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Muscle Up Canada


How to Eat for Maximum Nutrient Absorption and Proper Digestion
Posted on April 21, 2015 by Frances Michaelson

Combining Foods for Maximum Nutrient AbsorptionIt never ceases to amaze me how certain people can take information and turn it into hype and the latest trend in eating or weight management. Gluten free is the perfect example. It is no secret that ‘gluten free foods’ are everywhere and even food that would never have gluten in it anyway are marketed “GLUTEN FREE.” This is really a result of various companies and people taking advantage of a trend. Nothing can be further than the truth. Sure, some people cannot digest gluten, but certainly not EVERYONE is suddenly intolerant to gluten. Several years ago it was fashionable to combine certain foods together, promoting weight loss and more energy. The reality is that food combining is very serious and YES, certain foods should NEVER be eaten together, but you need to understand why!

According to the American Dietetic Association, it doesn’t matter how we combine our foods, as long as we eat proteins, carbohydrates and some fat at each meal. This philosophy is dumbfounding and unscientific. I have many clients that come to see me questioning the fact that they have listened to everything their dietician had prescribed, yet are suffering from indigestion, and bloating. Other problems that can usually occur from improper digestion are heart burn and acid reflux.

1. Never Combine Proteins and Starches

The first rule I want to address in relation to food combining is to NEVER combine protein and complex carbohydrates at the same meal. This means do not eat meat with a potato. Some of you who may have never heard this before are probably saying to yourself “but this is the way we were taught.” Yes, probably, but by whom? Protein is an acid food and carbohydrates are an alkaline base. Acid digestive enzymes and alkaline digestive enzymes will neutralize each other causing proper digestion to stop and putrefaction and fermentation to begin. Carbohydrates begin their digestive process in the mouth with amylase, ptyalin and other alkaline digestive enzymes. Protein-type foods including meat and nuts start their digestive process in the lower stomach with the release of HCL (hydrochloric acid). When a predominant starch combines in the stomach with a predominant protein, you have a clash. This is the bloating you feel after eating a meal with this combination. The liver, pancreas, and adrenal tissues get hit the hardest. It is particularly hard for diabetics to regulate their blood sugar if they eat this way. On a personal note, I get so frustrated when a diabetic client will tell me that their doctor advised them NOT to eat fruit (nonsense as this simple sugar does not need to be broken down), yet says nothing about combining carbohydrates and protein! To ensure proper digestion of each food, wait two hours after eating a starch before eating protein. Wait three hours after eating protein before eating a starch. An example of the ideal dinner plate would be fish or animal protein with only cooked or raw vegetables (no starch) or a quinoa stir-fry with vegetables (no protein). I do realize that it is common to see salads that contain both fruits and vegetables, but I prefer to separate them for most people because of the different enzyme properties.

2. Eat Fruits Alone

The second rule of proper digestion is to eat fruit alone… NEVER in combination. This seems to be another surprise to most clients since you often see fruit offered as a dessert, or in combination with other foods such as cereal etc. Fruit is a simple sugar that does not have to be broken down, and is therefore instantly digested. When it is combined with other food (such as after a meal), it gets trapped in your stomach with the rest of the food, where it will start to rot . You should aim to eat fruit 30-60 minutes before a meal or after. For proper digestion, melons should be eaten alone, not even with other fruits. Melons appear to have their own mind and digest best when eaten within their own family. Therefore eat watermelons, cantaloupe, honey dew, papaya together, but not in combination with other fruits or foods. Some may disagree with me, but I do not encourage combining fruits and vegetables either. Although vegetables do break down more quickly than starch, the digestive process is still longer than the fruit and may cause unnecessary problems.

3. Drink Nothing With Your Meals

The third rule of food combining is not to drink with your meals. This will only dilute your digestive enzymes.

4. Enjoy Your Food

The fourth and final rule of food combining is to be mindful and do not combine your meal with anger or haste. Be happy when you eat. If you eat when you are angry or upset, you elevate your stomach acids which will neutralize your digestive efforts and create acidosis. Never stand while you eat. Sit, relax, chew slowly, and enjoy your food.
Bon Appetite!

Is Yoga The Missing Piece To Your Stress Relief Plan?
Posted on April 1, 2015 by Frances Michaelson

Aerial Yoga Nobody really likes the word stress, but it does exist in most of our lives. It’s how we react to stress that determines what kind of effect it will have on the body. Many people have found peace, comfort and help with stress through yoga. The practice of yoga allows us to be present in the mind, body, and breath. Through each asana (sitting pose), or other pose, we are required to feel grounded, present, and to not let the mind wander. Personally, it is very difficult for me to stay present because my mind wanders a lot, but I do find that yoga helps pull me back to the present. There are many different yoga practices: Ashtanga, Vinyasa flows, Hatha yoga, Aerial and Bikram, just to name a few. Everyone is different and may search for the practice that suits them the best. As a naturopath, I am not a big fan of too much hot yoga as I see many clients suffering from a loss of electrolytes. Vigorous asana practices can burn off nervous energy and are good for overall fitness, but focusing on the poses alone is not enough for sustained calmness. It is important to slow down the breath and meditate at the same time. Benefits from yoga can be felt from the first session. It’s a safe non-competitive, no ego environment, where everyone is there for his or her own reasons and it can be practiced anywhere including a studio, at home, and outdoors. Slowing down the breath and focusing on the sound of your own breathing can reduce stress. For it to be truly beneficial, yoga should be your practice and no one else’s. It is a time to concentrate and to bring peace to whatever is going on in your life.

Practicing Aerial Yoga

Liz, a client of mine, found peace in Aerial yoga. Although she had been practicing yoga for over 20 years, she threw herself into aerial yoga after surgery for breast cancer. It was a way for her to cope with the treatment. She says, “Aerial yoga allowed me to stop feeling the nervousness, worry, and stress of the whole experience, which was incredibly scary. I had this feeling that I was going to die every day, but the prana breathing and meditation is what helped me get away from these thoughts. I was able to get deeper into the whole practice through meditation and breathing. I started doing handstands because it is an inversion, which made me feel good quite fast. I felt powerful, strong, and confident that I would live well and be healthy. Aerial yoga, for me, became a huge confidence boost! When you feel strong and empowered, you cannot feel stressed!

In this video, you can see Liz in her element. Aerial yoga is essentially Hatha yoga sequences done with a hammock that acts like a prop, intended to assist alignment, deepen the stretch and provide spinal decompression. The body is partially or completely supported and aided by gravity. It is very beneficial to people with back issues and allows your spine to lengthen and decompress. It helps increase strength and flexibility and it is an excellent core workout. It increases confidence and a sense of well-being, and also improves lymphatic and circulatory systems. It is hard not to feel fantastic when you are flying! It is not recommended during pregnancy or if you have eye or heart issues.

What You Need to Know about Cleansing
Posted on February 9, 2015 by Frances Michaelson


While away this week on a yoga retreat in Costa Rica, I asked several people what cleansing meant to them. Every person had something different to say. Some felt it was strictly a spiritual experience, others thought it was simply eliminating processed foods, others said juicing only was the way to go.

Cleanse” is a big buzzword today and translates to many different therapies depending on who you ask, what their needs are, or perhaps what they read or heard their friend was doing. As a Naturopath, I feel it is very important to work with a professional and make sure that you are well prepared. We are all different and what may suit one lifestyle and digestion may be very detrimental to another.

A true cleanse means to empty the body of obstruction (waste) first, before taking in nutrients. Too many people do not understand that a true cleanse involves more than just changing ones diet.

I like to refer to this formula when explaining the true meaning of a cleanse to my clients. V= E – O. Vitality is equal to Energy minus Obstruction. The body can only work optimally, meaning able to heal, repair and regenerate itself when it is clean – rid of waste and obstructions. Obstructions are a build-up of waste, acids and toxins that the body has not been able to eliminate over the years. These acids and toxins come from processed foods, undigested food, hormones, pollution, and inorganic food supplements and medications.

The best and deepest way to cleanse would involve colonic irrigations to clean and rid the internal environment of waste so that the body’s cells are prepared for regeneration and change. Merely changing your diet may be the first step to improving lifestyle, but this is still not a true cleanse. Following irrigation, a juice fast, and/or eating raw food gives the body a break from digestion and provides the energy needed to clean.

The Dangers of Cleanse Diets

Without proper guidance, the cleansing process and your body’s reaction may not be fully understood, which can be dangerous and detrimental to your overall health. The body rids itself of obstruction first at the cellular level, and then through our four channels of elimination: bowels, kidneys, lungs, and skin. This means that it can take while before the cleanse is complete. Some people abandon a cleanse while the body is still doing it’s job of eliminating toxins/waste.

The most popular time that people choose to cleanse is the New Year. They feel overloaded with processed foods and alcohol from the holidays and decide to follow a restricted “cleaner” diet, so to speak. Some even choose to fast or drink only juice for several days without any professional guidance. This can be dangerous as everyone is different and may lead to adverse reactions.

The best time to try a cleanse is in the spring, when nature changes the season, and we come out of winter hibernation.

Because we are all different, I do not like to offer cleansing recipes, and would suggest that you consult with your physician and a professional. Some people may not be ready for an all-raw diet, or even juicing.

The need to detoxify and cleanse the body has never been greater than right now. Never before have people lived in such a toxic environment. Our air, water, food, soil and everything we touch has the potential of being toxic to our system. When we cleanse and remove toxic debris; feed the body good, healthy, organic and vital foods, the body will respond with healing and reversal of the disease processes. The road to health begins with an understanding of and committing to cleansing and detoxifying the body and restoring balance, peace, and harmony.

The Benefits of Smoothies
Posted on December 15, 2014 by Frances Michaelson

SmoothiesAs a naturopath and personal trainer, I know my clients will never achieve the results they are looking for without a diet that contains the necessary nutrients for lots of energy and a strong immune system. This comes from eating whole foods, something most people do not get enough of. Two-thirds of American adults fall short of the recommended daily allowance of RAW fruits and vegetables per day. For this reason, I always try to include a one smoothie a day in the diets of my clients and their children. Including smoothies in your diet makes it easy to increase your intake of raw fruits and vegetables – and thus, valuable nutrients! No one can argue about not having the time to throw a few things in a blender. Plus, there are so many healthy smoothie recipes to choose from on healthy sites and blogs. But, beware, not all smoothies are created equal! Please stay away from the recipes that offer “QUICK FIX HIGH ENERGY MENUS” that include everything from ice cream to high fructose fruit juices, peanut butter, chocolate spreads etc. These are not healthy, do not offer energy and should be avoided.

Considerations for Buying a Blender

If you are purchasing a blender for the first time, be wise, spend the extra money and buy a very good quality, high speed one. Brands I recommend are Vitamix or a Blendtec. You can include the seeds when using these blenders, and the seeds are full of enzymes. The blades will not break from the impact of the hard seeds, frozen berries or other frozen fruits, and ice, and the results are fast! The less the motor has to run, the more your enzymes will stay intact. With this type of machine you can also make soups, hummus, and other quality meals. You cannot do this with just any blender.

Smoothies are Perfect for On-The-Go-Families

Trying to get the kids off to school and yourself off to work can make for busy morning and hurried breakfasts. Smoothies are a perfect solution for the whole family.

My favorite morning smoothie suggestion is a handful of berries (frozen or fresh depending where you live), a banana, a pear, a good quality plant based protein, some coconut flakes or oil, and a sprinkle of hemp, chia, and flax seeds. The liquid suggestion is always water – NEVER FRUIT JUICE. Commercial fruit juices are very high in sugar and have no nutritional value whatsoever. The amount of water you should use depends on how much fruit you include and how you like your smoothies – more or less liquid. You may always vary your fruit choices depending on your taste. This smoothie recipe feeds you with vitamins, minerals, and good quality Omega 3′s, that will keep you satisfied until lunch!

A great after school snack can be another time to include a smoothie. One recipe that is a favorite with kids is a frozen banana with a couple of teaspoons of almond butter and some water.

Post-Workout Smoothies

Another great time for a smoothie is after your workout to replenish with good quality carbohydrates and protein. The same recipe as above would be great here, add in some greens such as kale, chard, or spinach to get that extra protein in!

Smoothies for Picky Eaters

Smoothies are fun for the whole family, easy to make and easy to digest. I have never met a child that was not happy drinking a smoothie. If they are a “picky eater with green veggies,” this is a perfect opportunity to hide a green behind the taste of a favorite fruit. They will never know!

Smoothies can help you make a “smooth” transition to a healthy lifestyle!

The Truth about Weight Loss
Posted on November 27, 2014 by Frances Michaelson

FruitThere is no better time than the present to write about weight loss. I think it is the most sought after topic both before and after the holidays. Before the festivities, everyone is trying their best to move more and eat less. After the holidays , all we hear about is the latest and greatest diet and workout program. Does it last ? Of course not. Why? In my opinion , the diet does not last because the menu is not based on the individual nor focused on health. In the beginning , everything is great. When people change what they eat and how they move , the body usually responds well, and everyone feels better. We all know that change is good . The problems usually start when the food plan or training program is not geared to the specific needs of the individual involved, creating little to no positive results. As both a naturopath and trainer, I recognize the fact that we are all different and what might suit one person , does not necessarily work for another. This holds true for both diet and exercise. The number one culprit for a stagnation in weight loss relating to food is poor digestion and weak elimination . Once we correct this , the body performs differently. As for exercise , group classes are fun and provide alot of support and motivation, but I strongly suggest that if you are new to exercise , you hire an experienced coach to get you started . He or she can point out where you are weak, imbalanced , and tight. This can further avoid problems and the temptation to stop because you are not having fun. In order to stick with any program, you must have fun. It is important to feel the pain -yes, but you must also feel the joy! I am a big believer that in order to get results , you must be pushed outside of your comfort zone . I am a trainer, but it is for this reason that I also work with a trainer. I , too, would resort to doing what I like to do and what feels easy. But I know that training this way will not give me the results that I want . To conclude, losing weight is not about the latest diet fad . It is about truly understanding how your body works ……..understanding digestion, absorption, and elimination . Once you know your own body, you will never make a mistake . Magic diet pills, weight loss supplements , and fad diets are all a mistake . Do not get caught!

Health Benefits of Nuts
Posted on October 30, 2014 by Frances Michaelson

Health Benefits of Nuts“Can I still eat nuts?” This is the first question most of my clients ask when I modify their food plans. Most people tend to remove nuts from their diet when trying to lose weight because they think nuts are high in fat. This holds some truth, but nuts can also be a healthy option and certain varieties do contain many health benefits. Nuts are a valuable supply of concentrated proteins and fats. Not all nuts are created equally, however; while some are excellent sources of nutrients, others are not. Peanuts, for example, are NOT a nut but a legume. The trouble with peanuts is that they can be hard to digest, easily contaminated, and since they are high in Omega 6 they can distort your Omega 3. I always discourage my clients from buying peanut butter (especially the commercial brands that are loaded with sugar) for their kids. Almond butter is a far better option, full of nutrients and way easier to digest. Just hide the jar of peanut butter – I bet they will not even notice the difference! Almonds (when fresh, organic, and raw) are the most ALKALINE of all nuts. They are a good source of Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and copper. Many people have resorted to buying almond milk due to lactose intolerance. Although a better choice that cow’s milk, commercial brands of almond milk are not as healthy as homemade versions. Making almond milk is really very easy. Use blanched or un-blanched almonds. Soak them overnight in pineapple juice, apple juice, or honey water. Use enough liquid to cover the nuts. The next day, blend the nuts and liquid for two to three minutes. Almond milk is a very alkaline drink, high in protein, and easily assimilated in the body. The nuts that are the highest in healthy fats are Pecans and Macadamias. Raw Macadamia nuts contain high amounts of Vitamin B1, magnesium and manganese and are a healthy source of monounsaturated fat. Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals. Brazil nuts are a good source of organic selenium. Walnuts are great sources of plant-based Omega 3 fats. Another important point to note is that you should never eat nuts at the end of a meal, particularly a heavy meal. Because they are a highly concentrated NATURAL food largely composed of fat and protein, they require a FREE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM so they can be properly broken down and your body can obtain their benefits. Eating nuts in small quantities between meals (I never recommend more than 8 at a time) is the way to go. Nuts that have been cooked, roasted, or subjected to high heat are harmful because of the change that takes place in the fat under these conditions. Nut butters are more easily digested than nuts themselves, provided they have not been subjected to heat. To make nut butter, take 1¾ cups of any mixed nuts mentioned above. Put all these nuts in a food processor and blend until the mixture forms a moist ball. Stop the machine every couple of minutes to avoid overheating, scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time. You may use some oil to help mix things up, but the butter will last longer if you do not. In conclusion, the more plant-based your diet is, the more you can get away with including nuts as a snack food without having to worry about the fat and acidity. If you are still heavy on the meat, go lighter on the nuts!

What to Eat to Beat a Cold
Posted on October 27, 2014 by Frances Michaelson

What to Eat to Beat a ColdNever curse a cold or treat it with lab made drugs! Why? Because it is nature’s way of telling you that there is waste matter (mucous) built up in your body that needs to be eliminated, not treated. A cold is the result of too much accumulated waste being secreted, and insufficient and improper elimination.

The best foods to help eliminate this mucous (the common cold) are fruit juices and raw food. In fact, even fasting for a day or two with nothing but water and fruit juices has proven to be very successful. This may come as a shock to some of you, who are used to hearing that the best way to cure the common cold is with chicken soup recipes handed down from your great grand-parents. I am not saying to avoid some nice broths if that helps you feel better, but the goal here is to eliminate mucous.

We’re not able to do that if we are spending time trying to digest (break food down into nutrients) while the body is already in a weakened state. Cooked foods, especially proteins, are more difficult to break down and digest. Since we do not want to add more work to our system, but rather help our body with the elimination of mucous, raw foods and lots of fluids is the way to go. If the cold has progressed to a flu-like state, a home enema or colonic irrigation can be a great way to help rid the body of toxins.

The most important foods to avoid when battling the common cold or flu are meats, dairy products, processed foods, and refined sugars. These foods are high in fat and carry a possibility of bacterial and chemical contamination. There are many articles written today boasting the value and miraculous healing energy of certain foods. This is strictly a marketing ploy to get you to buy into a certain brand. There is not one nutrient that works well alone. We need a family of vitamins and minerals working together to provide immune support.

Eating a grapefruit every morning is not enough. You need to eat a variety of fruits to benefit from their nutritional value. Vitamin C may be the single most important vitamin for the immune system. It has a direct effect on bacteria and viruses, so yes when battling a cold you may benefit from increasing your intake of this vitamin. Vitamin C is found in berries, citrus fruits, and green vegetables. Good sources of this vitamin are asparagus, avocados, beet greens, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cantaloupe, collards, dandelion greens, dulse, grapefruit, kale, lemons, mangoes, mustard greens, onions, oranges, green peas, pineapple, radishes, rose hips, spinach, strawberries, Swiss chard, tomatoes, turnip greens, and watercress. As you can see, there are lots of options for different salads, juices, or smoothies that you can gravitate to when run down with a cold.

Please note that if you take Vitamin C in supplement form, it should be combined with bioflavonoids, natural plant substances that enhance the absorption and reinforce the action of this vitamin. Loading your body with Vitamin C from a bottle even if it says organic, is never as beneficial as getting it from real life in the form of raw fruits and vegetables.

I like to recommend that my clients stick to foods that move the lymph well when sick. These include grapes, watermelon and lemons. An easy and refreshing way to load up on liquids when fighting a cold is to add 4 lemons and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup to one liter of water with a dash of cayenne pepper. Aim for 3-5 liters and drink throughout the day. Drinking herbal teas and adding chlorophyll to your water is also very beneficial when fighting a cold.

To avoid getting sick, keep your immune system healthy and strong. Taking spirulina regularly, for example, a naturally digestible food, aids in protecting the immune system. It supplies many nutrients plus protein needed for cleansing and healing. It is important to understand that consuming raw foods provides the body with live disease-fighting phytochemicals and fiber. Cooking depletes vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals and destroys enzymes necessary for easy digestion.

Raw food explodes with life paving the way for health and vitality!

Low Calorie, High Energy Foods
Posted on September 3, 2014 by Frances Michaelson

Avocado Endive Apple SaladThe way you feel is a direct result of what you put into your body. High energy comes from eating “whole foods” that offer good vitality and can be easily assimilated by the body. The more a food is processed, the harder your body has to work to break it down. When all this energy goes into digestion, there is very little left for you! Ironically, the foods that most people gravitate to are low calorie and often it is these “well marketed low calorie foods” that leave you starving, causing you to eat more and at the same time rid your body of vitality. Before going into my top choices for high-energy foods, I would like to discuss calories. Not all calories are created equal – this is what most dietitians learn first in school. However, we now know that this is a dated expression and the very reason why low calorie diets do NOT work. If you are counting calories for weight loss and giving no thought to the SOURCE of these calories, you will inevitably fail because your body will not have the energy to stay on this diet. Here is a simple example: If you eat 3 apples that are approximately 80 calories each, you will benefit from a wonderful source of fiber and simple sugars that your body does NOT have to break down, resulting in instant energy. Compare this to a small piece of apple pie with the same amount of calories. It’s now become a complex sugar that your body needs to break down in order to be absorbed. This takes time and energy. The calories are not used as efficiently as those from the “raw apples.” They are stored causing weight gain. Make sense? My point is that even if we choose to eat high-energy foods that are higher in calories, we will stay fueled longer and ultimately eat less. Now let’s take a look at some of these super foods.

What to Eat for More Energy

At the top of my list for high and instant energy with almost zero calories are your dark green leafy vegetables. This is one of the reasons you are hearing so much about kale these days. All dark greens are an excellent source of chlorophyll, calcium, and numerous multi vitamins. They are easily digested (especially when juicing) and give you a kick similar to caffeine without the acidity. I try to juice an entire kale and numerous other greens every other day as we could never eat this amount in one sitting. Juicing is an easy way to fuel up without the calories. Avocados are next in line! Sadly, they have a reputation for being high in fat. Yes, they are an excellent source of raw fat, but they also have B-vitamins, folic acid, and twice the amount of potassium as bananas. I ask my clients to eat at least three avocados a week for a good source of long lasting fuel. Staying away from processed foods and grains will give you the caloric room to even have one every day. Free range egg yolks are a great source of high quality protein and fat. The problem is that most people tend to eat their eggs cooked. In order to benefit from the nine essential amino acids, lecithin and vitamin D in free range eggs, they need to be eaten as close to nature as possible – raw or lightly cooked (soft boiled or poached). If you are eating very little meat, you can easily manage an egg a day. Wild salmon is my go-to for high quality protein and the omega 3 fats EPA and DHA. Adding this to your weekly meal plan agenda twice a week is optimal. My favorite low calorie/high-energy meal is what a call my vitality salad. I eat it every day either for lunch or supper, sometimes both in smaller quantities. This salad has an abundance of vitamins and minerals coming from life! Here is the recipe:

Vitality Salad Recipe

A blend of dark greens (kale, spinach, arugula)
1 red and orange pepper
2 large grated carrots
Grated red and green cabbage
2 shallots
Grated ginger to taste
2 tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
1/2 cucumber
A handful of sprouts (your choice)
A mix of chia, flax and hemp seeds
Sprinkle of nutritional yeast (added bonus of B12)
Lightly cooked wild salmon or 1 avocado (I will vary the fish, or sometimes have no protein from flesh)
Salad dressing – Choice of olive or Udos oil and balsamic or apple cider vinegar to taste
Bon Appétit!

How to Detoxify in One Week
Posted on July 10, 2014 by Frances Michaelson

Detox-foodsNo one says it better than David Wolfe, “It’s time to clean up. It’s time to turn away from the idea of better living through chemistry and move toward the idea of better living through nature.” He goes on to say, “Since 1940 we have created more than 75,000 synthetic chemicals and released them into the environment and the food chain.” No wonder detox or “cleanse diets” have become so popular.

As a naturopath, I try to teach my clients to live a “detoxifying lifestyle”, which really just requires that we eat high-quality green plant food (organic green vegetables) and fruits, which helps to clean out our bodies and rebuild at the same time. If everyone ate like this most of the time (avoiding processed foods), drank a good amount of high quality water, and practiced meditation at least once a week, a detox would not be necessary. Yet most of the population does not.

There is no question that our health care system is challenged daily, with new methods of protecting and healing the body. Trying to decide what to do to feel better is more confusing than ever. This is why a detox diet has become so popular. Detoxing is good way to kick start the metabolism and begin on a new path to wellness. The only problem is that too many people go full force on either a strict juice fast or a water fast without proper guidance. As a result they often fail due to a negative cleansing reaction. Let’s talk about that!

We’re constantly being sold on the latest and greatest detox diets. The reasons for detoxing include kick-starting your metabolism (especially if you are looking to shed some body fat), giving your digestive system a rest from all the work it does, and to test your will power. The best time to do a detox is when we are experiencing a seasonal change, going with the flow of Mother Nature.

The best length of time to detox or fast is between 3 and 7 days, but you should always do so under the guidance of a certified practitioner. If someone gravitates too quickly to a juice fast, for example, and they do not even eat salads, they will experience very negative cleansing reactions. One must tread gently. When I have a client who would like to experience a detox, I insist that they go slow.

The first step in a detox is to eliminate dairy, meat, and complex carbohydrates. Once they can do this for a few days, we introduce raw fruits and vegetables and then the juicing. If someone wanted to detox for a full week, seven days, then I would say that over the first three, they should eliminate all cooked foods. The next 2 days they should have one organic salad and balance of the day juicing. The last 2 days should be just juice. It is also very important to not go too “green” right away. A softer approach for the digestive system is to combine orange/yellow vegetables with the green initially. Of course, drinking lots of filtered water throughout the day is encouraged while detoxing.

My favorite juice recipe to get started is:

  • 1 Kale or Swiss Chard
  • 3 Carrots
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1 piece of Ginger
  • 1 Apple or Pear
  • 1/2 a Lemon

A popular question that always comes up for those looking to detox is exercise: “Can one train when on a detox?” The answer is yes, but with less intensity. I would recommend doing higher reps and less weight. The Total Gym is a perfect choice for someone on a detox because it is easy on the joints and allows you to work with your own body weight so that you don’t overdo it.

After one week of eliminating all processed and cooked foods, you should feel fantastic, full of energy, and your skin should be glowing!

Why We Should Be Drinking More Water
Posted on June 20, 2014 by Frances Michaelson

drinking lots of water is vital to good health.I never ask my clients how many glasses of water they drink a day. Eight glasses (as we have been hearing for decades) is simply not nearly enough. I ask how many liters they have consumed. If you wait until you are thirsty it is already too late. Imagine your poor cells! Once you experience thirst, your cells are literally starving. Your bones become dry and brittle, lose elasticity and become weak if not hydrated. The result is CELLULAR AGING!

Drinking lots of water is critical for good health. Our basic lubricant is water. Water eliminates toxins and poisons. Our lymphatic system is 90% water. Our organs and tissues are 70-90 % water. Bones are 20 % water. Simply put, we cannot function properly without water.

Instead of just thinking about water as a drink, we must think about it as a lubricant. It permits organs to slide against each other when you move around. It helps bones slip in their joints. You could not bend a knee or elbow without it. It also acts as a shock absorbing agent to ward off injury from blows. Muscle tone cannot be maintained without adequate water since muscles are three-fourths water. This is another reason why fatigue affects a dehydrated body.

Food cannot be digested without water. There is a chemical process that goes on in your body called hydrolysis that changes proteins, starches and fats into foods that various cells require in order to work properly. Water is also necessary to stimulate the gastric glands in the stomach. In the intestines, water helps facilitate the absorption of solids and the excretion of waste. Most often, constipation is a result of not drinking enough water.

Our bodies lose approximately 2-3 liters of water every day through the normal activities of breathing, sleeping, and moving around, so we must constantly replace it. Research has shown that people who run, bike, swim, or exercise in the heat have an increased need for water. A long distance runner can lose as much as eight pounds of water!

When the body hasn’t had enough water, it reacts. First, the glands drastically reduced their secretions. Saliva dries up, membranes dry out. We are thirsty. After losing more water without replenishing, other symptoms develop. Symptoms such as headaches, nerves, inability to concentrate, digestion problems, and lack of hunger are common symptoms of dehydration.

How Much Water To Drink

So, how much do we need to drink? To avoid dehydration and general lack of water in the body, I like to suggest this formula: 1 liter for every 40 pounds of body weight. This calculation does not take into account physical activity, warm weather, or being overweight. The more weight you carry or the more you move, the more water you need to drink.

It is also important to drink PURE water. Water from chemically-treated public water systems and even many wells and springs is likely to be loaded with poisonous chemicals and toxic trace elements. Pure water is essential for health and can be obtained from the natural juices of vegetables and fruits or from a reverse osmosis water system that filters all the chemicals and toxins out.

For people that have a difficult time drinking enough water I like to suggest either adding a little chlorophyll (has a mint flavor) or lemon and ginger. A nice recipe, especially in the heat of summer, is the juice of 4 lemons added to 1 liter of water with 2 teaspoons of maple syrup or honey. Lemons help to move your lymphatic system and are extremely alkalizing. Herbal teas also counts as water.

The next time you feel hunger setting in, drink some pure water first. Keeping a bottle (aim for glass, not plastic) with you at all times will help tremendously. Cheers!

How to Get a Flat Stomach by Eating Right

Discover what foods keep your belly flat!Let’s face it… having a flat stomach is something that most people desire. I would go as far as to say that it’s as exciting as say… winning the lottery! As we all know, flat abs are achieved by BOTH exercising properly and eating the right foods.

Too often people do the same old abdominal exercises over and over again, resulting in little to no change. There is more to life than crunches; yet sadly, due to improper biomechanics, most people usually injure themselves by doing too many sit-ups (crunches) or they see no results. The most efficient way to train the abs and get positive results is to perform a combination of exercises that include various planks and full body functional movement exercises that can be done using a suspension trainer and the Core Trainer by Total Gym.

As a licensed naturopath I know that no matter how well you eat, you will never achieve a flat belly if you do not consume enough fiber in your diet. Choosing the right fiber, however, is the challenge. Bloating in the abdominal area is very common, BUT can be easy to fix by making the right choices in dietary fiber. Too often, foods such as bran muffins and whole grain cereals are chosen for optimal fiber intake. These are far from ideal! They are loaded with sugar and can be hard to digest, causing cramping, boating, gas, etc.

The right type of fiber will make all the difference in how you digest your food, either causing the abdominal area to bloat or respond well. The best source of dietary fiber comes from fruits and vegetables, but most people simply are not eating enough of these foods.

The Two Kinds of Fiber

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Foods with soluble fiber include cucumbers, apples, oranges, celery, blueberries, and psyllium. These foods attract water and, when broken down, form a gel that slows down digestion. This delays the emptying of your stomach and makes you feel full, which helps control your weight gain in the long run. Insoluble fibers are gut-healthy, have a laxative effect, and help with constipation, promoting healthy elimination. Good sources of insoluble fiber are dark green leafy vegetables, grapes and the skins of all fruits and vegetables.

Foods with Both Kinds of Fiber

A simple way to not only increase the amount of fiber in your diet but also add biodense nutrients would be to add sunflower sprouts to your salads or any dish. Other whole foods that contain the highest levels of both soluble and insoluble fiber are psyllium seed husk, flax, and chia seeds, berries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, almonds, peas, green beans, cauliflower, and root vegetables like onions and sweet potatoes.

I am a huge fan of high quality organic husk psyllium and I recommend it to my clients daily. It is very effective in that it offers both soluble and insoluble fiber. Although we try very hard to eat a good amount of whole foods, including raw vegetables and fruits, it is not always that easy. Starting the day with what I call a good cleansing drink (psyllium, chlorophyll and water) gets the job done!

Obesity …….still

‘Call for global action to fight obesity epidemic’………this was the title of the article featured on page A11 of the Montreal Gazette this morning . It goes on to say that 64% of Canadian men, almost half of women are obese or overweight. What else is knew? We have  been hearing the same thing for years . What bothers me is that we have so many  more resources around us for good  information and education on healthier eating, and  a considerable amount of exercise  studios, trainers,  and equipment available,  to help anyone move more .

The problem is that these people are  not listening or reading the articles. Let;s stop  encouraging them to use the stairs more , or park further away from the door. This is NOT working!  They are NOT  the ones going to see films , such as Fed Up, as an example. It is people like you and me that are reading the books, doing the exercise, following an alkaline diet, not them!  The question is why?

From my perspective,  I feel that a CHANGE is just  too overwhelming to these people. I have realized that when I meet with a client,  I must start with just ONE thing……whether it is to eliminate a food group , or add more vegetables . Asking them to exercise , and eat differently at the same time is just  too much.

We must collectively start with small changes. I like to add on, instead of take away. I have had better results by replacing one thing with another, or adding more vegetables to a protein dinner instead of asking clients  to eat less protein. Eventually the protein becomes less as they feel better and more satisfied.

Try this yourself . As the saying goes, a little goes a long way!

Eat This

The reason we all react differently to various diets , food supplements, and even medical drugs  is because we are all different. This is why there is not ONE DIET  that works for all. Having said that, as organic “FRUGIVORES” , we all require five “things ” to stay alive and well. These five “THINGS” are  vitamins, minerals, enzymes, electrolytes, and amino acids. They must come from life.

Most of the clients that I see in my practice are lacking these elements , due to not enough raw food in their diets-  veggies , fruits , sprouted grains, seeds , and some nuts.

With all the new food “experts” out there, the right choices have become very confusing for people.   As far as I am concerned , there is way too much mis information and hype surrounding gluten free and sugar free products.  Sure, sugar coming from complex carbohydrates ( cakes, muffins, breads, pasta ) is evil. Our bodies have a difficult time breaking down these  complex sugars . This is a big part of the problem.  The simple sugar in fruits is what our bodies can digest easily as there is nothing to be broken down- so yes, eat more of that and less of the other. Eat more raw veggies and less cooked . Eat more sprouted grains and less processed. Get more protein from dark green leafy vegetables , legumes, quinoa , raw fish.  Adding in , instead of taking away, will provide you with the precious elements that your cells need to survive. Enjoying your favourite cooked foods, and some savoury  dessert once in a while ( even with gluten) , is not what is going to kill you .

Knowing what you need and eating more of that , is what is important. Reading the same old articles about the negative effects of too much gluten, sugar , and processed foods is not the answer.  There is enough said  about  what NOT to eat, let’s encourage what to eat.

I am always willing to teach  better eating and lifestyle choices  through lecturing in a corporate setting, school,  or any group you might be involved in.  Please feel free to share this blog and contact me if there is an interest.

Fed Up……the latest documentary

Are you fed up? Is there too much information out there and you do not know who to believe , or is there not enough ? One of my clients told me that she felt that there was too much contradiction from one day to the next and she was confused….who do you listen to? Do we eat dairy or avoid it like the plague? What about gluten? Are we all REALLY gluten intolerant? Where did this outbreak  suddenly come from?  What about juicing……how often? how much? which juicer?

Did you all see the film Food Matters, or Forks over Knives ? If not, how come? How do we , health addicts, spread the word?  How do we reach the masses? This is my question. We keep hearing that obesity is on the rise along with diabetes . We have all these resources around us ……..alternative health practitioners, naturopaths , like myself, yet it seems that practical preventive health protocols are so hard to spread .  Health is a result of what goes into your mouth on a daily basis. Your cells need nutrients to survive and regenerate .  Foodless foods ( what I call those foods that lack vitamins, minerals , and enzymes) do nothing for you.

Fed Up, is yet another film about the evils of sugar , and  incomplete and confusing food labelling . I do not have all the details, but apparently one of the goals of this film is to encourage the food industry to clearly detail the ingredients  on the labels. Will this make a difference? Are people  actually going to take the time to read before they buy ? I am not sure.

  Why Juice?

Every morning I juice. I do this as soon as I have a break between clients. For me, this is a non negotiable duty that  I must do to ensure that I give my body what it needs in nutrients (vitamins, minerals and enzymes) on a daily basis to perform well, and have positive energy. True, that with juicing, you do not get the fiber, but what you do get is concentrated power for your body that you could never manage to eat in one sitting. For example, while you might only eat one whole carrot, you can drink the juice of five or six carrots. The importance of this in preventing cancer, injuries, or any disease or depletion issue is obvious. When you are healthy, drinking the fresh raw juice just makes you healthier.
~Frances Michaelson

To hear more from Frances Michaelson, visit her blog at www.francesmichaelson.com/
  What's in Your Shopping Cart?
It seems that whenever we read articles on weight loss and dieting, the focus is always on caloric restriction and lowering portion size. Why not focus on what we should be eating for our bodies to perform well? If we take in alkaline forming foods most of the time, it would be easier to cheat once in a while.
I am still horrified when I am in the supermarket and I  take a look at what people are buying. I am still seeing a lot of soft drinks, juices, cheese, canned foods, microwave frozen dinners, and other items I call STUFF.  Where are the nutrients in these dead foods? It is no wonder that people are tired, lifeless, lazy and depressed!
We need living whole foods to perform well and feel great. Alkaline nutrients from foods like fruits, raw veggies, and grains including quinoa, wild rice, bulgur, buckwheat, seeds, and some nuts. My rule of thumb is "only purchase foods that you can see and that came from life". We are organic and require organic food sources in order to absorb, digest, utilize and eliminate well. When we take in waste (dead foods), we create waste on the inside. Too much acidic (dead foods) result in waste in our bodies that ferment, creating toxins. All symptoms are a result of this waste material that the body cannot eliminate.
~ Frances Michaelson
To hear more from Frances Michaelson, visit her blog at www.francesmichaelson.com/

Chocolate Milk after a workout? I don’t think so…

Shame on some strength coaches who are preaching the use of chocolate milk to their athletes after a workout, and shame on the media for printing this. Sadly, these people know nothing about nutrition, because if they did, they would realize that sugar, fat and the protein in our milk today is the enemy!

If you have not been educated as to the problem with milk and other dairy food, let me try and explain. Cow’s milk is for cows. Adults cannot digest milk at all and develop deeper congestive problems as they get older. The enzyme called lactase is necessary to break down the lactose-the main sugar in milk. We lack this digestive enzyme, which results in increased mucus production when we drink cow’s milk. This mucus mixed with starch can cause a heavy mucoid plaque to build up on the intestinal walls. Can this explain why you might feel bloated after eating cheese and drinking milk? On top of this, cow’s milk (in this country), is pasteurized. Heat changes the chemistry of the milk, as well as changing its nature from alkaline-forming to acid-forming, and this heat destroys any minerals or vitamins you think you might be getting. So let’s see what is in Chocolate Milk? If it is 250 millilitres of 1%, we are looking at 160 calories, 1.5 grams of saturated fat and 27 grams of carbohydrates (25 grams of which is sugar). Sugar is very nutritionally deficient. Sugar is a fragmented plant food derived from sugar cane, and all of the nutrients have been refined away. This is NOT A RECOVERY DRINK-THIS IS POISON!

Here is my suggestion for an alternative to Chocolate Milk: 1 cup of almond milk, 2-4 dates soaked, 1 tbsp. raw cacao, unsweetened dark cacao or carob powder, organic vanilla extract or vanilla powder and I tbsp. mesquite powder. Throw this into your blender and you will be set to go. Other alternatives, worth looking at are in the VEGA line of products, created by Brendan Brazier. These plant based proteins are carefully researched, digest well and are derived from whole foods. I personally enjoy them and recommend them to my clients.
~Frances Michaelson 
To hear more from Frances Michaelson, visit her blog at www.francesmichaelson.com/



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