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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Is Your Low Carb Diet Backfiring?

February 19, 2017
Is Your Low Carb Diet Backfiring?

When people want to lose weight – they often cut down on carbs. It can work like a charm – with the pounds melting off (at least initially). But is this a good approach for everyone for the long term? Are there some downsides? This article helps you to know if low carb might be right for you, and also when your low carb diet might be backfiring…

Want to know what one of the most controversial and misunderstood areas of nutrition is?

Carbohydrates. 

On the one hand, you have the Low Carb enthusiasts, who tout the myriad of benefits of less carbs and more fat – who tout the low carb diet as the secret to resetting the metabolism and getting out of insulin resistance.  And there is a lot of evidence that they are right – the majority of the population is getting way too many carbs in their diets – especially simple carbs.  A recent study supports the low carb approach – it found that doubling the intake of saturated fats did not affect the levels of fats in the blood. And conversely, the study found that an increased intake of carbohydrates increased the levels of fats in the blood.  According to Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University in this article, dietary refined carbohydrate is the primary driver of circulating saturated fatty acids in the bloodstream.  “White bread, rice, cereals, potatoes, and sugars — not saturated fat — are the real culprits in our food supply,” said  Mozaffarian.

So if you are one of the millions of Americans that is struggling with stubborn weight gain – you might find that cutting down on carbs like bread, crackers, and cereals, and dialing up on the fats – can improve insulin sensitivity, reduce hunger, and improve many metabolic markers like triglycerides, cholesterol…and allow you to finally drop those stubborn pounds.

There are some people that take it a step further than low carb – to a Ketogenic approach – which is basically an extremely low carb, very high fat diet. Ketogenic diets train the metabolism to run on ketones for fuel instead of glucose/carbs.  A recent study confirmed that a ketogenic diet led to a reduction in body mass, decreased triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and blood glucose; and an increase in HDL cholesterol.

If you haven’t already, you might be ready to jump on the low carb bandwagon now!  But wait – is low carb a panacea?  Is it right for everyone?  Should we all just go low carb and call it a day?

One the other side are the Carb enthusiasts, who say our bodies and brains run on glucose and so carbs are what give our body and brain energy. And without them, we will bonk and this can eventually send our body go into hormonal havoc.

Well then. Who is right?

They both are – because the answer depends on the person, their current situation, and most importantly the TYPE of carbs we are talking about.  Not all carbs are created equal – and so we can not “lump” all carbs into one basket – you can’t really put sodas in the same bucket as broccoli!  To truly comprehend this conundrum, we need to first ask…

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are macronutrients that are basically made up of chains of sugars. These chains can be simple or complex.  Simple carbs (monosaccarides) contain one or two sugars in their chain. Simple carb chains are broken apart easily, and therefore are a quick source of energy.  Generally speaking, simple carbs do provide quick energy (calories), but not much else – so most are “empty calories.” After or during a hard long workout, you might need a simple carb to replenish energy, but generally speaking eating a lot of simple carbs overtime can lead to insulin resistance, weight gain and many other health problems.   And if they do not come paired with any fiber, the energy boost that you get from simple carbs is short-lived and can be followed by a “crash.”

Complex carbs (polysaccarides) contain 3 or more chains of sugars, they are not broken down as quickly as simple carbs – and therefore serve as a longer lasting energy source.  Complex carbs contain fiber and/or starches.  There are many issues with eating a lot of sugar or simple carbs:

  1. the energy is short lived, followed by a crash.
  2. they stimulate your hunger and cravings for sweets
  3. overtime, eating a lot of sugar and simple carbs can lead to insulin resistance – which means your metabolism can not effectively process carbs for energy, and blood sugar stays elevated
  4. excess sugar is linked to most major non-communicable diseases.

But nutritious carbs that come paired with fiber, vitamins and minerals (like vegetables and fresh, whole fruits) give you longer lasting energy, satisfy your hunger better, and have even been shown to lower the risk of many diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Is Low Carb a Good Option for You?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a low carb diet, some common pitfalls – and who might benefit from lowering carbs, and who may not.

Going low with carbohydrates in our diets (especially simple carbs) can be useful strategy for those with:

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Insulin Resistance/Pre-diabetes/Diabetes
  • Excess body fat/weight (especially around the midsection)
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Chronic and systemic inflammation
  • Some Autoimmune Conditions (grain free is recommended for this population)

Extremely low carbohydrate/ high fat diets (KETOGENIC diets) has been studied for years to benefit persons with:

  • Epilepsy
  • Cancer (especially brain cancer)
  • Alzheimers disease
  • Obesity

According to this article in the NY Times, low carb, higher fat diets can help people improve their heart health markers and also lose unwanted body fat. The people who diet was comprised of at least 40% dietary fat (13% saturated) were found to lose more weight (about 8 pounds on average more in a year’s time) and have better inflammation and triglyceride markers than the people who took in less than 30% fat in their diets. The people who had lower fat intake also lost muscle along with any fat loss, which is not good for the metabolism.

While low carb diets can reset our insulin sensitivity and it can be THE factor that gets some people’s metabolism going again….sometimes, low carb diets for a long term can lead to a myriad of issues – including thyroid issues and hormonal havoc.  Some studies even show that low carb diets can actually cause insulin resistance – the very condition that it can initially improve! (read this article to learn more). And low carb diets are not a panacea, and…could be disastrous to some people’s health.  Below are some signs that a low carb diet may not be for you, or that you need to adjust your diet to include some more nutrious carbs.

Signs Your Low Carb Diet May be Backfiring:

  • You have lost your period (hypothalmic amenorrhea) – this usually means that your body is basically in “starvation mode” – (if this happens, you need to eat more calories, reduce your stress, stop the cardio and do easy calming exercise like yoga. Read: How to Eat for Hypothalamic Amenorrhea)
  • You have developed adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, fertility problems or other hormone issues since going low carb – or it has worsened.  (Read: Stop Eating Low Carb if you Care about Your Thyroid)
  • Your weight loss has stalled, or you are gaining weight
  • You have melasma or “liver spots” (this can be a sign of adrenal fatigue/hormone issues)
  • Your sleep is sub-par. Carbohydrates help to lower cortisol levels, so very low carb diets can mess with our cortisol rhythms and sleep patterns. Sometimes all it takes is adding 1 serving of starcy carbs at dinnertime (or a resistant starch drink before bedtime – see below)
  • You are tired a lot, or have a hard time getting out of bed
  • You are losing your hair, or it is thinning
  • You have developed digestive issues (low carb diets are naturally low in fiber. Fiber supports healthy digestion and is the “food” for our good bacteria.  So overtime a low carb diet could lead to digestive distress)
  • You have dark circles under your eyes, or the areas under your eyes have a “sunken” appearance (this can be a sign of adrenal fatigue)
  • You are seriously underweight
  • You are a woman.  Women in general do not fare as well as men on very low carb diets long term.  There are exceptions to every rule, but this is true in general.  (read: Females, Carbohydrates and Hormones)
  • You are not effectively building muscle (despite working out).

The most common mistakes people make when lowering carbs:

  • Not getting enough healthy fats!  This is extremely common and very important to understand that you just can’t lower your carbs, you need to balance it out by increasing healthy fats, and to a lesser extent protein. One of the most common mistakes that happens when people go low carb – is they do not dial up their healthy fats enough.   I call it “The Carb & Fat See -Saw” – the lower your carbohydrate intake, the more you have to dial up the healthy fats. The higher you go with the carbs, the lower you should go with the fats. Many people find that a balanced approach works the best – like a 40-30-30 approach (40% fat, 30% carbs, 30% protein). If you are going to a ketogenic diet – you are getting upwards of 60% fat and very low carbs (very low glycemic, no sugar at all). Although eating that much fat sounds fun – it is actually not easy to sustain – that is a lot of fat!
  • Not getting enough total calories/food (putting the metabolism into ‘famine’ mode – which slows the metabolism down and messes with hormones).
  • Going too low or too high with the protein.  Protein is important for building and maintaining muscle, keeping blood sugar level, and so you want to get plenty of protein. But getting too much protein can lead to weight gain, and if you are following a ketogenic diet – excesses of protein can put you out of ketosis.
  • Being Dogmatic.  Sticking to a low carb diet when it is clearly no longer serving your health is not a good idea.  I think the bottom line is – not all dietary approaches work the same for everyone, all the time.  And even if one approach works for you at one point, it may need to be adjusted later.  So stay in tune with your body and mind to know when you need to make adjustments.

Read:  Is a Low Carb Diet Ruining Your Health?

How Many Carbs Do I Need?

I get this question A LOT in my Break up with Sugar program.  And as much as I want to give them an answer – there really is no one real clear answer for everyone.  The amount of carbs a person needs depends on a number of factors. You need to find the right balance for you for that timeframe in your life.  Here are a few things to consider when determining your carb need:

  • Are you sedentary? You need less carbs, because you are not regularly burning sugars/carbs and glycogen (stored sugars). Sitting is the new smoking – so if you are sedentary – one of the best things you can do is to gradually get more movement in your life. Start with easy activities like walking or gentle yoga.
  • Do you exercise regularly & intenselyyou might need more carbs if you exercise intensely. There are cases of very low carb/high fat endurance athletes, but generally speaking – those in endurance sports will need higher amounts of carbs than the average – because they are burning through their glycogen stores in their muscle and livers.
  • Do you have a fast metabolism?  Persons with a fast metabolism tend to do better on diets with slightly more carbs.  If you tend to have a more sluggish metabolism, then you might do better on a paleo/low carb approach.
  • Do you have insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, or metabolic syndrome? – If you have insulin resistance (your body is not responding to insulin signals and therefore not effectively processing carbs & sugars for energy), you generally need less carbs until you can recover your insulin sensitivity.
  • Do you have adrenal fatigue? – People with adrenal fatigue and high levels of stress generally do better when they don’t skip breakfast and have some high quality healthy carbs first thing in the morning and at regular intervals throughout the day. Once you get your stress levels in check, and your adrenals healed – then a low carb diet might be more suitable for you.
  • Do you have thyroid or hormonal issues? – being on a low carb diet can throw your thyroid and hormones for a loop (especially if you are female).  Thyroid and hormone issues and blood sugar imbalances are often tied together. 
  • Are you Under Stress?  When you are under high levels of stress – this causes your blood sugar to get disregulated.  High levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, causes spikes in bloodsugar.  So being under stress is kind of like eating a Snickers bar – it spikes your blood sugar.  So when you are under stress, you are more prone to blood sugar lows and highs.  You need to find ways to keep your blood sugar more stable – which means finding the right balance of blood sugar stabilizing nutrient dense carbs, protein and fats.
  • Are you pregnant, breast feeding or trying to get pregnant? Low carb diets are not appropriate during pregnancy. Your need for carbs typically goes up during pregnancy and lactation.  If you are low carb and have been trying to get pregnant and are having issues – consider working with a qualified health practitioner to get your hormones back into balance. 
  • Do you have other health issues or are you taking medication? Talk to your practitioner to get specific recommendations. For example, if you are on insulin, or cholesterol medication – making dietary changes can impact your need for those medications. You might need to adjust your dosage with changes to diet. Please consult with the prescribing doctor.

According to Paul Jaminet in this post, a mildly low carb diet (20-30% carbs) appears to promote longevity, a carb “overfed” diet (40-50% carbs) promotes fertility and athleticism, and a moderate carb diet (30-40% carbs) is essentially “neutral” and places minimal stress on the body.   So if you are struggling with hormones or fertility, or you are an endurance athlete – you might think twice before cutting out carbs.  If you are dealing with elevated disease markers – like high triglycerides, you might want to consider going lower carb.

Including Quality Carbs in Your Diet

People that have been on a low carb diet often have a fear of carbs.  They think that carbs cause weight gain and therefore are evil (even if they know their low carb diet is no longer working for them).  So getting more carbs in your diet may not be an easy mental shift for low carb devotees.  But if you are experiencing some of the above symptoms – it is probably time to dial up the carbs, or you could potentially find yourself with a serious case of adrenal fatigue, hormonal havoc, and/or a thyroid disorder.

Choose Your Carbs Wisely:

So in order to choose wisely, when deciding whether or not to eat a carb – ask yourself

  • Is it nutritious?  You want to select carbs that have naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, considered “nutrient-dense” carbs (foods like vegetables, fruits, some whole grains, legumes). Carbs that are heavily processed or lacking nutrients? Skip it, you might get a burst of energy, but the energy won’t last, and eating a lot of empty calories overtime can cause insulin resistance and metabolic mayhem. So be wary of foods high in sugar, and foods with “enriched flour” – which are usually processed to the point of no nutrients being left – and that is why they need to add vitamins back in.
  • Does it have fiber? Fiber helps to keep your bloodsugar stable and supports healthy digestion – so carbs with fiber tend to keep you fuller longer, serve as food for your good bacteria, and help keep things “moving” and prevent constipation. But be wary of processed foods with added fibers though (ie: fiber snack bars), because these foods are often junk food disguised as healthy – they are made with enriched flours and sugar – with fiber added back in. And when incorporating fiber, just realize that if you are not used to much fiber – you will want to gradually increase your intake to allow your digestive system to adjust.  Cooking vegetables helps make them more easily digestible.
  • Is it low glycemic? Carbs that are lower on the glycemic index won’t spike your blood sugar higher/faster, so these are less likely to lead to blood sugar instability – so you will have less cravings and longer lasting energy. Generally speaking, you want to go for carbs that are lower on the glycemic index, so you will not get the rush and crash!

One option to consider – Carb Cycling.

One possible approach to the dilemma of whether or not to go Low Carb or not – is to cycle back and forth between low carb/higher fat, and moderate carbs.  This is great for commitment fobes, and more importantly, keeps the metabolism on it’s toes.  This approach has long been used by weight lifters to lean out and bulk up – but is becoming more mainstream as of late.

There are several ways to do this, these are just some examples:

  • 2 days low carb, higher fat, followed by a day of higher carb, lower fat – called a “refeed day.”
  • Low carb, higher fat in the morning, followed by a starchy carb-rich dinner (like a serving of rice, sweet potato, etc). You might find that solves your sleep problem if you have been on a low carb diet and are having trouble sleeping.
  • 5-6 days of low carb, higher fat followed by a day (usually on the weekends) where you get to “splurge” a bit – and enjoy dessert.
  • Or you could do a mix of the above – or your own cycle.

Read: The Science of Carb Cycling: How It Works and How to Do It Right

Consider Adding Resistant Starch

Whether you stick with a low carb diet or not, you might want to consider adding in a serving or two of resistant starch to your diet.  Resistant starch does not spike blood sugar or insulin like regular starches/carbs, and it supports healthy bacteria in the gut.  It is sometimes called the “skinny starch” because it can help people lose excess weight and help balance gut health to give you a flatter belly.  Read What is Skinny Starch? to learn more.   Or sign up for my eCourse – All About Resistant Starch to learn more and get a recipe book. 

So although I generally recommend going low carb for a short period of time for most people, because it can help you reset the metabolism and lose weight, just realize that it may or may not be right for you  for the long term.  And if you do stick with a low carb diet – you need to remember to get plenty of healthy fats!!

This article is an excerpt from Sara’s Break up with Sugar program.

Interested in Learning more?  Take an eCourse:

break up with sugar program

 

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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“Skinny Starch” Raspberry Cream Tart (dairy, gluten & grain free)

February 15, 2017
Skinny Starch Raspberry Cream Tart

Have you heard of “skinny starch”?  It is also called “resistant starch” – because it resists digestion.  What that means is that it moves slowly through the digestive tract – so it helps to keep your blood sugar more stable, it is a prebiotic – meaning that it serves as “food” for the good bacteria in our colon. It is called the “skinny starch” because it can improve digestion, blood sugar, energy, and gut bacteria – all of which could potentially mean flatter bellies and weight loss.  But before you run out and eat a lot of skinny starch – realize that like any fiber – especially a prebiotic one – you want to begin to incorporate it slowly, or it could potentially cause digestive upset.

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 I like to add tiger nut flour to my daily smoothie.  Resistant starch can also help you sleep – so this Tiger Nut & Cashew Horchata drink is a nice thing to have before bedtime.  I also like to add tiger nut flour to desserts – like this raspberry tart!

"skinny starch" raspberry cream tart

 

“Sugar Cookie” Crust:

  • 1 cup of blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup of tiger nut flour (I like this one from Organic Gemini)
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut sugar cookie crust
  • 2 Tablespoons of virgin coconut oil (melted)
  • 3 dates (pits removed)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of organic stevia (I like this product called Pyure)
  • 3 Tablespoons of cashew butter (you could sub for almond butter)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Real salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

CrustPut all the ingredients into a food processor, process until still crumbly, but starting to come together.

lightly grease a tart pan, and press the crust into it (I like to use my fingers to spread it around, then a flat bottom measuring cup to get it even. Press it so it comes up about halfway up the sides of the tart pan.

Put into freezer for about 20-30 mins.

 

Raspberry filling:

  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups frozen organic raspberries
  • 2 teaspoons of organic steviaraspberry filling
  • 1/4 cup tiger nut flour
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I like Warrior Blend)
  • pinch of Real salt

Put all of the above into the Vitamix, and blend until combined.

Take crust out of freezer, and pour filling onto the crust – spread with a spatula or spoon.  Return to freezer to set – at least 2 hours, up to a day ahead.  Remove from freezer before you want to serve, add the raspberries, and whipped cream if you like (see below).

Toppings:

  • Fresh raspberries

Coconut Whipped Cream (optional)

  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk (just cream) – store in refrigerator for at least 12 hours beforehand)raspberry tart with coconut cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of stevia
  • 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

Put the coconut milk in refrigerator the day before you want to make the cream.  Open the bottom of the can, and pour off the coconut water (reserve for smoothies, or another recipe).

Scoop out the coconut cream and put it into a bowl with the other ingredients, using a electric mixer – whip it up.  Taste and adjust.  Spoon onto slices before serving.

 

Want to learn more about Resistant Starch and get more delicious recipes – including “skinny starch” chocolate nut butter cups and cookie dough balls?  Take my Resistant Starch eCourse!

Enter code Fox5 to save 20% – expires February 28th!!

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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Double Chocolate Peppermint Muffins

December 17, 2016
Duble Chocolate Peppermint Muffins

 

My hubby and I are invited to a holiday party tonight and my friend asked me to bring a “healthy but yummy Sara” dessert.  So I decided to come up with a new recipe!  I used my ‘formula’ for flax muffins – and took it the chocolate peppermint route.  They turned out delish!!

Double Chocolate Peppermint Muffins (free of wheat, gluten & grains)

Double Chocolate Peppermint Muffins

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 organic eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons organic cane sugar or coconut sugar (to reduce the sugar content, replace 2 Tablespoons of the sugar with 1/2 teaspoon of powered stevia, or 20 drops of stevia liquid)
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut milk or coconut water
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons of raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup of ground flax meal
  • 3-4 drops of peppermint essential oil*
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon high quality salt (like Himalayan)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I like 60% or higher cacao)
  • Optional – crushed candy canes (I use the kind without artificial colorings)
    *Always make sure to use high quality certified therapeutic grade essentail oils if ingesting them. Essential oils are strong 3-4 drops is plenty.  You could substitute 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract if you do not have essential oil.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Double chocolate peppermint muffins
  2. Melt the coconut oil.
  3. Line your mini-muffin pan with muffin papers
  4. Mix together the eggs and sugar till well combined, then add in and mix together the rest of the ingredients – adding the chocolate chips last.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin papers in the tin, coming up about 3/4 of the way up (they will expand and rise).
  6. Put into the preheated oven (I sometimes press a few extra chocolate chips on the top).
  7. Bake for about 15 mins – until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and right away sprinkle on some of the crushed candy canes if using – I kind of put them in the center.
  9. Allow to cool.
  10. Serve & enjoy!  Keep in an airtight container.

 

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils contact sara@rebalancelife.com

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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Healthy Holiday Gift Guide 2016

December 8, 2016
Healthy Holiday Gift Guide

It’s baaaack!! My annual Healthy Holiday Gift Guide is here!

Looking for a special gift for your friends and loved ones this year – why not give them a gift of health?  

These gift ideas include items that can de-stress, keep your groceries cold, or beautify – I am sure there is something that will delight your friends and loved ones!

 

Annmarie Skin Care: for beautiful skin

Now 25% off using code GlowOnceMore (end Dec. 13th)!! 

 

annmarie skincare 2016

 

Do you have someone special on your list who wants to have beautiful glowing skin, and also wants to avoid common chemicals included in many skincare lines?  Then Annmarie Skin Care is the solution – you’ll be amazed to find that you don’t need all those nasty chemicals to make really good, spa quality skin care products.  And with sample kits starting at just $10, there is something for everyone and for every price list from Annmarie Skin Care.

  • Skin Care Sample Kit – Try 3 products for just $10/each.  Sample kits come in beautiful boxes and make great stocking stuffers or gift for a cousin or a teacher. Choose the Restore sample for mature skin types, Balance for normal or combo skin types, or Purify for oily skin types.
  • Other Sample Kits – $20/each.  The Getaway kit is like a spa on the go – it lets you try 8 products. The Make up Kit lets you try 8 shades of make up so you can find your perfect shade. The Essential Oil Sample Kit gives you 5 essential oils to try.
  • Travel Kits – Prices range from $24.95 – $49.95.  These kits are larger than the sample kits, but still small enough to throw in your luggage for travel.
  • Gift Sets – Prices range from $142.95 – $272.95. The Balance Gift Set is great for all skin types and includes an Aloe Herb Cleanser, Ayurvedic Facial Scrub, Neroli Toning Mist, Herbal Facial Oil for Normal & Combination Skin, and Purifying Mud Mask which all work together to leave your skin fresh, moisturized, and glowing.  Comes with a Limited Edition Holiday Let it Glow Tote Bag! (A $19.95 value)

 

Matcha Source – for focus and energy

 

Matcha Source Holiday

If you know someone that likes to start their day with a little boost of focus and energy, but doesn’t want to feel jittery? Then look no further than Matcha tea!! Matcha tea is the highest quality green tea and contains an amino acid that promotes a calm, focused feeling – called L-Theanine. You can brew it hot, or you can blend it into a matcha latte smoothie.  Matcha boasts a lot of other health benefits, read: Why Everyone is Drinking Matcha Tea to learn more about this amazing superfood.  Matcha Source is a great place to get your matcha tea gifts – with gift sets ranging in price from $45 to $138.00, Matcha Source has something for many different budgets.  Unlike other green teas which are steeped, matcha tea is ground into a fine powder – so it is added to water, and then whisked in to blend it in – so it is good to get someone started with a gift that contains everything they need to make matcha tea:

  • “The Froth It” kit – on sale for $45.90. A good gift set for somone new to matcha tea, and wants to whip it up quickly – this comes with matcha tea and an electronic frother.  The frother can also be used to froth your almond or coconut milk for your matcha latte!!
  • The Matcha Source “Whisk It” Kit – starts at $59.00. This is good for someone that wants to go the more traditional route with the whisk –  includes a whisk, a celadon whisk holder, and your choice of matcha tea.
  • The Focus Tea Gift Set – starts at $99. The ultimate matcha gift set, which includes one matcha tea bowl, a bamboo whisk and celadon whisk holder, a tea sifter, a bamboo tea scoop, and your choice of a 30g tin of matcha.


 

Pack It Bags: stylish bags that keep items chilled!

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-9-40-57-am

Here in California, plastic bags have been given the heave ho – so if we don’t want to have to pay 10 cents each time we need a brown bag at the grocery – we’d better bring our own.  If you are looking to invest in or gift some reuseable grocery bags – let me recommend Pack It cooler bags – they are not only reusable, they are like mini portable refrigerators!   They are really strong, stylish, and they fold down flat so you can store them in your freezer.  Take them to the store – and they will keep your items cold for hours!!  These are great for soccer moms that like to do errands, but can’t get right back home.  Also great for taking to the beach, pool, or parties too! They also make wine bottle cooler bags (perfect hostess gift), lunch bags (kids love them!), and many other items.  I have used Pack It cooler bags for years, and I get compliments on my bags every time I use them!  Pack It’s prices are great too – learn more or order at www.packit.com.

  • Freezable grocery bag – $24.99 – grab one for yourself and a few for your friends.
  • Freezable Wine Bag – $15.99 – fabulous hostess gift!!
  • Freezable Lunch Bags – prices range from $14.99 for the salad bag to $24.99 for the Uptown or Deluxe Lunch bag. Great teacher gift! 

 

Nervana – stimulate serenity (and digestion)!

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Have you heard of the Vagus Nerve? It connects our brain and our gut – and when it is not optimized, it can lead to a myriad of symptoms including anxiety, poor focus, slow gut motility (constipation) and more. This exciting new product called “Nervana” stimulates the vagus nerve while you listen to music – it can help to balance neurotransmitters, the nervous system, mood, boost gut motility, and much more!! This is a really unique and helpful gift for someone suffering from high stress levels, anxiety, sluggish digestion, focus issues, or just wanting to optimize or ‘biohack’ their overall health. I vew the Nervana device as kind of like a “workout” for my vagus nerve.  Why would I want to work out my vagus nerve you might ask?  According to Vagus Nerve Stimulation, a New Tool for Brain Research and Therapy, “clinical and animal studies indicate that VNS likely results in changes in serotonin (Ben-Menachem et al 1995), norepinephrine (Krahl et al 1998), GABA, and glutamate (Walker et al 1999)—neurotransmitters implicated in the pathogenesis of major depression.”  So stimulating the vagus nerve could be a factor in resolving mood imbalances.  And according to this study, while exercise is important for proper gut motility, “vagal nerve regulation is essential for the increase in gastric motility in response to mild exercise.”  Learn more about Nervana here.  See more articles and research on the vagus nerve at the bottom of this article. 

Note: I have been testing out a Nervana device personally for a few days – and even though it has been less than a week – so far I have been impressed!!  Stay tuned for a blog about my experiences with Nervana soon.

Nervana units start at $319.00 (they are on special now for $289.00).  See below for some links to research on the vagus nerve.


 

Cultures for Health – gut happy fermented foods!

cultures-for-health

Fermented foods boost healthy digestion, have been linked to improved mood, and also may support a healthy metabolism and weight.  Do you know someone that loves to buy kombucha, kefir, saurkraut, and kimchi?  They might want to make their own!  Making your own fermented foods is kind of like having a science experiment in your house that tastes great, and makes you feel great when you eat it.  I have made my own kombucha, kefir water, kimchi, and saurkraut – and I find the easiest one is kefir water.  But I have always wanted to make my own sourdough bread. There is a lot of evidence that fermenting the wheat makes it easier to digest and even some people who have senstivities to regular wheat bread can tolerate sourdough fine (if you have celiac disease or a severe gluten intolerance, please go with the gluten free version).   I would love to find a sourdough culture under the tree this year…hint, hint honey. Cultures for Health offers gifts in all price ranges – single cultures start at just under $10 – you can get a sourdough culture for $13.95.  Or you can get a full Kit like the Ginger Water Kefir making kit for $39.95, or the Homemade Kimchi kit for $49.95.  Learn more/order here: www.culturesforhealth.com.


My Intent – Wearable Mantras!

my-intent

 

I love these wearable mantra bracelets from My Intent.  My Intent is not just a jewelry company – they are an “intentions project.”  My Intent wants their jewelry to be a catalyst for “meaningful conversations and positive energy.”  They believe there is “purpose inside each of us and we want our efforts to encourage people to share more truth and inspiration with each other.”     Prices start at just $12 for a keychain, and $18 for a bracelet.  You can even buy the stamper to make your own mantra jewelry!   These bracelets are big with the Hollywood set – with Jay Z, Beyonce, and Kayne seen wearing them (even seen on the cover of Time magazine). Check out this story about My Intent bracelets on The Today Show.   In my Break up with Sugar program, I encourage participants to pick a mantra to help guide them and stay focused on their purpose and truth – I love that we can wear our mantra and keep in the forefront of our mind.  What would your word be?

 


Essential Oilsharness the power of nature for your health!

essential oils

Essential oils are a powerful natural way to support health – they have been shown to support mood, immunity, energy, focus, and much more.  Essential oils can be diffused, used topically, they make wonderful cleaning products, candles, and soaps; and some can also be used internally – but it is important to make sure to use only the highest quality therapeutic-grade essential oils.   Prices start at $10 for some single oils and go up from there!  I like to add a drop of lemon essential oil to my water, diffuse oils for calm, focus, and energy – and also to clear stinky kitchen smells!  You can add lavendar to your bath for calm, and even put some on your pillow for sleep.  One of the most important thing that essential oils do – they can replace chemicals in your life – see articles and references below about chemicals to avoid.

Interested in learning about essential oils?  Contact Sara Vance at sara@rebalancelife.com or visit https://www.mydoterra.com/saravance


Meditation Studio – Guided meditation and courses

mediation studio app

Someone on your list interested in meditation, but don’t really know where to start?  This Meditation Studio app offers a diverse selection of over 200 guided meditations featuring different teachers and styles. Focus on your intention or dive deep into a meditation topic with exclusive collections and courses. Meditation Studio is a great gift idea, and it is just $3.99.  Featured by Apple as “10 Best Apps of the Year” 2016, one of TIME’s “50 Best Apps of the Year” 2016, and recommended by: Forbes, Inc., Refinery 29, Huffington Post, Well and Good, Greatist, Celebuzz, Yahoo! Beauty, and many more!   Find out even more and try a meditation at www.meditationstudioapp.com


Coming soon…my Healthy Cookbooks and Books recommendations!!

Do you have a loved one that likes to read, and is interested in improving their health?  Books are a great gift – because they are budget friendly and provide hours of entertainment.  Or maybe you have someone that loves to cook – cookbooks are also a great gift.  Selecting a healthy book or cookbook could have a huge impact on someone’s life and health – and their families’ too.  Stay tuned, my next blog will include my top recommendations this year – several of these will be featured in my FREE Book Club – learn more/sign up here.

Related articles/research:

Vagus Nerve Articles and Studies:

Essential oils articles:

 

Affiliate Disclosure: Sara hand selects the products that she recommends, and only recommends products that she has used (or would use) herself, and with her family.  Sara does her best to research each company and product to ensure that it uses the best in ingredients, quality, and safety.  But she also suggests that the buyer also do their own research to make sure each product and company is right for them before buying.  Sara is not connected to any of these companies, and any customer service issues or concerns should be directed at the companies/manufacturers.  Some of the companies that Sara recommends offer affiliate programs – which means that she is paid a small commission for any sales that she refers, this does not affect the consumer’s price of the product in any way. 

 

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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Does Sugar Feed Cancer?

October 14, 2016
Does Sugar Feed Cancer?
Categories: Uncategorized

Some cancer researchers have been asking the question: Does Sugar Feed Cancer?  If the answer to that question is Yes, the next logical question is then, Can we Starve Cancer? This basically sums up the metabolic theory for cancer – which says that we should be looking at cancer as a metabolic disease, not a genetic mutation.

The cool thing about this approach – is that it offers new hope.  We can change our metabolism, but we can’t change our genes.

The metabolic theory for cancer may seem new, but it is not.  Ninety years ago Nobel Laureate Dr. Otto Warburg discovered that cancer cells are metabolically different from normal cells, and that they require sugar to grow and thrive.  Since then various studies have demonstrated a potent link between sugar and cancer, including that malignant cells die when starved of glucose.

According to this Dr. Mercola article, “a cell can produce energy in two ways: aerobically, in the mitochondria, or anaerobically, in the cytoplasm, which generates lactic acid — a toxic byproduct.  The former is far more efficient, capable of generating 32 times more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) than anaerobic energy generation. Dr. Warburg concluded that the prime cause of cancer was reversion of energy generation from aerobic energy generation to anaerobic fermentation.”

“For cancer there is only one prime cause…it is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar.”  – Nobel Prize winner, Otto Warburg

Sugar molecules are present in high numbers in cancer cells, in fact – that is one way to test for cancer – a radioactive glucose solution is swallowed, and a PET scan can see that areas that are cancerous – because cancerous cells naturally take up more of the solution than non-cancerous ones. 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 their study, Otto Warburg’s theory appears correct: “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.

According to researchers at MD Anderson – fructose, glucose, and sucrose – all types of sugar, affect a metabolic pathway that helps cells metastasize, or spread.  “The majority of cancer patients don’t die of their primary tumor. They die of metastatic disease,” Cohen told NBC News.  These findings suggest that those who eat more sugary foods could be more likely to have cancer mestastize and spread.  Their study showed that mice whose diets were high in sugar, were 50% more likely to get cancer. And that the more sugar you fed them, the bigger the tumors grew.

A study published in 2004 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found that diets comprised of more than 57% carbohydrates, more than doubled the risk of developing breast cancer. “Scientists have long suspected that diet was among the factors contributing to breast cancer,” said study co-author Walter Willett, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H, the Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “Now, with studies like ours, we are beginning gradually to understand what elements of diet specifically are associated with the disease, and to grasp the chemical and biological processes that contribute to it at the cellular level.”  Researchers suspect that the elevated insulin levels and insulin-like growth factor were potentially to blame for the rise in cancer.

Yet despite the ling history linking sugar to cancer, and all of the recent studies and mounting evidence of a link between sugar and cancer development and growth – nutrition is rarely considered or discussed with cancer patients.  In fact, you will often find candies, cookies and sodas in oncology departments.

Is it Time to Take a Different Approach to Cancer Research and Treatment?

According to The American Cancer Society, “there will be an estimated 1,685,210 new cancer cases diagnosed and 595,690 cancer deaths in the US. in 2016.”    That is almost 6 hundred thousand people that will die this year from cancer.

With 50% of men receiving a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, and 30% of women being diagnosed – cancer affects all of us, either personally or with a loved one or friend being diagnosed.  Cancer mortality rates have not changed significantly since the 1950s despite billions of dollars being raised and spent on research.  For nearly a century – sugar has been linked to cancer – and thankfully more studies are being done to understand this link and what we can all do with this information to prevent and treat cancers.Tripping Over the Truth

Can We Starve Cancer?

If sugar feeds cancer, what happens when we stop eating it – can we essentially “starve” cancer?  That is what a lot of proponents of “the metabolic theory of cancer” are purporting.  Diets high in fats, extremely low in carbohydrates, and moderate protein are called ketogenic diets – and they force the body to burn fat (ketones) as fuel instead of it’s preferred fuel – sugar.  Ketogenic diets have been recognized for years as a nutritional way to treat epilepsy, and also for weight loss, and improved brain function.  The jury is still out on whether or not it is an effective long term solution/approach to preventing or treating cancer.  But it is exciting to watch the research being done, and it could potentially could offer new hope for cancer prevention and treatment.

Learn more about the metabolic theory of cancer in this fascinating book: Tripping over the Truth by Travis Christopherson.

The question is – do you have to go all the way to a ketogenic diet to starve cancer, or is significantly cutting down on our intake enough?  Current guidelines from the American Heart Association are that women should get no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day, and men no more than 9 teaspoons. Most Americans are getting more than double that.   Overtime, when we overload our metabolism with sugars, it gets less effective at processing them (insulin resistance), and that is when the trouble begins.

Sugar and Disease

In addition to stubborn weight gain, sugar and carb-heavy diets are linked to a higher risk of developing cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, nerve damage, and even death of all causes – read 20 Reasons to Break up with Sugar to learn more.

Hidden Sugars Are Everywhere

Manufacturers know that we love sugar, and that it is as addictive as a drug.  So adding it to foods gets consumers to buy their food over and over.  Over 75% of all packaged and processed foods contain added sugars – even foods that are not considered “sweet” like Cheetos and Doritos!! Most people have no idea how much sugar they are actually getting in their diets every day – because it is sneaking in all day long – even in “healthy choices” like yogurts, cereals, sports nutrition foods, and snack bars.

My Break up with Sugar

When I was a kid, sugar was a major food group for me.  There was nothing I loved more than cookies, ice cream, soda, or candy.  I always knew sugar wasn’t good for me, that it was essentially “empty calories” (contains no vitamins, minerals, fiber or nutrients).  But for decades, I believed the myth that those empty calories were totally harmless.  Now I know the truth – that sugar raises our risk of many diseases.

My addiction to sugar continued into adulthood – with diet sodas, chocolate, and high glycemic foods like pretzels.  One of the best things I ever did – was to take back the control from sugar.   I will never know what disease I may have prevented by breaking up with sugar, but I do know that not only did my energy, sleep, and moods improve – but I noticed my skin looking more vibrant and youthful!  And my tastebuds even changed!!  Now the idea of eating an ice cream drenched in caramel sauce does not appeal to me in the least!  I still do enjoy a square or two of dark chocolate however.

Want to take back control of your health?  Join me for the Break up with Sugar Program – the next group starts on November 2nd:

break up with sugar program

 

 

References/Additional Reading:

Here’s How Sugar Might Fuel the Growth of Cancer

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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The Impact of Excess Estrogens on our Weight & Health and “The Disappearing Male”

August 8, 2016
bigstock--131616194
Categories: Uncategorized

Hormones play very critical roles in our metabolism.

Our hormones are kind of like a chain of dominos. When one gets out of balance, it can pull the others along with it, and our metabolism too – this can contribute to a myriad of symptoms, including very stubborn weight gain.  Like – no matter what you do, you can’t seem to get that weight in your midsection to budge. 

One very important hormone that is often the trigger to pull the rest of the dominos down is insulin – it is responsible for removing glucose from the bloodstream and delivering it into the cells.  When that mechanism is not working correctly (as in insulin resistance)- then our blood sugar can stay elevated, the cells get starved for energy, and the glucose ends up getting stored – as fat.

Another hormone imbalance that can cause metabolic mayhem is a very common condition is called estrogen dominance.  Estrogen dominance occurs when estrogen is out of balance with progesterone and testosterone. You can even have low levels of estrogen, but if it is high in relation to your testosterone and progesterone (because they are in the tank), then your estrogen can still be dominant.

Women are not the only ones affected by this condition, in fact – there is increasing evidence that excess estrogens could also be having devastating consequences for males.

I uncovered a fascinating and disturbing documentary called The Disappearing Male, which examines the impact that the more than 80,000 xenoestrogen chemicals in our environment has had on the male species – I was shocked to learn that boy births have been on a serious decline in the past few decades.  So much so, that 3 million fewer boys have been born since 1970.  Other problems include lower sperm counts, genital birth defects, weight gain, and increases in cancer. I highly recommend watching this documentary – it is in the references section below. 

Could living in a chemical soup be putting the entire male species in danger?

One place that we can see the evidence of the impact of chemicals on the male species is in pesticide-laden Lake Apopka in Florida – where male aligators are not really very male anymore.  They have smaller genitals (25% smaller), low to no sperm count, and testosterone levels of a female.   In contrast, in other nearby lakes that are not polluted with pesticides, the male aligators are quite normal.  According to this PBS article, this phenomenon was repeated in the laboratory.

Some possible symptoms of estrogen dominance include:

  • red, flushed face
  • weight gain, especially belly fat – “or a beer belly”
  • water retention, bloating
  • dry eyes
  • vaginal dryness
  • shortness of breath, tire easily
  • low muscle tone, difficulty putting on muscle
  • irritability
  • insomnia
  • mood swings, depression, agitation
  • low confidence
  • irregular cycles
  • fatigue
  • low libido
  • poor blood sugar regulation
  • headaches

Conditions that estrogen dominance could promote:

  • blood clots, elevated stroke risk
  • thyroid dysfunction
  • genital birth defects
  • early or delayed puberty
  • endometriosis
  • PCOS
  • elevated blood pressure
  • gallbladder disease
  • miscarriage
  • fibroids
  • fibrocystic breasts
  • migraines
  • osteoporosis
  • decreased sperm count
  • infertility
  • increased incidence of cancer – testicular, breast, prostate, cervical, endometrial
  • gynomastica (breast development in men)
  • abnormal PAP smears, HPV

Here are 5 steps you can take to reduce excess estrogens and balance your hormones.

 

1. Avoid endocrine interrupting and obesogenic chemicals.

Although it is nearly impossible to avoid chemicals entirely, it is prudent to do your very best to become aware of them, and avoid them as much as possible.  Certain chemicals are called “obesogenic” because they are linked to weight gain.  Some are endocrine interruptors that can raise our estrogen levels and cause estrogen dominance and the myriad of related symptoms.  These chemicals may also raise our risk for cancer, and heart disease.

Some of the common gender-bending chemicals to avoid:

  • Phthalates– are plasticizers used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break.  They are also used as a emulsifier, and solvent for personal care products. A study found that people with phthalates were twice as likely to develop diabetes.  Avoid personal care and cleaning products such as soaps, shampoos, detergents, and nail polishes that are not all natural, organic or say “phthlate free” – especially those that list perfume or fragrance, because these often contain phthalates.
  • Bisphenol A (BPAs) – did you know that in the 1940s, before BPAs were used in plastics, they discovered that BPAs increased estrogens and were investigating it as a possible hormone replacement therapy?  Then they discovered that they make plastic more pliable and malleable.  So they decided to forget that whole estrogen thing, we’ve got a use for BPAs. And they proceeded to use this chemical in everything – well, what about the fact that they raise estrogen levels?
  • Pesticides & Herbicides – did you know that 90% of conventional crops contain pesticides, and that non-organic apples can have 37 different pesticides used?  Consuming organic as much as possible for produce can signifcantly reduce your exposure to pesticides.  If you are looking to save money and can’t go organic for everything  – focus on the Dirty Dozen – which are the 12 most likely to be contaminated with chemicals.  Also go organic for animal proteins – otherwise, you can get a hit of GMOs, hormones, and pesticides from their feed.  Avoid using pesticides and herbicides on your property.

Find a more detailed list of chemicals and toxins to avoid and practical suggestions for detoxification in chapter – 5 ‘Lose the Toxic Weight’ – in my book The Perfect Metabolism Plan.

2. Avoid a high sugar diet.

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. Diets high in sugar and simple carbs can cause aromatization –which is the conversion of one hormone to the other – which can lead to estrogen dominance conditions . Diets high in sugar can lead to insulin resistance, which can cause fat storage – and fat is like an endocrine organ itself, which increases estrogen levels.  Another 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.  Chapter 1 of The Perfect Metabolism Plan is titled ‘Break up with Sugar,’ because it is the #1 thing we need to do to line up those hormones and get the metabolism working again.

3. Reduce Stress.

Cortisol is an important hormone, but when we are under high levels of chronic stress, the body can pump out too much cortisol.  When cortisol is elevated, so is insulin (fat storage hormone), and digestion is shut down.  So you can see how high levels of stress can mess with our hormones and metabolism.  And if you keep pumping out cortisol – it will steal from the sex hormones in order to make more.  So this can lead to imbalances in the sex hormones – which can cause estrogen dominance. Chapter 7 of The Perfect Metabolism Plan details ways to get stress levels under control and improve sleep.

4. Exercise Smarter.

Doing too much cardio exercise can also cause our stress hormone cortisol to rise.  So instead of exercising harder and longer, just exercise smarter. Lift weights, do interval training with short cardio bursts, and balance those out with stress lowering exercises like yoga and walking.  Chapter 10 of The Perfect Metabolism Plan is all about ‘exercising smarter, not harder.’

5. Support the liver.  

The liver is the “general of the army” when it comes to detoxing the body, it also plays a very important role in sugar metabolism.  And in our increasingly toxic world, and high sugar diets – our livers are getting extremely taxed, there has been a exponential rise in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. One of the liver’s important jobs is removing excess estrogens.  So when the liver is burdened, excess estrogens tend to hang around and recirculate causing havoc.  Read: 20 Signs Your Liver Needs Some TLC for more information.

 

break up with sugar program

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources and additional references:

http://www.womenlivingnaturally.com/articlepage.php?id=72

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/nature/gallery/alligators.html

https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php

http://www.drchuckcochran.com/articles/the-feminization-of-the-american-male/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/08/31/disappearing-male-documentary.aspx

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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Super Simple Cream of Tomato Soup (Dairy Free)

June 24, 2016
Cream of Tomato Soup (Dairy free)

If you are growing tomatoes in the garden this summer – you might be looking for delicious recipes…

This cream of tomato soup is super simple – containing essentially just 4 ingredients. It is easy to make and the flavor does not disappoint.  And with the beautiful swirl of cashew cream – you would never guess that it is dairy free!!

Makes 2 main dish portions, or 4 side dish/appetizer portions. 

Ingredients:Red Tomatoes

  • 2 pounds of organic tomatoes (can be roma, vine ripe, grape, or a combination)
  • 1/2 of an onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of raw cashews
  • Avocado oil (can use olive or coconut oil)
  • Salt & pepper to taste – high quality like Himalayan or Real Salt
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Put cashews into 1 cup of water, allow to soak for 15 minutes – 2 hours.
  3. Slice tomatoes in half, coat in avocado or olive oil, sprinkle with salt, place sliced side down on parchment on baking pan. Put into oven.
  4. Cook tomatoes until just starting to get brown/roasted, about 25 – 30 mins.
  5. Heat a pot on medium on stove, add in about 2 tablespoons of avocado oil, add the chopped onions, and sauté until translucent, and then a little more to slightly brown – about 10 mins. Turn off heat.
  6. Drain the cashews and put into the blender with 1/2 cup of fresh water.  Add a pinch of salt, and blend for about 2 minutes.  You now have cashew cream. How easy was that?  Pour the cashew cream into a glass container, set aside. (alternatively you could use coconut milk if you prefer to not make the cashew cream).
  7. Take the tomatoes out of the oven, and put the tomatoes (with any juices released), the sautéed onions, and add 1 cup of filtered water into the blender.  Blend until smooth.
  8. Adjust the salt, add any additional seasonings or herbs that you like.  This all can be done in advance – just put the soup in a glass container and store in refrigerator – until ready to eat at this point.
  9. Pour the soup back into the pot, bring up to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for about 5-10 mins.
  10. Pour the soup into bowls, swirl in the cashew cream, top with extra black pepper if desired.  Add as much cashew cream as you like. 
  11. Serve & enjoy!!

Optionally – serve with sourdough or gluten free croutons. 

 

 

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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The “Frosty”

June 12, 2016
The "Frosty"

As a foodie and a nutritionist – I believe that it is possible for food to be both delicious and nutritious – it just takes a little ingenuity in the kitchen!!  I love to make “upgraded” healthier version of foods – like this Wendy’s style “Frosty!

When I am choosing what I put into my body, it needs to taste great and support my body and brain to function at it’s best.  Foods that are high in sugar might fit the bill on taste – but they will just make you crash and burn and feel like crap in the end.  Plus, it is easy to make something taste great if you just load up on the sugar – where is the challenge in that?  Overtime, a high sugar diet can lead to a host of health issues – read 20 Reasons to Break Up with Sugar to learn more.

To me, it is just not worth the impact on my health to eat high sugar foods – especially when you can make a healthier version that tastes just as good (I think this one tastes even better than the original).

This smoothie is a delicious recovery drink for athletes too!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk, cashew milk, or another alternative milk (you can replace this with water or coconut water if you wish)
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (such as Warrior Blend)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons white chia or flax seeds
  • 1/2 of an avocado (makes light and creamy and richer)
  • 1 spoonful of cashew butter (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons of raw cacao powder (use more if you want it darker chocolate, less will be lighter)
  • 1/2 of a frozen banana (I freeze them slightly green tipped – lower in sugar and higher in beneficial resistant starch)
  • a few drops of Stevia or a natural Stevia/Monk Fruit sweetener blend if you want it sweetened a little, or a touch of your favorite natural sweetener
  • Ice cubes to chill and thicken
  • Small pinch of Real Salt or Himalayan salt (brings out the flavors and sweetness and adds trace minerals – but just a pinch, so it does not taste salty!!)

Directions:

  1. Put the liquid into the blender, add the chia seeds, allow to soak & hydrate for approx. 3-5 mins.
  2. Put the rest of the ingredients into blender, blend.
  3. Add desired amount of ice to thicken, blend.
  4. Taste & adjust for sweetness.
  5. Pour into a glass, and drink (or eat with a spoon) right away.

This recipe is one of 60 recipes from the Break up with Sugar online program.

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Copyright © 2016 Rebalance Life, all rights reserved

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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