Jennifer Hanway

Enliven Your Lightest, Brightest You

Jennifer Hanway is a Holistic Nutritionist, Bio Signature Modulation Practitioner and Certified Personal Trainer, originally from London but now living in Newton Centre and working in Back Bay, Boston.

Filtering by Category: Q & A

Ask Jenny: I Work Out at 5am, So When Should I Eat Breakfast?

I’m a mom of 2 kids and work a full-time job in Boston, so 5am is the only time I get work out during the week (at the weekend I can work out mid morning). This means I do not have time to eat breakfast unless I get up at 4am (which is just not happening). What should I do?

Anne - Newton, MA

Great question Anne, and congratulations for getting in your workouts with your busy schedule and time commitments!

Fasted workouts (working out on an empty stomach) can actually be a great tool for blood sugar regulation and helping you build metabolism boosting muscle, if you use them in the right way.

Your weekly workouts (you mentioned you work out 3 times a week, Monday, Wednesday Friday), i.e. the ones you do fasted should be no more than 35-40 minutes long, and of a medium intensity (how hard you work). Good choices for these workouts could be 30 minutes of running, spinning, or a lighter weights sessions.

At the weekend, when you have eaten breakfast is the time for your more intense (harder) workouts, such as a heavier lifting session, Barry’s or Orange Theory, or a boxing workout. Just make sure you finishing eating at least an hour before working out!

The benefits of working out on an empty stomach (fasted), mean that your body has to tap into its stored carbohydrate, and then your body fat as sources of energy (your body will use the following for fuel in this order 1: alcohol, 2: stored carbs, 3: your body fat). So you will help balance your blood sugar, and get your body using fat for fuel. Hormonally you will also get a boost of growth hormone and testosterone, which is great for helping you build lean muscle.

However, fasted workouts can be challenging for your adrenal health and thyroid health, which is why I recommend only working out fasted at a medium intensity, and for those struggling with hormonal issues (high cortisol, irregular periods, adrenal fatigue) a yoga flow or brisk walk is a better option than the options listed above.

As part of my Lean and Clean Program you will receive workout suggestions personalized to your goals, schedule, available equipment and hormonal status. You can start anytime, from wherever you are in the world, and there is a $100 discount until 4/30! For more details head to:

https://www.jenniferhanway.com/leanandcleanprogram




Ask Jenny: How Do I Tell If I Have Poor Gut Health?

Hi Jenny, I’m wondering if the symptoms I have experiencing are due to my gut health: I get some gas and bloating when eating certain foods, feel like I can’t think clearly sometimes, and have some breakouts on my forehead that won’t clear. Are they related to each other, and to gut health? - A, Dubai

I’m going to say yes, and yes! Poor gut health has a myriad of symptoms that can sometimes feel unconnected, but all of the issues you mentioned can be related back to poor gut health.

When we talk about an ‘unhealthy gut’ we are really talking about the whole of the GI tract, mainly focussing on the small and large intestines. It is unhealthy when one or more of the following conditions occur:

  • Compromised intestinal permeability, aka Leaky Gut: this is when the walls of our (just one cell thick) GI Tract are damaged and inflamed, meaning food particles and toxins that would usually be filtered out get into the bloodstream, creating systemic inflammation and setting off an immune response

  • Microbiome Imbalance: our microbiome is the population of good and bad bacteria, mold and fungi that live within the mucus membrane that covers the wall of our GI tract. When these become imbalanced - i.e you have more bad than good bacteria, or when you have an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, this can cause health issues ranging from GI distress to brain fog, fatigue, nutrient malabsorption and food cravings.

The range of symptoms that can be attributed to poor gut health are numerous and varied, but the most common include: gas, bloating, stomach cramps, constipation, diarrhea, brain fog, fatigue, weight gain or weight loss, acne, eczema, rosacea, thinning hair, weak nails, irregular periods and food cravings.

These symptoms can also be indicative of thyroid and/or hormonal imbalances, but as poor gut health can often be a cause/ contributor of these imbalances I am always recommend a protocol that heals the the gut first before moving on to other treatments.

My 28 Day Guided Gut Healing Program is designed for those experiencing these symptoms, or for those who want to reboot their health from its foundation. This program is now available to start anytime! For more information visit the link below:

https://www.jenniferhanway.com/28-day-gut-healing-plan/




Ask Jenny: How Do I Banish Belly Fat?

‘Dear Jenny - the one area I’m really struggling with is losing belly fat. I’ve lost a bunch of weight, and although I’ve absolutely lost some in that area, it seems like it will always be a problem area. I do tons of sit-ups, try to get enough protein, etc. Can you help?’
— Maryann, Boston

Hi Maryann, firstly congratulations on your weight loss! 

Fat around the midsection is one of the last places we lose from, especially in women, but it is possible with the following holistic strategies:

Gut Health: quite often I see clients complaining about belly fat, when (at least in part) they are actually suffering from bloating/constipation.  Drinking a ton of water, eating fibrous greens and taking a good quality probiotic will always help. 

Ensure at least 12 hours 'fast' between finishing your evening meal and starting breakfast to give your body time to digest and absorb, and for your digestive system to 'wake up' in the morning. For example, if you finish dinner at 7pm on a Monday, then don't start breakfast until 7am on a Tuesday. 

Nutrition: low carb is the way to go, and if possible I would try 2 weeks of great proteins (fish, chicken, grass-fed ground beef, pasture raised eggs) unlimited green veggies (kale, spinach, chard, etc), some great fats (coconut oil, avocado, ghee) and just 50g of extra carbs from berries of starchy vegetables. 

Training: quit the sit-ups! Ensure you are strength training in the gym at least 3 times a week, and ensure you are utilizing the big three: squats, deadlifts and pull-ups (these are all scaleable depending on your training experience). These will work your core more than any 'ab' exercise and optimize EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) - which means you burn more calories post workout. 

Sprints have been clinically proven to reduce body fat as they release the hormones involved in fat burning, and mobilize fat stores from the abdominal region. A 2008 study that found that overweight, sedentary women who did 20 minutes of stationary cycle sprints 3 days a week lost an average 2.5 kg of fat, of which a significant portion was from the abdominal region. 

The protocol used in the study: was 8 seconds of sprinting (all out) followed by 12 seconds of active rest (continue pedalling) repeated for a total of 20 minutes. Try this twice a week for best results. If sprints are not your thing try a sweat inducing spin or boxing class as these classes organically use HIIT in their programming.

Stress and Sleep: reducing stress and improving sleep is probably the most under-utilized tool in reducing belly fat. When we are stressed the body releases Cortisol, which (amongst other negative effects) leads us to hold on to and even lay down fat stores, especially around the belly. When we are under stress the body kicks into 'fight or flight' mode and acts as if under attack. It will hold on to excess body fat in case of periods of famine, especially around the midsection. 

Ensure you are taking steps to manage your stress throughout the day (breathing exercises, walking in daylight, meditation, implementing an early caffeine curfew), and prioritize great sleep (7-9 hours without waking) every night. 

Wellbeing: one of the reasons women store fat around the belly area can be excess estrogen in the body. Ensure you are not are not exposing yourself to toxic xenoestrogens (chemical compounds that mimic estrogen in the body), by not eating and drinking out of plastic, and using clean personal care products. Ensure efficient estrogen detoxification by eating a ton of fibrous veggies, add 2 tablespoons of flaxseed to your smoothie everyday and up your water intake to ensure complete bowel movements.

Female Fat Loss is one of my specialities, and is something we address in my Private Coaching packages. For more information on working with me one to one please email jenny@jenniferhanway.com.





 

Ask Jenny: What Is The Carnivore Diet?

I’ve been hearing a lot about the Carnivore Diet recently - it sounds a pretty extreme! What is it and do you recommend it?
— Nicky, NYC

Me too Nicky! The next hot new diet seems to be the Carnivore Diet, and I've been doing some research to find out what it is all about...

So, the Carnivore Diet is basically as it sounds, a diet based predominantly on animal proteins. It seems to be the next evolution of a Keto diet, which was the evolution of the Paleo diet! All animal, fish and seafood proteins are recommended (basically if it ran, swan or flew), as are eggs and fats from animal sources (think ghee, tallow and lard). 

What, no vegetables? Yep, no vegetables, fruit, nuts or seeds and not even an avocado! Its pretty much a zero carb diet, and is incredibly restrictive. 

Are there any benefits? Well, yes - devotees have reported reduced inflammation, decreased body fat, improved gut health and increased mental cognition. 

Would I recommend it? Mostly, no. It is a super restrictive way of eating, and as it is so new there really isn't any clinical research as yet. All of the benefits can be attained by using less extreme diet styles, so I would probably only recommend this style of eating to a client with gut health challenges who has exhausted every other approach. 

Ask Jenny: Are Overnight Oats Really a Good Idea For Breakfast?

Oats - do you not recommend eating them for breakfast, such as overnight oats or as baked. I’m conscious of their high carb count and would love your opinion. And as a side note, are oats gluten free or not? 
— Carrie, Boston

Oh, the curse of Overnight Oats! Before I give my thoughts, I want to make it clear that there are way worse breakfasts than overnight oats: sugary cereals, low-fat yoghurts, bagels, even so-called 'health foods' such as granola and cereal bars. However, I do think that there are also much better options for breakfast than overnight oats, and here is why. 

For optimum health, we want to keep our blood sugar as steady as possible throughout the day. Blood sugar swings can cause a whole host of health problems including long-term negative effects such as insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances (remember insulin is one of our master hormones) inflammation, adrenal fatigue and short-term challenges such as energy crashes, mood swings and brain fog. 

Therefore I recommend keeping breakfast to my PFF Formula (Protein, Fibre, Fat), and if your goal is great body composition and optimum health try eating complex carbohydrates such as oats, quinoa and sweet potato only after working out (when our muscle cells are more receptive to insulin and can use the carbs as fuel rather than storing it as fat), or occasionally in the evenings to help manage stress (carbs can help boost serotonin levels) and get a great nights sleep. 

Great breakfast options include Superfood Smoothies (remember protein, fat and fibre, and limit to one serving of low GI fruit), egg-based dishes, salmon, chicken, nuts, avocado and berries. And always add at least 2 servings of veggies to your breakfast to ensure you hit your micronutrient quota, stabilize insulin (blood sugar) and stay satiated for 3-4 hours.  

And are oats GF? Technically yes, but they are often harvested with wheat crops so can become cross-contaminated. Celiacs and those super sensitive to wheat and gluten should always ensure their oats are labelled gluten free, but if you are avoiding wheat for health reasons normal oats should be fine. 

Q+A Tuesday: Sun Protection vs. Vitamin D Exposure

Nicky writes: I understand the benefits of getting Vitamin D from the sun, but I also want to protect myself from the sun’s damaging effects. Is there a way I can do both? 
— Nicky, NYC

Great question Nicky! This is something I go back and forth on myself all the time, as I personally have low Vitamin D levels (I'm from London and live in Boston, so no surprise there), but also working with a dermatologist I understand the harm that too much sun can do to our skin. 

Whilst I do recommend everyone who lives in colder climates to supplement with Vitamin D (and its always best to get this tested to establish your baseline levels - test, don't guess) the amount that is absorbed and used by the body can vary depending on the individual's gut health and intake of other vitamins that make the D available to the body (Vitamin K, found in kale and broccoli, for example). 

The sun is the body's best source of Vitamin D, and we actually don't need that much exposure to it to reach our needs. Our faces, necks and chests receive the most sun exposure year round and I feel that these areas should be protected year round with a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF30 or above. 

In the Spring and Summer months (i.e.when it is warm enough in Boston) I try to exposure my legs to the sun for between 15-30 minutes a day (depending on the time of day) to increase my Vitamin D levels, but never to the point of going pink, and definitely not red / burning. 

Visit your dermatologist once a year as part of your annual health screenings, and track your moles for any changes in size, color, border and texture. 

 

 

Q&A Tuesday: Flying with Supplements and Powders

Cassandra writes: "Jenny, how do you recommend packing your vitamins/supplements in a carry-on without trouble from TSA?"

Great question Cassandra! I fly to NYC from Boston at least twice a month, and love to be able to just whizz through security with as little fuss as possible. 

Supplement capsules and tablets never seem a problem, so I just portion these out into super handy small storage jars from blender bottle - I've linked to these in my Amazon Store (link below).

Powders seem to come under more scrutiny and will always get pulled out and checked by CSA, so I either portion out in the storage jars and keep them on top of my luggage (or even separate them as I go through), or even easier (but less sustainable) is to but single-serve protein powders and collagens packets.  I'm currently loving Ancient Nutrition Chocolate Bone Broth Protein and Vital Proteins Marine Collagen - both available in single servings to make things easy. 

Don't forget to pack a small shaker bottle either - I used to recommend the USB powdered bottles, but they die so quickly I've gone back to the old school shaker bottle! 

https://www.amazon.com/shop/jenniferhanway

 

Q&A Tuesday: Protein Based Breakfasts for Busy Moms (or Mums)!

I know a protein-based breakfast will help keep my blood sugar and hunger hormones stable throughout the morning, but I’m juggling getting kids to school and getting to work and dont have time for anything complicated. Do you have any suggestions?
— Beccy, London

Becky is actually one of my best friends from back home in the UK, and she is one of the busiest and hardest working women I know! 

The key for Beccy, and anyone who is short on time in the morning is to be prepared! It's super tempting to grab a high carb, low nutrient dense bowl of cereal, piece of toast or a bagel, but it can actually be even quicker (and far better for your health) to grab a protein, veggies and fat based breakfast. Here are three of my favourite options and how to prepare them so you have grab and go options throughout the week.  

Superfood Smoothies

Of course, my favourite go-to breakfast, but they don't have to contain hundreds of ingredients and be Instagram worthy. The key to making them in a hurry is to portion all the ingredients except the milk (non-dairy) into separate ziplock bags and store in the freezer. Each morning you can then pour into your blender (something like a Nutribullet is even better as you can take the cup with you as you run out of the door) with the milk and blend for 30 seconds. 

Freezer Friendly Superfood Smoothie

  • 1 scoop vanilla plant-based or cricket protein

  • 1 scoop collagen powder

  • 1 tablespoon organic flaxseed (whole to prevent oxidization)

  • 1 handful frozen spinach or kale

  • 1/2 handful frozen berries

  • 1/4 avocado

Place all ingredients in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer. Add 1.5 cups non-dairy milk and blend for 30 seconds 

Go To Work On An Egg! 

Eggs are definitely the unsung heroes of breakfast in a hurry, and my favourite way to make in advance is egg muffins. You can make a big batch Sunday morning, then save the leftovers for the rest of the week. Making them in a silicone muffin pan means they are easy to portion and store and can be kept in the fridge or the freezer. Try and add at least one vegetable to the mixture, and they can be a great way to use up refrigerator odds and ends. Also, don't forget the humble boiled egg - its great to keep some on hand for snacks and to add to salads. Just make sure eggs are always Pasture Raised to keep them gut friendly and full of great fats. 

Here are my favourite Turkey Bacon Wrapped Eggs Muffins

  • 8 eggs

  • 8 slices turkey bacon

  • 1 cup chopped spinach (fresh or frozen)

  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan Salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.
Crack eggs into a bowl, then whisk until fluffy.
Add the spinach, salt and pepper.
Line the edge of the muffin spaces with a slice of turkey bacon. Pour egg mixture into bacon lined muffin spaces.
Bake for 20-­25 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch.

Pour and Go

My last option is the easiest and quickest! Just Grab a non-cows dairy yoghurt such as sheep, goats, or coconut, up the protein content with a scoop of collagen powder, and top with nuts, seeds, and some fresh berries or chopped apple. You can always throw this into a mason jar to eat on the run too! 

What are your favourite grab and go protein based breakfast? Please share - I am always looking for new suggestions! 

 

Reader Q & A: Healthy Holiday Travel

Dear Jenny, I am traveling over the holidays and know that eating healthy in airports and hotels can be a struggle. Could you make some suggestions on how to stay on plan while away from home?

Thank you, Whitney

Hi Whitney and thank you so much for reaching out! I'm sure a lot of readers are facing the same challenge this week, so thank you for your question.

So, airport food is not as bad as it used to be. However, that really depends on which airport and where you are flying in and out from, for example, Boston's Logan domestic departures has some great healthy options, including Epic Bars, (also available from Whole Foods) which  I consider to be a 'real protein' bar, and are definitely one of my travel go-tos.

Epic Bars

Most airports also have nuts, go for plain, unsalted and raw to avoid the inflammatory oils used in the roasting  process, and the salt will also mean you will hold extra water whilst flying. Also you should be able to find at least apples and bananas at the airport for the vitamins and minerals.  Grab a green juice and a coconut water, as well as a couple of liters of water to keep you well hydrated in the air, and feeling great when you land.

Another great real protein snack that I like and that is super portable is Krave Artisanal Jerky (also available from Whole Foods).  Unlike other jerkys that can contain gluten, artificial flavorings and nitrates, Krave uses domestic meats and all natural ingredients. My favorite is the Turkey, Chardonnay and Thyme, but all of the flavors are pretty delicious!

Krave

My third portable protein option is a great protein shake. I don't recommend whey or soy proteins, so the best option is a vegetarian protein such as rice or hemp. My two recommendations are Primal Clear 3.0 and Proveg, both available from the Poliquin Group. Throw in a scoop of their Espresso Wellness Greens powder too, adding the benefits of over twenty servings of fruit and vegetables. Make shakes easily on the go and in the hotel room by taking a blender bottle with you too.

Another travel must have for me is a bag of gluten free oats. Most hotel rooms have some kind of device for boiling water, so you can make hot oatmeal by filling the hotel room coffee cup with a scoop of oats, and covering in hot water for five minutes, or until the water has absorbed. I love adding the aforementioned Espresso Wellness Greens to this too for a delicious chocolate flavor.

If swinging by a supermarket on the way to the hotel is an option stock up on apples, bananas, any whole, uncut seasonal fruits and pre cut veggies (such as carrots, cucumber, bell peppers), etc, that you can keep in the hotel room refrigerator.

Lastly, my four other travel essentials are non food related, but I don't travel anywhere without them!

Numi Teas: try the Tumeric or Mint teas if you have overindulged, and as a better option than the super acidic hotel room coffee.

Bucky Eye Mask: the best eye mask I've ever tried. Hotel rooms can be full of LED lights which can disturb sleep, so an eye mask is good insurance for a restful night.

Woodlot Candle: Woodlot offer a selection pack of candles, the small size is perfect for slipping into hand luggage, and help you feel at home in a strange place. For rest and relaxation chose the Rekindle scent.

Wind Down:perfect for stressful travel, being away from home, and family gatherings, this chocolate flavored chewable from the Poliquin Group can be taken when you are feeling harassed or overwhelmed, and has an instant calming effect.

I hope this helps Whitney!

Contact: jenny@jenniferhanway.com