Happy New Year 2019!
I love the excitement of heading into a brand new year. The new year signifies renewal. Release. Letting go. Freedom. New beginnings....
How exciting! As we embark upon new year 2019, my personal ritual is to set aside a time for both introspective review and setting purposeful intention for the year ahead. I begin by lighting three white candles and playing tranquil music to attract positive energy. I then acknowledge all the year's blessings and accomplishments, honor and bless the people that helped or hindered my path, let go and forgive that which no longer serves me, and appreciate all that I am grateful. I then set blessings and overall intentions for the new year to come.
I’ve never been one to set New Year’s resolutions. I prefer to set small attainable goals as needed throughout the year, rather than one large goal at the beginning of the year.
However, New Year’s resolutions are quite popular. There are many theories as to how far they go back. Merriam-Webster quotes numerous pledges dating as far back as the 1600’s. It also cites speculation from an unknown author that New Year’s resolutions dates back well over 200 years giving people in the early 19th century—much like those today—an excuse for misbehavior up to New Year's Eve.
Today, many people still set New Year’s resolutions and try to achieve them. Most resolutions are based around self-improvement including losing weight, quitting smoking and/or drinking, and improving finances. Though over 40% or more Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, according to the University of Scranton research just 8% of people achieve their New Year's goals. Many of these resolutions do not even last a few weeks.
The question remains, why do so many people fail at goal-setting, and what are the secrets behind those who succeed?
For many, the day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season.
Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25 as the celebration of the day when Jesus Christ of Nazareth was born. Jews celebrate Hanukkah or the "Festival of the Lights," an 8-day observation between November 30 and December 26. The holiday of Kwanza is a week long celebration of the African heritage starting December 26. Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day, the enlightenment of the Buddha on December 8. Krismas is a secular holiday that celebrates most of the elements of Christmas, with the exception of the story of Jesus' birth. This came about in 2004.
Most cultures recognize the Winter Solstice worldwide with an interpretation of the event varying from culture to culture. Depending on the shift of the earth's axis, it is either December 21 or 22 of each year. The commonality is a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.
For many, the season is a time of joy and celebration. A time of giving and sharing time with family and friends. Honoring traditions by reveling in the beauty of the holiday lights, decorating trees, watching holiday movies, and sharing in good food, laughter and the making of memories.
In contrast, others find it overly stressful and are turned off by the excessive shopping and overindulgence. Many have lost their Christmas spirit. The season brings up intense feelings of sadness, loneliness, physical and/or emotional pain, depression, anxiety.
If this season represents a sense of loss due to divorce, separation or passing of a loved one; if you or a family member is suffering from illness, emotional or physical, substance abuse or dealing with a problematic family member, the holidays can present a whole different set of obstacles.
Pressure to visit multiple homes, unrealistic expectations, financial pressures, and excessive commitments can also cause stress and anxiety turning the once holiday sparkle into the holiday blues.
If you need a holiday boost, there are some self care tips you can do to lift your spirit and take care of YOU this holiday season. Putting you first is often difficult to do but is a must for survival and ensures your tank is filled so that you have more to give others. Read on for tips and tricks. Practice one per day to get through them easily and effortlessly!
Benefits of Cacao – a Super Food
Everyone loves the sweet taste of chocolate - but what if you could satisfy your cravings and reap the health benefits too?
Let me introduce you to the superfood Cacao - (pronounced kə-ˈkā-ō).
Cacao is the tree from which cocoa is processed.
As a superfood, raw cacao powder provides more than 300 phytochemicals, nearly 20 times more antioxidants than blueberries, and nearly four times the antioxidant power of dark chocolate. Raw cacao also contains calcium, protein, magnesium, essential fatty acids, carotene, thiamin and riboflavin.
Many people think that cacao and cocoa powder are the same and use them interchangeably in their recipes. They are not. Cocoa powder has been chemically processed which destroys the health properties of the cacao powder described above.
Read your labels. As with your vegetables, non-organic cocoa has been treated with toxic pesticides and chemicals and may contain genetically modified (GMO) products.
In contrast, raw organic fairly traded cacao, has multiple benefits, if used in moderation. Add it to your favorite smoothies and recipes.
You will love this highly satisfying Chocolate (Cacao) Banana Smoothie. It takes less than 5 minutes to make and is great for those on the go!
I am often asked what diet I recommend. Those that know and work with me understand that I don’t advocate that any diet is “better.”
I believe a core piece of wellness is nutrition that includes whole foods with a sustainable plan that works for life – not a short-term diet fix.
Everyone is bio-individual in regards to body chemistry, physical activity, places and climate people live, emotional patterns, cell experiences, past, physical illnesses and so much more. I support individual wellness plans focused on a person’s individual nutritional, physical and spiritual needs.
We are all unique as snowflakes – so your health plan needs to be designed unique for your body too.
Zoodles are spaghetti-like noodles made from raw zucchini and a fast, delicious way to fit more vegetables and fun into your diet.
No matter your dietary needs or preferences, Zoodles promote gluten free, paleo, primal, vegan, vegetarian, low carb & wheat belly friendly lifestyles. They are low calorie, low carb, gluten free and grain free.
What is Metabolism?
This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.
You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight. But what exactly does this all mean?
Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body. It's how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.
Weight loss advice is so common (and contentious) now. There are competing opinions and false promises everywhere.
I say, forget about "who's right" and let's focus on "what's right." Because what gets results is what I'm focusing on in this post.
There are way too many weight loss myths out there that it makes it difficult to know how to navigate. I’m going to tackle the top ones I come across in my practice.
"For Christians the holiday season celebrates the birth of a savior. Jews recognize Hanukah or the "Festival of the Lights." For those of African descent the holiday observes the holiday of Kwanza celebrating their heritage.
Delightful Christmas musicals and cartoon specials flood the television networks. Hallmark Christmas movies paint the picture-perfect relationship fantasies and happily ever afters.
Yet for many, it involves more social engagements, overindulgence, excessive shopping. A poll by the American Psychological Association shows that 8 out of 10 people anticipate increased stress over the holidays.
The holidays can be a time of year filled with joyous gatherings and memories with family and friends.
Yet for some it is a time where people pack on a few pounds and keep the extra weight on permanently. It is also a time where people that struggle with food sensitivities find it stressful to gather for holiday meals.
Thanksgiving doesn't have to be a time where your wellness plans or maintenance efforts are sabotaged. With a few tips, you can still enjoy your Thanksgiving favorites - guilt free.
Holidays typically center around heavy calorie laden dishes, excess alcohol and tempting desserts which can put everyone into a post meal food coma. Meals tend to be sugar laden, gluten-loaded and dairy disasters.
But there are simple modifications that you can make to traditional recipes so that you can enjoy the holidays with energy and zest while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.”
And while this may not be 100% true for every disease in every person, more and more research shows that our gut (digestive system) has a bigger role in many diseases than we used to think. We're not just talking about heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, IBD, etc. We're talking about a wide range of chronic diseases and issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular, mood disorders (anxiety, depression), obesity, hormonal and autoimmune issues.
There are a lot of reasons for this. Our gut is the portal to the outside world. It's here where we take in disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. We also take in nutrients (and toxins) through our gut. The nutrients we ingest and absorb are the building blocks of every single part of our body. We're just learning the connections between our gut and other areas of our body, like our brain (have you heard of "the gut-brain axis"). Not just our gut per se; but, its friendly resident microbes too. These guys also have newly discovered roles in our gut health and overall health.
In fact, researchers now believe that healing the intestinal lining and restoring gut health are key to optimal health.
So, let's talk about the roles that our gut and gut microbes play in our overall health. Then I'll give you tips to improve your gut health naturally.
Coffee is healthy. Coffee is not healthy. Drink it. Avoid it.
Why all the confusion?
If you want to know whether you should drink coffee or avoid it, today’s post is for you. Coffee affects different people differently. It has some health benefits, but there are people who should avoid it.
Is this you? What should you consider before your next cuppa joe?
Not to mention, what’s my recommended recipe (and does it contain coffee, decaf, or tea?). Oh, the suspense!
Do you love your breakfast? Do you have a short list of “go-to” recipes? Do you need a bit of inspiration to start eating breakfast again?
Getting some protein at each meal can help with blood sugar management, metabolism and weight loss. This is because protein helps you feel fuller longer and uses up a bunch of calories to absorb and metabolize it. So I'm going to show you how to get the protein, as well as some veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favorite new “go-to” breakfasts.
You knew there was a bit of an over-emphasis (borderlining obsession) about cholesterol, right?
Before we jump into some myths let's make sure we're on the same page when it comes to what exactly cholesterol is.
It can be too easy to think (or worry) about your weight.
But you know what? There is something else that may be more important when it comes to real health. That is your waist circumference.
Ahh, just a minute! It's not just about the “pinchable” fat under the skin (you know, that “muffin top”), it's about the internal fat around your abdominal organs that can be the real issue.
That internal fat (AKA “visceral fat”) is known to release a bunch of hormones and inflammatory compounds that can mess with your blood sugar, blood fats (i.e triglycerides), and blood pressure.
In today's post I'll describe how to measure your waist circumference and then give you a bunch of actionable tips to help you reduce it. And (of course) there's a super-nutritious recipe at the end.
The food we eat is a birthplace of social gatherings, family outings and the hub of many conversations. For others, it can be a source of pain.
Research and information studied shows repeatedly that our bodies can handle an occasional indulgence of most any food if we lead a predominantly healthy lifestyle, and if our bodies do not react with some type of sensitivity or allergic reaction.
However, a big topic of controversy and confusion tends to be the subject of protein. How much does our body need each day, and is animal protein okay for us?