Is Stress Killing Your Motivation?

August 31, 2017

STRESS!!! Its causes are absolutely everywhere. Would you agree? Our natural “fight or flight” stress response can sometimes go a little overboard. It’s supposed to help us escape injury or death in an emergency and then return to normal after we’ve fought or flown. But, that doesn’t happen too much in our society – it becomes a long-term reaction. It becomes chronic. You’ve probably heard of the main stress hormone, called “cortisol.” It’s released from your adrenal glands in response to stress. It’s also naturally high in the morning to get you going, and slowly fades during the day so you can sleep. Did you know that too-high levels of cortisol are associated with belly fat, poor sleep, brain fog, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and even lowers your immunity? Talk about motivation killers! Do you experience any of these? Well, then read on because I have a list of foods, nutrients and lifestyle recommendations to help you lower this stress hormone naturally!

Foods and nutrients to lower cortisol

Let’s start with one of the biggies that increase your cortisol… sugar.

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August 15, 2017

Do you get hot flashes? Are they mostly at night? Do they set the bed on fire (but not in a sexy way)? Let’s get you some solutions! Before we do that, just some quick info on why hot flashes occur so we can try to affect the root cause of these hormonal symptoms.

What causes hot flashes?

As you can imagine it’s all about hormonal balance (or imbalance). During the menstruating years your estrogen allows for your ovaries to respond when “luteinizing hormone” (LH) says to release those eggs every month. When it gets to the point where your estrogen levels start dropping (i.e. perimenopause) those ovaries start to simply ignore the LH. And guess what your body’s response to this is? It releases adrenaline! This causes your body to heat up for a few minutes until it cools itself back down.

What triggers hot flashes?

You may have

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August 1, 2017

Bloating is generally the result of not being able to properly digest foods.  These not-so-digested foods feel like they’re just sitting around causing discomfort and a general feeling of being stuffed and “gassy”. It can happen at any age, but if it seems to be more frequent as you’re getting older it may well be due to your stomach’s reduced ability to produce enough acid for proper digestion. Normally, when we eat our stomach cells release more acid, which is crucial for so many digestive processes like breaking down foods and activating enzymes.  As we age this process can become less efficient. Pair that with constant anti-acid use and the result can feel like it’s wreaking havoc on the rest of the digestive system. Unfortunately, this can have wide-ranging effects on all of our digestion abilities “downstream” often resulting in bloating.

Bloating Reason #1:

Sometimes our bodies are (or become more as we age) sensitive to the fiber in certain fruits or veggies.  This can also occur when we introduce new ones into our diet as it may take a while for our body to get used to them.

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Posted in Healthy Tricks, Recipes by Mari Pizarro | Tags:
July 14, 2017

Libido is such an interesting (and complex) experience that can be affected by so many things. And we’re not just talking about the obvious sex hormone testosterone here. Although testosterone levels can have a big (yes BIG) effect on sex drive there are a lot of subtle things that can be going on too. In this post we’ll dive into key diet and lifestyle factors that have been shown to increase testosterone and libido. Body fat: Did you know that low testosterone is linked with high body fat? Particularly visceral fat which is associated with a large waist circumference. You see, with more fat there is more of an enzyme called “aromatase” that converts testosterone to estrogen.  And what you want is to keep that testosterone not convert it. Losing the extra weight that has gathered around your abdomen and keeping it off has several health benefits including increased libido. Diet: Certain nutrient deficiencies can contribute to low testosterone. Not only zinc and vitamin D but if you’re not eating enough protein and healthy fats that can also have a negative impact. Not to mention eating way too few or way too many calories. These aren’t going to help you in the bedroom department either. So make sure you’re eating enough food to sustain your body needs but please don’t over

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Posted in Health/Fitness, Healthy Tricks, Recipes by Mari Pizarro | Tags:
July 13, 2017

Do you love your breakfast smoothie but are longing for variety? I get it, some of you might just want to add variety for days when there’s a few extra minutes to spare, having a satiating meal composed of protein and good fats can help with blood sugar management, metabolism and weight maintenance. This is because good protein helps you feel fuller longer and uses up a bunch of calories to absorb and metabolize. So I’m going to show you how to get the protein, as well as some veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favorite new “go-to” breakfasts. Breakfast Food #1: Eggs Yes, eggs are the “quintessential” food. And for good reason! No, I’m not talking about processed egg whites in a carton, (gross!) I mean actual whole free range or organic “eggs” (preferable from your local farmer). Egg whites are OK but only as part of the whole deal. Egg yolks are the real nutritional hero here. The mighty yolk contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Eggs have been shown to help you feel full, keep you feeling fuller longer, and help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin. Not to mention how easy it is to boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for a “grab and go” breakfast or snack when you’re running short on time. My family loves them on salads too! And…nope the choleste

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Posted in Healthy Tricks, Recipes, Uncategorized by Mari Pizarro | Tags:
June 29, 2017

Yes, while I am an advocate of getting your nutrients from food first sometimes your nutritional needs need to be supplemented. Unfortunately there are just some all-too-common nutrients that I keep confirming we simply don’t get enough of.  And they’re absolutely critical to optimal health and wellness.  Especially as we age. Here I sifted through the supplementation needs of my clients and what’s available on the market and boiled them down to three. Supplement #1: Vitamin D If you live in North America chances are you are low in vitamin D.  It’s the “sunshine vitamin” and we just aren’t able to hang out outside every day of the year (not even for 10-15 minutes per day.)   Vitamin D is very important for everyone but especially women over 45.  Want to know why? It helps to protect our bones! Vitamin D helps our body absorb and keep the calcium we get from our food and drinks.  And we all know that calcium is one of the main things our bones are made of. Want to know something fu

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Posted in Health/Fitness, Healthy Tricks, Recipes by Mari Pizarro
June 6, 2017

I’m jumping right on a few of the most damaging cholesterol myths because I make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to what exactly cholesterol is.

Myth #1: “Cholesterol” is cholesterol

While cholesterol is an actual molecule what it is bound to while it’s floating through your blood is what’s more important than just how much of it there is overall. In fact depending on what it’s combined with it can have opposite effects on your arteries and heart. Yes, opposite! So cholesterol is just one component of a compound that floats around your blood. These compounds contain cholesterol as well as fats and special proteins called “lipoproteins”. They’re grouped into two main categories:

  • HDL: High Density Lipoprotein (AKA “good” cholesterol) that “cleans up” some of those infamous “arterial plaques” and transports cholesterol back to the liver.
  • LDL: Low Density Lipoprotein (AKA “bad” cholesterol) that transports cholesterol from the liver (and is the kind found to accumulate in arteries and become easily oxidized hence its bad rep.)

And yes, it’s even more complicated than this. Each of these categories is further broken down into subcategories which can also be measured in a blood test. So “cholesterol” isn’t simply cholesterol because it has very different effects on your body depending on which other molecul

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Posted in Health/Fitness, Recipes by Mari Pizarro
May 31, 2017

You may feel tired, cold or that you’ve gained weight.  Maybe your digestion seems a bit more “sluggish”. It might be that your metabolism is slow. But why does this happen?  Why do metabolic rates slow down? What causes my metabolism to slow down? Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy.  And there are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories). But don’t worry – we know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”!  In fact it’s so complicated I’m only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down. Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down: ●   low thyroid hormone ●   your history of dieting ●   your size and body composition ●   your activity level ●   lack of sleep We’ll briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”.

Low thyroid hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism.  When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active.   Ideally it should work to keep yo

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Posted in Health/Fitness, Recipes by Mari Pizarro