Tag Archives: eggs

Improve Your Sleep



Many in today’s population are suffering from a lack of sleep.  The majority of people report difficulty falling or staying asleep on a regular basis.  Sleep is an important part of a healthy life.  Our body uses our sleeping hours to repair damage, rebalance hormone levels and engage in physical healing and maintenance.  Sleep deprivation has been implicated in heart disease, increased stress levels, diabetes, increased accidents, depression, lowered sex drive and diabetes.  A good 8-10 hours of sleep is important for vital health.

External Steps to Improve Sleep:

  • Make sure your room is dark.  Invest in blackout shades or an eye mask to increase the darkness in your sleeping space.  Move cell phones and other light emitting items out of the bedroom.
  • Stick to a schedule.  Try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day.  Our bodies respond best to a regular routine.  Following a similar routine every day signals to our bodies that bed time is approaching.
  • Use the bed for sleep and/or intimacy only.  Don’t bring computers or work into the bedroom.  Maintain the sanctity of the bedroom as a place of rest.
  • Invest in ear plugs if noise is a problem.  White noise machines can also be helpful to block out unwanted sound.
  • Engage in relaxation, meditation or breathing exercises:  The Legs up the Wall yoga pose done for 5 minutes right before bed can improve sleep.  To calm a racing mind, engage in 4:6:8 breathing.  Breath in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 6 seconds and then exhale for 8 seconds.  This breathing engages the para sympathic (rest and digest) part of the nervous system.  An Epson salt bath taken before bed can also be helpful.
  • Eat and drink regularly throughout the day.  Maintain a balanced blood sugar level by eating roughly every 3-4 hours during the day.  Try to include a mix of protein, carbs and fats with each meal.  Keep your body well hydrated by sipping water or tea throughout the day.  To decrease the likelihood of having to go to the bathroom during the night, avoid drinking within 90 minutes of bedtime.  If you do consume caffeinated beverages try not to do so within 6 hours of bedtime.  Be sure to eat dinner 2-3 hours before bed so your body has time to digest your food.
  • Avoid alcohol within 2-3 hours of sleep.  Alcohol may help people fall asleep faster but seems to reduce REM, the restorative phase of sleep and can impact breathing while sleeping.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise within 3 hours of bedtime.
  • Try to get outside in natural light every day.  Exposure to natural light helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle by regulating melatonin production.
  • A tincture of Valerian Root can be used as an herbal sleep aid.  Talk to your health care professional about an optimal dose.  (Do not take if on other muscle relaxants or if have heart issues.)

Food to Help with Sleep:

  • Tart cherry juice contains melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate the sleep wake cycle.  Drink eight ounces of Montmorency tart cherry juice twice a day to improve sleep.
  • Grass fed beef, lamb, chicken and wild game:  All are natural sources of tryptophan, a pre-curser to melatonin.  Oats and white beans are good vegetarian sources of tryptophan.
  • Other plant sources of melatonin:  Corn, rice, barley, ginger and bananas all offer some melatonin to aid in sleep.
  • Eggs:  Eggs are a rich source of tryptophan and their protein helps stabilize blood sugar to prevent night time waking.
  • Nuts and seeds: Squash and pumpkin seeds are rich sources of the melatonin producing tryptophan.  Eating them with a carbohydrate helps your body to absorb the tryptophan.
  • Magnesium rich foods:  Think of magnesium as the relaxation mineral.  This critical mineral is necessary for over 300 enzyme reactions and is found in all of your tissues. You must have it for your cells to make energy, to stabilize membranes, and to help muscles relax.  Pumpkin seeds, walnuts, oatmeal, potatoes, spinach and almonds are great vegetarian sources of magnesium.   Salmon, halibut, yogurt and shrimp are other non-vegan sources of magnesium.

Try some of these tips to improve your daily sleep!  I would love to hear if you have found any other solutions.

Tiny Tip Tuesday: Get Your Vitamin D

The Importance of Vitamin D.

The Importance of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is often called the “sunshine vitamin” because our body needs exposure to sunlight for its production.  These days, people are spending more time inside and even when they do go outside, are slathering themselves with sunscreen.  Dark skinned people have less ability to convert sunshine to Vitamin D then light skinned people and the sunshine for people living in the northern climates (above Los Angeles) is often not strong enough to stimulate production, particularly in the winter.  These factors contribute to what many are calling a Vitamin D deficiency epidemic.

Vitamin D deficiency has now been associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder,  breast cancercolon cancerprostate cancerheart diseasedepressionweight gain, decreased immunity and other illnesses. Your body needs Vitamin D to aid calcium absorption to prevent bone difficulties and Vitamin D seems to be important for activating the t-cells of the immune system.   Only 30 minutes, two times a week of summer sun exposure to your back, legs or face without sunscreen will usually produce adequate levels of Vitamin D.  (There is some concern about the risk of sun exposure without protection.  Talk to your doctor about these risks.)

See your doctor to obtain a simple blood test to determine your Vitamin D level.  If your blood level is less than 50 ng/ml, consider talking to your doctor about Vitamin D supplementation.  It is difficult to reach adequate levels of Vitamin D with food alone and supplementing with Vitamin D can take months to reach normal levels.  Good food sources of Vitamin D include cod liver oil, salmon, milk, tuna, beef or calf liver, mackerel,  eggs and mushrooms grown in UV light.  Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol is the most bioavailable form of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin so dietary fat intakes must be sufficient to allow absorption.

Shared with Urban Naturale.


The photo is by Followtheseinstructions on flickr.




Tiny Tip Tuesday: Eat Eggs

Super yummy, beautiful eggs.

Super yummy, beautiful eggs.

Unfortunately, over the years, eggs have been a much maligned food.  Due to their yolk’s high cholesterol level, doctors and other health professionals have advocated limiting their consumption, particularly for people with high cholesterol.  These recommendations are unfortunate because eggs offer many health benefits and their impact on cholesterol is not clear cut.  Eggs are a significant source of Vitamin A, Selenium, Folate, B vitamins and phosphorous.  Even though  their yolks contain 212 mgs of the 300 daily recommended mgs of cholesterol, over 70% of people show no cholesterol response to egg consumption and the other 30% of people (called hyper responders) showed a minimal increase in LDL and total cholesterol.   These studies show, however, that eggs change the LDL particles from the small, dense particles associated with heart disease to large LDL molecules.  People with predominately large LDL particles have a lower risk of heart disease.  In fact, some studies have actually shown egg consumption can increase HDL (the “good” cholesterol) in some people.  Egg yolks are also an excellent source of complete protein (6 grams of protein per large egg and they contain all of the essential amino acids) and they contain 100 mgs of choline, an incredibly important nutrient used to build cell membranes and by the body to produce the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine.  Studies have also shown eating omega-3 enriched eggs can reduce triglycerides by 16-18%.  Even though it was hard for me to let go of all the “knowledge” I had about limiting eggs due to their cholesterol count, once I started really examining the studies,  eggs gained a regular place in my family’s breakfast rotation.  You can’t beat their nutrient density compared to their cost!!  If you are interested in adding eggs to your diet but have a history of high cholesterol, talk to your health care provider about a recommendation for a healthy number of eggs to include in your diet.

Photo found on flicker under Creative Commons license.  See more beautiful photos by Woodley Wonder Works here.

Post shared on Fat Tuesday.

Tiny Tip Tuesday: Eat Breakfast Like a King

Photo by Ali Arsh.

Photo by Ali Arsh.

Recent research has offered support to the old adage “Eat breakfast like a king. Lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. ” A study published in  Obesity randomly divided 50 overweight and obese woman into two groups.  Each woman received a total of 1400 calories divided throughout the day.  The first group, the Breakfast group  received the majority of their calories in the morning (700 calories for breakfast, 500 for lunch and 200 for dinner).  The second group, the Dinner group, received the majority of their calories for dinner (200 calories at breakfast, 500 for lunch and 700 for dinner). The only difference between the two groups was the timing of the bulk of their calories.  The results were astounding.  While both groups lost a significant amount of weight, the Breakfast group lost twice as much weight and showed a significantly greater reduction in their insulin levels and fasting glucose levels.  The Breakfast group also had a 33.6% decrease in their  triglyceride levels while the Dinner group’s triglyceride levels increased by almost 15%.  The Breakfast group also reported feeling more satiated throughout the day than the Dinner group.

What can we learn from this study?  Researchers for years have pointed to the importance of eating breakfast.  It is well documented that people who eat breakfast have more energy throughout the day, are better able to stay focused and tend to eat less throughout the day.  Traditional Chinese Medicine believes the body is most focused on digestion during the morning hours so consuming the majority of your nutrients during this period means your body will receive optimal nutrition.  Of course, the quality of the breakfast is important.  Sugary cereals, white bagels with cream cheese or waffles loaded with syrup are going to spike your blood sugar and then lead to a energy crash.  Be sure to add some protein and maybe a healthy fat to the start of your day.  This fat or protein will help anchor your carbs, slowing digestion and keeping you feeling full longer.  Good choices for breakfast include:

  • A whole wheat bagel with nut butter and banana.
  • A bowl of oatmeal, quinoa and other grains with ground flax seeds and berries.
  • Eggs of any kind served with sprouted whole wheat toast and a fresh fruit.
  • Chia seeds combined with almond milk, chopped nuts and fruit.
  • If you are going to have a cereal, try to choose one with the fewest grams of sugar possible.  Mix it with a full fat organic Greek plain yogurt or whole organic milk, chopped nuts and some fresh berries.

All of these options offer a complex carb combined with a healthy fat and a significant source of protein.  These breakfasts will help you have a healthy start to your day and could be one of the first steps to helping you control your eating throughout the day.  Controlled, mindful eating can be an important component of weight control.

This post was shared with She eats and Richly Rooted.

Tell me about your favorite go to breakfast options.


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