Taming The Sugar Beast

I learned a lot from the reBOOT cleanse and can’t recommend it enough. I feel more like myself. I can now say that I love arugula more than chocolate.  That’s a miracle!  Thanks, Shanti. – Nisaa K., Alameda, CA

IS SUGAR CARAMELIZING YOUR HEART?

sugar

  • We build up a tolerance to sugar, just like drugs, so we need more and more and more. 
  • Sugar in any form—honey, agave nectar, table syrup, “natural” —is all equally toxic.
  • Sugar may raise your cholesterol as much as (or even more than) a cheeseburger.
  • The American Heart Association recommends that women keep their sugar intake to less than 100 calories of added sugar a day. This is less than the amount in one can of soda!
  • Sugar has become a “public health crisis” just like alcohol and tobacco.
  • Sugar causes insulin to spike, which can fuel certain types of cancers, including breast and colon cancers.

​It’s time to Tame the SUGAR BEAST…

Step 1: What’s missing in your diet?
ASK: “Am I eating enough leafy greens and whole grains? Am I eating too many starchy foods and not enough protein and fat?”
Step 2: How’s your sleep?
ASK: “Am I able to wake-up without an alarm clock and feel rested?”
Step 4: What fun things do you do outside of work and obligations?
ASK: “Are sweets the main “treat” in my life?”
Step 5: How’s your digestion?
ASK: “Am I feeling bloated, gassy, or off?”
The solution is to gain body awareness and kindness. There’s a reason why our cravings have become a BEAST. Address the imbalance and watch the cravings change.
For support and guidance in this area, consider joining our reBOOT Nourishing Fall cleanse. We tame the cravings one week at a time! Learn more here.
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SHANTI PAPPAS     415.308.3529    shanti@happybellyhealth.com
500 Sutter St, Suite 906, San Francisco CA

3 Adaptogenic Herbs That Will Change the Way You Handle Stress

Rhodiola by the water
By Gérald Tapp [CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Stress is an inevitable part of daily life and at times it can easily become unmanagable. What are we to do when the amount of stress we face is increasing and the amount of time we have to ourselves is decreasing? What interventions can we use that will help us in the short term as we work towards a better balance? Let’s take a look at what stress is and how adaptogenic herbs can help us when we need it the most.

In a very basic sense, when we look at the nervous system we have two states; fight or flight (sympathetic) or rest and digest (parasympathetic). In our not so distant past, when we heard a rumbling in a bush or the snapping of a twig, our nervous system would mount a response in our body and we would rush into action to either fight for our lives or run away from the danger.

In modern times, the snapping of the twig has been replaced by our boss, a constant flood of emails, and the ever increasing “to do” list. When our bodies decide to use the same tactic it has evolved from centuries before, this tactic tends to come up short. We simply cannot fight or run from our day to day activities like we could from the beasts that were ready to eat us.

Furthermore, if left uncheck, this stress response can have detrimental effects on the body. Chronic stress contributes to a host of negative signs, symptoms, diseases, and disorders including but not limited to:

  • Memory and concentration impairment
  • Heart disease
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Digestive problems
  • Aches and pains
  • Exacerbation of any chronic disorder or diseases

Having healthy lifestyle habits in place can contribute towards diminishing chronic stress. Our experience has shown us that when people are working really hard, their good habits drop off.

This is where adaptogenic herbs can contribute the most. When people are too busy to exercise, eat healthy, and sleep well. Adaptogenic herbs can buy us time to reestablish a balance in the nervous system and supports the body to better handle the stress.

Adaptogenic herbs are classified as herbs that help protect the body from various stressors, including physical, mental, or emotional stress. These herbs have been used for centuries and across many civilizations. Stress is by no means a modern condition and we are only the latest generation to grapple with how to best defuse it.

Astragulas has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Known primarily for its wonderful benefit as an immune system enhancer. It typically is used to combat colds, influenza (flu), and upper respiratory tract infections. It has the additional bonus of providing energy for people suffering from fatigue due to chronic stress

Ashwagandha, known in the ayurvedic traditions as Indian ginseng, has been associated with promoting good health for centuries. A study indicated that administration of this herb effectively increased tolerance to stress in individuals and improved overall scores in in quality of life samplings. Ashwagandha can also be used to help with reducing inflammation and decreasing pain.

Grown in the artic regions of Asia and Europe, rhodiola is our go to herb for chronically high stressed patients. This plant can increase physical endurance, mental performance, and reduce stress induced fatigue in humans. In a study of military cadets undergoing sleep deprivation and stress found that rhodiola greatly helped the cadets with the effects of fatigue. Athletes are also taking advantage of rhodiola’s properties while training. Rhodiola is great at improving endurance capacity during exercises and shortening the recovery time from high endurance activities.

These are just the tip of the ice burg when it comes to adaptogenic herbs. There are many more adaptogenic herbs that can assist in treating chronic stress. Not to mention an entire pharmacopia of herbal therapies for acute and chronic conditions. If you would like to know more please talk to your local acupuncturist about what they can do for your health.

Lastly, we want to hear from you, our readers. What do you do to manage chronic stress? Are there certain regimens that you use that help with stress? We would love to hear from you and how you go about tackling this common condition.

 

References:

Sleeping Beauty? or Sleep-deprived Beast?

Who doesn’t love to Sleep? With all the amazing benefits that sleep brings us, it seems crazy that most of us choose to deprive ourselves of something so simple and yummy…

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If you routinely lose sleep or choose to sleep less than needed, the sleep loss adds up. The total sleep lost is called your sleep debt. For example, if you lose 2 hours of sleep each night, you’ll have a sleep debt of 14 hours after a week.

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.

Healthy Brain Function and Emotional Well-Being

Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It’s forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information.

Studies show that a good night’s sleep improves learning. Whether you’re learning math, how to play the piano, how to perfect your golf swing, or how to drive a car, sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills. Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.

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Children and teens who are sleep deficient may have problems getting along with others. They may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation. They also may have problems paying attention, and they may get lower grades and feel stressed.

Physical Health

Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. For example, sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity. For example, one study of teenagers showed that with each hour of sleep lost, the odds of becoming obese went up. Sleep deficiency increases the risk of obesity in other age groups as well.

Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than when you’re well-rested.

 

Sleep also affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes.

Sleep also supports healthy growth and development. Deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults. Sleep also plays a role in puberty and fertility.

Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. This system defends your body against foreign or harmful substances. Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections.

Daytime Performance and Safety

Getting enough quality sleep at the right times helps you function well throughout the day. People who are sleep deficient are less productive at work and school. They take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes.

After several nights of losing sleep—even a loss of just 1–2 hours per night—your ability to function suffers as if you haven’t slept at all for a day or two.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Problem Sleepiness?
Sleep deficiency can cause you to feel very tired during the day. You may not feel refreshed and alert when you wake up. Sleep deficiency also can interfere with work, school, driving, and social functioning.

How sleepy you feel during the day can help you figure out whether you’re having symptoms of problem sleepiness. You might be sleep deficient if you often feel like you could doze off while:

Sitting and reading or watching TV
Sitting still in a public place, such as a movie theater, meeting, or classroom
Riding in a car for an hour without stopping
Sitting and talking to someone
Sitting quietly after lunch
Sitting in traffic for a few minutes

or…..

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Sleep deficiency can cause problems with learning, focusing, and reacting. You may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, remembering things, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. You may take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes.
The signs and symptoms of sleep deficiency may differ between children and adults. Children who are sleep deficient might be overly active and have problems paying attention. They also might misbehave, and their school performance can suffer.

You may not notice how sleep deficiency affects your daily routine. A common myth is that people can learn to get by on little sleep with no negative effects. However, research shows that getting enough quality sleep at the right times is vital for mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

Strategies for Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep often is the first thing that busy people squeeze out of their schedules. Making time to sleep will help you protect your health and well-being now and in the future.

Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. For children, have a set bedtime and a bedtime routine. Don’t use the child’s bedroom for timeouts or punishment.
Try to keep the same sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends. Limit the difference to no more than about an hour. Staying up late and sleeping in late on weekends can disrupt your body clock’s sleep–wake rhythm.
Use the hour before bed for quiet time. Avoid strenuous exercise and bright artificial light, such as from a TV or computer screen. The light may signal the brain that it’s time to be awake.

Avoid heavy and/or large meals within a couple hours of bedtime. (Having a light snack is okay.) Also, avoid alcoholic drinks before bed.
Avoid nicotine (for example, cigarettes) and caffeine (including caffeinated soda, coffee, tea, and chocolate). Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants, and both substances can interfere with sleep.

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The effects of caffeine can last as long as 8 hours. So, a cup of coffee in the late afternoon can make it hard for you to fall asleep at night.
Spend time outside every day (when possible) and be physically active.
Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark (a dim night light is fine, if needed).
Take a hot bath or use relaxation techniques before bed.

Napping during the day may provide a boost in alertness and performance. However, if you have trouble falling asleep at night, limit naps or take them earlier in the afternoon. Adults should nap for no more than 20 minutes.

Napping in preschool-aged children is normal and promotes healthy growth and development.

-National Heart Blood and Lung Institute

Carry Your Baby Like a Bag of Groceries

My friend Amber carrying her cute toddler on her hip. Yikes.
My friend Amber carrying her cute toddler on her hip. Yikes.

You’ve all seen the posture. A new mom with baby in tow. With her hip jutted out and baby on the side. Possibly a coffee cup in the other hand. It’s hard to be ergonomic as a new mom (I understand…I was just trying to carry as many things as I could without dropping my kids). But carrying kiddos on the hip creates a curve you don’t want: in your spine, a functional scoliosis.

After being pregnant, new moms have lost their body placement and feel very loosey-goosey. Whenever possible, carry your little ones in front, like a bag of groceries. And make sure to hold your core in.

See how important it is to make a switch away from your hips? Try it. See how much better your back feels. And let me know about it, too!

My friend Amber carrying her cute toddler on her hip. Much better.
My friend Amber carrying her cute toddler on her hip. Much better.