AWARE & VIBRANT LIVING

Lisa Blakeney, Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

Month: January 2017

Eating for Energy

Surprisingly, the things that are robbing us of our natural energy are some of the same things that we think are helping us have more energy.  You guessed it, coffee, soda, energy drinks.  These beverages loaded with caffeine and sugar are also chemicalized and filled with additives.  The caffeine that is naturally found in coffee and tea is much different than the synthetic stuff they are putting into energy drinks, and so called Smart water.  These substances actually strip us of our energy, forcing us to live a roller coaster of ups and downs chasing our cravings. 

There is a better way and it might actually really surprise you how simple it might be.

I used to be a complete coffee, Starbucks, and soda addict and thought it was not really affecting me.  I didn’t realize how much it was affecting my sleep, my roller coaster and blood sugar.  I didn’t even realize just how addicted I truly was.  I also didn’t think the alternative of living without these substances would bode very well for me keeping my job, or being able to function normally.  Boy was I surprised.

I made a gradual change of cutting back, substituting black tea initially, and all the while focusing on eating healthy and drinking tons of filtered, fresh water.  As time went on I slowly fit out soda, coffee, Starbucks, and all other processed drinks, except occasional wine and tea.  I replaced it with water, tea of all kinds, water, water and some wine.  I ate lots of vegetables, leafy greens, and healthy meats.  I immediately noticed that I slept better and I was more alert during the day.  My focus and concentration improved and best of all I stopped riding the caffeine/sugar roller coaster all day long.

I start each day off with a half of a lemon squeezed into my cup and filled with hot water.  Then I have breakfast or a smoothie; I drink water, water and more water all day long.  Smoothies are a great way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your morning meal with a lot of fuss.  With protein incorporated into it you can start your day with everything you need to fuel your morning.  The phytonutrients from the fresh plant material, as well as the natural sugars from fruit start your day on a healthy note and tie you over until lunch.

Once you get over your initial cravings for coffee, sugar, or soda your body will thank you for this change and you will not believe how much better you feel.  Try this for 30 days, and notice how your body feels, how your gut feels, how your elimination is working, and overall just pay close attention to what your body is telling you.  After 30 days if you feel you want to go back to coffee, or soda or whatever, I suggest trying it out slowly, and again notice how you feel.  Your body will tell you whether it wants these substances or not, but you have to listen very carefully.

Recognize too, that this may be more of a habit.  If you yearn for a warm beverage in the morning, try the lemon “tea” mentioned above, or a cup of green or herbal tea.  If you make the time for breakfast in the morning, you can enjoy a frittata with eggs and veggies or a simple scramble or omelet. 

Now we do know that our favorite breakfast meats, BACON and sausage are not actually that healthy.  However, I will not be the one telling you to give up BACON, or sausage for that matter.  This is where my “in moderation” theory comes in, and I splurge every once in a while on these yummy breakfast meats – I LOVE BACON!!  If you can even cut back a bit on this you will be doing yourself a great favor, remember progress is better than perfection.  You may have heard me talk before about the 80/20 or the 90/10 rule.  If you are eating healthy and doing the right thing by your body 80-90% of the time, you can do whatever you like the other 10-20%.

Be easy on yourself as you make these changes.  Like I said, my process was methodical and planned out in stages over a long period of time.  If you slip up, just try to do better the next day.  Do not beat yourself up, do not speak poorly of yourself, just move on and do better.  Every day, every meal, is a new opportunity to eat better, live better and be better.

So, what is robbing you of your energy?  Let me know in the comments.  Let me know what you would like to switch up and try on for crowding out one of these vices?

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Exercise and Self Care

Exercise can seem like a chore or it can be a regular activity that you enjoy.  Choose what you enjoy.  If you like the gym, be sure to mix up your routine periodically for interest and to challenge your body.  I personally do not like a traditional gym, as I have not always had positive experiences in a gym.  I take a brisk walk each day on my lunch hour, I have a stand up desk at work now, and I try to stay as active as possible.  I also try to do some yoga and meditation throughout the week.  You have to find a system that works for you in order to stick with it.  I tried many, many things before I worked into a groove that feels goods for me.  Experiment with different options until you find what works for you.  Mix things up now and again, just for kicks and giggles and don’t forget the self-care and pampering that you deserve.

I am a slightly feminine tomboy, so I enjoy a pedicure and getting my hair done, but I also dig in the dirt, clean and do dishes without gloves on, build things occasionally; in other words, I’m not afraid to get dirty.  I don’t spend hours at the salon each week or hardly ever, but if that is what makes YOU feel pretty, happy, and nourishes you from the inside out, then that is what YOU should do.  Perhaps a massage, an acupuncture session, a chiropractor visit, or a regular appointment with your Health Coach is what you need to get in the groove of self-care. 

Anytime that you spend on you – when you pay attention to what your body is telling you and what it needs, you treat yourself to that nourishing self-love and self-care we all need to enjoy more often.  We are usually too busy taking care of everyone else, but we are better at that job, when we take better care of ourselves, first.

This can come in any form you like, too.  I enjoy my “down time”, when I am not busy “shoulding” on myself about all the things I “should be doing”.  It is good for my mind and my soul to escape from this and reconnect with my inner self.  I also enjoy vacations, retreats, or get-a-ways, where I run away from home for a few days and do whatever *I* like for that whole time.  I disconnect from my regular life and run off to play, or meditate, create art, or write, play and adventure in a new land or explore somewhere entirely new, or somewhere familiar in an entirely new view.  It is important to plan for this time, especially vacations.  Plan, save, ask for the time off from your work if necessary, and do it!!

Take this time to relax, refresh, reflect, release, remember, and rejuvenate your body, your mind, your soul, and place yourself in a better position to love, connect, and share with those close to you.  Being a better human being is contagious, so renew it and share it whenever possible.

Finally, sometimes more far away vacations take us to places where people live very differently than ourselves.  I love exploring neighborhoods in foreign places where the people actually live, rather than just the touristy areas.  This grounds me and reminds me of our connection to all other beings in the world.  I strongly believe we are all connected and we are all one in this Universe.  No matter how we live, how we make a living, or what we have as our possessions, we are all here for some reason, for a purpose unfulfilled.  Self-care can help you to discover what your unfulfilled purpose might be or help you to accomplish it if you know what it is already.

What do you do for self-care?  How to do recharge yourself?  I would love to hear what lifts you up and makes you feel nourished and vibrant.  Please comment and share your self-care techniques.

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