Anything Nutrition

You know when you have food sensitivities and you see someone digging into something you’d love to have but can’t? That’s what it’s come to these days. The can and can’t haves of nutrition. There are more foods listed on the no-no list than on what you can eat. Makes you want to curl up with a hot cup of water and a book.  More than likely there is a food item that you simply cannot have.  And by process of elimination you’ve probably narrowed it down to one of the most offending foods out there…….dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, corn, or grains in general. Lots and lots of people are avoiding all sorts of grains these days in an attempt to be healthy.  And it makes sense. Our foods are so overly processed, the amount of nutrition you are getting is next to nin.

I’ve worked in the nutritional/cleansing field for a great number of years. There are no hard facts when it comes to nutrition. On one hand you have one person telling you that it’s calories in vs calories out that matters. Another person will tell you go ahead and eat all the protein and veggies you want….but stay away from all starches because they are fattening and cause inflammation in the body. Who’s right and who’s wrong?

They both are!! When it comes to nutrition and YOUR body all theories are right and wrong. They are right for one person and completely wrong for you.  A person who lives a sedentary lifestyle obviously cannot eat as much as a person who is active and runs marathons. However a person who is hormonally sensitive to insulin and cortisol may need to monitor the types of foods they eat vs the actual calories. Calories matter. Macros matter. And Volume matters as well. I’ve seen people eat nothing but salads, veggies, and proteins and gain weight while those who are eating pasta, rice, and other grains are losing weight. So portion size matters as well. What it comes down to is what works best for you.

In my 20s, when I really took a hold of my diet and lifestyle, I ate more so for quality and was truly able to stomach enormous amounts of food and still be hungry a few hours later.  I ate regular meals and snacks. These days if I eat too much “volume” in one sitting, I am still too full to eat at the next meal. So I have to make my calories and nutrients count at each meal. And that’s important. I workout regularly and am very physically active. So if I skip meals, it shows up for me in my health elsewhere.

Nutrition absolutely is based on one person’s individual needs. The ads and articles I see everywhere stating that a certain lifestyle way of eating is for everyone is hogwash. I’ve played around enough. A few months ago I did the 28 day Primal Challenge and never felt worse in my life. Three meals a day I ate protein, vegetables, and a source of health saturated fat. Although these are foods that I eat regularly as it is. The elimination of all starches like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and kabocha squash completely eliminated a huge foundation of my diet and caused me much digestive distress. As soon as I rotated back these foods into my diet, my digestion and energy balanced out a bit more. But there are some who simply cannot tolerate grains, even gluten free grains, and find that the primal or paleo way of eating is much better for them. If you are vegetarian and do well with soy, that’s your body tolerating it. I personally digest soy really well, but I steer clear of it do to its effects on the thyroid.

Sometimes it’s challenging figuring it all out on your own. I get that. I’ve had some health issues in my life and have thrown my hands up in the air wondering what I could possibly do to fix it. I’m finding now that actually smaller portions over all work best for me. Eating  consistently, steering clear of dairy and gluten, never going too low in any one macronutrient (like carbs for instance) and making sure my foods are properly prepared really works for me. Going gluten free wasn’t enough for me. The grains still needed to be soaked overnight in an acid base before I actually noticed a difference. Now a day doesn’t go by that I don’t have a big bowl of oatmeal.

So, work with yourself first. Cut the portions down. Play around with the food choices. If you are feeling bloated, think about the foods that you eat the most of. Do you eat a lot of dairy, bread, or sweets. These foods can cause a great deal of inflammation for many. Eliminate them for a good 14-28 days and slowly reintroduce them.  If they cause a reaction then you know that you need to keep them out temporarily until your body heals. And it will heal. It always does.

If you are still struggling to find that perfect fit, seek out someone to coach you through it. A health coach, a naturopath, or someone qualified to help you with your nutritional needs. It could be one food….it could be a whole group….or it could be something completely unrelated to your diet entirely.

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Born To Be “A Little” Bad

A few weeks ago, in one of the online modules for school, there was a lecture  about “Being Bad.”  We were encouraged, if only for a day, to take on an activity that would be considered a little bad or selfish, if you will.  Although, I’ve never seen being a little selfish as a bad thing. If we are not taking care of ourselves then there is nothing left to give to others.  The encouragment wasn’t about being bad in the sense of going out and doing something illegal. No. It was encouragment to fulfill desires in life that we neglect to do out of other obligations like family and work. A lot of us feel guilty if we take time away from our kids or our jobs. We forget that in the big picture, we count too. Our physically and emotionally achy bodies need just as much attention as that 3 year old tugging on the back of your apron calling “Mom… Mom….Mom” until he finally gets what he wants. Before you know it, between the family, the job, and all the other life demands, you are spent. Ready to explode. And often times we do.

What would it mean for you to be a little bad? To go out there and really indulge in something that you would not do otherwise because it simply doesn’t fit into your regular schedule. To call up your husband or wife last minute and say that you are having a “Me-Night-Out” and go and treat yourself to something that would really make you feel good. Even if it’s a little sinful. Meeting friends for dinner and cocktails. Getting a massage. Having an extra scoop of ice cream (now you’re really living on the edge). Taking a personal day from work last minute regardless of how high the paperwork is stacked. Getting a babysitter and having a long weekend away with yours spouse or a group of friends…or even better,  by yourself.  Or whatever it is that you have been keeping yourself from in order to be able to give more to others. How would that feel?  Feels pretty good just to think about it doesn’t it?????

When I think of all the times that I kept myself from doing something that I know would have made me feel better, I cringe. I often times would forego the massage because I had a bill to pay. Yet, on other occasions I’d say just go for it and there was still money to pay my bill.  I’d forego the dessert because it was too high in calories/carbs/sugar/fat (whatever it was I was trying to avoid). Yet when I go to the Cheesecake Factory and have my favorite flavor, Lemon Raspberry ya’ll,  I never gained any weight from it and I loved every bite. Or when I overworked myself at the office because I needed the money and didn’t want to disappoint my clients only to be exhausted and more stressed. Yet when I took a week off for my birthday, it just so happened to be exactly what I needed and every one of my clients completely understood.

It really all worked out for the best. And that’s because being what we consider bad is actually a really good thing. I have heard so many people, even myself truly, refer to food as being bad. Yet they will go ahead and eat it anyway….regularly. The only thing that makes it bad is the label we put on it.  Because the truth is that even bad food is good food if done as a treat and in moderation. Same thing with all of these other “Bads”…….No we can’t get massages every day. And I wouldn’t recommend doing a double scoop every night. Every other weekend away with your friends or spouse might get a little pricey too. But these things, like a good piece of chocolate, certainly can fit into your lifestyle without the guilt associated with it.

Taking care of ourselves on a high level, giving ourselves the same kind of love and care that we would give another is just as, if not MORE important. If we burn out, we lose ourselves.  Unfortunately this happens a lot. Illness results from lack of self care. We start turning to expensive medications and supplements to manage stress when it really is all within our power to manage and balance things just by taking better care of ourselves. And those supplements are not only expensive, but the majority of them are ineffective.

The wisest investment that you can make in your life is YOU. So take the best care of you as you can. Be good….But be a little Bad too.

You’ll actually feel like you’re getting away with something……and that feels anything but bad!!

To Your Health!!

Tracy Lynn

Apple Banana Bonanza

I read in a blog earlier this morning that “Your Skin Is A Mirror To What Is Going On In Your Body.” Whatever your struggles are with your skin, it can all be traced back to your inner health and balance.  If you are struggling with acne, eczema, psoriasis, or any kind of fungal infection like candida or athlete’s foot, it will show up either in your skin, hair, or nails. And this is a good thing. Sometimes we cannot always know if there is an imbalance. So the skin being our largest organ is a great indicator of how healthy we are on the inside.

More often than not, with some simple dietary modifications, you can truly improve the appearance of your skin giving it a clearer and healthier glow.  If you are struggling with skin issues, the first thing you will want to do is eliminate the most common food allergens like dairy and gluten. These seem to be the foods that are consumed the most and create the highest level of sensitivity in the gut. Add into that the daily consumption of eggs, soy, corn, sugar, and processed foods and you are just asking for trouble. Yes, I know there are people out there who eat nothing but junk and still have amazing skin. We love to hate them just as much as we hate the ones who can eat whatever they want and not gain an ounce of fat. But make no mistake…..somewhere on their timeline they will pay the price for it whether it be in their energy levels, chronic digestive problems, or something worse that awaits them down the line.  Processed food creates an acidic environment which reduces our immune system and ability to fight off infection including those that show up in our skin. Especially those that show up in our skin.

Sometimes, regardless of my diet, my skin will for no apparent reason just break out horribly. When I asses my diet and see that I’m eating loads of healthy veggies and fruits, properly prepared grains, no dairy or gluten, lots of healthy fats from coconut oil, hemp seed oil, GLA sources, and EVOO, the only conclusion I can come to is that my lifestyle and stress levels are what is acidic and causing my issues. And it’s true. I’m sure if I dissected my diet completely, I could find little tid bits here and there that could be corrected, but overall stress trumps diet when it comes to how we look and feel.

Taking all of that into consideration, there are certain things that we can do to assist the body in re-alkalizing itself on a nutritional level. Certain fruits and vegetables get a gold star over others. GREENS GREENS GREENS & MORE GREENS.  Go for your kales, chards, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, and dandelion. Excellent detox veggies and can easily be slipped into a smoothie or veggie saute. Certain fruits are extremely beneficial as well such as apples which contain Pectin, Pineapple which has bromelain and reduces inflammation, bananas (not super green and not spotted….but just right), lemons, cherries, strawberries, apricots, grapes, pears, coconut, and cantaloupe all have high vitamins and minerals to help heal your skin and rebuild tissue.

One of the fastest ways to ensure that you get maximum nutrition without your body having to work so hard to break down the components of food is through juicing and blending. Personally I’m a blender kind of gal. Juicing doesn’t satisfy me and it extracts all the fiber from the fruits and veggies. But do what works best for you.  Tossing a combination of these fruits and veggies or eating them individually have a tremendous impact on your health and your immune system. Start your day off with a green smoothie and see how you look and feel in the weeks to come. Rotate your foods so that your body doesn’t get too used to any one food and develop another sensitivity. And be creative. There are so many combinations and they are ALL GOOD!!

This was my combination for today and it really hit the spot. Play around and see what works for you.

Apple Banana Bonanza
½ cup Light Canned Coconut Milk
1 scoop vegan protein powder of choice (I used Nutrasumma’s Pea Protein)
½ medium sized banana
½ apple cut up
1 tsp coconut oil
handful of mixed greens (I used an organic blend of kale, chard, spinach from Earthbound’s Organics)
Ginger powder
Cinnamon
Stevia or sweetener of your choice/or omit
5-8 ice cubes depending on how thick you like it

Blend on high until veggies and ice are all smooth and drinkable
If you like it thinner, add more liquid

This drink offers you lots of antioxidant pH balancing nutrients. It has healthy fats from the coconut, fiber from the fruits and veggies, protein, and is low on the GI Index….which is important when trying to control skin issues. A high glycemic index diet spikes your insulin levels which can increase inflammation if this is the foundation of your diet.

There are other foods to consider adding to your diet to help with the health of your skin as well. Foods high in zinc like pumpkin and sunflower seeds, pine nuts, and coconut help to heal wounds. Healthy fats from avocados, nuts like almonds and walnuts, and omega 3 fats from fish have been proven to reduce inflammation in the body as well. And that’s what acne is…it’s an inflammatory response within the body that shows up in the skin when detox pathways are congested. Opening up those pathways via an alkaline based diet is one way to truly start seeing results.

So try starting your day off with a blended green drink or find a way to slip it in at some point through your day. I generally have mine after my workout and I’m working on incorporating more variety of fruits.  See how it makes you look and feel.

Cheers!!

“Every type of blemish you have acts as a messenger from the body. It’s suggesting changes in your DIET & LIFESTYLE that will only benefit you in the long run. Without eliminating the “SOURCE” of your condition, you will never get rid of your acne.”~ Mike Walden (Acne No More)

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Stress Kills

Kind of a scary title. But let’s cut right to it. Stress does actually kill. And if it doesn’t kill you directly, it certainly can dampen the well being of your spirit. Trust me on that one. We have ALL had a period of time in our lives whether it be short lived or chronic where we’ve been bombarded with the extra stresses of life. Some of these are day to day more manageable issues that we are able to balance and our bodies are equipped to handle. Some, eh, not so much.

There’s no getting away from stress. Not in today’s world. Just turn on the news and you start to sweat hearing about what’s going on in the world….like government shut downs, high unemployment rates, health issues, and natural disasters.  Other than the health issues part, we really don’t have all that much control over what’s happening  outside our immediate world. That’s why I love the little power button on the remote that shuts that noise off.  Yes, it’s important to be informed; however, it can be down right depressing hearing all that negativity all the time. But even with our televisions off, we still manage to beat the drum over and over with what’s happening in our personal lives. Most of the issues that are causing us stress are either blown out of proportion or we truly do not have control over. Yet we keep hitting the replay button and reliving it day to day as if it’s happening right NOW.

Stress has had the ultimate effect on me. I’m writing this now because I feel it’s time for me to put it in its proper perspective. It’s much easier said than done. But the physical manifestation is very real.  For many it shows up emotionally in the form of depression, anxiety, and relationship problems. But the physical stuff is there as well….strokes, heart attacks, weight gain/loss, digestive problems, skin issues, and yes, cancer as well.

Whatever it is is that it hits in you, it can truly kill your spirit and sense of well being. You start to not even recognize who you are anymore. All because of an event, or series of events, that already HAPPEN[ED]. Let me say that again. It already happened. It’s not happening NOW. It’s in the past. Done!! Finished!! And now you are left with the physical signs of your stress. We want so badly to right the wrong. By reliving it day to day, we hope that the situation will end differently. But it doesn’t. It never will. Only our outlook on it can change.

We all have our weak spots that stress goes after. For me, it’s my skin and digestive system.  For years I had been under a chronic state of stress and for years I tried to clear up these physical issues by changing my diet and exercise habits. I changed everything I ate. I did more balancing kinds of workouts. I tried to sleep more. Take more supplements. The list goes on.  Now granted, a good diet is very important. Unhealthy foods do cause a certain amount of undue stress on the body. But it was really about what was going on for me in my life. Problems both at work and at home took a major toll on me. My digestion was a wreck and my skin was broken out and had rashes. It was horrible trying to manage it.  It actually caused me more stress. I took out all the foods that I thought were causing inflammation and stress on my body and NOTHING worked. The only thing left to eliminate was the situation…..the actual stress itself. Or at least how I process it.

We will never be able to eliminate stress completely from our lives. It’s a natural day to day process. Issues will come up with family members. There will be days where you hate your job. And there will be days where the driver next to you will test your patience.  But how we manage the stress is another thing entirely. Some people find exercise to be beneficial. That’s my personal choice. But for someone who has been an avid fitness person the majority of my life, I found that the extra pounding away actually caused more damage on my body.  Being in nature. The beach, a hike, or just kicking your feet in the water pool side. Just being outside. Reading, writing, and spending time with family and friends. LAUGHING has been proven to reduce stress hormones.  Talk therapy, massages, yoga, or just pack it up and take a 3-day vacation either by yourself or with your family or friends. Remember this is to reduce stress….so choose wisely who you spend your stress free time with. I’ve gone on vacations and was more stressed out being away than being home. Deep breathing is something that you can do here and now and doesn’t cost you a penny.

I personally am finding that getting in touch with my spirituality has been so great for me.  Never underestimate the power of prayer. Letting the Universe/God take your burdens from you really takes the pressure off of having to figure it all out. After all, you were not meant to suffer. You were meant to thrive and be happy.

There’s an old saying–“Life’s A Gift–That’s Why They Call It The Present.” And it’s so true. We cannot enjoy the gift of the present if we are busying ourselves with the past. Yes, we have issues to clean up. But do it, be done with it, and move forward. We don’t get do-overs in life. But we do have other opportunities to look forward to.  If a relationship didn’t work out, allow yourself time to heal knowing that there are other opportunities for love in your life. If you are struggling to find work, keep plugging away, the opportunity is around the corner. If health and wellness are your sticky spot, there are coaches, trainers, and qualified professionals to help guide you to you place of feeling great.

We all have a past.  But it’s time to put it where it belongs, close the door, and step unto the present. Your future is just moments away.

I’ve missed out on some time in my life. I don’t believe it necessarily to be a mistake. However, I see so clearly that it hasn’t gotten me anywhere. Whatever it is that has occurred for you in your life, it’s time to let it go and move forward and experience life as it’s happening. You’ll know you’ve moved on when the time comes and you do visit the past that you don’t stay there very long. It’s a quick trip down memory lane and then right back to the now.

Am I there yet? Heck NO!! But I’m a work in progress. My greatest blessing is the amazing support system I have. I have wonderful family, the best friends, and I know that God is keeping his eye on me. I’ll make mistakes, but I’m learning from them.

As you step into today, start releasing yesterday. Whatever it is–it already happened. Time to forgive, release, and move forward. You may just see that those physical ailments you experience will also be a thing of the past.

I’m always interested in hearing what you have to say. What is it that you do to decompress, release stress, stay centered, and thrive??

Blessings!!

Tracy Lynn

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