Let's talk about Hunger....
It feels different for all of us. I’m sure you’ll all agree that my hunger could feel a lot different to your hunger.
But there are some common signs of what hunger is all about like
So let’s take a look at some of these symptoms and what they could mean apart from hunger.
First off, headaches.
If you feel headache, instead of reaching for something to eat first, ask yourself, am I dehydrated, how much water have I drunk today?
Because so often dehydration shows as a headache and you are thirsty.
To avoid that, get a water app on your phone, an app that will remind you to drink your water on a regular basis throughout the day or have a large bottle on your desk, which you aim to empty by the time you go home in the afternoon.
If you’re hungry and you’ve got a headache, then you’re most likely dehydrated and you should drink water first.
Have a glass of water and wait 20 minutes and see how you feel.
Ask yourself, are you stressed?
Sugary foods and carbohydrate rich foods like muffins and cakes and biscuits and chocolates, help to boost our serotonin levels.
This has a calming effect on us and that’s why we reach the sugary foods when we’re stressed.
If you are going to reach for that sugary food, then do so while focusing on that food completely.
Sit in a quiet place, not on a couch watching your favorite TV show. But sit on the couch and really take notice of the taste of the sugary food, the texture of it, how it feels in your mouth, and how you are feeling as you are eating your sugary food.
Also when you are focusing on it so much, then you are less likely to overeat, so you are not going to finish the whole pack and you are also going to find it easier to stop.
Alternatively, get up and move about for 5 minutes or pick up the phone and phone a friend and talk your stress out.
The third thing is if you have low energy levels, and low concentration, you could be tired.
Food fuels us and when we’re tired, we are looking for more energy.
But the thing is that we usually reach for the non-nutritious option, the quick fix.
And that is not going to help us.
Aim for 7 - 9 hours of sleep consistently, every single night of the week.
And if you are really getting good sleep, then you need to look at having an afternoon snack which is high in healthy fats and protein and fiber so that it helps to keep your energy stable until supper time.
Now if you are bored, it is so easy to reach for a pack of chippies or some biscuits and just eat them mindlessly.
Because food actually gives you a purpose.
But instead of reaching for a pack of chippies or biscuits, the next time you find yourself bored, get up and do something.
I have a Sudoku app on my phone which I absolutely love. It is my go-to when I need something to do.
Otherwise, get up, go for a walk, move your body, play catch with your children in the garden.
If you enjoy sewing or knitting a crochet, grab one of those projects before you reach for the chippies and the biscuits.
Choose to do some kind of activity when you are bored.
I had a rave review recently that I'd like to share with you -
I started working with Lee because I did not want to go on ANOTHER diet, but I did need to become more healthy and lose some weight.
After 4 weeks I have lost a pants size, but more than that I feel 100% better then I did.
I no longer hit the 4pm energy slump, I am more motivated to do healthy things with my kids and I feel more positive about my job.
I enjoy the new foods I prepare (especially my smoothies) and my weekly check-ins with Lee keep me motivated and
teach me so much I did not know about nutrition and how our digestive system works.
This is not a diet, it is a new way of looking at food. Thank you Lee! My life is changed.
- Jucintha, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
I'd love to help you reach your health goals.
Go ahead and book your free Ditch the Cravings and Lose Weight Breakthrough Call.
In the United States about 20 million Americans suffer from some type of thyroid disorder. Mostly it is an under active thyroid (hypothyroid) but there are those who have an over-active thyroid which comes with its own problems.
Unfortunately there are no stats for South Africa.
What’s really surprising is that 60% of those who have thyroid problems are completely unaware that this is the root of their problems.
The American Thyroid Association reports that 1 in 8 women in the USA is affected by a thyroid disorder at some point during her lifetime.
Think of it as your body's thermostat.
It regulates your body temperature, hunger levels, sex drive, mood, how much energy use up during the day.
It is interrelated to every system in your body.
So if your thyroid is not running at its best then you are not running at your best.
Where is your thyroid?
It is a butterfly shaped gland in the middle of your neck and below your voice box.
Your thyroid produces the master metabolism hormones that control every function in your body. It makes sense that if your thyroid is not working at best case then there is going to be a knock on effect on every other system in your body.
There are 3 thyroid hormones all with long names!!! Their short names are T4, T3 and T2.
T3 is converted to Free T3 and Reverse T3.
Free T3 is what really matters.
This is the hormone that attaches to a receptor in every cell in your body and causes something to happen.
That could be body temperature rising, metabolism increasing or bowel functioning.
A sluggish thyroid will usually be experienced in these ways;
What can contribute to thyroid problems?
Genetics to lifestyle habits can all have an impact on the health of your thyroid.
There are a number of nutrients that play a role that are often overlooked in proper thyroid function.
These are iodine, selenium, zinc and B vitamins.
The number one cause of an under active thyroid or hypothyroidism is an iodine deficiency!
Iodine is needed for the production of thyroid hormones and the normal functioning of the thyroid.
So where do we find iodine rich foods?
Seaweed is a great source. But it is a bit weird in a Western diet, right!?
Sushi has seaweed so I guess we could all indulge in more sushi!! Other sea vegetables are dulse and kelp.
But for Westerners you can find iodine in raw dairy i.e. non pasteurised. Wild caught tuna, cod, sea bass and eggs.
When there is iodine present in the soil where crops are grown (remember iodine is a mineral) then these vegetables are good sources –
onions, mushrooms, lettuce, spinach, pineapple, cantaloupe, whole-wheat and green peppers.
Selenium helps to balance T4 levels of thyroid hormone.
Foods that are high in selenium are Brazil nuts, spinach, tuna, grass fed beef, turkey and beef liver.
Zinc and vitamins B5 & B12 are also important for thyroid health.
Vitamin B12 helps to balance hormones naturally and treats chronic fatigue syndrome. Eat grass-fed beef and beef liver, tuna, raw milk and cheese, cottage cheese, lamb and eggs.
Vitamin B5 has many of the same benefits as B12 for supporting the thyroid as well as supporting metabolism. Eat these foods as part of your meals; peas, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, sesame and sunflower seeds, pistachio nuts, spinach and ground flaxseed.
What else can you do?
Get enough rest and learn to manage stress.
Physical and emotional stress put your body in a fight or flight mode. When this happens then the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, are heightened.
This causes the blood vessels to narrow, muscle tension increases and blood pressure too. Antibodies and inflammatory proteins that suppress immune function are released. All this damages the adrenal glands and thyroid.
So take stress seriously and find the root causes of your mental strain. Try multiple methods to deal with your stress.
Aim for 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night.
Meditate, exercise, journal and look to be part of a community.
Either a faith based one or support group. And schedule enjoyable activities for yourself and the people that you enjoy spending time with.
Lab tests to determine if you have a thyroid problem.
Normally doctors only check for TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and T4.
There are other tests though, that will show a better picture of whether you have a thyroid problem.
Ask your doctor to run these tests.
Dr Amy Myers is a leading a Functional Medicine doctor specialising in thyroid treatment. She herself has the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s disease. This is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system turns against the body's own tissues. In this case the body turns against the thyroid.
According to her these are the optimal values for the lab results on the tests done…..
If you’re looking for increased energy then take a look at my program –
21 Days to Increased Energy.
Back to school today for the second term.
First quarter of the year is completed.
The season of Autumn is becoming more real. Leaves changing colour and falling. Crisper mornings and cooler evenings.
Glorious days with big blue skies. It's a lovely time of year.
So, one of us wrote to me asking if could I write about iron - so here we go -
For me growing up, I lived with my dad, and regularly once I got my period, liver of various origins was served up as an evening meal.
It wasn't really explained to me why we were having liver but since then I've learnt that liver is a good source of iron.
Since it is important to have sufficient iron in the body this was a good meal to have.
What does iron do?
Its #1 job is to bind a haemoglobin molecule to a red blood cell.
Haemoglobin is the carrier of oxygen.
Without enough oxygen your cells will begin to die.
When you don't have enough iron then you can become anaemic.
When you're anaemic your body has less of an ability to carry oxygen in your blood.
As a result you may start to feel tired and have less energy.
Children and menstruating women are more likely to become anaemic.
Children because they may not be eating enough variety – (ask me - that's my two year old. He has a very limited diet).
Women because of menstruating, pregnancy and premenopausal.
Now it is easy to work out whether you are anaemic.
The question is why. There could be a number of reasons –
Before you start supplementing with iron, I would suggest that you have your blood tested.
Having too much iron is as bad for your body as not having enough.
The blood test to have is called Serum Ferritin.
It measures the molecule in your blood that carries iron. If your ferritin levels are low then your iron levels are low.
The healthy range is between 20 to 80 nanograms per millilitre.
Once you know you are low in iron then you can start to boost your stores using food.
There are two types of iron found in food heme and non-heme iron.
Heme iron is found in meat and seafood. These foods are quickly absorbed by the body.
Non-heme foods are plant-based – fruit, vegetables and nuts.
To improve absorption of these non-heme foods choose to eat vitamin C rich foods or supplement with vitamin C.
On the flip side too much iron in the body can cause its own problems.
The best thing to do is to know your numbers.
Ask your doctor for a Serum ferritin test.
Should you need to supplement with iron then choose chelated iron or carbonyl iron or ferrous bisglycinate.
There is also a plant derived supplement called Floradix.
These options are less likely to cause constipation or other intestinal abscess which ferrous sulphate can do.
Vitamin D may also have an effect on your iron levels.
In a study done evaluating blood sampling researchers could show there was a link between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of anaemia.
A large percentage of the population is vitamin D deficient.
Vitamin D is linked to so many bodily functions that it stands to reason that by normalising your vitamin D levels your over overall health could improve.