Discipline, Integrity, and Discomfort

I set my alarm for 5:15 AM as I glanced over at my dresser to make sure that I had everything that I needed in the morning.  

Check! It was all there.  

My pants, socks, sports bra, long-sleeve shirt and quarter-zip pullover were neatly folded waiting to be put on for my morning run. I crawled into bed a bit earlier than normal, pulling the covers up and checking the alarm just one more time.  

I had a running date.   

A friend had been inquiring on Facebook to see if anyone was interested in joining her on morning runs a few days per week. The distance, pace, and frequency aligned with what I was looking for and so with that, I sent a message. “I’m in.”  (more…)

The Place of In-between

The month of August has always felt a bit melancholy to me. Always a fan of school and the fall,  I relish the cooler days and the rhythm of life that September brings. But this year, after a major health scare, every day feels a bit more poignant if it isn’t well spent.

Being present to life in the moment is a gift that we can all too often take for granted. Instead of focusing on what we have, we look to the “someday.” The truth is we may not get that someday, especially if we’re not taking full advantage of the moments that we have to make changes NOW.

When it comes to eating well and moving more, many clients create timelines around upcoming events and dates that they’re anticipating -certainly understandable as we are a very social and food-oriented culture. If you’ve got a big vacation coming up, you wait until you return. If you have a busy social month, you may wait until it’s over.  But, if you’re always waiting for time to pass to fit health into your life, it may not happen. You have to make it work.

So, this August, while summer is still in full effect and you’re in the in-between – wait no more! Seize the day and do some stuff that’ll have you feeling better mentally and physically before September starts. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1) Check out a local farmers’ market and grab some fresh, organic produce. There is truly something special about locally grown vegetables – from the way that they taste to knowing that they were grown by people that really care about what they’re doing.
2) Try a new-to-you outdoor activity. Have you been wanting to try paddleboarding? How about blowing off some dust on that bicycle of yours? Find a trail you’ve never been on before for a hike or kayak down a local river. There are so many options!
3) NOW is the time get some vitamin D and boy does it feel good when you do. Head outside in short-sleeves and shorts to get some sun on that skin. 10 minutes will help to boost your vitamin D and give you that happy, summer feeling!
4) Eat outdoors. Have you ever noticed that when your body is a bit warmer, you feel a little less like eating a lot of food? If you’re feeling a bit warm, vegetables and lighter fare may feel like exactly what you need.
5) Don’t wait to get started. Sometimes, we may treat the entirety of summer as one big vacation. While I can appreciate the idea of wanting to go with the flow and relax, we may be a bit too disconnected from healthy eating as cookouts and camping reign supreme. Be sure to stay focused on lean and clean proteins along with fresh vegetables all summer long. And with all of the sweet fruits in season, swap out sugar-laden treats with “nature’s candy.”

As I say quite often, our health is the ultimate expression of all of the choices that we make. And the best time to make those choices is now.

When Life Gets Extra “Lifey”: A Plan for Stress Management

My husband Craig introduced me to this fabulous thing called leisure time.

Have you heard of it? It’s fantastic.

Once exposed, I happily welcomed it into my life and it has played a vital role in my overall life balance. Of course, life is dynamic and balance will sway from a little too leisurely to a little too much work; but  if I can help it, it’s usually not for too long. That was until this winter when all of a sudden I had a LOT of life going on all at once. Although my logical brain was telling me, “You can do this… this is not too much… this is totally manageable”, my body was sending out MAYDAY signals.

Hair falling out. Craig usually notices this first, quietly picking hair off the back of my shirt.

Tightness in my chest and stomach. Catching myself taking deep breaths to ease the pressure.

Lack of appetite. Did I even eat today? I can’t remember.

Disrupted sleep – and I LOVE sleep. Waking too frequently, waking too early, panicked dreams.

Tightness all around my shoulders blades wishing someone could just stick a knife in there to relieve it.

Mindlessness. Why am I pulling into Craig’s work parking lot when I meant to go to the bank?

Day after day, week after week, I kept waking up feeling the same way experiencing the same things. We call it anxiety from a diagnostic perspective, but I know it is my body’s wise intuition telling me – “MAKE SOME CHANGES LADY”. I quickly reverted back to my type A personality and went into FIX IT mode. Although I knew there was an end in sight, the plan was to get through this chunk of time as unscathed as possible.

The Plan

  1. Accept the things I cannot change. Take the work, sign the contract, get it done. My mantra becomes, “And this too shall pass”.
  2. Do everything I can change to minimize any additional stress to my body.
    1. Eat PERFECTLY. Bad food is an internal stressor to the body and an easy one for me to control. Vegetables, fruits and lean proteins it is.
    2. Drink PERFECTLY. Although a common tendency is to self-medicate with alcohol, caffeine, sugary beverages, I know this too is very stressful to the body so avoid it all. Well not my coffee in the morning. I had anxiety, not psychoses.
    3. Exercise daily. I knew the adrenaline and cortisol was surging through my body and exercising is a great way to “burn it out” so to say. I made it to the gym consistently and walked my dog daily. Sitting is the new smoking. I had to move my body.
    4. Meditate daily. I once read that if you’re stressed and pushed for time be sure to meditate at least once a day. If you’re REALLY stressed and pushed for time, meditate twice a day. For me, meditation means taking the time to quiet my monkey brain. This helps me to be more mindful during the day. I often ask for a light and energized body, an alert mind, an open and compassionate heart, and grace and flow to my day. I was able to fit in 20 minutes daily in the morning, and then read about it at night. I found the book Joy on Demand by Chade-Meng Tan most helpful for implementing meditation as I’ve never been great at it.
  3. Nourish my adrenal glands. These are the 2 little glands that sit on top of your kidneys and secrete your stress hormones and catecholamines (cortisol, DHEA, epinephrine and nor-epinephrine). When chronically kept in stress mode, these glands can get burnt out resulting in chronic fatigue, chronic pain, immune disorders, cognitive dysfunction, muscle wasting, to name a few. Short term, it can show up as weight gain (especially belly fat), anxiety, depression, insomnia, and muscle soreness. Here’s what I took:
  • Adrenogen™ – an adrenal glandular made by Metagenics to nourish the adrenals glands. If you want healthy adrenals, eat adrenals. 2 twice a day.
  • Serenagen™ – a combination of traditional Chinese medicine herbs known as “adaptogens” that can help buffer the adrenal response. Essentially – the stress goes on, but it takes your body’s response to the stress down a notch. 2-4 during the day and 2 at night so I could get a better night sleep. Serenagen™ is what works best for me, but there are a plethora of adaptogen combinations that can be tried for best results.
  • Ultra Clear Renew™ – a medical food designed to help liver detoxification.
    • It works as a macronutrient balance meal (one less meal to make! – sometimes two)
    • It provides targeted nutrition for mitochondria function (cell energy) to help detoxify all of that cortisol.
  • Immune support. It is well documented that stress will lower your immune system and I had NO TIME to be sick with fitting in the meditation, exercise and all. I used a variety of things at different time … Vitamins A, C, E, D, homeopathics, omega 3 fish oils, multivitamins, and probiotics.

Eventually, in the spring, many things did wrap up and I was back to my life of balance, structure and routine where my body functions best. I am happy for the experience as it has brought a new sensitivity towards my patients who are also experiencing intuition.  If your body is telling you that it’s time to make some changes, it’s a good time to listen.

 

 

Keeping Your Kids Healthy When School Is In Session

You’ve double and triple checked the supply lists for the start of school.  

You’ve gotten their hair cut.  

You’ve bought new shoes.  

But have you checked your cupboard for wellness supplements to keep their immune systems in tip-top shape? 

One of the things that I love most about the summer is that my germaphobe self can relax a bit more knowing that my kids aren’t going to be exposed to every single bug under the sun that can lead to runny noses, sore throats, hacking coughs or the worst for this emetophobic – puking. Admittedly, I’ve gotten a lot better over the years but hearing the dreaded, “My stomach hurts,” used to turn in to instant anxiety for this mom.  

With school back in session, I’ll share some of my most tried and true tips for keeping my kiddos healthy.  (more…)

Happy Cells are Hydrated Cells

Water serves vital roles in maintaining our health. Our blood is comprised largely of water and serves as a transport system that delivers nutrients to our cells and organs while removing waste through urine, perspiration and breath. Many chemical reactions that occur within our bodies also depend on water. Proteins, fats and carbohydrates are broken down through hydrolysis reactions into smaller, more usable components such as amino acids and fatty acids.

Water is also vital in helping to maintain our body temperature. It enables the body to release heat when ambient temperature is higher than body temperature. The formation of sweat and the subsequent evaporation of water from the skin surface cools the body very efficiently.

But what if our water demands are exceeding the amount of water that we are taking in? When we lose just a mere 1 to 2 percent loss of body weight from water, we jeopardize our performance and ability to cool the body. This taxes our system as our hearts pumps harder, circulation slows and muscles fatigue more quickly. What if that loss creeps up to 3 to 4 percent? Now you’re in the danger zone for heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and cramping.

Staying ahead of dehydration is key. Here are some tips to make sure your water levels are optimized. (more…)