Seed Cycling Pudding

chia seed pudding

Seed cycling is one of the simplest and most effective holistic remedies for balancing hormones.

This ancient technique helps restore the balance of  the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone by rotating certain seeds into your diet during the two different phases of your menstrual cycle (follicular and luteal phase).

Added bonus is the lignans in the seed hulls bind to your excess hormones, and the seed oils contain essential fatty acids that are building blocks to hormones.

So you’re essentially getting two for one in benefits!

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I’ve created this Seed Cycling Pudding because not only is it the perfect meal for creating healthy hormones as it’s full of healthy fats, fiber, magnesium, and protein, but it also is a way to incorporate seed cycling into your diet.

Seed Cycling Pudding

(Serving Size 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 BPA free can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 8 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 6 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 packets Sweet Leaf stevia
  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (this depends on where you are in your cycle)

Method:

  • Mix ingredients into bowl
  • Pour evenly in 4 mason jars
  • Put in fridge overnight
  • When ready to eat top with pumpkin seeds (when in follicular phase/ first 14 days of cycle) or sunflower seeds (luteal phase/last 14 days)
  • Optional toppings, berries, Lily’s chocolate chips, and/or almond butter. Sometimes I do all three! YUM!

Why You Shouldn’t Skip Vitamin B12

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Vitamin B12 is essential to the human body, and chances are even if you are a meat eater, you have a deficiency. I recommend that all my clients take a B12 supplement regardless if they are vegan, vegetarian, or an omnivore.

Vegans or vegetarians are playing a losing game if they decide to exclude a B12 supplement from their diet. While I’m a fan of getting nutrients from our foods, sometimes it just isn’t possible.

B12 can protect against dementia, increase immune function, maintain nerves, and regenerate cells. It’s necessary for maintaining methylation reactions that repair DNA and prevent cancer. It’s hard to get enough B12 from our diet, and if you are vegan or vegetarian it’s even more difficult.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is no joke. It can cause extreme fatigue that can disrupt your daily life, and make it hard to function. Tasks that seem easy can appear daunting when suffering from fatigue.

Skipping on the B12 is just not worth it.

Vitamin B12 helps support adrenal function, helps calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and is necessary for key metabolic processes. Signs of deficiency “include fatigue, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, numbness, heart palpitations, bleeding gums and mouth sores, nausea, poor appetite and diarrhea”. [Source: Dr. Weil]

Symptoms may present themselves slowly and may not be recognized for some time, and just because you don’t notice them doesn’t mean you are not deficient. That is why it’s better to be safe than sorry, and take a B12 supplement before any symptoms surface.

There are many forms of B12 on the market, but the best form is the activated version called Methylcobalamin. This is the most natural form as it needs no converting, and is in its ready to use form. You should always take a B12 combined with Methlyfolate, because taking B12 without folate can cause brain and nerve damage.

It is especially crucial to take these vitamins in their active, methylated form, as many people today have the gene mutation MTHFR, which prevents the body from converting folic acid into an active form the body can use.

Methyl B12 and Methyl Folate Guide:

Dose: 800 mcg Folate, and 500 mcg B12

Forms: Capsule or lozenge

Time taken: Daily with food

Brand: Metagenics Intrinsi B12/Folate

xxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Going Vegan

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Everyone seems to be going vegan these days after the release of the documentary “What the Health”. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this film, however, I think we can all agree that eating fewer animal products is never a bad idea.

If you have recently decided to adopt a vegan diet, make sure you don’t fall victim to these three mistakes.

1. Assume you’ll get enough protein without any effort.

It is possible to get enough protein on a vegan diet, and if anyone else tells you otherwise then they are misinformed. However, it doesn’t just happen automatically. There is no such thing as a vegan fairy godmother that sprinkles protein fairy dust on you every night. Getting enough protein on a vegan diet requires effort and planning, but it does get easier with time.

At first, you might have to keep a journal documenting all the protein you eat, but after being vegan for a season or two, you’ll be able to eye things and know what you need to eat and in what quantity for your protein needs.

So, how much protein do you need?

Well, it all boils down to the individual. How frequently do you work out? Are you male or female? How much do you weigh? Are you under stress or are you pregnant? These are some of the factors that contribute to determining how much protein you need. A simple 0.45 grams of protein per pound like the USDA recommends may not be enough.

According to women’s hormone expert, Dr. Sara Gottfried, you should eat an average of 0.75-1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass(1). If you are an athlete, or under extreme stress, or lactating, or pregnant, you should eat on the higher end. If you lead a more sedentary life, or work out less than 3 times a week, aim for the lower end.

I agree with the amounts listed by Dr. Gottfried, but with one exception: if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, 0.4-0.5 grams per pound of lean body mass should be sufficient for your needs (per Dave Asprey)(2).

Another term which all aspiring vegans should become familiar with is complete protein.

complete protein refers to the building blocks of protein, called amino acids. There are twenty different amino acids that form a protein, and nine that the body can’t make on its own. These are known as essential amino acids. They are essential because we need to eat them, as our bodies are incapable of producing them. For a food to be deemed a complete protein, it must contain all the nine essential amino acids in close to equal amounts.

So while meat and eggs are indeed complete proteins, nuts and beans aren’t. But hold the phone! This doesn’t mean you can’t get all of your essential amino acids on a plant based diet! We don’t need every essential amino acid in every bite of food, we just need a sufficient amount of each amino acid every day. Also, there are some plant based complete proteins – my favorites include buckwheat and quinoa.

So with a combination of different plant based foods each day, it’s relatively easy to get all of the essential amino acids your body needs. You just need to put in the time and effort.

2. Load up on sugar, because hey-it’s vegan, right?

Let’s get the facts straight. When you eat sugar (and this includes any food with a high glucose level like honey, agave nectar, bread, fruit, etc) your insulin levels will automatically spike. So if you are eating too much sugar, this will lead to higher blood glucose levels, which can eventually lead to diabetes.

I don’t care what you heard on “What the Health”. Chicken does not cause diabetes – carbohydrates and sugar does. This does not mean I’m saying go out and eat chicken. You can be an EcoVegan by abstaining from animal products and eating a low glycemic diet at the same time.

The closest truth to the claim that meat causes diabetes is that processed meats will throw off the omega 6 to omega 3 balance in your body, which can increase your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, and rheumatoid arthritis. (3)

But guess what?

Eating lots of crappy vegetable oil (which is vegan…) and processed fake meats does the same thing!

You can’t just say ALL of something is bad. It’s not that easy.

3. Judge Others

In “Grist for the Mill”, Ram Dass says that we are all on different levels and stages in this life. We can’t expect others to be at the same stage as we are. So if you are vegan (and this goes for the vegetarians out there, too) in this life, that’s awesome. Consider yourself one lucky human being to have found this path in this lifetime, and give yourself a pat on the back for being just a little bit more enlightened….

That is unless you start judging and preaching to everyone who eats meat or animal products.

You might not like their choice, and I get it, it can be super frustrating! But it’s none of your business.However, if someone asks you about why you’re vegan, then let it rain!! Get on your soapbox because it’s an excellent opportunity to share with others why you’ve chosen this path.

xxxx

Health Coach Jenna

Sources:

    • https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-protein-affects-your-hormones
  • https://blog.bulletproof.com/how-to-find-your-ideal-protein-intake/?

The 5 Supplements You Need to Be Taking Daily

Dietary Supplements Pills Nutrient AdditivesEveryone has a different opinion about supplements. People tend to go one of two ways: conservative or liberal. Conservatives think that we can get all the nutrients we need from our diet, and liberals think that supplements can make up for a bad diet.

In regards to supplements, I encourage you to be a moderate.

While I’m a big advocate of getting nutrients from your food, sometimes it just isn’t possible due to two main factors.

1. Our soil has gone downhill

The quality of modern day soil has changed – it is now extremely depleted due to industrial farming. As a result, many of our fruits and vegetables are not as nutrient dense as they were when grandma and grandpa were eating them. This also means the animals you are eating are not as nutrient rich, as the grain or grass they are eating is also affected by industrial farming and depleted soils.

Statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and World Health Organization (WHO) have recorded a drop in nutrient density in our food supply within the last fifty years. This loss of nutrients is so great that in our modern world, it is imperative to supplement your diet to achieve optimum health.

2. It’s a busy world.

In our busy lives, can we really be 100% sure that we are eating all of our vitamins, minerals, and probiotics daily? I know I can’t.

Even with a perfect diet of real, whole foods, it is still almost impossible to get all the nutrients you need in today’s toxic and stress-filled world.

Yes, our ancestors were able to get all of their nutrients from their food, but they received far greater amounts of micro-nutrients in every mouthful of food they ate, than is found in the food we consume today.

I always try my best to get as many of the nutrients I need from my food, and I encourage you to do the same. But this is not always possible; that’s why I like to look at supplements as insurance that I am always covered.

With that said, here are the five crucial supplements and vitamins that I recommend everyone take daily:

1. Magnesium

Magnesium is a cofactor in over three hundred reactions in the body, and is necessary for temperature regulations, hormonal balance, detoxification in the liver, formation of bones and teeth, and transmission of nerve pulses. However, it’s estimated that around 80% of people are deficient in this crucial mineral! If you are deficient in magnesium, symptoms include anxiety, constipation, an inability to sleep, tension, muscle cramps, fatigue, and much more.

Better yet, did you know that magnesium is the best treatment for PMS?! In fact, it removes symptoms so dramatically that some scientists believe that magnesium deficiency is the cause of PMS. (1)

Magnesium boosts progesterone by improving the healthy of your corpus luteum. It also regulates cortisol and reduces inflammation.

For women (and men!) magnesium is crucial.

Dose- 400-500mg

Forms:  Glycinate is the best overall because it is the most absorbable, and Citrate works well for those prone to constipation. You can also mix and match.

Time Taken: Bedtime

Recommended brand: Pure Encapsulations Glycinate or Citrate.

2.Vitamin D + K2

About 80% of the population is deficient in Vitamin D, due to a shift from farming to office jobs, combined with a lack of sun in many places during the winter. Even if you live in a place with plenty of sunshine, you should be taking Vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for hormonal and metabolic function, and is something you don’t want to be deficient in.

When choosing your Vitamin D, make sure to buy D3. Most doctors prescribe D2 but it is not as effective. You want to take at least 5,000 IU – 10,000 IU a day (depending on how deficient you are) for 6 months. After this, you can lower your dose to 2,000 IU a day for monthly maintenance.

K2 is a  is a fat soluble vitamin involved in calcium metabolism.  Excess calcium is deposited in arteries, leading to calcification and decreased vascular function.  This is why vitamin K2 could play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Bonus is that K2 has been found to reduce bone loss.

Dose: D3 – 5,000-10,000 i.u’s daily

K2- 2,000 mcg daily

Forms: D3 combined with K2, or you can take D3 and K2 in separate pills

Time Taken: Morning. D3 and K2 should always be taken together.

Recommended brand:  Metagenics K2 with D3, or Metagenics D3 and LifeExtension K2

3. Methyl B12 and Methyl Folate

If you are a vegan or vegetarian I urge you to take vitamin B12 daily.  If you are an omnivore, I still recommend you take this, as most people are deficient in B12. B12 can protect against dementia, increase immune function, maintain nerves, and regenerate cells. It’s necessary for maintaining methylation reactions that repair DNA and prevent cancer.

Dose: 800 mcg Folate, and 500 mcg B12 (never take folic acid, that stuff is junk!)

Forms: Capsule or lozenge

Time taken: Daily with food

Brand: Metagenics Intrinsi B12/Folate

4. High Grade Probiotic

Your gut is responsible for much more than just digesting your lunch. Your gut, and the 100 trillion bacteria that call it home, are responsible for your overall mental and physical wellbeing. Hippocrates said 2,000 years ago that “all disease begins in the gut”, and modern scientists are just now realizing how true this statement is.

For optimum health you should maintain an 85-to-15 percent ratio of good bacteria to bad. Once the bad bacteria rises above 15 percent, the immune system begins to slow down and sets off a chain reaction that promotes disease, digestion problems, and interferes with nutrient absorption.

Eating processed foods, plus the overuse of antibiotics, are the two biggest culprits for the poor gut health that is sweeping developed nations today.

To keep your gut healthy and thriving with healthy bacteria, you should take a high-grade probiotic daily, with at least 25 billion living organisms. Opt for even higher if you can. When purchasing your probiotic remember they are not regulated by the FDA, so you must make sure to buy a brand that is trusted.

Dose: Minimum 25 billion organisms per serving.

Form: Capsule or powder

Time Taken: At least 30 minutes before or after a meal. Do not take within 30 minutes of a hot beverage as the heat will kill the organisms.

Recommended brand: Green Vibrance or Metagenics UltraFlora Spectrum

In addition to taking a daily probiotic, you should also aim to eat two to three servings of fermented foods a day.

Examples of fermented foods are:

  • Kimchi
  • Yogurt (unsweetened and organic)
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir – this is a drinkable like yogurt originating from Turkey. You can find it in most grocery stores these days, or you can make your own by ordering a kefir starter kit online. Kefir makes a perfect addition to smoothies.
  • Water kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Tempeh

Also, don’t forget your prebiotics. Prebiotic foods help feed your good bacteria. You should aim to eat as many prebiotic foods as you can.

Examples of prebiotic rich foods are :

  • Raw chicory root
  • Raw garlic
  • Under-ripe bananas
  • Raw dandelion greens
  • Raw and cooked onions
  • Raw Jerusalem artichokes
  • Raw leeks
  • Raw asparagus

5. Fish Oil (or Algal Oil for vegans)-

In order to keep your  omega 3 to omega 6 levels ideal (you want a 1:1 ratio) and to promote optimum cardiovascular health, hormonal health, and to prevent disease, as well as promote a healthy and happy mind, fish oil is crucial. It also lowers cholesterol, improves insulin sensitivity, and prevents blood clots. It’s natures best anti-inflammatory, and helps balance hormones.

You should take 1,000-2,000 mg. a day, and the EPA to DHA ratio should be 300/200mg.

Dose: 1,000-2,000 mg

Forms: Capsule or liquid

Time taken: daily with food

Recommended brand: OmegaGenics EPA-DHA

Bonus:

Multivitamin-

This is your ultimate insurance ticket. It is important you are getting a high quality one. I personally take Vibrant Health’s Green Vibrance, as it also includes 25 billion probiotics, meaning I don’t have to hassle with taking an additional probiotic. And please don’t assume that because you are taking a multivitamin you don’t have to take the other supplements I’ve listed above.  You see, multivitamins are great in that they provide an array of vitamins, but most of them do not have 100% of your daily requirement of D3, magnesium, and B12.

Dose: 1 tablet or 1 packet

Forms: Capsule or powder

Time taken: daily with food

Brand: Pure Encapsulations O.N.E. or Metagenics Wellness Essentials

Think of these supplements as part of your diet, and buy the best quality ones you can. Remember, you get what you pay for; cheap supplements are usually poorly absorbed by the body, and the dosages are not always as high as they claim. They are also often filled with additives and coloring, and just result in expensive urine!

When buying your supplements, I encourage you to seek guidance from a health care practitioner to select the products that are right for you. While these are the general supplements I recommend everyone take, some people will need further supplementation.

With Gratitude,

Health Coach Jenna

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Sources:

  1. Period Repair Manual by Dr. Laura Briden

“What The Health” and What It Means for Your Hormones

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By now you might have already seen the new vegan documentary, “What the Health” that is causing so much controversy.

I am LOVING how this documentary has created a movement in people across the world to go vegan, vegetarian, or to cut down their animal consumption.

I do, however, have a few BIG issues with some of the claims the documentary makes.

“What the Health” shells out a lot of propaganda. I was shocked to see how many times throughout it, they claim sugar is not a cause of inflammation or diabetes- instead, they say fat is to blame. That’s pretty insane and just a downright pernicious message to be spreading.

Here’s why:

1. You need healthy fats for healthy hormones.
The documentary claims that animal fat leads to cancer. And yes, a diet of processed meat and unclean sources of animal protein, as well as unhealthy sources of plant based fat can lead to cancer.

But healthy fats will not.

Healthy fats will produce healthy hormones, and keep your healthy LDL cholesterol levels high- which you want!

And yes, that’s right, I said “healthy LDL”.

Unlike unicorns, there is such a thing! LDL gets a bad rap by being dumped in the “bad” category by the American Heart Association (seriously why haters gotta hate?!), but actually, the big fluffy particles of LDL are good for you! It’s the small, rugged particles that cause heart disease.

Because guess what? All of your sex hormones are made from cholesterol, so if you are eating a low-fat diet, your hormones will be in trouble.

And I’m not saying all fat is good. Only the healthy, unoxidized ones.

 

Good news is you can be vegan and STILL get your healthy fats.

You can also be vegetarian, or an omnivore. So whatever food plan you choose to fit your lifestyle and beliefs, just make sure you include healthy fats.

2. Sugar leads to inflammation and insulin resistance, which DIRECTLY affects your hormones.

Okay, these producers are smoking crack. The claim that all fats and meat leads to diabetes is 100% FALSE.

Processed meats will throw off your omega 6 to omega 3 balance in your body, which can increase your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, and rheumatoid arthritis.

But guess what? Eating lots of crappy vegetable oil (which is vegan!) and processed fake meats does the same thing!

You can’t just say ALL of something is bad, it’s not that easy.

I get it. They’re passionate. They are on a mission to get everyone to go vegan. And I respect their drive and mission. But to lie about sugar to persuade? That’s just playing dirty.

Let’s get the facts straight. When you eat sugar (and this includes any food with a high glucose level like honey, agave nectar, fruit, etc) your insulin levels will automatically rise. So if you are eating too much sugar, this will lead to higher blood glucose levels, which will eventually lead to diabetes.

If your blood sugar levels get too high, then your body will produce more of the hormone cortisol. And ladies, this is seriously bad news bears. When your body starts to make more cortisol, guess where it will get all the juice from to make that extra order?

It will steal from your other sex hormones like progesterone and estrogen. You see, cortisol will always take priority. It’s just the way our bodies are evolutionarily designed. Cortisol is designed to get us out of trouble when we are being chased by that saber tooth tiger. So your body will stop making progesterone and estrogen to make more cortisol.

And this is bad news if you are trying to conceive, wish to have healthy periods, combat PMS, keep your ideal weight, maintain high energy levels, etc.

So let’s get this clear. High quality fats do not affect your glucose levels in any way, shape or form. Sugar does.

So allow “What the Health” to motivate you! Just remember to include your healthy fats, and to keep your diet as low-glycemic as possible.

And if you are going vegan, please read my article about healthy and clean sources of plant-based protein.

xxxxx
Health Coach Jenna

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A Complete Protein Eating Guide for Vegans and Vegetarians

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One of the most popular misconceptions that people have about a plant based diet is that it is impossible to get enough protein without meat. Well guess what? I’m here to inform you that this is a myth!

It is entirely possible to get your daily requirement of protein without eating meat. In fact, the leanest, cleanest sources of protein are beans and other legumes, as less than five percent of their calories from fat. They are also free of cholesterol, hormones, and antibiotics.

So what makes a complete protein?

A complete protein refers to the building blocks of protein, called amino acids. There are twenty different amino acids that form a protein, and nine that the body can’t make on it’s own. These nine amino acids are called essential amino acids. They are essential because we need to eat them, as our bodies can’t make them.

For a food to be deemed a complete protein, it must contain all the nine essential amino acids in close to equal amounts.

So while meat and eggs are indeed complete proteins, nuts and beans aren’t. But hold the phone! This doesn’t mean you can’t get all of your essential amino acids on a plant based diet! We don’t need every essential amino acid in every bite of food, we just need a sufficient amount of each amino acid every day.

So with a combination of different plant based foods each day, it’s easy breezy to get all of the essential amino acids your body needs!

First, let’s go over the plant based foods that are complete proteins. And as we discussed earlier, a complete protein means that you get all of the nine essential amino acids by eating a portion of it on its own.

Vegan Complete Protein Sources:

  1. quinoaQuinoa- 8 grams of protein per one cooked cup
  2. Buckwheat- 6 grams of protein per one cooked cup
  3. Avocado- 3 grams of protein per one avocado
  4. Soy- 10grams of protein per ½ cup firm tofu, 15 grams of protein per ½ cup tempeh. (Please eat soy in moderation, make sure it is non-GMO, and remember to only eat soy in its fermented version- tempeh, tofu, miso)
  5. Quorn (Mycoprotein)- 13 grams per ½ cup serving.
  6. Protein powder- The content varies by brand, but most have around 22 grams per serving. Make sure when buying to choose one that is non-GMO, and that has a complete amino acid profile.
  7. Ezekiel Bread- Ezekiel bread is made from wheat (they also make a gluten free version), barley, millet, beans, lentils, and spelt, making it a complete protein. The bread is also made using sprouted grain, which increases the bread’s fiber and vitamin content. This also makes it easier to digest.

Honorary members:

You might have notice that hempseeds and chia seeds are missing from this list. Although they do contain all nine essential amino acids, they are both too low in lysine to be considered complete. But they are still excellent forms of protein! I love to add them to my smoothies and oatmeal. Hemp seeds are also great stir-fried with vegetables, and they make an excellent salad topping.

  1. Hempseeds- 10 grams per 2 tablespoon serving
  2. Chia Seeds- 4 grams per 2 tablespoon serving

Now, let’s talk about how to pair plant based foods to create a complete serving of protein.

The Amazing Duos: 

  1. Rice and beans-

Rice and beans complement each other perfectly as beans are low in methionine and high in lysine, and rice is low in lysine and high in methionine. Combine these two and you have a meal with heaps of complete protein.

  1. Peanut butter sandwich-

Combine peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter)  with whole grain and you get a complete protein! Remember to choose organic peanut butter with no oil and sugar, as the oils tend to be full of hydrogenated fats and sugar is toxic. Make sure to use a whole grain bread, and even better, choose a gluten free bread!

  1. Hummus and pita-

Wheat is deficient in lysine, but guess what? Chickpeas are high in lysiene! Pair these two for a complete protein.

     4. Spirulina with grains

Spirulina is lacking in methionine and cysteine, but combine it with nuts, seeds, or oats and you have a complete protein. My favorite way to combine these is in a green smoothie.

  1. Oats with nuts or peanut butter-

Add some peanut butter or nuts to your oatmeal and you are in business.

Basically, combine any grain with a nut, seed, or legume, and you have yourself a complete protein. The possibilities are endless.

So what is the right amount of protein?  Click HERE to find out!

xxxxxxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

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