Vitamin Z

Posted on July 01 by
in Blog

I know you have a lot on your plate. You are juggling many things, and it often feels like the only way to "do it all" is by sacrificing sleep. You often think, "Who needs their ZZZ's when caffeine keeps me going?" It can be tempting to burn the midnight oil to reach work deadlines and balance family life. Yet the truth remains, no matter how much man has tried to outsmart the need for vitamin Z, sleep deprivation can wreak serious havoc on your health.

What is vitamin Z? While it is not a vitamin you'll find in your food or a supplement you can buy, it is essential for a healthy mind and body. If you haven't figured it out yet, vitamin Z is sleep, and you need 7 - 9 hours every night.

Sleep is when your body repairs and rebuilds. A well-rested body makes better food choices, has more energy, craves less sugar, and manages life better. In contrast, sleep deprivation causes a rise in cortisol levels, which impacts hunger and stress levels. Without enough vitamin Z, the bottom line is you're more likely to make unhealthy food and lifestyle choices to keep you going.  

Read on to learn more about why getting your vitamin Z is fundamental for a healthy mind, body, and soul!

Vitamin Z for a Healthy Weight

RDA for Vitamin Z (according to National Sleep Foundation Guidelines for teens and adults):
Teens (ages 14 - 17): 8 - 10 hours sleep / night
Adults (ages 18 - 64): 7 - 9 hours sleep / night
Adults (ages 64 and up): 7 - 8 hours sleep / night

Sleep and Your Weight:
It's no secret sleep makes just about everything better, including your weight. Research has found that people who sleep more tend to maintain lower body weight.

The less you sleep, the greater the risks for obesity.
  • 6 hours of sleep increases risk by 23%
  • 5 hours of sleep increases risk by 50%
  • 4 hours of sleep increases risk by 73%

Have you ever ever noticed that when you are tired, you crave more sugar and fat? Being sleep-deprived messes up the hormones that regulate hunger, causing an increase in appetite and cravings for high calorie, high carbohydrate foods (aka, sugar and fat!).

One study found that sleep-deprived women ate 329 more calories per day than when rested. However, sleeping 7 hours or more per night increased the likelihood of losing weight and keeping it off by 33 percent.

What about occasionally skimping on sleep?
Researchers found that after only two nights of sleeping 4 hours, participants experienced an 18% drop in leptin and a 28% increase in ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that tells your body to stop eating, whereas the ghrelin hormone tells you to eat more! Keep in mind that this was only after two nights. Imagine what happens to your hormone levels the more sleep-deprived you become?

Bottom Line: Sleep and Your Health
Sleep is not only crucial for balancing your hormones and weight, but it's necessary to fight off infections, boost your immune system, and promote healthy skin!
7 Tips for Creating Healthy Sleep Habits
  1. Consistency is Key: Your body likes to follow a routine; therefore, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time. While this can be challenging at times, the more you practice it, the more you will find your body craves a consistent schedule.
  2. Exercise: Go ahead and add a sleep enhancer to the list of benefits your body reaps from participating in regular physical activity! Exercise outside and soak up the sunshine for a bonus. Frequent exposure to the sun helps to keep circadian rhythm in tune!
  3. Create a Bedtime Ritual: Maybe it's a hot bath, a cup of warm tea, or a spritz of essential oil on your pillow. An evening ritual will help you relax and unwind as your body prepares for a good night's rest.
  4. Limit Caffeine: For the best night's sleep, limit consumption of caffeine-containing drinks and food after noon.
  5. Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol interrupts the body's sleep cycle. Therefore, it's best to avoid alcohol within five hours of bedtime.
  6. Escape the Electronics: From television to smartphones and every electronic in between, these devices can hinder a good night's rest. If sleep is a struggle and electronics are part of your evening routine, it's time to create a new escape. Try replacing television time with a good old-fashioned book!
  7. Practice Gratitude: End the day by unwinding with a daily gratitude practice. Using a breathing exercise, let your mind reflect on something you are grateful for while breathing in for a count of 8 and out for a count of 8.
Featured Recipe
Cherry-Infused Sleepytime Tea

Chamomile tea has long been used as a remedy to unwind and prepare your body for a good night's rest. This recipe will take it a step further by adding a dose of natural melatonin from tart cherry juice. Enjoy!


  • 6 - 8 ounces chamomile tea
  • 2 ounces tart cherry juice
  • 1 tsp honey (optional)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)

Instructions: Brew tea according to instructions. In a small saucepan, warm tart cherry juice over medium-low heat. Combine tea and tart cherry juice, add in honey and lemon juice if desired. Sip and enjoy!

Garlic Parmesan Kale Chips

Posted on June 28 by
in Blog


  • 5 ounces raw kale, washed and dried (about 6 cups) tough stems removed, if desired. Use bagged, chopped kale if desired.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese or more to taste


If you’re using whole kale leaves, chop or slice the kale into about 2-inch pieces. Place the kale in a mixing bowl. Pour the olive oil over, and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder.

Gently toss the kale and massage the salt and garlic powder into the kale. Make sure everything is coated with the oil.

Place the kale into the air fryer basket. Set the temperature to 300 °F and the timer for 9 minutes. Open the air fryer and toss the kale with tongs after about 5 minutes. Check it as it gets close to the finishing point to make sure it’s not overcooked.

Empty the cooked kale chips into the mixing bowl, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and let cool for about 2 minutes.


Watermelon Summer Cooler for CKD

Posted on June 22 by
in Blog
1 cup crushed ice
1 cup seedless watermelon cubes
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar or Stevia, Truvia or Monk Fruit
2 small watermelon wedges for garnish
Place all ingredients except garnish wedges in a blender and blend for 30 seconds.
Pour into 2 small glasses, garnish with wedges and enjoy!
Helpful Hints
Watermelons vary in sweetness. Adjust by adding more sweetener if needed.
For fluid restricted diets, enjoy a serving of Watermelon Summer Cooler now and freeze one serving for later. Remove from freezer 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
If sugar substitute is used instead of sugar, the carbohydrate is reduced to 6 grams and 26 calories per 6 ounce serving.
Nutrients per serving:
Calories 52
Protein 0 g
Carbohydrates 13 g
Fat 0 g
Sodium 1 mg
Potassium 96 mg
Phosphorus 9 mg
Calcium 6 mg
Fiber 0.3 g
watermelonsummercooler 3 1.ashx

Gluten Free/Low Carb Bread

Posted on June 10 by
in Blog
I found this at Whole Foods Market in the freezer.
It actually toasts well and can be a part of your low carb and gluten free lifestyle. ????
GF Carbonaut Bread

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