Gluten Free Dietitian

Nutrition Makes A Difference

29 Aug
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

I got this email from one of my clients today: 

 

“This week – I planned my meals and feel really great!
My clothes are already feeling looser than before.
And I don’t have any “drops” in energy right before my workout class.
One other thing I am noticing is that my sleep is improving.
I did not notice it much before, but now feel like my sleep is deeper than it was.
Thanks for your help!
I think that focusing on more balanced meals will help instead of zoning in on calories.
Because I definitely was not getting enough protein or healthy fats!!
You have been such a great resource for me.
I have liked your Facebook page and also your blog.”  

 

This is why I love doing what I do.  I’m so passionate in helping people heal themselves so that they feel better.  I talk to so many people who struggle with weight loss, energy, sleep problems, joint pain, and the list goes on and on.  What some people don’t realize is that nutrition affects everything. You CAN feel better and you CAN improve your health. Don’t give up!  Instead of counting calories-count your nutrients.  Everything else will fall into place.  


Naturally Yours,

xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Sugar 101: The Truth About Sugars & Sweeteners

08 Aug
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments


Sugar.  Who would have thought it would be such a confusing topic.  And now that food companies have added artificial sweeteners to the market, Americans are even more confused.  One minute Splenda is good for you, the next it’s bad.  Should you even be consuming sugar in the first place?  I’m here to hopefully clear up some of your confusion. First, know that sugar can be very toxic to your health
, especially in the amounts our generation consumes it.  This article is about differentiating between the most popular sweeteners, so I’m not going to spend much time on the toxicity of sugar.  I think most of you know the less the better.  And when it comes to artificial sweeteners: AVOID THEM ALL! If your great grandmother has never heard of it, don’t eat it.  They’re not real food.  They’re a mix of unnatural chemicals that are toxic to your bloodstream, can cause damage to your organs, and can even lead to mutations in your cells.  If you’re going to use sweeteners, use the ones that God gave us, the natural ones.  Here is the lowdown on some of the most popular sweeteners out there:

Honey: My favorite sweetener & God’s created sweetener!  Honey contains amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, & antioxidants, which is why its known to be medicinal.  It can even be applied topically to wounds.  Beware when shopping for honey at the grocery store-most are processed and void of the good stuff mentioned above. The best honey to buy: RAW, LOCAL. You want raw so that the enzymes & nutrients are still alive.  Otherwise, they are killed during the heating process. Raw honey also has so much more flavor than the processed brands.  Local honey is best as it contains the immune stimulating properties needed for your body to adapt to its environment (Fights allergies to pollen/grass/etc in your area).

Stevia: If you must have a zero calorie sweetener, this is the one to go with because it has a glycemic index of less than 1 and does not feed candida (yeast) or cause any of the numerous other problems associated with sugar consumption.  It can be used by diabetics as it doesn’t adversely affect blood glucose levels. Some people (me included) have reported a bitter aftertaste when ingesting stevia.  Also, a little goes a LONG way when using this sweetener.

Maple Syrup (Grade B): Grade B is the least processed.  Maple syrup has been contributed to promoting heart health.  It is an excellent source of zinc and manganese and also provides trace amounts of calcium, iron and magnesium.   Maple sugar can be used at a 1:1 ratio for white or brown sugar.

Raw Coconut Nectar/Sugar: Made from tapping the coconut tree & draining the sap in a process similar to producing maple syrup. (Coconut nectar doesn’t require heating, though.)  Coconut sugar is also relatively low on the Glycemic Index.

Molasses: Molasses is a by-product of the refining part of the sugar making process. A quality organic (must be organic!) molasses provides iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, and is alkalizing to the body.

Refined Table Sugar: Conventionally grown, chemically processed, and stripped of all beneficial properties, many health advocates believe that refined sugar is one of the two leading causes (high fructose corn syrup is the other) of nearly every health ailment known to man (or woman or child). Not only does it have a high GI ranking, but it also is extremely acidic to the body causing calcium and other mineral depletion from bones and organs (sugar is alkaline but has a very acidic effect on the body).  -Source: Michael Edwards

Organic Sugar: Organic sugar comes from sugar cane that is grown without the use of chemicals & pesticides.  However, it is still processed, just not to the degree that white sugar is processed.  Organic sugar is darker in color than white sugar because it contains some molasses.

Turbinado: Turbinado sugar is partially processed and is also known as raw sugar.

Agave Nectar: This sweetener has been very popular lately, however, I do not recommend it.  It is not natural. It comes as a syrup and is highly refined.  Agave nectar even has more concentrated fructose than high fructose corn syrup according to the Weston A. Price Foundation.  Agave was developed in the 1990′s and is made primarily in Mexico.  To produce agave nectar, the leaves are cut off the plant after it has aged 7 to 14 years. Then the juice is expressed from the core of the agave. The juice is filtered, then heated, in order to hydrolyze the polysaccharides into simple sugars. The filtered, hydrolyzed juice is concentrated to a syrupy liquid, slightly thinner than honey, from light colored to dark amber, depending on the degree of processing.  This is not a traditional sweetener and the high levels of synthesized fructose in agave puts people at risk for obesity, heart disease, arterial inflammation, high blood pressure and increased insulin resistance.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials that say HFCS is the same as sugar, and that when used in moderation, it’s safe. Well, it’s not the same or safe. When used in moderation it is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay, & more. “Why is the corn industry spending millions on misinformation campaigns to convince consumers and health care professionals of the safety of their product? Could it be that the food industry comprises 17 percent of our economy?”   Check out Dr. Mark Hyman’s post “5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You.” Something new that I learned in this post is that HFCS contains mercury, which as we know is extremely toxic and detrimental to our health.

So when you must reach for a sweetener, aim for a natural, unprocessed one.  And most importantly, use in moderation!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Preventing Winter Weight Gain

17 Nov
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments


First, of all I want to start off by apologizing for not posting in a long time. Free time in the 1st trimester was spent resting after work, and lately I’ve been writing at my other blog.  I’m blogging about baby over at
Baby Makes Three. If you want to see pictures from our Gender Reveal Party, check them out here.

Preventing Winter Weight Gain:
If you’re like me, the winter months may make you to want to stay inside under a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa.  Now that daylight savings has hit and it gets darker earlier, I find myself coming home from work and wanting to sit on the couch with a good show/movie.  My normal (and usually easier) plan is to head to the gym for a workout class or meet a friend to go walking.  So, I completely understand how hard it is to get yourself to the gym in the winter rather than do what your body wants, which is hit the couch.  But I promise you that once you complete that workout, your body will thank you for the extra energy and the mood-lifting endorphins.

3 Tips to Prevent Weight Gain:

  1. Hit the Gym at the Right Time:  For some people, they are too exhausted after a long day at work to work out.  You know that you will not even try to force yourself to make it to the gym even though you know it will make you feel better. So, if you’re one of those people, you may benefit from an early morning workout (before you head to work). Sure, you’ll have to get up earlier, but you will get a great workout in, and you won’t feel guilty for watching your favorite TV shows after a long day on the job.  Or maybe you are someone who cannot get motivated again once you make it home from work. The best tip for you is to always keep gym clothes in your car, and make sure you head straight to the gym after work (do not go home first).  Because you know that once you make it home, you won’t be getting out in that cold weather again.  You must plan in advance to accomplish your workout goals.
  2. Get REAL FOOD Conscious: During the winter, people’s vitamin D levels drop because they are not exposed to the best source of vitamin D, which is sunlight.  This is one reason why it’s very important to get your vitamin D levels checked regularly-you probably need supplementation at least during the winter months.  Low vitamin D levels are linked to depression, and many people struggle with SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder), caused by not being exposed to as much light/sunshine.  This could lead to comfort eating during the winter blues.  Instead of turning to comfort foods turn to real foods, which will boost your mood. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, folate, & B12 are especially important.  These include wild salmon, walnuts, eggs, dark green leafy veggies, sunflower seeds & organic/grass-fed meat products.  When you’re focused on eating foods that grow from the earth and less processed foods, the weight will naturally come off.
  3. Don’t Go Overboard at Holiday Festivities: Some people blame the winter pounds on the holidays.  And if you’re someone that has multiple Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years parties to attend, than you definitely have to work harder at preventing the weight gain than others.  But it IS possible, and you CAN do it.  The best way to not overeat at a holiday party is to eat a healthy snack right before the party.  A handful of nuts is an easy snack to keep in your purse when you’re on the go.  The healthy fats & protein in the nuts will keep your blood sugar from dipping and will give you a sense of satiety so you’re not starving at the party.  Make sure you’re eating protein at every meal/snack to keep you feeling fuller longer.  When you’re at a party, don’t feel like you have to deprive yourself.  Enjoy the food, but just make sure you limit the items that are exceptionally high in calories/fat/sugar.  Load your plate up with veggies/fruit and protein first, then have a small portion of the higher carbohydrate items.  Remember that sugar is just as addictive as cocaine is, so the more you eat it, the more your body wants it.  Focus on your veggies & protein during the winter months, and this will help you not go back for seconds and thirds on all those holiday desserts.

Enjoy this holiday season and remember the reason for it all.  Don’t stress over the little things, because we all know what stress does to our body.  Have fun with all your loved ones, and safe travels to you all!

If you ever need help with your weight or other nutrition issues in your life, feel free to schedule a private consultation with me.

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Could Those Silver Fillings In Your Mouth Be Dangerous?

15 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  12 Comments


My sister-in-law sent me this story yesterday because parts of it reminded her of me.  While my own health journey was nothing like this poor woman’s, I also suffered mercury toxicity.  Unfortunately, most people in the U.S. are contaminated with many heavy metals, and you would never know unless you continued to dig and dig for answers.  Many people have no symptoms of heavy metals in their bodies, until the exposure has gotten too high.  I recommend this video to truly understand just how dangerous mercury is to our bodies.  Looking back, I had never thought about the timing of everything, but all of my joint pain/swelling/stiffness started right after I had my silver (mercury) filling removed.  According to the video above, mercury induces autoimmune diseases in rats.  I truly believe that the improper removal of my silver filling induced my entire health escapade last year.  To this day, I never had any answers on what triggered my autoimmune symptoms, but now I do.  It’s so good to finally have answers, and now I can share my story and hopefully help others.

Check out Stacy Case and her story with Multiple Sclerosis-caused by the removal of her silver fillings.  She also went through chelation, and is on her way to being undiagnosed with M.S through alternative treatments.

What Set My Levels Over the Limits:

Last February (2010), right before my joint issues all started, my dentist here in Nashville informed me that I needed to get my silver fillings removed and replaced with a safer material as the mercury in those silver fillings was very toxic.  She seemed to know what she was talking about, and as my dentist, I trusted her that she was taking good care of my health.  I remember the metallic taste in my mouth as my fillings were being removed, but because my dentist didn’t inform me of the dangers of mercury and because I trusted her as my healthcare practitioner, I didn’t think much about it.  Not long after my first filling was removed, the joint pain and stiffness started.  It got so bad that I would wake up in the middle of the night not being able to move my fingers.  Also, the following weeks and months after my first (and later second) silver filling removal, I had repetitive yeast infections and UTI’s and could not figure out why.  A few months later, I started having muscle tremors and constant twitching throughout my body.  I had no idea what was going on in my body.  One day, a facebook page that I follow, Heal Thyself, posted a link titled, “Dangers of Mercury Amalgam Fillings and How to Remove Them.”  After reading about the “safe” way of removing these fillings and the dangers of doing it the wrong way, I felt sick to my stomach.  No wonder I had all these crazy symptoms and repetitive infections for no reason.  Did I mention hypothyroidism was another symptom of mercury toxicity? (reversible, thankfully) What happens is that “the excess mercury circulates in the body (during and after placement and removal) to be excreted (or stored in the organs, brain and gut).  As the daily mercury exposure is lessened (after removal) old stored mercury is released into blood circulation for excretion.”  There is a lot more to mercury toxicity, so if you want more articles or if you have any questions, please let me know.

The International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology website informed me that there is a safe removal of amalgam fillings protocol.  The PDF file is at this link. Do you have silver fillings?  It is beneficial to your health to get them removed, but make sure you get them removed the safe way.  Go here to find a dentist who safely removes amalgam fillings and who knows all about mercury detoxification pathways.  *Note: Let your IAOTM dentist know if you plan to get pregnant within a year of amalgam removal, as proper chelation is necessary to completely rid your body of the excess mercury before pregnancy.

Here is a list of symptoms/conditions that could be caused by mercury or other heavy metals in your body.

My alternative doctor confirmed through a stool sample that my body had elevated amounts of several heavy metals, especially mercury.  He then started me on oral chelation therapy. The agents he used for my chelation were:

  • DMSA
  • EDTA
  • Cilantro Tincture
  • ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid)
  • As well as a few other supplements to support my body

I just had another stool sample collected to see exactly where my body is in this chelation processBut I can tell you within a month or two of starting the chelation therapy, the twitching, buzzing, and spasms throughout my body went away.  Those were a few of my symptoms, but remember every heavy metal has its own set of symptoms.  Heavy metal toxicity seems to be a topic that few people talk about or even think about when dealing with symptoms with an unknown cause.  Most conventional doctors will not order a stool test for this, so I advise you to either find an alternative doctor or naturopath who will.  Better yet, contact Great Plains Laboratory and order a test yourself.  This is the lab (but certainly not the only one) who performed mine.

You’re probably thinking, dang, this girl has had some crazy health problems.  You’re right, I have, and when I look back at everything I went through last year, I can honestly say that I’m thankful for it all.  My health issues have forced me to look at the food I eat and the products I put on my body in a whole new light.  I have learned so much through my own health journey, and I absolutely love researching and learning more. I truly believe that God allowed the pain and suffering that I went through last year so that I could help others.  That is my prayer and passion: that my stories and knowledge will help you become a healthier and happier person.

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Nutrient Packed Smoothie Recipe

14 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

When I make a smoothie, I don’t worry about whether I have all the right ingredients or not.  I just use what I have on hand and try to throw in extra nutrients when possible.  My breakfast smoothie today consisted of:

I didn’t write amounts of each ingredient because I don’t measure everything. I just throw however much of each ingredient that I want to put in, taste it, and if it needs something else, I’ll add it in.  For example, this morning when I tasted it (before banana), the texture wasn’t thick enough for me, so I added half a banana and more blueberries to the smoothie.  Make your smoothie to your likeness.  Enjoy!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Babies With Benefits

06 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

 

Photo Source: NewParent.com

This blog post by: Erin Moore, IBCLC (Certified Lactation Consultant), RLC, Doula
Twitter: @theIBCLC
Website: Mother Nature Birth & Lactation

It seems these days that we are inundated with news articles and medical studies that expose the benefits of breastfeeding your baby. It seems that everyone is trying to be so careful in their language and the way that they put this information across to the public.

If we are to say that breastfeeding is good for babies’ health, then what do we call the alternative?

If I can tell you with no argument all of the health benefits of breastfeeding, but what if I tell you that there are health risks to NOT breastfeeding your baby?

According to the U.S. Government, the health risks of not breastfeeding your baby include not providing your baby with disease-fighting antibodies that protect them against illnesses including diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia, not providing “joyful bonding” with your baby, increasing your baby’s risk of developing asthma and allergies, increasing your child’s risk of developing obesity, increasing your baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome to name just a few.  Lower IQ is another risk of not breastfeeding your baby.

As a mother, if you do not breastfeed your baby, you are increasing your own risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. With growing concern among mothers and healthcare providers about postpartum depression, it’s also important to point out a 2009 study by Dennis & McQueen citing decreased breastfeeding duration as a likely contributor to postpartum depression.

It seems that when you put it that way, NOT breastfeeding sounds awfully dangerous from a physical and mental health standpoint, doesn’t it?

One of my favorite resources on really just putting this out there and being up front about the risks of not breastfeeding is the Normal Fed website by Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC called “Breast or Bottle?” The article goes into great detail about the benefits of breastfeeding while presenting facts about bottle feeding and artificial baby milk.

I do understand why it’s almost taboo in our society to denigrate artificial baby milk when we, as mothers, seem to crave validation and reassurance that we are doing the best we can by our children. The rub is that you cannot be doing the best thing and not doing the best thing at the same time. Does it mean that you are a bad mother if you choose for whatever reason not to do the best thing for your child? Not at all.

Because of the lack of breastfeeding support in every healthcare situation and in every community, because of the aggressive and unethical marketing strategies of the companies who manufacture artificial baby milk and accessories, because of the obsession with growth charts and our desire to know exactly “how much” food our babies are getting in a feeding down to the milliliter; because of those things and more, mothers are often passively choosing not to give their baby the nutrition that their baby needs out of fear and worry and not getting the support needed to give their babies what they need.

Let’s support each other through the first few challenging weeks of breastfeeding a newborn.  If you can make it past the first weeks of your baby’s life, then breastfeeding only gets easier.  When challenges hit, call your lactation consultant at the hospital you delivered.  Or call your local La Leche League where you can connect with other parents and have an instant support group.

Kale Breakfast Smoothie

25 May
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  2 Comments

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”  You’ve heard this phrase countless times in your life.  Honestly, I think all meals are important and should be used to maximize your health.  But what you eat for breakfast truly does affect your hunger and choices for the rest of your day.  For most people, when they eat a healthy and satiating breakfast, they tend to choose healthy foods the rest of the day.  Here is the recipe for a Kale Smoothie that I make frequently for breakfast or after a workout.

Kale Smoothie:
2 servings

Ingredients:
2-4 kale leaves
1 cup water or milk of choice (coconut milk, raw milk, almond milk, etc)
Frozen strawberries
Frozen blueberries
1/2-1 scoop good quality protein powder (Optional)
1-2 tsp. chia seeds or ground flaxseeds
1 Tbsp. unrefined organic coconut oil

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in blender. Enjoy!

*Any frozen fruit can be used in this recipe. If you want to mask the green color of the smoothie for your kids (or husband), then add more blueberries.

Here is a simpler Kale Smoothie recipe:


Ingredients:
1 large ripe banana
2-4 kale leaves
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup milk (raw milk, coconut, or almond)

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in blender. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Workshop & Vendor Fair

20 May
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  1 Comments

Preparing For Your Pregnancy

03 May
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments


In honor of Pregnancy Awareness month, the next few weeks’ posts will feature guest bloggers who specialize in this area.  So if you’re pregnant, have little ones at home, or a woman of childbearing age, you don’t want to miss this month’s posts!

By Kim Corrigan-Oliver, CNP ROHP at Your Green Baby 

I am often amazed at how little thought and time woman take in preparing their body for pregnancy. The journey of pregnancy is a demanding one; you are building a human being from scratch…yes, you are building a human being. It truly is an amazing gift women have been given, and preparing for this journey before you conceive sets the foundation to support a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Research now suggests your preconception nutritional status sets the foundation of your baby’s long term health and well being.  With this in mind, what should you be eating preconception?

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables.  Fruits and vegetables supply the body with minerals, vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants and phyto-nutrients.  Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure you get all the nutrients you need.  Aim for lots of color and choose organic as much as possible.  Don’t forget about nutrient dense dark green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, watercress, swiss chard, spinach, etc.  These are especially important because they supply so many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron.  Leafy green vegetables are also a rich source of folate, a must-have nutrient for any woman trying to conceive. Folate is a B-vitamin that prevents serious birth defects. Folate deficiency has also been linked to infertility. 

Protein.  Required for every function in the body, protein is very important for health and well being.  Protein is important for building tissues, muscles and digestive enzymes, and will help to stabilize blood sugar levels. Choosing plant-based proteins is best for optimal health and well being.  Nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables, beans and grains (especially quinoa) are excellent choices.  If you will be consuming meat or poultry, choose organic to avoid hormones, antibiotics and pesticides.  If choosing to eat fish, be cautious with your choices – avoid tuna, swordfish, Chilean sea bass, grouper, orange roughy, shark, king mackerel, halibut, bluefish and tilefish due to mercury concerns.  Instead focus on anchovy, mackerel, pollock, herring, rainbow trout, salmon (not farmed), sardines and smelt.

Carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates in the form of whole grains provide us with fiber, important minerals and vitamins and immune supporting properties.  Fiber is an extremely important nutrient in our diet – it helps the body get rid of excess hormones and helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which in turn aids in balancing hormones. It can be beneficial for some woman to avoid gluten.  Gluten is a protein found in some grains – wheat, spelt, kamut, barley and rye.  Many people have difficulty digesting gluten and are sensitive to it.  Creating an environment of healing is important preconception and avoiding foods that cause sensitivity is imperative.  Gluten is also known to be very sticky and can “gum” up the intestine, which in turn means things don’t move quite as well through your body.  Gluten free grains include quinoa, millet, oats, amaranth, rice, buckwheat, sorghum and teff.

Calcium rich foods.  Calcium is important to create an alkaline environment in the body, which is a very friendly environment for the sperm and the fertilized egg.  Choose plant-based calcium rich foods including sesame seeds, almonds, quinoa, chia seeds, beans, lentils and dark leafy green vegetables. Why choose plant-based calcium rich foods over dairy? Dairy is very congesting to our bodies.  This congestion can have an impact on your ability to conceive; even more so if you are experiencing any hormonal imbalances.  It is also important to note that non-organic dairy production uses hormones and antibiotics during production, both of which can lead to increased levels of estrogen in your body and hormonal imbalances – both unfavorable environments for conception.  When trying to conceive, it is best if we are easy on our digestive system; unfortunately for many of us dairy is difficult to digest.  When our digestive system is stressed the other systems in our body don’t work as well.  Your body must use a lot of energy to digest dairy; energy your body needs elsewhere to ensure optimum health and well being for conception.

Fats.  Fats are necessary for hormonal balance and the production of hormones.  The right fats control inflammation in the body, aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, are important for healthy egg production and are important in every step of the reproductive process.  Omega-3 fatty acids are also very important in the development of the brain, nervous system and retina of your baby.  Choose fish oils, flaxseed oils, hemp seed oils, nuts (especially walnuts), chia seeds, hemp seeds, avocados and olives to meet your needs.  Minimize animal fats and avoid hydrogenated fats. 

If there was ever a time to provide optimum nutrition for your body, preconception is it!  During this time it is important to choose the freshest, healthiest and most natural foods to support reproductive and general health. By optimizing your health you will increase your chances of conceiving, having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.  This is within your control; you have the power and the choice to make a difference in your health, fertility and in the health of your baby. Take control and become empowered.

About Kim:
Kim is a mom, holistic nutritionist and writer.  She is passionate about cooking, real food and raising happy healthy babies.  Kim specializes in mom, baby and toddler nutrition, offering workshops, consultations and cooking classes through her company Your Green Baby. She has recently published her first book “Raising Happy Healthy Babies” which focuses on nutrition preconception right through the toddler years and included 95 recipes for mom, baby and toddler.
 
Find out more about Kim and read her blog at www.yourgreenbaby.ca 
 
Receive daily tweets about mom, baby and toddler nutrition by following Kim’s Twitter page @yourgreenbaby

Hot Yoga-Is it Really That Great?

18 Apr
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  4 Comments

Many of you know that I do hot yoga as a form of exercise.  A lot of you ask me, “What is hot yoga and is it really that good for you?”  Let me start off by saying that I have experienced the benefits of hot yoga, and I’m hooked!  My entire life, I’ve been a huge cardio junkie and never cared for yoga because it was too slow and I never felt like I was getting a good work out.  I didn’t give yoga enough of a chance, and my perceptions were definitely wrong.

My first hot yoga class was last September (2010) at Hot Yoga Nashville, and I can’t say that the first class was amazing because it was hard getting used to working out in the heat.  Yet, the feeling I had afterwards is honestly what brought me back again and again.  The more that you go, the better it feels.  It’s hard to describe to you, so you should try to experience it for yourself.  The month of January, I did hot yoga 4-5 times a week.  That month, I felt better, my mood was lifted, my stress levels were diminished dramatically, and I had so much more energy.  After the month was over, I went to the gym to lift weights, and when I started doing lunges with dumbbells, I couldn’t believe how easy they were.  Right then, I realized just how much hot yoga had strengthened my legs.  Hot yoga is one of the ways I de-stress when life gets overwhelming.  It’s very important that you have an outlet for your stress because the toll it takes on your body can be extremely harmful.  The effects of stress are listed here.

What is Hot Yoga?
Hot yoga is a scientifically-designed series of postures that systematically stimulate the muscles, organs and glands, as well as the nervous system. As you progress through the postures, you move freshly-oxygenated blood throughout the entire body.  The studio is heated to approximately 100°-105° so that your muscles are warmed, which helps prevent injury, and it allows you to go deeper into the stretches/poses.  Sweating helps to cleanse your body from toxins through the skin.

Benefits of Hot Yoga:
Yoga builds strength and flexibility to the entire body.  “A recent study at the University of California at Davis found that 90 minutes of yoga practice four times a week over eight weeks increased muscular strength up to 31%, muscular endurance up to 57%, and flexibility up to 188% in a group of healthy college students.”  The average calorie burn is 600-800 per class.  People who practice frequently lose inches of fat, develop muscle tone, and increase strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination.  Many athletes with injuries practice hot yoga in hopes to avoid surgery by strengthening their muscles, ligaments, and tendons.  Runners love hot yoga as they are able to shave seconds and even minutes off their race time.  Hot yoga also helps to:

  • Accelerate weight loss
  • Reduce stress
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Relieve headaches
  • Increase energy
  • Promote relaxation
  • Lessen menopausal symptoms
  • Reduce arthritic pain
  • Improve coordination
  • Increase strength
  • Build stamina
  • Restore healthy immune system
  • Improve functioning of circulatory system

Hot yoga is for all fitness levels.  The classes are full of people with different levels of ability, so don’t let that scare you.  We are all beginners at some point.  I have experienced the benefits first hand, as have many others.  If you’re in a city that offers hot yoga or bikram yoga, you should definitely give it a try! Namaste!

 

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN

 

Source: Hot Yoga Nashville
Photo Credit: Cherrios & A Proper Garden