LoveBites: Blood Sugar Balance and its Effect on Your Heart Health

It’s Heart Health Month! I talk a lot about hormones and blood sugar balance, so what does blood sugar balance have to do with heart health?

There are some indications that chronic high blood sugar may contribute to atherosclerosis, a condition that damages blood vessels and may lead to buildup of plaques that affect the ability of blood to flow through. This is why people with conditions like insulin resistance, diabetes, and PCOS may be at higher risk for developing heart disease.

Eating a variety of beneficial foods to improve blood sugar balance may in turn support heart health! So let’s turn our focus to two types of nutrients with that in mind: fiber and resistant starch.

Fiber

This nutrient is important for regulating both heart and hormone health.

Eating a variety of whole plant foods, which are rich in soluble and insoluble fibers, may be helpful for:

  • reducing total cholesterol by binding to it
  • helping manage blood sugar by slowing release of glucose into the bloodstream and keeping you full longer
  • helping eliminate the (excess) products of hormone metabolism to keep sex and stress hormones in better ratios

A great time to focus on fiber for your heart and hormone health is breakfast.

Foods like oats, berries, banana, and chia seeds are high in soluble fiber, which could help keep cholesterol in a better range – as well as a ripple effect of keeping you feeling full until lunchtime by slowing the release of sugars into the bloodstream, easing the insulin impact, and setting you up for fewer cravings later in the day as well.

Try putting these foods together for overnight oats, chia pudding, or right into a smoothie for breakfast!

Resistant Starch

Isn’t starch bad? (Real quick, no, it’s not.)

Resistant starch gets its name because, a lot like fiber, it *resists* digestion. It occurs naturally but also builds up in certain starchy foods, such as potatoes, after they’ve been cooked AND cooled.

Starches add a filling heft to foods like root vegetables, squashes, grains, and pulses. Resistant starches also aid satiety and may act as a prebiotic (source of food) for our gut microbes as it makes its way through our intestines, fermenting as it goes.

If you’ve had “new vegan gas” switching to WFPB, this is likely a contributor!

But beyond that, resistant starch shows benefits for helping reduce cravings, and improving blood sugar balance and insulin sensitivity! And as mentioned above, that could be great news for your blood vessels.

So what foods contain resistant starch? The best sources include: potatoes, sweet potatoes, oats, rice, lentils and other legumes, and green bananas.

I love adding cold leftover cooked rice or potatoes to my winter buddha bowls! And overnight oats…

Grab this Blueberry Hemp Overnight Oats recipe to make this weekend!

And be sure to download this month’s heart-focused free recipes: Heart Beet WFPBNO February Bundle

blueberry oats

LoveBites: 3 Ways to Temper the Holiday Madness

Let’s get real. The holiday season is in full swing. We’re getting swept up in parties, gift-giving, family time, and of course potlucks and holiday feast mode.

Not to mention if you’re the one organizing and hosting and making the food and in charge of the holiday gift budget ON TOP of all that other everyday stuff you still have to get done. <flailing both hands in the air>

So believe me, I understand if your needs have gotten bumped down a few notches in your priority list Continue reading “LoveBites: 3 Ways to Temper the Holiday Madness”

LoveBites: Smoothie Bowls are Warrior Fuel

When the lovely people at Raw Elements generously send you a big ol tub of berry Warrior Blend and ask you to give it a try, you make a glorious super berry smoothie bowl!! 😍💜 Continue reading “LoveBites: Smoothie Bowls are Warrior Fuel”

LoveBites: Stress Management

You know that stress management is important for your health. But what does that really mean? What can you do to reduce stress day-to-day?

Find ways to manage and reduce stress that are also in line with keeping you healthy. Coping mechanisms that are fun while they’re happening but ultimately leave you hurting (e.g. the morning after, sure, but also cumulatively in the future) contribute to the stress on your body.

So what ARE some healthy ways?

✔ yoga and gentle movement
✔ meditation and visualization
✔ journaling
✔ making time for creative expression
✔ aromatherapy
✔ massage therapy
✔ warm baths with Epsom salts
✔ loving sex – both partnered and solo
✔ time with friends – but only if you’re not already feeling over-peopled
✔ mindful eating and drinking – taking time to savour the indulgence
✔ choosing more foods with high antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory properties on a daily basis – eat the rainbow!

There are many more healthy ways to manage stress. What are your favourites? What will you try?

Photo credit @wellnessstockshop

LoveBites: Drinking Yo Calories

March is National Nutrition Month! I have a ton of stuff planned for you over the next 4 weeks…

First up: you may have heard “don’t drink your calories”. And for the most part, it’s true – we consume far too many calories from a variety of beverages throughout the day.

But consider what those calories actually consist of.

If we’re having coffee or tea with sugar (and a lot of us are also getting them with flavour syrups, whip, and toppings…), processed juice (or “fruit/juice drink”) and “smoothies” that are made of more sorbet/ice cream and sugar than they are real fruit & veg, pop, beer, wine, mead, Klingon bloodwine… then we’re just adding calories and a shit-ton of sugar and additives with little benefit to show for it (besides tasting good).

That said, there are 2 sides to this. Choosing fresh-prepared, cold-pressed juice or smoothies made with high-quality, nutrient dense produce can be a great way to getting a lot of nutrients and antioxidants into your system quickly.

It’s a balancing act… namely, a macronutrient-balancing act.

Do you need to watch what you drink?

Photo credit @wellnessstockshop