Battling Vitamin D Deficiency During Winter Months Ahead

By Betty Murray

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for strong bones and teeth. Working with other vitamins, minerals, and hormones, vitamin D promotes bone mineralization. A deficiency in vitamin D increases the risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures. It has also been associated with an increased risk for depression, diabetes, certain cancers, autoimmune disorders, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, asthma, heart disease, dementia, and memory loss.

After exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, the body produces vitamin D naturally. It is also found in certain foods, and can be consumed in a supplement as well. The maximum daily dose of vitamin D is 10,000 IU (International Units), though the recommended dosage is 600 IU for people 1-70 years old, and 800 IU daily for those over 71.

For most people, just 10 to 15 minutes in the noontime sun each day is enough to produce the daily recommended dose of vitamin D. Even during the winter, going outdoors can boost the body’s vitamin D levels, but when it is cold outside, it’s less appealing to spend much time outside soaking up the sun.

What are the signs of vitamin D deficiency?

The best way to determine if you’re getting enough vitamin D is to have a blood test to measure the amount of vitamin D in your blood. A long-term vitamin D deficiency may result one (or several) serious health problems. If you experience any of these symptoms or ailments, it may because you aren’t getting enough vitamin D.

  • Muscle weakness
  • Psoriasis
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Periodontal gym disease
  • Heart disease
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Cancer

How can you be sure you’re getting enough vitamin D this winter?

Second to spending time outdoors, eating a diet rich in vitamin D is the best way to boost your vitamin D levels naturally. Just three ounces of cooked sockeye salmon contains about 447 IU of vitamin D. Other foods containing vitamin D include: fatty fish, tuna, shellfish like shrimp and crab, orange juice fortified with vitamin D, some mushrooms, egg yolks, cod liver oil, and ready-to-eat cereals that have been fortified with vitamin D.

If you continue to experience a vitamin D deficiency, talk to your health care provider about a vitamin D supplement. Most multivitamins provide 400 IU of vitamin D, though your physician may recommend higher doses of vitamin D based on your current vitamin D blood level. It is important that you consult your physician before you begin taking a vitamin D supplement, as toxicity may occur with high doses.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

 

Battling Vitamin D Deficiency During Winter Months Ahead

By Betty Murray

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for strong bones and teeth. Working with other vitamins, minerals, and hormones, vitamin D promotes bone mineralization. A deficiency in vitamin D increases the risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures. It has also been associated with an increased risk for depression, diabetes, certain cancers, autoimmune disorders, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, asthma, heart disease, dementia, and memory loss.

After exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, the body produces vitamin D naturally. It is also found in certain foods, and can be consumed in a supplement as well. The maximum daily dose of vitamin D is 10,000 IU (International Units), though the recommended dosage is 600 IU for people 1-70 years old, and 800 IU daily for those over 71.

For most people, just 10 to 15 minutes in the noontime sun each day is enough to produce the daily recommended dose of vitamin D. Even during the winter, going outdoors can boost the body’s vitamin D levels, but when it is cold outside, it’s less appealing to spend much time outside soaking up the sun.

What are the signs of vitamin D deficiency?

The best way to determine if you’re getting enough vitamin D is to have a blood test to measure the amount of vitamin D in your blood. A long-term vitamin D deficiency may result one (or several) serious health problems. If you experience any of these symptoms or ailments, it may because you aren’t getting enough vitamin D.

  • Muscle weakness
  • Psoriasis
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Periodontal gym disease
  • Heart disease
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Cancer

How can you be sure you’re getting enough vitamin D this winter?

Second to spending time outdoors, eating a diet rich in vitamin D is the best way to boost your vitamin D levels naturally. Just three ounces of cooked sockeye salmon contains about 447 IU of vitamin D. Other foods containing vitamin D include: fatty fish, tuna, shellfish like shrimp and crab, orange juice fortified with vitamin D, some mushrooms, egg yolks, cod liver oil, and ready-to-eat cereals that have been fortified with vitamin D.

If you continue to experience a vitamin D deficiency, talk to your health care provider about a vitamin D supplement. Most multivitamins provide 400 IU of vitamin D, though your physician may recommend higher doses of vitamin D based on your current vitamin D blood level. It is important that you consult your physician before you begin taking a vitamin D supplement, as toxicity may occur with high doses.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

 

The Truth About White Vegetables

By Betty Murray

When you think about eating foods of a rainbow of colors, there’s one important color (or non-color) you can’t forget — white.

White vegetables aren’t lacking in nutrients simply because they aren’t as colorful as an array of peppers and other rich, colorful veggies. In fact, some white vegetables can help you get essential nutrients that we commonly lack, such as potassium, magnesium and fiber.

Wondering what’s in a white vegetable?

Cauliflower — Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family, and like other cruciferous veggies (broccoli and Brussels sprouts, for example), cauliflower contains sulforaphane, a sulfur compound known to help fight cancer, boost heart health, strengthen bone tissue and keep blood vessels healthy. Cauliflower also contains anti-inflammatory nutrients and is a good source of vitamins C, K, and B6 as well as protein, magnesium, fiber, potassium, and several other nutrients.

Mushrooms — Rich in selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin D. Mushrooms are a natural low-calorie, low-sodium, fat-free, cholesterol-free, and gluten-free food and they are filling, too!

Garlic — Contains powerful antioxidants to boost the immune system. Sulfer compounds in garlic have been linked to fighting cancer cells and diallyl trisulfide, also found in garlic can help protect the heart during cardiac surgery and after a heart attack. Garlic has also been linked to the reduction of high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

White onions — Contains quercetin, an anti-inflammatory chemical that has been associated with a stronger immune system and a lower risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

White potatoes — Don’t ignore potatoes simply because they contain high carbohydrate content. White potatoes contain vitamins C and B6, magnesium and a small amount of protein. They are richest in fiber and potassium content. One medium white potato contains less than 200 calories and more potassium and fiber than a banana.

By eating a well-balanced diet consisting of a variety of vegetables and fruits in all colors, you’ll be sure to boost your health and help protect against a number of harmful diseases and illnesses.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Want to lose weight? Learn these 10 healthy eating habits

By Betty Murray

Weight gain is often tied to the many small choices we make day in and day out, rather than any one main cause. Seemingly “harmless” habits you may not even recognize can throw your whole diet off course, leading to serious weight gain.

If you want to lose weight, incorporate these healthy eating habits into your daily life.

Avoid mindless eating. We’ve all done it at one point or another. Perhaps you sit down in front of the TV and demolish an entire bowl of popcorn without even realizing it, or you zone out during dinner and clean your plate — twice. Mindless eating can lead to serious weight gain. Break the habit by making meals and snack time a priority. Turn off the TV and put down your phone. Focus on conversation and enjoying each bit of your meal. Engage all of your senses during dinner and you’ll be more aware of what and how much you eat.

Eat smaller portions. Studies have shown that the larger the bowl or plate, the more we consume. Eat dinner off of a small salad plate instead of a large dinner plate and you could eat up to 45 percent less! Never eat straight out of a container or package. Instead of eating the popcorn out of a bag, pour it into a small bowl. Portion control is key in losing weight.

Everything in moderation. Rather than making a certain food or food group off limits, eat food in moderation. Remember that eating is how you nourish and nurture your body. Avoiding your cravings altogether may not help your diet. When you crave food, even junk food, take time to identify exactly what it is you are craving. Allow yourself to enjoy those treats in moderation. Eating your favorite junk food once a week may help curb those cravings and help you stick to a healthier diet the rest of the week.

Avoid emotional eating. Eat when you’re physically hungry rather than as a means to soothe your emotions or reduce stress.  If you’re prone to eat when you’re feeling gloomy, find an activity to replace your cravings. Go for a walk or run, take the dog to the park, or pick up the phone and call a friend. Eating can be a coping mechanism, and one that causes significant weight gain. Don’t let eating become your comfort. Learning to cope with bouts of depression or gloominess with activity and exercise will be far more beneficial to your mental, emotional and physical state.

Slow down and stop when you are comfortably full. Eating quickly is engrained in us. Our fast-paced culture makes it difficult to slow down to do anything, let alone eat. In order to feel full, your mealtime needs to last at least 15 to 20 minutes. If you consume your meal in less time, you’ll eat more because it takes at least 15 minutes for your brain to signal that you are full.  Eating is one thing you can’t afford to rush. Slow down — take small bites, chew every bite thoroughly and sip on water between bites —  and stop eating when you are comfortably full.

Eat breakfast. Many of us skip breakfast because we are too busy to eat before heading off to work or school, when breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. Take the extra time to eat a healthy breakfast balanced with proteins, fats and carbs and you’ll give your body the fuel it needs to get through the day, and keep your metabolism running, too.

Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy foods. Don’t keep junk food or sweets in your home. If you don’t buy unhealthy, high calorie snacks like chips, sweets and soda, you won’t eat them. Instead, stock your fridge and pantry with healthy foods so it will be easier to make healthy food choices when you’re at home.

Differentiate between a “snack” and a “treat.” A snack is what you eat between meals to keep you satisfied. Fruit, raw veggies, and nuts are all considered snacks. Eating a cookie or a piece of chocolate does not constitute a snack. Those are treats, and should be enjoyed sparingly. Healthy snacking can keep your metabolism burning fat at a high rate, but high calorie snacking can lead to spiked blood sugar, slowed metabolism and even an energy crash.

Get plenty of sleep. Being well rested is an essential stress-reducer. The less stressed you are, the less likely you will be to eat mindlessly. It’s in the moments of high stress that you’re more likely to reach for an unhealthy treat, like a bag of chocolates.

Avoid nighttime eating. When you sleep, your metabolism isn’t nearly as active as it is during the day. Your body is meant to consume food during the day, not at night when you should be asleep. Midnight snacking can be the bane of your weight loss plan. When dinner is over, the kitchen is closed. Don’t let yourself be tempted into a midnight snack simply because you’re bored. If you get a craving, drink a glass of water and wait it out. If you’re still hungry 10 minutes later, eat a piece of fruit or a handful of fresh carrots.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Want to lose weight? Learn these 10 healthy eating habits

By Betty Murray

Weight gain is often tied to the many small choices we make day in and day out, rather than any one main cause. Seemingly “harmless” habits you may not even recognize can throw your whole diet off course, leading to serious weight gain.

If you want to lose weight, incorporate these healthy eating habits into your daily life.

Avoid mindless eating. We’ve all done it at one point or another. Perhaps you sit down in front of the TV and demolish an entire bowl of popcorn without even realizing it, or you zone out during dinner and clean your plate — twice. Mindless eating can lead to serious weight gain. Break the habit by making meals and snack time a priority. Turn off the TV and put down your phone. Focus on conversation and enjoying each bit of your meal. Engage all of your senses during dinner and you’ll be more aware of what and how much you eat.

Eat smaller portions. Studies have shown that the larger the bowl or plate, the more we consume. Eat dinner off of a small salad plate instead of a large dinner plate and you could eat up to 45 percent less! Never eat straight out of a container or package. Instead of eating the popcorn out of a bag, pour it into a small bowl. Portion control is key in losing weight.

Everything in moderation. Rather than making a certain food or food group off limits, eat food in moderation. Remember that eating is how you nourish and nurture your body. Avoiding your cravings altogether may not help your diet. When you crave food, even junk food, take time to identify exactly what it is you are craving. Allow yourself to enjoy those treats in moderation. Eating your favorite junk food once a week may help curb those cravings and help you stick to a healthier diet the rest of the week.

Avoid emotional eating. Eat when you’re physically hungry rather than as a means to soothe your emotions or reduce stress.  If you’re prone to eat when you’re feeling gloomy, find an activity to replace your cravings. Go for a walk or run, take the dog to the park, or pick up the phone and call a friend. Eating can be a coping mechanism, and one that causes significant weight gain. Don’t let eating become your comfort. Learning to cope with bouts of depression or gloominess with activity and exercise will be far more beneficial to your mental, emotional and physical state.

Slow down and stop when you are comfortably full. Eating quickly is engrained in us. Our fast-paced culture makes it difficult to slow down to do anything, let alone eat. In order to feel full, your mealtime needs to last at least 15 to 20 minutes. If you consume your meal in less time, you’ll eat more because it takes at least 15 minutes for your brain to signal that you are full.  Eating is one thing you can’t afford to rush. Slow down — take small bites, chew every bite thoroughly and sip on water between bites —  and stop eating when you are comfortably full.

Eat breakfast. Many of us skip breakfast because we are too busy to eat before heading off to work or school, when breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. Take the extra time to eat a healthy breakfast balanced with proteins, fats and carbs and you’ll give your body the fuel it needs to get through the day, and keep your metabolism running, too.

Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy foods. Don’t keep junk food or sweets in your home. If you don’t buy unhealthy, high calorie snacks like chips, sweets and soda, you won’t eat them. Instead, stock your fridge and pantry with healthy foods so it will be easier to make healthy food choices when you’re at home.

Differentiate between a “snack” and a “treat.” A snack is what you eat between meals to keep you satisfied. Fruit, raw veggies, and nuts are all considered snacks. Eating a cookie or a piece of chocolate does not constitute a snack. Those are treats, and should be enjoyed sparingly. Healthy snacking can keep your metabolism burning fat at a high rate, but high calorie snacking can lead to spiked blood sugar, slowed metabolism and even an energy crash.

Get plenty of sleep. Being well rested is an essential stress-reducer. The less stressed you are, the less likely you will be to eat mindlessly. It’s in the moments of high stress that you’re more likely to reach for an unhealthy treat, like a bag of chocolates.

Avoid nighttime eating. When you sleep, your metabolism isn’t nearly as active as it is during the day. Your body is meant to consume food during the day, not at night when you should be asleep. Midnight snacking can be the bane of your weight loss plan. When dinner is over, the kitchen is closed. Don’t let yourself be tempted into a midnight snack simply because you’re bored. If you get a craving, drink a glass of water and wait it out. If you’re still hungry 10 minutes later, eat a piece of fruit or a handful of fresh carrots.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Got Food Allergies? Check out these allergy-friendly restaurants

By Betty Murray

Food allergies can make eating out difficult. How do you know exactly what is in the meal you order at a restaurant, and can you be sure it hasn’t been contaminated with something you or your child is allergic to, such as peanuts or eggs?

If you have food allergies, you need to know about AllergyEats, a guide to allergy-friendly restaurants across the country. It contains a peer-reviewed directory of restaurants that have been rated by people with food allergies or for people with food allergies. The website is a comprehensive list of more than 650,000 restaurants nationwide, including large chains and small, mom and pop restaurants. It even includes menus!

Each year, AllergyEats releases a list of the most allergy friendly restaurant chains nationwide. Each chain restaurant was grouped into one of three categories, large (over 300 stores), medium (50-200 stores) and small (under 50 stores) Here is the 2014 list of the 15 most allergy friendly restaurants in the U.S. according to AllergyEats:

Large (over 200 units):

  • Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (4.45 rating)
  • P.F. Chang’s China Bistro (4.43 rating)
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill (4.41 rating)
  • Outback Steakhouse (4.35 rating)
  • Romano’s Macaroni Grill (4.20 rating)

Medium (50-200 units):

  • Bonefish Grill (4.43 rating)
  • Ninety Nine Restaurants (4.28 rating)
  • Mellow Mushroom (4.26 rating)
  • Uno Chicago Grill (4.24 rating)
  • Bertucci’s Brick Oven Restaurant (4.17 rating)

Small (under 50 units):

  • Burtons Grill (4.90 rating)
  • Maggiano’s Little Italy (4.73 rating)
  • Papa Razzi (4.68 rating)
  • Legal Sea Foods (4.67 rating)
  • Not Your Average Joe’s (4.66 rating)

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Get More Greens in Your Diet

By Betty Murray

What one food packs the most nutrients and is most beneficial to your health? Greens. Like them or not, leafy green vegetables are low in carbohydrates, sodium, fat and cholesterol, and are packed with vitamins and minerals that can help prevent heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.

As a general rule, the darker the color, the more nutritious the vegetable. Leafy Green vegetables like spinach are packed with nutrients such as vitamins K, C, E and B vitamins, as well as minerals like iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. green vegetables are also a source of beta-carotene, lutein and other nutrients, which protect against cell damage and can even help the eyes.

The most power-packed leafy green vegetables include: kale, collard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, bok choy, spinach, mustard greens, broccoli, arugula, romaine lettuce, red and green leaf lettuce and cabbage. If you think you don’t like leafy vegetables, perhaps it’s because you don’t prefer the way they were prepared for you as a child.

There are numerous ways you can get greens in your diet. Here are a few tasty ways to get more greens:

  • Sautee kale, collards, turnips or chard with olive oil or tahini, garlic and broth.
  • Add greens to soups, pasta dishes, casseroles and even your breakfast scramble.
  • Cut cabbage into wedges, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on your favorite seasoning mix. Roast it in the oven for a few hours until the edges are crisp.
  • Toss spinach and/or kale into the blender with banana, berries and some almond milk for protein for a delicious green smoothie. Avoid additives like sugar.
  • Mix spinach, arugula, and red or green leaf lettuce for a salad. Toss in dried fruit, red onion, feta cheese and drizzle with a light olive oil and lemon dressing.

Many leafy greens can be eaten raw, though others, such as Swiss chard, kale and collard greens are tastier when they are cooked. Many health professionals would argue that because greens can be difficult to digest, you get more of the nutritional benefits of leafy greens when they are blended or processed.

To stay healthy and energized, greens are a must have in your diet. Experiment with different ways to prepare greens until you find a way to enjoy these nutritional powerhouses.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Get More Greens in Your Diet

By Betty Murray

What one food packs the most nutrients and is most beneficial to your health? Greens. Like them or not, leafy green vegetables are low in carbohydrates, sodium, fat and cholesterol, and are packed with vitamins and minerals that can help prevent heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.

As a general rule, the darker the color, the more nutritious the vegetable. Leafy Green vegetables like spinach are packed with nutrients such as vitamins K, C, E and B vitamins, as well as minerals like iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. green vegetables are also a source of beta-carotene, lutein and other nutrients, which protect against cell damage and can even help the eyes.

The most power-packed leafy green vegetables include: kale, collard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, bok choy, spinach, mustard greens, broccoli, arugula, romaine lettuce, red and green leaf lettuce and cabbage. If you think you don’t like leafy vegetables, perhaps it’s because you don’t prefer the way they were prepared for you as a child.

There are numerous ways you can get greens in your diet. Here are a few tasty ways to get more greens:

  • Sautee kale, collards, turnips or chard with olive oil or tahini, garlic and broth.
  • Add greens to soups, pasta dishes, casseroles and even your breakfast scramble.
  • Cut cabbage into wedges, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on your favorite seasoning mix. Roast it in the oven for a few hours until the edges are crisp.
  • Toss spinach and/or kale into the blender with banana, berries and some almond milk for protein for a delicious green smoothie. Avoid additives like sugar.
  • Mix spinach, arugula, and red or green leaf lettuce for a salad. Toss in dried fruit, red onion, feta cheese and drizzle with a light olive oil and lemon dressing.

Many leafy greens can be eaten raw, though others, such as Swiss chard, kale and collard greens are tastier when they are cooked. Many health professionals would argue that because greens can be difficult to digest, you get more of the nutritional benefits of leafy greens when they are blended or processed.

To stay healthy and energized, greens are a must have in your diet. Experiment with different ways to prepare greens until you find a way to enjoy these nutritional powerhouses.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

5 Foods That Help You Slim Down

By Betty Murray

Summer is just a few months away; it’s time to start working on your beach body!

Even if you’ve been eating a relatively healthy diet, you may find that you’re struggling to lose excess pounds and inches around your waist. If you need an extra weight loss boost, check your diet for these five foods. Each of these foods can help you slim down just in time for summer.

Hot peppers – People tend to consume fewer calories when they eat spicy foods such as red chili peppers, compared to bland foods. Chemicals called capsaicinoids which cause the burning sensation have also been found to reduce cravings for fatty, sweet and salty foods. There is also evidence that once the capsaicinoids reach the gut, they cause an increase in brown fat cells, which burn calories at a faster rate and increase core temperature.

Spices – Tumeric, oregano, cinnamon, rosemary, cloves and paprika are all spices that have been found to improve insulin sensitivity. When you eat a fatty meal, your triglyceride levels and insulin spikes. Eat the same meal with about two teaspoons of some of these spices, and it will help keep your triglyceride and insulin levels down.

Water – Drinking a glass of water before a meal, and drinking water with your meal can fill you up faster so you’ll consume fewer calories. Similarly, foods that have high water content work much the same way. A study out of Tokyo found that women who a lot of ate foods that were high in water content (like fruits and vegetables) had lower body mass indexes (BMI) and smaller waistlines. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, grapefruit, lettuce, radishes and spinach are all foods that are high in water content.

Nuts – Keep nuts like almonds, walnuts and pecans around the house for snacks. If you get a mid-day craving for a snack, eat a small handful of nuts instead of a processed, high-calorie, high-carb snack. Research has shown that people who eat nuts for a snack will eat less at meal time. Nuts like almonds are high in protein, which helps keep you feeling full.

Apples – Another great snack option, apples are high in fiber and antioxidants that may help prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition that leads to excess belly fat. Apples contain natural sugar (as all fruits do), but they are a relatively low-calorie snack. A raw apple about 3-1/4” in diameter with the skin on contains just under 120 calories.

Your body needs calories to function, but you have control over the types of calories you take in. Keep these weight loss superfoods at close reach so you’ll be more inclined to grab a healthy snack when the craving hits.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency


By Betty Murray

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is primarily known for it’s role in promoting healthy, strong bones. But vitamin D does more for the body than prevent osteoporosis and protect the bones from fractures.

A vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression, diabetes, some cancers, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, asthma, heart disease, obesity and even dementia.

What are the signs of vitamin D deficiency?

The best way to be sure you’re getting enough vitamin D is to have a blood test to measure the amount of vitamin D in your blood. A long-term vitamin D deficiency may result one (or several) serious health problems. If you experience any of these symptoms or ailments, it may because you aren’t getting enough vitamin D.

  • Muscle weakness
  • Psoriasis
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Periodontal gym disease
  • Heart disease
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Cancer

How much vitamin D do I need?

Rather than wait until you are diagnosed with a serious health condition, take steps to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D in your diet. Adults should get a minimum of 1000 to 2000 IU of vitamin D, though your doctor may recommend more or less depending on your current health situation. The maximum daily dose of vitamin D is 10,000 IU and an overdose of vitamin D can result in toxicity.

What foods contain vitamin D?

You can get some vitamin D by taking a daily multivitamin, but there are also several foods that contain vitamin D. Food sources of vitamin D include:

  • 3 oz Salmon and tuna — 200-400 IU
  • 1 cup milk (fortified with vitamin D) — 115 IU
  • 1 cup orange juice (fortified with vitamin D and calcium) — 100 IU
  • 1 cup cereal (fortified with vitamin D) — 40 IU
  • 1 whole egg — 25 IU
  • 2 oz Swiss Cheese — 12 IU

Vitamin D from the sun

For most people, a brief 10 to 15 minutes in the noontime sun each day is enough to produce at 10,000 IU of Vitamin D. Ironically, vitamin D is also one of the known protectors of the skin cells from pre-cancerous changes. It is the sun’s UV-B rays that produce vitamin D in the body, but sunscreen blocks UV-B rays, which are only present in midday sunshine during the summer.

How do you get vitamin D from the sun without getting skin cancer?

The Vitamin D council suggests wearing a hat to protect your head and face from sun damage, while exposing other parts of your body to the noontime sun. Overexposure can lead to sun damage, sun burn and skin cancer. Do not spend more than 15 minutes in the sun without wearing sunscreen. At the first hint of sunburn, go inside.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.