Sssshhhh. The ‘S’ word. Salt.

himalayan_pink_salt

“Fish from the ocean will die quickly if placed in a solution of refined salt and water”

I thought I would write about something that has received controversial reports, and something that I get asked a lot about. Salt. Some say its good, some say its bad. Here’s the truth……..well my truth.

Our bodies need salt. Salt is good, in fact its great, its an important and vital element needed to maintain proper mineral balance in our systems. Salt is a much needed and wonderful thing. In fact, every cell in our body needs salt. Our bodies rely on salt to keep good bone density, proper circulation and stabilized blood sugar levels.

The misconception I always come across from clients is that they believe salt is bad for us. Now, table salt is, but natural occurring salt isn’t

Let me guess. If you’re like most people, your salt comes from the supermarket’s shelf. 
All salt comes from oceans and underground mines. Most of it is refined and sold for industrial use. The refined salt destined for human consumption is pure sodium chloride; bleached white and “enriched” by additives. It’s toxic and is slowly killing you!  The natural, unprocessed salt on the other hand, retains all Nature’s alkaline minerals that help keep us hydrated, balance our sodium-potassium ratios, as well as fill the body with powerful electrolytes. They also contain all of the trace elements needed for proper immune, thyroid and adrenal function (that are completely stripped out of table salt) that’s why it would be dangerous to eliminate salt out of a persons diet if they had adrenal fatigue or thyroid issues. Real forms of salt also boost the creation of digestive enzymes and juices that allow us to extract and assimilate other vitamins and nutrients from the food we eat.

But how could something so wonderful and natural become a poison? Here are a few common misconceptions and dangers of salt.

Salt vs. Naturally Occurring Sodium

“Table Salt” is a manufactured form of sodium called sodium chloride. While similar to naturally occurring rock, crystal, or sea salt, table salt merely mimics the taste of these elements.

Table salt is created by taking natural salt (or crude oil flake leftovers) and cooking it at 1200° Fahrenheit. Once the unprocessed salt is heated up to this temperature, it starts to lose the majority of the eighty important elements that naturally occur in it. Other naturally occurring forms of sodium, including sea salts and Himalayan salts, are harvested and dried in the sun.

Table salts have synthetic chemicals added to them. These chemicals include everything from manufactured forms of sodium solo-co-aluminate, iodide, sodium bicarbonate, fluoride, anti-caking agents, toxic amounts of potassium iodide and aluminum derivatives. Doesn’t sound very good does it?!

The natural forms of important iodine is lost when we manufacture salt. Without this natural iodine, the thyroid is severely harmed, leading to growth and metabolism issues. Because of this, the chemical-based salt industry began to add synthetic forms of iodine to their products.

Other salts add things such as processed white sugar and toxic MSG (mono-sodium-glutamate). Salt found in the natural world is not usually white. Table salt has been colored white with bleach. And much of it is the actual flaky residue from oil digging. That is correct. Crude oil extract is one way we produce table salt, YUK!

The Health Dangers of Salt

Table salt causes the blood pressure to rise rapidly because the blood is attempting to move the toxic elements rapidly away from the heart. This is why doctors will often tell people with high blood pressure to stop intake of salt. Moreover, excessive table salt causes us to retain waters and other fluids. Many chronic imbalances such as diabetes, gout and obesity can be worsened or even partially caused by excessive intake of common table salt.  Table salt can also raises cortisol.

And be aware, this salt is not just the stuff in your shaker. Most packaged and processed foods contain astronomical amounts of the stuff. These preservatives can cause swelling and, over time, major kidney, thyroid and liver problems, as well as the development of goiters, hypertension, heart disease, strained elimination systems, muscle cramps, water retention, edema, stroke, heart failure, PMS, and even major nervous system disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Table salt is particularly hard on both the circulatory system and nervous system. It also wreaks havoc on the delicate balance of the lymph system in the body. This salt is also highly addictive, as the more the body becomes used to the high levels of fake sodium, the more it craves it.

You can’t be in control of the salt that goes into your tinned food, restaurant meals, and packaged goods. But, the salt in your salt shaker IS your choice so make sure it is a good quality natural salt that nourishes your body. Look for crystal salt, rock salt, sea salt, Himalayan salt, anything natural looking, salt should always have a slight color to it, whether its pink, red, greyish or off white, it should never be pure white – this is the sign of bleach!

I am a HUGE fan of pink Himalayan crystal salt and I add it generously to my meals and cooking.

Table salt: bad.

Natural salt: good.

Yours in health, hormones and happiness,

Pen

xxx

About the Author

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Penny Lomas is an Australian Health and Fitness Writer based in Melbourne. With extensive years in the Fitness Industry Penny is a Fitness Model and Athlete, Personal Trainer and Registered BioSignature Modulation Practitioner. As a Health and Fitness Magazine Columnist, Penny is a positive role model to many empowered females. Penny is also a 3xOxygen Magazine Cover-girl and Ambassador. She is renowned for her never-ending smile, positive attitude and passion to help others achieve their best life.

My Review of Intermittent Fasting

Lunch time concept, Clock in plate, knife and fork

Now a few people reading this will be surprised to hear me blog about Intermittent Fasting (IF) as many a time I have ripped it to shreds in PT debates. But for the last week I have been IF’ing, so here we go.

I often do fasting with clients that are competing, and when resetting hormones with clients I guide them through a PM fast. But I am not a fan of my inexperienced or unhealthy clients doing it, which I still stand by. I decided to try it myself, and then if I still think it is unnecessary I can confidently say “I’ve tried it, and it is rubbish!” Never say never I suppose. I swallowed my pride and thought that if I am going to knock something then I better try and experience it for myself before I judge. I had steered clear of IF purely because I had heard a renowned strength coach say it was the worst thing to do, and me being an avid follower of this said coach I bagged it until the cows came home. So firstly, apologies for being so narrow minded. Secondly, I’ve learnt not to be such an ignorant follower, but instead to be a curious leader.

popular-intermittent-fasting-books

What is IF?

Intermittent fasting is making a conscious decision to skip certain meals. By planned fasting and then feasting, intermittent fasting means eating your calories during a specific window of the day, and choosing not to eat food during the rest.

How to do it

There are many ways to try IF but none are the best or worst. It really comes down to what suits you and your needs mentally and physically. These are the most common, but not limited to:

  • 16hr fast every day. This is the method I used and found it to suit me, my training and work schedule. Picking a block of feeding time, for example 8hrs(12noon-8pm) or 4hrs(9am-12noon)
  • Skip 1-2meals. This is a good way to test IM without feeling too overwhelmed with a long fast. If you are currently eating 6 meals a day, try eating meals 1&2 together then missing 3 and 4 and eating 5 and then 6 or 5&6 together. Or eating 1 to 4 and then skipping 5&6. This method can be manipulated anyway you like.
  • 24hr fast once a week. I chose not to use this one, as 24hrs without food even just once a week seemed too long for me. But I often use this with clients as it suits their lifestyles; a Sunday movie day at home on the couch suits a once a week fast.
  • Early and Late. This means consuming your first meal at the start of your day, then one last meal at early evening.
  • 1 week fast. This is a more intense way to fast but done less frequently, say once or twice a year as part of a cleanse or detox. The fast includes alternating between complete fast days and days of normal food intake or reduced intake for a week. I have done this in the past, its not for the fainted hearted.

For all options you are suggested to eat your entire days calories in the meals you choose (your feeding period) You still need to try and hit your macros, but don’t get me wrong, this is not a all you can eat binge, or a IIFYM diet, argh don’t even get me started on that!

Why I tried IF

I am an avid follower of “grazing” and for many years it was my understanding that eating several small meals a day – grazing to maintain even blood sugar and to avoid having your body go into starvation mode seemed logical to me. Didn’t it? I suppose for a lot of people it does. But if you’ve been grazing like me, for what seems like forever isn’t your body pretty stable? It may need a little kick up the behind to mix things up. I think that’s why IF receives such bad press sometimes because its going against what we have been told for so long, just like fats are bad, no wait are they good? Hang on, aren’t carbs better? See what I mean, what we didn’t think was the way is the way nowadays. So be open-minded people.

My first encounter with IF was by accident. I was on holiday in Cambodia and Vietnam at the start of the year, and by chance forgot to eat! We were travelling a lot; crossing borders by bus, island hoping on ferries, and numerous early morning flights. When in Asia I would rather not eat than eat chocolate bars or unquestionable exotic dishes from a roadside vendor, yuk. So for periods of 8, 16, or even 24hrs I fasted, not consciously but I simply had no other choice but bottled water, and maybe an odd handful of nuts to keep me going until the next hotel stay over, where I did indeed feast, the Asians sure know how to do a buffet spread well.

I know you just fell off your chair reading that, yes I have a HUGE appetite and I am born grazer, but that’s precisely why I was intrigued to try it, I was sick of eating! I have been eating the bodybuilding religion of 6-7meals a day for about 6-7yrs now, I was fed up of food prep, fed up of constantly feeling full. 

I also had to make peace with the mental struggle of going against everything I have believed for so long, not that this is wrong. If you want to eat 6 to 8 meals a day, so what, do whatever you feel happy doing. There is no right or wrong way to do anything. There is simply the best way for YOU.

Paleo & Primal Eating

Now you know I am a cavegirl through and through, yes ok if cavegirls ate paleo pancakes and wore nike frees. So lets adapt the caveman living to the modern era. I eat Paleo and I support this theory, but did a cavegirl hunt and kill an animal 6 times a day? No. Did she pop the remains of a road kill into equal portions and store in Tupperware until her next afternoon tea break? No. I had a revelation. IF seemed to fit my picture of early indigenous warriors roaming the plains of Australia gathering tubers, veggies, nuts, and berries and the occasional kangaroo leftover from a dingo feast, yes but not all day long, they I assume would hunt, kill, forage, gather, feast and then not eat until the next hunt and gather which could be many hours or even days away. True?

How I did it

Intermittent-Fasting

I don’t count. Anything. Ever. Macros? Calories? One, I don’t have the time or patience. Two, I have being doing this long enough now to know how much is enough. Three, I think measuring your food pedantically is a sure fire way to develop eating disorders. You can read more of this approach in my Diet Freedom article I wrote for Oxygen Magazine here http://www.oxygenmag.com.au/Community/CovergirlSecrets/PennyLomas/tabid/4122/entryid/1077/Diet-Freedom.aspx

I eat what I know I need, give or take a slip of the hand when free pouring my favourite foods. The body really is a clever machine, it will tell you what it wants. What I did love about trying IF was that I tuned into “mindful eating” even more so than usually. Even though I had a set plan but sometimes I wasn’t hungry and had just 2 meals a day, other times I was super hungry and would have 3 huge ones.

I chose the 16/8hr fast/fed. My first meal was post workout at 1pm, so yes god forbid I trained in a fasted state! You have heard about doing cardio on an empty stomach first thing in the day for fat loss goals, well it’s the same principle. My first meal kicked off an 8hr feed window. And my last meal was before bed. 2 to 3meals in total. I will be honest, I love food, I am an utter clean foodie, but it was surprising how I didn’t even notice I hadn’t eaten. But after a few days I was just plain bored, I like having breakfast, it’s my favourite meal of the day.

http://pennylomas.com.au/breakfast-of-champions/

Feedback

I officially do not like IF. There I said it! Now I am glad I did it, as now I can have an educated and experienced opinion on it. Why don’t I like it? I got fat! I have never seen anything like it, within 6days I had a pot belly. I am clearly one of those people on Mark Sissons list of people that should never do IF. My cortisol is clearly a weakness and IF is the worst thing I can do for an already stressed body. So at 6:30am today whilst I hit post on this blog entry I merrily broke my experiment with IF, broke the fast and chowed down on a great big dirty steak lathered in organic butter for breakfast, yes breakfast, like normal people.

I wish I had taken some decent before and after photos to show you the results, but lets just say I was NOT impressed with the results. Quite disheartened in fact, I know it shouldn’t be superficial but hey it is! No girl wants to WATCH her self gain body fat around her midsection EVERYDAY whilst eating clean.

In my personal opinion I think IF is great for a lot of people, and also very bad for many (incl me) but like any diet the results vary from person to person and are an entirely personal choice. There any many benefits from eating 6 meals a day and many benefits from eating 1-3. I am sure males(see links below) respond differently to IF and that I and many people can incorporate some kind of short term and sporadic IF into their lifestyle with good results, but i have learnt(which i already knew!) that most females don’t handle long periods without food. But at least I have been your guineapig and reported back to you my version. I now know that I am a hardcore grazer, and proud.

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What I have gained from trying IF

  • Letting go of a regimented structure around my eating and knowing that its ok to miss a meal here and there;
  • A pot belly;
  • Elevated cortisol; and
  • It gave me something to blog about.

That’s about it.

If you would like to research more on IF to suss out whether it is for you here are some fantastic article’s that address pros and cons:

The Poliquin Group

http://www.poliquingroup.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/971/The_Pros_and_Cons_of_Intermittent_Fasting_.aspx

Mark Sisson

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-intermittent-fasting/

Nerd Fitness

http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2013/08/06/a-beginners-guide-to-intermittent-fasting/

Leangains

http://www.leangains.com/2010/04/leangains-guide.html

Women do not respond as well to IF as men, and should take caution before you try it, here is why:

http://www.bulletproofexec.com/a-bad-combination-for-women-intermittent-fasting-and-paleo/

http://www.lifestylebypoliquin.com/Lifestyle/LifestylebyPoliquin/TabId/203/PostId/98/intermittent-fasting-myth-or-reality-for-women.aspx

 

Yours in Health, Hormones and Pot Bellied not so Happiness,
Pen

xxx

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes

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I am not really a pancake girl, I am a steak and nuts breakfast fan, but sometimes a saturday morning calls for a treat breakfast. These pancakes are as clean as clean pancakes can be, so according to taste you may want to add toppings of your choice. My favourite is just a knob of organic butter on top, but if your feeling like a carb hit throw on some berries, coconut butter, raw honey or yoghurt, they also go well with bacon.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

100g cooked pumpkin

1whole egg

5 egg whites

1tbsp coconut flour

1/8 tsp natural baking soda

Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla bean powder, stevia to taste.

Method:

Blend all ingredients with a stick blender. Heat a little coconut oil in a fry pan and cook the pancakes/pikelets in batches. Careful when flipping as they are quite “loose” pancakes.

Stack the pancakes as high as you can and enjoy!

Health Repair Timetable

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Ever wondered why you wake up at certain times in the night? every night? Your body has a built-in clock! Every organ in your body has a repair/maintenance schedule to keep on a daily basis.I am always very curious in my clients first consultation as to how they sleep, it tells me alot about their health and what we need to address to get them to the body compostiion and optimal health they are searching for.

If you feel unusual at these times of day (headaches, inactive), you will know which organ is trying to repair the damage done to it, and these ‘feelings’ you are having are the result of the energy being expended to do these repairs.

  • Lungs: 3am-5am
  • Large intestine: (or colon) 5am-7am
  • Stomach: 7am-9am
  • Spleen: 9am-11am
  • Heart: 11am-1pm
  • Small Intestines: 1pm-3pm
  • Bladder: 3pm-5pm
  • Kidneys: 5pm-7pm
  • Pancreas: 7pm-9pm
  • Blood Vessels and Arteries: 9pm-11pm
  • Gallbladder: 11pm -1am
  • Liver: 1am-3am

Lungs: The lungs are the first organs of the day that are up for repair and maintenance. Lungs begins loosening the poisoning waste between 3 to 5 a.m., and when you awaken, this is why you cough sometimes. Your lungs are trying to expel the loosened waste. If you are coughing in the morning, this indicates that your diet and lifestyle needs tweaking.

Large Intestine or Colon: 5 to 7 a. m. is the time for this organ. A healthy colon needs water to do its job properly, which is flushing waste matter 24/7. The morning is the most important time to drink plenty of water for this process, and the worst time to have caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic and takes water away from your colon to your kidneys and bladder for evacuation. Your body needs water in the morning to do its repair and maintenance of the large intestine and colon. This helps you maintain digestion, normalize weight, slow down the ageing process. When you irrigate your system every morning with pure water (up to 32 oz.) your health improves. If you wait until you have a bowel movement before you eat in the morning, this is also healthier for your colon.

Stomach: Between 7 and 9 a.m.The stomach is repairing and does not need a big meal to deal with. While the large intestine and colon needs fluid to repair properly in the morning, the stomach needs very little. Start with fluids (pure water or fresh juiced vegetables) or fresh fruit that is easily digested. However, if you can, drink only fluids in the morning for optimal health.

Spleen: From 9 to 11 a.m. the spleen gets cleaned.During this time/process or when the spleen is in a weakened state, you may suffer with allergies or not be able to shake a cold or flu. This is because the spleen works with the liver and your immune system. A healthy spleen produces antibodies when there is an infection and constantly watches the blood for invaders.

Heart: The time for heart repairs is between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Your body is removing waste from the heart and you may sometimes notice a rapid heartbeat, double beats and/or skipping beats. Seventy percent of heart attacks occur when the heart is in its repair period.

Small Intestines: Have you noticed that between 1 to 3 p.m. you are more apt to have indigestion, pain and bloating? If this happens, two things could be wrong: 1. Your diet is not what it should be and your food is not digesting; 2. Your diet is causing problems that are now causing you stress. A proper diet will help take care of these problems.

Kidneys and Bladder: From 3 to 7 p.m. you may notice you’re tired and want a nap. When the kidneys are healthy and working properly, you’ll feel energetic at that time, not tired.

Pancreas: Between 7 to 9 p.m. Do you have intense cravings for sweets or processed carbohydrates that turn to sugar immediately in the system? The kidneys regulate the pancreas, and if you do consume sweets during that period, you may notice low back pain, which is a kidney symptom. The kidneys, bladder and pancreas are all parts of the same whole. If you need a nap early in the evening it is just your pancreas, as directed by your kidneys, putting you out so it can do its repairs.

Blood Vessels and Arteries: From 9 to 11 p.m. The blood vessels go into repair mode. The impact on the body is: headaches, weakness while vessels are in heavy repair.

Liver and Gallbladder: Between 11 p.m. to 3 a. m. These two guys go into action. Do you ever have nights when you can’t sleep at this time? This means that waste is not being processed by your liver and it acts as an irritant to your body causing insomnia and frayed nerves. Your brain just won’t stop.

So there you have it, your handy turn to health repair info sheet, print this article out and keep it on your bedside table for future reference.

Yours in health, hormones and happiness,

Pen

xxx

About the Author

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Penny Lomas is an Australian Health and Fitness Writer based in Melbourne. With extensive years in the Fitness Industry Penny is a Fitness Model and Athlete, Personal Trainer and Registered BioSignature Modulation Practitioner. As a Health and Fitness Magazine Columnist, Penny is a positive role model to many empowered females. Penny is also a 3xOxygen Magazine Cover-girl and Ambassador. She is renowned for her never-ending smile, positive attitude and passion to help others achieve their best life.

Flaxseed & Coconut Truffles

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These little balls of delight are power packed with healthy fats, yes organic butter is good for you! As it contains high levels of butryic acid which is awesome for gut health as it feeds good bacteria. Along with coconut and the super anti estrogen flaxseed these truffles are a great addition to your healthy diet. One batch will make 16 to 18 truffles and I would recommend one ball a day with a protein meal.

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup flaxseed meal, and extra for “rolling”

1/2 cup dessicated coconut, and extra for “rolling”

1 block of organic butter, melted

1/2 cup cacao powder

1/2 tsp stevia powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp pure vanilla powder

 

Instructions

Add all ingredients into a food processor and mix well.

Scoop 1 heaped tsp into your hands and roll into balls.

Line a plate with flaxseed meal and coconut and roll balls to coat.

Set in the fridge.

They can be frozen.