The 5-S Nutrition Plan

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You’ve probably heard me say it a million times  before…

“Healthier doesn’t need to be harder.”

I like to find simple ways to fit healthy choices in. It’s a choice I make each day, multiple times per day.

Perhaps you can relate… if you don’t intentionally choose something “positive”, it seems as though the “negative” is right there knockin’ at your door… inviting itself in.

In the case of nutrition, if we don’t proactively choose healthy foods, taking the time to shop for them (or grow them) and prepare them, it seems that the natural default is convenience food, packaged foods, processed foods, fast foods, and a whole lotta’ toxic junk.

So, we need a plan.

I try to prepare as many family meals as possible that include a “clean” source of protein (meat, eggs, fish, etc.), a healthy source of fat (the fat within the meat or eggs, butter, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.), and a fresh fiber (vegetables, some fruit). I’m also focusing on adding more traditionally fermented foods to our diet.

Alas, these meals are not always possible or realistic in our schedule… and, I don’t always feel like preparing this type of meal. So there.

I have a few “fall-backs” up my sleeve that I resort to on a regular basis to ensure that I’m squeezing in as much nutrition as I can for me and my family. The bonus is that these strategies can also be time-savers.

I call this my 5-S fill-in-the-gaps nutrition plan. These are some of the simple ways, in addition to healthy meals, that I make sure our overall diet is sufficient in nutrients.

1) Salads – I think salads can be spiffed up somethin’ fierce! You can easily turn a humdrum, lifeless salad into a nutrient dense thing of glory! Why settle for iceberg lettuce, some cukes and tomatoes, all slathered in toxic ranch dressing when you could thoroughly nourish yourself with “The Loaded Salad”. Drool.

When you add the veggie topping I describe in the article (your secret weapon in the veggie deal), this takes the nutritional value of a salad through the roof!

2) Soups & Stews – It’s the same idea here. You can load up a nice pot of soup or stew with a virtually endless variety of veggies and herbs that you (or your family) may not normally consume on their own. All mixed together in a slow-cooked, simmering, spiced up broth changes everything! I can’t recall any other circumstance when I can get my kids to eat turnips, onions, and garlic all in one heaping spoonful!

Even better, make your own broth. Check out the recipe I use here – it’s made with the turkey left overs from Thanksgiving, but the same idea applies for chicken broth, too.

Get creative… veggies, meat/or no meat, beans, lentils, onions, garlic, oh my. I don’t usually add much in the way of beans, rice, or noodles when I’m sticking to a more Paleo-like approach, but when I do, I’ll stick to gluten-free rice-based noodles, or brown rice, or one or two bean and lentil varieties.

3) Smoothies & Juices -Most of our weekdays include smoothies or juices. Dr. Hubby and I often have a smoothie for lunch on our workdays. The kids love these as “big snacks”. Sometimes, it’s more of a “juice” theme, with water as the base, then whatever veggies I’d like to incorporate (leafy greens, celery, etc.) sweetened with carrot and/or apple.

Most of the time, I’m whipping up smoothie concoctions. I’ll either start with water as a base, or a live, cultured, probiotic-rich drink, like Suero. Then I’ll usually add a protein powder, especially if the smoothie is going to be for a meal replacement. There are a lot of “junk food” protein powders out there, so be careful. One of the good ones is BioTrust Low-Carb Protein Blend.

There are also high quality pea and rice protein blends that work well for those looking to avoid any source of dairy. These don’t work for those following a strict Paleo approach, though! (Sometimes it’s just easier to eat a steak, for cryin’ out loud!)

I like to mix up our protein powder sources regularly, making sure they’re all the least toxic choices I can make. My pal JJ Virgin has several high-quality options available through her site. Check our her “Products & Programs” tab for more info.

Then I load up our smoothies with extra “goodies”, like blueberries, frozen spinach/kale/Swiss chard blend, coconut oil, fish oil, maybe some avocado slices… the kitchen sink… whatever I happen to be in the mood for!

When I’m making a smoothie just for myself, I add PectaSol-C (Modified Citrus Pectin) and sometimes Breast Defend. If you know my family’s cancer story, you understand why I take this proactive step.
Buy Pectasol-C for Cellular Health
These smoothies in S #3 start to blend into S #4… because I tend to use smoothies as a vehicle to deliver many of the supplements we take.

 

 

 

 

4) Supplements – I don’t believe we need to take handfuls of nutritional supplements every single day, generally speaking. I believe that most of our nutrients should come from healthy food that is as pure (non-toxic) as possible.

I also understand that this isn’t always realistic, both due to the toxic nature of our basic food supply, as well as limitations in our own schedules, shopping options, etc.

I like to supplement for the sake of correcting a nutritional deficiency, as opposed to taking certain vitamins because the really fit lady that works out at the gym takes them, or because I saw that doctor on television talking about them!

Really, it would be great if we could all have advanced lab work done to ascertain exactly what we’re deficient in, or where we need some re-balancing… and then choose specific supplements and products accordingly… and then get re-tested a little while later to see where we stand now. Rinse and repeat.

Again, I know that’s not always feasible.

So, some basic supplements are in order.

I think the essential fatty acids are still a biggie, especially if you’re not eating exclusively grass-fed meat, eggs, and butter, and deep cold-water fish… and, if you’re eating anything with trans fats, hydrogenated oils, or partially hydrogenated oils, or conventional toxic vegetable oils.

I’d say that probiotics are right up at the top of my list now for essential supplements to take. Again, this is even more important if you’re not regularly consuming traditionally fermented and cultured foods… or you’ve taken plenty of medications in your day… or have eaten the Standard American Diet for any length of time!

Like all other supplements, choose highest quality over lowest sticker price!  You really do get what you pay for with nutritional supplements. If not, you end up with very expensive toilet water.

For those of us living in cooler climates, Vitamin D3 is still essential, particularly in the cooler months when we’re not making as much on our own. I like cod liver oil during these months as well.

Those are the basics we regularly take as a family. The rest are all very personalized depending on underlying conditions, like gut permeability or food sensitivities… or, if we’re working through a detoxification protocol, which we do several times per year.

5) Smarter Snacks – I think snack foods is an area in our diets where we can really blow it. That, and beverages.

If we’re doing our best to eat 2 or 3 healthy meals each day, but then we mindlessly chow down on whatever is convenient and available between those meals, we could be sabotaging our health.

Set yourself up for success. You know the routine – plan ahead and have healthier options on hand and readily available for those times when hunger strikes fast. If you don’t, it’s amazing how clearly you can hear vending machine and gas station food calling your name!

Chopped veggies are a classic go-to snack food. But I know they don’t always fill the gap. I like to whip up a quick batch of guacamole to dip the veggies in. It’s a healthy fat that serves to fill us up more, and helps the nutrients from the veggies to be absorbed more efficiently. We’re big hummus fans in these parts, too.

Since we don’t regularly eat crackers or chips or whatever else is commonly used for dipping or stacking with toppings, I’ve become a big fan of cucumber slices instead. We use these for our guacamole all the time. A simple substitute.

Raw nuts and seeds are great choices, too. Beyond Organic has some excellent options, if you need a little help. You don’t need to go overboard with these, however. Same thing with fruit – some is good. Too much fruit is not a good thing. It’s “God’s candy”, remember? Even though it’s a “natural” sugar, fruit is sugar-dense.

Other regulars in our snack routine are hard-boiled eggs and, you guessed it, avocado slices!

There you go. These are some of the ways I make sure I’m fueling us up with lots of nutrients on a regular basis. Anything you’d like to add to the list?

 

 

Getting More Vegetables Into Your Diet ~ “The Loaded Salad”

vegetable market

 

I’m not a big fan of “sneaking” vegetables into anyone’s diet, whether we’re talking about kids… or spouses! I’d prefer that my people understand the value and benefits of incorporating an abundance of vegetables in their diets… as well as understanding the health consequences of not doing so.

We talk a lot about “teaching yourself to enjoy certain foods, not necessarily because you love the taste, but because your educated mind understands how good the food is for you.”

It’s a work in progress.

One simple strategy I enjoy for adding even more veggies than your family may already be getting… and a greater variety of veggies at that is “The Loaded Salad”.

(Shockingly, I do not mean that it’s loaded with croutons and ranch dressing! Sorry to get your hopes up.)

When you walk into the produce section of your supermarket or local farmers’ market (beyond the fruit), there’s a whole area of leafy things that very few people know what to do with. We naturally gravitate to the carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, maybe some peppers, asparagus, broccoli, corn (a grain, not a vegetable), zucchini and squash—things that look familiar.

Unfortunately, this means we’re bypassing truckloads of nutrients by breezing past those unfamiliar vegetables.

The Loaded Salad is a simple, quick way to include these mystery vegetables that most people walk right on by.

Choose a variety of fresh produce (organic, if possible) — kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, cabbage, beets (plus greens), turnips (plus greens), mustard greens, endive, broccoli, onions, peppers, leeks, cauliflower, asparagus,carrots, green and purple cabbage… whatever you’d like to try… knowing how nutritious these newbies are… and how much they’re going to add to your health.

You’re choosing these new, perhaps foreign, veggies in order to make a topping for you “usual” salad. This is something you can make weekly… or even twice a week, if you’re feelin’ frisky for veggies. You can change up the assortment every time you make it..

Dice all these veggies into small pieces about the size of the tip of your pinky. (Do NOT dice the tip of your pinky!) You can use a food processor or food chopper. We use a Vita-Mix.

Mix all the veggies together and store the mixture in a glass bowl (with a tightly fitting lid) in the fridge—this is your “salad topping”. It’s an incredibly nutrient-dense mixture. It’s probably kinda’ purty, too, isn’t it?

Now, make a “regular” salad with spinach or romaine or spring mix, or whatever greens you like. Top it with a heaping scoop or two of the salad topping and then add any number of other healthy options for variety: raw nuts, seeds (Chia seeds are a great choice), sprouts… get creative!

I also like to use simple  ingredients to make variations of healthy salad dressings. The ingredients I usually have on hand to choose from are: organic extra virgin olive oil, organic balsamic vinegar, organic apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s is our favorite), fresh garlic, organic grainy mustard, organic free-range egg, lemon, herbs, pink sea salt, fresh pepper, and occasionally, ginger.

Of course, you can always buy your organic dressing at the grocery store—just avoid anything containing trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors.

My favorite method of making our dressing is to rub a few cloves of freshly pressed garlic into our wooden salad bowl first. Then I add an egg (sometimes), some olive oil, a tiny squeeze of fresh lemon or a ‘dollop’ of balsamic vinegar, some nice, seedy, organic mustard, and then sea salt and freshly ground pepper. I mix that all up in the bowl before adding the salad ingredients.

Ahhh… garlic breath!

The mixed veggie topping is a power-packed way to get a variety of nutrients into your diet in a simple way. It’s especially effective for tempering the stronger flavors of some of those leafy greens—the more intense flavors that may not be appealing to some aren’t as intense once they’re chopped up and mixed in with everything else.

Put whatever vegetables you want in the mixture – it’s hard to go wrong here. When we talk about adding purity and sufficiency to your diet, this is a massively sufficient method of adding nutrients. And, by the way, this is the fiber – fresh fiber – that we should be looking to add to our diets… not the stuff that comes from a cereal box!

You can take it a step further by adding even more vegetables once you’re preparing your salad. I like to roast, saute, or grill goodies like broccoli, asparagus,  onions, peppers, artichoke, and Brussels sprouts and add them to the salad as well. (No, not necessarily all in the same salad!)

How about adding some health-enhancing fats (in addition to the olive oil)? Yes, you knew I’d add this… avocados!

Yum-o-licious.

Finally, of course, you can add some protein to the mix, if you’re in the mood: chicken, turkey, steak, Wild Alaskan salmon, hard-boiled eggs… whatever floats your protein boat.

Don’t be surprised if you start having “cravings” for salads!

 

 

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Who You Callin’ “Extreme”, Mister?

Extreme or Healthy?

Him? Extreme. ME? Not so much!

Recently, someone told me, point blank, “You are totally extreme.”

I looked over my shoulder to see who he was talking to…

I’ve known him for years. I love this man. I’ve always known him to “tell it like it is”.

This one took me by surprise, though!

We were talking about health… about him getting healthier and losing the extra weight he has been struggling with for too many years. He wanted to hear about the programs we use to help people with chronic weight issues and weight loss resistance.

He was telling me about all the fad diets he has tried over the years – losing a ton of weight, only to gain it all back very quickly. He was telling me about his overall diet – will NOT eat vegetables, hates water, drinks pickle juice and ketchup for the salt, wants to eat several bologna sandwiches every day, and piles peanut butter, cheese, or any other available topping onto his “diet” cookies!

Houston, we have a problem.

I asked him if he was serious about this and willing to commit to putting his health first, as opposed to just focusing on the scales.

Here’s how the conversation went after that:

Him: “Oh, yeah. I’m definitely doin’ this. I’m not going to be extreme like you are, though.”

Me: “What?! Who are YOU callin’ extreme? I’m not extreme at all!”

Him: “Oh yeah you are. Totally. You’re over-the-top!”

Me: “No. I am not. Why would you think that?”

(To myself, thinking of all the not-even-remotely-extreme habits I have and choices I make… thinking of all the extreme sports I’ve never even attempted to try… all the risks I’m too chicken to take…!)

So, I asked Mr. Pickle Juice what his definition of “extreme” is.

OK, now this is where it got rather comical…

He told me I’m extreme because I’ve been sticking to this “healthy thing” for years… all the years he has known me. Over 17 to be exact.

I’m “extreme” because, for years, he has seen me “out there” running, or cycling, or walking the dog and the kids…

I’m “extreme” because I’m “skinny”. (Trust me. I am not “skinny”. I haven’t been “skinny” since I was twelve! “Skinny” is an insult… although I know he didn’t mean it as such.) When I pointed this out to him and flashed him a biceps muscle, he said, “Okaaayyyy… but you never gain weight… in all these years… that’s extreme!” Shut the front door.

I have entered the Twilight Zone with him now. This is wild!

I’m “extreme” because he saw me eating lettuce wraps at a Mexican restaurant and thought to himself, “Who eats lettuce wraps at a Mexican restaurant??!!” Um, me.  They’re better than anything else on this particular menu!

I’m “extreme” because in all the years he has known me, I keep “putting out information, trying to get people to eat healthy and exercise, and get adjusted regularly, and detox… and all that stuff…”

“You won’t even eat a donut, for cryin’ out loud!”  Um, I don’t like donuts… didn’t realize how offensive that was! My bad.

“Oh, and you don’t take drugs!”

OK, well he got me there. However, it’s merely a difference of opinion. What if I believe that taking drugs is the extreme choice? Ever think of that?

By now, I was seriously cracking up… and looking for a little back-up!

It’s interesting, isn’t it?

When I look back over the past couple of decades, I simply see a pretty “normal”, happy, healthy lifestyle… relatively balanced… full of healthy choices in movement and nutrition. He assumed that, all those times he’d see me “out there” running, or biking that it was a chore for me, and therefore, making it “extreme” that I made myself do it. But I think back to all those times with fondness. I LOVE to get outside and MOVE!

I’ve not done any of the “extreme” races and events that are so popular nowadays… I’ve not done any marathons or ultra-marathons… nothing like that. I’m not fitness goddess by any means! I’ve never surfed or jumped out of a plane or gone white water rafting or even snow-boarding. Pretty boring by a lot of people’s standards. In fact, I know a few people who get frustrated by how NON-extreme I can be!

I’ve just consistently moved my body in a variety of ways for years because it makes me feel good and I know how good it is for me. Kinda’ simple.

I also love how it feels to fuel my body with yummy, less-toxic, real food. I think eating factory food and food loaded with toxicity is rather extreme, personally… but I’ve still been known to “choose” those tasty toxins with eyes wide open from time to time! Also, no vegetables?? Totally extreme, dude!

I know all the less-than-healthy choices added to the mix, too. I know where I’d like to improve and what I’m working on. I know how “real” we are. It’s what makes it so easy for me to relate to the folks I help on their health journey. I get it. I can see the simple tweaks to make here and there in order to make the big picture a much healthier one.

Oh, and as far as trying to help people live healthier lives? Yeah. Not gonna’ stop with those “extreme” behaviors anytime soon! ; )

“It’s not about being perfect… it’s about making healthier choices, more often… and sticking with it over time!”

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

Cancer Chronicles ~ Liar, Liar, Prostate on Fire! (updated)

Dad at the hospital.

Dad at the hospital... intrigued that I can take a picture with my phone! : )

I haven’t written about my dad’s cancer journey for awhile.

Mostly because the whole thing drives me nuts! It’s bad enough he’s got cancer… but it’s all the other shenanigans that are just plain wacky.

First, dad is “fine”, relatively speaking. He feels much better than he did in the late summer and early fall. Cancer hasn’t disappeared – it’s still prostate cancer that has metastasized to his bones – but he feels better.

A blessing.

On a professional level, I continue to disagree with the treatment course he’s on and his lack of much proactive health-building on his own.

On a personal level, this is my dad we’re talking about here. I love him. I treasure him. I choose to keep my mouth shut 99% of the time regarding his less-than-healthy choices.

This is really, really hard.

Staying in the moment, he’s just dad, and I’m just me. We’re good.

Besides the fact that his unhealthy habits make me want to smack him with a big head of organic broccoli… I try to let it go… and enjoy him! Dr. Hubby has to take me through some deep breathing exercises at times when we’re at my dad’s house and I see how he eats, drinks, and diligently takes the drugs… but not the “cancer fighting” products I’ve given him. Oy.

Did I mention I love my dad? I’m blessed that he’s still here. That’s my focus and why I feel grateful.

So a few interesting things have happened in the last few months. Yesterday’s was the straw that broke that poor camel’s back and prompted me to write this today.

Brief updates:

1) Dad had major pain, confusion, and several “cognitive” issues back in early fall. Ended up in hospital for a day in September. (I wrote about all that here.) He has steadily improved ever since.

2) Had a new PSA test done in late September. This will be important in a minute…

3) Despite the fact the the pain was clearly on the decline since leaving the hospital, the intensity of the whole ordeal scared him so much that he decided to take the oncologist up on his offer for “palliative radiation therapy” – where the intent is to use a short stint of radiation to “see if it might control some of the pain caused by the cancer in the bone.”

4) I was with him for that week of radiation. He was, in his words, pain-free going into the first treatment. His annoying-yet-protective daughter gently prodded him a few times with, “Soooo….. whyyy are we doing this, again….???” He didn’t get it. His friends (whom I adore for their devotion to my dad) didn’t get it either. It was 3 against 1. “The doctor said so, that’s why.”

(Sheesh, what’s wrong with you, little girl??!!)

5) I pointed out to my dad at that time, “I guarantee, that when it comes time for your follow-up with the radiation doc and you tell him you have less pain, it’ll go down in the record books as RADIATION WAS SUCCESSFUL.” Dad chuckled, saying “That’s silly… I’ll just tell him I was good going into it...” Uh-huh.

That’s really neither here nor there. The bottom line is that dad feels better. I really don’t care how or why… just bothers me that this is part of the inaccuracy of the whole system. This is how their “scientific evidence” is collected… and spun… and spread to other unsuspecting folks. That part I don’t like. It’s not accurate or truthful.

6) Radiation dude didn’t know what to tell my dad when dad asked, “What’s next after radiation?” So, he set him up with a consult with chemo dude. Chemo dude said, “I only  have two things to offer: 1. You could do chemotherapy. But, you’re still not sick enough. We can do that down the road when you’re really feeling bad.

(I kid you not. I simply can’t make this stuff up! You may recall he told my dad this a year ago, too.)

Or, 2. I can give you a ‘bone builder’. You need that anyway because of the cancer making your bones week. It’s an IV we do in the chemo suite once a month. You get your liver and kidneys checked a week before each treatment, just to make sure your body can handle it. Oh, and have any and all dental work done before you start because this can cause some problems with the bones in the jaw.”

Ummmm… OK, sounds perfectly safe.

I mention to chemo dude that I’ve read about this drug before and it’s listed as a “chemo drug”. He says “NO. It’s a bone builder.” I repeat, but I’ve seen it categorized as a chemo drug multiple times. “No. Bone builder.”

(Sheesh, what’s wrong with you, little girl??!!)

So, dad agrees to start this treatment.

Oh, and chemo dude tells him not to stop the hormonal treatments he was getting from the urologist dude even though all oncologists we’ve met with for the past two years have said “The hormonal treatments stopped working, that’s why the cancer spread.”

Chemo dude emphatically pointed out, “You don’t stop taking the drugs because they’re not working… that could make the cancer worse.”

This is the point in the consult that I start looking around the room for hidden cameras.

I’m sure I looked like a dog with its head cocked and it’s ears perked up. I was actually waiting for chemo dude to laugh or something…

Nothing. This is real to him.

“Holy crap. This is insane!” I thought. There’s a chance I may have even mumbled it out loud.

7) Back to urologist dude for hormone injection. Urologist dude points out to dad that his PSA went from SIXTY something in July, down to TWO in September!!!

Prior to radiation.

Prior to new “Chemo-Not Chemo-Bone Builder – Chemo” drugs.

Something’s up with this man that oncology and urology cannot explain. Drives them loopy.

*** Here’s the part I forgot in the original post: ***

I’m not a big fan of the weight a PSA test holds, especially in isolation. It goes up and down for a reason – but there’s still SO much left unanswered regarding the real, complete list of reasons “why”.

BUT, when my dad asked radiation dude “What next…”, his 2 main reasons for sending him off to chemo dude were: (i) Radiation dude had no more tricks up his sleeve. Radiation is all he’s got to offer. (ii) And, he told dad, “When the PSA is high, it’s recommended you start chemotherapy as soon as possible.”

So, thankfully, dad’s in Canada and “as soon as possible” was almost a month later!  By that time, things had settled down a bit.

The chemo doc never did get dad’s most recent PSA. He was basing his recommendations on a test that has been all over the board with my dad for the last few years.

It bears repeating… I personally like these oncology dudes. They seem like stand-up guys who really care. I’ve even made them both crack smiles AND even catch themselves in a tiny chuckle a couple times. I’ve forced my nice-ness upon them, like it or not, doctor dudes.

Unfortunately, I think things must look pretty dark from where their heads are stuck sometimes. Helloooooothis is how you make recommendations for CHEMO?? This is your science that we are all supposed to bow down to?? Not their personal fault… it’s the “system”… it’s the paradigm.

(Maybe your experience has been better in cancer care (and the science behind the “why”) that you’ve been involved with… but this has been a very revealing 7 and a half years that I’ve been involved with this business. Whoa!

I’m an enormous fan of slowing things down (with conventional cancer treatment), and getting at least one second opinion, preferably from someone who practices an integrative approach to cancer recovery… from a different paradigm for health.

**********************************

8) On a side note, I had called the cancer center a couple weeks ago to get a letter stating my dad’s diagnosis, his dates and types of treatments, and consultations, etc. to send in for an insurance claim. I had to cancel a flight to a seminar around the time dad finished radiation and was scheduled to meet with chemo dude again.

The letter from the oncologist states, “STARTED CHEMOTHERAPY INTRAVENOUS THERAPY” on such and such a date!!

Liar, liar, prostate on fire.

“Bone builder” my hiney!

9) Finally, follow up visit with radiation dude yesterday. Unfortunately, my dad completely forgot to tell me he had been scheduled for this, so I couldn’t make it there at the last minute. So, I coached him ahead of time. “DON’T do anything – DON’T agree to anything! Get in, get out!”

Apparently, the visit was quick, simple, and to the point.

“How’s your pain?”

“Good. I have no pain most days. I’m just stiff because I’m an old fart!” Nice, dad.

“I’m pleased to hear this. THIS MEANS THE RADIATION WORKED!”

Liar, liar. Prostate on fire.

Dad, completely forgetting what I said months ago, just took it in… not really minding, because he does feel better, after all.

Reminded me of our current political leaders… acting smooth & tryin’ to look cool… taking credit for something he didn’t actually accomplish!

Ohhhhh… low blow! ; )

Oh, well. For now, dad’s good, relatively speaking. He’s out and about… came over to watch his grand kids skate a few days ago… gets around pretty well. I’m pleased.

 

“Oh, I Could NEVER Home School!”

Copy of 104_2274

I know all you other home school types can relate to this. When people find out that I home school, it’s uncanny how often I hear in response, “I could never home school!”, or a similar type of response.

It’s one of those, “If I had a dollar for every time somebody said this to me…” moments! I’d be amassing great wealth!

Of course, to me, since we’re in our 5th year of home schooling, and it’s ME who’s actually leading this parade, I see no mystical powers or superior of genius intelligence being required to pull this off!

I’m not sure what, exactly, is so foreign or seemingly unattainable to these folks… so it just cracks me up, knowing that I never really “planned” on this, so to speak.

It just kind of unfolded and has continued to unfold over the years as I continue to feel “called” to do this at this time. How long will we do this? I don’t know. For now, I don’t see an end in near sight.

This is another one I hear all the time from moms…

“Oh, my goodness… I don’t have the patience to home school!”

I always surprise ‘em when I immediately respond, “Yeah, me neither.”

Seriously. I am not Mother Teresa here! My patience can wear thin with the best of ‘em.

I’ve come to accept that it is what it is, and I am who I am.

I have, however, improved in this area… through intention and diligent effort. I’m definitely more patient than I was a year or two ago.

The kids know this about me: “I’ll ask you or tell you once… twice… three times NICELY and CALMLY.” Then… look out. I don’t like behavior that stinks of laziness, or a lack of respect. If I sense it, I’m not OK with that. Tranquility may temporarily go out the window.

Here’s the thing. Even the kids would agree that I am  Fair and Consistent. They know what’s expected of them AND what to expect. That is one of our saving graces in the home school journey of ours.

Years ago, I heard a doctor at a conference talk about parenting and he connected some behaviors to a physiological perspective – specifically the stress response cycle commonly referred to as fight or flight.

We all agree that if our child is in an acute crisis – running out into a street with an oncoming, speeding vehicle, for example – we will react instinctively to save them and do whatever it takes. We may yell, we may hurt their arm as we yank them out of the streets… but it was short-term and with a life-saving purpose in mind. “Normal” life resumes afterward.

He likened this to stressful “outbursts” that a mom might have. He painted the picture of a mother bear…  accompanying her cubs on the early stage of their journey, nurturing them, protecting them, teaching them useful lessons of survival , playing with them, guiding them down the forest path.

Then, when a little cub steps out of line, into danger… WHAP! Mama Bear may figuratively cuff that cub in the head to get it back to safety! Now, it’s back to nurturing, loving, protecting, teaching… “normal” life resumes.

I’ve carried that with me for years. It makes sense for me.

Actually, the visual I’ve repeatedly given the kids is that we’re traveling down a 2- lane highway together in this thing called life. I will love you, nurture you, play with you, enjoy your company, guide you, teach you what I know, allow you room to explore and have fun, and provide opportunities for you along the way, as we stay on the road together. 

You have your own free will and your own personality, so you will make many of your own choices. I don’t demand that you stay perfectly on the yellow center line at all times. Anywhere between those outside white lines is fabulous, because that’s the path that is based upon our core values and principles, and, oftentimes, your safety.

If you start to venture outside to the paved shoulder, we’re going to have “that talk” about making good choices and being responsible.

If you stray off to the gravel shoulder…WHAP!

I’ve made it abundantly clear that I love them unconditionally… even if they’re straying to the shoulder… or are in the gravel. Yes, even if there’s a WHAP. (Oh, settle down. The “WHAP” is a figurative expression for getting the cubs back in line! Although, there have been times when I may have sounded like a mama bear…) I am the first to apologize if my reaction is ever out of line. Even if mama bear is “right”, sometimes the reaction is less-than-ideal. (sigh)

 

 

I’m a little bit envious of all the home school moms (and dads) I meet who seem so calm, cool, and collected. Heck, many are down right tranquil! “I’ll have what she’s having!”

Ah, yes. They leave me with something almost tangible to strive for.

I do have plenty of times when I’m able to slow things down… and we snuggle and read books, or do a craft together, or play a game together, or go for our nature walks. But generally, I tend to be more of a go-go-go type person.

Even though I’d like to continue working on becoming more peaceful in this process, I have learned to embrace my ups and downs. I give the kids a mix: some days, it’s simply about completing our core tasks with focus and staying on (somewhat of a) schedule so that we can get to work on time… but then I balance that with other days that are completely low-key and far more relaxed, and some where we don’t even get around to school ’til late morning or even after lunch! (gasp!)

I throw in regular field trips to science centers, nature centers, museums, and theaters, as well as clubs and extracurricular activities the kids participate in so that those “experts” can pour into my kids in ways where I have less knowledge or experience. I feel I need to do that, along with those ultra low-key days, to balance out the rushed, task-oriented days when we have to hurry to get to work.

 

 

Of course, another of the most common questions I hear is, “How do you find the TIME?”

“Are you kidding me?! I DON’T have time for this!!”

But I do it anyway, because it still feels way better to me than all my other options.

Oh, if you only knew! This time thing is my biggest source of stress. I don’t have the time I desire for home schooling my kids the way it looks in my head when I plan our days and weeks.

I have visions of frolicking in nature for much of our days… and painting fabulous murals outside on a sunny day… and building a tree house or clubhouse… and traveling to the places we study for a first-hand look and even learn their language.

My mind is a wonderful place to live!

I fully admit that I am spinning too many plates these days. However, I’ve chosen to spin at this time. I just need to work on how often I spin some of them!

I am too rushed most days. We rarely “fit it all in” and complete everything on our list before it’s time to pack it up for the day and head into work. Most of the time I feel I’m not doing enough. I’m sure I’ll get over that by the time the kids get married… I think!

(I’ve heard it’s the curse of many a home school mom! “Am I doing enough?”)

Then, there are the days that I’ve carved out in my schedule when I’ve demanded that I not go in to the practice so that I can dedicate the day solely to home schooling… or, more accurately, being with my kids in a non-rushed way. These are our favorite days.

We accomplish more, we learn more, we experience more… and we have way more fun together.

So, I continue to “try” to balance the various roles I have. Certainly, there are the housekeeper and cook roles that I’m training my family to contribute more to. (I somehow missed the day when I was voted in as the sole cleaner-upper of our home… so I’d like a re-count, please.)

I’ve worked on my schedule so that I’m up for hours before the rest of the gang, getting my book writing, blogging, and various DrMomOnline-related business ventures done before the craziness begins. Sometimes, this work bleeds into the rest of the day, which can be a source of stress. I’ve set two-way parameters for this: the kids don’t get to interrupt my work time (if they happen to get up earlier than usual), and my work time doesn’t get to interrupt their kid time or home school time.

I switch “hats” several times throughout any given day, which most folks do I’m sure. It goes from Colleen hat (when I do my morning rituals), to DrMomOnline and entrepreneurial hat, to mom and caregiver and cook hats, to teacher hat, to more mom and caregiver and housekeeper and cook hats, to Colleen hat when I take time for my exercise, to Dr. Colleen hat when we go to the practice, to taxi driver and cheer leader hats when I cart the kids to their activities, to more DrMomOnline entrepreneurial hat, if I can squeeze it in before mom/caregiver/cook/housekeeper hats to end our day.

My head is exhausted by the end of the day. Sometimes, I just run out of time for some of those hats… and a layer of dust grows on my furniture!

But, I wouldn’t give up that home school teacher hat for anything right now!

My kids are learning through witness and experience how to schedule priorities, as well as how to prioritize a schedule. Time management has become a skill set of theirs at a young age!

So, nope, it’s not perfect.

I’ve wondered oftentimes if I was actually “capable” of home schooling. I’ve found out that I am. Nobody cares more about my kids’ than me (and my hubby, of course). My home school might look and feel and sound different than others… but I’ve learned that comparing myself to other home school moms is a rotten thing to do to myself!

I don’t have the patience of a saint. But it’s not all bad, either. I’m fair and consistent, remember? My kids have learned to be more responsible with their time, and mine. It’s a journey!

And, no, I “don’t have the time”… but I’m happy to make it. This is one of the most important things I could possibly do. I’m all in, no matter how rushed it can be some days. The way I see it, it’s not perfect… but at least we’re together in our little imperfect life!

I’ll have it all figured out, one of these years!

 

 

Learn & Master Series

6 Best Choices for Late Night Snacks or Meals

pizza

You’ve probably heard that eating late at night, or before bed, is a sure fire way to sabotage your diet. You know, that notion of needing 3 hours between your last meal and bedtime so that your body can metabolize the food as fuel as you continue your evening activities.

There’s definitely some truth in that. I agree that we are better off eating and then remaining active for awhile as opposed to heading straight to bed.

However, there are times when that just isn’t reality in our schedule. Or, maybe you get hungry later at night.

In either case, it’s good to know that not ALL foods are taboo at night. Not everything that passes your lips will end up on your hips! (or, belly, or butt…)

Certain foods will actually help your overall fat loss efforts. Good to know, in case you find yourself chowing down at night on occasion!

Generally speaking, you want to avoid starchy carbohydrate consumption and sugary foods at night and choose high-quality protein sources that that are slow-digesting.

Sadly, most favorite conventional grain-based snack foods are on the “naughty” list: pizza, crackers, pasta (“mac & cheese”), pretzels, popcorn, cereal, cookies and other baked goods…

It’s OK, you’ll survive this.

Those carbs tend to cause a substantial increase in insulin… which will contribute to fat storage. Good thing if you’re planning an extended stay in the arctic or are about to run an ultra marathon in the next day or so… not good if you’d like to wake up the next day, slim and trim. (Plus, modern grains are toxic and contribute to systemic inflammation… a risk factor for all chronic illness.)

A better choice is a slow-digesting source of protein that will provide your body with a steady flow of amino acids during your sleep, helping you rebuild, restore, recover, and maintain your lean muscle as you lose fat. All while you’re sleeping! Gotta’ love that!

Anything that enhances and/or protects the integrity of your lean muscle is a very good thing. Your lean muscle is like your fat and calorie burning furnace. If you’re losing weight, and it’s causing you to lose muscle, too… you’re shooting yourself in the foot!

These are some of my favorite evening choices:

1) Animal Protein – This list includes the least-toxic sources of chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs. Choose free-range poultry sources that aren’t loaded with chemicals, and deep, cold-water fish in the wild. These sources of protein are slow to digest (good thing) and have a very low insulin release. If you eat red meat, choose grass-fed (or GreenFed) or wild game. Red meat has a higher insulin response so some argue it’s not the ideal choice for later in the evening.

That being said, I had a wee bit of grass-fed steak the other night. I’m good with that. No guilt here!

2) Green Veggies – OK, so vegetables clearly are not considered proteins, I know. However, they are loaded with fabulous nutrients, are very high in useable fiber (fresh fiber), they’re a naturally low-calorie food, and they can be nice and filling… even comforting. No, really! You might just munch on some raw veggies, or maybe whip up a nice salad with added veggies. Just skip the sugar-loaded dressings and use olive oil and balsamic vinegar with natural herbs and spices instead. I like to sautee or roast a variety of veggies to eat on their own or to add to a salad. Add a bit of grass-fed butter for the benefits of a healthy fat, improved nutrient assimilation, AND taste. Yum!

3) A Bit of Cheese – Cottage cheese is a traditional favorite of dieters everywhere! I could take it or leave it… and since I’ve not yet found a good source for raw cottage cheese, I usually “leave it”. Instead, for a quick late night snack, I might opt for a bit of raw, organic, grass-fed cheese.  A good quality cheese doesn’t add the usual toxicity that conventional dairy does, AND it has the benefits of protein – it stimulates the release of glucagon a hormone that helps keep glucose in check. Have you ever had raw, organic, grass-fed cheese? Wowza! Deee-lish!

4) Avocado – You know me. I’ll find any excuse to eat avocado! Thankfully, it’s a GOOD, healthy fat that is a simple, easy, filling option. I either eat a few slices on their own, or mash up some homemade guacamole and use cucumber slices to scoop it up. Now, I didn’t say to go ahead and eat it with corn chips and have yourself a margarita, did I?! Behave.

5) Raw Nuts – For the same reason as avocado, I tend to choose a handful of raw nuts as a snack. They’re a great source of healthy fats. Macadamia, almonds, walnuts… good stuff.

6) A high-quality, slow-digesting, Protein Shake – I don’t do this for dinner 99% of the time (because I enjoy chewing my dinner!), but it’s a good option for a late night ‘snack’ or ‘dessert’. You can blend it with a healthy fat, like some almond butter, coconut oil, or… wait for it…. avocado!

There are a couple of very important caveats to having a shake at night: (i) Do not load it up with fruit! Fruit is high in sugar and will sabotage everything I’m talking about here. (ii) Make sure your source of protein shake isn’t loaded with toxicity OR isn’t your run-of-the-mill whey protein shake.

The average whey protein powder tends to cause even more of an insulin release than bread! (No, don’t eat bread at night instead.) Look for a “time-released” blend that includes a combination of slow-digesting, high-quality, less-toxic proteins.

I know. It’s not easy finding this type of quality protein. Or, if you find it, you might have to pay an arm and a leg for it! I’ve found a few great sources over the years, but they’re few and far between… considering the sheer quantity of absolute JUNK that lines the “health” sections of many stores now!

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 One of my current favorites is from BioTrust Low-Carb. It’s from BioTrust Nutrition which is a company that was created by two solid health experts I’ve worked with in the past, participating in an exercise and nutrition-based  fat-loss program they had created a few years ago.

They were getting fed up with the quality (or lack thereof) of nutritional products in the market place, so they just went ahead and started their own company! How cool is that? I should have thought of that… in all my spare time! ; )

So, there you go.

For those nights when a 6 o’clock dinner with an evening stroll to follow just isn’t happening… or you’d like something to fill the void later on, you DO have some healthier options.

How about YOU? What’s YOUR favorite late night snack or meal?

Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a leading expert in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 18 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan. She is also the proud (home schooling) mom of two rather fabulous youngsters.

Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness  provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://DrMomOnline.comhttp://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline and http://Twitter.com/DrMomOnline.

Also, check out her available books at http://amazon.com/author/drcolleen .

For more information about working privately with Dr. Colleen in an Integrative Health Recovery Program for any number of metabolic and health issues, such as thyroid imbalance, weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity & gut permeability, cellular detoxification, and more, please contact her directly at trombley68@gmail.com. Distance programs are available.

 

 

 

 

6 Reasons For Food Cravings

cookies

By far, the two most common types of foods people tend to have cravings for are sugar and high fat foods.

When I say “sugar”, I’m talking about all the foods and drinks that convert to sugar in our bloodstream very quickly… not just the “obvious” things like baked goods, sweets, and candy.

It’s also things like refined grains (many would argue that it’s “all” grains), starchy carbs like bread, pasta, crackers, cereal, bagels, donuts, muffins, pizza, pretzels, granola bars, sports drinks, energy drinks, juice drinks, alcohol, mixes for alcohol, flavored coffee creamers… the list is rather enormous!

No, the solution is not to substitute with artificial sweeteners, by the way. That’s a whole other level of toxicity.

Salty foods are pretty high on the cravings list, too.

So why the cravings?

I consistently find one or more of the following underlying 6 reasons when working with people in various nutritional detoxification and metabolic recovery programs:

1) Chronic stress

Stress can come from the stereotypical emotional or mental sources, but it can also come from toxicity in our nutrition or other chemical sources; chronic fatigue; chronic pain; trauma; injury; a lack of proprioception (from movement); environmental issues; medications; illness; autoimmune conditions, etc.

When we are exposed to stress, the brain signals our adrenal glands to release stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline. This is a normal response and is perfectly welcome in the short-term fight or flight response. However, many folks are under chronic stress… so the body is burning through major stress hormones on a regular basis.

Two of the main constituents of stress hormones are sugar and fat.

If you’re not addressing the source of the stress, the body will continue to do its best to supply you with stress hormones to get you through. In order to do this, it will “demand” that you supply more ingredients for the stress hormones – sugar and fat.

Hence, cravings.

Address the stress, ditch the cravings.

By the way, those adrenals that respond and adapt to stress? When those puppies are over-taxed, that’s when we tend to crave salt. If you regularly have salt cravings, check your chronic exposure to stress, your sources of stress, and your response to stress.

 

2) Bad bugs

If you regularly experience gas and bloating, constipation or diarrhea, headaches, and fatigue along with those sugar cravings, it’s an indication that unhealthy bacteria have taken over too much of your gut. which is actually quite common considering how vulnerable your gut bacteria are to environmental insults.

The more advances that are made in science and health research, the more the critical importance of the gut is revealed.  It’s not “sexy” to talk about the gut, but it’s of the utmost importance if you want to live a long, healthy life.

The “gut” comprises vital organs and systems like the stomach, large and small intestines, liver, and gall bladder. Rather significant in the scheme of things, yes?

The human body is truly amazing in its ability to adapt to the toxic abuse we often toss its way, but there are consequences to this abuse, whether we see or feel the effects of it now or not. This proliferation and over-growth of unhealthy bacteria in the gut is actually quite common, considering how vulnerable gut bacteria are to environmental assaults.

The healthy bacteria of our gut need to be there. They are a vital component of our health on many levels. They keep the overall “flora” of the gut in check. “Bad” bacteria will always find a way there, too… it’s when it’s out of balance that we’ve got a problem.

Our lifestyle choices influence our gut flora on a daily basis. In particular, our gut is very sensitive to: antibiotics, chlorinated and fluoridated water, pesticides and other agricultural toxins, antibacterial soaps and cleaners, poor diet, and much more.

It may be a challenge to have direct control of your community’s water supply or what’s being sprayed on crops in your county, but you certainly have control over many components of your diet.

These unhealthy, pathogenic bacteria, and yeast, and fungi love a steady supply of sugar. In fact, it nourishes them. This proliferation of bacteria and yeast has been described by some doctors as actually causing more harm than elevated blood sugar and insulin resistance… which are very serious problems.

Yeast is a normal and natural part of our bodies… WHEN it’s in a state of balance.

When yeast grows out of control, it’s referred to as Candida or Candidiasis. Candidiasis is notorious for causing sugar cravings. Why? Because it feeds on sugar!

Remember that list of foods that convert to sugar very quickly in our bodies? Sigh. Those are the enemy, especially if you have yeast/Candida  issues.

Typically, by temporarily removing sugar from the diet for a few weeks to a few months, most people can restore a healthy balance of yeast. (Often, they also need to incorporate #3 below to have lasting success.)

Again, until the source of the problem is addressed, it’s hard to battle those cravings with just your determination and will.

Stop feeding the Candida, ditch the cravings.

 

3) Gut permeability issues

This component is huge. It’s also very closely related to the first two reasons. Funny how the body works like that!

Here’s the reeeeally simple, nutshell version of what’s going on…

The lining of the intestines forms a life-saving barrier for us. When this lining is damaged, we end up with intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut”. Now, food particles that are far too large are passing through the barrier right into our bloodstream. Not good.

The immune system does it’s thing, goes on the attack and responds to this invader. If the gut is not repaired properly, then the heightened immune response continues. In some cases, an autoimmune response is created – where the immune system attacks the body’s own tissue.

Again, until the cause is addressed, the problem will continue.

When the gut lining has been damaged (due to the typical North American lifestyle – poor diet, toxicity, chronic stress, drugs/medication, environmental factors like  mold, pesticides, heavy metals like mercury in dental fillings and vaccines, etc.), the body doesn’t receive the nutrients it needs.

The vast majority of nutrient assimilation takes place in the small intestines. If it’s damaged, the body won’t get what it needs.

Hence, the potential for cravings.

Heal the gut, ditch the cravings.

When you diligently work to repair gut issues in the proper way, ALONG WITH removing the source(s) of toxicity AND eating a “proper diet” that continues to nourish and heal (that includes traditionally fermented foods known to help heal the gut lining), not only should cravings subside, but overall health and vitality will dramatically improve.

4) Hormonal Imbalance

This is too large of a topic to fully dive into here, but I’ll give you a taste.

Hormones are little chemical messengers – they’re like little cars traveling throughout our bodies, carrying various messages for every function in the body. They need a place to park. The hormone receptors (garages for the cars, if you will) line the cell membranes of every single cell in our body.

In order for healthy function to unfold, the cars need to park in the garages so that the messages can be transferred to the cell.

When cells become “congested” due to many of the same factors that interfere with a healthy gut (listed in #2 and #3), the garages are blocked or altered so that the cars can’t deliver the message. In addition to throwing physiological function off in a major way, this resulting “hormonal imbalance” can cause food cravings.

We can try to artificially add more hormones (cars) to the mix, but that’s generally not the problem. The problem is the garage doors (cell membrane and hormone receptors). This is true for all hormones – whether we’re talking reproductive hormones, or thyroid hormones… or anything in between.

Fix the cell membrane, detoxify the cell, ditch the cravings.

5) Excitotoxins

Again, the simplified version: excitotoxins are food additives that are considered “neurotoxins”, meaning they are toxic to our brain and nervous system. You know, the “Master System”. Not good.

Some of the common excitotoxins you may recognize are MSG (monosodium glutamate), aspartame, hydrolyzed proteins, and autolyzed yeast, as well as ingredients listed as “natural flavors” and “spices”.

These additives “enhance” the taste of foods, making us crave these new, “exciting” flavors… rather than the old, boring ones that REAL foods provide. They change the expectations of our taste buds!

Eat real food without all the additives, ditch the cravings.

6) Drugs

Dr. Hubby and I have come to learn in our practice experience that, when things just are just plain wacky with a patient… when their symptoms are all over the place, breaking all the rules, oftentimes it’s due to their medications. The pharmaceuticals that people take now are a new, disturbing breed, causing a dizzying array of side effects.

One of these side effects can be food cravings. (Honestly, it’s probably the least of your concerns with the dangerous side effects that these drugs could be causing!)

Talk to your prescribing doctor(s) about an exit strategy for all drugs that are not currently keeping you alive! In the overwhelming majority of cases, you should not “have to” take a drug for life. That would mean that the drug is not fixing anything, right?

Make the changes necessary to sustain your own life… and health.

Dump the drugs, ditch the cravings… live long and prosper!

 

*** If you’d like to chat about the “right” way to detoxify at the level of your cells (cell membrane), or how to heal your “gut” and improve your health, or the best way to address potential hormonal imbalance, let me know!                           I’m happy to help! ***

 

 

Yes, You Can Still Do This. Yes, I Will Still Help!

The Virgin Diet Challenge Master Package

Maybe it’s because the start of a new year has people motivated and inspired to get healthy again and lose their excess weight.

I’m not sure the reason, but recently I’ve had quite a few folks asking me if they could still do the JJ Virgin Challenge.

The answer is YES! Of course!!

JJ had some special “book launch incentives” back in November… but she’s still got plenty goin’ on with great bonuses and add-ons to her program.

By the way, the folks who have been doing JJ’s program are posting exceptional results and success stories! Great stuff.

***

I’ve also had people ask me if I’d still be willing to offer my complimentary Metabolic Assessment along with a follow-up consultation and strategy session when you purchase JJ’s Challenge program through my site.

The answer is YES! I’ve decided I’d do that for all you wonderful little health-seekers out there!

Below is one of the posts I did about JJ’s program a couple months ago. (Just ignore the dates! You can still order the program, no problem.)

Check it out. Then go ahead and get started! JJ is as real as it gets. She knows her stuff and her programs are solid!

I’m here to help you make 2013 your breakthrough year for optimal health and function… inside and out!

*****

All righty… I just want to give you one last reminder about this great new program by celebrity nutrition & fitness expert, JJ Virgin. Her new book, “The Virgin Diet”, is already a top seller… and it’s still in the pre-launch phase!

If you don’t know JJ, look her up! This lady is a phenom! She’s a class act, knows her stuff, and is a trusted veteran in the health & wellness industry. She’s also got an amazing “mom story” that tugs on my heart strings. Her eldest son was hit by a car and nearly killed a couple months ago. JJ has turned the earth upside down to get him the proper care that he needs, and has been at his hospital bedside for countless hours… lovin’ on him while he’s awake, and working her tail off when he’s not. This lady is as dedicated as they come.

When it comes to her weight loss and nutritional strategies, JJ’s not just regurgitating the same (inaccurate) nonsense that so many others in the field are. Her program is different – it’s based on solid science and current research.

That’s why we support JJ. She’s speakin’ our language!

Her “Virgin Diet” and the “Virgin Diet Challenge” are based on many of the same principles we teach in our practice. Weight loss oftentimes isn’t as simple as, “eat less, move more.” That works for some folks… but not all. If your “gut” is unhealthy or damaged from a history of medications, stress, toxic diet, and a gazillion other things, then even foods you think are healthy can be damaging to your system… AND making you fat, tired, achy, and cranky.

Food intolerance is one of THE leading reasons why almost 3/4 of overweight people are struggling.

Think about it – counting calories and “points” won’t help AT ALL if the foods themselves are what’s making you sick and fat!

Check out this video of JJ describing her program… great stuff!
This weekend is your last chance (as far as I’ve been told) to get in on JJ’s Virgin Diet Challenge special pricing… and all the freebie bonuses she’s throwing in. The special pricing ends on Sunday November 25th!

 

 

She’s hitting the road now to do a series of PBS episodes about her program, as well as some work with various talk show hosts, like Rachael Ray. Now’s the time to get her program at this introductory price… because it doesn’t look like it will last much longer!

You can read more about the program here.

 

I believe in JJ’s approach so much that I’ve sweetened her deal…

If you order JJ’s Challenge program by this Sunday, I’m going to give you a $125 gift!

My uber-smart Dr. Hubby and I are offering our comprehensive metabolic and functional health assessment to anyone who enrolls in JJ’s program through this post. While JJ’s program is an immediate boost toward improving your health and dropping those excess pounds, our assessment will take things to the next level.

Through our detailed assessments, we will determine your current level of physiologic imbalance and the possible next action steps that are right for you. When you sign up for JJ’s program to take her Challenge, there is NO charge for your assessments with us AND no charge for your follow-up consultation with the doctor (in person, on phone, or via Skype). This is normally a $125 service in our practice! (That’s the “gift”, by the way.) The information and knowledge you will gain is invaluable. You’ll have a clear direction to take with a health-recovery strategy personalized for YOU.

We’re doing this because we know how much of an impact JJ’s program can have on your life – if you do and commit to it.

If you sign up for JJ’s program by Sunday, AND you’re interested in taking us up on our offer, then shoot me an email at info@drmomonline.com to let me know you’d like to get started.

I really like some of the extras that JJ is creating for this program, like her holiday survival tips and her travel tips. She’s giving all the tools and strategies necessary to truly make this a lasting lifestyle change for the folks that work with her.

It’s a great program! If you can do it, DO IT… TAKE THE CHALLENGE! You could be a different person, inside and out, by Christmas! I’m here to help you along the way…

 

How Long Does it Take to Break a Bad Habit?

bad habit

I’ve always heard that it takes 21 days to break a bad habit (or create a new, positive one).

Then again, I know plenty of people who have gone “cold turkey” in releasing their bad habits.

So, what’s more powerful? The repetitive action that builds a new habit? Or, the power of the mind to fully make the decision?

I’ve experienced success with both. I’m sure you have, too.

In the case of creating a new, positive, healthier habit, it seems that both are required. I need to first make the decision of the new direction I want to take, and then follow that up with consistent actions that support my decision.

What good is the decision if there’s no action to “git ‘er done”!

On the other hand, I find that breaking a bad habit requires even more “brain power”. I need to be fully vested in the decision to walk away from the habit in order to make it happen.

Sounds obvious, I’m sure. But think about how many times you’ve been wishy-washy about “giving up” something like chocolate, or sugar, or junk food, or fast food, or pop, or pizza, or grains, or dairy, or alcohol, or smoking, or pain meds, or television, or video games, or gambling, or shopping…

Wishy-washy allows us an easy exit strategy and plenty of room for justifications and excuses.

(I know this. I am gifted at justifying less-than-healthy choices when I want to be!)

If you’re not fully “IN” on your own decision… well, then… what’s the point?

 

Recently, I’ve broken a bad habit of mine.

I like wine.

My bad habit was that I was having a glass of wine, or two, most evenings.

Here’s how I could justify it: when I have a “glass” of wine at home, it’s only 3 ounces. Maybe up to 4 ounces. I use a teeny tiny wine glass… on purpose. So, I certainly don’t drink in excess by most standards.

(By the way, you might imagine how this gets me in trouble when we dine elsewhere… and the serving sizes are much larger!)

This habit was really getting on my nerves. It was “excessive” by my own standards. That’s really all that matters.

I’ve said it here before – if something less-than-healthy starts becoming too frequent of a habit in my life, I start getting uncomfortable with that. It begins to feel like an “addiction”. Maybe not a true physical or chemical addiction… maybe just a “social” addiction… or a habit… but whatever it is, I don’t like it.

I don’t like to give away my power to something unworthy like that.

So, I made the decision to STOP drinking wine… or any other alcohol that might cross my path. (Not too hard since I don’t like much else anyway.)

Here’s the key.

People are driven by one or both of the following:

1) seeking pleasure, or

2) avoiding pain

One normally bears more weight in each of our choices.

In the case of “giving up” wine, I had to weigh my pain and pleasure very carefully.

Some of the “pleasure” it was bringing me (or appeared to bring me) was the very appealing feeling of having a glass of wine as I prepared dinner in the kitchen each night. It was (and is) the most powerful pull of all. Even more so than enjoying a glass of wine with dinner, there was something about preparing food, mixing ingredients, adding herbs and spices, taste testing… all while my family was happily doing their thing… that just really made me enjoy that little glass of wine.

BUT, it was the frequency thing that got to me. It was making me feel weak.

That was part of the “pain”.

It had become too frequent. Going without for a few days, here and there, wasn’t really making me feel any better about myself. I needed to prove more to myself.

Also, I know the major consequences of consuming sugar, and I understand the increased risk regarding alcohol consumption and breast cancer. Sugar feeds cancer.

There’s also the expense of alcohol, and several other “pains” I could add to the list of reasons to walk away and take a break.

However, the most powerful reason of all has been a “pleasure seeking” one.

This is what has made it “easy” since deciding.

I LOVE the feeling of power and self-discipline.

Plain and simple.

If I feel tempted to have that glass of wine while making dinner, I re-make the choice to let it go KNOWING with certainty that I’ll feel much better if I don’t. It’s darn-near euphoric!

Self pride is a lovely thing.

Here’s the thing. I will resume having a glass of wine at some point in the future. I haven’t banned myself for life… at least not at this point! I don’t believe that all wine is inherently “bad”! (And, unless it’s negatively affecting me or my family, or putting anyone in danger, I don’t really care about anyone else’s consumption. I can’t control anyone’s choices but my own. No judgement, either. None of us our perfect with our choices.)

I know the date on the calendar when it will be “allowed” again, if I choose. It’s not something circled in red that I’m anxiously awaiting… it’s just the end of a detox period that I committed to.

Like any other less-than-healthy choice in my life, if it gets out of control (by my own standards) again, then I’ll make this decision again.

So, for me, breaking a bad habit is all about head space.

How long does it take to break a bad habit? Well, I suppose it could only take a split second. Once you’ve decided, that is.

I have to get real about the consequences of that choice and honestly assess the pain and pleasure scale. Then, I either commit to it if I have enough “supporting evidence”… or I don’t.

Creating a good habit only begins with head space… and then takes consistent, supportive action on my part to follow through.

There are many tricks and strategies you can use to break a bad habit if a powerful decision isn’t enough.

There are things like the “swear jar” where you pay a fine every time you do that thing you promised yourself you wouldn’t, or establish other “penalties” for yourself when you get off track. You can also set rewards for yourself when you hit certain milestones, like one week without chocolate, etc. You can take it a step further by setting a reward for good behavior, BUT, it has to be given away to a pre-determined friend or family member if you revert to your bad habit!

Ouch.

I’ve played those games with myself years ago. At the time, they worked. They were more effective for me, again, when I was creating a new habit or working toward a goal.

Over time, I’ve just gotten to know my own brain better!

I know I just need to smarten up and stop sabotaging myself. I like me better that way!

* * *

How about YOU? Have you recently given up a bad habit? Was it a New Year’s Resolution, by chance? What’s your strategy? Has it been working for you… or not? Please share – I’d love to hear how your brain works! : )

 

What's your strategy for a "better" YOU this year?

 

 

“Eyelasticity” ~ How to Reduce Eye Bags

eyes

Oh, how it saddens me to talk about this.

Eye bags.

What a horrible name.

I swear these nasty varmits were not anywhere near my radar screen back in my teens and twenties as I slathered baby oil on my face and went out in the sun to bake.

I could seriously kick myself. Repeatedly!

Then again, years of chronic sleep deprivation didn’t help. Nor did being seriously whacked out with stress and many tears over some serious family health issues a few years back. OK, then there’s the whole living on a lake thing… and craving the outdoors… and probably being in the sun “too much”, according to many.

Life adds up.  For many of us, it also SHOWS up… in our eye area!

I remind myself that those lines represent many years of fabulous laughs and many, many smiles. True. They do. I’m grateful for that… and am (mostly) graceful about embracing those well-earned lines and other ‘changes’ in appearance.

Unfortunately, they also represent some rotten choices and less-than-pleasant experiences.

I am not alone.

Some people look like zombies. They’re the ones with bags under the eyes and they look like they’ve been up all night. I’ve seen that in the mirror a few times recently, too, mostly after a sleepless night or following a very stressful day. I am not impressed!

So why is it that some of us get bags sooner than others? Several reasons.

Eye bags are part of the aging process, during which the ligaments that hold the under-eye fatty deposits get weaker. With time, the skin loses its elasticity and the bags get bigger. And while the speed at which this happens is often hereditary, some lifestyle factors can hasten the process.

As with other health conditions, toxicity is a factor, as well.

It could be toxicity from poor nutritional or chemical choices, poor sleep, poor exercise habits, emotional stress and anxiety, hormonal imbalances, gut and digestive issues, and even biotoxins or neurotoxins like heavy metals, mercury, or mold.

Those, by the way, require some deeper work.

Thankfully, there are some other things we can do in the meantime to help with the superficial side of this problem.

Lifestyle Factors

Take Your Sleep Seriously - Do what you can to “protect” your sacred sleep. Sleep deprivation, at least for me, is the first thing to trigger those puffy eyes and bags. Get to bed earlier. When you’re cycling through your sleep properly and early enough, your brain will trigger the ample release growth hormone for you. This aids in metabolism and overall hormonal balance. Of course, this is important for countless functions… but it’s good for your outward appearance, as well. Prioritize your sleep schedule.

Sleep With Your Head Slightly Elevated – When you sleep, fluid can accumulate under the eyes and contribute to eye bags and puffiness. Sleeping on your back and with your head slightly elevated ‘lifts’ your face while you rest and reduces fluid accumulation under the eyes. Of course, if you’re hurting your neck in the process, as a Chiropractor, I don’t think it’s worth it! Experiment with the “right” elevation for you and your puffy eyes!

Avoid Fluids Before Bedtime – Speaking of sleep, try not to drink fluids before you retire for the evening. With less fluid in your system while you rest there’s less fluid to build up and cause puffiness. Plus, you probably won’t have to get up to go to the bathroom as much… so you’ll get better sleep!

Avoid Salty Snacks – Foods that are high in refined salt can increase water retention, and the effect is magnified while you rest, when your metabolism slows to a crawl.

Drink Plenty of Water (During the Day) – This sounds ironic considering we just discussed how water retention can cause eye bags, but the name of the game here is to drink it during the day. Your body needs water to flush out toxins and keep skin taut and healthy.

Green Tea Bags – One of the famous old wives tales you’ve heard, cold green tea bags can, in fact, reduce eye bags. Chalk it up to an anti-inflammatory chemical called EGCG, which can reduce fluid accumulation and tighten the delicate skin in this area. Not into green tea? Use a slice of cucumber instead.

Limit  Alcohol – Sorry. There are several factors at play here. Alcohol consumption can disrupt your sleep cycles; it’s loaded with sugar, therefore it can negatively effect your insulin sensitivity; and the yeast component in alcohol contributes to chronic Candida issues… which can certainly show up in the skin. Consistently, the times I’ve personally noticed the greatest improvement in those “morning eyes” have been the times I’ve abstained from any alcohol for extended periods of time.

Detoxify – When the body functions properly, beginning at its deepest levels, the outward signs are apparent. Proper detoxification, beginning with the level of the cell as opposed to merely a colon or intestinal cleanse, is a critically important topic that I won’t be diving into in this brief article.

(If you need my help or input here, please contact me by leaving a comment with your contact info.)

Just know that the greater your exposure to (or accumulation of) toxicity, the greater the likelihood that your eyes and skin will show indications of toxicity. Not always, since much toxic overload is sneaky and creeps up on us and manifests itself in countless, often mis-diagnosed ways… but, if you’ve already got bags under your eyes, it’s time to address toxicity.

 

Much to several skin experts’ chagrin, I’ve never been one to spend much time with various skin care protocols. (Shocking, I’m sure.) But now, I find the myriad of “anti-aging” products intriguing.

One of the products I’ve been looking at lately is “Eyelasticity Age-Defying Eye Therapy”.

The preceding tips can reduce eye bags, and it is true that bagginess affects some more than others and at an earlier age.

But it is inevitable that, at some point, Father Time catches up to all of us. We will develop bagginess, to some extent,  at some point.

Other than living a completely toxic-free existence inside an oxygen chamber and sleeping a minimum of 12 hours per day, is there a solution?

Eyelasticity is lookin’ good.

Eyelasticity Age-Defying Eye Therapy is a gentle, yet effective formulation of time-tested natural ingredients with Swiss-derived patented peptides, including Eyeseryl, Syn-ake and Pro-Coll-One+.

That’s a mouthful.

Evidently, these components are perfectly suited for the skin in this delicate area. And when combined, they do virtually magical things.

I could use a little eye magic!

In a recent clinical study, Eyelasticity Age-Defying Eye Therapy reduced under-eye puffiness in 95% of study participants. Seventy per cent of the volunteers saw improvements in less than two weeks and eye bags were reduced by thirty-two per cent.

Kinda’ makes you wonder why someone would spend $6,000 for a surgical eye lift, doesn’t it? Seems painful on many levels!

This is right up my alley, as far as treatments are concerned: significantly less invasive than surgery or injections, safer, effective, and far more affordable. You can even get yourself a nice little FREE trial from the company! Cool beans!

If you try it, let me know what YOU think… once you’re finished with your photo shoot, that is!