Digestion; what your parents didn’t talk to you about (poop)

Did you know that your digestive tract is like a superhighway – full of complicated twists and turns, ups and downs, and sometimes potholes and roadblocks. The complicated nature of the digestive tract can interfere with the natural flow of life (pun intended). Full elimination (aka poop) in the morning can either make your day (yahoo) or make you bloated, gassy, and miserable. Join us and learn all about the things your parents just wouldn’t discuss with you and discover 10 tips to improve your digestion and attain full, morning elimination.

Healthy Habits, Week 11 Journey

Your Wellness Evolution Begins March, 2018

What does it mean to be in control of your own health and wellness, to grow, and evolve?

For most of us, good health is our number one goal, yet that same goal may rank fairly low on the scale of what gets done each day and how you actually care for yourself. Do your daily habits support your wellness goals?

I know how to tap you into your body’s wellness potential quickly. I know how to easefully awaken you to better habits. And I want you to get those better habits easefully automated into your day to day life. That’s what my Healthy Habits 11-Week Journey is all about! Habit evolution and automation!

Here’s what will happen:

  • You’ll learn how to nourish your body through the foods you prepare and eat. In other words, your palate will be smarter;
  • You’ll strengthen your digestion;
  • You’ll feel better in your body and achieve your optimal body weight;
  • You’ll reduce fatigue, increase energy, and manage stress and anxiety with ease;
  • You’ll establish a regular exercise practice;
  • You’ll age more gracefully;
  • You’ll cultivate healthy habits so they become automated for your future health.

This will all happen fast by making small, sustainable shifts in your habits.  You are in charge of your own evolution, and along the way you’ll receive:

  • Weekly group coaching and webinars, and access to a depth of materials and videos on habit change;
  • Bi-weekly one-on-one laser coaching to problem solve pesky problems that arise;
  • Complimentary pass to either Spring or Autumn Detox (4-week program);
  • Private Facebook Forum for support and sharing ideas, recipes, challenges, opportunities;
  • Body Thrive book and goodie bag;
  • Complimentary pass to weekly yoga class.

I am a healthy lifestyle advocate and wellness coach and I want to help you be the best you can be through lifestyle change that includes learning, practicing, and implementing healthy self-care practices.  The formula and principles are simple; the practice takes discipline; and the implementation and experience of a healthier life is just ahead.

If you’re ready to make an investment in health and wellness now and for your future, schedule a time to talk with me about my Healthy Habits 11-Week Pilot Program. I look forward to finding out where you want to go and help you get there. Sign up here for a conversation and to explore whether Healthy Habits is the right program for you:

Are you ready for a journey to better health and wellness?

 

Our health and wellness is deeply rooted in our own history – where we have been, what we have done, how we’ve treated our bodies and minds…..and, for many people, how we have neglected our good health.

Pause…..think about that for a minute.

Did you know that your body contains billions of bacteria that have traveled into and onto your body from the time you were born to this very moment? These bacteria make up your “microbial footprint” and can impact your health in a multitude of ways – especially in your gut.

Oh, the gut!

According to Ayurveda, an ancient, eastern-holistic science, the body’s footprint is also designed, in part, by the baggage from your ancestral heritage and the health, wellness, and lifestyle maintained throughout the span of those generations.

And then there is the modern science of epigenetics – the manifestation of your DNA as it reacts to HOW YOU treat your body through nutrition and lifestyle. Did you know this was a thing?  It’s a thing – a critically important thing!

Combine your microbial footprint, your ancestral heritage, and epigenetics, and you’ve got a really complicated, interconnected mesh of possibilities when you’re considering your own health and wellness.

I am not here to argue the merits of modern medicine, or to get into a deep discussion about ancient philosophies on how to heal your body, or to suggest that you should or should not be on Weight Watchers, go to CrossFit, or take freezing cold showers like the dare-devil health-nut, Wim Hoff.

Instead, I offer simple, practical, and reasonable, anyone-can-take-these-steps to improve the human condition and make you feel better in your body. Maybe you suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, chronic-fatigue, depression, migraines, menopause symptoms, PMS, weight-management or any of the multitude of conditions that plague the 21st century human. I believe that our bodies and minds reflect what we eat and how we choose to live and for many, that means dealing with some really difficult physical, emotional, and spiritual issues.

How much money have you spent over your lifetime (or even just in 2017) joining a weight loss group, a gym, an exercise video-series, doctor visits, pills, physical therapy, massages (although who doesn’t LOVE a good massage now and then), or talk-therapy?  Add it up. It’s astounding and maybe a little depressing. Have you ever considered investing in YOU as the vehicle for your own healing?

In March, I’ll be kicking off the pilot of my 11-week course called Healthy Habits that focuses on nothing more than simple lifestyle habits like what you eat, and what time you eat dinner, getting restful (real) sleep, moving the body in gentle ways that helps reduce stress and ultimately the belly “pooch”, hydration, regular and satisfying elimination (aka your daily poop), and food tips and tricks to design your kitchen to satisfy your nutritional needs and make cooking, eating, and serving your family 10,000 times easier and more enjoyable.

I am looking for 10-15 motivated people to participate in this pilot program, which will be offered both in-person and on-line at a very affordable price. The course is very flexible, so if you are a busy person and cannot commit to a place or specific time to participate, you can work at your own pace, but still get the benefits of a tribe of like-minded individuals, tons of tools and educational content, and plenty of access to 1-on-1 coaching. The habits you’ll develop will change your life forever. Complete the form below to have a conversation and learn more. We’ll set up a time and talk through your needs and desires and I’ll let you know if I feel the program is the right fit for you.  Make 2018 a healthy one!  For the Health of It….

Let me tell you a story about my dad….

His name was Charles – commonly known to friends as Chuck or Charlie. Chuck was an engineer – a very smart guy; practical, pragmatic, detailed, organized, tenacious and one hell of a hard worker. He could also swear up a storm, which I liked very much.

My dad was 8 years older than my mom and I heard him say throughout my lifetime that he’d be gone far before my mom left this life, but that, as it turned out, was very wrong. In fact, my mom died 11 years before him (18 years ago, now, which blows my mind). Anyway, I digress…..

My dad was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis – an auto-immune disease, as an older fella. It was a devastating disease which caused him a good deal of pain and numbness.  By the time he was in his late 70’s, he’d lost the use of one of his legs almost completely, but in proud Chuck-style, he’d move around (all around, as I learned from neighbors and friends) with his walker – dragging the old, tired leg behind him. He’d stop to rest a lot, but persevere he would!

One day I was in Traverse City at our cottage and Frank, our neighbor the same age as Chuck, dropped by to tell me that he’d witnessed Chuck, using his walker, drag a tall ladder from the front of the cottage to the back, so he could scrape paint.  Frank watched him scale his way up the ladder using some crazy device that would help him climb the ladder without the use of his bad leg. Wow Chuck – very creative!

Another day, years later, after my dad had decided to move into an assisted nursing facility, I walked in to visit with him and found him doing one-legged dips on the side of the bed. He was 85. When I asked Chuck what he was doing (I already knew the answer because I’d heard it many times over the years) he said that although he had a disease that took away his mobility (and much of his dignity, unfortunately), he’d be damned to just sit there and die. He knew that to become still would be a death sentence.

He walked, dragging that bad leg behind him for years.  He traveled to the cottage and back over and over again. He scaled ladders and scrapped paint, raked leaves (I’m not making this stuff up), lifted weights, and did seated calisthenics to get his heart pumping. As he aged, he also lost most of his eye sight, but Chuck didn’t let that stop him. The engineer in Chuck was persistent.  He loved to draw and paint, and used a huge magnifying glass over his work so he could continue to create.

Chuck was a healthy guy most of his life. He ate a healthy diet, and no matter the circumstances, he continued to eat healthy – filling himself with salads and soups until the end of his life (thankfully, he’d also drink an occasional beer with me).

So why am I telling you this? My dad developed strong habits during his lifetime. His healthy habits and never-ending positive outlook on life kept him moving and strong for many years. He never gave in to the pain, didn’t complain, broke all the rules of what an old guy should do, and hung around to spend time with family, laugh, joke, and enjoy. Some people believe that their destiny is up to their genes and what the world hands them. Chuck believed that his lifestyle was his destiny, and he was right. I’m so grateful for the tenacious man, named Chuck, who taught me so many good, healthy habits and demonstrated that lifestyle is what you design for yourself.

Chuck Miller – my dad!

Got Milk? And a gut ache?

My mother was a saint. No lie. She wasn’t perfect, but pretty darned close. When I was a kid, I had eczema. Serious eczema. It was so bad, that as a wee little one, I would tear the skin on my feet open from scratching. Large and painful cracks would develop which made walking (or just living) miserable. The creases inside my elbows and knees were an inflamed itchy, bloody mess. When I was in elementary school, my mother would come to school during lunch break to rub a thick black salve on my feet which would, theoretically, make things better. What made the pain and itching less was the tenderness of my mother’s touch. The black salve never really worked though I truly loved the daily foot rubs.

The eczema continued throughout childhood, my teenage years and into college when it worsened to the point that my entire body was covered in welts, including around my eyes, ears, and even my nipples (sorry fellas).  Eventually, this eczema drove me, quite literally, insane. I was an inflamed, miserable mess and in November 1981, my dad drove to my college dorm, packed up my belongings and took me home where I was forced to calm myself down enough to begin healing. I did heal somewhat, but the eczema continued into my early adulthood, until I got pregnant two years later.

After I became pregnant with my first daughter, the bloating I had also dealt with throughout my teens and early adulthood, became intolerable (I really sound like a hot mess, don’t I?) Not having a lot of confidence in doctors’ abilities to solve my issues, I began investigating on my own. What I discovered was that the cause of my bloating and discomfort was MILK! Yes, milk. Back in the day, no one talked about lactose-intolerance or auto-immune, but I was plagued by both. What was talked about was how critically important it was for all humans to drink milk or we would become calcium-deficient and suffer horrible health consequences. What hogwash!

Eczema is an immune related issue that was and still is, very misunderstood. Milk is inflammatory and causes allergies to go from borderline to dramatic (and for me, this meant bloody welts and near insanity). Lactose-intolerance, on the other hand, is widely known and diagnosed (sidebar: why do they call it lactose-intolerance since over 70% of the world’s population is intolerant? I’d vote for calling the 30% who can handle it – lactose-tolerant). Like magic, upon giving up milk during early pregnancy, the eczema, bloating, and allergies all went away, never to reappear. What’s the lesson here?

The Standard American Diet (SAD) – designed and promoted by our government (and many, many doctors who receive little to no nutritional training in medical school), dense with conflicting interests of industrial farming and dirty politics, promotes the consumption of milk and milk products to not only infants, but to folks of all ages.  “Milk, it does the body good”, “got milk?” are just two of the pervasive marketing ads that have been drilled into the American psyche for years.

As a post-menopausal woman, I’m now bombarded by questions about how to get enough calcium so I don’t develop osteoporosis or brittle bones.  Oh, stop the madness! I eat a plant-based, whole-foods diet. Where do I get my calcium? From green vegetables – kale, broccoli, cabbage, to name a few, beans, sesame seeds, almonds, and so on. If you want to avoid osteoporosis, add weight-bearing exercise (Chutkan 113) like lunges, squats, walking, and running. But you do NOT need to drink milk or consume even one bite of milk products now or ever.

I eat a plant-based, whole-foods diet, so yes I am recommending that you get rid of all milk and milk products in your life, including yogurt and cheese.  But I’m not doctor, so follow your instincts and what your doctor tells you.  OR, do like I did 34 years ago and experiment yourself. Eliminate suspect foods from your diet, clean-up your diet during a detox (I will be running a Spring Detox in mid-May), and then slowly add things back. If your symptoms disappear and then reappear as you add foods back, you have your answers. Read all you can on nutrition and learn to be skeptical (really, this is the most important piece of advice I have).

Above all else, be your own healer. The human body is amazing and resilient. End note: if your mother (or anyone else, for that matter) is willing to give you regular foot rubs (with or without black salve), say yes!

If you want to explore this topic, here are some reading materials that will help you:

  • Chutkan, The Bloat Cure
  • On calcium, visit National Institutes of Health website: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/#h3
  • For more information food related marketing and its influence on society, read Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss Random House 2013
  • For more information on eczema and auto-immune conditions, read The Microbiome Solution by Robynne Chutkan Avery – Penguin Random House 2016
  • For more information on the dairy industry and the impacts of milk products, specifically cheese, read The Cheese Trap by Dr. Neal D. Barnard
  • If you cannot imagine living without cheese and want to explore making nut-based cheeses, read this CHEESE is nuts! by Julie Piatt published by Avery – Penguin Random House 2017

If you want to sign up for the Spring or Autumn Detox, you can select your Detox below: 

Women, weight gain, and menopause; Part three – hormones, inflammation, and the food we eat!

 

Women – take back your lives!

I cannot believe the number of women I’m running into who are truly interested in finding ways to manage and counter the symptoms of menopause. Much of what we experience in our bodies during menopause is regional. What does that mean, you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you. It means that in the US, 75-80% of all women report variations of symptoms related to menopause; hot flashes, weight gain, moodiness, joint pain, etc. Here’s the kicker – only 23% of women in Thailand and 17% of women in Japan report the same symptoms. In the Mayan culture, there are no known words to describe menopause and virtually no one complains of the associated symptoms (Alexandra Epple).

Just stew in that news for a few minutes.

Many of the “typical” symptoms of menopause here in the Western world, or the extent to which they manifest, are global. The habits and lifestyle in the Western world dictate our experiences. Mahatma Gandhi once said:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.”

Back in 2011, I wrote an extensive paper in graduate school that presented and juxtaposed various evolutionary theories on menopause. In re-reading that paper, I am reminded of my original thesis that argued that there are “multigenerational, environmental, ecological, and cultural considerations” (Miller 2011) to menopause and its symptoms. My thinking has not changed. We physically manifest our habits; how we behave (stress and overwork), how we move our bodies (exercise or the lack thereof), and what we consume (food and other products, including technology) all impact the expression of menopausal symptoms.

Well, that got a little deep, didn’t it?! It’s interesting that an anthropological deep dive into menopause simply brings us right back to what we already intuitively know. WE are in the driver’s seat. WE determine how we behave. WE decide whether we exercise regularly or not. WE decide what and how much we eat. I’m sorry, but it really is that simple. Do your habits support you?

I promised a little on inflammation in the body related to how and what we eat so here I go. Our pancreas produces insulin when we eat. When we eat the crappy Standard American Diet (SAD – funny acronym, don’t you think?) of “low-fat, highly processed, and refined foods, the pancreas keeps pumping out more and more insulin. This excess of insulin functions as a pro-inflammatory substance. Eventually we become resistant to all this excess insulin in our blood” (Zoom Heaton – Is There a Connection between Hormone Imbalance and Inflammation). Here’s the most terrifying and disturbing part of the inflammation discussion – if we continue to eat the SAD which causes excessive insulin in the body and therefore inflammation (and pain, by the way), the brain ages which may lead to Alzheimer’s’.  Stop the freaking bus….I want to get off.

Women (and men), take back your lives! If you want to learn more, and if you want to learn how and what to eat to lessen your menopausal and mid-life symptoms, sign up below to receive my regular blog posts with tips for improving your life through habit change. In January, I’m leading a 4-week (in-person and on-line) course on Intermittent Fasting. Beginning in March, I’ll be leading an 11-week Healthy Habits program which can result in a huge evolution in the ways that you approach your life and your lifestyle.  It’s cool to read all you can about how to age healthfully and gracefully, but if you don’t act, as Ghandi said, your habits will become your values, and your values will become your destiny.

Women, TAKE BACK YOUR LIVES!!!! Namaste!

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Menopause – Hormonal imbalance! Hot flashes! Moods swings! Weight-gain!

Did I get your attention? Yep, probably.  As I maneuvered my way through menopause, I encountered only one of these symptoms – hot flashes. And to be honest, I really never found a solution except for using long, calming breaths to get through them. I’d say they lasted 2-3 years, and I still occasionally get them….although I can never be sure if I’m having a hot flash or just over-analyzing something like the budget at work, accidentally hearing the news about Trump, driving through a snowstorm, or getting lost in Toronto (damned big city) late at night. Who knows? Sometimes the body is a mystery.

For those of you who know me well, you know I am a podcast FREAK and because I travel a lot for work and I run a lot, I tune-in a lot. Occasionally I just want to share a particular podcast with you or provide you information that might help you on your quest for better health. Disclaimer – when I share this information, it does not mean that I am endorsing a particular idea or theory and I will NEVER endorse a product).  It just means that I found the information to be useful and it might be to you as well. And since many of you, like me, are either edging towards middle-age, or are firmly planted in it (or even beyond it and if that’s the case – power to our elder women – you inspire me!!!), I’m sharing.

In many cases, we can heal ourselves through education.  So with that disclaimer, I shall move ahead and share what I’ve recently learned on Women’s Wellness Radio, a podcast created by Bridgit Danner (www.bridgitdanner.com), founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative. In her podcast “Natural Solutions for Hormonal Imbalance” in which she interviewed Dr. Carrie Jones, ND, there was a lot of discussion about ways to deal with various imbalances, but what I found most useful was Dr. Jones’ list of her favorite supplements, many of which I have heard a lot about and a few that I use myself (generally in the form of teas, since the only supplements I actually take are glucosamine/chondroitin for joints because I am a runner and B12 because it was so highly recommended because of my plant-based lifestyle).

Here they are:

  • For menopause: Black Cohosh, Dong Quai, Red Clover.
  • For adrenal support: Ashwaganda, Rhodiola, American Ginseng, High-quality B vitamins, Vitamin C.
  • For better sleep and restorative growth: Magnolia, Passionflower, Chamomile, Valerianhormone.

(Credit to Dr. Carrie Jones, ND)

We are fortunate here in mid-Michigan that there are a number of health-food stores and options for purchasing natural health products and services – I am aware of at least two in Mt. Pleasant, one in Alma, one in Remus and one in Riverdale (geesh, we should be SO healthy here).  Stop-in to one of these places and talk to the folks there about these supplements and/or teas. Try a few things out, but don’t just stop with the list above.  My favorite tea for detox is ginger – you can purchase the tea bags, or use some shredded ginger steeped in hot water for a few minutes and then drained.

If you are interested in learning more about these things and more, consider joining my Intermittent Fasting Workshop Series coming up in early January where we will explore digestion, food, and the ways in which you can change your life and your wellness the natural way.  The series is only $40! Up-level your life and join in the fun. 

Embrace the Fire in Your Belly with Intermittent Fasting

Understanding and actually embracing hunger is an important part of the Intermittent Fasting process. Feel into it and appreciate it for what it is. It is the digestive process doing its work.

The Western way of eating and behaving around food has taught us that hunger equates to “I MUST EAT”. Wrong!!! It’s telling you that your system is doing what it is supposed to do – digesting food, absorbing nutrients, moving food through the channels, and exiting out of your body through a healthy elimination process.

We will talk a lot about digestion during the Intermittent Fasting workshop series. If we ignore what we put in our bodies and the natural process of our digestion, we will develop dis-ease, heaviness, weight-gain, brain fog and a multitude of other physical issues and suffer the consequences. I hope you’ll join this posse of peeps who care enough to learn and hopefully change a few habits which will lead to happier, healthier bodies, minds, and spirits. The course will be taught in-person at RedBloom Yoga and on-line so don’t worry if you are not in or around Mt. Pleasant. Join now!  Cost is only $40.