Authenticity & Health, Connecting the Dots

It occurred to me this week that the message I'm trying to convey about health is really this:  be authentic. 

Your pants size does not equal healthy.

The amount of exercise you do does not equal healthy.

The food you consume does not equal healthy.

If any of that was the case we wouldn't find perfectly sized (according to who exactly?) people with thyroid disorders. Or athletes with hormone imbalances. Or health nuts with cancer. 

In my (very humble) opinion, our health is defined by our mind first, then the body follows.  I wonder if the healthiest people in the world are the most joyful. I don't mean surface level either.  You know lots of them. Or might even be one of them.  The ones who put on the right face for the right people, but their insides are a battleground fraught with limiting beliefs, self defeating thoughts, and more. I mean those who are happy from the inside out.  You've seen them...they sort of glow.

I believe the body is it's own intuitive guidance system. I also love this sentiment: feelings buried alive never die.  You know why? Because those little suckers right there shape our perceptions, which shape our reality, our actions and wait for it.......our health.

If I use my body to create awareness and go within, without is sure to follow.  But the most pressing question I get from clients is this:  Where do I start?  How do I know what feelings I'm harboring and not addressing? Or when I know them, have no clue what the next step is?  All very valid questions.  And no one answer defines it for anyone.  We each process differently.  So my hope is this:  to teach you what the body is telling you and give you tools, ideas and different methods that will help you on your path to authentic health.

Let's start with the emotional centers of the body.  There are 7 major ones, starting at the base of the spine and ending at the top of the head.  Each correspond to a gland and/or organ, an emotion and a concept, just to keep it simple.  Here we go.

Base of the spine: 

  • Family, safety & security, ability to stand up for self, social and familial law & order
  • Physical body support, base of spine, legs & bones, feet, rectum & immune system
  • Chronic lower back pain, sciatica, varicose veins, depression, immune related disorders
  • Giving birth to the idea

Sacral, just below the belly button:

  • Blame & guilt, money, sex, power, control, creativity, ethics in relationships
  • Large intestine, sexual organs, lower vertebrae, pelvis, appendix, bladder & hip area
  • Chronic low back pain, sciatica, ob/gyn problems, pelvic, low back pain, sexual potency, urinary problems
  • 'What's in it for me?' 'Do I have enough money to materialize it?'

Solar Plexus, right at the stomach, below the breast area:

  • Trust, fear, intimidation, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-respect, care of self & others, sensitivity to criticism, decisions
  • Abdomen, stomach, upper intestines, liver, gallbladder, kidney, pancreas, adrenal glands, spleen & middle spine
  • Arthritis, gastric ulcers, colon issues, pancreatitis, diabetes, indigestion, eating disorders, liver dysfunction, adrenal dysfunction
  • 'Do I have confidence & willpower to materialize it?'

Heart, right over the heart:

  • Love & hate, resentment & bitterness, grief & anger, self-centeredness, loneliness, commitment, forgiveness, compassion, hope & trust
  • Heart & circulatory system, lungs, shoulders & arms, ribs/breasts, diaphragm, thymus gland
  • Congestive heart failure, heart attacks, mitral valve prolapse, asthma, lung cancer, pneumonia, upper back & shoulder, breast cancer
  • 'Do I love the idea' 'Am I passionate about it?'

Throat, at the center of the neck and throat area:

  • Choice & strength of will, personal expression, following one's dream, addiction, judgment & criticism, faith & knowledge, capacity to make decisions
  • Throat, thyroid, trachea, neck vertebrae, mouth, teeth & gums, esophagus, parathyroid, hypothalamus
  • Raspy or sore throat, mouth ulcers, gym issues, TMJ, scoliosis, laryngitis, swollen glands, thyroid issues
  • You start talking about it

Third Eye, center of the forehead, between and just above the eyes

  • Self-evaluation, truth, intellectual abilities, feelings of adequacy, open to the ideas of others, emotional intelligence
  • Brain, nervous system, eyes & ears, nose, pineal gland, pituitary gland
  • Brain tumor/hemorrhage/stroke, neurological disturbances, blindness, deafness, full spinal difficulties, learning disabilities, seizures
  • You become aware of it 'Does the idea resonate with me?'

Crown, just above the head

  • Ability to trust life, values, ethics & courage, selflessness, humanitarianism, ability to see the larger pattern, faith, inspiration, spirituality & devotion
  • Muscular system, skeletal system, skin
  • Chronic exhaustion not linked to a physical disorder, extreme sensitivities to light, sound or other environmental factors, energetic disorders
  • Idea reaches the crown and manifestion begins.

It's a long list, but worth noting.  These are starting points really.  What resonates with you?  Do you clench your teeth at night or suffer from TMJ?  That's the throat, representing either speaking your truth or swallowing angry words, to summarize the list above.  When things aren't what you want them to be, do you have the ability to communicate it - especially to those who need to hear it?

Remember, the body is about balance.  You're looking for the middle ground between how you feel, where you fit and what action you need to take.  If you've been struggling with a job you seriously dislike and it follows you home to a stressful environment, what are the chances you've got some stuff you need to handle?  What works for one may not work for another.  I encourage free-flow journaling.  Set the timer for 15 minutes.  Take a sheet of paper and write at the top: If I could change ONE thing today, what would it be?  When you're done, review what you've written and tear it up and get rid of it.  Some people like to just trash it, others flush it and others burn it.  You're following through with a symbolic act that lets you release that which is keeping you captive.  Sometimes you can't change what's in front of you. At least not right away. But you can work within the parameters of your environment. And in getting out the anger and frustration, you can often uncover simple solutions and steps to take that will move you in a better-feeling direction.

I believe these are key aspects to a healthy - and happy life.  I'd love to hear your thoughts. And questions.  I'll continue to explore each emotional center further over the coming weeks.  This is the basis of what I've built my practice on.  Connecting these dots is almost magical in a wacky sort of way, one I enjoy and one I hope serves you as well.

xo, H.

But I really don't want to be....'granola'

Last night my husband and I went to dinner with some new friends.  Conversation veered towards nutrition and by the time we were done with dinner I felt like we had steamrollered over their entire set of eating habits! I really didn't mean to.  But it did make me realize that I've learned a LOT in the last 15 months!

In October of 2013 we did a candida cleanse. For 30 days. Well, hubs did it for 45 (because he's his own drill sergeant when it comes to stuff like this!) It was easily one of the hardest things I've ever done! It was also worth it. 

Candida is yeast overgrowth. Your body should have some, but the amount of refined sugar and grains we consume creates a breeding ground and candida has been linked to PMS, inflammation of all kinds, IBS, body odor, bad breath, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, weight gain.... truly, the list goes on. 

But I'm not writing this to encourage a candida cleanse, although I heartily do, I'm writing this because it was BECAUSE of that cleanse that we became so very aware of our diet and what made our body's feel good...and what made them feel rotten.  

What's been the most interesting aspect of this to me has been the emotional component.  As soon as I tell myself that I can't have something, it's all I want.  And I'm very stubborn.  My husband on the other hand seems to just decide and go with it, almost effortlessly.  I find that completely intriguing. Body image is a thing and quite a huge one for me. So you'd think I'd just jump on board, work out, eat right and be happy.  Ha!  Anyway...I digress.

My point here is that once we learned what fed the yeast overgrowth, how to get rid of it, what we were really putting into our mouths and what we really wanted to accomplish, we've made a lot of changes in our home.  As I coach my clients to better health, it's important for me to encourage small changes.  One step at a time.  And it looks like this:

1.  Pay attention to gluten and dairy.  Not everyone has an intolerance to these products, but until you remove it and add it back in, you won't know for sure.  Gluten free has come a long way and most of what you find out there is fairly tasty. Instead of a sandwich with bread, try Udi's gluten-free flour tortillas and make a wrap.  Or use romaine or collard greens to make your wrap.  I was surprised to find that I love collard greens as a wrap.  You've gotta steam them first for a minute or so, but they've got a crunch to them and I love it. 

Milk is a huge mucus-causing product.  So your latte's, your ice cream, anything made with milk, pay attention to how much your consuming.  So much is hidden that you don't even realize. And no, I'm not a fan of soy-milk, so use almond milk instead.  MUCH better.

2.  Eat fruit alone. I'd rather have veggies than fruit any day of the week, but a piece of fruit can satisfy your sweet tooth if you let it. 

3. Snacks.  This is a good one.  That afternoon bag of chips out of the vending machine is evil.  E.V.I.L. There are so many more things you can choose from:  sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, carrots, bell pepper slices, avocados, the list goes on.  I make the hubs a baggy of mixed nuts - like almonds and walnuts and add in goji berries for an afternoon snack.  Works great!

4. Dialogue with your body.  I'm a stress and boredom eater.  Big time.  So I started asking myself what I was hungry for when I head to the kitchen.  The truth is that most of the time I'm not.  But if I'm gonna eat, I make a decision.  If I'm wanting something sweet, I go for fruit. Something salty or crunchy, maybe nuts or celery and hummus or nutbutter...which by the way is really delish! 

5. Remind yourself what your after.  Is it important to lose weight? Are you struggling with a health issue? Is summer around the corner and you just want to feel better in your swimsuit by the pool?  Re-focus.  And breathe darn it.  Take a minute out of your super busy day to reconnect with what you really want.

6. Forgive yourself.  And when you fall short, it's super important to let. it. go.  If I run through all my tricks and still am after that bag of peanut butter m&m's (my weakness) then I tell myself that I am going to INDULGE.  That word, right there, makes a huge difference.  I'm giving myself permission to dote on me.  So I treat myself and then get back on track. 

By the time we were done with dinner last night I thought...that's it, we've done it.  We've officially turned granola.  I've become one of those annoying people who eat raw all the time and preach to others how they need to join me.  But that's really not the truth at all.  The truth is that what I've learned matters.  It matters for our health and the health of our loved ones and THAT's what's so important.  I fall short, I don't make healthy choices 100% of the time and some days not even 50% of the time.  And I don't believe health lies solely in foods we consume either, but that's another topic for another day.  In the meantime, I'll continue to educate, share and inform. 

What this all boils down to really is this: self-care isn't an indulgence.  It's the single most important thing you can do. What's the saying? When you feel good, you look good and when you look good, you feel good?  Ain't that the truth?  And nothing is sexier than confidence.

xo, H.

Teetertottering on detoxing

We've got just a couple of weeks left before Christmas and I'm about to start a 15 day detox.  It'll bump me right up to the Christmas feast.  And I'm really having to talk myself into it.  It's a lot of work. There's the shopping list, the actual shopping, the actual preparation, cooking and then, yes, actually following through. Ugh.

The other side is how sluggish I feel, how tired I am not just at that 3pm slump, but most of the damn day. How puffy I feel in my own skin even though my clothes seem to fit the same.  I hate scales and don't use one.  It's just a preference.  My husband lives and dies by the darn thing, but me and scales....well we just aren't in much of an agreement regarding my self-esteem.

So I've hit the breaking point.  The feeling like crap is outweighing the work it's gonna take to feel better.  So I've spent the last couple of days working on the very first thing any of us has to work on and that's the mindset and negative self talk.  Because at the end of the day, I am NOT my body. But tell me that when I'm getting dressed in the morning and inwardly beating myself to oblivion because I some how don't measure up to the ubiquitous perfect 43 year old wife, mother of two grown children, business owner and coach.  Bleh.

Yes.  I said it. I'm a Certified Health Coach.  And it's important to me to share how much those that know better and want to teach people how to do better, also struggle.  We also fall short.  We battle some of the same stuff you do.  I've spent the last half of the year learning everything I can about how food makes us feel and function.  And how how we feel drives our lives.  How we feel about our relationships at work, at home, with our kids and with our parents; how we feel about our faith in life, in Spirit and in the world in general; how we feel when our body moves....and when it won't. At least not like it use to. Because once the day comes to an end you just want to plop your happy butt down somewhere and not do one more single solitary darn thing. And you know, like you know, like you KNOW that life was meant for more than this.

I've never believed that a joy-filled life had anything to do with the size of your pants.  I believe joy comes from an intricate connection between mind, body and soul.  And I think most of us have glimpses of this now and again.  I want more of that, don't you?  I think we all do. 

What does that have to do with a detox?  I think it's a launch pad.  A gateway...or maybe the gate itself. Sugar has the same effect on the brain as the drug cocaine does.  Did you know that?  It's almost unbelievable, but it's so very true.  If you had a clue how much hidden sugar was in the processed foods we consume, you'd be floored.  (Want a glimpse?  Watch the movie 'Fed Up' on Netflix.  Be prepared to be completely and totally ticked!) So when I oust the sugar, I've gotta make sure I can compete with the cravings, but I also know I'm starting with the best foundation possible.  A clean diet, a clean gut and a clean mind. 

So here goes.  Today I'm shopping for my detox.  My gift to myself.  Because I count, I matter and dammit, it's time.