• 25-04-2017

    Grains Making You Gain? Why These Superfood Grains Are Making You Gain Weight

    Most people have heard it: “Stay away from gluten!” The rise in gluten-free products, and mainstream accommodation of this common food allergy, sensitivity and now life choice, has us all aware of how gluten can be harmful for some, and cause discomfort and repercussions for others.  In our world today, gluten has been given a bad name. I am not at all surprised or disappointed gluten has a bad rap: I think many people show signs of gluten-intolerance, undetectable on even our most sensitive tests of intolerance. For example, people who show unexplained weight gain, or difficulty losing weight, have seen a lot of improvement on a gluten-free diet. Gluten intolerances may show no symptoms, but cause water retention and bloating.

    Move over wheat, thanks to your demise there are other grains enjoying time in the spotlight. And not to rain on this grain parade, but I do want to point out that these so-called super grains may not be all good, for all people.  

    I’m talking quinoa. I’m talking rice (white, whole grain or wild).

    These grains have been called superfoods, and they are healthy for many people. Quinoa is the only grain that is also a complete protein, making it a balanced choice for vegetarians or those who wish to have less meat in their diet. And rice has been a staple in cultures around the world for centuries. Both of these grains, however, can create digestive difficulties for some people. And this really isn’t talked about, like it should be.

    People who are unable to properly digest gluten may find they are also unable to properly digest quinoa and rice. The inability for the body to break down these foods can cause conditions like leaky gut - where a worn-down then porous gut lining allows food particles to escape into the bloodstream. The body’s response to foreign particles is to launch into attack mode. People with leaky gut can develop auto-immune conditions.

    Those people who experience leaky gut are also likely to show digestive upset from many foods, which they were otherwise able to eat with ease. We know that the body’s inability to break down certain foods leads to water retention and bloating. This excess water looks and feels like weight gain, leaving many people puzzled why their “healthy” diet means they are gaining weight, or can’t shed the excess pounds.

    If you suspect your body is not tolerating quinoa or rice - either because of chronic digestive upset, unexplained weight gain, a difficulty losing weight or auto-immune symptoms, switch to a paleo diet, which includes meat, vegetables and fruit. Give your body at least 6 weeks to show improvement. If this does the trick, it’s best to stay away from grains and adopt a diet that better suits your body. If you don’t see any improvement, go ahead and enjoy your quinoa. It might just be your superfood. Learn more about weight loss.

     

     

    • 18-04-2017

    Weight Loss Support Group Provides Many Benefits

    On the second Monday of each month, Polo Health + Longevity holds a FREE Weight Loss Support Group. The group is led by me, Francesca Tomas, RPC. I am one of the counsellors here at Polo Health + Longevity. I specialize in depression, addiction, and disordered eating, which is why I wanted to create this group.

    If you are already part of the Facebook group, Polo Weight Loss Group, you may have found support online among the members there. But regardless of whether or not you are on Facebook, coming to the in-person meetings is a great way to tangibly meet others who are on a similar journey, where you not only receive support, but have a chance to offer support to your peers as well.

    Anyone who is on a journey toward better health through weight loss is encouraged to join. There are countless benefits to attending a support group, that extend beyond what you might think of when you hear the words “support group” and in particular this group has grown into something so much more.

    Studies show that a support group can reduce stigma and feelings of isolation. Many members who come to the group talk about hearing their own struggles in another person’s story, or about how they did not realize other people thought or acted the same way they did. It is comforting to know that you are not alone. 

    Not only do you have the support of your peers, but as mentioned, the Weight Loss Support Group is facilitated by me, so when you come to these sessions, you receive professional guidance and care from a certified counsellor as well.

    The Weight Loss Support Group offers the opportunity to learn new things about yourself as well as your peers. We often hear that individual realizations are made when listening to someone else’s story. Something they say might resonate with you or “click” in a way that didn’t make sense before. Being part of the Weight Loss Support Group may be able to give you valuable insight that you may not have reached on your own. 

    When you feel supported by your peers, you feel less alone in your goals, fears, and struggles. Often this gives you a much needed lift that can really help propel you on your journey. One client said that being part of the Weight Loss Support Group, has helped her make recognitions within herself that have made the difference in her success, after years of trying to lose weight on her own. 

    The Weight Loss Support Group acts as a sounding board for the members who attend. Peers share their successes, struggles, and the lessons they’ve learned. Members often are able to shift their thinking from using words like “failure”, to talking about the lessons that are born from any setbacks. It is motivating to see the great ideas and healthy coping skills that group members come up with during these sessions.

    All in all when you share your story with others, you find that you are able to put your struggles and your successes into words, which may have been difficult to do on your own. You make realizations and find insights that you hadn’t before, and you may even be able to finally pinpoint the very reason you struggle with food. But most importantly, in a Weight Loss Support Group session, you are likely to discover that the struggles you have been facing are less about dieting or food itself, and more about how you view or feel about yourself deep down.

    Once you’ve identified the reason through the Weight Loss Support Group, you will have a built-in network to sound off on ideas for creating healthier habits and coping skills, which is more likely to lead to permanent results. 

    If you’re ready to meet people who are in the same struggle, share ideas, and create a healthier way of living, sign up for the next Weight Loss Support Group by calling the clinic! 604-544-7656.

    Find out more here.

    Francesca Tomas RPC, RTC

     

    • 19-10-2016

    Surviving the Sugar Binge this Halloween: The Best and the Worst Halloween Treats

    Halloween is just around the corner; for many kids and adults alike it has become a holiday that offers an excuse to eat candy - lots of it. 

    So what’s wrong with all of that sugar? Lots, actually, including increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer, mood-altering effects and suppression of the immune system. You know how kids can seem to bounce off of walls when they have too many treats? Sugar is supplying them with artificial energy but what goes up, must also come down. The sugar crash post-Halloween should give us all concern. Here are some of the worst offenders, which are chock full of glucose fructose, dyes, colouring, sugar (of course) and no nutritional value like fiber and protein.

    Candy to Avoid:

    Candy Corn

    Twizzlers

    Crispy Crunch

    Starburst

    Skittles

    Butterfinger

    Caramilk

    What can you do instead of indulging, or letting kids indulge in the treats? You can choose healthier alternatives to candy. We’ll share a few ideas with you here. And if you are going to have a few or many (we know it’s hard to resist), there are some less sinful choices. We’ll give you the lowdown on that too.

    Healthier Alternatives:

    Real Fruit Gummies

    Glosette Raisins or Peanuts

    Seaweed snacks

    A Juice Box (100% fruit)

    Apple Sauce in pouches

    Lara Bars

    Cliff Bars (they even make mini ones)

    1 bag Skinny Pop Popcorn

    The switch technique: Ask kids to save a few of their favourites and then turn in the rest in exchange for a toy instead. Donate the unused candy items.

    And if you really must indulge, try the least sinful of the bunch:

    3 Musketeers

    • At 63 cals a small bar, it also isn’t filled with caramel or peanuts. The inside is lighter and fluffier and therefore has less sugars and calories than other candy bars.

    Tootsie Roll

    • At 50 cals a roll, it can satisfy the chocolate fix with fewer cals than a chocolate bar

    Peanut M & M’s

    • At 90 cals a pack, these peanuts are loaded with protein and fats that keep us full and energetic plus fiber in the peanuts make it a better choice than plain M & M’s

    Reese’s Mini Cups

    • These have 88 cals for 2, fewer calories than a Reese's cup. Plus the small wrapping makes it harder to open (so you might eat fewer). The peanut butter provides protein

    Raisinettes

    • At 67 cals per serving, the sweetness of the raisins give you a sugar fix, plus the fiber in raisins make it a healthier choice

    Kit Kat Chocolate Bar

    • Each has 70 cals. The wafer middle gives you a satisfying crunch, with less calories for a lighter choice

    Crunch

    • With the rice krispy pieces it is a lighter option and comes in at only 60 cals

    For adults, those little candy bars can haunt you everywhere - at the grocery store they beg to be bought, someone has put them out at work. Because they are little, you think one, two or a dozen can’t hurt! I was on Global TV recently sharing how many calories are in some of your favourites, and what you have to do to burn those excess calories off. In case you don’t want to add 150 situps and 490 Jump Rope Jumps each time you reach for 2 bars, it’s best to keep them out of your sight and reach as much as possible.

     

    Dr. Allana Polo'sThink Before You Treat.jpg

     

    If you do plan on indulging, be sure to increase your vegetable and water intake pre and post Halloween, and to increase your level of activity to counteract increased calorie consumption.  Get plenty of sleep as well to support your immune system, which will take a hit with all of that sugar. Post-Halloween get right back on track with a balanced and healthy diet.


    Do you have a candy soft-spot at Halloween? What are some of your strategies for avoiding a sugar-overload in your house?

    • 09-03-2016

    Releasing the Weight

    By Dr. Allana Polo, N.D.

    A good friend of mine and I had a discussion about this topic, and I can truly say this was an “A-HA” moment for me. It makes so much sense and is so inspiring and motivating,  I just had to share the concept with you to help us better understand weight and weight loss. This post is about changing your mindset about weight loss, along with dealing with the judgement from others that comes when you mention you are “losing weight.”

    Weight “Loss” has a negative connotation. Loss itself has a negative meaning. It suggests you have no control over what has been done. You lose your keys, you lose the remote, you lose your favorite scarf, and as a result you lose your mind! This word not only denotes a lack of celebration, but it amplifies a total lack of control. When you lose something, it is without thought, intention and usually more often than not, by accident. You lose something, you don’t know where it went, you are often upset and bothered. Why are we using this word to support a change in weight!?

    The choice to drop pounds is a very intentional one, a process that requires strength, determination, hard work and, in fact, complete and total control. The highest level of control actually. This should be celebrated with positive words and denote that YOU are the one that made the change and success happen. Perhaps if we did this, weight loss wouldn’t be viewed as such a negative thing and in fact, more people would celebrate it as opposed to pass judgment, when you are able to relay how proud you are of the results. It was by choice, intention and control.

    Releasing the weight is a much better expression in my opinion. Why? Because it is a personal choice, that you have decided that you no longer want to hold on to the excess weight you have on your body, and have consciously decided to release something that no longer serves you or benefits you in your life. 

    I have chosen to release the weight. Release the shame, release the burden that comes along with being overweight, release the stress and emotion linked to the weight, release the physical heaviness from your shoulders. Release is such a positive word, letting something go is so refreshing and unburdening and freeing. It means releasing something into the universe that you are letting go of and all that comes with it.

    What have you been doing? “I am changing my body”. I have decided to change the shape of my body. Again, you are in control of your shape and wanting to change what the shape looks like as opposed to losing the weight.

    Numbers are merely that, it's a number. Yet we are so controlled by this number. Nobody cares if the 1.5L of water you just drank weighs 3 pounds, or that you haven’t had a bowel movement in a couple days, or that you ate a large meal and have the weight of the food in your stomach. People are judged by a number and a loss of that number dictates success.

    We need to change the focus and take control back of the intention and work and dedication and power it takes to embark on a weight releasing journey. Are you with me? 

    • 25-11-2015

    Body Composition is More Than Just the Number on the Scale

    By Dr. Allana Polo

    What the scale shows as your body weight is not a definitive assessment of body composition.

    Body composition is used to describe the percentages of fat, bone and muscle in the human body. Because muscular tissue takes up less space in our body than fat tissue, our composition, as well as our weight, determines how lean we are. Two people of equal height and weight may look completely different from each other because their body composition varies greatly. In my practice I measure body composition using a bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), which uses the resistance of electrical flow through the body to estimate body fat. These measurements are not only more accurate than various other methods of testing used, but they are extremely reproducible, making them excellent for monitoring weight loss programs, nutritional or exercise intervention, sports training or other body composition altering programs.

    Even after losing weight, you may be an ideal “number” on the scale, however your fat percentage may be too high and subsequently muscle mass too low, therefore producing unhealthy body composition. The excess fat is most likely visceral, meaning around the organs, and potentially the most dangerous kind of fat to have in terms of increasing risk factors for a cardiovascular disease.

    Having excess fat on the inside but looking normal on the outside may result in disease risks that are similar to those who appear overtly overweight. Where fat accumulates also impacts the degree of risk. Excess fat that is concentrated near the waist or abdomen—generally referred to as an “apple” shape— greatly increases the risk of disease. Just because you look thin doesn’t mean you are healthy! I have seen many “skinny” people huff and puff trying to get up a flight of stairs!   

    Consequences of an Unhealthy Body Composition

    Being obese or having an unhealthy body composition is often associated with serious health risks and consequences such as:

    - Heart disease

    - Stroke

    - High blood pressure

    - High cholesterol

    - Metabolic syndrome/ insulin resistance ( including high blood pressure, insulin and cholesterol)

    - Type 2 Diabetes

    - Joint and Back pain/ Arthritis

    - Respiratory problems

    - Kidney and liver and Gallbladder problems

    - Hormonal imbalances due to estrogen being produced in fat tissues

    - Sleep Apnea

    - Excess fatigue 

    As a general rule, a waist circumference greater than 40 inches for men and greater than 35 inches for women significantly increases the risk of metabolic syndrome.

    An Unhealthy Body Composition is easily reversible and can be changed with simple lifestyle modifications. It is not caused by solely one thing. Excessive fat accumulation can result from the imbalance between the calories ingested and the calories burned, a sedentary lifestyle or lack of physical activity, dietary habits such as a high-fat, high-sugar diet, overeating, excessive alcohol intake, hormone imbalance and other metabolic factors.

    Achieving a Healthy Body Composition

    A traditional approach to improving body composition includes exercise and reduced caloric intake, but nutritional supplementation may also offer additional, significant benefits. For example, one study comparing a doctor-supervised, nutrition-based body composition program to a popular, over-the-counter diet drink showed dramatically different results. Patients on the doctor-supervised program achieved 11 pounds of weight loss from fat and they actually increased their muscle mass. The patients on the over-the-counter diet drink lost the majority of their weight from muscle rather than body fat—despite being prescribed the same foods and exercise routine as those on the doctor-supervised program. This is a great reason to talk to your health-care provider about a program that helps you lose excessive weight.

    You have the power to shape your body for better health. Take the first step to achieving healthy body composition. 

    • 21-10-2015

    How to Overcome Emotional Eating

    By Dr. Allana Polo, N.D.

    I always tell my patients dieting is just one piece of the puzzle. Anybody can follow a strict regimen if they really focus on it, but treating the underlying cause of WHY you are overweight, WHY you are turning to food when you are stressed out, sad, angry or bored is really the issue. WHAT void is that food filling? WHAT feelings do you experience when you overeat? These are all questions that need to be addressed in order to see lasting weight loss for a lot of people.

    You can take steps to control emotional eating and related cravings. Most communities have therapists or psychologists that specialize with disordered eating (and we do here at Polo Health). There are also programs like Overeater’s Anonymous that help target these issues. To help curb emotional eating, try some of these helpful tips:

    • Manage your stress- If you find yourself turning to food when you are stressed out, try something to relax such a meditation, exercise or yoga;

    • Stop and think about your hunger before eating- Is your hunger physical? Will eating something healthy curb your hunger? Or are you craving something bad for you?;

    • Keep a Diet Diary- Write everything down, no matter how small or how unhealthy. If you track your food along with your mood and hunger levels, it may help you see long-term patterns of how your mood affects your eating habits;

    • Reach for support- You may be more likely to give into urges if you don’t have a support system. Talk to friends and family and get them involved in your healthy lifestyle, let them help you make healthy choices. Call them if you feel the urge to eat and let them talk to you to help you through it;

    • Keep busy- You may notice that you snack when you are bored or distracted. Instead of mindlessly snacking, immerse yourself in something. Get busy around the house, or leave and go outside away from the kitchen and for a walk. Call a friend and do something enjoyable, but do not pace around the house and in and out of the kitchen;

    • Avoid Temptation- If you are known to give into cravings, get rid of junk and comfort foods from the house. If you do not have them on hand, they can’t be a problem. If you feel emotional, do not head for the grocery store. Make sure you are feeling calm and in control before being placed in front of snacks;

    • Avoid depriving yourself- When people begin to lose weight, they cut out major food groups, avoiding them like the plague and they end up eating the same thing over and over again. Does that sound like you? Unfortunately, this may make your cravings stronger and harder to ignore. If you let yourself enjoy an occasional treat along with more variety, you may find carvings easier to ignore when they happen;

    • Get adequate sleep- If you are not getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep, you may be turning to food for an energy boost. Take a nap or start looking at your sleep patterns;

    • Change your mindset- if you are craving something and can’t get it out of your head, switch your focus to something else. Look outside your window, glance at a picture on the wall, notice the flow of traffic outside, and watch a tree blowing or swaying, listen to your favorite song, or try to hear something laughing down the hall. This sensory input can help curb cravings by removing your focus on food in that moment;

    • Don’t beat yourself up- If you do have an episode of emotional eating, forgive yourself and start fresh the next day. Try to understand the experience and prevent it from happening again. Give yourself credit for making changes that will lead to better health, and understand that it is a process that will take time;

    • Try therapy- If you have tried self-help and other options, it may be time to consider seeking help from a medical professional who specializes in emotional or disordered eating. Therapy can help with a number of issues, including your motivation and coping skills.

    Always reach out for help when you feel overwhelemed by your relationship with food. Talking with your naturopath can help clarify your concerns and issues, so that a plan can be made for how you will meet your healthy life goals. You can overcome emotional eating.

    • 06-08-2015

    Four Summer Foods Disguised as "Healthy" Choices

    You might think you are eating healthy ... but wait! Are you noshing on these four summer foods disguised as "healthy" choices? Dr. Allana's latest Huffington Post article is now published. Go and check it out!

    Read Four Summer Foods Disguised as "Healthy" Choices.

     

    • 15-07-2015

    How Stress Causes Weight Gain

    By Francesca Tomas

    Have you been trying to lose weight but you just aren’t seeing any results?

    This may be because of a culprit called stress. If your life is full of stress, your body is responding by cranking up your stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can undo all of your weight loss efforts. It increases your appetite and cravings, it causes you to lose muscle mass, impacts your sex drive, and your bone density. It also can contribute to depression and memory loss. What's the take home message? Chronic stress makes you soft, flabby, and old before your time.

    Can you actually see the effects of cortisol? Yes, take a look at your waist. Cortisol causes abdominal fat – even in people who are usually thin. The link between cortisol and increased storage of abdominal fat has been confirmed by science.

    Extra belly fat is not just a bad fashion statement. It slows your metabolism and increases your risk for heart disease and cancer.

    The good news is that the answer to this problem is easy and it costs you nothing.

    Make A Commitment Today to Begin One or More of These Proven Daily Relaxation Techniques

    If you practice at least one of these techniques daily, you will begin to shift your body from the stress response to the relaxation response. When you do, your cortisol levels will drop and your body’s self-repair mechanisms get back to work healing you. You'll be able to say goodbye to abdominal fat.

    Set Up A Healthy Sleep Schedule

    Decide on a bedtime that will guarantee you will sleep 7.5 to 9 hours per night. Sleep deprivation makes us wake up with higher amounts of cortisol. Cortisol fuels appetite and increases our cravings, particularly for refined sugar and carb-laden treats, even when we've eaten enough. Poor sleep packs on the pounds.

    Researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine found that subjects who slept only five hours per night experienced an increase in their Body Mass Index regardless of diet and exercise. Good sleep actually helps you to lose weight by influencing the hormones that control your appetite and increase your metabolism. Sleep boosts leptin, the hormone that tells you it's time to stop eating.

    Laugh More

    Laughter and humor increase the release of your feel good hormones – endorphins and dopamine. Laughing increases relaxation and reduces pain, stress, and depression. Think of what tickles your funny bone and plan to see it, do it, or read it.

    Play with Animals

    Getting up close and personal with your pets releases your oxytocin, endorphins, and other healing hormones that support your body’s healing mechanisms. This is why pet therapy is so effective, both mentally and physically. It's now been proven to have the same positive effect on our pets. Pet your kitty or brush your dog every day to lower your cortisol dramatically. 

    Move Your Body

    Exercise is a powerful, well-studied way to burn off stress chemicals and heal the mind, so commit to the exercise you can stick with. A good workout has been proven to be better than or equal to prescription meds for treating depression. If you have physical issues that prevent you from vigorous exercise, you're not off the hook. Other powerful stress busters include body massage, yoga, meditation, and guided imagery.

    Optimize Your Nutrition

    Commit to a healthy diet. Make a list to take with you when you buy groceries. Avoid junk food, refined sugar and carbs, and fast food. Eat regularly to avoid the short-term stress of starvation on your body.

    Express Yourself Creatively

    Creative expression releases endorphins, improves your immune function, relieves physical pain and depression. It also lowers your cortisol, your heart rate, and your blood pressure, and slows your breathing down.

    Have a Healthy Sexual Relationship

    Those with healthy sex lives have lower cortisol levels. They also tend to live longer, have lower risk of health problems, look younger, have higher fitness and less pain, and enjoy an improved quality of life.

    Strengthen Your Social Network

    Connect with others by taking a class, joining a support group or an organization. Research suggests that having friends and a social network is more important to a healthy lifestyle than quitting smoking or starting to exercise. Joining a group is an easy first step to reduce your stress.

    Try to Resolve Stressful Situations 

    Don't let stressful situations continue on and on. This includes present dilemmas and remnants from your past. Decide to let go of grudges and past conflicts even if you were wronged. Forgiveness is a powerful stress reliever. 

    Practice Gratefulness

    Keep a gratefulness journal and use it every day. Write down three things you're grateful for in your life. Research has now shown this simple practice can reduce your cortisol by 23%.  

    These are a few ideas to get you started.  I hope you commit to practice one or more of these to ramp up your health and to accelerate your weight loss. 

    If you think one-to-one counseling might help you to transition to a less stressful lifestyle, I invite you to have a counselling session with me.

    Contact me anytime:

    Francesca@polohealth.com

    604-544-7657 or 604-314-8063

    Also by Francesca: Are you an emotional eater?

    9 Ways to Reduce Stress

     

     

    Photo Copyright: rostislavsedlacek / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 18-06-2015

    The Do's and Dont's of Summer Eating

    By Vanessa McKay, CNP

    Summer is here and if we are lucky that usually means tons of bbq’s, camping and beach days. Even for those of us that try to be conscientious about what we consume these settings can present some challenges. The traditional fare can include hamburgers, hotdogs, potato and pasta salads, soda pop, ice cream and popsicles, just to name a few. Now, I’m not suggesting you eat like a rabbit and avoid your favourite summer foods at all cost but there are some tips I can share to help you to stay healthy, hydrated and energized for the warm months ahead.

    Staying hydrated is paramount! It’s not just the heat; we tend to be more active with hiking, biking and water sports too.  Let’s take a look at some things we consume that may be dehydrating us:

    Alcohol: I’m all for a little summer fun! A cup or two of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume will keep your body hydrated, which can prevents headaches and lethargy. The sun mixed with the dehydrating effects of alcohol can really wipe you out so be prepared!

    Sugar and Processed Foods: Your body requires a lot of water to process sugars and/or preservatives found in foods like pop, pastas, ice cream, chips, muffins, and potatoes. Having your sweet tooth satisfied with fruits that have the sugar you crave and the water required to process it is a better option. Fruits like watermelon, strawberries and cantaloupe are in abundance this time of year so enjoy what’s being harvested locally. Crunchy vegetables served with a bean dip is another great alternative: cucumbers, peppers, celery and radishes all have over 90% water. Kicking your craving for pop with fruit juice cut with sparkling water or kombucha will give your taste buds the fizzy feeling it likes, but with far less sugar, caffeine. Kombucha has great digestive health benefits!

    Caffeine: While coffee and tea both contain caffeine, they also contain a lot of water. Having an iced coffee or tea isn’t such a bad thing in my opinion. Just be mindful of having more than one or two. Make sure you are alternating with fresh water and try to avoid sugary iced coffee beverages by drinking your brew black instead or with a little stevia and your favourite milk substitute.

    I hope this gives you some good strategies to implement for a happy and healthy summer. For further interest in adapting your diet to accommodate health conditions, dietary restrictions or general health improvement you can contact me, Vanessa McKay, CNP @ (604) 544-POLO (7656).

    You might also like to read:

    Are You an Emotional Eater? 

    5 Foods that You May Think Are Healthy, But Are Not Actually That Good for You

     

    Photo Copyright: mblach / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 04-06-2015

    Are You an Emotional Eater?

    By Francesca Tomas, RPC RTC

    When you crave food, you're often at your weakest point. You feel stressed, bored, tired, depressed, or like you are in a difficult situation. When these feelings trigger your need to eat, you are experiencing emotional eating.

    When you eat because of emotions instead of hunger, it's common to eat too much and to reach for starchy and sugary foods that give you a temporary mood lift. You can end up consuming an enormous amount of calories and unhealthy fats. This frequently triggers the cycle of weight gain, depression caused by poor body image, and an increasing need to eat more emotionally. This is a really tough cycle to be caught up in.

    Emotional eating can temporarily suppress or soothe negative emotions including: 

    Stress;

    Sadness;

    Loneliness;

    Boredom;

    Anger; and

    Fear.

    Everyday life and major life events can trigger these negative emotions. They can spiral you into emotional eating and can sabotage your weight loss efforts.

    These triggers include:

    Work and or family stress;

    Relationship difficulty;

    Health problems;

    Sleeplessness; and

    Financial pressure.

    When you eat emotionally, you are trying to cope. This binge eating or rapid eating may help push down the uncomfortable emotions that you're trying to escape. What began as a single bout of overeating can easily become a pattern. You may begin to use food automatically whenever you feel an uncomfortable emotion like sadness, anger, or fear.

    When your emotions drive you to overeat, it only provides brief relief. But you'll always end up in the same place. You'll feel guilty, helpless, hopeless, and predictably gain weight. So, you overeat again. Are you ready to break this unhealthy cycle?

    Here are tips for breaking the cycle of emotional eating 

    Keep a food diary. This requires you to honestly track your caloric intake;

    Manage your stress through better sleep, diet, and exercise;

    Fight boredom - analyze when and why you feel bored and plan alternative activities;

    Keep unhealthy foods that are high in fat and sugar out of your house;

    Have an occasional treat if you can really keep it an infrequent pleasure;

    Have healthy food available to snack on;

    Find alternative ways to feel better quickly such as exercise, socializing, and watching comedy;

    Pack your own healthy lunch and snacks for work;

    Get support from friends, family, or support groups;

    Learn from your setbacks;

    Keep a journal to release emotions; 

    Seek professional help.

    If you still can’t end your emotional eating, consider therapy with a professional mental health provider. Therapy can help you work through negative emotions that keep you stuck. It can also help you develop a plan to end the behavior successfully. 

     

    Francesca is hosting a 2-session workshop June 2015, "End Your Battle with Food and Lose Weight." Learn more here.

    Photo Copyright: bds / 123RF Stock Photo

    Copyright © Francesca Tomas RPC, RTC 2015

    • 22-05-2015

    Iodine Deficiency and Weight Loss

    By Dr. Allana Polo

    A lot of patients I see are frustrated with their weight loss efforts. Many have tried fad diets, and been promised by a billion dollar industry that they can lose weight quickly and effectively with a magic pill. I do offer a quick and effective weight loss method (our Pound a Day program - ask me about it!) but I caution patients at the start of the program, it isn’t always going to be easy. Weight loss takes some effort; I wish there was some magic to it instead.

    Through these patient interactions, I have learned a lot about what promises are out there: herbs and supplements that promise nearly instantaneous results. While it is true that some vitamins, minerals and foods are highly effective at promoting healthy weight loss, and that some people are stuck in the efforts because of deficiencies or food sensitivities, it rarely happens that we see results just from supplementation alone. I don’t recommend diet pills.

    It was in one of these patient interactions that I learned that some people are talking about iodine supplementation in the context of weight loss. I felt compelled to set the record straight: supplementing with iodine does not promote weight loss (unless you have a thyroid problem). Here is the article I wrote for Green Med Info.

     

    Read Iodine Deficiency and Weight Loss: Is it the Next Big Thing?





    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 17-04-2015

    hCG Cooking Series

    You may have recently stumbled upon a notice about an upcoming cooking series for clients following Dr. Polo’s Pound a Day Weight Loss Program. Before talking about the cooking series and some tips for being successful in the kitchen on a calorie-reduced diet, I thought I should briefly explain this weight loss program in case you have no idea what we’re talking about!

    Dr. Polo’s hCG weight loss program is designed to help reshape and redistribute the body’s fat deposits. It also establishes a new set point for the body, making one less likely to return to their previous weight only if new dietary choices and lifestyle changes are implemented. The most controversial part of the program is the actual 500-calorie per day diet that consists of regular food that can be found at any local grocery store. Don’t be afraid of this! Because of the hCG, which is consumed as part of the program, your body is actually mobilizing up to 3000 calories a day. You won’t feel hungry, and your body won’t experience the symptoms you would go through if doing only a 500-calorie per day diet. Please also know this program is medically supervised. Don’t try anything like this alone. Here’s a link to someone (Crystal) who has done the program, and shared information about it. She’s also my partner in the cooking series!

    Eating delicious foods on just 500-calories a day requires some creativity. Here’s where the cooking series comes in…

    Crystal and I teamed up to host several cooking classes that tap into where clients are in the weight loss program, as there are different phases throughout the plan. In other words, depending on where you are in the program, we have a class for you! One of the main frustrations clients report while being on the diet is the lack of variety, which is why variety is the main focus of the cooking series. Crystal’s brilliant and creative recipes allow taste buds to soar on a very restrictive diet. The cooking series also allows clients to meet other people following the same weight loss program so they can form connections and support each other through tips and tricks, or even provide emotional support for one another, as clients can feel isolated while following this program.

    Whether or not you’re following Dr. Polo’s weight loss program, here are 5 general tips for being successful in the kitchen on a calorie-reduced diet.

    1. Play with spices.

    2. Drink lots of water! Sometimes we think we’re hungry, but in fact we’re actually thirsty.

    3. Homemade all the way – your wallet and heart will thank you, as you’ll be decreasing your salt consumption considerably.

    4. Avoid temptation while cooking as we tend to munch while in the kitchen, so get rid of all the junk and comfort foods that are easy to grab.

    5. Ice, gum or mints can be your friend (no gum or mints if on hCG) as this will prevent munching.

    If you’re in the neighbourhood feel free to drop by the clinic to check out our kitchen where all the magic happens, or to ask any questions you might have about the cooking series. Click here for information about the classes and how to register.

    See you soon!

     

    • 30-01-2015

    Eating Well on Super Bowl Sunday

    The Super Bowl is synonymous with chilli and cheesy nachos, sausage rolled in wheat and other fried and not exactly healthy foods. So how can you survive the day without going overboard and packing on the pounds? I’ve got a few tips to share with you.

     

    Balance Alcohol Consumption with Water

    Beer and football go hand in hand. No matter what your choice of alcoholic beverage, balance your intake with water to stay properly hydrated (alcohol can dehydrate you) and to keep your system well-flushed. Water can also fill you up just a little bit more, so you tend to eat less.

    Bring Your Own Healthy Option

    If you are attending a party, you can probably expect a great spread of fat-filled, unhealthy treats. Bring something you can share with everyone that offers a nice alternative. You can reach for this instead when you want something to snack on. Some healthier options include,

    Eat Before Arriving So You Aren’t Starving

    When our bellies are empty, we are more likely to make poor choices, as our body naturally just wants us to get food in there fast. Eat a healthy, protein-rich snack before you head out to the party, or start the game. You are less likely to overeat and more likely to choose consciously.

    When You Do Indulge, Detox

    When you do overeat and overindulge the important thing is to not beat yourself up over it. Recognize it wasn’t your finest hour and then move on. The next day you can mitigate damage by having a detox day. Our blog has great resources for how to do this, but a detox day might include drinking tons of water (with lemon would be great!), some light fasting, saying no to white sugar, white flour and white rice, steering clear of alcohol and caffeine and focusing on eating a lot of protein and vegetables.

    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 29-01-2015

    The Benefits of Colon Hydrotherapy

    Susan Kinross, one of our Certified Colon Hydrotherapists, would love to talk with you about how amazing Colon Hydrotherapy is. And it is an integral part of your detox process. Have you been following along as we talk through the 7 pillars of a healthy detox? We've talked about the importance of being prepared, and the foods you need to eliminate to be successful in this process.

    Now Susan is here to share with us the benefits of Colon Hydrotherapy. We'll include a link to more information on our site, and of course to book - because you'll feel inspired!

    Hello Detoxers and Cleansers!

    In my experience for myself and in working with others, colon hydrotherapy is a fantastic aid to cleansing - before, during or after a cleansing diet.  It’s a gentle yet powerful detoxification treatment.  So as your body is going through a time of detox with your cleansing diet – your organs and cells are letting go of toxins through the various channels of elimination from the body.  The colon is a major channel of elimination.  Although ideally the colon would always move all of its toxic waste out of the body, the reality is that it is very common for fecal material and toxins to become stuck and congested, accumulating in the pockets of the colon.

    Having a colonic (short term for colon hydrotherapy session), or a series of them, during your cleansing diet helps to ensure that those toxins that you are eliminating from your organs and cells are getting out of your body!

    Of course you can only know the benefits if you try it for yourself!  Once you try a colonic and experience the results, you will know what a gift this is to you.

     

    Susan Kinross

    Certified Colon Hydrotherapist

     

    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 21-01-2015

    Foods to Eliminate During a Detox

    Welcome to part 2 of our detox series! Missed part 1? You can read about it here. This post comes to us from Dr. Andrea Gansner, ND and it takes you through the second pillar of a great detox: eliminate! Dr. Andrea wants to teach you how to follow a diet that is focused on optimal nutrient intake, and a detox that removes common allergens, towards building healthy habits and keeping these changes for the long-term. Here is what you need to know:

    An elimination diet is commonly used in order to identify hidden food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances that may be contributing to your symptoms. This break from the common allergenic foods enables the body to heal and decreases potential sources of inflammation in the body. It is also great for a detox period, because it gives the body a break from common triggers.

    If you have any known allergies or sensitivities, work to eliminate them entirely from your diet and minimize environmental exposures. Eliminate all forms of the food by carefully reading food labels and inquiring as to how foods are prepared at restaurants to avoid triggers if eating out.

    Prior to beginning a detox, I recommend my patients remove the following list of foods from their kitchens and replace them with healthy whole food alternatives.

    Recommendations:

    Read labels thoroughly;

    Try to eat fresh organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible. If cost is an issue, begin by eliminating the Dirty Dozen These are the most pesticide residue laden fruits and vegetables so buy organic to minimize exposure;

    Avoid foods high on the glycemic index. The glycemic index of a food calculates the carbohydrate and fiber content and determines how much the food will increase blood sugar. Aim for foods that are lower on the glycemic index and do not spike blood sugar;

    Avoid deep fried foods, canned vegetables, and frying vegetables. Instead, bake, steam or eat your vegetables raw to ensure optimal nutrient density/concentration.

    Foods to eliminate during a detox:

    Processed foods, the common allergens, sugar, alcohol, caffeine (exception: green tea);

    Avoid anything with added colour, flavouring, preservatives;

    Avoid all sweeteners, including: honey, molasses, glucose, fructose, maltose, maltodextrose, brown rice/corn/maple syrups, white/brown sugar;

    Avoid all carbonated beverages such as pop, fruit juices high in refined sugar and processed vegetable drinks;

    Grains that contain gluten (wheat, rye, spelt, kamut, barley, oats). These are usually found in pasta, bread, products made from refined flour, but can be found in hidden sources such as soy sauce. Avoid yeast containing bread and crackers;

    Avoid eggs and dairy products, such as: milk, cheese, yogurt, cream, butter;

    Avoid shortening, margarine, and refined oils;

    Avoid red meats such as beef, pork, deli meats, sausages, hot dogs, canned and smoked meat;

    Avoid canned fish, tuna, catfish, shellfish; 

    Tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, corn, which are common allergens;

    If you have a ragweed allergy – remove sunflower seeds and oil, safflower oil, dandelion, chicory, chamomile, iceberg lettuce and artichokes;

    Avoid peanuts, cashews and pistachios, salted or flavoured nuts;

    Soy products (soy milk, soy beans, tofu, tempeh, miso, soy sauce, TVP) because they are common allergens;

    Avoid bananas, oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, melons and dried fruits. 

    I hope this food elimination list helps you navigate the sometimes confusing information available and instead makes these changes ones that will last a lifetime. After the detox period, or after checking that you are not sensitive to these foods, please feel free to slowly add them back in (using moderation for some, or eliminating entirely for others - ie. processed foods).

    Follow the Polo Health Detox on Facebook!

    Warmly,

    Dr. Andrea Gansner, ND 

     

    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 14-01-2015

    7 Pillars of a Great Detox: #1 Prepare with Soup Recipe

    Have you joined our detox challenge? And are you following along on Facebook as participating practitioners share what they've been up to, and how they are coping with the challenge of ridding the body of excess toxins, and cutting the crap? Last night we held our information night and Dr. Andrea introduced the concept of "detox" to all who attended. If you missed it, don't worry!, we'll be sharing resources on the blog all month long!

    We'll cover the 7 Pillars of a Great Detox .. that's right; we've boiled it down to the top 7 things to do or keep in mind when taking on the detox challenge, and we will share resources on how to support these 7 topics as we go along.

    So without delay, what are the 7 pillars of a great detox? 

    1. Prepare;

    2. Eliminate;

    3. Cleanse;

    4. Sweat;

    5. Rest;

    6. Move;

    7. Transition.

    First up, prepare....

    On a detox program you need to fuel the body with foods that heal and nurture, and eliminate those foods that are toxic, counter-productive and hard for your body to process. When switching to a new diet, or starting a new habit, the hardest part can be process of learning how to integrate new practices into your daily life. So when you can't reach for your regular sugar-fix at 3pm, what do you reach for instead? We might shout: "Carrot sticks and hummus" from the rooftops, and you might respond, "Who has time to cut up carrots and to make homemade hummus?" Well, you do! Here's Dr. Polo's secret for always having healthy food on hand.

    Every Sunday morning (well, almost) I head to the grocery store and pick out fresh fruits and veggies, as well as kitchen staples and meat. I stock my fridge and freezer with only nutritious food, so I am never tempted to eat anything that isn't the best for me. I prepare a big bin of fresh cut veggies, for snacking all week long, and then make sure to have a few other dips and meals on-hand for busy nights.

    I also pack a lot of meals - sometimes I eat lunch and dinner at the clinic. While it is always tempting to get take-out, I know that I can stick to my healthy eating goals if I make food at home that is just as good, and just as portable, as take out.

    I make up big salads, grill chicken breasts, hardboil a few eggs (makes a quick protein-rich snack) and set aside small portions of nuts and seeds. Another thing I love to make in batches is soup! And to prepare for this detox I made a big batch of detox soup.

    I don't have a recipe, because I make it up as I go, but here are the ingredients for you to mix and experiment with!

    Broccoli

    Cauliflower 

    Cabbage

    Carrots 

    Zucchini

    Spinach

    Kale

    Onion

    Garlic

    Ginger

    Turmeric

    Cayenne 

    And gluten free chicken broth

    Added 1 cup of quinoa.

    Let cook for a few hours and purée it!

     

    Do you prepare meals and snacks in advance? What do you like to make?

    • 09-01-2015

    Take the Polo Health Detox Challenge!

    January is a popular time to set health goals and to start new weight loss or healthy eating programs. But so many of us approach the new year confused about how to get started eating better, cleansing the body (inside and out!) and moving toward wellness.

    At Polo Health + Longevity Centre we have decided to challenge each other to a little workplace fun! Several of our practitioners have all decided to embark on a detox program. And we hope you will join us; it is a great way to learn more about lasting lifestyle changes! A detox is an opportunity to be kind to your body, to cleanse from the crap you may have consumed over the holidays and to start your new year with a fresh mind, and feeling great. 

    So just what is a detox? 

    Our bodies are built to naturally remove impurities and foreign junk via the liver but also the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. But our exposure to toxins (in food in the form of pesticides and preservatives, in plastic products that leach into our food or water, and all around us in the air) can sometimes load up our body and make it hard for the liver and other organs to keep up. A detox is a way to help the body better eliminate the stuff that invades it, towards a better and more vibrant system all around. By following detoxification principles, you can...

    - Kick start weight loss, or move stubborn pounds;

    - Improve the tone and clarity of your skin;

    - Enjoy increased energy and a brighter mood;

    - Overcome pain and inflammation;

    - Experience stress relief;

    - Fix chronic digestive problems.

    A detox can take many forms and some popular (even ancient) forms include:

    - Fasting;

    - Eliminating certain foods;

    - Juice cleanses;

    - Supplement protocols;

    - Sauna, hot baths, steam;

    - Colon hydrotherapy.

    Our program at Polo Health will include a couple of different components - including giving up certain foods, adding in key supplements and taking advantage of our Infra Red sauna and colon hydrotherapy. If you want to join us, come to our info night happening January 12 at 6pm at 711 Columbia Street. Click here for more info. And follow along on Facebook, and here on the blog, as we share resources.

    Anyone can detox, anytime. But it is best to seek medical guidance when embarking on one, and when finishing a detox. We can help you smoothly transition, while making lasting lifestyle changes.

    Photo Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

    • 08-01-2015

    5 Foods that You May Think Are Healthy, But Are Not Actually that Good For You

    Clever marketing by big business food manufacturers may have tricked us into thinking that a lot of their products are good for us, when in fact they offer very little in terms of nutrition, or serve up too much sugar or sodium. At this time of year, when so many people are turning to “low-fat” or “diet” alternatives to try and shave off a few pounds, it is even more important to know how to make healthy choices. Here are 5 foods that you may think are good for you, that are in fact on my no-no list.

    Fat-Free Sugar-Free Yogurt

    Remember the ‘90s?! That decade was huge for the “fat-free” trend and it seems a lot of this mentality still lingers with us. First of all, as I teach my patients, fat is not bad for you in fact your brain needs fat in order to function properly. You just need to know which fats fuel your body, and which ones are to be avoided. The thing I hate about fat-free, sugar-free yogurt is that when you take out the fat and sugar, you need to add something else in to make it tasty. Manufacturers want you to keep buying it so they add artificial sweeteners. You shouldn’t eat anything “artificial” and certainly not substances that are currently being researched for their harmful effects on the body.

    Instead try …. Plain Greek Yogurt, with a little fat in there, or for a dairy-free alternative try Almond Yogurt or Coconut Yogurt.

    Power Drinks and Mineral Waters

    This is another source for artificial sweeteners or plain old sugar. People think that sports drinks are healthy for them because marketing encourages them to consume them after working out. They do contain electrolytes, which are important to replace after a tough workout and water-loss, but they also contain food dyes and sugar. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

    Instead try …. Coconut Water! Mix it with a little maple syrup and lemon or lime juice if you like added flavour. Coconut Water is a great electrolyte-rich drink which really replenishes you after or during a workout. You can also make it the base of a protein-packed smoothie.

    Protein Bars

    Again, people see ads with bodybuilders eating these bars and they assume they must be healthy! A lot of these bars contain added sugars, even high fructose corn syrup and other mystery ingredients I can’t even pronounce!

    Instead try … If you need a source of fuel to get you through the 3pm slump, or after a tough workout, turn to dates and date-based protein bars. Lara Bars are an example of one on the market that contains dates and other all-natural ingredients. You can also make your own bars or balls. We have a great recipe on our Facebook page for Polo Health. Crystal, is this true?

    Dried Fruit

    It is easy to get swept up in the idea that the dried mango you are munching on is fruit, so it must be good for you. While I agree it is better than a pack of licorice, there are a few things to know about dried fruit. These pretty apricots actually contain sulphur dioxide, which makes them look nicer and last longer on the shelf. Sulphites can be dangerous for people with asthma or who show a sensitivity to sulphites. I encourage my patients who like dried fruit to stick with sulphur free versions of their favourites. Also avoid added sugar. People love craisins and think they are eating well with them. There is a lot of added sugar in these. Look for those fruits that haven’t been sweetened. 

    Cereals

    I have a thing with cereals! I encourage my patients to think outside of the box at breakfast time; a bowl of cereal just doesn’t fill you up enough, then you succomb to late afternoon snacking. Plus, a lot of cereals contain added sugars, and just plain don’t deliver much nutrition because they use highly processed grains. But cereal marketing is so big! All of these companies want you to believe their product is healthy!  If you want to have cereal, as a meal or snack, I recommend a more natural version like this one. Also, steer clear of store-bought granolas which contain a lot of added sugars and bad fats. Make your own so you can control what goes into it: coconut oil, wheat-free oats, walnuts or almonds, unsulphured and unsweetened dried fruit. 

    Dr. Allana was on Global TV recently talking about this very topic!

     

     

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