Category Archives: Healthy Living

Healthy living articles, healthy living tips, healthy living resources, and information on Intent.com

Exercise for Joy, Energy, and Happiness

woman-and-scale-shutterstock1Every year I set the same resolutions – lose 15 pounds, cut out refined sugar, meditate daily, exercise 5 times a week – resolutions that seem like nostalgic wishes by mid February. This year I set the intent I am living with the intent to feel energetic, creative, joyful, centered and inspired

And, while I am making a commitment to work out more often and eat more mindfully, I am committing to physical activities that make me feel connected spiritually and full emotionally rather than torturing myself just to shed pounds.

I am discovering a love of yoga (believe it or not, I am not a yogi – read about it here!) through a group class I am doing with other mom friends.  Historically, yoga has been a struggle for me as I have felt like I am “bad” at it.  But this year I am approaching it differently – inspired, as I often am, by the guiding philosophy of my good friend Tara Stiles.

Tara and I recently hosted a SCLA event in San Francisco and as I watched Tara twist and turn in amazing ways to hip hop music during our event, I noticed the intention to find joy, creativity, and challenge by those in her class. Tara’s approach to yoga made it fun, rich and fulfilling for all those in the class, even if they couldn’t keep up with her!

In an interview I did with Tara last year, she talked about the joy she discovered in yoga:  “(As a dancer), everything has to be perfect or you’re not completing the movement. That’s what was so exciting about yoga. You’re going to your own limit and finding the ease in that moment.  From a mental, spiritual and emotional aspect it was definitely key. I was like, ‘I have to do this forever!’”

What I am enjoying about my own weekly yoga class is that I can do it at my own pace.  And its social!  I have as much fun chatting with the other mom friends as I do stretching and breathing. We’ve always been big supporters of yoga here on Intent and encourage all of you to give it a try if you’re looking for a practice that not only works you out but also helps you connect to your body through your mind and spirit.

I’ve also been on a few hikes on the lovely trails here in Santa Monica where I live, not checking my phone for emails, and walking in silence noticing the beauty of nature. 

And, this weekend I plan to start running on the beach again – one of the most emotionally healing things I have done in the past. For my 40th birthday, I ran a half marathon and found a love for running because of how it made me feel emotionally. Working out with an activity that makes you feel happy and better about yourself is much healthier than doing something you hate because it’ll trim fat.

Hopefully my strategy of living with intent this year will help me realize some of the changes I am seeking in my life more effortlessly and with lasting impact.  And more importantly, because I am having fun, feeling connected and inspired, I am anticipating my physical time, rather than feeling burdened by it. This will keep me motivated to stay on the path to healthier living!

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24 Intentions to Manifest in New Year

So there are just a few days left of this year! What are you intending to manifest for this coming year? Do you have any unfulfilled goal from this year that you wish to accomplish next year? There is no better way to manifest your desires than to release your intentions out into the universe and allow it to unfold on its own accord! The best moment to plant seeds of your intentions in your consciousness is during your meditation. In meditation, you connect with deeper levels of your awareness, making a better foundation to manifest your deepest desires. I recommend bringing your awareness on your heart and set the intention that feels just right at that moment. Then release it and don’t worry about when and how it will manifest…just know that if it is meant to be it will. Just have full faith on the energy of your heart. The power of love is magical enough to create many miracles!

Here are 24 intentions that you may use for a better and happier new year. Try working with 2 every month and see where it leads to. Don’t attempt to use one for each hour of the day… this is too much.  Just take it slow and steady.

  • Expressing love more often.
  • Understanding that forgiveness is an everyday ritual.
  • Witnessing the temple in your physical body and taking care of it.
  • Practicing compassion towards all.
  • Spending time in nature.
  • Creating thoughts that lead to optimism and courage.
  • Building an attitude of gratitude.
  • Meditate everyday even for a  few minutes.
  • Being bold without being a bully.
  • Treating work as a way to serve others.
  • Respectfully parting from those who discourage and lower your self esteem.
  • Stop blaming destiny and start working on manifesting your own goals.
  • Staying present.
  • Staying in touch with old friends.
  • Taking a break from work to relax.
  • Eating healthier.
  • Reading books and articles to expand awareness.
  • Staying offline often to connect with the people in your life.
  • Fall in love.
  • Letting go off regrets.
  • Release the need to treat yourself so seriously.
  • Being kind, but not weak.
  • Complimenting others more often.
  • Breaking the norms.

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Ginger Masala Chai Worthy of a New York Winter

chai-tea-e-liquidI recently moved to New York City from California and am (ahem) “enjoying” my first real winter here. Let the wuss jokes begin!

It’s alright. I’m laughing at myself, too. Born and raised in California, used to being fairly tan, gets cold easily, loves sunshine so much she’s basically part lizard… Yep, that’s me. Now instead of donning a windbreaker for misty San Francisco mornings or wearing a hat for fun in the 60 degree Los Angeles winter sun, I’m learning the art of boots, down coats, ear muffs, long johns and mittens. Endless mittens. See you next April, world, because I am officially 75% clothing right now, and I can barely see over my scarf.

It’s going to be a long winter.

In all honesty, though, I love autumn and winter. I love the snow; I love the holidays; I love the feeling of warming up after being cold. It probably has something to do with a nesting instinct. One of the most beloved memories I have from childhood is making nests with my big sister on rainy days and sick days. When it was miserable, grey and raining outside, or when we were stuck in the house with colds and fevers, my sister would orchestrate a grand “nesting.” We’d pile tons of blankets and pillows on the ground, arranged in little cup-shaped seats like an egg carton. And then we’d hop inside the nest with a box of Nilla wafers and tea and watch a Disney movie to pass the time. Pure joy.

I still make nests of sorts, as does she, both literally and figuratively. Sans actual blankets and pillows, I just love making people feel warm, comfortable, and cared for. In any kind of weather, there’s little I love more than bringing people together around a table for delicious food and loving company. But this is a particularly important practice during the cold and dark months when our souls really need that extra swaddling. And many traditional winter recipes do the trick of warming us inside out.

Case in point, spice-infused recipes. This season you’re undoubtedly enjoying foods flavored with all kinds of spices, whether you know it or not. Butternut squash soup, gingerbread cookies, curries and stews, applesauce, etc. Winter recipes tend to incorporate many different spices, for several reasons. In Ayurveda, the winter season is associated with exacerbated Vata qualities, which are best assuaged through warming foods. This can be literally hot foods (like soup, hot cereal and warm drinks) and/or through warm-ing foods, made invigorating through the use of spice.

Even outside of Ayurveda, there’s a very practical reason to eat more spice during the winter. It’s cold, there’s a bug going around, you’re sniffly and sick…Voilà, spices curb cold and flu symptoms! Ginger, for instance, is an anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-bacterial. It can help boost your immune system, loosen mucus, open your sinuses, and relieve sore throats. That’s a lot for one little root!

Keeping the health benefits in mind, as well as the essential need for warming and nesting that we all experience during this season, I offer you chai.

“Masala chai” is the Hindi term for a drink made with black tea, milk, and lots of spice. It is a drink that has been consumed in South Asia for centuries and is traditionally much less sweet and much more spicy than what you’d get at your local coffee shop. I can’t necessarily vouch for the total authenticity of my recipe, as I’ve never been to India, but I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Ginger Masala Chai

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

2 cups of milk (I like organic whole milk, but soy, almond, or oat work as well)

2 cups of water

3 tablespoons of loose leaf, unflavored black tea (the stronger the better; I like Darjeeling)

1/4 teaspoon Wakaya Perfection ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of saffron

2 whole, crushed up cardamom cloves

3 teaspoons of Turbinado sugar (or Agave, honey, etc)

Instructions:

Get two saucepans going on the stove on medium heat. Pour the milk in one and the water in the other. You’ll need to work in both pots simultaneously. As the milk begins to warm, add the pinch of saffron, pressing it between your fingertips gently before dropping it in the saucepan.

Once the water in the other pot begins to boil, add the loose tea leaves and reduce to a low simmer. Let steep 3-5 minutes. While you’re waiting, add the sugar to the milk and stir until it dissolves. Once the tea is ready, place a strainer over the milk and strain the tea water into the milk saucepan. Now you’re working in just one pot.

Start building the spice. Add the ginger, cinnamon and any other spices you want to the pot, saving the cardamon to the side for the end. You can try the chai to see if it has the right spice/sugar ratio, and adjust until it’s just right. Bring the pot to a boil, and as it begins to bubble up, throw the cardamon in and turn the heat off right away. The chai will stew for a second, cooling down slightly, and the cardamon will infuse the drink just enough without overpowering it.

Serve in two mugs and enjoy! Stay warm, everyone!

Two Recipes to Personify the Winter Season

Screen shot 2013-12-09 at 11.19.44 PMThere are so many things to love about winter: soft, fluffy scarves to bundle up in, holidays to celebrate with loved ones, and of course all the many traditional dishes filled with hearty ingredients and warm spices.

The ingredient that personifies this time of year more than any other for me is ginger.  It’s a spicy spice in the best kind of way one that warms you from the inside out.  It works in everything from a Thanksgiving cranberry chutney recipe to a simple herbal tea.  And ginger is not just about flavor and spice, it’s also one of the most well studied herbs in botanical medicine, with an impressive body of research to support its use for a variety of health conditions including improvement in muscle and joint pain, nausea due to pregnancy or chemotherapy and a variety of other conditions where inflammation plays a role (which is almost everything).

Fun fact: Dried ginger is ten times more healing than fresh

Here are a couple recipes with ginger that I love to make this time of year:

Simple Ginger Tea

I make this tea when I’m feeling cold and a bit lazy.  It leaves me feeling instantly warm and healthy.

  • Thoroughly wash a chunk of fresh ginger rhizome (root) and use a carrot grater to remove the outer skin
  • Slice lengthwise into two or three thick pieces and add one to two slices to a cup of very hot water or tea (green or raspberry leaf are some of my favorite choices)
  • Steep for 3-4 minutes and enjoy

Superfood Muesli

I’ve modified this recipe from one I was introduced to while in naturopathic medical school.  I love it because you can make a big batch that will last for weeks and it’s fun to get creative with different spices and ingredients.  Although this dish can be eaten warm or cold, I like to warm it up in the winter for a stick-to-your-ribs breakfast that provides excellent whole-food nutrition and energy.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups rolled grains (e.g. oats, rye, barley, and/or rolled rice flakes)
  • 2 cups oat bran
  • ½ cup dried, unsulphured fruit (e.g. raisins, dates, blueberries, cranberries)
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds and/or pumpkin seeds (can be ground)
  • 1 cup raw nuts (e.g. walnuts and almonds)
  • 1 cup seeds (e.g. ground flax seed, chia)
  • 1 tsp each of one or more of ground ginger

Combine all ingredients, mix well and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.  To make a single serving, scoop a ½ cup into a bowl and add 1 cup liquid (e.g. water, nut milk or dairy milk are all good options).  Soak overnight and then heat in microwave in the morning or, to prepare right away, heat in a saucepan until grains are soft and ingredients have absorbed all the liquid.

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From Intent.com: Why Wait

Screen shot 2013-12-09 at 3.18.33 PM

So the month of December is officially the month of “Why Wait” here at Intent.

In our newsletter last week, we wrote that there is nothing special about January 1.

Nothing magical will happen to you at the stroke of midnight of 2014 that will magically give you the empowerment or will power you never felt like you had in 2013. If you want to make a change, if you want to take a step out courageously, then there’s no need to wait for January 1. You can and should do that today!

Needing some inspiration?
Here are some of Intent users that could use our support:

So here are some questions to ask yourself-

1. If you could have any life, no limits, what would it look like?
In the brainstorming process for ANYTHING, it’s important to let yourself imagine everything as a possibility- large or small. Don’t try and edit yourself while in the brainstorming process. It only slows you down. Instead let yourself think outlandishly. Imagine yourself as an astronaut. Imagine yourself only needing to sleep 3 hours a day. Whatever life you could dream of, give yourself unlimited freedom for a short amount of time to really push the limits in picturing it.

2. What has to come? What has to go?
After you decide whether or not it’s practical (ie- “I want to be Harry Potter. Like, real Harry Potter. I want a magic wand and an archnemesis with no nose), then ask yourself what things would have to enter your life to make it a reality. Are you willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make some of those things realities? If so, move forward. If not, cross those things off the list. The things you’re passionate about are going to be worth your time and energy. By the same token, some things are going to have to go. You’ve always wanted to paint, but your evening are filled up with every activity but that. If you love those other activities, that is one thing. That might require you use a little bit of calendar rotation. But, if your calendar is filled up with things that you are less than jazzed about, start taking steps to pull back and slowly phase out of them. How do you know which things you don’t love? They’re normally the things that make you say “Tonight I have [insert activity]. UGH.”

3. Set some big goals.
In the past I’ve talked about how we give ourselves small goals so we don’t fail. You want to get in shape so you set a goal of going to the gym once a week. That’s not bad, right? You’re currently going to the gym zero times a week, so that’s 100% improvement, right? Wrong. What happens when the day you picked gets slammed with a last minute meeting? What happens if you get sick that day? I say, with life changing goals, aim high. Say you’re going to the gym 5 times a week. If you end up missing one or two or three of those days, you’re still getting greater motivation to get up and out the door. You’re still going to see results of 3 days working out versus just 1. And I say that’s worth the effort.

So what are you waiting on?
What is the life you’re dreaming of?
Why wait?

Master Purity Energy and Balance to Achieve Total Wellness

balanceTo lose weight you need two major components – weight loss and nutrition, but how do you create a program that lasts? In Deepak Chopra’s latest book “What Are You Hungry For?” he explains that to really make that life change you have to use weight loss and nutrition with the three tenants of purity, energy and balance.

How does that work? In part one of the book Deepak lays out the three tenants and the tips you need to bring them into your life to maintain your new healthy lifestyle.

Purity

“Eliminating toxins awakens in the body’s capacity for renewal and returning to a natural balance. Toxins need to be eliminated from the body, mind, and soul,” Deepak says. While there are several toxins that can invade your life, let’s start with food. Here are a few tips to purify your diet.

  • Throw out old, stale food.
  • Minimized processed foods
  • Keep fruits and vegetables as fresh as possible when storing
  • Prefer whole grains and natural sweeteners
  • Eliminate hydrogenated and trans fats
  • Buy organic produce (if affordable)
  • Favor deeply green vegetables like spinach and kale, and the rest of the of cabbage family

Juice cleanses have become an all-too popular trend when trying to purify your body of toxins. While cleanses can help you purify your system, you have to be careful not to overdo it or deplete your body of necessary nutrients.

“Short-term cleanses and fasts do not help us have a healthy, detoxified life. Those extreme shifts from very unhealthy to very healthy (for a very short time) only teach us to be extreme. I believe in a longer-term cleanse of at least 6-8 weeks, which is enough time to truly cleanse and discover what your body feels like in a pure state,” says Sports Club/LA nutritionist Ginger Mallory.  “After really learning about your body during this time, you can gradually reintroduce some items back into your diet, observe how those items make you feel, and then make an informed decision about whether you’d like to keep these items in your diet or in what proportions.”

You should know that purifying the body takes time, and that it can’t all be done at once. If you approach your life change as a beginning process then it is much more likely to become a permanent state of mind.

As fellow nutritionist Karen Sherwood says, “Taking baby steps and ‘leaning’ into a new way of being is key. This enables us to pave a new foundation and build from there. It must begin with nutrition, and include an active life-style with focus on self-care, rest, and stress management. When all of these wheels are working in harmony, the body and its relationship to food and the outside world begins to make sustainable change.”

Energy

Once you have purified your body and life of toxins then you can begin to change why you eat food. Food is the beginning nourishing source for our bodies and if we eat correctly then it energizes the body without making us feel stuffed or lethargic. Deepak prescribes the following tips for crafting a diet that boosts your overall energy.

  • Eat less when you are inactive
  • Eat only until you are nicely satisfied and no more
  • Choose lighter and more easily digested food
  • Avoid animal based fats and refined sugar
  • Make your food colorful and pleasing to the eye
  • Satisfy as many of the senses as possible including taste, smell and texture.

Eating specifics type of food can also increase your energy. “I like a combination of a complex carbohydrate, a lean protein, and a bit of healthy fat at every meal. This assures an even balance of blood sugar, when eating every 3-4 hours or so,” advises Karen Sherwood, “In addition to keeping this balance of macronutrients, consuming what I like to call, “power foods” helps support every system of the body. Specific foods I love for energy include chia seeds, maca powder, whey protein, spirulina, and coconut products. I have all of my active clients and athletes consume these super foods on a daily basis in the form of a smoothie.”

Balance

It is great to research and take on all the new tips, but the most important key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is balance. When you take all of your new habits and form them into a routine that fits your life and schedule you can make your body in the way that works best for your needs. To create balance Deepak offers the following pointers.

  • Eat when you are in a satisfied state
  • Consume a variety of fresh foods
  • Make sure you are taking care of the basics like drinking enough water and getting enough sleep
  • Eat at regular hours with balanced intervals in-between
  • Vary your calorie intake to balance your activity level

Balance is the key factor why fad diets have such varying results for different people – it is the same exact instructions for everyone, no matter what their current lifestyle or schedule is. By using these tips you can use all the wellness tips and research you do to best apply them to your life, and when you have a balanced plan that is custom built for what you want your body to do you are more likely to succeed, not just in losing weight but in achieving total wellness.

***

This blog is part of our “What Are You Hungry For?” series with Sports Club LA and to celebrate the release of Deepak Chopra’s latest book. Find out how you can win a copy of your own here and tell us what you are hungry for in the comments below. If you don’t want to wait for the give away you can purchase a copy of Deepak’s book today. 

9 Keys For A Joyful (Stress Free) Holiday Season

holidaycookiesThe holiday season can be any way you want it: full of stress, or full of joy. It can be a time to dread, or anticipate with excitement. It’s your choice, yes, it really is. I’ve experienced both of these scenarios, and, believe me, full of joy, is the way to go.

Here are 9 Keys to make your holiday season the best one ever!

1. MAKE A DECISION that this year is going to be different, that you are going to ENJOY this Holiday Season. It all starts here, with the DECISION.

2. SET THE INTENTION for how you want this time of year to look. For example, fun, relaxing, and enjoyable; camaraderie with neighbors, work colleagues, and people you meet on a casual basis in stores, restaurants, the subway. Festive celebrations at home with your near and dear ones; hot apple cider, holly and mistletoe, red candles, festive lights, singing songs; whatever turns you on and means joy to YOU.

3. FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE. Keep your attention, energy and focus on all the good things that are happening, on times that are going well and you are enjoying yourself. Laugh more. What we focus on expands. Forget about trying to “combat” stress (sounds like a battle, doesn’t it?) Keep your attention on the positives, and stress naturally drops away.

4. BE MORE LOVING. Start with yourself. You can’t give what you don’t have. Drop self-judgment, self-criticism, and giving yourself a hard time for not being perfect. Have compassion for yourself. We are all human, and it’s your imperfections that make you so adorable. You are unique.Trust that you are deeply loved, simply because you exist – you are a valuable part of our world. The more you love yourself, and I mean ALL aspects of yourself, the more love, and compassion, you have for others.

5.  DO YOUR BEST. You can’t do better than your best, right? We are all different and have different skills, knowledge, talents, personalities, tolerances. Are you a person who over-gives and forgets about yourself? If so, you create an undercurrent of resentment, tension and fear, that doesn’t serve YOU, let alone anyone else. Remember that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, just some of the people, some of the time. When you do your best, YOU know you have offered the best of yourself, and that has to be enough.

6.  ENLIVEN YOUR SURROUNDINGS with the color red. The color of the sun is energizing, and symbolic of love, courage, warmth, fire. Wear red sweaters, scarves and hats, light red candles, bring in red flowering plants(if you have access to red poinsettias, they are a joy!). Any creative idea you have for including the color red has a powerful effect in the darkest days of the year to lighten your mood and create a festive, heartening atmosphere.

7. CONTRIBUTE TO THE WELL-BEING OF OUR PLANET. Donate food and clothing to the poor in your area. Volunteer time at a social service agency. Put up bird feeders and keep them filled throughout the winter to supplement the diets of wild birds. Donate funds and items to non-profit groups, such as churches and environmental organizations. Make a pledge to do some form of good works in the new year. Helping others can take your mind off your own problems and inspire feelings of gratitude for what you do have.(As long as you don’t over-give and forget about yourself!see #5)

8. PRAY Take time for self-reflection, contemplation, meditation. The darkness of the winter time supports going within to give thanks, receive spiritual guidance, and set intentions for the upcoming year. This is one of my favorite prayers:

In my busy-ness, I sometimes forget to stop and give thanks for all the blessings in my life. I am truly fortunate to experience abundance, health and aliveness. I am grateful for the simple joys of laughter, for the ability to love and be loved, for the opportunity to witness everyday miracles.

9. CELEBRATE. However big or small the occasion, look for excuses to be in a state of celebration. You can celebrate failures too. They open doorways for something new to come in. Your positive attitude will activate the Law of Attraction and bring you even more positivity and goodness.

***

Enjoy this Season. I look forward to your comments.

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Trying to Eat Healthy Ruined Friday Night Dinner : Why We Need a Change

carbseatornoI spent Friday night out at a movie and dinner with a dear  friend whose partner didn’t want to see Thor in a dark world or a dark theater. We Since we’d forgone the pleasures of GMO popcorn laden with insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, fumigants, trans fats, artificial flavors, artificial flavoring and preservatives, we were hungry by the end. Which is where the night took a distinctly different turn from any other “dinner out” night I’ve ever had.

“Pizza?” Tess asked as we buckled up in my car.

Now pizza is my favorite food group in the whole wide world—right after popcorn. Could I dodge both bullets in the same night? I mean it was Friday and party time. Come on!

For once in my life there wasn’t even an inner struggle. “Um. Well. Maybe not.” What’s wrong with me? Somehow a carb fest of gluten with BGH-laced cheese just didn’t seem appealing.

“You’re joking. You love pizza.”

Tell me about it. “Yeah, well, not tonight, I guess. How ‘bout sushi?”

We live in a small town and food and entertainment options aren’t far apart. I drove the short way to the Japanese restaurant where the night’s theme of Consumer Apprehension continued to play out

Ordering a beer and saki wasn’t difficult. But then came the menu. I swear, it could have been labeled, “Pick Your Poison” the way we both eyed it. Tuna? Too much mercury. Crab? Sorry, it’s imitation (red-dyed Alaskan Pollack). Unagi (eel)? Yellowtail?

“Where’s the yellow tail from?” Tess asked the waitress. Another trip back to the sushi chef and we had the answer: Japan.

We looked at one another, the deadly word Fukushima hanging unspoken in the air between us. Forget the yellowtail. Forget the eel. What about the Northwest fallback favorite, salmon? I shook my head. Since Fukushima, for the first time in the 24 years I’d lived in the Pacific Northwest I hadn’t made the annual November pilgrimage to my fishing connection at the local Nisqually Indian tribe to buy the fresh-caught silver salmon that ran upriver from the Puget Sound estuary only 15 miles away.

Just say no to Pacific salmon.

Shocked at our dilemma, we continued to plod through the menu. Chicken? Neither of us could stomach the idea of eating agri-business chicken because of the ghastly tortured existence the birds endured. Same with beef and pork. “Shall I come back?” the restless waitress inquired.

“Sure.”

“Christ. I can’t believe this,” I murmured. Eating out used to be so much fun.

“You know, I went to Safeway the other day and walked through the whole store and couldn’t find one thing to eat that wasn’t processed, filled with sugar or artificial crap,” said Tess.

“Really? What about their organic section?”

“Trucked from God know where with a carbon footprint the size of Texas?” she shook her head. “I finally drove to the co-op, bought a bunch of local organic vegetables and we made a stir-fry.”

“Maybe we should just get uki-udon noodles and some veggies?” I suggested unenthusiastically. Maybe we should go to my house and cook?

The waitress came back. For lack of any other real choice, we both ordered miso soup and east coast shrimp. By that time all I wanted was another beer—or something stronger.

But dammit, I’ve numbed myself long enough. Last night was inevitable. It’s been coming ever since Rachel Carson first started blowing the whistle in her book Silent Spring way back in 1962. And although we’ve come a long way on the environmental front, we’re far from a widespread populist movement demanding clean air, clean water and healthy food on our tables. Hell, state amendments to label GMOs have been beaten out in the two most progressive states in the US through the vast injection of Monsanto Money into ad coffers.

We’re being sold bad health with a vengeance and we’re buying it with hardly a blink.

What will it take to change? Glow-in-the-dark caviar appearing on Elitist Corporate Tables worldwide and them finally waking up? Maybe. Or maybe more of us just need an educational Friday night out now and then.

Three Benefits to Manage Stress: Better Health, Rejuvenation & Weight Loss

Graves

By Louisa Graves

Excerpted from ‘AGE-PROOF: Beauty Alternatives You Need to Know’

Our bodies respond to our thoughts and feelings. When we’re feeling down our bodies become tired and sometimes even sick. When we feel positive, our bodies are healthier; we become uplifted, more energized and enthusiastic about life. If you have a hectic lifestyle or occupation, here are life-changing tips that can help you feel less stressed, more energized and rejuvenated.

The Stress, Weight Gain & Brain Fog Connection

Living in a constant state of stress not only rapidly ages us, but it also affects our health and hormones, impairs memory, and causes weight gain. Continuous stress causes the body to naturally release a hormone called cortisol. As stress prolongs we experience brain fog, irritability and sadness as well as additional inches of fat on the waist, hips and thighs. This can be devastating for many women.

Our stress hormone Cortisol, provides energy. When produced in excess, cortisol blocks the thyroid hormone which regulates how quickly we burn calories. This hinders weight loss, increases belly fat, water retention and cravings for high-carbohydrate foods such as sweets and starchy foods. These high glycemic and caloric comfort foods stimulate our endorphins (feel-good transmitters) in the brain, providing a temporary high that calms us for a short time.

However, high-carb foods enter the blood stream quickly and cause blood sugar spikes that stimulate the production of insulin. When insulin levels rise, the body’s ability to burn fat slows down. As this cycle continues, the pancreas eventually stops producing the correct supply of insulin the body requires, which can lead to diabetes. In addition, sugar and high-carbohydrate foods cause inflammation and aged-looking skin, low energy, sore joints and even some diseases.

Continued stress exhausts the adrenal system, leading to a variety of health concerns such as depression, fatigue, thyroid issues, brain fog, panic attacks, irritability, low libido, restlessness, weight gain and more. Please visit your doctor if experiencing these symptoms.

Reading Emails Increases Stress and Our Waistlines

Did you know that reading emails increases stress? One study revealed that the anticipation of what’s in an email causes cortisol production to rise. In addition, those annoying unsolicited emailed advertisements prey on our fears, increasing anxiety even further.

Everywhere we look someone is texting, tweeting, emailing or phoning someone else. I’ve witnessed ‘texters’ causing traffic accidents and bumping into others. One gal even tripped and fell into a mall fountain while texting and walking!

Electronic Devices and the Weight Gain Connection

The reality is that to do our jobs many of us must rely on phones, computers and other electronic devices. But the sad truth is that when we’re ‘on’ for countless hours a day, our bodies spew out cortisol. This can drain the adrenal system, cause anxiety, sleeplessness, over eating, and cravings for junk food, which affects our wellbeing and increases our waistlines.

Given the ever-increasing rise in obesity rates I often wonder if using electronic devices are another cause of this skyrocketing phenomenon. Read the alarming obesity statistic below. It’s something to think about. Who doesn’t have a cell phone or computer?

FACT: In the USA, adult obesity rates increased in 16 states during the past year and none of the 50 states showed any decline in their rates of obesity.

If your job requires communicating via email or phone, take two moments each hour of the day to re-set your self back to calm mode. I also recommend that if you have a high-stress schedule to begin your day with meditation,

In addition, set boundaries while away from work. Turn your cell phone off during lunch. Take a quiet 10-15 minute walk by yourself. Walking is a scientifically proven stress buster and can be done easily.

Consider turning your computer and phones off after 7:00 p.m. Time away from work is your time. Calm your mind, nourish your body and just be. This will result in a more focused, healthier and rejuvenated you.

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Louisa Graves has appeared on myriad national television shows including The Talk, Extra, and The Doctors, and has been a beauty expert on over 500 terrestrial radio interviews including on WGN, KIIS-FM, and Sirius XM Doctor Radio. Louisa has appeared on the cover of Woman’s World Magazine and is also featured regularly in their “Ask America’s Ultimate Expert” column. Her tips have been featured on MSNBC.com, WomansDay.com, AOL Health and SheKnows.com. Louisa’s YouTube page has had over 1,000,000 views and thousands of professionals and private individuals subscribe to her newsletter. Louisa is also the author of her bestselling book ‘Hollywood Beauty Secrets: Remedies to the Rescue‘. For more information visit www.hollywoodbeautysecrets.com

Listen to What Your Body is Telling You

asa_yoga_meditatingAs I progressed with my morning yoga and stretching routine this morning, ribs and clavicle sore from a fall nearly two weeks ago, it occurred to me how often the decisions our brain makes directly impact the well-being of our body. My sweet body had no say in my decision to step from one countertop across to the other as I cleaned the cabinet tops of my daughter’s “new” vintage apartment. Mom wanted to be sure the kitchen was pristine for Natalie and her roommate.  Natalie had no time to stop me as I said, “Spot me.” Misjudging the spread between counters, I went straight to the floor. Crash!

While VERY fortunate to not have had worse consequences, my brain’s poor decision put my body in jeopardy. My sweet body had no say in the matter until its voice spoke up in resulting discomfort and the process of healing over time.

How often do our brains put our bodies in predicaments, decisions resulting in compromised well-being? Be it a movement that results in injury or a poor food choice that leaves our stomach churning in misery, a decision that came from the brain leaves our body to bear the consequences.

These can be snap decisions or ongoing decisions (think excessive eating, smoking, over exercising).  How do we give our body a voice? How do we let our body speak up BEFORE it gets jolted, pained or harmed? Remember, we get one body to experience this lifetime. It deserves respect and honor. And whether you see your body as a temple or not, it is THE primary home in which we live.  So, how do we give it a voice in the decisions our brain subjects it to? Repeated discomfort from its decisions often don’t do the trick. Think eating the same food over and over that leaves us miserable, but we can’t resist because it’s so yummy.

Maybe some perspective is a pathway to bodily comfort and health. We have our body, mind, emotions and Spirit, a “quadrinity” of sorts that represents our wholeness. Does your quadrinity work as a team? Does your brain often step back and let your body, emotions and Spirit speak? How do we train our brain to give the others a voice that is heard?

For starters, being more CONSCIOUS of our body, habituating our brain to listen to the body is one substantive step. What did I feel when I was about to cross the kitchen in the air? I recall thinking, “It will be less work than getting down to the floor and climbing back up on the other side.” Did I hesitate? Not beyond the thought. But that very thought was a cue that that their was a consideration to heed, and a possible risk in following through. Otherwise, I would not have had that thought of an alternative.

Listening to our INNER voice, instead of the brain’s overpowering “just do it” is a skill that takes dedication to cultivate, be it through mindfulness or meditation training or another method that works for you.

An article I recently read about Ayurveda gave me profound perspective, a catalyst to listening more to my body, albeit I have a ways to go or I would not have attempted my kitchen counter leap. Our BODY is always in the PRESENT. It never lies. It speaks truth. Yet, our BRAIN is often in the PAST or the FUTURE.  Putting our body first, giving it the opportunity to alert us to what it needs, or not, brings us present to the decisions we make can serve us better for the future and help us learn from the past.  It is here that I come full circle to yoga, which in essence is about connecting the body and the mind through your breath.

So, when making that decision, when that soft voice yearns to be heard, take a DEEP breath. LISTEN. What is that voice saying? Whose voice beckons to be heard? Was my body’s voice trying to speak to say, “DON’T DO IT! I WILL GET HURT!”  I need to be more conscious when my body’s voice is trying to keep my brain’s powerful voice at bay, protecting my body from yet another consequence that might leave me injured, sore, or wondering how to cure my upset stomach.

We have the tools. We just need to give our body its voice. As for our emotions and spirit, let’s take one smart step at a time. The segments of our quadrinity can all learn from one another.

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