Goat Yoga at the Ranch!

Time for some Summer Fun!

It’s that time of year again!  I’m thrilled to once more be part of this fun outdoor yoga series out at Historic O’Keefe Ranch.

 

Upcoming sessions are:  July 11th, 15th, & 25th, and August 8th, 12th, & 29th.  Samantha will be doing the Wednesday classes and I’ll be leading the Saturday classes.  Class size is limited to allow for proper social distancing, so please make sure you contact the ranch (250-542-7868) as soon as possible to save your spot ASAP as the classes fill up quickly.

 

It’s the most fun you’ll have in a yoga class… no kidding!

~ Jennifer Greenwood

RYT200 Yoga Teacher

Dear ‘Vid, (a personal letter from me to you…)

A business letter usually begins with an introduction or reference to the business at hand.  This is not business; its personal.

While I’ve, thankfully, not met you personally, you have been having a profound impact on my life over the past few months. Indeed, not just my life but the lives of my loved ones, my friends, my community, and the world at large. You have made your presence known in a way I’ve never witnessed before.

I’ll admit, I’ve had my fair share of “wake-up, shake-up calls” in my lifetime so far… and in hindsight there has always been something very valuable for me to have learned from each experience, BUT your world-wide-wake-up-call is on a scale I can barely wrap my head around.  It’s as though you arrived to shine a spotlight on everything we’ve let slide, everything we hoped someone else would deal with, or anything we simply couldn’t face for whatever reason we came up with.  All the cracks in our systems are now being illuminated so that we can no longer ignore what needs repairing, rebuilding, or re-imagined anew. I can appreciate this aspect of your arrival, however, I am personally struggling to try to deal with everything all at once.

In my heart, I believe that your appearance ought to be the beginning of a grand unification of humanity. “We are all connected.”  There is nowhere on this beautiful planet of ours that one can hide from you; you’ve encased us in a net of mind-boggling proportions.

This sense of global community is perhaps something you intended.  Maybe you’ve been sitting in a quiet corner of the world, hoping humanity would sort itself out and come to the realization that we really are all in this together, although our experiences may be (and in fact ARE, there’s no denying that) VERY different.  Yet we did not have this epiphany in time and now we strive to band together in the face of a common enemy.  Did you intend to be “the enemy?” Perhaps. It’s possible you actually meant to present yourself as “the teacher,” but we didn’t view you as such, we found it difficult to unite like that.  I don’t know.  As I said, I hope that we will come together as one during this global crisis, and yet I witness daily a spreading  divisiveness… the perpetuation of an Us & Them mentality. It’s hard to watch.  I don’t think it pleases you and yet your survival may depend on it. It’s a messed up situation and my mind goes round in circles trying to make some sense of the never-ending, always-changing information about your travels, visits, and evolution.

It’s Mother’s Day today.  I’ve much to be grateful for and I actually do count my blessings every day.  Your insinuation into my world has made that practice even more poignant. I am safe at home, with my children. We are healthy. We have food, comfy beds, and hot running water.  I will never take those things for granted.  My little backyard is truly an oasis, now more than ever before.  I’ve been laid off from both jobs, but I qualified for some emergency assistance so I do not have to worry about how I will pay my bills this month.  Forced isolation has afforded me some time to study, to write, and to work in my garden at the perfect time as it is springtime, the weather is good and there is much to be done.  I am fortunate to live in a part of the world where we have easy access to the internet so I can stay in contact with those I care about while staying home.  However, I miss a lot of things from the “Before Times.” I can barely believe that refer to our lives before your arrival as The Before Times. It’s surreal and unsettling. That’s quite an achievement on your part.

I miss a lot of little things, like going to the grocery store several times a week for fresh produce and to visit my favourite cashiers.  I miss the sassy repartee with the tellers when I go to my bank.  I miss chatting & collaborating with my coworkers and the volunteers who I work with.  I miss going “treasure hunting”  with my daughter at our local thrift stores.  I miss going dancing at the clubs that host live music in town.  I miss stopping in at a local pub or restaurant on a whim. I miss spontaneous road trips, camping, and family get-togethers.  I miss having my friends over for a girls-night.  I miss, more than anything, spending time with my most-favourite person… we’ve had a few, properly distanced visits over the past few months which I love, but the physical distance we respectfully maintain feels like its miles wide compared to what I’m used to.  Yet, because of you, we do this as we have many in our lives we want to keep safe – many seniors as well as people with compromised immune systems.  We feel perfectly fine, but you’ve made it known that you can hide within the healthy just as easily as in the obviously infected, so we respect the requests from our medical experts (whom you keep on their toes daily if not hourly with your chameleon-like changeability) to keep our physical distance.  It is hard to do.  It sucks. Right now, I really really hate it… but we are doing it to keep others safe.

I understand that it is most likely that at some point, each of us on this beautiful planet we call home will get to know you personally.  For some, the encounter will barely go noticed.  For others, it will be devastating; life altering.  I am not in denial that physical distancing now will prevent you from reaching almost every one of us.  But I am keeping my distance so that the impact will be less overwhelming to those of us in our healthcare system.  With that said, I am desperately tired of all this separation.  I am sorry to have ever heard your name. I am doing my best to learn what I can from your arrival in our collective lives so that I can take something from this experience.  I will not be sorry to see you go.

Don’t let the door hit you on your way out…

Why a Good Shift Matters…

Is it just me, or is “mindset” the new buzzword in the health & wellness sphere lately?  Everyone keeps talking about how we need to shift our mindset to support our health…

 

You may feel like there are so many things that can improve your health and wellness. But, maybe, there is one small and powerful thing you can do to start. That thing is your mindset!

 

And research is showing that having a positive mindset about your health can improve your physical health! The mind-body connection is real.

 

Setting your mindset in a positive direction at the start of your day can be so powerful so I’ve also created a ridiculously simple recipe to shake up your morning lemon water.

 

 

Creating a Mindset for Health

 

So much of health is all about habits and actions, but where do these all stem from? What if we don’t have to make as many changes as we think we do? What if there was one powerful thing that makes a lot of difference?

 

That thing is mindset!

 

Mindset is sometimes called “the story we tell ourselves.” It’s our attitude toward things in our life. And we have control over our mindset.

 

And research is showing that it may be far more powerful than we thought.

 

A Very Interesting Health Mindset Study..

 

Here’s a quick story about a fascinating study.

 

Researchers at Stanford University looked at a bunch of people’s health and wellness lifestyle habits, as well as health markers.

 

What they found was that the people who thought they were a lot less active had a higher risk of death than the general public. And, they also had up to 71% higher risk of death than people who thought they were more active. Even if they actually weren’t less active!

 

How is this even possible that people who simply thought they were less active had higher risks, even if it wasn’t true?

 

There are a couple of ideas why. One is that maybe if we feel like we’re less active, it may make us feel more stressed. And stress isn’t good for our mental or physical health. Second, there may be a bit of a mind-body connection where the body embodies what the mind visualizes.

Researchers don’t know why, but what matters is that there is a good mindset. So, let me give you a couple of strategies to boost your mindset for health.

 

Health Mindset Strategy #1 – Aim for Good Enough.

 

Almost no one eats perfectly seven days a week. It’s inevitable that obsessing over the quality and quantity of everything we eat or drink isn’t necessarily a great mindset to have.

 

It can bring on binge-ing, shame, and guilt – none of these are great ways to get healthy. We want to get healthier by making better choices and building better habits. And these are usually best done incrementally – one step at a time.

 

So, instead of having a black and white approach where everything is good or bad, why not try aiming for good enough to empower ourselves to make better choices, instead of perfect choices.

 

Health Mindset Strategy #2 – Stop Making Tradeoffs

 

When you try to earn a gluttonous weekend by eating clean during the week, you’re making a tradeoff. You’re telling yourself that, as long as you’re good most of the week, you can go wild on the weekend.

 

And that’s not awesome because the mindset is jumping from one extreme to the other. You’re controlling what you do all week, and possibly thinking about how to indulge over the weekend. Just live as though you’re trying to do well every single day. Like you care about your health and wellness. You’re doing your best, and that’s good enough.

 

Conclusion

 

Mindset for health can be a powerful tool for better physical health. There’s a proven mind-body connection that research can measure.

 

Thinking positively, and dropping the black/white and good/bad labels, can help you reach your health goals.

 

How is your mindset for health? Which of these tips resonate with you the most? How are you going to implement them in your life? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Recipe (Morning mindset refresher): Chia Lemon Water

Serves 1

 

1 tbsp chia seeds

½ lemon, sliced

water

 

Instructions

Add the chia seeds & lemon to your favourite water bottle. Fill to top with water.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: Shake before drinking.

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References:

 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mind-over-matter-how-fit-you-think-you-are-versus-actual-fitness-2017081412282

 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/making-health-decisions-mindsets-numbers-and-stories-201112123946

 

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/weekend-overeating

When the Winter Blues Come to Call

Firstly, I need to share with you that I hate coughing. I really HATE coughing. Why? Well, I’m sure it’s annoying for anyone, but I had bronchitis for an entire summer when I was 8 or 9 yrs old and my dad was a chainsmoker to make it worse. All my friends were out having fun, enjoying the time off school and I was bedridden for 2 months. Cough cough cough. Our family doctor even made several house calls that summer, taught us a bit of herbalism, and had to teach me how to cough properly so I wouldn’t throw up or choke. Ugh.

Anyway, how does that tie into a post about the winter blues? Well in addition to less daylight hours, lots of people get a bit run down over the holidays then get knocked flat by colds & flu in January, which can really do a number on our moods. I was doing great until I had a few consecutive interrupted/short sleeps and then I caught this damn cough that’s been hanging on for a cpl weeks now. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it, it’s got me feeling pretty blue today. I’m doing everything I can to heal quickly (& considering the fact that some people I know have had it for a month I’m doing great!). But part of the blue feeling I’m experiencing tonight is a sense of isolation. In addition to my keeping to myself while coughing, there’s been sadness and loss in my world and amongst those I care about, and I’ve been helping someone who’s going through a really rough time. Yes, I’m still seeing people at work (not contagious, don’t worry), and my kids are at home with me, but the social side of my life has been much quieter than usual. I’m missing my people soooo much but I know if I push myself too far I’ll relapse & that just doesn’t make sense, does it?

How am I coping? Staying cozy at home (pj’s & fuzzy blankets), hanging with my cutie-cat Dharma, making healthy comfort foods, chatting on the phone, and getting to bed early.

Self care, especially when we are feeling blue and recovering from illness, is so important! Make yourself a priority… you can catch up on all the fun later.

Take it easy & be well!

 

If you feel like you need a little help shifting your Mindset into a more positive place, check out my free 5-Day Mindset Challenge by clicking HERE.

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When did I know…?

Recently I was asked “When did you know you wanted to be a wellness coach?” Hmmm, well I’ve always loved helping others, both my grandmas taught me about herbs & healing, I’ve practiced yoga since I was 9 and realized at an early age how our bodies, minds, and emotions are connected and all play a part in our overall health… but WHEN did I know I wanted to do this as my vocation? It took me awhile to remember, I’ve been a yoga teacher for 6 years now, I’ve practiced various healing arts for much longer but the calling to tie my knowledge together as a wellness coach came just a couple years ago. What prompted me to do this was something I didn’t think much of at the time but having been asked the question I realize now how important it was.

I’d gone to a new studio to take a yoga class where the students didn’t know I was a teacher. It was a challenging class but there were all levels of students there including some beginners. As everyone was leaving, I overheard a mom say to her friend “I thought yoga would help me relax after dealing with the kids all day, but I really suck at it so I guess I can’t do it.”

I didn’t know her, and still being a relatively new teacher I didn’t feel confident in approaching her but now I wish I had. She absolutely could’ve done yoga to help her stress levels, to help strengthen & relax her body, but she hadn’t found the right class for her (she likely went along because her friend was going) and it discouraged her and made her feel as though she wasn’t good at it. I realized that as much as I could help my yoga students in class, there were many others who might not get to a class where we could connect. I realized that as a wellness coach, I might have the opportunity to help someone, like that mom, with mindset challenges & setting goals. That was my “when” moment!

Now as a yoga teacher, my students are very familiar with my insistence that “there is a form of yoga for everybody AND every body,” and I take the same approach towards my wellness coaching. There are basic foundations of wellness that we can put in place and build from, taking into consideration what someone’s goals are. I never want someone to feel like they can’t do it simply because they couldn’t do something they read about or that their friend did. I want everyone to realize that they can always take actions that will move them towards their wellness goals. Mindset matters!

We are all made from the same stuff, but we are each of us put together a bit differently.

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Level Up – the Real Benefits of Exercise

 

“Move more” has been a common mantra for health for decades. But, what does that even mean? What kind of exercise counts? How much do I need?

 

Maybe the biggest question here is: “What are the true health benefits, anyway?”

 

I want to share with you the real, proven health benefits of exercise. Because there are some; there actually are lots!

 

Plus, if you do heavy workouts and need a replenishing drink, I’ve included a delicious recipe for you too.

 

The True Health Benefits of Exercise

 

Exercise. It can improve your health on all levels. We’re not just talking about being fitter and stronger. We’re talking about overall health and longevity.

 

Regular exercise improves your heart health, brain health, muscle and bone health, diabetes, and arthritis. Beyond those, it also reduces stress, boosts moods, increases your energy, and can improve your sleep. And exercise prevents death from any cause (“all cause mortality”).

 

Convinced yet?

 

The benefits of exercise come from improving blood flow, and reducing inflammation and blood sugar levels. They come from moving your muscles (including your heart muscle) and pulling on your bones.

 

You don’t need to go overboard on exercise to get these amazing health results. As little as 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 days/week is enough.

 

And you don’t have to do a particular kind of exercise. All four types of exercise have health benefits. They are:

  • Endurance (brisk walking, jogging, yard work, dancing, aerobics, cycling, swimming, skiing, hiking)
  • Strength (climbing stairs, carrying groceries, lifting weights, using a resistance band or your body weight, Pilates)
  • Balance (standing on one foot, Tai Chi)
  • Flexibility (stretching, yoga)

 

Don’t forget, all exercise counts, even if it’s not doing a sport or in a gym. Weekend hikes, walking to the store and doing household chores also count towards your weekly exercise goal.

 

Let me take a minute to prove to you how healthy exercise really is. Here are a few key points.

 

Exercise for heart health

 

Exercise reduced cardiac mortality by 31% in middle aged men who previously had a heart attack.

 

Regular exercise reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension (high blood pressure).

 

Exercise for brain health

 

Exercise can improve physical function and quality of life in people with Parkinson’s disease. It also reduces changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Exercise improved mental functions by increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is involved in learning and memory. It also increases the size of the part of the brain for memory and learning (the “hippocampus”); this was shown mostly with aerobic exercise.

 

Exercise for muscle and bone health

Regular physical activity can help maintain strong muscles and bones; this is particularly true for strength exercises. As we age, we naturally start to lose muscle mass and bone density. So, to prevent osteoporosis, exercise regularly.

 

PRO TIP: And don’t forget that balance exercises and Tai Chi can help prevent falls.

 

Exercise for diabetes

 

People with diabetes who exercise have better insulin sensitivity and HbA1C values (the marker of glycemic control).

 

Exercise does this because by contracting your muscles, you’re fueling them with sugar in your blood. This helps to manage blood sugar levels better than without exercise.

 

Conclusion

 

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the health benefits of exercise.  By doing just 30 minutes 5 days/week, you can vastly improve your health. Since there are different benefits for different types, try mixing up what you do throughout the week. You don’t even need an “official” workout. Walking to the grocery store or doing household chores can count too.

 

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”  That’s my motto!

 

If you’re just starting, then pick something you enjoy, get some accountability (exercise tracker or a buddy), and start.

 

What’s your favorite exercise and how often do you do it?

 

Recipe (exercise recovery): Coconut Water Refresher

Serves 2

 

1 cup coconut water

2 cups watermelon

½ tsp lime juice

1 dash salt

1 cup ice

2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

 

Instructions

Blend the first four ingredients until well mixed. Add ice and pulse until ice is crushed.

 

Pour into glasses or water bottle and add chia seeds. Shake/stir before drinking.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: The chia seeds add extra fiber, protein, and omega-3s.

 

 

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References:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFBBjynBpSw&t=3s

 

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-benefits-of-exercise/

 

https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/Fracture/prevent_falls_ff.asp

 

http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/exercise-is-good-for-diabetes

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/15-ways-to-lower-blood-sugar/

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/healthy-movement

 

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/exercise-physical-activity

Can’t Meditate? Here’s 9 Other Options to Help Lessen Stress

I know! Meditation is the secret sauce to take your wellness up to the status of the elite gurus. It’s the “be all, end all” for the health of your entire mind-body-spirit. It’s the absolute must-do that is the only path to beating the infamous health-buster called “stress.”  Don’t get me wrong; practicing meditation is an excellent approach to optimizing your health and overall well-being.  I totally agree with how much you can benefit from a meditation practice… I am a yoga teacher after all!  Meditation is great for relieving and dealing with stress, and all of the issues that come along with it. But it’s not the only way to get there.

 

The whole purpose of meditating is to calm the mind and emotions and relax our physical body too. And there is always more than one way to get there.

 

Let’s talk about some of the other things to try if meditation is not exactly your thing.

 

Journaling

 

Spending some time every day writing out your thoughts can help to relieve stress. You can use journaling to list the things you’re grateful for, this is known as gratitude journaling. You can use it as a “brain dump” to get all of your thoughts and ideas out of your head to soothe your mind. You can use “ever since” journaling to describe your life after you reach your goals.

 

Reading

 

It’s one thing to read to learn something that you have to learn, or to advance your knowledge. And, you can also read for pure pleasure. To get caught up in a story and just relax.

 

Colouring

 

Adult colouring books are all the rage! Not *that* kind of adult, but colouring pages with lots of detail and tiny areas to colour in. Something that can take you hours. You can always opt for something simple, like kids colouring pages too. The idea is the same. Repeated movements and focusing on the art you’re creating can help to clear your mind.

 

Knitting or crocheting (or other crafts)

 

Knitting, crocheting or other yarn activities are a great way to de-stress; this is a skill that comes in all levels from beginner to advanced. You can choose a quick little rectangular scarf to make, or a detailed sweater. You can choose the pattern, size, and yarn. Once you get into the flow of these skills, they’re great to do when you’re feeling stressed. Not only can they relax your mind to focus on your work, but you can end up warming yourself or others with the products you create.

 

Gentle exercise

Gently moving your body is another great way to de-stress. Activities that are slower and less intensive are ideal. Things like walking, yoga, stretching, or tai chi can all be great ways to relax your mind and improve your strength and balance at the same time.

 

Sleep in or take a nap

 

A common cause of increased stress hormones is lack of sleep. Too little sleep and too much stress go hand-in-hand. So, getting enough good quality sleep is important to help you break free from stress without having to meditate.

 

Pamper Yourself 

 

Maybe you love getting massages or mani/pedi’s? Maybe you love a long bath or lighting candles? Perhaps you can add your favourite relaxing music to the mix for a pampering evening? Spending some time to pamper yourself regularly is great for your mind, body, and spirit.

 

Spend time in nature

 

You don’t have to head away for vacation to relax in nature. While a calm beautiful beach or cabin in the woods may be amazing, you don’t have to go that far. Even spending time on the grass at your local park or playground, or walking on a wooded trail in your neighbourhood can do the trick.

 

Make time for people and pets you love

 

It’s so important to spend time with family, friends, and pets whom you love. New research is coming out about the health issues related to loneliness. Reach out and plan to hang out with your besties, or even offer to take your neighbour’s dog for a walk in the park.

 

Conclusion

 

Stress reduction is the goal. How you do it, be it meditation or otherwise, is not that important. What’s important is that you find what works for you.

 

Try journaling, reading, colouring, knitting/crocheting, gentle exercise, sleep, pampering yourself, spending time in nature, and making time for people and pets you love.

 

Have other great ideas? Let me know what helps you de-stress in the comments below.

 

Recipe (calming): Lavender Essential Oil

Instructions to inhale directly:

 

Add up to 6 drops of undiluted essential oil to a handkerchief/tissue and inhale occasionally. Use up to 3 times per day.

 

Instruction for steam inhalation:

Add 3 – 12 drops of undiluted essential oil to a bowl of steaming water. Inhale slowly and deeply for 5 – 10 minutes. Use up to 3 times per day.

 

Tip: Lavender isn’t the only calming essential oil. You can also use angelica, balsam, benzoin, bitter orange, cedarwood, celery, chamomile, cornmint, cumin, curry, frankincense, grapefruit, jasmine, juniper, labdanum, laurel, lemongrass, marjoram, nutmeg, palmarosa, parsley, patchouli, peppermint, rose, rosewood, sage, sandalwood, scotch pine, spearmint, star anise, sweet basil, sweet orange, thyme, or ylang ylang.

 

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References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/getting-control-stress

 

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety

 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-power-and-prevalence-of-loneliness-2017011310977

 

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stress/relaxation.htm

 

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/do-essential-oils-work/

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/

 

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=aromatherap&lang=eng

Need a Mood Boost? A different take on the saying “you are what you eat”.

You Are What You Eat.

 

Well, yeah, but have you given any thought to how what you are eating is making you feel?

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There’s, no question that what you eat can affect how you feel, right?  I’m sure you’ve noticed at least once, how after you’ve binged on some highly processed, super salty or sugary foods that your mood may have taken a real tumble.

 

Mental health and brain health are complex. So are the foods we eat, and the ways our bodies interact with those foods.  While, we don’t know the exact mechanisms how food and nutrition help, we know a few ways food impacts our moods.

 

First, what we eat becomes the raw materials for our neurotransmitters. “Neurotransmitters” are biochemical messengers that allow our nerve cells to communicate (ever heard of serotonin?). They are important not just for thinking and memory, but also for mental health.

 

Second, what we eat affects our blood sugar. And having unstable blood sugar levels can contribute to mood swings.

 

Let’s talk about mood-boosting and mood-busting foods.

 

Mood-boosting foods

 

Some nutrient deficiencies look like mental health problems; this includes deficiencies in B-vitamins, vitamin D, and the mineral selenium. So, getting enough vitamins, minerals, (and other things like antioxidants) are key. These nutrients not only reduce inflammation but also fuel the biochemical reactions in our bodies. Including those that create neurotransmitters. So make sure you’re eating a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, studies show that people who eat the most fruits and vegetables are the happiest.

 

Also pay special attention to vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), as it’s not naturally occurring in too many foods. Selenium is an essential mineral found in Brazil nuts, walnuts, cod, and poultry. Try to add some of those to your weekly diet.

 

Second, make sure you get enough protein. Protein is your body’s main supply of amino acids. Amino acids are very important for mood issues because they are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Protein also helps to regulate blood sugar. I recommend eating protein with every meal; this includes dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, poultry, and meat.

 

Third, complex carbohydrates like sweet potato and quinoa are great too. They allow better absorption of key amino acids like tryptophan. Tryptophan is used by your body to make serotonin (your “happy hormone”) and melatonin (your “sleepy” hormone). So, if you want to relax, try these in the evening.

 

Fourth, fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids (nuts, seeds, and algae) are also mood-boosting. Omega-3s are definitely “brain food” and may help to ease some symptoms.

 

FUN FACT: One study showed that giving one multi-vitamin and one omega-3  fish oil tablet per day to prison inmates reduced the incidence of violent behavior by 50%!

 

 

Last but not least, make sure you’re hydrated. Mild dehydration can cause mood issues as well.

 

 

Mood-busting foods

 

You won’t be surprised to hear me say processed foods are mood-busters, right? One study suggests that eating a lot of processed foods devoid of nutrients can increase your chances of becoming depressed by as much as 60 percent! This is on top of the research that shows nutrient deficiencies can look like mental health problems.

 

“But it makes me feel good!”

 

Yes, some of these mood busters can make you feel better temporarily. Some big food companies study how to maximize the “pleasure” centers with the perfect amount of sugar, salt, and fat. Not to mention the color, texture, and taste; they can light up our taste buds and make us feel good… for now.

 

A few other things to avoid are:

  • Alcohol (nervous system depressant)
  • Caffeine (may worsen anxious feelings and ability to sleep)
  • Sugar (messes with your blood sugar and can worsen inflammation).

 

Conclusion

 

Bad moods can lead to bad eating habits; and, bad eating habits can lead to bad moods. If you need a mood boost, stick to minimally processed nutrient-dense whole foods. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables (including leafy greens), nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, poultry, and meat. Avoid common mood-busting foods like alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.

 

And remember, sometimes “feel good” junk foods, only make you feel good temporarily. So, try my newest recipe for fruit salad, below.

 

Recipe (mood boosting): Fruit Salad

Serves 6-8

 

1-2 cups watermelon, cubed

1-2 cups cantaloupe, cubed

1-2 cups blueberries, fresh

1-2 cups blackberries, fresh

1-2 cups green grapes

 

Instructions

Place all fruit in a large bowl and gently toss.  Seriously, it’s just that easy!

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: Substitute or add any ready-to-eat fruit, like chopped peaches, or raspberries.

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References:

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/food-and-mood

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/how-to-fight-depression-naturally-with-nutrition

 

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/foods-increase-happiness/

3 Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals (Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year’s… Oh my!)

Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing!!!

And it’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance.

It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.

But it doesn’t always stop there.

Sometimes we overeat on regular days.  Or at regular meals.  Or All. The. Time.

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.

(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

Tip #1: Start with some water

When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it’s too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.

But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger?  Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten.  And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (…just sayin’).

Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.

Win-win!

Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”

You’ve heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?

This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.

Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.

Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less.

When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.

So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.

Tip #3: Start with the salad

 

You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.

But don’t start there.

(Don’t worry, you can have some…just after you’ve eaten your salad).

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.

Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.  They’re “satiating”.

And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a large meal.

Summary:

Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

 

Recipe (Water): Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas

If you’re not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:

  • Slices of lemon & ginger
  • Slices of strawberries & orange
  • Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick
  • Chopped pineapple & mango
  • Blueberries & raspberries

Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning.  They’re already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.

 

 

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-of-water/

http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal

 

 

Making the Most of the Micro-Moments When You’re Busy

Happy #WellnessWednesday!
 
Do you sometimes feel like you just don’t have the energy or time to support your health & wellbeing? Yup, it’s a busy life!
 
But did you know, that just a few minutes a day doing something that improves your heath & happiness (yes, happiness is a BIG part of our overall wellness!) can make a profound difference? It’s TRUE!
 
I’ll give you my own real-life example:
Right now, I’m working a lot. Around 50+ hours a week, with most of those hours at a computer. Not what I’m used to! The first couple weeks were rough – my body hurt, my brain felt super taxed and my eyes were just done by dinnertime. I was feeling quite frustrated until I realized that I needed to approach my situation as if I was my own client! What would I do to assist someone who’d come to me as a wellness coach/yoga teacher? Well, I’d help them find what would work in their life as it was in that moment! So the next day, I began a much shorter than I’m used to yoga practice… seriously, 10-15 minutes of sun salutations. It’s all I could fit in, but I tell you, by the 2nd day my body, my mind, and my mood were all improving by leaps and bounds!
 
So please don’t give up on doing something to improve your quality of life because you can’t leave the house for a series of classes, or go for a run or to the gym for an hour each day.  Small actions can have a big impact – like the ripple effect of a tiny stone creating bigger and bigger waves as they move away from the center of impact in the water.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
 
I’m here to help you find your way…

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