Month: September 2019

  • Healthy bones and teeth with smoothies

    Our teeth and bones need vitamins and minerals to keep strong and healthy during menopause and perimenopause. Smoothies are a delicious way to eat those nutrients. As you know smoothies are in fashion. And there are good reasons for it. They make it easier to drink something healthy and consume some powerful foods in a delicious and convenient form.

    Smoothies for teeth and bone health in menopause and perimenopause

    We can use smoothies to strengthen, protect and even heal our bones and teeth. After 40, during perimenopause and menopause and beyond, we need to take care of our bones and teeth, because the hormonal changes that take place can weaken them.

    Sometimes when we think of good foods and nutrients for bones, we think of milk. But in reality we need more than milk, and in fact we may not need milk. We think milk, because of the propaganda. While it is true that milk has a lot of calcium, and calcium is great for teeth and bones, we also need other nutrients.

    Teeth and bones need vitamins and minerals during menopause and perimenopause. Bones can regenerate and strengthen, about 5 to 10% of all bone tissue is renewed each year.

    Teeth also need food, the same foods as bones. Your teeth are stronger if you eat the right foods. Dentists don’t teach patients to eat for teeth health, but it is fundamental. If you eat healthy your teeth don’t develop many cavities.

    Nutrients for teeth and bones during perimenopause and menopause

    The nutrients that strengthen our teeth and bones are the same at any age. However, at times of hormonal fluctuation we need to make sure we are having them. Some of the most important nutrients are:

    Calcium.

    The best and easiest calcium to absorb is from animal sources, but there are also many veggies that have it such as spinach and other green leaves as well as soy and white beans. (Read calcium in bone broth)

    Potassium.

    This mineral is needed for bone and teeth health as much as calcium. One study found that potassium reduces bone degeneration and increases the rate of bone formation in women. Bananas, sweet potatoes, oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew, apricots, grapefruit, prunes, raisins, dates, peas, cucumbers, etc. are wonderful sources of potassium.

    Vitamin K2.

    This one is difficult to add to smoothies. The richest natural source is a Japanese food called natto (fermented soy beans), which doesn’t taste that good. (I take a supplement of K2 every other day or so)

    Smoothies recipes for healthy bones and teeth

    Protein.

    This you are probably consuming enough in you meals

    Magnesium.

    You can find it in green vegetables, such as collards and kale, in some seeds such as poppy, sesame, chia etc., some nuts, legumes, whole grains and avocado. Avocados, seeds and nuts add a lot creaminess to the smoothies, but be careful because they have a lot of calories.

    Phosphorus.

    You can find them in soybeans, fish, meat, milk, eggs, in legumes and whole grains. You can add oats to your smoothies.

    Vitamins

    • Vitamin D. You can get it from the sun and supplements.
    • Vitamin A. You can find it in sweet potato, spinach, carrots, cantaloupe, mangoes, eggs and others.
    • Vitamin C. There are a lot of fruits with this nutrient such as, citrus, berries and many tropical fruits. You don’t need any specialty fruits to get your daily requirements of vitamin C.

    Zinc.

    You can find it in seeds, nuts and some grains. The most abundant sources are meat and shellfish. One powerful source is broccoli sprouts, and you can add them to smoothies or salads.

    Others.

    There are also other minerals that are required in small amounts. These are part of many fruits and veggies.

    Did you know?
    Sesame seeds are a good source of calcium, magnesium, copper, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber. A quarter cup of sesame seeds has more calcium than a cup of milk. It also has a lot of calories, but you can add a tablespoon of tahini to your smoothie.

    Now some recipes

    Smoothies for teeth and bone health in menopause and perimenopause

    Collagen, anti-inflammatory smoothie

    Ingredients
    1 cup water
    1 scoop of powdered collagen or gelatin
    1 cup fresh mix berries
    2 teaspoons of seeds such as sesame, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower or others
    ½ frozen banana. For potassium, fiber and sweetness. It also makes the smoothie very creamy
    1 pitted prune. For boron, fiber and sweetness
    ½ tsp of turmeric powder
    A bunch of broccoli sprouts
    Optional: If you like more sweetness add stevia, date sugar, maple syrup or sugar.

    Instructions
    Put all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Drink right after. You can adjust to your preferred thickness adding more water. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients, use what you have.

    Very cherry

    Ingredients:
    1 cup of fresh or frozen pitted cherries
    ¼ cup of oats
    ½ tsp of turmeric powder
    1 cup of milk or water. It can be almond or full fat or 2% pasture-raised, grass fed, organic cow’s milk, or goat’s milk
    1/2 cup of organic Greek yogurt (full fat or 2%)
    ½ frozen banana
    Optional, pitted dates or prunes for added sweetness or stevia, maple sugar or sugar
    Optional, one scoop of powdered collagen or gelatin

    Instructions
    Put all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Drink right after. You can adjust to your preferred thickness adding more water. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients, use what you have.

    The smoothies can also be consumed as smoothie bowls. The only difference as you know is that you will eat them with a spoon/fork, instead of drinking them.

    Make your smoothies or bowls pretty and sit down and enjoy the flavors.
    Read: Recipes for infused water

  • The most important nutrient you need in menopause and perimenopause

    Do you know what is the most important nutrient your body needs during menopause and perimenopause? Take a guess. If you said water, you are correct.

    Water is fundamental to our lives, and to life in general. The easiest thing you can do to improve hormonal balance and with that all perimenopause and menopause symptoms is to drink the right amount of water every day. Easy!

    Water to improve menopause and perimenopause symptoms

    Water for hormonal balance

    In order to have hormonal balance we need to help our body work more efficiently with minimum effort. Lack of enough water, or dehydration, makes everything more difficult for our body. Dehydration can make perimenopause and menopause symptoms worse.

    Symptoms like lack of energy, mental fog, aches and pains, dryness everywhere, and others can feel worse, because those are also symptoms of dehydration. Dehydration can also contribute to toxin retention, makes our organs work harder and it can make nutrients more difficult to be absorbed.

    Some benefits of drinking water

    • Water helps deliver nutrients and oxygen to the cells
    • The right levels of water improve cardiovascular function. The heart works less
    • Water keeps your joints hydrated and avoids joint pain
    • Water helps eliminate toxins from the body. High toxicity is one of the reasons for hormonal imbalance.
    • Water keeps you regular. If you are constipated you are keeping more toxins in the body.
    • The right hydration makes your skin look and feel better. Lines and wrinkles are less pronounced and the skin looks supple. The vaginal tissues also benefit with the right amount of water.
    • Dehydration makes mental fog worse
    • Dehydration makes you tired
    • Dehydration can be confused with hunger, and therefore, it can make you fat
    • Dehydration has an effect on your mood. It can make you irritated
    importance of water for menopause and perimenopause hormonal balance

    How much water do you need?

    There are no studies showing us exactly how much water we need. You are probably thinking, what about the famous eight glasses of water a day? There is no evidence that we need eight glasses of water a day. The reasons are the following:

    • How much you sweat?
    • How many fruits and veggies you eat?
    • What is the weather like?
    • What medications are you taking?
    • What is your body size?

    Even with all these variables, the 8 glasses a day goal is a good place to start. It can be 6 glasses, it can be 12 glasses. The more veggies and fruits you eat, the less water you need.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, in general, you should try to drink between half an ounce to an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. For example if you weigh 140 pounds, you should consume from 70 ounces to 140 ounces of liquids. Although we are calling it water, in reality we are talking of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated liquids.

    Eat your water

    You probably had read that you can eat your water. This is according to Dr. Howard Murad, an associate clinic professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of The Water Secret. He is also the founder of Murad cosmetics. He says that fruits and vegetables can hydrate the body twice as effectively as a glass of water. When we drink water it gets processed immediately and some is not absorbed.

    You eat water when you eat raw or lightly cooked fruits and veggies and cooked beans and lentils.

    The foods with less water are dried foods, such as processed meats, some breads, candies, cookies, potato chips, etc. In general many shelf stable processed foods have very little or no water.

    foods with water for hormonal balance

    The best water

    If your local water has fluoride, you need a filter right away. Fluoride is really bad for your health.

    What about chloride? Chloride is necessary, but it isn’t good either and it doesn’t taste that good. A filter easily eliminates it from the water.
    There are also a lot of contaminants in the municipal water, because of the pipes used (that are old and may have lead) and toxins that cannot be eliminated, such as pesticides and chemical residues. Again, a good filter can eliminate a lot of them.

    What is the best water?

    I have done a lot of research on water and my conclusion is that the best water in most places in America and Canada is from the faucet using a double osmosis filter. The regular filters don’t eliminate many toxins. Where I live, the water is not so bad, it doesn’t have fluoride and it has fewer toxins, but still a filter is a good idea.

    You don’t need bottled water. This water is terrible for the environment and for your pocket. It is best to carry a refillable bottle (keep it clean). Of course this doesn’t apply if you live or are in a place with terrible water.

    Do you need a filter?

    A filter could be a great addition to your home, but don’t wait to have a filter to start drinking more water. The most recommended filters are the reverse osmosis types.
    Reverse osmosis filters for under the sink installation cost from $100 to $400, plus $80 to $250 a year for filters. Filter for the whole house can range from $500 to thousands and installation costs can be high for the whole house.

    Easiest ways to add water to your life

    Drink more water. Just put a goal like 1 glass after waking up, 2 or 3 glasses of liquid during the morning, 1 glass during lunch, 2 to 3 glasses in the afternoon and early evening. Avoid drinking a lot of water two to three hours before going to sleep.
    Eat soups, fruits, salads and vegetables in your meals and beans and lentils.

    Water with meals

    In Ayurveda and in Chinese medicine it is believed that drinking too much water at meal time is not healthy, because it dilutes the stomach acids. I recommend my clients to drink no more than a small glass of liquid preferably at room temperature or warm; this is the Ayurveda recommendation.

    Summary

    Dehydration can make menopause and perimenopause symptoms worse and even produce some of them. A first step to improve hormonal balance is to drink more water.

    You can read some delicious infused water recipes here


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  • Are you addicted to sodas?

    Are you (or someone you know) addicted to sodas? I have a confession to make; a long time ago I was addicted to sodas. I wasn’t addicted to all sodas, only to Coke. In the beginning it was regular Coke and later on diet Coke. I didn’t care for Pepsi, only for Coke. I probably drank about 3 cans a day. Addiction to sodas or carboand other sweet drinks is common.

    How to stop soda addiction

    We are addicted to sodas, or carbonated drinks, because to their sweetness and in the case of colas, also to their caffeine. My addiction lasted many years, I kept stopping and returning after a year or so until I finally kicked it off for good.

    What worked for me? How did I stop my soda addiction? For me it was becoming conscious of how bad it was for my health and my looks. Now I have a soda once in a while usually while traveling by road and eating along the way. But you know what? I don’t like them anymore. I know a lot of people drink a lot of soda. We can even say that a lot of people are addicted to sodas, because of that today I want to share some strategies to stop soda addiction.

    Know your why

    Why to stop the soda addiction? There are a lot of good reasons to stop drinking a lot of sodas and other sugary drinks, let’s see some of them:

    1- Protect your bones and teeth

    Sodas are more than sugar or artificial sweeteners. Sodas are a cocktail of artificial ingredients that causes damage to our bodies and our looks, including teeth and bones.

    They have way too many calories and zero nutrients.

    Carbonated drinks are highly acidic and contain high levels of phosphoric acid and carbonic acid. This is terrible for your teeth and bones.

    How to stops soda addiction

    Phosphate affects calcium absorption debilitating bones and teeth. Other ingredients in sodas further affect the now weaker bones and teeth causing even more damage. For women who are at higher risk of osteoporosis, it could be even more damaging.

    Getting enough calcium is very important during childhood and adolescence, when bones are being built. Imagine the damage to those forming bones caused by carbonated drinks. They are also bad at any age, especially when we don’t have the protection of our estrogen after menopause.

    2- Beauty, health and happiness

    One word, sugar. The regular versions of soda have a lot of sugar. Sugar is bad by itself, combined with extra caffeine and all those acids and gas, it is even worse. This is a powerful reason to stop soda addiction.

    Regular sodas have a lot of sugar, and let me repeat, zero nutrients. Regular sodas (12 ounces) have between 7 to 10 teaspoons of sugar. The World Health Organization (WHO, part of the United Nations) recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day.

    Sugar is not bad only because of its calories, but for the cycle of high energy and energy slumps it produces and the inflammation it creates in the body. High sugar consumption is now thought to be the largest cause of heart disease, fatty liver disease, obesity and many other illnesses.

    Excess sugar is really bad for your skin. Excess sugar affects the pH of the skin and makes it more susceptible to damage that shows up as wrinkles, pimples and inflammation.

    3- Bad digestion

    Some people say we are what we eat. In Ayurveda we say, we are what we digest. Excess sugar or artificial sweeteners, gas in the form of carbon dioxide or CO2, and the acidity have a negative effect on our digestion.

    What about diet soda?

    Diet soda is even worse. Our gut bacteria gets affected by artificial sweeteners and this causes all sort of problems, from depression to hormonal imbalance issues.

    Really, is soda that bad?

    To drink one soda occasionally is not so bad. However one can every day or many cans every day will take a toll on your health sooner or later depending on your overall lifestyle. I know women who were addicted to soda and now have Osteopenia (the condition before osteoporosis), others have really bad teeth and have had extensive dental work. And others have digestive issues caused in part by the imbalance produced by sodas.

    Besides all the risks, sodas don’t have any health benefit. We may say that the pleasure they give is a benefit, and it is. But when people drink a lot of sodas, that pleasure goes down, especially when it is only a habit and the person drinks it unconsciously.

    Tips to stop the soda habit

    The first step to kick the soda habit is to know your why

    Know your why or your whys and remember them when you are choosing your drinks. This was the key to my success. Once you know why it is important to stop soda addiction you can pick how to stop it, let’s see some choices.

    How to stop soda addiction in midlife

    1- Make it special

    All sodas are bad, some worse than others. If you treat soda as a treat, it is okay to have it, you can have it once in a while. When you do have it, make it special.

    2- Cold turkey

    Some people prefer to quit sodas cold turkey, others prefer to do so slowly. Try quitting cold turkey first and if it doesn’t work, drink less and slowly cut it off or almost off.

    3- Have a plan

    Water is the best liquid you can drink. But it can lack flavor in the beginning. You can allow yourself to have one glass of soda a day (about 8 ounces). You can drink it at once or divide it during the day. The rest of the day drink other liquids. Remember those 8 glasses of water a day? This is the time to drink them. You can add flavor to your water with fruits (recipes follow) or drink herbal tea, green tea, some juice (only a little) etc.

    If you are having regular soda, you can add maple syrup or another natural sweetener to some of the liquids you drink in the beginning. Don’t overdo it; this is the time to also reduce sugar.

    After a while, cut the amount of soda to only a few times a week. Continue lowering it until you reach no more than once a week. You can reach zero if you like. However be careful not to aim for perfection; it is not necessary and it can create problems and frustration.

    If you create a system you are more likely to succeed. Let’s see some of substitutes you can have.

    Continue reading: Delicious soda substitutes

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  • Delicious soda substitutes

    If you are trying to either drink more water, stop a soda addiction or just lowering your consumption of commercial drinks, there are a lot of healthy, delicious, options.

    These are some easy, healthy options to sodas and commercial drinks.

    Healthy, delicious alternatives drinks to soda

    Infused waters

    Try to take maximum advantage of the opportunity to create a healthy habit. You are trying to change a habit, so it is better to change it for something healthy instead of switching soda for other sugary drinks. Infused water is a great choice. Let’s see some infused water examples.

    Add zest

    You may add any citric fruits and a little of their zest to your water. Orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit and other citric fruits taste great on their own. Just cut the fruits in rounds (don’t peel it) and add the water. Let it absorb the flavor for about 30 minutes and it is ready to drink. You can use the same fruit by just adding more water, as the flavor goes down you will know it is time to make a new batch.

    Add Spice

    You can use many spices to add more flavor and benefits to your water. For example, to the citrus mix you can add even more flavor with ginger. Ginger and lime infused water is one of my favorites. You can also use ginger on its own.

    Ginger is great for flavor and health. It improves the immune system, helps with digestion and elimination, improves blood circulation and more.

    You can also use cinnamon. As you may know cinnamon is good for our metabolism. Cinnamon goes well with apple and some berries.

    Add cucumber

    Cucumber is so refreshing. You can just add cucumber slices to water or mix it with other flavors such as citrus and berries.

    Add herbs

    All minty herbs are great so you can also try basil. Use them on their own or mix it with fruit.

    You may store the flavored or infused water in your fridge for up to 2 days. If you want to store your infused waters for longer than a day, eliminate the fruit, spices or herbs.

    Some tasty infused water combinations

    Here are 10 of my favorite fruit, herbs and spice combinations to add flavor to my water:

    • Lemon and orange
    • Raspberry and lime
    • Pineapple and mint
    • Lime and mint (let’s call it mojito)
    • Lemon and cucumber
    • Grapefruit and orange
    • Watermelon and basil
    • Strawberry and basil
    • Lemon and ginger
    • Peach and ginger


    Herbal tea

    In addition to infused waters you can drink herbal teas. There are a lot of awesome herbal teas. You will need to make the tea in hot water and let it cool or drink it hot.

    Green tea

    Green tea has less caffeine that regular tea and much less than coffee and a lot of antioxidants. If you like the flavor, it is a good substitute for soda. Matcha tea is in fashion right not, but all types of green teas are great options. Prefer organic tea over regular tea.

    Viva Agua Fresca

    If you are not ready to kick off sugar, natural fruit drinks are a better choice. Agua Fresca is a Latin American drink made with a little bit of fruit, water and sugar. You can use small amounts of sugar or stevia. These are like diluted juices made in a blender.

    An example of this is, some pineapple, add all the water you want, ice if you want and sugar or stevia. Blend it and enjoy it. If you add sugar, try to limit these types of drink to one a day.

    Diluted juices

    You can buy regular juice and add 3 parts or more water and 1 part of juice. This will add flavor without adding too many calories.

    What about kombucha?

    Kombucha is a good drink if you make it at home. If you buy it, be careful with the amount of sugar. I personally don’t like the flavor, but some people love it. The advantage of kombucha is that it has probiotics. A glass of kombucha a day is healthy. However, don’t feel that you have to drink something, because everybody is talking about it. As you know today it is kombucha and tomorrow who knows what.

    Coconut water is also popular right now. It is healthy, but only one glass a day or so.

    Bad options

    Bottled teas, lemonades, and similar drinks are not good options because they are very acidic. Some of them are even more acidic than sodas. They are also full of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners and other ingredients. There are some better than others, so check the labels.

    Other bad options are coffee and sugary coffee drinks. They have too much caffeine, the coffee used in these drinks is low quality and full of mold and tend to have a lot of sugar. Coffee in moderation is OK.

    Water flavoring powders is another tricky option. Some of them maybe good, but they are still mostly artificial.

    Read the first part: How to stop soda addiction

    I hope these tips can be helpful to you. Subscribe to our newsletter if you like these type of topics. If you have any other tips and recipes please comment below.