Top 5 Reasons Everyone Should Use a Meal Plan

By Anneke Aubert, Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert

These days everyone is “busy,” whether we like it or not, and so it becomes difficult to pay attention to our broader health, resulting in the majority of us only taking action and seeking help when something serious has already taken over our bodies. That is where the benefits of a meal plan come in, at least when it comes to your daily nutrition. If you just spend a little time at the beginning of each week prepping for the days ahead you wouldn’t end your week feeling so depleted, stressed or tired. How you ask? I have 5 detailed reasons below to justify why everyone should use a meal plan.

1. Get all your vitamins & nutrients from food!

Having a well thought out meal plan can help ensure you are getting a variety of nutrients and vitamins. That means you will feel more energized throughout the day, as well as reduce long-term effects of poor diet. Planning meals in advance means that you can add variety and nutritionally beneficial foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes to your daily diet. Knowing in advance what you are eating each day means you won’t be left feeling overwhelmed trying to decide what to eat for each meal. Without a doubt having an organized meal plan will lead to less or no consumption of processed, frozen or take out foods, which can also be costly to your wallet and health.

2. Save money on grocery bills!

Speaking of your wallet, meal planning is a great way to save money. Why you ask? Well, the fact that you are planning ahead means that you will only purchase what you need.  This is especially important with perishable food items like fresh produce, dairy or meat that can spoil if you don’t have a plan for how you will use them. A meal plan means that at the end of the week you won’t be throwing away rotten spoiled food that you forgot you had in the back of your fridge.  Another way meal planning can help reduce grocery costs is by selecting seasonal recipes or checking your local grocery store flyer to see what the weekly deals are and integrating these items into your plan. Cooking with the season usually means these foods are local and highly available, therefore making them more affordable than items that might be shipped from long distances.  Your health can also benefit from eating locally and seasonally, as nutrient content is higher in foods that have not travelled great distances.

3. You may actually spend less time in the kitchen!

Proper meal planning by you or your nutrition expert may actually lead to you spending less time in the kitchen… if desired. I always ask my clients to choose one day a week where on that day they can reserve an hour or two to spend time prepping for the week ahead. An hour or two in the kitchen to some may sound like an eternity, but most will find that the tasks done in this time can feel like a form of therapy; wash, peel, cut, store, wash, peel, cut, store, repeat. Meal prep day for my clients is usually a time for them to not only make some recipes ahead of time, but a time to prep individual ingredients for snacks and meals that will be made later in the week. If you have family or friends that you think could reap the benefits of this therapeutic experience have them come help. The joy in cooking comes from sharing that food with the ones you care about.

4. Improve the efficiency of your day!

Having a well-organized meal plan can make your time in the kitchen a breeze. We all have those days where we find ourselves staring into the abyss of our fridge, trying to decide what we should make for dinner, and if we only had that one extra ingredient than we could make some awesome stir-fry, power bowl or casserole! Well, having a meal plan can be your saving grace when it comes to these tough decisions, as the meals are all planned out in advance taking the decision factor out of your morning, afternoon or evening. Not only will it help meal time prep be more efficient, a proper meal plan can help organize your fridge so you see clearly when you open the door to pull out your next snack or meal. Knowing what recipes are going to be made ahead of time and having ingredients prepped in advance, means you won’t be left wondering what your next meal is going to be, over and over again.

5. Advance recovery of health conditions or concerns!

A well researched personalized meal plan with recipes and foods that are beneficial to you and your family’s specific health conditions and concerns can significantly reduce symptoms of ongoing or potential health problems. Having a supportive health care provider, like a naturopath or your family doctor, who is an advocate for not only your current but future health concerns is so important when it comes to understanding what your individual body needs. Quite often I utilize doctor’s recommendations when creating a personalized meal plan for a client, making sure to research and pick specific foods that will be nutritionally beneficial to their health concerns and improve their body functions. Getting to know your body and what you are putting in it is the first step to taking responsibility for your own health!

For more information on custom meal plans created by Anneke Aubert click here!

What's the Deal with Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy?

Bio-identical hormone therapy is NOW OFFERED at our clinic by Dr. Andrea Hilborn, ND. The hormones that may be prescribed are estrogen and progesterone in a cream or vaginal suppository. 

Who is this for?

Bio-identical hormones are mainly used to treat the symptoms of menopause. The second most common use is as an anti-aging measure. They can also be used to treat just about any condition related to women's health: fertility, heavy bleeding, polycystic ovarian syndrome, acne, painful periods, and vaginal atrophy for example.

What are bio-identical hormones?

Bio-identical hormones, which are also called natural hormones, are exact replicas of the hormones our body produces. They may come as ready-made products or be custom compounded. 

First, your body's hormone levels are tested, then we supplement the appropriate hormones until your symptoms are managed, without exceeding what your body would normally produce. 

Taking hormones topically, rather than orally, allows you to take lower amounts of hormones and still receive the benefits. This is because the hormones entering through the skin do not have to pass through the liver before reaching the bloodstream. 

The most important factor is to have a prescription that is based on the most up-to-date understanding of female physiology. Many people are under the impression that all menopause and perimenopause symptoms are caused by low estrogen, which is not the case. 

Menopause

Menopause is the time from one year after the woman's final menstrual period to the end of her life. Levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are lower, and at different levels in relation to one another. There is no more cyclic fluctuation of hormone levels. During the early years of menopause, women may still experience symptoms like hot flashes, which bio-identical hormones can help with. Bio-identical hormones are also used for anti-aging during this time of life. 

Perimenopause

Perimenopause is the period of time just before menopause. It is characterized by wild fluctuations in hormone levels that can be compared to what women go through at adolescence. This stage begins in the mid-thirties to early-forties, and ends one year beyond final menstrual flow. This is the period of time when symptoms arise and can become life-disrupting. 

The earliest symptoms of perimenopause are: new onset and/or longer menstrual flow; short menstrual cycle lengths of less than or equal to 25 days; new sore, swollen and/or lumpy breasts; new or increased menstrual cramps; new mid-sleep wakening; onset of night sweats especially around flow; new or markedly increased migraine headaches; new or increased premenstrual mood swings; and notable weight gain without changes in exercise or food intake.

Many women are inappropriately treated for fibroids when they experience heavy bleeding in perimenopause. Heavy bleeding is rarely caused by fibroids. The heavy bleeding is caused by high estrogen and lower progesterone. Hormonal treatment should be attempted before surgery.

During perimenopause, using bio-identical hormones can alleviate these symptoms. 

Conventional Hormone Replacement Compared to Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement

Conventional hormone replacement therapy contains conjugated equine estrogens (CEE) (to mimic the action of estrogen) and progestins (to mimic the actions of progesterone). 

Conjugated equine estrogens are derived from the urine of pregnant horses. There are a variety of molecules in the urine that stimulate the same cell receptors as the three different estrogens that we produce in our bodies. Premarin contains conjugated equine estrogens. 

Widespread use of conventional HRT was discontinued when the Women's Health Initiative Study found that using HRT increased risk of cardiovascular events and cancer. 

There are different forms of estrogen, which complicated the research findings. The estrogen-like molecules found in CEE modify estrogen receptors on breast cells in a cancer-promoting way. Synthetic progestins do too. Additionally, CEE contains at least one potent carcinogenic estrogen, 4-hydroxy-equilenin that promotes cancer by inducing DNA damage. 

The progestins in conventional hormone replacement therapy include medroxyprogesterone acetate and norethrindone. Provera contains medroxyprogesterone acetate. 

Prempro contains a combination of conjugated equine estrogens and medroxyprogesterone acetate. 

Medroxyprogesterone acetate has breast cancer promoting properties, negates the heart protective actions of estrogen, causes blood vessels to constrict, and causes insulin resistance.

Using estrogen and bio-identical progesterone is a lesser risk than conventional HRT, but still imposes an increased risk compared to not using hormone replacement therapy. 

Before booking an appointment to receive bio-identical hormone therapy, you should know:

We cannot prescribe bio-identical hormones to anyone with a history of breast cancer.

We use topical hormones and vaginal suppositories. We do not prescribe pills or injections. 

We do not prescribe testosterone. 

Every patient will have to have testing done, or bring results from within the last 6 months, and have repeat testing once per year. 

Patients must agree to undergo their regular cancer screening tests (mammography and Pap smear). Any patient taking estrogen will have to have a pelvic or transvaginal ultrasound within 4 months of starting estrogen. This will have to be requested through her family doctor. 

BHRT will be offered only WITH naturopathic care: a full naturopathic assessment, and diet, lifestyle, herb and nutrient recommendations.  

Is BHRT right for you? Call 613-767-6982 today to book a complimentary 15-minute appointment with Dr. Hilborn, ND.

5 Year Anniversary

The end of 2017 marked five years since Kingston Natural Route Health opened its doors and what a journey it has been. When we first started in our small, cozy office on Bayridge Drive I never would have imagined how much we would grow and expand in such a short period of time. We are honoured to work in this beautiful community, guiding, supporting, and empowering our patients on their route to optimal health. We can’t thank you enough for choosing us to be a part of your health team. Your dedication, resilience, and commitment inspires us on a daily basis.

To celebrate this milestone, we want to give back to you to show our appreciation and gratitude and to provide you with a little extra TLC. On Thursday, February 1st we are hosting a Patient Appreciation Day. There will be a selection of complimentary services for 20 amazing patients. To be eligible you must be a patient of KNRH, booking is on a first come, first serve basis, and there is a limit of one service. Please contact Patricia at 613-767-6982 to schedule your appointment.

Services include:

·      Six 30-minute acupuncture treatments

·      Three 45-minute massages

·      Six 15-minute nutrition consultations with a take home (one-day) meal plan

·      Five initial chiropractic assessments

 

 

Here’s to another five incredible years!

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Alanna Kuhn, ND