The Magic of Self-Care

On my way home from work yesterday, I overheard a young lady, a student I assume - discussing with her friend the amount of time they were studying. 20 hours/day - is what I heard. That’s obviously an exaggeration. Anyhow, she was bashing about the term, “self-care.” “Like there really is any time for self-care, and poo-hooey, what is that anyway?”

Hearing this saddened me as I think about the American culture and what a “busy” culture we are. I remember being that busy that I started having heart palpitations, chronic fatigue, mental fogginess, not to mention being bo-o-o-ring and uncreative. I find these days that as I allow myself to rest, or just do things that I simply enjoy - life is so much more peaceful, and it brings me clarity as to what I wish to do with my life, and who I wish to be. The real fun to investing in self-care is the magic of creativity. I remember reading a book by Deepak Chopra, and he continually reminds us to ask ourselves, “Who Am I,” and “What do I want to do with my life?” At first, I thought - what in the world? I have never asked these questions - what deep questions to ponder?

Starting Cheers to Health was a production of a two-year battle of answering those very questions. Something I still struggle with now. Today, I am being called to say why I’ve started this, and why doing this work is SO important to me.

Initially, I wanted to start a business because that was the only logical way I could see an infinite financial income. Working as an employee, there will always be financial ceilings - there’s just no way for any Employer to be able to offer that sort of earning.

In 2005, I was puzzled one morning as my father came into my room - bright and early, which wasn’t too abnormal, but then he crawled under the covers of my bed. Talk about awkward - A few minutes of silence, and then I heard him weeping. I mean, sobbing - a grown man in his mid-50’s, balling his eyes out to his then, 24 year old daughter. I had NEVER – in.my.life. up to that point - ever seen a tear shed from his eyes, and there he was, crying in desparation, that I needed to help him financially because he believed, that he would not be able to support himself in his elder years. I was in shock, fear, filled with confusion & even guilt. As I hear him mumbling the words, “I want to kill myself--- I have no reason to live--- I have nothing left in my savings---” I was filled with guilt that I chose to run off to LA for college rather than stay in Vegas (This is a whole other story). I realize that my running off to college was not the sole reason for the depletion of his savings, there were a lot of things going on in our household at the time that just didn’t, or wasn’t - working.

I was working at a local hospital, about 50ish hours or so, many hours unpaid, eating on the way to work on my commute, while finishing up my bachelor’s in nursing. I was -- exhausted. Not just from the physical work of work itself, but the mental capacity I needed to keep up with school, and faaaar draining of them all - the emotional energy SUCK that came from having to deal with the tension in my family. I was done- I couldn’t handle the stress so I found a nursing travel agency, packed up - and ended up working in San Francisco.

I was still exhausted at that point. Even being miles away in a different state, I still felt the emotional drain of our family issues, despite not speaking with them for months at a time. I felt there was nothing else I wanted to do at the time but help my Dad with his request. As I was living my life to fulfill that request… talk about losing.my.identity. Throughout this process, I lost complete sight of who I was, what I wanted to do for my SELF, and found myself in a deep, painful depression that not many people know about. In my quest to finding a balance between being able to fulfill my father’s request and fulfilling my own quench for re-filling my soul, I found myself on a roller-coaster journey that has landed me where I am with starting Cheers to Health.

Nothing I could have ever done nutritionally in that story above would have helped me with the weight I gained or the pimples that surfaced. The root of that entire problem was in my deep desire to want to help my father but not knowing how- followed by being complicated in my losing my identity in the process. What if I would have focused on the weight I gained and continued to use ice cream to numb the deep pain that kept resurfacing?

I hear stories like the above many times over - while talking to my patients who come in with chronic diseases and other health problems. One story that has stayed with me is a patient whose health drastically deteriorated after a divorce. He then had a series of bypass surgeries and numerous heart issues. I remember talking to this patient about the emotional ripple of the divorce. He didn’t deny that his physical problems were a manifestation of the CORE issue being the divorce and relationship dynamics.

When I first started my nursing career, my goal was to work in the Intensive Care Unit, so that I could understand the whole body and how each organ is interrelated. I have since expanded on a much deeper level and see that the WHOLE body is really internal & external, tangible & intangible, thoughts & emotions, relationships, spirituality, career, nutrition, and life - combined.

While nutrition & exercise are important factors to keeping you healthy, there might be a deeper part of your SELF that could possibly need nurturing. I literally started feeling pains in my body that I never had, and I started to gain weight again – something that only happens when I’m living in Vegas.

If you’re a busy bee putting in numerous hours in study/work/taking care of others and sacrificing yourself in the process… here are just 5 reasons to prioritize yourself.

Reasons to do self-care:

  1. It helps you stay aware & conscious of what is really going on inside. What am I thinking, what am I feeling, what do I really want?
  2. Nourishing yourself means allowing you to be a better person, with yourself first, and then with others.

  3. It releases stress & tension in our bodies

  4. Improves mental clarity & focus.

  5. Sticking to it makes you HAPPY.

The Secret to Re-Discovering You

 Re-Discovering Yourself

In the last issue, you may have noticed a different type of article. Different in the sense that it touched a deeper part of you: one that you may resonate with. If you missed last week’s issue, click here to catch up. As I continue to work with patients and clients, as I learn, evolve, and grow myself, my intuition has always told me that the root of all major health issues begins with self. Our ability to fully and completely LOVE who we are; the past AND the present, to accept all that’s happened in our lives. Without being to honor where we’ve been and where we are, moving forward can be challenging. I had always believed that major stress has the ability to catapult our bodies into undue medical crises. In the book, Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel, Candace B. Pert shares the scientific evidence in which our bodies really do experience chemical changes based on what we’re thinking and feeling.

Last week I touched on identity as being the anchor to our health. What does that mean? As we experience our life, our previously held values, perceptions, and beliefs begin to change, as do we. When you start to feel lost, question what you value. How is it different than before? How is this changing WHO YOU ARE as a person, and how is it affecting your life?

In numerous conversations with patients, I’ve found there to be a common denominator among people who don’t have the health they wish to have: the first I had identified was stress (an effect), the second – root (cause) of stress: extreme difficulty slowing down, going inward, being present, and whom have lost their innate ability to connect their mind with body, body with mind. 

So – here it is, the secret to re-discovering who you are. It’s not new info. I figure most likely you’ve heard it before. But for some reason, it can be the most challenging thing on earth to do!

Allow yourself Time to Be Alone. Quiet Time. No interruptions. Don’t bring your phone or electronics! Hide. Let whatever needs to come up, come up. Cry. 

I know, I know. This might be too much for you. That’s ok. Why am I talking about all this anyway? Aren’t I supposed to be a health coach and what does this have anything to do with health? I hope you’re able to make the connection. It has everything to do with your health.  

Dis-ease occurs when we are severely misaligned with the root of our identity. There’s something we’re not willing to look at about ourselves.

This year, before November-December comes and the hustle n’ bustle of the holiday season arrives, go inward. Who Do You See?

Who Do You THINK You Are?!

I thank our nanny, Jayne, as being my muse for this article. In a conversation, I spoke about growing up feeling afraid of letting my parents down, my mother in particular. I suppose that’s a perfectly normal feeling. Our parents have such high expectations of us that we are SO, incredibly afraid of being anything less than they imagined us to be. Living up to these expectations can either motivate or paralyze us. What I find so amazing about all this is that we get to witness the magic of WHO WE TRULY ARE – unfold -- as we grow up and figure… we are not our parents. We are separate beings… and we get to choose how we play out our lives.

I LOVE the title of this article! Because I feel that often times we are living the life that someone else dreamed up for us… the life that someone else expected of us… the life we thought we wanted… the life other than what we truly, deeply, WANT for ourSELVES. For many of us, at very young ages, we created and built protective layer-- after layer-- after layer-- to hide our true but hurt souls in order to keep those around us happy. Or, we find ourselves in our adult years keeping busy with the day to day that we get lost in the daily shuffle and suddenly find ourselves with a sense of unknown dis -- ease: anxiety, depression, loneliness, emptiness, and pain… we start to ask ourselves, “What the F--- is Wrong With Me?!” IF --- we allow ourselves to begin the journey of RE-discovering the parts of us that were buried years ago, we can come back to the internal, familiar feeling we can call home; our true identity. 

If you ARE feeling a sense of any of the above described feelings, I invite you to ponder a few of the most important questions we will ever have to answer in our lives.

Who AM I?

WHY am I Doing What I am Doing?

What Do I Really, Really Want?

I am learning to appreciate the beauty and nature of the fall season… a contracting time of year in which mother earth is telling us to SLOW DOWN. She’s created the longer, darker days to allow our minds and bodies to rest, to gather and give Thanks for the fruit of the year…and some time to prepare and transition for next season’s harvest.

Now, Who Are You Really? Why are you doing what you’re doing? And what, if money and circumstance was NO obstacle, would you truly, truly want?!

Cheers to the Fall Season! During this time, I challenge you to slow down, go inwards, and cozy up next to the fireplace with your special drink and good company, whether your company is your family, friends, your journal, or your book!

Healthy Lifestyle: 7 Tips To Recruit Your Loved One

 Healthy Lifestyle

Are you disgusted with the fact that your significant other or household members regards health as unimportant? Or - even if they do, ACT as if it’s not? Anytime you speak of the word healthy, do they roll their eyes, tilt their heads back with chin up and turn the other way? Uh-huh… Turning current habits into healthier ones can certainly be a challenge when we feel that we’re against our loved ones. Here are some tips to help nudge them in the other direction.

  1. Thinking of it like this: You are their Health Leader

    Lead them into a healthier lifestyle. People want to be inspired. Adults are like children in many ways. We don’t want people telling us what to do - and when we feel that others are making us DO something, we do: silent treatment, stink-eye stares, talk sarcasm, rebellious behavior, yup - you know.

  2. Make a Commitment

    The truth is, in order for your loved one to take you seriously, you MUST show them that you are in this, for real. Monkey see-monkey really do. Once they see that this is important to you, they will naturally feel pulled to follow you after some time.

  3.  Share Your WHY

    What’s the reason YOU want to live healthy in the first place? Dig deep to discover what you find valuable about choosing to live this way. Doing this, alone, may trigger their first healthy thought or action.

  4. Ask What’s Important to Them…

    When it comes to getting healthy, people who need to change often feel like they’re being nagged. Sometimes your loved one just wants to be heard and understood.

  5. Ask, “What Would Be Possible For You If You Were To Have ________ “ [what’s important for them]. Then ask, “What Would Happen If You Didn’t/Couldn’t Have That?”

    This helps them relate their desires with being healthy. Often times there is resistance to becoming healthy simply because they’re too busy thinking about the things they DON’T want to do. Here, you get them to think about what they want, and then relate to how not having that would contribute to their being less happy.

  6. Just Do Your Own Thing

    Delete the “you should” phrase. Instead, invite them to try an activity or healthy food that you think he or she would enjoy and allow them to choose. This boosts confidence in their healthy decision-making.

  7. Be Supportive

    This is probably the harder thing to do: don’t be critical or judgmental about how they choose to live their lives. Tough! Tough! Tough! Especially when you love them so much! Ignore what you feel is contributing to an otherwise healthy lifestyle and praise efforts towards it. 

These tips are a compilation of what I’ve seen that does NOT work when observing family dynamics in the hospital and my own personal experience. I would love to hear how you are helping your loved one move in the healthy direction and what other tips you have for those dealing with this struggle!!

Feel Spring Radiant With This Food

 Sprouts in salad

In the spring season, seeds flaunt their vitality and energy by sprouting. Sprouts of all varieties contain the building blocks of life in the form of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids and simple sugars. In their early growth state, sprouts are very easy to digest, allowing our bodies to access many wonderful nutrients. Recent research by the American Cancer Society has backed what holistic nutrition has known for years: that sprouts contain anti-cancer properties, high levels of active antioxidants, concentrated amounts of phytochemicals and significant amounts of vitamins A, C and D.

In their raw form, sprouts have a cooling effect on the body, and therefore are best consumed in warm weather. Those who tend to feel cool can try steaming spouts or adding them to warm dishes such as stir-fries and soups. There is a wide variety of edible and delicious sprouts, each with a different texture and flavor: alfalfa, mung bean, lentil, radish, clover, sunflower, broccoli, garbanzo and adzuki.

Here are some great ways to serve up sprouts:

  • Add to salads.

  • Combine with other vegetables in wraps, roll-ups or stir-fries.

  • Use as garnish on top of soups, stews, omelets or scrambled eggs.

  • Add to rice or whole-grain dishes.

  • Use in sandwiches instead of lettuce. Spring has arrived! Eat sprouts and feel alive!

If you buy and plan to add sprouts to your meal or dishes, use them right away. They have a pretty short shelf life.

Now THAT’s Completely Absurd!

I recently watched a video by my coaching mentors, Stacey and Carey, who have newly created the Health Coach Institute, discussing their processing and reasoning as they birthed the formation of this Institute. I LOVE them! Their Institute’s slogan is… “Spark the Change,” in which they see the possibility of health coaches being a mainstream thing – something that when mentioned, people go “yes, I get what a ‘health coach’ is.” They envision health coaches as being the primary change agents to our reversing the state of our country’s poor health. They talked about how smoking was once allowed on planes! They envision the future with everyone knowing what a health coach is, or at least have heard of – or know of one. Ten years from now, they envision the idea that NOT knowing what a health coach is – as being completely absurd, just like how the idea of smoking on planes is now, completely absurd.

So I got to thinking… what is something in my health that I would like to change? Something that I’m doing now, that in the near future – I could say, is completely absurd? I jumped out of bed with excitement to type this! Removing Dairy from my diet! I KNOW I have an intolerance to it… I KNOW I get weird, uncomfortable respiratory issues from it – and I would LOVE to finally be – untied to it! As I’m typing, my mind is racing with possibilities, and excuses…

  • Possibility: “Ok, in order to do this, I have to keep dairy out of the house…”
  • Excuse: “Oh, but we need to have cheese in the house. It’s a great source of calcium for my growing son.” 
  • Possibility: “Cow’s milk is ok to have in the house, I don’t like milk anyway… ice cream and cheese are not necessary.”
  • Excuse: “ But I LOVE cheese! I LOVE ice cream! (made with cow’s milk)”
  • Possibility: “Be free of nasty, thick productive sputum, recurring cough, and wheezing”
  • Excuse: “Oh, my symptoms are not THAT bad… I won’t die from it.”
  • Excuse: “Raw cheese is good for me.”

I would love to say that this time next year, consuming dairy is completely absurd, for me!

What’s something with your health that by this time next year you would love to be able to say… “That’s Completely Absurd!”

Here are a list of some the prior health habits in my life that I once did that are NOW – complete No-No’s:

  • Stopping by fast food joints on the way to- and from work

  • Eating a pound of peanut m&m’s as a study snack

  • Eating a snickers bar as a meal replacement

  • Eating Ice Cream for breakfast

What terrible habits huh?!! Just because we currently carry a bad health habit doesn’t mean that we can’t change it.

  1. So what is it a year from now that you would like to say “That’s Completely Absurd” to?
  2. What do you have to do to make that happen?
  3. And what are you WILLING to do today to take the first step towards making that happen?!
     

The 90/10 Diet

 The 90/10 Diet

What is the 90/10? I learned this from my mentor and founder of Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Joshua Rosenthal. The 90/10 rule is a basic, simple rule to keep in mind as you go through the day making food choices. It simply states that we should aim to eat healthy the majority of the time (90%), and allow ourselves to also have whatever we want (10%). Doing so will keep from feeling deprived, which eventually leads to eventual binge-eating. Some people have VERY strong willpower and minds who can stick to a particular “diet” for a long time; however, this is not the majority of the crowd. Rather than beating yourself up with counting calories, carbs, fat, points, etc., wouldn’t it much easier to do a general intake of healthy or not-healthy?

A study done by Traci Mann, UCLA Associate professor of psychology, led a study on whether or not diets work and found that dieting is actually a sure-fire way of steadily increasing weight.

If you are not aware of what you’re choosing to feed yourself, I recommend writing down every single thing that goes into your mouth so that you first have an awareness of what you tend to choose. Or! - you can download the “YouFood” app, co-created by a college friend of mine, in which you can take pictures of everything that you eat, making food journaling so easy! What you find might shock you. Then again, it may not. Either way, you have an objective tool that you can use to slowly start incorporating the choosing of an apple versus a muffin, perhaps a banana versus a donut, or whatever healthier option you’ve got available. 

While 90/10 is the RULE, I don’t always live there, depending on where I’m at. Environment has a huge impact on what we choose, or choose NOT to eat. Just a few years ago, I was probably at about 70/30. At my worst, living in Vegas, I was probably eating 30% healthy, 70% unhealthy. (Yes, I was much heavier!). Vegas is tempting... with ALL those all-you-can buffets!!! Our minds can get tricked to believe that we’re getting our money’s worth, but go for quality. Your body will thank you as you age.  I have lots of splurge days at work, when cookies, chocolate, bagels, and chips are easily available... and I struggle on days that I don’t prepare, especially on outings with the family. What helps is that I plan what we eat. It’s not always easy and I don’t always do it... but it’s totally worth the effort to continually have energy and feel vigorous. What would your life be like if you had ALL the energy you need to do ALL the things you have on your to-do list, and then some? 

The goal is to eventually get there... but that doesn’t mean that you have to completely change your entire eating habits to meet that number. That simply won’t last too long. Ease yourself into healthier eating.

What can you do now to start?

What’s your number? Where are you at? Where do you aim to be in the next year, 6 months, 3 months, 1 month? Grab a journal, or to make it easier, download the “YouFood” app. Have Fun!

Changing your diet habits doesn’t have to be dreadful! Think of it as an exploration or an adventure: you GET to try new things! You GET to try new foods. What can you ADD into your diet versus, what must I restrict?

Reference:

Wolpert, Stuart. “Dieting DoesNot Work, UCLA Researchers Report.” April 3, 2007. http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/Dieting-Does-Not-Work-UCLA-Researchers-7832

Eggs: Cage-free, free-range, organic, pastured? What’s the Difference?

 Difference of eggs.

Alright – I dunno about you, but shoppin’ for eggs can be kinda confusing. Doesn’t your mind get tripped up between quality and price? I used to think that free range was the best option until I started seeing “pasture-raised.” Ok – hands down, this is the best kind. But what’s the difference? The goal is to always get the best quality for the best price, right?

Conventional eggs (And what I mean by conventional are eggs that you would buy in a large chain grocery store such as Lucky’s, Albertson’s, Safeway, etc. ) generally raise their chicks in cages, where the space is so confined that their beaks are often cut to prevent pecking one another to death from stress. They are generally fed corn, soy, and antibiotics when they become ill.

Cage-free: Cage free means that chickens are not necessarily confined to cages. That there are open doors that are available for them to roam around. However, cage-free does not define how often, how long, or even IF the chickens get some time out of their confined space.

Free-range: When we think of free-range, we’re thinking better in terms of quality. When I hear the term free-range, I see chickens roaming freely on grass with huge amounts of space to run around. The problem with this label is that in the US, according to the USDA’s standard, free-range means that the chicks must have access to the outdoors, which could mean a mere hole and small open space to roam. This does not mean that the chickens are actually roaming free. 

Organic: Do you remember my article on what it means to be certified organic? It means that your eggs are non-gmo, no antibiotics, pesticides, or growth hormones were used, non-irradiated, artificial dye, artificial sweetener, high fructose corn syrup, and sewage sludge free. Whew. Right. We don’t want all that in our eggs.

Pasture-raised: This means that the chicks are “either surrounded by pasture or mobile chicken coops rotated in the pasture itself.” They are allowed to roam free with enough outdoor space to eat and do what’s natural for chickens. They are rotated to new pastures regularly and have been found to be twice richer in Vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.

Pasture raised chickens provide much more benefit to their farmers than just their eggs. They provide fertilization for the farm, tillage, and weed and insect control on pasture. Their manure fertilizes the pasture soil.

Your Ideal Egg: Organic AND pasture-raised. You are ensured that your egg is free of unwanted material by being organic, and you receive the highest quality, nutrient-dense egg you can get. To see a list of brands by rating, see Cornucopia Institute’s Organic Egg Scorecard.

So why is your ideal the egg most expensive? Farmers who allow their chickens to roam freely often end up with lower egg production (less chickens) and higher labor costs.

What Makes Your Blood Pressure High?

 Managing your blood pressure.

There are many reasons your blood pressure can go up, or become very low. Today, we’ll talk about what makes it RISE.

Your blood pressure is regulated by your heart and blood vessels (your circulatory system) in response to a complex of normal chemical activities happening in the brain and in your hormonal system. Ultimately, the goal is to perfuse your tissues and organs so that your body can continue to function normally, yes?

Your blood pressure can rise for a moment, for an occasion, a season, or for a lifetime. If it’s for a lifetime, I’m sorry to report that it would be a miserable life since consistent high blood pressure eventually leads to a stroke, kidney problems, and heart problems, just to name a few – with prescribed medications to be taken as if it were food. Preferably, it rises only during moments – and some occasions… these times are inevitable, more realistic, and also healthy.

Long standing high blood pressure can be caused by many factors. For today, we’ll keep it simple and talk only about what is more controllable.

POSSIBLE CAUSES OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE:

Consistently high salt intake can cause an increase in fluid volume in the bloodstream, which may weaken the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively.

  1. Too much salt intake
  2. Stress

    Stress causes an over-activity of your sympathetic nervous system, which raises heart rate and blood pressure, making the heart work harder to pump blood.
  3. Too much insulin in the blood

    Having too much insulin in the blood means that there is a constantly high blood sugar level in the blood. This can eventually lead to a bigger heart and an increase in resistance to the flow of blood in the bloodstream. (The heart has a harder time pushing blood through the blood vessels).

So What Can You do to ensure a normal blood pressure?

ACTIONS:

  1. Go to your doctor regularly to get vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, temperature), physical checkups, and blood-work done regularly. The amount of times you need to go to your doctor will vary depending on how healthy you currently are and if there is anything your doctor needs to monitor or follow up on.

    This is the only way for you to start getting a heads up that something is headed in the wrong direction.
  2. Keep track of how much sodium you are taking in!

    a. f your blood pressure is on the higher side, start looking at labels of the things you eat and how much salt you’re putting in your food. The 2010 dietary guidelines recommend no more than 2,300mg (milligrams) of salt per day. 
  3. Keep track of the types of sugars you are taking in! This is a whole article in and of itself. To be brief and the purpose of today’s article, as much as possible, stick to natural sweeteners:

    a. Organic maple syrup

    b. Raw honey

    c. Rapadura

    d. Stevia Powder

    e. Date Sugar

    f. Molasses

    g. Sorghum Syrup

    AVOID:

    High fructose corn syrup

    Concentrate fruit juice as sweeteners
  4. Take Care Of Your Self, as in, “Don’t Worry About it,” kinda attitude. Keep a watchful eye on high stress…

    a. Do things regularly that you enjoy

    b. Be around people you Love

    c. Think positively about unexpected/unwanted happenings

    d. As much as possible, cook at home and use the best ingredients you can

How Your Kidneys Can Be Affected By High Blood Pressure?

Did you know that your kidneys are affected by your blood pressure? Yep… in order to have healthy kidneys – you’ve got to have healthy blood pressure. In order to have a healthy blood pressure…

YOU HAVE TO: 

1.     Know what’s normal and not normal

2.     You have to monitor it (go get it checked!!)

3.     Know what YOUR normal is

4.     Know what AFFECTS your normal

5.     Know how to change your numbers to get them back to normal

Normal blood pressure in the medical community is considered less than 120-130/80-85, roughly. Once your blood pressure goes above 140/90, consistently, your Doctor can say that you have high blood pressure and may prescribe you something to bring it down to normal.

* 120 (the top number) = what is called systolic, is when contraction of your heart muscle occurs, pushing blood into your circulatory system.

* 80 (the bottom number) = what is known as diastolic, is when relaxation of your heart muscle occurs, and your heart fills up with blood. 

WHY should I CARE to know these numbers?

Your kidneys have über important functions, just like the rest of your organs. When your blood pressure is consistently high, these functions become impaired… 

· Making urine

· Excreting waste

· Regulating electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, etc).

· Controls water balance

· Controls blood pressure

· Regulates production of red blood cells

· Helps to make Vitamin D into it’s active form

Generally, you will NOT have signs that your blood pressure is high. It is known as the silent killer for this reason. It must be checked with a blood pressure monitor. You can do this at your doctor’s office, you can purchase one (they’re easy to use), or you can go to a local drugstore or pharmacy area of a grocery store, where FREE blood pressure monitoring areas are available.

We covered numbers 1 and 2 above, what’s normal/not normal, and that you have to get it checked in order to know what it is. Now that you know the basics of what these numbers mean, your action for this week is to work on numbers 3 and 4… go get it checked: What’s Your Blood Pressure? And What Affects Your Normal? This one may take some time to figure out… and generally, if your blood pressure is mostly normal – it’s not something to worry about and go a checkin’ unless there’s a reason to keep monitoring it. In order to know more about number 5, stay tuned for the next issue… What Affects Your Blood Pressure?

ACTION: Check Your Blood Pressure! What is it?

Comment below and share what you’ve discovered about yourself and/or your numbers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Carb Myths

In the issue before last, we talked about the good carbs and why carbohydrates should supply the majority of your daily intake. If you missed the article, see the post from November 10 to see the sources of carbohydrates that are essential to maintain your energy on a daily basis.

If carbohydrates should be supplying the majority of your daily intake, why are people on “low carb” diets and what’s the deal with the bad reputation?

Let’s talk about 3 low carb diet myths:

Myth #1: Carbs will make me fat

When people refer to these carbs they’re generally referring to carbs such as breads, pastas, rice, cookies, donuts, junk food. That’s a good thing to avoid. Some people, however, feel that rice and fruits should be avoided because they fall under the “carbs” category. While fruits do contain larger amounts of natural sugar, they are also packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and good stuff that helps to slow down the absorption of sugar – and insulin spikes - decreasing the hit to the liver.  And some people need some amount of rice in order to feel full and satisfied with meals. Keep in mind there are many other types of rice or grains that can be eaten versus just plain white rice, which has been stripped of nutrients and skinned down to a ball of sugar.  

Myth #2: Eating a Low Carb diet will help me lose weight

This can true, if done correctly. Cutting out refined, packaged foods, white breads, rice, and pastas, baked goods, sodas and fruit juices, and replacing them with the right kinds of carbs from natural food sources is the way to make this true. This will correct a high blood sugar as well. 

 Myth #3: I shouldn’t eat carrots, potatoes, and certain fruits because it’s high in carbs

Carrots and white potatoes should be cooked or eaten with fat in order to decrease the sugar spike – and takes longer for your body to absorb the glucose. High fructose can be avoided if you’re trying to lose weight and you’re already eating a diet in natural food sources.

A “carbohydrate” is simply a term used to describe the classification of foods that provides the human body with energy. Our bodies create energy from a constant supply of glucose, which comes from either the food we eat or from stored glycogen (a form of glucose that has been stored in the liver and muscles to be used when we need it and have not eaten).

Every Body is completely individual and unique. Listen to your body and use your intuition to figure out what types of carbs work best for you.

 

 

 

6 Tips to Eating a Thanksgiving Feast Without Regret

It’s that time of year! Not just Thanksgiving, but the holidays in general – a time when sweets and yumminess are widely available. While it can be tough to hold back during a time when good, comfort food is such a big part of the holiday, here are some tips to help you get through the dinner/meal without regret.

1.  Eat your regular meals before you go to the thanksgiving event. A big mistake people make on this day is that they starve themselves before getting there and end up not just over-eating, but eating anything and everything that’s available. Be Selective!

2.  On your first round of eats, load up your plate with the healthiest items available: a salad, greens, green beans, any veggies! This will help to fill you up on the good stuff before you get to the not-so-good food items that’ll may make you feel not-so-good.

3.  Allow yourself to have some not-so-goods AFTER you’ve loaded up on the goods. That way you get a taste of whatever you want to have and you walk away feeling more satisfied than deprived.

4.  If the food is served buffet style, eat AWAY from the food (where you can’t see it) to keep yourself from being tempted to eat anything and everything in front of you.

5.  Stick to water/sparkling water as your beverage of choice, if you can. If you must have an alcoholic beverage to celebrate Thanksgiving – try to choose plain red wine, if available, versus a mixed drink, which generally contain syrups and additional empty calories or beer. Feels better to know that you at least have some antioxidants in your beverage.

6.  Most important - Be Thankful for all in your life and enjoy the holiday! 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving with your friends and family!! I am grateful to be able to share my passion or health and wellness with you, and that you are equally passionate enough to be reading. :) Cheers to Your Health!

The Good Carbs

What exactly is a carbohydrate?

A carb is essentially the term used to describe the classification of foods that provide the human body with energy. Energy comes from glucose, which is broken down from glycogen or starch. The human body stores glucose in the form of glycogen (stored in the liver and muscles), and plant cells store glucose in the form of starches.

You’ve probably heard of a simple carb and a complex carb, the difference being it’s chemical structure. A simple carb is essentially a sugar, and a complex carb is essentially starches and fibers.

 Carbohydrates sources you WANT to have in your diet and supply most of the energy in healthy diet:

1.     Grains:

  • Contains Gluten: Oats & oatmeal, barley, bulgur, couscous, kamut, rye, spelt, wheat
  • Gluten Free: brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, cornmeal (organic), quinoa, wild rice.

2.     Vegetables

3.     Fruits

4.     Legmes/Beans: There is such a wide variety!

  • Adzuki
  • Black (aka turtle)
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Cannellini
  • Chickpeas (aka garbanzos)
  • Fava
  • Great Northern
  • Kidney
  • Lentils
  • Lima Beans
  • Mung
  • Navy
  • Pinto
  • Split Peas

Why do you want these carbohydrate sources to supply most of your energy? Because carbs contain glucose, the fuel you need to do just about every activity you do on a daily – from walking to reading/writing, studying, cooking, exercising, etc.