In other Today I was going through some of my old nutritional coaching books and I read something that I wanted to share with all of you. It sounds so simple but it truly makes complete sense and I think it is important to highlight. Right now we are all experiencing a lot of stress due to the Covid-19 virus. If your digestion system is feeling a little wonky it might be because we are hyper-focused on so many things right now. Take this opportunity to slow down and connect with your food. Take the time to really stop and taste each bite.
Mindful Eating is becoming very popular as a method for encouraging individuals to use their inner wisdom to find joyfulness in the preparation and consumption of food. Sounds so simple right? It is and it is not.
Mindfulness has roots in Buddhist and other contemplative traditions and is defined as “the state of being attentive to and aware of what is taking place in the present” This is where it gets simple but we take it for granted. If we are not aware we are more likely to behave compulsively or automatically and may not be behaving in our best interests. Things that can pull us away from awareness of the present can be absorption in the past, fantasies, anxieties about the future, preoccupation and negative feelings such as anger and jealousy. If we want to practice mindful eating we need to try and replace mindless eating with conscious awareness. This will allow us to recognize the pleasure of our eating experience. OK I know I might have lost you but I beg you to stay with me. I will break it down for you. Again I know this may sound so simple but I have studied behavior for a long time and just recently have discovered how much behavior and thinking are interfering with the way we eat.
Here are some simple and yes I said simple components of mindful eating. Please take a moment to read them over and give them a shot. Let me know your thoughts.
Eat slowly– Periodically take breaks during your eating to breathe. I take two bites then two full breathes. The breathes are not huge deep breathes but they are more like a reminder to pause.
Focus on eating-Remove distraction; do not eat in the car or while watching TV or working on the computer (Ugh this is a tough one for me but I am going to work on it)
Recognize inner cues-Use feelings of hunger and fullness to guide eating rather than a defined diet plan. (this is a huge point, eat whole eat clean food and pay attention to your tummy)
Eat nonjudgmentally-Acknowledge likes, dislikes and neutral feelings about food without judgment.
Be aware of senses– Use all your senses to explore, savor and taste food. I have really started to tap into the texture of food. I find it fascinating.
Be in the present– Focus on the direct experiences associated with food and eating, not distant outcomes. In other words, do not eat the donut while stressing about the sugar. Commit to what you are eating and just enjoy it at the time.
Reflect on mindless eating-Be aware of and reflect on the effects caused by unmindful eating (eating out of boredom or frustration, eating to the point of fullness) I no longer eat in front of the TV. After practicing all of these things I realized that I often would eat and not even taste a single bite.
Recognize interconnectedness– Recognize an interconnection of the earth, living beings, and cultural practices and the impact of food choices on those systems. I know this sounds woo woo but just try it. Now that I am learning to garden I have a deep appreciation for the veggies on my plate and how they got there.
Practice meditation– Make meditation practice a part of your life. Ok this really is not a mindful eating practice but I can never avoid an opportunity to plug starting a meditation practice 🙂
I hope this helps some of you. I know that reviewing this book reminded me of some things I need to get better about focusing on. I also want to mention the elephant in the room. I know right now we are all eating a few more carbs and a few more sugar bites than we normally would chew on. It is ok but do not I repeat DO NOT use it as an opportunity to say “Screw it” and piss away all of your hard work 🙂 Enjoy an extra treat or have that bowl of popcorn but do not let this pandemic derail you. I have my moments trust me but I do not let them hang around for too long. I want to keep my body as strong as I can right now and that bag of chips will not help.
Hugs to all of you.
4 Spices That Are Good For You
Did you know that spices can actually be good for you? Just another amazing benefit from Mother Earth herself. I am fascinated with herbs and spices. There really is a whole new world to explore when you look at what these small beauties can do for our health and well-being.
Here is a nugget I bet you did not know. Herbs and spices don’t just add flavor, but can actually help you to burn more fat. Here are some that you definitely want to include in your daily meals.
One of the best herbs that can help you burn more fat is ginseng. It burns fat by naturally speeding up your metabolism and helping to boost your energy levels. When your metabolism gets a nice boost, you are able to burn fat and calories at a more rapid pace. Plus, the extra energy makes you more motivated to exercise, also increasing how much fat you burn. You can get ginseng extract or get supplements that are really easy to take, so you don’t even have to add it to your meals. Ginseng is kinda hard to find so this might be one of the times I would recommend a supplement or tea. Ginseng is in a lot of energy drinks as well. Stay away from most of these as they have other harmful stimulants in them. Ginseng has also been proven to:
- Improves Mood and Reduces Stress.
- Improves Brain Function.
- Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties.
- Helps with Weight Loss.
- Treats Sexual Dysfunction.
- Improves Lung Function.
- Lowers Blood Sugar Levels.
Who doesn’t love a little cinnamon? Luckily, not only is it delicious, cinnamon is good for you! It contains a lot more nutrients than you might imagine and can also help to boost your metabolism. Cinnamon helps with lowering blood sugar from diabetes and can even help with your cholesterol levels. So when you want to add some flavor to your coffee, sprinkle a little cinnamon on top. You can also make a delicious smoothie that tastes like dessert by combining almond or coconut milk with apples and cinnamon on top. One thing to keep in mind is that not all cinnamon is the same. I never knew this till I took my aromatherapy training. Check out this video so you can learn more about cinnamon than you ever wanted to know lol. Its only 5 minutes and it is really fascinating I promise.
Yes, mustard is good for you! This spice is often used on fattening foods like hot dogs, but it doesn’t have to be. You can add mustard spice or mustard seeds to a lot of different foods and side dishes that aren’t bad for you. My favorite thing to use mustard with is cauliflower potato salad. Do not say ewe till you try it :-). Also try dipping some of your favorite veggies in mustard. There are lots of different varieties of mustard, look for the one that fits your taste buds. Read the label carefully, lots of mustards have added sugar and fillers you do not need. You will be amazed by how great tasting a good quality mustard can be. If you are looking for really good quality mustard check out your local spice store.
Turmeric is becoming popular as a spice because it tastes great, or at least I think so and is extremely healthy. As a superfood, turmeric provides loads of nutrients that help you to be healthier overall, but also to burn fat and improve your weight loss efforts. It tastes similar to curry, so if you like a little kick to your veggie or rice dishes, sprinkle some turmeric in there. There are many different easy and healthy ways to use turmeric in your cooking. I would spend the $ money and get really good turmeric. I throw it in smoothies and homemade juices all the time. Whenever I feel a little ick in the tummy I make this homemade tea. I love to get the actual root at the local health food store. It is pretty easy to peel. Check out this video on how to do it using a spoon.
Be careful this stuff stains anything it touches 🙁
Vitamin D- It Does a Body Good
I remember when Vitamin D became the new vitamin everyone was talking about. It was all the buzz right? I know the media tends to take anything the medical community brings up and blow it up and create such a social craze that people get annoyed with it before long. BUT I will say from the research I have done and the knowledge I have learned in my courses I do believe this is one we should stand up and pay attention too.
I am all about not popping pills and getting your nutritional needs met through whole foods but Vitamin D is one of those tricky ones. Exposing your bare skin to sunlight is the best way to get in your daily dose of Vitamin D according to the Vitamin D Council. You don’t need to tan or burn your skin to get vitamin D. You only need to expose your skin for around half the time it takes for your skin to turn pink and begin to burn. I do my best to eat whole foods that contain natural Vitamin D, enjoy some sun but I still needed to take a supplement each day to get to the optimal levels.
Here is some information I took from Optimal Wellness Labs. I think it explains why we need Vitamin D in a fairly generic none scientific way.
Vitamin D is hailed in medical communities as one of the darlings of our nutritional supplements. While many of us understand that vitamin D is necessary to promote calcium and phosphorous absorption in our bodies, there are a lot of benefits that vitamin D provides that you may not be aware of.
For instance, did you know that vitamin D deficiency is linked to an increased risk of developing the following conditions?
• Multiple sclerosis
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Type 1 diabetes
• Muscle pain
• Bone pain (including soft or fragile bones)
• Heart attacks
This is just the beginning. Since vitamin D is instrumental to overall health and wellness, you’ll want to take steps to ensure that you get plenty of D in your diet.
How much do you need? It depends on where you look for answers. For instance, current findings suggest that we need a minimum of 600 IUs (international units) per day until we reach the age of 70. At that point, we need at least 800 IUs a day. Other research suggests that we should increase our vitamin D intake beginning at the age of 50. Still, others in the medical community suggest that we need at least 1,000-2,000 IUs per day. Regardless of the recommended numbers and the confusion they may cause, you’ll want to ensure that you increase your vitamin D intake for optimal health if your body is vitamin D deficient. ( trust me 90% of us are ) Next time you are getting blood drawn ask your doctor to test your vitamin levels, make sure D is in the panel.
Here’s the good news. Just 10 minutes of sun exposure every day (without sunscreen) will increase the vitamin D production in the body. +( see note at the end )You may also gauge your intake by staying in the sun just long enough to produce a slight hint of redness to your exposed skin.
How can you ensure that your body gets the vitamin D that it needs to thrive? It’s simple. Enjoy the some sun time, eat foods that contain Vitamin D and supplement. (I always advise my clients to use their work break as a reason to walk outside for a few minutes- gets them moving and getting some needed Vitamin D)
At this point you may be wondering, “How, exactly, does Vitamin D benefit me?” It’s proven. The benefits are numerous.
Here are 10 reasons why your body needs daily doses of vitamin D.
1.aids in regulating our immune system.
2. lowers blood pressure.
3. lowers your risk for developing the flu.
4. is necessary for optimal cognitive functioning.
5. lowers your risk for developing at least 16 major cancers.
6. is integral in weight management.
7. aids in lowering the severity of asthma symptoms and promotes healthy lungs and airways.
8. protects our bodies from radiation damage.
9. may aid in a faster recovery from tuberculosis.
10 aids in kidney function.
Check out this great article I found it helpful. Having the right levels of this Vitamin can change your life over night.
You can increase the levels of Vitamin D in your body by taking supplements and spending more time in the sun. However, you can also eat vitamin D-rich foods such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna. Other foods that are beneficial but have lower levels of vitamin D are egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver. The sun, and foods rich in Vitamin D are good ways to get your D but using me as an example it was not enough. I did this for 2 years and my Vitamin D serum blood tests barely moved. My holistic doc suggested I supplement and made sure I ate some sort of fat when I was taking the supplement. This helps the Vitamin D absorb better. I normally eat a small piece of cheese or some nuts. After doing this for 3 months my levels are fantastic. This is the Vitamin D I am taking right now.( It has the fat in the pill so I could skip the cheese but why lol ) I am not a supplement fan but I will never stop taking this one. Its to scary not to.
+Since I wrote this there is even more evidence about our bodies need for Vitamin D. In addition they are saying 10 minutes is not enough time out in the sun, it might be more like 20. I am not a fan of 20 minutes without sunscreen so I take a supplement every day.
Life has ups and downs – we can agree on that, right?
It’s the rollercoaster of life, and it’s a beautiful ride — even with the dips. One thing is for sure — those dips will happen to each one of us. We can’t escape them, but we can prepare ourselves for them.
What is your initial reaction when you’re heading into a tough time? Do you call on your closest friends and rally support for yourself, or do you tend to close up and handle it alone?
No matter what your natural reaction is, being aware of what you do when triggered is a significant piece of the puzzle. If your tendencies are less than healthy, brainstorm what you can replace your unhealthy reactions with that can help move you forward in a healthy way.
Currently when I feel something ick coming my way or when it hits me hard I try to just accept it. I know that sounds weird and trust me it ain’t easy and I ain’t perfect at it. However, I have learned at least for me being angry only makes the healing slow down. I don’t have to like what is happening but I can accept it so I can then deal with it. This has taken great practice and like I said I am not perfect at it. I also do everything I can to get out of the house. Working from home can sometimes feel smothering and the walls can make things worse. For me, the ocean has been my best friend lately. It listens well 🙂 without judgment and helps guide me to my own strength. When I have the opportunity to step away I seem to find a way to get back in line with what is really important.
Sometimes, in between the highs and lows, we can feel completely stuck on the tracks. Have you ever felt like you were in a lull, where you weren’t moving forward or backward? That’s completely normal, too. If you had to name something right now, what would you say helps end your lull, and puts you back on track? I’d love to hear, feel free to email me or hit reply.
Here are some resources that might help you if you are feeling stuck. Just remember every day, every moment is an opportunity to get unstuck.
Coffee is one of those things – you either love it or hate it. You know if you like the taste or not (or if it’s just a reason to drink sugar and cream). You know how it makes you feel (i.e. your gut, your mind, etc.).
Not to mention the crazy headlines that say coffee is great, and the next day you should avoid it! I swear it is bonkers how they change their mind all the time. However one thing I have found to be true is that……..
There is actual science behind why different people react differently to it. It’s a matter of your genetics and how much coffee you’re used to drinking.
NOTE: Coffee does not equal caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine/cup, averaging around 100 mg/cup. Coffee is one of the most popular ways to consume this stimulant. But… a cup of coffee contains a lot of things over and above the caffeine. Not just water, but antioxidants, and hundreds of other compounds. These are the reasons drinking a cup of coffee is not the same as taking a caffeine pill. And decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine; but, it still contains some.
Let’s look at caffeine metabolism, its effects on the mind and body, and whether coffee drinkers have higher or lower risks of disease. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not.
Not all people metabolize caffeine at the same speed. How fast you metabolize caffeine will impact how you’re affected by the caffeine. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 40x faster in some people than others.
About half of us are “slow” metabolizers of caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel “wired” for up to 9 hours after having a coffee. The other half is “fast” metabolizers of caffeine. They get energy and increased alertness and are back to normal a few hours later.
This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much – because we’re all different!
The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body
NOTE: Most studies look at caffeinated coffee, not decaf.
The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body also differ between people; this is partly from the metabolism I mentioned. But it also has to do with your body’s amazing ability to adapt (read: become more tolerant) to long-term caffeine use. Many people who start drinking coffee feel the effects a lot more than people who have coffee every day.
Here’s a list of these effects (that usually decrease with long-term use):
● Stimulates the brain
● Boosts metabolism
● Boosts energy and exercise performance
● Increases your stress hormone cortisol
So, while some of these effects are good and some aren’t, you need to see how they affect you and decide if it’s worth it or not.
Coffee and health risks
There are a ton of studies on the health effects of coffee, and whether coffee drinkers are more or less likely to get certain conditions.
Here’s a quick summary of what coffee can lead to:
● Caffeine addiction and withdrawal symptoms (e.g. a headache, fatigue, irritability)
● Increased sleep disruption
● Lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
● Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
● Lower risk of certain liver diseases
● Lower risk of death (“all cause mortality”)
● Mixed reviews on whether it lowers risks of cancer and heart disease
Many of the health benefits exist even for decaf coffee (except the caffeine addiction and sleep issues).
NOTE: What’s super-important to note here is that coffee intake is just one of many, many factors that can affect your risks for these diseases. Please never think regular coffee intake is the one thing that can help you overcome these risks. You are health-conscious and know that eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all critical things to consider for your disease risk. It’s not just about the coffee.
Should you drink coffee or not?
There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should drink coffee. No one food or drink will make or break your long-term health.
Caffeinated coffee is not recommended for:
● People with arrhythmias (e.g. irregular heartbeat)
● People who often feel anxious
● People who have trouble sleeping
● People who are pregnant
● Children and
If none of these apply, then monitor how your body reacts when you have coffee. Does it:
● Give you the jitters?
● Increase anxious feelings?
● Affect your sleep?
● Give you heart palpitations?
● Affect your digestion (e.g. heartburn, etc.)?
● Give you a reason to drink a lot of sugar and cream?
Depending on how your body reacts, decide whether these reactions are worth it to you. If you’re not sure, I recommend eliminating it for a while and see the difference.
Recipe (Latte): Pumpkin Spice Latte
3 tbsp coconut milk
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp pumpkin puree
½ tsp maple syrup (optional)
1 cup coffee (decaf if preferred- I use mushroom decaf– its swiss water processed- coupon below)
Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until creamy.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: You can use tea instead of milk if you prefer.
PS: Mushroom Coffee has become a STRONG favorite over at my house. Check out their products and use allinthebalance at checkout to get %10 off 🙂 I know it might sound icky but trust me if Mike drinks it then it is not icky. The health benefits are off the chart. My new favorite is the Golden Latte and the Chai Latte