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.

If you found this information beneficial please

Make a comment below on what you found helpful

Share the video with your peeps on social media

Use the hastag #zestandharmony on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

 

How to get to the When and Why of your Sugar Cravings

Letting go of sugar is no easy feat, and let’s be honest, it can feel like we’re trying to break up with someone who is gorgeous but totally wrong for you.

Here’s why: Sugar tastes gooooood. Not only that, it FEELS good, too! When sugary foods hit our tongue, it immediately causes a rush of feel-good hormones surging through our body. Think of how you feel when you eat a warm chocolate chip cookie, or glazed donuts. Maybe sweets aren’t your thing, but a bagel with cream cheese or pancakes brings a smile across your face.  Those sugar cravings you experience are not just mental, they’re also physical.  When you eat high-glycemic carbs or sugar your body produces excess insulin, which can lead to hypoglcemia, which leads to cortisol and adrenaline spikes which promotes craving for more sugar and simple carbohydrates.  Overtime your body craves sugar.

The good news is that you can break the cycle and get to the ROOT cause of your cravings. Once you become aware of WHEN and WHY you crave sugar, you can begin to replace sugary foods with healthier alternatives that will provide your body with the same feel-good sensations it’s craving.

Before I cut sugar out of my diet, I noticed that I was craving sugary treats whenever I was tired, unhappy, or just needed a energy boost. For many of us Busy Professional Women our solar plexus chakra is out of harmony. We have soo many things to accomplish on our to do list that we need high glycemic carbs to get us through the day.

Take note of when you reach for sugar-filled snacks or drinks. Grab a pen and a notebook and jot down answers to the following questions to help you create a bigger picture of what’s prompting you to consume sweet foods.

Questions to ask yourself

  • What time of the day are you eating sugar the most?
  • How do you feel when you want to eat sugar?
  • Do you feel fulfilled?
  • Do you feel connected spiritually?
  • Are you satisfied with your relationships? Your career? Your finances?
  • Have you done some type of movement/exercise today?
  • Do you take time for self-care regularly?
  • Are you stressed?
  • Do you feel tired and fatigue?
  • How is your energy level?
  • How many hours of sleep am I getting each night?
  • Do you take time to play and have fun?

Once you’ve taken the time to answer these questions, spend time reflecting on your answers. Which areas would you like to improve in your life?  What intentions do you want to set? Visualize the changes you would like to see manifest in your life and set aside time daily to meditate on and journal about those changes.

My tips for meditating to control sugar cravings:

Establish a quiet place where you can sit quietly, uninterrupted for at least 10 minutes or more.

If you need help meditating, find relaxing music or a guided meditation that will help you drown out noise and stay focused.

Be easy on yourself! It’s OK to let thoughts come and go as you sit quietly. The important thing is to become aware of your thoughts and set your intention on the healthy changes you want in your life. Here is an example of an intention I have used. ” I AM enough”. “I have fun in all I do”.

Grab a journal and some pretty pens and write down your thoughts everyday. Make it a habit. Don’t overthink what you should or shouldn’t write. Just write down what comes to your mind. Do this for 10 minutes each day to help you dump any negative thoughts that may be blocking you from a healthier lifestyle. Don’t have 10 minutes do it for five minutes in the morning and another 5 minutes in the evening.

When do you crave sugar or carbohydrates?

Want to learn more about how imbalances in your chakras are link to your sugar carvings as well more tips to help you increase your energy and end your sugar addiction once and for all?

Check out my new 7-week Release The Sugar Blues Program. Click here

Lessons this holistic nurse/health and wellness coach learned while “sick”

I haven’t had a cold or been “sick” in over three years, but on Feb 16th I woke up with a sore throat, cough, body aches, and just feeling like crap. This feeling lasted for about four days and even as I write this I still have some lingering fatigue and slight cough. Below is a video about the lessons I learned while not feeling optimal. Yes, it’s true us health and wellness peeps can get sick too especially if we are also Busy Professional, Real-Life Superwomen.

 

 

What are some lessons you have learned from not feeling optimal? Please share below.

10 Foods I Use To Think Were Healthy But Are Actually Loaded with Sugar

You flick on the TV only to be bombarded with a barrage of advertisements for so called “healthy” choices. Below are 10 foods, I use to think were the “healthier” choice  and many times are promoted as healthy but in reality are loaded with sugar and kept me stuck in my throes of sugar addiction. It wasn’t until I started doing my own research and reading labels that I realized I needed to eliminate these foods from my meal plan, if I truly wanted to have sustained energy and optimal health. If you’re ready to kick sugar to the curb then start ditching these toxic “health” foods.

  1. Fruit juice

Juice is terrible because it contains no fibre so even if it’s 100% juice with no added sugar, the reality is that fruit sugar is still sugar. It still causes your blood sugar to spike dramatically and it’s just as addicting and bad for you as pop or kool-aid.

  1. Dried Fruit

Dried fruit without added sugar is okay in moderation, or when eaten with some nuts and seeds for protein, but make sure you read the ingredients because many of the dried fruits have additional sugar added to it. Which I never understood why since fruit is already sweet and drying it makes it taste even sweeter. Now, if you find yourself popping a date in your mouth every time you get a sugar craving and thinking it’s healthy, think again. Also you might be having something else going on such as candida overgrowth, like I did for over ten years.

  1. Pasta Sauce

Store-bought pasta sauce has a ridiculous amount of added sugar. Prego traditional spaghetti sauce has 40g of added sugar! Always read your labels, or better yet, make your own tomato sauce so you know EXACTLY what’s in there. Once you start making your own you will not want to go back to store bought pasta sauce I know that was the case for me.

  1. Bread

Ah bread! People like to pretend that they’ve cut sugar yet they’re still eating bread. Bread turns into sugar in the body. Add to that the inflammatory effects of gluten and bread becomes a ticking time bomb for illness to ensue. I know this is a hard one to let go of, but I challenge you to try not eating bread for a week and see what happens.

  1. Noodles

Both pasta and rice noodles are pure refined carbohydrates, which like bread, turn into sugar once they break down in your body. They may be fun to slurp, but you can make noodles from vegetables that are just as tasty and won’t spike your blood sugar. My favorite is zucchini and yellow squash noodles, but since they aren’t in season during the winter, I use spaghetti squash.

  1. Instant oatmeal

Instant oatmeal may seem like a quick and healthy breakfast, and it sure is convenient. But unfortunately just one serving of this stuff can pack as much as 15g of sugar! Wow, can you believe that and to think I was eating a couple of packages a day.

Opt for making your own oats, check out this recipe for sugar-free overnight oats.

  1. Smoothies

Yes, I know you are probably thinking Cassandra is always talking about  the benefits of smoothies. Your right, smoothies can be really healthy and delicious,but the ones you get from Orange Julius or those premade store-bought smoothies are a far cry from a health food. They want to make smoothies approachable for most people and thus they make them super sweet and tasty. I have found some places actually use sugar water to make the smoothies more tolerable.  WTH!! If you want to enjoy a smoothie make your own and add lots of greens to it. One of my favorites green smoothies is

  •  1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 12 oz unsweetened coconut milk

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour in cup and enjoy.

  1. Yogurt

Yogurt has got to be the worst on the list. Especially because it’s promoted as this great healthy food but most of the time flavored yogurt is FULL of junky additives including high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener. If you want to eat yogurt, buy it plain and sweeten it with some berries or mashed banana.

  1. Granola

Like oatmeal, pre-made granola is riddled with added sugar and dried fruit which only makes matters worse. Eating granola for breakfast is like having a big old cookie with your coffee. Back in my sugar addiction days a cookie and coffee for breakfast sounded great, well I would have milk instead of the coffee. Then when I thought I was being “healthier” I would have pre-made granola and sugar laden yogurt for breakfast. How about you?

  1. Protein bars

Protein bars are either full of added sugar or contain toxic sugar substitutes like aspartame. Read protein bar labels very carefully, even the popular cliff bar contains a whopping 22g of sugar per bar! Again WTH?

Next week I will share with you some healthy low sugar snack ideas so you don’t feel deprived as you start to give up these foods loaded with sugar.

Want even more great tips to help you lose weight, improve your digestion, increase your energy and end your sugar addiction once and for all?  Next week I will also share about my upcoming Release The Sugar Blues Program. Until that time, please share below what foods you have seen promoted as “healthy” but aren’t.

Top Winter Foods To Boost Your Energy and Immune System

When we adjust our diet and lifestyle to match the season, health promoting digestive microbes dramatically change. Winter microbes support balanced immunity, digestion, mood, energy, blood sugar, weight, sleep – and much more. Winter is also associated with the qualities of ‘Vata’, which are cold, air, dry and light. To stay balanced, focus on food and activities that are warm, moist, heavy and oily.” – John Douillard

Winter is the time to slow down, nourish the soul, and focus on strengthening our immunity. (Which I know can be very challenging for us Real-Life Superwomen). Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables allows us to do this.

By focusing on foods that build a healthy immune system, we create a natural defense against unwanted illness, headaches, digestive issues, and dry skin that can plague us in the winter months. Cold and flu season becomes less of a worry when our immune systems are strong.

In winter we want to focus on cooked foods for their warming effects and eat fewer raw salads, smoothies, and other uncooked dishes.

We want to favor root vegetables (my favorite for nourishing the root chakra), winter fruits, cooked whole grains, and warming spices for their balancing and grounding effects during the colder months.

Here is a list of the top produce for winter to help you easily shift your eating habits to suit the season.

Top Seasonal Vegetables for Winter:

Enjoy these veggies cooked, preferably in a healthy fat like coconut oil, olive oil, or ghee

Acorn squash
Artichoke hearts
Beets
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Leeks
Onions
Pumpkin
Turnips
Winter squash

Top Seasonal Fruits for Winter:

Enjoy these fruits, preferably warmed or cooked.

Apples
Cranberries
Dates
Figs
Grapefruit
Lemons
Limes
Oranges
Pears
Pineapples
Tangerines

Top Seasonal Spices for Winter:

Cinnamon
Clove
Cardamon
Cayenne pepper
Garlic
Ginger
Horseradish
Rosemary
Thyme
Turmeric

John Douillard also recommends eating foods rich in soluble fiber during the winter ” This is one of nature’s strategies to insulate the gut from the coldness and dryness of winter by soothing, warming and lubricating the intestinal walls. So when the cold sets in”  be sure to enjoy a warm bowl of lentil soup. ~ John Douillard

Top Soluble Fiber Foods for Winter:

Almonds
Amaranth
Black beans
Kidney beans
Lentils
Mung beans
Oats
Pecans
Pumpkin seeds
Quinoa
Walnuts

Winter is also the time to add more soups and stews, favor roasting and braising, and focus on warming the cold our bodies can experience when the temperature drops.

Try incorporating more of these foods into your regular eating routine. Look for recipes that feature these ingredients, or swap them out for some of the non-seasonal foods that you might be currently consuming in your favorite meals.

If you need a jump start in adding more seasonal foods into your meal plan, I invite you to join the complimentary 7 Day Chakra Soup Challenge. It starts this Sunday January 22. Click here to learn more and join.

Also I would love to know what your favorite winter foods and why?