Positive & Negative Sides of Stress

July 8, 2019

In today's Dishing Up Nutrition, we're going to introduce you to a new way of thinking about stress. There are many types of stress, and believe it or not, some stress is actually positive. Where is your stress coming from? What are the most harmful sources of stress to our body and brain? How can stress be a motivator that you use to your personal advantage?

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DARLENE: So welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today we're talking about stress. We're going to maybe introduce you to a new way of thinking about stress. You know, when I said stress, what did you think? Did you think about bad stress or did you think about unhealthy stress? What kind of stress did you think about? There are many types of stress, and believe it or not, some stress is actually positive; positive stress. That may be a new concept. For me, negative stress would be eating a caramel roll. You know that caramel cinnamon roll that I haven't had forever. But you know, if I had that for breakfast, that would put a lot of stress on me because it would affect my blood sugar. So joining me today is Leah Kleinschrodt. Did I say it right?

LEAH: No; Kleinschrodt.

DARLENE: Kleinschrodt. I'll get it.

LEAH: It's a tough one.

DARLENE: It is a tough one. So, hey, have you ever asked your husband to maybe switch to your name?

LEAH: Yeah, well the problem is that my maiden name is not any easier to say. They're both very German and they don't look how they sound.

DARLENE: Okay, well let's just call your Leah K.

LEAH: Perfect.

DARLENE: So if people calling in, they can call; just say, “I want an appointment with Leah K”.

LEAH: Yep. That's easy enough.

DARLENE: So Leah is a Registered Dietician and a Licensed Dietician. She's a wife and a mother of a nine month old, and I thought it was six months.

LEAH: 10 months actually.

DARLENE: 10 months. Oh, I can't keep up. So, another thing we want you to think about is, you know, where does your stress come from? So let's talk a little bit more about that. 

LEAH: Well, good morning, Dar. Good morning to all of our listeners out there near and far. It's great to be here with everyone wherever it is in the world that you're listening to us. And so speaking of stressed, Dar did a great job introducing that topic, but let me ask you this. As you're listening to this podcast, how many of you are actually trying to multitask at the same time? Are you listening to our voices and also trying to get your meal prep in? Are you trying to clean the house, get the laundry done, and wash the dishes? Are you out walking the dog? Are you trying to get your exercise in? Are you driving somewhere? Think about this: where is your stress coming from this morning?

DARLENE: So maybe we could ask people, well, is your stress coming from an outside source? You know, an outside source might be if you didn't pay your taxes, maybe the IRS agent is knocking on your door. That's an outside stress.

LEAH: That’s very stressful.

DARLENE: Or is it coming from an inside of stress? And, you know, that might be, you know I mentioned about blood sugar before. Well for me that would be the kind of inside stress that would really affect me. So like if I ate that caramel roll, yes that would pop up my blood sugar and a little bit later it would come popping down. And that is very stressful. So I'm Darlene Kvist. I'm a Licensed Nutritionist and I've been doing this show for about 15 years now; amazing. So one of the things when I'm working with clients: I like to help them understand typically how to think about stress. Is it a negative stress that is occurring in their body or can they actually use a positive stress to get things done? You know, personally, I have learned that some stress helps me get things done, you know, things like, oh, if I want to try to get some things done, what do I need to do? And that's what I do. And so let's talk a little bit more about that.

LEAH: Yes. So Dar, you mentioned some stress can be a good thing. It can be a motivation to get things done. It can help you actually prioritize things and decide, “Okay, what do I need to accomplish in what order?” But some things can be more of a negative stress. And I think most of the time that's what people think about when we think about stress. So we think about it, you know, maybe as lack of sleep. You mentioned skipping meals and you end up with low blood sugar. Maybe it's a crabby boss. Maybe you have an upcoming divorce. Maybe you're running late to a meeting, like there's lots of outside stress and what we think of as negative stress.

DARLENE: Or maybe you are drinking too much alcohol or maybe you're eating bagels and cinnamon rolls. That word keeps coming up today for some reason. 

LEAH: Yeah, you have cinnamon rolls on the brain. 

DARLENE: Or you know what? Maybe you're eating a lot of kind of bad fats; like fast food French fries are really stressful for people's brain and for their body. It's very interesting because everybody eats fast food French fries. Well not everyone. I bet… How many years has it been since you've...? I'm going put you on the spot. How long has it been since you've eaten French fries?

LEAH: Oh, my goodness. My brain doesn't go back that far even.

DARLENE: Well, me too. I mean, and I think that's probably shocking for people to think that when they pull in to a fast food restaurant, if that's what you can call them, that actually if they order French fries, that's actually putting stress on their body; and on their brain more than anything. So I guess, you know, as we think about stress, is it coming from an outside source or is it coming from inside of you; things that you're doing?

LEAH: Yeah, definitely a different way to think about stress. And so for you listeners out there, again, take inventory, check yourself and where is your stress coming from or what do you think about when we say the word stress? Maybe it means now you're waking up in the middle of the night worrying or you have that brain chatter thinking about what didn't you do the day before or what do you need to do the next day? Like does your mind automatically go to these negative stressors?

DARLENE: Or are you one of these people that use stress to motivate you to accomplish your health and weight loss goals? You know, I bet this happens to you because when you have a guest coming over, what happens? You suddenly get into the cleaning mode and everything gets cleaned up and put away; and otherwise not so much. Or do you study really hard for a test so that you, you know, you do well. You take time and you study. So if you said yes to any of these, you can see how stress is actually helping you accomplish things. And it's not bad for you then. You know, have you ever thought that you can use stress to either be a motivator and be a very positive aspect of your life, which you can really use to your advantage? So stress doesn't have to be always negative. It certainly can be a positive motivator for lots of us. 

LEAH: That's very true. So some types of stress, some types of stress we'll emphasize that can be good for us. It motivates us to accomplish our goals and get things done. Here's an example: You know, we talked about this a little bit even before the show started, Dar; is that one question or one example that I get a lot when I'm in the counseling room with my clients who have weight-loss related goals; This is an example of something that could be actually a good stressor or a negative stressor. So a lot of people come with the question or we kind of explore, does stepping on the scale in the morning motivate you to eat better all day?

DARLENE: Good question.

LEAH: Yeah. So that for someone if they can use that, that habit or that action as a way to motivate them to eat better, to make the better real food choices all day, that would be an example of a positive stress. 

DARLENE: I think Leah, sometimes I've noticed with clients that if they step on the scale and it says, oh, this is really positive. “I did well”, that they, they'll do well throughout the day. Then they'll stay away from, you know, the sugars and the bad fats.

LEAH: Yes, absolutely. There are those clients that can take that number and run with it in a positive direction.

DARLENE: But, what happens to the people that, it doesn't say it's a positive number on the scale?

LEAH: Yeah, either a positive number or, yeah, maybe it's not the number you were hoping for.

DARLENE: Sometimes that's what it is, too.

LEAH: Yes, yes, exactly. Does that end up then putting more pressure on you to eat quote unquote perfectly all day long? Or does it tend to affect your mood in a negative way for the rest of the day? Seeing that number? So that would be an example of using that scale number in as a negative type of stressor?

DARLENE: Right. Yes. So let's look at some other positive ways, some other positive stress, how stress… some of this motivates us to accomplish some of our, you know, health and weight loss goals. So here's an example: You study days in advance so you can pass your exam so there's no stressful all nighters and you're not cramming at the last minute. Or here's another one: You file your taxes on time to avoid late fees and penalties and interests. So there'll be no IRS agent knocking on your door.

LEAH: Good.

DARLENE: You learn to be mindful of the time so you can be on time for your meetings and appointments. Oh, is this a hard one for some people. They're running late all the time and it creates so much anxiety in them so that they carry this; just making appointments and being on time. It becomes such a stressor for them because they, they just, for some reason they are not able to do it or they don't take it seriously enough to do it.

LEAH: And personally for me, I can identify with that last one about running late. As a new mom and having to not only get myself ready to get out the door, whether it's in the morning or for an appointment, but now having to have this baby: getting him ready as well. All of a sudden, especially in those early, early days, it was like I had to allow an extra 15, even 30 minutes to prepare our family to get out the door versus actually just walking out the door, getting in the car, driving off.

DARLENE: So I just noticed that I think it’s probably time for our first break.

LEAH: Okay. Well great. So then you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And this morning we are discussing how you can manage your stress levels to prevent chronic health problems and how you can use stress to motivate you to accomplish your health and weight loss goals. 

DARLENE: We'll be right back.


DARLENE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Have you ever thought this? “What can you do to decrease my risk of getting cancer?” I mean, that's an interesting question I think. What can you do to decrease your risk for getting cancer? You know, today we want to give you a couple of concrete suggestions to incorporate into your life every day. So, first suggestion is reduce your intake of processed foods, especially those sugars and those grain carbohydrates. So when I say grain carbohydrates, what do you think I mean? I mean bagels and bread and cinnamon rolls. There comes that word again. Sugar and grains breakdown quickly and drive up your glucose and insulin levels. And we know that cancer loves sugar and it loves those bagels and those other grain products. So you know, maybe you say no to bread, bagels, pasta, chips and other baked goods which turn into sugar really quickly and makes your blood sugar go up. And that's what cancer cells really love. So Leah, let's, we just talked about some of the positive ways of using stress. What are some negative things that are happening?

LEAH: Yeah. So, well, so those blood sugar spikes and dips that you just mentioned from grain carbohydrates would be an example of a negative stressor on our bodies. But some other examples could be, you know, overdrawing on your checking account, which can lead to, again, more overdraft fees or higher rates; interest rates. And typically this happens when you're already under some kind of financial stress. So now we're compounding that stress. 

DARLENE: Sounds like college times.

LEAH: Yes, absolutely. Or have you ever forgotten to put gas in your car and you've run out of gas on your way to work or an important meeting? So, and you know, I think, at least in my car, I think my car knows when I'm running late and that's when the gas light decides to come on. I'm thinking just kind of intuitively knows that and that is extra stressful when you see that little light come on.

DARLENE: Yes, definitely. 

LEAH: Yes, very stressful. Or I was talking to a client about this, actually just this week. It's summertime. So for a lot of our clients who are parents and they have very active kids in sports or they're in their camps. They have lots of different events going on. This particular client was going to go from our appointment, go home really quick to change clothes and then run off to her son's baseball game and not eat anything. So she was just going to skip over dinner and they weren't going to be home until 8:30 or nine o'clock at night. So skipping meals turns… in turn causes low blood sugar, which means now your brain doesn't have enough fuel. It's really lacking that glucose. And now…

DARLENE: Leah, maybe talk about that just a little bit more because I don't think people really understand that when they skip meals and their blood sugar drops, their brain suffers. So just say it one more time for people.

LEAH: Yes, sure. So skipping meals or skipping your afternoon snack, whatever it happens to be, in turn causes your blood sugar to dip. And when your blood sugar dips, your brain doesn't have enough energy. It doesn't have enough of that glucose to run on.

DARLENE: So what are some of the symptoms then? If your blood sugar drops and you don't have glucose into your brain, what might you experience?

LEAH: Yeah, so how do you know if your blood glucose has dropped? Well, most of my clients end up with a headache or a migraine or they get that feeling like, okay, there's a migraine pending now. You can't think. Your brain just kind of feels like it's going through quick sand or you get crabby. You get irritable. I use the term “hangry” a lot; hungry and angry at the same time. And most of my client's sitting across the table are nodding their heads like, “Yep, I can understand that.”

DARLENE: I always say it's, then you come home and then you kick the dog and yell at the kids.

LEAH: Yes, exactly. Or you open the fridge or the pantry and immediately start pulling out those easy things. And typically you're not reaching for the broccoli and the butter at that point. You're reaching for the crackers. You're reaching for the chips. Like something like that that's going to…

DARLENE: Or a glass of wine. 

LEAH: Or a glass of wine: exactly.

DARLENE: Because that pops your blood sugar up. Not that you even like wine but you do it anyway.

LEAH: Yes, exactly. It's biochemical. Your brain is so driven physiologically to do that cause because your brain is so hungry for sugar at that point.

DARLENE: You're not weak-willed. 

LEAH: Nope.

DARLENE: You're just biochemically out of balance.

LEAH: Exactly.

DARLENE: So you can quit being so hard on yourself and just eat more.

LEAH: Yes. Eat more real, whole foods to keep those blood sugars stable throughout the day. Yes. So just a couple more examples of some negative stressors that maybe some of you can identify with is kind of going back to the financial stress piece. You know, not being able to pay your bills on time and again, then you're compounding more late fees or accruing more interest and things like that; or running late for everything all the time. So again, when you run late, this frequently can cause more anxiety. You get rattled. You think less of yourself. And again, this was something I was even identifying with when I had a new baby. You know, it, I would be lying if I said I wasn't late because I needed to get my baby ready and just, I didn't know how to allow for that time.

DARLENE: I bet you kind of kicked yourself and said, “What is going on with me, Leah?” Talking to yourself.

LEAH: Yes, exactly.

DARLENE: Because it's not like who you really are.

LEAH: Exactly. And again, it's, you know, it's hard enough to be a new mom or a new parent and to have that kind of big life transition but then to not, you know, having previously been a very punctual person to have this being, you know, being compounded on there. Yeah. It's hard not to be hard on yourself for that.

DARLENE: And then, you know, the other thing I think that is really difficult when you're a new mom is feeding yourself enough and on time. You feed the baby but somehow you don't feed yourself. And then your brain is set up to not be able to handle stress.

LEAH: Yup, absolutely. So you hit the nail on the head with that one, Dar.

DARLENE: Good. So are there any other ones that we can always think about? Anything else come up to your brain on that one? 

LEAH: Well, another big one that I talk to with all of my clients, right, or at least make sure I address in an appointment is not getting enough sleep. So not getting enough sleep, again, for me that feels like my brain is moving through quicksand. Oftentimes you can't think clearly and again, you get crabby. You get irritable. And now the being able to manage stress, that threshold has been lowered a lot more.

DARLENE: You know, we work with a lot of people, nurses, basically a lot of people that are doing those 12 hour shifts and for some reason they just are so busy that they often don't get a chance to eat. And they're certainly not sleeping enough. I mean, I hear like, you know, three hours, four hours, five hours. If they get six hours, they think they've gone to heaven, you know, because it's so good. So all those things really make a difference. And you know, I'm sure you can think of times when you use good stress to motivate yourself to accomplish some kind of goal or task. Unfortunately, uncontrolled stress can lead to anxiety or even depression. So let's look at some other stressors that can be good, positive stressors, you know, maybe, something that's going to push us into achieving our goals. You know, we talked about the number on the scale. If it's not where you want it to be, you know, a lot of times that actually can be a positive stressor because if somebody offers you a cookie or a brownie, you say no. Or you know, maybe if you get some high cholesterol numbers; I see that with clients all the time. If they get high cholesterol numbers, they suddenly say, well, “I can't eat French fries or any kind of fast food French fries”, because we know that they're all cooked in bad fat and that makes your cholesterol go up. So if you're a person that gets a pain in your knee or your shoulder or some place on your body after you have some sugar, you know, after you, maybe if you, you know, maybe you can stop it at Dairy Queen and have a blizzard, which has how many teaspoons of sugar? Do you remember? 

LEAH: Well, we show that example in our classes quite often. I know a large Dairy Queen blizzard is somewhere around 48 teaspoons of sugar.

DARLENE: So the people coming back from their 4th of July vacation.

LEAH: Yes.

DARLENE: And they happen to be listening to this podcast, don't swing into to get the blizzard because it's probably going to, you're to probably going to end up with a lot of pain. So honestly you can use that because pain is one of the strongest motivators for people to eat right. You know, they can say for months and months and months, “I can't do this, I can't do this.” And then if we can convince them, I say, just do it for three weeks. Let's see what happens. And if they can get off of sugar for three weeks and suddenly that knee pain is gone, they say, “Oh, I finally have made the connection.”

LEAH: Yes, yes. If they can feel how good it feels to not have pain, like you said, that is one of the biggest motivators that we see in our classes and in the counseling room.

DARLENE: So they actually say no to that piece of chocolate cake that goes by them or that brownie or that cookie. You know, everybody knows the thing that they love. 

LEAH: Yes, exactly. Yes. And so having ongoing negative stress or chronic stress in our lives can even affect our immune system and we can develop autoimmune diseases such as MS, arthritis, Lupus, heart disease, cancer, depression, anxiety, addiction and even excessive weight gain and obesity.

DARLENE: That's a lot of things that just having ongoing negative stress can cause. So I think we have to get another break in here Leah, so.

LEAH: Okay, wonderful. Well then you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And Dar shared a suggestion earlier to reduce your cancer risk and we wanted to share another one going into this break. Vitamin D: this is one that I think most Minnesotans are fairly in tune to. We want to make sure your vitamin D level, when you have your blood tested is somewhere in the 50 to 80 range. And we encourage everyone to have his or her vitamin D levels checked at least once a year. Some people can do it twice a year, and most people today do not get enough sun exposure. We work indoors. Here in the winter in Minnesota it's dark for a very long time. We don't see the sun enough then.

DARLENE: And recently it's been raining every day.

LEAH: Yes, yes. So therefore, a lot of our clients need to supplement, you know, some can get away with 2000 IU’s every day. But a lot of times, especially in the winter, our clients need to be at higher doses. 4,000, 6,000 and I think one of our nutritionists, Joann, actually takes about 8,000, almost 10,000 during the winter especially to make sure her vitamin D levels stay even keel throughout the year. 

DARLENE: I think one of the things, Leah, that a lot of people don't realize that low vitamin D levels, you know, we see a lot of people that are… their vitamin D level is under 20. This is a high… research says this is a high cancer risk for you. I mean, and we don't need any more of those risk factors. 

LEAH: Absolutely not.

DARLENE: So it's a simple solution, isn't it?

LEAH: Yes, something that we can control and do something about.

DARLENE: Yes. So we'll, we'll be right back.


DARLENE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. You know, in today's fast paced world, most of us are living under very stressful conditions and we have very stressful lives. The foods we eat are causing us to have stressful lives. And that may be something new for people to think about. The foods are causing us to live stressful lives. You know, much of the water we drink puts stress on us. Again, I don't think that people think of the water that they're drinking or not drinking is putting stress on them. We put stress on us when we don't sleep enough and that… I think people do recognize that one because then they're irritable and their brain fog is setting in, and they don't do well. You know, we live in a very stressful environment and I think people are becoming more aware of that all the time. You know, there's pesticides like that we get in our foods. There's toxic household chemicals, and air pollution are all causing us to have stressful lives. I actually know that my son has gone to Grand Marais for a couple of days to get away from the stressful polluted air right now. So it helps if people are having a little bit of trouble breathing, getting into better air quality is much better. You know, what's alarming is that all these negative stressors also increase our risk of cancer. And again, we have a lot of cancer going on right now. As nutritionists and dieticians, we help people learn how to reduce these negative stressors in both our group classes, you know, our nutrition classes, and our one-to-one consultations. You know, the first stressor we look at is always the food that we're eating and the water that you're drinking. With the increase in cancer rates, really, you can't afford to wait for the perfect time. I've heard that so many times. This isn't quite when I should change my eating. They're waiting for that perfect time. But today is really the time that you need to make these changes. So don't, you know, don't put it off. You know, just give us a call at (651) 699-3438 and sign up for one of the group classes or come in for consultation. We've got time on our schedules, honestly. So Leah, before we went on break, we were talking about all the health conditions that can occur when we are under long-term chronic stress. So let's go back to talking a little bit more about that.

LEAH: Yes. And so the underlying piece of that negative chronic stress over time eventually takes a toll on our immune system. So then we are at risk for developing, maybe it's an autoimmune condition or heart disease, addiction, or maybe we're gaining weight or becoming obese. Dr. Amy Myers, she wrote The Autoimmune Solution book. And so she talked about stress and its impact on the immune system. And she cited research that said, you know, stress actually first activates the immune system. So it activates it and starts bringing all those blood cells to your body to help you, say if you got wounded or if you got sick to heal your body.

DARLENE: So it helps it first.

LEAH: It helps at first: yup. But after about an hour or so, it actually starts heading in the other direction. It actually starts hurting our immune system. 


LEAH: Yes. So how many people experience stress for only an hour at a time? Yes. So you know, another example that I hear with my clients, you know, when they have to go to the hospital to take care of a loved one, whether it's an incident happened or they got sick. You know, they're typically not in the hospital just for an hour. So your stress level is high for many hours, sometimes many days, sometimes many weeks. And so then I have my clients come in and they say, “Well, I gained weight during that time”. I wasn't able to take care of myself. I was busy taking care of somebody else.

DARLENE: And some of them actually are very careful with the foods that they're eating, and because they're under stress, they still gain weight. 

LEAH: Yes.

DARLENE: It's just really, it's shocking to them. We understand the biochemical factors that go into that and why that happens. So…

LEAH: Yes, and Dr. Myers cited that same type of research. She said that stress can cause weight gain even when you aren't overeating or even if you're not eating much at all. Because we know some people under stress, they tend to just, again, skip meals or they just put off eating and taking care of themselves. And I think that is a very important concept and a different concept for some people is that stress can cause weight gain even when you aren't overeating or even if you're not eating a lot at all. So again, a couple more examples that we've alluded to throughout the show here of chronic negative stress would be, you know, being a caregiver for someone who has Alzheimer's disease or again, maybe you're a parent who you're caring for a child who has a chronic health condition.

DARLENE: I think even if they don't have a chronic health condition.

LEAH: Oh, absolutely yes. Even if you are just raising a healthy baby, that can be a chronic stressor; a good type of stress or a good stress for a good reason, but a stress, nonetheless.

DARLENE: You know, I remember the times when I had one of my kids in the hospital week after week after week after week. And yes, I did gain weight.

LEAH: Yes.

DARLENE: Not happy about it, but I did.

LEAH: Yes. But it helps you understand where your clients are coming from then.

DARLENE: Exactly.

LEAH: So again, this long-term chronic stress can really weaken your immune system over time. So we help our clients figure out, okay, how can we manage that stress so you don't get rundown, exhausted and then you catch a bacteria or you catch a virus and you get sick and you're down for the count.

DARLENE: So one of the things that we do, we work with a lot of clients that are in this situation: it's life. And so we kind of help them manage their stress and we call it our stress management plan. But it's individualized for people; because you just can't plug people into a protocol because it doesn't fit, does it? So you know, we always start with an eating plan cause we do know that if you can eat to keep your blood sugar balanced and getting the right nutrients into your system hour after hour, day after day, that it does help you to balance that blood sugar and it helps you keep the stress down; and your biochemical stress that's going on. So you know, sometimes people, you know, it's so easy to grab other things when, especially if you're in the hospital. So I see what happens is a lot of times people will grab a Coke and maybe a bag of chips cause that puts their blood sugar up but it actually puts it up too high, and then they come crashing down. And it is not full of nutrients. It's full of a lot of negative nutrients, where if we can get somebody to maybe take and make a bowl of chili and take it with them or a bowl of chicken wild rice soup, or you know, maybe a chicken salad or I don’t know. Do you have any tricks of the trade that you suggest to people?

LEAH: Yeah. Well, again, it depends on the person and it depends on what is going on in their life. But I would say even if they could quick grab an apple and a nut butter packet, you know those little packets of a peanut butter or an almond butter, that is going to help satisfy. It's going to keep those blood sugars a lot more stable than even say just eating the apple alone because that good healthy fat balances out the blood sugar. But then it makes you a lot less likely to stop by the vending machine and grab that Coke or to grab the chips or even grab that quote unquote healthy granola bar out of the vending machine.

DARLENE: You know, I think it is a mindset sometimes with people because when you’re in the hospital, especially those kinds of situations, and you almost give up thinking about yourself. But that's exactly the time when you have to, because that long-term chronic stress can certainly affect your immune system and then you can end up with something much more serious. 

LEAH: Yes, absolutely. So what are the airlines always tell us? You know, put on your own mask before you assist others. You do have to take care of yourself so you can be available to help others. So Dar was saying, we put together stress management plans for our clients all the time and they're tailored individually for each person. But there are some good general tips that we're going to share here with you today that you can implement to help start taking care of yourself and taking care of the stress in your life. So our first step for a good stress management plan would be drinking eight to 10 glasses of filtered water every single day. So water keeps our brain hydrated so we can avoid those headaches or migraines; the brain fog, the lapses in memory. So this is a simple stress reducing habit that you can do yourself.

DARLENE: I think that's an interesting point you just made is that water hydrates the brain. And I don't think people realize that the brain needs to be hydrated continually because if you start to experience some brain fog, one of the things that really helps with that is to drink some water. Drink a glass of water. Maybe drink two glasses of water. So drinking sufficient filtered water is more than just a habit. Water helps the electrical system of our body and brain to function better and to support our nerves and keeps our heart rhythm regular, which is another thing that I see with a lot of clients. Their heart rhythm is not in balance. You know, water helps to flush out everyday toxins such as, you know, we get exposed to, you know, things that like pesticides, like Roundup that's in our food. It's in our residue of food. We get plastic residues from water that's contained in plastics. You know, we get lots of bad fats in convenience foods. So drinking water and staying hydrated also helps us to keep our normal blood pressure. I mean, you know it's interesting. If you're feeling really stressed out, we always say drink a couple of three glasses of water and I think you'll find that your stress level comes down. These are things we practice all the time. 

LEAH: Absolutely.

DARLENE: And we need to take a break, Leah.

LEAH: Yes we do. So going into our third break, you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Starting the week of July 23rd, so we're only about two weeks out now, we are offering our Nutrition for Weight Loss series at all seven of our locations. Our Nutrition for Weight Loss program includes 12 group classes and two one-on-one nutrition consultations with one of our dietitians or nutritionists, who will help personalize your eating plan specific for you. So you get the best of both worlds. You get the group support and accountability at least once a week. But you also get that one-on-one time with a nutrition expert. So we tailor the plan specifically for you. So if you don't like broccoli, you won't have to include broccoli in your plan. And I do this with my clients. I show them the vegetable list or I show them the protein list and the healthy fats lists. And I have them tell me, okay, what on this list are you willing to eat? Or on the flip side, what are you saying “I'm not going to touch with a 10 foot pole”? So, and we can work with that stuff. And if you have trouble sleeping, we will make recommendations until you are sleeping.

DARLENE: And sometimes it takes a little trial and error.

LEAH: Absolutely; yup; exactly. Not everybody's the same. And some things work well, work brilliantly for some people and other people we have to do a little more tinkering. So our Nutrition for Weight Loss program is so much more than just a weight loss program.

DARLENE: So if you sign up by July 15th you can actually get a $50 early bird discount. So you can enjoy 12 one-hour classes, two one-hour individual consultations. And that whole package is only $349. So call our office today at (651) 699-3438 to sign up for either a group class that you meet in person, or you can do it online: the Nutrition for Weight Loss series online. Our online series also includes the two one-hour appointments with a nutritionist. So really if you live in Montana or New York or even in another country, because we do have people signing up that live in Australia or New Zealand, you can still connect with us and get the support you need to achieve your health and weight loss goals. And we'll be back in a minute.


DARLENE: So welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. We have another great show planned for you next Saturday called “How Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivities are Connected to Health Problems”. If you or a friend or relatives have a gluten sensitivity, I really encourage you to tune in because the co-host, Joann, is gluten sensitive herself. So she follows the diet very carefully. And Cassie, who's the other co-host, has two children with celiac disease and they're both teenagers. So both of those ladies know a lot about how to stay gluten-free and feeling great and you know, and doing well. So if you're interested in any of the other things that we've talked about today, you know, we're going to run out of time. So we want to get right back to our show. 

LEAH: Yes. So coming into our last segment here, you know, there's this old saying and I love this, that it goes something like this: “If Mama ain't happy, then nobody's happy”.

DARLENE: Oh, so true.

LEAH: Yes, that definitely applies in my house. So, but you can also apply this saying to your brain. You can say, if my brain isn't happy, then my body isn’t happy. And what this means is, is if you're not giving your brain proper care, you won't be able to manage your stress well. So going back to that step number one we talked about for a stress management plan of drinking water; drinking water keeps your brain hydrated, helps your brain relax, and it helps you to manage your stress.

DARLENE: So if you have chronic stress, ask yourself this question: “Do I really have a stress management plan?” You should always be thinking about this. What I get out of my brain is determined by what I put into my brain. And people always seem to think what they get out of their brain is determined by their thoughts. Well, it is our thought or information, actually, it is the nutrients that we take in that affect our brain. So at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we believe it's the nutrients. So here's an example: If your brain is deficient in water, which is a nutrient, you will no doubt have more negative thoughts, headaches and brain fog; unbelievable. To help manage stress, develop the simple habit of drinking eight to 10 glasses of filtered water every day. That's so interesting, isn't it?

LEAH: Yes; Interesting but also easy to do; an easy solution or should I say simple solution? Maybe not always easy to do.


LEAH: So moving on, step number two for our stress management plan is getting adequate sleep. Again, a simple concept maybe, but not always easy to do. Now adequate sleep; what do we mean when we talk about adequate sleep? So as dietitians and nutritionists, we aim for at least seven and a half to nine hours of sleep most nights. That's what we would call adequate sleep. So for our clients who come in and they're getting four, five, six hours of sleep per night, that is very stressful on our bodies and on our brains. So this is why we always talk to our clients about sleep. And it's one of the many reasons why our clients come to us.

DARLENE: So here's an interesting news fact is… we think it's a news fact anyway. You know, as nutritionists and dietitians, we are really sleep experts. We don't just say, you know, and we hear this all the time. I hear this, you know, they'll say, my clients will tell me, “Well this dietician or nutritionist told me eat a playing card size serving of protein.” And that's about all they say. You know? Or maybe they'll say, “Count your fat grams.” Well we actually get in and analyze why people are not either getting enough sleep or you know, how to adjust their eating and add a supplement to support a deficiency they might have. So here's an example: If you are low on magnesium, we suggest taking 300 to 400 milligrams of magnesium before you go to sleep. So it's magnesium before you go to sleep.

LEAH: Yes, I love magnesium. Magnesium works like magic for so many people. And I always say, when you think magnesium, think relaxation. So there's that sleep component. And if you sleep like a baby through the night, you will be able to manage stress so much better. And your focus and your concentration will be better. Your decision making will be better. You'll have less anxiety and best of all: this surprises a lot of our clients, but you will be able to lose the weight a lot easier.

DARLENE: Exactly. So what's the best plan to get seven and a half to nine hours of sleep, most nights? You know, as we always say food first. So we recommend a balanced snack before. And I'm just going do like one idea because we're just running out of time. Have just cream cheese, full fat, great cream cheese on a light rye cracker or you could put peanut butter on an apple. Those are a couple of things to eat before you go to bed.

LEAH: Keep those blood sugars balanced and feeding that brain all night long. So in our Nutrition for Weight Loss 12 week class series, we have many other ideas for great tasting blood sugar balancing snacks. So maybe you're not a fan of cream cheese or you don't like peanut butter. Join us in this upcoming July series to learn more. And again, this starts July 23rd at all seven of our locations. You'll save $50 if you sign up before July 15th.

DARLENE: So another thing to do is to take a natural sleep supplement if you're having trouble sleeping. Some people need supplements to be able to sleep seven and a half to nine hours. So we're going to take some time to discuss possible sleep supplements. So where would you start with that, Leah?

LEAH: Yeah, so as I said earlier, sleep problems are very individualized, so we work individually with people to help them solve their specific sleep needs. But I like to again, start people with magnesium; and magnesium being a very relaxing supplement. So again, most people do well at 300 to 400 milligrams of Magnesium Glycinate, specifically at bedtime.

DARLENE: So now if someone's listening and they just can't fall asleep, I go to melatonin. And I believe in one that goes under your tongue, like a sublingual or a liquid melatonin because it gets right into your bloodstream. And usually in two, well by maybe 20 minutes you're sound asleep; very relaxing. And it also helps to reduce your risk for cancer. So melatonin is very safe. So some people need two milligrams. Some people need five milligrams. I notice that Melanie this morning on the radio was talking about she always takes melatonin before, and she takes I think five or 10 milligrams every night. So, you know we've talked about magnesium. Now here's another idea that a lot of people do is, and I know one of our nutritionists who really has had trouble sleeping, she takes a supplement, it's called GABA. And that helps to kind of get restful sleep. Another one that you might want to try is something that's called 5-HTP or there’s a supplement that's called Neurocalm. All of these work in a different way for people to help. And Leah, I know our producer is giving us a little hint that we're going to have to cut this off.

LEAH: Yes. The little signal that it's time to wrap up. Yes. Well, so if you have more questions or want to know more information about stress and how we help our clients manage stress, you can certainly give our offices a call. Again, 651-699-3438 or visit our website at weightandwellness.com. A couple of months ago, I wrote specifically an article on our blog about the stress connection to weight gain and cortisol and that whole cycle.

DARLENE: And it was a great article.

LEAH: Oh, thank you. I appreciate that. So give that article a read and let us know what your feedback is about that. But going out, our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet very powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. 

DARLENE: And thank you everyone for listening today. And Leah, thank you for being on with me.

LEAH: Yes, thank you.

DARLENE: Great time.

LEAH: Yes, absolutely. So thank you all for listening and have a wonderful day.

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