We’re Moving!

I am currently taking a break from writing new post to work on moving Nutrition is Medicine from blogger to wordpress.
I am also looking for people who are interested in guest posting for this blog. If you are interested you can email me here. Please check out this list of guidelines for guest posting as well.

Thank you all for the support and I will resume as soon as possible!
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

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Ginger Carrot Pumpkin Soup

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Packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients, this soup has a wonderful balance of sweet and savory flavors. This recipe uses simple ingredients, and is completely AIP compliant. If you aren’t following AIP, a little bit of red curry powder wouldn’t hurt either! I am a soup-for-breakfast type of girl, so I love to eat this soup in the morning!

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Lessons as a Nutrition Blogger

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photo by mkhmarketing on flickr. license: attribution 

This is a special article for Nutrition is Medicine in celebration of my 100th post! I started Nutrition is Medicine almost 2 years ago, and today I would like to share with everyone some things I have learned about being a nutrition blogger!

1. Blogging Requires Patience

Writing an article can sometimes be the least time-consuming part of blogging. It can take weeks just to get your blog set up exactly how you want it (if you aren’t a web designer). Aside from writing and formatting, there is also the task of trying to get your work out there. Networking and social media are both important aspects of blogging as well. I try to set aside time on most days to work on Nutrition is Medicine.

It can be discouraging when you don’t get very many page views or followers when you first start, but don’t give up! Keep in mind that most successful bloggers have been blogging for at least a few years. The term ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day‘ always comes to my mind for building a successful blog. When I think about what Nutrition is Medicine looked like when it started, I am amazed by how far its come, and I am excited for where it’s headed!

2. Sharing is a Two-Way Street

If you want people to share your articles and recipes, you need to do the same for them. If you choose to share your articles and recipes in a group, make sure you stick around and check out some of the other things that have been shared. Platforms like Pinterest, Google+ communities, and Facebook groups are all great for this type of thing.

Writing guest posts for other blogs and sharing others guest posts on your blog is a great way to get your work out there and share some new perspectives with your readers as well. Most bloggers are more than happy to share guest posts on their site as this means less work for them!

3. Lead by Example

While it may not be possible to follow all of your advice (especially on a nutrition blog), if you can’t follow most of your own advice, people won’t take you seriously. In regards to health blogs, people want to follow someone who is healthy, or is in the process of getting there (and has actual result to show from it). If you aren’t able to take your own dietary or lifestyle advice seriously, you may want to focus on those changes first and start a blog later when you are more established (or keep your blog as a personal journal instead). Don’t try to help others before you have helped yourself.

If you take note of some famous nutrition bloggers, they have usually done something impressive with nutrition or fitness, or both! Take for example Sarah Ballantyne (The Paleo Mom) who lost 120lbs with the paleo diet and healed a long list of health issues (IBS, acid reflux, migraines, anxiety, asthma, allergies, psoriasis and an autoimmune skin condition called lichen planus) with the autoimmune protocol. Or Sarah Fragoso from Everyday Paleo who went from being overweight and suffering from depression to a successful paleo personal trainer (with killer abs!). While it’s not possible for everyone to have such dramatic before-and-after stories, most people will have something that changed when they began their health journey; use this to your advantage! If you had positive changes happen, tell your readers about it. People are more likely to follow you if you have a success story. If you don’t have a personal success story but work in the health industry, you could have some clients write testimonials for your page as well.

photo by d26b73 on flickr. license: attribution

4. Be Human

While people like a good success story, they also like honesty. We all make mistakes and have slip ups; if you are honest with your readers about this, it is usually well received. However, there is a balance that needs to happen with this. If you are posting often about how you slipped up on your diet, people aren’t going to take you seriously. On the other hand, if you are experiencing a rare hardship that is causing you to backslide, readers are usually supportive and understanding if you let them know. Everyone needs a break sometimes. However, there will always be people who will take the opportunity to criticize you as well, so be prepared to take negative comments with a grain of salt.

Readers also like people who are interesting and unique. Pretty much every other nutrition blogger on earth enjoys hiking, cooking, and spending time with their family (as awesome as these things are). While it’s great to include these things in your about section, don’t try to make them your defining characteristics. Having a designated about page with some background information on yourself is always a good idea for readers that want to know more about you. Include your other hobbies and things that make you, you! You can check out my about page here.

5. Don’t Write About Things You Haven’t Done Yet

This was one of the first mistakes I ever made when blogging. I did a 30 day challenge and I posted at the end of each day what I ate and what I did for exercise. I was doing this to give people an idea of how to do the Whole30 challenge. I quickly realized this is a bad way to go about it because I kept slipping up; not completely falling off the wagon, but eating more fruit and nuts than I planned, and missing days working out. Because I was doing it to help others, I ended up scraping the whole thing about 20 days in. This was because I was in the process of moving and just couldn’t keep up with the daily posting, tracking meals, or even making meals! I would like to do another 30 day challenge in the future, but I plan to condense it to one post with each days meals listed, and I won’t actually publish it until I have completed the 30 days.

There have been studies done showing that announcing your plans before you actually do them makes you less motivated to actually follow through. This is because the announcement itself gives you a sense of satisfaction. Making plans can be exciting, but following through takes a lot more work!

6. Don’t Use Other People’s Things

Make sure your blog is mostly your original content and not the work of others. Anything you use that is not yours should be properly credited to the owner (including pictures!). It is better to use your own content whenever possible. Blogging gives you a great opportunity to develop a lot of useful skills such as photography, photoshop, web design, researching, writing, social networking, and even filming. While its great to share other peoples articles and resources, people aren’t going to stick around if your entire blog is just other peoples stuff (unless you run a recipe share website like stalkerville). When sharing other peoples stuff make sure you include a clear statement that this is someone else’s work and link to their website. It will reflect poorly on you if people think you are trying to pass off other peoples work as your own.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you found this list helpful! You can follow all Nutrition is Medicine’s posts by subscribing below, liking the Facebook page, or following me on google+.

Have you learned a lesson with blogging? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

     
                                  

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10 Remedies for Natural Constipation Relief

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photo by globalpanorama on flickr. license: attribution-sharealike

Constipation is becoming an increasingly common health concern in our society. It can make you feel sluggish, tired, bloated, and just downright uncomfortable. While most doctors will suggest eating more fibre and other generic recommendations, most people who experience regular constipation have probably already tried these without success. This article covers underlying causes of constipation, why you should avoid laxatives, information on fibre consumption, common remedies, and unconventional remedies for constipation.

Symptoms of Constipation

Symptoms include difficulty passing or straining during a bowel movement, hard and/or dry stool, a sense of incomplete bowel movement, and/or going more than 3 days without a bowel movement. More severe symptoms include abdominal pain and even vomiting (source).

While everyone is different and some people will go longer between bowel movements, if you feel constipated (bloated, uncomfortable, etc), then you likely are.

What Causes Constipation?

Constipation can be caused by many underlying problems, here are some of the most common:

  • Poor diet and/or insufficient fluid intake
  • Lack of exercise
  • Stress
  • Conditions affecting hormones such as hypothyroidism 
  • Pregnancy 
  • IBS/IBD
  • Overuse of laxatives and/or antacids
  • Some supplements such as iron pills
  • Some pharmaceuticals such as anti-depressants and painkillers
  • Imbalanced gut flora such as SIBO or Candida
  • Parasites
  • Hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid)
  • Food allergies and intolerances
  • Poor digestion (lack of digestive enzymes)
  • Poor circulation, nerve, and/or muscle function 

While much less common, structural abnormalities can also cause constipation. If you experience chronic constipation, it is recommended that you make an appointment with your doctor or alternative health care provider to get tested for some of the underlying conditions. This will help you determine the most effective remedies for your body. 

Why You Should Avoid Laxatives

Stimulating laxatives (such as Ex-Lax) should be avoided at all costs, especially for those who deal with chronic constipation. This is because they are severe gut irritants and can worsen constipation in the long run. WebMD states “This type of laxative may weaken the body’s natural ability to defecate and cause laxative dependency” (source). Stimulating laxatives work by irritating the colon which increases contractions and causes the colon to expel its contents to rid itself of the irritant. Although it may be obvious that over-the-counter products such as Ex-Lax fall into this category, many herbal remedies do as well, including Senna and Cascara Sagrada.

Why Eating More Fibre is Not Always The Best Remedy

There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. While soluble fibre is helpful for constipation and gut health, insoluble fibre can have the opposite effect. What’s the difference? While there are some exceptions to this rule, soluble fibre works as a prebiotic, meaning it feeds the beneficial bacteria that live in the colon. This can help constipation by correcting bacterial imbalances and healing the gut. On the other hand, insoluble fibres primary function is to increase bulk in the colon, but it can also irritate the gut in large amounts and promote inflammation. This added bulk was once thought to help constipation, but now it it has been implicated as a possible cause of constipation itself (source). Anyone who suffers from IBS/IBD should avoid large amounts of insoluble fibre in their diet. While most foods contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, there are foods that are much higher in insoluble fibre including grains, legumes, nuts, some fruit, and most seeds. Foods that are higher in soluble fibre include vegetables, some fruits, and chia seeds.

Bottom line: To help constipation, eat lots of vegetables along with fruit and chia seeds in moderation, while avoiding grains, legumes, nuts, and some seeds.

A great drink to help constipation would be GTs Chia Kombucha; lots of soluble fibre, probiotics, and essential fatty acids!

photo by jayesh patil on flickr. license: attribution

Common Remedies Worth Noting

1. Drink More Water

Being dehydrated is a common cause of constipation, so make sure you are drinking around 8 cups of water a day. This helps hydrate your colon and makes bowel movements easier to pass. While there is no set amount of water that you should be drinking, I find the 8 cup rule to be a helpful guideline. Make sure the majority of this amount is drank as actual water and not soda or juice.

2. Exercise

Exercising can help constipation because it helps stimulate the natural contraction of the intestinal muscles and decreases the time it takes for waste to move through the large intestine. By decreasing this time, it reduces the amount of water that can be absorbed from the waste which makes bowel movements easier to pass. Exercise can also help constipation in other ways such as reducing stress and balancing hormones.

3. Increase Fat Intake

Eating more fat helps lubricate the intestines and also increases bile secretions, both of which contribute to digestive motility which makes bowel movements easier to pass. Make sure you are getting your fats from healthy sources (such as grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and olive oil), while avoiding vegetable oils and other refined fats.

4. Supplement Magnesium

Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant that many people find useful for easing constipation. It works by helping relax the muscles in the intestine and also hydrating the colon by attracting water. Magnesium citrate is the most commonly used magnesium supplement for constipation. Magnesium oxide is not recommended as it is not well absorbed in the body. Magnesium gluconate, bisglycinate, and other chelates may also be helpful, but magnesium citrate is the most effective for immediate constipation relief. Magnesium hydroxide is sometimes used as a stronger laxative, but this should not be supplemented regularly. It is recommended to supplement magnesium citrate before bed because it also has a relaxing effect that is helpful for falling asleep.

5. Supplement HCl and Digestive Enzymes

Constipation can be caused by low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) and poor digestion. While proper diet and lifestyle factors are very important to both these conditions, supplementing HCl and digestive enzymes can also be useful to help support digestion initially. There are 2 at-home tests that can be done to test for low stomach acid; the beet test, and the HCl test. For the beet test, simply drink a glass of beet juice and observe the colour of your urine. If you have pink or red urine after drinking beet juice, this is a sign of low stomach acid. Check with a doctor before trying the HCl test as certain medications can increase the risk of ulcers. For the HCl test, take a capsule of betaine HCl on an empty stomach. If you experience a burning feeling in your stomach, you can alleviate it with milk; this means you have sufficient stomach acid. If no burning sensation is experienced, you most likely have low stomach acid.

If you or your doctor have determined that you have low stomach acid, you should supplement a digestive enzyme complex that also contains betaine HCl such as NOW Super Enzymes. If you do not have low stomach acid, you should supplement a digestive complex without HCl such as Assertive Wellness Enzyme Spectrum. Keep in mind that overeating is a common cause of low stomach acid, so its a good idea to practise mindful eating at meal times as well.

photo by epsos.de on flickr. license: attribution

Unconventional Remedies

6. Supplement Magnesium Peroxide

Magnesium peroxide is different than supplementing magnesium citrate. It works by oxygenating the colon which helps remove dry fecal matter that the body may be having difficulty removing. This supplement helps keep you regular without a sense of urgency or cramping. Many people who suffer from chronic constipation have found relief supplementing magnesium peroxide. Give this supplement a try if you haven’t found other supplements helpful. Read more about the supplement here.

7. Vitamin C Flush

A vitamin C flush is a safe way to create a strong laxative effect. This is helpful for people who experience chronic constipation as a way to get things moving. The basic protocol for a flush is to use a buffered vitamin C powder and drink a dose every 15 minutes until an evacuation has been achieved. Vitamin C tolerance is different for everyone, some people will flush at low amounts while others can require over 50 grams to achieve a flush. Some added benefits to a vitamin C flush is increased energy and immunity! Read here for a full description on how to do a vitamin C flush. Keep in mind that this is not a long term solution to constipation, but rather a way to get things moving without using harsh stimulating laxatives.

8. Enemas

Enemas are another safe way to get things moving. Purified water or coffee enemas are the most gentle types. Enemas can be performed occasionally for constipation, but some people also use coffee enemas more frequently to help with detoxifications and a variety of other health conditions. Keep in mind that if you chose to perform an enema you must replenish your electrolytes quickly once finished. This can be done in the form of bone broth, coconut water, or electrolyte drink. Read here for more information on coffee enemas and how to get started with them.

9. Abdominal Muscle Massage

Manual stimulation is another way to get things moving. You can usually find a registered massage therapist that would be willing to do an abdominal massage for you, but you can also do it yourself. Abdominal massage is especially helpful if your constipation issues are due to poor circulation or lack of exercise/movement.

10. Autoimmune Paleo (AIP)


AIP can be helpful for constipation because it helps heal the gut and balance hormones while helping manage underlying conditions such as hypothyroidism that could also be contributing to constipation. Because this diet is an elimination protocol, it can also help constipation caused by food intolerances. This diet includes lots of soluble fibre (while excluding sources high in insoluble fibre), probiotic foods, and anti-inflammatory foods, while eliminating most gut irritants and allowing the body to heal.  If you would like to learn more on how to get started with AIP, check out this article.

photo by elabourer on flickr. license: attribution

What about Prunes?

Prunes, prune juice, and other dried fruits (such as apricots) have long since been recommended as a natural constipation reliever, but they won’t work for everybody. People with bacterial imbalances, IBS-C, or FODMAP intolerance may find that prunes create bloating, gas, and discomfort without constipation relief. This is because prunes are high in sugar and FODMAPs. Eating prunes or drinking prune juice is worth a try if you have never tried it as a constipation remedy, but you may want to keep a back up plan in mind!

While constipation is usually not considered a serious health problem, if you have gone 6 or more days without a bowel movement you should seek medical help immediately. If left untreated, severe constipation can have some extremely serious health consequences such as nerve damage and even (in rare cases) death.

Thank you for reading! You can keep up to date with all Nutrition is Medicine’s articles by subscribing below, liking the Facebook page, or following me on google+.
Which natural constipation remedies have worked for you?

     
                                  

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Chocolate Covered Bacon with Coconut Drizzle

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This recipe is brought to you by Vicky and Rami from Tasteaholics! If you love bacon and chocolate, you’re in for a real treat! Chocolate covered bacon is an unexpected combo and is super simple to make. Although a little odd-sounding, your guests will be surprised with this sweet and salty treat! The recipe uses a delicious chocolate coating and goes a step further with a coconut butter drizzle. We call these recipes quick bites, as they usually take up to 30 minutes to make but still pack a lot of flavour and fun.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Makes: 6 pieces

Ingredients:

Instructions:

1. Fry all the bacon strips until crisp and let them cool completely. (You may also bake it at 400° for 20-25 minutes).

2. Melt the coconut oil in a double boiler on medium-low heat and add the chocolate.

3. Once the chocolate is fully melted, take the pan off the heat. Make sure to stir to keep the chocolate at an even consistency. If you chose to use unsweetened chocolate, you can add 15 drops of liquid stevia to the chocolate mixture for some extra sweetness. 

4. With a pastry brush, coat each side of the bacon with chocolate and place on wax paper. (You may also coat one side, refrigerate for a few minutes and then coat the other side for cleaner results).

5. Warm up the coconut butter in the microwave (at 10 second intervals) or place it in a hot water bath to make it runny.

6. Drizzle the coconut butter over the chocolate and refrigerate for a few hours to let everything set.

7. Optional: You can top the bacon strips with your choice of finely chopped pecans and pistachios, sea salt and much more!

8. After a few hours, take out your delicious chocolatey bacon and enjoy! You can treat your friends and family to this delicious paleo snack, or keep it all for yourself!

About Vicky & Rami from Tasteaholics

Vicky and Rami are the authors of tasteaholics.com, a keto, paleo and gluten-free blog dedicated to finding the most delicious of recipes and showing how to create each one step-by-step. They are firm believers of the ketogenic diet and provide their readers with the information and tools they need to get the most out of their diets through quality low-carb recipes. When they’re not cooking, they can be found in the gym, learning Italian or discovering the next delicious restaurant.

You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

Thank you Vicky and Rami for sharing this amazing recipe! I can’t wait to give it a try! You can keep up to date with all Nutrition is Medicine’s articles by liking the Facebook page, subscribing below, or following me on google+.





     
                                  

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