What is blood sugar?

What is blood sugar?

And why is it so important for Mom’s to keep their’s balanced.

The level of our blood sugar is the direct result of the quality and quantity of foods that we are consuming. After we eat a meal our body coverts carbohydrates like breads, pastas, cereals to sugar using a hormone called insulin. How quickly this occurs is dependent on how many vitamins, minerals and fibre is in the food as well as the time of day and what other foods we are eating along side the carbohydrates.

When we eat only a refined carbohydrate, insulin converts this food into a short burst of energy that is quickly followed by a physical crash. The result becomes a vicious cycle of eating based on our body craving more and more refined carbohydrates as a way to off set this fatigue. In this pattern, our energy is not consistent as we move through our days always needing more refined foods or stimulants to bring us back up.

Keeping blood sugar’s balanced is especially important for busy Mom’s who are already struggling with fatigue and mood challenges. I have counseled 100‘s of Mom’s around their frustrations with what they define as a lack of will power or a sugar addiction when in fact this has less to do with behavior and more to do with physiology.

What we are choosing to eat is most often a reflection of something we did or did not do earlier in the day. Our choice is not bad or weak, in fact we are responding to a strong physical cue. If you start the day with a donut and a coffee it is going to be physically very difficult to choose a balanced lunch because the body needs another quick source of energy. The body is not interested in breaking down a quinoa salad when a white bagel will offer energy so much quicker.

This cycle can be broken and once Mom’s start to make food choices that keep their blood sugar in a stable state they quickly find energy improve, the mid afternoon crash disappear, moods balance and cravings vanish. All this by maintaing blood sugar throughout the day? Yes it is that important! In fact, keeping blood sugar in check is one of my key recommendations for all Mom’s and is absolutely worth the extra self care!

Hugs from one mom to another!

Access your free journal pages for this blog to learn how your blood sugar may be impacting your energy levels

5 Tips to Keep Your Blood Sugar Balanced

5 Tips to Keep Your Blood Sugar Balanced

Mom’s need every advantage possible to keep energy up, moods balanced and immune system strong. One simple recommendation to maintain health and vitality is to keep blood sugar stable throughout the day. In my naturopathic practice, I have seen huge shifts in moms health when they recognize this need and make it a priority of care for themselves.

Here are my top 5 tips to help busy Mom’s maintain blood sugar levels and sustainable energy throughout the day.

  1. Eat a high protein breakfast: a high protein start to the day has been shown to decrease empty nutrient intake and reduce sugar cravings for the rest of the day. Add hard boiled eggs to your slice of toast or hemp hearts with nut butter to your oatmeal or a high protein smoothie and you will be amazed how this will shift your energy, focus and sugar cravings later in the day.
  2. Eat a mid afternoon snack: in the same way that breakfast protein decreases afternoon cravings, a mid afternoon snack rich in protein will result in less sugar cravings after dinner. Choose a handful of nuts and fruit or plain greek yogurt mid afternoon and the result will be balanced late afternoon energy and less junk food after dinner.
  3. Never miss a meal: after years of exploring, recommending and trying multiple fad, lifestyle and therapeutic programs I have returned to a very basic philosophy when it comes to nutrition. I call it “Grade 1 eating” and it consists of 3 balanced meals breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the day. When we miss a meal not only do we set ourselves up to make poor choices later, we also spike our stress response, decrease our immune health and further aggravate our blood sugar levels. You are not doing yourself any favors by skipping a meal.
  4. Always balance your meals: a balanced meal consists of protein like chicken, fish, tofu or eggs and whole food starch like rice, potatoes or quinoa and good fat like nuts, olive oil or avacodo and at least 1/2 your plate veggies. Most of us busy moms don’t balance our meals. Begin to ask yourself the question is there a protein or fat? Can I increase my veggies? Adding nuts, hemp hearts, hard boiled eggs and handful of spinach can completely make over your meal and offer you balanced energy for the day.
  5. Eat your fibre: Fibre keeps our blood sugar balanced by slowing down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar. When we eat more fibre our energy becomes balanced. When choosing carbohydrates always reach for the darker and denser options like brown rice over white rice or sweet pototes over white ones. Another great tip to increase fibre and decrease insulin is to add 1 tbsp of ground flax seed to your

Hugs from one mom to another!

Access your free journal pages for this blog and begin to feel the benefits of incorporating these tips into your daily routine.

Do I have to give up coffee?

Do I have to give up coffee?

Do I have to give up coffee or caffeine completely? The short answer is no. The long answer involves being more mindful with the timing, amount and how you are balancing caffeine with other nutrients.

When Mom’s are tired we often mindlessly and reactively reach for a “pick me up” like a coffee or energy drink, these do the trick but only for a very short period of time which is typically followed by an even bigger crash. As a busy mom and a seasoned Naturopathic doctor, I do NOT think that the answer is to completely restrict all caffeine.

I do however, want to provide a few tips about when and how to consume coffee so that the result is not a short high followed by a further depletion in our overall energy.

When and how to consume caffeine:

  1. Try to consume your coffee within the first few hours of waking so that it does not impact your sleep later that night.
  2. Switch over to green tea by mid-afternoon, green tea increase your energy and focus but because of the built in calming effect of l-theanine you skip the nose dive in energy after consuming it.
  3. Balance you coffee by adding fat and protein. Try a bullet proof coffee by adding 1 tbsp of medium chain fatty acids like coconut oil as well as 1 tbsp of collagen protein powder and blend. This not only tastes amazing it will also balance your blood sugar and cortisol levels so you can get all the enjoyment and benefit without the energy crash after.
  4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate ensure that you are drinking at least 250-400 ml of extra water for every caffeinated beverage you consume. Caffeine is a diuretic meaning you will actually become less hydrated if you do not replace your fluids with additional water.
  5. Drink coffee away from your medications and supplements. Caffeine can interrupt the absorption of many vitamins and minerals, some of which you may be taking to improve energy. My recommendation is you wait a minimum of 1 hour before taking any supplements after drinking your morning coffee or tea.

Hugs from one mom to another!

Access your free journal pages for this blog to reduce the cost that caffeine may be having on your body.

Best foods to have in your fridge

Best foods to have in your fridge

As a mom who has recovered from my own burn out after trying to do it all, I have had to get fiercely in touch with my own values. As much as I thought that I was that mom who loves to cook from scratch and bake my own muffins…it turns out I am just not that person.

That being said I do value wholesome nutrition for my family and I am very committed to ensuring that we balance our blood sugars with each meal. By 2.5 my daughter always knew that mom wanted her to finish all the proteins off her plate…even more than her vegetables.

This is why I aways have the following foods bought and prepared (sometimes by me and sometimes by the store) in my fridge so that we can put quick meals together and our plates are always balanced with a protein, carb, fats and lots of veggies.

Protein:
Tuna or salmon salad (I use straight up mayo)
Hard boiled eggs (make 6 at a time)
Plain greek yogurt
Hummus (sometimes homemade, a lot of the time bought)
Protein powders (loving collagen powder these days)

Carbs:
Cooked rice or quinoa
Cooked sweet potatoes
Frozen butter nut squash
Rice crackers and cakes
Organic cereals
Oatmeal (often plain and instant)
Gluten free pasta and pizza

Fat:
Oils like coconut, avacodo and olive
Butter
Nuts and nut butters
Seeds and seed butters
Avacodo
Dressing of the week – (very simple 3-4 ingredients pre-made ready to go)

Fruits and Vegetables:
Prewashed spinach, kale and mixed greens
Sometimes I have the time to wash and cut my veggies often I don’t so I purchase them pre washed in a tray…

Having even just a few of these items allows us to mix and match and ensure that even if it is a frozen pizza night we are able to add some extra veggies and hummus to ensure balance!

Hugs from one mom to another!

Access your free journal pages for this blog and start to bring more balance and convenience into your fridge

5 ways to give yourself permission

5 ways to give yourself permission

Giving yourself permission to take care and listen to your own needs is a really hard thing for a lot of mom’s to do. This difficulty actually comes from a really beautiful place, our children mean everything to us and we want what is best for them. The problem is that we have the misguided belief that if we give them all of us then we are being “good’ moms. This is just not true. We are good to others when we are good to ourselves! Our families need to see us in actions of self care as this will result in a happier and healthy you as well as teach your children what worthiness, self esteem and inner love looks like.

Here are 5 ways that you can give yourself permission and model self care for your family:

1. Go first:
Step ahead in the family line and take care of YOU first! If it is at meal time, bath time or bed time put your needs first and take your turn before anyone else in the family. Allow yourself to be nourished, relaxed or rested before your children or partner and get curious about the positive rippling effect this has on you and your family.

2. Take a planned time out every day:
Reflect on your day and pick a non-negotiable, never missed few minutes when you are able to with you and your breath. Create conscious awareness around this daily time slot. By putting one hand on your heart and the other on your belly for just a few minutes every day, you will connect to yourself in a beautiful and profound way. Communicate this “time out” with your family, so that everyone knows that you are NOT AVAILABLE during this time every day!

3. Let some things go
As a self proclaimed control freak this was really, really hard for me but once I embraced the necessity of letting some things go I could feel the pressure lift from me immediately.

Everyone has different values and only you know where you are putting energy that is not serving you. I love a clean and organized house, I wanted to let this go but it ultimately did not ease any pressure for me. I was however able to let go of the concept of perfect meals, I can share with you that at least 1 time per week we eat frozen pizza (with a side of veggies) and I buy -not bake – cookies, granola bars, muffins for my daughter’s lunches. What a relief when I put my gluten free, vegan, paleo cook books back on the shelf to collect dust once again! What can you let go of?

4. Ask for help
Mom’s martyr! We do! I had to get honest and admit that I was not asking for help because I felt that no one could do it as well as me. What a relief when I recognized this and now once a month we pay for a cleaning service to come to our home, a wonderful luxury and worth every cent to me. The other times of the month, my husband, daughter and I turn up the tunes and get to work. My daughter loves to clean the toilets and my husband is awesome with the floors. We try to make it a “funish” family affair and often go out for a treat after to celebrate our clean house! What can you get some help with? Maybe a teenager can come over a few hours a week to watch your little ones while you have a bath or read a book. Can you ask your husband to take over the laundry duties? Chances are you are holding on to a mom duty that you can pass along to someone else, they may even do it better than you!

5. Say No!
Sometimes the simple things are the hardest things. A big part of mom burn out is the need to take care of everything and everyone. What is that saying…want to get something done, give it to a busy person? Mom’s you are the perfect target for this! A little technique that has served me very well in the past few years is something I call the “pause button”. Whenever anyone asks me to do anything, I reply with “I will get back to you”. This allows me to walk away and think about if it serves me before responding with a reflexive yes when actually it is a resounding no!

Go deeper by accessing the accompanying Journal now!

5 ways to let go Mom guilt

5 ways to let go Mom guilt

All mom’s feel guilt, the stakes are high and we want what is best for our children. We have set out to do what is right, best and will most benefit our precious ones. For many mom’s when we perceive ourselves not doing, acting nor being in line with this intention we feel guilt.

This is such a vicious cycle and what we are expecting of ourselves is impossible without burn out or exhaustion while at the same time if we don’t stay true to this high intention we feel guilt and often shame. None of this sounds very hopeful!

The reality is there is no winning in this current model and we mom’s need to a) identify that what we are doing is not working and never will b) create space for a new belief system and expectations about what we can give to our family c) take care of your own needs so that you can come back to your family happy and healthy.
Inevitably you will feel guilt especially as you are transition into new behaviors of self care and listening to your needs, the challenge for you is to lean into the guilt. That voice in your head that is saying you are being selfish and the knot in your stomach that is pulling you back to your pouting child. Yep that is the guilt and it will be there, your goal is override those thoughts and sensations with the absolute truth – if you do not take care of you then you can not take care of your children with the open heart and present state that you are longing for.

So the next time your child is crying, your partner just walked through the door, the dog still needs to be fed and you have 7 minutes to get to your yoga class, here are some tips to a) tell everyone you love them and get in the car b) over ride that guilt and go enjoy the class c) come back to your family healthy and happy ready to dive in to their needs.

  1. Breath: with one hand on heart and the other on your stomach take 3 belly breaths and remind yourself about the benefits of self care
  2. Have a quote or mantra: something like “I take care of me so I can take care of my family” or “I am teaching my children how to self care by doing this”
  3. Realize this is also for your family: take some time to yourself allows you to come back to your children with joy and a present state of mind, just being there to be there is not benefiting anyone.
  4. Trust that you are not as needed as you think you are: this gives your children, partner, grandparents, neighbours and opportunity to connect with each other in a way that fosters relationships outside of you.
  5. Love yourself too: neglecting yourself is having serious mental, emotional and physical costs. Caring for yourself is less about guilt in not being there for your children and more about necessity for your well being.

Go deeper by accessing the accompanying Journal now!