December 20, 2017
Have you ever considered the connection between stress and acne? If you're using quality skin care and your nutrition is on point but your acne still lingers, stress could be the culprit. In my own personal situation, my adult acne flared up because of a stressful event in my life. Chronic, unresolved stress leaves us with excess inflammation in the body which then leads to a weakened immune system along with an increased likelihood that the body will attack itself, as in autoimmune diseases. All of this will do nothing to help improve your acne and could be a contributing factor as to why your acne lingers. For me, I notice a direct correlation between stress in my life and the appearance of my skin. My acne easily flares up if my stress levels stay too high for too long.
How should you deal with this? Obviously, it's not possible to be 100% free of stress 100% of the time. Life presents challenges and unexpected circumstances do arise. I'd like to share with you a few key things I recommend you consider.
What are your thoughts? How do you manage stress? Please comment and share your ideas you may be an inspiration to someone else!
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- What gets your thoughts gets you. What do you spend most of your time thinking about? Answer honestly. It may help to sit in a quiet area and journal for 15 minutes to really figure this out. Let your thoughts come out on paper and see what's in front of you. If you find yourself constantly being negative in every situation, it may be time for an adjustment. We have different personalities. Some people are more naturally upbeat and positive, while others tend to see the glass as half empty. It may not be in your nature to put a positive spin on things in life. That's okay. I do believe you can train yourself to change your thoughts and the way you speak and think. I read somewhere that it's easy for people to be negative. It's easy to see the bad things in life and dwell on those. It's easy to complain and sometimes it even makes us feel good to stew over a situation that upsets us. Here is where you may have to consciously decide to stop negative thoughts in their tracks. Like any new habit it will take time to develop but it's one that is worth the effort.
- Look at who you surround yourself with. Speaking of your thoughts, what are the thoughts of your friends and co-workers? Are you surrounded by positive people, or habitual grumblers and complainers? First recognize you can't change the way those around you speak and react to situations. The only person you can control is yourself. However, when you speak positively and keep your cool in stressful situations, it has the potential to spill over onto those around you. Negativity breeds negativity just as happiness breeds happiness. If you have a friend who is particularly negative all the time consider approaching the person about it. They may not realize what they are doing. If you're not comfortable having the conversation you may want to consider limiting the time you spend with that person. Remember, you are in control of yourself and your time. It's your choice who you surround yourself with. Choose wisely.
- Grieve it, be angry and move on. Things happen in life that upset us. Things don't always go our way. Someone at the bank may cut in front of you in line. Another driver may cut you off. Someone may make a comment about your clothes that hurts your feelings. There is no way to stop these inconveniences and hurts from happening. Again, the only part you can control is yourself and your response. How much energy do you put towards the guy who cut you off in traffic? If you need a few minutes to stew, take it. Set a timer for 10 minutes be angry, call a friend and complain and then when the timer ends let it go. I'll admit this is a tough one for me. When something upsets me I want to be mad for awhile. I realize this does nothing to help me or better my health, and it only gives more power to the person who wronged me. Learn to let the little things go!
- Don't worry about that over which you have no control. I confess, this isn't my strong suit. I tend to dwell on things even when all my worrying won't change the outcome. The truth is many situations in life are this way. No amount of worrying will change anything. What will be, will be. When a situation arises that has got you stressed, ask yourself, "How much control do I have over this circumstance?". If there is something you can do to better the situation then create a plan and put it into action. If the answer is that you have no control over it, then it's best to put it out of your mind. I find the only way I am ever successful at this is to leave it in God's hands through prayer.
December 20, 2017
It's said that the average person gains 7 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
That's a significant amount of weight!
How accurate these numbers are, and whether this actually starts around Thanksgiving (I personally believe it to start in October with Halloween), the fact is the holidays can present a struggle.
As soon as the weather begins to turn cold our bodies begin to crave more nourishment. Unfortunately, our first thought is not of dark, leafy greens tossed in a vinaigrette. Warm, cozy, comfort foods are a more tempting choice and, during the holidays, they abound. That is not necessarily, however, a bad thing. There are plenty of delicious foods that are great options to eat over the winter.
The problem I've seen in my private coaching sessions are the number of events that surround the holidays: office parties, family gatherings, cookie exchanges . . . you get the idea.
The trouble all begins with the onslaught of your kid's Halloween candy that bag can be SO tempting!
As the holiday season comes to a close with Christmas and New Year's I'd like to share a few thoughts with you on how to manage the holidays.
- When an event, party or social gathering is on your calendar, NEVER show up hungry. This one drives me nuts because I hear women say it all the time, "I have a party tonight so I'm not going to eat all day so I can eat at the party." No, no, no! I'm not sure where this idea originated, but its faulty logic. The biggest problem I have with this approach is it doesn't facilitate steady blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels control the hormone insulin. It's best to avoid large spikes and falls with our blood sugar levels. We want our blood sugar, and therefore our insulin levels, to have minimal rises and falls like small, steady waves. Not eating all day, only to go pig out at night, is setting you up for failure. You can't save your entire caloric intake for one meal. You just can't and be healthy with a steady weight.
- If food is being served buffet-style, first peruse the selections and select what you really want to eat. A small sample of the menu items is okay, too. Eat a little of everything, and eat a whole lot of no one thing. I learned this trick from Bethenny Frankel who advocates, "No more dieting! I've had it!" She writes, Taste everything, eat nothing. Why shove a bunch of food into your face when you can taste small perfect bites of delicious food and stop before it ever gets ugly? Naturally Thin, 2009. While I don't agree with every point she makes in her book, I do agree with this school of thought.
- If you have dietary restrictions don't veer off course just because you're at a party. If you're highly intolerant to gluten, then don't eat it just because you're in a social environment. Trust me, it's not worth it! Of foods you tolerate in moderation, make your decision before arriving how much you will eat. Use your head, and not your emotions. Do not get ambushed by temptation. That is another reason to not show up hungry.
- If you're hosting the event, anticipate the wishes of your guests. Have a gluten free/vegan option available. Serve healthy hors d'oeurves and a large green salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing, along with the classic favorites we all enjoy.
- Make time for exercise. Life is busy and it seems to get even busier around the holidays. Making time for exercise is so important there's no excuse not to. Schedule it on your calendar, and hold to it as an appointment with your healthy self.
- The key to making exercise stick is to find a program you love that gives you the results you're after. If you're new to exercise I highly recommend Leslie Sansone's walking program. Years ago I tried her out and dropped 18 pounds in about 2 months. I like her method because it's simple to use, there's no expensive equipment to buy and it's so easy on the joints. I currently do Tracy Anderson Method, and have for about the past 5 years. I love programs I can use at home. It makes it that much easier to get done. You don't have to join a gym, unless you want to of course! The point is:
- Stick to it.
- Make a commitment.
- Find something you like.
If you've already gained some weight, please, don't beat yourself up over it; and don't go on some crazy juice cleanse to eliminate it. Be gentle with your body, and nourish it with delicious, whole food nutrition.
Struggling to get the weight off? Let me help you. I have 5 spaces available beginning in 2018 for my private coaching program. Those tend to fill up fast, so don't wait! I offer a complimentary 60 minute session to discover if we're a good fit to work together, one-on-one. Click here and let's get started.
- Allow adequate downtime -- don't over schedule. Lack of sleep and high stress levels have a profound effect on our health, and our weight.
December 13, 2017
When it comes to healing acne with nutrition, there is a lot of talk about what you can no longer eat.
The first things to leave your diet are gluten, dairy, processed foods and refined sugar. To a lot of women that is a bit overwhelming. However, it is true that these foods are inflammatory in the body, especially when eaten in excess, which we tend to do.
While it's important to reduce our intake of inflammatory foods, it is equally as important to increase our intake of foods that reduce inflammation and are full of antioxidants.
When I first began changing the way I ate to heal my skin, I almost fell into a state of depression around food. I knew the foods I shouldn't be consuming, but I didn't yet have a strong taste for the foods I needed to be eating. I longed for the comfort foods I grew up with. Because of this I oftentimes felt hungry, but didn't feel like eating.
This struggle left my body lacking a great deal of nutrition. In fact, my body was so nutrient deficient that my hair started falling out. Hair may be our crowning glory, but our bodies don't recognize it as being necessary for survival. Therefore, it's a go to place for the body to stop sending nutrients when necessary. It wasn't until I visited a naturopath (although not before I ended up with a bald spot on the side of my head) who informed me that I simply wasn't nourishing my body well.
The amazing thing about your body is you can teach it what foods you want it to crave!
The concept is simple. Feed your body the foods it should be having and thanks to metabolic reprogramming you'll be craving those foods in about 30 to 90 days. So cool, right? The old adage, 'you are what you eat' is correct. Your cells are literally made up of what you feed them!
Now that you know, the next step involves making a decision: Keep doing what you're doing while getting the same results or change the way you eat and possibly get better results.
If you're ready to start making some changes I encourage you to take small steps. Don't go buy a ton of produce you've never cooked with before. Start with the fruits and vegetables you know and are comfortable with. Find a few recipes that suit your tastes and build from there. I often eat the same few dishes for several weeks before I tire of it and find something different to add in the mix. I recommend you do the same.
- Lemons. Lemons are one of the most cleansing, detoxifying foods. Juice from a fresh squeezed lemon provides support to the liver and and aids digestion. The liver is a our main detoxifying organ, so it's vital to support it in order to clear up acne. Enjoying fresh squeezed lemon in your water throughout the day is one of the simplest ways to do this.
- Turmeric. This Indian spice is anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulant. It keeps red blood cells from clumping and increases circulation. Better blood flow is vital to keep the skin glowing. Turmeric acts as a blood cleanser which helps prevent acne. I find you can add a dash of this to oatmeal or Juice Plus Complete. You can learn more about that here. By also adding nutmeg and cinnamon you won't taste the turmeric.
- Arugula. Arugula is high in vitamin A, which may not only improve acne but also helps protect the skin from free radical damage. This dark leafy green is alkaline and will help cleanse the blood and lymphatic system. Arugula does have a strong flavor and is a bit peppery. I prefer to mix it with a portion of organic spring mix, which contains baby lettuces and spinach. It helps balance the flavor.
- Bell Peppers. Bell peppers are a wonderful beauty food. One of the simplest ways to consume them is chopped in a salad. Red bell peppers are particularly high in vitamin C. Not only is this beneficial to help banish acne, but it also helps regenerate collagen in the skin which may slow down the aging process. I do recommend you opt for organic with bell peppers as they are one of the more heavily pesticide laden foods.
- Onions. Onions are an amazing food. Not only do they add great flavor to many dishes, they also contain properties that help cleanse the liver which is crucial for the health of our skin. It's beneficial to eat this food both cooked and raw. The two onion varieties I use most often and that contain the most health benefits are yellow onions and red onions. Yellow onions have the most sulfuric compounds while red onions are high in antioxidants, which we can see from its bright purple color. Here is a great article on the best way to store onions https://draxe.com/onion-nutrition
- Garlic. Garlic helps support your body's detoxification system and may aid in digestion; two things necessary for clearer skin. Garlic contains an enzyme called alliinase and a sulfur-containing substance called allicin. Pressing garlic activates the release of the these anti-inflammatory substances. In the store you'll see containers of pre-chopped garlic for sale. I recommend you opt for purchasing the whole garlic (bulk garlic) instead. Not only is it more cost effective, but also so much of the health benefits happen when pressing the garlic and then fade away shortly thereafter. Buying pre-chopped garlic isn't going to give you the same anti-inflammatory effects.
- Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon. Salmon is so beneficial for the health of our skin and it is a large reason why I don't advocate for a strict vegan diet. I dedicated an entire blog post to this amazing fish. You can read that blog post here.
Remember, when it comes to clearing your skin, changes probably won't happen overnight. A large component is restoring your internal health and those changes are then reflected in your skin. Opt for whole foods whenever possible and you'll begin to see positive improvements.
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