the brain there is enough fat stored and the body can go into “normal” calorie burning mode. Leptin has other functions related to fertility, immunity and brain function as well. But its main role is long-term regulation of energy balance – that is, how many calories we need to eat then expend and how much fat we store in our body.

Being sedentary, high levels of stress, processed foods, pesticides, heavy metal toxicity and environmental toxins all create an over-production of leptin.

When there is an overabundance of leptin floating around, the brain doesn’t recognize that it is there. Therefore people will become leptin resistant. That is when the brain doesn’t receive the signal that there is enough fat stored and to stop eating.

When eating processed foods and eating constantly throughout the day your body will burn sugar and have high blood sugar levels. That means your mitochondria burn sugar (which as we learned is damaging) rather than fat. Sugar burning causes an abnormally high level of leptin (leptin resistance) and in turn causes a reduction of T regulatory cells which leads to internal and external wrinkling of tissues, inflammation & stiffness, and premature aging which opens up the pathway to chronic sickness. This chronic inflammation reduces the mitochondria’s ability to function properly.

Think about it, if our bodies were intended to burn sugar then our bodies would store sugar cubes. It doesn’t, it stores fat. We only store enough sugar to last 30-40 minutes of extreme exertion. Also, when our body is in sugar burning mode, then at night while asleep, and no sugar is coming in, then it’ll break down bone and muscle tissue to make sugar to burn for energy. This breaking down of muscle and bone is a primary factor in osteoporosis and aging.

So, the big question is: Then how do we become fat burning?? Two words. Intermittent Fasting. Going 12-16 hours without eating switches your body to fat burning mode. And since your body will be in fat burning mode, it decreases inflammation and free radical damage. It also decreases triglyceride levels which lowers your risk for heart disease. Eliminating, or better yet, completely reducing your consumption of processed foods/sugars also keeps leptin levels low. When leptin levels are low, you burn fat.

What else keeps leptin levels low? Exercise. Even better, exercising during your fasting hours. This trains the body to use fat for fuel, not sugar, since the sugar isn’t there. And that is good because sugar is an inadequate source of sustained fuel for us anyway. Using fat as your fuel means you will have more energy and lose weight. Sounds good to me!

Consuming phytonutrients is also crucial to keeping leptin levels low. Phytonutrients, found in colorful plant foods, improve leptin signaling.

The more you burn fat during exercise, and the more you maintain proper leptin levels, the more you strengthen your mitochondria function.

Mitochondria is important for more than just energy for workouts and losing weight, though. These organelles are involved in other important functions as well:

  • Mitochondria help the cells to maintain proper concentration of calcium ions within the compartments of the cell.
  • The mitochondria help in building certain parts of blood and hormones like testosterone and estrogen.
  • The liver cells mitochondria have enzymes that detoxify ammonia.
  • The mitochondria play an important role in the process of apoptosis which is a programmed cell death. Abnormal death of cells due to the dysfunction of mitochondria can affect the function of an organ.

What are some symptoms of mitochondrial dysfunction?

  • Loss of motor control,
  • Muscle weakness and pain,
  • Gastro-intestinal disorders,
  • Swallowing difficulties,
  • Poor growth,
  • Cardiac disease,
  • Liver disease,
  • Respiratory illness,
  • Seizures,
  • Visual/hearing problems,
  • Lactic acidosis,
  • Developmental delays and
  • Susceptibility to infection.

The good news is, it is really easy to keep your mitochondria healthy! Reduce/eliminate processed food, eat a lot of phytonutrients from plant based foods, and give intermittent fasting a try.

Benefits of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar Daily

Vinegar is made in a two-step process.

The first step exposes crushed apples to yeast, which ferment the sugars and turn them into alcohol.

The second step is when bacteria are added to the alcohol solution, which further ferment the alcohol and turn it into acetic acid, the main active compound in vinegar.

Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (like Bragg’s) also contains “mother,” which are strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky, cobweb-like appearance.

I like to juice 1 golden delicious apple (it has a lower sugar content than other apples) and drink my apple cider vinegar (ACV) in that. I do not buy apple juice as that is usually pasteurized and has added sugar. You can drink it in a glass of water, as well.

Here are a few benefits of consuming ACV daily:

  1. Apple cider vinegar can help to naturally improve your digestion: Take a tablespoon of ACV in a big glass of water or apple juice around 15 minutes before a meal to stimulate digestive juices. These digestive juices will help you better breakdown your food. Please note, it’s important to use raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with the “mother” for this and all of the other health benefits. The “mother” is the cloudy strings of naturally occurring pectin and proteins that form during the fermentation process. You will not get the same benefits from filtered and pasteurized ACV. Real apple cider vinegar, contains minerals and trace elements, LDL cholesterol-lowering pectin, fat burning acetic acid, anti-viral malic acid, live enzymes, amino acids and more. When you drink apple cider vinegar regularly, ideally before each main meal, your digestion improves and you naturally begin assimilating more from your food. In turn, that can lead to weight loss.
  2. Relieves heartburn, intestinal discomfort and constipation: Regular apple cider vinegar in water/apple juice is believed to help correct low stomach acid conditions that leads to heartburn. It is important to note, straight ACV is very strong and likely to be too powerful for heartburn sufferers, and especially those with ulcers, so make sure to dilute it well. Apple pectin fiber, found in the mother of raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar, can soothe the entire gastrointestinal tract, helping to prevent stomach cramps,bloating and gas. ACV can also be useful as a mild laxative to stimulate peristalsis in cases of occasional constipation but should not have this effect if your bowel movements are already regular.
  3. Kills candida and normalizes intestinal bacteria: ACV is full of beneficial acids which improve the make-up of your intestinal flora. These acids include acetic acid and malic acid, which have antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties that can help control the spread of the candida fungus in your intestines, a common and debilitating problem in high sugar diets.
  4. Great boost to your immune system: Your intestinal flora are a big part of your body’s immune system so it makes sense then, that improving the conditions for the growth of friendly bacteria with apple cider vinegar can help improve your overall immunity. The malic acid in ACV is also a strong antiviral, which is one of the reasons people often say they experience fewer colds when they take apple cider vinegar daily. Also, ACV can benefit your lymphatic system by helping to cleanse lymph nodes and break up mucus in the body. In time this can relieve sinus congestion, reduce colds and alleviate allergies.
  5. Lower blood pressure: The nitric acid in ACV helps relax blood vessels, has a generally overall beneficial effect on your cardiovascular system that, in time, can natural reduce blood pressure.
  6. Detoxification: ACV is a popular ingredient in detoxification protocols for a good reason. Drinking diluted raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar is believed to help detoxify and cleanse your liver.
  7. Skin Benefits: I use a toner made with apple cider vinegar every night and have seem tremendous improvement in my skin tone and a reduction of breakouts. It balances the pH level on your skin and can work inside (drinking it) and outside (applying topically). Don’t worry, once it dries you will not smell like vinegar.
  8. Boosts stamina and energy: Increased energy and greater stamina are commonly reported when drinking ACV. I can tell you first hand that this is true for me. This effect may be a combination of all the other health benefits of ACV previously listed, or it could be due to the powerful alkalizing effect it has on your body when you drink it daily. Even though it is acidic outside the body, ACV, likelemon water, is alkalizing inside the body, which reduces acidosis and has been reported to aid in recovering from a wide range of health conditions and diseases.

I started drinking apple cider vinegar daily because I had read that it improved digestion, but once I started noticing other benefits I decided to dig a little deeper and see if ACV was the reason why I was experiencing noticeable benefits. My cravings for sweets are gone. I feel satiated sooner at meal time and stay satiated longer (which means less raiding the pantry for snacks!). And I can tell you first hand my energy (and therefore workouts) have improved. I have always been a pretty high-energy person and didn’t think drinking ACV would have much effect on me in that regard but I nearly never have a “bad” or sluggish workout.

I started with juicing 1 apple and putting ¼ tsp of ACV in it and chugging it down before breakfast every morning. It is like apple juice with a kick! It is NOT sweet, but that is ok! You want to train your taste buds to not expect sweet every time. I am convinced this is what has led to my reduction in cravings. Work up to ½ then ¾ tsp then all the way up to 1 tbsp.

Taking this shot before each meal is ideal for maximum benefits.