Diet

Walnuts and Your Brain

Many people like to add walnuts to food to add some zest and a little crunchy kick, but walnuts are much more than a flavor additive, as they are chock full of healthy properties and have been used in Asia as an overall health tonic and brain booster for years. Let’s take a nutty look at walnuts.     continue reading »

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Healthy Eating According to Traditional Chinese Medicine

Do you consider yourself a healthy eater? Do you follow the guidelines set forth by the government for healthy eating? Or have you gone rogue? There are as many different definitions of healthy as there are colors in the rainbow. But according to traditional Chinese medicine, there are certain guidelines that will keep the body happy and healthy throughout life. Let’s explore this a little deeper. continue reading »

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Putting My Oxygen Mask on First – How Lost Tons of Weight

I didn’t just lose 15 lbs in February. I probably lost 300+ lbs! I didn’t just release extra weight during my month of detox. I donated bags of things that I no longer needed that were taking up space in my home and practice. I started releasing emotional baggage that was weighing on me more the physical weight or the clutter combined. So why was this detox so successful for me? Here’s a summary of the things to which I attribute the success.

Mindset – Meditation, Momentum, Visualization & Gratitude

  1. Strengthen the mind/body connection through meditation

While I technically didn’t start the strict dietary changes until February, the process started back in September when I started meditating regularly. Meditating consistently has strengthened my mind/body connection. Previously when it came to food, my brain was making all the calls. It had lots of reasons for why I should eat whatever I wanted – I’ve had a hard day, I’m exhausted, I’m stressed, I’m celebrating. After I had been meditating consistently for some time, it was easier to “hear” what my body needed.

In January, I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. and started to declutter. As part of her process, you have to physically touch everything you own and ask yourself whether it sparks joy. That exercise further strengthened my intuition and mind/body connection and the process spilled over to other areas of my life including diet and exercise. I started noticing what foods and movements sparked joy in my body – and what had the opposite effect. 

2. Start with one small change to gain momentum

I am a recovering perfectionist. My friends had been urging me to start intermittent fasting, but I kept putting off starting, saying that I need to clean up my diet first. Finally one of my friends got fed up of the same excuses and demanded that I start within two days. She insisted I start narrowing the timeframe that I eat during the day without making any dietary changes. She got me in action. I started to notice that my clothes were looser and I had more energy. The small successes I was seeing inspired me to make more changes.

3. Visualization (imagination)

In the fall, another friend reminded me of the importance of visualization in achieving your health goals. I started imagining how I will feel when I achieve my health goals. I imagine how energetic and invigorated I will feel during the day. I imagine the excitement and pride I will feel when I do my first pull up. I imagine the joy of being able to go for a run with my son without knee pain. I imagine how strong, independent and happy I will feel to be able to do CrossFit with my kids when I’m in my 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s. I imagine how it will feel to be able to wear the jeans I purchased in Italy years ago. I imagine myself as a person who enjoys eating lots of vegetables, being active and taking care of my mental health.  I imagine myself knowing that I AM ENOUGH the way I am right now.

4. Gratitude

I also spent time appreciating my body and health as they were today. Every morning before I get out of bed and night before I go to sleep, I review the things for which I’m grateful. That often includes my health, that I haven’t gotten minor or major illnesses, my strength, the areas of my body that have no pain, etc. It’s important to balance being happy and grateful for what you have while striving for more.

Addressing My Insulin Resistance

I haven’t been diagnosed with insulin resistance, but I’m sure I was.

  1. Intermittent Fasting

By practicing intermittent fasting, I was able to address the insulin resistance which would’ve sabotaged any attempts to change my diet. I started by narrowing my eating window to 8 hours/day. Because I am not a coffee drinker, I drank water with a few drops of doTERRA Slim & Sassy to manage my appetite until it was time to eat. I learned that feelings of hunger are caused by a hormone, and will go away within 10-15 minutes even if I don’t eat. Check out this post from CrossFit Impact for other fasting tips. For more info about the benefits of fasting, I recommend the books The Obesity Code by Jason Fung and Delay Not Deny by Gin Stephens.

2. Acupuncture

I started having regular acupuncture treatments to address my digestive system.

February Detox

After all this preparation, I officially started my detox on Monday, 2/5.

  1. Eliminate processed foods

I eliminated sugar/artificial sweeteners, gluten, dairy and soy from my diet completely to significantly address any inflammation in my body. Initially I committed to doing it for two weeks with the intention of doing it for at least 30 days. My brain felt too overwhelmed by 30 days, so I tricked it by saying I would just do it for 14 days and re-evaluate.

2. Eat a variety of veggies

I also committed to eating at least 5 servings of vegetables per day and at was least 3 different colors. I felt like I had some issues with my gut health that was causing brain fog, anxiety and mild depression. Eliminating sugar and gluten and increasing the variety and types of vegetables helped me starve the bad bacteria that was causing the issues and feed the good bacteria that help keep me healthy.

3. Increase movement

I strive to go for a walk outside everyday even when I’ve worked out to get more energy and Vitamin D. I also have incorporated movement “snacks” through out my day. Every time I go by the washer/dryer, I do 25 jumping jacks. When I’m heating water for tea, I march in place. I do yoga stretches every few hours. I try to walk more instead of driving. When I do drive, I try to park farther away from the entrance.

4. Manage withdrawal

I used acupuncture and essential oils to minimize withdrawal symptoms. When I was very tempted to eat something processed, I used my meditation skills to unpack why I was feeling that way and other actions I could take instead. I started taking Epsom salt baths, going for a walk or reading a good back when I was tired, stressed, celebrating – instead of relying on food. I continued to take my supplements – multivitamin, omega 3s, Vitamin D, probiotic. I added the doTERRA detox blends – Zendocrine softgels and Zendocrine Detoxification Complex  to support the heatlhy cleansing and filtering fuctions of the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs and skin.

The results? I have lost about 20 lbs – 15 lbs in February and am wearing clothes that are 2 1/2 sizes smaller. I have more energy and require less sleep to feel invigorated. I don’t have brain fog, and am experiencing less anxiety.

5. Support

I started a Facebook group with a small number of friends who also wanted to focus on up leveling their health and used that for accountability and support. I also continued to go to CrossFit 3-4 times/week for the support that community provides for my overall goals.

Maintenance 

Maintenance is usually the hardest part. I’m not there yet, but I will be setting myself up for success by continuing my daily morning and evening routines. My daily routines include:

  1. Gratitude practice
  2. Meditation
  3. Reading inspirational content
  4. Listening to personal development speakers
  5. Practicing Lisa’s mirror exercise – see minute 2:45
  6. Breathing exercises
  7. “I am enough” affirmations
  8. Making my bed
  9. Forgiveness practice

If you would like to work with me on up leveling your health, you can schedule an appointment online or by calling 815.814.1319.

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Eating Right for Your Body Type

Five Elements

Traditional Chinese Medicine, a medical system that has been around for nearly 3,000 years, views the body differently than modern medicine. When the body is broken down to its core, its tiniest molecules can be classified as energy. This means every element of the universe resides within the human body, to some degree. And every organ has its own properties and energies that must remain balanced for the body to function properly. The energies within the body must be a perfect synergy of elements. This allows for homeostatic balance, biochemical balance, longevity and harmony between the body and mind. continue reading »

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Foods for the Winter Season

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Everybody knows that food is what gives our bodies the energy we need to survive. But not everybody is aware that certain foods should be consumed during specific times of the year. In areas like the Midwest, where fruits and vegetables are harder to keep on hand when the weather becomes colder, this principle is followed a little more closely. But in areas like Hawaii and Southern California, where fresh fruits and vegetables are always available and the climate is more moderate, people sometimes forget to eat according to the seasons. continue reading »

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