What is “Skinny Starch?”

February 25, 2017
What is Skinny Starch?

 

Have you heard of resistant starch?  Resistant starch is sometimes called the “Skinny Starch” because it can improve digestion, stabilize insulin and blood sugar, provid longer lasting energy, improved digestion and gut bacteria – all of which could potentially mean flatter bellies and weight loss

Resistant Starch is a type of carbohydrate that “resists” digestion, meaning it passes through the stomach and the small intestine relatively unchanged.  When it reaches the colon, it serves as a prebiotic fiber. A pre-biotic is different than a pro-biotic. A pre-biotic feeds the probiotic (good) bacteria. So you want both – in order to keep the good bacteria (probiotics) in your colon happy – you need to regularly feed them (prebiotics).

Certain foods contain resistant starch naturally such as plant-based foods with a cellular structure that offers some resistance to digestion – like legumes, tiger nuts, and whole grains.  Certain kinds of starch are naturally resistant to digestion in their raw or unriped state – like green bananas, raw potatoes, and green plantains.  Some starches become resistant to digestion after they are cooked then cooled – such as potatoes, rice, or pasta. Note: if you reheat these foods they will lose some of the resistant starch, but will also retain some. There are also man made resistant starches, called “superstarch” – which is a food that has been modified/changed in order to be more resistant to digestion.

When resistant starch reaches the colon – it creates a short chain fatty acid chemical called butyrate – which changes the pH of the colon and has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve intestinal permeability, improve digestion, elimination and the metabolism. It also makes the colon a less hospitable environment for bad bacteria and even for colon cancers to develop. So regularly consuming resistant starch could potentially reduce our risk for colon cancer – the 4th most common type of cancer. (Read more)

Mark my words – resistant starch is pretty cool – I would even call it a “metabolism hack.”

But before you run out and start to load up on resistant starch – realize that like any fiber – especially a prebiotic one – you want to incorporate it slowly, or it could potentially cause digestive upset. So start with a teaspoon or less at first to see how you do first.

One of the best sources of resistant starch in my opinion comes from a small tuber called a tiger nut. You can eat the nuts whole, or use tiger nut flour. I buy Tiger Nut Flour from Organic Gemini. I add a Tablespoon of Tiger Nut flour to my smoothie every morning.

Another benefit of resistant starch is that it can also help some people sleep – so this Tiger Nut & Cashew Horchata drink I created could be a nice thing to have before bedtime.

I also like to make raw desserts with tiger nut flour – like this delicious Skinny Starch Raspberry Tart recipe.

To learn more about resistant starch and get a recipe book (recipes include Cookie Dough Balls and Skinny Thin Mints!), sign up for my online Course – All About Resistant Starch.

All About Resistant Starch

 

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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5 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety & Stress

December 24, 2016
Holiday Stress?

If you struggle with anxiety and stress, you are not alone.  One of the most common complaints that I hear from clients – kids and adults alike – is feelings of anxiety.

We are all under so much pressure day in and day out, and running from one thing to the next – it is easy to feel like a hamster running on those hamster wheels all day long!!  And with to do lists a mile long, presents to buy, travel and parties, bills piling up…the stress & anxiety levels can definitely go up during the holidays.

Excess stress can lead to elevated blood pressure, and overtime it can also cause elevated cholesterol levels, weight gain, hormone imbalances, digestion issues, mood imbalances, blood sugar issues, and can even be a trigger for diseases. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, showed a 4.2 % increase in heart-related deaths between December 25th and January 7th, some of which could be attributed to elevated stress levels – read more.

But fortunately, there are several natural and healthy ways to deal with and reduce anxiety and stress all year long.

5 tips to reduce stress & anxiety:

 

1. Swap your morning cup of coffee for a cup of matcha tea (or take an L-Theanine supplement)

I love a good cup of Joe, but if you are trying to reduce your stress levels – that might not be the best way to start your day because it can amp you up too much and make you jittery and anxious.   You might be thinking – “But, Sara! I need my caffeine to get going in200 mg of zen the morning!”  The perfect solution is the switch your morning cup of coffee for a cup of matcha tea.  Matcha tea has just enough caffeine to give you a nice energy boost, without making you jittery. And the bonus – matcha tea also has a compound called L-Theanine – which is an amino acid that helps to promote a calm focused feeling. L-Theanine is such a powerful way to reduce anxiety and promote calm feelings, that it is sometimes called “Nature’s Xanax“.  It does this by enhancing the brain’s alpha waves – which creates a deep feeling of relaxation without any sedation or drowsiness.  L-theanine may also help to clear excess free glutamates from the brain, which may contribute to anxiety (free glutamates are found in processed foods, especially those which contain monosodium glutamate – so I always tell clients with anxious kids to skip the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Doritos – and any other foods which contain MSG)! If you want the benefit of the L-theanine without the caffeine – you can take an L-theanine supplement too – which is nice to do in the evening to calm down before bedtime.  L-Theanine does not contain caffeine, so you can take it any time of day.  Although it won’t make you feel sleepy, the calm feeling L-theanine provides, can enhance sleep at night.  A 2004 Australian study found L-Theanine to be more effective at inducing relaxation than Xanax!

I find that L-Theanine can even be an effective replacement a glass of wine for taking the ‘edge off’, it can also help to lower blood sugar, and ward off sugar cravings too.

 

2. Get some magnesium (the “calming mineral”).

Magnesium is a mineral, a very important mineral at that – it is responsible for over 350 biochemical processes in the body – from glucose regulation to ATP production, bone & heart health, hormones, and much more. Most people are already deficient in magnesium – and  stress only makes us more depleted. Magnesium is often called “the calming mineral, or the “chill pill” – so if we are deficient, it is no wonder we could be feeling anxious.  To increase your magnesium, you could eat more magnesium rich foods like nuts, seeds, Magnesium malateleafy greens, and….chocolate!!  But go for the dark chocolate, because it is raw cacao where the magnesium is found, and dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate.  You can also take a magnesium supplement – just know that not all types of magnesium are created equal – some are poorly absorbed, and some can have stool softening effects. So it is important to choose the right form of magnesium – I avoid the oxide form, which is poorly absorbed, and has a laxative effect.  I prefer these forms of magnesium: malate, glycinate, orotate, and citrate (citrate is highly bioavailable, but it can also cause loose stools, so start with a low dose like 150 mg).  Magensium can also be absorbed through the skin, so soaking in a bath with magnesium-rich epsom salts can boost your magnesium levels.  Or you can spray a magnesium oil on your skin too.   When I am under stress, I find that increasing my magnesium supplements can help me feel a lot calmer. This is the magnesium supplement that we take at our house: Designs for Health Magnesium Malate.

 

3. Try essential oils.

Believe it or not, essential oils can have a very powerful effect on our mood. I like to diffuse them, use them topically, and I even will put a couple drops of lavendar into my foot soak and onto my pillow for a calming effect at night. Interested in learning more about essential oils? Contact sara@rebalancelife.com

 

4. Balance your gut bacteria.

Whenever someone tells me they have anxiety – I ask how their digestion is, because believe it or not – many cases of anxiety begin in the gut. Our gut has actually been called our second brain! So addressing gut issues is a great tool for dealing with anxiety. One thingDigestive Defense I like to recommend is trying to add a high quality probiotic. I usually recommend a specific strain – called Bacilius coagulans – because it is it is a soil based probiotic – which means it helps to “seed” your gut with good bacteria and crowd out the bad. It is also generally very well tolerated and doesn’t tend to cause bloating. So that is my favorite strain, and it is not the most common one either. You can also eat fermented foods and drinks too – that will help to tip the balance of good bacteria back in your favor too. I have heard that just doing this has helped people reduce their anxiety levels.  This is the probiotic I take and recommend:  Pure Prescriptions’ Digestive Defense.

 

5. Stimulate your Vagus Nerve.

NervanaOur gut is connected to our brain via something called the Vagus Nerve. The vagus nerve plays a critical role in our parasympathetic nervous system – the side of our nervous system that is responsible for relaxation, rest, and recovery.  When the sympathetic nervous system is turned on all the time – we are stuck in a stress response – this can lead to anxiety, poorly controlled stress, and can cause our digestion and hormones to get out of balance.  When there are problems with the vagus nerve, it can lead to all kinds of issues – ranging from anxiety to focus, and even digestion issues like slow motility. When we have out of control stress levels for long periods of time, our vagus nerve can get weak.  In order to get it working again and doing its’ job to calm us down, we need to stimuate it. One way to stimulate the vagus nerve is by gargling – very vigorously several times a day.  Singing loudly can also stimulate the vagus nerve, and so can the gag reflex- although some people may not wish to gag repeatedly every day.  If those things don’t sound appealing to you – you might want to consider the Nervana device.  I recently found and started using this amazing device called Nervana – it looks like a music player – but really what it is doing is stimulating the vagus nerve. Kind of like a workout for the vagus nerve!! I have been using it twice a day, and I have found that my digestion and mood have definitely benefitted.

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Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Tiger Nut & Cashew ‘Horchata’

September 11, 2016
Cinnamon Cashew Milk

I could call this the “Sleepy time” drink because resistant starch (found in tiger nut flour) can support healthy sleep and stable blood sugar levels.  So this would be a great bedtime snack – because it could help you get a good night’s rest!  But it is also great during the day because resistant starch helps to provide long lasting energy too.

Ingredients:screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-10-00-30-am

  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 rounded teaspoon of cashew butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon of Tiger Nut Flour
  • cinnamon – to taste (I use about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • pinch of Real Sal
  • 1-2 cubes of ice if desired to chill
  • Optional – 1/2 scoop of vegan vanilla protein powder (such as Warrior Blend or Pure Lean Protein)

Directions:

Put the liquid into the blender, add the cashew butter and blend it thoroughly to make into a milk.  Add the Tiger Nut flour (and protein powder if using) and let it sit for a couple minutes to soak.  Then add the vanilla, cinnamon, and pinch of salt  – blend well.  Add a cube or two of ice if you wish to chill it, blend again.

Pour into a glass and serve.  Give this a try before bedtime and see if you don’t sleep like a baby!!

In addition to improving sleep, and energy – resistant starch can help us feel more satisfied and full, it can also benefit digestion, even potentially lowering the risk of colon cancer!  To learn more about the benefits of resistant starch, and get some more recipes – sign up for my eCourse: All About Resistant Starch.

screen-shot-2016-07-12-at-5-59-35-pm

 

 

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Spaghetti Squash Garlic “Noodles”

July 12, 2016
Spaghetti Squash "Garlic Bread"

It’s official.  I’m obsessed with this recipe.  I seriously daydream about it.

Now, if we are being honest here, there are no actual “noodles” in this recipe…but when you taste it, you won’t care.

I almost called this recipe Spaghetti Squash Garlic “Bread“, because this recipe tastes just like garlic bread well, without the actual bread part. But since spaghetti squash is kind of like spaghetti, I thought calling it garlic ‘noodles‘ was less of a stretch than garlic bread in this case. 

Bonus – this recipe is super simple, it is great as a side or a main course, and it is also good leftover!

And did I mention…?  It tastes like garlic bread!!  Yeah, I think I probably already did mention that…

For someone who has been gluten free for a long time, getting to have garlic bread without the bread is the bomb.com!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squashReal Salt Garlic Salt
  • Approx. 2 tablespoons of avocado oil*- enough to coat the squash
  • Garlic salt (my favorite is Real Salt brand, because it is unprocessed, mineral-rich high quality ‘real’ salt) – to taste, but don’t be stingy!
  • Grass fed butter (such as Kerry Gold)  – to taste  (I used roughly 1 tablespoon per 1 cup serving)
  • Parmesean cheese- freshly grated –  to taste (I used about 1 Tablespoon per serving)
  • Optional – fresh chopped parsley or basil and Aleppo pepper flakes (or red pepper flakes) – to taste. 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice squash lengthwise, and coat with avocado oil (*you can use olive oil if you can’t find avocado, but I like avocado because it can withstand higher heats without oxidizing).
  3. Lay the cut side down on a glass baking dish or a sheetpan (you can use parchment if you prefer).
  4. Poke the squash a couple times with a knife (helps to cook faster this way)
  5. Put into the oven and cook until fork tender, about 30 mins.
  6. Scoop out the seeds, and then using a fork – pull out the flesh – it should look a little like noodles.
  7. Stir in some grass fed butter (olive oil if going vegan), sprinkle on some garlic salt, and grate some fresh parmesean cheese.  Add some aleppo peppers and some fresh chopped parsley or basil if desired.  What are aleppo peppers?  Well, they kind of like red pepper flakes, but milder – so they add just a touch of spice, but not too much.  I sprinkle them on pretty much everything – they are especially good on roasted veggies.
  8. Serve and enjoy!!
  9. Save any leftovers in the refrigerator up to 3 days.  To reheat, just warm up a saucepan with some grass fed butter, add in the squash and seasonings, and stir for a couple of minutes until warmed.  Serve & enjoy.

Two other great ways to top spaghetti squash are marinara sauce and pesto.

 

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Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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20 Reasons to Break Up with Sugar

April 22, 2016
Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 4.32.45 PM

Sugar.  It is no wonder we love it so….

It’s delicious and sweet, it makes us happy, and gives us a little burst of energy.

We celebrate with it, and it is there for us whenever we need it.

At first glimpse, it seems like everything we could want in a relationship.

But everything is not all sweet when it comes to sugar.

Sugar hides behind the “harmless empty calories” myth.  Hey, I used to believe it too.

Well, one part is true – sugar is definitely empty calories.  But the part that is the lie is that sugar is “harmless.

Friends. It is a BIG. FAT. LIE. 

 

 

Now don’t get me wrong – a little natural sweetness for someone with a healthy metabolism is okay– a square or two of (70% or higher) dark chocolate, a deliciously rich and creamy cacao avocado pudding…

But the problem with sugar is most of us have a hard time getting  just a little bit….

Sugar is hiding in over 75% of all packaged foods, so it is sneaking into our diets – so much so, that we often have no idea how much sugar we are getting every day.

Sugar is highly addictive – the more we eat, the more we want.

The energy sugar delivers is short-lived – it is followed by a crash – so we reach for more of the sweet stuff to get another boost.  I call that cycle ‘the sugar rollercoaster” – and the longer we are on that ride, the worst it is for our health.

Woefully, the real truth is that excess sugar has a dark side, a very serious dark side.  Not only is excess sugar the #1 reason for a sluggish metabolism and stubborn weight gain, it is making billions of people sick….including our children.

Chronically elevated blood sugar raises the risk of almost every major disease. Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons you might want to consider a “break up”….

20 Reasons to Break up with Sugar:

 

  1. Causes Weight gain

    Especially weight gain in the midsection. When we say we want to “lose weight” what we really mean is that we want to lose fat. But when we are eating too much sugar – our metabolism is in what I call “sugar-burning mode”  which means it is running on sugars – and storing the extra as fat (adipose tissue).  So when the metabolism is in sugar burning mode – it is not burning fat, it is storing it.  This is referred to as “insulin resistance” and leads to stubborn weight gain – and a host of other issues.

  2. Makes you Hungry

    Sweet foods and drinks stimulate our sweet tooth – so the more sweets we eat (even artificial sweetened foods and drinks), the more we want. So eating lots of sugar and simple carbs just makes us hungrier.  Studies show that when meals are consumed with sugary drinks, more calories are consumed.  Poor blood sugar regulation can lead to big swings – causing dangerous highs and lows – the drops in blood sugar can make you feel angry when you are hungry – sometimes called “hangry.”

  3. Lowers Immunity

    Studies show that sugar lowers the white blood cell count and therefore our immune system.  So eating sugar and simple carbs all the time means our immune system is running low all the time.

  4. Mood Imbalances

    Like any other addictive drug, the sugar rollercoaster has a powerful effect on our mood and brain chemistry. When our blood sugar is high, it gives us energy and makes us feel happy. But when it drops, it can make us feel tired, sad and low.  So we reach for more of what gave us that boost – that puts us on a rollercoaster ride that causes our mood to be very unstable.  Over time, these sugar highs and lows can lead to more serious mood disorders.  Sugar also causes an imbalance in healthy gut bacteria, which is tied to anxiety and other issues. Depressed Immune System: A 1973 study out of Loma Linda University found that consuming a glucose solution lowered the effectiveness of white blood cells to fight infection.

  5. Low energy/fatigue

    Sugar and simple carbs does not supply lasting energy – it spikes our blood sugar, which is then followed by a crash.  When we crash, we are going to be looking for another energy boost hungry.  So what do we reach for to get energy again – more sugar or simple carbs because it gives us a quick boost! I call that cycle “The Sugar Rollercoaster, and just like an actual roller coaster – the longer we are on that ride, the more likely we are to get sick.

  6. Inflammation

    The hallmark of most chronic diseases – is chronic and systemic inflammation. A diet high in sugars raises our inflammation, and this can raise our risk of many diseases.

  7. Digestion issues

    Sugars feeds yeast and fungus. So diets high in sugar can sometimes lead to chronic overgrowth of yeast, bacteria or fungus (often this will happen after a course of antibiotics that wipes out the good bacteria.) Other issues in the gut – including bacterial overgrowth, dysbiosis, leaky gut can also be linked to excess sugar intake.

  8. Tooth decay and cavities

    One of the most obvious things we are taught from a very young age about sugar – is that too much of it is not good for our teeth.  The dentist warns our kids about it around Halloween time. But Halloween is not the only time of year that we eat too much sugar. The average person gets at least 3 times the added sugars every single day!

  9. Diabetes (or ‘diabesity‘)

    When we spike our blood sugar over and over, our body eventually becomes less effective at lowering it. This can develop into Insulin Resistance, which is a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes (and possibly Type 3, see Alzheimer’s disease below). Insulin resistance makes our body less able to process sugars – which can lead to fatigue, hunger, and weight gain. But the tricky thing is that insulin resistance often has no obvious symptoms. Which is why many people have no idea that they have it. Insulin resistance can lead to pre-diabetes, and if not addressed – eventually diabetes. Poorly managed diabetes can lead to serious health issues like nerve pain & damage, kidney failure, loss of limbs, and blindness. Do you remember that Type 2 Diabetes used to be called Adult-onset until a few year ago? They had to rename it – because kids were getting it. Sugar is harming the health of the majority of our youth – and setting them up for a lifetime of health issues.

  10. Heart Disease/Stroke/Metabolic Syndrome

    According to this article on Dr. Chris Kresser’s website – “metabolic syndrome could more simply be called “excess carbohydrate disease”.  In fact, some researchers have gone as far as defining metabolic syndrome as “those physiologic markers that respond to reduction in dietary carbohydrate.”  The American Heart Association published a statement in Circulation, that excess sugar consumption increases our risk of heart attack and stroke. Having impaired blood glucose tolerance was found to increase the risk of stroke by 50%. Even a fasting glucose over 85 mg/dl (considered a “lab normal” level) was associated with an increased risk of cardiac mortality. The worst offender for heart health?  Sodas. Studies have found that men who drink 1 soda a day increase heart disease risk factors by 20%.  And before you pick up a diet soda – realize that drinking diet sodas are linked to a 44% increased risk of heart disease.

  11. Cancer:

    Ninety years ago Nobel Laureate Dr. Otto Warburg discovered that sugar fuels cancer cells. Since then various studies have demonstrated a potent link between sugar and cancer, including that malignant cells die when starved of glucose. Sugar molecules are present in high numbers near cancer cells, in fact – that is one way to test for cancer – you take a radioactive glucose solution, and using a a PET scan – they can see that areas that are cancerous take up more of the solution than non-cancerous areas. But a 2013 University of Copenhagen study found that sugar was not just present in cancer cells – but that it aided the growth of malignant cells. Researchers out of the University of Wurzburg in Germany, concluded that “significantly reducing the intake of dietary carbs could suppress or at least delay the emergence of cancer, and the proliferation of existing tumor cells could be slowed down.” According to the study, “many cancer patients exhibit an altered glucose metabolism characterized by insulin resistance and may profit from an increased protein and fat intake.”  There is currently promising research underway at the Salk Institute in La Jolla led by Dr. Reuben Shaw, PhD. to study the link between diabetes, sugar metabolism, and cancer.

  12. Kidney Disease:

    A recent study found that drinking sodas caused elevated levels of protein in our urine, which can be an indicator of kidney problems. According to a researcher with the study: “There is no safe amount of soda. If you look at the recommended amounts of sugar we can safely consume every day, one can of soda exceeds the maximum level.”  This is one example that shoots a big hole in the age-old adage “everything in moderation.”

  13. Fatty Liver:

    Research is revealing that diets high in sugar (particularly fructose), strains the liver, and is contributing to the development of non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) . The American Liver Foundation estimates that one quarter of Americans have NAFLD, but since there is often no symptoms, these estimates could be too low. Fructose, one form of sugar – is processed differently than glucose. It does not require insulin to get into the cells. It bypasses the pancreas (which releases the insulin) and instead goes directly to the liver to be processed. So because fructose does not spike our bloodsugar like other sugars do, it was originally thought to be a healthier option – because it is lower glycemic. And when taken in small amounts by healthy people – there could be some truth to this.  However – because our liver only has a limited capacity to handle fructose and sugar – and we are eating loads of fructose (often as high fructose corn syrup), we are overwhelming our livers – causing them to get fatty.  Dr. Hyman refers to fatty livers being like “fois gras.”  Perhaps the most disturbing part of this is that an estimated one in 10 kids has NAFLD, and 40% of obese kids having it.

  14. Osteoporosis:

    Scientific studies reveal that elevated blood sugar and oxidative stress are contributing factors in the development of osteoporosis (Clarke 2010, Confavreux 2009, Lieben 2009; Zhou 2011).  Advanced glycation end products (AGE’s), the by-products of high blood sugar were shown to impair bone mineralization.  AGE’s also activate a receptor called RAGE, which diverts calcium from the bone, into vascular smooth muscle cells, which can lead to hardening of the arteries/ heart disease. (Study by: Tanikawa 2009; Franke 2007; Hein 2006; Zhou 2011).

  15. Hormone Issues:

    A study conducted at the University of British Columbia found that a diet high in sugars, especially fructose, could interrupt our sex hormones, leading to fertility issues, PCOS, and endometriosis. One reason sugar can interrupt hormone imbalance is in part the strain that is put on the liver to metabolize the fructose. The liver is very important for detoxing hormones.  Another way that excess sugar affects hormones is through aromatization – which is the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.  Diets high in sugar and simple carbs can increase aromatization – leading to estrogen dominance conditions in men and women.

  16. Accelerated Aging – Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs):

    We all know that too much sun damage can make our skin look older, and smoking is a definite no no if we don’t want to look wrinkled and have lackluster skin. But one lesson I really wish I had gotten when I was in my teens or 20s to help keep your skin looking baby soft?  Skip the sugar. Sugar creates something called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs), which damages the collagen and elastin in our skin, and causes our skin to sag and look more wrinkled.  When there is sugar in our bloodsteam, they attach to proteins to form molecules that are called Advanced glycation end products (appropriately the acronym is AGEs).  The more sugar you eat, the more of these AGEs develop. AGEs are known to damage the collagen and elastin proteins in the skin, which is what gives the skin it’s elasticity, and volume, and helps to prevent wrinkles. Sugar affects our skin in 3 ways: When AGEs come into contact with collagen it changes the normally elastic and fluffy collagen and makes it brittle and dry, and that is what leads to sagging and wrinkling of the skin. There are 3 types of collagen – I, II, and III.  The strongest and most resilient type is III.  Sugar changes type III collagen into type I, which is more instable. Sugar interferes with the delivery of antioxidants in the body, so it can leave the skin more vulnerable to damage from the sun. “As AGEs accumulate, they damage adjacent proteins in a domino-like fashion,” explains Fredric Brandt, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in Miami and New York City and author of 10 Minutes 10 Years. The good news?  Although some of the wrinkles are here to stay, a little bit of the damage caused by sugar can be reversed when you give sugar the ole’ heave-ho!  I have experienced this myself personally.  When I gave up sugar a few years ago, I remember noticing some pretty remarkable improvements in the quality of my skin. Not enough that anyone thought I went out and got plastic surgery or anything. But enough that I noticed improvement.

  17. Brain fog, poor memory, Alzheimers:

    Insulin resistance can lead to lower levels of insulin in the brain, which over time could lead to memory problems, dementia, and Alzhimer’s or Type 3 Diabetes. According to Dr. David Perlmutter, author of the New York Times best-seller, Grain Brain – “sugar, carbs, and wheat are the brain’s silent killers.”   A recent study out of UCLA, indicates that added sugars affect memory and brain function – with researchers coming to the rather bold conclusion that “sugar makes you dumber.” Fortunately, the study also revealed a magic bullet that can make your brain work smarter, even reversing some of the negative effects of sugar…omega 3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish, fish oils, nuts, and some seeds like hemp and chia).  High sugar diets seem to be linked to poor learning, memory, and recall. But there is mounting evidence that it is also linked to more serious brain conditions – like Alzheimers. According to a study published in August 2013 in the New England Journal of Medicine, “even subtle elevations of fasting blood sugar translates to dramatically increased risk for dementia.” Many researchers are calling Alzheimer’s disease “Type 3 Diabetes,” because they are finding plaques in the brain that look very much like the diabetic plaques.  Learn more in this article from Psychology Today.

  18. Sleep issues

    Poor blood sugar regulation can cause your blood sugar to dip in the middle of the night, causing you to wake up.  Some people will also feel shaky – and will need to go get something to eat to stabilize their blood sugar in the middle of the night. Some people with more advanced blood sugar dysegulation might find that they need to get up and go to the bathroom several times at night.  This could be a signal that the kidneys are working overtime due to elevated blood sugar levels.

  19. Thyroid issues

    According to thyroid expert Dr. Izabella Wentz, poor blood sugar regulation can cause thyroid antibodies to spike, and can also weaken the adrenals (which work in conjunction with the thyroid).  She says that researchers from Polland have found that up to 50% of Hashimotos sufferers have impaired carbohydrate metabolism. According to Dr. Chris Kresser, “studies have shown that the repeated insulin surges common in insulin resistance increase the destruction of the thyroid gland in people with autoimmune thyroid disease. As the thyroid gland is destroyed, thyroid hormone production falls.

  20. Neurological issues

    Do you get tingling feelings, numbness, pain, or burning feelings in your extremeties?  This could be a sign of chronically elevated blood sugar levels.  According to pain management specialist Robert Bolash, MD. ““High blood sugar is toxic to your nerves. When a nerve is damaged, you may feel tingling, pins and needles, burning or sharp, stabbing pain.” According to the Cleveland Clinic, the bad news about daibetic neuropathy is that once you have it, it is very hard to reverse. So prevention is key – and the way that is done is by keeping blood sugar levels below diabetic levels. Neuropathy not only can lead to debilitating pain, but it also can cause dangerous infections. If you are experiencing nerve pain, tingling, numbness, or burning – along with having your blood sugar levels evaluated, make sure to rule out a B12 deficiency as well – as that can cause neuropathy, and could lead to permanent nerve damage if untreated.

  21. Death of all Causes:A study published in JAMA in 2014 linked sugar consumption to an increased risk of death of all causes – in both normal weight and overweight individuals. Those whose diet was comprised of 17-21% added sugars had a 38% higher risk of dying from a coronary event. The risk was doubled for those who got more than 21% of their diet from sugars.

Nope, it’s definitely not all sweet when it comes to sugar.

Because of the increased risk of heart disease from excess sugars, the American Heart Association has come up with recommended limits for added sugar for women & men:

  • Women should get no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day (24 grams).
  • Men should get no more than 9 added teaspoons of sugar a day (36 grams).

Keep in mind – one 12 oz. soda has on average 10 teaspoons of sugar.

The type of sugar we eat also matters.  Fruit sugar is naturally occurring sugar and comes paired with fiber, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins – we can’t say that for a soda or a Slurpee.  So sugar from whole fruit is better than processed added sugars (which are empty calories).  But we can even overdo natural sugars like maple syrup, honey, dried fruit, and such.  And when there is insulin resistance, it is good to limit all sugars for a short time to reset the insulin response.

One of the best things you can do for your health is to take back control from sugar!

If you are getting too much sugar – you are not alone.  Most people are getting at least 3 times too much sugar in their daily diets – that doesn’t even take into account all the flour and simple carbs.

The biggest issues that most of us have – is that sugar is highly addictive (as addictive as a drug), and we are eating it often without even realizing it – because it is hiding in most packaged and processed foods.

Chapter One in my book The Perfect Metabolism Plan provides numerous tips for “Breaking up with Sugar” – including some surprising foods that spike the blood sugar, as well as nutritional tips and supplements that help to balance blood sugar, some good alternatives, and more.

break up with sugar program

 

If you are wanting a more in-depth program – consider my Break up with Sugar Online course.

You will get actionable tips to break old habits and form new ones, a support network, recipes (yes, they are delicious – I am a foodie – I don’t do bland), and the best of all….your tastebuds can even change!! Mine did!!

I used to LOVE my sugar and simple carbs – I was a bonafide sugar junkie for years. But since breaking up with sugar about 6 years ago – the idea of eating a super sweet caramel sundae no longer appeals to me at all!!  Ick! I’d rather have a square of 70% or higher dark chocolate instead now (yes, you can have some sweetness in your life – even if you break up with sugar!!).

Just remember that nutrition and lifestyle changes can be very powerful tools to help you change your health and reduce your risk of future diseases.

Signature

 

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Zippy & Refreshing Ginger Lemonade

March 9, 2016
Ginger Lemonade

Do you like ginger?  Ginger root is warming and calming to the digestive tract. It can help to reduce gas and indigestion, and can even help to relieve nausea and motion sickness. It has potent anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, potentially even offering relief to arthritis and asthma sufferers.

GingerResearch published on September, 2015 found a compound in ginger to be 10,000x more potent than chemo against cancer cells, read more here.

I have been literally obsessed with ginger lately – it is featured in my Green Lemonade recipe, and it is the star of this fresh Ginger Lemonade – a wonderful way to include ginger in your life!

Ginger Lemonade Ingredients:

  • 1 piece of ginger root (about 3 inches long – more if you like more ginger flavor)
  • 3-5 lemons
  • 2.5 cups of filtered or alkaline water
  • a pinch (up to 1/8 tsp) of Himalayan or Celtic salt (brings out the sweetness and flavors, adds minerals and sodium – an important electrolyte).
  • Your choice of natural sweetener

Directions:peeling ginger

  1. Peel the ginger root (I use the end of a spoon to remove the peel), then grate or thinly slice it.
  2. Add the ginger to the water on the stove, bring it to a boil, then turn off the heat and cover it with a lid.
  3. Allow the ginger to steep for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Strain the liquid through the grated or sliced ginger out (reserve to make ginger and cucumber water – see below).
  5. Squeeze your lemons into the ginger liquid.
  6. Add a pinch (up to 1/8th a teaspoon) of Himalayan salt (Don’t skip this – it brings out the sweetness and flavors, you will need less sweetener if you use the salt!).
  7. Add your favorite natural sweetener to taste – and stir to combine. Suggestions: stevia, monk fruit, raw honey, coconut sugar, organic cane sugar* or rapadura sugar – or a blend of the above).  Try 1/4 teaspoon of stevia, and 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey – taste and adjust. Start with less sweetener – you can always add more as needed (make sure you added the salt – you will need less sweetener).
  8. Pour over ice.  This is fairly concentrated – so feel free to add a little additional water if you like, or you could also add a little sparkling water if you want this to be fizzy!  This also can make a delicious cocktail. 
  9. Enjoy!!

*avoid sugar made with sugar beets – as that is typically GMO.

 

Ginger Cucumber ‘Spa’ Water:

This water supports hydration, digestion and is anti-flammatory.

Ingredients:

  • Ginger cucumber mint water2 quarts of filtered or alkaline water
  • the ginger leftover from the above recipe (thinly sliced ginger is a little prettier and less messy than the grated for the water)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Celtic or pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 small cucumber – sliced
  • optional – a few sprigs of fresh mint – really makes it fragrant and fresh!

Put all of the ingredients into a large jar – allow the flavors to come together for a couple hours.  Strain as you pour into a glass.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

 

Learn more about Ginger:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=72

 

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Sara’s Healthy Holiday Gift Picks (plus Giveaways)

December 12, 2015
Sara's Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

 

Give the Gift of Health – 14 Gift Ideas!

Ho Ho Ho!!  It’s holiday time – which means celebrating and merriment and gift giving!

Do you have someone on your list that you really care about and want to get them the best gift ever?

What better gift is there than the gift of health?

I have rounded up some of my favorite healthy holiday gift ideas for 2015 to help you get your holiday shopping done!  And don’t worry if you missed out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday – several of these companies are offering special holiday deals right now!

The best part of all?  I am doing a raffle – and giving away over $600 worth of healthy holiday gifts!!!

Note: raffle has ended. 


1: Annmarie Gianni Skincare

Give the gift of glowing & beautiful skin!!   For someone who deserves to be pampered!

Chapter 5 of my book The Perfect Metabolism Plan encourages people to reduce the amount of toxins in our lifestyle – because toxins can contribute to stubborn weight gain & higher disease risk. One sneaky way that chemicals are getting in – are through our skincare products.  So cleaning up our personal care products is important!

That is why I love Annmarie Gianni Skincare products – their products are organic and completely non-toxic, and smell great.  I have been using them for about a month, and every time I wash my face – I feel like I have been to a spa.  And what can I say about their coconut honey mask – it makes my skin feels as soft as baby’s bum.

Sara's Holiday Gift Picks Ann Marie GianniAnne Marie Gianni has gifts for all budgets!

  • The Annmarie Balance Gift Set -$160.00. This skin care gift set is great for all skin types and will help keep your skin in perfect balance! Includes an Aloe-Herb Facial Cleanser, Ayurvedic Facial Scrub, Neroli Toning Mist, Herbal Facial Oil for Normal and Combination Skin, & Purifying Mud Mask – which all work together to leave your skin fresh, moisturized, and glowing.
  • The Annmarie Travel Essentials – $24.95. This kit contains the Rosemary Peppermint Body Wash, Coconut Body Oil and Radiant Skin Silk Body Lotion – which all work together to leave your skin feeling refreshed and hydrated. Using these products in your daily routine is also an amazing aromatherapy experience.
  • Annmarie Gianni Sample Kits – these are great stocking stuffers!
    • Skincare sample kit: $10 each – Give Annmarie Gianni skincare a try – with sample kits. 
    • Sunscreen sample: $5 each – created for people who want to protect their skin from the sun’s rays without exposing themselves to harmful chemicals found in most commercial sunscreens.

ps. Don’t forget to order something for yourself!! 


2: Kraut Source Fermenting Gift Set

Sara's Picks 2015 - Kraut SourceGive the gift of healthy digestion, moods, and immunity.

Studies show that eating fermented foods can support a healthy gut – which is linked to many health benefits ranging from better digestion to weight balance, improved moods, better immunity – and more!

I love Kraut Source fermenting jars – because they are designed to keep the veggies under the brine which is important when making fermented foods. They also have a lot of really good recipes and videos on their site too!

  • The Kraut Source Holiday Gift Pack  $56.00 (usually $70.00), Includes a fermentation kit (one Kraut Source, one quart-size Mason jar, 4 oz pack Celtic Sea Salt, and a pack of organic spices, a handmade maple wood pounder, a jar opening gripper.

3: Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil

Give the gift of sparkling clean teeth, fresh breath and detoxification!  

Sara's Picks - Skinny & CoDid you know that studies show that coconut oil is an effective way to combat tooth decay?  Read this BBC article to learn more!  Oil pulling is also a great way to detoxify – and has a rich history in Ayurvedic cleansing traditions.   This uniquely formulated oil protects tooth enamel and dental fillings while it removes plaque, freshens breath, and whitens teeth, naturally.  Skinny & Co also offers high quality cold pressed alkaline coconut oil for cooking and eating, and wonderfully silky and decadent coconut based moisturizing skincare items too. 

  • The Skinny Coconut Oil Pulling Kit – $30.00.  Includes an 8.5 oz Skinny Oil Pulling Jar – infused with blue peppermint leaf oil & a proprietary blend of essential oils, SKINny Lip Balm, a 100% Natural Bamboo Spoon to reach every drop, plus a How-To Oil Pull Guide.
  • Other nice gift options include the Skinny Beauty Box ($90.00) & the Skinny Facial box ($58.00)

 4:  Four Sigma Foods Mushroom Coffee

Sara's Picks - Four SigmaGive the gift of über healthy coffee – superfood mushroom coffee!

The ‘fun guys’ at Four Sigma foods are bringing you the superfood powers of fungi (mushrooms) combined with coffee – to make a delicious superfood drink.  They are in convenient on-the-go packets, so you can take your superfoods on the road with you!!   Mushrooms are adaptogenic – meaning they adapt to meet our bodies needs to best support our health – such as reducing stress and boosting immunity.

  • Mushroom coffee with cordyceps – $15.  Mushrooms are adaptogenic – so they adapt to help reduce stress and boost immunity.  Cordyceps are known to support for the adrenal glands.   With half the caffeine, double the effects (40 milligrams of caffeine per dose), you have less acidity than regular coffee – no more stomach burn.
  • Reishi Tea – $35. For relaxation and deep sleep. Reishi mushroom is generally known as “the queen of mushrooms” due to its body-and-mind balancing properties. This ancient mushroom drink calms you down and ensures better sleep by naturally regulating the hormonal system and lowering cortisol levels. Contains 20 packets.

 5: Beaming

Sara's Gift Picks - Beaming

For the person on your list that wants to be beaming!! 

Walk into one of the 6 Beaming Superfood stores in Southern Cal – and you will instantly know that you are going to be taken care of with the highest quality clean juices, smoothies, superfood salads, soups and yummy muffins and snacks!  Everything they do is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants – and also super delish!   I love that their cleanses are not just juice cleanses, and they know the importance of healthy fat to manage hunger hormones and boost the metabolism.  So don’t worry about doing their cleanses – you will NOT be hungry.  Maybe someone one your gift list deserves a 1 day reset, or perhaps they are needing a 21 day reboot!

  • Beaming Gift card – holiday special – buy a $100 gift card for $80.
  • Beaming Superfood Smoothie Kit – $75.00.  Contains all of the ingredients needed for you to blend and experiment to your heart’s (and body’s) content – Superfood smoothie blend and superfood protein blend, as well as a smoothie ebook and  2 protein powder packets.
  • The mini purse pack essentials – $12.00 (great stocking stuffer).  Want to know the sign of a true foodie? They carry around their own high quality mineral-rich salt to season their foods – this purse pack of essentials contains 2 different kinds.  And if you want to avoid the blue, pink and white sweetener packets – you will have your low glycemic coconut sugar with you too! I just LOVE the Beaming purse pack of essentials! 
  • Beaming’s Signature Cleanse – Starts at $85.00.  A great way to detox from the holidays and let the body release some unwanted water retention and toxins – choose the one that suits your needs best – perfect for getting ready for New Years!

Sara's Gift picks Yoga Six6: Yoga Six

Give the gift of relaxation and rejuvenation!

Do you know someone that loves yoga, or has been wanting to give it a try? Or just needs to de-stress?
Give him/her the gift of relaxation, flexibility, strength and more !

The 6 in Yoga Six refers to the 6 results of a consistent yoga practice: Stronger, Leaner, Calmer, Clearer, Braver, Further. With 4 beautiful studios around the San Diego area – and more locations in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin – Yoga Six is a great place to de-stress your life and support a healthy metabolism!  They offer hot yoga, flow deep stretch, boot camp, meditation, and much more!

  • Holiday Special – Purchase a $100 Gift Card and get 1 FREE Month of Unlimited Yoga to Give to a Friend!

 7: Mizu

Give the gift of (BPA free) hydration and protect the environment at the same time – with beautifully designed Mizu!

Sara's Picks MizuI encourage all my clients to stay hydrated throughout the day.  And one key way to do that – is to carry your water bottle around with you. But I don’t recommend drinking from plastic – because plastics can interfere with hormones and is terrible for the environment.  Plus – it is just way more expensive too!

Mizu makes reusable products to hold your drinks – which are designed to help reduce the over abundance of single-use plastics produced and discarded each year.  Hot or cold drinks – wine, coffee, and water – Mizu handles it all with ease and beauty!  Plus -their insulated bottles will keep your cold beverages cold for 24 hours!  This is a practical gift – that anyone can use!  

If you have shied away from reusable water bottles because you don’t like the taste – Mizu uses only the highest quality 18/8 food grade stainless steel (has 18% chromium and 8% nickel) – leaves no metal taste and is durable, easy-to-clean and corrosion resistant.

  • The Mizu Yoga Kit – $64.95 – For the yogi on your list. All new Mizu yoga gift set includes a multi-use G7 glass bottle (for hot and cold drinks), insulated camp cup (coffee and Moscow Mules), and the zen-inducing M8 “fade” bottle.
  • The Mizu Wine Kit – $64.95. For the wine connoisieur on your list. The insulated V8 (800ml) bottle can store an entire bottle of wine at the desired temperature for over 12 hours, and 2-set of stainless steel wine cups provide a stylish yet durable solution to wine drinking outside.

Sara's Holiday Picks - Ab Carver Pro8. The Ab Carver Pro

For the person that wants to rock some rock hard abs – and exercise smarter, not harder!!

I don’t know about you – but I am not a fan of abdominal crunches – and neither is trainer Ben Greenfield (who I interviewed for The Metabolism Summit – coming Feb 1). Check out what his Huffington Post article has to say about crunches (to summarize – they don’t work).

The hot new trend now is to exercise smarter – not harder.  So if you want to rock some rock hard abs in just a few minutes at a time – try out the Ab Carver Pro.  A bonus – it also works your arms and back at the same time!

  • The Ab Carver Pro: $39.99. The kinetic engine provides resistance as you roll it away and assistance on the way back up. This motion works all your abdominals as well as the muscles in your arms. The ultra-wide wheel and performance grips offer stability throughout the completion of your effective core workout.

Sara's Picks - Trigger Point GRID9. TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

Help the athlete in your life recover better! 

Also when I interviewed Ben Greenfield on The Metabolism Summit – he had just finished the Tough Mudder – which is 24 hours of extreme endurance exercise.  I asked him what he was doing to recover from that, and he told me that he spent an hour that morning on a foam roller – to help his muscles loosen up and recover!  The GRID foam roller is uniquely designed with a ‘Distrodensity” three dimensional surface which replicates the feeling of a massage therapist’s hands.

  • The TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller: $39.99.  – The GRID foam roller is for anybody who wants to move better. Use the GRID for a self-massage and roll through the tight muscles, knots and kinks that prevent feeling good and moving well.

10: Generation UCAN

Sara's Picks - UCANFor the endurance athlete that needs the ultimate fuel.

Have you heard of SuperStarch?  It is a complex carbohydrate (derived from non-GMO corn) that stabilizes blood sugar so you avoid crashing.  It helps you perform better while using fat for fuel. It was discovered to help a boy named Jonah, who had a rare disease, where he could not store carbohydrates – so he needed to eat every 2 hours to live.  With SuperStarch he can go 8 hours.  It is an all-natural, slow-releasing carbohydrate that provides steady energy and blood sugar levels.

Generation UCAN helps to sustain energy, without a crash – or inhibiting  fat-burning. Whether you’re running a marathon, climbing a mountain, competing on the field, or live an on-the-go lifestyle, UCAN is ideal for maintaining steady energy.  Try it as a pre-workout snack, a post-workout shake to optimize recovery, between meals to control cravings, or a meal replacement shake.

Use code: HealthyHoliday to save 15%! 


Sara's Holiday Gift Picks Perfect Metabolism11: The Perfect Metabolism Plan

What better gift could you give someone that the gift of a healthy metabolism?

Okay – yes, I wrote this book. So I probably am a little biased – but wrote it because I know so many people are struggling with their weight and health – and doing everything they have been told to do like counting calories, cutting fat, exercising more and eating less – and are frustrated because it is just not working. Believe me, I’ve been there too (I share a lot of my story in the book).

But the truth is – many of these approaches to weight loss simply don’t work, and they could even be making your metabolism AND YOUR OVERALL HEALTH worse!

One tip from the book that might help this holiday season with sugar cravings – and that is to put coconut oil in tea!

  • The Perfect Metabolism Plan by Sara Vance: $16.95 – Understand the 10 keys that you need to optimize to reboot and reset your metabolism – the real secret to achieving vibrant health!  It also has over 50 recipes and a plan to put it into action. 

12. Cocoa Parlor Dark Chocolate – $5.00/bar (great stocking stuffer)

Sara's Gift Picks - Cocoa ParlourDark chocolate to satisfy your sweetheart’s sweet tooth! 

One of the treats that I recommend to clients that are trying to break free from sugar addiction – without feeling deprived is dark chocolate.  It is good to have especially this time of year – because you can have a square of dark chocolate when you get tempted by the cookies and treats.  But don’t be fooled by beautiful packaging and expensive pricing.  Check out this article written by The Food Babe about how even the most expensive chocolates can be made with cheap GMO ingredients and use artificial flavorings!

So – scurry on past the expensive brands with the beautiful gold packaging and red bows – and grab some Cocoa Parlour instead – a great stocking stuffer!   Check out the ingredient list on a Cocoa Parlor bar – and you might be surprised to see just 3 ingredients for many of their bars!  Unlike many of the chocolate bars on the market – these are made with simplest ingredients – and do not put any soy lethicin into their bars.    They also sell raw chocolate bars – which is even better – because it is higher in antioxidants!

I have tried many different brands – and I have to tell you that Cocoa Parlour comes out on top for me.  My absolute favorite is their Popped Quinoa bar.  I also like their salted almond dark as well – salt, chocolate and almonds – the perfect combo.


Sara's Gift picks - KivaSun13. KivaSun Bison Jerky – $7.99/pack (great stocking stuffer)

High-quality protein-dense gluten-free snacking. 

Not all jerky is created equal – or gluten free.  Kiva bison jerky is gluten free, antibiotic free, contains no added hormones, is high in protein, contains no nitrates or nitrites, and tastes great.

  • Try the Hatch Chile or Original Flavor & taste the KivaSun difference!

14. The ReFuel Bar – $2.49/bar* (great stocking stuffer) 

Refuel BarStuff the stocking with some snack bars that aren’t too sweet. 

Are you frustrated with bars that are too sweet, or have ingredients that you are trying to avoid like soy, gluten, or dairy?  So was I – that is why I created the ReFuel bar!  Just the right hint of sweetness (6 grams – from dates), 8 grams of vegan protein (from pea and hemp), and 9 grams of fiber (from chia seeds and a prebiotic fiber – which is food for the probiotics – keeps your tummy bugs happy and fed).

  • Special Holiday Deal – Save 30% regular price of $29.95 on all ReFuel Bars!  Code HOLIDAY30 should come up automatically.  Expires Dec. 16th.  Order here.

The Giveaway – 4 Amazing Gift Sets!!

I am giving away over $600 worth of healthy holiday gift sets!!!  Enter to win below!! 

Would you like to be the lucky winner of one of these awesome gift sets?

The Home Spa Gift: Value $190 value

  • The Ann Marie Gianni Balance Gift Set -$160.00 value
  • The Skinny Coconut Oil Pulling Kit – $30.00 value

The Healthy Metabolism Home Chef Gift: $102 value

  • The Kraut Source Holiday Gift Pack: $70.00 value
  • The Perfect Metabolism Plan: $16.95 value
  • Four Sigma Foods Mushroom coffee with cordyceps – $15 value

The Work Out Smarter Not Harder Gift: $110 value

  • Generation UCAN multi-flavor sample pack with blender bottle: $29.75 value
  • Ab carver Pro: $39.99 value
  • Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller: $39.99 value

The Stylish Yogi Gift:  $210 value

  • 6 passes to a Yoga Six studio: $120 value
  • The Mizu Yoga Kit – $64.95 value
  • Beaming Superfood Smoothie Blend: $24.95 value

How to Enter: Please note that this raffle has now ended. 

  1. Give us your name, email, and shipping address below. (you will also be added to our newsletter –  you may opt out at any time).
  2. Head over and Like my Facebook page. – Sara Vance at Rebalance Life – and feel free to add your comments to the Healthy Holiday Gift post about which products you can’t wait to try (and feel free to say why).
  3. Wait to see who won the big prizes!!  The winner will be chosen by a drawing that will be held on Wednesday, December 16th at 8:00pm PT!  Remember: You must fill out the form below and also Friend Sara Vance ar Rebalance Life on FB to win! Gift sets will be shipped the next day to address listed on the winning entry forms.

Please note:  Includes shipping within the U.S.  If a winner outside the U.S. is chosen – shipping costs will need to be paid by the winner, or they may forfeit the prize.  All attempts will be made for gifts to arrive before Dec. 25th, but it is not guaranteed.  Must be 18 to enter. 


Don’t forget to sign up for The Metabolism Summit – coming Feb 1st!!

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Note: some of the above links are affiliate links – meaning Sara Vance will earn a small commission for referring you.

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Grain Free Pumpkin Mini Muffins

October 29, 2015
Pumpkin Muffins - Sara Vance

I love the Fall – the leaves are changing, there is a bit of a chill in the air, and we get to pull out the sweaters. But perhaps one of my favorite things about the Fall – is pumpkin!

Pumpkin is a member of the winter squash family – an excellent source of fiber, which supports a healthy digestive system. The deep orange color of the pumpkin flesh tells us that it is a rich source of beta carotene (vitamin A) – which is important for healthy eyes, and boosts the immune system too (important this time of year).

Growing up, it just never quite feel like Fall until my mom made a batch of her pumpkin bread. Moist, delicious, pumkin-y and fragrant with spices. But her recipe was made with white flour, lots of sugar, and vegetable oil (the recipe actually calls for ‘salad oil’). So I decided to reinvent her pumpkin bread into these delicious grain free anti-inflammatory pumpkin mini muffins – with healthy coconut oil replacing the ‘salad oil’, ground flax and coconut flour in place of the white flour, and waaaay less sugar. Plus, these are also nut free for my friends that can’t have nuts.

The plethora of spices in these muffins fill the kitchen with the scent of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves while they bake.

Mini Pumpkin Flax Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted) – plus extra for greasing muffin tin
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar or coconut sugar (or a combination of coconut sugar and stevia if you like)
  • 2 Tablespoons water or milk (non-dairy or raw)
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of ground flax meal
  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree (use the rest for this amazing Pumpkin Cacao Chip smoothie)
  • ¼ cup of coconut flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon high quality salt (like Himalayan)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (or 1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Melt the coconut oil.
  • Lightly grease mini-muffin pan with some coconut oil (or you can line with muffin papers)
  • Mix together the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder till well combined, then add in and mix together the rest of the ingredients – folding in the raisins or chocolate chips last (or sometimes – I just press them into the tops of the muffins before putting them into the oven to bake).
  • Spoon into the prepared muffin tin and put into the preheated oven.
  • Bake for about 15 mins.
  • Remove and allow to cool.

Makes about 24 mini muffins.

Serve & enjoy!  These are extra yummy with a little grass fed butter on them. 

Sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=63

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-eating-pumpkin-puree-4645.html

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Pineapple Mint & Coconut Smoothie

May 4, 2015
Pineapple Mint Refresher

I had a big bunch of mint and a fresh pineapple, and some coconut in the freezer – so this morning I whipped up this pineapple mint smoothie – it was absolutely delicious and refreshing, it made me feel like I was in the tropics!!  Pineapple, mint, coconut and chia seeds all support healthy hydration and digestion. I think this will be a new staple for Summer/Spring for me, and I hope for you too.  This recipe is dairy-free, vegan and gluten free. 

Pineapple Mint Coconut Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of coconut water
  • 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen pineapple* chunks
  • 1/3 cup of fresh or frozen coconut flesh (find inner eco frozen coconut in freezer section – use 1 packet, or you can sub 1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut, or 1 Tablespoon of coconut manna).
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves (or combination of fresh mint and baby spinach)
  • 1-2 big pinches of high quality salt – like pink Himalayan
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds
  • Ice as desired to thicken/chill.

Put the coconut water and chia seeds into the blender – allow to soak.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend to combine.  Add in a handful (or whatever amount desired) of ice cubes and blend.  Serve immediately!

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Pineapple: One of America’s top two favorite tropical fruits – second only to the banana – pineapples are in peak season from March through June. One cup of pineapple also provides a full day’s supply of vitamin C, is an excellent source of manganese, and a good source of fiber and a number of other nutrients including vitamin B6 and copper. Pineapple is also rich in bromelain, which is an enzyme that can be helpful to digestion and provides anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Mint: A wonderful herb for digestion, mint also has antiseptic qualities and can be used as a mouth refreshener. Steep mint leaves to make a tea that is calming to the digestion. Fresh mint is a wonderful addition to iced tea as well. And the oil of the peppermint leaves has a number of uses ranging from digestion to relaxation.
  • Coconut – the flesh of a coconut provides a wide array of nutrients – from vitamins and minerals to healthy fats – which help to stabilize blood sugar, increase satiety, and supports the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. The fat in coconut is high in medium chain fatty acids, which is more easily converted to energy. Coconuts are also naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, which helps to cleanse and detox. Coconuts are rich in electrolytes – which makes them a useful tool for hydration.
  • Chia seeds: One of the reasons I became a Nutritionist – I could not believe how much just adding this one seed to my diet could change my energy, digestion, hydration, and more.  Chia seeds are a great addition to smoothies because they boost the fiber, protein, healthy fat, and omega 3 content of the smoothie.  Chia fiber is unique in that it soaks up about 10 times it’s weight in water, creating a gel.  Chia gel helps the body to hold onto hydration, slows the absorption of sugar into the blood stream, and helps to keep you fuller/satisfied longer. If you have sensitive digestion – start with less chia seeds – and make sure they are well hydrated before eating them. Read Pre-hydrate with Chia to learn more about this amazing seed.

*Note: If you are prone to getting canker sores from pineapple, you might want to substitute mango for the pineapple in the smoothie recipe.

Save your pineapple core in the refrigerator or freezer – I am posting a recipe tomorrow that will make use of the core!

Sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=34

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=102

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-mint.html

 

 

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Heard About “Liquid Gold?”

January 30, 2015
Screen-Shot-2015-01-29-at-10.58.56-PM-1024x741

– It’s the Hottest New Sports Nutrition Drink!

Athletes looking to gain energy, speed, endurance, stamina, improve bone density, and speed up their recovery time, might want to consider drinking the hottest new sports nutrition drink – Liquid Gold, or more commonly known as bone broth.

Did she just say bone broth?  Yep, bone broth is all over the news lately – The Today ShowThe New York TimesMens Journal, and ESPN – just to name a few. Everyone from athletes to executives seem to be filling up their coffee cups with this glistening golden liquid slowly simmered with organic chicken or beef bones.

So what exactly is bone broth?  And what is so magical about it anyway?  Bone broth is made by simmering organic chicken or beef bones in water with some stock vegetables, and a tablespoon or two of raw apple cider vinegar for 12-24 hours. Doing this creates a deep golden liquid rich in collagen and gelatin – which can give it a little bit of a gelatinous feeling – but is incredibly healing to the joints, connective tissue, and gastrointestinal tract (plus as a bonus, offers amazing anti-aging benefits to the skin). Simmering bones in broth for hours also extracts important vitamins and minerals – including calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, and chloride (yep – smart athletes will recognize those as important electrolytes that need replenishing after a long, hard training session). And the broth is also rich in amino acids – important for muscle building, detoxification, and recovery.  Season it with some high quality Himalayan or Celtic sea salt, and you add in sodium and additional trace minerals – all important for hard working athletes, and healthy adrenals.

Why is this slowly simmered broth so popular?  Just ask Kobe Byrant – who according to this article from ESPN, has been drinking bone broth daily for about 3 years. Kobe has learned how important high quality nutrition is for his performance as he has gotten older.  But the question is, does Bryant think drinking bone broth helps his game? “It definitely contributes,” Bryant said to ESPN. “I think it’s a balance of a lot of things, but I think doing the small things all together, it makes a big difference.”  Bone broth devotees say that it gives them energy, boosts immunity, improves recovery, digestion, and much more.

But not everyone is jumping on the bone broth bandwagon – this Today Show contributor tried it for a week, and will be happy to never sip or smell the stuff again.  Maybe one week is not enough?  I say if it is important enough for the Lakers to have bone broth waiting for them in every city that they travel to – then it might be worth a try!!

So what can you do if you want to give it a go, but you don’t have 12-24 hours to make bone broth? There are bone broth windows cropping up in New York City, and you can even buy organic chicken broth by the cupful at Jimbos Natural Grocery, or in the freezer section at Jimbos or Seaside Market, which is made right here in Carlsbad by Lance Roll, also known as “The Flavor Chef”. You can order his broth online at the Brothery.com too.  You can also find slightly less expensive boxed bone broth sold in the cooking stock area of Whole Foods from brand Pacific Foods, which I like to use in recipes that call for stock.  Besides sipping, bone broth can be used to make rice, quinoa, and can be transformed into other soups – like this delicious Creamy Broccoli soup (also dairy free).

So what do you think?  Will you give bone broth a try?  Not sure?  Read this article from the Wellness Mama to learn more – she also includes her recipe for chicken bone broth (yep – hers includes the feet for extra collagen and gelatin, but if you aren’t sure about the feet – you can start with just the other bones first and work your way up to the feet)!

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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