5 Ways To Curb Your Sugar Cravings

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Who else gets crazy sugar cravings?! I think we all get a hankering for something sweet once in a while. Some of us are craving sugar on a daily basis. Last year I tried to go 1 month without any sugar and it was really HARD! I don’t think cutting out sugar completely is the answer since eating fruit is good for you and it’s really really delicious. The problem is that sugar is in so many packaged foods that most people have no idea that they are eating an average of 20 tsp a day! Did you know that sugar and processed foods are as addictive as heroin or cocaine? Yikes, thats pretty scary. This is one of the reason that diabetes is becoming such a problem.

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There are many different theories on the causes of sugar cravings, including food allergies, adrenal fatigue, monthly hormonal changes in women, parasites, Candida, and bacterial overgrowth. The less sugar you eat, the less your body craves it. Try some of these methods below and see you do!

  1. Avoid Processed Foods – In a 2013 study from Connecticut College, researchers confirmed that Oreos could be as addictive as cocaine. Eating sugar artificially stimulates a region of your brain that produces dopamine, the pleasure neurotransmitter. Soon, dopamine levels drop, and we start to feel “down.” We crave this pleasant, feel-good feeling again, leading to sugar addiction. 
  2. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Naturally – The all-natural sweetener Stevia has zero calories, does not raise blood sugar levels, and is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Eating fruit is also a good option. Some fruits are higher in sugar, so stick to the lower sugar level ones if possible.
  3. Drink More Water – Sometimes we think that your body is asking for sugar, when in fact it’s dehydrated and really craving water! Try fruit infused water for a little treat. Another way to get hydrated and curb your cravings is to have herbal tea sweetened with stevia.
  4. Eat More Sea Vegetables – Rich in vitamins and minerals, seaweed or sea vegetables make for a healthy snack! Sea vegetables have a high mineral content, while eating anything with sugar immediately depletes minerals from your body. I love those packages of dried seaweed with olive oil and sea salt.
  5. Have more Fermented Foods & Drinks – Fermented foods and drinks are perhaps the most important way to reduce or even eliminate cravings for sugar.  You can include the following foods into your diet: coconut kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and  Kombucha. You’ll be amazed at how the sour taste of fermented foods and drinks relieves the desire for sugar and processed foods!

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xx Malika

By | Apr 10th, 2016|Health|0 Comments

Natural Ways to Help You This Allergy Season

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Who else is suffering big time form Allergies right now?! I’m definitely feeling my symptoms in full effect over the last week. I have itchy eyes, a runny and itchy nose and a scratchy throat, it’s the WORST! I never had seasonal allergies as a kid or a teen. I only started to notice symptoms when I was pregnant and they have been haunting me every spring since. They are a pain in my butt, the upside is they are only temporary. I looked into some natural remedies to get relief for myself and thought maybe it might be a good idea to share them with any of you who might also be suffering. 😉 I don’t want to have to resort to taking antihistamines all spring! So here are my top 5 natural ways to help fight allergy season.

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Allergies are your body’s reaction to allergens, a sign that your immune system is working overtime. The first time your body encounters an allergen, your plasma cells release immunoglobulin, an antibody specific to that allergen. Which then attaches to the surface of your mast cells. Your mast cells are found in great numbers in your surface tissues (i.e. the mucous membranes of your nose), where they help cause an inflammatory responses. This causes your mast cells to become activated and release a powerful cocktail of histamine, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins, which trigger the entire cascade of symptoms you associate with allergies: sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, hacking cough, itchy eyes, etc.

  1. Local Honey: The theory is that consuming local honey from where you live will help your body adapt to the allergens in the environment. This is supposed to work like a natural allergy “shot.” So add a teaspoon or more of raw to your next cup of tea. The honey should be unprocessed local honey from as close to where you actually live as possible.
  2. Turmeric: This spice belongs to the ginger family. It is a natural nutritional supplement that helps to cure many beauty and health problems, including allergies, due to the following properties: it contains curcumin, a compound that acts as a decongestant, it acts as an anti – histamine which helps in reducing the mast cell de-granulation or histamine, and it has anti-inflammatory analgesic and anti-bacterial properties that help to cure allergies. I bought this great Turmeric Tonic from my local health food store and it’s amazing.
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is an age old remedy that is great for a variety of health conditions. Some folks have used it for the allergies with great success. The theory is that its ability to reduce mucous production and cleanse the lymphatic system makes it useful for allergies.
  4. Probiotics: New research links the presence of beneficial bacteria in the gut with reduced incidence of allergies. So taking a probiotic can help balance your gut bacteria, having a positive effect on your allergies. Fermented foods and drinks like Kombucha or Kefir can hep also boost gut bacteria.
  5. Meditation: I know this might sound far fetched but my boyfriend meditates and suggested it might help with my allergies. I will being trying this method out this week. I went on the internet to research this theory and found some testimonials that it really helped people. Allergies are caused by an improper response from your immune system. When you are relaxed your immune system works better. If you are stressed or depressed your immune system is impaired. People that meditate regularly are more relaxed. As a result their immune systems work better and allergic reactions are reduced or eliminated!

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I hope you try some of these remedies and they give you some relief! I would love to hear your success stories or any other things that have worked for you. Please leave me a comment below.

xx Malika

By | Apr 4th, 2016|Health|0 Comments

The 5 Worst Nutritional Myths

Nutritional myths

Let me just say that the world of health and wellness is constantly changing and we are always being bombarded with the latest health trend and new health study. Which basically means you have to be a detective or use your common sense to decide which pieces of nutritional advice (you see in the media) you should follow.  I mostly listen to my body and it tells me which foods are right for me. Not everyone is in tune with what their bodes needs, so I am debunking 5 nutritional health myths.

Eggs

  1. Throw away the egg yolks. This just doesn’t make sense to me…. I have never just eating the egg whites, I don’t think they taste very good! If an egg is healthy then shouldn’t we be eating the whole thing? Eggs are a great source of protein as well as being a nutritional powerhouse. They have gotten a bad rap because of their cholesterol, but new studies are proving that eating the whole egg does not in fact raise our cholesterol levels. Eggs are full of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are also high in Choline as well as Lutein and Zeaxanthin which are powerful antioxidants that are highly protective for the eyes, lowering the risk of various eye diseases.
  2.  All calories are created equal. This just doesn’t make sense to me! Does it seem reasonable to believe that the 95 calories in an apple are equal to a 100 calorie min size chocolate bar!? No it does not. Calorie counting just doesn’t make sense to me. Many studies show that different foods have different levels of making you feel full. You need much fewer calories to feel full from eggs or boiled potatoes, compared to donuts or ice cream.
  3. Use polyunsaturated vegetable oils for cooking. These oils, including soybean, corn, canola and cottonseed oils have been shown in some studies to lower cholesterol levels. However that doesn’t mean that they are the best option. These oils can increase the risk of heart disease, they are also loaded with polyunsaturated fats, but the bad kind like Omega-6s. Studies show that eating a diet high in Omega-6s, can contribute to inflammation in the body which is one of the key drivers of almost every chronic disease! Cooking with these oils is not a good idea because polyunsaturated fats are sensitive to heat and damage very easily. A good oil to use for cooking is coconut oil! 😉
  4. eat a low-fat high carb diet. People are definitely confused when it come to low-carb, high carb, low-fat and sugar free. The whole low fat craze was originally based on a few poorly conducted observational studies, animal experiments and misguided political decisions. When manufacturers took the the fat out of their food products they replaces it with sugar! This was a terrible idea and the reason the low-fat diet doesn’t really work. I don’t believe carbs are the enemy either but most people consume way to many processed carbs in a day. Carbs from fruit are not the problem its all the baked goods that are nutritionally void. As for fat, our body needs some fat, good fat sources are avocados, eggs and coconut oil. Bad fats come from too much animal protein, fast food and processed oils. If you are going to consume dairy the new trend is to consume full fat, in small quantities. If you can get your hands on raw dairy that’s even better. 😉
  5. Replacing butter with margarine. Margarine is not natural at all, just look at the ingredient list! My mother always taught me that real butter is best, in moderation. Margarine, not surprisingly, increases heart disease risk compared to butter. When we replace traditional foods like butter and meat with processed pseudo-foods, we become fat and sick. So if you are going to enjoy your bread with butter, just use the real stuff! 😉

I know it seems hard to navigate the most recent health related media buzz, but use your common sense and eat REAL FOOD. 😉

xx Malika

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By | Feb 7th, 2016|Health|0 Comments

How to Boost your Immunity during Cold & Flu Season

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We all know that when the warm weather fades and fall sets in that cold and flu season is here. If you work outside your home or have a child in school you know how easy it is to come down with something. No one likes being sick, I quite frankly don’t have time for it! So I do everything in my power not to get sick. Here are a few tips and tricks that seem to work for me.

Oil of Oregano: I have a love hate relationship with oil of oregano. I hate the taste, but I love it’s healing properties. It acts kind of like a weed killer by helping to eliminate some of bad bacteria that may be dominating your body. I also find that it helps sooth your soar throat. As soon as I feel the first signs of a cold coming on I always get out my oil of oregano! Just a few drops in water 3 times a day seems to help.

Sleep: You know how your mom was always telling you to get enough sleep, well she was right. We all know we need sleep to function properly, but a good nights rest will also boost your immune system and help you to stay healthy when all your co-workers are getting sick. Sleep is vital for  keeping your immune system working properly to fight off infection.

Garlic: Eating crushed garlic can help ward off sickness, it contains Allicin which is know for fighting off viruses. I would recommend cooking with it. 🙂 Make your self a big old pot of soup that will help you stay well this season. Bone broth chicken soup seems to be the best for me.

Drink Enough Water: If you’re dehydrated, your body will have a hard time fighting off any cold viruses. Make sure you are drinking lots of water and herbal  tea throughout the day. Our mucous membranes and the immune cells in their secretions defend against cold viruses, and they can’t work as well if you’re dehydrated. So drink up!

Sleep

No one likes being sick, so make sure you are eating healthy real food and getting enough sleep. I find if you have a feeling you are coming down with a virus, take action right away. I always grab some extra vitamin C, and make sure I listen to my body by resting and drinking lost of warm lemon and honey tea. Take care this flu season.

xx Malika

 

 

By | Oct 11th, 2015|Health|0 Comments

3 Things I learned After Oil Pulling For A Week

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Happy Saturday peeps! I have been reading about oil pulling for a while now. Is it just a health trend or is it here to stay?! Oil pulling means that you swish oil around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. The reason to do this is that it’s believed to pull bacteria and toxins out of you body through your mouth. It’s actually a very ancient practice used by Ayurvedic medicine practitioners and has been around for over 3,000 years. I decided to do some of my own investigating and try it out for a week. The first time I did it, I found it very hard to use a whole tablespoon so I just started with a teaspoon. I found it difficult to keep swishing around the oil without swallowing it the first time, so I only lasted 5 minutes. Hey, you gotta start somewhere. 😉 I decided to make it part of my nightly routine, first I would brush my teeth, then floss then oil pull using coconut oil. I definitely noticed that my teeth got whiter, my mouth felt cleaner and the oil I spat out was dirty! Here are 3 things I learned about oil pulling.

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1. It reduces the amount of bacteria in your mouth. “Coconut oil treated with enzymes found in your saliva seems to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria. No solid scientific proof that it works, but it certainly makes people feel better.” “Swishing the oil around your mouth attracts the bad bugs to help pull it off of surfaces. When you are finished swishing around the oil in your mouth, spit the bacteria-filled solution into the trash. I did feel like the oil was helping clean out my mouth and think if I was on the verge of getting sick that this might actually help.

2. It can help with headaches. Doctors say it can help with arthritis, migraine headaches, asthma, and the common cold. I definitely would try oil pulling to help cure a headache instead of popping a pill.

3. It could save a money at the dentist. There are actually so many of different types of bacteria in the mouth. Some of them are friendly but others are not. The bacteria in the mouth create a “biofilm” on the teeth  which is a thin layer that they use to adhere to the surface. This is what we know as “plaque.” Having some plaque on your teeth is normal, too mush plaque can get out of hand it can cause problems, including bad breath, yellow teeth, gum inflammation, gingivitis and cavities. Oil pulling can help with some of these issues.

There are so many things we can do to improve our health, oil pulling is just one of them. We all live busy lives, and this ritual will take time to do everyday. I guess you have to ask yourself if you think its right for you and your health?! I did enjoy my week on this experiment and I do believe it is beneficial…..However, I’m not sure I will continue it on a nightly basis. But I do think that I will use this practice again some time in my future.

xx Malika

By | Oct 3rd, 2015|Health|0 Comments

How I Quit Sugar

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Happy Friday! It’s been another amazing week here in Vancouver with lots of sun and fun on Canada day. I thought I would let you in on something I have been trying over the last 4 weeks. June 1 me and one of my friends decided to quit sugar! We each got a copy of Sarah Wilson’s book, I QUIT Sugar. We were never going to quit forever, just for 8 weeks…… Let me tell you, it has been HARD. The hardest part for me was not eating fruit. Week one you don’t go cold turkey, you try to avoid sugar and be more aware of reading labels as sugar is lurking in almost every packaged food! It’s actually quite shocking to realize how many teaspoons of sugar we are consuming a day from food you wouldn’t think had sugar in it like, bread, ketchup and mayo.

I really missed having honey in my tea for the first week and having the luxury of grabbing any condiment I want to use. Once you stop eating sugar, you have to start making sauces and dressings yourself. I thought I would notice a huge difference in my entire body…but I didn’t.  I did notice that I stopped craving sweets as much and I think I lost a bit of fat on my stomach….which is always nice. 😉 I also liked the fact that I had to plan my meals and snacks so I couldn’t make bad choices and just pop into Starbucks for a treat. I don’t think we always  realize how many times a week we are eating less then stellar food choices and they add up. I’m supposed to continue for another 4 weeks with no sugar. I plan to keep avoiding the obvious bad white processed sugar and foods that contain it but I don’t think I can avoid fruit for the rest of the summer. So my plan is to eat a bit of fruit everyday, I believe fruit is healthy and I don’t need to feel guilty for eating it! 😉

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After the 4 weeks is up I will continue using maple syrup, honey and coconut sugar for my baking and desserts but I now realize that “fructose” in any kind of sweetener can cause havoc on your body if you consume to much of it! Life is sweet enough and I don’t meed to add sweetness to everything I eat. I think your taste buds adapt over time and things you used to enjoy, seem way to sweet after quieting sugar. If any of you try this, I would love to hear your feedback. I’m totally glad that I did this and I will continue to try to eat less sugar in the future. I highly recommend this book, especially if you have kids. Kids theses days eat way to much sugar……but that is a whole other blog post. 😉

xx Malika

 

By | Jul 3rd, 2015|Health|0 Comments

Are you eating GMOs?!

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I’m sure by now you all know what a GMO is right?! If you don’t know, GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. Wikipedia’s definition: A genetically modified organism (GMO) is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. GMOs are the source of genetically modified foods and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce goods other than food. There are many conflicting dietary theories but something most people in the health and wellness field agree on is that we should not be consuming GMOs! The sad part is that due to clever marketing and a mismanaged food system, the average person doesn’t understand what GMOs are and why we should be avoid them.

My biggest fear is for our children, being a mother I worry about what my son eats and how it will affect his health in the long run. When I was a kid, my mom made most of our meals from scratch. We didn’t eat granola and chickpeas everyday, but we did eat real wholesome food that was prepared at home without nasty preservatives and GMOs lurking inside. These days most parents are so busy working and running their kids to after school sports and activities that they don’t have time to cook. They end up eating out at fast food chains or buying pre packaged dinners like frozen pizza or chicken nuggets. I’m not sitting here on my high horse saying I never feed my son pizza and treats but I don’t feed him that kind of food on a regular basis. I cook most of our meals at home and I’m very careful to read the labels!

Yesterday I was at the store looking to buy some coconut milk for the curry I was making. There were 4 different brands of coconut milk in cans. When I went to read the ingredient labels 3 out of 4 of them had “cellulose” in them. Cellulose is not something you need or want to be consuming, it’s made of wood pulp!! I found a brand that only contained only what should have been in my coconut mil: coconut and water. 😉

Unfortunately you have to become a food detective because big food companies are good at marketing their food as “healthy” and they don’t want you to know whats really hiding in their packaged food. Anytime you see food labels that contain these ingredients be wary. These are some of the main GMO ingredients in your packaged food:

  • Aspartame
  • Corn
  • Sugar Beets
  • HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • Soy (lecithin)
  • Corn Starch.

There are also a number if fruit and veggies that are now grown as GMO crops and I try to always buy these foods Organic.

  • Soybeans
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • apples
 There aren’t to many long term studies to show the negative affects that GMOs have on our health but it doesnt take a scientist to know that they must be causing havoc! Most GMO crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant” so they can with stand high doses of round up ready toxic sprays. Do you want to be ingesting these into your body?! North America is in a state of “Health Crisis” right now and the number of kids being diagnosed with diabetes, allergies, asthma and cancer is shocking.
Nobody is perfect and I’m sure I eat some GMOs once in awhile (unknowingly), but if you are more aware, you can avoid buying these foods on a regular basis. I like to avoid the middle isles of the grocery store and shop the perimeter for real whole foods. Whether you like to cook or not, I urge you to try and make your kids more healthful meals at home. They will thank you for it later, especially when you have given them the tools to make healthy food choices into adulthood.
xx Malika
By | May 27th, 2015|Health, Uncategorized|2 Comments

5 Foods That You Think Are Healthy, But Aren’t!


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Happy Monday! 🙂 I know it’s confusing to know which foods are healthy and which ones aren’t, especially because they seem to change every year! I have definitely had some confusion myself. There are so many health trends, eat healthy fat it’s good for you…. don’t eat fat or you will get fat! How do we know what to believe and what is really healthy?! Honestly, using common sense and your gut are two great ways to guide you. If a food is in it’s whole natural state it is probably good for you. If you can’t read most of the ingredients on the label, put it back on the shelf! 😉 I thought I would just touch on a few of the worst supposed “health” foods, as well as recommend some healthy alternatives.

1. Microwave Popcorn, is soooo bad for you. It is promoted as a fat free healthy snack but that is not the truth at all! Most microwave popcorn is made with GMO (genetically modified) corn and filled with carcinogens, it is just not worth the convenience. Even if you were to find some organic varieties, it still wouldn’t be safe to eat because the microwavable bags are coated with PFOAs, a chemical that is liked to cancer! If you really love popcorn please make it in a pot on your stove with organic corn kernels!! 😉

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2. Margarine is one of the worst “foods” you can buy. It’s mostly made of chemicals, so I’m not sure if it’s even fair to call it “food”. Margarine is made out of trans fats, which are known to clog arteries and cause cardiovascular disease. Trans fat also increases your risk of developing type II diabetes and and other health problems. Studies show that margarine decreases the quality of breast milk, decreases the immune system, and decreases insulin response! I am not saying to run out and eat a bunch of butter, but at least butter perishes like all fresh food should. I bet you could leave margarine in your fridge for years and it would look the same…….very questionable. If you want to treat  yourself to the wonder that is fresh bread and butter, I think using organic butter every now and then is allowed. 😉

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3. Artificial Sweeteners – Where do I begin……… These fake sweeteners are sadly recommended by too many health care professionals because they are low on the glycemic index. The truth is that new research is showing that these sweeteners actually causes disturbances in your gut flora and can actually cause diabetes! They are also know to cause many health issues such as: allergies, brain tumours, breast cancer and headaches. Please stay away! I prefer to sweeten my drinks with honey or coconut sugar.

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4. Conventional Milk- My personal opinion is that humans are not meant to drink milk from other animals! My opinions aside, regular milk is full of chemicals and toxins. Farmers use genetically modified cow feed and hormones to boost milk production.  These toxins get transferred to you when you drink milk or eat conventional dairy products, causing a whole lot of health concerns. I suggest at a minimum you buy organic milk or you could try some of the great milk alternatives. I don’t actually drink any type of milk but I do love to use almond milk for my baking recipes. 😉

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5. Vegetable Oil, is another food pantry staple that some people believe is good for them. Unfortunately this oil is very similar to margarine, vegetable oils like canola are not healthy by any stretch of the imagination. They are usually genetically modified, are partially hydrogenated and have been linked to the following health issues: birth defects, bone and tendon problems, cancer, diabetes and digestive disorders. When I am cooking with high heat, I use coconut oil. If I’m cooking with low heat I use olive oil. You can substitute melted coconut oil in any baking recipe that reacquires vegetable oil!

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I hope this info will help you to avoid these very unhealthy foods in the future. The best way to keep your kitchen stocked with healthy clean food is to shop at your local organic health food store and stay away from processed foods. The outer aisles of the grocery store have the freshest food. 🙂

xx Malika

 

 

 

 

 

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By | Mar 24th, 2015|Health|0 Comments

The Scary Truth About Arsenic In Our Rice

brown rice

Have you guys been reading about arsenic in rice and rice products lately?! A big study came out a few years ago and apparently I totally missed it. I found the information I read about the study very disturbing, especially because I believed that brown rice was such a healthy food staple. Obviously every study and article you read on the internet needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but there is definitely some truth in this article. Basically the reason that rice has more arsenic than other foods is because it absorbs the toxins found in soil better then other crops. White rice is stripped of its outer shell so although it may not have as many nutrients as brown rice it has less arsenic in it. I wish I had known about this when my son was a baby and I was feeding him rice cereal! After reading about arsenic levels being higher in brown rice, I think I will consider buying white rice more often. I did read that rinsing your brown rice thoroughly will help remove some of the toxins. I plan on rinsing my rice from now on.

Arsenic Rice

I have to admit that rice is not my favourite health food so part of me was happy to consume more quinoa and other grains, whoever I do love rice pasta as a gluten free pasta alternative. I believe that knowledge is power, but everything in moderation. I don’t plan on banning rice from my diet, that is too extreme. Instead I will only consume rice once a week. This photo above shows which grains are the lowest in arsenic, I found it on consumerreports.org. I hope you found this information helpful so you can make more informed decisions on what you feed yourself and your family.

Rice

By | Jan 4th, 2015|Health|0 Comments