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Wait a minute…what about me?

Over the summer, I’ve been working on a bunch of changes to my business. A new website (which officially launched this week! Check it out at http://www.appetitesforlife.com), new programs, new logo, business cards, and the planning of a women’s retreat this October. Just typing it all makes me tired.  But I love what I do, and if all I do helps one person feel better, it is all worth it.

With all the hustle and bustle, on top of being a mom of two young girls and a house keeper, I often times I hear my body crying, “wait a minute…what about me?”  See, even as a health coach, sometimes it is hard to practice what I preach. Sometimes it is hard to not cut a corner here and there (take out for dinner, letting the dishes sit in the sink, closing the playroom door and walking away from the gigantic mess).  Sometimes, just sometimes, I am just too tired. I am sure you understand.  That is why I dedicate my career to helping women reclaim their energy. Because a lot of moms, like myself, have the amazing ability to juggle a thousand things at a time (while chewing gum, braiding hair and making grocery lists in your head).  But that isn’t always a good thing. And we need support.

A major part of reclaiming your energy is surrendering to your body. Sometimes, instead of pushing through and trying to get it

Be still my soul be still

A major part of reclaiming your energy is surrendering to your body.

all done, it is better to just STOP. AND. BE.STILL.  One of my favorite songs by Kari Jobe says “Be still my soul be still.”  As I play that song, I am reminded that is OKAY to stop everything I am doing, and just BE STILL.  Our bodies need attention too. Heck, they are answering our mental, emotional, and physical demands 24/7.  It’s necessary to give your body a break. Listen to when it quietly says “wait a minute…what about me?” if you don’t, the voice will get louder, and then shout in pain, exhaustion, and finally disease. You don’t want to wait that long to respond.

What are some ways to take care of your body?  Well, if you find your mind racing too fast with a laundry list of things that need to get done (including the many loads of laundry!), it is time to still your mind and meditate, pray or just sit and listen to your favorite music.  If you notice your body is tight, painful or achy, it is time to be still and rest.  If you notice your stomach is not receiving food well causing bloat, belching, gas and reflux, it is time to take a look at your diet, and make necessary changes.

Your job needs attention. Your children need attention. Your house needs attention.  SO DOES YOUR BODY.

Take my advice (and I will try to as well!). Take things one at a time. Nothing is that urgent it cannot wait an hour or a day (except of course picking the kids up from school on time!).  My new website was planned for August – I launched it this week – a month later than planned. It’s okay. Everything worked out. In the meantime, I took moments to show my body I cared.

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When you just can’t go…what do you do?

constipation charthttp://eepurl.com/bwkebfTo continue our conversation about the perfect poop, I want to talk about constipation. Everyone has suffered from constipation at one point or another. Things get backed up – that’s life. However, it is important to know how to “unplug” so to speak when you do experience a plumbing issue.

In my last blog entry I talked about the importance of digestive health, or more specifically – why you need the perfect poop. Read it here if you need a refresher.  Ideally, you should have a bowel movement every day, if not twice a day.  It should be well formed, firm, not smelly and comes out easily.  Many times my clients mention they have not gone to the bathroom in days, but that is normal.  It is NOT normal.  It may be your normal, but it is not the way things should be.

Without a consistent elimination pattern, you will likely feel fatigue, tired and unmotivated – not to mention uncomfortable. To reclaim your energy, you have to jumpstart your digestive tract, and then make sure it is flowing smoothly.  What goes in, must come out…but what if it does get stuck?

Here’s my handy dandy guide to constipation, or more of an ODE to constipation.  I hope you find it both helpful and humorous! Feel free to pass it along on facebook or share with your friends. I’d love your comments!

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Foods For Fuel

Young woman and a healthy diet conceptAre you tired of feeling tired? You may be getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night but still not feeling refreshed and happy in the morning. Everyone knows that food is the fuel for our bodies and has a major impact on how we feel on a daily basis. You may not know it but the foods you are consuming can be making you feel slow and sluggish throughout the day. Here are the top 10 best types of food to incorporate in your meals to feel more awake and satisfied:

  • Greek yogurt with fresh fruit : Just a half-cup of Greek yogurt contains around 11 grams of protein to keep you energized and full. Then for a touch of sweetness, just add some fresh fruit like strawberries or blueberries that will satisfy one’s sweet tooth and keep you happier all day.
  • Almonds : Almonds contain magnesium that helps the body not feel tired and sluggish and boosts up your mood.
  • Salmon: Elevates energy levels and mood because it contains omega 3 fatty acids. Just 3 ounces of salmon contains about 23 mg of magnesium.
  • Banana:  Contains fiber and protein but most importantly it’s packed with POTASSIUM that keeps you active (best to consume pre or post workout).
  • Chia seeds:  Loaded with fiber, protein, omega-3, calcium and micronutrients (Zinc, Vitamin B2, Niacin and Thiamine), which keeps your heart healthy and strong. Best way to incorporate it in your meal is to put 1-2 tablespoons in a smoothie or yogurt.
  • Water: When we are dehydrated our body and mind can mistake dehydration for hunger and tiredness so when you drink ample water your body is replenished and able to move better.
  • Fresh fruit:  Keeps blood sugar levels in check and packed with fiber to keep you full and refreshed without needing a nap.
  • Frozen vegetables:  Although fresh vegetables are important to consume in the diet, when vegetables sit in the market  for too long the nutrients in the vegetables start to die and disappear because light and oxygen kills nutrients in fresh produce. However, when it comes to frozen foods, farmers quickly freeze the produce, which locks in nutrients that helps boost energy and keep us healthier.
  • Healthy Fat foods: Many people may look at fat as being all bad however your body needs healthy fats in order to absorb antioxidants into your bloodstream and keep your body going. Avocados and olive oil are just a few healthy fatty foods that provide your body with substantial amount of energy.
  • Eat more REAL food: Keep away from processed foods and artificial juices and turn to real fruit and vegetables fresh from the market or your garden. Also eat more whole grains such as steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice or whole rye. Whole grains contain much more fiber that will keep you full and energized throughout the day.

So the next time you are tempted to grab your second or third cup of coffee, take a step back and think about ways to get the same amount of energy (with fewer calories) in a healthy and more appetizing way. Your body will thank you!

Do you have itchy skin? Is it red, splotchy and the cause of embarrassment? Over the years I have worked with several women who have flare-ups of itchy, rash like skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, rashes, etc.  In fact, as a sufferer of histamine intolerance, I regularly experience a horrible itch on my back and acne flare ups. I am tempted to just put cream on it and make it go away, but I know my body is sending me a message, and the body NEVER sends a signal that doesn’t need attention! In my case, my body is telling me to go back to a low- histamine, nutrient dense diet, and relax!

Your skin is an organ, and just like your liver, kidney and heart, it has a job to do. Its main job is to protect your bones and blood from the outside

READ your skin. Aches, pains, itching, stiffness, etc. are all signs that something is going on inside.

elements. But according to Chinese medicine, the skin is the external expression of your lungs, so if your lungs are stressed or weak, you will see that on your skin.  In fact, the skin is considered the outer lung by the Chinese and the pores as “doors of Qi” (Qi is energy and life force).  The lungs are considered the gateway between the outdoor world and your inner being. Abundant lung energy manifests as strong physical vitality, and breath nourishes the lung. If your lungs are weak, your skin will appear unhealthy.

Your skin is also a major detox organ, excreting toxins on a regular basis. This is why everyone has a different smell (or in some cases just B.O.), depending on what’s IN your body! The skin also takes up the slack when your detox organs (kidney, colon and liver) are not functioning properly or are stressed.

So, what does all this mean? READ your skin. Aches, pains, itching, stiffness, etc. are all signs that something is going on inside. Acne, eczema and psoriasis could be inflammation or autoimmune issues. Reactions to certain foods, environmental toxins or stress are also common causes of skin ailments. Some of the common triggers include gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, and nuts. By doing an elimination diet, you can determine whether or not food is the cause. I recently worked with a client who suffered from terrible eczema in her ears. Multiple doctors insisted it was not food related. After a couple weeks of eliminating dairy, she noticed improvement. After eating a more low-histamine diet, she improved more. Now she can identify her triggers and manage her eczema much easier than before. What a relief!

If you do suffer from skin issues, what can you do?

First, focus on breathing, stretching and expanding the lungs. Yoga, meditation and walking all help with this. Secondly, eliminate all processed foods to nourish your body completely, and consider an elimination diet Adding in nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables and grass-fed or pastured animal products (if you eat meat) will help nourish your body and give it strength to rebuild. Thirdly, pay attention to what is going on inside and outside of your body, especially your emotional state and self-esteem. Detoxing negative feelings is very important.

Finally, eliminate fried, fatty foods and sugary foods which burden your system. Of course, if you notice anything strange on your skin or bumps, dots or specks that look suspicious, you should have your dermatologist take a look.

Whatever the issue may be, please know that you have the power to heal yourself. Pay attention and tap into your intuition. Your body is sending you a message; it is your job to listen.

 

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READ ALL OF 24/SEVEN MAGAZINE AT http://www.cyacyl.com/magazine

 

Kitchen Disasters: Pancakes

I hate to admit it, but doing so may help hundreds of people.  I can cook up some fantastic meals, like last night’s dinner of Okra Stew with a tomato saffron sauce (delicious!), but I cannot make a batch of pancakes. It’s true. I am TERRIBLE at making something as simple as pancakes. Now, I know I have an issue with following recipes (I’d much rather improvise), but after many failed attempts at baked goods, I’ve learned that following recipes when baking may be important 😉

So, I decided to make pancakes one morning, and I followed the recipe exactly. Well, almost exactly – I added in some vanilla extract for additional flavor and used rice milk instead of regular.  I coated the pan with butter, pre-heated the pan (as they ALWAYS stress to do on the Food Network), and dropped my pancakes in. The result:

And they tasted like they looked – not so great. And rejected by my one-year old.

I wasn’t ready to swear off pancake making quite yet. A few days later I tried again, and although the pancakes were a bit thick, they were actually edible. I wouldn’t say they were fantastic, but my one-year ate them – that says something!

Pancake Attempt 2

 

I have a feeling the next batch will be even better!

My point: Everyone has a weak spot in the kitchen. Cook, cook and cook again to perfect your food. Don’t give up because you burned the rice (I’ve done that before for sure!) or ruined the pancakes. Learning to cook is a must-have skill for healthy eating. So get back into the kitchen and try again!

Read about my carrot soup kitchen blunder here!  https://appetitesforlife.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/burn-the-rice/

And share your greatest kitchen blunder here or on Facebook at the Appetites for Life Facebook Page.

Fall Flavors

Ah, Autumn is here. The heat is gone. It’s time to get back into the kitchen and fire up the oven. Autumn produces such amazing food like colorful squash like butternut, spaghetti, acorn and pumpkin. I love their sweetness and delicate texture, as well as the spices that compliment these fall flavors so well, like cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin and curry.

Squash is indigenous to the Americas and were staples for Native American tribes. Members of the gourd family, squash emerge primarily in autumn and winter, although there are several summer varieties such as zucchini and summer squash (yellow zucchini-like), that are more popular or familiar.  Squash, however, may be intimidating to many people because of their hard exterior, odd shapes and long cooking times, but if you pass these over in the supermarket or at the farmers market, you are sure to miss out on a good thing.

My favorite squashes are butternut squash for a creamy, sweet soup, acorn squash for a main dish entrée (stuffed tempeh and vegetables), spaghetti squash topped with marinara sauce, kalamata olives and parmesan cheese, and of course, pumpkin pie.

To view some of my favorite fall recipes, click  on the AMAZING AUTUMN RECIPE tab on this blog! If you have any other favorites, share them here!

Simple Power Lunches

I get into a boring lunchtime routine. Bread, cheese, maybe a salad.  Honestly, there are days I don’t look forward to lunch and would rather just skip it and snack through the day instead. It’s hard to get a good lunch organized with a 9-month old, but I know I cannot neglect my health, or my food.  According to many eating philosophies, such as Ayurveda, the midday meal is important and should be the largest one. When I lived in Spain, I loved following the custom of eating a big hot lunch meal, allowing plenty of time for my body to digest the food during the remainder of the day. Here in the US, we don’t place that same value on lunch, but often rush through it or sometimes even forget about it.  To avoid that, I’ve come up with a few tasty and healthy go-to lunches that are easy to put together, light on the wallet, and packed with energy-boosting nutrients.

Whole grain pita with hummus, baby spinach, sliced tomatoes & shredded carrot. Shred enough carrot in advance for a few days. Simply assemble the pita, and serve with mixed greens and olive salad.

Goat cheese Salad with Arugula & Frisee: Two of my absolute favorite greens come together in this salad with herb goat cheese, black cured olives and sunflower seeds. Serve with crusty French bread.

Peanut Buckwheat Noodles with Steamed Veggies: Love this one! Simply cook buckwheat noodles according to directions, put cut veggies of choice in a steamer basket above noodles so they cook at the same time. Combine peanut butter, soy sauce or tamari, lemon or lime juice and a dash of hot sauce in a blender or whisk. You may need to add water to thin to your liking. Toss sauce with veggies and noodles when done.

Do you have any more ideas? Post them here!

For more ideas, read my previous article on Healthy and Easy Back to School Lunches https://appetitesforlife.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/healthy-and-easy-back-to-school-lunches/

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