I spoke with a client yesterday who was clearly over-tired and poorly nourished.
Her husband had been struggling with his health for the past 3 months and had to have emergency surgery.
The long days at the hospital spending time with her husband, and the continuous care once he returned home, left her depleted. She hadn't been eating regularly and admittedly had been consuming junk food for comfort.
She reported having put on 15 pounds that she didn't care for!
How about you? Do you struggle with stress in your life and find yourself exhausted and reaching for convenience foods that provide little nourishment?
This is a great formula for what is referred to as Adrenal Fatigue. A stressful lifestyle coupled with poor nourishment will tax your adrenal glands and quickly deplete your energy.
So how do you get back on track?
Nutrition has an important role to play. You cannot continue to eat poorly and expect your energy levels to rise.
Home-cooked meals are always a better option than eating out or reaching for a bag of chips or a package of cookies.
Here is some additional advice to help re-energize you.
Increase your intake of vitamin C foods such as bell peppers, dark leafy greens, berries, and citrus fruits. You can also take a vitamin C supplement during especially stressful times.
B Complex Vitamins
The B complex vitamins help support the proper function of the adrenal glands.
A diet of whole foods will ensure that you have an adequate intake of this group of vitamins.
Dark leafy greens, eggs, grains, salmon, chicken, beans and lentils, and nuts, are all great B complex foods.
A supplement may also be required if you struggle with adrenal fatigue. Check with your doctor.
Always begin your day with breakfast no later than one hour after rising.
Here is a yummy whole foods smoothie recipe that is sure to give you energy first thing in the morning.
Almond Green Smoothie
Makes 1 serving
1 cup spinach, raw
½ medium banana
1 tablespoon almond butter, unsweetened
1 tbsp chia seeds
1.5 cup almond milk, unsweetened
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1. Place spinach in blender first, then cover with the rest of the ingredients.
2. Process at high speed until well combined (you may need to carefully press the spinach down a bit).
3. You may want to add ice (or cold water), depending on how cold and thick you like your smoothie. Enjoy!
For more information about Adrenal Fatigue, how to test your adrenal health at home, and advice on how to restore adrenal health and regain your energy, check out Chapter 5 (Hormone Management) of my book Healthy Body for Life, available right here or from all online retailers like Amazon!
Eat well - stay active - live happy and enjoy a healthy body for life!
It is said that FEAR is an acronym for "False Evidence Appearing Real".
How many times have you been afraid of doing something?
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of university students.
I had them participate in a little experiment – a FEAR experiment.
I asked them to close their eyes and imagine hiking in the mountains on a beautiful day.
I used a lot of details so that their minds could create a more accurate picture.
I knew that they could relate to this particular scenario because we live just an hour’s drive from the Rockies.
During their imaginary hike, I had them stop at a look-out point on the edge of a cliff.
There was a solid wooden barrier protecting them from the cliff below.
All that was between them and certain death was this wooden barrier.
Then I asked them to take a step back and imagine that the barrier was no longer there to protect them.
They were now to inch forward and watch as small rocks they had dislodged tumbled down over the edge.
Then they were to put their backpacks down on the ground and make their way to the edge and carefully sit with their feet dangling over.
I have to tell you, that by this point, most of them had opened their eyes.
This experience was too frightening and caused all kinds of distress – rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, a feeling of panic, and a sense of impending doom.
Was this situation real?
Yet the mind knew no different.
Our minds fail to distinguish between a real or imagined event, yet our bodies seem to respond in the same way to both.
The fear we experience is real although the threat is not.
We have just seen how powerful the mind can be, so why not put this powerful resource to work.
What is it that you wish to achieve when it comes to your health and fitness?
What do you truly desire?
Hold that thought in your mind and give it life.
Imagine it for a moment.
What does it look like?
What does it smell like?
What does it sound like? Taste like? Feel like?
Use your senses as much as possible, where appropriate, and let go of your fear.
How would you feel having accomplished it?
Now picture yourself walking into a room full of people and they all know that you have accomplished it!
How do you feel?
Create clear and vivid images in your mind.
Then go out and reach for those goals!
Until the next one, put your mind, your most powerful resource, to work!
ACTION is the key to all success! Wouldn't you agree? When it comes to health goals, we don't achieve much by sitting still or just thinking about moving forward.
Newton's Law states that an object in motion stays in motion.
So just get started.
Begin by taking small steps.
You know what they say, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."
Once you start, it's far easier to keep going.
And you will be one step closer to forming a new healthy habit.
"You are what you do, not what you say you will do."
Would you like to know a small effective trick to developing healthy habits, especially if you have procrastination problems?
Strive to start your day with a mini win: a small action that you generally don't want to do but, in reality, takes little effort and is quick to do.
Here are some simple examples:
You might be thinking that you lack the motivation to even get started.
One of the most surprising facts about motivation is that in most cases it comes after the beginning of a new behaviour.
Indeed, motivation is often the result of an action, not the cause of it.
Just getting started on a new habit, allows you to create a strong motivational charge.
So let's get started.
Let's take that first step and build on the small wins!
I am excited to help you achieve your health goals.
So don't forget to pick up your copy of my book, Healthy Body for Life, and one for a friend.
It offers a comprehensive plan to help you eat well, stay active, live happy and enjoy a healthy body for life.
Stay healthy; be happy!
We often think that eating healthy must be complicated.
So we shy away from it choosing 'convenience foods' instead that come with a lot of added fats, salt, sugar, artificial ingredients, and preservatives.
This was my omelette this morning!
Super simple, healthy, and delicious.
A great protein boost first thing in the morning!
Here is the recipe.
Grease your frying pan with a little coconut oil.
Mix the following ingredients and pour into pan:
- 2 egg whites
-1/4 cup chopped frozen spinach
-a dash of sea salt
-a dash of paprika
-a dash of pepper
Let's always remember to eat well, stay active, live happy and enjoy a healthy body for life!
I love this poem.
Stick to Your Task
“Stick to your task ’til it sticks to you;
Beginners are many, but enders are few.
Honor, power, place and praise
Will always come to the one who stays.
“Stick to your task ’til it sticks to you;
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it, too;
For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile
Will come life’s victories after a while.”
It really resonated with me as I was preparing for bodybuilding competitions.
I had a vision, and that vision required my undeviating effort.
I didn't just daydream about placing FIRST.
I knew that I had to put in effort each and every day.
The above photo was taken the day prior to me placing FIRST as a Pro Bodybuilder at the NGA World Championship in New Jersey.
What's your vision for yourself?
I encourage you to take daily steps that will guide you to accomplishing what you have set out to do.
5 Steps to Accomplishing Your Vision
Wishing you a healthy, happy and fulfilling life :)
(My trainer and I - Hallowe'en 2017 at the gym)
I have been attending the gym regularly for almost 20 years. But...I have never had a personal trainer except for a few weeks in late '97 when I first started.
So why now?
During my competitive bodybuilding years, I had various coaches. A coach creates a training program for you and guides your nutrition leading up to a successful outcome at competition. You communicate on a daily basis and receive feedback, changes, and encouragement. I always looked forward to the morning boost of encouragement via e-mail. But...my coaches were over 1700 miles away in Indiana.
Shortly after I retired from competition, having won first place at an international competition as a Pro Bodybuilder, something happened. I hesitate to call it an injury. It was more of a structural issue that led to the spine slipping forward causing severe nerve pain...anterior spondylolisthesis. I went for x-rays and found out that I was born with one less vertebra. Now that explains why I'm so short :)
The lumbar spine consists of 5 vertebrae, and I am missing the biggest and most important one (L5) that is the foundation of the spine and gives the lower back that nice curve and lots of spring.
After months of pain and much-needed therapy, and lots of time away from my second home - the gym, I started coming back cautiously. The weightlifting workouts were very short - 20 minutes at best. Even that would take me days to recover from.
The gym had always brought me so much joy and a sense of fulfillment. I was missing that. I had lost my consistency and my spark. I knew I had to do something! I needed some guidance to rebuild my strength, rebuild my confidence in my abilities, and rebuild my consistency with training.
I looked around at the gym to scout for a potential trainer. But I remained undecided. I had to find just the right trainer who could create a program that would strengthen my back and core so that I could get back to training hard and seeing results, but most importantly, I needed someone who would encourage me and help me get my spark back.
The mountains always inspire me, help me think clearly and help me move forward with my goals. My husband and I often hike on Saturdays and come back inspired for the week ahead.
It was after a beautiful weekend in the mountains that I made my decision to move ahead and just do it.
Stop thinking about it Carla, and just get a trainer already!!!
At the gym that following Monday, I inquired about personal training. I chatted with a trainer; unfortunately his training style was not what I was looking for. But he was kind enough to introduce me to GI Joe, a young trainer who would be starting to work at my gym the next week. I asked about his background and I instantly knew that I had found my trainer – someone who was not afraid to train hard himself and who was a great motivator.
A few weeks into my training, I introduced myself to a lady who, like myself, was also using a personal trainer and asked her about her 'why'. She said, "I know that if I didn't have a trainer, I wouldn't come to the gym." She was very clear that she wanted to get physically fit, but she was also equally clear that she lacked discipline and motivation. She is now successfully training three times a week and seeing results with the help of her trainer.
Joining a gym is a great way to get motivated to exercise, and to stay motivated. I find that just being around other like-minded people is a great motivator in itself. If increasing your physical activity is one of your goals, then a gym membership is a great option, especially if you hire a trainer as well.
If you decide on giving the gym a try, I suggest you look for a gym close to your home or work – making it as easy as possible to get there. No excuses, right? Ask for a free one week pass so you can try it out before making the financial commitment. Most gyms will charge about $35 to $55 a month. This fee includes the use of all gym equipment (treadmills and other cardio equipment, free weights, and exercise machines). You will also be able to attend all of their group exercise classes for free. Some of the classes offered are yoga, group cycling, Zumba, strength training, and a variety of bootcamp-style workouts. For an extra fee, you can hire a personal trainer who will design a workout program to help you meet your goals and will be there to guide you as you work out.
Supplements can be very important in dealing with the symptoms of depression. In the two previous blogs, we looked at what food is beneficial to include in your diet if you are struggling with depression. Here are the links to Feed Your Depression - part 1, and Feed Your Depression - part 2. Now let's look at some supplements.
This vitamin, called the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, is often thought of in relation to bone health. But it is also showing promise in studies related to depression. Vitamin D is produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Unfortunately, many of us live in a climate where we are covered up for months of the year. Then when it warms up, we cover our skin with sunscreen. Our skin is seldom exposed to sunlight. For this reason, many of us are deficient in vitamin D. Although this vitamin is best obtained by being outdoors, it is also found in milk and non-dairy milk beverages that are fortified with vitamin D.
Talk to your doctor to see if you should also take a vitamin D supplement.
The vitamins in the B group support and maintain the health of your nervous system, in particular vitamins B-12, and B-9 (otherwise known as folate in foods/folic acid in vitamin form). Research continues to find a correlation between the deficiency in B vitamins and depression. Vitamins B-12 and B-9 show promise in helping to manage depression.
Food sources of B-12 include animal products such as dairy, fish, poultry, eggs, and beef. Vegetarian sources of this vitamin can be found in non-dairy milks and breakfast cereals fortified with B-12.
B-9 (folate) can be found in foods such as a variety of beans and lentils, as well as in vegetables including asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and dark leafy greens.
Talk to your doctor to see if you should be taking a B-complex vitamin supplement.
Omega-3 fatty acids
This type of fat supports brain function and has a positive effect on mood. Scientists agree that consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can elevate mood, prevent depression, and reduce the symptoms of depression. Some omega-3 foods include fatty fish such as salmon, nuts and seeds such as pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Because omega-3's can be enjoyed in their oil form - fish oil and flax seed oil, I have included them here as a supplement. Enjoy salmon for dinner, sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on your oatmeal in the morning, or take a fish oil capsule.
I know that by eating the right foods and paying attention to including specific supplements into your diet, you can help alleviate the symptoms of depression and enjoy a healthier body and a happier mind.
Eating foods high in tryptophan is a natural way to help boost serotonin production. Serotonin is a brain chemical that has a positive effect on mood. It is sometimes called the ‘happiness’ hormone. Your body utilizes tryptophan in order to make this special hormone.
Animal protein sources such as turkey, chicken, beef, and eggs are high in tryptophan. Foods from the plant kingdom such as chia seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, almonds, and spirulina are also a great source of tryptophan.
For best results, eat tryptophan foods in combination with complex carbohydrates (see previous article: Feed Your Depression - Part 1).
In addition, tryptophan foods also contain amino acids, the building blocks of protein. These help with mental acuity and alertness.
Feed your body well and enjoy the benefits of a healthier body and a happier mind.
I spoke with a lady today who wanted to purchase my book. She shared with me that she was feeling depressed and needed some direction in regards to her health. I suggested she look at chapter 3 of my book, Healthy Body for Life, which addresses nutrition for depression.
Depression affects many women in mid-life. It is twice more prevalent in women than in men. The change in hormone levels as you near menopause is one of the most common factors that may precipitate depression. These physical changes often have an emotional consequence.
Depression can manifest as:
There is no denying that food can affect your mental health and your mood.
Over the next few days, I will share some foods and supplements you can begin to include in your diet to help reduce the symptoms of depression.
Let's begin by talking about carbohydrates. But first, we need to look at the difference between complex and simple carbs.
Simple carbohydrates: These simple sugars are found in white sugar, honey, soft drinks, processed fruit juice, candy and other sweet snacks, white bread, white rice, and boxed cereal. They are processed and give you a quick but brief boost of energy.
Complex carbohydrates: These are more fibrous foods such as whole grains and their products (oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and whole grain bread), green vegetables, starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash, and potatoes), and beans and lentils. Their higher fibre content means that they will take more time to process, giving us sustained energy over a longer period of time.
Eating a nutrient dense diet is the foundation of well-being, both physical and mental.
Complex carbohydrates are an important nutrient to include in your everyday diet. It is especially important for those struggling with depression, and here's why. Complex carbs help to stabilize your blood sugar levels, and prompt the release of serotonin, a brain chemical that has a positive effect on mood. Serotonin is sometimes called the ‘happiness’ hormone. So make some simple changes. Enjoy brown rice instead of white, oatmeal in the morning instead of sugar-coated cereal, fruit instead of candy. And make a lovely green salad every day.
Feed your body well, and enjoy the benefits of a healthier body and a happier mind.
Last week was back to school for most children in Canada - a crazy time for most moms. But here we are, the week after. Have you put yourself on your to-do list yet?
Over the summer, schedules are here, there and everywhere. We travel, we camp, we enjoy the warm weather. But in September, there is a feeling of a new beginning, similar to the first of the year. Take advantage of this change of routine, and sadly, change of weather as well.
In church yesterday, a young man who had seen me at the gym asked me, "How do you make sure you get to the gym?" This was my advice to him and now, to you.
On Sundays, plan your week. For each day, calendar what you will be doing to keep fit. This could be a brisk walk, a yoga class, a session at the gym - something that gets you moving. Each night take a minute to re-evaluate. Were you successful? If not, what got in the way? How can you pick yourself back up and move forward tomorrow?
No matter how you slice it, physical activity is great for both body and mind. Making yourself a priority will give you increased energy, confidence and a clearer mind to deal with everything else in your life.
Until the next one, eat well, stay active, live happy and enjoy a Healthy Body for Life!