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Dishing It Up – Timing is Everything

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Timing Is EverythingSince time immemorial, volumes have been written about how long to sleep and what to eat and how much exercise to get and so on. But it’s been only relatively recently that the focus has turned to when to do these things. The goal is to ascertain whether the timing of these activities makes a difference to our health. And, if so, to determine what timing is more (or less) auspicious when it comes to going to bed, waking up, eating our meals and exercising. In this month’s Dishing It Up – Timing is Everything, we’ll look at some recent articles on this timely topic. When it comes to optimal health, is timing everything or just one piece of the puzzle?

This month in Dishing It Up …

  • What is Your Chronotype & Why Does it Matter?
  • How Changing the Timing of When You Eat Can Make You Healthier
  • There is a best time of day to exercise and it may lead to better results
  • Unlocking Your Body’s Clock: A Saliva-Based Personalized Circadian Profiling

Lastly, while not related to chronotype or circadian rhythms, I thought I’d include this informative article on a topic where timing really is everything, and that is hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

  • Clearing the air on hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

Read on for a bite-sized summary and links for each story …

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Sliding Down a Sugary, Slippery Slope

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Sliding Down a Sugary Slippery SlopeAre you sliding down a sugary, slippery slope?  You know the one I mean.  The one that begins innocently enough in the fall with a slice (or two) of Thanksgiving pecan or pumpkin pie and then a wee bit of Hallowe’en candy a few weeks later.  You gain momentum with heaping helpings of holiday treats followed by boxes of Valentine’s chocolate.  Before you know it, you’re gathering and gobbling the Easter bunny’s chocolate eggs (not to mention, if you love them as much as I do, hot cross buns).  Suddenly, you find yourself awash in sugar.  You have more of a sweet tooth than you used to and sugary treats have become a daily ritual, not just a holiday indulgence.

Does this sound familiar?  If so, you’ve just slid down a sugary, slippery slope.  I know I have.  Read on for more about how easy it is to do this and why you really, really want to climb back up.

And I hope you’ll join me for my I’m Sweet Enough 7-day No Sugar Added Challenge (more on this at the end of this post).

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Food for Thought: How Best to Feed Your Brain

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Food for Thought Feeding Your BrainAs 2020 comes to a close, I have been thinking a lot about my brain.  Partly because who among us hasn’t felt like we were losing our minds at some point during this pandemic year?  And partly because it feels like my brain has been misbehaving of late.  I recently read that up to 80 percent of women going through menopause (this includes me) have the potential to develop neurological symptoms (and an increased risk of dementia).  Food for thought.  And enough to send me to my library to refresh my memory on how best to feed your brain.

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Bone Up on Osteoporosis

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Bone Up on OsteoporosisLet’s bone up on osteoporosis, as it is a significant concern for many women in menopause.  Make no bones about it … osteoporosis can result in premature death, especially in the case of hip fracture.  According to Osteoporosis Canada, at least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis in their lifetime.  Of those unfortunate enough to experience a hip fracture, 28% of women and 37% of men will die within the following year.

When not deadly, osteoporosis can result in reduced (or lost) mobility and disfigurement, leading to decreased independence and lower self-esteem.  Effectively preventing osteoporosis is paramount to our health and well-being.

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Posture Perfect: Say Sayonara to Slouch Asana

First, a confession…forgive me, it has been over 2 months since I last blogged.  I have had the “too busy to blog blues”.  This has been due to some very good things.  I was in the UK for 2 weeks over Christmas visiting family.  And a few weeks after that I spent 11 glorious days in Bocas del Toro, Panama at the best yoga retreat ever at Bluff Beach Retreat, hosted by the irrespressible Christine Dennis of Prashanta Yoga (my “local”).  And throughout I’ve had the pleasure of doing custom consultations with some incredible women, creating plans to optimize their health and well-being.  Nothing gives me greater joy; it is why I became a holistic nutritionist.  But being too busy to blog has had its downsides too.  One is that Google is not very happy with me.  The other is that researching, creating educational handouts and designing diet, supplement and lifestyle protocols and custom meal plans requires me to spend a lot of time at my computer.  Enter “Slouch Asana”, as Christine so aptly named this poor posture.  We spent a lot of time at Bluff Beach working to counteract the effects of this pose.

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Vitamin D for the dark days of winter!

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Vitamin DThis morning as I was getting ready to head outside, I lamented/cursed having to layer on just about everything in my closet.  Yes, I am a wimp and I really do not love the cold.  As I covered up every exposed bit of me (I would have donned a balaclava if I owned one), I thought that now would be a very good time to remind folks to up your vitamin D supplement if you haven’t already.

The reason I say “up it” is because vitamin D is a good supplement to take all year round, particularly if you are a vegan or vegetarian, as the only good food sources are animal products.  Of these, the richest sources are fatty fish (and cod liver oil…yum!) and, to a lesser extent, beef liver, egg yolks and milk.

That said, the human body doesn’t really need to get vitamin D from the diet.  In fact, it is quite difficult to get adequate amounts from food even if you aren’t a vegan/vegetarian.  Our bodies, however, are quite adept at synthesizing it from cholesterol in our skin in the presence of sunlight.

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Does pomegranate seed oil douse the fire of hot flashes?

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhailCould pomegranate seed oil be an effective treatment for menopausal hot flashes?  According to a 2017 study conducted in Germany, perhaps the answer is yes.  I recently attended a symposium at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine entitled Advances in Women’s Health, presented by supplement company Nutritional Fundamentals for Health (NFH). One of the featured speakers was Dr. Tori Hudson, who provided an excellent update on recent research conducted into women’s health issues.  Dr. Hudson is an esteemed naturopathic physician and proponent of women’s health (in practice for over 30 years in Oregon), author of the Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, researcher and Program Director for the Institute of Women’s Health and Integrative Medicine.

The pomegranate seed oil study she mentioned particularly caught my attention because I was preparing for my Meno-Party menopause workshop at Prashanta Yoga at the time.  Published earlier this year, Pomegranate (Punica granatum) Seed Oil for Treating Menopausal Symptoms:  An Individually Controlled Cohort Study tested the efficacy of pomegranate seed oil as a remedy for several symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, disrupted sleep, depression, exhaustion and irritability.

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