When Menstruation Cramps your Style, Follow these 7 Steps to Minimize Pain

It’s your time of the month and you’re experiencing aching cramps. You take another pill to relieve the pain thinking this is normal. At least that’s what I used to say to myself… well, it’s not!  What was happening inside my body for pain to accompany my period? Before menstruation occurs, the body releases an egg to get fertilized and implanted in the growing endometrial nutrient rich layer of the uterus. If this does not take place, the unfertilized egg along with the uterine lining sheds, then you see your period. Contractions of the uterus must begin to get the blood flowing out. This is when prostaglandins are formed, a hormone like substance involved in many functions in the body. Some are responsible for the minute movement in the muscle layer of your uterus. Other types of prostaglandins are involved in inflammation that leads to the sensation of pain! When inflammation is present, the body responds by constricting its blood flow. Limited blood flow to the uterus decreases its oxygen supply that may be contributing to more pain with your menstruation. 

From my experience, this is what I learned over the years to help alleviate menstrual cramps so that they won’t return the next time around. 

1) Increase your intake of omega 3 fatty acids abundant in seeds, nuts and fatty fish. Inflammatory prostaglandins are made from omega 6 fatty acids. Meat, dairy and eggs are all high sources of this fat. Focusing on eating less land animal products while consuming more omega 3 fats will decrease proinflammatory substances including the prostaglandins involved in pain.  

2) Incorporate a variety of green vegetables in your diet. Magnesium is found in chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants. This mineral is known as a muscle relaxant to help lessen cramping of the uterus while allowing more blood and oxygen to flow through the tissue. 

3) Limit your intake of unhealthy foods like high sugar, fried and processed foods.  Ingesting too much of these junk foods may contribute more to the inflammation involved in menstrual pain.

4) Decrease overall stress to help relax muscles. A great stress reliever is regular physical activity which will also aid with overall blood flow. This allows more oxygen and other nutrients to travel throughout your body including the pelvic area.

5) Stay hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water daily.  A lot of water is lost through your menstruation so it’s important to replenish your fluids. Bloating may indicate that the body is actually dehydrated. Water always keeps things flowing so your period can be over and done with. 

6) Supplement to replenish nutrients lost through your period. Taking a good quality multivitamin, omega 3 fish oils, magnesium or a B complex vitamin are good examples to add on top of eating healthy meals. As mentioned above, omega 3 and magnesium supplementation may help with cramps, B vitamins may offer pain relief too.

7) Place a castor oil pack over the abdomen to help decrease inflammation around the uterus. Castor oil is known to contain ricinoleic acid, when absorbed through the skin it can have anti-inflammatory properties. Make sure not to use castor oil packs during menstruation due to the fact it may lead to more bleeding than usual. 

I remember back in the day, I had the worse cramps that prevented me from doing my normal day to day activities. If you want to empower yourself rather than giving in to taking pain reliever medication like I used to in the past, please try these 7 steps. After learning more about my body and what it needs, I don’t have to take any more pain meds because I no longer have issues with my monthly period. Being mindful on how to be proactive in keeping menstrual cramps away so that they don’t have to happen is great selfcare.

Diana Angeles // Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant

Why Farmer’s Markets May Not Be For Everyone

I recently took a trip to Seattle visiting their popular Pike Place Market. There was a huge selection of products for sale. I can still remember walking through it smelling fresh seafood, grilled cheese sandwiches and even beautiful floral bouquets. This was my kind of farmer’s market! Have you been to your local farmer’s market? These days it’s not just about supporting local farmers, but about bringing a community together for local businesses to showcase their goods whether it involves food or not. Not sure if farmer’s markets are for you? Read more to find any “disadvantages” of what I have experienced at these markets.

Interactive shopping

Not only can you enjoy shopping outdoors, vendors sell their products on a more personal basis. They will be right there waiting to give you free samples along with information about what they are selling. It’s always great to try something before buying it. And If you have any questions about the product, they are there to answer them. I love learning more about the food that I eat.

Rare finds on deals when compared to your grocery store

My daughter loves blueberries and they are best purchased fresh when in season. I found that the best deals for these berries are in late summer at farmer’s markets and they are even available in larger portions! Not only do they taste so sweet and juicy, you’ll get the most nutrients from them since they were more ripely picked. When produce is high in supply and at its ripest, the sellers may be compelled to lower their prices to unload them quickly before they spoil.

Shorter shelf life

Ever notice when you pick plants from your garden the food doesn’t last as long as store bought produce? They may not be as crisp the next day or grow moldy unexpectedly. Having the convenience of a garden is being able to harvest the plant minutes before eating or preparing it in a meal instead of storing it in your fridge until it’s ready to be used. Produce are able to be picked closer at their ripened stage from local farms selling at the market because they don’t have to go through lengthy transportation commutes. This makes their produce life expectancy shorter than the ones found at your grocery store. 

Don’t expect to find all produce “Certified Organic”

You might be surprised to learn how close farms are located near your city. These farms may produce on a smaller scale and most likely not certified in labelling their products “organic”. I once asked a lady at her vendor if her carrots were grown organically because I wanted to buy a big bag for juicing. She replied that the cost of the carrots would probably be double in price if they were to be sold as organic. Even if farms do not use any chemical fertilizers and pesticides, it takes years for the soil to turn over into being qualified for growing organic produce. Labeling a food “Certified Organic” comes with a higher price due to the cost of getting and maintaining that certification. 

Limited availability

If you’re like me, I can easily get hooked on certain foods. For instance, there is a certain kombucha that I love made with green tea and less natural sugars in all their flavours. There have been days where I was prepared to fill up my growler only to find that they were not present at the market on that particular day. Unfortunately, you may find the availability of certain products inconsistent or nonexistent. In addition, outdoor farmer’s markets are seasonal and not available all year round.

Impulsive purchases

Free samples are the best way to attract customers. Just like my previous kombucha example, I made an unplanned purchase of maple syrup. After trying some samples, the seller asked which one l preferred in taste. I answered honestly that I couldn’t really taste a difference. He then recommended the dark syrup because it is the most concentrated in minerals when compared to the light or medium syrups. When you learn more about the health benefits of a product, you are more likely to buy it.

It’s not just about food

Supporting local businesses benefits them, our community and us as the consumers. Be prepared to spend a little more money and time shopping compared to a typical store. Conversing with the local business vendors and trying out samples all come with the experience. It’s a great way to get outdoors in the fresh air and learn more about the goods they are selling. 

I personally love shopping at farmer’s markets, however it may not be for everyone. As fall approaches, farmer’s markets are coming near to full harvest mode until the end of the season. If you are still unsure about them check out the nearest one to your home before the season ends, you might just like it! If not, more grocery stores proudly display signs that promote local products so make sure you support local when you can.

Diana Angeles // Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant

Feeding Your Gut

Did you know that your digestive system is simply a lengthened donut shaped tube inside you? Just picture a donut placed flat over your lips where the donut hole opens into your mouth. Stretching the donut down to your esophagus, expanding to form your stomach, then extending into a long tube of intestines where the other end is a hole in your derriere completes your digestive tract. This prolonged donut tube is a very important membrane that comes into contact with not only your food but many microorganisms too protecting the rest of your body from them. The presence of certain living organisms around these membranes can lead to having bad breath, a sore throat or stomach ulcers. 

An important part of our anatomy where tiny living organisms inhabit is inside our large intestine called our gut flora. A portion of these microbes are beneficial synthesizing vitamin K and B for our body to utilize. A healthy flora contains a balance of good and bad microorganisms that live harmoniously to help our digestive system. Our gut microbiome also has a strong connection to our immunity and brain. An imbalanced gut flora is when bad microbes overpopulate the good ones resulting in inflammation where the immune system is activated. If inflammation continues, a damaged colon membrane may follow leading to other problems in the body. 

Every individual has a distinctive diet creating a unique profile of living organisms inside their intestinal colon. These living cells soon multiply feeding on and helping breakdown the remaining indigestible material of food they are exposed to. Locals tend to have a different reaction after eating a meal from their area compared to a foreign traveller. The foreigner’s digestive juices, enzymes and gut flora are not accustomed to these new foods where indigestion like gas, bloating and diarrhea may occur. Even the act of changing to a healthier diet may have an effect on one’s digestion. Strong cravings for past foods may be due to the gut flora desiring what they were normally feeding on. It’s best to go slow, eating small portions when introducing new foods from time to time.

Probiotics are gaining popularity to maintain a healthy gut by ingesting beneficial live microorganisms found in these supplements. However, without a proper diet, these supplemented living organisms will never take root and thrive on its own inside your colon requiring more supplementation. So what is a “proper diet”? Eat a vast array of food! Rotate an assortment of foods in your diet making the majority of your intake high in fiber. Fiber is a prebiotic that the good microbes eat to survive populating your gut while keeping the bad organisms in check. The numerous varieties of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes are all great high fiber prebiotic sources to help digestion and keep your bowels moving. By being regular, a balanced intestinal flora is maintained to remove excess unhealthy microorganisms with your waste. To receive probiotics naturally in your diet, consume more fermented foods that contain live beneficial bacteria like sauerkraut, tempeh, raw cheese and kombucha. 

Just remember the type of foods you choose to nourish your body also nourish the population of good and bad microbes growing inside your colon. What does your diet consist mostly of? A nutritious diet maintains a well-balanced flora along with a healthy digestive membrane and body overall. 

Diana Angeles // Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant

When Eating Can Lead to Nutritional Deficiencies

When I was a little girl and was asked, “What do cows eat?” the answer to my knowledge then would be grass of course. My three year old daughter asked me the same question the other day and my answer is a little more complicated than before. Having previously worked for a lab in the food industry, our beef samples would be categorized in the type of feed they were given. The groups we received were corn fed, grain fed (soy fell somewhere among those two mixes) and grass finished. Grass finished cows would have eaten grass not for their entire life, but for some span of their lifetime right before being slaughtered. With the high consumption of beef and dairy products, man has coped with supplying the demand of our growing population by creating the industrialized process. The evolution of food production has forced us to abandon outdated harvesting methods that provided us with more nourishment than today. Eating too much of certain foods in our modern diet can actually lead to nutritional deficiencies. 

Improper Digestion

Eat slowly, chew food properly and be in a relaxed state are simple guidelines to eating a meal. We live in a fast-paced world where time is of the essence. I recall my mornings of trying to sleep in a few more minutes before getting out of bed and rushing to get out the door after fitting in a quick breakfast. Then at work, I only had an hour for a lunch break and if I was fortunate not to be too busy, breaks for snacks if I remembered to pack them. In the evening when I returned home, I would be famished where I would tend to overeat during dinner. 

When too much food is eaten at any given time, the digestive system needs to produce enough stomach acid and digestive enzymes to ensure everything is broken down for proper nutrient absorption. When a meal is eaten too quickly, it most likely does not get chewed properly leaving more work for the digestive system while not being able to signal to the brain when the body is actually full. The liver may get backed up in processing the consumed macronutrients and the pancreas that releases digestive enzymes may be insufficient in breaking down everything. Being stressed while eating hinders digestion even more. Gut health also plays a major factor of how well absorption takes place through the intestinal wall. Ensuring proper digestion is vital in obtaining maximum nutrients from food for a healthy body. 

Repetitive foods

Thanks to the advances in transportation and food storage, all food products are accessible all year round in any part of the world. People tend to stick to certain staples that they enjoy eating and are familiar with in preparing. I know my daughter loves her broccoli and asparagus the best, however there are so many other nutrient packed vegetables that I attempt to introduce to her from time to time. When a variety of foods are present in a diet, the body can absorb more of an array of nutrients. Eating the same foods day after day can have a negative effect on how the body reacts to them. Antinutrients such as sugar or caffeine and foods high in oxalates or phytic acid are a few examples that can block nutrient absorption. Being aware of these nutrient blockers and rotating foods or eating different foods on a regular basis can help expose the body to a wider assortment of nutrients.

Changes in Farming Practices

Conventionally grown animals no longer have habitual access to grass, sunlight and space to roam freely. By taking away their natural environment their nutrient content is drastically reduced especially in fat soluble vitamins E, K2, D3 and retinol. Instead of obtaining those nutrients from an ideal environment, inferior synthetic vitamins like the sunshine vitamin D are added to our milk or even in chicken feed to produce fortified eggs when they should be naturally occurring. 

Crop rotations were the past norm in farms where each year different seeds would be planted to replenish and balance the soil’s nutrients. Today, many farms are challenged with making an income from their crops forcing them to grow the same food year after year due to its high demand. Are we receiving more nutrients from organic produce compared to conventionally grown when nutrients are not being replenished back into the soil? Know where your food comes from by purchasing local in season crops when available to ensure you are getting the freshest maximum nutrition and always look for pasture raised animal products to get the most natural nourishment from those foods. 

Refined Processed Foods

Today we are so fortunate to have food easily ready for us with a longer shelf life. Refining foods and stripping away their nutrients as seen in white flour to make breads and pastas while adding preservatives will definitely make food last longer. The risk of it spoiling decreases when there is no true sustenance for microorganisms or other parasitic life to feed on. However, it is good enough for us to consume as long as it pleases our palate. These foods can be a luxury, however always make sure to read the ingredient list before buying. Ensure the majority of the contents come from real foods being listed first and minimize the ingestion of unnatural chemicals where they should be read last on the list or non-existent. Moderation is key when using these convenient foods.   

Synthetic Supplementation

Supplements are needed to make up for nutritional deficiencies, however synthetic nutrients are inferior to substances naturally found in nature. When you eat an orange for its vitamin C content, you are also taking in other nutrients like bioflavonoids that work together with the vitamin in having a beneficial synergistic effect in the body. Supplements are good for their convenience in dose and availability rather than eating fifty oranges to receive a higher amount of vitamin C content. Whenever possible, try finding supplements sourced from real whole foods like dried camu camu berry powder for a high dose of the antioxidant vitamin.  

Why do we eat? Food gives us strength and nourishment. It brings us comfort, a sense of belonging when shared with others and satisfies our hunger cravings. When working with a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant, the information mentioned above most likely will come up to improve one’s diet. Diet is a lifestyle, not a temporary fix. Education on food, achieving optimal digestion and receiving specific nutrients that the body needs all take part in the foundation of improving one’s health. When the body is empowered with nourishment from real whole foods, it thrives.

Diana Angeles // Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant

Estrogen Dominance: Goldilocks and the 3 Estrogens

Reading is important in my life. However, some days it can be challenging to find time for it. I am teaching my daughter that books should be a significant part of her life too. Even though she can’t read yet, she loves her books. One of her favourite places to go to is the library. Not only does it have many great books to choose from, the environment is very friendly with lots of space to play and socialize with other kids. I love sitting down with her enjoying a new story with pictures and interacting together.

Everyone knows about the story of Goldilocks and the three Bears. The protagonist is shown to invade the home of a bear family helping herself to their belongings with extreme pickiness, only to fall asleep in Baby bear’s bed waking up face to face with them. Estrogen dominance would explain Goldilocks’ behavior. When the body has an imbalance of too much of the hormone estrogen, it is known as estrogen dominance having indicative signs as seen in her actions, please let me explain.

When you picture Goldilocks in your head, many envision a young girl with beautiful long blond hair and maybe even healthy glowing facial skin. Estrogen is responsible for those characteristics. Too much of these hormones can disrupt those beneficial qualities. I picture Goldilocks with dry thinning hair and a blemished face where adolescence may have arrived earlier than expected. This description can occur in the presence of too much estrogen in the body as well as mood swings, PMS, weight gain and fatigue.

What happens in the body when estrogen is present? Hormones remain inactive until it binds onto a cell receptor acting as messengers to cells. Once activated, the cell receives the message to change its activity. Proteins begin to be synthesized creating a cascade of events. In the female body, there is a delicate balance between estrogen and the other sex hormone progesterone that allows important life events to occur. These experiences are going through puberty, the regulation of each menstrual cycle, pregnancy including after baby is born and menopause. In the case of too much estrogen activity, you observe a girl like Goldilocks.

Phytoestrogens

This porridge is too hot… too cold… just right!

Giving into strong food cravings is something many PMS sufferers may experience from imbalanced levels of estrogens. Goldilocks was hungry but picky and moody (sounds like PMS to me) about finding the perfect bowl of porridge. What would be even more interesting is if the porridge consisted of oatmeal. Oats are phytoestrogens, plants that are able to mimic estrogen by binding to their receptor sites.  This is not necessarily a bad thing. By doing this, it can alleviate signs of menopause or increase milk production after giving birth. Phytoestrogens may even help balance the body’s hormones by competitively occupying receptors giving a weaker effect on turning on a cell’s activity while helping the liver remove excess unbound estrogens circulating in the blood. Other foods known to be phytoestrogens are soy, flaxseeds, barley, legumes, yams, beer and alfalfa.

Xenoestrogens

Somebody has been sitting in my chair and has broken it!

When Goldilocks chooses the smallest chair as not too hard, not too soft but just right, she ends up breaking it. Could it be possible that she was heavier than average? Estrogen dominance may lead to weight gain. Having a high number of fat cells, xenoestrogens are most likely to stay hiding around them. What are xenoestrogens? They are outside chemicals mimicking estrogen that enter our bodies through ingestion by the mouth, inhalation through the lungs and absorption on the skin. These imposters have a stronger affinity to latch onto estrogen receptors than phytoestrogens or the real hormone itself making them difficult to remove from the body while changing the cell’s activity for a longer length of time. Phthalates in plastic food storage containers, parabens in body care products, growth hormones injected in conventionally produced meats and pesticides sprayed onto produce are all chemicals known as xenoestrogens.

Endogenous Estrogens

Somebody is sleeping in my bed!

Fatigue during the day leading to Goldilocks’ need for a nap could be a sign of estrogen dominance. Did she have a headache or difficulty falling asleep at night? These are also signs of too much estrogens in the body. The last type of estrogen that may cause a hormonal imbalance are endogenous estrogens which are naturally made in the body. In women, estrogen is produced in the ovaries, adrenals, liver and breast tissue. A rise in estrogens in the body usually occurs when the liver is unable to keep up with the removal of old hormones. It is important to maintain a healthy functioning liver eating a well-balanced diet to have regular bowel movements for estrogen removal along with managing stress. Excess stress can also be a contributing factor to high estrogen levels. The stress hormone cortisol is produced from the same precursor as progesterone. When cortisol levels rise, progesterone lowers affecting the progesterone and estrogen balance. When estrogen receptor activation becomes chronic, menstrual issues, infertility or abnormal tissue growths may result.

If this information sounds relatable to anyone you love, please share this short read. If you see signs of estrogen dominance in yourself, feel free to contact me to see if my consulting services are right for you in getting your hormones back into balance. All females have an innate wisdom to nurture even if they have no intention of being a mother at all. Practice caring for yourself and others by avoiding exposures to xenoestrogens, consuming phytoestrogens mindfully while eating a healthy diet and managing stress levels effectively. Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mommas and future Mommas out there!

Diana Angeles // Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant

Chocolate for Breakfast

April is a triple birthday month in my family. This year my mother turned 75, my daughter turns 3 and my niece turns 2! Being a mom of a toddler, I try my best to prepare healthy meals that she will like eating. A breakfast my mother made that I enjoyed as a child is called champorado. It is a Filipino chocolate porridge consisting of white rice, milk, sugar and chocolate. I make my own healthier version instead. It’s pretty simple and versatile to prepare. 

I love chocolate and so does my daughter Anna. I remember being 7 months pregnant giving in to my strong craving making chocolate cake one evening and her response was full of excitement. I knew she loved chocolate after eating it because that time was the most I felt her move during my entire pregnancy. In fact, I am certain that was the moment when she turned in my belly being born breech!

There are so many chocolate products available out there. The minimally processed unsweetened cacao powder is the type I like to use for my porridge where it maintains most of its nutrients being full of antioxidants, fiber and minerals. Natural cacao does contain caffeine so I recommend not to eat it at night for those who are pretty sensitive to its stimulant effects. That’s another reason why consuming chocolate for breakfast is the perfect way to wake you up in the morning! The next time you need a breakfast idea, why not try making this recipe below? All you need is a whole grain, natural sweetener, liquid of your choice and chocolate.

Whole grain: oats, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, millet

Whole grains are excellent sources of B vitamins. These vitamins play a vital role in our energy production and glucose metabolism. Slower to cook grains like steel cut oats (vs. rolled oats) and the other ones listed above take longer to digest making us feel satisfied instead of spiking our blood glucose levels. These whole grains also contain fiber, protein, minerals and other vitamins making them a healthier option for breakfast.

Natural sweeteners: raw honey, dark maple syrup, chopped dried dates, mashed bananas, apple sauce

In its more natural state, chocolate does have a bitter taste. Try reducing its bitterness with these nutrient dense sweet alternatives. In most commercial brands of chocolate, sugar is the main ingredient before chocolate even makes it on the list. White sugar is highly processed and lasts forever being no good inside our body.  

Milk of choice: cow’s milk, nut milk, seed milk, oat milk, rice milk…

From food sensitivities, beliefs or just personal taste, everyone has their own milk preference. For a creamier porridge, you can use milk in your recipe in place of water. I like to add it last with all my other toppings to help cool it off. 

Toppings of your choice: fruit, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut oil, the list is endless

One of the reasons Anna loves eating chocolate porridge for breakfast is because she gets to help make it. She loves adding her own toppings right before eating every spoonful. 

Chocolate: natural unsweetened cacao powder 

Natural cacao powder contains just that; no added sugars, milk ingredients or other unnatural components. It contains more antioxidants than regular dark chocolate. Since it is made from the whole cacao bean, just a spoonful gives quite a bit of calories due the presence of fat. Another thing to watch out for is its high copper content which usually is not stated in the nutrition facts label. People with a high copper and low zinc imbalance must take note of this. Cacao powder is packed full of other nutrients like magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, chromium and manganese. It’s a good thing so many people crave for chocolate!

Anna’s “Choco Cake” Breakfast (makes 2 servings)

½ cup oatmeal in 1 cup of water

Mash in ½ frozen or fresh ripe banana

Cook and mix everything together for 5 to 10 minutes

Take pot off heat cooling with milk of choice

Stir in 1-2 teaspoons of cacao powder away from high heat to maintain antioxidant effectiveness

Serve in bowls and add toppings of your choice. This recipe was inspired from my childhood eating my mother’s Filipino chocolate porridge. Just like champorado, Anna’s “Choco Cake” can be eaten cold too. There are so many possibilities to make this chocolate delight. Sometimes I change the whole grain adjusting for its cooking instructions even when making it for Anna. You can make anything taste good with chocolate. However nothing beats the texture of her regular oatmeal that she loves eating in the morning. Even if you are a picky eater, you should try changing things up. You might like it. 

Diana Angeles // Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant

Why Say Grace Before Eating?

As we are in the midst of lent, I find myself challenged by fasting or eating simple meals. The main purpose of eating should be for nourishment to give us the essential nutrients that our body needs with the addition of providing us with energy. Where does energy come from? Photosynthesis involves sunlight to produce energy in the form of plant food. We then consume these plants or animals that have fed on plants.

However, when you think about it everything is energy. All matter in this world like the air we breathe, the seat you’re sitting in or the food we eat, are made up of atoms. These atoms are composed of electrons, protons and neutrons which are tiny particles of energy. Even thoughts from our mind can affect the energy around us. There is energy in our thoughts and how we feel. For example, think about being under stress.

I recall one time having breakfast while being so nervous before appearing on stage in front of many people. My perception of just thinking about being in front of a crowd was frightening to me, I had butterflies in my stomach. It was not only until my onstage event was over that I could finally calm down because I changed my thoughts to being relieved that it was over. Once this occurred I ended up vomiting my breakfast.

All my nervous energy resulted in having a flight or fight response where the body utilizes all its resources for immediate survival because the mind perceives to be in a stressful situation. It is so important to be in a relaxed, rest and digest state in order to obtain proper digestion.

Still not convinced about how our thoughts affect the energy around us? The placebo effect is influenced by not only the thoughts or beliefs of the person who is taking the placebo, but also the person(s) involved in administering the placebo. These thoughts can be so powerful that even a sugar pill can make a dramatic difference in one’s health. 

Masaru Emoto was a Japanese scientist whose life’s work was dedicated to studying ice crystals under the microscope.  He found that when expressing positive thoughts upon water like gratitude and joy, then freezing and photographing the ice crystals, the most beautiful pictures were taken. Symmetrical and intricate snowflake patterns appeared. However, when water has been exposed to negative thoughts like anger and hatred, the opposite occurs. Irregular and dim coloured shapes were formed in the ice crystals.1 He has written a number of books explaining his research that I highly recommend. 

I don’t know about you, but I would rather consume beautiful symmetrical snowflake crystals than ugly misshaped ones. Our food is composed of a percentage of water, so it is possible how what we are thinking and feeling before and during a meal can affect the quality of the food we eat. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you believe in a higher power or not. Saying a prayer before a meal, blessing the food or just the act of having appreciation may make a difference in the energy and nutrients it will provide you. 

Since the majority of our body is composed of water, a person’s overall thoughts and feelings can be affecting their own body’s vitality. So remember to always give thanks. Being grateful will allow more things to come into your life to feel thankful for. Whenever I see a complex and pretty snowflake that has fallen from the sky, it reminds me of how beautiful God’s creations can be. It also makes me wonder if the snowflakes have been affected by heaven where God and his angels radiate their pure positive energy.

1Emoto, Masaru (2004). The Hidden Messages in Water

Diana Angeles // Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant

How to Heart Your Liver, let me Count 5 Ways

Valentine’s day is all about celebrating love. Honestly, I use to be a hopeless romantic thinking up grand gestures for this day. However now being married and having a toddler to chase after, I find that today is pretty much like any other day. Or maybe I can say we celebrate our love for one another every day! 

Just like Valentine’s day represents love, the heart also symbolizes love. There is so much attention on taking care of our cardiovascular health. Today, I would like to bring self-care awareness to our liver. When our liver is being cared for, our heart is most likely to be healthy too. Our liver is just as important, however there is not much attention on caring for this beloved organ when compared to the heart.

The liver is one of the most complex organs with countless functions from digestion, detoxification to the regulation of important substances to be released or removed in the blood’s circulation. The heart’s only vital purpose is pure and simple to pump blood delivering essential material throughout the body. 

Have you heard of these tips for maintaining cardiovascular health? Read below to see how the liver plays a major role behind the scenes in keeping your heart healthy and on ways how you can Heart your Liver

  • Limit trans fat, saturated fat and cholesterol consumption and eat more unsaturated fats to help keep arteries clean for the heart.

The responsibility for the digestion of any fat goes to our liver. The liver produces bile to be stored and released from the gallbladder for the emulsification and break down of all fatty foods. If the liver is not working optimally, the metabolism of bad fats, good fats and even fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K may be compromised.

The liver is also responsible for producing and removing proteins from circulation such as LDL and HDL, lipoproteins that deliver fats through the blood. It is significant to remember the liver is able to synthesize its own cholesterol for other components in the body like bile, hormones and cell membranes. An unhealthy liver can create large quantities of cholesterol more than the amount that can be consumed from a high fat diet.  

Heart your Liver: Avoid over indulging in meals including consuming large quantities of good fats. This will help your liver metabolize everything adequately.

  • Follow a Mediterranean diet for a healthy heart.

A Mediterranean diet focuses on eating fatty fish and plant-based foods consisting of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains and olive oil. All these foods are dense in nutrients for aiding in the liver’s duties. The liver not only plays a role in digesting fat as previously noted, but also metabolizes carbohydrates, protein, minerals and vitamins. 

Heart your Liver: Emphasize on eating liver supportive vegetables like beets, dandelion leaves, onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage. These are packed full of sulfur compounds, antioxidants, glutathione and other nutrients that the liver thrives on.

  • Practice regular physical activity to exercise the heart.

Exercise not only strengthens the heart but the entire body. Bones fortify, muscles build, toxins release and the heart trains to become more efficient. Without being active our liver may become sluggish in its work. Exercise stimulates the production of new red blood cells while our liver removes the old blood cells along with their waste content. That means more oxygen, more energy and less toxins. Moving the body may result in a faster metabolism thanks to the liver.

Heart your Liver: The simple act of a lengthy leisurely walk is enough to get things moving in the liver. Of course, the higher the intensity exercise the more benefits the body gains over all especially for the liver’s job of removing toxins.

  • Drinking red wine in moderation is good for the heart.

Resveratrol is well known to be abundant in red wine with its antioxidant effects. However, it is the liver’s task to filter through the alcohol and sulfites present in the wine. If the liver gets overburdened from its other duties or from too much red wine, it can become backed up in filtering out these substances. When it comes to the tasks of each individual’s liver, the definition of drinking in moderation and drinking too much wine can vary greatly. 

Heart your Liver: There are tasty antioxidant alternatives that do not risk overloading the liver and goes straight to helping it in the detoxification process. Examples of these would be dark chocolate, berries and raw nuts. 

  • Learn to manage stress levels.

Stress leads to a heavier workload for the heart which can be good for the organ in intervals such as exercising. Chronic stress results in prolonged flight or fight characteristics with rises in heart rate, blood pressure, hormone levels, blood sugar and oxidative stress damage. Long term stress in the body can be due to habits of eating unhealthy food, holding onto negative feelings and overuse of toxins like alcohol, drugs or nicotine. These all can contribute to free radical formation in the body.

The stress hormone cortisol is derived from the liver’s production of cholesterol. The liver has the important job of producing cortisol and removing it along with all other hormones from circulation. The liver is also responsible for storing glycogen and releasing it in the form of glucose for an energy boost in stressful conditions. This extra glucose along with excess sugars from a poor diet can add to the spike of blood sugar levels if energy is not expended. 

Heart Your Liver: Changing your perception of a situation can keep stress away. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the liver is known as the site of suppressed anger. Holding onto any type of tension for long periods of time is unnecessary stress that can have negative effects on this organ.  

My husband would agree, the way to his heart is through his belly. I would say, the way to a healthy heart is through a healthy liver. On this Valentine’s day don’t forget to love yourself and practice self-care. Aside from our skin, the liver is the only other organ that is able to regenerate new cells, so it’s never too late to Heart your Liver. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Diana Angeles // Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant

What (Not) to Expect From a Holistic Nutritionist

With the new year’s arrival, many see it as a time for change. For me, becoming more public about who I am as a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant is the resolution I chose for 2019. I decided to start this blog so people can learn a little about me and more about health related topics for bettering their well-being. Anyone who knows me on a close personal matter is aware of how introverted I can be. Having this website is a pretty big and intimidating step for me!  

A popular new year’s resolution is improving one’s health, but why wait for a new year? The best time is whenever you are ready to commit. Only you can determine that. When you are ready to make the change and need someone to hold you accountable, guide, and support you through improving your eating habits, why not work with a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant? I often get the question on exactly what I do?  

As a nutrition consultant, it is not only about food.  

Yes, a big portion of working together will be suggestions on improving diet, however other lifestyle factors can come into play.  I am trained as a holistic practitioner where I take into an account not only what is going on with your diet, but also your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. 

I do not follow specific fad diets or Canada’s food guidelines

Following a specific diet or the recommended daily intake of whole grains, dairy, protein, fruits and vegetables may be a good start on becoming healthier. Nonetheless, I view each person as a unique individual with specific needs that will help your body recover back to a healthier you. 

There is no magic pill that will instantly make you better. 

Real whole foods are the best choice to feed your body giving it the right combination of nutrients to work together for providing nourishment. Supplementation may be advised along with the improvement of diet, but it is important to remember time is necessary for the body to become well again.

Our focus will not be on any specific diseases.

Treating, curing or preventing disease is not under my scope of practice.  What I look into is allowing your body to go back into balance to function optimally. When signs show up indicating a weakness, this helps me know where to start to strengthen one area while simultaneously helping other interconnections of the body.

It’s not me, it’s you.

When given the right tools, the body can repair itself. The choice is yours to make the change in your diet and other lifestyle habits. I can only act as a guide and educator to empower you on your wellness journey. I will do my best in supporting you by how to get into the right mind set and of course the proper nourishment, however only you can make yourself better.

I have been there before where I just couldn’t commit to change in making healthier lifestyle choices. One of the biggest challenges as a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant is listening to my own advice. Many put family, work or anything else before self-care, but it makes sense to take care of yourself before taking care of anyone or anything else. For more information on what my consulting services include, please visit my website and feel free to contact me to see if the Holistic Nutrition approach is right for you.

Diana Angeles // Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant