“Should I avoid carbs?”
Of course not! With a few exceptions, everybody and all bodies need carbs! Our specific needs will differ based on activity level, goals, genetics, and preferences. Bottom line: carbs are not inherently fattening, especially whole food sources. Adequate carbs can help most people exercise harder and recover better, and for women, can help keep your adrenals happy (too few carbs can spike the cortisol hormone, which throws your body into stress mode).
If you are new to tracking macros, an excellent place to start is getting almost half of your calories from non processed whole food carbohydrates. That looks like a 50/30/20 C/P/F program. Everyone is different. You might need to experiment with the number of carbs you eat to see what level makes you feel and function your best.
“What is food combining?”
Food combining is a theory/diet that claims that the macronutrients—fat, protein, and carbohydrate—should be eaten separately to maximize digestion. It’s hard to pin down one source that lays out the official food combining rules, and they vary a bit, but all of them give meal suggestions and advice such as only eat fruit on an empty stomach, never combine protein and carbs, etc.
There isn’t any research to support the digestive or health claims of food combining. Food combining doesn’t make sense if you have to separate everything because most foods are a combination. The way digestion works is that It’s not like one thing comes first; everything kind of and blends together. Gastric acid and the digestive enzymes pepsin and lipase are all released, and everything is mashed up into chyme and then moved into the small intestine with more enzymes. In other words, the body is designed to digest a combination at the same time.
By combining macronutrients, you can feel fuller for longer and get the appropriate diversity of nutrients. Most importantly, it helps keep blood sugar balanced.
If you have a hard time digesting certain foods, you may benefit from taking a digestive enzyme—some people need a little more support than others. But for the most part, the body is designed to do what it does and does so very effectively.
Additionally, getting into that mindset that only certain foods can be eaten with certain foods and worrying about complicated rules with food can negatively impact your relationship with food.
“How can I improve my sleep and stress management?”
Sleep is just as important as nutrition and exercise when it comes to improving your health.
The following are useful for better sleep hygiene:
Creating a sleep routine, including having a regular schedule
Limiting alcohol and caffeine in the afternoon/evening
Choosing de-stressing activities before bed
Setting an appropriate room temperature for sleep
Making the room dark
Keeping the room quiet
Waking up appropriately, with light exposure and soft noise
The following are proven to increase stress tolerance:
Meditation or yoga
Snuggling a pet
Listening to relaxing music
“Are powdered greens as nutritious as real food greens?”
If you take a look at the health food aisle of your supermarket you’ll see an array of green ‘superfood’ powders, from kale and barley grass to spirulina and chlorella.
These green powders are intended to be used in smoothies — or sprinkled on top of breakfast bowls, in desserts and chia pudding, and mixed into plain water, if you can stomach it — and many claim to be just as beneficial as eating the whole food they’re based on.
But do green powders really stack up, or are they simply superfood hype?
I’m not a huge fan of green superfood powders, simply because they’re a highly processed version of the real thing, and are not really a ‘food’ that we can cook up a meal with. The processing of the powder can lower the nutrient value considerably.
My recommendations would be whole, fresh organic greens at every meal. Next up would be a fresh greens-only juice or, if mixed with fruit, have it with a protein or fat to keep blood sugar even. Or better, blend in a smoothie vs a juicer so you get the fiber. Go ahead and keep a high-quality, organically-sourced greens powder for those days when you just weren’t able to get all those veggies in or are on the road, as an emergency backup.
“Are Collagen Supplements Helpful for Arthritis and wrinkles?”
You’ve read the hype — gelatin, collagen supplements, and bone broth will ease your arthritis and give you younger skin. But do collagen supplements or bone broth really work?
Collagen is important for maintaining the structural integrity of every tissue in the body. Aging decreases the body’s capacity to synthesize collagen, contributing to skin aging, joint disease, and diminished bone health. Oral hydrolyzed collagen supplementation has been said to be an inexpensive and convenient strategy to offset some of the physiological declines associated with aging.
Hydrolyzed collagen absorption
Proteins can be made up of thousands to tens of thousands of individual amino acids linked together. In order for proteins to be absorbed by the body, the proteins have to be denatured into individual amino acids or short peptide sequences of two to three amino acids in length. Since hydrolyzed proteins are smaller in length compared to undenatured proteins, they are generally absorbed more readily. Therefore, hydrolyzed collagen may be absorbed faster and more efficiently than undenatured collagen.
Hydrolyzed collagen and skin
Multiple randomized controlled trials have shown that oral supplementation with hydrolyzed collagen improves skin elasticity, wrinkles, and more. Supplementation with the commercial hydrolyzed collagen product was well tolerated with no allergic reactions reported and was effective at decreasing wrinkles. These studies, along with others that include hydrolyzed collagen in combination with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and E, biotin, and zinc, suggest that the consumption of oral hydrolyzed collagen may be effective at improving skin aging.
Hydrolyzed collagen and arthritis
Arthritis is a degenerative disorder of joints that can cause pain and reduced mobility. Destruction of cartilage within the joints can drive arthritis. Collagen, specifically type II, contributes 60 percent of the dry weight of cartilage. Hydrolyzed collagen supplementation may reduce pain and disability in people with arthritis and may be an affordable and effective supplement for treating the symptoms associated with arthritis.
Hydrolyzed collagen and osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of joint cartilage that typically begins in people over the age of 50 years and likely affects more than 32 million people living in the United States. Osteoarthritis differs from rheumatoid arthritis in that it is largely age- or injury-related rather than autoimmune. Data from multiple studies suggest that oral hydrolyzed collagen supplementation may be an effective supplement in managing symptoms of osteoarthritis.
In summary, hydrolyzed collagen supplementation may improve various aspects of skin aging, decrease pain associated with osteoporosis, increase bone mineral density in postmenopausal women, and improve metabolic health in people with type 2 diabetes and hypertension. More studies are needed to distinguish the therapeutic benefits between the types of collagen (types I, II, and III) as well as the source (marine, bovine, chicken, and pig). I say, go ahead and take it as a supplement. (Hydrolyzed collagen is the same thing as collagen peptides by the way!)
Note: While oral hydrolyzed collagen supplementation has been shown to have some therapeutic effects, it should not be used as a protein replacement as it lacks the essential amino acid tryptophan and thus is not a complete protein.