Yoga, Why I Love It For Whole Body Fitness (Spirit, Soul, Body)

Yoga to me is about connecting the body with the mind and letting anything arise in the practice (frustration, stress, emotions) be observed and released to God.  As a Christian, I use my time to focus on Holy Spirit and bring my soul (mind, will and emotions) to the mat and allow Him to speak and change me. It is a time for me to release anything I need to release. It is not only a physical practice for me, although it very much is a work out as I focus it on such, but it is also a time where I bring my body and my mind, whatever it is going through that day, and take it on a healthy journey, physically, mentally and spiritually.Spiritually, I release and receive, I am strengthened and counseled in my emotions by processing mentally with God and physically I strengthen, stretch, nourish and build my body. It is a time of worship, counsel, physical fitness, mental strengthening and more. It is truly a completely holistic (interconnected) hour of work out. (Literally working things out physically, mentally, emotionally)

You partner that together and you are nourishing your body from the very core. You are also training your mind to be still, learning how to take every thought captive and creating the discipline it takes to tell your mind to settle down in physical stress and your body to breathe deep.

Yoga builds long, lean muscle, strengthens the core, ignites inner heat which speeds the metabolism and awakens blood flow. Every system in your body and cells is revitalized and the organs are nourished.  It also strengthens the back and improves your posture. I love to couple it with pilates and resistance training. I also love yoga sculpt classes. Cardio + core + weights + stretching and plyo posture holding. It makes for an incredible work out as you hit so many things at once.

Below are some of the physical health benefits of yoga.

If you are interested in a spiritual practice of Yoga near you, please check out: Holy Yoga

Also, in the Chicago area, you must take class from this amazing Holy Yoga teacher: Sarah Wheeler





Improves your flexibility

Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga. During your first class, you probably won’t be able to touch your toes, never mind do a backbend. But if you stick with it, you’ll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You’ll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That’s no coincidence. Tight hips can strain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue, such as fascia and ligaments, can cause poor posture.

Builds muscle strength

Strong muscles do more than look good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain, and help prevent falls in elderly people. And when you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility. If you just went to the gym and lifted weights, you might build strength at the expense of flexibility.




Perfects your posture

Your head is like a bowling ball—big, round, and heavy. When it’s balanced directly over an erect spine, it takes much less work for your neck and back muscles to support it. Move it several inches forward, however, and you start to strain those muscles. Hold up that forward-leaning bowling ball for eight or 12 hours a day and it’s no wonder you’re tired. And fatigue might not be your only problem. Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems. As you slump, your body may compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in your neck and lower back. This can cause pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine.

Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown

Each time you practice yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion. This can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing and soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used. Joint cartilage is like a sponge; it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be soaked up. Without proper sustenance, neglected areas of cartilage can eventually wear out, exposing the underlying bone like worn-out brake pads.

Protects your spine

Spinal disks—the shock absorbers between the vertebrae that can herniate and compress nerves—crave movement. That’s the only way they get their nutrients. If you’ve got a well-balanced asana practice with plenty of backbends, forward bends, and twists, you’ll help keep your disks supple.


Improves your balance

Regularly practicing yoga increases proprioception (the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is in space) and improves balance. People with bad posture or dysfunctional movement patterns usually have poor proprioception, which has been linked to knee problems and back pain. Better balance could mean fewer falls. For the elderly, this translates into more independence and delayed admission to a nursing home or never entering one at all. For the rest of us, postures like Tree Pose can make us feel less wobbly on and off the mat.




Increases your blood flow

Yoga gets your blood flowing. More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet. Yoga also gets more oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result. Twisting poses are thought to wring out venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in once the twist is released. Inverted poses, such as Headstand, Handstand, and Shoulderstand, encourage venous blood from the legs and pelvis to flow back to the heart, where it can be pumped to the lungs to be freshly oxygenated. This can help if you have swelling in your legs from heart or kidney problems. Yoga also boosts levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues. And it thins the blood by making platelets less sticky and by cutting the level of clot-promoting proteins in the blood. This can lead to a decrease in heart attacks and strokes since blood clots are often the cause of these killers.

 Drains your lymphs and boosts immunity

When you contract and stretch muscles, move organs around, and come in and out of yoga postures, you increase the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.



Regulates your adrenal glands

Yoga lowers cortisol levels. If that doesn’t sound like much, consider this. Normally, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol in response to an acute crisis, which temporarily boosts immune function. If your cortisol levels stay high even after the crisis, they can compromise the immune system. Temporary boosts of cortisol help with long-term memory, but chronically high levels undermine memory and may lead to permanent changes in the brain. Additionally, excessive cortisol has been linked with major depression, osteoporosis (it extracts calcium and other minerals from bones and interferes with the laying down of new bone), high blood pressure, and insulin resistance. In rats, high cortisol levels lead to what researchers call “food-seeking behavior” (the kind that drives you to eat when you’re upset, angry, or stressed). The body takes those extra calories and distributes them as fat in the abdomen, contributing to weight gain and the risk of diabetes and heart attack.



 Helps you focus

An important component of yoga is focusing on the present. Studies have found that regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ scores. People who practice Transcendental Meditation demonstrate the ability to solve problems and acquire and recall information better—probably because they’re less distracted by their thoughts, which can play over and over like an endless tape loop.

Relaxes your system

Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath, and focus on the present, shifting the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (or the fight-or-flight response) to the parasympathetic nervous system. The latter is calming and restorative; it lowers breathing and heart rates, decreases blood pressure, and increases blood flow to the intestines and reproductive organs—comprising the relaxation response.


Releases tension in your limbs

Do you ever notice yourself holding the telephone or a steering wheel with a death grip or scrunching your face when staring at a computer screen? These unconscious habits can lead to chronic tension, muscle fatigue, and soreness in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, and face, which can increase stress and worsen your mood. As you practice yoga, you begin to notice where you hold tension: It might be in your tongue, your eyes, or the muscles of your face and neck. If you simply tune in, you may be able to release some tension in the tongue and eyes. With bigger muscles like the quadriceps, trapezius, and buttocks, it may take years of practice to learn how to relax them.



As you read all the ways yoga improves your health, you probably noticed a lot of overlap. That’s because they’re intensely interwoven, we are intensely interwoven. Change your posture and you change the way you breathe. Change your breathing and you change your nervous system. This is one of the great lessons of understanding our body: Everything is connected—your hipbone to your anklebone, you to your community, your community to the world. This interconnection is vital to understanding wellness. This holistic system simultaneously taps into many mechanisms that have additive and even multiplicative effects. Understanding that our body is interwoven and our spirit, soul and body is one, then you will begin to understand wellness at deeper level. You will begin to recognize that how you operate in one area, can and will bleed into another positively or negatively.




I Heart Bacon & So Should You. Why Saturated Fat Isn’t Heart Disease’s Problem.



Did you know saturated fats like bacon and coconut and animal fat doesn’t cause heart disease? The hallelujah angel chorus just began singing…I can hear it now. That means, please, don’t avoid your bacon.

But please, do avoid your bacon and maple glazed donut.

In fact, it is the highly refined carbohydrates and sugar intake combined with transfats that cause heart disease and clogged arteries. Transfats is found in processed foods, fried foods, sugary foods, j u n k food, and is what causes you to be fat and significantly, i mean SIGNIFICANTLY, increases your risk for heart disease.

No more are the days of shunning your bacon with your eggs. You NEED good, saturated fat for many processes in your body…(see below)

Many have now realized that it’s the trans fat found in margarine, vegetable shortening, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that is the true villain, causing far more significant health problems than saturated fat ever could!

Carbohydrates, Not Fat, is the Root of Obesity and Heart Disease

Heart disease is so common today, it’s hard for people to remember that a mere 100 years ago, this disease was really uncommon.  As Dr. Donald Miller writes in the featured article:

“There were 500 cardiologists practicing in the U.S. in 1950. There are 30,000 of them now – a 60-fold increase for a population that has only doubled since 1950.”

Such an explosion of heart disease indicates that something has changed that is contributing to this epidemic.

What is that “something”?

Our diet.

Most likely, the studies that have linked the so-called “Western diet” to an increased heart disease risk simply confirm that sugar and refined carbohydrates are harmful to your heart health. Because although the Western diet is high in red and processed meats and saturated fats, it’s also alarmingly high in sugar and refined carbs like bread and pasta.

Gary Taubes has also done an excellent job of explaining the connection between carbs and obesity and its related health issues in his book Why We Get Fat: and what to do about it.

In a nutshell, eating fat and protein does not make you fat—carbohydrates do.  I firmly believe the two primary keys for successful weight management and reducing your risk for diabetes, heart disease and other weight-related health problems are:

  1. Severely restricting carbohydrates (sugars, fructose, and grains) in your diet, but not completely (getting the right ones quinoa, veggies, brown rice) and
  2. Increasing healthy fat consumption

Check this out.

A number of indigenous tribes around the world are living proof that a high-saturated fat diet equates to low mortality from heart disease.

These include:

Tribe Primary Diet Percentage Saturated Fat
Maasai tribe in Kenya/Tanzania Meat, milk, cattle blood 66 percent
Inuit Eskimos in the Arctic Whale meat and blubber 75 percent
Rendille tribe in NE Kenya Camel milk, meat, blood 63 percent
Tokealu, atoll islands in New Zealand territory Fish and coconuts 60 percent


And then there’s human breast milk, which contains 54 percent saturated fat. Since breast milk is the most perfect diet in existence for developing infants, the presence of high amounts of saturated fat cannot easily be construed as a “mistake.”


  • A meta-analysis published last year, which pooled data from 21 studies and included nearly 348,000 adults, found no difference in the risks of heart disease and stroke between people with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat.
  • In a 1992 editorial published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Dr. William Castelli, a former director of the Framingham Heart study, stated:“In Framingham, Mass., the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s serum cholesterol. The opposite of what… Keys et al would predict…We found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories, weighed the least and were the most physically active.”
  • Another 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a reduction in saturated fat intake must be evaluated in the context of replacement by other macronutrients, such as carbohydrates.


When you replace saturated fat with a higher carbohydrate intake, particularly refined carbohydrate, you exacerbate insulin resistance and obesity, increase triglycerides and small LDL particles, and reduce beneficial HDL cholesterol.

And, as concluded in the study above, to put it simpler…When you reduce saturated fat and increase refined carbohydrates, you end up promoting obesity, heart disease and diabetes…

Dietary efforts to improve your cardiovascular disease risk should primarily emphasize the limitation of refined carbohydrate intake, and weight reduction.

I believe that last point is very important, and is likely a major key for explaining the rampant increase in obesity, heart disease and diabetes. And once you can pinpoint the problem, turning it all around becomes that much easier.

The Different Types of Fat

Fats can be confusing, but you can generally divide fats into four types:

  1. Saturated fats, from animal fat and tropical oils
  2. Monounsaturated fat, such as olive oil
  3. Polyunsaturated fat, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fats
  4. Trans fats, such as margarine

Sources of healthy fats include:

Olives and Olive oil Coconuts and coconut oil Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
Raw Nuts, such as, almonds or pecans Organic pastured egg yolks Avocados
Grass fed meats Palm oil Unheated organic nut oils


Another healthful fat you want to be mindful of is animal-based omega-3. Deficiency in this essential fat can cause or contribute to very serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year.

Fats you want to avoid are the trans fats. Trans fats are formed when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil during food processing in order to make it solidify. This process, known as hydrogenation, makes fats less likely to spoil, so foods stay fresh longer, have a longer shelf life and also have a less greasy feel. The end result of the hydrogenation process is a completely unnatural fat that causes dysfunction and chaos in your body on a cellular level.

Your Body NEEDS Saturated Fat for Optimal Function

Saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources provide a number of important health benefits. In fact, your body cannot function without saturated fats! Saturated fats are needed for the proper function of your:

Cell membranes Heart Bones (to assimilate calcium)
Liver Lungs Hormones
Immune system Satiety (reducing hunger) Genetic regulation

Healthy Fat Tips to Live By

So please remember, you do need a certain amount of healthy fat, while at the same time you’ll want to avoid the unhealthy varieties. The easiest way to accomplish this is to simply eliminate processed foods, which are high in all things detrimental to your health: sugar, carbs, and dangerous types of fats.

After that, these tips can help ensure you’re eating the right fats for your health:

  • Use organic butter made from raw grass-fed milk instead of margarines and vegetable oil spreads. Butter is a healthy whole food that has received an unwarranted bad rap.
  • Use coconut oil for cooking. It is far superior to any other cooking oil and is loaded with health benefits. (Remember that olive oil should be used COLD, drizzled over salad or fish, for example, not to cook with.)
  • Focus on healthy whole foods instead of processed junk food.
  • To round out your healthy fat intake, be sure to eat raw fats, such as those from avocados, raw dairy products, and olive oil, and also take a high-quality source of animal-based omega-3 fat, such as krill oil.
  • Go. For. That. Bacon.

To sum it up…

Real, natural, good fats like above are key to good health.  Limit carbs and eliminate processed carbs/sugar/”fake” butter, margarine, canola oil and vegetable oil.

Watch your weight & cholesterol change for the better.

Live Well!




Cedarwood Essential Oil + Unisex Body Butter/Shaving Cream Recipe + A Give Away!

DSC_0045I LOVE cedarwood essential oil. 

Let me tell you why.

It’s warm, soft, grounding and comfortable + it has a ton of awesome benefits.

  • Antifungal
  • Anti-infectious
  • Antiseptic (urinary and pulmonary)
  • Astringent
  • Diuretic
  • Insect Repellant
  • Sedative

It’s most frequently used for the nervous and respiratory system, but its diuretic properties may make it ideal for the urinary system as well.

Emotionally, cedarwood is said to have a grounding, calming affect on the nervous system.

Precautions: Use with caution during pregnancy, particularly in the 1st trimester. Always test for skin sensitivity prior to widespread use and use on the feet when possible. Excessive use of any oil can lead to skin sensitization. Keep out of eyes, ears, or nose. Not all oils are created equal, so test brands carefully, and never use an oil in a way not recommended by its maker. I recommend Young Living Oils. Find out more here 

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: None of the health topics presented on Live Well have been evaluated or approved by the FDA. They should not replace personal judgment nor medical treatment when indicated, nor are they intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always talk to your naturopathic physician about the use of these or any other complimentary modalities.



Add one drop of cedarwood essential oil to your daily routine (consider using within a moisturizer, cleanser, or by itself as need).

Inhale straight from the bottle, diffuse through the room, or apply a drop over the brow. Layer with a calming blend for extra oomph.

Massage 1-2 drops into the chest and throat daily or as needed.

Bladder Infection
Massage 1-2 drops over the kidneys and bladder 2-3 times a day.

Place 1 drop in your hands, rub together, then cup over the nose and mouth and breathe naturally for several minutes.

Cedarwood essential oil benefits our respiratory system greatly. Apply 1-2 drops over the area of concern or massage into the reflex points of the feet.

Apply 1-2 drops over the throat and chest several times a day.

Massage 1-2 drops into scalp; consider using coconut oil as a carrier to maximize its antifungal and moisturizing benefits.

Use 1-2 drops over the area of concern; consider using coconut oil to help moisturize and protect the area as well.

One of my favorite cedarwood essential oil benefits. Place 1 drop in your hands, rub together, then cup over the nose and mouth, and breathe naturally for several minutes. Or massage into the feet daily.

Kidney Support
Massage 1-2 drops over the area several times a day or as needed.

Place a drop on each cotton ball or fabric strip and place or hang in closets, storage boxes, or other problem areas. Replace as needed. Arborvitae essential oil is another really good one for this.

Massage 1-2 drops (depending on the size of the area) of cedarwood essential oil into the area of concern 1-2 times a day or as needed.

Skin Issues (General)
Consider any number of topical applications: massaging into the area, adding to a bath, reflex points of feet, etc. Also consider Lemon or Oregano in addition.

Apply a drop over the heart center (if it’s emotional), the brow (if it’s mental), or inhale straight from the bottle as needed. Look into citrus blends specifically for stress too.

Massage into the areas where you’re holding tension, or consider the cedarwood uses listed above for Stress. headache blends can also be helpful for muscle tension.

Urinary Infection
Massage 1-2 drops of cedarwood essential oil over the area several times a day or as needed.

Urinary Support
Consider the cedarwood uses listed above for Urinary Infection or Kidney Support.

Water Retention
Massage 1-2 drops into the reflex points of the feet, or over the kidney and bladder 1-2 times a day. Also check out the closely related Juniper Berry.


Not only does it help with all of those, but it makes a FANTASTIC body butter/shave cream. Seriously. It’s wonderful.  It is so grounding and soothing.

I just made it and my husband loves it for shaving. We now both can use it as body butter/shave cream and even keep one in the shower. It’s super easy to make, all natural/organic/nourishing/beneficial for skin, will save you money and feels incredible…what’s not to love?!


* I used my old trader joe’s body butter container to store it in so it’s easy to scoop out and leave in shower. You can also use a mason jar. 










Unisex Cedarwood Whipped Body Butter/Shaving Cream Recipe
Prep time
Total time
Earthy, grounding, relaxing shaving cream that both men and women love. Use it as body butter AND shaving cream. Obsessed.
Recipe type: Body Butter/Shaving Cream
  • ¼ cup Shea Butter
  • ¼ cup Coconut Oil
  • 10-15 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • (add 5-8 drops orange for a twist!)
  1. Whip shea butter and coconut oil together with hand mixer until desired consistency.
  2. Add oils and whip again until evenly mixed.
  3. Store in mason jar or container on choice.

Want to try this recipe out for yourself?

Enter The Give Away! 

What to do:

Follow @itsjessicamiller, @thelivingwelllifestyle, @dwellingsimpleessentials

Like & repost this photo below (on instagram).

The winner will be revealed Friday night 9pm Midwest Time.



Live Well!



Breaking & Making New Habits


Our daily lives are often a series of habits played out through the day. Our days are habits linked together to form an existence chained by the slow cumulation of our previous actions. Positive or negative. 

Good News: Habits can be changed, as difficult as that may seem sometimes.

I’m a living example: in tiny, almost infinitesimal steps, I’ve changed a laundry list of habits. changed my diet, change my spending habits, exercise habits, becoming frugal and simplifying my life and becoming organized and focused and productive, finished degrees, paid through college, learned how to say no to a lot of things including food, started healthy boundaries, began routine in many areas…you get the picture.

It’s possible.

Keep it simple

Habit change is not that complicated, although it can be hard to change the impulse, urge, desire and motivation. There’s really only a few things you need to know. Everything else is just details on helping these to become reality.

The simple steps of habit change:

1. Write down your plan.

2. Identify your triggers and replacement habits.

3. Focus on doing the replacement habits every single time the triggers happen, for about 30 days.

That’s it. Below is further tips and explanationa. 

The Habit Changing Details

The following is a compilation of tips to help you change a habit. Don’t be overwhelmed — always remember the simple steps above. The rest are different ways to help you become more successful in your habit change.

 One at a time. Extremely important. Habit change is difficult, even with just one habit. Don’t set yourself up for failure by biting off more you can chew. Keep it simple, allow yourself to focus on one thing at a time and give yourself the best chance for success. Ever wondered many New Year’s resolutions often fail?  People try to tackle more than one change at a time.

Start simple. The simpler the better, because habit change is difficult, and trying to take on too much is a recipe for disaster. Want to exercise? Start with just 5-10 minutes. Want to wake up earlier? Try just 10 minutes earlier for now. Or consider half habits.

Do a 30-day Challenge. 30 days is a great goal to break and replace with a new habit. This is a round number and will vary from person to person and habit to habit. A more recent study shows that 66 days is a better number do to cycles. Often we break a habit and build a new one and then somewhere 10 days after think we are masters and fall off the horse. So doing 3 month cycles is a really good way to change lifestyle patterns and create them to be more effortlessly established in your daily routine. But 30 days is a good number to get you started. Your challenge: stick with a habit every day for 30 days, and post your daily progress updates to a forum.

Write it down. Write what habit you’re going to change. Just saying you’re going to change the habit is not enough of a commitment. Writing things actually makes it that much more concrete. Set it up in your journal, goal list, to do list. 

Make a plan. While you’re writing, also write down a plan. This will ensure you’re really prepared. The plan should include your reasons (motivations) for changing, obstacles, triggers, support buddies, and other ways you’re going to make this a success. 

Know your motivations.  Write them down in your plan. You have to be very clear why you’re doing this, and the benefits of doing it need to be clear in your head. If you’re just doing it for vanity, while that can be a good motivator, it’s not usually enough. We need something stronger. If your health is depending on it, that’s a pretty big reason. You could be very ill down the line if you didn’t. 

Don’t start today. In your plan, write down a start date. Maybe a week or two from the date you start writing out the plan. When you start right away (like today), you are not giving the plan the seriousness it deserves. When you have a “Quit Date” or “Start Date”, it gives that date an air of significance. Tell everyone about your quit date (or start date). Put it up on your wall or computer desktop. Make this a Big Day. It builds up motivation, dedication, anticipation and excitement, and helps you to prepare. 

Write down all your obstacles. If you’ve tried this habit change before (odds are you have), you’ve likely failed. Reflect on those failures, and figure out what stopped you from succeeding. Write down every obstacle that’s happened to you, and others that are likely to happen. Then write down how you plan to overcome them. That’s the key: write down your solution before the obstacles arrive, so you’re prepared. Being mentally prepared for situations that may come is a key to overcome them when they do. Walk yourself through them before hand. 

Identify your triggers. What situations trigger your current habit? For the junk food habit some triggers include being around junk food, having someone offer you and question why you won’t have any or criticize you, being tired, skipping meals and being starving, cravings, emotional triggers, sadness, anxiety, stress etc. Most habits have multiple triggers. Identify all of them and write them in your plan.

For every single trigger, identify a positive habit you’re going to do instead. When you are anxious, instead of running to a donut, what will you do? What about when you get stressed? When you go out with friends? Some positive habits could include: exercise, meditation, deep breathing, organizing, decluttering, drinking water, distracting yourself, watching a show, talking to someone, journaling, grabbing an alternative food and more.

Ask for help. Get your family and friends and co-workers to support you. Ask them for their help, and let them know how important this is. When you have really strong urges or a really difficult time, call on your support network for help. Eliminate all junk from the house and if you want something, before you have to go physically buy it, call your support and tell them what’s up. Have them encourage you and motivate you. Who will you turn to when you have a strong urge for sweets? Write these people into your plan. Don’t underestimate the power of support, it’s really important.

Become aware of self-talk. You talk to yourself, in your head, all the time — but often we’re not aware of these thoughts. Start listening. These thoughts can derail any habit change, any goal. Often they’re negative: “I can’t do this. This is too difficult. Why am I putting myself through this? How bad is this for me anyway? I’m not strong enough. I don’t have enough discipline. I suck.” It’s important to know you’re doing this so you can change it. Quite allowing those thoughts to have dominance in your headspace. 

Stay positive. You will have negative thoughts — the important thing is to realize when you’re having them, and push them out of your head. Squash them like a bug! Then replace them with a positive thought. “I can do this! If Leo can do it, so can I!” 

Have strategies to defeat the urge. Urges are going to come — they’re inevitable, and they’re strong. But they’re also temporary, and beatable. Urges usually last about a minute or two, and they come in waves of varying strength. You just need to ride out the wave, and the urge will go away. Some strategies for making it through the urge: deep breathing, self-massage, eat some frozen grapes, take a walk, exercise, drink a glass of water, call a support buddy, post on a support forum.

Prepare for the sabotagers. There will always be people who are negative, who try to get you to do your old habit. Be ready for them. Confront them, and be direct: you don’t need them to try to sabotage you, you need their support, and if they can’t support you then you don’t want to be around them.

Talk to yourself. Be your own cheerleader, give yourself pep talks, repeat your mantra (below), and don’t be afraid to seem crazy to others. We’ll see who’s crazy when you’ve changed your habit and they’re still lazy, unhealthy slobs ;)- !

Have a mantra. When I wanted to loose weight healthily, it was “Slow and steady wins the race”. This is a way to remind yourself of what you’re trying to do, the purpose behind it and the motivation for you of how to get there. 

Use visualization. This is powerful. Vividly picture, in your head, successfully changing your habit. Visualize doing your new habit after each trigger, overcoming urges, and what it will look like when you’re done. This seems new-agey, but it really works. Visualize for 5-10 mins each day. 

Celebrate Milestones. Reward yourself. Celebrate. You might see these as bribes, but actually they’re just positive feedback. Celebration is a powerful tool to motivate you and refresh you. Put these times to reward yourself into your plan, along with the milestones at which you’ll receive them. Go to a nice dinner, have a fun get together, go get a massage…treat yo’self.

Take it one urge at a time. Often we’re told to take it one day at a time — which is good advice — but really it’s one urge at a time. Just make it through this urge and the next one will be easier. 

No exceptions. This seems harsh, but it’s a necessity: when you’re trying to break the bonds between an old habit and a trigger, and form a new bond between the trigger and a new habit, you need to be really consistent. You can’t do it sometimes, or there will be no new bond, or at least it will take a really really long time to form. So, at least for the first 30 days (and preferably 60), you need to have no exceptions. Each time a trigger happens, you need to do the new habit and not the old one. No exceptions, or you’ll have a backslide. If you do mess up, regroup, learn from your mistake, plan for your success, and try again.

Get rest. Being tired leaves us vulnerable to relapse. Get a lot of rest so you can have the energy to overcome urges.

Drink lots of water. Similar to the item above, being dehydrated leaves us open to failure. Stay hydrated!

Renew your commitment often. Remind yourself of your commitment hourly, and at the beginning and end of each day. Read your plan. Celebrate your success. Prepare yourself for obstacles and urges.

Engineer it so it’s hard to fail. Create a groove that’s harder to get out of than to stay in: increase positive feedback for sticking with the habit, and increase negative feedback for not doing the habit. Read more on this method.

Avoid some situations where you normally do your old habit, at least for awhile, to make it a bit easier on yourself. This applies to any bad habit — whether it be eating junk food or smoking, there are some situations you can avoid that are especially difficult for someone trying to change a bad habit. Realize, though, that when you go back to those situations, you will still get the old urges, and when that happens you should be prepared.

If you fail, figure out what went wrong, plan for it, and try again. Don’t let failure and guilt stop you. They’re just obstacles, but they can be overcome. In fact, if you learn from each failure, they become stepping stones to your success. Regroup. Let go of guilt. Learn. Plan. And get back on that horse.


Simple Steps In The Right Direction For Hormone Balance.


So much extra weight is unnecessarily being carried around on women with hormone imbalance. Did you know that simply balancing hormones can help you loose those stubborn 10-15 pounds naturally? No matter what stage of womanhood we are at, our hormones take a plunge or a spike according to the season of life we are in.  When we are young and reach our time of the month our hormones rev up and can create a cocktail of interesting emotions and feelings (all because of hormones) to tempt us into turning from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.  Not only that, but we crave certain (cough, cough chocolate) things.  Why? Why do you crave chocolate and fats? Well, our body is looking, looking, looking to balance your hormones and up your seretonin levels (the feel good neurotransmitter) because these tend to take a dive during what I like to call, the moon cycle.

Serotonin is responsible for feelings of well-being and enhanced mood, so when you are feeling like miss moody due to low levels or seretonin during this period of time, your body wants to fix it.  You can do this by exercise instead of chocolate and it will last WAY longer.  Many women experience lowered serotonin levels in the 7 to 10 days prior to their menstrual periods, which is one reason why premenstrual women often have powerful cravings for chocolate. Blood sugar levels tend to be more dramatic during hormone changes and this is another reason you crave chocolate.  Again, this can be helped with exercise and it helps MUCH better. It’s like the difference between having a sore back and trying to rub it on the corner of a door or going to get a professional massage.  Chocolate is the quick fix, exercise for seretonin boost and blood sugar regulation is like the professional massage.  SO MUCH BETTER.

No matter if you are young and regularly get your period and (PMS) or older and about to enter menopause or have already done so, we all get symptoms ranging from hot flashes to cravings, moods to bloating all due to our hormones doing there thing.  This is normal.  Our hormones are suppose to change, but with today’s environment, foods, toxins etc. it’s like symptoms are on a WHOLE NUTHA LEVEL.  It’s like symptoms….on steroids.  We have additional estrogens from many, many different factors, coming in and messing with our levels.  It’s important to know these things so that we can do our part with staying away from things that can cause synthetic estrogen overload as much as we can.  This awareness alone could help certain women’s symptoms dramatically.

I am hear to tell you that we can help our bodies balance our hormones, creating less symptoms and easing the transitions whether it be monthly or the final hoorah into menopause. The days after your period, your hormones lay low and normalize again.  After menopause, your hormones levels will subside as well and so will symptoms. But our purpose today is discuss ways in which we do not have to go through such intense symptoms and to make living as a woman as gracefully and as balanced as possible.

Hormones & Food

One way we do this is by our food regime.

If you would like to know further detail about your symptoms and get professional help for hormone imbalance or thyroid or endocrine system imbalance in general, please contact your Naturopath or Holistic healthcare provider.  Or you can visit Walden Wellness for more information.

Today we will be focusing on SIMPLE ways to improve your hormone balance from the food department for every stage of womanhood. My goal is to help you help yourself and body ease symptoms.   From young women who regularly menstruate and deal with PMS and such (cramps, break outs, bad moods, cravings, bloating etc.) to  perimenopausal (read below) and women in menopause, these simple steps could help mellow out your symptoms.

Perimenopause means “around menopause” and refers to the time period during which a woman’s body makes its natural transition toward permanent infertility (menopause). Perimenopause is also called the menopausal transition.

Women start perimenopause at different ages. You may notice signs of progression toward menopause, such as menstrual irregularity, sometime in your 40s. But some women notice changes as early as their mid-30s.

The level of your estrogen — the main female hormone — rises and falls unevenly during perimenopause. Your menstrual cycles may lengthen or shorten, and you may begin having menstrual cycles in which your ovaries don’t release an egg (ovulate). You may also experience menopause-like symptoms, such as hot flashes, sleep problems and vaginal dryness. Treatments are available to help ease these symptoms.

Once you’ve gone through 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, you’ve officially reached menopause, and the perimenopause period is over.

Here are some food plan suggestions for keeping your blood sugar, eicosanoids and hormones in balance no matter what stage of your womanhood you are in.

1. Eat At least Three Meals Per Day

Many women skip breakfast or lunch, or even both, “saving” their calories for dinner. The problem with this approach is that the metabolic rate naturally peaks at noon and slows after that. So the food you eat at night is far more likely to be stored as fat. When you eat breakfast, your metabolism gets jump-started for the day. If you skip it, your metabolism will slow down into conservation mode and this can lead to weight gain.  This also leads to crazy blood sugar levels and thus hormones all over the place.  Balance your day.  Be consistent. Don’t skip.

2. Eat Protein At Each Meal

Eggs, fish, lean meat, dairy, or vegetarian alternatives to animal protein, such as quinoa, lentils, non GMO tofu or a good non GMO plant protein, are all good choices. The point here is to keep your blood sugar stable through out the day so that insulin remains stable and in turn, other hormones remain stable. I address hormones in more details in other blogs (go take a peek), but the key is to keep them stable and releasing correctly in adequate amounts.  Keeping your blood sugar stable aids in this.

3. Cut Down On Refined And High-Glycemic Index Carbohydrates

Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Singing in the same tune as above, carbs create insulin changes and different blood sugar reactions.  If you are loading your body with refined carbs and synthetic carbs, your insulin will spike and throw your hormones into over active mode.  I’m sure you have felt when your body either dips into low blood sugar (moody, spacey, hungry, going to rip someone’s head off if you don’t eat something mode) or when is spikes (hyper, high energy, jittery, overload and then all of a sudden-CRASH).  This pattern of high blood sugar to low blood sugar wreaks havoc on your hormones.  Our goal is to keep insulin levels or blood sugar levels balanced and constant.   Whether certain foods with a high-glycemic index, such as baked potatoes or bananas, can be part of a healthy diet for you depends upon your unique metabolism and sensitivity to your blood sugar levels.  You need to find what foods are healthy for you. Opt for COMPLEX carbs such as oatmeal, quinoa, legumes, lentils, rye and barley etc. for a slow release into the blood sugar, creating a nice steady source of fuel instead of the spike syndrome (up and down, up and down) that comes from high glycemic foods such as chips, bread, candy, protein bars and other refined and processed carbs.  Although yummy, natural and good for you in small quantities, bananas and watermelon are HIGH on the glycemic index and also tend to spike the blood sugar significantly because of the high sugar content (even if it is natural). Eat these before you go work out, not before you sit down to work.


I find that eliminating refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, white rice, bread, alcohol, and foods made with white flour, such as muffins, bagels, pasta, pretzels and other snack foods, helps the body burn stored fat and keeps insulin and blood sugar levels normal.

4. Eat A Wide Variety Of Fresh Fruits And Vegetables Daily

You want to shoot for at least five servings per day. And remember, a serving is small, approximately four ounces, or a half-cup. Think color and you’ll be on the right path, because the deep pigments in these foods contain powerful antioxidants.

Go for broccoli, green leafy vegetables, berries, red, yellow and green peppers, and tomatoes, and vary your choices through the seasons.


5. Eat Healthy Fats Each Day

Healthy fats are SO important for good hormone levels.  The low-fat diet fads of the past, which reached their peak in the 1980s and early 1990s, had women brainwashed into believing that fat was the enemy. In their attempt to eliminate saturated fat from their diets, many women eliminated all fat. Woman complain of sallow skin, brittle hair and nails, susceptibility to infection, inability to concentrate, and weight gain despite their rigid diets. None of these women were getting enough healthy fat.

Essential fatty acids, namely omega–3 and omega–6 fats, are needed to assist the body in many important functions, including those of the brain and nervous system. Good sources of EFAs include eggs, high-quality flax seeds and flaxseed meal, walnuts, and cold water fish harvested from the wild.

6. Protect Your Body With Antioxidants

Antioxidants combat cellular damage from free radicals, which are known to be a cause of chronic conditions such as heart disease, cataracts, macular degeneration, and cancer. Antioxidants are found in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially brightly colored ones.

Food is the best source for antioxidants, but if you don’t always get enough in your diet, high-quality supplements can provide significant protection.

…Other important simple ways to help balance hormones….

Exercise To Balance Hormones

Exercise is such an important key to balancing hormone levels.  Regular exercise helps to regulate your appetite, preventing you from overeating.  When you become fit your blood sugar levels, metabolites and numerous other factors including hormones work together to tell you when and how much to eat.  The result: you get hungry when your body needs calories and stop eating when your body doesn’t.  In less fit people, however, this appetite control mechanism doesn’t function as well, making you hungry when your body doesn’t need the calories and neglecting to make you feel full on time.  Your metabolism stays high after you work out which is an added benefit for those woman trying to loose the stubborn weight that has rested upon your body probably due to years of up and down blood sugar levels.

Cut Back On Caffeine

Because caffeine raises your blood pressure and heart rate, it can also trigger a hot flash.  However, going cold turkey with caffeine will result in sluggishness and a withdrawal headache.  So slowly cut back by switching to half regular, half decaf coffee beans.  As you get used to this mixture, keep adding a little more decaf and a little less regular beans, until you come to a point where the caffeine no longer produces hot flashes.  Too much caffeine at any age can mess with hormone levels after long periods of time, so it’s important to regulate your intake even if you are a young lil’ thang.

Try water with lemon + cayenne + C grade maple syrup/raw honey/stevia during the day instead of coffee. It will give you a boost of energy by waking your brain up with oxygen and stimulating the blood vessels and blood flow to your brain and through out your body. The dash of honey will help awaken you and bring your blood sugar up a bit safely so you don’t crash.



Talk to your naturopath or holistic healthcare professional (chiropractor or acupuncturist) to try herbs such as St. John’s wort, black cohosh, chasteberry, Don Quoi, ginseng, and others.  If you are on medications, make sure to let your natural healthcare professional know as herbs are serious forms of treatment and could possibly interact with certain drugs.


Final Thoughts

Make sure you are taking in good whole food supplements with vitamins and minerals to help support your body. Many of us are deficient in things like B vitamins, zinc, iodine and calcium.  Without those, our hormones will be totally off wack. Making sure you are getting a good green powder with all the micro nutrients and superfoods with antioxidants, will help tremendously. Also-take an epsom salt bath at least once a week. It gently pulls out any toxics and extra xenoestrogens that our bodies get bombarded with on a daily basis that through of our hormones.


Use all natural, non chemical beauty products: deodorant, toothepaste, shampoo/conditioner etc.

Eat organic as much as possible.

Drink lots of water (1/2 body weight in ounces daily)

Make a green smoothie your daily routine. Add in maca root powder for hormone balance.

Take ashwaghanda, rodiola and chase tree.

Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

Don’t get jacked up on coffee. Less is more. Have a little to wake you up and then switch to decaf, water or your shake.

Glycemic Food Options

Here are the relative glycemic indexes of some common foods. This is simply a guide; these numbers do vary from study to study, with plant varieties, and food preparation methods. Use this chart to help balance high glycemic foods with low glycemic ones. Try eating smaller portions of high glycemic foods and add some protein and fat to your plate.

Glycemic Food Index

Low Glycemic: black beans, broccoli, cherries, chickpeas, leafy vegetables, milk, peanuts, peanut butter, pears, plums, soybeans, tomatoes, tomato soup, wild rice, yogurt.

Low to Moderate Glycemic: All-Bran, apples, garbanzo beans, ice cream, navy beans, oranges, peas, pinto beans, potato chips.

Moderate to High Glycemic: bananas, candy bars (most), potatoes, pita bread, oat bran, oat bread, raisins, carrots, brown rice, kidney beans.

High Glycemic: bagels, basmati rice, cakes, Cheerios, corn, corn flakes, pies, pretzels, durum wheat pasta, white bread.

If you are interested in a customized hormone balancing protocol or more information on what is going on in your body from the root and not just the symptom, please visit Walden Wellness.

Live Well!



These are explained in more detail, along with a supplement program, inThe Wisdom of Menopause, by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

The Glucose Revolution: The Authoritative Guide to the Glycemic Index by Jennie Brand–Miller, PhD; Thomas Wolever, M.D., Ph.D.; Kaye Foster-Powell; & Stephen Colagiuri, M.D.

The Midlife Miracle Diet by Adele Puhn, MS, CNS

Outsmarting the Female Fat Cell — After Pregnancy: Every Woman’s Guide to Shaping Up, Slimming Down, and Staying Sane After the Baby by Debra Waterhouse, MPH

Releasing Fat by Ray Strand , M.D.

The Schwarzbein Principle: The Truth About Weight Loss, Health and Aging by Diana Schwarzbein, M.D.


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15 Things Successful People Do On The First Day Of Their Work Week.


Monday mornings are hard for most. We are either tired from the weekend or so well rested we don’t want to get back at it. I get it. I need to change my perspective of Mondays. I need to transition my mindset to it being the most important day so that I can set the pace and stage of my week. How do I do that? Either the Friday before the weekend I map out my Monday for next week so I don’t need to think about it on the weekend or the Monday of, OR Sunday night I map it out. It depends on your schedule, life and pace.

Weekends are so good. For rest, for a break, for not working. I urge you if you are a business person that sets your own schedule to put boundaries on your work life. Workaholics, as glamorous as today’s lifestyle and media portrays them, is not a healthy lifestyle. No rest leads to a weakened immune system, added stress and anxiety and burn out. If you work Mon-Fri at a 9-5, you are probably a lot better at “turning it off” than the business owner, or entrepreneur managing their own schedule. That doesn’t mean we need to work 9-5, Mon-Fri, I know many people that work Sunday-Thursday or Tuesday to Saturday, it just means balance, boundaries and rest.

Most successful and healthy people I know are extremely aware of the need for rest and scheduling. They are self starters, but know when they are close to burn out and have the will power to say no. Learning to say no is a acquired skill for some, because it’s not easy.

Here are 16 things successful people do on Monday mornings:

1. They wake up early. 

Successful people go to sleep at a decent hour on Sunday night, get a good night’s sleep, and wake up early Monday morning.

When the alarm goes off and the voice tells you that you went to bed far too late to get up this early, or that five more minutes won’t hurt, don’t listen. Purpose that you will get up. In fact, go splash some water on your face or jump right into the shower Avoid lingering.  If you need a little pick me up, opt for green tea or matcha. Take some b vitamins or have half or an organic energy drink. (Ones that contain, natural vitamins that wake the body and nourish the adrenals, try to avoid the caffeine ones, but if you want it, go for half and save the other half for later.)

2. They eat a healthy breakfast. 

On Monday morning, you want to handle everything you have control over because feeling in control of your day, sets you up with confidence and determination to accomplish the day strong. Eating breakfast is one of those things. For most, breakfast is a skipped meal. If that is you, grab a protein bar a take a bite, make a quick protein shake, have something ready that’s quick and just get a little in you. You don’t need to feast, but you do need to wake up your metabolism and give your brain the power it needs to succeed in the day without crashing or feeling all the side effects of blood sugar dipping and you getting cloudy minded. You don’t want to be staring at the clock, awaiting lunch time as your stomach growls at morning meetings and totally distracted.

3. They exercise.

The last thing many people want to do on a Monday morning is work out, but if you keep in mind that that will help you set you up for a good pattern the rest of the week, it will give you the extra motivation to hit it well.  Do a HIIT in your living room, jump on the bike, go for a walk, do yoga, stretch, run, swim, do a youtube video, go lift. Working out gets your circulation going and helps you stay alert, putting you at an advantage for a productive week ahead. You’ll get your endorphin rush, which will help your mood, too.


4. They arrive early. 

Early is on time. Being a stickler on yourself about time is not a bad thing. We have a bit of a laid back generation. Let’s not let our character slip in this area. Plan to be their earlier, it won’t kill you.  It’ll even settle your anxiety and stress and you can avoid the cortisol surge of always rushing around. Plan an extra 10 mins for everything. Stuff on the road happens and you can’t get greens every light. Sometimes there is traffic. Make it a habit to be e5-10 mins early and that is on time to you.  Plus, getting in earlier than others will help make Monday morning seem more like the afternoon because you’ll have had a chance to breathe before responding to the barrage of people and issues. Being an early bird will give you some wiggle room for the unexpected at work and personal things and it’ll help your memory. You only have so much space and if your brain is always bombarded with stress, it severely effects memory.

5. They clear their desk and desktop.

Keep a clean work space. Everything else may be clutter, but a clean work space has phycological effects on your brain to be more organized in the mind for work. You can focus and not be distracted. I know for me personally, it severely effects my work focus and work mood. I work far, far better in a clean space, with order. It actually effects my mood.

6. They carve out time for unexpected projects and tasks.

Successful individuals expect the unexpected on Monday. Your boss, team members, or staff may have remembered some loose ends over the weekend, so you’re wise to build in some extra down time on Monday morning. This time cut out in the day is for the “oh ya’s” and the “oh, craps”, and the “Wow, that is taking way longer than expected’s” or the “That is not how to planned it’s.” Make sure you have some time carved out for the unexpected.


7. They update their to-do list and goals.

Get yourself current on priorities and tasks, set five to eight goals for the week and finish tasks in order or priority. You may have a huge vision for in the future that you are super excited about and you end up researching that for 4 hours instead of finishing the project that has a deadline coming up. Carve out schedule to research, but don’t go for that first and push back your priority. This can be especially tempting for entrepreneurs with the flexibly in their schedule. Remember to not think of your schedule as flexible, Set your schedule as if your boss did and set this is how it goes. Being your boss, means telling your excited emotions to hold off on the shelf until the current priorities are met.

Accomplished professionals have several goals in mind for the day and week. They know that if all goals aren’t achieved, there is next week. You should always try to be ahead of your goals be a week. Meaning, doing the pressing ones first that have deadlines and then meeting them in priority of need.

8. They visualize the week’s successes. 

By envisioning the positive outcomes of various projects at hand, you can work backward and determine the necessary steps to get your desired results.

9. They screen emails for urgent requests.

You can sink into the deep depths of the email ocean if you don’t scan your inbox for urgency before you begin. Star emails that are priorities and think quality, not quantity. Take time to answer, in order of importance, kindly, sincerely and professionally.

10. They tackle the tough challenges first.

The hardest and most challenging projects are of course, the easiest to put off, but is stronger in the morning, so that’s the ideal time to confront the most difficult assignments.

11. They make an extra effort to smile.

It might be the last thing on your mind, but coming in with a highly positive attitude for the pressure cooker morning will help you get through it. You will probably stand out like a sore thumb in the crowd, but your smile will likely be contagious, helping both you and team members relax. Tell a joke, come early, be relaxed and set the atmosphere for others to follow suit.

12. They add grace to their emails. 

It’s tempting to power through all your emails in the most efficient way on Monday mornings. But before you hit send, read them over to ensure that they’re friendly and clear. Put yourself in the receiver’s shoes. It’s pretty easy to appear curt when you’re in a hurry, along with the impersonal nature of emails and texts. You want to avoid misinterpretations and potential rudeness. One way to do this: Start the email with a kind greeting like, “Hi” and “I hope you had a great weekend.”

13. They’re able to say no.

 On Monday mornings there will be many distractions—from people, to emails, to calls, to catch ups etc.Successful people can diplomatically and politely say no to distractions by offering to engage at a later time.

If your boss needs you, that is clearly an exception. However, if you have crucial calls to make or meetings to attend, give your boss the heads-up. It’s stressful to be a people pleaser, particularly on Monday mornings. Generally, no one ends up being pleased, as you can’t do your best work with conflicting priorities. Instead of aiming to please people, aim to succeed well at your job and learn to the tact of getting back to someone. Your boss may want you now, but he would much rather you succeed at your job for the company. If you are your own boss, make sure your children know when you are working, make sure to not answer personal calls until your set break to do so. All distractions are created equal.

14. They stay focused and set their emotions aside.

Successful people don’t dwell on any challenging events that occurred over the weekend, or other frivolous thoughts. Compartmentalize by putting them in a separate ‘box’ as you start your week and deal with them on your personal time. Not allowing emotions to hinder your work day is a huge part of success. You absolutely need to deal with personal issues and emotions, but learning to put it on a shelf, not a box, (HUGE DIFFERENCE) so you can address it later in the evening, will allow you to focus all your energies at the task at hand.

15. They remember that there is Tuesday.

In all the chaos it’s easy to believe that the world will cave if you don’t solve all Monday’s problems on Monday, but when the dust settles at the end of the day, you may realize that certain tasks could have waited. Sometimes you obtain more information over time that enhances your decision-making. Or you may find that certain problems you’re pondering will resolve themselves.

Monday morning can challenge even the most industrious, successful business leaders. Good news is if you compensate for all the anticipated distraction and intensity by remembering to focus, plan,prioritize and stay positive and calm, you won’t relive Monday all over again on Tuesday and your work week will be set up for success.


Live Well!




Factors That Effect Your Metabolism & Ways To Improve It.


Metabolism is the sum of all processes and chemical changes that occur in our body and allow its existence, functioning and development. These processes affect the amount of energy required for our existence. Our body’s weight is determined based on the ratio of the calories we spend to the calories we gain from food. When our metabolism is higher, it’s easier for us to maintain our weight. It’s therefore important to maintain an efficient and optimal metabolism.

Two factors are usually taught that effect the metabolic rate, but they are only partially true:

1. Gender – metabolism is different between men and women. Due to the greater muscle mass, men have higher metabolism rate than women. (hint, hint this is why resistance training i.e. weight lifting increases metabolism in woman and creates the lean, toned figure.)

2. Age – when we become older, there is a natural decline in our metabolism. The weight gain is usually stored in the middle of the body and there is a loss of muscle mass.

These are partially true…because the main underlying cause in these two major factors are….hormones….

Although muscle mass is easily correlated with metabolic rate, there is a deeper correlation to testosterone and progesterone, which increase metabolic rate, and estrogens (particularly estradiol and estrone), which decreasemetabolic rate.

This is why women experience monthly changes in their metabolic rate. It is also why women do not usually experience much drop in metabolic rate during their menstruating years, but can have dramatic changes with menopause. Men, on the other hand, show a smooth drop in metabolic rate with age as they gradually convert increasing amounts of their testosterone into estradiol, AND sudden drops in metabolic rate with non-age-dependent onset of inflammation (infection, allergy, gluten intolerance, etc.).

Although doctors like to promote estrogen as “female hormone” and testosterone as “male hormone,” this is fundamentally wrong. For example, postmenopausal women usually have lower estrogen than their husbands. And women have low but significant levels of testosterone.

But most importantly, estrogen is the metabolic “off switch” for both men and women, and progesterone and testosterone are the metabolic “on switch”for both men and women.

…And to tweak the sexual stereotyping one more time, men rely upon significant levels of progesterone for their “anabolic” (healing) abilities, just like women do.

Gender and age are factors that that we cannot control in themselves, but you can definitely improve the effects they have on the body and make a difference with the other factors.

I.E. adding more muscle mass, eating healthy, exercising and mostly (which these all play a contributing factor to)…balancing hormones to all support metabolism.

…You do not have to be destined to being a fat old man/woman.

Here are some simple tips to help you improve your metabolism and maintain a proper weight:

(To find out more on how to balance your hormones, loose the stubborn weight or get clinical, organic whole food supplements for hormonal balance/endocrine balance, consider a consultation with a Naturopath)

Sleep less – burn less

When we maintain enough hours of sleep we burn more calories. Over the past 40 years, the average sleep duration of the U.S. population has been reduced in two hours, while parallel to it the obesity increased by 2 (the number of people sleeping less than 7 hours a night doubled during this period, and was about 37% of the population in 2001).  Recent studies (both in humans and animals) have linked insufficient sleep and a tendency to gain weight. Sleep duration affects the hunger and satiety, as well as the production of various hormones and affects directly on the metabolism of the body. In addition, it was found that people who don’t sleep enough are less active the next day and burn fewer calories. It was found that 8 hours of sleep provide the best metabolism. If you find it hard to get to sleep, you may be interested to find out about the best foods to get a better sleep and the best 12 herbs for insomnia.

Jet lag

Our internal biological clock regulates the cells for proper metabolism. Studies have found that transitions between different time zones make us have a jet lag which interferes and slows metabolism. So if you travel frequently, how do you adjust your body again? Quickly return to a routine of eating and activity and go back to the regular hours of sleep to balance yourself until the next travel.


Pesticides may interfere with the body’s energy expenditure. These substances affect the thyroid gland activity which is responsible for our metabolism. Therefore it’s best to consume organic fruits and vegetables, or at least wash them thoroughly with soap and water.


The role of iron in our body is to help transfer oxygen to the cells and muscles. Low levels or lack of iron will cause a slowdown in energy expenditure and metabolism. Iron levels drop is common among women during menstruation for example, among people who consume diet low in iron and among people with health conditions such as anemia. The solution – add to your menu iron rich foods such as turkey and lean beef, beans and green vegetables.


All processes occurring in cells in our body, especially those related to our metabolism, depend on water. When we are dehydrated or when the fluid balance in our body is not right, many of these processes don’t work optimally. When we are dehydrated the body temperature decreases, leading to a reduction in fat metabolism. Therefore it is important to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day or optimally half your bosy weight in ounces.

Calcium, vitamin D and Magnesium

Studies have found that people who consume more calcium are better able to maintain proper body weight. Calcium and vitamin D are related not only to strengthening the bones, but also play an important role in regulating the metabolism of body fat. High consumption of calcium and vitamin D causes the body to burn more fat. Therefore you should add to your daily menu calcium-rich products, including raw milk, raw cheese, lentils, tahini, almonds and fish like sardines. It should also be mentioned that calcium alone is often not enough. Without magnesium, calcium may be not fully utilized, as magnesium is needed for calcium absorption. There are way better sources of calcium than dairy products.

Here are examples of plant food sources containing together about 1,000 mg of calcium:

1/2 cup cabbage -20 mg calcium

1 orange – 60 mg

1/2 cup parsley – 41 mg

2 dried figs – 60 mg

1/2 cup arugula – 48 mg

10 almond – 30 mg

1 cup of cooked green beans – 57 mg

1 cup cooked broccoli – 80 mg

1 cup mashed sweet potatoes – 88 mg

1 fennel – 99 mg

1 cup white beans – 160 mg

2 tablespoons hummus spread – 37 mg

1 tablespoon raw tahini paste – 125 mg

100 g tofu (not calcium fortified) – 110 mg

This list is a partial of course, and there are other good plant sources of calcium, such as: okra, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, butternut squash, butter beans, leeks, artichokes, celery, coriander, Chinese cabbage, kale, tangerines, carob products, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, flaxseed, fenugreek and poppy seeds.

Eat like clock work

Every cell in our body has an internal metabolic clock that is affected by the order of our meals during the day. This internal clock is working in coordination with the biological clock of the body. The moment we don’t keep our regular meals order, there is a lack of coordination between the internal metabolic clock of the cell and the body’s biological clock, and that disturbs our metabolism. Regular daily eating routine is a recipe not only for health, but also for weight control. Eat at regular times, especially your breakfast and lunch.


The metabolic rate increases as we exercise and stays high for a while afterwards. People who exercise regularly are usually healthier than people who don’t exercise. Resistance exercises have been found to boost metabolic rate, especially for aging people whose metabolic rate is slowing. Doing resistance exercises, like weight training, helps in increasing muscle mass. Research shows that this type of exercise is able to boost overall calorie burning and improve the metabolic rate.You can also improve your metabolism by detoxifying your body.


The UV in sunlight raises metabolic rate through the creation of vitamin D3 and calcitriol. This is a very substantial effect. Also, the infrared portion of sunlight activates mitochondria, which are the cellular powerplants which define actual metabolic rate. This infrared portion of the sunlight spectrum is strongest at dawn and dusk, which are the wake-up and settle-down times for human metabolism.

In conclusion, using these tips you will boost metobolic rate by helping the body produce and stabilize the proper hormones.  If you are considering that you may need support with hormones & metabolism, please visit The Practice page.  If you are looking for supplements that are Dr. reccomended, please contact


Stop Focusing On What Not To Eat And Start Focusing On All The Great, New Things To Add Into Your Diet.


Did you just start on a new healthy path?  Are you feeling a little overwhelmed at all the things you “can’t” eat?  Let me tell you why this approach isn’t the best way to go about your goals:

  • You end up feeling deprived. Most people who end up making a strict list, end up craving the food they deemed “must avoid” and find it impossible to not notice everything they are missing out on.
  • Making a list of substitutes for the things that you love hasn’t been something you’ve done so nothing seems to be as tasty as the things you are “not allowed” to eat anymore and you end up botching your plan all together because you don’t know what to eat.
  • People around you are eating and drinking the things you are trying to avoid, adding to your feelings of deprivation, as you feel left out and alone in your quest for health.
  •  Most people don’t know yet the art of taking healthy, fresh food and turning it into a healthy meal or even delicious “healthy” sweet treats, so they feel lost, frustrated or stuck and run back tot he quick, easy processed foods…maybe with the exception of saying “gluten free” which doesnt mean it’s necessarily healthy.
  • You may become confused about what drinks and foods you should avoid and even why you should be avoiding them. Reading food labels has become quite a confusing experience with all the big, unusual words. Unless you get some guidance, you may not know what the manufacturer is talking about on the label. The best way to go about this is, if it has around 7 ingrediants or less and you know what they are, chances are you will be choosing a food or item that is good to go. (Unless you have an allergy, obviously don’t choose whole grain if you are gluten sensitive.)

Change Your Focus

The better approach is to start focusing on what you need to include in your diet. Did you know that when your focus shifts to addition versus subtraction, you have a completely different mind-set? So, instead of constantly looking for what to leave out, look for what you can include. This can help you to stop feeling deprived and to start feeling empowered and motivated in your decisions.

 Some Examples Of What You Can Start Adding To Your Diet:

  • More fresh vegetables and juicy fruits instead of prepackaged foods – making/buying healthy salad dressings, pestos and nut dips to add to your fresh produce will add great taste while being healthy.
  • You can combine seeds & nuts with some goji berries, raisins, or cranberries or small dark chocolate nibs for a sweet, healthy treat and it’s great on the run!
  • Cut up your favorite ancient grain or gluten free tortilla wrap into triangles, add sea salt, grape see oil or coconut oil and bake! Grab or make some salsa, guacamole &/or hummus and you can have a tasty mini meal with great fats instead of the corn and potato crackers most people eat, which contain damaged trans fats. You can also make/ or pick up organic sweet potato fries and grab some organic tortilla chips at the store.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetable juices instead of sodas – a simple trick is to take some sparkling water, add some fresh orange or pineapple juice as well as some fresh berries, mint and a few slices of fresh lime. Watch the wonder while everyone else drinks normal, artificial sodas and you sip naturally colorful, interesting “cocktails”.
  • Use herbs and spices to make fresh salad dressings and sauces instead of dressings and toppings which are filled with additives. Make fresh salad dressings with chopped herbs, or tasty pestos or even simple hummus with some chopped chives or coriander stirred through the final product. I encourage people to pinterest recipes, look up healthy alternatives, and try them! There are so many good recipes out there and the access is at our finger tips.  Plan an evening on the weekend where you can grab 2 recipes you’ve pinned or found, and try them! Maybe they become a stable in your home! Cooking healthy doesnt have to be hard and finding a handful of great recipes to rotate, can be a great way to start your habit changes for you and/or the whole family. Eventually it will become so automatic, you will be telling others what/how you are doing, how much your family loves the food and how great you are all feeling now that you are cooking with whole food instead of processed, chemical laiden, additive overwhelming dead food.
  • Use best quality, cold-pressed olive, nut and seed oils instead of damaged, shelf-stable oils. Make your own flavored oils by adding some crushed sprigs of garlic and rosemary.
  • Cook with heat stable oils like coconut oil, grabe seed oil and palm oil.  This will eliminate carcinogens (cancer causing free radicals) in your delicious, baked/panned, cooked foods you just purposed to avoid and took the time to make.

  • Opt for 70-85 percent dark chocolate instead of additive-filled chocolate bars. Melt some of this good quality chocolate and stir it through some fresh coconut and allow to set in the fridge for a few hours.Yum! Try sugar free chocolate bars, but not with dangerous sugar free alternatives like sucralose or aspartame. Lily’s Chocolate makes their bars with stevia and I know many people who absolutely love them and are life savers for chocolate lovers that are staying away from sugar. I personally love them!
  • Flavorful, fruity herbal teas instead of boring tea and coffee – there are delicious herbal teas available, some of which are naturally quite sweet like Good Earth tea.
  • Add decaf coffee/tea as much as possible. This is the NO for alot of people, but if you are willing to work on getting your adrenals functioning better and out of the exhaustion state and hormones better balanced, I promise you will rarely the need caffeine. I will address in another post what you can do for your body to help your adrenals and hormones so that you don’t zombie out without caffeine. You can also email me to set up a consult if this is something you know you are dealing with and want to get resolve. TIP: Start by making 1/4 decaf 3/4 caf, then 1/2 caf, then 1/4 caf 3/4 decaf and eventually decaf. You can stay at each stage for a week or a month, but slowly training your body to not be so dependant doing it this way, will help to avoid the headaches, mood swings, irritability and the like.

  • Add in the coconut milk or the almond milk instead or dairy or soy. Add to your tea, coffee, shakes and smoothies or for your kids meals.

  • Have your kids pick out the fruits and veggies they like at the grocery. Have them cut (with your help) or wash the veggies they chose. Getting them involved makes them more willing to eat what they were apart of and helped making the decision in.

The “Unhealthy Foods” Naturally Fade Out Of Your Diet

This beneficial approach means that you end up “losing” the foods you’ve been trying to avoid, as there is no longer space for them in your diet. After all, you can’t eat all the unhealthy items as well as the healthy additions – you’d be busy all day and feel pretty full too! Allow this process to happen and celebrate it each time to choose the alternative healthier option. This is what builds habits and changes lifestyles.

Slowly, but very surely, the items that you know are not good for you will automatically fall away, because they’ve been replaced by the healthier alternatives.

It isn’t as if you even have to try very hard, as you’ll be bringing home the foods and beverages you’re adding. By default, the ones you don’t want in your life will stay where they belong – on the shelves at the supermarket!

Live Well!



The Importance Of Getting Past The Symptom & Into The Root Cause.


Imagine that you have an orange tree in your backyard that is showing signs of illness. Although you’ve examined the tree closely, you can’t find any indication of what might be wrong. You are baffled, so you call in a tree specialist for a consultation.

When the tree expert arrives, he studies the tree, scratches his head, and mulls over the problem at some length. But much to your disappointment, it soon becomes clear that he had no readily available diagnosis. Nonetheless, he comes up with a rather unusual recommendation for how to remedy the situation. You assume he is going to recommend a fertilizer or maybe a bug spray of some kind, but instead he recommends you purchase green paint.

The tree expert explains that as the tree’s leaves turn brown, he wants you to paint them green, back to their original color. It sounds like an utterly ridiculous therapeutic strategy, doesn’t it? After all, it doesn’t take a horticultural genius to realize that the tree is not going to get better this way, that the leaves are not the source of the problem. It would be obvious to even the most casual observer that the brown falling leaves are merely a symptom of whatever is ailing the tree, not the underlying cause of the dilemma. Wouldn’t your first inclination be to go to the source of the problem by focusing your attention on the quality of the soil your plants are growing in?

Even if you had little or no experience taking care of plants, it would no doubt immediately dawn on you that there must be something wrong with the chemical makeup of your plant soil. Somehow you’d know that intuitively, even if you’d failed botany 101 and had zero aptitude as a gardener. No one would have to point out where the problem was originating. You wouldn’t have to consult with a plant expert. You would just know.

For some reason, however, we as health consumers consistently fail to apply this same type of logic when it comes to managing our own health problems. When chronic illness strikes, our attention almost always gets stuck at one of the symptomatic levels within the body. (Disease-Focused). We become very focused on treating the symptoms instead of considering why we are sick in the first place. This is understandable because we live in such a disease and symptom-oriented culture. (Disease-focused)

Few physicians have ever taught us how or where chronic disease processes originate, much less how they can be effectively and systematically resolved. So the tendency among most clinicians is to do something akin to painting wilted leaves green each time an ailment emerges. Regardless of what your problem may be – allergies or obesity or arthritis or colitis, or anything at all of a chronic nature – you need to move well beyond the superficial level that is now widely employed throughout the health care system if you expect to regain your health.

Symptoms cannot be used a the only source of reference to reveal anything about the real underlying nature of a person’s illness, and they alone can’t be used to soley determine an effective therapeutic response. That’s why we need to look beyond the symptoms and focus instead on the unique biochemical origins of any given health disorder in any given individual. (Patient-focused)

**Consider contacting your local Naturopath or Natural Health Professional to get beyond the symptoms and into the cause.


 A few things to personally consider to further your understanding of the origin of disease: 

1. When did these symptoms manifest? How long have you had them?

2. What is my diet like?

3. Am I holding any unforgiveness, resentment, anger, hostility, jealousy, envy or bitterness?

4. How many hours do I sleep?

5. How is my stress level on a scale of 1-10? (1 being humdeedum not stressed at all….10 being frazzled.)

6. Am I burning the candle at both ends?

7. How many prescription drugs am I on? What for? What are the side possible side effects? Why am I on them? Were they prescribed to ease a symptom?

8. How long have I been bloated/fatigued/irritable/overweight/aching/dis-eased etc?

9. Do I exercise often? Why not? Why have I made that my excuse?

10. Do I have food addictions? What are they? Can I quit those foods/drinks for a 2 week period of time to give my body a chance to see how it does off of it/them?

11. How much caffeine do I drink?

12. What is your mindset towards healing and getting into better health? Positive? Negative? Why?

13. Do you believe that you deserve good health?

These questions are a good peronal dialogue to start your own peronal journey into addressing your needs/realities and seeing perhaps where certains things have started, to open up a time line for you and for anything that may need tweaking.

Considering a Naturopath or Natural Healthcare Professional to go beyond your symptoms would be the next step. They will be able to get down to it and help to get you out of dis-ease and into ease and health within your body!

If you’d like more information, please visit:

The Practice

Live Well!



Estrogen Dominance: A Very Common Hormonal Imbalance


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-Weight gain
-Varicose veins
-Mood swings & depression around cycle time
-Breast tenderness
-Variations or skipped cycles
-Vaginal dryness or itchiness
-Excessive or scanty blood flow during periods
-Cyclic insomnia, night sweats & fatigue
-Breast cancer, benign breast disease, & pre-cancerous conditions

Does this sound like you? Does it describe a terrible cycle of symptoms you may have? Did you know strogen dominance is a leading contributor to many women specific cancers? Ray Peat. PhD says, “Benign breast disease, breast cancer and pre-cancerous conditions have been found to be associated with a progesterone deficiency and estrogen excess.” The good news is you can support your body’s detoxification of estrogen for hormonal balance with diet!


Typically, the liver treats estrogen like a poison, removing it immediately from the body, but if the liver gets sluggish from malnutrition or too much estrogen (or other damage), it can allow the hormone to build up to very high levels.

Excess estrogen due to a malnourished liver, impairing estrogen detoxification: The liver needs an abundance of proteins, vitamins and minerals to detoxify used hormones out of the system. If estrogen can’t be detoxified it recirculates in the body causing dysfunction, and allows estrogen to build up in the body. According to Ray Peat, PhD, “Protein deficiency has been shown to cause the liver to fail to detoxify estrogen.” If the body’s ability to remove used hormones from the system is impaired, they are allowed to recirculate causing problems such as PMS.

Poor hormone production resulting in low progesterone, leaving estrogen unopposed: Estrogen and progesterone are supposed to be in balance with one another, but a poor diet can result in low progesterone.  The body needs the raw materials to make progesterone like: cholesterol, vitamin A, and thyroid hormone (T3). If you are low in these nutrients or have low thyroid function, low progesterone is a very common cause of estrogen dominance.

Chronic stress: stress of any kind decreases progesterone levels to increase production of cortisol. This is because cortisol is a stress hormone needed to help you survive stress.

Birth control pills, estrogen replacement therapy: Adding synthetic estrogen to your body increases estrogen, and thus the estrogen burden on your body. Pretty straight forward. What’s wild is that synthetic estrogen’s cardiovascular risks have been known since 1940 including its ability to cause blood clots, varicose veins, miscarriage and PMS. “It is the estrogen in oral contraceptives which correlates with their effects on the clotting system. In the last 20 years there has been a general agreement that increased risk of cardiovascular disease, rather than cancer or immunodeficiency or depression, is the most important concern about the effects of oral contraceptives” Ray Peat, PhD.

Aging: Estrogen levels tend to increase with age, as pregnenolone and progesterone levels decline.



Support the metabolism:
-Stop the low fat dieting, calorie counting and eat MORE real food. Especially enough protein and carbs to meet your metabolic needs. Your body temperature is a good way to check and see if you’re eating enough.
-Balance blood sugar by eating protein/fats/carbs together during each meal, and eating frequently to help stabilize blood sugar (especially important for those with blood sugar handling issues). Read more blood sugar tips here.
-Listen to your body. It’s ALWAYS talking to you. Are you listening?

Nourish your liver:
-Increase protein to 70-100 grams+ per day based on your weight (about 20-25% of total calories). Make sure to include eggs, dairy (if tolerated, no allergy), gelatin, fish, and shellfish to help balance muscle meats (chicken, lamb, beef, turkey, etc). This will help to create the amino acid (building blocks of protein) balance needed to reflect “eating the whole animal.” In doing this, you empower the liver’s detoxification process to help your body take out the trash, and detoxify estrogen properly.
-Eat easy to digest foods to reduce endotoxin that can back up the liver (especially important for those with digestive distress). This means more simple sugars (ripe fruits & honey), roots, tubers, & dairy products (if tolerated).

Support hormone production:
-Increase hormone synthesis promoters in the diet using food: Thyroid (T3), Vitamin A (animal sources, like liver or small amounts of fermented cod liver/butter oil), Vitamin E, copper & bright lights (sun, etc). Maca root powder, spirulina, turmeric, ginger, milk thistle, B vitamins, organic meat and lots of water. Add lemon to your water. Avoid soy, conventional wheat, conventional meat like chicken that is injected with hormones.

-Decrease hormone synthesis blockers: unsaturated fats (PUFA), excess estrogen (hormone replacement, birth control, or liver malnutrition to adequately detoxify used estrogen), chemical body products like conventional deodorant/toothepaste/makeup/lotion/beauty product filled with chemicals (go for all natural products),  avoid plastics, conventional chicken and meat (go for organic meats), ultraviolet light, x-rays, and excess iron (from fortified foods, vitamins, or muscle meat heavy diet).

-Epsom salt bath with 1-4 cups of Epsom salt (magnesium) and soak for 15-30 minutes a few times a week prior to bed (increase Epsom salt amounts slowly).

-Eat 1-2 raw carrots a day can help the colon absorb endotoxin and estrogen for excretion. According to Ray Peat, “Several women who suffered from premenstrual symptoms, including migraine, had their serum estrogen measured before and after the “carrot diet,” and they found that the carrot lowered their estrogen within a few days, as it relieved their symptoms.”

Reduce stress & environmental toxins:
-Identify and reduce stressors in your life. This could be a variety of things; lack of sleep, insufficient fuel, or food allergies and sensitivities (since they activate the stress response).
-Detox your home by ditching the chemicals in your cleaning and beauty routine. Or take the 30 day Detox your Home challenge to jump-start the process!  (Coming soon on 30 day detox program page)

Visit a Naturopath or Holistic Healthcare Practitioner: They will help you balance your hormones naturally with wholefood supplemental therapy and herbs to nourish, detox and replenish the body.  If you would like to find out more, visit The Practice portion of this website and/or email

Live Well!