Articles, Living with MS

It all starts in the gut!

The reason why Module 1 of my MS program starts with addressing gut health is because according to the holistic model of health, the underlying cause of autoimmune reactions is triggered by intestinal hyperpermeability, commonly referred to as leaky gut syndrome.

In this scenario within the digestive system, the intestinal lining becomes irritated and inflamed and allows substances such as undigested proteins, microbes, and toxins to slip into the bloodstream (where they do not belong). The immune system detects and registers them as foreign substances. This puts the immune system on high alert to attack these substances as a method of self defense.

A mechanism called molecular mimicry, in which these foreign antigens in the blood stream share structural similarities with self-antigens now has the body attacking your own tissues. In order to stop this misguided immune system response, it’s important to remove foods and other factors that could be contributing to inflammation in the body. This is crucial because anything that irritates (the body or mind), can keep the body in a state of low-grade inflammation.

We start with the basics in this program by addressing digestive health. The reason for this is because we could be doing all the right things and eating the healthiest diet possible, but simple eating habits we might be practicing could be undoing all that good.

For example, if we’re drinking large amounts of water with meals or eating too fast, these type of eating habits stress the digestive system and impairs the way the body digests and absorbs nutrients. This is a stressor to the body and the digestive system. If we want to stop the body from initiating an autoimmune response, we need to be aware of some very simple habits that could be causing irritation to the gut lining.

Check out the first module of the program. It’s free, seriously no catch.
Check it out >> HERE <<

 

Articles, Living with MS

A Holistic Approach to Living With MS

Are you ready to take a holistic approach to managing your MS?
Module 1 is now up and running. Enroll in this FREE online course and start steering your life in a healthy direction!

Never let any medical diagnosis stop you from pursuing the best health possible!
~Chantale

Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2001.
Health conscious and relapse free since 2007!

ms_card

Articles, Living with MS

Online MS Program Now up and Running!

Finally, I’m ready to release the first module of my online program: A Holistic Approach to Living With Multiple Sclerosis. I’m actually really excited about this program. It’s one of the most important things I’ve ever done and I’m so happy to finally share all this information with you.

I believe this is the most important module in the entire program because it addresses the root cause of why autoimmune reactions happen. I’ll be uploading one module every week until it’s finished. Come see what I’ve been up to!

ms_card

I’ve also created a private fb group for anyone who decides to follow this program to discuss the information. I’ll be there as much as I can to answer any questions you might have!

 

 

 

Articles

Why Do We Get a Lump in Our Throat When We’re Sad?

Whether we’re overcome with joy at a beautiful wedding ceremony, or we just watched a sad Humane Society commercial, our bodies respond in much the same way.

Many of us who cry or are on the verge of crying often feel a lump-like sensation in the throat. As there isn’t an actual lump forming in our throat, where does the sensation come from? The answer may lie in the autonomic nervous system.

To understand why we get lumps in our throats, we must first talk generally about why we cry, and what happens inside our bodies when we do.

The exact reason we cry is sort of a mystery, but there’s strong evidence to suggest that crying is a form of non-verbal communication that we’ve evolved as incredibly social creatures.

This means that crying serves as a way for us to tell people around us of our emotional state and, therefore, elicit their support. As Bec Crew explains:

“Emotional tears kick in during times where you feel a loss of control, and scientists think that, along with other physical reactions such as an increased heart rate and slower breathing, our stress hormone- and endorphin-laden tears are there to quickly stabilise your mood, and perhaps act as a very obvious signal to those around us that we may be in need of some cuddles”.

These intimate, tearful moments when we are comforted by another person help us solidify our personal relationships, which are vital for us humans.

Making stronger bonds isn’t the only suspected reason. Some researchers think that crying was once a way for us to submit to attackers.

By showing signs of submission, an attacker – likely another human – would pity us and leave us be (or at least alive). Obviously, this is generally not a good defense against, say, a lion attack, because they couldn’t care less about your emotions.

With that in mind, what happens internally – on a physical level – when we start to get emotional?

As Nick Knight explains for The Independent, your autonomic nervous system – the overarching system that controls other nervous systems like the sympathetic nervous system – kicks into gear, and causes a bunch of different reactions inside your body depending on the circumstances.

This is the same system that controls your ‘fight or flight’ response along with other unconscious body functions like digestion. When this system switches to hyper mode, it first sends out oxygen all over your body to make it easier for you to punch something in the face, or run away in the opposite direction to safety.

To spread oxygen to all of your muscles, your body must first breathe it in. In an effort to take in more air, the nervous system tells the glottis – the opening in your throat that ushers air into lungs without taking food with it – to stay open for as long as possible. In other words, your throat opens wider than normal because a bigger opening means more air.

You don’t actually feel your glottis opening wide. If you did, everyday life would feel awfully strange. What you do feel, though, is muscle tension caused by your body trying to keep your glottis open even when you swallow.

Normally, when you aren’t crying, your glottis opens and closes when you swallow all day long. This ensures that food and spit go one way and air goes the other, with no mix-ups in between.

But, when you cry or are on the verge of crying, your glottis is trying to stay open, but gets forced close every time you swallow. This tension messes with the muscles in your throat, giving the sensation of a lump.

The lump feeling is actually referred to as globus sensation, and it happens to everyone in these stressful situations. Normally, this feeling dissipates quickly once you calm down and your glottis goes back to functioning like it used to.

As for tears, the process happens very much the same way: your nervous system prompts tear production.

Obviously, as anyone who has ever cried knows all too well, crying also causes a slew of other side effects, like a runny nose, red face, and possibly even a headache. These are all due to the fact that your tear ducts are so closely connected to your sinuses that they basically turn you into a ball of snot.

So pretend, if you will, that someone is breaking up with you (sorry, it’s not real, don’t worry!). When the news hits, your nervous system kicks into gear and triggers your fight or flight response. Your body starts trying to circulate more oxygen to your muscles while also triggering your tear ducts.

As your start to cry, you also start to breathe heavier to get more oxygen into your system. To compensate for this, your glottis is held open. At this point, you’re really crying. Tears are streaming down, and mucus is building in your nose and throat, causing you to swallow.

As soon as you do, the muscles in your throat get confused and close your glottis, which is essentially being propped open, and that strain causes the lump inside your throat.

There you have it! That lump in your throat is actually just your body being kind of awesome, transforming you into a better breathing machine.

Shared from www.sciencealert.com

Articles

FREE TRIAL: New Year’s Cleanse

A Clean Eating Start to the New Year!

 Juice fasts, green smoothie cleanses, raw food challenges, detox kits…do any of these actually cleanse your body of toxins, or are they simply marketing ploys?

In the world of health and wellness, the term detoxification refers to ridding the body of toxins, chemicals, and heavy metals, as well as harmful metabolites produced within the human body. Proper detoxification does not involve depriving the body of food by going on a juice fast or taking laxatives to purge the bowels.

In fact, it’s just the opposite! 

The body requires specific nutrients plus fiber and sufficient protein (amino acids) for metabolic detoxification pathways within the liver to work properly. If certain nutrients are lacking in the diet, or if digestion is compromised in any way, our natural detoxification processes will be disrupted and toxins will store in the fatty tissues of the body instead of being neutralized and eliminated.

Food isn’t just fuel for the body. It’s so much more than that! The body requires more than just adequate calories to function at its optimal best! There is a dynamic interaction that takes place between the cells of the body and the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, co-enzymes, and phytochemicals that comes from food.

Research shows that not all food is created equal, and what we eat isn’t necessarily what we absorb. There are several factors that affect how we digest, process, and use the nutrients within the food we eat, which is why one of the first areas of focus in this program is optimizing the digestive system.

Poor digestive health affects every system in the body. If your body isn’t able to efficiently absorb the vitamins and minerals from your food, you could still face nutritional deficiencies despite eating a very healthy diet.

Deficiencies, whether they are due to lack of intake or lack of absorption can lead to a weakened immune system and detoxification processes that are inefficient!

Just as important as digestion, is the elimination of waste from the body. The reason why this is so important is because anything less than one bowel movement a day means toxins and waste could be recirculating back into the bloodstream, which can result in systemic inflammation. Inflammation can impair detoxification systems in the liver, resulting in an inability to neutralize and remove toxins.

One common mistake people often make is doing the wrong type of cleanse for the season, especially one that is cooling and depleting during the winter. During the blustery days of winter it’s important to include warming, nourishing foods in the diet to support the body’s need for heat and protection from the colder environment. This program includes over 50 naturally detoxifying, liver supporting recipes!

The information provided in this program will teach you how to create healthy, life-long habits that will optimize your body’s own natural ability to cleanse and detoxify. You will also learn how to detect and correct imbalances and deficiencies that could be preventing your body’s own detoxification mechanisms from working efficiently. 

The Eat Heal Love New Year’s Cleanse/Everyday Detox is a nutrient-dense nutrition program designed to optimize your body’s ability to naturally detoxify using whole foods!

This is not a quick-fix fad diet

This Program is Designed To:

• Support and cleanse the liver
• Correct nutritional deficiencies
• Improve digestion and elimination
• Naturally cleanse the digestive system
• Optimize your natural ability to detoxify
• Restore balance in the intestinal system
• Guide you in following a whole foods diet
• Help you develop a healthy relationship with food!

Program includes a 7-day sample meal plan and over 50 naturally detoxifying, liver supporting recipes! 

All recipes provided give options for those who are following a completely plant-based diet and for those who eat moderate amounts of high quality animal protein. This program is inclusive and suitable for both lifestyles.

Sign up today for a FREE TRIAL!

cleanse_card

Articles

Holiday Survival Tips for Both the Body and Mind

Delicious food, holiday celebrations and a little added stress can make sticking to your health goals a challenge. You work hard to keep yourself well and feeling good and in balance all year long so there is no reason why the holidays should be any different!

Follow these simple tips to enjoy the holidays and help keep you balanced, both body and mind.

For The Body

Don’t Show Up to Events Hungry
To keep your blood sugar balanced and your appetite in control, eat a small meal or snack before you attend any party or event.  When blood sugar drops and hunger sets in, we tend to want to eat everything in sight. Eat a small, nutritious meal before going to a holiday party or dinner so that you arrive well-fuelled and in a positive mood to fully enjoy the moment. Then when it comes to meal time you will be able to make wise food choices and keep portions in a healthy balance.

Support Your Digestive Health
To avoid bloating and digestive distress after meals, follow some of following tips below.

  • Avoid drinking large amounts of liquid with your meals. Drinking large amounts of any liquid (water or wine) with a meal dilutes your digestive enzymes and can slow digestion, leading to gas and bloating. Small sips during meals are alright but if you are prone to digestive problems, avoid drinking large amounts while eating.
  • Consider taking a digestive enzyme before a large meal.
  • Support your gut and immune system with probiotics.
  • Wait an hour after dinner to have dessert. Sugar and starch have a much faster digestion time than protein-rich foods. If you often suffer from gas and bloating after meals, try waiting an hour to eat dessert after eating a heavy protein meal.

Fill Up on Veggies
It’s the holidays and let’s face it, there are going to a lot of treats around and it’s difficult not to indulge..just a little! Hopefully, there will also be a lot of amazing healthy dishes as well! Fill your plate with veggies and high-quality protein to fuel your body with the good stuff, which leaves less room for when the desserts come out.

Let There Be Dessert
That said, allow yourself a few treats. Even though I come from a family of amazing bakers, I know how much I’ll regret it if I allow myself to overindulge in sugary sweets and treats. You don’t have to deprive yourself of fun food. Practice mindfulness when choosing to indulge. Have a couple of your favourite holiday treats or if you have the time and energy, bring a healthier dessert or treat to the festivities.

Get Moving
Off-set some of the big meals you might have by staying active. A short 10 minute walk after a meal helps to balance your blood sugar and allow your body to better use the nutrients that you have just consumed. Getting some additional exercise will also help to offset any additional calories consumed and helps to manage stress levels as well!

Get Enough Rest
Don’t overschedule yourself. Be sure to take time out if you need to. Balance is key!

For The Mind

  • Start each day with gratitude.
  • Let go of expectations.
  • Be mindful of your mental health.
  • Slow down and enjoy the time with friends and family.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Give thanks & have fun!

If loud family gatherings cause you stress, take a moment to remove yourself from the crowd and reflect on everything you have to be grateful for. When I was younger, I found it stressful to attend large family gatherings but now that my father is longer with us, I realize I’ll never get that time back with him and it has helped me seek out ways to manage situations I used to avoid.

As someone who is very sensitive to the energy around me, I’ve learned to protect myself from absorbing any stress or negativity from others using the following technique.

Calling in the Light – White Light Meditation.

Find a quiet spot. Close your eyes, calm the breath, and then image in your mind’s eye a bright white light forming a protective shield around your body and any other person or object you want to safeguard. This simple meditation can be used to both protect you from absorbing negative energy, while at the same time filling the space with divine light and love.

Repeat the following:
I ask that divine light and love surround and guide me. I release any attachments, any negative energy, anything that is not love into the light of the divine so I can shine with my highest vibrational light. I radiate love and respect and in return, I receive love, protection and respect.

Articles

Beat the Winter Blues Before They Start!

It’s dark when I wake up in the morning and dark before I leave work! I don’t know about you, but I’m already starting to miss the sun! These cold, short days are getting to me early this year.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to a change in the seasons. It can start in the fall and continue into the winter months, draining your energy and making you feel moody. We might not be able to change the seasons, but we can change what we do and how we respond. Sometimes we just have to create our own sunshine!

Here are some of my tried-and-true tips for boosting your mood during the dark days of winter!

1. Boost Your Happy Hormones

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and hormone that regulates sleep, mood and appetite. An imbalance of serotonin can cause anxiety, irritability, chronic pain and depression.

Ways to Increase Serotonin

Choose positive thoughts: When we choose to remember happy events in the past, or focus on what we’re grateful for, our brains produce more serotonin. You are the gatekeeper of your mind and your mind has the power to shape your reality. Every thought we have  impacts a field of energy around us. Allow positive thoughts and gratitude to guide you.

Fun in the sun: Exposure to sunlight aids in the production of serotonin. Increase outdoor activities as best you can. When the snow comes, try to enjoy fun winter activities like ice skating, skiing, tobogganing, building snowmen, or simply take a bundled up walk through a park with some hot chocolate. Dark chocolate of course!

Low intensity exercise: Serotonin increases from aerobic exercise and lingers in our system afterwards. A study from Harvard University suggests fast paced walking for about 35 minutes a day five times a week, or 60 minutes a day three times a week improved symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Exercising under bright lights may be even better for seasonal depression. A preliminary study found that exercise under bright light improved general mental health, social functioning, symptoms of depression, and vitality.

Friendly food combining: Foods high in the essential amino acid tryptophan are a precursor to serotonin. Try eating slow release complex carbohydrates in combination with those containing tryptophan. The release of insulin from the carbohydrate will allow the tryptophan to be carried to the brain.

When most people hear the word tryptophan, they probably think of turkey and Thanksgiving dinner, but there are plenty of other food sources of this wonderful amino acid! Notice how some foods on the list below are both a source of tryptophan and complex carbs. Bonus!

Tryptophan Containing Foods
Brown rice, quinoa, chickpeas, sprouted tofu, bananas, oats, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, watercress, turnip greens, seaweed, spirulina, kidney beans, lima beans, mung beans, hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, eggs, chicken, turkey, whey protein powder

Complex Carbs
Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, carrots, peas, quinoa, brown rice, steel cut oats, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, beans, lentils, legumes, chickpeas, chia seeds

Mood Boosting Meal Ideas
• 
Hummus collard wrap and sweet potato salad with pumpkin seeds and walnuts
• Strawberry banana, coconut yogurt smoothie with ground chia seeds
• Fully Loaded quinoa breakfast bowl
• Banana nut cinnamon oatmeal sprinkled with hemp seeds
• Quinoa salad with chickpeas and broccoli florets topped with ground flax seed

2. Eat a Balanced Diet

A lot of us crave sweet, salty, high-fat foods in high stress situations or when we’re depressed because these types of foods stimulate the brain to release pleasure chemicals that reduce tension. This soothing effect is so addictive and habit-forming that we literally train ourselves to crave comfort foods every time we feel anxious.

A lack of healthy food in the diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies. This will create imbalances in the body and contribute to low moods and depression. Eat a large variety of whole foods to ensure you are getting enough of the following vitamins and minerals.

Common Deficiencies That Contribute to Low Moods and Depression

B vitamins
B vitamins are necessary for the normal functioning of the nervous system and naturally boost our energy levels. They are also known as anti-stress vitamins and are an important contributor in the biochemical production of serotonin. A deficiency in any B vitamin, especially B6, B1, B3 and B12 can impair the body’s ability to manufacture serotonin.

The good news is there is a bountiful list of foods containing B vitamins, many of which also contain tryptophan! It’s always a good idea to get B vitamins from eating whole foods, but if you choose to take a supplement, look for a full spectrum B complex.

Food Sources of B Vitamins: Cabbage, cantaloupe, green leafy vegetables, spinach, walnuts, almonds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, bananas, turnip, cauliflower, oats, bell peppers, peas, collards, avocado,  nutritional yeast, rice bran, blackstrap molasses, whole grains, quinoa, tuna, halibut, salmon, cod, chicken and turkey.

* Beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods also help manufacture B vitamins right down inside your gut. This means enjoying things like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha not only help with digestive health, but also contribute to serotonin production!

Essential Fatty Acids
A great deal of scientific data links low tissue levels of EPA and DHA to a host of mental/emotional disorders, including depression.

Food Sources: Fish, fish oil, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, almonds, avocado

Vitamin D
A deficiency in vitamin D, also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, can be linked to depression, lack of energy and low moods. This time of year, short days means less exposure to sun, and less vitamin D. Are you getting enough? Read up on it  >> here.

Magnesium
Chronically low magnesium levels coupled with a lack of sunshine can have a significant impact on mood and energy levels. Magnesium helps reduce anxiety, improves circulation and is a major factor in the production of serotonin and melatonin, both of which can play a crucial role in seasonal affective disorder.  

Magnesium Foods: Oats, almonds, hemp seeds, peas, brown rice, sweet potatoes, salmon and dark chocolate.

Zinc
Zinc is another important co-factor required for increasing serotonin levels. Zinc supplementation has been shown to have antidepressant effects. Studies have shown that blood zinc concentration levels in depressed individuals is lower than in non-depressed control groups. Additionally, there was evidence that incrementally lower zinc levels correlated positively with the severity of clinical depression.

Sources of Zinc
Kelp, legumes, lima beans, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, whole grains, alfalfa, cayenne, parsley, sage, dandelion, fennel seed, wild yam, eggs, fish, oysters, liver

3. Skip the Sugar, You’re Sweet Enough Already!

Studies have shown that sugar actually lights up the pleasure and reward center of our brain, the same way it does when we’re falling in love.  Sugar and other quick fix carbs give us an instant lift because they trigger the release of serotonin, which calms and soothes us – our very own built in chill pill, if you will.  But, when we use sugary snacks to boost serotonin, we create a bigger problem by depleting our natural serotonin stores over time.

Low serotonin can often intensify cravings for sugar. This is the body’s way of trying to increase serotonin since eating sugar produces insulin, which helps carry tryptophan to the brain. Too much sugar however can eventually lead to insulin resistance.

Instead, try satisfying your sweet tooth in a healthier way with low glycemic fruit such as apples or blueberries, or with a protein packed snack like almond butter or hemp butter on celery or apple slices. Replace white sugar with more nutrient dense sweeteners like coconut sugar or maple syrup.

4. Feel Serene With L-Theanine

You might not have ever heard of L-theanine, but there’s a good chance you’ve had it without even knowing it!  L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. Studies have shown L-theanine significantly increases activity in the alpha waves in the brain, creating a feeling of relaxation, while maintaining mental alertness and the ability to focus. L-Theanine is also available in capsule form or chewable tablets.

5. That Magic Touch

Not only does physical touch help manage stress levels by lowering cortisol and increasing dopamine and serotonin, but studies have also shown it can boost the immune system and even slow the progress of disease.  One study conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine shows that massage increases serotonin by 28% and decreases cortisol by 31%.

Other forms of healing touch include hugging your partner, cuddling, Reiki, contact between breastfeeding mothers and their babies, and owners interacting with their pets.

6. Himalayan Salt Lamps

Himalayan salt lamps are made from large rock crystals of salt. They give off a soft, soothing light and have been credited with providing various health benefits including relief from allergies, fatigue and depression. Positive ions are released by electrical devices such as computer screens, televisions, and telephones. Exposure to excess positive ions can cause feelings of lethargy, fatigue, and even depression. Salt lamps can help bring emotional balance into our lives because they generate negative ions, which help us to feel more energized and uplifted.

Sources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16162447
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16542786
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908269
https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/818622
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201401/low-zinc-levels-associated-depression

Articles, Living with MS

6 Week Program: A Holistic Approach to Managing Multiple Sclerosis

Starting this January, if you’re living in the Kitchener/Waterloo area,  I’ll be offering a FREE 6-week program on how to take a holistic approach to managing multiple sclerosis.

If you can’t make it out to these classes, don’t fret, the full 16 module program will be available online this December!

Multiple Sclerosis is a complex, multifaceted disease with many possible outcomes. Nutrition should never be considered an alternative, but rather an integral part of any health protocol. Taking a holistic, nutritional approach to managing MS involves addressing the body as a whole in order to modulate the immune system and stop your body from initiating an autoimmune attack against itself.

Whether you’re recently diagnosed, or your condition has progressed to advanced stages, it’s never too late to start incorporating healthy diet and lifestyle habits.

To register for this 6 week program, send an email to: chantale@eatheallove.com.
Please include your name, phone number and how many people you are registering for.

This class takes place at the location below. 
Sobeys – Northfield Community Room
640 Parkside Drive
Waterloo, ON
N2L 0C7

Please register early to reserve your spot!

Holistic Approach to Managing Multiple Sclerosis: 6 Week Program Details

Class #1: Autoimmunity and Gut Health
Tuesday, January 16
1:00 pm-2:30pm

In this class, we’ll discuss the very important connection between multiple sclerosis and gut health. This is one of the most important topics in this program because it addresses the root cause of why autoimmune conditions develop.

Class #2: Putting out the Fires of Inflammation
Tuesday, February 6
1:00 pm-2:30pm

If we know anything about multiple sclerosis at all, we know that it’s an inflammatory condition. In this class, we’ll discuss very specific ways to reduce inflammation in the body.

Class #3: Brain Friendly Foods and How to Repair Myelin
Tuesday, Feb 20
1:00 pm-2:30pm

Class #4: Correcting Nutritional Deficiencies and The Crucial Role of B-Vitamins
Tuesday, March 6
1:00 pm-2:30pm

This class details the most important nutrients one needs to get when battling MS.

Class #5: Sleep, Stress management and the Importance of Exercise
Tuesday, March 13
1:00 pm-2:30pm

Class #6:  Putting Your Wellness Plan into Action and Symptom Relief Tips
Tuesday, March 27
1:00 pm-2:30pm

To wrap up the program, we’ll discuss how to put your holistic wellness plan and discuss effective symptom relief tips. 

 

 

Articles, Living with MS

Are You Getting Enough Potassium?

Muscle cramping, weakness, fatigue, tingling or numb extremities, heart palpitations…are you getting enough potassium?

There can be several different underlying causes for some of the symptoms above. In my nutrition practice however, I analyze a lot of food diaries submitted by my clients and over the years I have noticed that many people are not getting enough potassium.

Potassium is both a mineral and electrolyte. It is the third most abundant mineral in the body and required for the proper functioning of several organs, including the heart, kidneys, brain and muscular tissues.  Potassium also plays an important role in keeping the body hydrated and works with sodium to support cellular function with your body’s sodium-potassium pump. Low levels of potassium can have severe effects on the heart, nerves and muscles.

Signs of Potassium Deficiency

  • Muscle cramping
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling or numb extremities
  • Heart palpitations
  • Passing large amounts of urine or feeling very thirsty most of the time
  • Low blood pressure
  • Depression, confusion, irritability

Factors That Deplete, Destroy or Compromise Potassium Absorption
Dehydration, diarrhea, excessive sweating and laxative abuse are common causes of low potassium levels.

A blood test can check potassium levels, kidney function, glucose, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous if an electrolyte imbalance is suspected. 

Recommended Dietary Allowance
The recommended dietary intake for potassium is between 2,500 – 4,700 mg. Aim for the higher end if you are more active and sweat a lot, or if you experience frequent loose stools. 

The kidneys control the balance of potassium by removing excess potassium into the urine. Those with kidney disease should use caution when it comes to eating potassium-rich foods. In some people with chronic kidney disease, the kidneys may not remove extra potassium from the blood.

Potassium-Rich Foods
The great thing about this wonderful mineral and electrolyte is there are so many foods that contain large amounts of it. For example, just one avocado contains 1,067 mg.

Potassium Foods

Avocado 1 whole

1,067 mg

Acorn Squash 1 cup

896

Spinach 1 cup (cooked)

839

Salmon 1/2 filet

777

Tomato sauce 1 cup

728

Yogurt 1 cup

573

Beets 1 cup (cooked)

518

White beans ½ cup

502

Banana 1 large

487

Sweet Potato 1 large

438

Coconut water 1 cup

395

Black beans ½ cup

369

Lentils ½ cup

365

Kale 1 cup (cooked)

329

Soy milk 1 cup

300

Almond milk 1 cup

190

Oats 1 cup

140

Quinoa ½ cup (cooked)

125

Hemp Seeds 1 Tbsp.

120

To give you an idea of what the ideal amount of potassium for the day might look like, I made two sample meals plans. These meal plans do not take into account other nutritional needs. They are just an example of how to include more potassium-rich foods into your diet if you are deficient. If you still have a difficult time meeting your potassium needs, try adding fresh salads, green smoothies, more fruit and vegetables or coconut water into your meal plans!

Plant-Based
Sample Potassium Meal Plan #1

Food

Potassium in mg

Breakfast
1 cup rolled oats (cooked)

140

1 banana

487

1/2 cup blueberries

57

1 cup soy milk

300

1 Tbsp. hemp seeds

120

Snack

1 medium apple

108

Almond butter – 1 Tbsp.

119

Lunch

1 cup quinoa

250

1/2 cup cooked spinach

419

1 cup broccoli

278

1/2 sweet potato

219

Dinner

1/2 cup black beans

369

1/2  cup lentils

365

1/2 cup cooked spinach

419

1/2 avocado

533.5

Total

4183.5 mg

Sample Potassium Meal Plan #2

Food

Potassium in mg

Breakfast

1 cup rolled oats (cooked)

140

1 banana

487

1/2 cup blueberries

57

1 cup almond milk

190

2 Tbsp. hemp seeds

240

Snack

1 medium apple

108

Almond butter – 1 Tbsp.

119

Lunch

1 salmon fillet

386

1/2 cup quinoa

125

1/2 cup broccoli

139

1/2 sweet potato

219

Dinner

1/2 chicken breast

191

1 cup cooked spinach

839

1 carrot

160

1/2 avocado

533.5

Total

3,933.5 mg

 

Articles

Finding the Best Care for a Senior When You Live Far Away

by Marie Villeza
elderimpact.org

Photo by Pixabay

 

When your elderly loved one is in need of extra help, it can be a frightening and frustrating time — for both of you. But when that loved one lives far away, it’s  even more difficult. You need to find a place to take care of your loved one, but you can’t be there every day to make sure everything goes smoothly. If you do enough research and prep, you can be confident of your decision.

First, you have to know the different types of care facilities. Here are some of the options available.

Assisted living — This is for people who need help in one or two activities per day, such as dressing or bathing. The staff at an assisted living facility will keep an eye on their residents in case of emergency. They often serve meals in a central location, and will have more mobile seniors than in other facilities. They can help arrange transportation to medical appointments, too. If you need a nurse’s help, you may have to hire visiting nurses.

Memory care — This is for people who have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Memory care usually has tighter security measures to keep residents from wandering off.

Skilled nursing — This is for people who need nursing help every day, are confined to their bed or have more complicated behavior issues. This what is commonly called a nursing home.

Choosing a place

When you tour a facility, you’ll start with an administrator who will show you around and give you the official tour. But come back another time and see it for yourself. A good time to visit is in the morning, when the staff are getting patients out of bed. Pay attention to the demeanor of the staff. Are they smiling and courteous to each other as well as patients? Do they know patients by name? Do the residents seem happy to see the staff? Visit again in mid-day to see if the residents are active. Some won’t be, of course, but the ones who are should be participating in activities. Look for a homey feel, not so much like a hospital. Overstuffed couches, a library, a cozy dining room and animals like birds and fish give residents a reason to smile.

Ask if the specific needs of your loved one can be met. Find out if residents can bring their own furniture so they feel more at home. Are there religious services available or are the residents taken off-site? What types of activities are available? Is there a daily routine for people with dementia? Does a doctor visit regularly? Ask the staff if they work a lot of overtime or take extra shifts, as this can be a sign of a staffing shortage.

Cost

All levels of care are expensive, so cost might be a factor in your decision. If your loved one has long-term care insurance or the means to pay for it, then the decision is much easier. But without it, costs are very high. Assisted living begins around $3,600 a month, and skilled nursing can cost as much as $10,000 a month.

Most people begin their nursing care by paying out of pocket. As resources dwindle, they become eligible for Medicaid, and that can help pay for care. But Medicaid has strict requirements for what’s covered, including requiring a roommate. Check if the facility takes both private pay and Medicaid, so that your loved one doesn’t have to change facilities later. And keep in mind that Medicare doesn’t cover long-term facilities. Comb through your loved one’s finances to find ways to stretch his or her funds. For extra help, utilize online calculators and budget worksheets.

Budget and careful planning will also be necessary when it’s time to help your senior loved one downsize and prepare for this type of move. If it’s feasible, hire movers to help make this process a quick and smooth one. In the end, it will benefit your loved one and give you more time to focus on helping them settle into their new living space.

Communicate

Once you find the best option for your senior loved one, make sure the facility understand that you’ll be checking in from afar, and that you won’t be able to drop everything and be there for small things. Most facilities should be familiar with situations like yours.

You should also be able to talk to your loved one at almost any time. Regular phone calls and communication remind your loved one that you are there and you love them. If your senior loved one is in a position to use video calls, this is a great way to connect when you can’t be close by. By actually seeing someone on the other end, you can get a better sense of how your loved one is doing and they will find comfort in your friendly face.

Making this sort of transition can be a difficult step for everyone in involved, which is why it’ so important to apply careful planning. You can help your senior loved one find a comfortable, caring environment where they can enjoy this chapter of their lives, even if you’re not close by. Not only will your loved one have peace of mind, but so will you.