We’re Toast

…well not quite in trouble, but recently the feeling of burnout has been trailing behind us, like a blazing fire following a gasoline leak. The steady, hazardous drip came from an embedded, almost subconscious thought: “I love my work, I don’t need a vacation.” While the former is true, the latter part of that statement is definitely false. It wasn’t until recently that we realized our last vacation was 13 months ago. With little more than an occasional half-day off in over a year, the reason behind our exhaustion came into focus. Without sustained and intentional time off, we were burning the candle at both ends; everything was becoming too much effort and yet we pushed forward anyway.

Perhaps you’ve felt it too, the sneaky symptoms of burnout include:

— Falling asleep quickly only to wake up in the middle of the night

— Less healthy, natural color in face

— Relying on quick-energy food options to get through the day

— A tired-but-wired feeling, never being able to fully relax

— Lack of a desire to connect with friends

— Feeling like you’ve been “run over by a truck”

— No energy, tired all the time, fatigued

— Waking up exhausted, not well-rested

The common responses of “busy,” “tired”, and “stressed” when asked how you’re doing is the zeitgeist of our current time. It’s the consequence of our sleep-deprived, 5-hour energy lives. For productivity, it’s pump-or-pill-yourself-up, and at the end of the day we ‘wine’ down and scroll through or watch screens.

You may feel like you can handle the frantic pace and multitasking of life for awhile – maybe you claim to thrive when life is too busy. However, eventually, everyone pays the piper. The stress we don’t even know we’re under starts to accumulate and we, our minds and our bodies, are unable to cope with it.

Why am I Exhausted?

First things first. Get evaluated by a healthcare professional and lab work to rule out underlying conditions such as anemia, thyroid disease, depression, allergies, side effects of certain medications, insomnia, chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.

Second, as with most things in life, this problem is a matter of balance between supply and demand. There are times when work gets hectic or short-term caregiving can cause exhaustion and there are other times when, despite our busy lives, we feel energized and ready to take on life. At a basic level, when our lives have more demands, we tend to feel tired. If this is short-term, we typically have energy in the bank to help us through. Common examples include pulling an all-nighter to tend to a sick child or a work project, or even running a half-marathon. The problem is when the demands don’t let up and others pile on. The scale then tips very unfavorably and we deplete our reserves, our emergency energy, and we become exhausted. It’s critical here to point out that there is a difference between being ‘tired’ (which can typically be remedied by a good night’s sleep) and ‘fatigue’ (which tends to be a longer-standing state not easily remedied by a massage or a day off).

Tools

Fatigue is a wonderful teacher. While she might initially make you slow down, it’s only to give you the opportunity to examine your life, learn more about yourself and what’s truly important to you. She certainly taught us a thing or two these past few weeks – namely getting back to the basics, examining our thoughts, and using the tools we have in our toolbox.

As one example, we will often use a life inventory tool as we work with clients to help bring awareness to certain areas of life in need of support. We explore your relationship with food and physical movement as well as your mind functioning and stress, self-care, and spirit.

We help you plug your energy drains and naturally increase your personal energy level so that you can meet the demands of the day.

Along with this is personalized support, mindset adjustments, setting boundaries, learning to delegate and stop people-pleasing, and building up natural energy stores with proper nutrition and lifestyle changes. Our goal is that your sense of wellbeing is good most of the time so that you have a higher quality of life. If this sounds like natural energy restoration you are looking for, schedule a complimentary call and we’ll get started.

Lose the ‘Quarantine 15’ this Quarter!

The kids are in school and fall is right around the corner. You know what this means- temperature drops, staying indoors & more baking. Or does it?

Instead of doing what we’ve always done, and getting the results we’ve always gotten, it’s time to make a different choice this fall and winter. To decide in favor of our health instead of against it. To surprise ourselves with how healthy we can look and feel, and how good our lives can be. 

Maybe this is the perfect time to move yourself from the back burner to the front. You’ve pushed your needs and your niggling health issues aside to focus on taking care of the people important to you.  Now it’s time to cease being in denial and face what is going on in your body and your mind. If weight gain has been a feature of the coronavirus quarantine, now is the time to take control and reclaim your body’s composition, immunity, and vitality.

The doors to Lose the ‘Quarantine 15’ are currently closed – we will open them periodically throughout the year. Join the waitlist and be the first to grab your seat!

In the Client Spotlight

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“I was a little nervous that maybe you wouldn’t be very patient or understanding if I struggled with making some of the changes to my diet and lifestyle. Luckily, that hasn’t been the case at all!

  • I have lost weight
  • I have improved my body composition
  • I have not had any more kidney stones *knock on wood*

I don’t dread seeing you like I would dread going to the doctor. You’re very friendly and easy to talk to! You’re extremely knowledgeable and I like that you give me background information about the foods. The recipes you give me are always quick, easy, and yummy! You’re also very understanding if I struggle with a certain area and try to come up with new ways to approach it that might work better for me. You’re also interested in aspects of my life outside of food.”

Results:

  • I’m trying all kinds of new foods and recipes!
  • I’m doing a better job at seeing connections between the foods I eat and how I feel after eating them
  • I’m more conscious of food labels. Even though something might look healthy or be vegan it might actually be loaded with sugar, etc.
  • I’m better about getting in bed early.
  • I’m doing a better job at handling skepticism about my vegan diet from others.
  • I’m more informed about a variety of issues such as GMOs and political intervention in the food industry
  • I have developed new methods of handling my stress.

“I think many people are uninformed or misinformed about nutrition. Obviously, many people struggle with weight. I’ve been spending more time at the hospital recently because of my kidney stones and I’m always surprised by how many people are there. It definitely makes me wonder if some of their issues could have been prevented/improved by making different dietary choices. I think many lives could be improved by seeing a dietitian rather than just automatically turning to medication or just accepting their situation and not doing anything at all.

I would recommend YOU in particular because I think you’re really fun, knowledgeable, down-to-earth, and you really care about your clients!

If they [people] allow themselves to be open to new experiences and are receptive to your advice then this can really be life-changing! This is a great way to invest in yourself – this experience has really added a lot of value to my life!

You’re just all-around awesome and I’ve really enjoyed working with you!”

H.R., Foundations of Health Graduate


Update:

We followed up with this amazing client and our work together from two years ago. Here’s what she wrote:

“I’m happy to report that I still haven’t had any more kidney stone incidents and rarely get sick anymore! I think both are mainly attributable to my healthier eating habits so I’m very thankful for you helping me find my way with that :)”

She has really made our work together the foundation of her life and is reaping the benefits, years later. This is a beautiful part of our mission of empowering others to live at a higher level. We are grateful for the trust you put in us and the process.

Chocolate Maca Smoothie

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Caffeine and chocolate fiends, unite! This smoothie is the perfect wake-me-up for summer. Here’s the recipe we made today along with ideas for modifications:

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Yields: 2-4 servings

Ingredients

1/2 banana
1 pint blackberries (or blueberries)
3 tbsp cacao nibs
5 tbsp cacao powder
3 tbsp shredded coconut
2 cups swiss chard leaves
2 cups non-dairy milk (we used hazelnut milk from Elmhurst)
2 cups water
1 cup coffee
1 tsp maca powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ashwagandha powder (optional)

This recipe is meant to be healthy and full of veg! If it’s not sweet enough for you, consider adding your favorite form of sweetness (e.g. more fruit, stevia, dates, etc). Looking for more greens-based smoothies that are lower in sugar? Check out the Green Smoothie Challenge eBook! It has recipes, grocery lists, along with tips and tricks for making smoothies part of your life.

Instructions
You know what to do here – load all ingredients into the high-speed blender, cover, and blend to desired consistency. Enjoy!

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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Red, White, and Blueberry Tart

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You may remember this beauty being featured on WBNS 10TV in honor of National Pecan Month. This healthy dessert is easy to make and fun to decorate. Made from fruit and nuts, the tart is raw, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Did we mention delicious? Because it’s definitely that too! Enjoy it this holiday weekend.

Ingredients

Crust

1 cup chopped nut blend (we used 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup pecans)
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup flaked or shredded coconut
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of nutmeg, optional

Toppings

1-2 mashed bananas
Blueberries, strawberries, and kiwis to decorate (about 1 cup of each)

Instructions

Soak dates in warm water for about 10 minutes to soften them. Chop nuts with a knife or use a food processor. Drain dates and mix with nut blend, coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Once well mixed, roll into balls and press into pie plate. Mash bananas and add a layer or ‘frosting’ to the crust. Top with berries and kiwi or your desired fruits. For extra pizazz, drizzle honey or melted chocolate over the tart.

Are you Kind?

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Since mid-spring, when feeling intrepid enough to head outdoors (usually still with a mask), we’ve found great fun in exploring little neighborhoods and parks within Columbus. On a recent walk, we found this sign and it has become an inspirational reflection point. It’s a great question to ask ourselves if we are kind, how we express it, and generate ideas of how we can further increase kindness in our communities and the world.

You First

Which brings in our next point, you can’t pour from an empty vessel. Like most things, change needs to start with us as individuals, within our homes, then expanding to our communities and causing a ripple-effect from there. If you think about the antonym of kindness, what is it? It’s not necessarily selfishness or arrogance, it’s meanness. Here’s the thing: if you bully yourself (see Are you a Mean Girl?), how could you possibly be nice to others from a well-spring of compassion and peace?

To neglect or express a rejection of one’s self while performing actions of kindness, usually leads to resentment while trying to people-please. Showing yourself some appreciation and renewing your self with sleep and nutritious food can better equip you to help take care of others.

Thought Action

Kindness starts with a thought and, ideally, ends with action. The action should flow naturally from the source, much like love expressed in words is sweet but is sweeter still when shown. Wishing that the world was kinder is a nice thought, but doing something to start little chain-reactions of kindness is better. Ask recipients of your kindness to ‘pay it forward’.

“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”- James 2:15-16. Translated into plain English, if you see someone in need and think or say to them “I hope you get the help you need” without endeavoring to provide any assistance, what’s the point? and his brother John provides the bottom-line:

“Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” – 1 John 3:18

Ready for Kindness-in-Action?

Be creative in your kindness! Sure, you could buy coffee for the people behind you in the Starbucks drive-thru but let’s dream beyond that.

Quarantine has afforded us time to take closer looks at the possessions within our four walls. Choose something to give away that you no longer need nor want, but that could help another. Shelters routinely need toiletries, combs and brushes, bottled water, twin bed sheets, towels, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, and new underwear and socks. Animal shelters could use food, towels, toys, and more. What is extra for you may be essential to someone else.

Volunteer and offer a skill or service free-of-charge. Offer babysitting or to help home-school kids in the neighborhood. Maybe you’re great at graphic design and can help someone starting their new business. If you are a mechanic, offer your assistance. Volunteer an hour of time, or an afternoon, to a food pantry or soup kitchen. Handy with tools? Build something and donate it. Guess what? Even self-quarantining with Netflix binges, you can serve the greater good when you knit or crochet blankets for premature or stillborn babies.

If you’re on a budget, there are still plenty of ideas you could employ. Leaving a positive note or a review for a restaurant or small business can help them out. Let a family with small children go before you in line at the grocery. Beyond saying “hi” and our cursory interactions with others, take time and genuinely ask someone about their day; they are typically grateful that someone expressed an interest in their lives and well-being. Find a cause you’d like to support and take part in their upcoming charity race. Offer an intrinsic “your dedicated hard-work made this project look great” or extrinsic (e.g. “I love your shoes”) compliment to brighten someone’s day. Some say food is love; making a meal for your family, partner, or roommate can remove a task from their list and create positive feelings all-around. 

Remember, your small act of kindness can have a phenomenal ripple-effect. Big or small, what is one action you can take today to change your life and possibly the world?

Recipe: Savory Tahini Sauce

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Savory Tahini Sauce

Tahini, made from sesame seed paste, is a surprisingly versatile condiment to have in the kitchen. You can often eat and use it the way you would peanut butter – right out of the jar or with celery sticks. This five-ingredient savory sauce an be drizzled on top of salad, falafel, soup, roasted veggies or any number or dishes.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Yield: ~1 cup

Ingredients

1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt

Instructions

Combine tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic and salt in blender or food processor. Pulse or blend until smooth. Enjoy it fresh though it does keep for about a week in the refrigerator.

Reward ≠ Food

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Patient and client conversations can be a rich source of writing inspiration to address common concerns. As we discuss new changes, cravings, accomplishments and challenges, ideas start to percolate as we work together to find the best solution for the individual. If the same issue is mentioned by different individuals more than three times in relatively short succession, we can almost *feel* the universe tapping on our shoulder.

The latest recurrent theme among us all seems to be regarding emotional eating, over-eating, and reward-eating.

Let’s break this last one down. Why would we associate certain foods with a reward?

    • With thousands of years of evolution working for (or against) us, humans naturally crave sweet flavor. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors would get a little *ping* of dopamine by eating berries and other naturally sweet substances. The brain would reward eating this food, which some argue helped our ancestors survive by promoting fat storage to see them through the leaner times. This survival mechanism is all but unnecessary during the times in which we live, with plentiful food stores and sedentary lifestyles (when was the last time we burnt 2000+ calories a day hunting down buffalo?).
    • An ostensible lack of other options or ideas for rewarding ourselves. We’ve leaned on food to give ourselves a pat on the back after a hard day in the office, for finishing a big project, or to relax after a full day with the kids finally in bed. After many years of this, we may have forgotten how to celebrate our accomplishments without cake, doughnuts, french fries, or chips.

After the sleeve of cookies is finished, there can be a poignant anxiety that settles in. Guilt and shame follow soon after and we feel terrible about ourselves. Then we say “what the Hades, I’m probably never going to lose the weight anyway” and keep going or we decide with firmness and determination, “starting tomorrow, no cookies ever again!” However, we all know how this plays out; the deprivation leads to cravings and the whole cycle begins anew.

When you eat, try eating to nourish your body and experience pleasure. Tying food to your reward-system will unravel advances in your health goals and, here’s the kicker, it doesn’t even work. By the time we are done with the chocolate chip cookie party, we only temporarily feel sated before we either look for more sugar (during the ‘down’ of our blood sugar rollercoaster) or we feel guilty…..which drowns out what ephemeral feeling of pleasure we got from the food in the first place.

By having some non-food rewards instead, or at least sprinkling them into your current routine, you can start to challenge the ‘need’ for something sweet and, instead, ‘treat’ yourself ‘sweetly’ (double puns, couldn’t resist :D). Here are a few ideas to get your started on non-food rewards:

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