Color for your Thanksgiving Table

It’s the time of year most of us think about cranberries.  Even if you don’t normally enjoy them, you might consume some cranberry sauce this week while enjoying your Thanksgiving dinner. However, we really should be eating cranberries much more often than once a year!  Cranberries are chock full of antioxidants, vitamin C AND they are great for your digestive system. If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection, you may have been advised to drink cranberry juice.  That’s because cranberries contain proanthocyanidins.  This helps prevent E.coli bacteria from sticking to the walls of your bladder. Thanks to all those antioxidants, they also help our body get rid of toxins that can cause our immune system to weaken – and a weakened immune system makes us more likely to pick up an icky bug. If you’ve never had real cranberry sauce – this is the year to start.  Here is my favorite recipe – it’s incredibly simple, delicious and can even be made a few days before you want to serve it. Other ways to add more cranberries to your life include drinking them (make sure it’s real cranberry juice and not a bit of juice with tons of additional ingredients), adding fresh ones to baked goods, or dried cranberries to your salads.  Or just snack on them raw – yum! This is also the time of year to stock up on cranberries – they can be pretty hard to find at the grocery after December.  Buy an extra bag or two and stick it in your freezer.  They’ll even keep in an airtight container in your refrigerator’s crisper...

Twist for Your Gut

Twist for your gut – what???? Hopefully you’ve been faithfully enjoying some fermented foods and/or including a probiotic since last week.  Today I’m going to share another super simple tip for helping aide digestion and it doesn’t have to cost a dime. Twisted yoga poses Not a yoga fan?  Don’t stop reading.  Traditional twisted poses are fantastic for stimulating the organs in your digestive system.  They do this by creating movement in and around our organs.  So doing these types of poses can truly start things moving if your body is “stuck.” For those of you familiar with yoga, a simple spinal twist while reclined or seated is a great place to start.  If you don’t know anything about yoga, you could begin with Day 2 of the video A.M. Yoga for Your Week (which is in general a great beginning yoga video).  Whenever I feel the need to do yoga twists, I pop in this DVD and enjoy the series of poses.  It’s also a great sequence for back or shoulder pain.  The entire workout takes less than 25 minutes, so it fits well into your day in the early morning, lunch time or even evening. Another great resource if you aren’t ready to invest in a DVD is to check out this series suggested by Yoga Journal:  8 poses for better digestion. If you don’t have a regular yoga practice, I’d recommend starting out with 2 or 3 days a week and seeing how it goes from there.  Once the moves become second nature, you could easily start or end each day with 5 to 10 minutes of twists.  You’ll help your...

How’s Your Gut?

Do you often find yourself with stomach problems?  Feeling bloated or just plain miserable?  I know I used to, and as I mentioned in last week’s Facebook Live video, it’s exactly why I started down the path of nutrition training.  I wanted to stop feeling uncomfortable every other day. I can happily say that today (almost 7 years later), I rarely have stomach issues.  In fact, overall I feel much healthier and get sick less often than I used to.  I’m confident that many of the tips, tricks and lifestyle changes I’ve made over the years is the reason. Thank goodness for being willing to experiment (although once you get to the point where you’ll try anything to feel better, it’s not that hard to do). This month, I’ll dive into some of my favorite ways to help if you are experiencing gut issues.  Since the reasons can be varied and are as individual as each of us, some of these may help you more than others – but there is science and historical evidence behind each tip.  The only way to find out what helps you is to give the various suggestions a try.  And not just once – be consistent and try something new for at least 7 days.  But don’t try more than one tip at a time – otherwise you can’t pinpoint what is helping.  I do want to mention that although they might be helpful, none of these tips are considered “cures” or are specifically geared towards people who’ve been diagnosed with IBS or other medical issues – please talk to your doctor about...
My Favorite Books from October 2017

My Favorite Books from October 2017

  I didn’t read as much as normal this month – but that’s not surprising since we had a relaxing two week Fall Break.  That meant most of my free time was spent hanging out with friends and family.  Definitely more of a priority than reading!  Plus we went out of town for a soccer tournament (so much fun) and a wonderful family vacation with lots of hiking, game playing and just enjoying life! My favorites for the month: Oh my goodness this is a fun book.  Alice gets sent to California by her boss to assist an author with creating her new book.  When she arrives she finds herself spending most of her time caring for Frank, the author’s son.  Frank is quite an unusual child.  He prefers old movies, dressing the part of characters in them, and definitely marches to his own tune.  By the end of the book, you’ll fall in love with Frank and the quirky cast of characters that support him.  My rating 4.5 out of 5.   Totally different genre – this thriller kept me guessing until the end.  I was pretty sure I knew what was going on, but never 100%.  On a stormy night, Cass sees a woman sitting in her car in the woods.  She doesn’t stop, thinking it might be a trap, but then the next day when the woman is found dead, she begins a downward sprial of guilt.  Meanwhile, the anxiety she feels seems to be unraveling her entire life.  But is it just anxiety?  Don’t read ahead and you’ll enjoy this book more.  My rating 4.5...
Feel Better While Eating

Feel Better While Eating

Do you enjoy your meals at the table?  Or do you scarf them down standing by the kitchen counter or over the stove?  Do you eat with your family most nights?  Or is the norm for you to each grab whatever you can whenever you are home? I know I’m not the first one to mention how important it is to eat together as a family regularly, but in addition to the often acknowledged benefits for your kids, there are strong health benefits for YOU too. By sitting down to eat, you are automatically going to eat better.   You’ll notice what’s on your plate – the colors, quantities and appearance.  If you start to pay attention to this you can begin to make small changes – smaller quantities, a wider variety of colors, etc. Challenge yourself to not just enjoy the company around you but to begin eating mindfully.  Chew each bite completely (this will help with bloating and stomach issues), place your fork down between bites.  Think about what you are eating and enjoy all the nuances and flavors. Delicious. Used to having the TV on while you eat?  Turn it off.  If you eat with the TV on, I guarantee you will eat more.  Your body doesn’t realize it’s full when it’s distracted.  And it’s easy to mindlessly shovel more food into your mouth when you aren’t paying attention to each bite. Why should you make eating mindfully a practice?  Because you deserve it!  You deserve to enjoy your meals – after all eating is a part of everyday so why not make it enjoyable?  Right?  In...
Transition from work to home driving you CRAZY?

Transition from work to home driving you CRAZY?

I can’t believe it’s our last week in this series around creating calm and reducing stress.  Hopefully you’ve been practicing some of the breathing exercises, using your RC and eating more mindfully.  This week I want to turn your attention to another common area of stress – transition time. Although there are many transition times during the day (home to work; afterschool; dinnertime; bedtime), I want to dive into one that all of us working moms have – the transition from work to home.  Regardless of if you are physically driving home from work or simply attempting to turn off the computer and focus on your family, this can be an especially dicey and stressful transition. Odds are good you didn’t finish everything you wanted to do at work (do we ever?), so it can be hard to move from that work mentality to start enjoying your family.  Instead of making that transition rushed and harried, try slowing it down a bit.  Use it to switch off your work mind, release any negativity that invaded your workday and move into a calm, enjoyable evening.  Even if you  have an evening of running kids around planned, you can still change your attitude and make the most of it! Let’s begin… Step 1:  Leave work behind.  Close your computer – signify to your brain that work is over. Step 2:  Leave your office area.  Either get in your car, bus, etc. to drive home or leave your work area if you work at home.  Take 3 big inhales and exhales and smile. Step 3:  Find something that lifts your mood, and...
Just ONE Minute

Just ONE Minute

Have you been incorporating 5 minutes of calm in your morning?  Been practicing your 1 minute breathing?  If so, how have you been feeling?  Hopefully a little calmer?  Are you able to stop in moments of stress and redirect?  If not, just keep practicing and try adding this week’s lesson to your arsenal. I know some of you prioritize exercise.  Or at least you WANT to prioritize it and just do it whenever you can.  This week I want to encourage you to add just 1 minute of breathing to the end of each workout.  Just one minute and you’ll leave your workout session (whatever it is) feeling stronger, more centered and ready to face the rest of your day. It really happens.  Just try it if you don’t believe me. Why is this the case?  It’s simply the way your body works.  First, stress begins and ends with your breath.  When you get stressed or overwhelmed, you’ll start holding your breath.  Then you begin to tense your muscles.  Soon you feel worse.  If you slow down your breathing, your body will start to relax, your mind will stop racing and you can move forward in a calmer matter. A great way to begin is to add a short savasana to your workout.  This is the yoga pose that ends almost every yoga practice.  It’s often also called rest pose or corpse pose.  To do it, simply lay down on your back, legs and arms naturally turned up and out, close your eyes and breathe in and out deeply.  Allow your body to relax into the ground, feel your muscles...
Start Your Day with 5 Minutes of Calm

Start Your Day with 5 Minutes of Calm

This month we are going to slow things down. The crazy holiday season is coming so hopefully you can enjoy a little calm before it arrives. I’ll also be teaching you some terrific methods for reducing stress and calming your mind. Practice them now and they will come in handy for the rest of the year. We’ll start this series off with the way you begin your day. You wake up late or to a blaring alarm clock, rush around the house making breakfast, packing lunches, making sure everyone has everything in their backpack, getting yourself showered, dressed and ready for work – maybe grabbing a coffee to go? If that sounds like your current morning, then no wonder you start each day off feeling stressed and behind. Maybe you still have to do all that, but wouldn’t you love to begin the day with a few minutes of calm first? Amazingly, 5 minutes of calm will make the rest of the morning bearable AND put you in a better mood. Here’s how to do it: First things first, change how you wake up. If your alarm is annoying, why do you use it? Why not switch to music you love? My daughter set her alarm to birds chirping – love it! Next, hop on out of bed (so you don’t fall back asleep) and grab a glass of water – hydrating will wake you up gently and it’s been hours since you consumed anything so your body needs that water. While you are enjoying your drink, take a few minutes and appreciate the fact that it’s a new...
My Favorite Books – September 2017

My Favorite Books – September 2017

Well, I read a ton of fiction this month, so that’s what I’ll be sharing.  A couple of REALLY good ones, so check them out: I really loved this book.  It was quirky, funny and emotional.  Leia has a chance encounter with a masked Batman at a comics convention with interesting consequences.  As she is coming to terms with that, she discovers her Grandmother is quite ill, so she heads down to her home to figure out what comes next.  Finally, her step-sister has a situation of her own that Leia gets involved with.   Throughout it all, the bonds of family are what keeps everything together.  My rating 5 out of 5. Another great and very entertaining book.  Eleanor Oliphant is quite the unusual heroine.  Eleanor has no social skills, she likes things a certain way and doesn’t deviate from her routine at all.  She’s created a very small and safe life for herself.  When she and her co-worker happen to help out a older gentleman who collapses, her life starts changing.  The question is, can Eleanor keep up, and does she want to?  My rating 5 out of 5. Yet another unique main character (I’m starting to see a theme with my favorite books this month!), Ginny Moon is an autistic teenager who is living in her “forever home” with her “forever parents.”  However, Ginny’s “forever mom” is expecting a baby.  And Ginny’s birth mother has found her and wants her back.  Ginny doesn’t want to go back to her birth mother, but needs to in order to get back something she left behind when she was taken.  The...
Get Moving to Stay Healthy

Get Moving to Stay Healthy

Exercise is the final piece of staying healthy.  It really does give you more energy and is an amazing stress reliever.  Less stress = healthier you Daily exercise doesn’t have to be an hour long workout or trip to the gym.   Simply fitting some type of physical activity into each day will reap huge benefits – especially if your prior exercise level was zero! The trifecta of healthy exercise includes cardio, weight bearing and stretching.  All three are important, so you need to be sure to include some form of each of them into your routine every week. Cardio is anything that gets your heart pumping.  It’s important for heart and lung function, and helps burn calories.  Walking or running is probably the easiest way to get your cardio – aim for 30 minutes a day most days of the week.  All you need is a good pair of shoes and some water.  Classes at the gym or via DVD or YouTube are another fun option. Weight bearing exercises such as lifting weights (light ones are fine) or using your body (think pilates or even old school exercises like push ups and squats) are important for strenghtening your muscles.  These exercises are the ones that keep you looking lean and feeling strong.  They are critical for us to maintain that muscle mass and bone density as we get older, so please don’t forget to do some of these each week – a few times a week is sufficient. Stretching helps keep us loose and feeling good (less achy), and is also a fantastic stress reliever.  Yoga, pilates or...

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