You may have heard of the "flight or fight" response in our bodiet complete with the image of the saber-toothed tiger dashing after a hunter, getting ready to attack. You often get into this situation, don’t you? In modern times, we’re not literally in that frantic position, but our bodies are often reacting as if we were fighting for our lives. Our adrenal glands, located on top of each kidney, are forced to work overtime in an effort to deal with stress from all sources: injury, disease, work, family, finances, environment, etc.
It’s hard to imagine these small endocrine glands, essentially the size of a walnut, responsible for the manufacture and secretion of vital hormones such as cortisol, estrogen and testosterone. The cortisol production is crucial for the body to combat stress. Whereas thousands of years ago the stress was a finite amount of time – you either outran the predator or survived or you were eaten – nowadays, stress seems to be a state of being for so many people.
Although not getting along with a boss or missing a bill payment are not life-threatening like the saber-toothed tiger, our bodies react to the stressors in a similar fashion. The body starts to feel unsettled. More and more cortisol is produced because the body believes it needs massive amounts of energy to run for its life. This happens over and over again throughout the day: getting the kids ready for school and getting yourself ready for work, traffic, spilling coffee on your new suit, your assistant calls in sick and you’ve got to send out 20 packages today, the babysitter is late picking up the kids from school and taking them to soccer practice, your late afternoon meeting runs over and you leave the office late so family dinner becomes you eating leftovers alone. And all this is going to happen again tomorrow!
Here’s the problem: chronic stress can overload the adrenal glands to the point of exhaustion. For some, the fatigue will become overwhelming and the adrenals will no longer function properly to provide the energy and resources the body needs on a day-to-day basis. When someone is exhausted, a natural suggestion is to get more sleep. That’s not always easy with adrenal problems because insomnia is a common symptom. There are, however, steps you can take to prepare yourself for sleep, which is certainly one of the best ways to refresh and rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit.
Do you keep telling yourself that you’ll start focusing on your health in the new year? That THIS is the year that your resolutions will stick, that you find your balance, that you get the weight under control, that you will get organized...
Have you been telling yourself this for far too long, and now’s the time to truly mean it?
I have stood exactly where you’re standing, and I understand.
As a result I decided to stop with it. Yes, all of it. The reslolutions. The promises of change. The forcing myself to try things that did not resonate with me just because they were "healthy" and what us healthy folks just do.
Instead, I have created a 4 week New Year Challenge unlike any other. I am spinning the notion of resolution on its head and turning the attention to getting to the root of why resolutions of the past have not been successful.
This challenge is all about:
This challenge is NOT about:
Throughout our 4 weeks together, we will jumpstart your healthy habits to set you on the path you deeply desire for yourself - a real fresh start.
Weekly topics include:
Are you ready to make your health & wellbeing a priority? If so go to the 2017 Fresh Start Challenge page today!
The biggest hurdle most people have to clean eating isn’t the food. Fresh, homemade, organic food is delicious! It isn’t giving up those ‘unclean’ foods. There may be that one food you just can’t let go of, but that isn’t the issue either. The issue is the bottom line, that line item on the budget when you try to switch it all to clean, organic, GMO-free food, hit the checkout line for the first time, and almost faint when the total comes up. Maybe you didn’t even make it that far. Maybe you picked up the package of organic cereal and took one look at the tag on the shelf and walked the other way thinking, ‘How do people afford to eat this way?’
I can tell you, unless you have a whole lot of discretionary income, changing over your way of eating and shopping doesn’t usually happen overnight. We make small changes and keep looking for ways to eat clean on our budget and find ways to funnel more money over to the food line. It is an investment, but I can tell you that it is one worth making.
To help you out, here are my top 7 tips for eating clean on a budget:
Do you have any local resources to share or any tips that can help save a buck? Leave a comment below.
Do you feel like your food is just sitting in your stomach for hours after you eat? Or is the opposite happening, and you are running to the bathroom before you have even finished your meal? You are not alone, and there are things you can do improve the situation. Here are ten steps to take now to get things moving properly through your gut:
If you incorporate some or all of the tips, you will ease in to better digestion and the tummy troubles may disappear altogether!
Many health experts consider the benefits of vitamin D to be one of the most important health discoveries in the last century!!! How amazing is that?
The first thing that comes to mind when you think about Vitamin D is SUNSHINE. :)
Vitamin D is found in 2 forms. Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) is made by plants. You can find it in foods that have been fortified, such as juices, milk, or cereals (not really the best source). However, Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), the most complete form of Vitamin D, is made when the skin is exposed to sun.
We’ve been somewhat “brain-washed” by the media to think that all sun exposure is bad. This is NOT TRUE! Getting 15 minutes of direct sunlight on unprotected skin is usually enough to get in your daily dose. Nature is your best bet for Vitamin D. Including foods in your diet that contain vitamin D, like fish (wild salmon is good), cod liver oil, milk, eggs, fresh fruits, and vegetables will also help. Unfortunately, most of us cannot get enough Vitamin D through food sources or sun exposure. :(:(
It is estimated that up to 2/3 of the population is Vitamin D deficient and needs to take a Vitamin D3 supplement. Keep in mind that it is a fat-soluble vitamin and should be taken with a meal for the best absorption possible.
So what are some of the benefits?
As you can see, Vitamin D is absolutely necessary for good health & the list of benefits just keeps on GROWING.
How do I know if I am getting enough?
Have a blood test called 25(OH). It is the ONLY blood test out there that measures the amount of Vitamin D to determine if you are getting enough or not. This test is especially important if you have family history of cancer or autoimmune disease.
We’ve all heard the expression “you are what you eat”, and your skin is no exception.
Simple Fact: Your skin is your largest organ. It is our protective covering and our first line of defense to fight illness and disease. It is also a passageway to our bloodstream. That being said, what you apply topically on your skin, as well as what you eat, will affect the overall health & appearance of your skin.
Let’s get started from the inside out.
A quote from one of my favorite skin docs:
“Certain foods have powerhouse ingredients that keep skin supple and smooth and help fight age-related damage”, says Nicholas Perricone, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and author of “Ageless Face, Ageless Mind”.
First off, we need to HYDRATE the skin. That means drinking plenty of water.
You need at least the recommended 6-8 glasses/day. If you are physically active, live in a warm climate, or feel thirsty, you may need to up your daily intake.
Also, as we age, skin tends to become dehydrated a lot more quickly, causing it to wrinkle, so ample hydration is key.
Eat your superfoods!
If it’s good for your health, it’s good for your skin too!
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish, such as herring, sardines, and salmon. Other sources of omega-3s include flaxseeds & walnuts. Omega-3s are known to decrease inflammation and may reduce the risk of acne and other skin problems.
Vitamin C helps produce collagen & prevents cells from damage caused by free radicals. Great sources are oranges, pineapples, tomato, strawberries, & bell peppers.
Vitamin E helps limit sun damage & signs of aging. Almonds are a terrific source of Vitamin E.
Vitamin A revitalizes skin by increasing cell production and rebuilds tissue. Eggs and dark leafy greens are good choices.
Beta-Carotene is needed for growth & repair of tissue. It is found in abundance in orange foods like carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, and cantaloupe.
Other fabulous foods to include to boost your skin health: dark leafy vegetables, avocados, mushrooms, berries, and, surprise, dark chocolate.
Did you know that your skin is a “breathable” organ?
Up to 60% of what you apply topically on your skin will be absorbed into your bloodstream, and children absorb even more than that!!!!
Imagine that products you've been using for years actually contain harmful ingredients and could damage your health. If so, your first instinct would be to find a healthier alternative, pronto!
Heightened awareness and potential dangers have caused consumers to take a closer look at what they put on their skin and demand safer alternatives.
Many cosmetic companies do NOT list their ingredients, aka toxic chemicals, because they are not required to do so.
Several of these toxic chemicals are linked to a host of problems including: allergies, skin rashes, cancer, headaches, fertility & reproductive issues, birth defects, hormone inhibitors, and more.
Some toxic chemicals that should be avoided:
Of course, there are more, but you get the point. If you wouldn’t EAT it, it doesn’t belong on your SKIN.
You can look up what’s in your skin care by visiting one of my favorite sites: http://www.ewg.org or by downloading the EWG Product app on your iPhone or Android device.
One way to develop a strong core and back region is to incorporate abdominal exercises that work all areas. These exercises develop your core and tighten the tummy, which is designed as a stand-alone workout or add to your circuit training workouts. I also love to do these exercises as part of my 3 and 11-day detox programs alternating with yoga or gentle walk in order to flush out the toxins and keep me moving.
Complete all exercises, each one for 1 minute/1 minute rest between exercises. When you are done with all exercises, you will have completed one (1) circuit. Rest after each circuit for 2-4 minutes. Repeat circuit 2 more times up to 5. Complete 2-3 times a week and you on your way to a strong core that can lift you up and support you along your journey to health!
**Please note, if you have lower back pain, make sure that you are supporting your lumbar appropriately! Always confer with your doctor before doing any exercise program.
Did you know that studies show that this one thing can make you 25% happier? It boosts your immunity to anger, disappointment, and frustration.
It's even been shown to heal pain and illness in your body. It can certainly heal relationships, especially with your beautiful and miraculous body.
That one thing is GRATITUDE, and amazing things happen when you integrate it into your meditation practice.
Here's a fun exercise to try:
1. As you sit down to meditate, breathe in deeply and imagine your heart filling up with glowing, green light. Allow this energy to pulse and radiate to light you from within. As you deepen into the glowing, green energy in the center of your chest, begin to give thanks for your life. Give thanks for anything that pops into your head. No filter, just give thanks for it and show it appreciation.
2. Think about five things to be grateful for on this day. See these events as pictures. It may be the way your dog greets you or that nice person that let you have the parking space in the crowded lot. It could even be seeing the birds fly to their nests as darkness comes. Just let the images flow in and notice the feelings they give. If an unwanted image pops in, let it pass like a random car on the road. If it is important, you can think on it later.
3. Now, see the people behind the images you are grateful for and express thanks to each of them.
4. Remind yourself that whatever you focus on expands. When you focus on gratitude and positivity, you will get more of that in return.
What you appreciate, appreciates.
Be mindful that you will attract more abundance, love, and health by being grateful for your current state in these areas. Your body, your health, and your relationships can only be improved by honoring where they are in this moment.
The breath is one of the most useful tools we have to settle our mind and relieve stress. This advanced breathing technique is really quite simple and accessible to anyone, anywhere, any time.
It's called Square Breath. It's super easy to remember how to do because you do it just the way it sounds.
The beginning breath ratio is 4 x 4 x 4 x 4.
Easy right? Start with a really deep breath in and just release it.
Then seal your lips and:
That's one round. In as 5 rounds you can completely shift your mind towards more peaceful thoughts.
Here's an audio guide for you. Go ahead and download it to your phone or computer and use it any time life seems to run away with you.
I wanted to share some tips with you for when you are really busy but still want to eat healthy, because it makes you feel GREAT to keep eating healthy, right?!
And we aren’t going to let “being busy” stop us from feeling great, right?!
Well, I have some tips for you on what you can eat to stay healthy when you are busy!
It’s always the small habits that add up. Don’t let yourself fall back into old habits that cause you to not feel so great! I’d love to hear from you, too: what do you like to eat when you are really busy?
functional nutritionist, health coach, and lighter of paths.