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Low Testosterone: How to Tell if it's a Problem for You

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Testosterone:
most people think it's only important for men since it's a "male hormone". But it is actually just as important for women’s health as it is for men’s health.

While men may produce around ten times more testosterone than women, testosterone is still vital to maintaining good health in women. Optimum testosterone is key to maintaining a balanced mood, good bone mineral density, supple skin and ability to handle stress.

If you’re a woman with lower than ideal levels of testosterone, you may be at risk for decreased sex drive, difficulty gaining muscle tissue, obesity, osteoporosis, memory problems and heart disease just to name a few.

So, how do you know if you’re low in testosterone? Well, any of the following symptoms may be telling you to work on upping your testosterone levels.

  • Thinning hair
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Difficulty maintaining or gaining muscle
  • Loss of bone density
  • Poor memory
  • Poor concentration
  • Painful intercourse
  • Low libido
  • Dry skin
  • Poor tolerance for exercise
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Fat gain around the abdomen
  • Loss of motivation



So what can you do to combat low testosterone? Here are 3 ways to help give your testosterone levels a boost!

1) Avoid Environmental Toxins:

that means making sure you’re drinking from a BPA free bottle, switching from plastic to glass tupperware, and using beauty products that are free of parabens and other harmful chemicals.

2) Resistance Training:

Weight training has been known to stimulates testosterone production in both men and women. But don’t worry, you won’t turn into the hulk! Training with weights is key to getting that sought-after toned look, and that slight boost in testosterone will help combat that list of symptoms I mentioned earlier.

3) Don’t Restrict Calories:

A big calorie deficit can lower testosterone levels. This is partly due to the fact healthy fats are required for the body to produce testosterone in the first place. Instead, make sure you are eating the right number of calories for your activity levels, and be sure to get a good balance of protein, fat and carbs at each meal.


 

And there you have it! Try incorporating these 3 tips into your health regime, and you might be surprised at the changes that start to take place. If you are looking for customized nutrition to address how many calories you need for your activity levels and help balancing your hormones, contact Maya, our in house nutritionist for a free 10 minute consultation to discuss how she can help you with your goals.


Spring Clean your Body with these Recipes!

 

Here is the recap from the segment I did on CP24 this morning where we talked about why it's beneficial to Spring Clean our bodies, basically after a long winter we've built up toxins in our body that has left us feeling lethargic, with a sluggish digestive system, and not-so-glowy skin, all signs that our diet needs an adjustment as we transition into the warmer months and give our liver (the detoxification powerhouse!) a lot of love this Spring.

What you need to focus on are foods rich in antioxidants, protein and fibre. Not to mention constantly staying hydrated to help flush out toxins and get your digestion, liver and skin feeling brand new again!


Top foods I spoke about:


Cruciferous vegetables:
these vegetables contain sulfur, a molecule that transports toxins out of the body! Enjoy 1-2 cups a day.


popular picks: Kale, arugula, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli.


Citrus fruits:
 High in antioxidants such as vitamin C, which is needed in the detoxification process in the liver. Antioxidants are like our body guards, protecting us against the bad guys, otherwise known as free radicals. Enjoy 1 serving a day.


popular picks: lemon, grapefruit, limes, oranges.


Avocados and walnuts: 
These healthy fat sources are particularly high in glutathione, AKA: the Master of all antioxidants! Enjoy 1 serving a day of avocado, or a handful of walnuts.


Fibrous foods:
 We need fibre because it acts like a broom, sweeping our intestines from impurities and eliminating them via our bowels, and we can't cleanse successfully if the "doors aren't open". Aim between 25-30 g of fibre per day.


popular picks: apples, beans, freshly ground flax seeds.


Bitter foods:
We didn't have enough time to fit this into the segment but I want you to always remember that "the liver loves bitter!". Bitter foods stimulate the production of bile in the liver, which is necessary to get rid of all kinds of waste products to help your liver cleanse effectively. Enjoy 1-2 cups a day.


popular picks: radicchio, dandelion leaves, arugula, endive, cauliflower, artichokes, broccoli


Below are the recipes I shared on the segment:

 

1. Warm lemon water (serves 1)

8 oz of warm or room temperature water with a squeeze of lemon. Enjoy first thing in the morning on an empty stomach at least 20 minutes before eating breakfast to help gently cleanse your body and prepare your digestive system for breakfast.

2. Green Machine Smoothie (serves 1)

4oz coconut water
4oz water (or a few ice cubes)
Juice from ½ lemon
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
½ frozen banana  
1 cup kale
1 cup baby spinach
1 TB flax seeds


Place all ingredients in the order it appears, and blend until smooth. Enjoy fresh!

3. Red Crusher (serves 1)

1/2 cup almond milk
½ cup orange juice
Juice from ½ lemon
½ frozen banana
small handful peeled and chopped beets
½ cup cranberries
1 cup baby spinach
1 tablespoon hemp seeds


Place all ingredients in the order it appears, and blend until smooth. Enjoy fresh!

4. Fiesta Citrus Salad (serves 2)

3 large handfuls of arugula
1 grapefruit, cut into chunks
1 avocado, cut into chunks
1/4 cup pineapple chunks
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
handful of chopped cilantro or mint
5 walnuts, chopped
juice of 2 limes
1.5 tb olive oil
salt to taste


Assemble everything into the bowl, gently mix in olive oil, lime and salt and you're ready to enjoy!

5. Chicken Cabbage Tacos (serves 2)

6 red cabbage leaves to use as a taco shell (or use romaine leaves or collard greens)
2 pieces of chicken breast (about 4-6 oz each)
1/2 cup of black beans
1/2 cup chopped apples (I used gala)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 avocado, smashed into a paste
sprouts
juice of 2 limes


Assemble everything into the cabbage leaf and top with smashed avocado, sprouts and a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of salt.

 

RSVP here for my Free Workshop Next Sunday on how to Kickstart Your Body For Spring!

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4 Hormones that Could be Making You Store Fat

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There are a number of reasons you might not be losing that stubborn weight. From not exercising enough to exercising too much, or eating all the healthy foods but at the wrong times of the day, or not within the appropriate amount to positively support your body, it's easy to see how it can get confusing.

 

To get a better understanding of what's going on, we need to take a deeper dive into the body to investigate 4 specific hormones responsible in sending messages to our organs and triggering key functions that can be helping or hurting our fat loss goals. The foods we eat, the stress we endure at the gym, the downtown city air we are breathing in and more can cause these important chemicals to get out of balance and create unwanted responses that are not just causing stubborn fat loss, but they begin to cause many symptoms we may already be experiencing such as sleep disturbances, increased appetite, or that 3pm slump, to name a few. 

 

There four hormones are what might be hindering your weight-loss efforts. These little guys are like silent saboteurs, throwing all your hard weight-loss work in the garbage! But don’t worry, together we can figure out which ones might be sabotaging you, and how to fix them so they work WITH you instead of against. Now let's dive in!

 

1. INSULIN: We talked a bit about insulin in this recent blog post. Insulin is the hormone that tells your body to store the foods you eat as fat. Insulin is triggered by sugar, and if you eat too much sugar (that includes carbohydrates!) your insulin starts working overtime. Now what happens when someone works overtime too much? They get tired! That’s what happens when you eat too much sugar and your insulin has to work too hard. It gets tired and can stop working properly, making you store even more fat! 


How to fix it:

  • Avoid sugar. That includes simple carbohydrates like bread, pasta, white potatoes, or anything with refined sugar or excess fructose content like pop, candy and baked goods.
  • Increase your protein intake. Especially when you eat carbs. That means when you have that apple (yes fruit is sugar too!) eat it with some almonds or a boiled egg.

 

2. ESTROGEN: It’s very common for women to have estrogen imbalance. Our estrogen levels fluctuate every single month naturally with our menstrual cycles. But did you know that there are synthetic estrogens in our environment that can be absorbed into our bodies, taking our natural estrogen cycles for a ride? Those extra estrogens can cause weight gain, cellulite, acne, infertility, PMS and all kinds of really serious problems. Men! You too can be affected by the estrogen that is present in the environment, and exposure to chemicals as well.

 
How to fix it:

  • Avoid plastic that contains the chemical BPA. BPA has been linked to increasing levels of estrogen in the human body. If you do eat or drink from plastic, make sure it’s BPA free.
  • Avoid or limit soy products - read labels! Soy can be hidden in all kinds of places!
  • Limit alcohol as this can affect the liver’s ability to metabolise estrogen
  • Increase your fibre intake (approx. 25 to 30 grams per day)

 

3. LEPTIN: Leptin is the awesome hormone that tells you when you’re full. If your body isn’t producing enough leptin, you might not be able to tell when you’re actually full, which can lead to overeating. Normally, leptin is released when you ingest food and signals your brain that you’re not hungry anymore. However, certain things can throw your leptin out of whack.

 
How to fix it:

  • Make sure you get good quality sleep.
  • Eat slowly and mindfully. Leptin takes time to signal your brain that you’re no longer hungry. It actually takes between 15-20 minutes for leptin to do its job. So if you inhale your food, you’ll already be on your third serving before you finally realize you’re no longer hungry.
  • Chew your food. This will not only help with digestion, but it’ll also give leptin more time to do it’s job.
  • Avoid MSG at all costs. 

 

4. CORTISOL: Cortisol is the Big Daddy of stress hormones. Cortisol is produced when your body feels under threat. Cortisol helps us survive in dangerous situations by telling us to be aware, run or fight for our lives. The problem is that these days, everything coming at us is stressful. Our jobs are stressful, our marriages are stressful, our families stress us out, driving makes us crazy, and even watching movies can be stressful! All that stress in our daily lives is raising our cortisol levels well beyond what our bodies can handle. That’s not good! Elevated cortisol levels can actually slow your metabolism which, needless to say, is not good for weight-loss!

How to fix it:

  • Introduce calming practices to your daily routine like yoga, meditation or deep belly breathing
  • Get more sleep, make your room pitch black and cool temperature (around 15-20C) for deep sleep
  • Get out in nature as much as you can
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Listen to relaxing music when you feel your stress levels rising
  • Ask for support from family and friends

 

If you believe any of these hormones are out of whack, send me an email and let me help you work on solutions to this.


Need more nutrition support? Join our Fit & Healthy Nutrition Facebook Group for daily motivation and nutrition tips! Or email me maya@fitfactoryfitness.com to set up your FREE 10 minute nutritional consultation. 

Find more recipes and nutrition info here: www.mayaeid.com

instagram: @maya_nutrition

 


21 Day New Year Reboot Challenge

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Oh, the holidays. A time where we test the elasticity of our stomachs and our tolerance to alcohol (and family members). As much as we had a blast gathering around with our loved ones as we feasted around the clock, what's done is done and the New Year is our time to move forward and give our bodies a rest from the over indulgences. The aftermath of the festive season may have left you feeling bloated, tired, and with several unwanted pounds. If you are feeling like you want to scrub out your insides and clean up your diet, a nutritionist-tested detox is the best solution to reset your body by eliminating all the built up toxins.

 

But what are toxins anyway?
A toxin is a chemical or poison that is known to have harmful effects on the body. Toxins can come from additives in our food, pesticides on our produce, toxic contaminants in our water, chemicals found in household products, and toxic compounds from environmental pollution.

Sometimes we willingly expose ourselves to even more toxins like alcohol, cigarette smoke, sugar, and junk food. Good news is that our bodies are specifically designed to remove those toxins through organs like the liver and kidneys and eliminate them in the form of sweat, urine, and feces. However, the unfortunate news is that because of lifestyle, food, and environmental burdens in our modern society, our bodies have trouble keeping up with this bombardment of daily toxic exposure. This is where signs and symptoms in our bodies reveal themselves, which can include: 

  • trouble losing weight
  • brain fog
  • unexplained exhaustion
  • insomnia
  • unexplained headaches
  • mood swings
  • bad body odour
  • constipation
  • muscle aches and pains
  • skin reactions or allergies
  • depression
  • reduced libido
  • sensitivity to scents
  • indigestion/bloating
     

This 3-week challenge is designed to help you:

  • eliminate cravings
  • detoxify your body from all the excess sugar, carbs, and alcohol
  • shed the holiday pounds... and then some!
  • increase energy
  • improve performance in your workouts
  • improve your sleep
  • heal digestive system complaints
  • improve bowel function
  • ramp up metabolism

 

What you will receive:

  • 6 Essential Meal Blueprints: Step-by-step eating guide to teach you how to put together well balanced breakfasts, lunches, dinners & snacks.
  • Complete Kitchen Stocking List: Know which detox-friendly food items you should always have on hand.
  • Recipes & Meal Plan: Vegan & Vegetarian options available.
  • BONUS! 21 Day Unlimited Support: Accountability, Motivation and Support from unlimited access to my private Facebook group community. This is where you can ask me ANY of your health and nutrition related questions 24/7. Share your wins and struggles with like-minded members. Online seminar covering tons of healthy eating tips & tricks.
  • Kick Off Session with Maya: Fit Factory Lounge Area / Sunday January 7th, 3-4pm

    JOIN FOR ONLY $109+tax


Benefits of this Challenge: At the end of these 21 days you will feel lighter and more empowered to continue on this healthy lifestyle, where day-to-day food decisions don't overwhelm you. You will know exactly how to put together a healthy meal that helps to continually nourish and cleanse your body because you have been guided for 21 days so that in the end you can finally feel confident with your food choices and eating habits.


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"I couldn’t have asked for more out of the 21 Day Reboot. 6lbs lost in total. I now have healthier, more nutritious and tasty meal options! And the snacks and beverages are to die for (and super filling)! THANKS Maya Eid and Fit Factory Fitness!" - Candace 

"In such a short period of time I've lost 15 pounds, gained muscle, reduced my body fat from 20% to 18%. The challenge was much easier and tastier than I expected, and has ingrained invaluable cooking and eating habits that are here to stay!" - Taylor


Are you ready to make the move towards a clean 2018? Get the 21 Day New Year Reboot Challenge for only $109+tax! REGISTER HERE so you don't miss out on this transformational journey!

I am 100% confident that you will get incredible results! And I look forward to personally supporting you towards increased energy, improved digestion, and a leaner you!!


5 Tips on How to Enjoy the Holidays Without the Guilt

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I know that the Holidays can be a stressful time, especially revolving around food. But I want you to know that you can definitely enjoy the holidays (including the traditional treats!) feeling much more relaxed and happier when you use these tips I share with you below:


Top 5 tips on how to enjoy the holidays without any guilt:

  1. Don't skip meals! By showing up hungry to the party you are setting yourself up to overeat and make poor food choices.

    The trick is to start the feast with a salad, baked veggies, or soup followed by a protein so that you begin filling your stomach up with dense nutrients, leaving little space for the breads and casseroles that tend to be the bloat culprits.

    I also recommend taking a high quality digestive enzyme with your meal to help with digestion so you can absorb the nutrients from your food better, ultimately reducing bloating and that sensation of food sitting in your stomach.

  2. Stay hydrated every day! H2O is the simplest way to naturally cleanse your body and help you differentiate whether you're truly hungry or just thirsty.

  3. Eating mindfully and be selective with your indulgences. Eat slowly and enjoy every bite! Be selective with what's on your plate so you're not loading up on empty calories. Wait about 20 minutes before going for seconds as this will allow some time for your brain to know that your stomach has had enough! Why not save that room for dessert anyway, right? Choose 1 dessert that you have been eyeing, and savour every delicious morsel.

  4. Contribute a healthy side dish or dessert for the dinner. This is a great strategy to ensure there will be at least something nutritious or made with better quality ingredients at the party for you to enjoy.

  5. Move your body! Try not to get into the mindset that you must workout so you can eat more or burn off all the calories from the night before. Instead, focus on how exercise helps to improve your mood and energy, also greatly reducing any heightened stress or anxiety you have during this season.

By making smarter choices and planning ahead you will be breezing through this winter season feeling and looking your best! :)


Mini Challenge of the Week
 
Practice eating mindfully. During the holidays with temptations all around us, it's easy to indulge impulsively without paying much attention to the price we will be paying the next few days (bloating, mood swings, lethargy, digestive upset, skin breakouts, etc).

Practice with taking your time to eat your meal (time yourself 20 minutes to finish it), chew until the food is a paste, and if you choose to indulge, make sure it's something you truly enjoy eating and savour every bite so you don't feel the need to go for seconds. 


Looking for an easy to follow meal plan? Check out my 21 Day Crunch Time Meal Plan Program to help you lose weight and fight cravings using deliciously balanced recipes. Perfect for busy bodies who don't have alot of time to spend cooking.

Visit the link for instant download of the program! www.mayaeid.com/mealplan

For one-on-one consultations email maya@fitfactoryfitness.com for an initial free 10 minute consultation to discuss your health goals!


What to Eat to Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels

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Are you starving when you wake up in the morning? Does that 3pm slump hit you like clockwork every day? Do you sometimes get so hungry you feel like you’re going to pass out? When you’re angry, do your friends and family members sometimes comment that you must be hungry?

If any of the above examples sound like you, listen up! I’ve got some life changing advice.

I’m going to introduce you to the two hormones that might be taking you on a wild ride every single day. And while you may have heard of them before, what you may not know is that they play a super important role in maintaining a healthy weight.

INSULIN. I’m sure you’ve heard the word. Insulin is the hormone that keeps the level of sugars running around in your blood stream balanced.

So when you eat that piece of birthday cake, or you chow down on that bagel, a surge of insulin is produced in your body to get all that sugar out of the blood stream and into storage. Sugars get stored in your liver, muscles and fat cells. Uh oh, that’s right. Fat!

Basically, your body’s reaction to insulin is “STORE THE SUGAR!”

GLUCAGON does the opposite. When your blood sugar is low, your body releases Glucagon to tell your fat cells to “RELEASE THE SUGAR!” so that you have something to burn for energy.

Glucagon is your fat incinerator!

So, with these two hormones being released in our bodies depending on how much sugar is in our blood, things can get a little crazy!

If you eat too much sugar, you’ll release a lot of insulin. Once the insulin has done its job and your food is all digested, glucagon will come out to try and balance things back out, sending you into a hormonal seesaw!

This hormonal seesaw is what can cause the symptoms I mentioned in the opening paragraph. Plus, you could end up storing excess weight since your hormones are all out of whack and unable to balance out.

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image credit: www.thatcleanlife.com

So, how do you avoid this crazy hormonal seesaw? A balanced diet is the key. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat sugar or carbs. It just means that you need to combine that sugar and carbs with protein, fibre and fat too.

Protein, fibre, and healthy fats will slow down the absorption of the sugars, making insulin release more slowly. When insulin slows down, glucagon slows down, and your hormonal seesaw will balance out, making you feel less hangry (hungry + angry) all the time.

So remember! For balanced hormones you need a balanced diet. Make sure to eat every 3-4 hours to avoid further energy dips. Here's a little visual below so you get a better idea. 


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Looking for an easy to follow meal plan? Check out my 21 Day Crunch Time Meal Plan Program to help you lose weight and fight cravings using deliciously balanced recipes. Perfect for busy bodies who don't have alot of time to spend cooking.

 

Visit the link for instant download of the program! www.mayaeid.com/mealplan

 

For one-on-one consultations email maya@fitfactoryfitness.com for an initial free 10 minute consultation to discuss your health goals!


What to Eat in the Fall/Winter to Stay Fit & Healthy (Recipe included!)

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Fall is a time of natural transition, to reset your system, slow down and restore your body's health. As the we move into Winter, it can become more tempting to pull out the baggy clothes and relax your healthy routine. But beware! This is how the pounds creep on, and sadly this extra weight can hang around for months or years to come! Below I explain what to eat for the cooler months ahead to prevent the common weight gain and flu, and keep you energized, warm, and balanced:

  • Fruits are kept to a minimum in the cooler months, eat seasonal fruits like apples and pears. 
  • Avoid too many raw foods during cooler months because they tend to cool the body and can deplete our digestive "fire" which is the ability to assimilate food efficiently. Note: If you love smoothies any time of the year, drink them at room temperature. Option to add ginger, cayenne or cinnamon to bring more warmth to the body.
  • Sip chai tea, cook with garlic, onions, chilli spices, cinnamon, ginger, enjoy soups, stews, steamed dark leafy greens, starchy carbs like oatmeal, quinoa, beans and root vegetables like squash and sweet potatoes.
  • Consume probiotic rich foods: These sources are fermented and contain lots of good bacteria to help boost your immune system. Examples: kefir (fermented milk) and yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, pickled vegetables (NOT the commercial kinds!) miso soup, kimchi, tempeh. Yogurt should contain active and live cultures on the label.
  • Eat fats! Fats keep us warm in the winter. They help us combat dry skin and hair and give us energy! Examples: Coconut oil, organic butter, nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados, flax, chia, hemp seeds.
  • Eat foods that boost serotonin (the mood boosting hormone!) Examples: Oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel. Also a good source of Vitamin D which is useful in the winter to combat seasonal affective disorder or the general "winter blahs".
  • Avoid caffeine! It taxes the adrenals and affects blood sugar, and suppresses serotonin.


APPLE CINNAMON OATMEAL CRUMBLE (makes 3 servings)

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This super comforting and delicious oatmeal breakfast is straight out of my upcoming Meal Prep Program launching this Fall! I'm a big fan of batch cooking to help save time during these extra busy months and this recipe makes enough for 3 breakfasts for the week. This breakfast is full of healthy fats, protein, fibre and complex carbs to give you energy all morning! Give it a go and tag me on Instagram (@maya_nutrition) when you try it! 

  • 1.5 cups dry rolled oats
  • a couple pinches of sea salt or pink salt 
  • 2.5 cups almond milk
  • 4 tsps cinnamon powder
  • 2 cups diced apple
  • 1 tb coconut oil
  • 3 tb ground flax seeds
  • 3 tb shredded coconut flakes
  • 3 tb crushed walnuts
  • 3 tsp maple syrup

    Bring almond milk and a couple pinches of salt to a boil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently.
     
    Add oats and 2 tsps of cinnamon; cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes until desired consistency (note that it continues to thicken up as it cools down!)
     
    Sauté diced apples in 1tb of coconut oil and 2tsp cinnamon powder in a pan on medium heat until a little browned and softened, about 3 minutes.
     
    Divide the oatmeal into 3 large mason jars and top with cooked apples, and 1 tb each of ground flax, shredded coconut, and crushed walnuts, drizzle each with 1 tsp of maple syrup.
     
    Secure lid once oatmeal cools down.

Need more nutrition support? Join our Fit & Healthy Nutrition Facebook Group for daily motivation and nutrition tips! Or email me maya@fitfactoryfitness.com to set up your FREE 10 minute nutritional consultation.

If reading this on mobile, search: Fit & Healthy Private Group on facebook.

 


How to Stay Fit & Healthy While on Vacation

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The summer is a popular time for travel and it can be quite the challenge for those of us making our best efforts to stay healthy. Airports are swimming with fast food chains and over salted airline food with rarely any fresh food options (that don't cost you an arm and a leg). Also when you are hungry and tired, you're more tempted to grab whatever convenient foods you can get your hands on.

What's my trick to avoid all of this added stress? PREPARATION!

Below I share what I do when traveling and strategies on how to eat healthy but still enjoy some of the destination's delicacies at the same time. Put all these tips into use and I promise you'll come back from vacation looking and feeling better than when you left! 

Pack your own airplane-friendly food items:

  • Vegetables like carrots, celery, cucumber, bell peppers and/or rice cakes with a small container of hummus or single serve packets of nut butters
  • Pre peeled hard boiled eggs, or egg muffins (recipe below)
  • Turkey, chicken or beef, cooked and sliced
  • Pre-baked sweet potato fries/wedges
  • 1-2 ripe avocados
  • Fruits like apples, pears, berries
  • Pre-made salad (already dressed so it can pass through security)
  • Dried fruit and nuts/seeds mix, portioned in small ziploc bags, or pick up Central Roast brand
  • Coconut chips
  • Healthy energy/protein bars (Lara Bars, Go Macro Bars, Vega Bars, Genuine Health fermented protein bars, Kewaza, Bounce)
  • Oatmeal packets you simply add hot water to
  • Protein powder you mix with water

Stay hydrated!
  • Bringing a stainless steel, BPA-free, or glass water bottle to always fill up with drinking water is a saviour so you don't have to always buy plastic water bottles.
  • Make sure to consume at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces! More if you are in a hot climate.
  • You can also bring your own tea to drink during the flight! My faves: ginger and peppermint to aid digestion and chamomile to help you relax.

Bring these supplements for good digestion and a flat belly

My strategy on how I eat healthy... while still indulging:
  • Enjoy a delicacy per day, but not at every meal: Instead of going all out because being on vacation is a good excuse to, look forward to trying one new thing each day instead. Be choosy what you decide to enjoy and eat it mindfully. 
  • Stick to whole foods as much as possible! Feast on at least one massive salad a day or get at least 5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day (raw or cooked), along with a daily greens powder if where you're vacationing doesn't have much fresh food. But if it does, this is a great opportunity to try the local produce in the country you're visiting and benefit from all the fresh flavours!


Lastly, do your best and don't stress, you're on vacation after all and your body will function better since it's relaxed! 

 

 

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Pictured above: A dinner my friend and I prepared in our airbnb kitchen while on vacation
in South of Italy this summer. We enjoyed homemade bruschetta on gluten free bread,
a big colourful salad coated in olive oil, and fresh cheeses. Delizioso!



Travel Friendly Egg Muffins Recipe

yields: 2-3 servings. Can be doubled to fit a 12 slot muffin tin

  • coconut or olive oil (for greasing a non-stick muffin pan)
  • 6 organic free range (pasture-raised) eggs 
  • 1 large pinch of sea salt
  • 1 large pinch of fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup altogether of: broccoli florets - finely chopped in little bits, red peppers finely chopped, green onion finely chopped (finely chopped veggies ensures a firmer, less spongy egg muffin)
  • a couple dashes of spices or herbs, fresh or dried - parsley, basil, chives, dried oregano, cayenne or chilli flakes, garlic

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or grease the pan with olive oil or coconut oil. Take a bowl and crack all 6 eggs in there and whisk until blended. Toss in the broccoli, red peppers and green onions. Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes or until the egg mixture is just set.

 

 


Maya Eid is Fit Factory's in house nutritionist. She works with clients one-on-one as well as runs seasonal fat loss/cleanse group programs to help people successfully reach their health and fitness goals. Book a complimentary consultation with her to get started and learn more on how she can help you improve your nutrition! 

 

Follow Maya on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for practical nutritional advice and wellness tips.


5 Tips To Reduce Stubborn Belly Fat

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Many people have a hard time reducing fat around their midsection normally due to poor dietary, lifestyle and exercise choices (yes even exercise can increase belly fat! I explain this below). Aside from aesthetics, carrying extra fat specifically around your abdomen (the nerdy term is visceral fat) is a clear sign of hormonal imbalance and is actually harmful to your health as these fat cells can actually pave the way for increased risks of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and dementia.


The two of the most common hormone imbalances responsible for that belly pooch are chronically elevated levels of insulin and cortisol. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels to tell us whether to store or burn fat, and cortisol is a hormone that is released when our body is under stress (it fluctuates throughout the day which is completely normal), but if either are at constantly high levels your body actually resists weight loss and what shows up is the dreaded ab flab!

So what can you do to help rebalance these hormones?

  1. Get sufficient sleep: Make it a priority to get your 7-9 hours of sleep to keep cortisol regulated.
  2. Manage stress: You can't avoid stress, but look at ways you can control it like meditation, deep belly breathing, and moderate exercise. If you drink coffee, reduce consumption as it worsens already high cortisol levels and opt for green tea instead.
  3. Don't overdo the exercise: There is a fine line between training hard and overtraining. Too much exercise can push the body’s stress response too far, actually harming your efforts in losing belly fat as over exerting your body increases cortisol production. Look to incorporate a fitness routine that includes heavy weight training, with a few high intensity exercises and yoga to keep cortisol regulated. Also rest days are crucial to help repair and restore the body so don't be afraid of a little time off if you want to see results.
  4. Avoid alcohol: Skip the 6-pack if you want that six pack 'cause it ain't called a beer belly for nothing. This includes juices and sodas. Liquid calories and refined sugar causes insulin to spike and store fat instead of use it as fuel. Instead, load up on filtered water. General guideline is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water (at least!) throughout the day to help clean out your system and increase metabolism.
  5. Upgrade your nutrition: In order to take advantage of insulin's fat burning effects, consume your starchy carbohydrates post workout and focus the rest of your meals with a quarter of your plate of lean protein, a couple tablespoons of healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil, and at least half your plate with fibrous (non-starchy) vegetables and leafy greens. Pictured below is a great example of a belly fat-burning meal.



If you've already been implementing these tips and still not seeing a reduction in belly fat, this would call for further investigation and it's best to work with a qualified health practitioner to uncover the root cause and find the solution. Book a free consultation with our in house nutritionist Maya Eid to help get you closer to your summer goals!
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Pictured: Baby kale, parsley, tuna, hummus, carrots, olives, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Find more meal examples and tips on Maya's Instagram Page







What Is Your Poo Telling You?

what is your poo telling you




Your digestive health reveals a ton about your eating and lifestyle habits, and your poo is a clue. If you’re normally feeling sluggish, having trouble losing weight or getting in shape then digestion is worth the investigation. When you're working with me as a 1:1 client you can bet I'm going to ask you about your doody duties because it helps us get to the *bottom* of things (ha!). 

How do you assess your poo quality? Turn around and look down! Make it a daily habit so you can track any trends and refer to this chart below as a primer:


bristol-stool-chart_copy


Your bowel movements are not up to par if you continuously experience:
• A day without pooping, or pooping too much in a day (1-3/day is optimal)
• Extremely foul-smelling poop
• A huge effort or a long time to evacuate
• A different colour other than brown (unless your last meal involved spinach or beets for example, the hue will change and that's OK)
• Different shapes and textures (the perfect poo should look like Type 4 in the chart above)
• If it floats or sinks isn't a huge issue but rather an indicator of fat (float) to fibre (sink) ratio


A good-looking poo means:
• You've got strong core muscles
• Your digestive system is working well
• You’re getting enough fibre and other nutrients
• Your hormones are balanced
• You aren’t overly stressed
• Your gut environment is happy and balanced


Contributing factors
Sub-optimal bowel movements are trying to tell you something important. Where can you improve in the following?

Poor diet and food sensitivities: Consuming sugar, processed foods, refined grains, food preservatives, lack of hydration, food sensitivities, and not eating enough fruits and vegetables can cause bowel dysfunction. Keep a food diary for a couple weeks to track what you eat and any symptoms you notice. Talk to a qualified health practitioner about an elimination diet to help track the culprits.

Stress: Delaying bathroom time because of a busy schedule is a common reason people get backed up. Never ignore the need to pass a bowel movement as too much water can be absorbed from the stool and it can become dry and impacted leading to constipation. Irregular eating patterns, eating on the run and making less healthy food choices, all can contribute to constipation. A more direct affect of stress is its impact on the nervous system which causes an interruption of normal signal functions. When you are tense, your colon restricts leading to constipation. Nervousness and anxiety can have a strong effect on the gut and intestinal muscle commonly leading to diarrhea. A qualified health practitioner can help pin point stress hormone imbalances and work with you to resolve them.

Gut flora imbalances and poor digestive health: When we have a good supply of friendly bacteria in our intestines we are much more regular. However, antibiotics, stress, certain medications, jet lag or shift work, travelling, aging, blood sugar irregularities, and a poor diet can all lead to gut flora imbalances which may predispose us to constipation. Health issues like Crohn’s and colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and low thyroid function can cause havoc on our digestive system and it's best to work with a qualified health practitioner to uncover what's going on. Eat fermented foods and consider a high quality probiotic to help get you started.

You're exercising too much or not enough: Physical activity favours intestinal mobility and so a sedentary lifestyle can lead to constipation. However, overtraining can cause major stress on the body too, causing loose or watery stool since blood flow to the gut is being reduced during exercise. Notice if you are experiencing constant muscle aches or fatigue and instead reduce intense workouts days and add more active recovery days like an easy swim, yoga, or a walk.

BONUS TIP: Pop a Squat! Humans were evolutionarily designed to squat when defecating and the modern day toilet does not favour this posture for complete elimination. One action you can take today if you are commonly spending too much time in the bathroom is to prop your legs up on a step stool when sitting on the toilet to help align the rectum and anal canal for easy pooping. If you think I'm talking shit then read about it here ;) 


As you can see there are many factors in play when it comes to achieving the holy grail of a perfectly formed poop and its relation to hitting your health goals. If you'd like personalized guidance on achieving your health and fitness goals, book a complimentary consultation with our in-house nutritionist Maya Eid today.
 

 

 


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