5 Steps to Ending Judgment

When we have the intention of becoming mindful, the attitude we bring into it is an essential ingredient. We can’t just have the idea that mindfulness is healthy somehow and sit down to do it, following a set of instructions, thinking it won’t work but expecting it to anyway. Spoiler alert: It won’t work. Our state of mind matters. Attitude determines whether anything we set out to do will be successful or not. One might argue that a person’s state of mind is, in itself success or failure.

In his book, Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn outlines the 7 Attitudes of Mindfulness. These are Non-Judging, Patience, Beginner’s Mind, Trust, Non-Striving, Acceptance, and Letting Go. These 7 Attitudes are guidelines intended to reduce stress, increase joy, and support positive self-improvement. We have explored several of these on this blog previously, but today I would like to focus specifically on Non-Judging.

Judgment of Ourselves

When your inner Mean Girl starts to pipe up and tell you where you are failing or why you can’t do something, this is when you are judging yourself. Especially when you are facing something difficult or unfamiliar. Suddenly words like “can’t”, “hard”, “busy”, or “won’t” start to flood our consciousness. We look in the mirror and notice every flaw, we start to wonder who we think we are to try something so audacious, or we judge ourselves unworthy to associate with the people we aspire to. We judge ourselves more harshly than anyone else ever could.

Continue reading “5 Steps to Ending Judgment”

Gut Check

Where do emotions come from and why are they important to us as humans? From early times philosophers have asked this question. Of course, the obvious answer would be that emotions arise in the brain, center of all thought. If that is true, why do we feel these emotions throughout our whole body?

Hormones, neurotransmitters, electrical impulses, and the like radiate signals throughout the body carrying messages that tell our organs how to act. Emotions were once important for our survival in a fight or flight capacity. Hiding or altering authentic emotions to conform to social expectations wasn’t a thing. In fact, raw gut reactions could be the difference between life and death. This all makes pretty good sense.

Recent scientific findings have discovered a surprising source of raw emotion. Gut reactions could be just that, emotions originating in the gut. The population of microbiota in our gut may play a critical role in how we react to and interact with our world.

Continue reading “Gut Check”

Five Tips You Can Use Today for Radiant Health

Every once in awhile there is a gem floating around in the deluge of junk email I get. My email service takes care of the worst of the junk, of course, but I still receive all of the newsletters that I signed up for because I wanted the free gift. I’m sure you know what I mean.

Don’t have any of these? You’re in luck! I have one to offer you.

I check my email by poising my mouse over the “delete” button and repeatedly clicking. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Occasionally there is a message that is spared the trash bin because of its potential for quality information or entertainment. Like mine, right?

A few weeks ago I received just such an email. A diamond in the rough. It was from Mind-Gut Connection guru Emeran Mayer, M.D. and held the subject line ” The ‘National Eating Disorder’ Epidemic and What You Can Do About It”. It contained a link to an article that I shared on my Facebook fan page @nourishmewellness last week. This article, by Mark Bittman and David L. Katz, summarized the most common questions people ask about healthy eating and provided practical, down to earth solutions that are doable by anyone. You can read it here. Continue reading “Five Tips You Can Use Today for Radiant Health”

I Ate Like a Normal Person For a Weekend and Here’s What Happened

I have a tendency towards Orthorexia. Many people in my vocation do. We spend so much of our time studying about diet, food ethics, and nutrients that it is very easy to become obsessive about the quality of food we eat. We’re naturally food nerds to start with. Plus, we feel that we ought to be setting an example for our clients about clean eating and a healthy lifestyle. Being a product of our own programs is great advertising. It’s walking our talk, right? I’m great at walking my talk. So great, in fact, that I have myself in a bit of a sheltered situation where I forget what it is like to eat “normally”.


Orthorexia Nervosa: a fixation on righteous eating. Those suffering from orthorexia typically spend an unreasonable amount of time focused on the quality and purity of food and may feel guilt, and/or experience social isolation as a result.


The thing is, insisting that your food meets an exhaustive list of prerequisites before you eat it isn’t a healthy way to live. We would never recommend this path for our clients. If you spend most of your time thinking about, shopping for, and preparing your food at the expense of everything else in your life, you may want to revisit your priorities.

Primary food, those things that nourish you beyond what you eat, like relationships and a fulfilling career, matter more than what you swallow. Food is meant to be a social experience. People in cultures who share in the gathering, preparation, and consumption of food live longer and have longer health-spans than those who eat alone. Yes the quality of food matters, but maybe not as much as the way in which it is consumed.

Keeping this in mind, I used a weekend visiting family to run an experiment. What would happen if I ate just like everyone else without restrictions? I decided to say “yes” to pizza, breadsticks, pie, and (gulp) fake butter for a weekend to see if what I eat really does matter.

Here’s what happened

Saturday

I had a normal (for me) breakfast consisting of Bulletproof Coffee. I took my usual supplements at the usual times, and we hit the road about 9 am.

I don’t normally snack, but at around 10 am I had a sea salt and dark chocolate Kind Bar.

For lunch, on the road, the test began for real. We had packaged lunch things (kind of like Lunchables but with Triscuits and better-looking, though still-processed, meat), carrots, and apples. I really had to try to eat the lunch-pack thing, but I did it.

We arrived at my parent’s house around 1 pm. For an afternoon snack, I had a few handfuls of store-bought nut and dried cranberry mix. This was eaten entirely because it was there.

For dinner, we had pizza from a chain pizza place. I hardly ever eat processed grains. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I ate anything with white flour. Similarly, I try to avoid processed meats and “normal” cheese, although I’m not as fastidious about this. In the spirit of the experiment, I acquiesced and ate a few pieces of thin crust, supreme pizza and a cheesy breadstick with marinara sauce.

I took my normal supplements at the normal times (Plexus BioCleanse and ProBio5, Ashwagandha, and liposomal glutathione)

I went ahead and had an Irish whiskey on the rocks after dinner. I don’t drink much these days, but occasionally I like a nice whiskey in the evening. I did take charcoal before bed just in case.

How I felt: In the evening I was hugely bloated. My pajama pants were even tight. I had a bit of gas, as well, but not as much as I expected.

Sunday

How I felt: My sleep monitor actually said that I slept really well. Maybe it was the whiskey. My guts feel okay, but I had to poop twice before breakfast.

I took my normal supplements at the normal times (Plexus BioCleanse, Ashwagandha, fish oil, B-vitamins, and evening primrose).

For breakfast, we had coffee, sausage patties, two fried eggs, and a homemade caramel roll–I mean, bring it on.

How I felt: After breakfast, I was in the bathroom again with (ahem) liquid diarrhea. It should be mentioned that my system has been pretty sheltered. I’m sure that my little gut buddies were a bit shocked. I also had uncomfortable gut grumbles throughout the day and didn’t want to be too far away from a bathroom.

I had my Plexus Slim drink at around 10 am like I usually do, and I’ve got to tell you, I did feel better afterward. I know it sounds like a shameless promotion, but I think the stuff really works. It isn’t just for weight loss. It also has prebiotics and antioxidants for optimal gut health. You can check it out here.

For lunch, we had a meal that more closely resembles what I normally eat. Ham, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and lemon meringue pie. The pie was homemade with cornstarch and loads of sugar. It was delish.

How I felt: I was tired after, so I took a nap. During the afternoon I had a grumbly belly and bloat. I started to have more uncomfortable sensations in my lower belly towards afternoon. I really wanted to take more Slim, because I thought it would help but, in the spirit of the experiment, I didn’t want to throw something new into my routine.

For dinner, we had pulled pork sandwiches with barbeque sauce, baked beans, and a relish tray. I did have the whole-grain (and, incidentally, home-made) bun and the barbeque sauce, but I drew the line at beans. Legumes are at the top of my food sensitivity list. I know that they will send me over the edge from being slightly uncomfortable to being majorly uncomfortable or even downright sick. We had another piece of lemon meringue pie for dessert.

How I felt: I was really tired all evening. My guts were actually pretty okay for the most part, aside from bloat and some rumbling.

Monday

How I feel: My sleep monitor again said that I slept really well, but I don’t feel like I did. I am still bloated and have some loose stools, but so far I’m not too worried about the four-hour drive home.

In Conclusion

All in all, ignoring minor uncomfortable effects that eating a food might cause is largely warranted due to the benefits of fully enjoying food with others. This only works, however, if you actually enjoy the food and the company. Don’t let worrying about the possible effects a food will have on your system ruin the experience. Your little gut buddies will know if you are stressed out and will react badly. Relax, and fully enjoy your food. Eat mindfully and engage in uplifting dinner-time conversation to enhance the experience.

Keep in mind, however, if you have actually diagnosed food sensitivities, allergies, or auto-immune conditions that are affected by certain foods, you need be more fastidious about avoiding these foods. For example, I avoided the baked beans because I have a diagnosed sensitivity to them and people with Celiacs disease cannot be as cavalier about grains as I was this weekend.

It should also be noted that effects of food sensitivities may show up days later. I may not have heard the last from that pizza I ate Saturday night. If anything significant happens later on this week I will post updates on my Facebook page @nourishmewellness.

If you find this useful, there’s a good chance your friends will, too. Share this with your friends right away while you are thinking of it. Thanks for reading!

Get your free Nourish Me Wellness Cheatsheet here!

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Announcing the Spring Renewal Challenge

Spring is the time for renewal, new life, and brand-new, shiny starts. The Spring Renewal Challenge will be 6 weeks of motivation, inspiration, and accountability to launch you into a summer of #epicwellness.

This is not your ordinary weight loss or detox challenge. This is a comprehensive program designed by you for you. What are your goals? Digestive health? More balance? More flexibility? Strength? Weight loss? Yes, let’s do that.

This 6-week program is packed full of motivation, support, and ideas about how to honor yourself with mindful self-care. Whether your goal is to get fit, lose weight, regain balance, start a new practice, or even just to drink more water, let’s support each other through this wonderful time of transition.

Are you ready to break out of your winter cocoon and don your beautiful spring wings? Lady, you are in the right place.


Continue reading “Announcing the Spring Renewal Challenge”

Wait For It…

Often, we want to rush success. Whether it’s a business goal, weight loss number, or fitness benchmark, the end result is all that seems to matter. Eye on the prize and all that. And yeah, the goal is important. When we think back, however, often we realize that the journey is what taught us the lessons and was the most enjoyable part. Compared to the journey, the goal is a bit of a letdown.

We hear it all the time, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” I think this rings true in wellness. There really isn’t an end goal where wellness is concerned. It really is all journey, with little benches along the path to sit and reflect on how far you’ve come and where you’re going.

Continue reading “Wait For It…”

Change Your Story, Change Your Life

We all have a story we have written about how our lives are going so far. We have dialog and drama, all of the necessary pieces for a decent feature-length film. The thing is, would you want to watch it? If you did watch your film, would you recognize yourself? How much of it is true and how much of it are embellishments added for drama?

Your story is your perception. It’s how you see the world from your point of view. Your inner voice is the creator and narrator of your story. She guides you through decision making and problem-solving and decides how you feel about things. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to listen to the negative side of this inner voice, our inner Mean Girl (as Melissa Ambrosini calls it). If you let her take over, your perception will suffer. This leads to limiting beliefs, poor choices, and unempowered attitudes.

If your story is that your life is fantastic, even if you don’t have the best of everything, your life will be fantastic. If your story is that your life sucks, even if you have the best of everything, your life will suck. Simple as that.

Change your story, change your life.

Continue reading “Change Your Story, Change Your Life”

Your Ego is Not Your Amigo

When was the last time you invited someone to point out your flaws? I mean, when have you showed someone your hard work and asked them to tear it apart? Honestly, without hoping they wouldn’t be too harsh. Maybe the bigger question is, why would you do such a thing?

Carol Dweck talks about Fixed Mindset versus Growth Mindset in several of her essays and her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Basically, those with a Fixed Mindset believe that innate ability or ingrown talent determines our success and that these features can’t be changed. A Growth Mindset, on the other hand, believes that our actions determine our success. So we can learn how to succeed. The Fixed Mindset judges situations. “I am such a terrible person,” “I am really bad at that,” or “This means I am better than her.” A Growth Mindset learns from a situation in order to constantly improve.

Remember my New Year’s intention about having a Child-like or Beginner’s Mind? Which mindset do you think that falls under? Continue reading “Your Ego is Not Your Amigo”

Self-care For Busy Parents

One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to commit to a morning routine. How you start your day directly influences how the rest of your day goes. Start with a nourishing routine and see how grounded you are for the rest of the day. Start your day by pushing your snooze button until the last minute and then running around frazzled all morning and see how that day pans out. Get my drift?

A few days ago I read a post on my mentor’s Facebook group feed from a lovely lady who was trying her very best to nail down an uplifting morning routine. Her obstacle was, as it is for many of us, an early waking child. She was unable to get into a routine because her child would wake at 5:30 am. Kids, God love them, have a sixth sense about these sort of things. All you want is five minutes alone to meditate or do a sun salutation and there they are demanding breakfast. What is the solution? Get up even earlier? Give the kid an iPad and tell him to be quiet for half an hour? Take a no prisoners approach and get the morning routine done no matter what, even in the face of a bawling kid?

Life happens, let’s face it. Many of the self-care practices we “should” do every day take a certain amount of alone time. When you’re a working parent you don’t get a lot of that, at least not on your schedule. This means you have to make adjustments to your schedule.

Continue reading “Self-care For Busy Parents”

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