Five things you can do TODAY to improve your total body wellness

I have people ask me ALL THE TIME what they can do immediately to improve their health.  So much of this health journey takes time.  Time to heal damaged organ systems (especially the digestive system and the blood sugar regulating organs), time to make a behavior a habit, and time to give up some of the things you thought you could never live without (for me it was buffalo wings from any dive bar with LOTS of blue cheese ;-)).  This is a never ending process, which can feel really daunting at times.

But there are a few things you can do TODAY that are simple, actionable, and will help you feel better mentally and physically

CHEW YOUR FOOD!

Digestion of our food does not just start in the stomach.  This process is a beautiful north to south domino effect.  One process needs to lead to another, and without that falling domino the next process cannot properly take place.  Taking the time to chew for at least 30 seconds after each bite begins the physical break down of your food as well as gives your saliva the opportunity to begin to breakdown carbohydrates through salivary amylase.  When this first step of chemical and mechanical breakdown does not take place, the rest of the digestive organs need to make up for this lack of breakdown.  This puts undo stress on an already over taxed system.  Do your entire digestive system a favor, and chew your food!

I talk about the importance of chewing your food A LOT in my two week “Introduction to Whole Food Nutrition” group!

DRINK ENOUGH WATER!

Water is one of the most vital nutrients in our lives, and so many of us are simply not getting enough.  Water helps with everything from joint hydration, to cognitive function, to helping maintain the electrical current in our bodies.  Use the below calc to figure out how much water you need to intake per day!  Then my favorite water tracking app, My Water (also works with the apple watch!), buy a cute water bottle and hit that water goal!

Current Body Weight / 2 = Minimum oz of water to consume

+

Diuretics (in oz) consumed per day (coffee, tea, alcohol) x 1.5 = additional oz of water to consume

+

Additional 10 oz of water for every 30 minutes of exercise

=

TOTAL WATER GOAL!

Also, make sure your water is filtered and from a clean source as to not increase the amount of toxins in the body!

BRAIN DUMP YOUR DAY!

At the beginning of every day, or the night before, write out your day.  This is how I do it everyday:

  • DIVIDE THE DAY INTO THREE PARTS:  I now do morning, afternoon, and evening.  It used to be BEFORE NAP and AFTER NAP.  But you could do before work, after work, and evening.  Or something similar to fits into how your day is structured.
  • ADD THE MUST DO’S: These are things like work, deadlines, school assignments, doctors appointments, workouts (THESE ARE A MUST DO!) and other things I cannot miss and that have time constraints on them.
  • ADD THE OTHER TO DO’s.  These are things that would be nice to get done, but do not absolutely have to be done that day or at any specific time of day.  For example, if my cleaning schedule says to do 2 loads of laundry that day I will write which part of the day it makes the most sense to get those things done.  Or if dry cleaning needs picked up and its totally fine if it gets pushed off until tomorrow I will write that in as well.
  • ADD THE MEAL PLAN: Every Sunday I plan out my breakfast, lunch, and dinners for the week.  I keep everything really simple by having the same thing for breakfast and lunch everyday and utilizing left overs for dinner as often as possible. As long as I know the plan I will not find myself starving and running to Chipotle at 11AM between kiddo pick up and drop offs.
  • ADD KEY STONE GOALS:  These are the two to three things that I have written out either in the MUST DO’s or the OTHER TO DO’s that would make my day AMAZING if they got done.  Like if everything else goes to shit (which it sometimes does!) if these few things are done then it is still a good and productive day.  Sometimes it is my workout if I am really feeling the need to move, sometimes it is handing in an essay for school if that deadline is fast approaching and I have not gotten to sit down and concentrate on it yet.

This brain dump allows you to be proactive in your day.  Unexpected things will come up, obviously, and plans will change.  But when you have your day laid out like this you can make necessary changes and react appropriately.  When there is no plan for the day, the unexpected things that come up have a way of totally derailing us and make us feel like we are putting out fires all day long.  With the brain dump we can keep the goal in mind (a productive day) but be flexible in the approach.

Watch Mel Robbins Ted Talk for more information.  Since watching this and reading her book “The 5 Second Rule” I have done this everyday and I cannot express enough the difference it has made.

EAT ENOUGH FAT!

Fat is an essential nutrient in our lives, and just like water, most of us are not getting enough and we are not getting a balance of the correct kinds of fats.  Our society has taught us to be afraid of fat and it is time to put that fear aside.  Eating an array of fats from properly raised and slaughtered animals (EAT THE GOD DAMN CHICKEN SKIN!), plant sources (HELLO AVOCADOS AND OLIVES!!!), and nuts (BRAZIL NUTS ALL THE WAY!) aids in so many processes in the body.  It helps regulate our metabolism, helps regulate our ability to inflame and anti inflame, and we need it to absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.  If you want to sleep better, look better, and feel better, then fat is your friend!

When I tell you to eat more fat, I am not talking about the french fry variety.  These types of fats (poly unsaturated that have been brought to a very high heat) are incredibly unstable, damaged, and introduce free radicals and rancid fats into your body.  This does not promote optimal health.

Mark Sisson has written an amazing blog post all about fat and your go to guide for utilizing fat in your everyday life.

https://www.marksdailyapple.com/fats/

All of the meals in the Simple 7 Solution have a proper balance of fats and incorporate the correct types of fats as well!

START YOUR DAY WITH BREATH, WATER, MINERALS AND GRATITUDE!

This is the most important point yet, and seriously the best bang for your buck.  Every morning when you wake up you have some super drugs at your disposal.  Even if you are NOT a morning person and you LOATH getting yourself out of bed, taking 15 minutes to do these things everyday will make ALL THE DIFFERENCE!

Fill a glass with 10 oz warm water.  Add 1/8 tsp sea salt and a squeeze of lemon.  While you drink it take 5-6 DEEP breaths, and then write down 3 things you are grateful for in that moment.

Literally thats it.  I could re-create the wheel and type out all the reasons why this is good for you, but I am not about that.  Just like in my Simple 7 Solution, I provide to you the best resources and I cannot even begin to pretend that I am smart or creative enough to come up with them.

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4769/Why-You-Should-Drink-Warm-Water-Lemon.html

https://www.onnit.com/academy/john-romaniellos-morning-routine-3-steps-to-health-longevity-and-perfect-fucking-hair/

http://www.medicaldaily.com/health-benefits-warm-water-6-ways-drinking-warm-water-can-heal-your-body-282218

And there you have it!  The 5 things you can do to jump start your journey optimal health TODAY.  In the Ayurvedic tradition they believe that our health (or lack there of) lies in our daily routine (again, or lack there of).  While the journey to optimal health and feeling really good can take time, we all have the power to harness our daily routine to bring us a little closer each and every day.  The time is going to pass by anyway, you might as well feel good while it does.

Languaging and food

I never realized how important the way we word things can be until I became a mother.  All of a sudden I was the person who was communicating how the world worked to another human being.  It was an intensely overwhelming feeling, and I especially felt the pressure when communicating language around food.

Like most people, I had always thought of food as either “good” or “bad”.  And my knowledge of what was good or bad was based on what I saw in the media, from books like “Skinny Bitch” and “Eat This Not That”, and what I had learned in fashion and health magazines.  Low fat yogurt?  GOOD!  Plain romaine lettuce?  GOOD!  Meat? BAD! Fat? BAD BAD BAD!

I totally fell for the dogma, and I know I am not the only one who was dooped.  But that is a story for another day (and one I talk about A LOT on here).

As I learned more and more about our history as people, the history of nutrition, and the science of whole food nutrition, one shocking thing that stood out to me was the language that was used around food and how freaking dysfunctional it was.

At this point in history we seem to feel the need to mix our MORALITY with our food choices.  People measure their self worth based on what is on their plate, when that could not be farther from the truth, whether it is a perfectly balanced meal or a piece of cake.

Instead of evaluating ourselves based on our love and service to humanity, how we treat others, how we treat our children (you know, the things that MATTER) we evaluate ourselves based on our current diet, how perfectly we can stick to it, and our gravitational push onto the earth (aka: the number on the scale).

When food is labeled as “good” or “bad”, when days we go off our “diet” are called “cheat days”, and when we continue the cycle of restriction, over indulgence, and punishment we are communicating a very clear message.

That your worth as a human only goes as far as your pant size.

Lets commit right now to changing our language around food.  Lets make food about flavor, celebration, medicine, and finding out what works for our own individual bodies.  Lets cut out the “good” and “bad” and “cheat” words surrounding food and let those words stay where they belong, and that is no where near the dinner table.  Lets make the measure of what “works” for us and what doesn’t from a dietary stand point NOT be about weight, but about energy levels and sleep quality, among other things.

Cut out the good and the bad.  Cut out the cheat.  Increase the love and flavor and happiness around food.  There is no where to go from here but up <3

Why I will Never Post Another Before and After Photo

neverpostanotherbeforeandafter
This is me the day I finished the Beachbody program Shift Shop.  This program was amazing, it is a 3 week speed and weights based program that uses a “ramp-up” method.  This method starts you off slow—then gradually increases the intensity week by week.  The program starts off with 25 minute speed and weight workouts the first week, 35 minutes the second week, and 45 minutes in the final week.
While completing this awesome program I read the book “Body Beliefs” by Jason Seib.  After reading this book I have committed to no longer sharing before and after photos that are centered on weight and aesthetics of myself or anyone else. I will still take my own progress photos for myself, and I encourage you to as well.   But this is just so I can see my own progress and compare ME VS ME, but there is no reason for you to compare YOU VS ME.  That goes against my entire message that HEALTH is more important than WEIGHT, and that when HEALTH is the priority (physical, mental, and spiritual) the weight will fall in line. As Jason says, your scale measures gravity’s effect on you, and reducing that effect only requires a loss of matter. You can cut off a limb and lose weight, so why is this the ultimate goal? Weight loss is a lovely side effect of getting healthy and adapting a healthy lifestyle, but this “smaller at any cost” mentality has GOT TO GO.

It’s perfectly fine to want to lose weight, to want to look good, or feel confident in your bikini or your skinny jeans. But when how we LOOK becomes too important, and how we FEEL becomes secondary it becomes too easy to become judgmental of ourselves. This judgement leads to punishment, restricting food intake, over exercising to make up for “falling off the wagon”, and a whole host of other destructive behaviors.

So let’s put HEALTH first, mental and physical. Let’s recognize that there will be set backs and there will be weight gain. There will be days where it feels like all we can do is win, and other days where we will need to try again tomorrow.  But lets not reduce this life long journey to a single before and after photo.  I know I do not plan to anymore.

 

Whole 30 Tip- BREAKFAST FOR DINNER!

I am in the middle of my fourth round of Whole 30, and actually attempting a Whole 90 this time around (You can read about my first Whole 30 HERE, and read what Whole 30 did for me and my life HERE).

I am currently in a direct messaging group on Instagram with a bunch of ladies who are tackling a January Whole 30 (look at the hashtag #whole30girlgang if you want to be inspired AF) and many of them are feeling bored.  We are all on day 18 and for the passed 18 days many of them have eaten pretty much the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  While this makes the planning aspect easier for Whole 30, especially for your first round, it can get boring really fast.  I am a huge fan of mastering 7 recipes (you can read about the Simple 7 Solution and example recipes here), flip flopping spices, and then mixing and matching them throughout the week and month to make a complete meal plan.  But this comes with time, a little effort, and does not happen during your first 18 days of Whole 30.  So little boredom hacks like this one are key to success in your first round.

One of the best things I learned while doing my first round of Whole 30 over two years ago was that breakfast did not need to mean “BREAKFAST FOOD”.  The typical American breakfast (you know, that “balanced breakfast” that is on all of the Frosted Flakes commercials and approved by the American Heart Association?!  EW.) includes LOADS of carbohydrates, refined sugar, and other “frankenfoods” that are eaten really quickly as you rush out the door in a totally stressed out state.  Pick up a sugary chemical laden latte on the way to work and you have completed the horrible picture that can lead to blood sugar dis regulation, will make you HANGRY again in a few hours (I explain what it really means to be HANGRY here), and down the line can lead to even scarier things, like type II diabetes and adrenal fatigue.  While the occasional pancake is fine, a high glycemic breakfast on the reg is a NO NO if you want to be productive, happy, and healthy (which I think most of us do).  Thinking of your breakfast as “meal 1” instead of breakfast has helped me in the passed.  It does not need to include a muffin to be breakfast, in fact, please don’t eat traditional muffins.  They are basically cake.  Cake for breakfast is not good, no matter what Kate Spade says.

To cut the boredom and to help with planning I often have leftovers from the previous nights dinner for breakfast (think a serving of protein, 2 servings of veggies, and 2 servings of fat.  Something like compliant pulled pork with mashed cauliflower), and then have :::drum roll::: BREAKFAST FOR DINNER!

img_6289

The only reason I would constitute this as “breakfast for dinner” is the fact that it features eggs and bacon.  When you adopt a primal/paleo/whole food lifestyle though, you quickly realize that bacon is totally acceptable any time of day or night (no added sugar, properly raised, and properly butchered bacon that is.) but I digress.

Do you ever have breakfast for dinner? 

What are you favorite features?! 

How do you combat boredom in your eating?

 

My Last Drink

I am kind of sad to say that my very last drink was a mimosa made from cheap Andre brut champagne at a baby shower on November 5, 2017.  It could have been a really decadent red wine, or a delicious cocktail.  And if I had planned it out, it probably would have been.  But if I had planned it out, I never would have stopped.  So Andre it was.

I got borderline drunk at the baby shower, WITH MY CHILDREN, felt so gross on the way home (my husband was driving) and decided I needed a break from alcohol for a while.  I had decided this many times before.  Since 2015 when I realized I might have a drinking problem, I had placed many rules and restrictions on my drinking in a desperate attempt to moderate this seemingly insurmountable THING in my life.

For example, I was allowed to drink on Friday and Saturday but not Sunday through Thursday (ask me how many times that ACTUALLY happened).  I was allowed 1 bottle of wine over the course of the weekend (ha!  Again, seriously laughable!).  I could start drinking on Fridays at 4PM, but if I drank during the week (see ridiculous rule #1 above) I had to wait until 5PM.  And the list goes on.

There is a reason the lion at the zoo is caged but the peacocks are allowed to roam basically free amongst people.  The peacock is not a danger.  The lion is.  I was attempting to cage my drinking problem with a set of rules that could not contain it.

So I decided to take another break.  Six days into my break I felt a gentle tug.  A tug from the universe that said “YOU SHOULD GO BACK TO CHURCH.”  I had felt this tug before, and mostly ignored it, but in the last year I had been exploring it more.  This particular tug, this pull that happened six days into my latest break from alcohol, felt more like a desperate cry from something bigger to take massive action.  So I went, I went to church willingly for the first time in 15 years.  And what happened that day was nothing short of magic.

The homily that day November 12, 2017 was all about time.  About how it is NEVER too late in life to make a change, but we also are not given infinite amounts of time.  If you want to do something, you must do it now.  Just like that, a comfort came over me.  A comfort that felt like a warm blanket, a reassuring pressure, or a really tight hug.  I knew I would never drink again and I felt incredibly free.  To this day when I feel those cravings for alcohol the simple prayer I use to get through it is this.

HOVER OVER ME GOD. 

HOVER OVER ME GOD.

HOVER OVER ME GOD.

Since that day I have never looked back.  There have been bone chillingly intense cravings.  There have been moments I have wanted to numb, and feelings I could not bear to feel.  But I pushed passed the cravings.  I did not numb.  I felt those feelings.  The work does not end the day you decide to quit drinking, that is when the work begins.

I am not quiet about my sobriety (I am not quiet about much, but you already know that;-) ), but I also do not have all the answers.  I am loud and proud and I move through this process in my own way on my own time.  In so many ways I am still a baby in this whole thing.  I have less than a year of sobriety under my belt while I write this and my feelings are still so raw.

We are all recovering from something, my recovery just happens to be from alcohol addiction <3