Let’s talk about Anxiety – part 2

cropped-palm_trees_at_sunset.jpg

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.

Advertisements

How I stay sane

YOGA CC4large

Let me start by saying it takes effort. It takes conscious intention but it isn’t “work” once you develop habits around living this way. Also, don’t shoot for perfection — it’s not real.

I learned LOTS about living the right way when I had cancer. I prayed and meditated my way through that whole year and during those meditations, I got LOTS of answers and LOTS of divine downloads as I like to call them.

These “downloads” consisted of tips that came through in such a strong way that I had no doubt about the message. They were answers about life and how I was supposed to move forward and live it. Not only live it, but live it the way I should have been living it all those years prior! But, I would have to let go, surrender and say goodbye to the old me and my old ways of thinking first. I give my tough love approach below because I love you!

Here are my most precious tips that bring value to my life:

1. Make time for self-care. Self-care is anything that takes care of YOU. Yep, just YOU. It’s not selfish, it’s a necessity. Let me repeat that, it’s a necessity. Self-care is the act of doing things that fill up your cup, bring you joy, allow you to rest or regroup. *essential for your health.

2. Eat whole, unprocessed foods. It should be a no-brainer, but apparently it’s not. Basically, stop eating crap. Do you know how many people I help with nutrition who just aren’t willing to do this? It is single-handedly one of the most effective ways to take your life to the next level! Eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. Do the work to find out which foods aren’t helping you and stop eating them. (an elimination diet helps). 80% of your health = proper nutrition and the other 20% = things like exercise, self-care, community, relationships, etc. Find healthier replacements for foods you consider cheat foods. Cut out dairy, it’s not made for humans. Cut out refined sugar (you won’t crave it after 3 days). Limit alcohol. Remember, I love you! *essential for your health.

3. Move your body. Find a way to move your body daily. If you don’t have time to workout (I don’t want to hear about it because if I, as a single mom who works full time can do it, so can you. And yeah….it’s hard). Do anything. Walk, take the stairs, park far away from the store. What I do specifically: I walk for 10 minutes, twice a day at work on breaks. I take the stairs every time I can. I do squats at my desk and pushups against my kitchen counter. I make time to walk 4 miles once a week on a weekend morning and maybe again during the week if I don’t have a conference call in the morning. I do a 10 minute HIIT workout 3 times a week, yoga at night occasionally and that’s it. Little bits here and there, when I have time (and sometimes I’m not successful). The rest is all nutrition, eating right and striving to drink 2 liters of water a day. And…since I’m eating like Jesus 80% of the time, I can afford to have a vegan/gluten free macaroon here and there. 🙂 *essential for your health.

4. Self-Development. I love self-help stuff. I think it’s amazing, helpful and allows you to expand beyond your self-made limitations. Also, I read that all successful people do self-development so I started doing it for that very reason. I listen to 2 hours of podcasts during my daily commute time. I watch YouTube videos and read books. It’s awesome. Spiritual growth is cool. 

5. I’m grateful and mindful. I write in my gratitude journal daily, start each prayer without asking for something but saying thank you for something instead, I meditate and I’m mindful of my actions and attitude. If I notice I’m not in my “flow” state then I make some changes. I choose only funny or uplifting things to watch because your mind takes cues from what you watch, I try to stay away from gossip (I know, it’s hard, we all do it), and I surround myself with awesome high-vibe people. When I’m in a bad mood, I change it by listening to a good song, or watching something funny or being grateful. Works like a charm. If I start to feel like I am getting stressed, I adjust my reaction (meditation teaches you how to do this by re-wiring your brain which in turn, makes you a more peaceful, less reactive person). I love you! *essential for your health.

I don’t want to look back on my life and have regrets so I try my best to live each day with enthusiasm. I do the things I want to do NOW, visit the people I want to see NOW, and focus on the things that are important to me NOW. Who knows if you’ll get the chance to do them later, you know?

Bonus Tip– don’t overschedule and overload your life with too much. Say no more often. Leave room in your schedule for time to laugh and chill. It’s imperative. 

There’s my blueprint! Hope it helps.

xoxo – Heather

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

 

 

Elderflower Gimlet Cocktail Recipe

Elderflower Gimlet

When this mama needs an adult beverage, this is my go-to cocktail! The Elderflower Gimlet. Please do make this for your next dinner party…..you won’t be sorry!

Recipe:

2 oz. Hendrick’s Gin
1 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice

– Make the cocktail in a shaker or mixing glass with all ingredients
– Add ice
– Shake, shake, shake
– Strain into chilled glass
– Garnish with lime

xo,

Heather

p.s. let me know how you like it!

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

Simple Stir-fry Recipe

122116

When I said it was simple, I meant it. I am a one-pot meal master! No measurements, no fuss, just simple and fresh ingredients and throw them all in a pot!

Here’s what I used for this meal:

-cauliflower rice

-carrots

-zucchini

-broccoli

-mushrooms

-firm tofu

-pressed garlic, sesame oil, sea salt, onion powder, maple syrup

Cut the veggies however you want, add the spices to your own tasting preference and simmer for 20 minutes on low heat!

Enjoy!

Heather

Why we can’t all eat the same food!

Simply put: we are all made differently with different genes, lifestyles, diets, makeups, habits, bodies.

There is no correct diet for all- it doesn’t exist! Eating must be intuitive & planned in a way that supports YOU, no one else….and no that’s not a free pass to eat donuts.

We must eat with intention & eat for fuel. Our bodies are not garbage cans so it’s crucial we put good food into them.

 

Are you breathing correctly?

Dr. Weil was one of my professors in nutrition school and he’s a really cool dude. I love his approach to Western Medicine and his open-mindedness to other philosophies. He has an amazing breathing technique that I wanted to share because it makes a huge difference in allowing space to open up inside your body. It’s great for relaxation, stress, anxiety and does wonders before sleep.

Link to Dr. Weil’s breathing technique

What’s in your shaving cream, makeup, fragrance, products?

Ok….so I have an obsession with toxic chemicals. I’m always looking for ways to clean up my products, living practices and my home environment. I’ve been into this stuff since forever ago but it really started peaking my interest in 2003 when I attended a natural health college. I learned SO MUCH about natural health and natural “green” living and it sparked something inside me.

I love to teach….educate….share. I want to help people. I want people to feel better and detoxify their lives. I want to provide simple solutions to those same people.

I found this video that really is worth the roughly 7 minutes of your time. It helps simplify things when it comes to chemicals in our products and WHY it’s crucial that we ditch them for good.

Video Link Here