Category Archives: Nourishment

Where our Goals Intersect

I hope you’re crushing those New Year’s Resolutions! Or moving towards your dreams in a way that makes you feel hopeful and happy. Progress, no matter how tentative, builds momentum and life force energy. There’s so much reward even in taking just one step forward.    

If you’re looking for a little activation energy to get started on your wellness plan, this is where our goals intersect.    

I LOVE helping people transform their health the natural and lasting way. I’ve dedicated decades of my life to learning how to do that through many disciplines, including traditional nutrition, holistic health coaching, functional medicine coaching, yoga, and yoga’s sister science Ayurveda. Then I poured the best combination of that knowledge and experience into The Ultimate Rejuvenation Cleanse.     

It is a cleanse, and so much more. In this 28-day program, you’ll cleanse out toxins, sugar addiction, and inflammation. You’ll also infuse yourself with deeply nourishing foods, habits, self care, and perspective shifts. You’ll learn experientially which foods serve your unique body and which ones don’t.   

All these gains will stick around, and propel you towards your goals even after the cleanse is done. This is not one of those one-dimensional, deprivation diets where you drop some pounds and gain it right back plus a few more. The goal of this program is multifaceted nourishment so your body heals, rejuvenates, and you reach your ideal weight almost as a side benefit.    

Additionally, you’ll cultivate fantastic energy, glowing skin, mental clarity, and profound wellness. You’ll learn a lot, get excited and inspired, discover great new things, and have expert support.     

The program follows a gentle, luxurious pace. Slow and steady wins the race! In the first seven days, we build a strong self care foundation before we make a single change to our diets. During the second week, we start to make a few dietary shifts towards whole, unprocessed food. The third week is the official full cleanse week, with plenty of delicious food and self care the whole time. Finally, the fourth week is when we test for food sensitivities. Often it’s those hidden sensitivities that cause pesky health issues like low energy, weight gain, brain fog, sinus and skin issues, digestive woes, etc. This is a major key to well-being that most people miss.

You’ll get a content rich, inspiring email every morning, a 200+ page eBook with everything you need to know about the cleanse plus lots of bonuses, 150+ delicious cleanse friendly recipes, a Quick Start Guide that cuts to the chase, a private Facebook group to chat with me and other cleansers, a few optional live events including 2 conference calls, a shopping trip, and celebration dinner (if you’re local).

If this sounds like the perfect program for you right now, let’s take that step forward together –  join the cleanse today! We can also stay connected on Facebook.

Image credit: Al1974ex

I bet you never heard THIS productivity secret!

There’s so much excellent wisdom about increasing productivity that you could get seriously behind in your work researching the many ways to be productive. The books, blog posts, and TED Talks are shiny objects that I cannot resist. However, despite all the time I’ve spent unlocking the secrets to my productivity, I can’t say any of of the techniques became my permanent M.O. I suspect I’m not alone in that.

I do however have a pretty awesome productivity secret of my own that my clients and I have discovered along the way. It’s a little different because it’s not about setting up systems, planning, or scheduling. It’s more about removing what is blocking your mental clarity, energy, and motivation. From your dinner plate.

It’s gluten.

Surprised? If I had a dime for every client that has been truly astounded at how much more mental clarity and energy they gained by removing gluten from their diet, I’d be able to make a long distance call from a payphone. If I could find one. Here’s what one client said after being gluten free for about a month, “I got done in one hour what used to take me all day. The mental fog is totally gone.” Other clients (myself included) noticed how much less we procrastinate. Getting things done doesn’t feel like such a slog. There is more ease and less resistance. So your work gets done more efficiently, and more effectively as well.

I can’t help thinking… if going gluten free can make that much of a difference in productivity for one person, imagine if a whole company did it? Whoa.

Millions of us suffer from what is called “non-Celiac gluten sensitivity”. That’s when the proteins in gluten don’t necessarily cause digestive distress, but they do make you physically fatigued, mentally lethargic, and struggling with motivation. There is a whole spectrum of other conditions that glutlen sensitivity can lead to as well, from annoying to debilitating.

If you’re suffering from low energy and mental fog, try removing gluten from your diet for a few weeks and see what happens. Odds are you’re going to start feeling a lot better and getting your work done like a boss. Without blood, sweat, or even coffee.

Going gluten free might seem daunting at first because gluten is omnipresent in our diets. But it’s really not that difficult once you learn a few tricks. Restaurants are getting on the bandwagon and offering more and more gluten free options.

Do yourself a favor by doing it the right way. Swap all that bread and pasta for nutrient dense whole grains like quinoa, brown or black rice, and other whole food starches like sweet potatoes, not highly processed gluten free white bread and pasta. We want you to get healthier too, not just more productive.

And now a word from our sponsor… In my cleanse, I can show you how to go gluten free (and test for other common food sensitivities), significantly upgrade your nutrition, and get you taking better care of yourself than ever before. When you do that, your vitality, mood, and productivity skyrockets!

Now back to work!

Image credit: Alper Kutay Erke

The Best Relationship Advice I’ve Ever Heard

This isn’t usually the website where you find relationship advice. BUT our marriages, careers, hobbies, friendships, etc do feed us, and are sometimes referred to as “primary food”.

“Primary food is more than what is on your plate. Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. When primary food is balanced and satiating, your life feeds you, making what you eat secondary.”

  The Institute of Integrative Nutrition  

I’ve had a few friends say in exasperation, “My marriage is making me fat!” And maybe there is truth in it! Relationships certainly can affect how we feel and look, and even our risk of chronic disease. So it’s vital to be proactive in addressing issues before they show up in your body in some way.

Whether you’re married, divorced, looking for a new soul mate, I think you will find tremendous value in this TED Talk. It’s not only insightful, but entertaining. I’ve listened to it three times already!

Can we talk about Weight Loss?

In the relentless pressure to be thin, many men and women turn to programs and products that promise rapid weight loss. Even though by now, we all know that the process will not be pleasant, it may not be healthy, and any weight loss will probably be temporary.

But this will be the LAST TIME, right?

After years and years, and millions of confirmations of this truth, maybe we should stop the pushing that boulder up the mountain over and over again (unless it’s part of our workout), and take a more permanent approach. To be effective, we need to get to the root cause of the weight issues, not just put a temporary Band Aid on it, like we so often do in our society.

When we have been struggling for so long, trying a million things, reading a million blogs and books, we can lose our ability to see clearly and start focusing on wacky things.

  • Maybe it’s not those red apples or bananas, but the late night choco-thon, as my friend Rona realized in one aha moment.
  • Possibly you don’t need to add yet another punishing workout to your schedule, but learn to relax more. Cortisol throws a huge monkey wrench in our weight loss efforts.
  • Perhaps more than WHAT you’re eating, WHY you’re eating is the real problem. Stress, procrastination, boredom? We need to learn better ways of dealing with those things.

Of course, most of us could stand to clean up our diets a bit – eat more veggies, drink more water, have less sugar, gluten, and simple carbs, chew better, eat in a more relaxed way, spend a few hours not eating between meals, detox, … etc. All of that makes a big difference, especially when addressed in conjunction with lifestyle choices.  That’s exactly what we do in our cleanse. We shine a light on all of these aspects, so they work synergistically to give you better, healthier, and more long term results than just starving yourself and doing P90X three times a day. Which, incidentally, can stress out your body and make it even harder to lose weight.

In the functional medicine world, we flip the usual viewpoint upside down. Instead of focusing solely on weight loss, we see weight loss as a natural side benefit of getting healthier. Maybe this is the year to get off that torturous, ineffective hamster wheel and focus on the best way to nourish, care for, and love ourselves, and find our ideal weight the real way. The more pleasant way. The permanent way. Try our cleanse this year… you’ll be so glad you did. Wishing you so much amazingness in 2019!

Image credit: All Fitness

Ch-ch-ch-Changes in 2019!

George Bernard Shaw said that progress is impossible without change. Although we’re all for progress, we tend to avoid change. Mostly because we’re such creatures of habit and our comfort zones are so darn comfy!

Yet change is inevitable*. Day in and day out, we are all morphing – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Although we can’t stop this process, we can direct it.

In most cases, it’s not bad luck or bad genes that cause us to feel suboptimal, it’s how we choose to feed and care for ourselves. If we want a different experience, we have to try something different. Although trying new things can be uncomfortable at first, it’s empowering to experience how much our habitual choices affect our life experience. It’s so worth the effort.

In our gentle, 4-week cleanse – we help you to try fabulous new things and upgrade your habits so you feel better fast, and then even better over time. (Why go through the trouble for just short term benefit?) We’d love to help you create powerful, lasting change in 2019! The New Year cleanse begins on January 20th! If you’re on our mailing list, we’ll let you know when registration opens up on January 1st.

* except from a vending machine

Image credit: James Rice

How + Why to Avoid Gluten (most of the time)

Last week, we discussed some of the ways glyphosate (the main ingredient in the herbicide Roundup) is undermining our health and how you can reduce glyphosate residues by switching to organic wheat. To take it one step further, wheat itself can be problematic for many people even without the glyphosate. One of the most significant ways is that gluten (the protein in wheat, rye, barley, farro, and spelt), increases intestinal permeability through increasing levels of zonulin.

Here’s how it happens:

  1. You eat gluten
  2. Intestinal zonulin levels go up
  3. Your intestines become more permeable (like a sieve)
  4. Larger food particles that haven’t been sufficiently digested get absorbed into the blood
  5. Your immune system attacks the food and anything else that kind of looks like the food, even sometimes the body itself
  6. You get more inflamed which can show up as joint pain, headaches, fatigue, digestive distress, skin disorders, mood issues, and worse

This folks, is the origin of allergies, food sensitivities, and even autoimmune conditions, and why Functional Medicine doctors believe that all disease begins in the gut.

In fact, there is a whole spectrum of gluten-related health issues documented in the medical research. A review in The New England Journal of Medicine listed fifty-five diseases that can be caused by eating gluten, covering the gamut from inflammatory bowel diseases, fatigue, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and mental health issues. Twenty million Americans suffer from a gluten-related health issue without even realizing it. They’re taking medications for their migraines, pain, anxiety, etc, but they’re just treating the symptom, not the root cause.

What to do?

If you don’t have Celiac disease (an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten) or suffer from other severe symptoms from gluten, we have a totally do-able, moderate approach to this gluten problem. We are big believers in the 90-10 (or 80-20) approach, where what you do most of the time determines your health outcomes, with wiggle room for a few indulgences here and there. So occasionally we’ll have some wheat, whether in a nice crusty bread, homemade banana bread, or pasta dish when we’re eating out. But 90% of the time, we choose gluten free whole grains or no grains at all.

Some ideas include:

  • Protein-rich quinoa (to clear up any confusion, it’s pronounced “keen-wah”)
  • Brown or black rice (black rice is especially nutrient dense and known to enhance libido)
  • Gluten free, organic steel cut or rolled oats (sometimes oats are sprayed with glyphosate too, so definitely get organic)
  • Pastas made with whole food legumes like chickpea or edamame pasta (quite filling, dense, and high in protein)
  • Sweet potato, lentils, legumes, or other potatoes instead of a grain
  • Omit the starchy foods entirely (which is very helpful for weight loss and increasing energy for many people)

You can make ALL KINDS of delicious meals with these ideas (check out some of our recipes). You’ll not only be avoiding glyphosate and gluten, but you’ll be getting even more nutrients than if you were eating processed, refined white bread or pasta.

Avoid the gluten free sugar trap:

The gluten free aisle offers a huge selection of highly processed gluten free alternatives – breads, cookies, brownies, pastas, cereals, etc. These are fine for a very occasional indulgence, but are not healthy options, even though they don’t have gluten. Because they are so processed, they are kind of like eating pure sugar, with a high glycemic index, lots of calories, and barely any nutrients. This is one of the reasons people can gain weight when going gluten free.

Although bread is yummy, we were never supposed to eat it with reckless abandon at every meal. Switching over to whole food, gluten free alternatives most of the time can make you feel better in so many ways! And it’s not even that weird – and actually starts to feel pretty normal after a while.

 

Image credit: Veera Maattanen

The Low Down on the Leaky Gut

There’s been an exciting collection of new digestion-related terms in the health media these days, like leaky gut, intestinal permeability, SIBO, dysbiosis, etc. This growing awareness of the importance of gut health to overall health is clear evidence of progress towards true health care! Hippocrates, the Father of modern medicine, said, “All disease begins in the gut.”

Functional Medicine, a discipline that focuses on addressing the root causes of disease (instead of treating symptoms), recognizes the gut as the starting point of so much dis-ease that we experience today, including food allergies, joint pain, autoimmunity, fatigue, inflammation, and more. These seemingly unrelated conditions can all have the same root cause – a leaky gut.

What is a Leaky Gut?

It is a state of enhanced (and not in a good way) intestinal permeability. The intestine, the barrier between the outside world and our inner body, is only one cell thick. The cells are glued together by “tight junctions”, which prevent large, undigested food particles from entering the blood stream. Ideally, everything is broken down into very small components before being safely absorbed into the body.

But sometimes the tight junctions get a little more permeable and allow food particles that haven’t been fully broken down to enter the blood. Not recognizing these particles, the immune system mounts a defensive reaction. Going forward, the immune system gets activated every time you eat that food. This is a very common cause of food allergies/sensitivities. This constant immune activation causes increased systemic inflammation, which can show up in the joints (causing arthritic symptoms), the skin (causing eczema, acne, psoriasis…), the brain (resulting in mental fog), metabolism (causing weight gain and low energy). It can even progress to an autoimmune dynamic, where the immune system starts attacking the body’s own tissues like the thyroid. This is just a short list! Since everything in the body is interconnected, the potential effects of a leaky gut are endless.

What Causes Leaky Gut?

  • Medications including NSAIDs, birth control pills, antibiotics, SSRIs, and acid reflux medications (in a more indirect way)
  • Gluten, by causing the body to secrete a substance called zonulin, which opens up the tight junctions
  • Low vitamin D
  • Disruptions in the precious gut microbiome (as in dysbiosis, SIBO, Candida overgrowth, etc)
  • Toxins and chemicals
  • Stress

Can you Fix it?

Yes! Follow the 5 R’s of gut healing. This is an order of operations that have been found to be most effective for healing. The order is important, but oftentimes the stages will overlap. The timing and exact approach will vary depending on individual circumstances.

  1. Remove what’s causing the issue – for example; foods you’re allergic or sensitive to such as gluten and dairy (this may only be necessary for a few months), toxins, stress, foods that feed undesired microbes like excess sugar, unnecessary medications.
  2. Replace what’s missing – for example; digestive enzymes, stomach acid, bile acids, adrenal/thyroid/immune support.
  3. Reinoculate – with probiotics, prebiotics, cultured foods, dietary fiber.
  4. Repair any damage to the intestinal lining – with mucilaginous herbs that soothe the digestive tract (such as slippery elm, marshmallow, and licorice) and zinc carnosine, vitamin D, potentially L-glutamine (if tolerated), and foods like okra, chia, flaxseed, artichoke, legumes, and warm vegetable broth on an empty stomach.
  5. Rebalance – long term dietary changes, stress reduction, and eating hygiene.

Once you heal intestinal permeability and food intolerances, many seemingly unrelated symptoms can resolve. It’s so worth the effort! Please contact us if you would like individual guidance.

Image credit: Leanna Rosser

Get RAWsome this Summer!

Summer is DA BEST! We’ve got vacations, beaches, parties, cookouts, a more relaxed pace, sunshine and warmth… It can be downright blissful! And we’re so happy it’s here.

The only downside that we’re aware of is that by the end of August, previous cleansers are usually emailing us in droves asking when the fall cleanse is. Now, don’t get me wrong, we LOVE to hear from you all and love that you love our cleanse. But we’ve come to conclude that the summer is worse in terms of diet and weight gain than the holiday season. Who would’ve thought?

Imagine having an amazing summer and actually going into fall feeling more fabulous than ever before? You can!

In order to support you better through the summer, and share a way of eating that is actually thrilling, we have a totally RAWsome summer option for you! We’ve been low key about introducing it, because the whole program is low key in terms of structure and “rules”, but it is pretty spectacular in terms of how it can make you feel.

It is our Raw Rejuvenation program!

The goal is to introduce you in a very laid back way to the amazing, delicious, and life changing world of raw cuisine. Stay with me… It’s not carrots and celery sticks! It’s an extremely creative {and easy} way to prepare food without heat to better maintain the vibrant flavors and intense nutrition of your produce.

Raw food contains significantly more nutrients and is gentler on the body than cooked food. And you can really feel the difference.

When I am mostly raw, I have:

  •     More energy than I know what to do with
  •     Weight loss with out deprivation
  •     Glowing skin
  •     Unexplained joy
  •     A sense of aliveness and vibrancy
  •     Digestion perfection

And this is what most people experience, which is why raw foodists get a little fanatical. We won’t get fanatical in our program though. Our Raw Rejuvenation eBook provides easy to read background information and many simple delicious recipes that mostly don’t require any special equipment. We also send just one email per week for the summer, and daily support through our private Facebook group and email.

We’ll provide info, inspiration, and recipes to gradually up your raw quotient, and you’ll feel better and better the more you do. You choose your level of exploration. There are no rules or quilt. You just add some new delish dishes to your weekly repertoire, enjoy the parties and usual beverages the whole time. When you’re eating lots of raw food, the other “indulgences” don’t seem to detract from your well being as much. So really, it’s a perfect approach to feeling amazing without being strict or missing out on your favorite stuff. Also, it’s usually a smaller group than the regular cleanse, so the whole thing feels more intimate and relaxed.

We would truly be honored to introduce you to this dietary approach. It’s only $49, and you can start any time. Click here for more info and to register.

Image credit: Wuzy Pego

Harness the Cleansing Power of Spring!

According to traditional health care systems like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is a time of transformation and detoxification. Whether you look at it through the lens of energy moving, alignment with the seasons, or the liver and kidneys stepping up their detoxification activities, it’s happening! This spring you have a powerful choice to make – partner with your body in this endeavor or no. If you choose the former, and we hope you will, you can harness this natural process and clear months and even years of toxins, sludge (called “ama” in Ayurveda or plaques and biofilms in the west), and stagnation, reduce inflammation, and set your body back to its default state is that of radiant health. When you do that, you have energy, your skin glows, your brain works, you lose weight… and you will feel amazing! It even improves your outlook on life.

To do a very simple Ayurvedic cleanse on your own, you could drink water with freshly squeezed lemon in the morning, drink lots of water throughout the day, exercise, get restorative rest, and eat a mono diet of kitchari for a few days or a week. Set the time frame you can commit to, get your supplies, and just do it! We do this version occasionally when we need a reset.

That’s just one easy example but there are many cleanses you can choose from… we know because we’ve done most of them! Some were completely insane, some didn’t seem effective, and some were way too unpalatable for our palates. Like the Buddha choosing the middle path after experimenting with the extremes, we have found that a moderate approach to cleansing that is sustainable and even enjoyable is the best approach for long term success. In our luxurious, 28-day program, we slowly transform our lifestyle and diet to create more wellness. We focus on anti inflammatory, healing, nourishing whole foods and lifestyle practices, with a powerful synergistic effect. Our cleansers have had amazing transformations in their health, reversing chronic conditions like arthritis, psoriasis, digestive issues, and more. One woman near and dear to our heart credits the cleanse with her conceiving a baby!

If you are excited about feeling happy, confident in your skin, and energized to enjoy life, join us for our group cleanse April 15th! Register here. We would be honored to support you in feeling awesome!

Image credit: iStock

4 Foods for Love

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d share some lesser known nutritional gems to help your heart and love life! The first three are totally fun and delicious and the last one is serious information that you need to know.

1) Valentines Day is ALL about chocolate, and happily, good quality cocoa actually is fantastic for your cardiovascular system, mostly due to its exceptionally high levels of antioxidants and its magnesium content. It’s been shown to increase the good cholesterol (HDL) and decrease oxidized bad cholesterol (LDL), as well as decreasing atherosclerotic plaques, blood pressure, and improving blood flow, which is a great thing on Valentine’s Day (if you know what we mean)! If you really want to keep your loved one’s ticker healthy, opt for dark chocolate without any dairy (milk or butter) added. Dairy has been shown to decrease the activity of the antioxidants by a significant amount (1, 2). Check out our Superfood Chocolate Bark recipe!

2) Have you ever heard of the superfood maca? According to superfood researcher David Wolfe, “Maca is widely recognized as supportive to hormone balance and fertility. It promotes virility, libido, and even has been shown to enhance sperm mobility. In the same vein, it is also known as a powerful aphrodisiac for both men and women. Maca provides sustained energy, vitality, and elevated mood. It is particularly helpful for women to promote healthy menstruation and to support the process of menopause.” Of course, none of this has been evaluated by the FDA, but there is evidence from current research and its long history of medicinal use in traditional cultures. We add a tablespoon of gelatinized maca powder to our smoothies and hot cocoa. If you’re a maca newbie, start with a half teaspoon and work up to a tablespoon.

3) You’ve upgraded your white rice to brown rice, but it may be time to take it to the next level. Black rice was once reserved for royalty and their concubines due to its high nutritional content and prized aphrodisiac benefits. In fact, it was known as “forbidden rice” because a commoner caught eating it would be put to death. When you look at the rice very closely, you’ll notice that it’s actually a deep, gorgeous purple. The purple hue comes from anthocyanins, the powerful antioxidants found in grapes and wine that are widely known to be great for your heart (and skin and brain too!). Try our Forbidden Black Rice or roll some sushi with it!

4) Although everybody and their brother are taking fish oil to protect their hearts, accumulating research has shown that fish oil does not protect your cardiovascular system and may lead to an aggressive form of prostate cancer. A huge meta-analysis of the data confirms that fish oil supplements are likely pointless for preventing heart disease. There are much better ways for keeping your heart and prostate healthy – including eating more colorful plant foods, nuts and seeds, and decreasing your intake of inflammatory omega 6 oils like vegetable, corn, and safflower oil. Replace these oils with healthier olive, coconut, avocado, and grapeseed oils (organic, cold pressed, in a glass bottle). Most commercial dressings are made with inflammatory oils, so they actually make your healthy salad kind of unhealthy! It is so quick and easy to make your own delicious dressings with healthier oils and nuts.

Wishing you a healthy, happy heart and lots of love!

Image credit: flowmind on flickr.com