Trauma: An Awakening to Resilience

trauma an awakening

No one is free from trauma, even those who eat goji berries. One need not look further than the biblical story of Job or into the Buddha’s insights with the Four Noble Truths to see that suffering is indeed part of the human condition. Avoiding confronting painful events is like holding a beach ball under water. Sure you can do it, but it takes a lot of energy and it’s still likely to fly out of the water anyway (usually when you least expect it). It takes courage to examine these painful experiences and to follow a healing path, knowing that recovery is possible.

Dr. Peter Levine defines trauma as a result of instinctual resources of self-protection being overwhelmed, possibly as a result of perceived life-threatening experiences. We often think of trauma relating to soldiers returning from war, victims of severe abuse (including neglect) and violence, or those who’ve suffered catastrophic loss, accidents, or injuries. However, Dr. Levine suggests that trauma doesn’t have to originate from a single, major catastrophe; in fact, routine invasive medical and dental procedures, illness, birth stress (for mother and baby), natural disasters, or even minor car accidents can be traumatizing.

Childhood Trauma

Research shows that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are strongly correlated with the development of a wide range of health issues throughout a person’s life. Even if not a major event- for small children, just their parents yelling, thunder, or even a toy that scares them (i.e. a jack-in-the-box) can overwhelm their self-protective resources. Each person has their own resources and experiences that will influence whether something is exciting and fun or horrible and fear-inducing.

Effects of Trauma

Trauma can have debilitating after-effects in both mind and body. Unresolved trauma can be devastatingly life-altering and affect our thoughts, beliefs, habits, relationships, and decision-making abilities. For some, it can trigger physical pain and symptoms, even years later.

One of the wide-ranging ways trauma can effect us is by loosening the connection to ourselves, family, and even the outside world. We constrict our choices as we avoid certain places, people, and feelings. This can cause us to feel less energized and to lose opportunities for fulfilling our dreams and goals.

Begin your Healing Path

A gradual healing process can be helped by body-workers, therapists or psychologists, friends, family, life and health coaches, and more. This is a time to treat yourself gently and engage in extreme self-care. You may feel weak upon beginning your path, but your strength and your resilience will slowly build.

The good news is that we have within us the ability to master and transform trauma into triumph. May your inner journey help you recover a deeper sense of wholeness.

Recipe: The Best French Toast

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The Best French Toast is super-delicious and nutritious. Its list of credentials continues: it’s gluten- and dairy-free as well as vegan! Incredible.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: about 30 minutes total
Serves: 2-4 people

Ingredients

8 pieces of gluten-free bread (we used Canyon Bakehouse)
1 medium banana, mashed
1 1/4 cup almond milk (DIY here)
1/2 tbsp flaxseed
1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond meal (this will be used to coat the bread and add texture)

Instructions
Put all ingredients (except bread and almond meal) into a blender and run until well-mixed. Then transfer to shallow bowl. Preheat skillet to medium heat,  using coconut oil to grease the pan. Dip each slice of bread into the batter for about 10 seconds on each side then sprinkle almond meal carefully on each side. Place bread on skillet, cooking until golden brown on underside, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and repeat the process. Lastly, add your desired toppings! We chose blueberries cooked with maple syrup.

Green Smoothie Challenge eBook Release!

Perhaps you’ve thought to yourself, “I should really try having some green smoothies for breakfast or as a replacement for my 3pm-vending-machine-snack visit. I might have more energy and feel better. Ah, that sounds like a lot of work figuring out what ingredients I need and spending hours on Pinterest or at the grocery store. Maybe someday when _________ [insert your personal obstacle here].”

Well it’s time to bust through your own obstacles because when it comes to making a nutrient-rich meal, we have just done the lion’s share of the work for you!

The Green Smoothie Challenge eBook contains tips and tricks of the trade, 14 green smoothie recipes, ideas for substitutions, a food diary, superfood additions, and the grocery lists for week 1 and 2 of your personal challenge. Armed with this guide and your trusty blender, you’ll go far!

Spring is the perfect time to start adding in these green smoothies so you can experience having more energy, clearer skin, improved digestion, weight loss, or any number of benefits as yet unforeseen.

Get ready to experience the easiest and most sustainable way to enjoy some superfood-fueling smoothies; grab the guide and get started on the first week today!

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Client Spotlights!

There are so many hugs and high-fives on the road to clients reaching their goals; as March starts wrapping up, here are just a couple of stories from those are in-progress or have graduated from our Foundations of Health Program:

1. A New Father’s Post-partum Success

It’s no secret that most men whose partners are going through pregnancy tend to develop Couvade syndrome, also known as sympathetic pregnancy, where some of the same symptoms and behavior of the mother are picked up – most often including minor weight gain.

“A year ago I was trying ‘go it alone’ to lose weight, mainly with working out and I saw some results but the workouts didn’t stick and neither did my results.

This year, everything is different and I’m thrilled with the results so far! I’m drinking more water and I’m looking for ways to exercise, even with my infant son, to make sure it happens. In fact, since the start of us working together in early February (it’s now mid-March), I’ve lost over 17lbs – basically the same weight that my son is! My jeans and clothes fit better, I’m back to exercising and have much better energy these days (without the 4 cups of coffee and energy drinks I used to have)!” – Kevin R., Columbus, OH
big changes

2. Success in both Eating and Living better!

 “Frustrated with post-menopausal weight gain, a thickening waistline, and a lower energy level, I reached out to Adrienne.  After 5 months of working together, I lowered my body fat %, dropped a couple inches off my waist, and increased my energy level.  Achieving those goals was amazing, but the even better part was that there was MORE!  I worked with Adrienne for another 3 months, and she turned out to be more than just a nutrition coach – she’s a lifestyle coach!  We tackled issues like self-care, relationship improvement, stress reduction, alcohol cravings, and more. So now, not only do I EAT better, but I’m LIVING better, too!”    – Renee W., Columbus, OH

St. Paddy’s Shamrock Smoothie

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St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Ireland and worldwide as both a religious and cultural holiday. This 17th of March, whether you feast on stew and Irish soda bread or fill up on green beer, this drink provides a healthy way to connect with your Irish heritage or is great for a morning-after hangover cure.

Ingredients

3/4 cucumber
1 medium apple
4 stalks celery
10 leaves romaine lettuce or 2 cups
1/4 cup parsley
4 cups water

Instructions

Rinse and prep all produce. Use either a high-speed blender or a juicer (we opted for blending to keep the fiber). Add all ingredients and blend until smooth. This recipe makes 32 ounces. Because the nutrients breakdown soon after making the drink, plan to drink within 1-2 days or share a healthy pint with a friend.

Also, the tradition of getting pinched if not wearing green is alive and well! Apparently Irish immigrants believed wearing green made you invisible to leprechauns and fairy creatures. They would pinch others as a reminder to wear the color and therefore protect themselves from those devious troublemakers. Double up with your green juice and clothing!

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

Our 14-day Green Smoothie Challenge is coming soon! We’ve been working hard on ingredient pairing, grocery list building, and taste-testing (okay, that part is pretty easy :)) so that we can bring you a complete, and convenient, DIY way to boost your energy and vitality everyday for 2 weeks. Stay tuned for more details!

Beware the Ides of Starch!

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Source: Pexels.com

In William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar is warned by a soothsayer to “beware the Ides of March.” During the middle of this month, we’d also like to warn about the ides of starch.

In the past decade, gluten has become somewhat of a buzzword, inspiring inquisitions and concerns from the public such as, “Do I have gluten-sensitivity? Is a gluten-free diet right for me?”

Let’s start with the basics; what is gluten? It is a general term for the storage protein in certain grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and more. Gluten may be rather innocuous in the bodies of most of the population; however, if ingested by those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, there will be a rather antagonistic bodily reaction with uncomfortable symptoms to follow.

There is a difference between celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity. The former is a genetic, auto-immune disorder in which the body attacks itself and damages the small intestine when gluten in consumed (or in the case of Hashimoto’s, the thyroid). When people with celiac disease ingest a product containing gluten, their small intestines rebel and, within an hour or two, they may suffer sharp abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting. Those who are sensitive to gluten report a variety of symptoms (stomachaches, reflux, even poor memory) which are typically similar, but less severe symptoms than people with celiac disease.

When it comes to symptoms of celiac disease, there are some classic signs: weight loss, abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, nutritional deficiencies, and short stature. The so called “silent” signs of celiac disease include constipation, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), weight gain, osteopenia, and anemia.

Although only about 1 in 5000 people are diagnosed with celiac disease , recent research indicates that as many as 1 in 133 people may actually have celiac disease. The average time period between experiencing symptoms and getting a diagnosis is 11 years. Most often, the determination of celiac disease is made from blood samples and a biopsy of the small intestine.

If you think you may have celiac disease, talk to your physician about getting the blood-work and endoscopy needed to confirm diagnosis. Alternatively, if you are seeking a less invasive way to determine how your body reacts to gluten, you could try an elimination diet and, upon re-introduction of the offending substance, document any undesired symptoms.

Treatment for celiac disease involves following the gluten-free diet for life. This may seem stringent, but the complications associated with non-compliance (i.e. infertility, osteoporosis/osteopenia, cancers of the bowel, lymphoma) are serious. Remember that following the treatment diet will also help reduce and possibly eliminate your symptoms.

People diagnosed with celiac must not eat products containing wheat, rye, barely, malt, bran (except corn bran), spelt, and kamut. Oats are problematic not because they inherently contain gluten (they do not) but because they may contain a small amount of other grains from milling sources.

Typical hidden sources of gluten include: medications or vitamin/mineral supplements, broth, cheese slices, beer, licorice candy, salad dressing, soy sauce, modified food starch, cake icing, lipstick, marinades, sauces, breakfast cereals, tortillas, chicken nuggets and hydrolyzed vegetable or plant protein. Because of gluten’s ubiquity, it is best to employ a trained professional when determining the risk for cross-contamination at home, assessing foods in the grocery store to ensure they are gluten-free, and minimizing the exposure to gluten from other unsuspected sources.

Since flour and grain products are often used in cooking, it is important to ask how foods have been prepared, especially when dining out. Cross-contamination with gluten is another concern, both in restaurants and at home.

Talk with a qualified healthcare professional regarding your risk for celiac and consult with a registered dietitian to learn how to follow a gluten-free diet safely and nutriously. Remember, if you are diagnosed with celiac disease, following a gluten-free diet is of utmost importance in preserving your health and preventing lymphomas, colon cancer, or other malignancies.

Side-note: gliadin is a protein found within wheat gluten and is thought to be the real culprit; but because gluten is the term most people are familiar with, we’ve used it in the article to avoid confusion.

Article originally featured in UWeekly March 2nd, 2011