Elpis the Spirit of Hope

thumb_dandilionI was doing my early morning reading and came across this passage.  I found that sometimes things come to you at meaningful and needed times. This may offer a little ……hope.

In Greek mythology Hope was a spirit known as Elpis.  She and other gods and spirits were kept in a jar by Zeus and entrusted into the care of the first woman, Pandora.  Overcome by curiosity, Pandora opened the vessel.  She lifted the lid, and out rushed the gods and spirits.  The gods soared into the sky, abandoned the mortals and went back to Mount Olympus.  But the evil spirits remained on earth.  Envy , toil, hate, disease and or all their cranky and cruel cohort flew to the four corners of the world.  Realizing what was happening, Pandora hastened to close the container.  Too late! All had escaped , except for one.  Hiding in the vessel was Elpis….hope.  It is said that Elpis remained in the jar to help human beings now that evil had been unleashed.  Whenever the world seemed too much to bear, we humans could open the lid and call on Elpis for faith and optimism.

( from the book, Marrow  by Elizabeth Lesser)

It seems to me, with all that is going on in our community, nation and world, it is time to open the lid and call on Elpis for some heartfelt faith and optimism.  Share it with others and remain hopeful.

Be Well, Stay focused,

 Mary

Nutrition: Snacking Your Way Through the Day

Snacks are not only okay, they are an opportunity to obtain more nutrients into your diet throughout the day. They can be a wiStock_000015487653XSmallise move when you make conscious and planned decisions.  Snacks give you energy when you need it and help to keep your blood sugars level.  In doing this you avoid slumps and fatigue associated with low blood sugar.  Snacks keep you satisfied, mentally and physically, as long as you pick foods that will serve you well. Snacks can help with emotional cravings.  Try to notice if you snack because you are stressed, tired, angry or bored.  If you can identify your emotion you may tend to choose a healthier snack rather than snacks with empty calories.

When snacking try to eat as many ‘real’ foods as possible.  Having an apple with some almonds may not sound as exciting as a doughnut, but you will be rewarded with more energy and satiety (thanks to chewing and fiber).  Some other good suggestions for snacks:

  • yogurt with fresh fruit, granola or chopped nuts
  • raw veggies and hummus, try a red pepper or lemon variety for a little change
  • whole grain crackers and cottage cheese
  • flavored pumpkin or sunflower seeds and raisins
  • whole grain crackers and a ‘mini’ cheese
  • crunchy chick peas or edamame
  • there are many great snack bars- look for 8-12 grams of protein, low sugar and high fiber, under 200 calories

These are just some of the options you can try to get more vitamins and minerals as well as protein and fiber into your diet. Have a treat once in a while- but a snack is meant to be helpful, not hurtful. Treat a treat as a treat- like on a friday afternoon after a long workweek, you will enjoy it more since you really deserve it. Keep in mind, you could lose, or gain up to 20 pounds in a year just by avoiding, or using,  the vending machine!

If you could use  some guidance in optimizing your eating plan, contact me for a complimentary talk.

Be Well,

       Mary

wellbychoice@comcast.net


 

Weight Loss and Mindfulness: Why Did You Buy and Eat That?

When discussing goals with my clients clients, none of them want to be overweight or face chronic diseases because of their food or lifestyle choices.  It is very difficult for most people to avoid eating too much given the bombardment of advertisement and marketing strategies placed before them in supermarkets and at restaurants. It goes beyond willpower. Education,planning  and being vigilant about being aware can help more than you think.

Most peopFrazzledle are overwhelmed with all that has to be done on a day to day basis and are not mindful of the choices they are making, especially when shopping.  It is difficult to be on top of your game when you are tired, stressed and have ti
me demands.  Most supermarkets take advantage of our ‘decision fatigue’ through strategic placements of various ‘food’ choices.  Ever wonder why candies,chips and non-foods are at the cash register? Or the healthier choices are on the higher or lower shelves? The stores rely on your impulse buying of items that are at eye level or  posting  blasting signs about ‘limited quantity’ or  ‘special today’.  You end up buying more, resulting in consuming more items you probably didn’t need (or want) in the first place.  Studies have also found that changing the shapes and variety of foods increases our desire to buy them.  Think about pasta shapes, mini- chocolate chip cookies, different shaped crackers, chips or novelty ice creams.  The variety offered often tempt you to try them.  In actuality it is the same food, but the different variety makes us think it is something new and attracts us to it, therefore eating more. We need variety to keep our food interesting and help us get proper nutritional needs. Different vegetables and fruits are suggested to help us avoid monotony as well nourishing out body.  However, five different shapes, brands or seasonings of potato chips – are still potato chips. Focus on variety of your real foods, fruits, vegetable and grains.

When entering a grocery store, it is a known fact that you never go in hungry.  Make a list on paper, your smartphone or send yourself a message ahead of time. If you saw a recipe you wanted to try, take a picture of it so you have the ingredients you may need to get.  Don’t get sucked in to the ‘comfort foods’ we know sabotage our efforts to take better care of ourselves.  Skip the fast foods unless it is the salad bar, some roasted turkey or chicken, pre-grilled wild salmon or the fresh roasted veggies. Try roasted parsnips or carrots, instead of potatoes.  Farro is a delicious whole grain with a nutty taste that works well in most recipes, substitute it for rice or pasta. Grill peaches or plums and serve them with chicken for a taste treat. These are fast and easy.Go for frozen fresh fruit bars, or low fat frozen yogurt instead of the chocolate chip, caramel swirl full fat ice-cream. I just found some almond milk ice-cream, I was thrilled to see an alternative for those who are sensitive to milk.  However,it was loaded with chocolate peanut butter chunks and salted caramel- so much for the health benefits.

If you are looking to ‘do your body good’, spend the money on foods that will serve and nourish your body well. Treat ‘treats as treat’, eat real food.  There is no mystery. Don’t be lured in to buying foods that are gimmicks or pull at your weaknesses.  Try and be smart, leave with more unpackaged foods than packaged and I can almost guarantee you will have mo9re money left in your wallet too! If it isn’t in your food pantry- you aren’t going to be tempted to eat it. When do you stop eating something? …..when it is all gone.

In Great Health!,

  Mary

 


 

For further support or guidance around sound nutritional habits and choices, call me for a complimentary

 

 

Lifestyle Changes: Healthy Aging, It’s Never Too Early To Start

Create a Balance Lifestyle

Create a Balance     Lifestyle

Recently I attended a Healthy Aging conference presented by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.  I am really excited and hopeful with this movement that finally there may be some true integration with holistic approaches for improved lifestyle. Recognition for the benefits of exercise, nutrition, stress management and happiness in one’s life are seriously important.  Lifestyle is finally being recognized as a major player in how we age; are you going to age gracefully with your best quality of life or are you going to give into the rigors of medications and a compromised living and dependence on others.  Advocation for yourself and taking charge of what you can do for yourself, is critical. Some of the most prescribed medications are for high cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and stress/anxiety. Start thinking about how you may change this if you are on them, or you have been told you may need to go on them.  Statins can cause liver problems and muscle weakness over time.  Learn how to wean off of them if you can by changing your lifestyle behaviors*, the same is true about high blood pressure medications. If you are pre-diabetic, take action to change your blood sugar levels and A1C levels to avoid metformin or other blood sugar regulation drugs.  Many of these drugs don’t fix the problem, they mask the underlying reasons.  They help you manage it.  The most useful prescription would be to address the cause for the need for a drug and learn how to make changes.  I know it is not good for the pharmaceutical companies- but it is good for you!

(*never go off medications without your doctors’ guidance)

Integrating information with your healthcare medical provider, a nutritionist, a personal trainer or exercise class along with some MBSR(Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) classes and you will be on top of your game.  I have assisted countless of clients to make small changes to avoid certain medications or get off of them.  There are other options.  Many times we are not aware of our options that can help prevent disease through lifestyle changes or how being on medications may resolve or possibly cause different concerns.. Ask questions as well as ask for alternative approaches.

What other components were presented about Aging well?  Here are the top Healthy Behaviors for many people living in their 90’s with minor disabilities and disease:

  • Attitude- optimism and positivity play a big part
  • Genetics- what have you inherited?
  • Exercise- 150 minutes a week
  • Interests- learn a new language, music, hobbies, art, games
  • Get rid of smoking and excessive drinking
  • Sleep ( 6-7 hours a night)
  • BMI – 24 of less
  • 5-6+ fruits and veggies a day

There are studies of many centurians who are thriving. Would you want to be one of them?

To find out more about what you can do to improve your lifestyle and healthy aging- give me a call.

Be Well,

     Mary

 

Holistic Nutrition: Digestion and Aging part 2

This blog is a continuation of  the discussion to develop optimal digestion, especially as we age.  Part 1 is available via my website. In this article  I will suggest a few other options that are easy to do and many have found great relief and results.

DGL, stands for deglycyrrhizinated licorice.  DGL is produced by removing glycyrrhetinic acid from a concentrated licorice extract. It is removed because it can raise blood pressure in some individuals. DGL is excellent in treating peptic ulcers.  It can also be used as an anti- ulcer remedy. DGL does not inhibit the release of acid, rather it stimulates the body to release normal defense mechanisms. It improves both the quality and the quantity of the protective substances that line the intestinal tract, increases the lifespan of the intestinal cells and improves blood supply to the intestinal lining. There are even some studies that it inhibits h.pylori bacteria.  Some studies have shown DGL to be more effective than Tagamet, Zantac or antacids in both short and long term maintenance therapy of peptic ulcers.

Take as directed.  For the best results take 20 minutes before meals. It takes aprox. a month for significant results.  My experience has been to use DGL when traveling when my gut is not happy with various foods, or at times when I experience some acid reflux. I try to remember to take prior to meals, but have taken even between meals and have found some relief.  Since this is derived from the licorice root it not a chemical, but an herb.  Licorice tea can also be a great remedy for digestive concerns.

Digestive Enzymes decrease as we get older.  They come from the pancreas.  If you have heartburn, abdominal bloating and discomfort and gas with in the first 15-30 minutes after eating, it is usually due to lack of HCL recreation., BUT if it happens more than 45min after eating, its is usually a sign that you are lacking pancreatic enzymes. Digestive enzymes products are the most effective treatment of pancreatic insufficiency. Some of the products you may see include enzymes from free hog pancreas (porcine), or vegetarian sources such as bromelain and papain from pineapple and papaya, as well as fungal enzymes (mushrooms).   Many times a mixture from  the vegetarian and fungal can offer excellent results.  They appear to be more resistant to digestive secretions and offer a broader range of activity in the gut. It is most effective taken 15-20 minutes before a meal. You may notice results immediately or it may take a week or more for you to experience a change, depending on how severe the symptoms.

Probiotics are also a supplement I often suggest my clients to take, regardless of age, but it is even more important as we age.  There are major changes in the type of probiotics that inhabit the intestinal tract.  These changes are brought about as a result of many influences on the digestive tract including: diet, prescription drugs (mainly the use of antibiotic or antacid use) and the decline of digestive secretions. Some recent studies suggest that as we age we may want to increase the levels of the Bifidobacteria species of bacteria. Some of the improvements in supplementing with bifidobaceria include improved bowel function, ( reduced constipation, and or diarrhea), improved immunity and reduced inflammation.  Keep in mind the greatest amount of immune enhancing cells are in the digestional tract. One of the main reasons we need to keep our gut happy and healthy. You want to use a formula that has at least 3 billion bifodobacteria  per dosage.

Fish oils for a healthy gut.  Fish oils from Omega-3 fatty acids such as those that came from fish oil can help alleviate symptoms of IBS.  The average American diet has a ratio of 20:1 – omega -6 to omega -3 fatty acids.  The optimal ratio is 1:1.  Increase your omega -6 fatty acids y increasing  foods such as nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains.  Or simply take a high quality supplement to improve your ratio.

The key to a healthy gut is first to be aware of what is going on.  Keep a simple food diary for a week or two and notice when you have distress.  If you think you suspect the offending agent – eliminate it for at least 4 days.  Foods can stay in your system for 3-4 days.  Currently, I am tracking a digestive upset from something I ate 2 days ago. Don’t get in the trap of  feeling that being uneasy, queazy or subpar is the norm, it isn’t.  Of course, we should expect change as we age, but understand why and find some natural alternatives to address the problems.  Many prescribed drugs are masking the issue and can cause other side effects.

If you want to address it further, contact me to go over your eating style and habits.  It could be a simple solution or even a food sensitivity. It  may take a bit of mindfulness and exploration to address the underlining cause.

Some suggestions for products which can be purchased via my website through Emerson Ecologics or Metagenics Nutraceuticals are:

DGL

  • Licorice Root-V  by Douglas Laboratories
  • DGL Ultra by Enzymatic Therapy

Digestive Enzymes

  • SpectraZyme Metagest by Metagenics (vegetarian)
  • SpectraZyme Pan9x  by Metagenics(with porcine)

Probiotics

  • UltraFlora Balance – Metagenics
  • Ultra Flora IB – Metagenics
  • UltraFlora Acute- Metagenics

 

Hope this helps and your digestive health thrives!

Be Well,

   Mary