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The Top Foods To Strengthen Your Body When Fighting Chronic Illness

Lifestyle

As many as 2 percent of the population suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome, a disabling fatigue that affects one’s cognition, musculoskeletal, system and sleep. While there is no test that can immediately diagnose one’s chronic fatigue syndrome, the syndrome is generally the verdict after all other possible causes for fatigue have been ruled out. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue when I was younger and it is still something that I struggle with every day. However, now, using my health and nutrition knowledge to find what works for me, I have learned that if I am mindful about what I put into my body, I can live a productive, happy, and healthy life. Following my personal journey, I have made it my career to help others combat this condition.


My three worst experiences with chronic fatigue were when I was 11, 17 and 25— twice, after suffering from mononucleosis and bronchitis, two of the most common infections followed by chronic fatigue. The third was after an emergency appendectomy. Each time I went to see a different doctor, using both Western and Eastern medicine, to help me overcome my fatigue. Some doctors prescribed herbs and supplements. Ultimately, one doctor put me on an extremely strict diet based on theories from the book, “Green For Life” by Victoria Boutenko. As a result, I removed caffeine, alcohol, gluten and dairy from my diet, decreased my protein intake and greatly increased my fruit and vegetable intake. Initially, it was a huge struggle and my body felt worse as it was slowly adapting to these new habits. However, after the initial shock to my body, I began to have more energy than I’ve had in the last decade. I was finally able to do the things that I love again. This experience not only changed my health, but it also changed my life’s journey— I stopped studying business/law and changed my career path to health and wellness, and nutrition.

Whether you have chronic fatigue syndrome or just want more energy in the day, there are some great nutrition tricks that can help boost your energy, mood and health. The things we put into our bodies make or break our energy levels. Providing the right fuels can give you a new lease on life, while eating the wrong foods can cause bloating and sluggishness. There are numerous things that affect the quality of our energy: what we eat, when we eat it, how much we eat, and how our digestive systems react etc.

So how does our body produce energy? The process happens in the mitochondria, or the energy factory of the cell. This is where the Krebs cycle occurs and turns food into cellular energy, or ATP. This process accounts for 75 percent of the total energy produced by cells. Specific nutrients, such as vitamin B’s, L-carniture, magnesium, amino acids and CoQ10, are needed as co-factors in the Krebs cycle. It is important that we provide our bodies with these co-factors either directly through diet or by taking supplements. Other nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, and E, selenium, and essential fatty acids, also impact the production of energy by diminishing damage to the mitochondria and sustaining energy.

1. Take the Pressure Off

I am not a fan of the word detox, but I am a fan of knowing when it’s time to be stricter about what you’re putting into your body. Take the pressure off your body by cleaning up your blood and your immune system.

Include

  • Fruit and vegetables with every meal
  • Abundance of good fats
  • Diverse sources of proteins
  • Natural sugars, honey, molasses, fruits
  • Plenty of fluids (water, herbal teas etc.)

Avoid

  • High fat dairy (cheese, milk chocolate, and ice cream)
  • Processed foods or “damaged fats” such as deep-fried, margarine, hydrogenated vegetables
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol

People with chronic fatigue are oftentimes mineral deficient; meaning, many of the nutrients needed to protect the mitochondria and boost the Krebs cycle are lacking.

2. Strengthen Your Immune System

People with chronic fatigue are oftentimes mineral deficient; meaning, many of the nutrients needed to protect the mitochondria and boost the Krebs cycle are lacking.

Possible signs of mineral deficiency include fatigue, low blood sugar, cravings, muscle spasms and dizziness.

Add These Minerals

Magnesium

Magnesium is the most abundant mineral in the body and one of the most beneficial minerals for our immune systems. It can regulate gut bacteria, improve muscle and nerve function, help control inflammation, help reduce blood pressure, assist in fighting harmful toxins in the body, reduce anxiety and stress, improve sleep and most importantly, improve daily energy levels. Foods that are high in magnesium are:

  1. Cacao Powder
  2. Nuts (e.g. Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Cashews)
  3. Seeds (Sunflower, Flaxseeds, Pumpkin, Sesame etc.)
  4. Beans (Lentils and Beans)
  5. Bananas
  6. Tofu
  7. Whole Grains (Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Quinoa)
  8. Broccoli
  9. Fish (e.g. Mackerel)
  10. Avocado

Selenium

Selenium is a trace mineral that works with vitamin E to help prevent oxidative damage in the cells. It also works in conjunction with iodine to regulate metabolism. Foods that are high in selenium are:

  1. Brazil Nuts
  2. Fish (Yellowfin Tuna, Salmon, Halibut, cooked)
  3. Other Seafood (Oysters, Shrimp, Crabs & Sardines, canned)
  4. Lean Meats (Grass Fed Beef, Turkey, Chicken, Pork)
  5. Eggs
  6. Spinach
  7. Cheese
  8. Mushrooms
  9. Oats
  10. Wheat

Boron

Boron is another trace mineral which is underutilized in optimizing our health. It assists with low concentration, poor memory, and weak muscles. It assists in building healthy bones and regulating cell health by increasing the body’s ability to absorb calcium and magnesium. Foods that are high in boron are:

  1. Raisins, Prunes, Dates
  2. Nuts (Almonds, Cashews, Brazil Nuts, Hazelnuts)
  3. Avocados
  4. Dried Apricots
  5. Peanut Butter
  6. Beans (Red Kidney, Lentils, Chickpeas)

Chromium

Chromium works with insulin to help transport glucose through the cell membrane into the cell when it is needed for energy. It also helps turn fats, carbohydrates and protein into energy. Foods that are high in chromium are:

  1. Brewer’s Yeast
  2. Broccoli
  3. Free Range Eggs
  4. Sweet Potato
  5. Oats
  6. Grain Fed Beef

3. Boost Energy

Your cells are the foundation of your health. The foods you eat are also the foods your cells consume. By eating nutrient-dense foods, you provide your cells with the support they need to keep your entire body healthy. Start stocking your fridge with some of these amazingly nutritious foods known to support proper cellular health.

Vegetables

Cruciferous Vegetables

Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, collard greens, kale, red and green cabbage, chard, turnip greens, arugula, mustard greens, savoy cabbage, Chinese cabbage, rapini, watercress, radish, horseradish, turnip, rutabaga, wasabi and Oriental radish

Leafy Green Vegetables

Kale, collard greens, turnip greens, swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens, broccoli, rapini (broccoli rabe), red and green leaf and romaine lettuce, cabbage, bok choy and watercress.

Tomatoes (Cooked)

Cooking tomatoes in olive oil is a great way to combine lycopene with omega-3 fatty acids.

Purple Potatoes

Try purple potatoes, which contain anthocyanins, an important antioxidant for protecting cells, instead of white potatoes.

 

Fruit

Berries

Organic berries, such as strawberries, are not only delicious but also high in antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, which are known to boost cellular health.

Green Tea

Studies have found that polyphenolin found in green tea is able to penetrate the body’s cells and shield DNA potent free radicals.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant which has been used for centuries for its health benefits. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and supports the formation and maintenance of healthy cells.

Culture

Why Whiskey Should No Longer Be Categorized As “A Man’s Drink”

I walk into a room full of men and I know exactly what they're thinking: "What does she know about whisky?"


I know this because many men have asked me that same question from the moment I started my career in spirits a decade ago.

In a male-dominated industry, I realized early on that I would always have to work harder than my male counterparts to prove my credibility, ability and knowledge in order to earn the trust of leadership stakeholders, coworkers, vendors and even consumers of our products. I am no stranger to hard work and appreciate that everyone needs to prove their worth when starting any career or role. What struck me however, was how the recognition and opportunities seemed to differ between genders. Women usually had to prove themselves before they were accepted and promoted ("do the work first and earn it"), whereas men often were more easily accepted and promoted on future potential. It seemed like their credibility was automatically and immediately assumed. Regardless of the challenges and adversity I faced, my focus was on proving my worth within the industry, and I know many other women were doing the same.

Thankfully, the industry has advanced in the last few years since those first uncomfortable meetings. The rooms I walk into are no longer filled with just men, and perceptions are starting to change significantly. There are more women than ever before making, educating, selling, marketing and conceptualizing whiskies and spirits of all kinds. Times are changing for the better and it's benefitting the industry overall, which is exciting to see.

For me, starting a career in the spirits business was a happy accident. Before spirits, I had worked in the hospitality industry and on the creative agency side. That background just happened to be what a spirits company was looking for at the time and thus began my journey in the industry. I was lucky that my gender did not play a deciding role in the hiring process, as I know that might not have been the case for everyone at that time.

Now, ten plus years later, I am fortunate to work for and lead one of the most renowned and prestigious Whisky brands in the world.. What was once an accident now feels like my destiny. The talent and skill that goes into the whisky-making process is what inspired me to come back and live and breathe those brands as if they were my own. It gave me a deep understanding and appreciation of an industry that although quite large, still has an incredible amount of handmade qualities and a specific and meticulous craft I have not seen in any other industry before. Of course, my journey has not been without challenges, but those obstacles have only continued to light my passion for the industry.

The good news is, we're on the right track. When you look at how many females hold roles in the spirits industry today compared to what it looked like 15 years ago, there has been a significant increase in both the number of women working and the types of roles women are hired for. From whisky makers and distillers to brand ambassadors and brand marketers, we're seeing more women in positions of influence and more spirits companies willing to stand up and provide a platform for women to make an impact. Many would likely be surprised to learn that one of our team's Whisky Makers is a woman. They might even be more surprised to learn that women, with a heightened sense of smell compared to our male counterparts, might actually be a better fit for the role! We're nowhere near equality, but the numbers are certainly improving.

It was recently reported by the Distilled Spirits Council that women today represent a large percentage of whisky drinkers and that has helped drive U.S. sales of distilled spirits to a record high in 2017. Today, women represent about 37% of the whisky drinkers in the United States, which is a large increase compared to the 1990s when a mere 15% of whisky drinkers were women. As for what's causing this change? I believe it's a mix of the acceptance of women to hold roles within the spirits industry partnered with thoughtful programs and initiatives to engage with female consumers.

While whisky was previously known for being a man's drink, reserved for after-dinner cigars behind closed doors, it is now out in the open and accessible for women to learn about and enjoy too.

What was once subculture is now becoming the norm and women are really breaking through and grabbing coveted roles in the spirits business. That said, it's up to the industry as a whole to continue to push it forward. When you work for a company that values diversity, you're afforded the opportunity to be who you are and let that benefit your business. Working under the model that the best brand initiatives come from passionate groups of people with diverse backgrounds, we are able to offer different points of view and challenge our full team to bring their best work forward, which in turn creates better experiences for our audience. We must continue to diversify the industry and break against the status quo if we really want to continue evolving.

While we've made great strides as an industry, there is still a lot of work to be done. To make a change and finally achieve gender equality in the workplace, both men and women need to stand behind the cause as we are better collectively as a balanced industry. We have proved that we have the ability to not only meet the bar, but to also raise it - now we just need everyone else to catch up.