Apr 132015

Protein Powder - Why Not Eat Real Food - www.RadianceCentral.com

My Opinion Of Protein Powder

By now, I think most people know I strongly recommend getting your nutrition from food, rather than supplements. After being on a raw vegan diet for close to 4 years and taking a vitamin B12 supplement daily during that time, I still developed a severe vitamin B12 deficiency. It was a rude awakening that I couldn’t rely on supplements to safeguard or prevent deficiencies. As soon as I got off the vegan diet, and re-introduced animal products, meats, and other foods containing vitamin B12 back into my diet, my vitamin B12 levels returned to normal, and have remained at a healthy level for 4 years now. I never want to go through that again, and it was definitely a lesson learned.

So when I was recently asked about my opinion about protein powder, I immediately got an achy feeling as I do whenever anyone asks me about any supplement, especially supplements that are not used, nor designed to even treat a deficiency. This is not to say that I believe all supplements are terrible, but I do believe if you want to take care of your health – better to focus on making proper dietary choices, eat healthy food, and a varied diet, as opposed to relying on a supplement to nourish you, or keep you healthy.

Unless you’re treating a health problem using protein powder, have an absorption issue, or need the protein powder to bulk up for sports competitions and the like, for the general population, I don’t think consuming protein powder is neccessary. If you don’t think you’re getting enough protein from your diet, or you want to be adding more to see if it can help with your workouts, building muscles, and keeping your appetite down, than best to figure out what other protein-rich foods you can add into your diet. I question how bio-absorbable the protein and nutrients are in protein powders, and how it could be affecting your health over the longterm if you’re taking it regularly. Majority of mainstream protein powders contain less than optimal ingredients including hydrogenated oils, soy byproducts, artificial sweeteners, flavourings, colouring, fillers, and additives. Sure you’re getting extra protein that may help you build muscles, promote tissue repair, keep you appetite down, etc., but if that protein powders contain a host of processed and artificial ingredients, it could be causing more harm than good.

If consuming protein powder is a part of your routine, and it’s working for you, then do make sure to be purchasing a good quality protein powder that is made with the purest ingredients, preferably derived from whole foods, and avoid any products that contains hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils (soybean oil, cotton seed oil, etc.), artificial sweeteners, colouring, and and soy byproducts. Nowadays there are many different types of protein powders available including whey protein powder, rice protein powder, pea protein powder, and hemp protein powder. Besides avoiding any protein powders that are made out with low quality and artificial ingredients, I strongly discourage using soy protein powders, or any protein products that is made with soy protein, soybean oil, or soy byproducts (I’m not completely against eating soy, just the soy byproducts, soybean oil, etc., click here for my reason why!).

Do I use protein powders?

No! I’ve tried them at different times in the past, but besides not liking the taste or texture, I always feel much better getting all my nutrition from fresh, real food. In general, I never found protein powders to be all that filling (for me), and I don’t find them to be the easiest to digest either. I wouldn’t be surprised if they contribute to issues of inflammation as well. Bottom line, I much prefer getting my nutrition from actual food.

Ready to let go of the sugar and processed food once and for all??!!
Join the NEW 7 Day Whole Food Challenge starting Monday, April 20, 2015! For 7 days you’ll be on a 100% healthy, real food diet! This program is an online program, so once you sign up you’ll immediately receive an ebook with over 75 recipes, program guidelines, sample menus, lists of meal ideas, etc..) and once the program begins you’ll have access to a private online forum for support, and daily education & motivational videos to teach you everything you need to know about eating a healthy, whole food diet. Click Here to sign-up now!


Apr 082015

Water-The benefits and how to drink more (Healthy Habits Monthly Challenge)- www.RadianceCentral.com

Last week we kicked off the first of the Healthy Habits Monthly Challenge series! I am so excited about doing monthly challenges with you! This month’s Healthy Habits Challenge is drinking water, at least 6-8 cups (2 quarts/ 2 litres minimum) a day! If this is the first time you’re hearing about the Challenge, CLICK HERE for more info!

To keep you motivated and inspired to continue drinking plenty of water every day, in today’s video I talk about the benefits of drinking water, some of the tips and tricks people have shared on Radiance Central’s Facebook and YouTube pages about what works for them, and how the Challenge has been going for me, what benefits I have noticed so far, and what I do every day to ensure I’m drinking plenty of water!

I’m REALLY enjoying this Challenge!

Benefits of drinking more water

  • Hydrating your body
  • Decreasing inflammation
  • Clearer complexion
  • Improved digestion and elimination
  • Flushing the body of waste and toxins
  • Increased energy
  • Mental alertness
  • Boosting immune system function
  • Increase of dietary electrolytes and trace minerals
  • Decrease of appetite and cravings
  • Reduction of swelling, water-retention, and puffiness
  • Overall improvement of health and wellness

Tips on how to make drinking more water EASY:

– Make water easily accessible by filling up a large bottle, jar, flask, jug, or pitcher with water, and keep it on your desk, carry it in your purse, in your car, etc.

– Use large containers to hold or carry the water, so you don’t need to count the cups but rather the large containers instead. For example if you have a large pitcher or water bottle that can contain one litre or one quart of water, better to focus on drinking two of those a day, rather than counting eight separate cups of water (which is easier to lose count of).

– Aim to drink water throughout the day, instead of all at one time of day. For example, aim to drink one litre or one quart of water by noon, then another quart or litre by 6pm, and if you can drink more after, even better!

– Get in the habit of drinking water while doing other daily habits. For example if you have a shower every morning and evening, have a glass of water before and after you bathe. If you walk your dog every day, make it a habit to drink some water when you get home. By connecting water drinking with other habits, it becomes a more integrated habit.

– Make water drinking enjoyable by drinking it out of your favourite glass, jar, bottle, or pitcher.

– Keep note of all the benefits you see and feel from increasing your water consumption – this can be your biggest motivator to continue!

How’s the Healthy Habits Water Challenge going for me?

I’m loving this Challenge! I have to admit, I’ve never been very good about drinking a lot of water. At this stage in my life, since I’m still nursing/breastfeeding my daughter, plus living in hot Bali, I need to be drinking a lot of water (any nursing mother would know just how thirsty it makes you!). Since the Challenge started, I’ve been aiming to drink 3 to 4 litres / quarts of water a day, minimum. This seems like a good amount for me and the climate I’m living in.

There was one day (yesterday), where I wasn’t drinking enough water. By the end of the day, I felt the difference. I was so tired by 6pm, I just wanted to go to sleep! I realized at that point it was because I wasn’t drinking my usual amount of water. Having that one day where I fell off course turned out to be a huge benefit because I got to really feel what the difference was, and re-commit to drinking my water again.

What has worked best for me in making sure I drink my 3 to 4 litres of water a day has been to fill up a large glass pitcher of water and keep it close by. The pitcher itself contains 1.5 litres so I aim to drink one entire pitcher in the morning, and another by dinner time. I might drink more water during dinner and after, but I try to drink the bulk of the water during the day (too much water at night can disrupt sleep).

I have to say that since starting the Healthy Habits Challenge, I feel addicted to water (in a good way). It feels great drinking plenty of water, I look forward to it, and notice a big difference if I don’t. Already in one week I feel it’s definitely getting integrated into my routine, and I look forward to what the coming weeks will bring!

How’s the Healthy Habits Challenge going for you?

Do share!! Either post a comment below, or connect with us on Radiance Central’s Facebook Page!—> https://www.facebook.com/RadianceCentral

Want to do a cleanse??!!!! Join the next 7 Day Raw Food Challenge7 full days on a 100% raw food diet will definitely kick start a healthy diet, get the weight loss going, and make you feel and look great!! Once you sign-up, you’ll receive an ebook with Recipes, a full Menu Planner and Shopping List. Once the Challenge begins, you’ll have access to the Private Online Forum and Daily Videos specifically made for the 7 Day Raw Food Challenge. Click Here to join now!– The next 7 Day Raw Food Challenge starts Monday, April 13, 2015!!!


Apr 072015

Are Nut Butters Rancid? - www.RadianceCentral.com

Are nut butters rancid?

Recently I was asked if freshly ground roasted peanut butter sold at the health food store was rancid? Should people avoid eating roasted nuts and seeds, and therefore, what about roasted nut butter?

The difference between raw and roasted nuts and seeds:

I would say the better option is to buy nuts and seeds raw. You can eat them plain, or you can soak them in water overnight, you can even sun-dry or dehydrate them at a low temperature, and season them however you like. By eating nuts and seeds raw you will get the most nutrition from them, and consume healthy nutritious fats and oils.

It is true that the oils in some nuts and seeds can be quite delicate, that under high heat they can easily be damaged. That’s why you see a lot of cold pressed nut or seed oils sold at grocery stores and health food stores, because if the oils were extracted under high heat, the oils could easily spoil, burn, go rancid, or change in molecular structure. Since the oils from some nuts and seeds are so delicate, and especially delicate upon extraction, that would also mean you are better off eating the actual nuts and seeds raw, as opposed to fried or roasted, and that includes nut or seed butters as well.

Do keep in mind that if oils of the roasted nuts and seeds did spoil or burn from roasting them under high heat, you’d probably taste it, or smell that it is off, especially if there is no added flavouring or seasoning added to the product.

The choices you have with buying nut or seed butters:

If you are concerned that the heating of the nuts or seeds is rendering the products rancid, then the safest route would always be to buy the raw version of nut or seed butters. An example would be almond butter – there’s both roasted and raw almond butters available, and both are tasty. If I had the choice, I would usually choose the raw one over the roasted just because I am hopefully getting a more nutritious product, and it’s a little less processed.

An alternative is to buy your own nuts and seeds and make your own nut butter (you can make a nut butter using a juicer, high speed blender, or food processor). If you prefer the taste of a roasted butter, you can always bake/dry roast the nuts or seeds yourself at a very low temperature (set it to the lowest temperature on your oven). By baking or dry roasting the nuts and seeds yourself, at a very low temperature, you could be preserving more nutrition and safe-guarding the oils from getting damaged by high heat. By making your own nut butter, raw or roasted, you are also avoiding the use of unnecessary oils or flavouring that some manufacturers use.

As for the peanut butter – there’s a few things to know about peanut butter. Peanuts, which aren’t even a nut, are very heat resistant. Peanut oil actually has a high smoke-point, doesn’t burn as easily under high heat as other vegetable oils, and would be safe to cook with like coconut oil or palm oil. The problem with peanut oil is it’s usually never cold pressed, it’s chemically extracted, and no one wants to eat oils that has been extracted with chemicals, right?! So with that being said, the oil in fresh peanuts is heat resistant, so the roasted version is definitely safe to eat.

What to really watch out for when buying and using nut or seed butters

Whenever the conversation comes up about raw vs. roasted nuts or seeds, and the butters, the one thing that always comes to mind is the actual freshness of the product. In fact, I would be more concerned about the quality and freshness of the nuts and seeds used in the butters over whether they are raw or roasted.

If you are buying pre-made, factory packaged nut butters, unless the product has a production date on it, you never really know when that nut and seed butter was made, how fresh the nuts and seeds were, and how long it has been sitting in the jar. The one big benefit of roasted nuts and seeds, is the heat used to cook the nuts and seeds does kill off mold and bacteria, all of which can potentially grow on any fresh food. The down side of some roasted nuts and seeds is sometimes manufacturers use low quality oils to roast the nuts or seeds, which may or may not be indicated on the packaging.

When purchasing a nut or seed butter, it’s always best to buy the freshest product possible. If you can buy a nut or seed butter that is actually made fresh on the spot, over something that has been made and packaged in a factory, this is always best. Always store the nut or seed butter in the fridge and eat it within a few days or weeks of purchasing. Many people have fresh nut butters stored in their pantry for years, and this I find could be more of a risk of a rancidity than the actual roasting of the nuts or seeds.

We have to remember that a nut butter is a fresh food and it’s important to store and preserve it like you would any other food. To maintain the freshness of the product, never remove or discard the layer of oil that accumulates at the surface of the nut or seed butter. This is actually a natural occurrence, and acts as a perfect natural preservative because the oil seals away any air or moisture from the nut butter. It’s perfectly fine to mix that oil in with the nut butter before eating it, but don’t ever discard it.

In conclusion, when shopping for nut or seed butters:

1- If you can get a raw version of the butter, buy it over the roasted version.

2- Buy it as fresh as possible. If you can get the ones that are freshly ground at the grocery store or health food store as opposed to the pre-packaged, jarred versions, I would buy the fresh one instead.

3- Eat it quickly! Better to buy smaller amounts and finish it quickly than buying large amounts that you store for months at a time

4- Refrigerate it.

5- Eat it within 2-8 weeks.

6- Never remove or discard the oil that accumulates at the top of the nut or seed butter, this acts as a natural preservative for the butter.

7- Learn how to make your own! It’s much cheaper and tastier!

Want to do a cleanse??!!!! Join the next 7 Day Raw Food Challenge7 full days on a 100% raw food diet will definitely kick start a healthy diet, get the weight loss going, and make you feel and look great!! Once you sign-up, you’ll receive an ebook with Recipes, a full Menu Planner and Shopping List. Once the Challenge begins, you’ll have access to the Private Online Forum and Daily Videos specifically made for the 7 Day Raw Food Challenge. Click Here to join now!– The next 7 Day Raw Food Challenge starts Monday, April 13, 2015!!!

Apr 012015

Health Habits Challenge -April 2015-Water- www.RadianceCentral.com
Radiance Central’s NEW Healthy Habits Monthly Challenge Series!

I am super excited to announce Radiance Central’s NEW Healthy Habits Monthly Challenge!

This is a free monthly challenge to start incorporating healthy habits into your routine, being consistent, and step by step getting healthier. It usually takes one month of doing something consistently to make it a habit, and why not do it as a group, make it fun, and keep it simple!

Every month we’ll choose one healthy habit to do daily for the entire month, and I’ll post one video/blog article a week relating to that healthy habit, and if you’d like, we can connect here on the blog, or on Radiance Central’s Facebook page to chat about our progress, breakthroughs, benefits, and challenges.

This month’s Healthy Habits Challenge

To kick things off, the April 2015 Healthy Habit Challenge is drinking a MINIMUM of 6-8 cups of water a day (at least 2 quarts / 2 litres per day, or more every day). If you live in a hot climate, exercise, or have a laborious job, you probably need even more water – so best to figure out what your personal daily water requirement is, and for the entire month of April let’s all make it a point to be drinking an abundance of water every single day.

Most people are chronically dehydrated, and many will easily admit they should drink more water, but they don’t! So for the month of April we’re focusing on making hydration with water a priority, a healthy habit! Just one thing to note- if you like drinking teas, coffee, green juices, etc., those beverages don’t count as water. You can drink them all you want, but on top of that you’ll have to be drinking a minimum of 6-8 cups of water a day.

I also strongly recommend being mindful of the changes and benefits that comes with making the extra effort of drinking plenty of water. For many people they see incredible results in their skin, their face, decrease puffiness and water retention, better mood, more energy, deeper concentration, decrease in appetite and cravings, weight loss, better digestion, less inflammation, etc. Knowing how this healthy habit benefits you will make it even easier and more exciting to do! (perhaps you want to take a photo of yourself today and compare it to what you’ll look like at the end of the month!).

I am super excited for this challenge! If you have any suggestions or requests for future Healthy Habits Challenges, please post them below. Also, get your friends and family to join, and let’s all connect here or on Radiance Central’s Facebook page!—>https://www.facebook.com/RadianceCentral

Need personalized help with your diet? Natasha offers personalized diet, health, and lifestyle coaching! To make an appointment or get more information on the Health & Lifestyle Coaching Programs, CLICK HERE!

Apr 012015

What To Do About Gas & Bloating - www.RadianceCentral.com

What To Do About Gas & Bloating?

Gas and bloating is never any fun, and unfortunately this can be a chronic issue. I would have to say it’s usually something in your diet that’s either causing it or contributing to the problem. It could be that certain foods aren’t being digested properly, or you might have a food allergy or sensitivity, or your digestive system just doesn’t handle certain foods well, or a combination of all these things.

In order to get rid of the gas and bloating, it’s always best to figure out what exactly is causing it. For some people it might just be one thing that’s setting everything off, and for others it can be a combination of things. The good news is you can do some experiments that are relatively easy, and will give you a very clear indication as to what’s working and whats not.

Finding out the cause of the gas and bloating – short-term diet experiments:

Below are a bunch of experiments you can try. Before we get into it, I suggest reading this whole article over and watching the video, then think about all the foods I’ve addressed in the video and article, is there any of these foods that you are eating a lot of? Many times it’s something we eat regularly (even something that is the hardest to give up) that could be causing the most issues and gastric distress.

1- Allergenic Foods & An Elimination Diet

Recently I’ve written a few blog posts about trying an elimination diet if you suspect you have an allergy or sensitivity to common allergenic foods like dairy products, wheat/wheat gluten, soy, eggs, corn, etc. If you have chronic gas and/or bloating, I would suggest you try an elimination diet or even get blood tests done to see if you do in fact have a food allergy or sensitivity to a certain food.

Gas and bloating is one of the top symptoms of food allergies or sensitivities. As I mentioned above, many times it could very well be a food you love and eat regularly that may be causing the most issues. So by reading the list of the common allergenic foods (dairy products, wheat/wheat gluten, eggs, soy, corn, etc.) and you’re thinking “hmm, I eat dairy products for breakfast and lunch everyday, maybe that’s it…” I would suggest starting an elimination diet with that very food you eat the most regularly.

How To Do An Elimination Diet:

Choose one of the allergenic foods (dairy products, wheat/wheat gluten, soy, corn, eggs, etc.) and take a break from eating that food for 2-4 weeks. If in that 2-4 weeks you notice your symptoms decrease or completely go away, than you’ll know that this is where the problem is coming from. If your symptoms don’t get better after 2-4 weeks, then re-introduce that food back into your diet, and choose another allergenic food to eliminate for another 2-4 weeks. Repeat this process with all the allergenic foods, or until you figure what food is causing the issue.

The most important thing with an elimination diet is not to eliminate all the allergenic foods at once. If you do, you might be needlessly eliminating certain foods from your diet, and you’ll never know what is really causing the issue. I have to say, most people are not allergic or sensitive to all allergenic foods, it’s usually just one or two of these foods that is causing the issues. Also, make sure to do the elimination diet for 2-4 weeks. Many times people don’t give it enough time, they eliminate a certain food for just a few days, and then re-introduce it back into their diet before their body has a chance to respond to the change of diet.

2- Fruit

Fruit is a very fast digesting food, and therefore it can be a big contributor to gas and bloating. Some people can eat all the fruit they want, at any time of day, with any other food, and have absolutely no issues. Others, the moment they combine fruit with other foods, or even eat too much of it, they get bad gas and bloating. The reason why some people have issues with fruit is because of how fast it breaks down and digests, and sometimes because of what else the fruit is eaten with, and also some people are sensitive to the fructose (naturally occurring fruit sugar) in fruit which can also cause digestive issues.

If you suspect your gas and bloating might have something to do with the fruit you’re eating, here’s a few experiments to try:

Experiment with eating fruit on it’s own

For 2 weeks, try eating fruit only in the morning, on an empty stomach, and don’t eat any other type of food with it. Wait at least an hour before eating anything else. Also, don’t eat fruit at any other time of the day, but the morning. If after two weeks you notice big improvements, then you now know the gas and bloating has to do with the fruit – it’s either that eating fruit with other foods doesn’t agree with you, or it could be the type and/or the amount of fruit you are eating. Either continue with just eating fruit on it’s own in the morning, or you can try the next experiment to see if the issue is from fructose sensitivity.

Fructose sensitivity – Experiment with low sugar fruits

Some people have a sensitivity to fructose, and the fruits that can cause the most issues are the sweeter, higher glycemic fruits like tropical fruit (pineapple, mangos, papaya, etc.). If you suspect this could be an issue for you, try only eating low glycemic fruits (berries, apples, pears, grapefruit, etc) for 2 weeks, and see if this helps.

I have to say that this issue might not only have to do with the high sugar content of the fruit, but also eating imported goods that may have been sprayed with preservatives, have mold growing on it, and isn’t fresh. Eating locally, and seasonally, is always best, and for most people their bodies will respond better to fresh food that is grown in their local environment.

One last things I will mention for those that really have a hard time digesting fruit and it seems whatever fruit you eat causes gas and bloating – try dried fruit instead of fresh fruit for a while and see if that helps. Always make sure the fruit is pure and not dried with sulphites (see this article to know the difference). I have coached a few people that did better eating small amounts of dried fruit for a while instead of fresh. Eventually they were able to re-introduce small amounts of fresh fruit back into their diet, but taking the break from the fresh fruit gave their digestive system a well needed rest, and their body responded better to it.


Not everyone can digest high amounts of fibre. This doesn’t mean that if you have issues digesting fibre you should eat processed and refined food. What it means instead is being creative with experimenting with different ways of preparing your healthy food to make the fiber easier to break down and digest.

If you recently switched over to a whole food diet, or you’re trying to eat healthier, and have more fresh foods in your diet, but ever since you made the switch you’ve been getting terrible gas and bloating, it could very well be the fiber in the foods you are eating. I have to reassure you that this is quite normal, and expected, and you have to give you body some time to adjust to the high fiber food. I would say with any diet change, you’ve got to give your body a few weeks to adjust to the change of diet and food. There’s no need to rush the transition period. But let’s say after a month, you’re still getting terrible gas and bloating and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better, then you need to make some adjusts, and experiment with different ways of preparing your food.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind:


Whole Grains, Beans, Legumes

Most whole grains, beans, and legumes have phytic acid and soaking them in water over night before cooking them can help to remove it and make the beans, legumes and whole grains more easily digestible. This is something you can definitely try!

If you have already tried soaking the grains, beans, legumes, and this doesn’t seem to help, then I would first suggest keeping note as to which ones you know for sure it doesn’t work with. I’ve coached many people who tell me they can’t digest grains, even if they soak them, and then it turns out they’ve only tried to eat one type of grain! Even if one grain doesn’t digest well, doesn’t mean you’ll have a problem with all. And the same goes with beans and legumes.

Also there’s so many different ways to prepare grains, beans, and legumes. For some who have a hard time digesting the fiber, eating the grains or beans that have been processed down in some way can help – for example having pureed beans in a dip, eat a whole grain sprouted bread, etc. You’re still eating the whole food but you’ve processed it down or broken it down before eating it, which will make it much easier to digest.

Also, if you suspect grains, beans, or legumes are causing gas and digestive issues, I recommend reducing the portions or amounts you are consuming. Many times when people just use grains and beans as a condiment instead of as the main meal, it makes a big difference in digesting the food. Examples would be instead of eating a bowl of beans, have a small handful of beans tossed into a salad, or instead of having a lentil soup, have a vegetable soup with a small amount of lentils mixed in. These small details can actually make huge differences.


Out of all vegetables, I find leafy green vegetables to be the easiest to digest. Whether having them raw in a salad, or steamed or sautéed, green leafy vegetables act as a broom in the digestive system without causing gas.

Vegetables to watch out for are cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc., and nightshade vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, etc. These types of vegetables are known to cause gas and bloating for some people. If you eat a lot of these vegetables, take a break for a week or two to see if your digestion improves.

Like the whole grains and beans, I suggest experimenting with different ways of preparing your vegetables. Some people have a much easier time digesting their vegetables if they cook them instead of eating them raw. Others, find it easier to eat them cut up in tiny pieces, whereas others can only have them mashed or puréed. If you are having a hard time digesting vegetables, start with small amounts in your diet, and experiment with different ways of preparing them.


One last thing I want to mention, and that is the importance of water and exercise. This is SUPER important. People move around less and less, and are chronically dehydrated– both of which causes constipation, stagnation, trapped air and gas, and overall ill health.

If you have issues with gas and bloating, you must move around, walk, exercise, stretch, get your heart rate going, sweat a bit. And, you must keep drinking water. Water won’t make you more bloated, in fact it will do the reverse, once you are hydrated again, it will work to keep the bloat down and release water retention and fluid imbalance. Drink water and exercise more!

Want to do a Juice Fast? Join the next 10 Day Juice Fasting Program starting Wednesday, April 1, 2015!!! The program includes menu planners to transition on and off the fast, fasting outline, daily videos specifically made to guide you through the fast (20-40 minutes long each) and an online forum to connect with everyone from around the world doing the juice fast with you! Natasha is on the private Juice Fasting Forum daily answering questions and offering additional support! CLICK HERE to sign-up!