30 Days of Awesome

January 31, 2017

Learn to Fuel vs Stressing and Starving

By Dr. Erin Wiley ND

We live to see others celebrating their health. My goal as a Naturopathic Doctor is to make lifestyle change simple and effective so that more people can live well and enjoy life. With 10 years of experience running an integrative clinic, working with some of downtown Toronto’s most dedicated health enthusiasts and balancing a busy family schedule, I have learned that the simplest solution is often the best solution. Breaking lifestyle change down into the most basic fundamental steps, that will have the biggest metabolic reward is the best recipe for long-term sustainable success.

For those of you looking to build lean body mass, improve your mood focus and concentration and generally feel awesome. Here are my top 3 fundamentals and tips for the Think Fitness Canary District 30 Day’s of Awesome Challenge:

  1. Decrease your exposure to insulin

Whenever we eat carbohydrates (sugar, starch, pasta, bread, potatoes, etc.) we make insulin. Insulin is often referred to as the “hibernation” hormone because is slows your metabolism, signals your body to store fat, and makes you feel tired and sluggish. In today’s modern world of easy convenient food, carbohydrates often dominate the market and unfortunately, from a metabolic perspective, whatever we are saving in convenience we are paying for with reduced energy and performance. My general recommendation is to follow a low carbohydrate or mediterranean style diet and  consume between 3-6 servings of carbohydrates per day, but this advice of course varies based on your own individual needs. Unlike carbohydrates, when we eat protein, healthy fat and green vegetables we do not make insulin and instead encourage our body to burn fat for fuel providing a consistent sustained release of energy.

Action Item: Implement a low carbohydrate breakfast to fuel your metabolism and encourage your body to burn fat for the day.

Examples:

  • 2 poached eggs and 1/2 and avocado
  • Sardines and kale salad
  • Green smoothie with protein powder
  • Smoked salmon and spinach salad
  • Hard boiled eggs or egg salad
  • Avocado salsa with cucumber slices

Bonus points for trying: Bullet Proof Coffee

2. Increase your exposure to micronutrients

Our bodies NEED the micronutrients found in plants and many of us are starving. Every great diet, from paleo, to mediterranean and vegetarian all have one thing in common, they are plant-based. Making energy, metabolizing waste and building healthy tissue is all dependant on our exposure to these powerful super foods, even our gene expression and the health of our microbiome can be modified by our exposure to vegetables. We need way more than we are getting.

Action item: Fill at least 1/2 your plate with greens at every meal

Examples:

  • Broccoli, rapini, broccolini
  • Zuccini
  • Kale, Cabbage, brussels sprouts
  • Spinach, lettuce, mixed greens, collard greens
  • Cucumber

Bonus points: Blend a green smoothie or green juice every day. Just be sure to minimize your exposure to sugar by limiting your fruit intake.

3. Build more muscle by prioritizing your recovery time as much as you prioritize your gym time.

Rest is actually very productive for your body. This is when your body repairs damaged tissue, grows new muscle, and forms new neutron connections. When my clients are pushing their exercise really hard but hitting a plateau it is often their recovery time that needs re-evaluating.

Action items:

  1. Always pack a post work out snack. This snack should be consumed within 15-30 minutes after your workout and should contain carbohydrates to replenish your muscle glycogen and protein to repair muscle damage.
  2. Practice good sleep hygiene for a deep restful sleep that optimizes your growth hormone production.
    • Sleep in a dark cool room to maximize melatonin and thermogenesis
    • Sleep naked
    • Go to bed before 11pm
    • Avoid eating food within 2-3 hours of going to bed to optimize your fasting time

4. If you are experiencing challenges with your health, have hit a plateau with your performance, have pain and inflammation, have digestive concerns that are limiting your nutrition, or any trouble sleeping. It is absolutely time to book with your Naturopathic Doctor.

Dr. Erin Wiley is a naturopathic doctor with a strong focus on preventative and integrative medicine. She is the Owner and Clinic Director of the Integrative Health Institute, an integrative medical clinic located in downtown Toronto. Erin has a strong clinical emphasis on stress related illness, anxiety, depression and hormone balance. As a naturopathic doctor, Erin is passionate about working with people to help them better understand their health and achieve their health goals.

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