Monthly Archives: March 2017

Always Up at 3 AM? Your Blood Sugar May be to Blame

We talk about sleep a lot, but that’s because its importance cannot be overstated. Not just for weight loss, but for your health in general. Sleep is nourishing and restorative and when you don’t get enough of it, it can completely throw you off in all areas.

As we started educating our clients on the importance of sleep, we noticed an alarming trend: a large percentage of people admitted that not only do they not get enough sleep, but their sleep is unsatisfying. They toss and turn all night or wake up throughout the night. In addition to that, there was a striking similarity in those who were having sleep trouble. A significant amount of people who admitted to unsatisfying sleep were waking up around 3 AM. We figured that there had to be significance to this time frame, so we dug a little further. We were shocked at what we found.

Why You Wake Up at 3 AM

Your body is a complex organism. Although you probably don’t think about it much, it’s constantly pumping out hormones and balancing these hormones to keep you running like a well-oiled machine. If these hormones are off-kilter, it can cause a number of symptoms – one of which is waking up in the middle of the night. One of the most common causes of waking up around 3 AM is blood sugar imbalance due to stress. Let us break it down for you.

When you’re stressed, it triggers your adrenal glands (which sit right near your kidneys) to pump out a hormone called adrenaline. In response to adrenaline, the liver releases, and your cells use up more, glycogen, the stored form of glucose, or blood sugar. If there is not enough glycogen in your body to replenish the stores in your liver, even more adrenaline is released. As a result, your blood sugar levels drop and you begin to feel alert and ready for action, instead of relaxed and ready for sleep.

So What Do You Do?

Now that you know WHY you’re waking up at 3 AM consistently, the next question is: how do I fix it? The two major goals here are to 1. get your blood sugar balanced and 2. reduce your stress levels.

How to Balance Blood Sugar:
  • Eat 3 meals and 2 to 3 snacks per day. Make sure that all meals and snacks include protein, healthy fat, and healthy carbohydrates.
  • Eliminate processed foods and focus only on whole, nutrient-dense foods.
  • Never skip meals.
  • Avoid sugar.
  • Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up.

While you’re working to balance your blood sugar, here’s a helpful tip that can get you on your way to better sleep right away. Before bed each night, eat a teaspoon of raw, local honey. The honey gives your body the glucose it needs to replenish the liver’s glycogen stores. That way, your adrenals won’t cause your blood sugar to drop during the night.

How to Reduce Stress on the Adrenal Glands:
  • Follow a healthy diet.
  • Go to bed before 10 PM and aim for at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Avoid coffee and other caffeinated beverages.
  • Engage in yoga and meditation, but avoid intense exercise.
  • Get some sunlight. If this is impossible due to weather, supplement with Vitamin D.
  • Make time to play or engage in activities that you enjoy.

An Important Note

Of course stress and blood sugar imbalance is not the only cause of restless sleep. Sometimes the tossing and turning are a result of sleep apnea, consumption of alcohol, age, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It’s always best to check in with your doctor if you’re having chronic sleep troubles.

The Whole30 Program: Can It Change Your Life?

In 2009, Melissa and Dallas Hartwig developed a clean eating program designed to “change your life in 30 days”. In its infancy, this program, which was officially named the Whole30, not only attracted hundreds of participants, but it did, indeed, change those participants’ lives. These participants were not just losing weight, they were losing brain fog, food cravings, high blood pressure, and chronic aches and pains that nothing else seemed to help. Energy was increasing, athletic performance was enhancing, and sleep quality was improving.

whole30 sweet potato enchiladas

Since 2009, the program has exploded in popularity, and lately, it’s gaining more traction than ever. Melissa Hartwig, one of the co-creators, recently appeared on Dr. Oz to talk about the Whole30 and what makes the plan so great.

When we first started digging into the testimonials, we thought that it sounded a little too good to be true; but then we investigated a little further. Although the results from the program seem like a miracle, the premise is actually very simple: eat real food. And that makes sense to us.

The Whole30 Basics

The basic underlying principle of the Whole30 program is to eat real food that our ancestors would recognize as food. This includes meat, fish, eggs, and lots of vegetables, but excludes things like grains (which humans only learned to process during the Industrial Revolution) and processed sugar (which wreaks havoc on the body in many ways). The creators of the program believe, and they have a lot of science to back it up, that when you eat the way your body was designed to eat from an ancestral perspective, it allows your body to function optimally. This leaves little room for chronic symptoms and unexplained diseases and illnesses.

The No Foods

  • Added sugar (real or artificial)
  • Alcohol
  • Grains (including but not limited to wheat, barley, rye, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, buckwheat, quinoa)
  • Legumes (beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts)
  • Dairy
  • Carageenan, MSG, and sulfites

The Yes Foods

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy fats (coconut oil, coconuts, olives, olive oil, avocado, avocado oil)
  • Herbs, spices, and seasonings (check your labels!)

Other Rules

  1. Do not re-create junk food. Technically, there are ways to make whole30 approved pancakes, muffins, and cookies, but this defeats the entire purpose of the program, which is to change your relationship with food. If you have a hard time giving up pancakes, it’s a good idea to use the 30 days to break the habit and eat other foods.
  2. Do not step on the scale or take any measurements for the whole 30 days. Although it’s likely that you’ll lose weight, especially if this food plan is vastly different from the one you’re used to, that’s not the main point of the program. It’s encouraged that you weigh yourself and take measurements before and after the 30 days, but not during.
  3. No cheating. 30 days, no cheats.

Our Take

The Whole30 program focuses on eating lots of real, whole foods and eliminating foods that are processed or inflammatory to the body. Although, it can be difficult to follow for those who are not used to eating this way, we think it’s worth a shot to commit for the 30 days. The point of the program is not to never have the “no” foods again, but to learn how these foods affect your body. If you’re able to pinpoint certain foods that don’t agree with you, you’re better able to make food choices that make you feel good over the long term.

Tried the Whole30 program? Chime in and let us know how/if it changed your life.

Healthy Recipe: Magnesium-Rich Smoothie

Last week we discussed the importance of magnesium and shared the staggering statistic that 68% of Americans don’t get enough of this important nutrient. We know that life gets busy and it can be difficult to always plan well-balanced meals that meet all of your nutritional needs, so we’re here to help. This smoothie takes only minutes to prepare and provides a whopping 156 milligrams of magnesium. That’s more than half of your entire needs for the day if you’re a woman, and 40% of your needs if you’re a man.

magnesium smoothie

What You Need:

  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (42)
  • ¼ cup spinach (6)
  • One-fourth of a medium avocado (14.5)
  • 1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder (unsweetened) (26)
  • ½ medium frozen banana (16)
  • 5 frozen strawberries (10)
  • 1 cup almond milk (15.2)
  • 2 pitted Medjool dates (26)

What To Do:

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. If smoothie is too thick, add more almond milk until you reach your desired consistency.

Magnesium: a Mineral that Could Change Your Life

When you hear the word “magnesium”, what comes to your mind? You may know that it’s a mineral and one that you’re supposed to be eating, but do you know how incredibly important this one nutrient is for good health? If you don’t, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. A lot of people focus on carbohydrates, protein, fat, and calories for good health, but there are lots of other vital players, like magnesium, in the game.

magnesium rich walnuts

What Does Magnesium Do?

Every single organ in your body, but especially your heart, lungs, and muscles, relies on magnesium to work properly. The mineral is involved in other 300 different biochemical reactions that range from converting the food you eat into energy to creating new proteins to making your nervous system work. Magnesium does so much for you and yet, according to research, more than half (68% to be exact) of Americans don’t get the recommended minimum daily requirement. To add insult to injury, around 19% of Americans don’t even consume half the recommended amount. So why is this such a problem?

Risks of Deficiency

As we mentioned earlier, having enough magnesium in your body is essential for allowing your organs to function properly. According to research, adults who don’t get enough are more likely to have heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. Low levels of magnesium have also been linked to type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, migraines, asthma, and colon cancer.

Signs of a deficiency can be widespread and non-specific, but the most common include:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation/irritability
  • Low blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia/sleep disorders
  • Hyperventilation
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Muscle weakness
  • Abnormal heart rhythms

I know this all seems like bad news, but here’s the good part: you can get all the magnesium you need by including magnesium-rich foods in your diet every day. The other good news: one of the magnesium-rich foods is dark chocolate.

Magnesium-Rich Foods

The best way to get enough magnesium in your diet is to make sure that you’re eating a variety of different magnesium-rich foods every day. By varying your food choices, you’re not only making sure your magnesium needs are met, you’re also making sure that you’re getting enough of all the another important vitamins and minerals that you need. The current recommendation is 310-320 milligrams for adult females and 400-420 milligrams for adult males per day.

The following foods are especially rich in magnesium:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Spinach, boiled
  • Swiss chard
  • Dark chocolate (70–85% cocoa)
  • Black beans
  • Quinoa
  • Halibut
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Mackerel
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Avocado
  • Salmon

Magnesium Supplementation

Although it’s always best to try to get all the nutrients you need from food, that can be difficult in today’s world. Fortunately, there are many supplements available over the counter. Magnesium supplements come in several different forms, but the forms your body can absorb most effectively are citrate, gluconate, and lactate. Magnesium supplements are generally safe, but always make sure to discuss any new supplements with your doctor before taking them.

Product of the Month! Pure Encapsulations Liver GI Detox

Are you thinking the same thing we are? Holy moly it’s almost summer! Now before you start to panic, trust us when we say there’s still time to get in shape before we say goodbye to winter and hello to warmer months (and less clothing). And of course, we’re here to help.

As always, our monthly special includes:

Physician Consult & Weekly Weigh-ins
Meal Plans
FDA Approved Medications
MetaBlast Supplements
Craveaway Supplements
Weekly Upgraded Injection of B-12
Bi-Weekly Injection of Lipo X
Full Body Analysis on our BODYCOMP Scale

And for the special product for March: PURE ENCAPSULATIONS LIVER GI DETOX!

Liver GI

With this special you receive 4 WEEKS of everything listed above for only $295 (that’s a savings of over $200) – and we’ll throw in the Liver GI Detox for FREE!

How Liver GI Detox Can Help Get You Summer Ready

Your liver is one of your body’s major detoxification pathways. It cleans and filters your blood, breaking down substances like ammonia, alcohol, chemicals, medications, and other waste products, so that your body can kick them to the curb.

Your gastrointestinal (or GI) tract is another major detox pathway. It allows you to absorb the good stuff (like proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals) and then prepares the waste products for excretion (we won’t go into further detail here, but you can probably guess what we’re talking about).

When either of these detoxification pathways isn’t working properly, toxic waste can build up in your body. Over time, this toxic buildup can make it harder for you to lose weight. The Pure Encapsulations Liver-GI Detox helps make sure both the liver and GI pathways are working well so that your body is properly removing toxins as it should.

The supplement contains N–acetyl–l–cysteine and alpha lipoic acid — two antioxidants that help bind heavy metals and boost the production of glutathione (another antioxidant that helps prevent free radical damage). The supplement also contains:

  • Sulforaphane — a compound that comes from broccoli sprouts and helps maintain healthy colon function.
  • Glycine, taurine, and methionine — amino acids that help neutralize toxins.
  • L–Glutamine — an amino acid that helps you absorb nutrients and keeps your intestinal tract healthy.
  • Artichoke extract — promotes healthy flow of bile, supports liver cells and blood flow in the liver, and helps move things along the digestive tract for elimination.
  • Chlorella — a green “superfood” that helps clean and purify the blood.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of this special offer and signing up for our monthly special, drop in or call us at either one of our locations to find out more!

North Phoenix: 602-374-3374
Phoenix: 602-441-3305
Tempe: 480-968-5673