Category Archives: Food

Don’t Get “Hangry”. Get Blood Sugar Balanced.

Weight management the natural way…with PURICA TrimActiv

When we have long lapses of time between eating, our blood sugar drops. When we are in this state, we tend to make more impulsive decisions. The quick “go-to” treats to fill the gap can give us that initial blood sugar spike, but that’s always followed by low blood sugar a few hours later. And don’t deny it: We’ve all been “hangry” more often than we’d care to admit. And even if we’ve avoided a bad case of the “hangries”, we’ve all been around someone who is hangry. With this fast-paced lifestyle of ours, it’s even become – as of 2018 — an official word in the Oxford Dictionary. “hangry” means “bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger”. It’s a classic case study in the chemistry of life, both the ups and the downs.

Healthy body composition to feel your best

Of course, most of us would like to feel limber and physically strong — with sustained energy and a sense of ease within our bodies and minds — throughout the day. When we’re feeling sluggish just getting through the day, that utopia of feel-good energy sounds like it’s out of our reach. That’s where a holistic approach of positive lifestyles, shifting dietary habits and supplementation with a natural formulation such as PURICA TrimActiv can be a game changer, particularly when it comes to curbing cravings and balancing blood sugar.

In terms of “weight management”, it is really about healthy body composition. That allows you to feel your personal best. The beauty is that we’re all so different when it comes to our bodies. There is no “one size fits all”. Having said that, if we are losing or gaining weight too quickly – or doing a yo-yo dance between those two – it is a sign that’s worth exploring the underlying causes of those fluctuations.

Yet metabolic rate is only part of the equation. When we become what we may considered as overweight, it’s most often for more than one reason: From tucking in at night with a pint of ice cream, to focusing on the wrong kinds of foods, such as those high in carbohydrates and simple sugars. Another person may eat relatively healthy, but have a weak spot for at least one sugary drink every day. This can throw off the body’s ability to properly process the sugars and the extra pounds can become an issue.

It’s worth taking a moment to talk about how stress, blood sugar and cravings impact our weight – and just as important, if not more – our mood!

How does blood sugar affect our weight and mood?

Anyone who battles cravings knows just how overwhelming they can be. It can start out with an initial feeling of eating for comfort or an energy boost. What begins as “I’ll just have one cookie” becomes “okay, let’s just polish these off so they out of sight!” It’s easy to judge ourselves as not having any so-called will power. The truth is when our body is in that craving state, it’s difficult for us to control those impulses and regulate that primitive drive and behavior.

How does stress affect blood sugar?

When it comes to blood sugar and stress, it’s bit of a catch 22! When you are under physical, mental or emotional stress, it can also affect your blood sugar levels. When your blood sugars are not in balance, it can cause you to feel stressed. When we have a high level of stress, we are activating our sympathetic nervous system; the “fight or flight” response. Our hormone cortisol (and epinephrine) triggers the release of sugar (glucose). The body releases sugar into the blood so that energy can be circulated throughout your system. This results in higher blood sugar for the short term. The problem is that stress-induced cortisol can also increase our risk for food cravings.

Positive Lifestyle Strategies

So, what can we do to mitigate against the stress and wildly-fluctuating blood sugars? Small incremental changes — such as creating new habits — can go a long way toward effective weight management. The incorporation of these positive lifestyles does not have to be overwhelming. It’s all about consistency.

Some of the positive lifestyle changes we can look at include:

  • Eating small meals and snacks throughout the day to keep blood sugars balanced;
  • Thinking Rainbow! Incorporating as many colors of fruits and vegetables into your diet (rich in antioxidants and fiber which help with blood sugar);
  • Reducing simple sugars (out with the white!).

As noted above, “stress” – especially chronic stress – can impact us on so many levels. We can’t avoid stress completely if we are a living and breathing human being. It’s just there for us, for both good and bad. How we manage and handle stress, however, can be a game changer. Recognizing our own personal triggers can be a huge step in the right direction. The key is to look for ways to trigger our parasympathetic nervous system by doing things such as diaphragmatic breathing (also known as belly breathing). Stress impacts our absorption and assimilation of nutrients, making the weight management connection problematic.

Natural supplementation

PURICA TrimactivPURICA has always been committed to the connections between stress and immunity. It has always shined in its ability to identify and develop formulations that help the body and mind adapt to stress. When it comes to natural supplementation for weight management, PURICA TrimActiv is no exception.  It is weight management the natural way. This unique formulation is different than a typical weight loss product in that it stimulates metabolism in a holistic way. It focusses on supporting overworked adrenals (through the medicinal mushroom cordyceps) to help the body better handle stress. It helps to mitigate unhealthy cravings and encourages healthy, intuitive eating, stabilizing blood sugar and minimizing the cravings that affect both mood and energy. As the name suggests, being “activ” is an important consideration when it comes to achieving optimal natural weight. Supplementation using PURICA TrimActiv is intended to complement an active lifestyle and, of course, good nutrition.

It works on the strength of a series of synergistic ingredients:

Cinnamon: This helps to regulate blood sugar, prevent spikes and the associated deposition of fat. Regulation of blood sugar also helps to reduce cravings.

Garcinia cambogia: A source of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), it plays an important role in fat metabolism. HCA blocks the portion of the enzyme citrate lyase, which helps turn sugar and starches into fat. As a result, carbohydrates are deployed in the production of energy, as opposed to accumulating as fat on our stomach and hips. Physical activity ensures energy is burned off.

Green coffee bean extract: A source of chlorogenic acid, unroasted coffee bean extract has been shown to help fat loss. Chlorogenic acid is believed to reduce the absorption of carbohydrates from the digestive tract, lowering sugar and insulin spikes.

Yerba mate: This herb increases metabolism via a stimulant known as mateine. Like caffeine, mateine can increase energy levels, but doesn’t give you the “jitters”.

Cordyceps: This medicinal mushroom has been used for centuries for a number of health benefits, including increasing muscle mass.

The bottom line: By changing the narrative of a low-energy, sluggish lifestyle to a PURICA TrimActiv lifestyle, you can arrive at a healthier, natural weight. Make it a priority to integrate these positive lifestyles and natural supplementation into your day-to-day living. And while you’re at it, find out about other natural supplements such as PURICA Power vegan protein and PURICA Curcumin 30% BDMC.

NOTE: We are all about Nature. Science. You. We are whole food products, natural supplements and positive lifestyle solutions. While you’re at, you can find our podcasts, videos and blogs on natural supplementation and lifestyles. Look for The Triskelion: The PURICA Podcast, our PURICA Fitness Series, PURICA Yoga Series and more.


Tawnya Ritco, R.H.N., is Director of Education for PURICA and promotes natural health education and finds inspiration in the connection between nutrition, lifestyle, and vitality.

Is it Possible to Have Too Much of a Good Thing?

By Melissa Blair, RHN

If you want to optimize your results in the gym, being knowledgeable about nutrition is a must. The two work hand-in-hand. I have worked with many athletes, both in the gym and in the kitchen, and know the following to be true: You cannot out train a bad diet.

So let me clear up a common blind spot when it comes to eating clean: “Is it possible to have too much of a good thing?” When it comes to food and weight loss, the answer is a definitive “yes”.

I’ve had clients who were nutrition fanatics, fueling their bodies with whole grains, organic lean meats, fruits and veggies, but in one particular case, still struggling to drop an excess 15 lbs.

At first glance, her recall of daily diet, physical activity and healthy lifestyle habits did not add up to them being 15 pounds over optimal weight, so I thought it was time for me optimistically nit-pick her food journal in the hopes of finding the missing data.

After just 10 days of writing down the quantity and timing of all their meals, snacks and beverages, we found the cause of their weight not dropping. It was nuts! Yup Nuts. Turns out they were consuming about 1-2 cups of raw “healthy” nuts per day, that translates to over 1200 calories of nuts per day.  Does this mean nuts are bad, and they should cuts nuts out of their diet? No, absolutely not. In 20-30g portion sizes, nuts are a great source of fat, fiber and protein. They are, however, very calorie dense and easy to overeat because of their portable bite size convenience.

The good news is that all it took was incorporating a premeasured nut container to their meal prep and they reached their weight loss goal in less than two months. The take away is, yes it is possible to have too much of a good thing. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, so be cautious of foods that are bite size and easy to mindlessly pop in your mouth such as, olives, grapes, dried fruits, granola, nuts and seeds.

Products : Trimactiv, Green Coffee Bean , Garcinia Cambogia, Protein Power

Melissa Blair, a training coach and one of Canada’s foremost global fitness competitors, is a member of our team of Purica Ambassadors committed to providing you with healthy eating and training tips. For more information, check out her website or email her.  And for regular healthy eating and training tips, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook

*A note on vegan and vegetarian options: At Purica, we’re committed to empowering you with the best in whole foods, supplements and positive lifestyle solutions. We support all athletes and active living people whatever your dietary preferences, although we will always do our part to raise awareness about the benefits of vegetarian or vegan options.

Survive, Revive and Thrive Through Your Coffee Breakup

Here’s Melissa’s second cup of tips to help you take a break from coffee and the side effects of caffeine.

If you brewed some inspiration from our recent blog on Managing Your Cup(s) of Coffee which was designed to help you take a break from coffee or even break your coffee habit for good — you will be happy to know that we’re following up here with some great tips and life hacks to help you survive the withdrawal, revive your energy and thrive through your coffee break.

It’s really all about avoiding the withdrawal symptoms!

The symptoms of caffeine withdrawal can sometimes be so overpowering that you can easily give in to your body’s need for a caffeine shot or two. Despite all the benefits of quitting caffeine, it requires a lot of will power to persevere through the common symptoms of headache, dizziness, constipation, irritability, lethargy, low concentration, confusion, and even depressed mood.

Here is what you can do to ease the withdrawal symptoms:

  1. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. Replace your favourite coffee mug with a new favourite water bottle that you can refill with water or herbal teas to refuel your energy and eliminate headaches caused by dehydration.
  2. Bullet Chicory Tea: This was my own saving grace on days 5 to 15 and continues to be my morning kick-starter!Recipe: Brew some Chicory Dandelion Dark Roast tea. In a high-powered blender, blend 1 tablespoon MCT oil with ½ teaspoon PURICA Cordyceps or PURICA Chaga powder with 1 cup strong brewed tea to increase energy and help regulate bowel movement.
  3. Sleep Better, Perform Better. Giving up caffeine might initially cause fatigue but with time, your sleep will improve along with your energy, mood, digestion and clarity of your skin. As you become less dependent on caffeine to boost your energy, your nervous system will recover from being constantly stimulated into overdrive and start feeling more energetic from better quality sleep and lower cortisol levels and inevitably, your performance will become better than before.
  4. Move it to lose it. Light exercise like walking and running can work wonders to boost your energy levels, improve mood and curb your caffeine cravings. You can also reduce your stress levels with healthy activities like yoga and meditation.
  5. Eat regular meals instead of gulping acidic coffee as a means to fill your stomach. Having low sugar, high fibre protein based meals and snacks will prevent your blood sugar level from falling dangerously low and help you thrive throughout the day. My clients love the new PURICA Purola granola bars and the equally new PURICA Power Vegan Protein Powder infused with Chaga mushrooms, which makes for great shakes and even simple water smoothies. They’re both great to use to replace mid-morning and afternoon coffee to revive their energy between meals.

The good news is the physical withdrawal period is relatively short. Based on your daily consumption of caffeine, the withdrawal symptoms may only last between 2 and 15 days to resolve. It can be tough, but it’s worth it!

Managing your cup(s) of coffee

Here’s a news flash: Caffeine is one of the most widely used drugs in the world. If you’re like many who adore it via a delicious cup of coffee, I’m here to share with you some reasons why you may want to kick your coffee habit…or at least cut back on your caffeine intake.

I know it’s a sensitive topic because so many of us drink coffee as routine and we’ve done so for years. Yet only through eliminating coffee was I able to see the effect it had on my mood, energy, weight management, sleep and skin. Sometimes it’s hard to connect the dots between food and mood until you commit to an elimination and replacement nutrition plan. The good news is that the benefits of quitting caffeine become evident soon after you restrict your intake.

Here are a few ways in which saying goodbye to caffeinated foods and beverages can help you…

Balance Your Hormones

A bad diet is a key reason for hormonal imbalance. Caffeine causes the release of cortisol, the stress hormone. Taking caffeine out of your dietary regime can help lower blood cortisol levels, increase the circulation of HGH and prevent insulin resistance. Balancing your hormones improves your overall health.

No More Headaches

Caffeine is one of the most common causes of headaches. Sometimes it’s hard to connect the dots around what causes you to have a headache, anxiety or an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure. In my experience over the past 15 plus years as a wellness coach has shown me that most people don’t drink enough water. Since coffee is a diuretic, it isn’t so much the removal of caffeine but the increase in water that helps reduce and in some cases eliminate headaches, lower blood pressure, heart rate and feelings of anxiety. Drinking more water will also help with weight loss and improving the health of your skin!

Weight Loss

If you load your coffee with cream and sugar or regularly order blended coffee drinks, the average number of calories per cup ranges between 250 and 650 calories (depending on what you’re loading into your drink)!  These hidden sugars lead to an increase in body weight and a drop in blood sugar levels, which in turn will typically zap you of energy and increase cravings for a second cup. By cutting down on these caffeinated sugar bombs, you can attain your ideal fitness goals faster than you thought.

Clearer Skin

If you think caffeine might be affecting your skin adversely, you’re probably right!

Caffeine increases your body’s stress levels and triggers the fight or flight response to the adrenal glands to pump out stress hormones. Increased levels of cortisol can cause acne and breakouts. Replacing dehydrating coffee with pure water and fresh lemon will help hydrate the skin and purify the liver to clear your complexion from the inside out.  Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your skin.  Simply replace your morning coffee with a bottle of water and when you sit down to start working at your desk, reach for water instead of a second cup of coffee and you will notice an improvement in the texture of your skin within the first couple weeks.

Quitting caffeine is not easy, but it is possible. My next Blog will cover how to avoid irritability and depression that can come with withdrawal so you can persevere and see the benefits of quitting caffeine kick in.

Your Metabolism and a Healthy Lifestyle

Contrary to popular belief, your metabolism doesn’t have to slow as you age.

It’s true that we experience a decline of between 2 and 4 percent in our resting metabolic rate with each passing decade after the age of 25. On average, we drop about five pounds of lean body mass per decade from age 25-65.

Yet it’s also true that these declines can be prevented by changing a few simple lifestyle habits. That’s because a slow metabolism is not age related; it is lifestyle related.

A decreased metabolism simply stems from a decrease in activity. That means an increase in activity can help increase your metabolism.

By making physical activity part of your daily regime, along with other smart lifestyle choices, you can rev your metabolism, keep your energy up and maintain an optimal weight and body composition late into life.

The more lean muscle mass you have, the better, especially later in life. When it comes to building and maintaining lean muscle mass, think of the saying “use it or lose it”. Performing a weight bearing routine 3-6 days per week stimulates your metabolism because muscle is metabolically active. You are not made to sit all day; so start moving and don’t blame weight gain on a slow metabolism.

It’s also smart living to support your active lifestyle with a balanced whole food diet. Many people are in fact undernourished and overstressed with fast food. If you’re feeling exhausted, rather than reaching for a caffeine or sugar fix to push through, try slowing down and supporting your cardiovascular system with some deep breathing before your meal to support proper digestion and micronutrient absorption.

The bottom line is: Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.

Do your best to stop filling up on empty calories and start loading up on alkaline and nutrient rich whole foods. If you have cravings, it’s because your body is starving for vitamins and nutrients. The quickest way to add vitamins to your diet is to eat produce.

If a food comes from a plant eat it. If it is made in a plant, don’t.

NOTE: I recommend you consider taking a metabolism-supporting supplement. High on my list are Carnitine and natural formulations such as PURICA Trimactiv Weight Control, PURICA Vitality Adrenal Support and PURICA Provascin Cardiovascular Support.

3 Ways to Avoid a Snaccident

Ever roam the aisles of a drug store looking for a protein bar or healthy snack that taste good, is satisfying, or will fuel you up for a workout, and isn’t full of mystery ingredients? It’s a scary scavenger hunt most of us have been on that results in an ugly snaccident! When you eat the wrong thing or opt to skip a meal altogether the end result isn’t pretty. As a Fitness Trainer, Pro Athlete and Nutritionist I have learned to create an arsenal of perfect on-the-go snacks to pack in your gym bag to fuel a busy day. Here are three of my favorites!

  1. I make my own Chocolate Coconut Energy Balls to keep on hand when I need a boost. They satisfy my sweet tooth and are great for pre- or post-workout. Try this simple, easy to make recipe: 1/2-cup oats, two scoops of Vegan Protein Powder. I use Sprouted Living Vegan Chocolate Maca Protein Powder, one medium banana *mashed, 2-3 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and 1/4 cup honey OR 2 Tablespoons Yacon syrup, mix the ingredients in a bowl, roll the balls in unsweetened coconut and cacao nibs. Done and done.
  1. I am totally on board with having raw nuts-as-fuel, but post workout I suggest pairing them with a serving of Low GI fruit. Almond nut butter with pureed frozen banana is one of my favorite desserts to replace an ice-cream craving. Pre-portioned nut butter packets or ¼ cup portion control container for loose nuts are a great way to make this snack portable and help avoid ‘over-nutting.’ OD-ing on nuts can cause weight gain with just a few quick fistfuls.
  1. After a workout is when I suggest a protein shake. Bring a single serving of protein powder with you to the gym to mix with water, coconut water, or a greens juice to provide a delicious convenient liquid snack needed to reload your muscles. Having a single serve of protein powder in iced coffee or iced tea is a great carry along when traveling or stuck in meetings, and food munching isn’t an option.

Isn’t it great to know healthy snacking doesn’t have to be complicated? You now have on-the-go eating covered and you didn’t even have to cook!

Remember; Keep your Friends close, and your snacks closer.

3 Ways to Say Goodbye to Belly Fat

High levels of the stress hormone Cortisol have been shown to contribute to higher levels of body fat especially deep belly fat. Chronic stress, lack of sleep, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking are a few stressors that can lift cortisol levels and keep the body in fight or flight mode, which triggers the body to hold on to fat in self preservation.

The good news is that you can get rid of deep belly fat by following three simple steps.

1. Proper food combining.

Be sure to include a protein, fat, and carb in each meal with an adequate amount of fiber rich foods. When your meals are balanced, your hormones are balanced and your body will absorb the foods nutrients better increasing satiety and decrease the odds of overeating.

2. Control your portions.

When you need to learn how much is enough, invest in a digital food scale and weigh your proteins, fats and complex carbs when prepping your meals at home to learn what a healthy portion size is for you. In our super sized society what is common does not mean it’s normal. After just a few months of measuring with your scale you will be able to eyeball a portion when eating out and determine if it’s enough to starve, satisfy or stuff your hunger. When you’re really trying to lose those last 5-10 lbs. or drop five percent body fat, portion control is a must!

3. Eat frequently and consistently.

To lose access body fat and build muscle being consistent with your meal timing to help maintain proper blood sugar balance. I support the current recommendation of eating five meals per day rather than two to three large meals. This can be made up of three main meals and two snacks or five to six calorically equal meals to fuel your activity level. In all cases be sure to have breakfast within thirty minutes of waking and time your last meal to be at least two hours before bed to support energy levels and quality sleep.

When you consistently eat nutritionally balance, properly portioned meals you will have more energy to fuel your workouts and decrease the mindless indulgences that caused the access belly fat to accumulate in the first place.

10 Habit Hacks to Achieve Healthy Weight Loss

How can you shape or engineer your environment so that maintaining a healthy weight is easier?

You have to put your mind to it, but the good news is that simple changes made to your home or workspace can help make achieving weight loss easier. The key is to surround yourself with nutritious foods and supportive messages while reducing the number of influences that will challenge your commitment to better health. Make these simple adjustments to boost your chances of weight loss success and improve your health:

  1. In the home, get rid of stuff that you’re likely to eat too much of. Overeating is obviously a leading culprit in weight gain.
  2. One step towards improving eating habits is to change the contents of your shopping basket. If you never buy chips, they will not be in the cupboard to tempt you.
  3. Have a snack before a meal, something such as a small serving of protein. This will help you avoid over-indulging later.
  4. Stay away from alcohol before starting a meal. There’s evidence that alcohol stimulates appetite and leads to overeating.
  5. Serve your dinner meal from the stove or counter rather than serving your plate right off the table. Studies show you are likely to eat 19 percent less food with this healthy habit.
  6. Serve salad first rather than bread at mealtime. You’re three times more likely to eat the first food you see than the fifth.
  7. Replace 12-inch plates with 10-inch ones. People tend to eat about 60 extra calories per meal when they eat off of larger plates.
  8. Avoid the TV and Computer When Eating. It’s easy to lose track of what you’ve eaten when you are not paying attention. Try to remove items that will take your focus off of eating, such as the computer or a television at mealtime.
  9. Celebrate your healthy meal by sitting down, relaxing alone or with family. Take the time to slowly enjoy your food. Creating a special mealtime ritual will help you to feel satisfied with the experience of eating. This is better than looking in the cupboard and fridge before mealtimes or snacks to see what is there.
  10. Physical activity is more important for weight maintenance than for weight loss. What matters most for weight loss is controlling calorie intake. However, doing things such as walking to the local market or parking far from the grocery store door will support weight loss by increasing total daily steps and calories burned. Adding daily exercise is the key to improving your mood, protecting against disease. It boosts energy during the day and improves sleep quality at night.

Home is Where Heart Healthy Cooking is at

It can be difficult to eat right when you’re eating out, ordering in, or eating processed foods. The portions are usually too large and the foods contain too much salt, sugar, and hydrogenated fats. Cooking at home will give you full control over the nutritional content of your meals and can also help you to save money and lose weight, if needed.
Making a quick, heart healthy meal is easier and less time-consuming than you may think. Here are a few suggestions: Continue reading