How to Stay Sane This Holiday Season

How to Stay Sane This Holiday Season

As much as the holidays mean spending time with our loved ones  – they also can mean…STRESS!

Pulling together gifts, cooking, indulging in treats and extra time with your family – no matter how much we love them, can lead to burning out.

And we all know that can happen, FAST.

I think a lot of us are consistently running at 100 MPH all the time, but it feels like the holidays exacerbate this even more.

I am SOO hoping to stay ahead of my stress this year, which is why I spent some serious time making a plan for the best techniques to use when I am feeling frazzled.

It can be hard to remember to take time to take care of ourselves and maintain our health during the holiday season –  so check out these tips to help keep you calm, cool and collected.

#1 Magnesium Bath

Want to get in touch with your luxurious, goddess self? Fill up a hot bath with magnesium flakes. Try adding flower petals and lighting a candle to create some serious atmosphere.

#2 4-7-8 Breathing

Sit upright with your back straight and breathe in through your nose for 4 counts. Hold your breath in for 7 counts, and then exhale for 8 counts. Repeat this process 4 times. This exercise is literally retraining your brain on how to hold deeper breathes, and forces you to pay attention to your breathing patterns. This exercise has really helped me in deep bouts of anxiety.

#3 Progressive Muscle Relaxation 

This popular method is based on the theory that if you can control the tenseness and relaxation in your physical body, your mental tenseness can also be controlled. Lay somewhere where you will not be bothered and tense a muscle group, for example, tightening your fist. Hold for a few seconds and release. Move through each muscle group until you have worked through your body. Pay attention to how your muscles feel after releasing the tension.

#4 Basic Emotional Regulation 

Remember this Acronym :
PL  Treat Physical Illness
– Eat
A – Avoid Mood-Altering Drugs
S – Sleep Well
E – Exercise
The science behind this shows that you cannot help your mind relax unless you are taking care of your physical body first or in unison.

#5 Get Outside 

Biophilia is the principle that states that when you are surrounded by nature, (this can even be a picture of nature) your mood is improved, you will experience stress relief, and even increases the speed at which people heal. Get outside – Take a forest bath!

#6 Meditate 

Yes, I know meditating always makes these lists, but that is because IT WORKS. I promise. There is the research to prove it. Take 3-5 minutes and sit with your eyes closed and back straight and focus on your breathing. Or complete a guided meditation, like any of these. There is no wrong way for your thoughts to travel while meditating.

#7 Drink some tea 

Preferably some non-stimulating blends like chamomile, ginger or peppermint. Sometimes I let the steam wash over my face before sipping and really absorb myself in the moment. This can create some additional moisture on the face and eyes, opening up the pores and creating a warm embrace. 

#8 Exercise

Even if it is a light walk, get out and exercise! We have all heard, ENDORPHINS MAKE YOU HAPPY! Even better, get outside to exercise and receive the benefits from #5 too!

#9 Get busy

Science also shows that spending time with loved ones and being intimate will help release stress and boost mood. So grab your beaux and load up the Netflix queue. Not feeling it?

#10 Pet your Pet

There is a reason cat cafes are becoming so popular in large cities. Once again, science has proven that spending time with our pets releases stress. So give your little cutie a much needed snuggle

#11 Be alone 

In order to fully register and process our thoughts and feelings, we really need some solo time (even you extroverts out there!). Make some time for yourself, whether it’s time in the shower or on your morning commute and focus on your thoughts and feelings.

#12 Gratitude journal

 One way to check your stress is to switch up your perspective. Jotting down a few things you are grateful for can really help center your thoughts and refresh your perspective.

#13 Work on a passion project

For me, it can be as simple as going dancing or focusing on what makes my body feel best. Spending time on the tasks that fuel our internal, creative or passionate fire can help us remain focused on long term goals and desires or just remain present.

 

What about you, love? Do you have any go to stress relief tips for the holiday season, or even year round? I would love to hear them and have more options in my back pocket – leave a comment with your favorite way to stay sane, below!

 

<3

3 Ways a Functional Nutritionist Can Help You

3 Ways a Functional Nutritionist Can Help You

Have you been using Dr. Google for a while now?  Do you find yourself reading tons of health blogs (like this one!) but still having lingering symptoms?  Are you confused about what is healthy and right for YOU?

Don’t worry!  That’s normal!

For many of us, the path the greater health starts with self-exploration and private research.  We find great blogs and books with scientific evidence, recipes, and advice.

We try to discern and decipher this advice for ourselves, and for a while it works.  We feel better and our symptoms abate somewhat.

But over time, many of us find that we can’t hone in on those last few lingering symptoms.  We simply need expert help.

That’s why we are so excited to be offering consulting services with a functional nutritionist, Amber Fischer, MS.  She’s provided this post below to help acquaint you with three big ways she can help you back to optimal health.  If you’re interested in learning more about her or what working with her is like, find her here.

#1 An Expert, Outside Perspective

A functional nutritionist is someone who looks deeply at the root causes of disease and dysfunction in the body and helps you improve your health from the inside out.  We aren’t interested in covering up symptoms, but rather targeting those root cause issues and getting to the bottom of your problems.

One big way working with a functional nutritionist can help you is by giving you an expert, outside perspective on your problems.  So often, we are blind to the very things that are distressing our bodies.  Whether it be too much or too little exercise, a possible cortisol or hormonal imbalance, a food sensitivity, or many other things.

In my experience, we often need that outside perspective to help us discover what is really going on, and admit it to ourselves.

A functional nutritionist looks at your unique history and experiences and spends time talking with you about what has led up to this point.  We don’t spend 15 minutes with you and send you on your way, we really want to deeply understand and know you so that we can truly help you.

We take that history and formulate an expert idea about what may be going on with you and then we filter that through our education and biochemistry background to formulate a unique plan for you.

#2 Hone in on issues

Because functional nutrition isn’t concerned with covering up symptoms, we understand how to look past symptoms that may be distracting you from the underlying cause.

Issues like hormonal imbalance typically indicate a deeper problem and when we use supplements and protocols designed to help manipulate those hormones, we miss the underlying reason the hormones have become unbalanced in the first place!

This is a skill that takes many years of vigorous education and experience to obtain.  Functional nutritionists take numerous hours of advanced biochemistry, along with doing lots of research and seeing clients.  This gives us a level of understanding and perspective that the average person just isn’t able to obtain.

When you need help figuring out your health goals, you will save time and money by going to an expert first.

#3 Unique functional testing and custom services

A functional nutritionist respects your story and intuition about what works and doesn’t work for YOU.  We take your needs as a whole person into account before making nutrition recommendations.  We offer customized plans and services for YOU.

We can also run some incredible functional testing that you won’t be able to get at your doctor’s office.  Checking your adrenal gland rhythm, neurotransmitters, gastrointestinal tract, micronutrient status and more are all possible with a qualified practitioner.

These things may not seem that important, but knowing what is truly going on underneath can give you a world of information and perspective to help you attack lingering health issues.

If you’ve struggled with hormonal issues like PCOS, adrenal fatigue, thyroid disorders, lingering weight issues, gastrointestinal issues, or anxiety and depression, I’m here to help.

If you’re interested in working with me through Paleo for Women, learn more about me here.

You can also visit my website here and my follow me on facebook (here) where I publish my articles and often do videos to help keep you up to date with the latest in nutrition!

 

 

Weight Loss Myths and Scams

Weight Loss Myths and Scams

*Rant warning*

I feel like I’ve been bombarded lately with questions about fad diets.  They’ve always been around, but they just don’t seem to go away.

It just seems shiny and new to try a “new” diet instead of sticking to the fundamental principles of a healthy one.

I’ve been noticing this more and more, with the incredible popularity of “keto” which is pretty much paleo circa 2012, and with new books sent to me for my feedback like The Sirtfood Diet (Find it here).  

I was able to read and review The Sirtfood Diet, a plan that claims to help you lose 7 pounds in 7 days, all with the power of what they call “Sirtfoods” which are essentially antioxidants, polyphenols, and other health supportive compounds.

What are the kinds of foods the Sirtfood diet wants you to eat?  Things like buckwheat, soy, strawberries, turmeric, red onions, kale, dates, garlic, and olive oil, among others.  Besides buckwheat (for some) and soy, I had a hard time figuring out how these foods were so lacking in typical healthy diets like the authors claim.

Most people who promote a paleo diet include ample amounts of these, and sometimes the dark chocolate and red wine pictured on the cover, as well-rounded parts of the diet.

Reservetrol, a healthful component the diet authors claim is often missing is available in fabulous multi-vitamin supplements like this one and in many foods like blueberries and cranberries, besides red wine.  

Polyphenols are also common across the range of plant based foods and are even available as powders to mix with smoothies (like this one). Most paleo authors value and promote the inclusion of lots of plant based foods in the diet.

Here’s the truth as I see it.  The reason you might lose 7 pounds in 7 days is because the first three days consist of 1000 calories of mostly green juice.  This is a common trend among fad diet plans- starve you during the first week while you’re motivated (while also telling you that you aren’t starving but are instead “detoxing” which is why you feel like you’re starving) and then working calories up to more maintainable levels so you continue to lose weight but think you are eating much more.  

You’re losing water that first week.  A little fat is lost too, but its almost scientifically impossible to lose 7 pounds of pure body fat in one week for the average person.  It requires a caloric deficit that not even 1000 calories a day can meet.

I have no issues with a diet that supports the inclusion of healthy ancient foods.  My mind has changed over the years with regard to gluten-free grains and other dietary components, so long as they are healthy FOR YOU.  

The key to lifelong weight loss is learning how to heed your internal cues.  Learning your body, understanding its needs, and feeding it nutrient dense food.  There doesn’t need to be a special superfood protocol.  There just needs to be balance.  

I’m never going to say its ok to eat mostly bacon and butter.  They’re nice as inclusions, but they don’t have the nutrient density that vegetables do.

I’m never going to be cool with women fasting.  Thankfully the Sirtfood diet and I agree on that one (though I still think 1000 calories a day for a woman is pushing it, even for 3 days).  If the choice is between you eating or not eating, I’m always going to say, eat.

But eat what makes your body feel good.  I know what that looks like for most people- vegetables, fruit, meat, fat.  Eat those things, in balance with the other things. with a focus on quality.  That’s all you really need.  And that’s what Weight Loss Unlocked is all about.  

If weight loss has become a struggle following that paradigm, then you should look into seeing a professional.  A good functional nutritionist in your area can help you get to the bottom of what is going on and provide a structured plan that will help you reach your goals, along with the accountability and monitoring to help you truly maintain that weight loss.

Please, oh please, don’t just go looking for another crash diet.  In the end, you’ll lose much more than some money and a few pounds.  

Find Your Perfect Makeup Shade

Find Your Perfect Makeup Shade

Ever tried natural makeup?

The worst part of finding ANY makeup is finding the right shade.  The worst part of natural makeup is probably a tie between finding the right shade and finding something that doesn’t come off with the slightest amount of sweat or touching. 

But I don’t worry about any of that anymore, because I’ve got my fav brand of makeup now.

Using natural minerals and all clean, organic, paleo ingredients, AnneMarie Skincare has come up with several gorgeous shades of makeup that are perfect for all skin types. 

The mineral foundations come as powders to be mixed with a special facial oil that smells OMG amazing.

You customize the shade and oil amount so that the coverage is right for you!

With oily skin, you can use just the powders alone or use the oil/powder combo and then do a bit of powder on top.  With dry skin, the oil mixed with the powder makes a liquid foundation that feels GREAT on skin and doesn’t look cakey and dry like so many mineral foundations.

But the question still remains.  How do you find your perfect shade?

Natural makeup is definitely an investment and AnneMarie’s makeup line is SO WORTH IT.

But to make sure you absolutely LOVE it, they’ve put together a wonderful sample kit so you can find the optimal shade for your skin. 

With the mineral multi-purpose foundation sample kit, you get sample bottles of each of the mineral foundation shades.  These shades can all be mixed and customized as well.

You can find the best match for you or even combine two different shades to make the right one for you.

You can even use these foundations as bronzers/contouring powders.

Now you can be fully confident that you have beautiful looking skin that isn’t being inundated with nasty chemicals, parabins, toxins, and other yucky stuff. 

The best part is that the sample kit comes with an awesome $10 coupon for you to use on your full size product once you find the right shade!

Ready to try AnneMarie’s wonderful foundations?  Get your sample kit here.

Paleo Hair Care at its Best:  The 5 Elements Series

Paleo Hair Care at its Best: The 5 Elements Series

Taking care of my beautiful hair is one of the great pleasures of my life.

But I’ll be honest, conventional shampoo has been my crutch for a long time.  

Dang it, I don’t like oily hair and I’ve never been able to go the requisite 4-8 weeks with it in order to “adjust”. 

So when paleo haircare companies offer to let me try their healthy new shampoos and conditioners, I always hesitate.

Do I want to subject myself to another 5 weeks of oily hair and scalp buildup?

But each time I’m intrigued.  Maybe someone has finally got it right.  Maybe I should give it a go.

Chemicals, toxins, carcinogens, parabins, allergens and whatever else in our typical shampoos and conditioners make me absolutely cringe. 

So when I was approached by Morocco Method to give their hair care products a try, I decided to do it.

Their whole line is so intriguing.  They pride themselves on truly gentle, non-toxic, non-allergenic and safe for everyone hair and body products—children included. Totally natural and holistic for maximum hair and scalp health.

They use ingredients common to Ayurveda, Homeopathy and Chinese Herbology in their 5 elements series (find it here), which is one of the things I tried.  Everything is plant, mineral, and herb based and works to put your scalp into optimal health.  

Here’s how it works:  you order all shampoos from the 5 elements series and begin using them as you would typically use your shampoo.  You wash the scalp once with the shampoo, rinse, and then wash again.  The first time is to remove scalp buildup, the second time is to help the holistic healing properties really absorb into the scalp.

Morrocco Method recommends rotating the shampoos- at minimum rotating at least 2 shampoos at all times to prevent scalp resistance.  However, it’s best to try all the shampoos first so you can see which work better for your particular scalp.

I tried the earth essence first which provides a rich mixture of essential oils, French clays and botanical proteins and promotes fuller, thicker hair.  Because, who doesn’t want some va-va VOOM??

What I liked about this one was that it gave my hair some texture and had a really great earthy scent, which I’m totally into.  My only criticism was that I didn’t feel like my hair was really CLEAN, but again, I’m transitioning from scalp stripping shampoo so…

Next I tried the fire essence, an apple cider vinegar based shampoo which increases blood flow to the scalp and flushes out debris, oil buildup and unhealthy bacteria.

I’m a HUGE fan of apple cider vinegar on the scalp and I knew I’d love this one.  I was right.  If my hair didn’t feel super clean before, it definitely felt clean after this one.  I felt like I was adjusting much better to the “no-poo” thing than I ever had before.

I subsequently rotated through the following shampoos.  I tried air, which has pine shale in it to gently nourish the scalp, remove dandruff and itchiness and counteract thinning and hair loss.  Then I tried sea essense, which contains all kinds of lovely sea things like algae, spirulina, kelp and marine proteins to nourish hair and scalp and correct dryness.  AND OMG LOVE. 

Ether had natural botanicals, herbs and marine proteins to dynamically energize hair and scalp.  Plus is has a super awesome name.  I loved the smell of this one also.

Then, of course, there were the conditioners:  Pearl Essence, Chi Instant, and Diamond Crystal Mist.  Really liked them, but my favorite was the Pearl Essence.

After several days of rotating the shampoos, my hair was still adjusting to the non-strippage of my scalp but I was REALLY impressed.  I’ll be continuing to try this for the forseeable future and feel absolutely comfortable recommending this to my no-poo friends as a wonderful alternative to your typical water/applecider vinegar routine. 

I hope you give this a try!  MY recommendation would be to get the travel size kit first so you can test all the different elements and see which rotation works best for you.

Find all of Morrocco Method’s amazing products and more of their mission, goals, and vision on their website here.  

How do you do the no shampoo thing?  Have you tried it?  Do you hate it?  Love it?  I want to hear from you!

One Genious Way to Eat More Vegetables

One Genious Way to Eat More Vegetables

Vegetables are, quite literally, life.

Without enough of the vital nutrients and vitamins in these incredibly important plants, survival for humans in the modern world is very hard.  Thriving is even harder.

Yet the vast majority of the those in the developed world, and especially the United States, continue to eat less than the recommended daily amount. 

Not only that, but over the centuries, the varieties of fruits and vegetables we eat in the United States have become sanitized, reduced, and sometimes genetically modified.  

We grow far fewer varieties of vegetables and fruits than ever before in our history, and the fruits and veggies we have access to are often limited compared to other countries.

Additionally, the vegetables and fruits we eat are limited by our taste buds.

Americans tend to have a set variety of vegetables they like to eat and many don’t like or know how to try new things. But this limits us so much!

Smoothies are great and juicing has its benefits.  But what if there was a way to get highly concentrated vegetables in everything you eat- from salads to smoothies to baked goods?

What if we could eat our recommended 5 servings of veggies and fruit a day AND add additional veggies without having to actually force another whole vegetable down our throats?

And what if we could supplement our diets to have an incredible variety not possible in typical American diets, even healthy ones?

Enter Dr. Cowan’s Vegetable Powders.

These isn’t your typical green powder supplement.

Dr. Cowan carefully formulates several distinct, organic powders to help provide those concerned with eating a healthy diet highly nutritious, interesting, and delicious flavors.  

The powders are formulated not just for maximum nutrients but for taste and can be added to cooked foods and baked goods as well.  

I had the chance this week to sample several of the powders.  I was lucky enough to sample the Leek, winter vegetable, Burdock roots, and savory threefold blend.

In addition to having AMAZING flavor leeks are a rich source of many of the B vitamins, have more polyphenols (chemicals that are thought to prevent human disease) than most other commonly eaten garden vegetables, and are loaded with vitamin K.

Burdock root has many health properties like prevention of acne, reduction of allergies, and can even help with eczema!   The savory threefold blend was really cool!  Most people use only the roots of a certain vegetable or only the leaves.  

The threefold powder uses the whole plant because its recognized that the different parts of the plant have different health properties, and this way we get them all!  

All of the powders were delicious and unique and actually added flavor to my food.

I added them to my breakfast smoothies and even once put them in some gluten free brownies.  Whaaaat.

Dr. Cowan was so nice to share with me, I’m excited that we’re able to share these with you too!

Just use this link and place an order and receive 20% off your first purchase with the code PALEOFORWOMEN.  

20% is a HUGE discount off these organic, nutritional powerhouses.

So if you want to get more nutrition in a smaller package, check out everything they’ve got to offer and don’t forget to use your code ‘PALEOFORWOMEN’ for 20% off.

Find Dr. Cowan’s vegetable powders here!