Food and Your Body: Connecting Your Food to your Health Experience

Have you ever thought about how what you eat makes you feel?

What happens to your energy levels, your mood, and your digestive process after consuming certain foods? Are these things that you notice often? Shortly after eating or a little while later?

Maybe you have questioned these things and maybe you haven’t. Up until a few years ago, I hadn’t really paid close attention to how my food was making me feel. But two detox programs later and it’s hard to ignore the correlations of what I eat to how my body is working.

I have been through two detox programs here at True Health. The first was with my husband, Wayne, and the second was in a group format with Dr. Tricia, Jenn and myself. With the first detox, Wayne and I lost a combined total of about 50 pounds. While that was an exciting change, it was additional things we experienced that made the program an enormous success.

We felt better!

There were certain things we previously thought we had to live with:

migraines, heartburn, hemorrhoids, post nasal drip, low energy and fatigue

We identified these symptoms as manageable, a part of getting older, and normally experienced (or expected) with aging. While many tolerate these conditions, we didn’t want to. But mainstream methods failed to really eliminate these concerns.

Since completing our two detox programs, we have felt great and eliminated our symptoms and feel better than we could have imagined. By nearly eliminating sugar, dairy, gluten, wheat and reducing carbohydrates in our diets, we gained health from the inside out!  (Side note: it’s bothersome to think that a healthy diet is not mainstream, but more about that later…)

I have recognized body awareness in the past, but more so after the first detox, which is why I pursued the second. I really wanted to engage my brain and heighten my experience of how foods make me feel by paying close attention during the last stage of the detox program which is recording how your body reacts when you bring certain foods back into your diet.

Here’s what I noticed. Breads, pasta, or anything with refined wheat or grains weighed me down. I felt more fatigued and had low energy after eating those types of foods.  Sugar – upset tummy.  Dairy – bloated.  I also felt bloated after too many complex carbs (from fruits and starchy veggies) and just had a feeling of “blah.”  Proteins, like lean animal proteins,  and water-filled, fibrous veggies on the other hand, highly energized me.  This was tremendously appreciated, especially on very long or active days throughout the week.

During the detox, I was surprised at how much food we could have – provided that we paid attention to the types of foods and how they were balanced in our diet.  It was more than what I was normally eating but I learned something very valuable. Despite eating lots of good for me foods, I wasn’t getting in enough protein.

Being the mindful gal I am, I know that as I get older lean body mass is so very important and harder to maintain.  If I didn’t get all my protein in, I could potentially lose lean mass and my goal is to maintain or increase it.  As an active outdoors woman and exercise and dance freak, I know that I want to move this body for years to come. I could not afford to lose muscle mass and wanted to know what I could do to increase it.

With that determined, I set out to find a protein shake that would work for my lifestyle. With Wayne’s and my personal preferences in mind, along with guidance from Dr. Tricia and Jenn, we found the perfect combination of shakes that work for us, our lifestyles, and our health goals.

Aside from protein, getting all my vegetables is equally important to me – as it should be to is all. My go-to for greens on the go is the chocolate Fruits & Greens by Nutri-Dyn. One scoop provides a super blend of 100% natural fruit and vegetable extracts, vitamins, enzymes, and symbiotic intestinal flora—high in antioxidants, lignans, and phytonutrients.  I add one scoop of this to my hot water in the morning and drink it with my breakfast like a hot chocolate.

The protein shakes, for the most part, are usually daily for us, but weekends sometimes get a little cray cray, and we may be travelling so we do our best to make honest, intentional food choices at home and when we are out.  The majority of the time, when we do make a food choice, we split the entrée – as restaurants serve so much food these days!    The Dynamic Fruits & Greens mix I make occasionally, but especially when I know for sure that I will not get all my veggies in that day.

To this day, we know when that post nasal drip happens (for me), or when the feeling of  a headache/heartburn (Wayne) is coming on, more often than not, it is a direct relation to what we ate and we instantly make that connection.

Because we don’t eat 100% protein and veggies all the time, we will still do a modified detox on our own, as needed.  And trust me, once you experience healthy eating, you know the difference and your body awareness of foods and how they affect your body will become intuitive. Trust your gut, literally and figuratively.

Self-Care as Health-Care: Why It Matters Now More Than Ever

I ask, “What do you do for yourself or for fun?”

I receive a blank stare followed by a quizzical look that turns into a furrowed brow, then a slight head tilt to the right. “I guess I don’t really know.”

This small snippet of conversation is one that happens a lot (perhaps too often). And it’s not hard to understand how or why when you look at how today’s woman has so much on her plate. While progression in our society has contributed to increased women in the workforce, what hasn’t caught up is how we support these same women and their families with the dynamic shifts in roles and responsibilities.

Natural traits lead women to be more compassionate, caring and nurturing which often means that when someone or something needs to be taken care of, it’s a female leading the charge. Until our society shifts to fully supporting the needs of today’s women, many women are self-imposing sacrifices to their self-care that can lead to increases in depression, anxiety and illness such as heart disease and cancer.

Self-care has been elevated to “buzz-word” status lately – and for good reason. It’s needed.

So, what is it? Self-care is when you connect to a health (mental or physical) need that you have and deliberately intervene on your own behalf to make sure that your needs are being met. Self-care looks different for everyone as our interests, bodies, and desires are all different.

This month, Barbie shares some of her favorite and necessary interventions that she connects with in her regular life.

Read on! (more…)

Plants & Oils: Simple, Natural, Versatile

“Oil thank you in the morning,” she said to the plant…

Preferring a simple life, I like to use things in my life that are functional and versatile. Thankfully, nature has provided us with many gifts that can benefit our health and life while preserving our natural environment. Keeping it simple, we’re going to talk my favorite oil and summertime blooms that embody duality and adaptability. (more…)

Belly Dance as Medicine

When you dance to your own rhythm, Life taps its toes to your beat…

For those looking to add doable, healthy, fun exercises to your week, take a peek:

I will be offering a “Belly Dance As Medicine” Class in the month of June, as this will be our month focusing on joint and muscle health.

 Belly Dance As Medicine is a low-medium impact class that will include:

  •  ·        Targeted head to toe stretching for the best all over Dance YOU
  • ·         Soft, even, repetitive, intentional and free flowing basic belly dance movements
  • ·         Finishing with a calm, breath in and out, cool down

 This class will focus on the stretching and movement following the abilities of your body, ensuring a pleasant, injury free  work-out in a relaxed, fun, comfortable environment.

 Let your free Spirit come out to play.

 This class is geared toward adult women 30+, aging Boomers, or Bohemian Wanderer wannabes.

 Rid yourself of expectation, and move into exploration.

 Details:

Classes will be on Wednesdays 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm and Fridays 8 am – 9 am located here at True Health

Cost is $15.00 per session

Minimum of four participants for each class.

Please pre-register by calling Barbie at (715) 553-0858 or by emailing admin@truehealthnm.com

Detox State of Mind

For most people, the word “Detox” doesn’t exactly sound like a good time. But what if I told you that it can be? What if I told you that not only could you end up liking your detox but that it could change your life so much that you’d want to to do it again? Let me share with you what worked for me.

 Step One: Fix Your Focus 

Detoxing is all about letting go and getting rid of what’s not working.  But all too fast, our brains associate letting go with deprivation. What do you mean I can’t have _______ (fill in the blank for said-vice here)? Instead of thinking about what is being taken away from you, FOCUS on what you are bringing into your body and life through nourishing foods and behaviors. Your body is the one beautiful thing that is specific to you so own it with love.

 Step Two: Find Your Why

I love to dance (okay, that’s an understatement). Last year, I was honored to participate in a project featuring movement and restriction with four talented young women – half my age! And just like that, BAM! I had my powerful WHY. Declaring that I would like to feel less sluggish and blah could have been my goal, but it wasn’t inspiring. But this performance – my heart and head were all in. I wanted to feel a confidence in my body and an abundance of energy to take me through rehearsals and performances.

This year, my WHY will focus on reconnecting to my food intake and increasing my mind/body’s awareness of the benefits. I’m going for optimized health because I have no tolerance of any health symptoms with the super-noticeable differences I experienced when I reintroduced certain foods last year. An example…post nasal drip following eating wheat. Since last year, I have greatly reduced my intake of wheat, sugar and dairy, and have felt great! I can’t wait to see what else I learn this year.

So, find your WHY and let it lead your detox journey. Be definitive. Go beyond the basics of weight loss and increased energy. Once you connect to your WHY, let it be your guide and your motivator to keep you on track. Create visuals or written reminders of what you’re up to that you can place in frequently viewed areas like your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator door, or on your car dashboard. These gentle messages of inspiration will help to keep you connected to your WHY.

Step Three: Hydrate

Hydrating during your detox is key to minimizing some of the side-effects of the detox that can make you feel tired and run down. This can be different for everyone. I was more inclined to feeling hangry, experiencing brain fog and feeling more fatigued. I wanted to change this, so I drank more tea and infused water. This helped make me feel full and curbed my cravings for certain foods.

I like simple, so I made it simple. Hot water infused with lemon and ginger were a comfort beverage for me in the morning.  Adding spices such as cayenne, cinnamon or cloves to herbal tea had a calming, soothing effect for me.  This made for a great daily beverage or an evening after-supper libation. Room temperature water with a variety of lemon, lime, blueberries, raspberries, cucumber and mint were refreshing and revitalizing throughout the day.  I encourage you to experiment (this is the fun part!) with this. You are sure to find one that suits you.

Step Four: Pamper

Pamper and reward yourself. That’s right; detoxing can be hard – especially if you have not experienced one before! In some cases, it can be a complete lifestyle change. At the end of each week (heck, every two days if you want), treat yourself to a luxurious bath, spa or massage. Sounds expensive? It doesn’t have to be. Make your own body scrub or create your own detox bath with what you already have on hand in your kitchen. Use sugar or sea salt with a base oil (olive oil or coconut oil) and add a few drops of essential oils…WA-LAH! Instant body scrub!

Unfortunately, I do not own a bath tub…yet. I have grandiose ideas of turning our unused milk house into a sauna and the bulk milk tank into a hot tub, but we are just in the fantasy ideas stage right now. Instead, I have decided to do hot/cold shower therapy in lieu of a spa bath. I started hydrotherapy by making the water comfortably hot for a few minutes. Then I would adjust the flow of cold water until it was almost intolerably cold. I would then go back to hot water once more and finish with cold. When I first started this, I was thinking that it was insane. After doing it twice a week, I found I could tolerate going from as hot as I could stand it to as cold as I could stand it. My body adjusted and was no longer shocked at the fluctuations in temperature. It was invigorating, calming and energizing all at the same time.

If showers and scrubs are not your thing, pick a reward that works for you. Take an evening stroll in nature, go to a movie that you’ve wanted to see (with your own healthy snacks!), order that mouth-watering salad from your favorite restaurant or buy those luxurious wool socks you’ve been coveting. Whatever it is, let it be a supportive assist to your WHY and motivate you to keep going and stay the course.

Step Five:  Partner Up

Find someone to do the detox with you. Having a partner to share in the pains and gains as you go through a detox will provide you with accountability and the extra motivation/support you may need along the way.

Regardless, if you have someone to do it with or not, your detox will be a success if YOU make it so. Watch your front, because we got your back. We are just a phone call away should you want to discuss how you are feeling, have questions regarding food and drink intake, or just want to touch base.

FOCUS. FIND. HYDRATE. PAMPER. PARTNER.

Use these as tools to ensure a more successful detox. Good luck on your detox journey! If you are of the sharing sort, I would love to hear about your experience.

Take care, well wishes ~

Barbara