Tips for a Healthy Brain

One aspect of our health is mental health. In the last blog post I discussed all about a healthy mind. Read it here.

This post is all about a physically healthy mind: our brain.

Our brains are so important! (Hello- without a brain we can’t live!) They protect us from illness, control our central nervous system, keep us safe, amongst a zillion other things. So, keeping our brains healthy is super important.

So, what can we do to keep our brains healthy?

Here’s my top 5 tips:

1. Exercise your brain

Yup. Do activities and games that stretch your thinking. Cross lateral movements help both hemispheres of your brain communicate better. Puzzles and games like sudoku (my personal favorite) keep your mind sharp. Also, learning a new skill or playing an instrument can also help exercise your brain.

2. Eat nutrient rich foods for brain health

These would include:

  • dark leafy greens
  • seafood – especially smaller oily fish like salmon or sardines
  • coconut oil
  • berries
  • turmeric
  • dark chocolate (Hello! Yes Please!)
  • pasture raised eggs

3. Drink lots of water.

Our brains are more than 75% water, so keeping them hydrated is of upmost importance. I recommend to my clients to drink between 50% & 75% of their body weight in ounces of water a day. This is a general number. Make sure you honor your body and give it the water it desires. (My body requires more like 75-100% of my body weight on ounces of water a day.)

4. Avoid foods that can cause brain issues

This would be sugar, artificial anything, gluten, and sometimes dairy. Sugars and gluten especially are detrimental to the brain. Some doctors are calling Alzheimer’s Type 3 diabetes. This is because of how the body is responding to sugar. Gluten has so many pesticides that the brain can’t help but be affected (yes, even organic grains can have pesticides). And many Alzheimer’s patients are seeing reduced or eliminated symptoms from no longer consuming sugar and/or gluten.

5. Reduce stress

Stress cause so many negative symptoms in our bodies when we don’t deal with the stress properly. Our bodies can actually store stress in our joints, muscles, and brain. This wreaks havoc on our health. We can’t eliminate stress, but we can manage it better.

Find at least one relaxing activity a day just for you. And maybe that’s just taking 2 minutes to breathe deeply. Or maybe it’s a hot bubble bath, a walk, or cuddling with warm blankets out of the dryer. Find something that soothes you. And give control to God. Let Him deal with the overwhelming parts of life. He wants to. And when we can finally give up control we will notice an immediate sense of peace and relief.

If we adopt a lifelong habit of caring for our brains and bodies then the likelihood of brain disease down the road will be dramatically diminished.

Want a cure for Alzheimer’s? Stop eating sugar!

What Does a Health Coach Eat?

I get asked all the time:

What do you eat? What is your diet like?

So, I thought I’d share!

Today’s menu:

Breakfast: Plantain pancakes with handpicked blueberries

Lunch: Cheesy frittata with sprouts and homemade raw chocolate milk (sweetened with maple syrup)

Dinner: Salad with grilled chicken and probably ice cream for dessert

Yes, I give thanks to God before every meal, following the model of Jesus at the last supper.

Luke 22:19

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Yes, I eat organic fruits and veggies.

Yes, I eat dairy: cheese, raw milk, sour cream… because my body handles it well.

Yes, I eat chocolate. Dark chocolate- over 70% cacao- nearly everyday. (When I travel I even take some with me because I have a serious sweet tooth.)

Yes, I eat meat. All kinds. My body needs it. I don’t eat meat every day, however. And I do buy organic chicken, organic grass fed beef, and wild caught fish.

Yes, I eat gluten free grains: oats, quinoa, flax…

Yes, I eat sugar. But in very limited quantities. And if I make a recipe that calls for sugar I always substitute maple syrup, honey, or monk fruit sweetener in its place.

Yes, I eat chips and salsa, gluten free pizza, and ice cream, among other things too!

I very much try to live by the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I try to eat as healthy as I can. 20% of the time I eat whatever I want (as long as its gluten free.)

No, I don’t eat gluten. Read my last blog post here to read why.

No, I don’t buy conventionally grown produce (unless it’s absolutely necessary).

No, I don’t drink alcohol. God has asked me not to so that I am not a stumbling block for anyone. (Plus, my body doesn’t like it.)

And if I’m ever somewhere that I am completely out of control of what is being served (and it’s far from what I would choose) then I give thanks anyways.

What I eat is what works well for my body. And what is healthy for me may not be healthy for you.

I encourage you to eat what works well for your body. And if you don’t know start experimenting and noticing. Notice how you feel and what is happening inside your body right after you eat and two hours later also. Your body will tell you so many things if you just listen.

And if you need more guidance tuning in and figuring out what your body needs pray about it! And if God so leads, message me and I’m happy to help you too!

To Gluten or Not to Gluten..

This seems to be a hot topic these days and I’d love to share with you what I’ve learned from research and experience.

Gluten is a binder in grains. It’s what makes bread have elasticity.

Here’s what God says about what we should eat:

Genesis 1:29

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”

Plants containing gluten (wheat, barley, rye…) aren’t what they used to be – how God made them in the Garden of Eden. These plants have been genetically modified, sprayed with pesticides, and don’t have the nutrients they used to because of overuse of the soil.

If you know anything about me and my health journey you know that I used to have an allergy to barley – which has gluten. So, for a long time I ate gluten free. Then I decided I really wanted a doughnut, so I ate a specific diet and took supplements to teach the cells in my gut to accept gluten again. And it worked!! I was able to eat doughnuts, and bread, and pasta, and pizza…

So, for a few years I ate whatever I wanted. Then, a few months ago I started having some digestive issues again. Really intense bloating, a gurgly tummy, cramping. So, I talked with my doctor and she believes my gluten allergy is back. 🤦🏻‍♀️

So, I am gluten free again. And probably for forever this time. Here’s why:

Gluten causes inflammation.

In everybody.

Whether you have a sensitivity to it or not.

It also causes the lining of your digestive tract (which is only one cell thick) to have loose junctures. When this happens food particles escape into your blood stream. Food isn’t supposed to be there so your body attacks it. This is called leaky gut. For some people, like me, this process is severe. Other people may not have any symptoms at all. It all depends on your body.

So, gluten isn’t good for anybody. Yet, it’s in soooo many things. Things you wouldn’t even consider. If you’re wanting to go gluten free it’s important to read labels. And be on the lookout for these things:

Flour

Barley

Wheat

Rye

Carmel color

Soy sauce

Yeast

Breading

Triticum

(This is just a sample list. There are a ton more things to watch out for.)

Also, be mindful of bath and body products, makeup, cleaning products, toothpaste, supplements, medications, etc. These things often contain gluten as well.

So, you’ll need to decide for you and your family what will be best for you.

And if you have questions please reach out! I’d be happy to give you more information, have a conversation with you, or help you go gluten free if you so desire.

Is Keto a Fad Diet?

Well, the keto diet sure is all the rage right now. Keto is short for Ketogenic. The basic gist is to eliminate all carbs and eat a high fat and high protein diet to put your body into ketosis- which is a fat burning mode.

This diet eliminates many vegetables, most fruits, and all sugars.

Green Smoothie Girl wrote an excellent article with the help of 22 experts about low carb diets like keto.  Read it here.

Here’s my opinion on this and basically any other diet plan out there:

If you are sick or trying to heal a certain diet with strict rules might be just right for you.

In my personal healing journey I did the GAPS diet where I started out eating just bone broth for two weeks. That’s about as strict as you can get besides fasting. And this diet was something I needed to heal. I totally believe that there are certain diets for certain issues.

I don’t believe that rules of a diet, such as keto, are for everybody for a lifetime. Perhaps a season, but not a lifetime. Strict rules are not sustainable, meaning they get burdensome and no fun to follow after awhile. Who wants to live their lives feeling deprived all the time? Not me!

See, all diets were created for one particular individual. And the rules meet the needs of that one person. More than likely you are not that person. Perhaps there are a few pieces that might work for you, but the whole thing isn’t suited for your body- again as long as you are not trying to heal.

Plus, God created our bodies to need fruits, veggies, carbs, and meat. If we’re not eating all of these then our bodies are being deprived of some form of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, amino acids, or so many other things. With that being said, I don’t believe we need to have meat every meal. Perhaps once a week or a few times a month might be enough for your body.

So, how are we supposed to eat healthy, lose weight, and create longevity in our lives?

That’s exactly what I help clients do! Figure out what works for their unique body!

Do some experimenting to see what foods give you energy and what foods take away energy. Simply paying attention to how you feel after eating a certain food can give you a lot of information.

And I might add that what is healthy for one person may not be healthy for you! In addition, our bodies need different things during different seasons of our lives. So, what works for you this year may need to be adjusted next year, or in five years.

If all this is too overwhelming to try and figure out on your own, let me know! I’d love to help you figure out what foods your body needs so you can create a healthy lifestyle, not just a diet.

Why Should I Eat Organic?

There are debates going on all over kitchens and grocery stores about eating organic. Why we should, why it doesn’t matter, who cares anyways?!?!

Here’s why I care.

Conventional food sprayed with pesticides and antibiotics are straight up toxins- poisons really.  And we ingest those when we eat fruits, veggies, and meat that aren’t organic.

Our bodies were designed to process toxins. However when we overload our bodies every single day it doesn’t quite know what to do with all of them. So, it begins storing them in our bodies. This might result in chronic pain, fibromyalgia, sinus issues, headaches, sleeplessness, ADHD, skin issues like psoriasis, and others.

This dis-ease in the body leads to chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, Crohn’s, and so much more.

I know this first hand because I had toxic overload and was having severe pain as well as tons of other health issues. And as I began to detox and eat more organic foods, my symptoms began to subside.

My body was able to process the toxins in my environment I wasn’t able to get away from (like pollution) and the dis-ease began to become ease.

So, when it is in my control, I choose to eat organic whenever possible. Yes, my grocery bill is a bit more expensive. But I’d rather spend my money on healthy food than at the doctors office.

Do you eat organic? Why or why not?

Want to Live Longer? Eat This:

It seems our culture is on a quest to live longer than ever (even though Abraham lived to be 175).

And there is an organization that studies just that: Blue Zones

They have studied the nine places around the globe where people live the longest. They’ve found some common denominators among these groups of people.

One thing these people eat more of than anything else is:

Veggies. Veggies. And more veggies.

They do also eat meat, but only a handful of times a month.

So, let’s discuss a few ways to get more veggies into your day. Here’s some ideas:

  • Put greens in your morning smoothie
  • Saute veggies for your omelet or with an over easy egg
  • Veggie up a frittata
  • Take carrot and celery sticks or broccoli and raw squash for snacks
  • If you eat sandwiches add spinach, kale, or chard
  • Make sure to include a vegetable or two in each meal
  • Get the veggie plate at restaurants
  • Eat dried seaweed snacks
  • Use veggie protein powder in smoothies, energy balls, milkshakes…
  • Keep fresh and frozen vegetables stocked so you always have them available

How do you get veggies in your day? Share your ideas!