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8 Signs You Might Have a Protein Deficiency

by October 21, 2020

Protein is an essential macronutrient that is essential for all living organisms. Found in a variety of animal and plant-based foods, it is vital in helping our bodies recover by building and repairing body tissues such as muscles, skin, hair, and nails. Protein also serves as building blocks for enzymes and hormones in the body. Proteins are composed of amino acids. There are 22 amino acids – your body produces 11 of them, however 9 amino acids cannot be made by the body and must be consumed through food.

You can see why it is imperative that you consume enough protein to maintain health. There are several signs that you might have a protein deficiency, which over time can lead to several health issues, including muscle loss, weakness, and impaired immune function.

  1. Muscle Weakness – Lack of adequate protein intake can lead to deterioration of muscle mass.
  2. Hunger & Cravings – Constant food cravings and needing to snack often may be a sign that you are not getting enough protein. Eating protein is important in appetite control and helps keep you fuller for longer.
  3. Hair, Skin, and Nail Troubles – Your hair, nails, and skin are made op of several proteins, including keratin and collagen. Lack of protein in your diet can cause thin hair, loss of hair, peeling skin and nails, weakness and ridges in nails.
  4. Brittle Bones – Because protein is essential for building and maintaining bone density and strength, you may be at an increased risk for bone fractures or breaks.
  5. Fluid Retention – Extreme protein deficiency may cause edema/swelling in the abdomen, feet, hands, or legs. Adequate protein plays a huge part internally in keeping fluid from accumulating in tissues.
  6. Fatigue – Not consuming enough protein can reduce lean body mass and diminish muscle strength over time, resulting in weakness and fatigue. It can also lead to anemia, a condition that results in inadequate oxygen-rich blood that can cause you to feel weak and fatigued.
  7. Compromised Immune System – Getting sick regularly could mean you have a poor or compromised immune system. A protein deficiency can increase your risk of infection since amino acids play a role in regulating immune cells. 
  8. Mood Swings – A lack of protein can affect your mood. Many neurotransmitters in your brain are made of amino acids. These are mood regulators and low levels from a lack of protein can cause anxiety and depression.

It is pretty hard to become protein deficient if you eat a variety of whole foods, comprised of protein (from meat, chicken, fish, or beans), fibrous fruits and vegetables. Many people can meet their protein requirements from diet alone, but some may struggle eating enough. Protein supplements can be beneficial and come in a variety of forms to suit a variety of dietary needs. No matter what diet you may follow, there are many ways to add more protein and protect our bodies and health.

10 Simple Habits You Can Do Now to Live a Healthier, Happier Life

by October 7, 2020

No matter what struggles you have faced in your past, you can start living a healthier, happier life now by practicing 10 simple daily habits.

1.  Eat Healthy & Nourish Your Soul

Good food = good mood. A healthy diet is not only good for your body, but also can determine if you are happy or not. Comfort foods, such as pasta and sweets may give you that feeling of happiness and euphoria, but that is short lived and can backfire on you later. In fact, those who eat diets high in processed meats, refined carbohydrates and sugar are at an increased risk for depression.

2.  Get Outside 

Enjoying time outside in nature, feeling the sunshine, walking barefoot in grass, and simply breathing in the fresh air really can enhance your mood and relieve stress.

3.  Be Mindful

Most of us are on autopilot throughout the day and don’t really pay attention to what we are doing. Wake, work, eat, sleep – usually all while staring at some sort of screen or mobile device. Being disconnected from our surroundings has a huge effect on our happiness. When we practice being mindful and focus on what we are doing and what is around us, we become more aware and begin to actually experience life instead of sleepwalking through it.

4.  Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Theodore Roosevelt once said that comparison is the thief of joy. In today’s world of social media, we tend to focus on what others have that we don’t. When we define our self-worth based on comparison, it lowers our self-esteem, body image, and makes us less happy. Take a break from checking your social accounts every once in a while and notice your mood start to lift.

5.  Meditate

Meditation does amazing things for your body. It decreases stress, depression, anxiety, blood pressure, and pain. Take 5 minutes each day to sit silently, without distractions, and mindfully meditate. This healthy habit will bring calm and more joy to your daily life.

6.  Practice Gratitude

Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Appreciation for things or people in our lives will always make you feel good. Start a daily gratitude journal and watch your attitude toward life and others improve.

7.  Self-Love

Practicing self-love is very important in creating a happier and healthier you. Reminding yourself that you are good enough, believing in yourself, and showing yourself kindness is one of the most important things you can do for a healthy mind.

8.  Spend Time with Family and Friends

Spending quality time with people you love the most can improve even the worst of days and boost our mental health. Personal relationships really have one of the largest impacts on our overall health and happiness, as well as longevity.

9.  Exercise

It isn’t just for your body. Regular exercise reduces stress, anxiety, and depression while boosting self-esteem and happiness. Even a small amount of physical activity can really make a big difference in your overall health.

10. Smile

Most of us smile when we’re happy. But did you know that smiling actually causes the brain to release dopamine, which makes us happier? So next time you are feeling a bit down, try smiling and see what happens.

We all want to be happy. The happier we are, the healthier we tend to be. Try practicing these simple daily habits and watch your life become more joyful.

Green Smoothie Recipe

by October 1, 2020

Green smoothies are the perfect, healthy fast food that can transform our bodies from the inside out! Packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, high quality amino acids, and other phytonutrients, this delicious elixir helps to prevent and repair damage in your body and boost rejuvenation!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
6 cups chopped spinach
5 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups cold water (can replace with almond milk, oat milk, cashew milk, or coconut water)
1 ½ cups chopped celery
1 medium apple, cored & coarsely chopped
1 medium pear, cored & coarsely chopped
1 medium banana
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup fresh cilantro
½ cup fresh parsley

Directions:
Fill your blender with 2 cups of water (or liquid of choice). Add the spinach and romaine slowly and blend until smooth.

Next, add the celery, apple, pear, and herbs. Blend again until smooth.

Add the lemon juice and banana, blend until smooth.

You can blend in some ice if desired. Enjoy!

Tips:
• You can refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 ½ – 3 days.
• Pre-cut fruit and freeze. By adding the frozen fruit, instead of fresh, your smoothie will be nice and cold, eliminating the need to add ice at the end.
• Get creative! Adding or interchanging other fruits into the recipe, such as mango, pineapple, or peaches will change the flavor profile and the sweetness of the beverage.
• Include add-ins:

  • Protein Powder – for added protein
  • Collagen Powder – for gut health
  • Maca – for increased fertility & hormone balance
  • Chia Seeds – for added protein
  • Ground Flaxseed – for Omega 3s
  • Bee Pollen – for an immunity boost

Let’s Talk Collagen

by September 16, 2020

You’ve likely seen collagen products in stores or online, or maybe you know someone who swears by the supplement’s results. Often spoke of as “the fountain of youth” for the health of your skin, it is more like the “glue” that holds our bodies together.

Collagen provides structural support to our bodies by strengthening your skin, nails, joints, and bones. It is a hard, insoluble, fibrous protein often found in muscles, bones, tendons, skin, nails, blood vessels, and the digestive tract. It is the primary structural protein in the human body, providing elasticity and strength to our skin, repairing and replacing skin cells, and maintaining the health of our joints, bones, ligaments, tendons, hair, skin, and nails.

As we age, collagen production naturally begins to slow, which can have negative effects on your body. By the age of 40, it depletes faster than your body can reproduce it. By age 60, over one half of your body’s collagen has been depleted. In addition to just aging, genetics, smoking, pollution, excessive sun exposure, and nutritional deficiencies can also negatively impact collagen production.

Good news is that you can boost collagen naturally by incorporating certain whole foods into your diet. Food such as egg whites, fish, meat, cheese, dairy, soy, spinach, kale, beets, pumpkin, banana, citrus fruits, berries, sunflower seeds, cashews, and bone broth all contain nutrients that promote collagen formation in the body. Adding a daily collagen supplement can also improve your health. There are several convenient powder form collagen supplements that you can add to your daily coffee, shakes, water, or whatever works for you. This form of concentrated collagen is easily digested quickly after consuming for optimal absorption.

Here are a few top health benefits of including a collagen supplement to your daily regimen:

1. Helps Repair a Leaky Gut – When you have a leaky gut, toxins, food particles, and infections can pass through your intestinal wall and into your bloodstream, causing inflammation. Chronic inflammation can lead to autoimmunity over time. Amino acids in collagen support healthy cellular health and tissue growth which basically “seals that leak”.

2. Improves the Appearance of Hair, Skin and Nails – As you age, your skin loses elasticity and wrinkles form where your skin was once smooth and supple. Cellulite and stretch marks also become more obvious. Brittle nails and thinning hair develop over time. Collagen increases moisture retention, boosts elasticity, helps smooth out fine lines and that dimpled appearance of cellulite. It can also improve your hair’s fullness and shine.

3. Impacts Joint Health – As collagen depletes, your joints can become stiff, swollen and painful. Collagen allows your joints, tendons, and ligaments to glide and move more easily.

4. Supports Weight Management – Turn your body into a fat-burning machine, even at rest! By promoting more lean muscle tissue, collagen gives your metabolism a boost because muscle burns more calories than fat.

5. Maintains Your Heart Health – Collagen can impact the depositing of fat in your arteries, thus having a positive effect on blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.

6. Supports Bone Formation, Growth, and Repair – It’s not all about the milk! Bones are one third collagen, which gives them flexibility. Adding collagen to your diet may increase bone mineral density, which may positively impact osteoporosis.

7. Impacts Detoxification and Liver Function – Daily toxins that we are exposed to must be processed by your liver and eliminated from your body. Collagen can support your liver during this potentially damaging detoxification process.

The bottom line is that collagen is an important protein that provides structure to many parts of your body. As we age, boosting collagen naturally or by supplements can be extremely beneficial to achieving optimal health.

What exactly is a Health Coach?

by September 9, 2020

There’s a ton of buzz about Health Coaches right now and with good reason.

Health Coaches are the future of healthcare.

Whether your wellness goal is to sleep better, boost energy, lose weight, or reduce and manage stress – the ultimate goal of Health Coaches is to achieve health and wellness. These wellness professionals are facilitating behavior and lifestyle changes that can be sustained long-term… and that’s something we can all benefit from.

How do Health Coaches Help?

Health Coaches help clients discover which foods and lifestyle choices make them feel their best and hold them accountable for these choices. But they don’t just focus on food, they give attention to all areas of life that will help support a healthier you, such as environment, relationships, career, etc. This holistic approach to health plays a pivotal role in filling the void that is often left by conventional medical doctors who don’t necessarily provide nutrition counseling or coaching accountability.

Aside from being their client’s cheerleader and accountability partner, Health Coaches educate clients to become discerning consumers. By empowering people with nutritional knowledge and how to read and understand food labels, better lifestyle choices are made and healthier habits are formed.

But perhaps the most important point is that this process allows people to take control of their own health and wellness journeys. It puts them in the driver’s seat to transform their own lives. The personalized, one-on-one guidance, encouragement, and accountability that Health Coaches provide is key to their client’s success. They understand that each person is radically unique and that the path towards health and wellness that may work for one person might not work for another. This deeply personalized approach to good health is what makes their results a success.

Meet Knight Integrative Medicine’s Health Coach & Nutritionist:

For Dana LeDuff, Clinical Nutritionist & Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach at Knight Integrative Medicine, helping patients achieve optimal health through nutrition and positive lifestyle changes is what she is most passionate about. Dana offers lifestyle education and nutritional therapy based on individual health concerns, a medical evaluation, and sometimes test results – all vital components of her treatment plan. For more information on how Knight Integrative Medicine can help you achieve optimal health through nutrition and health coaching, contact us at (985) 867-5516 or schedule your appointment here: https://knightintegrativemed.md-hq.com/registration

Keep Kids Safe and Healthy This School Year

by September 2, 2020

With the start of the new school year, many parents find themselves wondering… how can I continue to protect my child and family from the new threat that is now so prevalent? Since the arrival of COVID-19, most of us have been able to keep our children as safe as we can inside our homes, under our supervision, and away from heavily populated areas. But with St. Tammany Parish public schools reopening next week, and many private schools that have already reopened, children now face a higher risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

Schools are an important part of our community. Not only do they provide academics to our youth, but they play a critical role in learning social and emotional skills. Children also learn best when they attend classes in person. Our schools are doing their part in creating a safe environment for our kids. So, as we send our kids back to the classroom, it is more important than ever for us to teach them a number of steps that can help keep them healthy and safe.

Physical Distancing. Encourage your kids to keep 6 feet apart from other students and faculty. They should avoid sharing objects with other students, such as pencils or books.

Cloth Face Coverings/Masks. All children over the age of 2 years should wear a cloth face covering that covers both the nose and mouth. Have them pack an extra face covering as a back-up. And remember to wash them daily!

Hand Hygiene. Encourage frequent hand washing with soap and water and explain to them why it’s important. Let them pick out a favorite scented hand sanitizer to carry with them.

Temperature Checks. Monitor your child’s temperature before and after school. Keep them home if they are not feeling well or have an elevated temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher.

Cleaning & Disinfecting. Teach them to disinfect their bookbag, lunchbox, and any other items they bring back and forth to school daily.

Nutrition. Instead of eating the school lunch, consider packing a nutritional lunch and bottled water for them to bring and possibly lower their chances of being exposed.

Remember, it is important for families to emphasize and model healthy behaviors at home and to talk to your children about the changes they can expect this school year. With our support, we can make sure that they are informed, prepared, and more importantly – stay healthy.

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