Let’s talk about Anxiety – part 2

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In post 1, we went over anxiety and how we can take steps to help ourselves overcome this disorder naturally. De-cluttering our lives was the first step in this 3-step process. In this post, we’ll go over the second step in treating anxiety, which is nutrition and supplements. *Please speak to a qualified healthcare practitioner before using supplements.

The research on gut health (aka your digestive system or microbiome), plays a crucial part in anxiety and stress. I’ll try to explain the scientific research in the easiest way possible so stick with me! Significant progress has been made in the last 10 years in discovering the importance of gut health and its connection to brain function. The research shows that the gut microbiota influences brain chemistry and behavior. It also shows that stress influences the composition of gut microbiota and that this communication that goes back and forth affects our stress reactivity. Alterations in gut microbiota can influence anxiety and depressive-like behaviors and neuroscientists are basically really excited to see how these findings will affect mental health in the future. Not only anxiety and depression have been linked to the brain/gut connection, but so has Autism and the spectrum.

Our microbiome is easily damaged by eating processed foods, highly acidic foods, sugar, pharmaceutical drugs, antibiotics, chemicals and toxins. Gut microbiota influences Serotonin and Dopamine production, two extremely important bodily functions! More than 90% of the body’s Serotonin is in the gut and it’s the “feel good” neurotransmitter and helps us have feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Just taking probiotics regularly has been shown to have a therapeutic effect on anxiety and depression symptoms.

So, how can you start healing your gut? Take probiotics regularly (preferably not from a dairy source – it will say on the bottle). Eating fermented foods like raw sauerkraut, dairy-free yogurt and miso are also helpful. Start eating real, whole foods regularly, including a lot of vegetables and cut out the refined sugar. Whole foods just means eating food as close to its natural state as possible. Next, drink lots of water and limit alcohol since alcohol is hard for our bodies to process and it contains a lot of sugar.

Changing eating habits can be extremely challenging for people and it can take a lot of self-control. Hire a health coach if you feel you are the type of person who needs more support in this area. This person will help you incorporate healthy foods and find easy ways to prepare them. Your taste buds will take a few weeks to adjust to your new diet but I promise it will change your life and once your taste buds change, you actually won’t find yourself craving those old, unhealthy foods anymore.

Supplements that may be helpful in dealing with anxiety are: Ashwaganda, Fish Oil or plant-derived DHA for my vegan friends, B Complex, 5-HTP, L-Theanine, Maca powder. *Please do your own research and speak with a qualified healthcare practitioner, like a naturopathic doctor, before using supplements.

Drinks and Teas I like are: Kava Tea, Magnesium Calm drink, Valerian tea, Chamomile + Lavender tea.

Essential Oils that are good for anxiety: Lavender and Roman Chamomile. Please be sure you are using pure essential oils.

Stay tuned for part 3, which will address overcoming anxiety and stress through mindset and mindfulness.

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Let’s talk about Anxiety – part 1

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Anxiety is that thing that you hear people talking about but that nobody really seems to understand, unless you’ve had it. People also tend to talk about as if it’s just some emotion like laughing or crying, yet it’s not and it affects 40 million adults in the U.S. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable but only around 36% of those who suffer receive treatment and those treatments usually involve medication which can cause other horrible issues besides anxiety.

Instead, we need to be treating the root of this serious disorder called anxiety and mindfulness can help.

As someone who previously suffered with this sometimes debilitating disorder, I think it’s important that we have these conversations openly. Anxiety causes people to feel extremely alone, scared and it’s not just something you can turn off. You can go from feeling normal to downright crazy in 1 second flat. It can also cause panic attacks, which is a whole other issue in and of itself. It involves hormones, emotions, chemicals and every system in the body.

Treating anxiety isn’t easy but it starts with taking a look inward. We need to be looking at our lives from a holistic or whole perspective, meaning how everything inter-relates. Is our financial situation causing us to be stress out? Are we eating differently now that we are stressed? Is our family life and relationships affected? Is our job affected? All of these things interplay and affect one another.

The next step is figuring out where to make cuts. If you want to overcome anxiety naturally, you have to make cuts. Where can we delete things from our lives? Is our schedule jam packed with “stuff” to do? Do our kids really need 8 million activities? Do we need to say yes to everything we get invited to? Do we really need to be staying late at work to just finish those emails? And, who says we need to be doing and being all of these things, hmm? And who says we need to do them without help? Does someone or something on TV or social media say we need to be doing these things? Are we stuck in the comparison game? Are we desperately trying to keep up with Mr & Mrs. Jones?

De-cluttering is one of the best things for anxiety. This simply means cutting unnecessary things out of our lives. Seriously, give it a try and you’ll be amazed at how you feel and how much more productive you can be. Start with your closet. Take everything out and start looking at each item and start downsizing (the KonMari method is my favorite way to do this). Next, go through each room in your house and do the same thing with your “stuff”. Get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy and that you don’t love or need. Next, stop spending money on things that don’t matter. Be mindful when you’re shopping and start to only purchase things you need (with the occasional want thrown in for fun). You’ll start to see some major changes, but you’ll really start to feel these changes too.

Keeping a tidy home, with less clutter, will start to allow you to feel less cluttered in your own mind, it’s just how it works. You’ll feel lighter and happier, I promise. Same goes for work and working smarter, not harder. Prioritize your 3 most important tasks as early in the day as possible and then structure your day in a way that allows maximum productivity, (I recommend the book Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy).

In part 2 of this article, we’ll talk about nutrition and supplements for anxiety. Start with de-cluttering and then come back for part 2.

Why is it so hard to do nothing?

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Why is is so hard to do nothing?

I have been challenging myself to look at my phone less. I’m not gonna lie…it’s not as easy as we think it will be since we’ve become so reliant on them. But, the funny part is, I didn’t grow up with cell phones so it’s not that weird for me to be without my phone.

I actually like it, so I’ve been challenging myself to not pick it up specifically when I’m in any waiting room. Doctor, dentist, etc. I pick up a magazine like I always used to do. When did we stop reading magazines?? I LOVE magazines and books and will be protesting forever as they go digital and book stores close all around the country. I want that physical experience of reading something where I turn the pages, not click the next screen. Ugh. Is social media the new magazine?

I feel like everywhere I go, everyone is either looking down at their phones or has their headphones in.

This is not helping us as a civilization.

We are losing touch with each other, losing eye contact and losing our social skills. The teens of the modern world never had to talk to someone or look someone in the eye because their phone was a stand-in.

This is why I don’t let my daughter play with my iphone and ipad. I really want her to learn what it’s like to interact with people. Is AI going to completely take over so that there are no more “people” in customer service jobs?

I’m not sure where we are headed but I love the challenge I have started and will continue to do it as long as magazines are still in print. What areas within technology do you struggle the most??

 

The stress solution

Is there such a thing? I think there can be but it takes work. We just don’t live in the same world we did 25 years ago.

Things are a bit crazy now.

Heads buried in phones, less human interaction and less outdoor play.

What’s really sad is that our kids aren’t even getting the same life we did. They won’t know what it’s like to get bored because why would they…everything is at their fingertips. They are even taught on iPads in school!

Our schedules are jammed packed now that it takes two incomes to support a family…for the most part. Activities galore, no time for rest and little family time to just be together.

Simplifying your life includes letting go of things that don’t add value. If you are too busy being stressed about driving your family around to a zillion activities, then let go of some. Focus on things you can do at home or as a family instead…..your kids won’t be ruined. More kids are ridden with anxiety now than ever before. Too much pressure from school and too much pressure from society! I can’t stand it.

Let’s all focus on the now. Right now. It’s all that matters anyways.

Less stuff, less junk, less shopping, more loving, more cooking, more lounging.

xo

Heather

 

 

Mother’s Day Love

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Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there – you are amazing! Happy Mother’s Day to my incredible mom, who set the best example for me as I figure out my own way through motherhood. It’s the best job in the world! Thank you, Ava, for choosing me as your mom. I love you!

xo,

Heather

Minimalism – what’s the hype?

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Minimalism has become the next “people going vegan.” It’s trendy, it’s hot and there’s a reason: it’s awesome! It created one of the most pivotal shifts in my life and I want to share that with you, because I know you’re curious! I get asked about it as frequently as I get asked about recipes/food. *I will try to do a YouTube video on this soon.

Minimalism is learning to live with less. But, so much more!!!

Its philosophy is based from living with less and removing things from your life that don’t add value….sometimes that even means letting go of people who don’t add value to your life. 

Ever hear of a book called “The life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo? She started a revolution with her book about de-cluttering and thus created a frenzy of people who wanted to become minimalists. I will point out that minimalism isn’t all or nothing, “I have to sleep on the floor and only own 5 shirts”…no, it doesn’t HAVE to mean that unless you want that….it’s de-cluttering your life in a way that works for you.

Here are some amazing benefits of minimalism:

  1. Clarity of mind
  2. Less stress/anxiety
  3. Better Health
  4. More Freedom
  5. More Time
  6. Greater Purpose
  7. Extra Money
  8. Family Closeness
  9. Easier to Clean
  10. Good for the Environment

When you begin to incorporate a more minimalist life, you start by taking inventory of what you own. Marie Kondo suggests going room by room (start with your closet), and putting things into 3 piles: one pile to trash, one pile to keep and one pile to donate. The pile you keep should only be things that bring you joy or that you really need. Learning the difference between needs and wants will get you everywhere. It starts to affect your shopping habits too, which is awesome!

Sentimental items that aren’t doing anything for you but taking up space should be donated. What?? Yep. She suggests taking a photo of the item so you can still “have” the sentimental value, which is genius because really, what’s the difference from looking at a photo of something you don’t use from looking at something you don’t use in person? The moral of the story is, you don’t use it so get rid of it.

I cannot tell you how LIBERATING and ADDICTING it is to start living this way. It completely changed my life!! I started in 2014 when I was pregnant, when I started to hear about Marie Kondo’s book and started researching on my own. My first thought was “yes, this resonates with me” followed by “how on Earth am I going to be a minimalist with a baby?” But, I figured out ways to do it.

It feels SO GOOD getting rid of “stuff” that isn’t bringing us joy or happiness. Material possessions do not bring us happiness, happiness is found within. Does this mean you can’t keep that Louis Vuitton purse? Of course it doesn’t, keep that beauty….but only if you actually use it.

I noticed a difference in my frame of mind instantly, once I started going through my apartment and downsizing. You feel the calm energy of the space open up, you feel lighter and it actually affects your mindset and brain! It spreads to other areas of your life, like your schedule, your activities and work. You don’t feel as stressed and I think it definitely has connections to feng shui principles.

This post could go on forever, I am SO passionate about minimalism. Do you think you’ll give it a try? Do you have any questions about it that I can help answer?

xo

Heather

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy substitutes for cooking

This will hopefully make your life easier! I’ve compiled a list of my favorite substitutes to use in cooking. Have you used any of them before?

  1. Rice = Cauliflower Rice. Pulse cauliflower in a food processor or you can now buy cauliflower rice in most stores and just use it in place of rice – it’s so much better for you.
  2. French Fries = Sweet Potatoes! No, sweet potato fries don’t count. Let’s stay away from fried foods and bake them instead. Peel a sweet potato, cut it up into small cubes or slices and bake at 400 degrees for about 18 minutes! You can add a little sea salt ad voila.
  3. Pasta = Quinoa. This ancient grain provides protein ( a lot more than pasta) and also metabolizes differently and gives you energy. You can also use shredded spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini noodles as a replacement as well. Yum!
  4. Sweets = Blueberries. Blueberries are full of antioxidants and will curb your craving for sweets. Eat them to your heart’s content and eat them alone since fruit should be consumed alone.

Let me know if you will try any of these tips!

xo,

Heather

Spring detox ideas

Hi! Happy Spring.

Why do we always want to clean in Spring? Is it the fresh beginnings and new growth happening in nature that inspires us to start new?

I find it’s the perfect time to set ourselves up for the rest of the year and let go of all of the old, heavy energy of Winter. I try to practice these habits all year but here are some of my favorite Spring detox ideas below:

  1. Clear out your clutter. I’m not sure if you know this about me but I’m a huge fan of minimalism. I got on the bandwagon in 2014 and haven’t looked back since. It has changed my life on so many levels. I’ll go deeper on this topic in another post but for now lets focus on cleaning out our closets, cupboards, garage and any other areas with junk. Throw out all of that junk and items you want to donate and let’s march forward (get it….it’s March), and let’s bask in the lightness it brings.
  2. Do a 1-week food cleanse. I believe every Spring (and any other time of year you need), we should give our bodies a break from poor eating habits, bad digestion and wasted energy. I’m a huge fan of food detoxes because really, who enjoys starving? Eating plant-based for one week is my favorite suggestion for everyone since it re-calibrates your digestion, it lightens the load on your digestive system and it cleans you out from the inside out. Make sure to take a good probiotic while you’re doing this.
  3. Go on an adventure and do something fun. We’ve just been stuck indoors for how many months during Winter? Now it’s time to get outside and do something fun! Go somewhere, do something that makes you happy and really enjoy yourself because life is short.
  4. Do something outside of your comfort zone. I am a HUGE FAN of doing this. It will change your life on a deep level, overcoming fears and pushing yourself beyond your own self-limiting boundaries. Do it without thinking, just do it. That’s how I do it, because by nature, I’d want to be scared and hide but now I just force myself to do things that scare me and not look back.

I hope these ideas inspire you to take some action and start your Spring off with a bang.

xo- Heather