How clutter steals your superpowers

I admit it. My house is not museum quality. It is very lived in. Truthfully, I feel like I have better things to do with my time than clean my house. I am famous for walking by a surface, setting something down and continuing on with whatever I am doing. If I don’t follow my current thought, I’m worried that I won’t remember what it is I need to do. However, I have recently been clued into how my tendency toward disorder may be limiting my potential.

When your outside environment is disorganized, your thoughts are, too. Things that are out of place require your brain to do something with them. This causes stress and distraction. Like we need more of that in our lives. Have you noticed that successful people have super clean houses? It isn’t just because they have someone to clean them. Tidy habits carry over into other areas of your life. How you do one thing, you do all things.  Plus, the less clutter in your line of sight, the less distracted you are and the more brain power you can invest in other areas. People with tidy environments also tend to eat better and exercise more regularly. Continue reading “How clutter steals your superpowers”

Don’t Watch Bambi on Mother’s Day

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and a digital detox day for me. We did brunch at home, shopped for planter supplies, and planted a few flowers in the morning. In the afternoon we settled in to watch some movies and rest. In paging through our available kid-friendly movie selection, we ran across Bambi. I said, “Hey, we haven’t seen this one for awhile, want to watch it?” My little agreed, so we settled in.

It didn’t take long for her to ask, “Is this where he loses his mother?” A question that would be repeated several times throughout the movie.

What mother hasn’t contemplated what her child’s life would be like without her? Isn’t it this thought that keeps us from running off to a tropical island on days we’ve had enough? Kids make us show up. Especially little kids. They make us be present. Because what if I wasn’t there one day? How would that affect her? Continue reading “Don’t Watch Bambi on Mother’s Day”

Why I don’t label my diet

You will rarely hear me slap a label on the way I eat. I know it’s the hip thing to do, but I don’t do it. People love to flaunt their food preferences for everyone to see, waving the vegan, keto, paleo, or fruitarian flag for everyone to see. Declaring food preferences makes sense in a way, considering that these diets veer away from the Standard American Diet (SAD) in such a way to be considered “odd” and it cuts down on awkward “I can’t eat that” occasions. It is also a popular conversation starter.

I don’t label my diet for a few reasons, first and foremost because once you put a label on a diet, much like putting labels on people, it becomes something we are able to compare and contrast. It becomes subject to the secondary label of a “fad diet.” Once you have been caught with a fad diet, watch out! I mean, I can’t even keep up with the clothing fads, let alone the food fads. Continue reading “Why I don’t label my diet”

Bikes and Tantrums

Who has freaked out on their kids lately? Be honest, there’s no judgment here. I did it just yesterday. It was the ugly, uncalled for, bad example of how to deal with frustration type of freaking out. That was me. Yes, the person who is always here talking to you about positivity and gratitude and being present. I talk about all of this stuff because I need to hear it myself. Tantrum was actually yesterday’s daily prompt, but it is extremely apropos for what I need to write about today. Here’s what happened…

My kid is five, almost six, and can’t ride a bike. This is completely my fault. It hasn’t been a priority. When we are outside playing, which is often, we are usually swimming, hiking, on the playground, climbing, or doing something in the dirt. Biking isn’t something I like to do much, so it isn’t something I have modeled for her or helped her learn. Still, it is a basic skill that everyone should learn. So we agonize over it every so often.

Since we’re so close to it being summer here, I thought I would bring the bike out for another test run. First off, her Hello Kitty bike is getting a little too small for her. I have raised the seat and the handlebars to near capacity, but it isn’t quite enough. Second, we live on somewhat of a hill. Our sidewalk slopes to a busy street, as does our very quiet, dead-end street. The sidewalk seemed too steep for her, so I brought her out into the street where she could ride around in a gentle circle. It’s safe because the street ends three feet past our driveway.

Continue reading “Bikes and Tantrums”

Self-Care: Get Outside

Yesterday was one of those truly magnificent days. It was the first really nice day we have had in months and I spent the whole day outside with my 5-year-old daughter. In this part of the world, we have been not so patiently waiting for spring. Yet winter drones on. We are expecting “rain/snow mix” tomorrow, so I have no regrets about having forgotten all of my responsibilities and played hooky yesterday.

You see, self-care isn’t always a spa day or an extensive morning routine. Self-care is what you need to support yourself right now. Maybe you need a few deep breaths to calm yourself down in traffic. Maybe a nap is in order, or a walk outside. Maybe just sitting quietly for a few minutes with a cup of tea is what you need. It doesn’t have to be the same things all of the time. Maybe you need to shake things up. Self-care for me yesterday was forgetting all the things I was supposed to do and spend the day outside hanging out with my little girl.

Continue reading “Self-Care: Get Outside”

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!

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