Juicing Made Easy

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Wondering how to squeeze those recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables into your daily diet? Juicing may be the answer you’re seeking. When you juice fruits and vegetables, you typically have to use more of the produce: Instead of eating one stalk of celery, you’re juicing several stalks of celery, which means you get more of the phytochemicals and micronutrients that make juicing so beneficial.

Keep in Mind

A drawback to juicing is that the process removes the fiber that can help make you feel fuller longer and is good for heart and digestive health. And, if you’re consuming a fruit-only blend, the sugar content will be high and lack the fiber to help with the sugar absorption. What to do?

When you start juicing, to keep it low-sugar, strive for a mix of mostly veggies with a bit of fruit for sweet—great nutritional benefits with less sugar! And, you can also practice portion control, a four-ounce serving of fruit juice is equivalent to a whole serving of fruit.

Add-ins

Another great way to boost flavor and nutrition without the sugar are add-ins. Try a little earthy turmeric root for its curcuminoids that lend powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to your drink. Ginger will add a zip to your sip and can help sooth your tummy. A dash of cinnamon adds great flavor as well as antioxidants.

Now you’re ready to try out these great juicing combos!

7 Ways to Avoid a Blood Sugar Crash

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by Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD founder of milkandhoneynutrition.com

Whether you’re sitting at your desk at work, chasing kids around at home, or just enjoying the day … that sinking I-need-a-nap-ASAP-feeling, can hit out of nowhere. What causes this? And how do you avoid it?

For a lot of people, that onset of exhaustion can be related to low blood sugar levels. Most of our energy levels throughout the day are directly tied to our blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels. Rapid changes in your blood sugar—both up and down—can leave you feeling like you need a nap.

Balanced meals and snacks with the right foods, can help prevent this. A blood sugar-friendly meal or snack should have three things:

  1. Protein
  2. Fat
  3. Fiber

All three of these things act as buffers on your body’s blood sugar after you eat. They prevent blood sugar spikes, and the inevitable crashing feeling afterwards. And they also help keep you full and satisfied for a longer period of time.

After we eat, our food goes to our stomachs and takes anywhere from one to four one to four hours to be moved into our small intestines. Low-fiber carbohydrates get processed the quickest and can cause some rapid blood sugar rises. When you add protein, fat, and/or fiber to a meal or snack, the speed at which your body digests your food slows down—which is great for blood sugar control! Slower digestion means we feel full and energized longer, and provides your body with a steady supply of nutrients.

Healthy food bowl to avoid blood sugar crashHere are 7 tips to avoid a blood sugar crash:

Tip 1. Eat breakfast

Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can cause hunger- and satiety-related hormones to get out of balance, which also means blood sugars start to be less stable.

Tip 2. Eat consistently

It’s important to feed yourself at consistent times throughout the day. There’s a reason our GI tracts, energy levels, and overall health can get out of whack when we aren’t in our routine.

Tip 3. Eat similarly sized meals

Try to avoid having a small breakfast, medium lunch, and large dinner (like a lot of Americans do), and you also want to avoid the opposite (a large breakfast and so on …) Ideally, to keep blood sugar levels stable and prevent a big rise, and subsequent big fall, all of your meals should be about the same size/same amount of food.

Tip 4. Eat every four to six hours

Don’t go more than four to six hours without eating. This is very much related to number two above, and means you should plan ahead. Maybe you know you’ll be running between meetings at work, or out running errands and won’t be headed back home. Either way, if there’s a chance you’re going to have to go a long time between meals, it’s definitely wise to pack a snack.

Tip 5. Keep snacks handy

Keep quality plant-based fat sources with you for when you’re on the go. As I mentioned above, fat takes longer to digest and helps keep us full longer. It also keeps blood sugars stable by delaying the release of carbohydrate from our stomachs. Great choices include:

  • Nut butter packets
  • String cheese
  • Avocados
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Nut and trail mixes

Tip 6. Try not to eat carbohydrates by themselves

Pairing a carbohydrate source with a protein or fat source will keep you fuller longer, and help keep blood sugar levels stable. Instead of eating an apple or crackers by themselves, try pairing either with peanut butter or cheese for added fat and protein.

Tip 7. Choose higher-fiber carbs

Just like fat and protein, fiber slows down digestion, which as you know helps blood sugars stay steady. Some easy swaps are:

  • Crackers and bread made with whole grains instead of white flour
  • Bean-based pasta instead of white-flour pasta
  • Adding nuts and seeds to salads and sandwiches
  • Load up your next pizza with veggies

Now that you know some of these basic tips for avoiding blood sugar swings, you’re prepared to tackle the day with a steady supply of energy. If you’re curious about learning more, seek out your health care provider for more information.


Please note: The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any medical condition and should not be treated as such. Please seek out your physician or dietitian before making changes to your diet.


 

Photo of Mary Ellen Phipps - Milk & Honey Nutrition

About Mary Ellen

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, is the Registered Dietitian, mom, food blogger and recipe developer behind milkandhoneynutrition.com. She’s also a type 1 diabetic and firmly believes food should bring us joy, not stress. Mary Ellen makes healthy eating easy, realistic and most importantly … fun! Visit her website and you’ll find yummy low-sugar, diabetes-friendly recipes the whole family will love … as well as helpful tips and a little mom humor.

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Why Eat Fruits and Vegetables

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When asking what fruits and vegetables can do for you, the real question should be, what can’t they do? These powerhouses are packed with the fiber, vitamins and minerals essential for maintaining the health and vitality of your body.

How much and why?

The recommended serving size of fruits and veggies is five per day. But how much is one serving? It’s generally considered one-half cup, though for leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, a serving is one cup. Vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. The fiber in both fruits and veggies help you feel fuller longer and contributes maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. And, they’re packed with all kinds of nutrients your body needs.

Carotenoids

Richly colored molecules, carotenoids are what puts the bright red, yellow and orange hues in both fruits and veggies. While there are more than 600 different types of carotenoids, a few you might have heard of include lycopene, beta carotene and lutein. Carotenoids have antioxidant properties—a boost to your immune system and can help to lower inflammation. Try these beautifully colored carotenoid-packed fruits and vegetables:

  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Collard greens
  • Oranges
  • Watermelon

Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins A, C, D, E and K as well as the nine vitamins that make up the B complex are a vital part of a healthy diet. Each one of these 14 vitamins play a key role in various parts of your body’s wellbeing. A diet rich in produce is also a great source of minerals. Potassium is the mineral most abundant in fruits and vegetables, and is a contributor to lower blood pressure. While no single fruit or vegetable contains all vitamins and minerals, when you eat a variety of produce, you’ll be taking in an abundance of these important nutrients.

Where to start?

It’s easy to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet when you start with the things you know and love. Take a familiar dinner and veggify it! Love fish? Serve it up on a bed of greens with shredded cabbage, tomatoes and avocados, then dress with a sweet and savory mango salsa—colorful and delicious. Is pasta your thing? Try subbing the pasta with potassium-rich spaghetti squash, top it with your favorite sauce, add a side salad and you’ve got a perfect dinner. Or, take the bun out of your burger and serve it smothered in your favorite vegetables sautéed in olive oil.

Easy and delicious, juicing fruits and vegetables, either by themselves or in combinations, is a super refreshing way to get those recommended five servings a day. Check out our great article, Juicing Made Easy, where you’ll learn more and discover tasty sippable combos!
 
 
Start Fresh What To Eat

Get prepared

Plan your weekly meals ahead of time to stay on track with this downloadable worksheet!

GET WORKSHEET
 
 


Did you know?

More tomatoes are consumed in the U.S. than any other single fruit or vegetable!

Tips for Keto Diet Success from Dr. Josh Axe

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Article by Dr. Josh Axe

You’ve read about the keto diet, what to expect when you’re eating keto and have your keto shopping list—now you’re ready to start the keto diet. Here are six great tips for keto diet success.

1. Start by doing a kitchen clear-out and overhaul

So that you’re not tempted to eat sugary foods and carbs that are off limits, get rid of anything you’ll be avoiding on the keto diet. (It’s understand-able that you may still need to keep some things at home for others you live with, but try to keep big temptations out of the house.)

Foods you’ll want to dispose of include: all sugary foods/desserts, sweetened drinks, grain/wheat products, foods made with corn and potatoes, sweetened dairy products, and ideally all processed foods made with synthetic ingredients or artificial sweeteners too.

Tips for keto diet success

2. Stock your kitchen with healthy fats & keto-approved foods

Head to Sprouts and seek out healthy fats/oils, quality proteins, lots of different veggies, as well as condiments and seasonings that will make keto meals taste great. (Check out the Keto Diet Food List for a comprehensive list of what to stock in your kitchen when eating keto.)

How can you enhance the flavor of keto meals? Use all types of herbs/spices, real sea salt, olive oil, good quality butter, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, stevia extract, hot sauces and lemon juice.

3. Write out meal and snack ideas

Because the keto diet will likely be very different than the diet you previously ate, you’ll feel more prepared if you can meal-plan for the first couple weeks. Look for inspiration for keto recipes online on keto-focused web-sites, Pinterest or in low-carb cookbooks/magazines. Create a plan to get you started, so you can stay on track.

In terms of keto-snacking, you may find that your appetite is suppressed and you’re not hungry between meals. But if you find yourself needing something to hold you over, try keto snacks like deviled hard-boiled eggs, half an avocado, some nuts, bone broth, beef jerky or a keto smoothie.

4. Keep a food journal to help troubleshoot

Grab a journal or create a document on your computer where you can write out what you’re eating each day and how it’s making you feel. If you’re willing to test your ketone levels (by using urine strips, a blood test monitor or a breathalyzer) you can record how your meals are affecting your ketone levels, which gives you real-time feedback.

5. Finding that you’re not feeling satisfied after meals, overly hungry or just plain tired?

Try increasing the amount of fat you eat, and make sure you’re not drastically under-eating calories depending on your needs. You can also benefit from adding more veggies to your diet, since they are your best source of many essential nutrients like fiber and antioxidants, support digestion, lead to satiety and help reduce inflammation. Even though fats are king on the keto diet, keep eating several servings of veggies per day (a serving is about one cup).

6. Continue to practice self-care

Of course, the types of meals you eat are very important on the keto diet, but other lifestyle factors can also affect the results you’ll experience.

  • Be sure to drink lots of water (check out the best keto drinks)
  • Get plenty of sleep (important for regulating hunger hormones)
  • Stay active in a gentle way such as by walking, doing yoga, leisurely biking, etc.
  • Carve out time for relaxing and restorative activities such as reading, napping, exploring the outdoors, getting a massage, etc.

All of these can help to reduce any keto side effects you might encounter and will keep your energy level up, giving you the best chance of sticking with the diet.

Final Thoughts on Planning Keto Meals

To do the ketogenic diet correctly, so that you enter into nutritional ketosis and start burning fat for energy, you’ll need to get roughly 75% or more of your daily calories from healthy-fat sources.

  • About 20% of your daily calories should come from protein. Fat will be your primary source of your calories, not protein, so aim to eat smaller amounts of healthy protein sources throughout the day.
  • Just about 5–10% of your calories will come from carbohydrates, mostly non-starchy vegetables.
  • Overall, the goal is to keep your daily net carb intake—meaning the total grams of carbs you eat per day minus the grams of fiber you eat—to just 25–50 grams.

 

Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. Author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine and the upcoming Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones and Reserve Disease (February 2019), he also operates the number-one natural health website in the world at DrAxe.com, with over 15 million unique visitors every month. He’s a co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health company where the mission is to restore health, strength and vitality by providing history’s healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world.

MRM

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Inspired by Nature, Supported by Science

Founder Mark Olson’s goal, since he began MRM nearly 20 years ago, has been creating products to help you live a life filled with good health and vitality. Utilizing both Eastern and Western philosophies, as well as collaborative, science-based thinking, MRM does just that.

Their passion for developing innovative nutritional supplements starts by sourcing the highest quality ingredients for their products. Featuring responsibly sourced, all-natural ingredients, MRM’s Active Lifestyle Collection caters to every athletic need—whether it’s before, during or after your workout. Their therapeutic products are minimally processed to give you the purest form of nutrients to help keep your body functioning optimally day-to-day. MRM also crafts an extensive array of high-quality, animal-free products that are vegan and Non-GMO Project Verified.

The team at MRM loves to live life to the fullest and to use that passion to bring you products that allow you to do the same!


MRM prizesENTER THE MRM GIVEAWAY

  1. Download the Sprouts app.
  2. Create an account or sign in.
  3. Clip this offer for a chance to win a paddle board, bike and sports nutrition essentials from MRM.

Official rules.

Keto Diet Food List by Dr. Josh Axe

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Article by Dr. Josh Axe

Keto Diet Food List
Non-starchy vegetables, like the cruciferous ones shown here, are great additions to the keto diet.

The whole point of the keto diet is to enter and then remain in the metabolic state called ketosis, in which you burn fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates (glucose).

Over the past 100 years, researchers have discovered that ketones have some pretty amazing attributes—such as enhancing fat loss, suppressing our appetites, increasing mental clarity, and decreasing the risk for a number of chronic diseases.

How to Eat Keto

In order to make ketones, you need to eat plenty of keto fats while also drastically reducing the amount of carbs you eat.

How do you go about getting started on the keto diet? Before diving into the best keto diet foods, here’s what you can expect in terms of what you will and won’t be eating:

  • Good-for-you fats will be your primary source of calories on the keto diet, providing roughly 75% or more of your daily calories. Aim to get about 20% of calories from protein, and just 5–10 percent from carbs.
  • On a traditional keto diet, the goal is to keep your daily net carb intake—meaning the total grams of carbs you eat per day minus the grams of fiber—to just 25–30 grams. This amount causes your glycogen stores to be depleted fast, so your body starts making ketones.

What Not to Buy

When grocery shopping, you’ll want to avoid buying the following items which are high in carbs and/or sugar: all fruit, anything made with added sugar (white, brown, cane, raw and confectioner’s sugar, syrups like maple, honey and agave), all drinks high in sugar, all foods made with any grains or grain flour (this includes all whole grains and white/wheat flour), corn and all products containing corn, conventional dairy products such as most yogurts, granola bars and most protein bars or meal replacements, most canned soups, many condiments, and many prepackaged meals.

Your Keto Shopping List

Because the foods below are high in fat, low in carbs, plus they supply protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber, these are the best keto diet foods to focus on:

  • Healthy fats – Olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, palm oil, avocado oil, avocado, MCT oil, lard, chicken fat or duck fat (can be bought at a butcher) and all types of nuts and seeds. You can also have full-fat dairy products like butter, heavy cream, sour cream, organic cheeses, and in small amounts full-fat/unsweetened yogurt, kefir or milk. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pistachios, chestnuts, pump-kin seeds, nut butters and seed butters, chia seeds and flaxseeds are also good sources of fats (just stick to having about 1/4 cup per day, or 2 tablespoons of nut/seed butter).
  • Quality protein – Grass-fed meat, pasture-raised poultry, cage-free eggs, all types of wild-caught fish and seafood (such as tuna, trout, anchovies, bass, flounder, mackerel, salmon, sardines), organ meats like liver, and turkey, or beef jerky.
  • Non-starchy vegetables – Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous veggies, all types of leafy greens (like spinach, dandelion or beet greens, col-lards, mustard, turnip, arugula, chicory, endive, escarole, fennel, radicchio and kale), asparagus, cucumber, celery, mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and carrots (careful to limit veggies that tend to be sweet like potatoes, butternut squash, beets, etc.).
  • Condiments and beverages – Water, water with a slice of lemon or lime, seltzer, herbal tea, black/green tea, coffee, bone broth, unsweetened almond or coconut milk, or freshly made vegetable juice. All types of fresh or dried herbs/spices like cinnamon, basil, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, ginger, cilantro, red pepper, etc., hot sauce, apple cider vinegar and other vinegars, unsweetened mustard, soy sauce, lemon/lime juice, cocoa powder, stevia extract, vanilla extract and sour cream.
Josh Axe

About Josh

Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. Author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine and the upcoming Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones and Reserve Disease (February 2019), he also operates the number-one natural health website in the world at DrAxe.com, with over 15 million unique visitors every month. He’s a co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health company where the mission is to restore health, strength and vitality by providing history’s healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world.

What to Expect When Eating Keto by Dr. Josh Axe

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Article by Dr. Josh Axe

What to expect when eating keto

Believe it or not, studies show that people consuming a typical Western diet, consume well over 1,000 empty calories each day from ultra-processed foods like sugary snacks, sweetened drinks and processed grains! Sugar is currently the most popular ingredient added to foods in the U.S. This means that the high-carb diet many are accustomed to eating stands in stark contrast to the ketogenic diet—a very low-carb, very-high fat diet that’s been shown to have numerous health benefits.

Giving up nearly all carbohydrate foods (grains, fruit, dessert, many drinks) isn’t easy, but the payoffs can be well worth the effort.

What types of benefits can you expect to experience on the keto diet? Dozens of recent studies show that some of the most noteworthy include: help with weight loss (particularly fat loss, even while retaining lean muscle mass), reduced risk for metabolic syndrome, improved glucose tolerance/protection against insulin resistance, better appetite regulation and reduced cravings, and even improved mental/neurological health.

Transition Slowly for Keto Success

If you’re willing to give the keto diet a try, know that in the beginning you’ll need some time to adjust, both mentally and physically. This new way of eating requires some trial and error and a little bit of patience, considering your body will be going through some significant metabolic changes—since the keto diet causes you to burn fat for energy, rather than glucose from carbohydrates.

Initially this can cause some temporary side effects as you essentially experience carb or sugar withdrawal (often called the keto flu). This transition period lasts about one to two weeks on average, and may cause symptoms such as cravings for carbs, fatigue, headaches and constipation. But once you’re in the clear, you can expect to feel more energized, clear-headed and in control of your hunger levels and cravings.

Rather than dropping carbs and sugar cold-turkey, you might choose to slowly start reducing your carb intake over the course of several weeks or so. Begin to experiment with higher-fat meals and carb substitutes, this way your body and mind are less in shock once you fully jump in.

Now that you know what to expect when eating keto, check out these tips for keto diet success by Dr. Axe as well!

 

Josh Axe

About Josh

Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. Author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine and the upcoming Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones and Reserve Disease (February 2019), he also operates the number-one natural health website in the world at DrAxe.com, with over 15 million unique visitors every month. He’s a co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health company where the mission is to restore health, strength and vitality by providing history’s healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world.

What is the Paleo diet?

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What is the Paleo Diet article with featured saladBefore you make any changes to your diet, be sure to consult your physician because every body needs something different!

The Paleo diet is pretty simple—eat like early humans from the Paleolithic period. Grains are omitted because humans didn’t start cultivating them until about 10,000 years ago, significantly more recent than the Paleolithic era. Vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, as well as lean meat, poultry, fish and seafood are all a part of the basic Paleo diet.

What Not to Eat on a Paleo Diet

Besides grains, like wheat, barley, oats, etc., what else will you want to avoid while eating Paleo? Beans and potatoes are out for similar reasons to grains. Although, many people include sweet potatoes but not white potatoes in the Paleo diet. Similarly, dairy and processed sugars are not a part of the Paleo diet either. Of course, processed foods aren’t permissible. But don’t worry, this still leaves lots of delicious foods for you to enjoy!

Paleo Diet Benefits

One of the great benefits of the Paleo diet is boosting the amount and variety of your daily fruit and veggie intake which naturally increases the amount of nutrients and anti-oxidants you’re getting. Sugar has been linked to many health issues, eliminating it from your diet is another plus of going Paleo.

Ready to delve deeper?

We have more paleo-related resources on our website!

Written by blogger Cheryl Malik at 40 aprons.com, the article How to Go Paleo touches on topics like creating a Paleo recipe bank, getting support while starting your new routine and stocking your pantry for your new Paleo endeavor. In Stocking a Paleo Pantry, Cheryl hands you your Paleo shopping list for those must-have in Paleo planning. She even wrote about her Top Paleo Products at Sprouts.

In the article What is Paleo? you’ll learn more about the nutritional value of the fruits and veggies, as well as great snacks and a recipe for grilled lamb chops!

Another great resource for planning your Paleo shopping list is Top Five Paleo Substitutions by our blogger friend, Emily Sunwell-Vidarri, at RecipesToNourish.com. She explores substitutions for fats, baking ingredients, non-dairy milks, natural sweeteners and even rice on the Paleo diet plan.

 

Did you know? Despite the fact that the Paleo diet is trending now, it was actually developed by a gastroenterologist named Walter Voegtlin in the 1970s!

What is a low-FODMAP diet?

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What is a low-FODMAP diet? Veggies in basket
Broccoli, artichokes and asparagus contain the short-chain carbohydrate oligosaccharide—a potential cause of digestive disorders for some people.

What does FODMAP mean?

It’s okay if FODMAP sounds like an unusual made-up word to you—it is. An acronym, FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. What do all those fermentable substances have in common? They’re all short-chain carbohydrates.

Found in many common foods, FODMAPS can be a problem for some people because they are not well-absorbed by their small intestine. When a person, who has this intolerance, eats a food high in FODMAPs, the food that was poorly absorbed in the small intestine travels into the large intestine where it becomes an extra food source for the gut bacteria there. For some people, these short-chain FODMAP carbs can cause digestive disorders.

A Low-FODMAP Diet

A low-FODMAP diet is often recommended by a health professional who recognizes their patient may be experiencing symptoms caused by eating these FODMAPs. On a low-FODMAP diet, you avoid those foods that contain the fermentable carbohydrates. To make it easy, we’ll break it down by letters!

The O in FODMAP refers to oligosaccharides which can be found in high amounts in the following foods:

Artichokes
Asparagus
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Dried fruit
Garlic
Onion
Inulin
Lentils
Beans
Soy beans
Split peas
Cashews
Pistachios
Barley
Rye
Wheat

The D in FODMAP refers to disaccharides, or lactose, which can be found in high amounts in the following foods:

Milk (cow, goat and sheep)
Buttermilk
Custard
Ice cream
Yogurt
Evaporated milk
Milk powder

The M in FODMAP refers to monosaccharides which can be found in high amounts in the following foods:

Apples
Figs
Peaches
Pears
Watermelon

The P in FODMAP refers to polyols which can be found in in high amounts in the following foods:

Apples
Apricots
Cherries
Nectarines
Pears
Peaches
Prunes
Watermelon
Avocado
Cauliflower
Mushrooms
Snow peas
Sorbitol
Mannitol
Xylitol
Isomalt
High-fructose corn syrup

Low-FODMAP vs. Gluten-Free

At first glance, it may seem like a low-FODMAP diet is similar to a gluten-free diet because they both avoid wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is the protein present in those three grains which is why they’re avoided on a gluten-free diet. Wheat, barley and rye also contain fructans, a source of the oligosaccharides carbs that are to be avoided in a low-FODMAP diet.

The Importance of Sleep

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Alarm clock on a bed standLike eating, drinking and breathing, sleeping is a basic human need. When put in those terms, the importance of sleep takes on new meaning, becoming part of the foundation of good health. After all, most of us assume missing some shut eye is no big deal. From time to time, that may true, but ongoing poor sleep can take its toll on your health.

Good vs. Bad: How Sleep Affects Health

Sleeping provides your body an opportunity to restore balance to many of its systems. For example, your body works to repair your heart and blood vessels while you sleep. That’s why chronic sleep deficiency can be linked to stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Sleep also helps to maintain balance of the hormone insulin and the hormones that regulate appetite. Missing out on dreamtime can affect your body’s ability to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, which is why it’s linked to an increased risk for diabetes. Likewise, those not getting enough sleep may struggle with their appetite and put on weight.

Good sleep also helps to maximize problem-solving skills and enhance memory. That’s because while you sleep, your brain is forming new neural pathways to help you learn and remember information. The opposite is true if you’re not getting enough quality sleep. You may have trouble remembering things, problem solving or controlling your emotions.

Here are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep:

  • Avoid caffeine late in the day
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule
  • Create a daily exercise regime
  • Start winding down an hour before bed
  • Strive for an ideal sleep environment: dark (try a blackout shade) and cool (ideal is 65°—though your ideal may differ)
  • Routine! Try a hot shower or bath before bed (discover the reason this works in our article The Science of Serenity)

Sometimes, even with good sleep habits, you might need help getting better sleep. Check out our article Getting a Good Night’s Sleep where you’ll learn about valerian root, essential oils and other supplements to help you sleep.