• 13-02-2020

    Reacquainting yourself with Healthy hunger

    Did you know that as babies we were actually born with these hunger and satiety cues? Babies naturally eat when they are hungry. They cry asking for food and innately stop when they are full. Along the way, as adults, these cues have been lost or forgotten, and now we need to reacquaint ourselves with them. Lets bring it back to Healthy Hunger

    1. Establish your why.  This is a very crucial step in your ability to get back to healthy hunger. “why” do you want to do this? It has to go beyond the “ I want to lose weight” piece. Specifically, why do you want to lose weight? This “WHY” will becomes your motivating force and the difference between eating the cooking or leaving it alone. People with a strong why will always be more successful than people who don’t. once you have your “why” determined, write it down and place it somewhere where you can be continually reminded that it is more than just looking good.
    2. Keep a Diary.  I want you to record what you are eating. Everything ranging from breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and beverages.  It would be extra beneficial to write down what times you are eating at as well. Studies show over and over again that people who keep a food diary not only consume fewer calories, but are more accountable to themselves and in tune with their bodies. I want you to take it one step further, and record your moods and emotional responses to the changes you are making. This will help you when you start doing the deeper work to get you through ‘Heart Hunger’. 
    3. Practice mindful eating. Stop and literally chew your food aiming for 20 complete chews. Put your fork down in between bites. Take a breath. Taste the food. Enjoy the textures. Stop eating on the go, on the run, in front of the tv, in front of the computer screen or when talking on the phone. Be present in the moment as you are eating. When you are eating, try making it the only activity you are engaging in. When you make your first sigh of being full, that is your cue to stop. 
    4. First Raid the Kitchen. You are tasked to go through your kitchen with a big old box and a giant garbage bag. In your box goes your unopened canned and perishable goods which you can provide to those in need, a local shelter or community centre or charity. Into the garbage bag goes the stuff that has already been opened and that you now need to get rid of. It isn’t enough to say “ oh my daughter will eat that box of cookies”. Nope! You will! One night four nights from now, when this shift just seems too hard, you will think just one is ok or maybe two. Maybe you will eat the whole bag, maybe you wont, but we want this stuff out of your house, out of your body and out of your life, so throw it out now instead. By not having temptations around you, you will better be able to remain focused and in control and making and sticking to these necessary changes. 
    5. Then love the kitchen. My hope is that your transition to a whole foods sparked a love for being in the kitchen. To stay healthy, you must really make your own food from whole ingredients from the earth. Processed foods contain so much added preservatives, sugar, salt and unnecessary preserving agents, additives and chemicals that we should not be consuming them in the quantities we are. In fact, I can argue that these foods really are the reason we are facing the obesity epidemic we are today. Please take the time to cook homemade meals. They do not need to be elaborate or fancy, all I ask is that they are made from real food and real ingredients that you can pronounce and recognize. It may seem overwhelming at first as we are all busy people with a lot going on, but that is definitely no excuse to frequent a drive through 5 times a week, or indulge in takeout or delivery on a regular basis. It is possible to eat healthy and wholesome every meal of every day, it just requires getting organized and planning a bit at first, until it becomes easier and more manageable to carry out on a regular basis. My trick is to cook up a storm at one time, allowing extras to be frozen and placed into portioned containers for another day that you may in fact be too busy, or too lazy and don’t feel like making something from scratch. I always recommend meal prep on the weekends, when you have one hour, instead of watching tv or while the laundry is running, to make the time. If you wait to find the time, it wont happen. You have to make the time, make it a priority so it actually gets done. Here are a few ideas to prep for the week: 
    • Boil a pot of quinoa- it makes for a great protein rich salad topper in the week
    • Salads in a jar. For quick lunches at work, layer salad dressing, lettuce, kale, veggies and toppings in a mason jar.
    • Hardboiled eggs
    • Chicken breasts sliced for salads or stirfrys
    • Salmon cakes
    • Bean burgers
    • Bean salads
    • Homemade guacamole
    • Homemade hummus
    • Nut butters
    • Sliced fruit and veg 
    • Roasted vegetables
    • Stews
    • Soups
    • Chilis

    These all make for quick and easy meals or snacks that you can take on the go, or freeze for a lunch or dinner at a later time. Making meals ahead of time, grocery shopping, chopping, planning and prepping both meals and snacks will become an extremely important factor in your success. When we are busy, and don’t have anything prepared, we reach for what is quick, easy and convenient. 

    1. Use the Hunger scale daily. The hunger scale is a tool that will help aid you and guide you toward your goals by avoiding mindless eating. This should keep you in touch with your hunger and satiety centres. 
    2. Starving- weak, lightheaded, irritable
    3. Uncomfortably hungry- hard to concentrate
    4. Very hungry- ready to eat now, stomach is rumbling
    5. Slightly uncomfortable- starting to feel signs of hunger
    6. Comfortable and satisfied
    7. Perfectly comfortable
    8. Full- a little bit uncomfortable
    9. Uncomfortably full- starting to feel bloated. “I ate more than I should have”
    10. Too full- need to loosen pants
    11. Stuffed - food coma, thanksgiving dinner full, Christmas dinner full, cant breathe full

     

    Realistically, you should only eat if you are feeling 1, 2 or 3. Put your fork down at 5 and wait until the next meal to eat again. If you are trying to lose weight, stopping at 5 allows you to eat less than your body is burning. Don’t wait for 1 or 2 to start eating. By this point, all rational decision making has gone out the window and the likelihood of you reaching for a salad is overwhelmed by a biologically propelled craving for calorie dense food. Start eating at number 3, when you are very hungry and ready to yet, yet not desperate enough to eat anything and everything in your path. You want to have enough hunger pangs that your cue to eat is evident and clear, but still being able to stay in control of what and how much you are eating, making the right choices for both. Once again, don’t wait until you are weak, light headed, dizzy, shaky or irritable. If you do, your next steps will take you further away from your goals and habits that we are trying to positively change. Always ask yourself, is this taking me steps closer to my goal or taking me backwards away from my goal? Is this helping me or hurting me? Is this in alignment with what I want? 

    Now, the next part of this hunger scale. When to stop? Stop eating at number 6, when you are perfectly comfortable and satisfied. You may feel like you could or would want to eat more, but could quickly shift to too full, bloated and reach to loosen your pants. It takes 20minutes after you have eaten, for your brain to register full and have the satiety signals kick in. so if you stop eating slightly before you are too full, 20 minutes later you will likely be there. Staying on the hunger scale between number 3 and number 6 should be your goal. This will ensure you don’t starve and don’t stuff, it will also ensure that you feel lighter and more energetic as opposed to lethargic and heavy. If you need to check in mid meal, and see where you are at on the scale, go for it. Actually, I encourage you to do so. Put your fork down, take a breath, and check in with yourself. Over time, practicing this routine will become a sure habit and healthy hunger will be established. 

    • 29-03-2019

    Does My Child Have Food Allergies or Food Sensitivities? What's the difference?

    In the eighties and nineties, going to school with a peanut butter sandwich in your lunchbox was the norm. Now most schools are nut free and parents are hyper vigilant following baby first food best practices to avoid future allergies and food sensitivities. Most of us know a child who has a life-threatening food allergy or some kind of reaction to a particular food. A question that many of us are used to asking when other children to come over to play is, “Does your child have any food allergies?” 
     
    Here to weigh in on food allergies and food sensitivities is New Westminster Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Allana Polo. 
     
    "It’s good that we are aware of the different types of reactions but with the overlap of some of the symptoms, things get a little confusing," says Dr. Polo "One of the biggest questions I get from my patients who are parents is: how do we know if our child has an actual food allergy or if they are just sensitive to a particular food?"

    Food Allergies

    A food allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts as though it needs to fight off disease. The first exposure to the offending food has no outward effect on the body. But on the inside, an antibody called IgE is created against that particular food. The next time that food is ingested, it binds to the antibodies that are now floating around in the system and triggers an actual reaction like cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, hives and even difficulties breathing.

    An allergic reaction takes place immediately after eating or can take up to several hours to manifest. If the reaction is going to be as severe as an anaphylactic shock, it will usually occur within the first hour after ingestion. Anaphylactic shock is deadly and requires immediate medical attention. The symptoms are wheezing, difficulty breathing, swelling of the tongue and throat, and fainting. Usually if someone knows they have an anaphylactic reaction to a certain food they will carry an auto-injector of epinephrine with them to counteract the reaction.

    Some of the more common food allergies in children include peanuts, soy, milk, wheat and eggs. 

    Food Sensitivities or Intolerance

    Generally, the words sensitivity and intolerance are used interchangeably. A sensitivity actually has nothing to do with the immune system. The symptoms in this case stem from an inability to digest the food. Symptoms (commonly nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and bloating) usually appear about half an hour after ingestion but can also take up to 48 hours to really show themselves. Heartburn and headaches are also indications of food sensitivity or intolerance.

    Two of the most common food intolerances are dairy and gluten. That’s why, in my practice, dairy and gluten are two substances I ask my patients to eliminate when we are testing to see how their body responds on and off these foods. Not everyone who has sensitivity to gluten has Celiac disease. The latter is completely different, where any gluten consumed actually damages the intestinal lining. 

    Some Key Differences Between Food Allergies And Sensitivities

    An allergic reaction can occur even when only a tiny amount of the allergen is present. For a sensitivity to be detected, generally a normal portion size needs to be consumed. 

    An allergic reaction happens more immediately, whereas a sensitivity can make itself known days later.

    An allergic reaction can be life-threatening but a sensitivity is not.

     
    You can work with your naturopathic doctor to determine what your child is sensitive to and even the extent to which the food needs to be avoided. In some cases, by using an elimination diet and then slowly reintroducing a food into your diet, a food sensitivity can be eliminated! 

    • 24-04-2018

    Dr. Polo's Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Health

    1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals- Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-based. 

    2. Replace habits, don’t eliminate- Instead of cold-turkey quitting potato chips, replace them with something healthier that satisfies your crunch cravings. Like almonds or roasted chickpeas. This also helps you navigate social settings where there might not be a healthier option. Having a few potato chips at a party is no big deal if you have replaced them in all the places you can control, like your kitchen pantry.

    3. Remember your WHY- Coming back to your ‘why’ in your moments of doubt or deflation can be the thing that sets you back on track. Are you working toward better health so you can enjoy watching your kids grow up? Put a nice family picture up near your treadmill at home. A visual reminder can sometimes be more effective than a mantra or vision in your head. But decide what works to help you remember your why.

    4. Find support- Perhaps it’s an online community, family members, friends or colleagues. Find sources of support that you can check in with or who will check in with you as you journey toward your goal. Better yet, enlist them to join you and be in accountability partnership!

    5. Stay accountable to yourself- Keep track via apps, a diary or a chart to track your progress. I find that those who monitor their own behaviour ultimately do a better job of sticking to their initial plan.

    6. Limit your goals- Choose 1 or 2, not 10. This keeps you from getting overwhelmed and gives you enough time to make progress. Successfully modifying even 1 or 2 areas of your life can have a positive effect on other areas. Your quality of life can change with just a couple simple moves in the right direction.

    • 19-02-2017

    CKNW Health Series with Dr. Allana Polo

    CKNW is celebrating wellness with a health series and they've turned to Dr. Allana Polo for help and advice. 

    You can listen to each interview on CKNW. Here is an overview of Dr. Allana's appearances.

    The Power of Turmeric

    Listen

    Excerpt:

    “Turmeric is the new buzzword food,” explains Dr. Polo, who says you can get it both in powder form for cooking or as a capsule as a supplement.

    The substance is derived from a plant in the ginger family.

    “The active ingredient that we’re also concerned about – or really interested in – is actually curcumin. It’s the main active ingredient which holds the most inflammatory and anti-oxidant potential. The beautiful thing about turmeric is that in all the recent studies and journalism [and] medical information that we have, it’s really effective against inflammatory conditions, like arthritis.”

    Polo says research shows it can actually match the effects of some specifically anti-inflammatory medications people are taking.

    Nutrients for Brain Health

    Listen

    Excerpt:

    Another, she says, are Omega 3s.

    “Which are fatty acids like salmon or fish oil capsules. The beautiful thing is your brain is 60 per cent fat. By incorporating good fat into your body, you’re just helping the neuronal connection and communication within the brain.”

    Another good option are antioxidants, says Dr. Polo.

    “You can take antioxidants through a capsule, or you can do it through food: dark, rich, colourful fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are really important because your brain requires oxygen to function, and if you have a lot of free-radical damage, or if there’s a lot of oxidative stress in the brain, then these antioxidants are really helpful for brain function.”

    Fruits like blueberries and strawberries and vegetables like spinach and broccoli are all rich in antioxidants.

    Beyond simply boosting your brain function, Dr. Polo says nutrients like Omega 3s and antioxidants can have both preventative and restorative effects on your grey matter.

    Reduce Your Meat Intake

    Listen

    Excerpt:

    People say one of the best ways to improve your overall health is to reduce the amount of meat that you eat. For a lot of people, that is difficult. But is that even true? Do we eat too much meat?

    Dr. Polo says the short answer is… not necessarily.

    “It’s not that we’re necessarily eating too much meat; it’s the quality of meat that we’re eating. So it’s too much red meat that we’re eating. It’s saturated fat, and it’s also now pumped full of hormones and chemicals, and growth factors that we weren’t eating years ago. So I think the quality of the meat has changed, and I do think the studies that are coming out are showing the importance of a plant-based diet for longevity and health and heart disease and obesity…high cholesterol and diabetes,” she says.

    What are superfoods?

    Listen

    Excerpt:

    “Society is becoming so much more mindful about what the nutrition of food is, what we’re putting into our body, and how helpful that is. I think last year it was kale; kale was on the map for a while. And then it was chard, then cauliflower, goji berries, acai berries… basically these are all fresh, colourful vibrant fruits and vegetables. They’re rich in antioxidants..."

    Incorporating Healthy Oils into Your Diet

    Listen

    Excerpt:

    “There are some oils that are saturated, so we don’t want to use that,” says Dr. Polo.

    But while you stay away from those, she says there are a group of healthy, unsaturated oils that are both delicious and good for you.

    “The really great ones to incorporate into your diet, because they’re a lot higher in Omega 3s and Omega 9s – which are anti-inflammatory – are avocado oil, flax seed, macadamia nut, olive and coconut oil,” Dr. Polo says.

    • 31-01-2017

    Slow Down - Chew - Enjoy Life!

    I had an “aha” moment last night while eating my dinner. I caught myself with too much food in my mouth at one time, and realized that I needed to slow down and chew my food more thoroughly.

    This is a microcosm of my life lately. Last fall, after a particularly busy few months, my body started to give me signals that I needed to slow down my pace of life. Thankfully, I have listened to my body – I took a week off, and have upped my self-care with walks, relaxation, baths, reading, meditation, and eating slowly.

    And, very importantly, I am making sure to incorporate these self-care gems into my everyday life.

    Back to chewing. Chewing our food is very under-rated in our society. Life seems to be about moving fast - rushing to and from work/activities, fast food, eating breakfast on-the- run, lunch at the desk, etc.

    With such busyness in life going on, it seems like there is no time to eat. Well guess what? These priorities are screwed up!

    Eating is the sustenance of life, and deserves to have a place of high priority with mealtimes carved out as part of our day. As a colon hydrotherapist, I constantly get to see, through the view tube in the equipment, what comes out of the other end of the digestive tract.

    And, just like your dentist knows if you have been flossing or not, I know if you have been chewing your food thoroughly or not! I have to say that I see a lot of undigested food, or rather ‘unchewed food’, sometimes very identifiable like mushrooms, nuts, seeds, red pepper.

    I so often find myself talking to clients about their chewing habits. It is amazing how people pay attention when they see for themselves their own unchewed food being eliminated!

    Problems arising from not chewing thoroughly include:

    - improper digestion from eating too fast and not calmly;

    - lack of digestive enzymes from the saliva because food is not staying in the mouth long enough;

    - not getting the nutrients from these pieces of food that are not breaking down;

    - undigested food in the GI tract can lead to a condition called ‘leaky gut’ which can also contribute to allergies;

    - the ileocecal valve between the small and large intestine is forced to stay open wider to allow these foods through which can lead to intestinal problems.

    We CAN slow down our chewing, and we do this by retraining ourselves.

    Here are the chewing tips that I have taught to thousands of people:

    1. Look at the size of the bite of food that you are about to put into your mouth. It should be approximately 1- inch in diameter, no bigger than a loonie. If you put in a huge mass of food, there is no way that you can chew it all thoroughly!

    2. Put your fork down between each bite, and do not pick it up again until we have swallowed this bite. Simple but not easy! We are so busy getting our fork ready with the next bite and drooling over how good it is going to be. Think about it though – we are so NOT in the moment, we are actually trying to be in the next moment by anticipating it. Putting our fork down forces us to pay attention to what is in our mouth right now, the texture, how much it is chewed. Believe me, by staying mindfully in the present moment, you will even taste the food more! That is a fabulous benefit.

    3. Do an experiment and Count Your Chews. First of all, put a bite into your mouth, and count how many times you chew it by doing your regular way of chewing. Secondly, put another bite into your mouth, and this time count to 40 chews. I have heard anywhere from 25-50 chews, so experiment with how many you need. The food in your mouth ought to be chewed to a consistency of a paste or a liquid before swallowing.

    “How we digest food is how we digest life” Have you heard this before? I felt shocked when I read this statement. Having had my share of digestive challenges in my life, I immediately knew it was true. Helping our digestive system by slowing down and chewing thoroughly extends health and well-being to every area of our life. So let me ask you, “How are you digesting life?”

    Susan Kinross

    Certified Colon Hydrotherapist

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