Michelle Tirmandi Pregnancy Update

Baby Bump Update (27 Weeks!)

When I first found out that I was pregnant, my intention was to write regular blog posts about the experience. I intended to share the things that I was doing to have a natural and healthy pregnancy, and all the little bumps and learnings along the way.

But…sometimes, even with the best of intentions, we just don’t do what we had hoped, simply because life gets in the way! So, here I am, two thirds of the way in to my pregnancy sharing all about how about my pregnancy journey and what I have learned have so far. Better late then never, right?! {I should also probably warn you that this is a looooonng post!}

Michelle Tirmandi Pregnancy Update

27 Weeks Pregnant

This past Wednesday marked 27 weeks pregnant. (For all of those reading this who have never been pregnant and don’t feel like talking in ‘weeks’, which I agree can be somewhat annoying, 27 weeks is almost 7 months pregnant).

7 months! It feels crazy that Baby T will arrive in less than 3 months (the due date is October 5th but with only 4% of babies arriving on their actual due date, he or she could make an appearance anywhere from Sept 14 – Oct 19).

Another intention I had when this journey began was to take those cute baby pictures week by week with fruits and vegetables corresponding to the size of the baby. But, again, that didn’t happen. Instead I have been taking random selfies of my belly for when friends demand pics. Here’s my latest bump shot.

Michelle Tirmandi 27 Weeks Pregnant

My intention for this post is to share what I have learned so far along this journey, so here goes!

There is no normal in pregnancy.

Through talking to the other women in my life who have had babies, I learned pretty quickly that everyone has a very different experience with pregnancy and that no two pregnancies are the same. And while of course there are similarities with others, I have really been focused on my own journey and on finding peace in trusting my own body that it is undergoing a process that it knows how to do. It’s also been extremely helpful to have a midwife and doula who adhere to a similar philosophy and treat me as an individual.

Listening to your body is key. 

It may seem obvious to most people that you should really listen to your body during pregnancy and respond to it’s needs. But, I will be the first to admit that I have had a difficult time having to change the way that I normally live my life! At the beginning stages of pregnancy when fatigue is extremely common I found myself fighting the urge to rest. I wanted to continue on at 100 miles an hour doing a million things a day, and when my body told me to stop I didn’t want to listen. For someone who usually has way too much energy for their own good and is slightly obsessive about keeping to a fairly regular routine, it was really, really hard to shut that part of my brain off! Now, heading in to the third trimester, I’m also finding it harder to do a lot of the physical excercise that I am used to and have found myself a little bummed when I realized I couldn’t go as fast or hard as I used to.  Reminding myself that I am growing a little human inside of me who needs me to slow down and remembering that this is all temporary has helped a lot.

Physical changes are just as big as emotional changes. 

Of course the physical changes in pregnancy are huge, but one thing that I have noticed is how impactful the emotional changes have been on me. I have done a lot of work around what being a mom will mean to me, how it will change me and how I will manage those changes in the most positive way possible. Seeing close friends, and recently my sister, make the transition to motherhood has been incredibly helpful and constantly reminds me of the importance of supporting yourself with other women (it takes a village!). I’ve also been battling with the idea of letting go of control in some areas of my life (not an easy task for a control freak!).

Pregnancy can be a very enjoyable experience! 

I write in a gratitude journal regularly and almost every single day I write about how grateful I am for my health and the health of my baby. I have been very blessed with an incredibly easy and enjoyable pregnancy and haven’t experienced any of the most common complaints of pregnancy (magical pregnancy unicorn?  maybe!). My energy is still high, my digestion and skin are great,  I have no aches and pains, I have no weird food cravings and hormonally I feel extremely balanced…so far, that is!

Grateful for Everything

Even though I completely acknowledge that everyone has a different experience with pregnancy and am incredibly grateful for my wonderful experience, I know that this isn’t the case for everyone! Through this journey I have been very passionate about sharing what I know to be true around having a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy with others. I’ve also had some realizations in my business and plan to offer more services around helping women prepare for their bodies for pregnancy and learn to nourish themselves during the process (very exciting!).

With this, I  figured that I would share a little about what I have been doing to feel and stay well.

My Pregnancy Diet

Truth be told, my diet hasn’t really changed much since becoming pregnant. Besides avoiding the common unpasteurized or risky foods (i.e. raw sushi, unpasteurized cheeses etc.) and eating way more bread and cheese then I would have ever thought, I have no weird food cravings or aversions to report! A typical of day of eating includes: a glass of lemon water upon waking, a smoothie or some oats for breakfast, fruits and nuts for a snack, a big salad or bowl with some type of protein for lunch and dinner plus some type of homemade sweet treat (check out my latest matcha superfood energy balls).

Natural Supplements

I make a point of taking my supplements everyday! I know how hard it can be to be compliant with supplements, but when you know that you’re building your baby’s health through every bite of food and supplement that you take it becomes a lot easier!

Everyone’s supplement regime will be different based on their unique needs, but here’s what has been keeping me feeling great these past two trimesters (above and beyond my regular supplement regime):

I’ve also been anemic since the second trimester and have been managing that successfully through this and this.

Excercise Routine 

I am so happy that being pregnant in the summer allows for long walks and outdoor excercise! My excercise regime has stayed pretty consistent but I am just making a point to listen to my body while I am being active which generally means less intensity. I’ve been enjoying 1-2 Barre3 classes a week along with shorter at home online workouts, and 2-3 pre-natal yoga classes at the amazing Toronto Yoga Mama’s studio. I truly believe that staying active has been huge in keeping my energy levels so high.

Natural Products 

Since I am such a big proponent of natural skincare products I would be remiss without including at least a few of my favourites!

Matter Company Belly Jelly (I rub this on my belly every day to help avoid stretch marks and keep my skin feeling soft!)

Bebe de Luxe Coconut & Oat Bath Milk (I add this to my bath to keep my skin soft and smooth and it’s also great for baby’s skin too so I plan to continue to use it!)

I also a have a bunch of other amazing products that I love right now but I will share in another post because this post is already so long!

Plans for a Natural Childbirth

The biggest piece of advice that I have received about natural childbirth is to be flexible and adaptable with the birth plan. So, although my full intention and wish is to have a natural home birth, the back of my brain is prepared to adjust to whatever comes our way. That said, I’ve been listening to birth meditations for a few weeks now and plan to continue to do so until Baby T decides to make his or her arrival. I strongly believe in the importance of mentally preparing for childbirth and have been doing a lot of reading on this topic. My absolute favourite book is Ina May’s guide to Childbirth (which I plan to re-read leading up to the birth!).

New and exciting updates!

I have two very exciting announcements that I am going to be sharing soon. One of them involves  my love for sharing natural, holistic and lifestyle products that I trust and love, and the other one is a project with an amazing partner focused all around making healthy meals simpler, cheaper and easier to incorporate in your busy life. Make sure that you’re following me over on Facebook and Instagram to get the updates over the next few weeks and months!

 

DIY Enzyme Face Mask Michelle Nutrition Michelle Tirmandi Toronto Nutritionist

Pineapple & Papaya DIY Treatment Mask

DIY Enzyme Face Mask Michelle Nutrition Michelle Tirmandi Toronto Nutritionist

Last week I did a guest post for my friends over at Elxr Juice Lab all about how to glow from the inside out this summer. I wrote about how it only takes a few simple tweaks to your diet and lifestyle before you’ll start to see  that your glow starts from within! I included the recipe below and many other great tips that you can read here.

This mask helps to even and tone the skin thanks to the papaya and pineapple which contain enzymes that help to dissolve scaly, dry skin. It used often it can also help to make the pores appear smaller in size.

Ingredients

1/4 cup fresh raw papaya, mashed

1 tbsp Pina Vida, or raw pineapple juice

Instructions

Using a bowl and fork or a mortar and pestle, mash the papaya and mix with pineapple juice into a paste. Gently pat on to the face and neck and leave on for 20 minutes before rinsed. Follow up the treatment with your favourite natural moisturizer. Use approximately once per week.

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How to Spring Detox

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Last week I did a live talk in Toronto at The Big Carrot all about Spring Detoxing. It went great, but, If I’m being honest, I’ll admit that I was slightly surprised by the number of people who actually showed up! It was a beautiful evening which I assumed would mean people would rather stay at home with their BBQ’s and bevy of choice rather then attend a live nutrition talk. The huge turn out, paired with the crazy number of questions that I received after the talk really made me believe that this is a topic of interest (#amIright?!).  Of course, for those of you who weren’t able to make it, I want to share the information with you too!

The following is a simplified, 101 version of my talk “Spring Cleansing to Thrive and Glow”. I hope you find it helpful and if you’re thinking that you may be up for a little detox yourself, make sure that you read all the way to the end for my special offer on my new and improved, personalized 10 DAY SPRING DETOX!

Do I need to detox?

So, you may be thinking “Do I really need to detox?” Maybe you’ve heard or read mixed reviews about whether or not detoxing is healthy, safe, or even provides the benefits that it says it does.

I get you. It’s confusing. In fact, nutrition information in general is damn, confusing! Lets demystify.

The truth is that our bodies are amazing machines that is build to detox itself every single day. In fact, during the Spring, the body naturally and intuitively pays special attention to supporting it’s liver and gall bladder without any help from us (how cool is that!).

When I use the terms ‘detox’ or ‘cleanse’ it really is just a fancy way of saying that we’ll be spending a few consecutive days ‘supporting our natural pathways of elimination’ (via the removal of inflammatory substances with a period of focus on some mega nutritional nourishment). Truth is that the term ‘detox’ or ‘cleanse’  just sounds a lot catchier then the later.

We want to ‘detox’ every now and then because our precious little bodies can only handle so much accumulation of gunk. Each and every day a burden is added to the body by way of:

  • Unhealthy foods that cause inflammation (sugar, dairy, gluten, alcohol, caffeine etc.)
  • Environmental pollution
  • Pesticides
  • Food toxins and preservatives
  • Chemicals from beauty products + cleaning products
  • And so much more…

It’s nice to give our bodies a little break from all of this!

So what does it mean to ‘support the natural pathways of elimination?’ 

We have 5 organs that are responsible for elimination and they include the:

  • Skin (the largest organ)
  • Lungs
  • Colon
  • Lymphatic System
  • Liver (mega important for removal of toxins)

Each one of these organs has a very specific role in working to rid toxins inside your body. The cool thing is that though some simple dietary and lifestyle changes we can have a huge impact in terms of  how efficient these organs work!

Practical Detox Tips & Suggestion

Diet

The most important thing we want to consider when we think about in relation to the diet is that we want to remove the inflammatory foods:

  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Caffeine
  • Trans Fats
  • GMOS
  • Preservatives
  • Processed Foods

We also really want to focus in on the liver, the main organ of detoxification in the body, by supporting it with liver-loving foods and herbs. Some of the best include:

  • Beets
  • Dandelion greens
  • Spinach
  • Onions
  • Lemons
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Dandelion & Nettle Tea

Lifestyle Habits

There are quite a few daily habits you can incorporate to support the organs of elimination, and truthfully you can do them everyday, not just when you are on a detox or cleanse! My favourites include:

  •  Sweating & Sauna (make sure you rinse off in cold water immediately afterwards)
  • Drinking Water (1/2 body lb in oz per day and lemon water in the morning before breakfast)
  • Schedule R&R (sleep, epsom bath, yoga, massage etc.)
  • Yoga Inversions/ Twists
  • Dry Skin Brushing (read this post on reasons to dry skin brush and how to do it)

Skincare & Personal Care

Ok, this one is a huge one for me! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll now that I’m pretty much obsessed with all natural skincare and beauty products. The thing you must know is that your skin is your largest organ, (also an organ largely responsible for detoxification) and whatever you put on your skin goes in your skin! If you care about eating organic, non toxin laden foods then you must care about using products  without nasty chemicals too! Our bodies have never gotten to the point where we have actually evolved adaptive measures to protect toxins from not being absorbed in the skin. The concern is that many of the traditional beauty and cosmetics that you may have in your bathroom and make up bag contain chemicals that disrupt your hormones, cause free radical damage (premature aging) and get this – some may even be carcinogenic! (I’ll be writing a lot more about this topic in other posts, but the truth is that these products are unregulated and are often very harmful so its a great idea to start paying attention to whats in your products!).

My best tips for cleaning out your make up bag is to check out this website:

  • http://www.ewg.org/skindeep

All you need to do is enter a product that you currently use and it gives you a rating scale of 1-10 based on how toxic the ingredients are. My suggestion is to then replace products with a more natural option as you run out of them one at a time.

You can also always contact me if you’d like some guidance on what to purchase!

Supplements

Last but not least, I strongly suggest that you consider what areas in your diet are lacking and where a supplement can be supportive. The truth is that supplements are ‘supplementary’ to a healthy diet but they can have a major impact on how you look & feel, especially if you’re low in certain nutrients. With supplements it is also extremely important to ensure the quality and purity, not all supplements are created equally and many will just leave you with expensive pee!

Supplements are based on the individual and their needs, but some of my favourites include a

So, if all that information has left you feeling like you could use a little Spring Detox, good news is that I’ve got one ready for you!

My new 10 DAY SPRING DETOX  is for you if you are low on energy, bloated, want to lose a few pounds, or feel like your skin is looking a little dull.

It is about giving your body some love so that after 10 days you feel…

  • Refreshed, reenergized and grounded in healthier habits.With less bloat, you’ll also feel lighter and more confidant (your jeans will fit better too!).
  • Committing to the 10 days will you help to get yourself on track with healthier habits and help to reduce your caffeine, sugar and carb cravings!
  • On the 10 DAY SPRING DETOX  you will follow a super simple + tasty 10 day meal plan. You’ll be eating whole foods free of gluten, dairy and added sugar – and no, there will not be any juicing, supplements or starvation!!

The challenge also includes taking a break from caffeine and alcohol to help your body ‘reset’ and give you back your glow!

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The 10 DAY SPRING DETOX includes:

  • 1 x 30 minute personalized consultation with Michelle before you begin your cleanse
  • Unlimited support via email throughout the 10 days to answer all of your questions during the cleanse
  • Full, 10 day detox meal plan (dairy, sugar, gluten free + mainly vegetarian meals with option of meat/fish)
  • Full grocery shopping guide explaining exactly which brands and foods to purchase and where to get them
  • Full program manual + daily emails loaded with information and tips on how to feel amazing during the detox!

+ BONUS!

  • If you sign up before June 10th you’ll receive a ‘DETOX SUPPORT KIT’ ($30 value) sent directly to your home!

The cost of the personalized detox program, complete with personalized support from Holistic Nutritionist Michelle Tirmandi is $150.

Simply click below and you’ll receive and email from Michelle within 24 hours to set up your 30  minute consultation where you’ll receive your personalized 10 Day Detox plan.

CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW!

You can also email your questions to michelle@michellenutrition.ca

 

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5 Tips to Manage Your Cravings

Being pregnant, the most common question that I get asked is ‘how are you feeling’?

I’m lucky to report that beyond a few days of slight nausea during the first few weeks, I’m actually feeling amazing! My energy is fairly high, my sleep is great and my diet is, well, pretty normal.

Besides from some cravings for bread and cheese near the beginning (and a hankering for some vegan ice cream this aft), my cravings haven’t been anything to write home about, at all. I’m grateful that I haven’t had any food aversions, but I am also slightly surprised that growing a human isn’t making my diet any more interesting than normal. (Now, to be clear, I’m just shy of 20 weeks so we will see how things change and progress… if there is one thing that I have learned so far in pregnancy, it is to expect the unexpected!)

The truth is however  that cravings aren’t something only to be faced during pregnancy. Far from it. In fact, I hear about food cravings ALL the time from my clients, and, not so many years ago my own cravings were borderline out of control!

But,  what I have learned and want to share with you is the underlying causes of cravings, and more importantly how to get a handle on them! 

Sometimes we see a nutrient deficiency leading to certain cravings (more common in pregnancy), but more often then not, cravings are a result of our pesky hormones being slightly (or not so slightly) outta-whack!

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Read on to see how you can learn to control your cravings using the 5 simple steps below.

But first, let me paint you a picture of how our cravings can get the better of us…

Let’s pretend it’s a Monday morning. You’re eager and ready to start your week off on the right foot — after all, the weekend was a s***show and you’ve vowed that this week is the week you get your ‘diet back under control’. 

You start your day strong with a healthy breakfast, and you’ve even packed your lunch (a kale + chicken salad…woop!) plus, you’ve even packed plenty of healthy snacks for the day. 

Then something comes up and your day starts to fly off the rails… You miss your am snack (which you knew you needed to keep yourself full ’til lunch) and by noon you’re ready to eat your own arm.

Suddenly that kale salad seems like it’s just not going to cut it. You need something more – you’re starving, after all! And so, you grab your regular lunch from your local go-to and spend the rest of the afternoon feeling bad about your poor choice and wallowing in your inability to ‘stick with it’. 

On goes the cycle….and on goes that Negative Nancy in your head telling you how much you suck at eating healthy. 

What you may not realize, however, is that this pattern of behaviour, along with overeating at lunch and choosing poor options during your 3pm slump, is heavily affected by your hormones!

In fact, once you learn how to manage your hormones, your cravings suddenly become WAY more manageable — which makes it WAY easier and WAY more enjoyable to stick to your healthy intentions!

You see, our hormones which we tend to think about in relation to our monthly cycle, reproduction or menopause, are actually also in charge of:

  • Regulating Metabolism
  • Blood Sugar Control
  • Sleep
  • Stress
  • Cravings
  • Weight Management

These things are tres important, right? Hence, the need to balance our hormones and get them working for us, vs. working against us!

Here’s a quick run down of the 4 hormones that play a role in cravings.

Hormones & Cravings 

  1. Insulin — The Fat Storing Hormone. Carries glucose molecules out of your blood stream to be delivered to your working muscles. Stores glucose (carbs) as fat for later use when muscle cells are full.
  2. Cortisol  — The Stress Hormone. Secreted in response to emotional or physical stress (fight or flight response). Chronic stress keeps cortisol in the blood stream resulting in lowered immunity, suppressed thyroid function (metabolism), blood sugar imbalances (insulin) and increased abdominal fat.
  3. Leptin  — The Fullness/ Satiety Controller. This hormone regulates hunger and feelings of being full. It’s signalled by the hypothalamus and secreted in fat cells. If leptin resistant you don’t feel full and keep eating. Tied to insulin and food cravings. Insulin resistance and leptin resistance are two hormones that can severely damage the body’s ability to lose weight.
  4. Ghrelin — The Hunger Stimulater.  Secreted in the lining of the stomach and from the pancreas. Ghrelin increases before meals to stimulate hunger and is supposed to decrease after meals. Tied to leptin, which induces feelings of being full. When leptin resistant, insulin resistant and stressed out (high cortisol), ghrelin doesn’t shut off constantly telling your body you are starving.

When you’re hormones are imbalanced you may feel:

  • Hungry often
  • Crave fatty & sugary foods
  • Never satisfied
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Emotional (hanger!)

Take Home Message: Your cravings aren’t really your fault!

The Good News: You have the power to control your hormones!

Here’s how you can turn it all around, feeling satisfied and in control of your cravings…

5 Tips to Manage Your Cravings

1. Avoid all simple sugars, processed grains and foods with hidden sugars.(Sugar promotes high levels of insulin secretion. (Focus instead on: high-fiber beans, lentils, fruits and vegetables).

2. Start your day with a protein and fat rich breakfast. (Protein and fat promotes feelings of fullness, keeps blood sugar levels stable and signals the hypothalamus that you are full. A tried and true breakfast suggestion is 2 whole eggs with veggies and avocado or a green smoothie.)

3. Eat every 4 hours. (Aim to keep your meals big enough to keep you feeling full for 4 hours).

4. Don’t over exercise or do crazy long bouts of cardio (Shorter, more intense workouts can work wonders! Also, overexercising increases cortisol = increased stress).

5. Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep every night. (Sleep allows your body to repair and detoxify. When you lack sleep your stress response increases leading to carb cravings!).

The best part about balancing your hormones and reducing your cravings is that you’ll realize that you do in fact have the power to feel your best! You’ve got this 🙂

Michelle

If balancing your hormones is something that you’re interested in, feel free to book your FREE 20 minute nutrition consultation with me here to see how I can help!

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3 Amazing Natural Alternatives to Coffee

One question that every client of mine gets during their first session is ‘ do you drink coffee?’ and if so, ‘how much coffee do you drink?’

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I ask not because I am judging (ahem, former coffee-holic over here!), but because although coffee can provide some pretty amazing health benefits (it’s packed with antioxidants, boosts metabolism and increases alertness, just to name a few), it can also seriously mess with our systems.

The truth is that too much coffee, (which in my opinion is more than 1-2 cups per day – ouch!), can cause a slew of not so pleasant effects on the body. Here are just a few, not so fun facts about coffee…

  • It is a diuretic (causes urination) thereby releasing precious minerals from the body more rapidly.

 

  • It speeds up digestion which causes the stomach to empty prematurely (ever ‘had to go’ immediately after breakfast?) without always having the proper amount of time to absorb all of the nutrients from your food.

 

  • It can cause dehydration due to the loss of fluids in the body which has a direct influence on redness, inflammation and the loss of collagen in the skin.

 

  • It is acid forming which places extra stress on the body by forcing the body to use stored minerals to process it.

And…

  • It can also cause anxiousness, nervousness and has the potential to raise our cortisol and stress levels – a major negative for balancing our hormones.

The good news is that you don’t need to trade in your cuppa joe for good in order to be healthier!

Tapering down the amount you drink, or giving your body a coffee-detox for a few weeks can have many benefits.

Also, if it’s the energy spike that you are after you can try out one of these healthier natural alternatives to coffee (matcha green tea is by far my fav!). I’ve ordered them below in terms of most similar to coffee to least similar to coffee, so depending on how hardcore you are about weaning yourself off, you can select accordingly!

Mushroom Coffee

Mushroom coffees have been gaining popularity in the health food scene over the past few years due to their similar taste to coffee combined with formulas yielding amazing superfood benefits. The innovative company, Four Sigmatic, has created two instant coffee superfood blends that conveniently allow you to brew a cup of superfood-infused cuppa joe designed to give you a boost but sans the jitters or other negative effects of coffee.

Mushroom Coffee With Lions Mane 

This superfood coffee blend containing the medicinal mushrooms Lions Mane and Chaga provides both brain boosting and regenerative effects. Chaga’s alkaline qualities also help to reduce the acidity of coffee thereby providing a smoother taste as well. The addition of the potent herbal ingredient Rhodiola is known as an adaptogen that helps the body to moderate stress levels, improve circulation and increase memory and alertness.

Mushroom Coffee With Cordyceps

This superfood coffee blend contains both the mushrooms Cordyceps and Chaga. Cordyceps is known for supporting the adrenal glands (the organs that take a beating when you are stressed) and Chaga also has immune boosting benefits. Combined, the two play together well for a  great performance and metabolism boost.

Matcha Green Tea 

Matcha green tea is a powdered green tea made from the chlorophyll rich green tea leaf. Matcha, an antioxidant powerhouse is considered to be more ‘potent’ and nutrient-dense then most other green teas and provides blood sugar balancing effects, anti-aging and metabolism boosting effects. Although only a very small amount (~1/2 tsp) is required to brew a full cup it still contains brain-enhancing caffeine in about the same amount as a cup of coffee. The difference is that it also contains a calming, relaxation effect due to the amino acid L-theanine.  Matcha Ninja is a great Toronto start up currently offering 100% organic matcha powder.

Dandyblend

Dandy Blend is a completely herbal alternative to coffee made from chicory root and dandelion root. Although it’s texture is very similar to real coffee, it’s caffeine free and lacks the bitterness and acidity of coffee which some say make it taste better then coffee. Other benefits of this coffee substitute is that unlike the strain coffee places on the body (patcuarily the adrenal glands), this herbal blend is actually nourishing and cleansing to the liver and kidneys, it reduces inflammation and is filled with skin loving antioxidants. Dandyblend can be found at most health food stores.

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5 Reasons to Dry Skin Brush

With all of the amazing benefits gleaned by such a minimal effort, I am always surprised to hear that more people don’t already know about the holistic practice known as dry skin brushing!

The skin is the largest organ in the body and it functions in many vital ways to protect our health. It shields us from UV radiation, pathogens (bacteria, fungi & viruses), water loss and temperature loss. It is also one of the five major channels of elimination in the body alongside the kidneys, liver, lungs and colon. In fact, up to 33% of the impurities of the body are removed via the skin, and dry skin brushing is just one way to aid in the excretion of these toxins!

What is Dry Skin Brushing?

Dry skin brushing, also known as friction brushing, is the practice of scrubbing down the body using a scratchy brush sans moisture (sounds enticing does it?!).  It involves the use of a natural bristle brush and a specific set of guidelines in order to reap the several health benefits.

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Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing

  1. Aids in Detoxification: As noted above, using a dry skin brush helps the body to remove the toxins that are circulating within by helping to stimulate what is know as the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is similar to the circulatory system (heart, veins, arteries) in that it is a system of fluid that runs throughout the entire body. The lymphatic system is very important for our immune health, and it uses lymph nodes to collect debris that the body no longer has uses for. One major difference between the circulatory and lymphatic system is that the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump and therefore needs stimulation to help the body remove the debris, shuttling the waste to the organs of elimination. By doing such things as inversion poses in yoga, trampolining and dry skin brushing we are able to stimulate the removal of stagnant toxins and help them be removed more effectively.
  2. Reduces the Appearance of Cellulite: Daily dry skin brushing can help to increase the muscle tone and the distribution of the fat deposits under the skin. With continued use over time it helps to break down the fat deposits under the skin so they appear more evenly and become less noticeable above the surface of the skin.
  3. Exfoliation & Unclogs Pores: Regular dry brushing will help the body to slough off any dry and dead skin cells along with other impurities in the skin. It also helps to keep the pores open, thereby helping the skin to receive any nutrients that have been applied topically.
  4. Rejuvenates the Skin: By stimulating the nerve endings underneath the skin, dry brushing has a powerful effect on the nervous system by leaving us to feel more awake and alive even after a few moments. It also has a powerful effect on stimulating increased circulation to the organs, tissues and capillaries all which lead to a healthy looking natural glow!
  5. Self Care Ritual: Finding time in our day to take a moment to relax is something many women find hard and do not do often enough. By taking 5 minutes to dry skin brush every morning not only are you helping your skin to glow,  you are making time to care for yourself!  Pairing your dry brushing with relaxing deep breaths and positive thoughts can go along way in helping you to set yourself up for a day of success!

How to Begin Dry Skin Brushing:

  • Purchase a natural bristle brush (avoid synthetics) and follow the guidelines below. You can find the brushes at some health food stores as well as spas. If you’re located in Canada and you’d like to have a Dry Skin brush sent directly to your home you can purchase one directly from me here (details below).
  • Prepare to dry brush immediately before you shower by standing in a place where the shedding dead skin cells will be easy to clean up – the bathtub is highly recommended! I suggest also doing it in the morning because it is very invigorating and will help you to wake up.
  • Begin dry brushing by creating small circular motions along the tops of your feet and ankles.
  • Gently work the circulator motion up your legs in to more of a longer sweeping motion, concentrating more heavily and  vigorously behind the knees and on the inside of the groin (more lymph nodes reside here).
  • Continue to move the brush in an upward motion along the tummy towards the breast and heart.
  • Avoid the sensitive nipple areas.
  • Stroke outwards towards the front of the shoulder from the collarbone on each side.
  • Stroke upwards along the arm towards the armpit focusing heavily and more vigorously underneath the arm pit.
  • Stroke along the back of the thighs upwards towards the buttocks.

Tips for Dry Skin Brushing: 

  • For best results continue diligently every day for 5 minutes per day, for at least 40 days.
  • Every few weeks you can wash your dry brush with gentle soap and water and let dry naturally.
  • Avoid the face due to the sensitive nature of the skin, but feel free to bush your scalp.
  • Enjoy the process!

If you want to purchase a dry skin brush directly from yours truly email me at michelle@michellenutrition.ca and I will mail one to your home via Canada Post. The handmade Merben 13” body brush is designed for dry brushing sensitive skin (see image below). The cost is $38 including taxes and shipping anywhere in Canada.

 

Dry Skin Brush

How to get radiant, glowing skin michelle tirmandi michelle nutrition toronto nutritionist glowing skin toronto bride www.michellenutrition.ca

Glowing Skin Starts in the Gut

The cornerstone of radiant skin is a healthy gut!

Our outer skin is a direct, and accurate reflection of what is going on inside of the body, in particular, how well our digestive tract is working.

The gut-skin connection is not at all new phenomenon. In fact, the notion that a healthy gut leads to healthy skin can be traced all the way back to Hippocrates who said “All disease begins in the gut”. Furthermore, if you look back to the early 1900’s intestinal health was held in very high regard, with a healthy gastro-intestinal track and proper bowel movements being a well known therapy for treating acne amongst other skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and rosacea.

Although there seems to haven been a break in the research, current science is once again putting the scientific spotlight back on the importance of the health of the gut. In particular, the health of the ‘microflora’  (the living colonies of 1 trillion plus bacteria housed inside of us!).

Roles of The Gut + Skin

Both our skin and our gut are considered “organs of elimination”.

The skin, which is comprised of three layers (epidermis, dermis & hypodermic) is the largest organ in the body plays a vital role in our health by protecting us against:

  • UV Radiation
  • Pathogens (bacteria, fungi & viruses)
  • Water Loss
  • Body Temperature Regulation

The intestine plays many roles, including:

  • Detoxification & Metabolism of Toxic Substances
  • Immunity & Stimulation of Immune Response (over 70% of the immune system is housed in the gut)
  • Protection from Pathogens
  • Protection of Intestinal Lining
  • Vitamin Synthesis

The Microflora

The most important factor in glowing, radiant and youthful skin is to ensure that the intestine (mainly the large intestine) houses a variety of bacteria species, with a balance in favour of good bacteria vs. bad bacteria. This eco system of bacteria is commonly referred to as the ‘microflora’.

Good bacteria, or ‘microflora’ in the gut also have been shown to lower the levels of inflammation promoting and collagen destroying immune markers called ‘cytokines’. This means that a healthy gut flora will not only help with clear and health looking skin (at present), it also play a major role in whether our skin ages at an accelerate rate or not.

There are plenty of factors which affect the micoflora including stress, diet and most notably antibiotics. Antibiotics wreak havoc on the intestinal ecosystem by essentially ‘clear cutting’ all of the good bacteria as well as the bad bacteria they are intending to remove. It’s been said that a simple one week course of antibiotics can influence the health of the gut for up to three years!

Interestingly, and what is gaining more and more scientific credence is the fact that the intestinal flora play a far reaching role in our overall health beyond the gut, with variances in gut health being directly linked to brain function as well as our ability to lose and maintain weight.

Chronic Constipation 

Individuals who experience chronic constipation (or “autointoxication” which is the result of toxins being produced in the GI tract via the putrefaction of proteins) have been known to have lower levels of good micoflora in their gut. The problem with housing waste in the body for too long a period of time is that the toxins end up being reabsorbed in to the blood stream, leading to illness and unhealthy skin health over time.

 Intestinal Permeability + “Leaky Gut” 

A healthy intestinal flora will create a film like barrier along the inside wall of the digestive tract which prevents any of the bacteria, toxins or food particles from entering and gaining access to the blood stream. If you think of the lining of the gut like a fishing net, when the lining isn’t healthy little holes appear and particles begin to leak in blood stream. These can be gluten and different food proteins (i.e casein), parasites , toxins or bacteria and when these particles enter the body they cause inflammation in the body and in turn leading to an immune response targeting specific organs including the skin. The name of this GI condition is officially referred to as Intestinal Permeability but often known as Leaky Gut.

It’s important to note however that skin issues aren’t the only things affected by Leaky Gut Syndrome. Food sensitivities are the first sign of leaky gut, but headaches, brain fog, joint pain, lethargy, and inability to lose weight are just a few of the other symptoms tied to an unhealthy gut lining and immune response. Recall: Hippocrates “All disease begins in the gut”.

*How to  Get Glowing Radiant Skin*

The good news is that we can have a huge impact on our skin by way of our dietary and lifestyle practices!

Eat Pretty! 

  • Eat a diet rich in anti-oxidants including plenty of colourful fruits and veggies
  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, garlic, ACV
  • Eat high Omega3 fats including olive oil, flax, walnuts, salmon, mackerel, sardines
  • Eat brassica veggies including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts
  • Eat fermented foods including kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, tempeh, kefir
  • Eat quality protein sources including omega3 eggs, lean poultry, fermented soy (tempeh)
  • Eat healthy fats including Brazil nuts (2-3 day), chia seeds, avocados
  • Eat whole grains and starchy carbs including quinoa, brown rice, oats, sweet potato
  • Eat a minimum of 45g fibre per day
  • Drink a high quality green or matcha tea with lemon, homemade kombucha, natural and homemade bone broth (filled with minerals) & water!

Avoid foods that foods cause inflammation including:

  • Gluten (found in wheat, barley, rye, kamut, spelt and more)
  • Dairy (exception raw milk, yogurt and kefir)
  • Processed Meats (limit red meat)
  •  High Glycemic Carbs and Grains (sugar, processed flour, soda and juice)
  • Bad fats such a corn oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, margarine and trans fats

Take Your Probiotics!

  • Take an oral probiotic (Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus supplement with at least 50 billion live organisms, daily) to lower inflammation, restore microflora balance and improve absorption of certain vitamins and minerals
  • Eat fermented foods to help restore natural gut flora (see above)
  • Eat foods from the farmers market or the garden to benefit from natural soil based probiotic strains

Stress Management

Stress affects both the aging process as well as the microbiome so it is extremely important to ensure you’re allowing your body the chance to bounce back from the stresses of daily life. Getting good beauty rest along with enough excercise is also very important for glowing skin!

Natural Beauty

Achieving radiant skin really is an inside job and when the health of the gut is compromised, no number of lotions or potions are equipped to fix the skin from the outside. Ensuring that whatever you are slathering on your body is non toxic is extremely important because what goes on your skin gets directly absorbed in to your blood stream. Use this link to rate your current beauty products to see where they fall on the toxicity spectrum and if you’re looking for a recommendation for natural and organic skin products I always suggest Skin Essence Organics (use the code ‘GLOW’ to save 20%!).

 

If you are looking for support to get your skin glowing book your FREE 20 minute consultation here so I can let you know how I can help you!

% reasons to drink lemon water

5 Reasons to Drink Lemon Water

If you’ve been following for a while, or have joined one of my programs before you’ll already be familiar with the benefits of lemon water.
But, if you’re new around here, and haven’t yet heard about the amazing impact that a simple glass of lemon water can have, then listen up!
I learned the lemon water health hack several years ago, and I can honestly say that it’s a game changer!
5 reasons to drink lemon water + weight loss + holistic health + michelle nutrition + michelle tirmandi + toronto nutritionist + toronto nutrition + nutritionist in toronto
So what’s the deal?
When you add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon to your water and drink it first thing in the morning (pre-breakfast), your body accrues some pretty serious health benefits. Here’s the run down –
Hydration:
For starters, and not surprisingly, drinking water upon waking hydrates your system! I know, seems like no big deal, but it is! Staying hydrated is very important to keep your skin looking moisturized as well as keeping your energy levels up (even a small dip of 1.5% in hydration levels can result in feeling lethargic due to changes in blood pressure – not the way you want to start off your morning!).
Alkalinity:
Alka-wha? In a nutshell, our bodies turn our food into either an alkaline ash, or acidic ash after processing (imagine your body as a furnace burning it’s fuel and analyzing the remains of the fire pit against the pH scale). Foods that leave acidic byproducts (like sugar, alcohol, caffeine, meat & grains) leave us feeling tired, as well as contribute to the leaching of stored minerals from our bodies in an attempt to neutralize the ash (these are the same minerals that are needed for strong bones, strong nails and healthy looking hair!). Alkaline forming foods, including lemon (I know, it’s not very intuitive because it seems acidic before we eat it) and other fruits and veggies (especially green ones) actually contribute to more energy, and overall health because neutralization (read: extra work for the body) isn’t required!
Weight Loss:
Okay, I may be over promising a bit on this one (#busted). But, if you are replacing your morning cuppa OJ or sugary coffee with lemon water, you’re going to be saving a bunch of liquid calories and still give yourself the energy (without the blood sugar crash, I may add). Furthermore, drinking water (with or without lemon) promotes a healthy metabolism which helps to burn fuel efficiently. What’s more, is that in order for our bodies to properly lose weight, we need to rid the body of an excess build up of toxins, see more details on this topic below…
Glowing Skin:
As you likely already know, the Vitamin C component of lemons is sky high! What you may not already know is that Vitamin C (amongst other minerals found in lemons) is a precursor to collagen which is required for keeping the skin looking taut and firm. If you want that youthful glow, guzzle up my friends!
Detoxification:
​​​​​​​Do you know that digestion is the primary system in the body that promotes overall health? If your digestion is shot (hint: you’re bloated, you’re not pooping 1-2 x/day. you’ve got heartburn or you feel heavy after meals), you’re likely not feeling your best (whether you realize it or not). The cool thing about lemon water is that you are stimulating your liver enzymes to promote overall digestion and therefore, promoting the natural detoxification process. This may be tmi, but it’s not unlikely to have a bowel movement immediately following your morning lemon water…
Want to learn more detox and health tips? Make sure that you’re signed up for my weekly newsletter by clicking here and following me over on Instagram!
5 Foods for Glowing Skin + Holistic Nutritionist + Toronto Nutritionist + Nutrition + Michelle Nutrition + Michelle Tirmandi + Weight Loss + glowgetter

The 5 Best Foods for Glowing Skin!

5 Foods for Glowing Skin + Holistic Nutritionist + Toronto Nutritionist + Nutrition + Michelle Nutrition + Michelle Tirmandi + Weight Loss + glowgetter

Has anyone ever told you that you have glowing skin?

I swear, it is by far one of the most flattering compliments that you may ever receive. For me, when someone says that my skin looks great I get giddy and feel extremely proud of myself, but for reasons far beyond vanity.

See, for me, when someone says that I have glowing skin, I see it as a direct representation of how healthy I am on the inside. I’m glad that all of my holistic habits and healthy eating is showing up on the outside which shows me that my cells are getting the love they need!

Aside from this, one of the greatest things that clients often tell me within only a few weeks of working together is that they can see changes in their skin! I literally want to reach though my Skype screen and give them the biggest hug when they say this because again, that shows me that their bodies are getting the nourishment they need by way of nutrients and regular detoxification processes.

Getting glowing skin isn’t something that happens overnight, but it doesn’t take forever either. Depending on your body and your overall health status, you could see improvements in your skin within weeks by incorporating some of the following foods, removing some of the common offending foods and pumping some detox habits in to your daily routine (I’ll write a part 2 and 3 to this article explaining these in more detail!).

But for now, lets keep it simple and focus on the top 5 foods that an help you to get your glow on.

Top Foods for Glowing Skin!

#1 Water

It is no big surprise that we need water to keep our skin glowing. In fact, our body is made up of 75% water and when we are dehydrated our skin cells lose their plumpness and shrivel up!

Without enough water, our body has a hard time getting rid of it’s waste products and the cells get ‘clogged up’. Water also helps to detoxify our digestive system and get rid of the waste in the body – the fewer toxins inside means brighter, clearer skin on the outside.

You may have also heard that you need ‘good fats’ for soft, supple skin. This is true, and infact, the Omega 3 and 6 fats require water to stay inside the cell!

And don’t forget the culprits to avoid – too much caffeine and alcohol as they both may lead to water AND nutrient loss. My general rule is 2 cups of water for each caffeine containing beverage or alcohol.

How to know if you’re getting enough? The pee-test is a simple enough way to know if you’re body needs more – if your urine is clear-pale yellow with no odour that means you are likely fairly hydrated. Also, if you’re thirsty, chances are that means that you’re bod is dehydrated – so drink up!

#2 Chia Seeds

We don’t always think about the importance of detoxification when it comes to glowing skin but the truth is that the skin is both an organ of elimination and requires efficient elimination processes throughout the rest of the body to look, and feel healthy.

Chia seeds are great for helping the body detoxify due to their natural ability to form a gelatinous substance when mixed with liquid that expands inside of the walls of the colon. With this expansion, the toxins on the inside of the colon are more easily drawn out and less toxins = more glow.

Other chia notables, just one tablespoon contains more calcium than a glass of milk (an important factor given that most conventional dairy is one of worst foods for glowing skin!), more Omega3s then salmon and gram-for gram, they have more free-radical fighting antioxidants then blueberries.

My general recommendation is  to add at least 1 Tbsp of chia to something you are eating or drinking every day. Try sprinkling 1-2 tbsp. of chia your oatmeal, add to your smoothie or drink up with this refreshing chia fresca.

#3 Lemons 

If you’ve been following me for some time over on Instagram or Facebook you’ll have seen me post regularly about the benefits of drinking lemon water, especially first thing in the morning before breakfast.

As you may or not know, our bodies maintain a pH balance that falls on a spectrum between alkaline and acidic. When our bodies sway further to the acidic side we find ourselves feeling tired and run down leaving our skin looking lifeless and dull. When we drink water with fresh squeezed lemon, counter intuitively, the body becomes more alkaline and the skin looks fresher and clearer.

Lemon water first thing in the morning (before food) can also help our liver to stimulate various detoxification pathways and flush toxins. It may also stimulate the digestive system (it’s not uncommon for your body to eliminate it’s toxins via a bowel movement immediately following the lemon water).

The third reason why I love lemons are for the abundance of Vitamin C! Yes, we know that Vit C is good for our immunity, but did you know that vitamin C is an antioxidant and also the precursor to collagen production? (i.e you cannot make collagen without having eaten a ton of vitamin C). Because Vit C is what we call a ‘water soluable’ vitamin we need to continue to replenish it though out the day which means we need to eat fruits and veggies thought the day to maintain  the tautness of our skin.

General recommendation is to squeeze half a lemon in room temperature or warm water and drink upon waking (before breakfast or coffee). If you’re using organic lemons feel free to add the full lemon to your water but non-organic lemons will be fine, just avoid the toxic soup by dropping the wedge in your water.

#4 Kale & Cruciferous Veggies 
I bet that your jaw didn’t drop when you read that kale and the cruciferous family (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, bok choy and cabbage) are skin loving foods!
There are so many reasons for why they help the skin to glow including the antioxidant content, the fibre and other phytochemicals that you’ve probably never heard of like idol-3-carbonyl that help your liver  to detoxify the junk from your cells.
The rule for this veggie family is quite simply, the more the better – eat your greens and glow!

#5 Avocados

Avocados are great for skin both internally and externally!

With their nourishing, good fats, avocados help to provide and protect the surface layer of the skin with moisture as well as helping to guard against sun damage.

Avocados also have antioxidants such as Carotenoids, Vitamin E and Vitamin C which protect against the factors that cause premature aging and wrinkles. Biotin, a B Vitamin, also found in avocados further helps to prevent dry, red and scaly skin.

A serving recommendation for a serving of avocado is about 1/4 of an avocado but I tend to eat much more then that personally! I often hear that women have a hard time eating it because it is so high in fat (true story), but my response is always to listen to your body – most of the time it will tell you when you’ve had enough!

wellandgoodwellnesstrends

2016 Wellness Trends (via Well + Good)

As you know, I’m a wellness junkie and can’t help but to share all things good health with you, so when I stumbled across this article on the website wellandgood.com I just had to share it with you!

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Here’s the full article for you to read.I’ve also taken the liberty to give you my thoughts, comments and tips on my favourite trends. I hope you enjoy the read! (Make sure you read ’til the end :))

#1 – Eating Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner out of a Bowl (From oatmeal, to salad, to soup and more – trust me, there will be loads of bowl recipes in the 10 Day Cleanse!)

• #3 Seaweed is the New Kale – Whether you eat is as part of your sushi roll, as a side salad or you sprinkle some of this on your food for salty flavour, seaweed is an excellent source of trace minerals and is especially helpful to support a healthy thyroid (which is responsible for a healthy metabolism!)

• #5 Minerals Get the Rockstar Treatment – If you have ever been a client of mine (or a member of one one of my group programs), you’ve likely heard me talk about the miracle mineral Magnesium (which, by the way, up to 80% of us are deficient in). It’s especially important if you’re stressed to the max or if you’re not getting your daily greens in. This is my go-to brand that I take a few nights a week before bed.

• #6 Intensive Fitness Programs Become Super Hot – I actually can’t believe that I am writing this (as you know, I’m not the biggest fitness buff). But, Barre3 is my absolute –  most favourite workout in the entire world! The online workouts and in studio classes (with great tunes & teachers) are a must try!

• #7 Beauty Products you Can Drink – I feel like I’ve been boasting this trend for some time — it’s about what you eat and drink – and not only what you put on your skin that gives you a healthy glow! My top go-to beauty supplements are all about getting your gut in shape with this supplement and your good fats in your diet via this and this.

• #9 Matcha Everything – Matcha green tea is powdered tea using the full leaf of the plant. It’s a fantastic alternative to coffee (and what is recommended as a the #1 replacement for coffee on the 10 Day Cleanse). It’s also got 137 times more antioxidants that regular green tea (hello glowing skin!). My favourite brand is Matcha Ninja.

• #11 Meet Adaptogens, the New Stress-fighting Superherbs – Yes, there are herbs that fight stress and they are AMAZING! Maca, Ashwagandha, Schizandra, Rhodiola just to name a few (more info on these in the daily educational emails during the 10 Day Cleanse)

• #14 Oil will Become your Cleanser of Choice – If you’re not already using natural skincare, 2016 is the year to embrace it! This cleanser/make up remover is one of my personal favs(+ Psssst….I’ve got a BIG secret coming in February and it includes tons of natural skincare products!)

• #15 Mainstream Diet Brands Go Anti-Diet – OK, this one is HUGE – big brands like Weight Watchers have finally realized that they need to move away from a calorie counting, fake-food promoting system to include more whole foods and quality ingredients (finally!). Top brands are even revamping their programs to de-emphasize weight loss, placing more of a focus on overall health (um, hello, weight loss is a side effect of good health!), feeling good, less calorie counting, fitness and self care. AMEN TO THAT.

About that last point, the one about the big brands going anti-diet….um, hello – weight loss is a side effect of good health! This is the underlying philosophy that Michelle Nutrition has been operating on since the beginning! As a nutritionist, I see weight loss, fewer cravings, glowing skin, more energy, clear thinking and feeling great as the results of changing your dietary habits.

And…because it’s January and so many of us are thinking about weight loss… why not try a new approach? Why not try empowering yourself with the strategic knowledge about….

•Metabolism boosting foods that will help with weight loss

•Lifestyle habits that help with weight loss

•How to support your body to naturally detox (because this is how you actually lose extra weight)

•How to banish cravings so you don’t need refined carbs or sugar to get you through the day

•How to actually have the mindset of required for long term weight loss and health (no self-sabotage)

This is all of the stuff you are going to learn during the Radiate & Revitalize 10 Day Cleanse!

When these exact principles are put in to action see for yourself what others have to say:

This challenge has been a wonderful experience! I am feeling fantastic, energetic, happy…and down about 8 pounds.You did a great job giving us the tools to do this. The shopping guide and meal/snack suggestions really helped. I still can’t believe I’m not craving the sugar and carbs that I always ate!  

– Hannah (Summer Slimdown Challenge)

This program has taught me what clean eating is and how to incorporate it into my life. I am more conscious of what I eat and drink now and have eliminated sugar, caffeine, and highly processed foods from my diet. I try to eat organic whole foods and follow a plant-based diet as much as possible.  

– Millie (Clean Eating Challenge)

Here are just a few of the comments from the last Radiate & Revitalize 10 Day Cleanse:

“I’m not hungry throughout the day”

“I have a clearer mind”

“I have more energy”

“I feel less bloated and my jeans feel looser”

“My skin is clear and soft”

I sincerely hope that you’ll join us! Click Here to Learn More.