Eating as mindfully as we might want, is not realistic for many of us, especially with work, busy families, physical routines, and all the other daily distractions.
Here are seven simple ideas to help you establish more mindful eating habits, and perhaps start to reconnect the body and mind again.
1. Tune in to your body’s signals
Rather than just eating on emotional cues (different for each of us, like sadness, anger, frustration, loneliness, stress or even just boredom) we can learn to tune into and be better listeners of our body’s actual hunger signals.
For example, is your stomach growling, is your energy low, are you feeling a little lightheaded, or even ‘hangry’?
2. Put food on a… plate
Too obvious? Think about this: eating out of a bag is not a very mindful practice! So, get in the habit of placing even snacks on a plate before eating them. This helps you to take notice of exactly what and how much you’re actually eating.
Also, acknowledge the time, effort and passion you put into creating your meal – consider all the ingredients, and the preparation and intention involved in getting the food from stove to plate!
3. Sit…at a table
Now that you’re eating from a plate, continue “formalizing” your gastronomic experience by always sitting at a table.
This helps to pull your attention back to your food and to your eating habits. It has also been shown to dramatically reduce overeating – especially for those who tend to eat in front of the TV.
4. Absolutely, positively NO devices at the table
Now that you’re sitting at a proper table, designating the first few minutes of a meal for quiet, mindful practice can be beneficial – for everyone at the table. This includes putting away the devices and turning off the TV. (more…)
The power of essential oils (EO’s) is real – have YOU made them part of your everyday life yet?
Let’s lay out all of the basics so you can decide if you want to get on this one bandwagon that’s here for the long haul. And when you learn about the history of EO’s, you’ll know that they’re not even new. In fact, EO’s have been around for centuries!
Some essential oils come from seeds while many others are extracted from the leaves of the plant. Because EO’s are so highly concentrated, it takes a tremendous amount of plant to produce just one ounce of oil.
Due to this level of concentration, essential oils are incredibly powerful, so a little bit goes a long way!
“Essential” terms you should know:
Essential oils are basically the natural aromatic compounds extracted from seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Diffusion is one of the most popular ways to enjoy the aromatic benefits of essential oils.
This refers to a lipid- or fat-based liquid used to dilute EO’s. Olive, coconut, almond, jojoba and argan oils are the most common ones. (more…)
Whether you call them pimples, blemishes, or zits, ACNE is a common skin condition that can be a source of discomfort, frustration, and embarrassment for those who experience it.
There’s quite a lot of behind-the-scenes action happening in your body that contributes to the development of it.
What Is Acne?
Acne can occur at any age, but is often experienced during distinct phases of hormonal shifting, like adolescence, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. This is because fluctuating hormone levels can increase the amount of oil produced by the skin.
A bout of acne or even the appearance of a single pimple is the result of a buildup of oil, skin cells, and/or bacteria in the pores of the skin.
Causes of Acne
Studies have linked acne to:
- Inflammation – the root cause of all disease
- Compromised gut health (i.e. leaky gut, not enough good gut bacteria)
- High blood sugar and unstable insulin levels
- Hormonal imbalances
The foods you eat don’t usually directly cause breakouts, but can contribute to acne by promoting inflammation, impairing gut health, and spiking blood sugar and insulin levels.
Inflammatory foods include those high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Examples include:
- White breads, pasta, and rice
- Candy, baked goods, and other sweet desserts
- Sweetened drinks, like soda
- Fried foods
- Hydrogenated oils, trans fats, and saturated fats found in margarine, processed foods, and many animal products
Refined carbohydrates (many of which are high glycemic index foods), contain little fiber and protein, which helps slow digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes.
Instead, these sugary foods are quickly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, causing blood sugar to climb and lots of insulin to be released.
Excess insulin can affect other hormones and cause too much oil to be made by the skin, resulting in those dreaded breakouts. (more…)
You don’t have to be a health nut to know that soda isn’t good for you. But is it really all that bad? Is it ok to just have it once in a while? And if you’re going to have it, is it better to have the regular ol’ sugar-filled version or the zero calorie “diet” kind?
Let’s weigh-in on the facts:
- It doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharin) that have gotten a really bad rap lately
- The sugar! A 12-ounce can of cola has about 8 teaspoons; almost the daily limit as recommended by the American Heart Association
- Drinking 1-2 cans a day can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 26%
- Regular sodas are filled with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) which is linked to obesity, heart disease, and fatty liver disease
- It feeds the craving for something sweet without adding extra calories or carbs, if you’re concerned about this
- Since it’s sugar-free, diabetics can sip without worrying about the direct hit to their insulin and blood sugar levels
- While diet soda may be considered ‘safe’ for diabetics, they are far from nutritious as the artificial sweeteners in diet soda actually cause you to crave more sugar. When we drink it, our body is expecting sugar. Then when it doesn’t get it, it responds with even more cravings – for sugar!
- Diet soda drinkers tend to gain more weight particularly around their belly. One study said that frequent drinkers of diet soda gained up to three times more belly fat than their non-diet soda drinking counterparts.
- Diet soda is now being linked with cancer, heart attacks, strokes and neurological disorders.
There’s a lot of talk about healthy fats these days. People are including more fat in their diets and forgetting about the fat-free diet crazes of the past.
You’ve probably heard about omega fats in the mix, but what exactly are they?
What are Omega Fats? Do they all perform the same function in our bodies?
Omegas are a group of fatty acids known as Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9. They’re numerically named based on their chemical composition.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids (EFA’s). The body is capable of producing some fatty acids on its own, like Omega-9 – meaning you don’t need to get them from food.
But the fatty acids the body can’t create on its own must be obtained from food, and therefore, are considered essential. Both fats are needed for good health, but most diets contain an abundance of omega-6 and not enough omega-3.
This skewed ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 is considered a cause of chronic inflammation that can lead to scary stuff, like heart attack and stroke.
A 1:1 ratio is ideal for keeping inflammation at bay, but it’s estimated that most people have a ratio closer to 20:1! Wow, right?
Low intake of Omega-3’s means most people are missing out on the major health benefits of this essential fat.
The protective qualities of Omega-3’s include:
- Improved immune system function
- Decreased inflammation
- Decreased risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis, and depression
- Improved triglyceride and cholesterol values
- Critical role in human development – the brain and retina contain lots of omega-3 in the form of DHA
If you’ve heard that red wine is one of the healthiest of all alcoholic beverages, it’s for good reason.
Thanks to the antioxidants found in the skins of grapes from which it’s made, red wine has been widely publicized as being “healthful”. The kind of antioxidants found in red wine, like resveratrol, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation and oxidation are considered the root causes of most disease, so consuming antioxidant-rich foods is a key component in disease prevention.
Moderate consumption of red wine has been linked to improved heart health, along with other health benefits, like decreasing the risk of:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- certain cancers
Some of the buzz around red wine’s health benefits comes from its prominent role in the well-studied Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet includes lots of fruit, vegetables, fish, olive oil, and red wine, and is believed to contribute to a long lifespan and low incidences of heart disease and cancer among Mediterranean populations. (more…)
A little self-criticism is a normal shared human mental pattern, and can even be healthy for the most part. But we can also just as easily open the door to that overly vocal “negative nelly” voice in our head.
However, if your negative voice is preventing you from doing what you want or need to do in your life, then it has to get booted back out the door. This kind of mental chatter has no right to set up shop in your mind.
Deeply held negative beliefs, especially when they’re firmly rooted in your unconscious, stress you out, damage relationships and can greatly limit your potential for health and happiness.
If you’re sick of having the same old conversation with negative nelly, then be sure to try some of the ideas I’ve outlined in this article on how you can shift away from this damaging mindset, and finally release yourself of these limiting beliefs.
What are limiting beliefs?
Limiting beliefs are the little, but persistent voices that convince you that you can’t be or do or have something due to a perceived inadequacy in some area of your life or personality.
Your negative nelly narrative usually goes something like this:
I won’t ever be [this]…
I can’t do [that]…
I don’t have [this]…
I don’t deserve to be/have [this]…
And, one really common one that comes up for many people…
I am not good enough.
Let’s change up the narrative you may have been having with yourself for a very long time!
Overcoming negative self-talk and releasing limiting beliefs
Your limiting decisions have shaped everything you do, and they have likely prevented you from seeing opportunities and maybe even discouraged you from trying some things at all.
The good news is that it’s totally possible to permanently change a long-held belief — even the ones that are lifelong.
You only perceive what you believe, so your beliefs shape the very world you live in.
But, when your limiting beliefs come into question, your whole world can experience a shift for the better. (more…)
In today’s world, we are constantly on the go, a steady state “busy-ness” is the norm, and we’re always running from one responsibility to the next – literally! So, it’s no wonder that physical fatigue is such a common complaint.
The good news is that there are some really simple (and natural) ways to increase your energy so you can keep up with your busy life.
Get off the blood sugar roller coaster
One of the simplest ways we can boost our energy is to stabilize blood sugar. When we don’t eat enough food throughout the day or when we eat foods that are higher in sugar, our energy levels bottom out.
You can balance your blood sugar, and boost your energy naturally by:
- Eating every 3-4 hours gives your body the nutrients and fuel it needs to keep your blood sugar – and energy levels steady.
- Consuming foods that are low on the glycemic index (think fruits and veggies, whole grains) instead of the higher sugar white breads and pastas.
- Eating protein with every meal to slow down the release of carbohydrates into your bloodstream. Protein is broken down and released slower so you’re less likely to have a blood sugar spike and subsequent crash.
You like to move it, move it!
When you’re tired, the last thing you want to do is exercise. However, as hard as it can be to get your butt off the couch, it’s one of the best things you can do to fight fatigue.
And, it turns out that you don’t even have to commit to a long workout!
A California State University study concluded that even a brisk 10-minute walk can increase your energy for up to 2 hours.
So, when you feel that afternoon slump coming on, skip the coffee and lace up your running shoes instead. (more…)
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that releases hormones. Thyroid hormones help your body regulate a few things – not a big deal – just the metabolism of ALL cells. And this is critical for maintaining a healthy body weight and having the energy to live your life.
(Yes, your thyroid IS a big deal!)
It’s estimated that at least 3.7% of US adults have an under-active thyroid.
When you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, it’s called hypothyroidism. This can result in the slowing down of your metabolism and cause difficulty losing weight; and even weight gain. Some of the other symptoms can include fatigue, forgetfulness, dry hair and skin, constipation, muscle cramping, and feeling cold.
An under-active thyroid can be diagnosed from a blood test from your health professional.
How does the thyroid become under-active?
There are many reasons why your thyroid may become under-active. The most common is autoimmunity, where the immune cells attack other cells in the body. In this case, the cells of the thyroid gland.
It can also be the result of low levels of iodine, which is an essential mineral. Combining that with high levels of goitrogens (food substances that inhibit iodine from getting into thyroid) and you can be at risk for an iodine deficiency. (more…)