How To Eat For Your Body Type

Did you know that there are three general categories of body types?  

They are called Somatotypes and the three are i) ectomorph, ii) mesomorph, and iii) endomorph.

Most people will find their natural tendencies in one of these groups, however, it's highly likely that many people won't fit perfectly into just one of the somatotypes.  Oftentimes, people will have characteristics from each type.  

One's body type may also change over time due to lifestyle choices such as nutrition and fitness.

3 Somatotypes

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Body type is more than just about looks.  Each body type has some key characteristics that determine what foods are best to eat for energy.  In general, somatotypes can provide information about the response to food intake and metabolic differences between people.

Let's look at some highlights and differences between ecto, meso, and endomorphs.

Ectomorphs

  • typically thin individuals with thinner bone structure (e.g. models, marathon runners, Gwyneth Paltrow)
  • fast metabolism
  • higher carbohydrate tolerance 

Diet

  • ectomorphs can tolerate (and need) more carbs than the other somatotypes; 
  • at each meal, ectomorph women should eat protein (1 palm), veggies (1 fist), carb dense foods (2 cupped handfuls), and healthy fats (1/2 thumb)

 

Mesomorphs 

  • typically medium bone structure (e.g.  gymnasts, sprinters, Madonna)
  • propensity to gain lean muscle mass and maintain low body fat if active

Diet

  • a balanced diet of protein, carbs and healthy fats work best for mesomorphs; 
  • at each meal, mesomorph women should eat protein (1 palm), veggies (1 fist), carb dense foods (1 cupped handful), and healthy fats (1 thumb)

 

Endomorphs 

  • typically larger bone structure and curvaceous (e.g. Beyonce, Ashley Graham, powerlifters)
  • higher amounts of total body mass and fat mass 
  • generally not as efficient at burning off excess calories
  • lower carbohydrate tolerance 

Diet

  • endomorphs have less tolerance for carbs (and needs) than other somatotypes;
  • at each meal, endomorph women should eat protein (1 palm), veggies (1 fist), carb dense foods (1/2 cupped handful), and healthy fats (2 thumbs)

In general, physical activity will increase your tolerance for your macronutrient intake regardless of your somatotype.

As well, our bodies will (and have) changed as we move through life or with lifestyle changes.  So the nutritional strategies we adopt may change over time.  

In general, experiment with different approaches to find what works best for you.  These are simply general guidelines for the various body types.

Detox From The Inside Out

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10 Tips on Detoxing

In today's blog, I'll present 10 tips on detoxing from the inside out to help you decide if doing a detox is right for you, plus I'll bust some common myths.

What is (internal) detoxification? 

Detoxification is about getting rid of toxins in the body and cleansing our organs from environmental pollutants, food waste, harmful bacteria and other substances such as alcohol, medications, and parasites. 

So, how do you know when it’s time for a detox?  Some common symptoms are:

    •    Unexplained fatigue/sluggish

    •    Brain fog

    •    Skin irritations

    •    Allergies

    •    Menstrual issues

    •    Slow bowel movement

The most common reasons I hear why people feel the need to detox are a) they want to "cleanse" after overeating/drinking, b) they're always feeling tired and think detoxing will give them an energy boost, and/or c) they want to lose weight. 

Here are 10 tips to help you detoxify your body without having to go through a detox diet.

Tip #1 - Include natural detox choices in your daily life.

Many people think that a “cleanse” or “detox” will undo the damage from over-indulging and rid toxins from our bodies.  This is somewhat false because a detox may help you feel cleansed in the short-term, but once off the detox plan, there needs to be a sustainable long-term plan, otherwise, one may go back to old ways and over-indulge, gain weight back, etc.

The truth is, the human body is a natural detoxification machine!  It's designed to constantly get rid of waste.

The colon and kidneys are key organs to help eliminate waste through urination or bowel movements.  The kidneys are key players in removing waste from the blood and regulating the water fluid levels.

The lungs filter out toxins in the air we breathe and expels it as carbon dioxide.

The liver is a complex organ that has many functions including helping the body get rid of waste, toxins, and other substances. 

The skin is our largest organ and eliminates toxins through sweating.  Often when the other detoxifying organs are compromised, toxins will begin to come through the skin as acne, rashes, blemishes, pimples or sores.

The lymphatic system consists of lymph fluid which contains white blood cells that flow through the body, and its job is to collect unwanted "debris" such as fats, bacteria and other harmful materials.  The debris is filtered through the lymph nodes which act as filters and capillaries.  Through our daily movement, the debris gets eliminated through our body's natural detoxification processes such as bowel movement/urination, sweating, and breathing.

So you can see that the human body has its own natural cleansing process, which can be boosted with regular detox practices.  Which is why my best advice for detoxing is to include natural detox choices in your daily life (rather than doing short-term detox programs).  

Tip #2:  ADD more foods into your diet vs eliminating foods

No one likes deprivation right?  Can I get a here here?  

Many people believe that detox equates to dieting.  In other words, eliminating various foods and sip on green juice all day!  This is false.

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Detox doesn’t mean deprivation.  Instead, think about detoxing as adding more plant foods to your diet that will help alleviate that stuffed feeling from overeating/drinking.  Add in veggies and fruit that stimulate your body’s natural detoxification system, such as cruciferous vegetables (bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, rapini, watercress, etc) and berries.  

Eat more plant-based proteins such as whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.  Have less or no animal protein which lessens your exposure to hormones and potential chemicals or pharmaceuticals.  Try to go organic when possible to further minimize exposure to potential toxins.

You see, detoxing is not about cleaning your body, but rather re-nourishing your body by adding the right kind of nutrients to help your body convert toxins to a water-soluble form for excretion through bowel movements and urination.

Tip #3:  Eat moderate amounts of food and listen to your body. 

Eating too much accumulates more toxins in your body.  Tune into your hunger and satiety cues. Simply eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re comfortably full (and not stuffed).   

Sometimes we simply eat because it's supposedly time to (e.g. lunch is at noon, dinner at 6:30 pm).  However, I'd like to challenge you to eat when your stomach tells you to.  Wait for the little tummy grumbling, which is your body telling you it's time to eat and not the clock.

Tip #4:  Drink water to keep you hydrated and your skin looking healthy.   

The kidneys are major players in toxin elimination, so keep them clean by drinking enough water to stay hydrated.  If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated.  Try not to get to that point.  

Get into the habit of carrying around a water bottle.  Drink at least half your body weight in water ounces per day.  E.g. Drink 75 ounces in your 150 lbs.  You may need a bit more if you exercise, engage in physical activity or live in a humid climate. 

Tip #5:  Drink sugar-free, dairy-free, decaffeinated drinks.  

Herbal teas are a good choice.  Take a break from inflammatory foods like sugar, dairy, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol.  

Tip #6: Limit or eliminate sugary snacks and refined carbs.

Limit your exposure to low-nutrient and inflammatory foods such as chips, cookies, pastries, and muffins.  Ever feel like you can go through a bag of chips or cookies, yet still feel hungry?  That's because these foods are empty calories and you're not getting the best bang for your buck.    These hyper-palatable foods don't fill you up (yet you're consuming the high calories), so you may end up eating more than necessary.  

Replace these snacks with more nutrient-dense foods that will give you energy and keep you satiated longer.  Try apple slices with nut butter, veggie sticks + hummus or guacamole, nuts and seeds, berries or green smoothies.  

Tip #7:  Get regular exercise and/or movement.

Regular exercise helps remove toxins from your body and shed fat.  There are toxins in subcutaneous fat (fat you can pinch), and exercise can help shed that fat.  

A common myth is that detox diets help shed fat.  This is false.  You may lose weight, but not fat.  Detoxing rids water weight and muscle mass.

So if you want to lose weight and keep lean muscle, eating well and exercising is your solution versus detoxing.  

Here are some of the ways exercising helps detoxify the body:

  1. You sweat. The skin is cleansed from the inside out through perspiration. Many toxins can be eliminated through the skin by sweating.
  2. Moving the body forces heavier breathing, circulation, stretching, and sweating - all which speed up detoxification.  Plus by drinking more water, your body can flush out toxins, fats and waste even more effectively.
  3. Moving the body helps to circulate both blood and lymph. The more they circulate, the more the liver and lymph nodes can do the job of cleansing and purify the blood and lymph.
  4. Exercise improves digestion and bowel movement.
  5. Exercise strengthens the heart and helps the lungs increase their capacity to expel carbon dioxide as a waste product.
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If you can't fit in regular exercise, then at the very least, move often in your daily life.  Get up and walk around frequently, stand up vs sitting too much, take the stairs, park further away, do chores vigorously, walk the dog...really anything that moves your body and increases your heart rate is better than being sedentary.

Tip #8:  Stop eating after dinner.  Try and give your body a 12-14 hour fasting window.  This gives the body a break from food and digestion.  Sleep may be improved as well if you don’t have a full stomach as you’re trying to sleep.

Tip #9:  Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep.

The glymphatic system is the body's natural waste disposal system for the brain.  It acts similarly to the body's lymphatic system, but is managed by brain cells.  

The glymphatic system clears away toxins or waste products that's implicated in brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders.

Studies indicate that the glymphatic system is nearly 10 times more active during sleep.  Meaning, the sleeping brain removes significantly more plaque in the brain than the waking brain.  

So it’s important for adults to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night to allow the body to properly remove the plaque and leave you feeling refreshed when you wake up!

Tip #10:  Get outside for sunlight and fresh air.  

This is one of the best natural ways to detox.  You’ll get an instant energy boost from vitamin D and by breathing in fresh air.  Studies have shown that if you get just 20 minutes of sunshine per day, your body starts producing over 200 antimicrobials to help kill off bad bacteria, funguses, viruses, and parasites throughout your body.  So go for a device-free 20-30 minute walk outside everyday! 

So there you go, 10 things you can do immediately to help your body boost its natural detoxification process.  

Do you have any other natural detox tips?  Please leave a comment.

7 Tips To Beat The Belly Bloat

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Ever have those days when your jeans won’t zip up and your top feels tight around the middle due to belly bloat?  

Or perhaps, you may have woken up with a flat belly, but by mid-day, your belly is distended and swollen like a beach ball.  Even though you didn't overeat?  

You wonder, is it from last night’s dinner?  Or too much salt?  Did I drink too much?  Is it just air?  All the above?

Yes, it’s frustrating.  But you're not alone, it happens to all of us. 

 

Below are 7 tips to beat the belly bloat (some may surprise you as it has nothing to do with food).

Tip #1 - Slow down and chew, chew, chew

In today’s hectic life, it seems that thoroughly chewing your food is a lost art!  By thoroughly chewing vs inhaling your food, you will eat slower.  This will help avoid feeling bloated because you will inhale less air and allow time for your brain to realize that you’re full.  People who eat fast, will tend to eat more (and feel too full or bloated).  

 Put 20-minutes on your timer.

Put 20-minutes on your timer.

ACTION STEP:  Put 20 minutes on your phone timer and eat your meal within that time and no sooner.  Eat small bites, slowly and really savour your food.  To limit the amount of air swallowed, avoid drinking through a straw, chewing gum, talking and eating at the same time or eating too quickly.  Limit or eliminate carbonated drinks.  The carbon dioxide in these drinks end up as a gas released in your stomach which will make you look and feel bloated.

Tip #2 - Rule out food allergies and sensitivities (intolerances) 

Food sensitivities are digestive related and cause an inability for your body to break down or process a food.  E.g. Lactose intolerance means the body can’t break down lactose (main sugar in dairy). 

Food allergies are immune system related and more severe than food sensitivities.  Food allergies cause an immediate reaction in the body.  In some cases, food allergies can be fatal. 

Be aware of foods that you may be sensitive to as it may be the culprit to excess gas, bloating and other reactions. 

Some common food intolerances that cause digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating and discomfort include:

    •    Lactose

    •    Wheat and gluten

    •    Eggs    

    •    Fructose

ACTION STEP:  Try eliminating foods that you suspect may cause intolerances and see how you feel.  In a few weeks, reintroduce the foods one at a time and be aware of any digestive symptoms.

Tip #3 - Reduce stress

Stress increases the hormone cortisol, which affects water retention.  Too much water retention will make our bellies look bloated.  So we want to keep our stress (and cortisol levels) in check as the day goes on.  Our natural cortisol levels should be highest in the morning and tapering off throughout the day, with its lowest levels at night.  

We can’t get away from stress, it’s simply part of life.  In fact, having manageable stress is actually good for us - keeps us challenged.  However, chronic stress is what we want to avoid.  

Stress raises our sympathetic nervous state (fight-or-flight).  For example, stressing about our work, our bills, our family, traffic, etc.   So the key is to balance that stress out with more parasympathetic states (rest-and-digest).  This can be any 30-minute relaxed and worry-free activity to bring your parasympathetic state up

ACTION STEP:  To reduce stress and keep cortisol levels in check, plan on a 30-minute activity per day that puts you in a relaxed and worry-free state.

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Tip #4 - Catch more zzzz’s

Lack of quality sleep contributes to digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and constipation in various ways.

Sleep affects the kidneys, which regulate water balance.  If you don’t get enough sleep, you will retain fluid and weight.  

Your body will crave bad carbs and it’s likely you’ll give in to overeating junk food and feel bloated.  Eating these empty calories won’t satiate you, meaning you’ll likely end up eating more and gain weight.

Poor sleep also raises your cortisol levels, which can cause bloating and constipation.  Cortisol has an inverse relationship with melatonin (sleep hormone).  Your cortisol levels should be at its lowest at night, and melatonin should be at its highest to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.  High cortisol levels at night mean your body is not sleeping well and won’t repair and rejuvenate as it should.

ACTION STEP:  The average adult should get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.  Use these helpful tactics to help you fall asleep and stay asleep:

  • Keep the room totally dark (try blackout curtains)
  • Set the room to 68 degrees (keep it cool)
  • Avoid blue light at least 1 hour before bed (cell phones, computers, tablets, TV)
  • Light reading before bed (nothing too stimulating)
  • Take a bath before bed (try Epsom salts and essential oils in your bath water)    
  • Use a white noise machine (for some people, this is calming)
  • Use a sleep mask and/or earplugs to keep from waking up from light or sounds
  • Avoid stimulants like caffeine and sugar hours before bed.  For most healthy adults, caffeine has a half-life of 4-6 hours.  Meaning, it takes 4-6 hours for half of the caffeine to be eliminated from your system.
  • Avoid drinking a lot of liquids before bed (this will wake you up to go to the washroom) 
  • Manage stress throughout your day
  • Make it a routine to go to bed every night at the same time
  • Get out and get some sun during the day - it helps set your circadian rhythms in order to sleep deeply at night

Tip #5 - Watch your salt intake

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A bit of salt in your body is necessary to stay healthy.  However, if sodium levels get too high or too low, then your body will experience unpleasant side effects such as gaining water weight and bloating.

If you have too much sodium, water retention and potentially hypertension (high blood pressure) will occur.  Having too little sodium will result in water loss and potentially dehydration and cardiovascular issues.  So the key is to avoid the extremes and maintain fluid balance.

ACTION STEP:  Watch the sneaky sodium content in packaged and prepared foods!  This is typically where most people take in too much salt!  

If you must salt your food, try Himalayan salt which flavours your food and contains minerals.  Avoid processed table salt.

Tip #6 - Drink enough water

It may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s important to drink enough water to avoid water retention.  Your body will hold on to water to prevent dehydration.  So give your body that internal bath and sip on water throughout the day to keep hydrated.  A good rule of thumb is to drink enough water so that you’re going to the washroom every 3-4 hours.  For the average adult, this is typically eight to 10 eight-ounce glasses per day.  Or drink at least half your body weight in water ounces per day.

Water also helps with electrolyte balance.  Electrolytes are nutrients or minerals with electrical charges found in bodily fluids. The major electrolytes in the body are calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and chloride.   These nutrients are crucial to balance fluid levels and stimulate nerves.  When electrolytes get out of balance, water retention and belly bloat will occur. 

Drinking water also prevents constipation, which is another cause of bloating.

ACTION STEP:  Make it a habit to carry around a 20-24 ounce water bottle.  Wrap 3-4 elastic bands around the bottle.  Each time you finish one bottle of water, you may take one elastic off.   Ensure by the end of the day, there are no more elastic bands around the bottle!  You may need to drink more if you’re a larger person, exercising/active, or live in a hot climate.

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Tip #7 -  Regular exercise

Your body was made to move and sweat.  Exercise or just your everyday movements will induce sweating.  If you move with some intensity, you can lose north of 16-ounces of fluid in an hour!  So sweat it out because that’s the fastest way the body eliminates toxins.  

ACTION STEP: Add exercise to your routine to decrease belly bloat.  Aim for 150-minutes of moderate-intense exercise per week or 75-minutes of vigorous exercise per week.  

If you've tried all or most of these tactics and still feel consistent bloating, then please consult a Doctor or Specialist.

Leave a comment and let me know if you tried any or all of the above tips and how it went.  Or if you have other tips to share!