Posts Tagged ‘plant based diet’

  1. Health Dynamo or Demon: Coffee Myth Busting

    February 27, 2017 by Heather

    fee Myth Busting

    Today I want to do some myth busting on coffee!!  I know so many of you love it and wonder if it’s good for you!

    So much of the health media promotes extreme viewpoints that leave you thoroughly confused. Depending on where you get your data, vegetarianism is either touted as the best or the worst dietary solution for obesity. Soy either directly causes breast cancer or definitively prevents it. Oatmeal reduces risk of heart disease or directly contributes to it. Of course, sensationalism sells. And many sources (especially on-line) are just based on opinion and personal experience. But especially when these headlines are touting sound biochemistry (and perhaps clinical study results as well) to back up their claims, it makes you wonder how and why scientific inquiry comes up so often with opposed findings.

    The truth is that the correct answer to the question often asked of me, “Is this healthy or not?” is almost always “Well, it depends.” Unfortunately we like generalizations; we want to have a short list of healthy choices that everyone can follow without further inquiry. The truth is that nothing is healthy for everyone all the time. Some people thrive as vegetarians; others become exhausted and anemic. Oatmeal helps some to lose weight; others become insulin resistant and gain more belly fat. Yogurt for some can help to heal an irritable gut; for others, it directly causes inflammation. We are all different. In my practice, the focus in our client work is on customizing solutions for each unique person given their goals and the full set of dynamics happening in their body. So yes: coffee is indeed a health dynamo for some and a demon for others.

    Here are some truths. Coffee is a beverage brewed from the roasted, ground seeds of the coffea plant. Coffee is loaded with a rich variety of phytonutrients, including a particularly high level of polyphenols, the same class of antioxidants for which we trumpet the cardiovascular health benefits of red wine and olive oil. Much of the world’s population gets well over half of their daily intake of polyphenols from coffee or tea (another study write-up). There are however, hundreds of specific nutrients in coffee (not just polyphenols and caffeine), and people may have a varying response to them.

    Plenty of major institutions have published comprehensive research summaries (e.g. this one from Harvard’s School of Public Health, which is quite well-written) to demonstrate that “generally”, “overall”, or “for the majority of the population”, coffee consumption up to a few cups daily is safe and perhaps even protective against a number of chronic, inflammatory diseases.

    A situation in which I am likely to actually recommend coffee is for those with cognitive impairment, including dementia and early signs of Alzheimers.

    Genes can play a large role in determining how coffee might affect you. Coffee contains caffeine, and the stimulatory effects of coffee can vary dramatically depending on whether one is genetically a fast or slow metabolizer of caffeine. For example, research shows an increased risk of heart attack if slow metabolizers consume two or more cups of coffee daily, while fast caffeine metabolizers will reduce their risk of heart attack if they consume at least one cup daily. Similar studies have come to the same conclusion regarding coffee consumption and the risk of hypertension; genetic variation in caffeine metabolism is a key differentiator in whether intake is potentially harmful or harmless. That’s not conflicting science; it’s the devil in the detail. Increasingly, interested consumers are able to learn a bit more about their genetic make-up via at-home test kits such as that offered by 23-and-me.

    But there can be devil in the detail – and thus confusion about the best personal health choices – on many other fronts. Here are some specific circumstances in which I definitely don’t recommend regular intake of coffee (or black tea):

    Ulcers and gastritis or acid reflux (GERD). Coffee is very acidic and can exacerbate existing erosions in the protective mucosal lining of the stomach. It’s important to make dramatic dietary changes when gastritis is first detected, in order to prevent eventual ulceration. I recommend a very specific supplement for my clients in order to heal the stomach lining. Coffee is also a known trigger for acid reflux and should be avoided by anyone with ongoing GERD challenges, so that the true root causes can be identified. We have also seen several clients eliminate 80%+ of their GERD simply by giving up coffee! So definitely worth the exploration.

    Adrenal fatigue. Cortisol is a vital stress hormone in the body which protects us from the damaging effects of stress. Chronic levels of mental/emotional stress or physiological stress (e.g. unaddressed allergies or food sensitivities) can cause sustained, elevated cortisol which eventually wears out adrenal function and drops levels of cortisol output to unhealthy lows. Low cortisol can also cause immune system imbalance and increase allergy, asthma, and autoimmune activation. While these individuals may be attracted to caffeine as an “energy boost”, in truth coffee just accelerates the metabolism of cortisol and worsens the root cause of the problem. We also need adequate cortisol in order to allow thryoid hormone to be active within our cells (as an aside, low cortisol is one of the major reasons why one’s thyroid hormone levels can be mid-normal or better and one can still struggle with hypothyroid symptoms).

    Type 2 diabetics. Similar to the above situation, T2Ds may be drawn to coffee for an energy boost because insulin resistance prevents their body from receiving the appropriate fuel source within their cells. Plus there is evidence that coffee or caffeinated beverages exacerbate blood sugar after meals, especially for those with poorly-controlled diabetes. Until the insulin resistance can be addressed at its root, these clients usually get much better relief by adding more medium chain fatty acids (MCFA – likely coconut oil) to their diet. MCFAs are readily metabolized in the cells, unlike other fats, when there is insulin resistance.

    Insomnia – even mild. Despite myths otherwise, the stimulating effects of caffeine can be quite long-lasting. The half-life of caffeine in the body is up to 6 hours, which means it takes up to 24 hours for it to be fully excreted from your body. This means that your late morning cup of coffee can be a major reason why you struggle to go to bed early enough or why you don’t sleep as deeply as you wish. Many of my clients over the years have been surprised to learn that even their single, early-morning cup of coffee was actually a major contributor to poor sleep.

    Anxiety. This one is probably obvious, but many people who struggle with anxiety still choose to consume caffeine to counter the fatigue coming from anxiety-driven insomnia. This is of course a vicious, never-ending cycle, and in our experience the only way out – to real wellness – is withdrawing from the caffeine.

    Indeed the devil and the dynamos for wellness are often hidden in the details for each of us as unique individuals! As you look for new ways to increase your vitality and well-being (feeling fantastic most days!), if you are used to drinking coffee daily, consider stopping coffee for a full month and seeing how you feel post-withdrawal. Many are afraid of withdrawal, but in my practice, with adequate hydration and additional magnesium support, withdrawal usually only lasts 3-5 days.

    I’d love to hear about your coffee experience!  Feel free to comment below or reach out to me to chat personally or to set up a consult!


  2. New and Improved Pumpkin Pie

    November 22, 2016 by Heather

    clean

    New and Improved Pumpkin Pie
    Alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving dessert. Gluten-free, dairy free and much lower in sugar than your typical Pumpkin pie. Give it a try! It is absolutely delicious
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    For the crust
    1. 1.5 cups almond, walnut or pecan meal
    2. ½ cup ground flaxseed
    3. 4 dates (pitted)
    4. 2 Tablespoons organic, grass-fed butter/ghee or coconut oil (soft but not melted)
    5. Pinch of sea salt
    6. 1.5 tsp cinnamon
    For the filling
    1. 4 eggs, free-range and organic
    2. 1/2 cup real maple syrup
    3. One -15 ounce can organic pumpkin puree
    4. 1 tsp real vanilla extract
    5. 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
    6. 2 tsp ground ginger
    7. 1/2 tsp sea salt
    8. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
    9. 1 cup full-fat coconut milk, from a can (not a carton!)
    10. Optional: 20 drops of liquid stevia extract
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Grind and blend first 6 ingredients in a food processor until blended.
    3. Using your hands (and lightly wet fingers) press nut mixture into a 10” pie plate, preferably glass (just makes a thicker crust on a 9” plate).
    4. Bake crust for 10 minutes (be very careful not to burn).
    5. Remove from oven and allow to cool fully.
    6. Meanwhile, put eggs, maple syrup, and stevia in food processor (or bowl with hand mixer) and blend well. Add remaining ingredients & blend just until combined, scraping bowl sides at least once.
    7. Pour into room temp crust and bake until an inserted knife in the middle comes out clean, 45-60 minutes. Allow to cool fully before eating to allow custard to set.
    Fit With Fibro http://fitwithfibro.com/

  3. Purple Poison

    August 10, 2016 by Heather

    Purple Poison This little purple pill looks so innocent doesn’t it?  Let’s have a little chat about why it isn’t so innocent. 

    I have written before about the importance of getting to the root causes of anything you are struggling with.  Getting to the root cause of your acid reflux is no exception.  And PPI’s are not the answer.

    Many of today’s most popular (and profitable) drugs are designed to mask chronic symptoms without providing any real healing. They keep us from feeling the effects of our lifestyle choices. They keep us from hearing the signals from our body that something is wrong. Symptoms are a blessings my friends.  Think of them as a warning signal. 

    Nearly all drugs are designed for temporary use to provide temporary relief.  PPI’s are no exception.  In fact, that’s what the FDA originally approved proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medications to do: provide temporary relief to those with ulcers. They were designed to be used for several weeks at most. Why? Because long-term use of PPIs like Nexium, Prilosec, and Protonix can deplete your body of critical nutrients and lead to a wide variety of diseases. 

    Many of us have insufficient HCl (stomach acid).  This is called hypochlorhydria.  HCl is required to isolate key minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc for absorption as well as for breaking down proteins.  Strong stomach acid is also particularly necessary to allow the body to absorb Vitamin B12, a critical nutrient for energy, nerve function, and red blood cell formation. If we have insufficient HCl, we can consume plenty of healthy food yet still become malnourished over time because of poor digestion. All our hard work, right out the window!  Insufficient stomach acid can result from a variety of dynamics, including adrenal issues, dybiosis, Candida, hypothyroidism, H. pylori, age, and medications.  Medications include, you guessed it, PPI’s!!!

    PPI’s reduce the amount of HCl our stomachs can produce. When PPI’s are used for acid reflux they make gastric juices less acidic, so it isn’t as painful or damaging when the juice bubbles up into our esophagus.  Without getting into a lengthy physiology review, the stomach is a critical part of our digestive tract. It is lined with parietal cells which are responsible for secreting hydrochloric acid (HCl) via tiny proton pumps. When you chew food (or sometimes even just smell it), parietal cells are triggered to release this acid. In an optimally healthy body, we secrete strong amounts of stomach acid.  However, if you are using PPI’s, those PPIs attach to the tiny proton pumps in our parietal cells and stop the flow of acid. Thus, our gastric juices become less acidic and less effective affecting our ability to absorb nutrients. For short-term use, this can be a wonderful thing for triage. For example, if you had an ulcer or a short-term bout of acute stress that gave you gastritis. Ulcers are lesions in the stomach wall, and they need short-term relief from acid in order to heal.  However, long-term healing and prevention of both ulcers and acid reflux requires lifestyle change.  Studies have shown that long-term use of PPIs may make you dangerously deficient in key nutrients.  Recent clinical research findings point in particular to the danger of B12 deficiency in those using PPIs on an ongoing basis.

    As stated above, PPI’s deplete the body of magnesium. In fact, there is now a black box warning by the FDA on the package about PPI’s and their role in depleting magnesium!!  In 2010, the FDA issued a warning of the increased risk of wrist, hip, and spine fractures with high-dose or long-term PPI use.  Very recent research has also identified another method by which ongoing PPI might increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by damaging the protective, inner lining of our blood vessels.

    If that weren’t enough reason to steer clear of these not so innocent pills, here is another.  Powerful stomach acid is crucial for our bodies defense against microbes, including dangerous bacteria, fungus/yeast, and parasites.  Without it, we are vulnerable to foreign invasion. Microbial imbalances often cause gastrointestinal disease (e.g. IBS), but the inflammation generated in the gut can wreak havoc on the body in places far distant from the gut (e.g. arthritis).  Remember, disease begins in the gut!!

    Along with B12 and the minerals stated above, there are many more key nutrients that are dependent on strong stomach acid to be absorbed.  I won’t go into them all here but deficiency of these nutrients create downstream effects that create further disease processes in the body. 

    The unfortunate thing is the drug companies have found a way to make us dependent on these PPI’s.  A study in 2009 showed people were likely to remain on PPIs indefinitely because drug withdrawal caused even worse heartburn than the patient experienced initially.  This continues to amaze me, that a drug company would profit from someone’s suffering.  Repeat after me…the only long-term solution for relief is lifestyle change and getting to the root cause of the problem! 

    I specifically work with my clients on getting to the root causes of why they are suffering.  This includes weaning off medications if they so choose.  Everyone’s journey is different but I would be remiss if I did not educate on the real dangers of the use of these seemingly innocent pills.  Please remember that weaning off any medication is crucial and should be done under a qualified practitioner’s care. 

    I’d love to hear your story if you have used PPI’s and your experience with them.  Feel free to share below or send me a message!

    Peace & Health,

    Heather


  4. Baked Falafel

    July 25, 2016 by Heather

    lessons

     

    Baked Falafel
    Serves 4
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    Prep Time
    30 min
    Cook Time
    30 min
    Total Time
    1 hr
    Prep Time
    30 min
    Cook Time
    30 min
    Total Time
    1 hr
    Ingredients
    1. 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    2. 2 cloves garlic
    3. 1/2 small white onion, chopped
    4. 1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
    5. 2 tsp olive oil
    6. 4 tbsp chickpea flour
    7. 1 tsp ground cumin
    8. 1 tsp ground coriander
    9. 1/2 tsp baking powder
    10. 1/2 tsp paprika
    11. 1/4 tsp himalayan salt
    12. several pinches freshly ground black pepper
    13. Preheat oven to 400.
    14. In a food processor, combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, parsley, olive oil and blend until smooth.
    15. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add chickpea flour, cumin, coriander, paprika, baking powder, salt and pepper.
    16. The mixture should be mushy but firm enough to shape into balls.
    17. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, form the mixture into balls, then flatten into patties.
    18. Place the patties onto the baking sheet and bake for 16-18 minutes.
    19. Remove from the oven, spray them with a little cooking spray, then flip the falafel and bake for 8-10 minutes.
    20. Serve on gluten free buns with your topics of choice.
    Adapted from Appetite for Reduction
    Adapted from Appetite for Reduction
    Fit With Fibro http://fitwithfibro.com/

  5. Don’t Give Up!

    July 16, 2016 by Heather

    fitwithfibro.com

    I received a message this morning from a client that was so excited she lost 15 pounds, even after being on vacation! This was huge for this particular client because she has been having difficulty losing weight due to the inflammation in her body.  I know her internal struggle.  I’ve been there for the tears.  This made my morning. When we are very inflamed, weight loss, will be the last thing to go as a result of addressing the inflammation.  I know sometimes this is hard to hear. 

    It occurred to me after receiving that message that often, as practitioners, our clients journeys closely mirror our own.  There are no accidents.  This message today started me thinking about my own journey and how it mirrors hers since moving to New Mexico.  If you read my last blog post you know the story of my stressed out existence prior to my big move here.  Soon after I moved, I started putting on weight and couldn’t figure out why.  Sometimes, as a health coach, it is hard to be objective with yourself.  It is not as easy to unravel your own puzzle than it is to unravel a clients.  Let’s look at the onion and peel its layers back.  I was in an abusive relationship, lived in another stressful situation when I left that abusive relationship, moved twice (one across the country), went of birth control pills, increased my thyroid meds and stopped my antibiotics for the Lyme.  My poor adrenals!  My confused body did not know what end was up. I know what I would say to client.  Not so easy to have that talk with yourself.  I’m patient with my clients.  I meet them where they are at.  So very hard to do when it is you.

    I can see how my clients can get frustrated.  I’ve been in this situation before myself.  Why work out and eat right when I continue to put on weight, or at least am not able to lose it?  This is the mentality that lurks in the back of my head.  And I’m sure it lurks in the back of my clients heads.  And for those of you that know my story, weight gain for a person with a history of eating disorders is equally devastating. 

    But I continued on, doing my daily workouts and eating clean, confident that I would unravel the mystery.  Thank goodness for my boyfriend that didn’t throw me out of the house!  😉  Sometimes, as practitioners, we need to step outside of our own demons to see the bigger picture.  Sometimes our clients that are going through similar things help us to do that.  At this point, I’m pretty confident I’m on the right track and have answers with the help of some recent labs.  This morning I went for a run and was faster and less tired than I was last week, validation that what I’m doing is working, maybe just not as fast as I’d like.  Hey I’m human! 

    I know sometimes it would be easier to throw in the towel, to sit on the couch with a bag of pretzels.  Trust me, it was tempting.  But if I hadn’t continued to move, if I hadn’t continued to eat clean then I would be worse off than I am.  It is so easy to keep going when you are seeing forward progress.  It can be so frustrating when you are working hard and not seeing the results you’d like.  But once your body catches up and once you address the issues that are causing your body to hang onto the weight and inches, you WILL see the results and all the efforts of clean eating and exercise will have paid off. 

    If you’d like help getting to the root causes of why you are stuck, I’d love to help.  I know my journey has been helpful to many of my clients but their journey’s have equally blessed me in helping my own self to heal. 

    I’d love to hear your story.  Feel free to send me a message or share in the comments below!

     

    Peace & Love!

    Heather


  6. Tahini Sauce

    June 26, 2016 by Heather

    Tahini

     

    Tahini Sauce
    A wonderful alternative to the typical pre-made dips full of cheap ingredients and chemicals that you might find at your July 4th gathering!
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    Ingredients
    1. 1/2 cup tahini
    2. 1/4 cup water
    3. 3 tablespoons lemon juice - preferably fresh squeezed
    4. 2 Tbsp braggs aminos
    5. 2 Tbsp maple syrup
    6. 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
    7. Himalayan salt and pepper (to your taste)
    8. pinch of cayenne (to your taste)
    Instructions
    1. In a bowl briskly whisk together the tahini and water until combined.
    2. It will look separated at first: just keep whisking!
    3. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until combined. Keeps in the fridge for up to a week. Delicious atop sautéed greens like kale or a whole grain side dish like quinoa. Also great for a dip for your July 4th parties!
    Fit With Fibro http://fitwithfibro.com/

  7. Step into your power!

    May 25, 2016 by Heather

    Step into your power...

     

    I registered for a health coaching retreat today and I cried.  It was one of those ugly cries.  I cried because it’s been a long journey to get to this point of stepping into my power.  Someone told me a few weeks ago that my story may inspire someone to step into their own.  So I hope parts of my story resonate with you and that maybe you can share it with someone that might also be moved by it.

    You may ask what this has to do with Fibro or chronic illness or healthy living.  It does because our emotional wellness is so very much connected to our physical being.  And for a very long time I fought an uphill battle trying to balance the two.  Until I met this wonderful man that showed me how it is supposed to be.  The reasons why I am where I am today is because I knew I deserved better and I hope that if you’re in the situation I found myself in that you too realize the very same thing.  Everyone woman deserves to be treated like a queen.  I truly believe that.  But, we, as chronic illness warriors, need and deserve someone that will love and support us even on our toughest days.  I know that that person is not easy to find.  In fact, it took me this long to find him. But I implore you not to give up and not to settle for any less than you deserve.

    Let me back up and tell you a little about my story so that you understand.  In 2008 I was married to a man that seemed to be the perfect spouse.  Sure, we had our problems, but I never had any indication that soon after we were married he would throw a glass across the room toward my head.  And that started the cascade of abuse that ended our marriage in 2013.  I will spare you the details.  But once I decided that I could not longer live like that I fought and clawed my way out until I could change the locks and file for divorce.  That took a couple of years of biding my time until I could get to that point.  Soon after I met a man that swept me off my feet.  I had many red flags but ignored them.  Please do not ignore the red flags.  If you take nothing else away from this post, please listen to your gut!  I lived with this man for three years, during which time the abuse kept escalating and I left.  That is condensing things a great deal but you see I did not leave a bad marriage to relive it again in my next relationship.  I could have stayed for convenience but I value myself too much.  So I packed up my stuff, put most of it in storage, and moved in with a friend.  Was that the easy way out?  No, but I needed to protect myself, my heart and my pets who were also suffering.  My poor cats lived in a room for two months.  I will never forgive myself for doing that to them.  But they were safe right?  I see now that the reg flags were screaming at me early on to listen to them.  But I didn’t.   I’m hoping that my story inspires some of you going through something similar to listen. 

    So back to why I cried when I registered today for that retreat.  Because when I left that house in February with all my crap and no direction I promised myself that I would never settle for less than I was worth, even if that meant being alone for the rest of my life. For two months I cried.  I’ll be honest I think I was severely depressed.  But I kept plugging along.  Because people count on me to be the strong one.  Until a friend I had known for several years became much more than a friend and turned out to be everything I could have ever hoped for.  I cried today because I have never been so completely supported in all that I do.  I’ve never been so completely supported in my illness.  I was always jealous of those women that had that spouse or significant other.  Ladies, I know they are difficult to find. But I’m writing this post not so much that you know my story, but that you know your worth and if that isn’t being supported that you find a way that it is.  Listen to the flags, listen to your heart.  It won’t lead you astray.  You are powerful.  You are worth every bit of wonderful.  It exists.  Step into that.

    Peace & love,

    Heather


  8. Traveling? Great tips from your Fibro peers!

    May 12, 2016 by Heather

    bakeshop

    I have had several requests from my clients on tips on how to travel well with Fibro.  Recently, I put up a post on my Fit With Fibro page asking for traveling tips from my followers because, after all, they know best right??  So instead of blathering on about my own tips, I wanted to share what my followers shared.   So that I keep their information in tact, I’m going to provide their information in quotes, without names, to protect privacy.   I hope that this is helpful!  And at the end I’ll add my own tips if anything important was missed.  Feel free to comment below if you have a tip that was not mentioned.

    “I’ve noticed that sitting upright really wears me out, so I try to recline as much as possible while also trying to make sure my low back and sitz bones are properly supported.”

    “Make sure you have your enough of your meds to make the trip and back too. Nothing sucks worse than hassling with a pharmacy to get your meds in another state.”

    “Go in with a positive time!!!!”

    “Wear loose fitting comfortable garb. Nothing worse than a pinching waistline, especially if your fibro is flaring and you’re hypersensitive.”

    “Yoga pants and a cami undershirt with a built in shelf bra are my best friends on a road trip!”

    “I love compression wear for flights. Lulu lemon has the best, in my opinion. I also don’t wear jewelry and wear my hair up to minimize external over sensitization. I plan my outfit for the airport very well to ease taking off and putting on things. I also cut out and carry all my paper prescription receipts (from the pharmacy with your name and the dosage) in my wallet just in case. Headphones with pre downloaded songs or audio books or assisted meditation for cars or the plane. A coloring book works well, too. Makes the time go by quickly.”

    “If traveling by car take frequent breaks and make yourself get out and walk. Carry nutritious snacks with you because it is sometimes difficult to find them on the road.”

    “Stay hydrated. Take blankets and pillows on a road trip. Travel with flexible clothes; I don’t wear a belt when I have to sit a long time. Yoga pants and a shelf bra help me stay relatively comfortable on long trips. Build in rest times and try not to plan more than one thing at a set time each day, but have a prioritized list of other activities that you can do for good days. If you’re going to be standing or walking a lot, compression socks will help your legs go the distance (if you can stand the pressure).”

    “Make sure you travel companions know about your illness. Know the schedule so you can identify when you may need to rest or take a break from the group, pack healthy snacks like nuts, give yourself time to rest before departure and after arrival! !!! People tend to pack their days with activities when on vacation, it’s okay for some people but not the fibro body.  If you find spots in the day to rest you are more likely to maintain activity level throughout the trip. This means you have to be with a group that knows your limits and will understand when you have to leave early or opt out of an activity.”

    “If they are traveling very far I highly suggest a motor home, we bought one so I can lay down or recline or sit on the couch all while having a restroom handy. I also travel with a fibro “toolkit”. It has an ice bag, a rice bag I can heat, a change of looser clothes, a blanket, essential oils, peppermint candies and gum and extra meds.”

    “It’s perfectly okay to ask for help getting your luggage into and out of the overhead compartment. People are generally helpful and I’ve never had trouble when I had to ask for assistance from a fellow passenger.”

    “I get extra sore traveling especially if I’m in the vehicle a lot or in the hotel room a lot. So I always bring bath bombs I get online that have ingredients especially for fibro suffers. At the end of the day I can take a relaxing bath and it helps a lot.”

    “We travel often – usually road trips. Most important thing for me over anything else is frequent stops to move around. Even if it’s just the side of the road. We stop at least once an hour and walk around for about 5 minutes each time.”

    “Build in rest periods. If you do something busy one day, have a mellow day the next. Listen to your body and rest when you need to.”

    “If you’re travelling by plane get your pharmacy to make a bubble pack of your meds and vitamins so you don’t have to carry a bunch of things with you.”

    “If you’re on a lengthy flight, be sure to choose an aisle seat. This allows you get up to stretch out without having to clamber over other people.”

    “Always give yourself 2-3 or more days before and after travelling,  i.e. wedding on Saturday, arrive by Wednesday at latest and limit activities until event.”

    “If you take prescription meds make sure to get prescriptions from your doctor before you leave if you don’t have enough for your trip.”

    “Make a check list. Pack a week in advance.”

    “Pace yourself. Take breaks. Stay hydrated. Take pain meds if needed (not a time to play hero). Eat light meals.”

    “Take a soft blanket. Bring your pillow from home.”

    “I take my tens unit with me and book a place with a hot tub!”

    “Stay hydrated, rest often, ask for help when you need to.”

    “Plan ahead and request a wheel chair in airports.”

    “Bring heat or cold packs, wear layers, bring option for shoes.”

    “Heated travel cushion is a must for me when traveling in the car, lots of coconut water for extra magnesium, potassium, and hydration, essential oils for relaxation and headaches, ear plugs for unexpected loud noises, loose fitting clothing, and my own pillow and blanket to make sleeping in a different place a bit easier.”

     Aren’t these such great tips from our fellow fibro warriors?  I will emphasize staying hydrated and packing healthy snacks.  I encourage my clients to eat as closely to what they eat at home as possible to avoid food reactions, digestive distress and inflammation.  I also encourage my clients to stay on their current supplement schedule.  If traveling by plane, I make sure to carry my powders in their original containers to avoid being stopped by TSA.  And I use multiple Monday-Sunday pill boxes to organize my supplements.  Just recently I have also traveled with both coconut oil and apple cider vinegar in their original containers, wrapped super, in plastic bags and in my checked bag.  They do sell a foam roller that has a hollow inside that you can store things such as underwear, socks etc. so that it isn’t a space waster.  I also travel with my heating pad and my tennis ball.  Anything that is a must at home for keeping you comfortable is a must for travel! Sometimes this takes time, effort, and creativity but it can be done.  I hope this helps you and again comment below if there is something that you swear by that is missed here!

    Peace & Love,

    Heather

     


  9. Can’t get to sleep???

    March 3, 2016 by Heather

    Sleep Hygiene

    Are you having trouble falling asleep?  Staying asleep?  Follow these tips below for a better night sleep TONITE!

    #1 Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, Nicotine, and Other Chemicals that Interfere with Sleep
    Avoid these 4-6 hours before bed. Although alcohol may help bring on sleep, after a few hours it acts as a stimulant, increasing the number of awakenings and generally decreasing the quality of sleep later in the night.

    #2 Turn Your Bedroom into a Sleep-Inducing Environment
    A quiet, dark, and cool environment can help promote sound sleep. To achieve this try earplugs or a “white noise” appliance. Use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask to block light. Keep the temperature comfortably cool, between 60 and 75°F, and the room well ventilated. And make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable as well as your sheets.
    Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.

    #3 Establish a Soothing Pre-Sleep Routine
    An hour or so before bed participate in some relaxing activities. Take a bath, read a book, have a cup of herbal tea, meditate or practice relaxation exercises. Avoid stressful, stimulating activities such as doing work, discussing emotional issues etc. Physically and psychologically stressful activities can cause the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with increasing alertness. If you tend to take your problems to bed, try writing them down in a journal.

    #4 Go to Sleep When You’re Truly Tired
    Struggling to fall sleep just leads to frustration. If you’re not asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, and do something relaxing, like reading or listening to music until you are tired enough to sleep. The same thing holds true for if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. Just make sure to keep the lights dim during this time. The worst thing you can do is watch the clock. It can increase your stress level over not being able to sleep. Try turning it away so you cannot see it.

    #5 Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule
    Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day sets the body’s internal clock to expect sleep at a certain time night after night. Try to stick as closely as possible to your routine on as well. If you did not sleep well the night before, try to get up at the same time to maintain your schedule and keep your internal clock set.

    #6 Nap Early
    If you feel like a nap is necessary keep it short and before 5 p.m. If you nap too late it may affect your ability to sleep later.

    #7 Lighten Up on Evening Meals
    Eat your dinner and try to keep it lighter than your breakfast and/or lunch. A small snack before bed is alright if you have issues with low cortisol/low blood sugar during the night.

    #8 Balance Fluid Intake
    Drink enough fluid at night to keep from waking up thirsty but not so much and so close to bedtime that you will be awakened by the need for a trip to the bathroom.

    #9 Exercise Early
    Exercise can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly but don’t exercise too late in the day. Exercise stimulates the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which can keep you awake.

    #10 Shut down your devices early
    Shut down your electronic devices and hour or two before bed as they have been shown to affect melatonin.

    Have you tried any of these? If you do, or have, I’d love to hear how it went!  Leave a comment below or send me a message!

    Peace & Love,

    Heather


  10. Powerful Plant Protein

    January 25, 2016 by Heather

    Eat

    “I was determined to know beans.”— Henry David Thoreau, The Bean-Field

    How about you? How well do you know beans?

    Creamy cannellinis, meaty garbanzos, sweet adzuki, tender pintos, and so many more—beans are one of the most powerful, nutrient-dense plant foods around.

    Consider this: Beans are packed with tons of fiber, as well as plenty of iron and protein. They are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. They are low in calories.

    Plus, studies have found them to lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

    What To Do With Beans

    Many people avoid beans because they just don’t know what to do with them. Are you one of them? Keep reading:

    • Toss beans and diced veggies (such as celery, shallots, red peppers) with vinaigrette for a quick bean salad.
    • Blend cooked beans with tomatoes, onions, and your favorite seasonings to create a yummy bean soup.
    • Top a green salad with 1/3 cup of your favorite bean.
    • Puree beans with a bit of olive oil, a garlic clove, salt, and your favorite seasonings. Voila! A fast dip or sandwich spread.
    • Include 1/3 cup of beans with your other favorite toppings next time you make stuffed baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.
    • Add 1/4 cup pureed beans to your favorite pancake, waffle, muffin, or cake recipe. You’ll be surprised at how moist and springy baked goods are when baked with beans.

    If you’re new to cooking with beans, try these tips for delicious and well-cooked beans.

    • Be sure to wash and clean the beans first.
    • Soak dried beans for 8-12 hours before cooking (hint: cut a bean in half; if the center is still opaque, keep soaking).
    • After soaking, rinse, fill pot with fresh water, bring to a boil, then skim off the foam.
    • To aid digestion, add kombu, bay leaf, cumin, anise, or fennel to the water
    • Cover and simmer for the suggested time.  Skim off the foam off the top.
    • Remember: Only add salt at the end of cooking (about 10 minutes before the beans are done) or it will interfere with the cooking process.
    • Quick tips: For speedier prep, boil dried beans for 5 minutes, then soak for 2-4 hours. Or use canned beans instead (some people find them even easier to digest!). Be sure to avoid canned beans with added salt or preservatives and rinse thoroughly once removed from the can.

     

    How do you like to eat your beans?  Have you been afraid to eat beans because of their, ahem, gas producing effects? Try the tips above and let me know how you make out!  I’d love to hear from you!!