Category Archives for Lifestyle

6 Ways to Boost Energy Levels (Without Caffeine)

 

Today is the 1st day of December and I couldn’t be happier. Unlike a lot of people out there, I love winter. Skiing is one of my favorite sports and my winter is spent maneuvering my work schedule around my play schedule.

 

It has been an incredibly rainy fall. I can count every moment on one hand when I felt the sun on my face in the last couple of month. And all three of those times I was literally blinded by it’s intensity.

 

As much as I love winter, I struggle, like many people, with the lack of day light. I am an early riser so waking up at 6am isn’t easy when it’s pitch black out and it feels like the middle of the night.

 

These days my energy levels have been pretty low. I always struggle to feel as energetic in winter as I do in the summer. Anyway, enough about me. Let’s talk about you and your energy levels!

 

I feel that we could also use a little bit more energy. Low energy is one of the most common complaints I get from clients, and well, just about anyone else. With busy lives, questionable diets and poor sleep habits, most of us struggle to feel energized all day long.

 

That’s why I put together this list of 6 ways to improve energy levels.

 

1. Eat a High Protein Breakfast

 

I doubt I am the first person to tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s true. Breakfast sets the stage for your energy levels and blood sugar balance for the rest of the day.

 

Many people eat a breakfast that is too high in sugar or carbohydrates and too low in protein. Things like granola, cereal, toast and pastries do you no energy favors. Opt for a breakie higher in protein like eggs, non-starchy vegetables and meat.

 

Protein is fantastic for stabilizing your blood sugar and helps keep you energized all morning long. My favorite breakfast? Poached eggs on roasted yams with sauerkraut and avocado.

 

2. Take B Vitamins

 

B vitamins are incredibly important for your energy levels. They power important chemical reactions involved in cellular metabolism. They are water soluble and not easily stored in the body. They are also easily depleted by stress.

 

You can think of B vitamins as catalytic sparks plugs for the body. They function as co-enzymes to catalyze many reactions including ones that convert carbohydrates into glucose.

 

Make sure you eat a diet rich in B vitamins. Highest food sources are animals products, nutritional yeast and organ meats.

 

If you are under a lot of stress, it may also be useful to supplement with B vitamins. My favorite product is Stress B Complex from Thorne Research.

 

 

3. Get to bed for 11pm

 

If low energy is your issue, the first thing to consider is your sleep habits. If you don’t get enough sleep, or go to bed too late, you will be tired the next day.

 

Shift your bed time to sometime before 11pm. Also make sure you are getting 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

 

If you struggle to get to sleep at night, examine your sleep hygiene. Make sure to avoid looking at screens an hour before bed time. Sleep in a dark, cool room and turn off your wifi.

 

If you need to more tips on how to get a better night’s sleep, click here.

 

4. Stay Hydrated, but Not Too Hydrated

 

Who knew? Water is healthy! While many of us don’t drink enough water, some of us drink way too much water. The media and beverage companies have led you to believe that you need to be drinking water and sports drinks all day long.

 

When was the last time you saw a deer walking around with a Nalgene bottle? Hopefully never.

 

How much water a person needs to drink depends on each person, their activity levels and their diet. If you exercise more, you need more water. If you eat lots of veggies, you need less water than your friend on the meat and cheese diet.

 

The best way to stay hydrated is to monitor your urine color. If it’s clear, you are over hydrated, probably depleting your electrolytes and taxing your kidneys. If it’s brown, you need to increase your fluid intake. You urine should be a pale yellow. Make pale yellow your goal.

 

Additionally, make sure to consume electrolytes with every glass of water. I am not talking about the electrolyte packets that are full of sugar and chemicals. Try sea salt. It’s cheap and you only need a pinch.

 

5. Ditch the Gluten

 

I know, gluten-free is trendy. There are more and more people these days on a gluten-free diet. Hold the bread please!

 

I don’t necessarily believe that everyone in the world needs to be gluten free. But what I can say is that removing gluten from the diet seems to be the single quickest way to giving a person more energy.

 

Give it a try. Cut gluten out for 30 days and see if your energy levels improve.

 

6. Get a Light Box

 

I went on a bit of an Amazon shopping spree last night. I feel my recent low energy levels have a lot to do with the lack of light in my life.

 

Normally, I get up and go for a walk or run first thing in the morning. The point is to expose myself to light and get my circadian rhythm firing for the day. Now that winter is nearing, my morning walk/run is in darkness. And when the sun finally does come up, it’s generally cloudy and dark out.

 

So I bought myself a light box. Apparently using one of these light boxes (which mimics the wavelengths of a sunny day) for 20-30 minutes a day can improve energy levels, mood and sleep.

 

It was inexpensive and I am willing to give it a try. I will keep you posted.

 

Final Thoughts

If energy is a struggle the first thing to examine is your diet and lifestyle Get the basics in place before spending money on supplements. Make sure you eat a healthy, whole foods diet, get enough sleep and exercise and reduce stress. If you are doing all these things and you still feel exhausted, it may be hormonal or digestive. Consider lab testing.

7 Non Food Uses for Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is my very favorite. I am not lying when I say that I use it for everything. Right now I have a big gallon bucket of it sitting in my kitchen cupboard.

 

Coconut oil is an excellent cooking oil. Since it is mostly a saturated fat, it stays stable at higher temperatures. This makes it great for frying and baking. And I think it makes vegetables taste awesome.

 

Not only is coconut oil great for cooking but it also has a number of non food uses that you may not know about.

Here are 7 non food uses for coconut oil

 

1. Shaving Cream

 

This is one of my favorite uses for coconut oil. Shaving cream is not only expensive but laden with harsh chemicals that get directly absorbed into your skin and can end up in your bloodstream. Once chemicals are in your bloodstream they have the potential to affect every single cell in your body.

 

Since you absorbed at least 60% of everything you put on your skin, this is a legitimate concern. Coconut oil is great because it moisturizes your skin and makes shaving super easy as well.

 

2. Body Lotion

 

I’ll admit, it’s a little greasy as a moisturizer but I still love using coconut oil for body lotion. I find the best way to apply it is while in a hot shower. I then use a towel I don’t care so much about or a dark colored towel to dry off. This way some of the oil is still on your skin, keeping it all silky and smooth, but with out the greasiness.

 

3. Sunscreen

 

Did you know coconut oil has an SPF of 8É It doesn’t seem like much but it’s enough if you don’t plan to fry yourself in the sun all day long.

 

There are two types of UV rays; UVA and UVB. UVB is what allows your body to produce Vitamin D and UVA is considered to be skin damaging. Both can cause tanning and burning but UVB does so at a much faster rate.

 

While using commercial sunscreen will block damaging UVA radiation, it will also block UVB and compromise your body’s ability to produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a necessary hormone that supports the immune system and protects against cancer.

 

Using coconut oil for sunscreen provides a mild protection that will keep your skin safe while allowing you to produce vitamin D at the same time. And don`t forget, when getting moderate sun exposure, pay attention to signs of burning so that you can cover up or get out of the sun.

 

Commercial sunscreen is also full of carcinogenic ingredients that are known to mutate DNA and actually cause cancer. Switching to natural sunscreen is not only cancer protective by increasing your vitamin D levels but will  also reduce your exposure to toxic carcinogenic chemicals.

 

If you are fair skinned or have to spend long periods of time in the sun and need something more potent than SPF 8, check out CARROT SEED OIL 100 % Natural Cold Pressed Carrier Oil. 2 Fl.oz.- 60 ml. Skin, Body, Hair and Lip Care. "One of the best oils to rejuvenate and regenerate skin tissues." by Botanical Beauty""“>carrot seed oil which have SPFs of 25-50 and 35-40, respectively.

 

4. Sexual Lubricant

 

When it comes to sexual pleasure or even dealing with vaginal dryness, at some point or another most women will need to use sexual lubricant.

 

Unfortunately, most commercial lubricants are laden with chemicals that are easily absorbed through the wall of the vagina. Coconut oil provides a great natural alternative for sexual lubricant(and smells delicious too!).

 

Be aware though coconut oil may not be compatible with latex condoms. There is a chance that the coconut oil will cause them to break.

 

Also be wary that coconut oil may disrupt vaginal pH in some women. While coconut oil has anti-fungal properties (which is great for vaginas), it may also take some of the healthy flora down with it. If you notice any irritation from the coconut oil, consider using a vaginal probiotic cream to restore balance and lay off the coconut oil.

 

5. A Cure for Chapped Lips

 

At this point in this article you have noticed that a lot of commercial skin care and beauty products are laden with chemical additives that can have a negative effect on your health.

 

I think this is especially true for lip balm as it goes on your lips. Not only can it be absorbed through your skin but you can swallow a lot of those chemicals as well.

 

Chapped lips are a total bummer. Whether its from too much sun exposure, wind burn or harsh winter days, it can be hard to think about anything else. And it’s almost impossible not to lick your lips.

 

You can combine 1 teaspoon of coconut oil with 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Dab this mixture over your chapped lips and then scrub gently with your fingers. You can do this for a couple of minutes or until your lips feel smooth. Rinse your lips with warm water and dry.

You can continue to use the coconut oil daily until they are no longer chapped.

 

6. Eye Makeup Remover

 

Coconut oil is absolutely great for removing eye makeup like eye liner, mascara and shadow. It works quickly and doesn’t require much rubbing. You can dab a little coconut oil on a cotton ball or makeup pad and wipe around the eyes until clean.

 

This is a great alternative to commercial makeup remover which can irritate they eyes.

 

7. Dental Health

 

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that is used to cleanse the mouth of toxins and bad bacteria. There are numerous scientific studies that support this process and I know many people who absolutely swear by it.

 

It basically works by removing biofilm and plaque from your teeth. The bad bacteria get “stuck” in the coconut oil and dissolve. While some plaque is normal, too much plaque and biofilm can lead to poor dental health and even heart disease.

 

Oil pulling is simple. Put a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 10-15 minutes. Make sure to spit it out when your done as it now contains toxins and bacteria.

 

You will be amazed by how fresh and clean your mouth feels after doing this.

 

What is your favorite way to use coconut oil? Leave me a comment below and let me know.

Why Hormone Imbalance is Not Normal

Girl in painFor as long as I can remember I have had menstrual cramps. Periods were always incredibly painful. I had to miss school and work on a regular basis. And I always had to load up on Tylenol and Ibuprofen.

 

I thought that was just the way it was. All the girls around me were also struggling with menstrual cramps or other PMS symptoms like mood swings, bloating and cravings. As far as I could tell, it was normal and there wasn’t much to be done about it.

 

My cramps were so bad that I asked my doctor about it. She put me on birth control pills. This didn’t help with the cramps but it helped me feel “normal” since all my friends were on birth control pills too.

 

Many women would agree with me, that PMS is normal, and there isn’t much to be done about it.

 

This is wrong.

 

Just because something is common, does not mean that it is normal. Hormones are meant to be balanced. They don’t go all crazy and out of whack on their own.

 

When you experience the symptoms of PMS or menopause, you are experiencing a hormone imbalance. And that hormone imbalance is a symptoms of some deeper malfunction in the body.

 

Let me explain.

 

It really comes down to your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are two pyramid shaped glands that sit above each kidney. They produce your sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone). The ovaries produce sex hormones as well.

 

The adrenal glands also manufacture the stress hormones, like cortisol. Cortisol, while a stress hormone, is also needed in certain amounts every single day. It is meant to be highest in the morning and the lowest at night. Having cortisol in proper amounts is crucial to having motivation, energy and happiness.

 

When you are stressed, cortisol will be produced in increased amounts. The excess of cortisol is what allows you to react quickly in times of danger. Elevated cortisol is what gives people super human strength to survive emergency situations. Cortisol is a survival hormone.

 

So because cortisol is a survival hormone, when there is stress, cortisol always gets made first, at the expense of your other hormones.

 

That means when stress is acute or short duration, it isn’t a big deal. Once the stress is over, your adrenal glands go back to producing your much needed sex hormones. The problem is that many of us are chronically stressed. Chronic stress means stress is ongoing and this means that cortisol gets made first. Your sex hormones get put on the back burner.

 

See what I’m saying? Hormone imbalance is a generally a symptom of chronic stress.

 

Let’s talk about stress. What is stress? When we talk about stress most people default to talking about mental and emotional stress. But this is only a small piece of the puzzle. Stress can be anything that disrupts homeostasis or equilibrium in the body.

 

Stress can be a food intolerance, liver congestion, gut dysbiosis, leaky gut, inflammation, a biomechanical alignment issue or Candida overgrowth. Stress can be a lot of things and often times we don’t always know about it. The stress is hidden in the body.

 

So the key to unwinding hormone imbalance is to start removing each and every stress from the body so that the adrenal glands no longer need to constantly make cortisol.

 

The interesting thing is that women in underdeveloped and primitive societies do not suffer the way Western women do when it comes to PMS and menopause. In many primitive societies women have easy child birth, painless menstrual cycles and smooth transitions through menopause.

 

So what’s going on in the West?

 

Western women have a lot of stress, both mental and emotional and also an excess of hidden stress.

 

Poor diet and nutritional deficiencies play a large role in the development of hormone imbalance. Poor liver function can also lead to excess hormones in the blood which can bring on hormone imbalance. Additionally, we are exposed to chemicals daily which disrupt our endocrine system and mimic human estrogen.

 

We have a lot of challenges.

 

How do you know you have a hormone imbalance? Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Acne
  • Brain fog
  • Cravings
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

 

Since hormones are the chemical messengers of the cells, when hormones get depleted and unbalanced, sh*t goes sideways. The cells are no longer getting the message about what to do. And this is why you can end up with so many different types of symptoms.

 

I believe that there is a lot we can do to balance our hormones. And it all starts with having the proper information.

 

5 things you can do now to improve your hormone balance

 

 1. Eat Real Food

Eating a healthy diet is truly the foundation of any healing protocol. Before you do anything, take a good look at your diet. The most important thing is to remove processed and refined foods and sugar and eat as many whole foods as possible.

 

2. Ditch Chemical Skin Care

Statistics say that women put up to 515 different chemicals on their bodies before they even leave their house in the morning. And unfortunately, many of these chemicals contain synthetic estrogens and endocrine disruptors. Switch to organic skin care products of make your own in your kitchen

 

3. Meditate

Learning how to deep breathe is critical to managing your stress. When you are overwhelmed, angry or running late you can signal to your brain that danger is near. When this happens cortisol increases and the brain shuts down digestion and detoxification, two crucial bodily functions. By breathing deeply when your stressed out, you can signal to your brain that the stress has passed. This means you can get back to those important rest and digest functions.

 

4. Eat Your Fat

Dietary fat is one of the building blocks of hormones. If you don’t enough, your body will struggle to make hormones. We have been fed a lot of lies about fat. The result is that many of us are eating low-fat diets. Don’t be afraid of healthy fat. I often recommend that my clients eat 2 tablespoons of fat with every meal. Healthy fats include coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, grass-fed butter, red palm oil, tallow and lard.

 

5. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is so important for not only health but also for hormones. Not getting enough sleep not only affects you energy levels but generally leads to poor food choices and inactivity. Make sure to get to bed before 10:30pm each night. Implementing a no screens rule after 8:30pm can help wind your body down for sleep.