May 2016

All posts from May 2016

Before-after-photos.png

An insight into my own weight journey

 

I struggled with my weight starting around the age of 12. I tried a countless number of diets and became burnt out from constantly working at losing weight. I was exhausted and not only had days where I felt fat, but months. I thought I was big boned and was meant to be overweight until I finally lost the last of 60 pounds in 2008. When I hit my goal, I thought I was home free and would never go back to where I had started. At that time, the thing that was keeping me at my goal weight was fear. Fear of putting it all back on. Fear of failure. While I was successful with losing the weight, the battle didn’t end. I would argue that keeping the weight off is just as hard, if not harder than losing the weight because I knew what I needed to do but sometimes sticking to it just felt hard. I’m not telling you this to discourage you, but more to share my experience.

My success with weight loss is what inspired me to want to help others through their journey but it doesn’t mean I’m perfect. I strive to eat as clean and natural as possible but I do enjoy an occasional burger and fries and who doesn’t love pizza? I still have my ups and downs and consider myself a work in progress. While I have uncovered quite a few emotional ties to food, I’m still working through the stories that keep me stuck. And I do still get stuck. The good news is that I’m able to realize that I’m stuck much faster than in the past and I have tools and support to help me find clarity.

I wanted to open up to you to share my experience and the challenges I have encountered to show that you’re not alone if you experience something similar. I would love to hear more of your story in the comments below, or you can email me at laura@laurabfolkes.com.

read more
Laura B. FolkesAn insight into my own weight journey
breakfast-1224505_1280.jpg

How to Determine If You Have a Food Intolerance

When many people think of symptoms of food intolerances or food allergies they think of gastrointestinal issues or the severe allergy response of anaphylaxis. However, there are many different signs that you may have a food intolerance and it shows up in a variety of ways for different people.

Signs of a food intolerance could include:

  • Seasonal allergies such as a sore, scratchy throat or nasal congestion
  • Bloating
  • Lack of energy/lethargy
  • Skin break outs, rashes or eczema
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Respiratory issues
  • Migraines

This list is not comprehensive and if you do suffer from any of these symptoms it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a food intolerance or sensitivity. In order to find out for sure, here are a couple of approaches you can take:

  1. Elimination diet – The idea of an elimination diet is to remove the food you think you may be sensitive to for a few weeks and then slowly introduce it back in to see if you have any reactions. If you aren’t sure what you may be sensitive to, you can remove a number of foods at once (e.g., corn, soy, dairy, gluten, sugar, etc.) and then add one back in at a time.
  2. Allergy testing – By working with a General Practitioner, Allergist or a Naturopath, they can run blood tests to determine the foods you are sensitive or allergic to. While there are some drawbacks to blood tests they generally show a person’s sensitivity to a wide range of foods.

To give you an example of how the elimination diet works, I supported a client who would get a stuffy nose when he drank beer, so we decided to try a gluten elimination to see if the wheat in the beer is what he was reacting to. After two weeks of being gluten free he didn’t think he felt any different until he had a sandwich for lunch one day. Immediately he felt like he was coming down with the flu from body aches and his throat started to hurt. Now if he eats gluten he immediately feels the effects. As a result of being predominantly gluten free, the bloating in his stomach has gone down.

This is just an example of one person’s experience from doing an elimination diet, but it doesn’t mean everyone will have the same result.

If you follow an elimination diet and suspect you may have a food intolerance or allergy, it would be ideal to follow up with blood work to confirm and ensure you don’t restrict your diet for no reason.

read more
Laura B. FolkesHow to Determine If You Have a Food Intolerance
Kimchi2-1-e1462034840488.jpg

Breaking Down Probiotics

It seems like 5-10 years ago barely many people knew about probiotics, what they were, or their health benefits. But not only have they become more mainstream, they are being used as a marketing tool for various foods, including granola, butter and even drinking straws.

I recently read this article about the differences between “designer food”-based probiotics and the natural forming organisms. The purpose of this post is to help break down probiotics and the best way to get them.

First, let’s start with what a probiotic is. According to WebMD, “Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. Your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.”1 They also support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection.

The reason we want probiotics is because it is said that 60-80% of our immune system is held in and around the digestive tract/gut. Therefore, when your gut bacteria are balanced, your immune system should also be balanced.

Probiotics can help promote healthy and balanced gut bacteria because they replace good bacteria after it has been lost, for example after taking an antibiotic. Some natural sources of probiotics include fermented foods such as:

  • Kefir (unsweetened is best)
  • Kimchi
  • Natto (fermented soybeans)
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Yogurt (natural and unprocessed)
  • Raw cheese

People have been eating fermented foods for thousands of years but food manufacturers have recently been making foods with added probiotics due to the increase in awareness and interest. When deciding the best way to consume probiotics for you, my philosophy is to try to go as natural as possible and resort to a proven source. Therefore, I get my probiotics from a high quality supplement and from foods where the bacteria are naturally grown, such as Kombucha (no sugar added), sauerkraut or plain kefir. Since everyone’s body is different, it’s important to find a solution that works for you based on your lifestyle and what your body requires.

 

 

Source: 1WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/what-are-probiotics

Photo credit: JoongBoo Market, http://www.flickr.com/photos/85508296@N00/15189824058

read more
Laura B. FolkesBreaking Down Probiotics