August 30, 2019

A healthy diet is an essential key to maximizing your brain’s potential after a brain injury. Poor diet can affect mood, behavior and brain function. Our brains need energy and nutrients for healthy brain chemistry, functioning of nerves, and correct neurotransmitter levels.  A healthy diet becomes even more critical after a brain injury as you begin the recovery process.

 The basics of a healthy diet

Fad diets come and go, but the essentials of a healthy diet remain:

Power up with protein

To help heal your brain, you need plenty of dietary protein. Aim for 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of your body weight. Eat lean, healthy protein sources like organic/free range poultry, fish, beans, legumes nuts & seeds 

Eliminate sugar and other high-glycemic-index foods

Foods like white bread, white potatoes, and pasta increase blood sugar levels and inflammation in the brain.

Follow a no-grain or low-grain diet

Eat only gluten-free grains for at least 30 days (preferably 100 days) to see if symptoms are reduced. Gluten sensitivity is common and often undiagnosed, and removing it can reduce inflammation and get you back on track. 

Eat more vegetables

A lot more (8-10 portions daily)!  Adding non-starchy vegetables and berries, can reduce inflammation and feed health-promoting bacteria in the gut, which improve mood and cognitive ability.

Fuel With Healthy Fats

We still need fat in our diet, but if you are injured, this would be a time to dial in your fat sources and make sure they mostly come from unsaturated fats, such as nuts & seeds and nut butters (studies suggest nuts are associated with reduced markers of inflammation), avocados and olive oil that can work in our favor to reduce inflammation.  Other healthy sources: those cleaner omega-3 oils; omega-3-rich fish like salmon, sardines, and anchovies.  The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, found abundantly in fish oil, are crucial for reducing brain inflammation, and building strong, flexible cell membranes. For the first few weeks after a concussion, supplement with up to 4,000 mg daily of a high-quality fish oil. Continue with 2,000 to 4,000 mg daily for three months after that.

Resist the urge to cut calories

Your instinct is probably to cut back on calories since you’re no longer working up a sweat every day.  Resist that temptation and keep eating at the rate you have been. Your body heals from macro and micronutrients, so you need to keep calories up to keep supplies of nutrients up. Plus, the act of healing boosts your metabolic rate. 

Alcohol, caffeine & other drugs

Excessive alcohol consumption can cause nutritional deficiencies as key vitamins and minerals are needed to break it down in our bodies. Most rehabilitation specialists will advise completely quitting alcohol use for at least a year or two after a brain injury, if not permanently. For those who do choose to eventually drink again, they are advised to drink in very moderate amounts only, and for family members to ensure it is not worsening any behaviours or other impairments after the brain injury.

Hydration is Key for Brain Health

Don’t get me wrong, both food and water are both very important. However, if you stop eating you will be able to fast for a while. Some people even do 30 days on just water with electrolytes! Stop drinking water, and you will only have a precious few days. When you get dehydrated, you will notice more severe symptoms than when you are just hungry. 

Take your weight in pounds and divide by two, this will give you the amount of ounces you need.  For example: 128lbs divide by 2=64oz (2 litres of water daily).

If you would like more information on post concussion nutrition, feel free to contact me at the clinic!

 

Carole Woodstock
Registered Holistic Nutritionist
FIS, NCCP
Posted in Nutrition, Uncategorized by Pat Moore
June 12, 2019

People often ask me, “Do I need to fuel during a long run?”

Here’s some things to consider:

If you are exercising for more than 60 minutes at a moderate-high intensity, consuming carbohydrates during your workout can help delay fatigue and enable you to perform at a higher intensity, it may also help you to continue exercising when your muscle glycogen stores are depleted.

What should I eat during a long activity?

It makes sense that the carbohydrates you consume during activities should be easily digested and absorbed.  You need it to raise your blood sugar level and reach your exercising muscle rapidly. Whether you choose solid of liquid carbohydrate makes little difference to your performance, provided you drink water with solid carbohydrates. Liquid forms are more convenient as they provide fluid as well as fuel, which reduce dehydration and fatigue.

FUEL EXAMPLES

For exercise lasting longer than 60 mins: Carbohydrates only (easily digested and converted into energy)

 

NOTE: Practicing & experimenting with various foods is recommended during training.  DO NOT try a new fuel on race day.

Raw Maple Ginger Sport Gel Recipe

Ingredients

15 ml pure maple syrup
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of fresh ginger

Combine all the ingredients into a gel flask.  Consume 15 ml every 45-60 mins into your run or ride!

 

Carole Woodstock, RHN, FIS, NCCP

www.fuel4lifenutrition.com

 

 

Posted in Nutrition by Carole Woodstock | Tags: , ,
March 7, 2019

For soft tissue injuries – that is everything from a sprain to a strain or tear to tendinitis – reducing inflammation becomes your biggest objectives, thus your perspective on nutrition has to shift.  Your focus is now fighting inflammation and fueling repair. There’s something about knowing that eating clean can help heal your injury and speed your recovery that makes these tips seem more like changes and less like restrictions.

Overall, the focus should be on anti-inflammatory foods, eliminating pro-inflammatory foods, keeping essential nutrient (vitamins & minerals) intake high, and boosting your protein intake for complete healing.  The more serious the injury, the more critical the diet.  When recovering from surgery, for instance, your nutrition needs will be drastically higher than recovering from, say, tendinitis.

 

Increase Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats such as chia and flax seed help reduce inflammation in the body.  Think of using these foods the same way that you use ice to reduce inflammation. And while increasing the number of anti-inflammatory foods is extremely important, so is decreasing the amount of pro-inflammatory foods.  Foods that can cause inflammation: refined sugars (candy, doughnuts, white bread), oils (margarine, shortening), processed meats (hot dogs, lunch meats, sausage), and foods high in saturated and trans fats.

Hydration is Key

Take your weight in pounds and divide by two, this will give you the amount of ounces you need daily.  For example: 128lbs divide by 2=64 oz (=2 litres) of water daily.

 

For more help or information, book your nutrition consultation today www.wholetherapy .com

Carole Woodstock, RHN www.fuel4lifenutrition.com

Posted in Nutrition, Uncategorized by Carole Woodstock
October 31, 2018

While other people are “scared” by the skeletons, spiders, ghosts, and pranks, Nutritionists are more scared by what traditional Halloween sugary foods are doing inside your kid’s body. Remember, it’s ok to indulge in treats once in while; but don’t forget to practice moderation.

Check out the tips below to help you take the scary out of Halloween’s sugar rush:

 

  • Focus on the experiences: Halloween is supposed to be about the spooky, scary and paranormal, not the sugary, salty and high-in-cholesterol. Enjoy a classic Halloween night with the kids: take them to a haunted house, go on a ghost walk around the city, visit a pumpkin patch and choose the perfect pumpkin to carve, or simply watch a scary movie. These activities were once the quintessential Halloween must-dos — let’s bring them back from the undead.
  • Instead of giving candies and chocolate, pass out other fun items such as glow-sticks, mini bags of (organic) popcorn, or even fun spooky accessories … think vampire teeth, plastic spider rings, or spooky stickers. 
  • Wait to buy your candies – buy them the day of to avoid being tempted. Buy less than you think you need to avoid leftovers.  You can also buy the ones YOU don’t like, that way you will not be tempted to eat them.
  • Make sure you have a super healthy dinner before you send your kids trick or treating, they will be less incline to eating candies or chocolate while they are trick or treating.
  • Send your kids with a smaller bag or a small Halloween bucket, that way there will be less to manage.
  • Go through the bag and ration the candies and only allow them sweets on special occasions. You can mix small bits of chocolate with air-popped popcorn, that way they will get less sugar in one bite.
Posted in Nutrition, Uncategorized by Carole Woodstock
October 25, 2018

After you’ve had fun carving your pumpkin, save the seeds and make a healthy snack with the pumpkin seeds.

 

ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS

  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Sprinkle of chili powder (you can also add paprika & cumin)
  • Sprinkle of sea salt & garlic powder

 

  1. Wash the seeds, toss them with the olive oil and mix well. Add your spices & mix again. You can also change up the spices to your taste!

 

  1. Lay them out on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden. Just watch them so they don’t get too brown.

 

 

Enjoy!

 

Carole Woodstock, RHN

www.fuel4lifenutrition.com

July 25, 2018

When you are training in the heat and sweating buckets, it is important to replenish lost electrolytes. Physical function may hang in the balance if electrolyte levels remain low after a workout. Resulting symptoms can include muscle fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. But the right sport drink can get those electrolytes back in the body, no sweat.

Commercial sports drinks contains load of sugar, which slows down the rate at which water enters the blood. They also are typically loaded with artificial ingredients, which isn’t doing your body any favors.

The best way to replace electrolytes is through real food. Instead of reaching for a commercial sports drink, try this electrolyte option that is good for your health and will save you money!

 

HOMEMADE ELECTROLYTE DRINK (Like homemade Gatorade)

– 1 cups of coconut water (unsweetened) – 1⁄4 cup of your favorite fruit juice (unsweetened) or fresh lemon or lime juice – A pinch of sea salt

Coconut Water is packed with electrolytes! Naturally refreshing, coconut water has a sweet, nutty taste. It contains easily digested carbohydrates in the form of sugar and electrolytes.

Not to be confused with high-fat coconut milk or oil, coconut water is a clear liquid in the fruit’s center that is tapped from young, green coconuts.

It has fewer calories, less sodium, and more potassium than a sports drink. Ounce per ounce, most unflavored coconut water contains 5.45 calories, 1.3 grams sugar, 61 milligrams (mg) of potassium, and 5.45 mg of sodium compared to Gatorade, which has 6.25 calories, 1.75 grams of sugar, 3.75 mg of potassium, and 13.75 mg of sodium.

Fuel4Life will help you optimize your health and energize you for life!

www.fuel4lifenutrition.com

Carole Woodstock, RHN, FIS, NCCP

Posted in Nutrition by Carole Woodstock | Tags: , , ,
May 17, 2018

Stay energized throughout the day by feeding your ‘fire’.

Ever go camping and wait until the fire is nearly out before putting on another log? Ridiculous. It just smolders and smokes a whole lot, but doesn’t catch fire. You sit there, frustrated, wishing you had not waited so long. Your body is the same: waiting until you’re really hungry and going hours without food, will cause your metabolism to extinguish rather than keep your fire burning with a constant glow. Instead, keep your flame burning bright with healthy snacks! You will avoid the lows and curb the temptation to binge on those irresistible, high-sugar, high-fat holiday treats.

 

Apple slices with almond butter? Yes please!

Here are some easy snack ideas to get you going:

  • Apple slices dipped in almond butter or sprinkled with cinnamon and chia seeds
  • Nut and seed mix (almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • Dates stuffed with crunchy raw almonds (take out each pit and replace with an almond or almond butter & cinnamon)
  • Hard-boiled egg with raw veggies
  • Avocado with sunflower seeds & sea salt (remove pit and replace with seeds & dash of sea salt)
  • Celery sticks with natural peanut butter

Happy snacking!

May 7, 2018
Dietary Reference Intake for Calcium
(Source: Health Canada)
  Age Mg / Day
Infants 0-6 months 200
  7-12 months 260
Children 1-3 700
  4-8 1000
  9-18 1300
Females/Males 19-50 1000
Males 51-70 1000
Females 51-70 1200
Females/Males 71+ 1200

 

“To err is human, to moo, bovine”

 

Many people come to me worried that they have to give up milk because of an intolerance to cow-dairy. But, where will I get my calcium from? My answer is: Don’t worry! There are many ways to ensure you will get enough calcium both from eating non-dairy sources of calcium and taking care to ensure that you hold on to the calcium your body already has.

 

Calcium myths:

 

  1. Everyone needs to drink (cow’s) milk

Not true. The most common allergy is to milk and cow-dairy products. You can be intolerant to either the lactose (sugar) or any of the 25 different proteins in milk which is why lactose-free milk is not always the answer. Most of us actually develop lactose intolerance in early adolescence but don’t realize it and keep drinking milk even though we experience gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and any other number of symptoms. If you are intolerant to cow-dairy, your body is unable to digest the dairy and absorb the calcium. As well, you can lose calcium from your body because the undigested lactase will ferment in your intestines and create lactic acid. Calcium is then leached from your bones to counteract the acidity.

  1. Dairy products will help prevent osteoporosis

Pasteurized milk contains 50% less calcium than non-pasteurized milk. Low fat milk makes it more difficult to absorb the calcium that’s left because fat is necessary to transport and absorb calcium. Research shows that countries with the highest dairy consumption often have the highest rates of osteoporosis.

 

Getting enough is just as important as avoiding losing what you already have:

In addition to getting enough dairy from your diet, here are some ways you can help your body to hold on to the calcium it’s got:

 

  • Reduce intake of coffee, tea, soda, salt, and chocolate (caffeine intake causes calcium loss via urine)
  • Reduce or avoid refined sugar (reduces absorption rate of calcium in the intestines)
  • Reduce phosphorus intake:  Meats, grains and sodas are very high in phosphorus which binds with calcium. If too much phosphorus is in your blood it will pull calcium from your bones. Consuming too much phosphorus is the same as not consuming enough dairy.
  • Consume calcium with vitamin D (eggs, liver, mushrooms, the sun!)

 

Best diet to prevent calcium loss

  • Not too much protein
  • Includes good fats but not bad fats (trans fats, hydrogenated oils)
  • High in complex carbs (fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts/seeds, fruit in moderation)

 

Cow-Dairy Sources of Calcium:

 

Food Serving Size Calcium mg/serving
Milk 1 cup 315 mg
Cheese 1 oz 130-200 mg
Cottage cheese 4 oz 100 mg
Plain yogourt ½  cup 200g

 

Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium

 

Food Serving Size Calcium mg/serving
Orange juice, calcium fortified 1 cup 300-350 mg
Rice milk, fortified 1 cup 300 mg
Almonds ½ cup 300 mg
Sesame seeds 1/8 cup 275 mg
Sardines, canned with bones 6 medium 275 mg
Tofu 1 cup 258 mg
Salmon, sockeye, canned with bones ½ can 245 mg
Soybeans ½ cup 230 mg
Almond butter 3 oz 225 mg
White beans, cooked 1 cup 170 mg
Baked beans 1 cup 163 mg
Blackstrap molasses 1 tbsp 137 mg
Home-made almond milk (see recipe below) 1 cup 75 mg

 

 Other sources of calcium:

  • Vegetables (artichoke, asparagus, avocado, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, collard greens, kale, okra, parsley, peas, spinach, swiss chard, turnip greens, watercress)
  • Nut butters (cashew butter, tahini, all-natural peanut butter, sunflower seed butter)
  • Beans and Rice (brown rice, chick peas, kidney beans, navy benas, pinto beans, wild rice)
  • Seaweed (Agar, Irish moss, kelp, wakame)

 

Hidden sources of cow dairy on food labels:

Artificial butter flavour, butter, butterfat, buttermilk, casein, caseinates, curds, custards, half and half, hydrolysates, lactalbumin, lactose, nougat, pudding, rennet casein, sour creams, sour milk solids, whey, yogurt.

 

Make your own almond milk!

Soak ½ cup of raw almonds in water overnight. Rinse and drain. Remove skin (optional). Add to blender with 2 cups of filtered water and blend until smooth. Drain through 3-4 layers of cheese cloth to remove pulp. Store in fridge for 2-3 days; shake or stir if necessary as separation will occur.

 

References:

 

  • Bateson-Koch, Carolee. Allergies: Disease in Disguise. Books Alive, 1994.
  • Case, Shelley. Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Case Nutrition Consulting, 2002.
  • Shulman, Joey. Winning the Food Fight: Every Parent’s Guide to Raising a Healthy, Happy Child. Wiley, 2003.
April 19, 2018

With up to 70% of our bodies made up of water, it is a vitally important nutrient and one which many of us do not get enough of regularly. Water plays many important roles: It helps to remove toxins from the body; it nourishes our body’s cells and enables many chemical interactions to take place. Water also helps to regulate the body’s temperature. Efficient waste removal is essential for a healthy mind and body and will also help with weight loss and clearer complexion. Even if you do nothing except to increase your water intake, you will help your body remove excess toxins and waste.

On the contrary, if you do not drink sufficient water, you will become dehydrated and may feel more tired, lethargic and unmotivated. Many of us are dehydrated and don’t even realize it. The next time you have a headache and want to reach for the Tylenol, try drinking one to two glasses of water and waiting 30 minutes to see if your headache goes away. I bet you it will!

How much?

As you’ve probably heard before, you need between 8 and 12 glasses of water daily – even more if you exercise. To be more specific, take your body weight in pounds and divide by two – the result will be the minimum amount of water that your body needs (i.e. 120 Lbs ÷ 2 = 60 oz of water) daily. Of course if you exercise, you will need a bit more – approximately 500 ml per hour of exercise.

What type?

In addition to quantity, quality is also important.

Tap water purity can vary from location to location and many chemicals are added in order to render it fit for human consumption. Tap water is a source of chlorine, aluminum and in some areas, lead, radon and nitrates may also be a concern. To be on the safe side, you would do well to consider one of the following filtering options:

  • BRITA (or similar): Brita filters use tiny charcoal fragments to filter your water of many hazardous chemicals. Brita pitchers and filters are easily obtained at most stores. It is very important, however, to change your filter regularly as failure to do so can allow other harmful bacteria to proliferate in between all the tiny charcoal granules.
  • Bottled water: A popular option for many but the source of such water is sometimes questionable and it is also difficult to know how long the water has been sitting in the bottle and in which conditions. Many studies have shown that plastic can leach into the water over time and we also have to figure out how to dispose of the toxic plastic bottles.
  • Reverse Osmosis: Considered by many to be the best source of pure water but a drawback of this method is the amount of water that must be wasted during the filtering process.
  • Block carbon filters: My favourite. These are easy to install under your sink, water quality is good, there is minimal water wastage and they are more economical over the long-term than Brita filters. You can find a wide range of options at your local hardware store, e.g. Canadian Tire or Home Depot.

 

March 30, 2015

stress-pencil-cropped

So I’ve had a pretty interesting couple of weeks:  I purged my pants collection and only kept those pairs that made me feel fabulous.  I decided not to do a fitness show in lieu of eating well for health. I’ve been busy.

It’s been exhausting, to be honest.  But I can’t believe how much I’ve learned in such a short time.

The biggest lesson of this week was handed to me by Karen, our amazingly knowledgeable Holistic Nutritionist.  I made an appointment with her when I realized how stressed out I’d been, and spent an hour and a half filling her in on the details of my eating, sleeping, elimination and exercise patterns.

I’m astounded by how cathartic just the assessment was; it was like seeing a psychotherapist and divulging my mental health issues (which, I suppose food issues are, anyway).

Karen knows her nutrition.

Karen knows her nutrition.

Our follow-up this past week left me reeling.  As I had suspected, I was teetering on the edge of adrenal fatigue.  For the uninitiated (like I was), adrenal fatigue is when your adrenal glands are releasing too much stress hormones (cortisol and epinephrine) and causing your system to be out of whack.  I could go into a whole slew of jargon here, but the long and short of it is this:

Too much adrenal stress leads to poor digestion, fatigue, and unstable blood sugar, all of which I was experiencing.

Poor digestion leads to me feeling yucky, bloated, and fat, which leads to more stress.

Fatigue and unstable blood sugar leads to lots of coffee drinking and cravings galore, which then leads to me eating crappy, not digesting well, and feeling yucky, bloated, and fat… wait, didn’t I just say that?

Basically I was trapped on the hamster wheel of stress, and my body was like, Until you fix the problem, I’m not going to listen to you.

No wonder I wasn’t leaning out like I wanted to!

Talking to Karen was enlightening and refreshing.  Being in the fitness and health industry for over 15 years has taught me a lot, but it’s interesting to note that none of my knowledge helped any when the focus was me.  I was blind to what I needed.  I needed help, and she was it.

So.  I’ve started a plan to fix all of this hamster-wheel crap.  At Karen’s recommendation, I started a few supplements designed to get my digestion back on track.  I’ve eliminated some foods (and caffeine – ughhhhh) for ten days to stop the over-stimulation of my adrenals.

Side note: Have you ever tried to stop coffee cold turkey?  SO not enjoyable. I had to wean off; it wasn’t fun.  But after only 3 days I feel markedly clearer in the head.  Win!!

In addition to the supplements and food changes, I’ve also been given strict instructions to take an hour of “me time” every day.  I balked at that at first – do you know how busy I am, Karen?  But then I realized that an hour (sometimes taken in 10 minute chunks) is not a whole lot of time.

I can do me time for 15 minutes before the little one wakes up.  I can do it on my lunch hour at the gym.  I can do it driving home listening to whatever kind of music I want, car-dancing my head off.  And I can do it at night before bed with a book or a TV show with Husband Jamie.  It’s doable.

It’s been 3 days, and I’m already optimistic.  I feel clearer, more alert, and already I can feel a positive change in my stomach.  I’m starting to feel satisfied after meals instead of crave-y, and even though I thought I wanted more coffee just now, I was pleasantly satisfied with green tea.

Can I change?  I think so.  It’s happening.  One step at a time, and with some help, but it’s happening.
The journey continues.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen