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Dear Me, You’re Not Weak

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Dear Exhausted and Weak Me,

You’ve had a bit of a setback, and the progress you thought you were making, has now been undone, but please don’t ever call your body weak again. It had to fight so much for so long, that it’s one of the strongest bodies you’ll ever meet. It had to carry so much and it fought so hard for you. Never forget that progress is a slow process.

Please don’t ever feel guilty again of not being the perfect friend, wife, sister, or daughter. You are not your disease even though you feel that is all you are. You’ve tried to keep up with life, but in the end, you lost. You fought an incredible battle. But a setback is just a set-up for a comeback. And one day, you will be winning again. You’ll proudly show your scars and scream “I’ve survived”.

Please don’t ever feel ashamed again, for not remembering things and asking questions when you should already know the answers. Memory loss is part of the disease, and some day your brain will function properly again. Remember that the people who love you, don’t blame you. So why blame yourself?

Don’t compare yourself to the girls who post pictures with the cutest outfits, on sunny vacations and living life. When these girls wore dresses and high heels, you wore pajamas and a robe every day of the week. And you know what? That is okay. Really, it is. Your time will come too, and then you’ll feel confident and maybe even pretty. And you’ll buy all the dresses and shoes you can dream of.

Don’t accuse yourself of being difficult to love. Don’t you dare tell yourself that ever again. There is so much to love about you. When you feel hate for yourself, you are actually hating the disease. But there is more to you than disease. You are giving, generous and have a big heart. Even with this debilitating disease and unreal medical bills, you still support people you love and give a lot to your family while trying to never ask for anything. Your soul is pure and your intentions are always good. Don’t blame yourself for the negative thoughts, but learn to understand that they are a part of this process. There will be a day when you will be able to tell your mind to shut up when the bad thoughts come again. You will beat this negativity. Yes, you will.

Don’t hate yourself. Stop hating your body. Your legs carried you through the hardest parts of your life. Your arms are strong, yet they are also soft and can be used to cuddle and hold the ones you love. When you’re finally able to work again, it will feel like the biggest victory you’ll ever know. I promise you that if you learn to appreciate yourself, your body will glow again. The scars will be evidence that you have won the fight. Celebrate and look toward the future and be thankful.

Please forgive your former friends for not being able to understand what it really means to be sick. They simply cannot empathize with you, and their lack of trying doesn’t mean they are bad people. It just means that life got in the way. If you allow it, life will reward you with new people who will see the good in you when you feel lost.

Please get rid of the idea that you can never thank your loved ones and friends enough for putting up with you. It’s not necessary to give them money or gifts. Remember that they support you because they choose to. Cherish them, and pay them back with love and unconditional friendship, because that is more than enough.

This is not your fault. Disease is not your fault. But this happened to you, and you’ve lost control over your body and life. Stop being impatient, pat yourself on the back and remember how far you have come. You can do this. Heck yes, you can.

health

6 Small Changes That Will Transform Your Health

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Ever feel like you’ve fallen too far off the wagon when it comes to your health? Or feel like it would take a miracle to get you back on track with your goals? Fortunately for you, wellness doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing experience. And contrary to what many people think, you don’t have to completely overhaul your lifestyle to gain more energy, balance your hormones, and heal your gut. Small changes can make a huge difference in your health and well-being. Let’s dive into six small changes that can make a real difference in how you feel every single day:

1. Establish a morning ritual.

Start the day off by completing one simple task and you’re likely to complete others later that day. This could be something like reciting a positive mantra every morning before you head out the door, completing a five-minute morning stretch routine, reading one chapter in a non-work-related novel, or simply making your bed!

Did you know that making your bed in the morning may just be the world’s easiest success habit? It starts a chain reaction of other productive habits throughout the day. In fact, Navy SEAL William H. McCraven stated, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”

2. Have a high-protein breakfast.

Fewer than six hours of sleep per day is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation and worsening insulin resistance, as well as increased risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This is a profound finding as a recent cross-sectional study demonstrated that almost one-third of U.S. adults get less than six hours of sleep. Complete proteins (think clean animal meats, eggs, tempeh, or even a quality protein shake) will increase chemicals in the brain that not only improve sleep but also improve your mood. This is all due to a little amino acid called tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin. Serotonin is our “feel-good hormone” and makes us feel happy and motivated throughout the day. Serotonin then turns into melatonin, which helps us sleep at night! Without that complete protein at the start of the day, this conversion can’t take place, leaving you tired and moody.

3. Drink more water.

We are over 70 percent water, which is the basic medium of our blood, excretion, and metabolism. In fact, just two glasses of water a day reduces the chance of developing high blood pressure by 28 percent. Adequate hydration can also make or break the strength and resiliency of your active lifestyle. Getting enough fluids helps balance your muscle’s ability to contract and relax, maintains mental clarity, stops you from overheating, and keeps your joints lubricated and flexible.

The problem is that most people think they’re already drinking enough water. I encourage you to really dive into this one a little deeper to see the real scenario playing out. Use an app like Daily Water or grab your favorite 20-ounce glass or stainless-steel water bottle and find out how many times you’d have to fill it up to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day.

4. Choose to stand.

For the vast majority of our evolutionary history, we’ve had to exert more physical energy in a given day finding food, shelter, and avoiding danger just to survive. There really wasn’t much need to “work out” every day when daily activities provided this natural movement and exercise. Today, things are much different. Many of us are sitting at a desk or sitting in a car for the majority of the day. Yet we know that too much sitting is associated with numerous problems, ranging from weight gain to osteoporosis to cardiovascular disease. Sitting for more than two hours at a time without taking a short break drastically increases these risk factors.

So what can you do about it? Before you go out and buy a fancy standing desk—let’s remember that we’re focusing on small changes that will have a large ripple effect. So if you didn’t read No. 3 above, take another look because we’re doubling up here: When we actually drink enough water throughout the day, it provides a built-in reminder to stand up and walk every couple of hours. If you’re drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water each day, odds are you are going to have to stand up to use the bathroom every few hours. If you’re not, you’re not drinking enough water and if you’re not drinking enough water, you’re not standing enough. Boom.

5. Detox daily.

Your amazing body is continuously detoxing, and it doesn’t need a fancy juice cleanse of magic grapefruit concoction to do its job. However, the way we treat our bodies and what we put in them can either assist this process or add to the already heavy load our liver carries. Two tiny changes in your day can give your liver a much-appreciated boost in daily detoxification.

First, skip the late-night snacks. The liver’s regenerative cycle is between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. If your body is busy digesting food at this time, it disrupts the detoxification process. Aim for a 10 p.m. bedtime and about 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. Second, add lemon to your morning smoothie, daily water, or favorite dressing. Lemon has a phytonutrient called d-limonene that supports the liver detoxification enzymes.

6. Eat something fermented every day.

The bacteria found in your gut comprise approximately 2 pounds of your body weight! This is also where about 70 percent of our immune system is housed. Nutritional science is only just beginning to understand the complexity of the microbiome and just how much it has to do with overall health. But no one can deny that the role of the microbiome in overall health is critical.

As Hippocrates stated, “All disease begins in the gut.” Doing just one small thing to love your gut every day will have a major payoff in terms of increased energy, glowing skin, fewer digestive issues, and a trimmer waistline. Pick two or three fermented foods and incorporate just two forkfuls or a few sips of these daily. Try some sauerkraut alongside some scrambled eggs and guacamole! And remember, a true fermented food will be found in the refrigerated section of the store and will not be made with vinegar—only sea salt and the chosen vegetable and spices.

 

recipes

Black Bean Sweet Potato Breakfast Tacos

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I love a good tasting, easy meal that I can make ahead for the week. I made myself a batch of these black bean and sweet potato tacos to have for breakfast this week and boy are they good and filling!

The fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient content of black beans, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. This fiber helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease.

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.

Ingredients

  • 4 corn or gluten free tortillas
  • 1 15-ounce cans organic black beans (look for cans that are BPA-free)
  • 3 small/medium sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • salt + pepper

Preparation

1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sweet potatoes and onions and season with salt and pepper. Cover and let cook, for about 10 minutes stirring every few minutes for even cooking. Remove the lid and cook for another 5-10 minutes or so until the potatoes are soft and lightly browned.

2. Add the black beans to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until warm, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Directly before serving: Over a low flame on a gas stovetop, place the warm tortilla directly on the burner. Heat for a few seconds on each side. Remove from heat and place in cloth towel to keep warm.

4. Serve the tacos with guacamole, diced avocado, cilantro, salsa or your favorite hot sauce.

 

That’s it! It’s super easy, will keep you full and energized and is healthy. I just assemble all the tacos at the same time, roll them up in some aluminum foil and when you’re ready to eat them, just heat in a toaster oven or microwave and enjoy!

health · recipes

Immune Boosting Ginger Turmeric Lemon Wellness Shot

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It’s that time of year again when the nasty bugs are going around getting us all sick. So what can we do to stay on top of illness and give our immune system a little extra boost when we need it most? Make your own wellness shot of course!

Lemon juice is high in vitamin C, helps to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract, and boosts metabolism while ginger root is an excellent anti-inflammatory that’s also anti-aging and can aid in weight loss. Turmeric is a wonderful spice that can suppress the growth of fat tissue as well as prevent DNA damage and slow down the aging process.

Make a big batch of this at once and freeze it into ice cube trays so you have it ready to go whenever bugs strike. If you don’t have time or the tools needed to juice it, you can get fresh pressed turmeric and ginger juice at your local juice or smoothie shop which makes this even easier to make.

Ingredients

  • 3 lemons (peeled)
  • 2 inch chunk of ginger
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 1 glass water

Preparation

1. Juice the lemon and ginger, mix in turmeric powder and water, and pour into an ice cube tray to freeze.

2. Every morning as needed, remove a cube and add hot water. Stir for 30 seconds, and it is ready to drink.

 

It’s that simple! You can also add some honey to sweeten it up a little plus it adds additional bacteria killing properties, win-win!

recipes

Constipation Stopper Prune Smoothie

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Drinking healthy smoothies is a great way to rebalance your digestive system. If your digestive system is in order, your elimination will be in order. Instead of reaching for over the counter aids when things go wrong, try a healthy, safer alternative.

If you don’t move your bowels everyday, chances are you’re constipated. They may be hard, small and difficult to pass causing discomfort and hemorrhoids. Constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too much water or if the muscle contractions in the colon are weak. It can be due to dehydration, lack of fiber, inactivity, medications or diseases like irritable bowel syndrome.

Next time things go wrong “down under”, give this smoothie a try and be sure to use organic ingredients when possible to reduce exposure to pesticides and toxins.

Yogurt Prune Smoothie

6 pitted prunes (look for brands without added preservatives)

1 cup organic apple juice (preferably fresh squeezed)

1 cup ice

1 cup organic Kefir or organic plain yogurt

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

pinch of nutmeg

Put ice in the blender first, followed by the other ingredients and blend well. Drink and enjoy the benefits!

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