The Power of Tidying Up: How a Clean Home can Transform your Life + Mental Health 🏠

During our recent Declutter your Home, Clear your Mind masterclass, we heard feedback and insights relating to how clutter was affecting participants. Perhaps you can relate:

“My purse is worse than my house, and my house is pretty packed”

“Can’t find the stuff I’m looking for”

“I have two extra bedrooms that were supposed to be guest rooms but now they are just full of stuff

It even applies to our body weight! “I’m carrying the burden of my house on my body”

For so many of us living in a home environment that doesn’t support our best selves, our mental health suffers. Our ADHD overwhelm ratchets up, and so often too does our anxiety and depression.

How does an untidy or dirty home affect our mental health?

Are you feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or just not like yourself lately? It could be time to take a look at your living space. Research has shown that the state of our homes can have a profound effect on our mental health and wellbeing.

Think about it: when you enter a room that has cobwebs, dust, clutter, and dirt, it often leads to the thought of wanting to leave immediately; however, if we live in this place, we can’t ‘escape’. What typically results then are feelings of stress and overwhelm; we don’t like the situation and we don’t even know where to start improving it. An untidy house can also lead to, or worsen, feelings of anxiety and depression…and then…

Distracting or ‘numbing’ techniques come in. We hop on social media to put our eyes on something other than the our field of vision within the house. We might work more to avoid how inadequate we feel about our home situations. Avoiding the home by shopping (which worsens the problem), frequently eating out at restaurants, or socializing late into the night are all coping mechanisms too. But all of these can contribute to fatigue, weight gain, and an even worse home environment.

Because the state of our homes impacts our well-being in so many ways, having this one area of our lives in better order can open us up to our futures, new experiences, and even being *gasp* company-ready for when neighbors or friends come by with little or no notice.

We need to acknowledge that clutter and disorganization can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety, overwhelm and a lack of productivity. On the other hand, a clean and organized home can promote feelings of calm, confidence, and relaxation. Here’s a 5-step tidying-up process to follow:

First, assess the state of your home by answering these questions:

  • For those of us working from home, what does a dusty desk full of papers do to our ability to be more focused and productive?
  • How do you feel when you go into your bathroom to use it? Are there yellow rings in the toilet bowl? Is it hard to see yourself through the water stains on the mirror?
  • The kitchen – does having a sink full of dishes or dirty counters have you, yet again, ordering takeout? Do the crumbs on the kitchen floor irritate you and get transferred to the rugs in the others rooms of your house?
  • Are you able to relax in your living room or are the many visible wires, toys, pet hairs on the furniture standing out and burdening your mind?

Change always begins with awareness. When we are done distracting ourselves from the state of our house, we can acknowledge that we need help in actually decluttering and cleaning.

Second, start small. It’s essential to lessen overwhelm by focusing on one small area of your home. It could be a single kitchen drawer that gets decluttered or organized, a shelf, linen closet, or even a pantry makeover that can have us feeling much better in almost no time. As yourself if the item serves a useful purpose or brings you joy. If it doesn’t, it’s time to let it go. Consider donating or selling items that are in good condition, and recycle or dispose of anything that can’t be reused.

Third, create routines that work for you. It’s just like diets. What works for your mother, best friend, or celebrity on Instagram is probably not going to work for you. Why? Because your life situation is different, so are your challenges and obstacles. It’s like trying to make a size 6 shoe fit when you really wear a 9. You can probably be terribly uncomfortable for a little while, but eventually you’ll have so many blisters and be in so much pain, you’ll take those shoes off and throw them away. Same with others routines.

Fourth, and most important, a perfectly home doesn’t exist. The more you can release yourself from the chains of perfectionism, the better. A fulfilling, satisfying life awaits you, and you don’t need perfectly clean baseboards to step into a better, more expanded way of living.

Fifth, getting support and accountability can be a total game-changer. Playing ‘beat the clock’ and decluttering items with others, being able to share your challenges and get helpful feedback, as well as individual and group support, can be so helpful in implementing the plans you have in your head.

Does that sound like a dream? Oh, it’s definitely a reality. We’ve created the Chaotic to Clean Home Club so you can start reaping the benefits of a tidy space.

Remember, cleaning and organizing your home is not a one-time task. It’s an ongoing process that requires commitment and dedication. In the Club, we encourage you to set aside time each week to clean and declutter, share successes and challenges, decluttering and cleaning tips, and learn how to set up your own routines.

Joining the Chaotic to Clean Home Club can have a powerful impact on your mental health and wellbeing. By decluttering and organizing your home, you can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and promote a sense of calm and relaxation. So, what are you waiting for? Start today and transform your life through the power of tidying up!

💔 Break up with Sugar + What Happens

Perhaps you’re popping the last bonbons or chocolates of Valentine’s Day into your mouth as you read this. “Okay, yeah, I know sugar isn’t good for me but how bad is it really? Isn’t it just extra calories?”

How Sugar Harms our Health

Unfortunately, added sugars in our diets are way more deleterious to our health than just giving us extra calories. They can actually cause nutrient depletion, contribute to excess body fat and weight gain, cause a blood-sugar rollercoaster ride, low mood, energy bursts + slumps, disruption of a healthy gut microbiome, feed abnormal cells (e.g. cancer), and so much more.

How to Reduce Sugar in our Diets

Every meaningful change starts with awareness.

  • Learn about how much added sugar the average American and you eat (don’t be fooled – one of our vegan clients ate mostly healthy food but also managed to get in 117g of added sugar into a single day!)
  • Educate yourself about how the body processes sugar and its detrimental effects.
  • Figure out how to identify the many names for sugar in the ingredients lists of the foods you eat.
  • Check your foods (and your children’s and pets’) for hidden sugars.
  • Get guidance from a nutrition expert who can help you break your addiction to sugar and support you on your wellness journey.
  • Tools & Resources to Reduce Added Sugar Consumption

    We understand how hard it is to break up with sugar – it was one of our first loves! After deep-dives into educating ourselves and seeing the effects of poor diets, including too much added sugar, in hospitals and clinical practice, we committed to taking control of our own sugar intake and helping others do the same. It’s not easy but it is doable.

    Fortunately, we have two options to further both your education + implementation around breaking ties with sugar and gaining better body composition, weight loss, digestion, heart health, better skin, naturally elevated energy levels and more!

      1. Join our Sugar Busters Masterclass on Thursday

      1. The ’25’ Sugar Detox Challenge is where we have 25g or less of added sugar for 25 days. We have group and individual sessions to help you achieve your best results. Starts on Sunday!

    What Happens when you Stop Eating Added Sugar?

    A variety of good things! Here’s what some people have experienced through our programs and work together:

    “I was already eating well but having a layer of junk food on top of it! By paying attention to sugar intake and assistance in reducing it, I have lost 18.6 lbs in two months!” – Bobbie A., Columbus, OH

    “Fall 2018: While eating my second to last of an entire package of cookies (chocolate macadamia nut I believe they were) and calling it lunch, the thought that I love sugar a little too much once again crossed my mind. Those tasty treats also reminded me of my life-long turbulent love affair with sugar… remember when my dear love sugar gave me diabetes for an anniversary present about 10 years ago! While eating that last cookie, I pulled up an article that listed the characteristics of a sugar addict and I think I nailed 5 out of 6! Maybe… maybe now is the time I can do something to gain control over what looks more and more like a real addiction….

    Spring 2019: So there I was… standing on a digital scale in my closet looking down at a weight I haven’t seen since the 10th grade (that’s 37 years ago if you’re curious)!” – Steven (full success story here)

    “The individual calls focused on one area and the chance to ask questions one-on-one. This helped me feel accountable and made me think before I ate something. Despite the fact I could have put more effort into it, I did see improvements and lost 7lbs!” – Jane V., Columbus, OH

    “Weight loss of 5lbs, pants feel better! I’m in control and am seeing results.” – Erin D., Columbus, OH

    “There are so many sources of hidden sugar in the foods than I ever knew! I would recommend this program to everyone, especially moms.” – L.B., Columbus, OH

    “I started the challenge because of all the sugar I eat (I love candy). I have had none during this challenge and my whole body feels better. I feel more alert and love seeing how little sugar I can eat. Even more than losing weight, I love the mental focus & overall better health that I’m experiencing during this detox”- Jan R., Columbus, OH

    There are only a few questions to ask yourself at this point:

      1. What’s your current sugar consumption and health like? What will happen if you don’t make any changes and continue on this path?

      1. What do you believe is possible for yourself – how you’d feel, look, focus and produce – if you broke up with added sugar?

    You can change the trajectory of your life right now, with your very next meal or snack. Start with reducing added sugars to win big!

    Blame it on the Alcohol?

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    Image source: pixabay.com

    Jamie Foxx’s song “Blame it” encourages blaming alcohol for all ruined relationships, unsafe situations, and perceived enhancement of other’s attractiveness. Outside of the many issues and poor decisions can that can result from a night of boozing, including a high credit card bill, higher risk for accidents, and even a 2am Taco Bell run…there are more. During Covid-19, some are hitting the wine and beer harder.

    Let’s review the basics: alcohol interferes with communication between nerve cells and all other cells in the body. Moderation (the amount considered to not contribute to any major health concerns) for the average woman is defined by the CDC as not more than one drink per day and for the average man as not having more than two.

    A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics asserts, “there has been an increase in the proportion of US adults who drink on any given day and an increase in calories consumed from alcoholic beverages when drinking occurs.”

    What effect is this having on us from a weight loss perspective? Or a liver-health one?

    Now we appreciate the humor some of you bring to our appointments:

    “I think I’m drinking enough water. There’s water in beer, right?”

    “I’m not too concerned. It’s called a liver, not a die-er”

    “Wine-o? Maybe; I prefer ‘wine-yes'”

    With alcoholic beverages being among the top five contributors to total caloric intake among US adults, this is something we need to talk about. But beyond calories, here are more reasons to explore your relationship with alcohol:

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    Butterflies & Zombies: Story of Coronavirus

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    A lot can change in a little over a week. For us, we marveled at how quickly news about the coronavirus shrouds and alters both excitement over buying a house and planning a fall wedding. Such is life, and we all must adapt….and even metamorphose a bit. Speaking of which, let’s review the butterfly lifecycle and see how it relates to us with this current public health crisis. As you may remember from second grade, the egg becomes larva (a caterpillar) and then its pupa stage operating in a cocoon. Finally the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis state, dries its wings and flies.

    Sometimes things need to get worse before they get better. Like a scab or a detox-reaction, things can appear ugly and hopeless during transition but then metamorphize into something more vibrant and beautiful. The scab of society is such that, despite Eleanor Roosevelt reminding us that, “with freedom comes responsibility,” we haven’t been responsible to or for each other in awhile. It has been within the past couple of years that the only ‘epidemic’ the government seemed to be reporting on was the ‘loneliness epidemic’ (1), and it’s not just been a problem for the elderly; an article on Forbes.com last year mentioned how lonely millennials have been (2). We can change this now, despite ‘social distancing’ and re-connect with our loved ones and our communities.

    For those of you who’ve seen zombie movies, you know that there are two threats – not just one – to overcome. The first and immediate threat is the virus or catastrophic event that turns the people into zombies. The second and possibly bigger threat is the zombies themselves, the people who inspire and perpetuate fear and distrust through their selfish actions.

    We will see the best and worst parts of our communities; the best thing we can do is look out for ourselves and other people. Some people are hoarding and taking advantage. This is part of the reason why there were rations for sugar, bread, meat, milk, and flour during the World Wars, to help people share food fairly. When human ‘zombies’ fail to regulate themselves and their fears, sometimes outside regulations help.

    This is the best time to slow down, self-regulate, and prevent harm from spreading throughout the community.  One thing we can do during social distancing is to love people from afar – calls, texts, sending groceries, and supporting our local businesses by buying gift cards or ordering carry-out.

    Remember the butterfly stages? What we didn’t mention before is that things get really gross and discombobulated during the pupa phase. The chrysalis acts as a container and protects the butterfly-to-be as the body digests itself from the inside out and becomes a soupy substance. From these parts, new cells for the butterfly’s wings, organs, and antennae form. How creepy and yet marvelous a process this is!

    How can we turn this challenging time to our advantage? By thinking of this as our ‘chrysalis’ time – a period where things are creepy, gross, and scary – but also full of exactly what we need to transform ourselves and our lives. This is an excellent time for:

    • Reflection – unplugging from ‘group-think’ and the typical consumerist tendencies to over-buy and play into the hands of fear. Self-reflection during this time can help you listen to that which is habitually drowned-out: your inner guidance. Just because others are buying tons of stuff, like Black Friday, you can opt-out. Be conscious and live mindfully.
    • Minimalism and decluttering. Minimalism helps self-regulation and temptation to follow the whims of others. If you haven’t learned some of the philosophies and principles, this may be worth looking into. Decluttering – if it’s been on your mind for awhile and you just haven’t had the time, now is a wonderful opportunity. For the hoarders out there, just remember that a lot what you’ve purchased may need to be discarded eventually through food expiration/waste, lack of space in the home, or sheer ability to individually utilize 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer. If you have extra toothpaste, canned or other goods, consider donating and helping others.
    • House cleaning and projects. The lightbulb that needs to be replaced. The wood that needs to be sealed. The niggling list of to-dos can be dealt with during this time of self-quarantine.
    • Checking in with family and friends more. Calling or video chatting with your parents and siblings, even if you can’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, or birthdays in-person together. Speaking of birthdays, if you have a friend who has a birthday during this time, offer to have food from a favorite restaurant delivered to them (you’d be helping a small business too!) and to yourself; then have lunch together, via video-conference.
    • Mental health. Keep your hands clean and your head clean. How many people say, “I need to meditate more” but never do? Lots. So start with 5 minutes or use an app (Headspace is quite popular). How else can we improve mental health during this time? We can still go outside and walk in nature. Listen to music, positive podcasts. Your mental diet matters just as much as your physical diet, though the food you eat will also impact your mood and cognition. If you have fur babies, give them extra cuddles and both of you will feel better. Consider a ratio of 1:2 for your mental ‘food’ intake. For every 10 minutes of reading terrible news stories, meditate for 20. Read an inspiring novel; watch baby bunny or funny animal video compilations.
    • Sleep. All of the sleep-deprived ‘zombies’ out there, this is for you. If you are working from home, that’s an automatic 1-2 hour time savings from driving in traffic five times per week. You’ve just gained 5-10 hours a week that you can put towards sleeping more. Score!  If you’re still going to the office or aren’t currently able to work, routine is still important to keep up and sleep is foundational to good health. Prioritize this as much as possible.
    • Netflix or new hobby? There is room for both. Have a Pinterest board of recipes to explore? Pick one or two and have an adventure. As a friend pointed out, a lot of the Standard American Diet (read: S.A.D.) is what is missing from the shelves but the ethnic foods were still amply stocked. Experiment with some miso, mirin, nori in a Japanese stirfry or asafoetida in your Indian or Mexican cuisine. Have a shelf full of books? Pull one out and read for an evening. Want to make your own lip balm and bodycare? Learn about herbs, personal finance, computer programming?  Thank the internet gods for still working and get going on your chosen syllabus. Netflix has its place – it can be great to get swept into a silly, romantic comedy series where all the conflicts are neatly tied up at the end. Or you could watching documentaries about tragic events in the past (e.g. the Holocaust, Titanic, etc) and thank your lucky stars that you never had to endure those events; it can put help put things into perspective.
    • Skill-building. Always wanted to learn to cook or can? There’s a cookbook, Pinterest Pin or app for it. If you’ve been laid off, there are things you can do to bolster your resume. Learn graphic design, take an online course, practice time management as you look for jobs (and for those of you working from home). Learn another language. One of our medical patient’s goals is to be able to converse in French by the time this coronavirus has started to fade into public memory – it’s a positive goal she has to better herself and use this time well.
    • Take care of your health now. There’s something you know you could be doing that you haven’t done yet. Whether that’s sleep, meditation, learning how to cook (or cook healthier), taking walks or working out at home, stopping smoking, or actually practicing managing your stress, choose one thing and work from there. Remember, though coronavirus is an acute disease which can kill, we still have the big three ‘killer’ chronic diseases to continue to contend with: heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. They may not seem as dramatic as Covid-19 right now, but we can take steps to address them, while improving our immune systems, during this time.

    Remember, we will all be called to account for our behavior during this time. Would you like to be able to, truthfully, say you one of the zombie hoarders or one of the brave helpers

    Actions speak louder than words so put into play one or more of these suggestions mentioned above and you will emerge from this cocoon-time having a clean, uncluttered, updated abode with routines in place for the future. You’ll open the front door and be ready to embrace opportunities in your business or obtain a new job with your impressive resume. Crawl out of your chryalis not as an unfit coach potato, but a creature who is stronger and fitter, competent and skilled, a confident, vibrantly healthy and attractive better-you butterfly. Now is the time. Choose wisely….

     

    …..we so badly wanted to put a gif from the Indiana Jones’ movie Temple of Doom but resisted :D.

    Works Cited

    (1) Health Resources & Services Administration. The “Loneliness Epidemic.” https://www.hrsa.gov/enews/past-issues/2019/january-17/loneliness-epidemic

    (2) Neil Howe. “Millennials and the Loneliness Epidemic.” 3 May 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilhowe/2019/05/03/millennials-and-the-loneliness-epidemic/#430350127676

    Drop the Sweets!

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    Put down the pieces of candy picked up from your coworker’s desk.

    The Reese’s cups from the vending machine.

    The 3rd cup of coffee for today.

    It may be 3pm and the post-lunch energy lull can cause us to reach for the drugs that pep us up. Yes, drugs. Sugar and caffeine – legal though they way be, beware of how they can be robbing you of your natural energy and more.

    In an exercise during our recent Sugar Busters class, we explored the history of sugar, the estimated consumption, and then what the average ‘healthy’ American’s intake is. The result was rather shocking. After the coffee and hazelnut creamer, granola and Greek fruit yogurt for breakfast as well as a turkey sandwich and side salad with dressing for lunch, the total is 64 grams of added sugar. That’s before stopping by the coworker’s desk for two fun-size Twix bars (they’re really tiny, we know, but you’ll need to add another 16 grams). So now we’re at 80 grams of added sugar for the day and before dinner! In a game of Sugar Monopoly, you’re about to land in blood-sugar-dysregulation ‘jail’, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

    Are you aware of the World Health Organization’s recommendation limiting our added sugar intake to 5% or less of our daily calorie needs? Or to have less than 25 grams of added sugar per day?

    The truth is, for most of us trying to follow a healthy meal pattern, there’s generally a layer of ‘frosting’ on top of our nutritious choices. Whether the client is vegan, following Weight Watchers, or some other diet program, the sugar seems to seep in.

    Added sugar in the diet has been the cause of many of our ills, as a people. Our poor pancreases haven’t been able to keep up with the onslaught of added sugar in the diet since the time the first sugar refinery opened in the United States. The fact that sugar is a negative-nutrient should cause alarm. This is not the food equivalent of Sweden. It is not a ‘neutral’ agent in your body, only supplying a few extra calories. In order to break it down, the body’s reserves of vitamins and minerals are used – in effect, sugar ‘steals’ these nutrients from you! Let this sink in. This important concept should help us realize and treat items with this added sugar with a sense of suspicion, disdain, and then complete eradication. If that seems too strong for you at this point, try to focus on reduction of added sugars in your diet. You’ll still be heading in a better direction and help yourself possibly side-step diabetes and other chronic disease.

    Here’s your mission, should you choose to accept it: track the added sugars in your diet. Use labels to see how much added sugar is in your bread, salad dressing, instant oatmeal, or barbecue sauce. Or use an app such as MyFitnessPal or Cronometer to track it. Then, if you know you need to make some changes, head on over to join the rest of us in the upcoming Sugar Detox Challenge! The journey starts this Sunday, January 26th.

    Change your toxic relationship with added sugars and change your LIFE.

    The Perfect Cuppa ‘Joan’ 🍵

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    There are many theories as to why a cup of coffee is referred to as a ‘cup of Joe’; two strong contenders emerge. One involves “joe” being a slang derivative from the other commonly-used slang words for coffee: “java” and “jamoke” (the latter of which is composed from the words “java” and “mocha”, kind of like what we did for the 5-spice Hot ‘Choffee’ recipe blog). So it’s possible that asking for a “cup of java/jamoke” could have easily turned into asking for a “cup o joe.”

    The other theory is that “joe” was slang that referred to the common man, perhaps similarly to the way we might say, “hey man, good to see you” or “alright, dude.” Even the term “average joe” gives the idea that joe, or coffee, was a beverage for the common man. Have a little bit of fun and do your own research though; some fun slang we put together from the 1920’s: “You think he’s the bee’s knees? Horsefeathers! He’s zozzled, a wet blanket AND a lollygagger. Let’s blouse.” Care to translate? (Read our answer at the bottom.)

    If a cup of ‘Joe’ is coffee, we think of a cup of tea as ‘Joan.‘ With the masculine name of “Joe,” we are given a clue to how coffee reacts in the body. The caffeine content of coffee can provide the rather aggressive ‘jolt’ we need to wrestle ourselves from the tendrils of sleepiness that remain so that we can start our days.

    While tea can have an effect with its caffeine content, it’s generally not as severe. Depending on caffeine content and your sensitivity to caffeine, it could be more of a gentle ‘lift’ into your day. Studies show that tea has a multitude of health benefits too.

    The Many Beautiful Faces of ‘Joan’

    Tea is so much more than just Earl Grey or green. There are more than 3,000 varieties of tea, including oolong, green teas (including matcha), white tea and so many options with herbal teas (think beyond peppermint, chamomile, and ginseng). In fact, we have a whole cabinet dedicated to our teas. As we check in with the body each morning, it may signal the need for a bit of a pick-me-up, in which case the white tea or ginseng may be chosen. Maybe red raspberry tea for hormone health. If we’re feeling a bit under-the-weather, our cold and flu tea blend will come out. Jasmine is a relaxing favorite that has currently joined us for this writing.

    Join the Tea Party

    Whether black, green, or white, these teas all come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Rooibos (also known as red tea) and herbal teas are exceptions. The color of the tea depends on the processing method and how much oxidation it undergoes during production. Generally speaking, the less oxidized a tea is, the lighter color it is…and the more antioxidant and polyphenol compounds it contains. Also, tea typically has much less caffeine than coffee, and some teas are naturally caffeine-free.

    The health benefits of tea come from a tea’s polyphenol content. Research shows that tea drinkers may have stronger bones, lower incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and lower cholesterol levels.

    From most to least oxidized:

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    Fit in Fitness: 4 Tips

    To sing-quote the 80’s band, Europe, “it’s the final count-down!”….

    ….of 2019. During this last quarter before the new year begins, how many of us are still on a roll with our weight, diet, and fitness goals?

    If increasing physical activity has been part of your plans, here are a few tips on how to squeeze exercise into our ever-increasingly busy lives.

        1. Schedule it! A favorite saying shared with our clients is this “if you don’t plan, plan to fail.” Whether it’s menu-planning, arranging for proper sleep, or getting your exercise in, it is unlikely to get done unless you look at your weekly plan and then create physical activity time-blocks and protect them like gold.
        2. Work out at home. Yes, it can be such a brilliantly simple solution and yet we often choose to believe that we need 2 hours (we don’t have) to allow time to get to the gym, change clothes, workout, shower, and drive back home. Forget all that – you can just WORKOUT. Load up YouTube, your favorite fitness app, or a yoga routine for 15-30 minutes in a comfortable space and start the calorie burning. That’s it! Bonus: you’ll be saving travel time as well as money formerly spent on a gym membership. Also, you don’t need to worry about what you look like – you can workout in your pajamas with hair that resembles a deranged mental patient’s – and then shower. No fancy clothes, make-up, or other props needed for dealing with the public as you would at a gym.
        3. Make it fun with metrics! Lots of our clients enjoy competing against themselves (and their friends) when it comes to getting their steps in or seeing how many calories they burned in the day. Some have even found that the technology has helped in avoiding higher-calorie, lower-quality food choices that could sabotage their efforts.
        4. Get up early to exercise. Starting the day with a metabolic-boosting workout from the comfort of our homes is a great way to start a productive day. It also means no longer have to deal with the obstacles that stand in our way to exercise at day’s end.
    1. Give it a try and let us know how these tips work for you!

    Spring Mediterranean Salad

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    The Mediterranean Diet features beneficial fats, fiber, protein and a variety of vitamins and minerals which help keep us healthy. Many studies suggest that the Mediterranean way of eating can improve heart health. Plus it’s easy to follow at any meal – breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

    Salads deserve a special celebration this month because they are an excellent vehicle for getting in our greens, veggies, healthy fats and protein sources. They don’t have to be boring either! To help create variety, consider choosing a different protein to add in for your salads (i.e. chickpeas, salmon, hardboiled eggs, steak strips, nuts & seeds). Another idea is to choose a cuisine to inspire you. If you like Greek food, make a Greek salad; or try a Mexican, Italian, or French one.

    By getting in a salad on a regular basis, you will be getting more nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants which help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, improve digestion, help with weight maintenance, and boost immunity! Here’s an template for a Mediterranean Salad; feel free to add items to make it your own!

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    Serves 1-2 people
    Prep time: 15-20 minutes

    Ingredients

    Salad
    2-4 cups of salad greens
    1 cup cherry tomatoes
    1 sliced cucumber
    1/2 cup red onion, chopped
    1/2 cup olives
    1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
    1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
    1 avocado, sliced or 1/4 cup hummus

    Dressing
    2 tbsp olive oil
    2tbsp lemon juice
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tsp oregano
    1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

    Rinse salad mix and place in medium-sized bowl; add other salad ingredients. To make the dressing, add ingredients into a bottle and shake well before pouring over the salad. Store in the fridge to keep fresh. Enjoy the fresh, juiciness of this salad!

    Tough Love Tuesday

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    A long-time close friend would often ask, after patiently listening to a litany of drama in a person’s life, “are you ready for some tough love?” And either the individual braced for it and cautiously replied, “sure” or, in a rare case, would demur.

    Sometimes we aren’t willing or ready to hear the hard truths of a situation. Our health is no exception.

    According to the Center for Disease Control’s 2016 data, the top causes of death in the United States include: heart disease, cancer, accidents (unintentional injuries), chronic lower respiratory diseases, and stroke (cerebrovascular diseases). With the majority of these causes of mortality being preventable by abstaining from smoking, eating well, and engaging in regular physical activity, we don’t really have much of a real excuse.

    A lot of us outsource our responsibility to doctors and the pills and surgeries recommended, without asking how we can take ownership of the only house we’ll live in for the rest of our lives.

    It’s like going to a mechanic when something is wrong with your automobile and finding out the problems you’re paying for now exist because you had neglected to do the proper maintenance for years. You had the best of intentions, but it just never got done. So the mechanic does the repairs and you pay for them, but if you keep essentially mistreating the car by ‘feeding’ it incorrectly and neglecting the early signs and symptoms of an issue, problems will re-appear and persist. Now who is at fault, and with whom does the responsibility lie – the mechanic or the car’s owner?

    It’s not a pretty truth. Humans are all so very good at being able give advice to others. We all can parrot off a small list of ideas on how others can improve their health, and we are quick to share parenting tips with other parents, to ‘fix’ our friends’ issues with their relationships…but do we even take our own advice? What is the disconnect between us KNOWING what we need to do to have good health and then us DOING it? It is often due to us rationalizing the problem and blaming it on external circumstances. “I should eat dinner at home…that healthy recipe I planned, but I got out of work late and there’s a pizza place right here….”

    Unlike replaceable cars, our bodies are the only vehicle we have to take us through our entire lives and many of us skip over the boring, daily maintenance including eating nourishing meals, getting exercise, and flossing.

    Once you allow the reality of the above statement to sink in, you may find yourself a bit unsettled, even angry. Many people feel stuck, unsure of where to start in trying to make health improvements. The enormity of the problem hangs before us and the temptation is to ‘numb out’ with some ice cream. “We’ll figure it out tomorrow”, we say to ourselves, “let’s just have a bit of distraction and calm down”. We want to avoid the truth because the truth would require us to change.

    We don’t know what steps to take, or how to do it…we’re afraid of failing. The fear, combined with our lack of know-how, often combine and we start to shut down and seek a comfortably numb existence…through denial and/or through a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Some of us retreat to a fantasy world where WE will never have a heart attack (despite indications in our lab values or family history telling us otherwise). Our secret wish is that ‘modern medicine’ will save us from our decades of poor food choices and sedentary lives.

    One way or another, reality catches us. We gain 10, 20, 30 pounds or more; we receive a diabetes or another unsettling diagnosis from the doctor. Often times, we’ve seen the train coming, but it was far off enough that we continued playing on the tracks.

    An example of this is a client who came in with diabetes type II; the client acknowledged years of blood sugar issues (and a family history), but since they didn’t have diabetes YET, they continued to eat the sweets as they pleased.

    There is a silver lining: your empowerment begins when you face the reality of your situation. It involves admitting that you’ve gained an extra 25lbs and that it’s negatively affecting your health and your life. Change begins when you acknowledge the truth first.

    What’s a health issue you are tolerating right now? What area of your wellness are you reluctant to shine a light on? Is it extra weight around your mid-section, poor sleep, high lab values, loneliness?

    Step 1. Leave denial and step into reality; have courage in telling the truth (whether it’s admitting it to yourself or a trusted friend) and let the healing begin.

    Step 2. Gather support. It’s easy to let yourself become overwhelmed with worry or how you’ll need to improve your situation. Gather emotional and practical support as you process your feelings; enlist the knowledgeable assistance you need. This could be a call to your doctor, therapist and meeting with an expert registered dietitian-nutritionist.

    You cannot outsource your health, but you can find people to assist you and guide you on your journey. The sage advice of a compassionate healthcare provider can help you turn things around so you can confidently move forward.

    Start with a complimentary 20-minute Discovery Call to share your health concerns, goals, and learn how we’ll work together to achieve a higher level of wellness.

    8 Tips to Shake the Salt

    shake off the salt

    The American diet is rich in high-sodium foods and, between processed foods and eating out, we are often getting much more than we need. Some say salt is a substitute for the flavor that used to exist when we consumed fresh, locally-grown produce. Though an easy way to flavor food, salt is a cheap and rather pedestrian flavoring agent.

    Excess salt is a danger to the body and the brain. It can raise blood pressure, risk of heart attack and stroke, put a strain on your kidneys, and more. Did you know it can also lead to over-eating and cause weight gain?

    Here are some tips to enjoy satisfying flavor in our foods, without added salt.

    1. Huddle up with herbs. What cuisines do you enjoy – Italian, Mexican, French, Indian? Choose some herbs that fit the flavor profiles and add them to your dish. For example, oregano, rosemary, and basil are go-to Italian herbs for elevating your pasta dish.
    2. Citrus zest and juices. Grate the skin of organic lemons, limes, or oranges for sweet and/or savory meals. Spritz fresh lime onto your tacos or lemon into a lentil soup.
    3. Roasted root vegetables. Lightly toss your favorite root vegetables (such as beets, parsnips, etc) in melted coconut oil and roast at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until tender, turning over once halfway through roasting.
    4. Eat slowly. Chewing your food well breaks down the carbohydrates, making it taste sweeter. Slowing down while eating introduces your tastebuds to the complex flavors in your food and makes for a more pleasurable meal experience.
    5. Caramelized onions. Sauté diced onions in some olive oil, stirring frequently until browned (about 45 minutes to 1 hour). Use in a French onion soup or on rice dishes, burgers or veggie burgers, omelets, and more!
    6. Organic food can be more flavorful. Try some organic strawberries or eggs and see if you can tell a difference between them and their conventional counterparts.
    7. De-glaze the pan. By simply using some balsamic vinegar, which combines with those sticky brown bits in your cooking pan, you can make a delicious sauce.
    8. Spice it up. Cumin adds a depth of flavor to a number of dishes, as does adobo, curry powder and even nutmeg.

    Evaluate your salt consumption and then challenge yourself to incorporate one or more of these ideas. Your tastebuds and body will appreciate it.