Archive

Archive

Shifting the "Shoulds"

The "Shoulds"  are something I've always struggled with. I Should be working in Corporate America because everyone else I know is (even though it made my soul hurt). I Should be dating this successful guy (even though he was a total ass).  I Should be satisfied with my life (even though I was craving so much more). 

But who created these Shoulds? Surely it wasn't me- because they brought me no joy,  no satisfaction, only misery,  guilt,  and a craving for something else. And life should be about doing things that bring you joy and fulfillment

As I've grown older, I've started focusing on shifting my  Shoulds so that they are based on MY needs. I Should do things that make my soul sing. I Should follow my passions. I Should challenge myself with things that will make me a better person.

Shoulds are necessary. They get you motivated. They initiate change. But they have to be YOUR Shoulds.

This morning as I was getting ready to go to a bootcamp class I realized that I was actually dreading it.  The sun was shining, the air was crisp, and I realized that what I really wanted to do was be outside. So, I ignored that mental dialogue telling me "I Should go to that class" and used the time that would have been spent sitting in rush hour traffic and working out in a windowless room to enjoy a glorious, sun light drenched, oxygen rich 5 mile brisk walk around a glistening lake. And realized that THAT was what I Shouid be doing.

Do you struggle with the Shoulds? What is one Should shift that you've made? How did it affect your day/life?

Eating Fat & Why It Matters

I'm not going to lie- growing up I definitely had a fear of eating fat and it took me a really long time to get past the misconception that eating fat will make you fat and that is was extremely unhealthy.  A child of the 80's and 90's, I grew up during a time when low fat was all the rage. I would have my fill of Snackwells (and by 'my fill' I mean the whole box- because, hey, they're fat free!!!), margarine, and fat-free potato chips which were cooked with Olestra, an ingredient that had a very unappealing effect onthe body- if you've had it, you know what I mean. Back then I would rather die than touch a fat filled avocado or butter or red meat.  But here's the thing.  Fat is good for us. Like really, really good for us and our country's fear of fat has led many people to deny their bodies of one of the most essential nutrients for their health. 

All of our body's functions and our brain health are dependent on the health of our cell membranes and it so happens that these membranes are mostly composed of FAT---75% phospholipids, 20% cholesterol and 5% glycoplipids to be exact. Healthy fats keep our cell membranes strong, flexible and in communication with their surrounding environments. When our membranes are weak or rigid, we are susceptible to disease and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease, heart disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy, premature aging...the list goes on and on.  

It's important to get a bit of an understanding of the role fats play in the makeup of the cell membrane in order to understand just how vital they are. Phospholipids, the largest component of the cell membrane, have a head and two tails---one straight, one crooked. The straight tail is made up of saturated fats, which are fats that are solid at room temperature and can be found in meat, dairy and certain plant products including palm oil, coconut oil and cacao butter.  These fats provide the cell membrane with stability and do not interact much with their environment.

The crooked tail is made up of unsaturated fats which are fats that are liquid at room temperature and can be found naturally in avocados, nuts and vegetable oils. These fats are not as strong as the saturated fat tails, but they interact with the cell's environment and allow the membrane to be flexible.

The phospholipids line up in such a way that a semi-permeable wall is formed which controls which substances are allowed to enter or leave the cell. So you can see how crucial it is to have these phospholipids working optimally, they are pretty much the cell's gate-keepers.

Problems arise when we are not eating enough fat or when we are eating the wrong kinds of fats. When processed fats (mainly hydrogenated fats, partially hydrogenated fats and unsaturated fats that have become rancid) are eaten they displace the healthy saturated and unsaturated fats in the phospholipids tails.  The permeability is affected and the membrane becomes rigid, trapping waste in the cell and not letting in healthy materials.

Cholesterol is another word that brings fear to many people's minds. However, it is a major component in the health of the cell membrane and is responsible for maintaining the structure of the membrane walls. Cholesterol molecules are located between membrane phospholipids. They prevent the phospholipids from packing too close together which would result in the membrane lacking permeability, meaning nutrients could not get in and waste could not get out. It is important to make sure you are eating enough cholesterol-rich foods like eggs, liver, butter and red meat to ensure sufficient permeability.

Glycolipids help with communication and cell recognition. These are found in milk, ideally raw milk. Unfortunately the commercial milk that most people drink has been heavily processed so the fat obtained from it has been altered and is pretty unhealthy.

It's important to recognize that cells are the building blocks for our bodies. They provide structure, take in nutrients,  create energy and carry out functions essential for life.  If the cell membrane is compromised our cells won't function properly, our tissues and organs will begin to deteriorate, and our health will decline.

So what are the best ways to keep your cell membrane healthy and functioning at an optimal level?

-eat healthy saturated fats from organic meat, dairy, palm oil, and coconut oil

-eat healthy, natural unsaturated fats from avocados, nuts and olive oil

-drink raw milk

-eat cholesterol rich foods like eggs, liver, butter and red meat

-avoid processed and hydrogenated fats

-avoid unsaturated fats that have not been consistently stored in a cool location, kept out of the light or stored in dark colored bottles

 

 

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

rosemary scrub.jpg

I spent today whipping up a batch of sugar-salt scrubs and they honestly smell good enough to eat! Actually, they are completely edible and if they're good enough to eat they're good enough to put on my skin. Remember that our skin is our largest organ and is completely porous so anything you put on it is instantly absorbed directly into your body. What we put ONTO our body is just as important as what we put INTO our body. Try to buy skincare products made from natural ingredients or better yet, have fun making your own and customizing them with your favorite scents.

Read More +

Healthy Holiday Tip Tuesday #1

 

The holidays are in full swing, the smell of sugar is in the air and holiday treats are in abundance.  It feels like there is some kind of delicious tempting dessert at every turn.  Enjoying the holidays without feeling deprived while also feeling healthy and in control may seem hopeless...but it's actually a lot easier than you think!  It is possible to have your fruit cake and eat it too, or to have the power to turn the other way.

Here's one of the main problems with sugar that rings true for most people. Once you start you can't stop. How many of you can have just 1 bite of cake? Yeah, my hand didn't raise for that one either. So what do you do when you are at a holiday party, or anywhere for that matter, where delicious, tempting, not so great for your body or soul treats are around?

Plan ahead- Eat a healthy serving of protein and fat before heading out. This will keep cravings at bay so that you don't find yourself inhaling the peppermint brownie tray at your company holiday party.

Bring your own goodies- You don't have to feel deprived of holiday treats if you create your own healthier bites. One of my favorite sugar craving killing treats are fat bombs made with coconut oil, raw cacao,  and a bit of Stevia. Or just a spoonful of straight up coconut oil.  It's rich. It's super healthy. It's fantastic. And it kicks sugar cravings to the curb. I swear by these.

Just eat the treat and ENJOY it- Treats are just that- TREATS, and it's OK for you to indulge in one every once in a while.  I will stress the words ONE and ONCE IN AWHILE. If there is a certain dessert that only comes around during the holiday season, by all means, have it! But when you eat it, enjoy every bite, guilt free. If you are going to feel guilty and punish yourself afterwards it's better to just skip it.

Evacuate the area- If all else fails and you find yourself out of control, inhaling everything in sight and feeling guilty and panicked it's OK to remove yourself from the situation.  Never feel guilty for making your health, both physical and mental, your priority. It's better to go home early than to eat a bunch of junk and then beat yourself up for it days afterwards. Not. Worth. It.

Here's a super quick and easy sugar-free treat you can make in minutes to take to parties or keep at home for when you are craving something delicious and healthy. 

COCONUT CACAO BALLS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened medium-shredded coconut
  • ½ cup extra-virgin coconut oil, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons Vega One vanilla flavor protein powder (optional) OR 5-10 drops of Stevia

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

  • Cacao nibs
  • Dried acai berries
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Chia seeds
  • Crushed walnuts

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Line a baking sheet with non-toxic parchment paper
  2. Combine coconut, raw cacao, coconut oil, and protein powder or Stevia in a food processor or mixer.
  3. Mix until all ingredients are combined and a dough is formed
  4. Roll about 1 tablespoon of the dough in your hands to create a ball.
  5. If adding toppings, place the toppings on a plate and roll the ball over them until the outside of the ball is covered.
  6. Line balls up on the baking pan and place it in the refrigerator to cool for about 15 minutes or until the balls are solid
  7. These will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator or a couple of months in an airtight container in the freezer.

 

 

 

Water, Hydration and Health

Water is such a part of our everyday life that we often forget how unique and essential to life it is. It plays a vital role in keeping our bodies’ cells, tissues, and organs running smoothly and when consumed daily, in the proper quantities, it can also prevent and heal many health disorders. 

THE BENEFITS OF DRINKING WATER

Drinking water can help you lose weight.

Drinking water helps reduce the amount of food you eat, diminishes false hunger pangs and encourages enzymatic activity which results in fat burning. Talk about an easy way to look great in your favorite skinny jeans. 

Drinking water makes your skin look and feel beautiful.

Want to get that soft, dewy skin you see in magazines? Drinking water is a great place to start. Water is responsible for skin regeneration. Proper hydration enhances skin’s elasticity, firmness, color and reduces dryness, wrinkles and pimples. 

Drinking water aids in digestion.

Water is vital in the creation of digestive secretions. Sufficient intake of water helps to eliminate digestive disorders such as poor digestion, gas, nausea, indigestion and bloating.

Drinking water can help prevent high-blood pressure.

Hypertension can be the result of the blood vessels not having enough water to diffuse into the cells causing blood vessels to contract. Once the body is replenished with water, the vessels will expand and blood pressure should eventually return back to normal. It also maintains sodium-potassium balance which is essential for healthy blood pressure.

Drinking water can provide heartburn prevention and relief

Heartburn is a sign that the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract is in need of water. Many people make the mistake of using antacids or tablet medications which result in inflammation in the stomach and several other areas in the body and can eventually lead to liver and pancreatic cancers. Once water is absorbed by the gastrointestinal track, heartburn will usually diminish. 

WHAT TO DRINK TO STAY HYDRATED

Every day we lose about 2.5 liters of water through urine, sweat, water vapor from our lungs and liquid in our stool. That is a lot of water! Thirst is the body’s alarm that we need to intake liquid to avoid dehydration. It compels us to drink until our hydric imbalance has been corrected.  Plain water is the best way to hydrate your body, but for some people, plain water just doesn’t cut it sometimes.  I get it. Luckily there are other things you can drink, in addition to plain water, which will help keep you hydrated. 

  • Infusions- leaves from mint, cilantro, basil, etc. add a pleasing flavor and scent to waters. I also love using seasonal fruit like berries and watermelon if I am craving something sweet. These are all a great alternative for people who do not enjoy the taste of plain water or for those who would like some variation. 
  • Fruit and vegetable juices- unsweetened and in moderation. These are super tasty but too many minerals and vitamins will disrupt our bodies’ balance, plus juices contain lots of calories and sugar. Remember, too much sugar, even natural sugar, is not a good thing. 
  • Soda water- There’s something about fizz that quenches thirst like nothing else. I recently bought a soda water maker and absolutely love it. Add a few drops of high quality essential oils such as grapefruit or lemon for a true “naturally flavored” hydrating drink. 
  • Water enhanced with ionic minerals- adding ionic minerals, such as a pinch of sea salt, will help your body hold onto the water you ingest.
  • Limit, or even better, eliminate drinks such as fruit juices with added sugar, soda (including diet soda), milk, alcohol, coffee and tea. These drinks contain components, such as caffeine, sugar, purines and toxins that reduce their ability to hydrate. 

GETTING THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF WATER FOR YOUR BODY

The World Health Organization recommends 2 liters (or eight 8oz glasses) of water a day, but water needs can vary greatly per individual depending on your weight, health, activity level, stress level, the amount of food you consume and the climate of your environment. People with a diet high in fruits and vegetables require slightly less water since these foods are composed of a lot of water. More water is required for people who smoke or have diets that are high in salt, coffee, alcohol or protein. Here’s a good start- you should always consume at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces per day.  For example: 140 pounds / 2= 70 oz. per day

SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION

When our bodies lose more fluid than they have taken in, we become dehydrated.  Dehydration can occur for many reasons including simply neglecting to drink enough water, working out in the heat, exercising, vomiting and diarrhea.

Signs of dehydration:

  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue 
  • Thirst 
  • Headache 
  • Dizziness 
  • Decreased urine output 
  • Dark colored urine 
  • Dry skin or lips 
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Constipation

DEHYDRATION’S EFFECTS ON THE BODY

Dehydration occurs when more water is moving out of our cells and bodies than what we are taking in through drinking and it can have some pretty serious consequences. 

Blood volume decreases- As blood gives its water to the kidneys and other waste removing organs its volume inevitably decreases. When the intracellular fluids decrease the cells are eventually unable to function.

Enzymatic slowdown- Enzymes are proteins in our body that control all biological reactions.  As enzyme function slows down many of the body’s functions such as the production of energy, hormones, reparative substances, etc. come to a halt. 

Autointoxication- when the body does not have enough water, urination is not as frequent as it should be resulting in byproducts such as uric acid, lactic acid, ammonia and other toxins accumulating in our vessel walls and organs. 

Water keeps us active, healthy and beautiful so make sure you are getting an adequate amount every day.

HOW TO MAKE INFUSED WATER

INGREDIENTS

It’s best to used distilled water, but if this is not available tap water works too. You can infuse water with any number of herbs, fruit, spices, edible flowers, veggies and essential oils such as:

  • Herbs: Basil, mint, parsley, rosemary, cilantro
  • Fruit: Berries, citrus, peaches, melon, tropical fruit
  • Edible flowers: Chamomile, citrus blossoms, lavender, rose
  • Spices: Cinnamon sticks, fresh turmeric, fresh ginger
  • Vegetables: Cucumber, fennel
  • High quality, ingestible essential oils such as grapefruit, lemon, sweet orange or lavender

DIRECTIONS

Gather containers to hold the infused water. I like to use mason jars with lids but any glass container will do. You can use the smaller ones for single servings, or larger ones if you want to make a batch to last a few days. Try to use organic ingredients when possible. Wash ingredients. Slice large fruit and vegetables in smaller pieces to speed up the infusion.  The skin can be left on or peeled off depending on personal preference. Fill jars with water and add the ingredients. Be creative with combinations- one of my favorites is lemon and with a dash of grapefruit essential oil.

Seal the jars and refrigerate. Allow them to sit for a few hours while the infusion does its thing. The infusions will be more flavorful the longer you let them sit. Once you are ready to drink them, you can either strain the water or drink it with the ingredients still in the jar.

Our Health Through The Eyes of a Cat

You know what?  It can get pretty depressing learning about how sick our country has become as a result of what people are eating and the quality of our food.  So it's always such a treat when I hear about a study that is actually uplifting...or at least offers part of the solution to the massive health issues in the US right now.  One of these studies was covered recently during one of my school lectures- Francis Pottenger's cat study.

 Francis Pottenger's cat study was initially created to determine the correct dosage of adrenal glandular substances to give to humans to combat tuberculosis but wound up showing the transgenerational effect of diet on health.   The cats were divided into 5 groups with 2 being fed raw meat, raw milk and cod liver oil and the remaining 3 being fed cooked meat, cod liver oil and either pasteurized, evaporated or sweetened condensed milk. 

The cats bone structure, organs, behavior, reproduction and sexual activity were all affected by which diet they followed with the raw diet cats thriving in all aspects of their lives, and the cooked meat and processed milk cats severely suffering.  The results of this study showed how an inadequate diet containing processed foods can lead to degeneration for generations, with each generation showing more decline in health than the one proceeding it.

When you think about it, the results of this study are a perfect example of what is happening to humans in our modern day world.  We have strayed quite far from eating food in its natural, whole form, reaching for processed meats and packaged foods instead of the whole foods our great grandparents ate.

The effects this has had on our health is very apparent. We are plagued with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, ADD, asthma, allergies, food intolerance, thyroid disease...the list goes on and on. And the worst part is that children being born with a predisposition for these diseases and are exhibiting signs of them at a far younger age than ever before.  If four year olds have diabetes now, it's scary to image what the health of their children will be.   

But before feelings of hopelessness take over, here is the uplifting  result to Dr. Pottenger's cat study that I promised.  He found that by feeding a diet of raw foods (raw milk, meat and cod liver oil) to the cats that had suffered degeneration, the disease and abnormalities could be reversed.  Admittedly,  it took 4 generations but it proved that it is possible to reverse degeneration through diet alone. So what does this mean for us?

If we go back to the way we are meant to eat- whole, unprocessed, properly prepared, organic foods and teach our children how to eat this way so that they can teach their children and so on, we can combat so many of the modern day diseases.

 You may be wondering how to even start this process since we have veered so far off of the path of nutritional health. Start simple. Buy as many organic veggies and fruits  as possible and only organic poultry,  grass-fed meat, wild fish and eggs from organic, pasture raised hens.  Visit farmers markets and get to know the farmers and the processes they use to produce your food.  Eat as little processed foods as possible- preferably non.

Focus on getting a healthy gut by eliminating foods you are sensitive to and eating fermented foods and bone broth.  And most importantly, educate yourself and share that knowledge with younger generations. Today is the perfect day to start reversing the damage.

Fresh from the Farmers Market!

I love these rainbow carrots! Press them with some kale for a delicious fresh juice treat.

Cauliflower Beauty!

Green Goddess.