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Why You Need a Health Coach

Apple

It’s 2018 and we have the most advanced medical technology at our fingertips that’s ever been available, so why are so many people still chronically ill?

According to the International Diabetes Federation, there are 387 million people living with diabetes; one in 12 people have diabetes and one in every two affected don’t know they have it. Every seven seconds one person dies from the disease. There were 4.9 million diabetes-related deaths in 2014.

To me, these statistics are heartbreaking when considering that diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, asthma, and other related conditions are highly preventable.

So why are most doctors still using the same approach, putting a bandage over the disease rather than treating the root cause?

A 2011 New York Times article discusses that the evidence-based practices many doctors use don’t translate into patients’ day-to-day lives. They end up treating the visible symptoms, but not the cause, leaving a lot of wiggle room for the disease to worsen if preventive measures are not taken.

The only person who can make real changes is the patient – no one can force him or her to take action. Some patients do not listen to their doctor’s advice out of stubbornness, but most people simply need more guidance than an insulin injection schedule and a list of dos and don’ts.

Evidence-based practices are applied as if humans are robots that can simply make changes on command. This approach negates the importance of bio-individuality – that no one diet fits everyone.

It’s hard to make and maintain meaningful changes in your diet and lifestyle without full support from an experienced guide.

How do Health Coaches fit into healthcare? A Health Coach guides you in making gradual changes to your eating habits and lifestyle, which lead to a complete health transformation. Health Coaches may also guide you in eating more delicious, home-cooked food and show you the ropes at your local grocery store, among numerous other services. You don’t have to choose between being sick and eating cardboard-like diet foods.

Health Coaches do not teach a one-size-fits-all approach – they learn about your concerns and goals and partner with you in creating a holistic, unique program that will work for you long-term – no quick fixes here!

Many diseases can be partially or fully treated through diet and exercise. That said, you should never go off medication or start a new diet or exercise program without explicit approval from your medical doctor.

Doctors and Health Coaches are both needed to help heal and prevent disease and create a healthier, happier society.

Ready to transform your own health and life?


Natural ways to Reduce Anxiety

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You wake up at 3am with your heart racing. You have a pit in your stomach. You feel restless, light-headed, and hot. Your mind starts to race, and before you know it, you’re worrying about the list of things that need to be done tomorrow. Though mind and body reactions may vary, these symptoms are often an indication of anxiety.

According to the Mayo Clinic, occasional anxiety is normal, but those with anxiety disorders experience powerful, excessive, and constant worry and fear about normal circumstances. Anxiety disorders can involve episodes of intense fear, resulting in a panic attack, and these feelings can often interfere with everyday life.

While anxiety can require medication and professional intervention, there are natural ways that may help calm you when those jittery feelings come on. Check out our natural antianxiety remedies below.

Chamomile

This popular herb is a go-to for calming. In fact, one study found that those with generalized anxiety disorder who took chamomile supplements had a significant decrease in symptoms of anxiety. Brew yourself a cup of tea at night or opt for a chamomile supplement.

Exercise

Have you ever experienced a “runner’s high,” the sense of mental clarity and calmness you feel after vigorous exercise? Aside from its physical health benefits, exercise can act as an immediate and long-term antidote to depression and anxiety. Physical exercise also produces endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. For an extra boost of relaxation, head to the sauna after your workout – the warming sensation can impact the neural circuits that control your mood, including those that affect serotonin.

Meditate

When you’re anxious, it can feel like your brain is constantly racing. A great way to calm anxiety and quiet your mind is through meditation. Meditation focuses on replacing chaotic, anxious thoughts with a sense of calm and mindfulness. If you’re new to meditation, try a guided meditation app, such as Headspace, Calm, or Aura.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the practice of inhaling the scent of essential oils to improve overall well-being; it’s a great option for anxiety relief and relaxation. Those who use essential oils find they help with sleep and mood as well as reducing heart rate and blood pressure. While each essential oil has its own use and effect, bergamot, lavender, clary sage, grapefruit, and ylang-ylang are great options to calm anxiety.

Eat…the right way

It can be tempting to reach for comfort foods when you’re anxious, but there are actually ways to nourish your body that will reduce uneasy feelings. Low blood sugar, dehydration, and the chemicals in processed foods can alter mood in some people, so it’s important to take note of how you feel after eating them. It can be helpful to hydrate, cut back on processed foods, and eat a healthy diet of complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Try incorporating sources of omega-3s, like salmon, canned tuna, or walnuts, into your diet. Evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acids can lessen symptoms of anxiety and increase mood by decreasing levels of adrenaline and cortisol.

Get outside

If you feel a pang of anxiety in the middle of the workday, take a 15-minute break for some sunshine! Aside from removing yourself from what may be a stress-inducing environment, increased vitamin D levels can decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. And while you’re at it, bump up those endorphins by taking a brisk walk around the block.

While natural remedies may ease symptoms of anxiety, if feelings and symptoms of anxiety are getting in the way of your work, relationships, or everyday life, it’s important to seek a professional opinion.


How Sitting Can Affect Health

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If you work a 9-to-5 job, chances are much of your day is spent sitting – whether during your commute, at your desk, or in meetings. But recent research has highlighted that long periods of sitting can be bad for your health.

Sitting for much of the day means you’re less physically active and not expending a significant amount of energy or utilizing your muscles, which can lead to a decrease in metabolism. As obesity and obesity-related diseases continue to rise, simply standing more throughout the day may lead to significant changes in overall health.

Health-related problems that may be associated with prolonged sitting include:

Not only does prolonged sitting increase the risk for a host of health problems, it may even take years off your life. In fact, it may be so detrimental that many have said that sitting is the new smoking.

One of the ways people are trying to reduce their sitting time during the day is by opting for a standing desk. Research shows that people may actually be more productive when they’re standing – not only will you likely burn a few additional calories, but you might also get more done. If you really want to get moving during your day, you might take it a step further (pun intended!) with a treadmill desk.

Of course, standing all day may not be the best option for everyone. Adding movement may be better to support long-term health. Getting up once an hour can be a great way to get your energy flowing and decrease the negative effects of sitting. In fact, walking for just two minutes every hour may decrease the risk of premature death by up to one-third!

How do you like to add movement into you day? Share your tips with us!


What Happens to Your Body on the Ketogenic Diet

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Thinking about going on the keto diet? You’re not alone! It’s quickly gaining popularity as a weight loss diet, but it has actually been used for years in the clinical sense to help alleviate symptoms of neurological conditions like epilepsy.

How It Works

Essentially, the ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, and very low-carb diet. By limiting carbohydrates, you put your body in a state of ketosis – where ketones, created in the liver, help break down fat for energy.

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, a NYC-based registered dietitian, bestselling author, and the founder of The F-Factor Diet, explains, “Typically, we get our energy through a process called glycolysis, which is how carbohydrates are broken down into glucose for energy. In glycolysis, there are higher levels of insulin that promote storage of body fat and block release of fat from adipose tissues, whereas in ketosis, fat reserves are released and broken down, so you don’t store them on the body, but use them.”

This is why many people find this diet so appealing; essentially, your body switches from using glucose (from carbohydrates) to fat as fuel.

This diet may sound great, but there are a few other things to consider before committing.

Adjustment Periods

As your body switches from one energy source to another, you may notice you don’t actually feel that great. Symptoms like fatigue, bad breath, and brain fog are common when going keto. These may last a few weeks but will subside once your body has adjusted (as long as you’re following the diet).

Weight Loss

Many find they lose weight when they start a ketogenic diet. However, much of this initial weight may be water weight (which means it’s easy to gain back). Continued weight loss may be due to the diet’s appetite suppressive effects. Restricting carbs also improves insulin sensitivity and can help decrease inflammation, meaning that circulating hormones are less likely to promote fat storage.

Still, maintaining weight loss may be tricky – particularly because of the restrictive nature of the die, which may make adherence difficult to maintain long-term.

Digestion

As you remove many carbohydrates from the diet, you’re also removing a lot of fiber, which may lead to constipation. At the same time, eating more fat than you’re used to may lead to diarrhea.

To make sure you’re taking care of your gut, include probiotic sources in the diet and make sure the carbohydrates you do eat are high in fiber. Again, after a few weeks, these symptoms may subside.

At IIN, we don’t believe in any one diet. We know that what works for some won’t work for others. Although some people may thrive on keto, it will be particularly hard for people who avoid animal-based foods. Are you thinking of going keto or have you already? Please share your diet takeaways or concerns below!


Three Spices to Add to Your Spice Rack

Spices

If you want to give your meals an upgrade, adding some new spices to your cooking repertoire can make a huge difference in transforming bland meals into flavorful, satisfying dishes. Spices have long been prized for their flavor, but many were also once used as healing remedies. They taste great and may even support health, which is all the more reason to use them while cooking.

Since spices can be expensive, purchasing one at a time rather than all at once can build your spice rack over time. This will help you diversify and really get to know your new spices.

Here are three we recommend!

Sumac

This deep-red spice is popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. It offers a tart and subtle citrusy flavor, which works well with dishes that need a little something to brighten the flavor. It turns out that sumac is not only flavorful but may also help reduce inflammation and balance blood glucose levels.

How to use sumac:

  • Season French fries or roasted cauliflower.
  • Rub on chicken or fish before grilling.
  • Sprinkle on hummus.

Saffron

These thin red threads come from the stamen of crocus flowers. Because they need to be harvested by hand, this spice can be pricey – but a little goes a long way! When used in soups or mixed with rice, it adds a lovely aromatic quality and creates a vibrant yellow/orange color. Saffron may offer a variety of benefits, like reducing symptoms of depression, decreasing the drive to snack, and even reducing symptoms of sexual dysfunction.

How to use saffron:

  • Season rice for paella or biryani.
  • Blend into soups.
  • Bake into cakes.

Asafetida

This spice, sometimes called hing, is popular in Indian cuisines – it helps turn a good curry into an amazing curry – and has antioxidant properties. Asafetida is derived from the resin of fennel plants. It has a pungent smell, and some may find it unappetizing at first. Once added to the cooking process, however, the smell subsides and the spice adds an element of umami that gives vegetarian and vegan dishes a nice oomph. This spice is sometimes mixed with wheat, so check the label if you’re gluten-free. Also, keep in mind that asafetida is potent, so use it sparingly.

How to use asafetida:

  • Add to curries.
  • Mix into stews.
  • Cook with lentils.

What are your go-to spices? Are there any you’ve been wanting to try? Share Yes, and comment on your faves!


Yes, There’s Plastic in Your SeafoodYes, There’s Plastic in Your Seafood

Sushi

Researchers have been warning about the dangers of ocean pollution – especially the accumulation of plastic – for decades. However, it is only recently that comprehensive studies have begun to emerge showing just how contaminated life in the ocean has become.

Not only is this a tragedy for the environment and biodiversity, it impacts human health too.

A recent study by Ghent University in Belgium shows that micro-plastics are ubiquitous in the world’s oceans, and that they are ingested by organisms like plankton, ultimately bio-accumulating in larger vertebrate wildlife, shellfish, and a variety of consumable seafood. That means if you eat seafood, you’re likely consuming plastic – up to 11,000 micro-plastics per year by their estimates.

The long-term effects of such consumption continues to remain uncertain, but it is known that micro-plastics can become embedded in tissue, and that they release toxins like BPA and PS oligomer which disrupt the functioning of hormones and reproduction in animals.

While more research is needed to understand just how this toxic accumulation materializes in our bodies, the evidence so far suggests that we may want to be thoughtful about consuming seafood. Environmental Working Group and Seafood Watch both have helpful resources for choosing the safest options.

Generally speaking, seafood is rich in Omega-3 fats and a variety of minerals like iron and iodine, and it is a good source of protein, but there are many other foods that contain similar benefits. Olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, beans, nuts, lentils, quinoa, and seeds as well as nutrient-dense veggies like kale and spinach are also rich in these nutrients, minus the plastic!

Education and balanced wellness are essential to our philosophy at Integrative Nutrition, so we hope this information empowers you to make the best choices to nourish yourself, your family, and those around you.

Want to learn more? Get our Curriculum Guide, and explore health coaching if you’re passionate about holistic health!


4 Simple Ways to Create a Healthier Home

Living Room

Did you know that health is about way more than what is on your plate? That’s right, your relationships, career, level of fitness, and hobbies all contribute to your well-being – it’s what Health Coaches call primary food.

Your home environment is no exception! It’s where you spend much of your time, and it should contribute to – rather than undermine – your health and happiness.

Here are 4 ways to create a healthier (and happier!) home environment:

1. Remove dust regularly.

Pthalates, flame retardants, and phenols, oh my! The dust in your home can harbor a stew of toxic chemicals, so it’s best to remove it frequently. Dry dusting can kick up the dust particles into the air you breathe, so use a wet mop on uncarpeted floor, microfiber or moist towels on furniture, and your vacuum cleaner instead. This will help to absorb and remove the dust with minimal agitation.

2. Be mindful of what you buy.

Aim to prevent the accumulation of toxins in your home by paying attention to what you buy in the first place. Plastics – such as for food containers, children’s toys, and vinyl shower curtains – are linked to health effects related to hormone disruption, behavioral changes, and even cancer. Other materials such as carpets, paint, and furniture can release harmful gases, and synthetic materials in clothes can rub off and be absorbed into your skin. The point, of course, is not to avoid all purchases or become consumed by paranoia, but to make more conscious choices. Choose natural or organic fibers when you can, use glass or ceramic food containers, find BPA-free and non-PVC plastic, and make your own cleaning products. And sometimes, yes, see if you really need to buy something new at all.

3. Get more plants.

Houseplants offer immense benefit to us - mind, body, and soul! They remove toxins from air and lower the amount of dust that accumulates, release oxygen and humidify the air, and even lower stress. They also improve our moods, reduce pain and discomfort, and can apparently make us more productive and smarter by improving attention span. Beyond that, they remind us of nature, which creates a sense of equanimity and balance, and they make our homes look welcoming, fresh, and clean.

4. Create your special wellness zones.

Many of us share a home with others, so we can’t always control what happens in our overall surroundings, but you can create your own special pockets of wellness, small spaces that simply make you feel healthy, calm, and good. For example, your bedroom can have a meditation corner with some candles, crystals, and a singing bowl. Your kitchen could have a special cupboard or drawer just for your favorite superfoods, herbs, and tea. Your living room can have a cozy cushion next to a small table with a plant on top and some essential oils that you like. The point is to create your wellness zones and go there when you a need to get grounded and balanced.

Additional ideas to maintain a healthy home environment:

  • Get an air purifier if you live in a city.
  • Share your wellness intentions with whoever you share a space with.
  • Don’t wear outdoor shoes inside.
  • Clean up diligently after pets.
  • Clear out old clutter and “piles.”
  • Open windows regularly to let in fresh air (even in winter).

What are your favorite ways to keep a clean and clutter-free home?


Gluten-Free Doesn’t Always Mean Healthy

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The gluten-free trend is more popular than ever, and many people assume eating gluten-free will automatically make them lose weight, clear up digestive issues, and make their skin glow.

Not so fast.

When you go gluten-free, the instinct is to replace bread, cookies, and pancakes with gluten-free versions. The problem is that these processed foods are often made with hard-to-digest fillers that are more difficult for the body to process than gluten.

Many people view the gluten-free trend as a diet, but it’s not. If you want to lose weight, cutting out gluten may be the answer, but if you replace it with junky processed foods, the scale probably won’t move.

I encourage you to evaluate how gluten makes you feel on a deeper level – how it affects your energy and mood – and decide from there.

If you suspect you have a true gluten intolerance and want to experiment with a gluten-free lifestyle, take these three steps:

1. Evaluate your why. Why are you going gluten-free? Do you want to drop a few pounds, clear up your skin, or improve your digestion? Going gluten-free is not a diet, and I’d recommend reevaluating your approach if that’s your belief.

Avoiding wheat and other gluten-filled foods won’t necessarily make you lose weight, so make sure you’re cutting gluten for the right reasons – to clear up chronic digestive issues, improve your skin health, and get more energy. A goal to lose weight or go on a diet is perfectly valid, but simply eliminating gluten isn’t necessarily the best approach.

2. Focus on foods that are naturally gluten-free. Eliminating gluten might seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite simple. There are tons of naturally gluten-free foods you can eat. Think wild salmon, grass-fed meat, vegetables, potatoes, rice, quinoa…the list goes on. If you stick to these whole foods, you will probably lose weight effortlessly (if that’s your goal) and clear up chronic health issues.

3. Ask questions. When you’re dining out, you’ll need to be bold about asking questions if you want to get a truly gluten-free meal. Tell your waiter you’re gluten-intolerant and ask him or her if the dishes you’re interested in contain wheat or other gluten products. Be especially cautious with sauces and anything breaded or fried. These foods contain gluten more often than not.

What role does gluten play in your diet? Do you sense you might be intolerant?


3 Steps to Reach Your Big Goal

meadow

You have big goals and dreams, and it’s so important to keep them in mind as you go through your daily life. It’s also crucial to take specific, high-leverage action weekly to make them a reality.

What’s your biggest goal and/or dream in this moment? Write it down now.

One of the ways you can turn your goals into reality is through the power of visualization.

Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like – visualizing exactly what you want and letting yourself feel it through all of your senses.

Using visualization to fulfill your desires is far from a new or esoteric concept.

Ever fantasize about your upcoming vacation or relive an ecstatic experience from the past?

Creating those mental pictures is a natural and powerful element of the human mind – leverage it!

Focusing on what you want increases motivation, self-confidence, and mood. It also leads to behavioral changes that will shorten the time it takes to reach your goals.

Visualization has been used in meditation for centuries and has even proven to enhance performance in professional athletes. If it works for Olympic athletes, it’s probably worth a try to see if it works for you.

Ready to test it out?

Take these three simple steps now to visualize with intention:

1. Create an image in your mind of what you want. Connect with your innermost desires for true fulfillment and happiness. Be honest with yourself. What do you really want?

2. Be specific. Imagine any physical sensations, scents, sounds, the presence of others, and any other details relevant to your ideal future.

3. Visualize often. It’s best to visualize as you’re falling asleep and when you first wake up in the morning. This helps your body recognize your goals as achievable and second nature.

The following guided meditation will get you started on visualizing your goals, using optimal health and a fulfilling career as examples.

What goal do you want to make a reality through visualization?

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