Learn more about Nutrition and it’s effect on living a healthy lifestyle. Nutrition is a factor in stress and weight gain.

Smoothie or Juice: How to choose?

Smoothie vs JuicingThere’s a new smoothie and juice bar that opened up down the street from your office, your friend is loving her new smoothie kick, and they even got a blender to add to the staff kitchen at work. Whether you’re already fully on the juicing bandwagon or just curious, juicing and blending smoothies seems to be the latest health fad. But is this just a craze, or should we be incorporating smoothies and juices into our diet long term, because they really are so good for us? And what are the benefits of juicing, versus the benefits of smoothie-ing? In short, the craze couldn’t have come at a better time. With so many more ailments, health issues, and dis-ease coming up in the mainstream population, we certainly can all use several servings of fruits and veggies everyday – and juicing and smoothies are just the way to make this happen. Here we’ll uncover the top reasons to juice and blend, and how you can choose which to go for (or both!) based on your health goals, as well as some great recipe ideas to get you started.

Top Reasons To Juice

Great way to get your fruits and veggies According to the National Cancer Institute, the average American gets only 1.5 servings of vegetables, and no fruit per day. Yikes! Juicing also separates the vitamins and minerals from the pulp, and this allows the body to receive a mega-dose of vitamins that would be difficult to achieve eating that many veggies. Juicing can be a fast, delicious and easy way to get in more servings of the good stuff.

True Hydration Beyond being full of pure, clean water, fruits and veggies are also full of natural electrolytes and vitamins – the original vitamin water and sports drink, combined!

pH balance Our body is in a constant state of re-balancing our pH levels, and most of the time, due to the consumption of caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and being stressed, our bodies are far too acidic. The alkalinity found in leafy green and other vegetables is just what we need to balance it all out.

Detox In addition to hydrating and balancing pH levels, juice detoxes the blood and organs. Enzymes found in the juice work immediately to cleanse the blood, re-energizing the body. Add a little lemon and ginger, and not only are you aiding digestion, but you’re cleansing the liver too.

Juicing Tips:

  • When you juice, you miss out on the fibre in the pulp. But not to worry, no waste necessary – you can mix some of the pulp back in to get a fibre-rich juice, or even use the pulp in cooking, for example; mix into veggies burgers, broths for soups, or cooking rice, etc.
  • When juicing, put through your leafier, less juicy items first, followed by your juicier fruits and veg (i.e. spinach and kale before cucumber and apple). The juicier goods will help push through and extract the juice from the not-so-juicy ingredients.

Top Reasons to Smoothie

Get Your Fruits & Veggies: Like juicing, smoothies provide a fast and delicious way to get loads of fruits and veggies when you might not ordinarily. For our on-the-go lifestyles, smoothies can be that easy way to get your nutrients and daily intake of fruit and veggies.

Protein Punch Not only can we get our daily recommended intake of fruits and veggies from our smoothies, but we can get a protein boost too. There are many different options out there, so ensure you are choosing a high quality protein powder.

Quality Ingredients Since you’re the one blending, you know exactly what’s going in to your smoothie. Understanding healthy smoothie choices means understanding healthy diet choices. This will allow you to have food confidence, and make better food choices when the blender isn’t around.

Improved Digestion A blended meal or snack is pre-chewed by your blender, easing the burden on your digestive organs, thereby leading to healthier overall body function.And because your body is getting such a direct serving of high quality nutrients, chances are you’ll feel fuller longer, cutting appetite, and helping with weight loss.

Smoothie Tips:

  • Nut or seed butters turn a healthy smoothie into a creamy, smoother smoothie. And, they add that extra hit of protein!
  • Your liquid in smoothies needn’t just be water – experiment with almond or rice milk, chilled green or herbal tea, coconut water, or even juice!
  • Next time you feel like dessert, why not go for a smoothie instead? If you can think of a dessert, chances are you can concoct a smoothie with similar flavours. Use vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa powder, sweeten any combo of fruits and veggies with medjool dates or a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Incorporating smoothies, juices, or both, to your everyday diet can be a delicious, nutritious way to get many of the vitamins and minerals the body needs to stay energized. So whether you want to lose weight, detox, have the a real food multivitamin, or just enjoy an absolutely delicious meal or snack, blending and juicing can be your answer. Get creative in the kitchen with a recipe or improvise, and be sure to let us know if you come up with a winning combination. Let your culinary creativity go bananas (maybe literally), and have fun juicing and blending!

Healthy Oils: Let’s chew the fat on fats

Healthy Oils

 

For so long, it seemed that we were getting the message that oils were bad for our diet – high in cholesterol, clogging our arteries – until the message, like so many oils, became refined: oils are a necessary part of a healthy diet. As taught at Mountain Trek, our omega 3, 6 and 9s are an important part of every meal, those fatty acids helping with brain function, stabilizing blood sugar levels, nervous system, immune system, and so many other aspects of health, not to mention glossy hair and glowing complexion! What really matters when considering oil is the kind and amount of healthy oils you’re consuming.

In understanding that the oils are an essential part of a nutritious diet and healthy self, we can attempt to integrate this into our meals in innovative and delicious ways. But the information and choices can sometimes be overwhelming; mono-saturated, extra virgin, nut oils, vegetable oils, high smoke point, refined, trans fat free… and many, many shelves lined with the options. Let’s turn up the heat and get cooking with the facts on fats!

The Facts on Fats

As a first point of clarification, both ‘oil’ and ‘fat’ have the same important role in the body, the difference is that oil is liquid at room temperature, while fat is solid. At a chemistry level, all fats are made up of triglycerides: a combination of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, hence the ‘tri’glycerides. This ratio of saturated to monounsaturated to polyunsaturated fatty acids is exactly what defines a particular fat. For example, olive oil is made up mostly of monounsaturated fatty acids, making it a monounsaturated fat. Please remember that although helpful to our health and very delicious, oils are calorie rich so use moderation.

Monounsaturated fats are considered the healthiest of all oils, for example, they are good for the heart, as they lower bad cholesterol and maintain good cholesterol. This said, all three oils have their place in good health, and therefore in the kitchen. Perfect for use raw in dressings and drizzles or in light cooking, monounsaturated fats include olive, avocado, sesame, and peanut oils.

Polyunsaturated oils have a less stable chemical structure than monounsaturated fats, and as such are more likely to spoil when exposed to heat or light. For this reason, these oils are best stored in the fridge and used raw. Walnut, grapeseed, corn and fish oils are all polyunsaturated.

Saturated fats are the most stable and are therefore best for high cooking temperatures. This group is mostly comprised of animal fats like butter, but interestingly coconut oil from vegetable source is predominantly a saturated fat too. You’ll want to limit, but not avoid saturated fats.

You’ll notice that ‘Trans’ fats fall no where into the make up of the fat molecule tri-glyceride, and this is indeed because trans fats are not at all natural, but human made. Originally created to extend the shelf life of certain vegetable oils, a trans fat is what occurs when an unsaturated oil is injected with hydrogen, thereby making it ‘partially hydrogenated’. The trans fatty acids that result are exceptionally harmful to health, especially in large doses over time, increasing bad cholesterol and decreasing good cholesterol, negatively impacting heart health. In fact, trans fats were declared so harmful that a law was passed in 2006, forcing food products to indicate the ‘trans fats’ per serving on their nutritional panel. This is why so many consumer goods are now labelled ‘trans fat free’, to indicate they’re using no hydrogenated oils. Products that can still have trans fats include margarine, crackers, chips, and even certain breakfast cereals, so be consumer aware and read those labels!

Oh, Omega 3, 6, 9

What does it mean when we refer to getting our Omega 3s, 6, 9s? Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are two types of essential polyunsaturated fats​. These essential fatty acids (EFAs) ​are fats that your body can’t manufacture on it’s own and, therefore, have to be provided through your diet, and this is why they’re referred to as “essential.”

Om​ega 9 fatty acids come from the family of monounsaturated fats. Unlike omega ​3 ​and 6, omega 9 fatty acids are not classed as essential. This is because they can be created by the human body from unsaturated fat, and are therefore not essential in the diet​. ​All omegas are important to body function and health!

So Many Oils, Which to Choose?

There are literally dozens, if not hundreds of options out there, and not all oils are ideal for every purpose.

For raw use, like vinaigrettes and marinades, you’re looking for oils that have a delicious, full flavour. Try olive, walnut, flax or hemp for your next salad.

For sautéing, you’ll want an oil that can stand up to the heat. Try heart healthy mono unsaturated peanut oil for an asian dish, or for an all around good choice, try avocado, canola, or coconut oil.

And beyond oils, there are many other sources of fatty acids, including nuts and fish. The trick is to enjoy the unsaturated fats in moderation, limit saturated fats, and avoid trans fats altogether. Have fun getting creative in the kitchen with your so very important omega 3, 6, 9s!

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Feeling Vitamin D-ficient? How to top up on the Sunshine Vitamin this Winter

Feeling Vitamin D-ficient?  Now that we are well and truly into the middle of winter, are you feeling a little low on energy? Could be that you’ve come to your ‘D-day’, a time in the year when your Vitamin D is at an all time low. But the good news is, this is easy to top up with a high quality multi-vitamin and some delicious nutrient rich foods!

Vitamin D, necessary for healthy bone density, calcium absorption, and even depression prevention, is provided naturally to us in two main ways: by the sun’s UV rays, and through our diet. Yet, in these winter months when the sun is low in the sky and usually cloud covered, most of us aren’t getting enough of the sunshine vitamin. By the time spring rolls around, many of us are Vitamin D deficient. To help us stay topped up on this important player in the body’s functioning health, we’ve taken a look at what foods we can incorporate into our diet to get this necessary nutrient. But first, why exactly is Vitamin D so essential?

Why is Vitamin D so important?

Often correctly associated with bone health, Vitamin D does a lot more for our overall health and body function than it’s usually given credit for. In addition to being absolutely necessary for bone growth and repair, Vitamin D also aids calcium absorption in the gut, is responsible for the modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune system function, and reduction of inflammation. No question that this Vitamin’s role is crucial to our body’s functioning health!

Where can I get my Vitamin D?

When UV rays from sunlight touch the skin, this triggers Vitamin D synthesis. But when sun exposure is at a minimum during the winter months, we can turn to diet to help with our vitamin D intake. Unfortunately, very few foods are high in Vitamin D naturally, and so it is not possible to get all the Vitamin D you need from diet alone. In conjunction with a high quality multi-vitamin and UV exposure (in moderate amounts, where possible), here are some of the best food sources of Vitamin D:

Fatty fish: So very nutritious for you for so many reasons, fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, and even seafood such as oysters, contain some of the highest concentrations of Vitamin D in food.

Eggs: Not only high in protein and so many other nutrients (Vitamin B12), the sunshine yellow of egg yolks do contain a hearty helping of Vitamin D.

Beef liver: Not everyone’s favorite, but when mom said ‘eat up!’ to those liver and onions, she knew what she was talking about as far as Vitamin D’s concerned.

Mushrooms: Certain varieties of mushrooms, like white button, can provide Vitamin D among other nutrients (Vitamin B5) when lightly cooked.

Many foods are fortified with Vitamin D for the simple reason that we don’t get enough in our diet, or in general. Almost all milk (and baby formula) in the U.S. and Canada is fortified with Vitamin D. Please note that dairy products (cheese, yogurt, etc.) are not usually fortified with Vitamin D like milk. Some orange juices, soy products and cereals are often fortified with many supplements such as Vitamin D, but please use caution and check labels, as many of these products can contain refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, and other undesirables.

Although there is no substitute for sunshine, we can always help ourselves with high quality supplements, and the highest quality supplement of delicious, nutritious food! We wish you a wonderful, healthy rest of winter…and don’t forget, when the sun does comes out on those beautiful frosty days, don’t forget to go enjoy yourself outdoors for that dose of Vitamin D!

Everything you Need to Know About Sodium

Salt

If you’ve ever used the phrase, “Pass the salt please?” chances are there’s too much salt in your diet. While a certain amount of sodium is necessary for our bodies to function properly, the majority of us sprinkle salt far too liberally.

In this post, we take a look at one of humanity’s oldest seasonings, how it impacts our bodies and how to monitor our intake.

Are salt and sodium the same?

No. Salt is a compound called Sodium Chloride while Sodium is a chemical element (Na) found in the Earth’s crust.

What does Sodium do?

Sodium is an essential nutrient for human beings because it regulates blood volume, blood pressure, osmotic equilibrium and pH levels in our bodies. Sodium is also needed for your muscles and nerves to work properly. In fact, each of us needs a minimum of 500 milligrams of sodium a day. This is where salt, or Sodium Chloride, enters the picture. It’s the principal source of sodium in the human diet and one of our most ancient and ubiquitous food seasonings – in fact, for thousands of years, salting has been an important method of food preservation.

What are some sources of Sodium? 

Sodium occurs naturally in most foods such as celery, beets, milk and even our drinking water (although the amount varies depending on the source). These days, unfortunately, most of our sodium intake comes from processed foods: Monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrite, sodium saccharin, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and sodium benzoate can be found in items such as Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, onion salt, garlic salt, potato chips and bouillon cubes. Processed meats like ham, sausage and bacon and canned soups and vegetables are all examples of foods that contain a lot of sodium. And of course, a drive-thru at McDonalds, or any other fast food restaurant, will leave you filled with food that’s extremely high in sodium.

Can too much salt/sodium in your diet be harmful?

Absolutely. At Mountain Trek we recognize every person is unique and recommended sodium intakes will vary based on age, metabolism, amount of exercise/sweat, medications, etc. However, Health Canada sets the adequate intake of sodium for women at 1500 mg daily, and a tolerable upper intake level of 2300 mg/day. How much exactly is that? Well, 2300 mg is the amount of sodium that’s found in one teaspoon of salt. And recent research shows we’re consuming a lot more than that. The average North American man consumes about 3500 mg of sodium every day and women consume 2500 mg. There large amounts promote hypertension, an ailment that causes 7.6 million premature deaths worldwide. If you’re chronically eating a diet that’s high in salt you are at risk of high blood pressure, which in turn increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. There are also some studies that suggest too much salt consumption can increase the risk of osteoporosis and kidney problems.

Sodium and exercise

Ask any Mountain Trek client who’s hiked 10km with us and they’ll tell you that they sweat. A lot. And when you perspire, your body loses sodium, potassium and other essential minerals and nutrients. If you’re hiking, jogging, kayaking or doing any athletic activity over long distances, and you don’t rehydrate properly, you could be contributing to a decreased blood/sodium concentration. And the result might be ringing in your ears or mild heart palpitations. (In extreme instances you could succumb to hyponatremia, a condition similar to dehydration in which nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, slurred speech, and confusion may occur.) Does that mean you should drink Gatorade every time you exercise? Absolutely not! Gatorade is full of sugar and it’s not an effective electrolyte replenishment tool. (For more about, electrolytes, check out our blog called “Electrolytes – Myth Busted!”)

Every body responds differently to exercise and therefore our sodium needs vary. Fortunately at Mountain Trek our team of nutritionists and chefs are all looking out for you 24-7. Before we head out on the hiking trails we make sure you’re getting the proper amount of sodium in you diet through our delicious meals and once on the trail our experienced guides monitor how you’re feeling all along the way and have electrolyte supplements like Vega Sport on hand.

How to lower your salt intake

There are five easy ways to lower your daily salt consumption.

  1. Avoid processed foods as one small meal could have twice the recommended daily intake of sodium. Stick to whole foods, vegetables and fruit.
  2. Cook with less salt
  3. Drink lots of water to flush excess salt
  4. Sauna or steam to sweat out excess salts
  5. If you’re experiencing a craving for salty foods, try these seasoning alternatives:
  • Garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • Roasted garlic
  • Granulated sea kelp or sesame seeds
  • Onion powder (not onion salt)
  • Lime or lemon juice
  • Veggie Salt
  • Nutritional Yeast
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Why Potassium is so Important for your Body

fitness classes in gymA few weeks ago we published a blog called “Electrolytes: Myth-Busted” in response to a question posted on our Facebook page by a Mountain Trek alumni. The article garnered huge interest and prompted another alumni, James, to ask, “Please speak more on potassium.”

So herewith are the facts everyone should know about potassium and how this important mineral applies to your overall health.

What is potassium?

This mineral is one of the main electrolytes in your body (others include sodium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium). Electrolytes are electrically charged particles that our cells use to maintain voltage across our cell membranes and carry electrical impulses to other cells.

What does it do?

Potassium aids nerve conduction, muscle contraction and heart beat regulation. It also helps maintain normal blood pressure by blunting sodium’s effects and ensures proper fluid balance between your cells and body fluids.

Why is it important?

In addition to helping maintain a proper fluid balance in your body, potassium also performs the following functions:

  • Keeps the blood from clotting
  • Maintains the body’s pH balance
  • Carries nutrients to the cells
  • Protects the stomach lining from the damage that could be caused by stomach acids
  • Maintains healthy blood pressure
  • Promotes heart health
  • Preserves bone health

Raw almondsWhat are some sources of potassium?

Potassium is found in a wide variety of foods but bananas are the ones most famously associated with the mineral. Other sources include:

  • Citrus fruits and tomato juice
  • Melons
  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Avocados
  • Almonds and peanuts
  • Raisins and prunes
  • Milk
  • Sweet potatoes and legumes like lima and kidney beans are also high in potassium.
  • Interestingly, sports drinks are typically a poor source of potassium.

Why should you be aware of your potassium levels?

When you sweat (whether from working out, sitting in a sauna or living in a climate with hot, humid temperatures) your perspiration releases potassium out of the body. These decreased levels can lead to adverse effects such as muscle cramping, weakness, fatigue, heart palpitations and constipation. The good news is that potassium is easy to replenish and most people do so by maintaining a diet that includes the above foods. For example, eating almonds after you work out or detoxify in a steam room will help replenish your stores.

When is potassium harmful?

Too little potassium is just as dangerous as too much. A short-term deficiency can cause elevated blood pressure and muscle cramps but on a chronic level (hypokalemia) it is associated with a risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes. If your kidneys are working normally, they’ll regulate the amount of potassium that your body needs but people with diabetes who have kidney disease, for example, need to be especially careful of their potassium intake, as levels can get too high in the body (hyperkalemia), which can, in turn, damage the heart.

What is the suggested intake of potassium?

The recommended intake for adults is 4,700 milligrams daily. People who eat a healthy diet will get enough potassium naturally. However, those who eat mostly processed foods can be short up to a total of 1,000 milligrams. (Some medications for blood pressure could also cause a potassium deficiency, so check with your doctor.)

Should you take potassium supplements?

Unless you have a chronic illness your body will regulate your potassium levels provided your diet consists of certain whole foods like fruit, vegetables and nuts. (See list above.) The only time supplements are recommended is if you require electrolytes due to exertion or excess sweating (Mountain Trek clients might take one daily electrolyte supplement, like Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator, due to their high amounts of perspiration) or if you suffer from certain chronic ailments like diabetic ketoacidosis, a metabolic condition more commonly seen in people with Type 1 diabetes.

Blood Glucose testerWhat is the relationship between potassium and diabetes?

Interestingly, some Type 1 diabetics may have too much potassium in their systems while many Type 2 diabetics have too little. Yet, because of certain medications, some Type 2 diabetics may not be able to excrete potassium in the way they should. If you have (or at risk of getting) diabetes, definitely have your doctor perform a potassium test to determine your levels and ensure that your medications or supplements are not negatively impacting your body’s potassium levels.

Top 5 On-the-Go Snacks

Healthy Snacks
It seems the word ‘busy’ doesn’t even begin to cover most of our days. And finding healthy snacks when you are constantly on the go can seem like a hard task. Especially when many of the store-bought snack options are not even real food.

It may be tempting to grab that processed protein bar, but don’t act so fast. Here are five great, on-the-go snack options that will give you even more energy than processed bars but are made from whole foods, won’t break the bank and are easy to prepare.

Yum! Hummus and veggies! Hummus and Veggie Sticks

This is a great mix of carb and protein that you can throw together in under 30 seconds as you walk out your door in the morning. Hummus which is made from the king of beans – the chick pea, is packed with fiber, folate, zinc and B vitamins – talk about an energy boost! And if you have that extra minute, add a few slices of cucumber for some extra crunch and vitamins.

Dried Fruit & Seeds

Dried Fruit and Seeds

A mix of your favourite dried fruit – raisins, apricots, mangos, figs, papaya and even tomatoes to name a few – along with some crunchy nuts is an easy-to-assemble snack. Plus, a handful of this delicious combo is the perfect fuel for your body to tackle that late morning slump. Dried fruit contains fiber, vitamins A, C, E and Iron. If you include dried mangos you’ll also add omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to the mix, which are necessary for healthy skin and immunity health. The crunchy nuts add essential minerals such as magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc as well as loads of vitamins.

Coconut Bliss Balls

Coconut Apricot Bliss Balls

These take a bit of planning but are so worth it. You can find the recipe here. Trust us, there’s a reason we put “Bliss” in their name. With just the right amount of spice and sweetness these homemade bars are easily prepared over the weekend to last you the entire week ahead. Imagine creamy almond butter creamed together with cranberries, apricots and a healthy dose of dried coconut. Add to that the perfect blend of ginger, cardamom and zest of orange and you have a pop-in-your-mouth energy boost.

Loki Dip

Veggie Sticks and Loki Dip

Eat your veggies! We know we should. If only there was a way to enjoy those relatively boring but vitamin- and fiber-packed sticks of carrots and celery. Allow us to introduce you to veggie sticks with loki dip, a snack that is the perfect combination of salty and sweet. The sweet crispy veggies dipped in a salty, lemon and creamy dip will fill you up while satisfying your taste buds.

Low Sugar Fresh Fruit

Low-Sugar Fresh Fruit

If you like super simple, you’ll like this snack idea. No cutting, stirring or assembly required. A quick visit to your local organic grocery store can stock you with enough fruit to last a couple of weeks at a time. Fruit is filled with vitamins and many also contain fibre. This combination will satisfy your sweet cravings while also keeping you feeling fuller longer. Pick your favourites: apples, oranges, raspberries, bananas, blueberries, pears – there are so many tasty and sweet choices. As a general rule, pick those that are in season for best flavour.

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Coke Vs. Pepsi … Vs. Water

water cokeIn the 1970s the makers of Pepsi Cola, started what was to become known as the “Cola Wars” when it launched a blind taste test campaign targeting the Coca-Cola Company. The concept was that average people would try the two sodas and choose one over the other.

Since then the two companies have engaged in many different marketing campaigns and today they own some of the most recognizable brands on the planet. In fact, 1.8 billion bottles of Coke are consumed around the world…every day!

However, with concerns of heart disease, obesity and diabetes on the rise, people are starting to rethink the types of liquids they consume. (Even the cola companies are starting to show concern judging by Coca-Cola’s recent obesity commercial.)

The fact is, no matter how the companies spin the message, their products will never touch water in terms of health benefits. Sure, water may not taste as sweet, but have a read of the following and decide what you’d rather drink: Coke or Pepsi…or water.

WATER

  • Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45% and bladder cancer by 50%
  • Drinking 5 glass of water can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.
  • One glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of those who participated in a University of Washington study.
  • Preliminary research indicates that drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
  • Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. Drinking a few glasses of water easily rectifies it.
  • Consuming water is the #1 method of flushing impurities from the body.

COKE AND PEPSI

  • The active ingredient in Coke and Pepsi is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about 4 days.
  • Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.
  • One can of Coke or Pepsi contains the equivalent of 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • To clean corrosion from car battery terminals pour a can of cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.
  • To carry Coke and Pepsi syrup (the concentrate) commercial trucks must use the Hazardous Material stickers reserved for highly corrosive materials.
  • To clean a toilet bowl, pour a can of Coke or Pepsi into the bowl and let it sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in the cola removes stains from vitreous china.
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How your Diet can Kick Pre-Diabetes to the Curb

By Jennifer Keirstead, Holistic Nutritionist 

Fresh vegetables

Fresh vegetables

Along with stress reduction for staying clear of insulin resistance, as discussed in our prior blog by Kirkland Shave, what could be more impactful in preventing Pre-Diabetes than what you eat? Working powerfully together as the one-two punch in regulating blood sugar, lowered stress and a healthy diet are vital to avoid insulin resistance, and ultimately Type 2 Diabetes.

Tips for Preventing Pre-Diabetes with Diet:

  • Focus on a diet full of healthy fats, protein and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs include whole grains complete with all of their fibre and nutrients intact.  Some of my favorites include millet, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and steel-cut oats.
  • Eliminate processed foods from your diet, such as packaged snacks, refined sugar, baked goods, cookies, candy, fruit juices, soda and aspartame.
  • Avoid hydrogenated oils or trans fatty acids such as margarine and canola oil. Replace these fats with the healthy ones found in avocados, eggs, nuts and seeds, flax meal, plain yogurt, olive and coconut oil.
  • Enjoy organic, nutrient-rich meat and wild fish, such as grass fed beef, lamb, organic chicken and fatty fish such as wild salmon and cod.
  • Limit refined grains. These are characterized as being “white” and void in fibre and nutrients, and include anything with white flour (breads, rolls), white rice, processed cereals and white pasta.

Ideally, the majority of your diet should consist of leafy green vegetables, squashes, eggs, nuts and healthy meats for protein, and good fats, while avoiding sugar and refined or simple carbohydrates.

Did you know?

An increase in trace minerals can help regulate blood sugar levels.  Supplements such as chromium, magnesium and zinc can be found at your local health and vitamin store.  Food sources high in trace minerals include dark leafy-green vegetables such as chard, spinach, kale, collards and sea vegetables.  Instead of regular table salt, choose Celtic sea salt as an excellent source of trace minerals.

King Kale

King KaleBy Jennifer Keirstead, Holistic Nutritionist

Kale seems to be the new, up and coming super food. One reason is it’s loaded with naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. Kale is a great source of vitamin C, beta carotene (vitamin A) and also contains various B-vitamins. It’s loaded with minerals, including bone-loving calcium and magnesium.  It contains plenty of trace minerals and will provide valuable toxin-busting antioxidants to your diet.

This humble green, leafy vegetable can be found in any grocery store and even better news, grows well in the cooler temperatures of fall and even California winters, so you’ll likely see it fresh and perky, waiting for your purchase, at this very moment.

When shopping for kale, it should be brightly colored and quite firm. Take a pass on kale that’s faded in color and wilted. If it looks yellowish in color, it may mean it was harvested too late. Avoid bunches that have bruised leaves, as this means they’re already slowly decomposing. Remember, leafy greens should always be purchased organic since they’re very vulnerable to absorption of toxic sprays.

Consuming dark, leafy greens like kale on a regular basis can help with gentle, daily detoxification.

How to Use It

Cooked Kale

These greens can be used in any soup, stew, or side dish where you would use Swiss chard or spinach. You can also lightly steam the greens and add a little fresh lemon and sea salt – yum!

Salads
Slice the green leaves as thinly as possible to create the best texture. Kale by nature, is a tough vegetable. Thin slicing makes it easier to consume raw.

Commercial Kale Chips
These chips you increasingly see in the stores are dehydrated at very low temperatures, so they are qualified as a raw food. They make a great snack for adults and kids!

Homemade Kale Chips
Why not make your own? Baked kale chips are quick and easy. Bake only as much as you plan to eat in a sitting as these chips lose their crunch in a few hours. Google “kale chips” and you’ll find plenty of recipes to choose from.

Smoothies
Green leafy vegetables make an excellent addition to your favorite smoothie. Start off by adding just one or two leaves and see if you even notice it. A small handful of kale leaves with the stems removed (or not) boosts the nutrition of any smoothie. Try our Green Goddess Smoothie after your next workout.

Enjoy your kale!