Getting Over It and Pumpkin Spice Creamer! (Month Four at Integrative Nutrition)

juggling it all

Have you ever felt like you were not enough? Everybody wanting something from you and you couldn’t possibly meet everyone’s expectations?

Was it the Women’s Revolution that brought about this situation? Women used to have their ‘place’ in the home. Now, anyone who know’s me knows that I don’t agree with that one bit…but there was a focus, and women could keep the home as they deemed fit and that was their expertise. When women truly entered the workforce, did their jobs in the home end? No, they were expected to manage both! Today, men of our era certainly do much more in the home than men did 50 years ago, but most women still feel it is their job to maintain the home and provide food, clean laundry, etc.

I have been talking with women all over the world the past few months during my work as a student at Integrative Nutrition, and that theme is present everywhere. I have always wanted to be the best mom, wife, sister, daughter, employee…and the list goes on and on! When I feel overwhelmed, it is very easy for me to feel I can’t do it and to seek comfort in food, alcohol or exercise….yes, exercise! Even that has become a place that I can land and I am always applauded for making a “healthy” choice in dealing with my stress. The problem is, if I am still experiencing a great deal of stress and have no idea how to effectively deal with it in the moment, is that really “dealing with it”?

How do we as women solve this daily problem? I believe the answer is to let it go (enter the theme song from Disney’s Frozen movie…) 🙂 Seriously, life is a journey, not a destination! Is there ever going to be a day when we say to ourselves “Well, I made it! I am now the perfect wife, mother, etc.!” No!!! We may have our moments when we feel that we are managing it all well, but something is sure to change that. Today, I might feel that I am excelling at work, but then I’ll come home to find that I forgot to buy eggs… Life happens! Get over it! Accept that at any given moment, you are doing the best you can and don’t worry so much. You can always run out and get the eggs after you fold the laundry 🙂

Pumpkin Spice Creamer

Since it’s Fall and everywhere you look, you see people holding a Starbucks cup, I thought I’d pass on my Pumpkin Spice Creamer recipe. You can add to coffee or drink by itself as a warm, comforting cup of Fall!

Pumpkin creamer ingredients

Ingredients:

3/4 c. pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

3 c. coconut milk (or other milk of choice)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. each of: pumpkin pie spice, turmeric, cinnamon

*Add all ingredients to a quart glass jar. Put on lid and shake to mix. Store in refrigerator.

pumpkin creamer jar

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Best Anxiety Fix I Know

Good morning! Just got in some meditation and a quick yoga session before I technically start my day, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t yet shared a secret I learned a few years ago to deal with anxiety.

In his book, A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle tells us that worry “pretends to be necessary,” meaning that when we feel as if there is something going on that we don’t want to have happen, we think we should worry about it. Anxiety is often just excessive worrying. But if it becomes chronic and starts to interfere with daily activities, like sleeping, it moves into a different category and you begin developing anxiety. Looking back, I think that I was a pretty anxious child, which turned into an anxious adult. When life really got tough, I didn’t know how to deal with the stress that I was feeling, so I kept it in and carried on. As many of you know by now, chronic stress raises cortisol levels in the brain and wrecks havoc in your body.

So what can you do to manage the stressful times and calm the day-to-day anxiety? Yesterday, I was listening to a module from Integrative Nutrition and was reminded of how I started to improve my stress response. A few years ago I learned a breathing technique from Dr. Andrew Weil, founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. He calls it the 4-7-8 Breath, and when practiced at least twice daily, it can make a significant difference in how you deal with and experience stress. Watch this video for a demonstration from Dr. Weil himself, and give it a try! Let me know what you think and how the 4-7-8 Breath has helped you!

keep calm and breathe

Best Snack Bites….EVER!!!

This is a recipe that I created last year, but need to relocate it, so I’m sharing it again!

blueberry bites

So, I started with the homemade PURE bars recipe, but wanted to make a blueberry version like I can buy at the store. OMG!!!! Best ever!

Ingredients:

1 c. cashews

1 1/4 c. walnuts (could use almonds or pecans), divided

1 c. pitted medjool dates (get the big container at Costco)

salt to taste

1 1/2 tbsp. coconut oil

1/2 c. thawed, frozen blueberries (fresh would be awesome in the summer)

1 tsp. vanilla

olive oil (just enough to moisten the dough, as necessary)

1. Grind nuts in food processor. Take out 1/2 c. to reserve for end.

2. Add dates and process.

3. Add in remaining ingredients, except olive oil.

4. Process until you have a moist dough. Add a little olive oil and process again.

5. Refrigerate dough for 20 min. or so, until it is easy to form into dough balls.

6. Roll balls into remaining nuts to make easier to handle.

7. Refrigerate whatever doesn’t get devoured immediately…Enjoy!

The Liebster Award – Wow! – (Month Three at Integrative Nutrition)

liebsteraward_3lilapples1I have been trying to get to writing another blog post, but life is flying at warp speed right now (just finished Month 3 at Integrative Nutrition!)… I have created a Facebook page for This One Healthy Life (my new health coaching business-yeah!) and am working on building up readership there, getting sketches and designs together to create a logo for the business so I can order business cards, trying to make some great meals that are photo worthy to add to the new page (and here), football practices, dr. appointments, family vacations, and the list goes on and on and on! Oh, and yesterday I started back in the classroom to get the room set up for my new first graders coming after Labor Day! Yikes! I’m not ready!!!

What I love about it all, however, is that I am having the time of my life getting to know new people and ideas, and turning it all into something amazing…I am so excited for this next year of my life and the ways that I am changing and growing. Now, if I could just figure out my exercise routine, everything would be perfect! (Right?!)

Some exciting news is that I have been nominated for a blogging award called the Liebster Award. This is an honor given by bloggers to bloggers to promote and highlight smaller, lesser known blogs (under 200 followers). It’s accepted with the intention of paying it forward, meaning each honoree shall nominate other small blogs. My nomination came from Booty Barre extraordinaire Rita Horter, over at Completely Rita, who I met after enrolling at Integrative Nutrition. We discovered that we were both from the same small town and both embarking on the journey of becoming health coaches! What a small world… We are enjoying getting to know each other and being able to practice all of our newly developing coaching skills 🙂 Thank you, Rita, for the nomination!

Here are the rules:

1. You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you.

2. You must pick 10 bloggers with a small following to be nominated for the award (other versions of the rules give you the range of 5-10).

3. You must create 10 questions for the nominees to answer on their blog.

4. Then link back to the person who nominated you.

5.  And then go to each new nominee’s blog and notify them of the nomination.

My questions from Rita:

  1. Why did you start your blog? I started this blog in January of 2013, to help me put all of my thoughts, information and recipes into one place and be able to share it with others dealing with food allergies.
  2. What’s your dream guest-blog gig? Hmmm… not exactly sure, but I am in LOVE with both Elephant Journal and Mind Body Green, so those are probably my top two!
  3. If you could have any talent, what would it be? Having never been very graceful, I would love to be able to dance…and not look like a fool!
  4. What does your perfect day look like? There are so many things that could constitute a perfect day, but right now I would say: half a day to myself, reading in the sun on my patio, and half a day having fun with family…a perfect balance of my loves 🙂
  5. Were you named after anyone? If so, who? Not that I am aware of…though there is that song…Summer Breeze by Seals & Crofts…I used to imagine that my name came from that song…”Blowing through the jasmine in my mind…”
  6. What is your favorite smell? Lemon oil or almond extract
  7. Kindle or book? Book….all the way!
  8. What’s a normal breakfast for you? sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, mushrooms, scrambled egg…the best savory breakfast ever!
  9. If you had to choose only one form of exercise for the rest of your life, what would it be? walking, definitely!
  10. Go to the store or shop on the internet? Prefer to see things in person, so the store…but I rarely have time so I shop online more and more these days 🙂

My nominees:

http://gastroparesisfriendlyliving.com/home – Julianna Van Wagner – Julianna has created her blog/website to help others also diagnosed with Gastroparesis, an intestinal disorder. She shares great recipes with her readers.

http://www.kimberlybayne.com/blog – Kimberly Bayne – Though Kimberly is just starting out with her writing, her blog about Those Girls was one that should be shared with young girls as they start on their journey into womanhood. Very powerful.

http://www.healthyourselfful.com/blog – Melissa Kessler – As a Type 1 diabetic, Melissa has worked hard to live a healthy life. But her journey into eating natural foods and becoming a health coach is helping her see things in a whole new way. I especially appreciated her recent post about heading out to the farmers’ market, a place that many find intimidating until they try it.

http://gracefilledpath.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/live-out-loud/ – Beth Werhan – Beth’s mission is to help people live healthier lives through faith. I hope she continues to develop the blog, as I know there is a group of followers out there looking for this exact thing.

http://www.holdyourheart.com/blog/ – Julia Pimental – Julia’s mission is “to give you relevant, helpful information that will empower you take the steps to feel your best!” Her latest post, Gifts Passed Through Generations, hit a special place in my heart as I have been thinking a lot lately about the relationships between generations.

Nominees, here are your questions:

1.) What is the story behind your blog?

2.) What is your favorite meal to make at home with less than 5 ingredients?

3.) What is the best $100 you have ever spent?

4.) If you could be featured in Health magazine for your blog, what kind of article would you contribute?

5.) What is one skill you would like to obtain over the next two years?

6.) What is one piece of advice that you wish you could pass on to everyone else?

7.) If we were to pull out all of the items in your purse right now, what would we find?

8.) Whenever you are having a bad day, what do you do to perk up?

9.) If, like the newspaper, you could have anything of your choice delivered to your doorstep every morning, what particular item would you want it to be?

10.) What is one way you hope to influence readers with your blog?

What a fun way to share the blog love!!!

 

Relationships… More important than food

My grandma and grandpa at the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo, July 2014

My grandma and grandpa at the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo, July 2014

My eighty-six year old grandmother is having surgery this morning… she has several tumors in her bladder and they will try to drain them and assess what her prognosis will be. We drove across the state this past weekend to spend some time with her, and my ailing grandfather, before her surgery.

Earlier last week, I wasn’t sure how I would even be able to talk with her, afraid I would just want to cry at the sight of her. She is our matriarch, the one who still holds everyone together. It is so hard to imagine life without her here with us. As the week progressed, though, I remembered that this is the time that you will never get back. This is the time you have to enjoy every little moment because she might be gone soon. So, we went to the infamous Chief Joseph Days rodeo that is an annual tradition. My grandparents sat in the front row with their family surrounding them. We watched the parade the next morning and had a barbecue Saturday night. I sat with her around the campfire pit in the backyard and she told me how she is praying that her surgery is at least half as good as her sister’s was the week before. Her sister’s breast cancer mass seems to have been removed successfully. They both found out they had cancer a day apart. I told her that I was praying for her and to take care of herself. I gave her a hug and tried not to think that it might be the last time I would see her.

She and my grandfather have lived a long life. Do they eat incredibly healthy? No. My grandfather has Parkinson’s and is a type 2 diabetic. But they have always eaten a green salad with dinner and used to drink a glass of red wine every night before dinner. The best thing that they have going for them is that they have surrounded themselves with their family. They have lived in the small community of Enterprise, where my grandfather was raised, for nearly forty years. After my grandfather became paralyzed from a fall, the family came together and got their house equipped so he could be taken care of at home. It wasn’t easy, but it is what they wanted to do. The day-to-day stress of finding and keeping caregivers is a constant struggle, but that is their choice.

Of course, I want to help as much as possible with dietary changes and supplements for my grandma’s immune system, etc, but we’ll see what the surgery tells us. As she says, she’s 86 years old and should be able to eat what she wants! And I guess, I will just have to be okay with that. She is a feisty one, and I don’t expect cancer to change that.

Grandma and Grandpa, in the early days

Grandma and Grandpa, in the early days

 

My Adventures in Meditation

lily and lilypad

Do you love Oprah? To me, she’s like a wise friend that moved away that I only hear from once or twice a year. After all, I grew up watching her evolve her show into something powerful. Since we do not have cable (nearly everything we watch is on Netflix), I do not have the luxury of keeping up with her on her OWN channel, but she pops up every now and again on my Facebook feed or through an email. Lately she has been coming to me with with her good friend, Deepak Chopra, bringing me free meditation journeys. In April, I took her up on her offer and the result was life-changing…

Why meditate? According to Wikipedia:

“The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices … designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qikiprana, etc.) and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration single-pointed analysis, meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging in any life activity.”

Recently there was research published that showed the long term benefits of meditating on anxiety, depression, and physical pain, even after only a few weeks.

Are praying and meditating the same? Are they in opposition to one another? Oprah and Deepak talk about the difference between them.

To me, trying to meditate for the first time was pretty much exactly like Julia Roberts attempting it in the Eat, Pray, Love movie (based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert). The time seemed to go by so slowly and I was thinking about all sorts of things instead of trying to empty my mind and focus solely on the thought of the day. By the end of the 21 days, however, I felt amazing. I was more calm and had greater focus during the day. Things didn’t ‘get to me’ as easily as before. Words of caution: Don’t expect perfection…it’s called a meditation practice for a reason. You have to try it for a while before you will get the full benefit. Meditating and calming the racing thoughts in your mind at the beginning of each day is a gift to yourself.

Have you tried meditating? Oprah and Deepak are back with another free 21-day meditation series that will begin August 11th, called “Expanding your Happiness” and would be a perfect way to give it a try.

What is a Health Coach? (Month Two at Integrative Nutrition)

Credit: "Yoga" by artzsamui from freedigitalphotos.net

Find Balance with a Health Coach …….. Credit: “Yoga” by artzsamui from freedigitalphotos.net

Have you ever been super excited about something and just wanted to scream it from the rooftops? Maybe you lost the last five pounds you had been working on or improved the speed of your 5K? This is how I feel about being a student at Integrative Nutrition right now. This past month alone, we have studied raw, vegan, macrobiotic and whole foods ways of eating. We have also learned about superfoods, eastern vs. western approaches to medicine, listening to your intuition, and entrepreneurship. At times, I feel as though I can’t possibly take in enough information and other times my brain is too full for anything else! But explaining to others exactly what my ‘job’ will entail is a bit tricky…

It might actually be easier to tell you what a health coach is NOT:

1. A Health Coach is not a doctor, yet might be able to help you find a ‘cure’ for the issues you might be having. Headaches, digestion issues, joint pain? Often these issues are tied to a reaction you are having to certain foods. A health coach is there to help you discover the connection between the two and could help alleviate some of your health concerns.

2. A Health Coach is not a dietitian, but I will be able to help you find the foods that work best for your body and lifestyle. Maybe you would like to eat more veggies, but have no idea where to start. I will be able to help you with discovering new foods and recipes. I can even head to the grocery store or farmers’ market with you to give you support!

3. A Health Coach is not a personal trainer, though I will be able to help you add physical activity to fit your schedule and needs. I can help you find which activities really work for your body type and personality. Like to workout with someone or alone? In the morning or at night when the kids are asleep? We can get there.

4. A Health Coach is not a magician, but I will be able to help simplify healthy living and assist you in creating more balance in your life. Are you over-booked and over-tired? Do you meet everyone else’s needs but forget to care for yourself? I’ve been there and you can move beyond that.

From the Integrative Nutrition website:

What is a Health Coach?

A Health Coach is a wellness authority and supportive mentor who motivates individuals to cultivate positive health choices. Health Coaches educate and support clients to achieve their health goals through lifestyle and behavior adjustments. Proper health coach training programs and health coach certification ensure that Health Coaches know how to work with diverse groups of people and equips them with the tools necessary to best fit the needs of their clients.

“Chronic diseases such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes wreck our quality of life and cost a fortune. In recent years, a new and intriguing concept has emerged in the prevention and treatment of chronic illness: the health coach.” –CBS News, October 2009

 

“The primary objectives of health coaching are to educate the patient regarding self health management and to encourage patients in taking a more proactive role in staying healthy.”-Medical Economics, Nov 2010

So, yes. I am excited to work with others to develop healthier lifestyles and families. I am completely motivated to work on my own health issues so that I will be more knowledgeable about how to help others with theirs. But am I ready right now? Not yet. I have sooooo much more knowledge to fit in my brain and still more balance to seek 🙂