Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Trouble Getting Sound Sleep? Discover Simple Solutions...

A good nights sleep is something I personally look forward to at the end of the day. It is the best way to repair and rejuvenate the body and the mind. Our busy lifestyles are making sleep less of a priority and harder to do. Do you often find yourself staying up late, feeling wired and tired, and finding it almost impossible to fall asleep? Or, do you find it difficult staying asleep through the night, and wake up feeling exhausted? Read on to discover my simply solutions to this problem.




HONOR A BEDTIME WIND DOWN RITUAL:

This includes...

- Avoiding the use of technology at night (yep, all of it: computers, phones and TVs etc.). Instead, embrace the art of "switching off" and do something relaxing with your time, such as reading a book, taking a bath, listening to some relaxing music, meditating, doing some gentle stretching or writing in a journal to get thoughts / stress off your mind.

- If you live in the city, use ear plugs and an eye mask to block out excess noise and light.

- Don't consume caffeine or other stimulants after 12 noon. Enjoy them during the morning instead, and if you are a coffee drinker, try to savor one cup only.

- Make sure your bedroom, bedding and pjs (if you wear them haha) aren't too hot.  If they are, it can disrupt sound sleep.

- Dim the lights and sip on a calming cup of herbal tea: lavender, chamomile, valerian, and passionflower are very relaxing varieties (a good wine substitute I think).

- Try not to eat dinner too late, ideally we would all eat a light dinner (salad, soup, stir fry etc.) approx. 3 hours before bedtime to ensure sound sleep. (Also try to get out of the habit of having alcohol on a nightly basis, save it for special occasions or as an end of week "treat").


SUPPORTIVE SUPPLEMENTS:
Please note: I am not a doctor, this is not diagnosing, curing or intended as a treatment plan in any way! 

Natural and safe sleep assistance to try could include...

- FOR TROUBLE FALLING ASLEEP:
0.5-3mg of melatonin taken 30 minutes prior to bedtime (start with 0.5; it is sufficient for most people). This is generally safe and effective for short-term use.

- FOR TROUBLE STAYING ASLEEP:
50-200mg of 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) before bed (start with the lower dose).
*Note: do not take 5-HTP if you are also currently taking a SSRI or SNRI (or other serotonin-enhancing) antidepressant drug (e.g. Zoloft, Trazadone) without additional guidance.



Now is the time to start your very own Personalized 3 Month Program with me as your supportive Health Coach. Spring is here and we will be into summer before we know it. Look and feel your best by learning what to eat for your unique body type. Email sarah@mybalanceandwellness.com to find out more! 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

ORGANIC - Why it is so IMPORTANT!

When my clients come to me to improve their nutrition, health and wellness, they sometimes have misconceptions about ORGANIC FOOD! "Oh it's SO expensive" they say, and "I hear there is NO difference between the nutrient levels in organic and conventional food", or "I think it tastes the same"...

Well, I want to explain to you why eating organic IS SO IMPORTANT, not just for our own health:




- Organic food can be higher in nutrients because it is grown in much higher quality soil, so the food can have a higher mineral content. Also, when food is grown in a biodynamic way, the soil also contains more nutrients that leech into the produce grown in it. "Biodynamics has much in common with other organic approaches – it emphasizes the use of manures and composts and excludes the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include its treatment of animals, crops, and soil as a single system." - Wikipedia
*An important reminder that everything is connected and is essential in creating balance in our food supply and on earth. 

- Organic food to me tastes better, especially the foods on the dirty dozen list which are heavily sprayed with toxic chemicals! YUCK. I swear there is nothing more enjoyable than a super ripe organic strawberry picked fresh from your own garden or bought from the farmer's market. 

- Organic food can be a little more expensive, but I would rather pay a little more for my health now, than in huge medical bills later. *Hot tip: shop smart... go to the farmer's market at the end so you get the best deals or shop at Whole Foods when things are on sale and significant savings can be made. (I get my walnut butter from Whole Foods when it is on special for $5 off!). Also, don't get stuck in the expensive habit of buying the pre-chopped produce, instead buy it in its cheaper whole form and chop it up when you get home.  

- CONVENTIONAL food is full of health sabotaging toxic chemicals. Not only is this exposure bad for your body on a daily basis, but it is also killing the environment including animals, air quality, soil and our precious drinking water supplies. Heck, even the farmers spraying this stuff are getting sick! *Be careful if you and your family live in a farming area that is heavily sprayed - it has been linked to increased risk of illness, disease and cancer! 

"Organic fruits and vegetables have on average 180 times less pesticide contamination than conventionally produced. That is a big difference in toxicity." - Tracy Harrison from Eat On Purpose 

Vote with your forks friends! Each mindful food purchase adds up. Remember my favorite food rule?... Eat "SOUL Foods" (Seasonal, Organic, Unprocessed and Local) for vibrant health. Simple! 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

8 Things I Always Make Time For In My Day

Do you feel amazing almost every single day? If so, what do you think attributes to this? If not, then what can you do to ensure that you do?

Here are the simple 8 things I always make time for each day, no matter how busy life gets:

- Wake naturally at sunrise to hydrate and meditate (no alarm needed because I sleep with the blinds wide open). Working on the mind is an essential part of my life's daily balance and wellness.




- Eat a nourishing breakfast with a balance of macronutrients: complex / low GI carbohydrates, healthy fats and clean protein.

- Move my body: walking, hiking, light jogging, or through yoga.

- Get some sun, fresh air and spend time in nature.

- Set time blocks to get my work done. This fills my day with a sense of progress and accomplishment.

- Reach out and connect with loved ones, both friends and family, so that they know I am thinking of them and grateful for them being part of my life. Even if it is just a simple message to show I care.

- Cook at home most nights for dinner (30 minute meals) so that I know I am nourishing my body and can enjoy leftovers for a convenient work lunch the next day. This is also a special time where my husband and I catch up on the days events and connect.




- Rest, relax and sleep. I am the queen of sleep and actually look forward to my night time wind down ritual which allows for a solid 8 or so hours of rejuvenating sleep.

What do you do to nourish your mind, body and soul? Never let life's busyness get the better of you. Prioritizing self care is the most important thing you can do for yourself and for others. Take each day one moment at a time and remember to ground your feet and breathe deeply. Contact me for personalized health coaching so that you too can feel amazing almost every single day.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Discover One Of The Best Ways To Destress (And It's Free)

Health and wellness trends get so hyped up in the media. There is always some new hot product that promises to "change your life". Well my philosophy is to keep things simple and balanced. Mother Nature put everything we need on earth to not only survive but to THRIVE. Some of these basics include clean drinking water, nutrient dense sources of food including plants and animals, trees for shelter, fresh air to breathe and warm sunshine to energize our bodies. We really need to mindfully protect and sustain these precious and vital resources, so that we can all live a healthy and happy life now, and for endless generations to come.




There is a lot of stress in this modern world both on our minds, on our bodies and on the environment. A persons stress is a survival mechanism, you may have heard of being in "fight or flight" mode!? Well this was designed for being a temporary response to danger. But now, with the combination of a fast paced life, technology making us accessible 24/7, big work loads and responsibilities, processed and conventional food consumption, toxins and pollution, and lack of sleep and self care... we are in such a constant state of stress / "fight or flight" mode that we are quickly becoming very unhealthy, unhappy and exhausted.  This clearly is not ideal or sustainable.    

By far my favorite way to destress naturally and without having to spend hundreds of dollars on a therapist, day spa or retreat, is to immerse myself in nature on a daily basis. Just like making time to sleep, eat or workout, we need to prioritize engaging our senses with the therapeutic qualities of the great outdoors. Here are my favorite ways to do this no matter who you are or where you live:

- Wake up with the sun and eat breakfast while soaking up its feel good rays

- Sink your feet into the grass of your garden and feel the sensation between your toes

- Visit a local community garden or park and go for a stroll, meditate or read a good book

- Ditch your gym membership and get creative by finding new ways to get active outdoors: play with the kids in your backyard, walk the dog in the sun, do yoga in the park amongst the trees, join a running group and discover new trails, swim in the beach etc.

- Bring indoor plants into your home, make a pot plant garden on your deck, grow herbs and vegetables in planter boxes in your yard. Surround yourself and your living environment with little pieces of nature. Getting your hands dirty and connecting with your food from seed all the way until it ends up on your dinner plate is an enriching experience.

What can you do starting from today onwards, to better connect with the natural world, to help manage stress and enhance your vitality?

Join me for a complementary phone call to discuss your health goals and how I can support you in achieving them! Spring is here and summer is next... look and feel your best! 
Be sure to check out my website for more information about my Personalized Health Coaching Services and SIGN UP for my once Monthly Newsletter to receive BONUS wellness tips and resources. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Power of The Mind - Discover My 3 Essentials for Balance & Wellness!

For years I have focused primarily on the wellness of the physical body. I recently have become very aware that true health begins in the mind. It doesn't matter how much you workout, how many organic vegetables you eat, whether you drink a daily green juice or what supplements you take if you are constantly stressed out or not fully grounded in the present moment.

A daily mindfulness practice is a very special ritual to embrace as part of your own personal self care regime. For me, I have just committed to this and I am already noticing great improvements in how I respond to testing moments in life. I look forward to connecting to my true self, grounding in the present moment and seeing things more clearly when I meditate for 20 minutes each morning at sunrise and each evening as the sun goes back down.




In doing this daily practice, I feel more full... full of life, love and happiness from within. When I feel these things within myself, I am better able to share them with others. I believe the key to real, long lasting health and wellness, is to:

MAXIMIZE the raw materials the body needs: sunlight, fresh air, pure drinking water, healthy fats, clean protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants

MINIMIZE various causes of stress on the body including trauma, infection, toxins, negative energy, and allergens

and...

PRIORITIZE daily mindfulness, sleep, rest, play, creativity, passions, hobbies, supportive relationships, meaningful work

I challenge you to dedicate at least 15minutes of your day to your own version of a mindfulness practice for 2 weeks. Notice how you feel after committing to and doing this for yourself. I believe it is the most powerful tool you can have in life... and it's free!

*Join my wellness tribe by signing up for my once monthly newsletter! Now is the time to embrace your very own 3 Month Personalized Wellness Program with me as your supportive coach. Believe in yourself... you can achieve anything you set your mind to!     

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spring Cleansing - A Gentle Approach EVERYONE Can Do & Enjoy

Feeling a little heavy after the cooler winter months? It's almost spring time and it's definitely time to cleanse and rejuvenate the body for vibrant daily energy during this warmer season.




Here are my top ways to cleanse naturally and effortlessly:

- Front load your food intake to feel lighter and lose some excess winter pounds. By this I mean eat most of your daily food intake earlier in the day for breakfast and lunch. Ensure there is enough protein and fat in your breakfast and lunch to get you comfortably through to the next meal. And make lunch the most substantial meal so that you use up all the energy it provides by the evening, when it is time for a light dinner meal such as a vegetarian dish, cleansing soup or detoxifying salad.

- Drink lots of water with fresh lemon and fresh organic vegetable juice to flush toxins out of your body and alkalize your entire system, promoting a state of balance and wellness. Lemon is high in vitamin C and all vegetables contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Lemon water and vegetable juice is not a meal replacement, instead use these drinks to complement a clean and mindful way of eating. Our bodies need healthy fats and protein from high quality whole foods such as eggs, wild salmon and grass fed beef etc. for satiety and optimum functioning. We get ample complex carbohydrates from the plant foods we eat.

- Ditch all packaged foods with ingredient lists. The main things to cut down on or eliminate on this cleanse are refined sugars and flours. Sugars include alcohol such as wine. And there is no need for artificial sweeteners or even "natural sweeteners" such as coconut sugar or maple syrup. If you want to eat something sweet, opt for a piece of fresh organic fruit such as an apple or a handful of berries, 1-2 squares of organic dark chocolate (min 70%), or bake some sweet potato in coconut oil with a dusting of ground cinnamon. There is ample natural sugars in these to satisfy your sweet tooth. It's all about training your taste buds.

- Eat a mix of raw and lightly cooked cruciferous vegetables. These are the "broccoli family" including some of my personal favorite veggies of all time such as cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and kale. They are very detoxifying and taste delicious when consumed raw (in a salad, juice or as a snack with some dip) or cooked (sautéed, made into a soup, or baked with a little coconut oil). YUM

- Supplement with micro algae such as spirulina or chlorella. You can get them in pill form or powder form. I like powder form because it is easy to mix into a smoothie or vegetable juice. These super algae's bind with heavy metals and other toxic substances, that lets be honest, can be hard to avoid in this modern world, and help to efficiently get them out of your system so that you can achieve and maintain a state of good health.
*Common sources of heavy metals include tap water, cosmetics / body products, dental murcury fillings, large wild fish such as tuna, pots and pans, pharmaceutical drugs, processed foods, baby formula, furniture and house finishes, white flour (refined wheat flour) and canned food... the list goes on!    

Join me for a Personalized SPRING Cleanse by signing up NOW for my 3 Month Wellness Program. Enjoy balanced food and lifestyle choices every day! 

  

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Myth Buster: Acid Reflux - 5 Simple Tips To Get Relief

Acid reflux is experienced by many of the people who come to me seeking nutrition and wellness support. But are you aware that there is a big myth surrounding the true cause of acid reflux. Conventional medicine believes it is due to too much stomach acid. However, it is actually stomach acid in he wrong place (entering the esophagus) and if anything, it is due to a lack of stomach acid! Yep, you heard me correctly. 





Here are some general suggestions you can try to relieve acid reflux symptoms once and for all:

- Supplement with magnesium. Magnesium Citrate is great if you also suffer from frequent constipation. Otherwise opt for Magnesium Glycinate. Magnesium helps the muscles of the body to relax and contract at all the right times, improving symptoms of acid reflux. 

- Slow down and eat in a relaxed state, chewing your food thoroughly. Stress is a big trigger for acid reflux and drastically impedes digestion / absorption of nutrients. Our gastrointestinal tract needs to know when it is about to receive food, so it can secrete all the right gastric juices, including sufficient amounts of stomach acid. Chewing is the only voluntary part of digestion... so it is up to us to mindfully chew thoroughly to make the job of the hard working stomach and intestines easier. 

- Try supplementing with HCl Betaine + Pepsin in the middle of your meal (particularly meals rich in protein) to temporarily boost stomach acid levels (don't rely on this for long term use). Alternatively try a little diluted Apple Cider Vinegar in the middle of your meal (with all new supplements, start with a low dose and work your way up as needed - start with a couple of teaspoons and work your way up to a couple of tablespoons - note that everyone is unique and has different requirements). Herbal bitters may be something you want to look into too. They also stimulate the production of sufficient gastric juices.

- Hydrate between meals to avoid diluting your stomach acid during meal time.

- Ditch your reflux triggers, for a lot of people this includes coffee, fried foods, dairy and alcohol!!! Other triggers for people include very rich, spicy or overly acidic foods.


For personalized health and wellness coaching with me, email sarah@mybalanceandwellness.com to find out more about how I can support you to enjoy optimum vitality. Also visit www.mybalanceandwellness.com for more information about my amazing services.