Where are the feathers?

I am very excited because for the last 9 months I was part of an amazing writing project through Heal My Voice, which was founded and lead by Andrea Hylan.  Today is the release of  the book which I was one of the authors –  Innovative Voices: True Stories by Women Awakening a New World.

The thirteen stories and collection of poems written by the women in this book are about a personal internal awakening. A moment when they had a new awareness and began to make different choices to change the external situations in their lives. Just like peace on earth comes from each of us cultivating peace within ourselves, the innovative ideas and actions the authors are making to awaken a new world, starts with an inner awakening.

Here is an excerpt from my Story:

Where are the Feathers?

Affirmation: I trust that my highest good and greatest joy are unfolding now. #ZestandHarmony

I was in a 4 week, Mindset Makeover class, and as part of that class we were asked to focus on seeing feathers. There were over 4,000 people in this group from around the world. The purpose of the exercise was to show how when we focus on something it expands. Like after you buy a car, you see several of the same car driving on the road. Two weeks into the class I started questioning my ability to manifest because I had not seen any feathers. I started saying to myself, “See, this doesn’t work for me. Why is it sometimes I can manifest, but other times I can’t? I just don’t get it.”

One Saturday night, I listened to the recording for the third week of the class and the leader of this course said, “I know some of you are questioning your ability to manifest. You think you haven’t seen any feathers, yet all of you have seen feathers because you are part of this Facebook group. Everyone is posting pictures of the feathers they are seeing. So, you have seen feathers.”

She challenged us to take a step back and see what our expectation of seeing a feather was. Well my expectation was to see an actual feather, on the ground, from a bird. She encouraged us to look at it differently. That is when the light bulb went off in my head. That morning, while on my deck, I saw a family of geese walking in the distance. I even had taken a picture of them and posted it on Facebook. WOW! There it was! My flock of feathers. Not just one feather, but an abundance of feathers. I laughed because God is always showing me abundance; it was just my expectation that was limiting me. If I limited myself with how a feather should show up in my life, how else have I been limiting myself? This was the start of me taking a step back and looking at how abundance, blessings, creativity and things my heart desired, have shown up in my life. I didn’t always see it because I was looking for a different color wrapping paper. It’s about changing the way I look at things. It was about seeing what has been here all along.

To read the rest of my Story go to Amazon to purchase the book: Innovative Voices: True Stories by Women Awakening a New World. Click here

 

Why I love the oil pack and so should you.

I am in love with the castor oil pack. Many years ago I learned about the castor oil pack from one of my amazing Bellydance teacher. I immediately wanted to learn more.  

I began researching about the benefits of the castor pack for eliminating toxins. I was simply hooked. I recommend all my detoxers do this as well as my clients. I love these ancient techniques that can still be used to support the body today. They are super easy, and you can put them together on the cheap.  

While a lymphatic massage or a trip to the sauna might be nice, they can also be costly. I’m telling you – all you really need is to buy castor oil and get an old t-shirt, flannel, or towel. 

Let’s talk simple benefits first. The castor oil pack can flush your lymphatic system {your sewage system}. The lymphatic system must get flushed daily to reduce digestive issues, edema, inflammation, the common cold, weight gain and allergies. This detox tool has been used for centuries.  

This amazing detox tool can support your circulation, remove toxins and help stimulate digestion. I was hesitant to use this pack but ever since I tried it and felt the benefits for my own body, I have never stopped. I could feel my digestion stimulated, decrease abdominal cramps, more relaxed and I had a better sleep.  

I am always on the lookout for natural ways to detox my body in the comfort of my own home. It really is key for my health. I look at the castor oil pack as an awesome detox tool that boosts my immune and is excellent for disease prevention.  

We all have some toxicity – why not support your body to get rid of it? 

How to Make Your Own Castor Oil Pack: 

  • Take an old shirt or flannel and cut it into 12 x 18 inches in size and fold it into 3 thicknesses.  
  • You want it to be about the same size as the heating pad you will be using so that the pad heats the entire pack but does not touch your skin.  
  • Put the shirt in a pan, such as a large disposable baking pan, and pour in enough castor oil to cover.   
  • NOTE: I recommend that you discard of the pack after use because toxins from your body have been eliminated onto the shirt. Some say you can reuse the pack many times. When not in use, store your pack in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. 

 

The Simple Castor Oil Pack:  

You can also put castor oil directly onto your stomach and upper abdomen. Then, wrap your stomach and upper abdomen with saran wrap and sit for 45 minutes. This is a simplified version and quite effective.  

 

Usage Guidelines: 

  • Use the pack in the evening before bed. Fold a towel (dedicate an old towel for this use as the oil is almost impossible to wash out completely). Take the cloth cover off of a heating pad and place the heating pad on top of the towel. It is important to heat the pack before you put it on your body. 
  • Lie down on your back on a towel. Place the pack on your abdomen with the heating pad on top and the towel on top of that. The pack should be on the right side of your body, extending from a little bit above the bottom of your sternum (breastbone) to about 4 inches below your navel. The pack should wrap around the body on the right side, from the navel as far to the side as you can get it. Keep the pack on for 45 minutes. Use the pack for 3 days in a row. Then take a break for 4 days, and repeat. 

Remember, the castor oil pack is a natural and inexpensive way to rid the organs of toxicity and that’s why I love it. Remember the less toxic you are the more Zest and Harmony you will experience in your life.
Please share your experience below regarding the castor oil pack.

If you would like more ways to have improve digestion, boost your immune system,increase your energy and slim your waistline, join me for my upcoming webinar on 10/26 at 7:30 p.m. EST – The Secret to Autumn Wellness.
Register here

 

Here’s How to Make Cooking More Fun

If you don’t love cooking, maybe I can help to make it more fun for you?

There was a time in my life when I didn’t find cooking to be all that fun. In fact, I told the guy I was dating at the the time, if we got married, he would have to cook or we would have to go out to eat because I wasn’t cooking.  Now I love to cook. It is fun and brings me a lot of joy. If I now find cooking fun so can you.

That’s why I’ve listed my best “fun” cooking tips for you.

Fun Cooking Tip #1

Check out new recipes.

Sometimes just seeing the beautiful food photos and reading the recipe can spark some inspiration and fun in your kitchen.

You can head to your local bookstore. Or look up your favorite nutritionists, chefs, bakers, and other online foodies. Maybe do a quick search on Google, Instagram or Pinterest to see thousands of new ideas.

Seeing these pics is like food porn for me.

You can check out my instagram page where many times I post pics of my food and recipes. https://www.instagram.com/zestandharmony/

 

Pro Tip: Searching through recipes can be so fun and inspiring, and can also end up taking waaaay longer than planned. So, consider setting your timer when you start browsing. The last thing you want is to take too much time looking, that you don’t leave enough time for cooking.

 

Fun Cooking Tip #2

Make grocery shopping fun and inspiring.

When you’re at the grocery store, try something that you haven’t had in a while. Is there a seasonal fruit or vegetable you haven’t had for months? What about a childhood favorite? Did you come across something totally delicious at a restaurant or get-together lately?

Or, browse around the store looking for something you haven’t had before; something that is completely new to you. Be adventurous. Then you can go to tip #1 to find new and inspiring recipes when you get home

Fun Cooking Tip #3

Keep it simple!

Sometimes when I see a great food picture, I immediately get inspired to make it. But if I look at the ingredients or instructions and they’re too long, I stop. While there are times when I’m inspired and dive into a new great recipe; when I don’t have a lot of time, I need to keep things simple. And you know us Busy Professional, Real-Life Superwomen have be mindful of our time.

A few ways to keep things simple are to:

  • Search for recipes with 10 or fewer ingredients, and five or fewer instructions;
  • Search for recipes that can be made in one pot or pan; My favorite is InstaPot or CrockPot Recipes. Especially in the autumn and winter
  • Buy ingredients that are ready to cook with (pre-washed salad greens, diced squashes, frozen vegetables, etc.
  • Have a prep day where you wash and chop veggies, cook beans and grains for the week and store them in fridge

Fun Cooking Tip #4

Put on some music and invite someone to join you.

Do you have kids that need to learn the critical life skill of cooking? Perhaps your partner would love to join you? What about having a “cooking party” where everyone brings something and pitches in on the process?

Maybe you don’t like other’s in your kitchen. That is understandable. Do what I do and put on your favorite playlist and dance while you are creating your new recipes. Now this will really ignite your sacral chakra. Dance + Creative Cooking +Fun = A happy sacral chakra.

Fun Cooking Tip #5

If none of the other tips work for you, invest in some kitchen swag!

Having proper kitchen tools makes cooking so much easier and faster. When’s the last time you sharpened your (or bought yourself a new) knife? Could dicing carrots with a dull knife be draining the fun from cooking? Or is blending a smoothie with a crummy blender, leaving it too chunky to enjoy, making you feel less excited to try new smoothie recipes? I know it does for me. Investing in a nutribullet was one of my best  investments.

Bonus Cooking Tip

See how many colors you can use when cooking a meal or dish. The more colorful foods you use, the more vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients your body will receive. I try to get the entire rainbow in all my dishes. I look at it as rainbow eating.

Pro Tip: Buy produce that is in season.

 

Conclusion

You know that cooking is key to healthy eating which is essential to healthy living. And, yes, it can get boring from time to time.

Try one (or all) of my fun cooking tips to inspire you to get over to your kitchen and cook yourself some great dishes.

You already know your health will thank you.

Please share the tips you plan to try or some of your favorite fun cooking tips.

When I need an extra dose of comfort

Over the last month or so there have been a number of natural disasters –  Forest Fires in California, Flooding in  South Asia, Hurricane Harvey in Houston,  a number of Earthquakes in Mexico, Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean and Florida, and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Lives have been lost and people’s homes and livelihood have been destroyed. I am saddened and my heart is heavy. Sending money does not feel like enough and at times this heaviness and sense of hopelessness can become overwhelming. I think to  myself mother earth is not happy and I understand why.  We as a nation have shown a lack of reverence for the only natural home we have. This not only saddens me, but angers me because for many years we have disrespected this home with our overuse of natural resources and the increase in our carbon footprint.  Now mother nature must balance things.

When  I start to feel these mix of emotions – sadness, hopelessness, disheartened, and anger , I allow myself to feel the emotions. I don’t get stuck in the emotion instead I let it flow through me.  I also say a prayer for peace and comfort and I use one of my favorite dōTERRA blends ~ Console®

When I am in need of an extra dose of comfort I apply, the dōTERRA Console® Comforting Blend, to my wrist and heart area and I breathe in the aroma while saying a prayer. Afterwards I meditate and listen to inner guidance on how I can assist those in needs as well as how I can be more reverent to Mother Earth.  The dōTERRA Console® Comforting Blend, uses gentle floral and tree essential oils to help renew my hope and dispel heavy feelings of sadness.

In times when your emotional strength is wavering,  I encourage you to turn to dōTERRA Console to dispel hopelessness and lighten your burdens. Once your energy has shifted I encourage you to give thanks to mother earth and  ask what YOU can do to assist those in needs as well as to honor our natural home –EARTH.

Please share what you do when your heart is feeling heavy from all the natural disasters that have impacted so many lives.

Want to know more about this essential oil or other essential oils to support your wellness? Click here to schedule a free 30 minute wellness consultation.

 

 

Are your emotions like a roller coaster ride?

Do you feel like your life is a whirlwind of ups and downs, like your emotions are about as stable as a roller coaster ride? I don’t like roller coasters and I surely don’t like when my emotions are like a roller coaster ride. So you might be saying, Cassandra, what is the solution cause I don’t like when my emotions are up and down either.  The solution to your woes might not be as complicate as you’d imagine. In fact, there’s a simple way to stabilize your mood, fight off depression and anxiety, balance your hormones, and help you feel more focused and on your A-game as a Busy Professional, Real-Life Superwoman.

It’s not a magic pill or anything crazy… it’s actually just going back to how humans ate for hundreds of thousands of years… Getting rid of foods with added sugar. Yes, you read it right. Eliminating sugar from your meal plan. I am not talking about natural sugar which is found in fruits. I am talking pastries, candy, bagels, muffins, vitamin water and even some protein bars.  There are many ways that sugar can negatively impact you from feeling your best.

Sugar and Depression

Just by getting rid of sugar from your diet you can experience the peace of mind you long for. Various studies have shown that sugar consumption suppresses activity of BDNF a hormone low in people with depression and other mental health problems. In countries with higher rates of depression, there’s typically higher levels of sugar consumption too. How much sugar did you eat today?

Sugar and Memory

Too much sugar makes it harder to remember things and potentially cause permanent damage. Results of a study conducted at the University of Southern California has shown that adolescent rats that freely consumed large quantities of liquid solutions containing sugar or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in concentrations comparable to popular sugar-sweetened beverages experienced memory problems and brain inflammation. Got brain fog issues? Could be related to your sugar consumption.

Sugar and Mood Swings

Mood swings and endless ups and downs are caused by a hormonal imbalance, which sugar exacerbates. When you rely on sugar as a main energy source you become a slave to blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar results in emotional lows while high blood sugar makes you feel, well, high on life, but not for long as the cycle inevitably repeats itself. As a former sugaraholic I am very familiar with this cycle and let me tell you those lows were no fun.

When you get off the sugar roller coaster your blood sugar levels stabilize and you start to feel happier and more in balance. The little things don’t get to you quite as upset and you become more resilient to life’s surprises. Yes, you can feel this amazing by getting rid of sugar.

Want even more great tips to help you release weight, increase your energy and end your sugar addiction once and for all? Join me September 20 at 7:00 p.m. EST for a free online workshop – The Connection Between Sugar Cravings and Emotions.
Click here to find out more and to register.

Is Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating, Wrong and Making You Fat and Tired?

Oh my goodness – nutrition and diet info is everywhere!

And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you. Right?

Well, maybe…

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat. This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.

Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

What you eat and drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important. Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you drop some pounds but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight release and maximum energy for everyone.

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn’t we?

You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat if that has been working for you, but don’t forget to also pay attention to what you eat.

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods). This simple concept is paramount for weight release,  increase energy, improved mood and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you should aim for:

  • A colorful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. This will provide the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that you need.
  • Enough protein with each meal. This can be animal or plant base protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads . Healthy fats and oils included  extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil,  coconut, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds . You don’t need to overdo it here. Just make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.

Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

As a Busy Professional, Real-Life Superwoman, are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues?

When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”.

Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.

This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight release because eating slower often means eating less. Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?

Thought so!

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

And don’t forget about drinking your food.

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.

Don’t get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal. In fact, I have one every morning. – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack. And don’t gulp it down too fast.

If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds. Another helpful hint is to use avocado instead of banana and add a scoop of protein.

 

Summary:

Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.

 

 

References:

http://summertomato.com/wisdom-wednesday-salad-dressing-is-your-friend

https://authoritynutrition.com/20-reasons-you-are-not-losing-weight/

http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2

 

 

Let’s Talk Men’s Health

In honor of Men’s Health Month, I wanted to do a blog especially for the men and for the women who love them. Most of my community are busy professional women, so I encourage the women in my community to read this article and share the tips (lovingly) to your man or men you might know.
I want to talk about a health topic that isn’t discussed much, LIBIDO. Now if you are a woman you might be saying my man doesn’t need anything to boost his libido, it’s me who needs a boost. Many of the tips described below you can also use.

If you are a man who is feeling frustrated by your diminished sex drive and want some natural tips to enhance your libido or if you are a women who is longing to connect with your significant other sexually, but his libido seems a bit dampened, this blog post is just what the doctor ordered.

Libido is such an interesting (and complex) experience. Because of this it can be affected by so many things. And we’re not just talking about the obvious sex hormone testosterone here.

Although testosterone levels can have a big (yes BIG) effect on sex drive there are a lot of subtle things that can be going on too.

In this post I’ll dive into a bunch of key nutrition and lifestyle factors that have been shown to increase testosterone and libido and share a bonus tip.

Body fat:

Did you know that low testosterone is linked with high body fat?

Particularly visceral fat which is associated with a large waist circumference. You see, with more fat there is more of an enzyme called “aromatase” that converts testosterone to estrogen. And what you want is to keep that testosterone not convert it.

Releasing excessive weight and keeping it off has so many health benefits including increased libido!

Nutrition:

Certain nutrient deficiencies can contribute to low testosterone. Not only zinc and vitamin D but if you’re not eating enough protein and healthy fats that can also have a negative impact too.

Not to mention eating way too few or way too many calories. These aren’t going to help you in the bedroom department either.

So make sure you’re eating enough food to sustain your resting metabolic rate (RMR) and that you’re getting enough protein and healthy fats; not to mention the essential vitamins and minerals too.

Top foods to boost libido are

  • Bananas
  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Watermelon

Exercise:

Did you know that men can experience increased blood levels of testosterone after a bout of intense exercise?

For some reason this doesn’t seem to be the case after endurance exercise and endurance exercise may actually reduce the levels of circulating testosterone. Nor do women seem to have this increased testosterone after a workout.

For a temporary boost men can try some weight lifting or a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout. This is my favorite type of workout for busy professional men, who don’t have a lot of time because they can get the benefits by doing a HIIT workout for 5 minutes.

Sleep:

Sleep is critical for just about everything our bodies do. Yet, it’s something most busy professionals don’t  set as a priority.

How much sleep did you or your partner get last night? Did you awaken refreshed or tired?

If you’re not getting 7-9 hours each night you’re going to want to prioritize that for your health (and sex drive). Try it. You just may thank me.

Stress:

No one can deny that your moods can affect your sex drive, right?

Too much stress, sadness, and worry can take over your mind and push that drive for sexual connection right to the backburner. So you want to try to minimize that stress hormone cortisol.

How about some tips? Make time to do things you love, workout, spend quality time with your family and friends, meditate, relax with a great book, or take a long shower. And don’t forget to laugh.

Consider maca:

Have you heard of the Peruvian herb called “maca” (Lepidium meyenii)?

It’s a plant in the cruciferous family (think: broccoli) and its root has been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac. It’s usually ground into a powder and dried.

Believe it or not there are a few studies that actually show an increased libido for those who supplement with it. Scientists don’t know exactly how it works, but it seems to work for both men and women and it doesn’t seem to impact your hormones (not even testosterone).

Maca is an antioxidant and seems to be protective of mens’ prostate. New research suggests it may also be helpful for our brains and bones.

It has a bit of a “earthy” flavour so most recipes don’t call for the same amounts as in the supplement. If you’re considering supplementing you should know:

  • Maca (as do many supplements) interacts with some medications so be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking maca supplements.
  • Because it can affect your moods you should be very careful taking maca if you have anxiety or depression.
  • It’s not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

BONUS TIP

Essential oils for penile health and strength

I know you are thinking, Cassandra how can essential oils boost penis health? Well research has shown regular penis massage with a carrier oil such as almond or olive oil as well as essential oils can support the overall health of your penis and boost your libido.

Ayurvedic Cure says “Almond is one nut that whether taken internally or externally had loads of benefits for the body solely because it is highly rich in minerals especially zinc that is perfect for penis health as well..
Using almond oil on the penis each day is going to help you reach the goal in an ideal way. Massage it for a while to help it get absorbed by the penis skin and muscles for maximum benefits.”

Sandalwood – One of my favorite essential oils because it helps ground and calm you and is great at nourishing the root chakra. It also enhances the blood flow to the penis and has been shown to increase sperm count.

Ylang Ylang – Relaxes a nervous partner and stimulates the senses. Long used to calm anger, anxiety, fear, frigidity and improve self esteem. Ylang ylang has also been shown to improve erectile dysfunction, and orgasmic ability.


Cinnamon – Invigorates the senses, calms the nerves and improves circulation. Cinnamon increases desire, creativity and can improve erectile dysfunction and frigidity. Studies on a group of male medical students found that the smell of cinnamon buns increased blood flow to the penis. Never use undiluted on the skin

Geranium- Aids in opening up the heart and improving communication in the relationship. Also helps alleviate nervous tension and stress helping you to be more connected and present with your partner.

Be Erotic Massage Blend

  • ¼ cup almond oil or fractionated coconut oil
  • 2 drops geranium essential oil
  • 1 drop cinnamon essential oil
  • 1 drop lemongrass essential oil
  • 1 drop peppermint essential oil

Place all ingredients in a glass bowl or container. Mix well. This blend can be lightly applied to the genitals. It will help to reach and prolong the climax.

Want to know what essential oils best support men’s health, schedule a 30 minute wellness consultation with me. Click here

Please share below your thoughts about these tips.

 

References:

  1. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/doctor-detective-low-libido
  2. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-testosterone
  3. https://authoritynutrition.com/8-ways-to-boost-testosterone/
  4. https://examine.com/supplements/Maca/
  5. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=1903&lang=eng
  6. https://www.ayurvediccure.com/best-oils-for-stronger-penis/

 

What’s metabolism got to do with it?

Do you feel tired and fatigue? Does it seem as though your hands and feet are always cold? Do you have extra weight around your middle that doesn’t seem to want to go away? Do things seems not to be moving in the digestive department?

If you said yes, to any of these questions your metabolism might be sluggish.
There was a time I answered yes, to all of the above questions. I was tired and fatigue most days and needed a sugar boost about 3 p.m. Heck I needed to sugar boost every couple of hours. I  also had cold hands and feet unless it was 80 outside. Actually sometimes this is still an issue. I get in bed and my husband is like why are your feet so cold?   Also the pouch around my middle comes and goes depending on what I eat and my digestive system becomes sluggish when I am stress and my life is out of harmony.

So you might be asking – Why does this happen? Why do metabolic rates slow down?

What can slow my metabolism?

Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy. And there are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).

But don’t worry – I know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”! In fact it’s so complicated I’m only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down.

Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:

  • low thyroid hormone
  • your history of dieting
  • your size and body composition
  • your activity level
  • stress
  • lack of sleep

I’ll briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”.

Low thyroid hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism. When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down. The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active.   Ideally it should work to keep your metabolism just right. But there are several things that can affect it and throw it off course. Things like autoimmune diseases and mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium) for example.

Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your thyroid hormones tested. Get your results interpreted by someone who uses a functional/optimal reference range. This is something I am trained to do.

I have looked at my thyroid hormones from a functional perceptive and I teeter towards hypothyroidism hence my cold hands and feet.

Your history of dieting

When people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down. This is because the body senses that food may be scarce and adapts by trying to continue with all the necessary life functions and do it all with less food.

While dieting can lead to a reduction in amount of fat it unfortunately can also lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have. As you know more muscle means faster resting metabolic rate.

Tip: Make sure you’re eating enough food to fuel your body without overdoing it. The key is seasonal, whole foods.

Your size and body composition

In general, larger people have faster metabolic rates. This is because it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one. However, you already know that gaining weight is rarely the best strategy for increasing your metabolism.

Muscles that actively move and do work need energy. Even muscles at rest burn more calories than fat. This means that the amount of energy your body uses depends partly on the amount of lean muscle mass you have.

Tip: Do some weight training to help increase your muscle mass. When I had a personal trainer my metabolism was great and so was the shape of my body.

Which leads us to…

Your activity level

Aerobic exercise temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move and do “work” and you can tell because you’re also getting hotter.

I know this can be challenging for us Busy Professional, Real-Life Superwomen but vven little things can add up. Walking a bit farther than you usually do, using a standing desk instead of sitting all day, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can all contribute to more activity in your day.

Tip: Incorporate movement into your day. My favorite is taking a 5-10 minute dance break.

Stress

Cortisol is one of the hormones produced during a stressful situation. Cortisol taps into your energy stores, including stored forms of glucose, protein and fat, to supply your body with the energy it needs to react to a stressful situation. In the short-term this process burns calories and increases your metabolism, but chronic stress will actually break down muscle for energy, negatively impacting your immune system and slowing down your digestive system.

Tip: Do stress managing techniques daily such as deep breathing, meditation and/or yoga.

Bonus Tip: Remember your body does not know the difference between a real threat or an actual threat and will respond in the same way. So ask yourself how can you shift your mindset about things that aren’t actual threats such a traffic or challenges with a co-worker.

Shifting my mindset about situations and daily meditation has been a game changer for me. My stress has decreased as well as the girth around my middle.

Lack of sleep

I know, I know. Who has time to sleep when there are things that need to be done. However, there is plenty of research that shows the influence sleep has on your metabolic rate. The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.  Did  you also getting enough sleep also increases the amount of growth hormone released which helps you burn fat and boost your mood.

Tip: Try to create a night time routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night. My night time routine involves reading something inspirational, saying a prayer of gratitude and rubbing Serenity or Clary Calm essential oil on the bottom of my feet and the back of my neck.

In the comment section please share a metabolism boosting tip you use or one you plan to use.

If you want support in jump start your metabolism this spring, schedule a 30 minute complimentary GET TO KNOW YOU SESSION with me. Click here to schedule.

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/metabolic-damage

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/thyroid-and-testing

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance

https://authoritynutrition.com/6-mistakes-that-slow-metabolism/

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism/

http://summertomato.com/non-exercise-activity-thermogenesis-neat

http://www.livestrong.com/article/460992-does-stress-increase-metabolism/

 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352154616300183

 

Spring Into Detox

I don’t know about you, but when spring hits this Busy Professional, Real-Life Superwoman feels energized and ready to start new and exciting projects. I also have a strong desire to clear out clutter not just in my home, but in my mind, body and spirit. For me it’s a time to release limited beliefs and thoughts that no longer serve me from accomplishing my deepest desires.

It’s also a perfect time to do a detox. Every year around this time for the last several years I have done a spring detox. Why? Because in traditional Chinese medicine springtime is associated with the liver and the liver is the powerhouse organ that removes toxins from my body. The less toxins the better I look and feel.

I did a detox, for the first time, over 15 years ago and it changed my life. I felt more energized, less brain fog, more creative and released some weight around my middle. What more could a Real-Life Superwoman ask for. It also help me to explore deeper the root of my sugar addiction.

Doing a holistic detox during this time of year can support your body, mind and spirit in feeling healthy and help you drop  some unwanted weight gain from the winter, which gets you looking fabulous for the summer. I know you’ve got your eye on that sexy swim suit. Here are some quick tips to get you started!

 It all starts with what’s on your fork 

REMOVE processed, packaged foods that contain things such as high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavoring, aspartame, and other chemicals that wrack havoc on your body. Removing these foods from your meal plan is a great way to eliminate toxins in your body. It really helps to eat whole organic foods that are seasonal. You also want to eliminate things like sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, wheat, soy, and eggs while you are on a detox due to the allergens they contain, which leads to inflammation in the body.

Show me the Green

Green foods are some of the best things you can eat. Foods like parsley, spinach, peas, broccoli, watercress, and asparagus. These are all a great source of phytonutrients to help support and nourish your body. You can also eat foods like Swiss Chard, dandelion greens, arugula,  kale, and collards; These dark leafy greens make an excellent addition to any meal. They’re a great way to reduce toxins due to the chlorophyll in the leaves. During this time of year I encourage my clients to RESTORE their nutritional wellness by crowding in the green.

Get up and Get Moving

What you eat is important to your detox, but another is adding daily movement. There are a lot of ways to do this, and it doesn’t have to be extensive. Try nature walks, stretches, light yoga, or even dancing! You don’t need to exhaust yourself by running for 10 miles or long bike rides, this will only hinder your detox. Your body will be working hard to remove toxins, it needs rest to restore, not to be depleted.

Rest and Stress Relief

Speaking of REST. Take time to breathe and relax. Stress is a number one cause of inflammation in the body. 80% of all di “sease” is related to stress. Take time to meditate, take a detox bath or just sit outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
Use essential oils to help support your detox, reduce stress, support restful sleep and shed emotional weight. I highly recommend the following essential oils during a detox.

  • Slim and Sassy by doTerra boosts metabolism and reduces cravings
  • Lavender promotes relaxation and induces sleep
  • Lemon cleanses the lymphatic system
  • Frankincense (my favorite essential oil) reduces inflammation and promotes a sense of peace and relaxation

Set Your Intention and Determine What a Detox will do for You

Remember that a detox is ultimately about you. Think about what your health and wellness goals are as a Busy Professional Woman. What do you want to experience in your life, health, relationships, finances and career? What is blocking you? How will a holistic detox support you in obtaining your goals? Comment below and let me know what steps can you take today to start eliminating toxins?

If you want to learn 3 key ways you can increase your energy, feel great, and of course release weight in a healthy, and natural way without feeling deprived,  join my virtual workshop on May 4 at 7:30 p.m. EST – Spring Detox – The Secret To Weight Loss.


To register click here

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the virtual workshop.

Here’s to looking and feeling great!

Tips to Support Your Sinus and Respiratory System During Pollen Season

It’s springtime in Maryland. The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and the flowers and trees are blooming . With the blossoming of plants comes along an increase of pollen, which for some of us it leads to a runny nose, runny and itchy eyes, and sneezing., which can really put a damper on things for us Real-Life Superwomen. Who wants to be sneezing when we’ve got a presentation to give or have a runny nose when you are on a date or trying to connect with your beloved.

In this video I share the below tips that have helped lessen my symptoms during the pollen season so I can be healthy, happy and energized.

  1. Change what you are eating. That’s right REMOVE foods that are causing increase inflammation and mucus build up like dairy and sugar. ( I didn’t mention this in the video, but doing a spring cleanse or detox will also help lessen inflammation, remove toxins from your system and help alleviate symptoms caused by pollen)
  2. Add foods rich in vitamin c like lemon, red, yellow and orange peppers as well as broccoli.
  3. The benefits of freeze dried stinging nettle
  4. Why using raw local honey and/or bee pollen can be of support
  5. How effectively use the Neti pot
  6. My top 3 essential oils to support you during pollen season

Lemon essential oil – has anti-histamine properties and helps relieve excess mucus.

Frankincense essential oil – my favorite essential oils helps to reduce the inflammatory response of allergens in the body.

Lemongrass essential –Inhaling this clean, refreshing aroma can help reduce inflammatory complications in the respiratory tract.

Here is the science for some of the things mentioned in the video

Stinging Nettle

A randomized, double-blind study using 300 mg freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis found 69 patients who completed the study rated it higher than placebo in global assessments: 58 percent rated it effective in relieving their symptoms and 48 percent found it to be equally or more effective than their previous medicine. Click here to read more

Vitamin C

A study featured in the Alternative Medicine Review Journal, states that vitamin C supplementation of 2 grams daily reduced the blood histamine levels by 38%.

Lemon E.O

The Journal International Scholarly Research Notices reported that a nasal preparation based on lemon essential oil helped to alleviate the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

Frankincense E.O.

Research indicates frankincense contains a compound called alpha-pinene which reduces allergic symptoms

Lemongrass E.O.

The International Journal of Molecular Medicine discovered that compounds in lemongrass essential oil had an anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effect. Inhaling lemongrass oil can help reduce an overactive immune response in the body.

I would love to hear what natural remedies you use to support your respiratory, sinus and/or immune system during the pollen season.

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