Adrenal Fatigue – Could it be getting you down?

Adrenal fatigue or adrenal exhaustion can be the cause of many ills.  When you have unexplainable tiredness, looking to your HPA Axis can help you get to the root of the problem.

Adrenal Fatigue | Adrenal Exhaustion | Why Am I So Tired?Stressed?

Tired? Craving sugar? Can’t sleep?

Craving sugar?

Can’t sleep?

All of these can be related to the constant stress we feel in our lives. We know that stress can have a huge impact on our health and wellness. And, since your adrenal glands produce stress hormones, adrenal fatigue (or “HPA Axis Dysregulation,”) is a popular theme lately. 

Your adrenal glands look like walnuts that live on top of both of your kidneys. These important glands produce many hormones, including stress hormones. Their job is to regulate the hormones in your body to manage your stress.

But what happens when they become “overworked?”

You’ve heard of “adrenaline junkies,” right?

Adrenaline and cortisol are the stress hormones that give you the commonly known adrenaline rush; when you’re totally alert and living in the moment. This feeling is known as your body’s “fight or flight” response. Some people (perhaps you?) just love that intense feeling.

The release of hormones in the fight or flight response is your body’s normal reaction to stress.  Stress can sometimes be positive, like when it helps you swerve and prevent a crash. After a short time, the flight or flight response dissipates, your body goes back to normal, and all is good. But what would happen if you felt constant stress? Like all day, every day? Like “chronic” stress?

It wouldn’t feel like an awesome (once-in-a-while) “rush,” anymore would it?

What do you think happens to your poor adrenal glands when they’re constantly working?

They’d get fatigued!

Do I have Adrenal Fatigue?

When your adrenal glands start getting tired of secreting stress hormones day in and out, they begin to fail to produce enough cortisol to handle your stress and you can start getting symptoms.

Symptoms like fatigue, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, weight loss or gain, joint pain, sugar cravings, even frequent infections like colds and the flu are signs that your adrenals are overworked.

Adrenal Fatigue | Adrenal Exhaustion | Why Am I So Tired? | I Need Coffee

First off, I have to tell you that there aren’t medically accepted blood tests for adrenal fatigue. In fact, it’s not recognized by most medical professionals until the point when your adrenals are so fatigued they almost stop working. At that point, the official diagnoses of “Adrenal Insufficiency” or “Addison’s Disease” may apply.

However, if you do have symptoms, you should see your doctor to rule out other conditions. He or she may even be open to discussing adrenal fatigue, or at the very least, wellness strategies that can help to reduce your stress (and symptoms).

As a Functional Diagnostic Practitioner Health Coach, I can help you with wellness strategies.

What Should I Do if I Have Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms?

There are many actions you can take to reduce your stress and improve your health and energy levels.

Ideally, if you think stress is starting to burn you out, stress management is key. There are tons of ideas how you can reduce your stress. My favorites are prayer and meditation, walking in nature, light exercise, more sleep, and reading.

Of course, I also recommend reducing sugar and processed food intake and eating more fruits and vegetables. Better nutrition can only help your body.

Conclusion

Your adrenal glands produce hormones in response to stress. After long-term daily stress, they may get tired.

Adrenal fatigue is a controversial disease that doesn’t have a true diagnostic test, nor specific telltale symptoms.

The most important thing you can do is to get tested to rule out other potential conditions. As an FDN practitioner, I can help you get labs completed to look at your cortisol levels throughout the day and design a D.R.E.S.S. protocol for you and your lifestyle.

You can also try stress reduction techniques like meditation, walks in nature, light exercise, more sleep, hobbies, or even a lovely bath.

Recipe (Stress-Reducing Bath Salt): Lavender Bath Salts

  • 1 1/2 cups Epsom salts
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil

As you’re running your warm bath water, add ingredients to the tub. Mix until dissolved

Enjoy your stress-reducing bath!

Tip: You can add a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers.

Caution:  Even though lavender is considered a “safe” oil to have on your skin, some people can still be sensitive to it.  Use with caution.

References:
https://www.thepaleomom.com/adrenal-fatigue-pt-1/
https://www.dietvsdisease.org/adrenal-fatigue-real/
Adrenal Fatigue | Adrenal Exhaustion | Why Am I So Tired?

8 Ways Fear Shows Up in Your Life, How to Stop Worrying

As you move into midlife and beyond, fears can start taking over your life as you face changes.  Fear of never feeling healthy again, fear of change in your life circumstance, fear that you are aging faster than you want to, fear that life is over, fear that you will be alone.  I could go on and on.  Change happens fast in your late 40s and 50s.  It can be overwhelming.  Recognizing how fear shows up in your life can help you stop it from holding you back from your healthiest life, your life of your dreams, your life full of love?

8 Ways Fear Shows Up In Your Life | Don't Let Fear Stop You | Live Your Healthiest Life

I have been going through many changes over the past year physically and mentally. Throughout these changes the main emotion I have been feeling is fear. I didn’t realize it at first, but as I look back, it was fear keeping me stuck.

I had been feeling quite good for a few years after I made health changes to handle my GERD and hormonal issues. I felt like I was eating healthy, moving my body, sleeping better, and taking care of myself. I felt in control.

Then things outside of my control happened.  Along with outside events, my body really moved into perimenopause, and I suddenly felt like I was living in another body. What I had been doing wasn’t working anymore.

Here I was, a health coach. I had just finished my second certification. I knew what I needed to do to feel my best.  Yet nothing seemed to be working.  I was feeling worse. Had less energy. Gas and bloating were back with a vengeance. My weight and waist were increasing. My health was decreasing even as I was doing all the “right things”.

I reverted back to what I knew. Did some cleanses and worked on my diet, allowed my body to rest and worked on sleeping. When that didn’t work, I cut my calories. Yep, I don’t believe in restricted diets, yet I even tried that. Nothing seemed to help. Over the winter, I gained 5 pounds, all around the waist. I was struggling to get out of bed, and I was struggling with my erratic cycles.

I was afraid.

Afraid that all I learned was for nothing. Afraid that I really didn’t know anything. Afraid that I was going to be really sick again. Afraid I was going to gain a lot of weight.

At the same time, I was dealing with my last year of homeschooling. It is what I knew and who I was for the past 16 years.  Now what. The future just seemed…out of focus.

I was afraid of what was to come next. What would I do without my kids, homeschool, life as I knew it?

My fear led to procrastination. When I took the time to look at my life I saw the procrastination. I simply knew it was fear that was causing the procrastination because that is how my fear comes out in my life.

8 Ways Fear Shows Up In Your Life?

Most of us don’t recognize fear.  Why? Because we don’t always acknowledge our fear, our perceived weakness.  But when we fear, it will show up in other ways.  Learning to recognize how is shows up in your life, can help you confront fear and meet it head on to get past the fear and worry.

  1. Procrastination
    For me, fear showed up as procrastination.  I put things off as long as possible. I made excuses to myself. I delayed as long as possible to get things done.
  2. Perfectionism
    You make sure everything is just right before moving on.  Usually, nothing is just right.
  3. You Say No
    You say no to everything. You are paralyzed. You are hiding.
  4. You Say Yes
    You do everything and anything that comes to your plate. You fill your calendar, so you don’t have down time. No downtime…no time to think and feel.
  5. You Give In To Your Addiction
    It doesn’t matter if it is alcohol, reality tv, drugs, sexual promiscuity, food, surfing the net or any other addiction.  You allow your vice to use up most of your time, so you don’t have to face your fear.
  6. Your Get Sick Often
    Fear can wreak havoc on your immune system.  You get every cold and flu that goes around.
  7. You Control Everything
    You plan out every detail.  You can’t handle letting anyone else or anything else be in control of your life.
  8. You Settle
    You let go of your goals and dreams. You believe that you can’t get healthier or thinner so you just accept it. You believe your life will always be “meh”.  You just exist.

Quote | 8 Ways Fear Shows Up In Your Life | Don't Let Fear Stop You | Live Your Healthiest Life

Steps to Stop Worrying When Fear Shows Up?

  1. Remember no one is fearless.  We all feel fear.  Fear is a natural and beautiful emotion.  It can protect us from doing things to hurt ourselves.  However, living in anxiety is not a good thing. Avoiding your fears and not dealing with them, will keep you stuck.
  2. Pray.  Give your fears to God.  Allow Him to be in control.  Seek His will for you. When you live your life for God, the rest comes into perspective.  It takes time, but fear lessens when you realize how big your God is.
  3. Let the pressure go.  Don’t pressure yourself to get past the worry. Let yourself feel it and embrace it. Know that it is trying to teach you something.
  4. Take one step.  Just a baby step. Whatever you are fearing, move in its direction.  Celebrate that step and realize your world didn’t end.  Change is hard.  Be good to yourself.
  5. Share your fears with someone you trust. Be vulnerable. Sharing allows the fears to come into the light.  When you have companionship to get through your fears, they just don’t seem as big once you can give voice to what it is you fear.
  6. Changes do happen faster than we can handle sometimes as we hit midlife.  Change can be good, but it can be scary. Don’t let fear stop you. Recognize how fear shows up in your life and then face your fears. Recognize life and your health may not be the same, but that doesn’t mean it has to be bad.

Tell me in the comments how does fear normally show up for you?

Note: Everything I learned was not for nothing. I just had to start listening to my body. Now that I have recognized my fears, I am tackling them.  I still have health issues and mentally am not as strong as I was, but that is ok.  Life is getting brighter as I try new things.

 

8 Ways Fear Shows Up In Your Life | Don't Let Fear Stop You | Live Your Healthiest Life

Feed Your Brain – The Gut-Brain Connection + Overnight Oats Recipe

You probably have never thought about what you need to feed your brain, or that there is a gut-brain connection. Our brains work so well, we rarely think of the powerhouse it is in all of our functioning of our body.  Feeding it good nutrients and making sure those nutrients reach the brain is important to your health.  It all starts in the gut.

Gut-brain connection | Feed Your Brain for Your Health | Gut Brain are Connected

Your gut is considered your “second brain.” Because of recent scientific discoveries about the vagus nerve, the enteric nervous system, and the amazing influence your gut microbes can have, it’s no wonder what you eat feeds not only your body but can directly affect your brain.

I find it amazing (but not too surprising).

What is the Gut-Brain Connection

The gut-brain connection is very complex, and to be honest, science is still learning lots about it!

There seem to be multiple things working together.  Things like:

  • The vagus nerve that links the gut directly to the brain;
  • The “enteric nervous system” (A.K.A. “second brain) that helps the complex intricacies of digestion flow with little to no involvement from the actual brain;
  • The massive amount of neurotransmitters produced by the gut;
  • The huge part of the immune system that is in the gut, but can travel throughout the body; and,
  • The interactions and messages sent by the gut microbes.

This is complex.

And amazing, if you ask me.  Let’s briefly discuss each.

Vagus Nerve – An Important Nerve that Is Virtually Unknown

There is a nerve that runs directly from the gut to the brain, the vagus nerve.

Can you guess which direction 90% of the transmission is?

Not from your brain to your gut (which is what we used to think), but from your gut up to your brain.

This is a great article on the Vagus Nerve and how to stimulate it.

The Enteric Nervous System and Neurotransmitters

Would you believe me if I told you that the gut has more nerves than your spinal cord?

That is why it’s referred to as the “second brain.”

If you think about it, controlling the complex process of digestion (i.e. digestive enzymes, absorption of nutrients, the flow of food, etc.) should probably be done pretty “smartly”…don’t you think? It makes sense that the gut has the ability to control digestion when you think about a paraplegic who can still eat and digest.

Guess how these nerves speak to each other and to other cells? By chemical messengers called “neurotransmitters.”

In fact, many of the neurotransmitters that have a strong effect on our mood are made in the gut! e.g. a whopping 95% of serotonin is made in your gut, not in your brain!

The Immune System of the Gut

Because eating and drinking is a huge portal where disease-causing critters can get into your body, it makes total sense that much of our defense system would be located there too, right? Seventy-five percent of our immune system is in our gut!

The immune cells can move throughout the entire body and cause inflammation just about anywhere, right?

Well, if they’re “activated” by something in the gut, they can potentially wreak havoc anywhere in the body. Including the potential to cause inflammation in the brain. The gut and the brain have a complex connection.  There is a blood brain barrier that tries to prevent this inflammation in your brain, but that barrier can be crossed.

Gut Microbes

Your friendly neighborhood gut residents. You have billions of those little guys happily living in your gut. They do amazing things like help you digest certain foods, make certain vitamins, and even help regulate inflammation!

But more and more evidence is showing that changes in your gut microbiota can impact your mood, and even other, more serious, mental health issues.

How Do These All Work Together for Brain Health?

The honest answer to how these things all work together is that we really don’t know just yet. More and more studies are being done to learn more.

One thing is becoming clear. A healthy gut goes hand-in-hand with a healthy brain!

So, how do you feed your brain?

There are some things to consider to help feed your brain.

  • Eat a variety of minimally processed, nutrient-dense foods is required because no nutrients work alone.
  • Eat more fiber in fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds to help feed your awesome gut microbes.
  • Consume Omega-3 fats such as fatty fish, walnuts, algae, and seeds like flax, chia, and hemp.  These are well-known to be inflammation-lowering, brain boosters. You can also take fish oil if you need more. My favorite is Nordic Naturals brand.  There are several types with different amount of DHA and EPA, so check with your pharmacist to help you determine which is best for you.
  • Supplement with probiotics and a good digestive enzyme to help with digestion of your food so that you can absorb the nutrition in your foods.

 

Blueberry Hemp Overnight Oats | Breakfast Bowl | Gut-Brain Connections | Smoothie in a Bowl

Recipe (Gut food fiber, Brain food omega-3): Blueberry Hemp Overnight Oats

Serves 2

  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup oats (gluten-free)
  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  1. Blend blueberries in the food processor until smooth.
  2. Mix blueberries, oats, almond milk, chia seeds, hemp seeds in a bowl with a lid. Let set in fridge overnight.
  3. Split into two bowls and top with cinnamon, banana, and walnuts. Add a few fresh blueberries if you wish.

Serve & enjoy! (Recipe can be halved)

Tip: Your gut microbes love to eat the fiber in the blueberries, oats, seeds, and nuts. Meanwhile, your brain loves the omega-3 fats in the seeds and nuts.

References:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/the-brain-gut-connection
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-probiotics
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/fix-gut-fix-health
http://neurotrition.ca/blog/your-gut-bugs-what-they-eat-and-7-ways-feed-them
Gut-brain connection | Feed Your Brain for Your Health | Gut Brain are Connected

Waist Circumference Matters More than What You Weigh

You can’t walk by your scale without weighing yourself.  Some days you totally want to ditch that darn scale. The number on the scale can make happy or frustrated. You worry about your weight, but do you ever think about your waist circumference?

Waist Circumference or Weigh? | Apple or pear shape? | Where your fat is matters

What you weigh matters but only to a certain extent. Waist circumference, or where you carry your weight, is even more important.

Let’s look at your waist circumference (well…you look at yours and I’ll look at mine).

Waist Circumference or Belly Fat

Do you remember the fruity body shape descriptions being like an “apple” or a “pear”?  The apple is kinda round around the middle (you know – belly fat-ish, kinda beer belly-ish) and the pear is rounder around the hips/thighs.

THAT is what we’re talking about here.

Do you know which shape is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes) and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases)?

Yup – the apple!

It’s not because of the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that you may refer to as a “muffin top”.  The health risk is actually due to the fat inside the abdomen covering the liver, intestines and other organs there. This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and that’s where a lot of the problem actually is.  It’s this “un-pinchable” fat.

The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure.

Apple-shaped people tend to have a lot more of this hidden visceral fat than the pear-shaped people do.

As you can see where your fat is stored is more important that how much you weigh.

Waist Circumference or Weigh? | Apple or pear shape? | Where your fat is matters

Am I an apple or a pear?

It’s pretty simple to find out if you’re in the higher risk category or not. The easiest way is to just measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape.  To measure correctly, while standing start at the top of your hip bone, then bring the tape measure around, level with your belly button. Make sure it’s not too tight and that it’s straight. No holding your breath!

You can do it right now…I will wait.

As a woman, if your waist is 33 inches or more, that is a concern. If your waist is 35 inches or more you could be considered to have “abdominal obesity” and be in the higher risk category.  Pregnant ladies are exempt, of course. The number is 40 inches for men.

Of course, this isn’t a diagnostic tool.  There are lots of risk factors for chronic diseases.  Waist circumference is just one of them.

If you have concerns, see your doctor or work with a health coach to make changes to your health.

Tips for helping reduce some belly fat:

  • Make sure you are well hydrated. Drink your water.
  • Eat more fiber. Fiber can help reduce belly fat in a few ways.  First of all, it helps you feel full and also helps to reduce the number of calories you absorb from your food.  Some examples of high-fiber foods are brussel sprouts, flax and chia seeds, avocado, and blackberries.
  • Add more protein to your day. Protein reduces your appetite and makes you feel fuller longer.  It also has a high TEF (thermic effect of food) compared with fats and carbs and ensures you have enough of the amino acid building blocks for your muscles.
  • Nix added sugars. This means ditch the processed sweetened foods especially those sweet drinks.
  • Move your body. Get some aerobic exercise.  Lift some weights or do body exercises such as push ups and squats.  Walk and take the stairs.  It all adds up.
  • Stress less. Seriously!  Elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase appetite and drive abdominal fat.
  • Get more sleep. Try making this a priority and seeing how much better you feel (and look).

Recipe (High fiber side dish): Garlic Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Serves 4

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts (washed, ends removed, halved)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • dash salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degree F.

In a bowl toss sprouts with garlic, oil, and lemon juice.  Spread on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper.

Bake for about 15 minutes.  Toss. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:  Brussel sprouts contain the fat-soluble bone-loving vitamin K.  You may want to eat them more often.

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/research-abdominal-fat-and-risk
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/visceral-fat-location
http://www.drsharma.ca/inspiring-my-interest-in-visceral-fat
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-definition/abdominal-obesity/
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/weights-poids/guide-ld-adult/qa-qr-pub-eng.php#a4
https://authoritynutrition.com/6-proven-ways-to-lose-belly-fat/
https://authoritynutrition.com/20-tips-to-lose-belly-fat/
Waist Circumference or Weigh? | Apple or pear shape? | Where your fat is matters

5 Reasons You Feel Bloated More Often After 45 + Tea Recipe

Wonder why you used to be able to drink anything, eat anything, get little sleep, and you never felt bloated. Now it seems like no matter what you do, you are looking bloated like you are 5 month’s pregnant?

Bloated after 45 | Women and Bloating | Reasons I am Bloated

Bloating is generally the result of not being able to properly digest foods.  These not-so-digested foods feel like they’re just sitting around causing discomfort and a general feeling of being stuffed and “gassy”.

It can happen at any age but if it seems to be more frequent as you’re getting older, it can very well be because of your stomach’s reduced ability to produce enough acid for proper digestion.

Normally when we eat, cells in our stomach release acid. This acid is important for many digestive processes like breaking down foods and activating enzymes.  As we age, this process can become less efficient. The result can feel like it’s wreaking havoc on the stomach and abdomen. Unfortunately, this has wide-ranging effects on all of our digestion abilities “downstream” and that can result in bloating.

5 Reasons You Feel Bloated After 45

Bloated – #1

Sometimes our bodies are more sensitive to the fiber in certain fruits or veggies.  This can also occur when we introduce new ones into our diet as it may take a while for our body to get used to them.

Pro Tip:  Try chewing your vegetables more thoroughly or lightly cooking or steaming raw ones.  If a fruit or veggie seems to be consistently related to bloating try eliminating it for a few weeks and monitor your symptoms.

Bloated – #2

Decreased stomach acid can reduce the activation of a key protein-digesting enzyme, “pepsin”.  This means that the proteins you eat aren’t broken down as easily. They can pass through your system somewhat “undigested”. This can cause gas to build up.

Pro Tip:  You may consider reducing animal-based foods you eat and see if that helps you out.

Bloated – #3

One thing that can seriously cause bloating is when your digestive system slows down.  Things seem to be a bit stagnant, just hanging around in there longer than you’d like.

Ginger has been found to help with digestion and reduce nausea for certain people.  Peppermint is thought to help your digestive muscles keep pushing food through, so it doesn’t stay in one spot for too long.

Pro Tip:  Consider drinking a digestive tea like peppermint or ginger.  See recipe below. Traditional Medicines Belly Comfort is a good after dinner tea.

Bloated after 45 | Women and Bloating | Reasons I am Bloated

Bloated – #4

Slow digestion in your stomach and transit in your small intestine puts extra stress on the large intestine.  The large intestine is the home of all of your wonderful gut microbes that have SO many functions in the body.  The problem is when undigested food enters the large intestine it can feed the not-so-great microbes.  These “unfriendly” bacteria produce waste material and gas as a part of their natural metabolism.  The more of these microbes you have in your system, (they will multiply if they are constantly being fed by undigested food in the large intestine) the more gas will be produced in the large intestine.

Pro Tip:  Try eating more fermented foods.  Fermented foods contain probiotics which will feed the good bacteria and microbes in your system to keep the bad guys at bay  This includes greek yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi (as long as these don’t cause bloating for you!).  You can even drink Kombucha. Make sure they’re unpasteurized and contain live cultures.  If you cannot tolerate dairy-based yogurt and kefir, dairy free options are available. You could try making your own dairy free versions.

Pro Tip: You can also consider taking a probiotic supplement. Just check the label first to make sure it’s right for you.

Bloated – #5

With reduced stomach acid you may have a reduction of the “activation” of several of your digestive enzymes (protein-digesting pepsin being one of them).  In order for certain enzymes to go to work digesting your food, they need to be activated.  This usually happens with the assistance of stomach acid.

Pro Tip:  You may consider trying an enzyme supplement to assist your body in digesting food while you work on reestablishing your own production of stomach acid (a healthy diet and lifestyle can do this!).  But before you do make sure you read the labels because some of them interact with other supplements, medications, or conditions and may not be safe for long-term use.

Conclusion:

You can try the “pro tips” I’ve given you in this post.  Maybe you’d prefer working with a practitioner on an elimination diet to get to the bottom of which foods you may be sensitive to?  If bloating is a serious problem you should see your doctor or consider working with a health coach.

Recipe (Tummy Soothing Tea): Ginger Mint Tea

Serves 1

  • Fresh ginger root (about 2”)
  • Mint leaves
  • Hot water
  • Lemon slices (optional)
  • Honey (optional)

Pour the water into a saucepan and heat it on the stove. Grate the ginger root into the saucepan.  Let it come to a boil, and then simmer for 3-5 minutes. Strain the tea into a cup with a fine mesh strainer and add lemon and/or honey as desired.

Tip:  If you don’t want to use a grater and strainer then you can peel the ginger and thinly slice it into your cup before adding boiling water.  The pieces should be big enough that they will sink to the bottom.

Serve and Enjoy!

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-menopause
https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-ways-to-reduce-bloating/
http://www.dietvsdisease.org/how-to-get-rid-of-bloating/
http://summertomato.com/too-many-vegetables-how-to-prevent-gas-and-digestive-problems-caused-by-healthy-eating
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/elimination-diet
https://nccih.nih.gov/health/peppermintoil
https://nccih.nih.gov/health/ginger
Bloated after 45 | Women and Bloating | Reasons I am Bloated

 

Choices Reflect Hopes Not Fears

Choices Reflect Hopes | Hopes Not Fears | Nelson Mendela | Quote | Inspiring Words

Life is always full of surprises. Some good and some, not so good.  When we are stuck in fear, we don’t move forward.

When life changes, fear can cause a bad case of procrastination.

That is how I have felt the last few weeks. Due to some personal issues relating to my health, as well as things going on with my family, I have not focused on my health coaching business, except to complete prior commitments. I have been afraid to make changes to my business.  I have been stuck. I have been choosing fear, but no more.

I now realize I need to focus more on those personal issues, especially my health.  Therefore, I will not be taking on any new clients, at least until fall.  That will give me the time I need to focus on my priorities. I am still a health coach, but by not taking on new clients, it will free up that time as well as the time it takes to market my services.

I will be blogging. I love to write about health topics, so watch for new posts coming soon. I am not going anywhere, just rearranging my life to fit my priorities.

Don’t be afraid to make changes to your life when you need to.  It is only through change that we grow.

“May your choices reflect hopes, not your fears.”  Nelson Mandela

The photo above is a bud dipped in dew on a tree in my backyard. Spring is budding here in the upper, central plains.  What better time to grow and bloom!

Choices Reflect Hopes | Hopes Not Fears | Nelson Mendela | Quote | Inspiring Words

7 Hacks for Well Woman Perimenopause to Rock Your Midlife

Perimenopause is the changes that happen the years before you enter menopause as your body adjusts to changes in hormones. Menopause is entered into when it has been at least one year from your last period. This entire time is a time of change.  Try these hacks to help you get through it more comfortably. Well woman perimenopause allows you to rock your life as your kids move away and you can focus on you.

Well Woman Perimenopause | Natural Hacks To Feel Great Menopause | 7 Hacks to Be Well During Perimenopause

Of course, you should listen to what your doctor says.

But do you listen to what your body says?

We both know that what you eat and how you move can make a HUGE improvement in some of the symptoms of perimenopause.  Not to mention how common it is for ladies to gain weight at this time of life. (Ugh!)

As you know, being a well woman during perimenopause can help you stave off other issues like heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

What do I specifically recommend to help you “feel well during the course of perimenopause on the road to menopause”?

7 Hacks to Well Woman Perimenopause to Rock Your Midlife

1. Stay Hydrated

Drink more water.

The general consensus is to drink 1/2 your weight in ounces.  If you don’t feel you need that much, you definitely need to at least drink enough throughout the day so that you’re not thirsty. I know that’s easy to say, but really it’s also easy to do.  Determine how much water you need.

Don’t like plain water?  Add in some berries or chopped frozen fruit.

Prefer tea?  Steep some sliced lemon and/or ginger or your favorite herbal tea.  This counts toward hydration as well.

You can also keep a large bottle or mug beside you all day wherever you work, so it’s always easy to grab and have sips throughout the day to make sure you’re not getting thirsty.

2. Eat Whole Plant Foods

What are whole plant foods? Vegetables and fruits.  Think of things without labels. We’re going for quantity here especially vegetables.  Try to include them in every meal and even in your snacks.

Want another reason to eat more plants?

Plant-based diets are associated with fewer hot flashes.  Bonus!

Plus, my recipe below is your “no excuse” solution to getting more veggies wherever you go.

Well Woman Perimenopause | Natural Hacks To Feel Great Menopause | 7 Hacks to Be Well During Perimenopause

3. Eat High-Quality Proteins and Healthy Fats

While you’re chomping your plant foods don’t forget to include some good quality protein and healthy fats) from eggs, fish, meat, beans, nuts and seeds (and their butters). Proteins are an important part of healthy eating.

With animal foods we’re aiming for quality so try to get organic, wild, and/or pasture-raised if you can. Stay away from proteins that were given hormones.  As for fish, wild caught is typically better.

4. Cut back on Processed Foods and Alcohol

Reducing and/or eliminating processed foods, alcohol and even caffeine can have a tremendous impact on balancing your hormones naturally without the help of pharmaceutical medications.

With increases in water, whole plant foods, quality proteins and some healthy fats, you simply won’t have as much room for processed foods, alcohol, and caffeine. Ideas for cutting back on processed foods.

Don’t forget to cut back on sugar. With the decrease of processed foods, this should happen naturally, but always be aware of the amount of sugar you are consuming, even if it is a natural sugar.

5. Stop Being Stationary, Just Move

Sitting is now considered the new smoking.  Staying stationary for much of the day is not healthy.  Find ways to move.

Remember that the best exercise is the one you’ll actually do.

Start small.  Figure out how much movement you do and then add in one small thing each day.  As you feel stronger, you will want to move more.

Walking, even a few feet every 15-20 minutes can get your body feeling more energetic.  It doesn’t have to be longer or at a fast pace.

Adding in a quick exercise such as push-ups, crunches, or squats after every time you go to the bathroom, can really add up over time and give your body more strength and energy.

What are you going to add in?

6. Sleep

Sleep is crucial to your overall health.  Getting 7-8.5 hours of sleep a night is what most people need. Seriously.

Sometimes menopause can bring on or ramp up sleep problems.

The most important thing to do is set a daily routine where you’re relaxing with no screen time (computers, tablet, phone, tv) for a couple of hours before your bedtime.  Electronic devices emit strong blue light which can prevent the release of melatonin, your sleep hormone.  Try reading a book or having a bath.  It’s also important to have dim lights in your surroundings to reduce your exposure to blue light before bed.  Regular indoor lighting is usually blue light.  Ideally, you would use amber or red lights, or even be ultra-stylin’ with blue-blocker sunglasses.

Well Woman Perimenopause | Natural Hacks To Feel Great Menopause | 7 Hacks to Be Well During Perimenopause

7. Practice Stress Relieving Activities

Do whatever works for you.  Just make sure you do it regularly as a preventative measure to avoid accumulated stress. Stress does lead more problems during this time of change.

Have you tried meditating, deep breathing, or having a warm bath?  What about the newest craze of adult coloring?

Bonus points for using exercise as a form of stress relief.

You now have an arsenal of great ideas to stave off those menopause symptoms naturally.

Go ahead and make two of these mason jar salads to eliminate any excuse for not being able to get fresh veggies when you’re out and about.

Recipe (Veggie): Mason Jar Salad

Serves 2

  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 granny smith apple (diced)
  • 4 radishes (sliced)
  • 2 celery stalks (diced)
  • 4 tablespoons of your favorite nuts or seeds (walnuts, slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
  • 4-6 cups of your favorite greens (spinach, kale, mixed greens, etc.)

Add first four ingredients to a small bowl & whisk until smooth.

Add apple to dressing (so it’s covered and won’t brown) and divide between two mason jars.

Layer the radishes, celery, nuts/seeds, and greens on top and seal.

When ready to eat shake up the jar, open and enjoy or pour it into a large bowl to mix more thoroughly.

Tip:  Wide-mouth jars work best for this ah-mazing way to bring veggies with you wherever you go!

Follow on Pinterest for ideas and inspiration on healthy living, midlife, recipes, adrenals, hormones and much more.
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References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-menopause

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-natural-menopause-tips/

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause-time-change/what-can-you-do-hot-flashes-and-other-menopausal-symptoms

Well Woman Perimenopause | Natural Hacks To Feel Great Menopause | 7 Hacks to Be Well During Perimenopause

Simple & Effective Way to Fight Colds and Flu Naturally

It is that time of year when everyone seems to be getting sick.  You go out into the public, and you hear sniffling and coughing.  What can you do to fight colds and flu naturally now or any time of the year?

Fight Colds and Flu Naturally | Wet Socks to Bed | Natural Treatment of Colds & Flu

It is important to support your immune system with good, nutritious food, plenty of sleep, and daily exercise every day.  Taking Vitamin D supplement can also help you fight off illnesses.  However, even if you are doing all you can to have a healthy, balanced body, you can still come done with a cold or flu.

What is a Simple Way to Fight Colds and Flu Naturally?

At the first sign of a cold or flu, use the wet sock therapy.

The wet sock therapy is something my family discovered a few years ago and now, even my young adult boys know to do this therapy at the first sign of illness.  Not long ago my college son called home, and I could hear he was stuffy.  I asked if he was sick.  He said he was. Before I could ask, he said, “And yes, I wore my socks to bed.”  Ah, sometimes they do listen.

Even if you do this therapy, continue to use other natural methods of treating colds and flu as well.  Get plenty of rest.  Check out this homeopathy remedy.  Drink good bone broth. Take Vitamin C and echinacea or elderberry syrup

Fight Colds and Flu Naturally | Wet Socks to Bed | Natural Treatment of Colds & Flu

What You Need for Wet Sock Therapy

  • Thin Cotton Socks
  • Thick Wool Socks
  • Water
  • Essential Oils (Optional)

Wet Sock Therapy

  1. Begin by getting your supplies ready by a bathroom sick right before you go to sleep.
  2. Run the thin, cotton socks under water.  Most experts will tell you to use cold water, but I find that any temperature water works. Do what is comfortable to you.
  3. Wring the socks out.  They should be damp.
  4. Sit down. If using an essential oil blend such as frankincense or an immune boosting blend, rub the carrier oil/essential oil on the soles of your feet. This is optional.
  5. Put the damp, cotton socks on.
  6. Pull the thick wool socks on over the thin socks.
  7. Go to bed.
  8. Make sure you don’t get chilled.
  9. Leave the socks on overnight. The socks will be dry in the morning
  10. Continue doing the wet sock therapy every night until your body has fought off the illness.

Why This Treatment Works to Fight Colds and Flu Naturally

When you sleep your body is hard at work detoxing and repairing.  Daytime functions of the body slow down.  One theory is that your blood circulation slows, partly due to sleeping and partly due to being in a horizontal position.  With less circulation, you have less of your immune cells in your circulating to fight off the foreign invaders.

When your feet are damp, this forces your body to continue to circulate the blood at a faster rate to regulate your body temperature.  You will find that not everyone believes this theory.  But whatever the reason, it works for our family.  Even if we aren’t able to stop the cold or flu, the duration seems to be short and the severity less.

Our family decided that it doesn’t hurt anything to do this, so why not.

For the best results, you should do the wet socks treatment at the first sign of illness.  If you wait until the cold or flu has set in, it doesn’t seem to be as effective.

If you are at home during the day, you could even do this therapy during a nap.

This is a great at-home treatment for minor conditions. It should not be used for more critical conditions. If you are the least bit concerned about cold or flu symptoms, give your physician a call.

Have you tried wet socks to bed?  Tell me what you think?  If you haven’t tried it, are you willing to?

This post contains affiliate links.

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Fight Colds and Flu Naturally | Wet Socks to Bed | Natural Treatment of Colds & Flu

What You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong and Making You Fat and Tired

If you are feeling fat and tired, you may have grown up in the low-fat, eat less, Jane Fonda aerobics mindset.  What was being taught from the 80s through the early 2000s, may be wrong.  Learning a new way of eating healthy, based on science, may help you feel better and fit in your jeans.

Fat and Tired? Everything You Thought You Knew About Healthy Eating May Be Wrong!

Nutrition and diet info is everywhere! Each expert and association try to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.  Right?

Well, maybe…

Everyone has heard and maybe even been told by their physician that if you are gaining weight, you just need to eat less and exercise more.  This intense focus on how much you eat has gotten way too much attention because while calories do matter and exercise has an effect on health, what you eat and drink as well as how you eat and drink it may be proving to be more important.

Feeling Fat and Tired, It May Be What You Eat? 

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e.quantity) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important.  Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight, but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn’t we? After all, if you ever filled up by drinking only no-calorie soda pop all day, you may not have consumed any calories, but you probably felt fat and tired as well as bloated and lethargic.

Paying attention to the number of calories (although very hard to really know how much is in something you eat), and the number of carbs and fat you eat is not a bad thing. It just leaves the picture of healthy eating “fuzzy.”

Ideally, you need to eat a variety of minimally processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods). I call it a whole foods way of eating. This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness. Eating whole foods can reduce your feeling of being fat and tired.

Fat and Tired? Everything You Thought You Knew About Healthy Eating May Be Wrong!

Every day this is what you should aim for:

  • A colorful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads.  Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, enjoy a handful of nuts, and get grass-fed meats when possible.  You don’t need to overdo it here.  Just make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.

How You Eat and Drink 

Do you pay attention to how you eat and drink?

Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Have you ever found yourself with an empty plate and really don’t know what you ate?

Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savor every bite.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste, and texture.  Breathe. This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

Mindful eating can help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less.  Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

Don’t forget about drinking your food. (Even if you make a smoothie, try to “chew” it and slow down, don’t just gulp it down.)

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!), but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.

Don’t get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal, not a snack.

If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds or a scoop of a quality protein powder. Read: 8 Ingredients to Avoid in Healthy Smoothies

The Takeaway

Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it and you may stop feeling so fat and tired.

Recipe: Chia Peach Green Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • a large handful or two of spinach (or any leafy green)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 banana
  • 1 chopped peach
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1 scoop of protein powder

Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia seeds on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend). Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the non-dairy milk.

Blend, Serve and Enjoy! Remember this is a filling meal with protein, carbs, healthy fat, and fiber.

Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions.  Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to match your preference.

Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they contain all of the essential amino acids from protein.

What do you think, do calories matter when it comes to losing weight and being healthy?

 

References:
http://summertomato.com/wisdom-wednesday-salad-dressing-is-your-friend
https://authoritynutrition.com/20-reasons-you-are-not-losing-weight/
http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2
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Fat and Tired? Everything You Thought You Knew About Healthy Eating May Be Wrong!

5 Reasons Metabolism Slows Down & Tips to Improve It

Your digestion is sluggish and you feel tired, cold, and you’ve gained weight even though you haven’t been eating more than normal.  You are convinced that your metabolism is slow. You may be right. But why does this happen?  Here are reasons your metabolism slows down?

Reasons Metabolism Slows Down | Hacks to Speed Up Metabolism

Why Metabolism Slows Down?

Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy.  And there are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).

But don’t worry – we know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”!  In fact, it’s so complicated I’m only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down.

Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:

  • low thyroid hormone
  • your history of dieting
  • your size and body composition
  • your activity level
  • lack of sleep

We’ll briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”.

Low Thyroid Hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism.  When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active.   Ideally, it should work to keep your metabolism just right.  But there are several things that can affect it and throw it off course.  Things like autoimmune diseases and mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium) for example.

Tip: Talk to your physician about having your thyroid hormones tested. Don’t just get a TSH number but a complete thyroid panel to really understand what is going on.

Reasons Metabolism Slows Down | Hacks to Speed Up Metabolism | Dieting

Your History of Dieting

When people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down.  This is because the body senses that food may be scarce and adapts by trying to continue with all the necessary life functions and do it all with less food.

While dieting can lead to a reduction in the amount of fat, it, unfortunately, can lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have.  As you know more muscle means faster resting metabolic rate.

Tip: Make sure you’re eating enough food to fuel your body without overdoing it. Avoid low-calorie diets which can wreak havoc in your organs, hormones and even thyroid glands.

Your Size and Body Composition

In general, larger people have faster metabolic rates.  This is because it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one. However, you already know that gaining weight is rarely the best strategy for increasing your metabolism.

Muscles that actively move and do work need energy.  Even muscles at rest burn more calories than fat.  This means that the amount of energy your body uses depends partly on the amount of lean muscle mass you have.

Tip: Do some weight training to help increase your muscle mass. Body exercises such as pushups, squats, and crunches all can help with muscle mass as well.

Reasons Metabolism Slows Down | Hacks to Speed Up Metabolism | Pushups

Which leads us to…

Your Activity Level

Aerobic exercise temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move and do “work” and you can tell because as you move you feel hotter. High-intensity interval training can improve your metabolic rate in a short period of time while increasing your muscle mass.

Even little things can add up.  Walking a bit farther than you usually do, using a standing desk instead of sitting all day, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can all contribute to more activity in your day.

Tip:  Incorporate movement into your day, but prioritize regular exercise.

Lack of Sleep

Research shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.  The general consensus is to get 7-8.5 hours of sleep every night.

Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

Tip: Selenium is a nutrient that can help your thyroid as well as your sleep.  The recipe below is rich in selenium and may help you when your metabolism slows down.

Recipe: Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Serves 4

  • ½ cup Brazil nuts
  • 2 cups water
  • nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth (optional)
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cacao powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Blend Brazil nuts in water in a high-speed blender until you get smooth, creamy milk.  If desired, strain it through a nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth.

Add Brazil nut milk and other ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined.  Let sit several minutes (or overnight) until desired thickness is reached.

Serve & Enjoy!

Tip:  Makes a simple, delicious breakfast or dessert topped with berries.

References:
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/metabolic-damage
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/thyroid-and-testing
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance
https://authoritynutrition.com/6-mistakes-that-slow-metabolism/
https://authoritynutrition.com/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism/
http://summertomato.com/non-exercise-activity-thermogenesis-neat
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/7-ways-selenium-benefits-your-body/
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Reasons Metabolism Slows Down | Hacks to Speed Up Metabolism