4 Ways to Start Your Sugar-free Journey Today

4 ways to start your sugar-free journey …today.

How’s that #nosugarnovember coming along? It’s tough, ya. Sugar, like wheat, hides everywhere! Cutting sugar is a process, it won’t happen overnight, BUT you can start today. It’s never too late. Among the huge list of reasons to cut sugar, is that it majorly suppresses your immune system. And, with the holidays approaching, you don’t want to get sick, do ya? Start your #sugarfreejourney today with a few easy steps:

dessert donuts doughnuts food
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

✔️ Have a replacement. As a Holistic Nutritionist, I’m not about deprivation. I believe it’s healthier to replace rather than eliminate and end up feeling resentment. Find yourself some healthy treat recipes like bliss balls, protein bars, or make a big bowl of fruit salad and keep it in the fridge ready to go.

✔️ Do a pantry clean out. Outta sight, outta mind, yes?! Go through every item in your cupboards and ditch it if it contains any of the sugars. Get to know the 52 alternative names for sugar and keep a list on hand.  Some to look out for are dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, barley malt, cane sugar, caramel.  These don’t only hide in the obvious foods like donuts and chocolate bars.  Watch out for sugar in juices, commercial smoothies, salad dressings, sauces, food colouring and even ketchup.

✔️ Stay hydrated. As you’re detoxing, expect headaches, mood swings, sleep disturbances and more. If you stick to your guns, this phase won’t last long. Just be gentle with yourself through the process, give yourself time to rest, and fill up on water, herbal tea  or coconut water, which is packed with electrolytes to keep you hydrated.

✔️ Fats and protein. Include them in every meal and snack to help regulate your blood sugar. This will prevent those sugar spikes and lows that you might be used to if you were eating a lot of refined sugar. Think nuts, avocado, beans, almond butter, coconut, bliss balls, smoothies.

Check back in with us on the socials and let us know how your journey is coming along. Have you gotten over the hump?


Energy Low? Let’s Talk About B Vitamins

Vitamin B actually consists of 8 water-soluble vitamins that are known mostly as the “energy vitamins”. The complex is needed to help your body convert dietary carbohydrates, protein and fats to energy that you use to pump blood, nerve transmission, to beat your heart, digest food and to move.  So, if you are finding yourself still tired after you eat, consider these 3 things:

  1. what you are eating
  2. food combinations
  3. are you getting enough B vitamins?

Before supplementation, I often aim to get in all the vitamins and minerals through real food. The B vitamins themselves don’t provide you with the the energy- they help you convert your food into energy for utilization. Some lifestyle factors, poor diet, medications and diseases can deplete B vitamins and vegetarians/vegans have to find alternative source of B12 as it is mostly found in animal or fortified products.

B vitamins are water soluble, which means they are not stored in our body and they have to be replenished on a daily basis. In times of illness, deficiency and stress, your body might need an extra boost of the B’s, paticularly B12. This is where you might see the Naturopath for a B12 shot, and some fancy hotels offer them as a hangover cure. And, deficiencies in the B’s can lead to depression, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, birth defects, and fatigue. (pg 487, The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Murray and Pizzorno)

Alternatively, here are foods and recipes rich in the B’s to keep up your well-oiled machine, plus a recipe for a super B12 plant-based food for our vegetarian and vegan friends:

B6: Pyridoxine for glycogen production which is your body’s energy storage for times of hunger. Find it in bananas, tempeh, chickpeas, pistachios, lentils, and nutritional yeast. Bonus: Try this recipe for roasted chickpeas.

B3: Niacin for metabolism of protein, carbohydrates and fat.  Find it in meat, cheese, oats, portobello mushrooms, tuna and pumpkin. Bonus: Try this dairy alternative recipe for oat milk.

B1: Thiamine for metabolism of protein and fat. Find it in soybeans, green peas, oats, lentils and sunflower seeds. Bonus: Try sprinkling sunflower seeds on your salads.

B2: Riboflavin works with the other B’s for enzyme reactions and metabolism.  Find it in eggs, organ meat, soy, dairy, spinach and mushrooms.  Bonus: Try adding spinach to your daily smoothies.

Folate: for DNA and RNA production, and red blood cell formation. Find it in spinach, soybeans, asparagus, lentils, chickpeas, black beans, organ meats and nutritional yeast. Bonus: Try this recipe for a bean-packed, vegetarian chili.

B5: Pantothenic Acid for brain nerve transmission, mental and physical stress and anxiety, sex and stress hormone production, and healthy skin and hair. Find it in milk, nuts, seeds, meat, eggs, portobello mushrooms and broccoli. Bonus: Try using portobello mushrooms in place of burger buns for the ultimate veggie burger.

B12: Cobalamin for DNA formation, nerve transmission and blood cells. Find it in milk, meat, cheese, fortified soy products, avocado and nutritional yeast. Bonus: Try the spicy fried tofu recipe below, made with nutritional yeast.

Crispy Nooch Tofu 3

Crispy Nooch Tofu 1

In a bowl, combine

  • 2 Tbls flour (I used rice flour)
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 2 Tblsp nutritional yeast (a I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • pinch sea salt
  • cracked pepper to taste

Press out moisture from a brick of extra firm, non-GMO tofu (I used Soyganic by Sunrise-Soya), slice into pieces and roll into flour mixture. Fry coated pieces in a small pan with coconut oil until golden! .
Use as a side dish, crumble up on salads, add to wraps…how would you use it?

Crispy Nooch Tofu 2

Recipe from Next Bite Nutrition Coaching

A Holistic Nutritionist Shares 3 Steps to Going Grain-free

If you follow a ketogenic or paleo diet, you have probably already eliminated grains.  Others, who do not follow a specific “diet”, choose to cut just the wheat due to sensitivities, digestion issues or allergies, and some choose to avoid any and all grains to help reduce carb cravings and get on track to healthy eating.  You see, all those grains make up the tempting snacks and treats that contribute to high blood sugar and can lead to weight gain.
Whatever your reason for considering a grain-free way of life, know that there are healthy alternatives for most of your favorite snacks. Take these steps to gently ease yourself into new habits:
sandwich in basket
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com
1. Know your alternatives. Stock your pantry with alternative flours, like chickpea, almond and coconut. My go-to swap for rice is cauliflower “rice”. Simply pulse cauliflower in your food processor until fine, resembling little bits of rice. Alternatively, you can use a cheese grater. Gently steam the cauliflower, or warm in a fry pan with coconut oil, until soft. Use as an alternative to rice in stir-fry, wraps, or even as pasta.
2. Read all labels. Grains, particularly wheat and gluten, can hide in places like prepared sauces, gravies thickened with flour, binders, food coloring, beer, crackers, soups, some supplements and even in cosmetics. Keep yourself informed by knowing the alternative names for the ingredients you choose to avoid.
3. Meal prep. During the first few days of any new lifestyle or eating habits, it is important to be prepared, both with food and symptoms. By staying one step ahead with prepared meals, you can avoid the transition that some can find challenging. Include healthy fats and protein in your meals to help with satiety and blood sugar regulation. Take a meal-prep day and freeze smoothie packs, grain-free bliss balls, veggie sticks and fruit, overnight hemp heart puddings and mason jar salads.
Easing in to any new lifestyle and eating habits takes patience. Stay steps ahead by being prepared, get some healthy, grain-free meal plans on hand, and give yourself permission to re-assess what is and what is not working for your body and mind. It is all about feeling your best and only you know what that looks like.

5 Sources of Fibre and Why You Should Be Including Them In Your Diet

When you think of fibre, you probably go straight to bowel health. And, you are correct. Fibre helps clean you out and keeps you regular. But, this essential nutrient has a few other health benefits that you might not associate it with, other than digestion and elimination.

First, fibre binds to cholesterol and eliminates it through your bowels. This is important for those with cardiovascular disease. According to a study, those at risk for CVD have a 40% lower rate of having a heart attack when adding fibre to their diet.

Fibre can help with weight management as it makes you feel more full. It also regulates blood sugar levels so spikes and crashes are not an issue. This is particularly important in diabetes support as fibre helps to slow the absorption of sugar.

Fibre feeds your gut bacteria.  Our body contains both good and bad bacteria and fibre helps to flush out the bad, while feeding the good. Fibre is plant based and our body does not digest it. Instead, along with water, it helps to form stool that is full of bad bacteria, waste, cholesterol, excess hormones and toxins, and then exits our body.

Fibre is either soluble or insoluble and they work in different ways. If you suffer from constipation, you might want to add more insoluble fibre in to your diet. It adds bulk to stool and speeds up transit time. It is found in whole grains and vegetables. Soluble fibre, like chia, flax and nuts, slows transit time by attracting water, and works well for weight loss as it makes you feel full for longer.

Either way, try to get in 30g fibre a day for optimal health and glowing skin. Be sure to drink plenty of water to help the fibre bind to all the nasties that must exit your body twice (yes, twice!) a day. Try adding fibre to smoothies, salads, bliss balls, soups, and hummus.

5 Easy, high fibre additions are chia seeds, whole grain rice, ground flax, walnuts, and quinoa. A little sprinkle will do ya.


Jen Casey is a Holistic Nutritionist with Next Bite Nutrition Coaching in Vancouver, BC. She focuses her practice on whole body wellness and building a solid foundation for the pillars of health. Learn more about Jen and her healthy recipes on Instagram.