Winter Skin Care Tips for Beautiful Skin this Season

As the weather changes, changes in the texture and appearance of your skin are inevitable, signaling you to change up your skincare tools and techniques – no matter the season! With winter coming – and in some cases, here already! – your skin may have already presented different needs, and you may not know where to start!

In today’s post, we offer not only skin care, but also DIY and diet tips that you can use to reveal your inner radiance with an outer glow this season!

As we mentioned in this springtime post, what happens on your skin, happens within, so let’s start with diet.

Eating + Drinking for Sensational Skin

Winter means drier conditions. Walk outside, and you immediately feel moisture evaporate from your skin; re-enter the home and office, and you’ll likely sense drier interiors from the increased use of heat.

Get plenty of water and non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated, non-sugary sources of hydration to naturally hydrate you from within. For every hot toddy or cup of joe, drink a glass of water to replenish from the effects of those delicious, but dehydrating, bevvies!

Omega-3’s and Vitamin E nourish and moisturize from within, so don’t skimp on healthy fats this season! Nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil and coconut oil offer plenty of health benefits and yummy flavors to your day (with the added benefit of keeping you fuller longer, stoking metabolic fire and fueling your brain, too!).

Eat whole foods and shy away from processed boxes, bagged and bottled noms to nourish your body far more than the quick snacks and meals. The extra anti-inflammatory, pH-balancing and blood-sugar stabilizing benefits of a diet free from these items also reduce redness, acne, and degradation of cells for longer-lasting health benefits overall.

Skin Care Products + Practices

Although nourishing your skin from within is a must-do, better products and practices offer quicker results and relief. Added bonus? You don’t have to break the bank with these!

First, let’s talk skin dryness. Winter brings redness, flakiness, dullness and even cracking to the point of bleeding on hands, legs, lips and even the face, itself. When I was a kid, my mom would slather Crisco on me immediately after a bath because it was the only thing that would treat the itching, cracking and dryness! (Skin issues often accompany auto-immune issues, like asthma, so my mom had her work cut out for her, but that’s another blog post. #thanksMom 🙂 )

As a result of encountering this myriad of skin woes over the years, I’ve experimented with, created and reviewed numerous products and rituals. Here are my favorite products, tips and tricks!

Cleansing

Gentle cleansers are always my favorite, even in the summer, but definitely in the winter! In fact, regardless of the season, I only cleanse underarms and “nooks and crannies,” and I only wash my face at night to remove make-up and anything else that may have settled while I was out and about during the day. In the morning, I may rinse again, using only water, particularly on my face.

Science has shown that the natural oils of our skin moisturize and condition as nature intended and excessive scrubbing or washing disrupts the balance, so why overdo! “Less is More” and “Keep It Simple, Sweetie” are my mottos; besides, overwashing and overscrubbing not only zaps the moisture from the skin, but can also create breakouts. Eek!

Products to consider: Cerave Hydrating Cleanser, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, any others provided by your dermatologist 🙂

Another step of the cleansing phase that I enjoy like a kid in new snow is making my own face masque! It’s like a smoothie for your face!

A Delightful DIY Masque for Brightening & Toning

  • 1 tsp kaolin clay
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • ½ tsp maca powder
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • Combine and apply for 5-10 minutes after cleansing; rinse. Proceed with regular skin care rituals.

Exfoliating

Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells that create a barrier to absorption of your skin care products. However, many products in this category can be painful and excessive, even if effective.

Because of the controversial nature of the barrage of info on exfoliants, let me start by saying, if you’re already using a doctor-prescribed product, keep with it, noticing if your skin responds differently this time of year. If you have an inkling that it might be too strong or not the right fit for you, stop using it or use it less frequently.

No treatment should leave you uncomfortable for a prolonged period of time, and you are the expert in your health and what is right for YOU, including skin care. So many of my clients have wanted to try out trending products, even under a doctor’s care, and have suffered through it. Listen to what your skin is telling you and adjust as needed!

If you’re looking for a gentle way to exfoliate, mix a tsp or so of baking soda into your cleanser and gently scrub, avoiding the eye area and the delicate skin in that area. There are also topical products that will remove dead skin, such as Koh Gen Do Soft Gommage Spa Gel, which take a few minutes to apply and remove and can be done as part of a DIY facial!

Moisturizing

During winter months, Nivea and Cetaphil are my go-to’s for full-body moisturizing. They’re fast-absorbing, very rich and leave skin radiant. If your skin type doesn’t need a heavy cream to retain oil and feel supple, go for what works for you! Lotions are just as decadent as the rich creams if your skin tells you so!

CAVEAT: Nivea & Cetaphil are do contain some chemicals, but with my allergies and skin care needs, these products are preferable for me during serious dryness. Sometimes, it’s a trade-off. If you’re into only all-natural, use a blend of coconut oil mixed with essential oils. It’s fun and fulfilling to create signature scents while getting the benefits of an all-natural, no-unprounceable-ingredients product!

For both body and face, oils are very effective, too! Many clients use coconut oil directly on the face. For me, Sea Buckthorn Oil (like this) has become a staple. I have a bar I use to cleanse a few days a week, and my daily routine includes Sea Buckthorn in the am and pm. I layer it on top of other products and underneath my sunscreen – another daily must-have, even in winter! EltaMD has a great product line that offers lasting sun protection without toxic additives. Their Clear Broad-Spectrum is a non-negotiable in my morning routine.

The Biggest Bang for Your Buck: Moisturize within 30-60 seconds of drying off to maximize the moisture retained in the skin and effectiveness of whatever product you choose.

Products to Avoid or Use Less Frequently

This time of year, go easier on scrubs (use exfoliants as needed, but pay attention to how your skin handles it and adjust the frequency). Retinols can still be used, but try to apply every other day or every couple of days if you are concerned about increased dryness, flakiness and peeling in the winter, and remember your sunscreen!

If your skin hurts, stings, burns or reacts severely with any product – whether discussed here or prescribed – discontinue use and follow-up with a dermatologist, if needed.

The Bottom Line

Even if the weather calls for gray days or dry flakes, your skin doesn’t have to follow suit! Try out these tips and let us know what works for you!

As always, we love hearing your feedback and seeing your generous shares of these posts! If you or a friend want some help adjusting diet and lifestyle for better skin health – or better health in any way – drop us a line below!

Cheers to your health!

Too Good to Be True | A Gluten Free, No Sugar AND Decadent Dessert!

glutenfree, dairyfree, nutfree chocolate muffins or coffee cake with added antioxidants

Believe me when I say, you can eat healthy, gluten free desserts without any added sugar and still enjoy a dish of decadence! Say sayonara to feeling deprived when you’re watching your weight or cleaning up your diet!

If it sounds too good to be true, we thought so, too, until we discovered Chef Danielle Shine’s Vegan Sweet & Healthy Chocolate (Eggplant) Muffins. After adding a little Sprout and Rosebud sparkle, we must say, of all our veggified recipes, this one takes the cake!

The rich flavor of the cacao mixed with the hint of coffee is a mouth-watering combo, and provides an antioxidant, free-radical fighting  along with the … eggplant! Stay with us; it’s delicious, and you don’t even taste it. It even impressed the very picky meat-and-potatoes-minded dinner guests!

The sweetness of the pitted dates (aka no sugar!) and the maca come together, and you’ve got yourself quite a sweet treat to boost your mood and your body.

PS. These also freeze beautifully, and can be used for on-the-go breakfasts & snacks!

Too Good to Be True Cake

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 small to medium eggplant, or 1/2 cup steamed eggplant, once squeezed
  • 1 bar of dark chocolate – 70% or higher is best; we used 88%
  • 2 tbsp ghee, olive oil, coconut oil or a blend of all three
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh ground coffee
  • 8-10 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
    Note: you can make this recipe vegan by omitting eggs and relying on oil instead of butter or ghee. For Paleo, sub your gluten-free flour with almond flour. If steering clear of nightshades, omit the eggplant, keep the eggs, and you’ve still got yourself a rich antioxidant infused dessert!

Directions

  1. Chop eggplant into large chunks and steam.
  2. Pre-heat oven 400F.
  3. Once eggplant is mushy, peel off the skin, if desired, and squeeze as much of the liquid out as you can.
    It will be a mess! If you have kids, now’s the time to get their help because it’s a lot of fun, and also kind of gross. 🙂
  4. Place lump of eggplant in food processor with dates, eggs, cacao, ground coffee, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Break up the bar of dark chocolate into chunks (lessens melting time) and on medium-low heat, melt along with the oil or butter until liquid, stirring constantly to prevent burning or sticking.
  6. Pour into food processor. 
  7. Add gluten free flour to processor, and blend until well combined, scraping down the sides when needed.
  8. Pour mixture into pre-greased baking tin.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until an inserted fork comes out almost clean.
    (Sometimes, with gluten free baking, the goods will get dry if baked fully, like traditional baked goods. Either way, if the texture is not perfectly to your liking, slice some fruit on it, drizzle tahini or frost with an icing of your choice, and neither you, nor your guests, will be able to tell! 🙂 
  10. Remove from oven, leave to cool for a few minutes, then flip onto a wire cooling rack until ready to serve.
  11. Serve & enjoy! 

As always, we love hearing how you take these recipes and further customize and create ones that are yours! Share your creations with us on social media or leave us a comment below!

Cheers to decadent gluten-free goodness!

Three Quick (& Healthy) Weight Loss Tips You Haven’t Tried

Looking to slim down, drop weight or lose inches? Our three healthy weight loss tips will help you kick-start or rev up your weight loss efforts.  No powders, pills, or starvation necessary. You’ll use your body’s natural science to boost your metabolism, tone up and slim down.

Tip #1: Kick all processed carbs to the curb.

Get rid of boxes, bags, and bottles. Bottled, store-bought juices and smoothies (particularly those in the grocery store aisles), breads, pastas, cookies, crackers, low fat snacks and whole grain snacks contain a lot of sugar and starch that slow down weight loss, particularly for those with food sensitivities.

Kick them to the curb!

Need some ideas on better snacks, here are a few, along with some other no-effort ways to clean up your diet.

Tip #2: No carbs after 4PM.

Say no to any and all carbs after 4PM, including fruit, popcorn, chips (corn, potato, beet, apple, etc.), rice, pasta, potatoes, sugar, and … wine and beer.

Choose dark leafy greens (which not only help with weight loss, but provide vital nutrients that ramp up your overall health, complexion, detox and vitality!) and the best quality protein you can find. Use the Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch app for the safest, sustainable seafood options in season, and shop your local farmers’ market or meat section at the grocery store for the best grass fed, organic beef!

Tip #3: Finish your last meal three hours before you fall asleep.

Eating in advance of sleep allows your body to digest your food without hampering the natural detox & healing processes that take place during sleep. An added bonus, it also helps you shed those unwanted pounds. If your schedule doesn’t allow for this one, aim for breakfast 12 hours after you ate dinner to help the blood sugar and metabolism reset.

We love to hear your health tips, weight loss secrets and delicious recipes! Share with us on social media or leave a comment below.

To your health!

We’re Loving Garden of Life Raw Protein & Greens

Garden of Life Raw Protein & Greens in Vanilla - nutritional benefits, low sugar, high protein, vegan, green powders, organic

A key to the success of a healthy lifestyle is making meals and concocting snacks that are tasty and as packed with nutrients as you possible. Making your recipes work for you means you’re nourishing your body and mind without depleting your precious physical and emotional energy. One way to do this is to through smoothies, which is why you see the onslaught of smoothie recipes on this site and in our social feed.

As a nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free practice, we are always on the hunt for vegan protein without nuts or soy that can be integrated into a variety of meals and snacks, like – you guessed it – smoothies!

A veteran dilettante of vegan protein powders, we were thrilled to see the repackaged and re-formulated Garden of Life Raw Protein & Greens during a foray of shopping to restock our own inventory!

Raw Protein & Greens Powder? Here’s the scoop #punintended 🙂

  • HIGH PROTEIN: 20 grams of raw organic plant protein from Organic Peas and Sprouted Organic Grains, Seeds and Legumes plus 6 organic greens and veggies
  • POST WORKOUT RECOVERY: Help your muscles recover with a clean nutritional shake powered by organic protein and nutrient-rich organic green energy
  • GREEN SUPERFOOD DRINK: This delicious vanilla protein powder is power-packed with green energy from raw, organic greens and green juices
  • PROTEIN POWDER WITH PROBIOTICS: Tasty, smooth protein shake with 1.5 billion CFU probiotics and 13 non-GMO enzymes for easy digestion
  • VEGAN PROTEIN POWDER: Organic, gluten free, vegan, dairy free, soy free, Informed Choice Certified (Trusted by Sport), non-GMO whole food protein

Our Take

The vanilla flavor is subtle and not too sweet. The smell and flavor is almost identical to the Garden of Life Raw Vegan Protein Powder we’ve grown to love with only a subtle earthy smell, attributed to the greens. The relatively high vegan protein content has additional benefits of sprouted greens and grains and is organic, as well, with low sugar (<1 gram). Even with the sprouted grains and legumes, this protein powder is gluten-free and gentle to digest for those with aversions to beans.

It’s a perfect add-in to protein pancakes or to a variety of smoothie flavors/recipes with its low glycemic index (you know how we’re off the sugar wagon!), added greens (like alfalfa, spinach, kale, broccoli, carrot and beet – yay!) and versatile vanilla flavor.

One last note: The probiotic content was not a strong selling point because we supplement gut flora with a high dose of probiotics via capsule. Because of the way we use protein powder, which includes smoothies as well as baked goods, the probiotic power is diminished significantly; even used in a smoothie, we can’t vouch for the healthy bacteria making it to the small intestine intact because we haven’t seen or performed the research. If you’re looking to increase your healthy gut flora through Garden of Life products, try probiotic capsules, like these, or explore fermented foods, like kimchi, sauerkraut, or low sugar kombucha.

Let us know how you get more from your smoothies with added greens and protein!

As always, wishing you a week of greens, grace and gluten-free goodness!

What the Health and the Keto Controversy

What the Health and the Keto Controversy - making sense of two very different lifestyles and how to make better diet and lifestyle choices

With the recent release of What the Health, aka “The Health Film That Health Organizations Don’t Want You To See,” healthy eating by way of veganism has experienced a rise in attention, specifically within certain social circles and demographics (Netflix is the primary viewing venue).

Friend groups and communities are atwitter over the science and positions explored in the film, and the conversations have incensed many due to the data revealed and what it means to their lifestyle choices or because of the confusion and frustration generated by trying to apply yet another batch of science and expert opinions to an already mixed bag of seemingly conflicting information in the world of health and wellness.

In this post, we explore two primary at-odds lifestyles and offer perspectives and guidance to empower you to follow the path that best suits you. 

First, What The Health!? and Veganism

Veganism, or the practice of eating only non-animal products, has, for years, been touted as a surefire way to lose weight, lower cholesterol and slow aging. In the Middle and Far East, for centuries, practicing veganism is common due to the moral, ethical, and spiritual pillar of the regions to “do no harm.”

Domestically, many celebrities, doctors and industrial leaders have emerged as vegans, and we, the viewing public, have observed the benefits of the vegan lifestyle as they unfolded in that individual’s life as documented through the lens of the camera, social media, USA Today, etc..

All indications point to veganism is The Way!

Here’s where it gets controversial.

Despite these incredible success stories that we’ve seen with our own eyes and the scientific findings cited by vocal vegans and What The Health, arguments that favor the veganism movement can be disproven by other science, research, medical and scientific journals and health experts.

Case in point, the ketogenic lifestyle.

Keto.

As we discussed earlier this month, is a diet globally recognized for centuries for its anti-aging, disease reversing, cancer preventing benefits (among other heroics). The foundation of the keto lifestyle includes a certain cadence of eating, which simulates fasting and subsequent benefits,  and a diet comprised of a high ratio of protein and fats and lower percentage of calories from carbohydrates than the Standard American Diet (SAD, an acronym that is both entertaining and accurate).

Modified keto, for example, may include a diet of 60-70% of calories derived from protein and fats (including saturated and unsaturated) with only 30% or less of calories derived from complex carbohydrates (i.e nothing processed and no sugar). Some keto’ers also shy away from grains, beans, soy, corn, etc., due to the high carbohydrate content and effect on blood sugar, which throws the individual out of a ketosis state, thus undoing the chemistry that yields the incredible benefits.

Protein and fat sources for many followers of the keto diet include animal products, yet, due to the individual’s unique metabolic make-up and how the individual metabolizes carbohydrates using insulin, many keto’ers base a large portion of the diet on plant-based eating, i.e. vegetable-heavy.

It’s Getting Hot in Here.

The conundrum we face are two very different diets, both of which tout health benefits. One is entirely animal-product free, and the other – in many cases – promotes the consumption of high-quality animal products.

You can see how these two dynamics are at odds with one another, and how the confusion and overwhelm accompanying the effort to make sense of them as a consumer can be significant!

Layer on top of any confusion the emotional charge we inject into our relationship with food and the deep ties to our identity that develop in relation to our food choices, lifestyle and the ethics, beliefs and mores therein, and you’ve got a hot button topic that triggers some internal moral dilemmas and very passionate discussions.

What’s Our Take?

As far as we’re concerned, any catalyst, be it a conversation, documentary, book, article, Ted Talk, etc. that activates an authentic, respectful conversation among communities and an inward assessment of one’s health, lifestyle and holistic wellness is a good thing.

Any proponent of a whole food, clean-eating, know-where-your-food-comes-from way of life? Also, a good thing.

Any wake-up call to ask deeper questions, fuel optimal wellness and make intentional, mindful choices? DEFINITELY a GREAT thing.

If you find yourself curious, or even enraged, by What The Health or Keto, and the science, ethics, or the arguments of each, then consider it your wake-up call.

Lean into this conversation vs. throwing in the towel. Casually explore various diets and lifestyles, and shift your mindset into thinking of it as a fun exploration. How you’ve eaten in the past may not be where you want to go in the future, and that doesn’t mean you’ve been fooled or failed! It means you now have different information you’re using to perhaps make different choices.

How to truly know what is best for YOU?

Some people’s constitution and metabolisms need higher levels of protein and fat and opt to include animal products as a manner to supplement those needs. Others have food allergies that preclude them from going all-in on a certain way of eating. Other people’s ethical beliefs trump all else, and they opt to forgo animal products or other food groups.

Every body is different, and therefore, every diet must be different, even if slightly, and that’s OK.

Select one of the diets or lifestyles that have caught your attention or that most closely aligns with you, and test it out for three to six months. Changes take time. Observe your energy levels, food cravings, blood work numbers, fit of your clothes, joint flexibility, mental clarity, emotional resilience and tolerance as indications that you’re on the right track or need to adjust your approach.

The Bottom Line

There is no one diet that – when followed identically across a population without some level of modification – is right for everyone.

Do what is best for you! Take what you can from the diets and lifestyles that you explore, apply them to yourself, observe the results over time and modify where needed. Speak kindly to yourself as you explore a new way of eating. Stay open to the experience and share what you observe with your friends and family; get them in on it, and support one another on your unique journeys to your best selves!

As always, we love hearing from you! Drop us a line to let us know which diet or lifestyle impassions you, how you found your way to better health and we’ll cheer you on! A rising tide lifts all ships, and our community is on the rise with you!

Wishing you a life of greens and grace and all the goodness!

The Cherry Cordial Smoothie | A Delicious Recipe!

gluten free, dairy free, nut free, vegan protein smoothie with cherries and coffee

Wow, this smoothie. It’s so good, it can easily be misconstrued for dessert! Particularly if you freeze it and serve it as such 🙂 Nothing like a delicious finish to a meal that also packs a punch of antioxidant goodness for your whole body! The coffee and sweetness of the cherries offer a richness to the flavor that is satiating and indulgent. Enjoy for breakfast, lunch, or even dessert!

Cherry Cordial Smoothie

Serves 1-2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk or milk alternative
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1/4 cup frozen, pitted cherries
  • 1/4 banana
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee, cooled
  • 1 scoop protein powder of choice
  • 2 Tbl of avocado
  • Optional: cacao powder, maca, ground flax seeds
  • Toppings: chia seeds, granola, seeds, etc. Go nuts! #punny

Directions

  1. Blend.
  2. Serve.
  3. Enjoy!

Tell us about your favorite smoothie! Share your ideas below on how you improve your desserts to get a gentle sweetness without a sugar overload!

Wishing you a life of greens, grace and gluten-free goodness!

Goes-With-Everything Peachiarry Compote

peach, chia, berry compote - perfect for dessert, breakfast, and dinner

The perfect complement to just about everything from chia seed pudding to biscuits, yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, salmon, chicken is our Peachiarry Compote! This delicious blend of peaches, chia seeds, and raspberry (ahem, “peachiarry”) with just a tad of natural sweetener adds flavor and tang and rounds out any dinner, side dish or dessert. It’s low-glycemic-index, particularly if you use stevia or monk fruit, gluten-free, dairy-free, and freezable.

Our favorite part about this recipe? It takes just minutes in the kitchen to prepare, it’s full of superfoods, like chia seeds, and the leftovers taste even better than on the first day!

Try it at your next soiree!

Peachiarry Compote

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cans sliced peaches in pear juice
  • 1/3 cup frozen organic raspberries
  • 1 tbsp natural sweetener of choice
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Instructions

  1. Drain most of the juice from the cans of peaches, leaving a few tablespoons of liquid.

  2. Stir peaches, juice, raspberries, chia seeds and sweetener together in a bowl.

  3. Let sit for ~10 minutes until chia seeds form a gel around them.

  4. Top dish or dessert, and serve!

We love hearing how you take these delicious, gluten-free recipes and make them your own! Tag us in your social post of your Peachiarry reveal, so we can see your creative and healthy choices!

Save on Skin Care by Switching Up Your Smoothie

How what you eat impacts your skin, picture of smoothie

Fact #1: Your skin is your largest organ.

Fact #2: Anything you take in – whether eaten or applied topically – impacts the health of every cell, muscle, and organ of your body, including your skin, and, by default, the radiance of your complexion.

Skin care, dairy and acne, what's happening on the skin is happening within

Enter your daily smoothie, that magically convenient cup (or bowl), rich with vital nutrients, such as fruits, veggies, protein, and other powerful superfoods.

No way can this magic concoction possibly be tied to a lackluster complexion? Actually, yes, whey.

Whey, a milk protein and a very popular ingredient of protein powders among even the most health-conscious, has been correlated to acne, including adult acne.

Research has shown that dairy – cheese, milk, yogurt, and whey – stimulates hormonal changes, including the production of IGF (insulin-like growth factor), which results in acne, redness, rosacea, etc.

We spend billions of dollars a year in the US on skin care, amounting to ~$8/day. Imagine if we made simple dietary changes that would be more effective, more natural and more affordable!

What to do if you find your protein powder (or favorite yogurt) may be to blame for your skin condition?

  1. Eliminate it from your diet and notice a difference. Be patient, as it will take time for the inflammation in your body and skin to go down.
  2. Make substitutions, such as:
    • Non-whey, non-dairy protein powder in your smoothie (try vegan, sprouted protein)
    • Unsweetened, non-dairy yogurt (steer clear of articifically sweetened anything, i.e. no aspartame, sucralose, nor acesulfame)
    • Coconut-, soy- or nut-milk alternative in your coffee or on your cereal; even if it says non-dairy, like the delectable flavored and seasonal creamers, skip it.

The bottom line?

Don’t fret if milk doesn’t do a body good. There are plenty of alternatives, and your skin (and your monthly skin care budget) will thank you!

Have you kicked dairy and seen changes to your complexion? Let us know! Likewise, if you’ve tried and can’t seem to give up the milk, send us a line, and we’ll cheer you on! We love our community, and the positive vibes it provides. A rising tide lifts all ships, and the wisdom you share is invaluable!

 

The Best Workout for Weight Loss & Long-Lasting Health

getting ready for a workout by lacing up running shoes on park bench

“What’s the best workout?” is easily one of the top two or three questions I will be asked as a Health Coach and Corporate Wellness Presenter no matter the speaking engagement, small group or 1:1.

Or often asked in a different way, “if I want to lose weight and stay healthy, what workout do I need to do?”

The answer is very simple, and it applies to everyone. 

The best workout you can do is… the one you’re going to stick to.

That’s it.

There’s not a magic bullet that is going to make the weight fall off and stay off.

Every body is different, and every body adapts and adjusts to activity types and intensities over time.

The exercise regimen you used to lose the first twenty pounds might not be effective against those last five or fifteen. Your metabolism normalizes; your muscles “master” the activity or workout.

There is no one “right” way to get and stay fit.

Whether you love CrossFit, or enjoy yoga, or mix up HIIT and LISS because you love a good acronym when you work out, DO THE WORKOUT THAT WILL KEEP YOU ACTIVE. Aim for thirty minutes a day. Then,  change it when you grow bored, or stop seeing the results.

Listen to your body. What do YOU need? What activity, exercise, or workout do YOU want to be part of an ongoing and lasting exercise regimen for the long-haul?

Work with a health coach to help you identify what you like and how to apply it to your life, or talk to your friends about what works for them, and then MAKE IT YOUR OWN.

That’s it. That’s the secret. Find what you enjoy, and try different things to keep activity a part of your daily routine.

We love to hear from you what’s working for you! Tell us what workouts you enjoy, your motivation to exercise and stay active beyond the fad workout, and how you, your friends and family create healthy activity in your lives! Leave us a comment and share this post with a friend who’s stuck in a workout rut!

Cheers to your health, wellbeing and longevity!

Relief for Extreme Fatigue & Chronic Stress

woman with arms outstretched in front of ocean with waning sunset, feelings of freedom and relief

Extreme fatigue is no joke. In the simplest, crudest of terms, fatigue (or any dis-function) is caused by stress, and stress is stress. In other words, whether the stress is chemical, physical, or emotional, your body does not differentiate one type from the other. The stress response is triggered, and your physical health suffers. In this post, we’ll talk about the three main categories of stress and some health and lifestyle tips, tricks and techniques to combat stress – and the resulting fatigue – without turning to coffee to make it through your day!

Types of Stress Defined

Chemical stress includes exposure to toxins, whether that’s mold in the house, inhaling cleaning supplies, heavy metals in our water, or even consuming foods or drinks (or prescriptions) with chemicals that are disruptive.

Physical stress can include working longer hours than you can sustain over the long-haul without necessary breaks, spreading yourself too thinly, not getting enough rest or nutrition.

Emotional stress may be rooted in a dysfunctional work environment, toxic relationships or in a phase of reshaping your identity. It can also occur as a result of any uncertainty related to an important relationship or factor of your life (i.e. raising a teenager, diagnosis of a loved one, stress in a marriage, etc.).

It’s important to understand the ways stress can manifest in your life, so you can begin to identify them, then manage them accordingly to avoid long-term problems. Any combination of these stressors, particularly experienced over a long period of time, takes a BIG toll on your body.

Breaking the Cycle

The more tired you are, the lower the threshold you have for any stress. Your stores of mental, emotional and physical energy are depleted, and you cannot function. The less you can function optimally, the more stressed you’ll feel, which will further exhaust you, causing more stress. What a vicious cycle!

Here are a few tips that can help you manage extreme fatigue and chronic stress:
  1. BREATHE.
    Deep breathing is going to be your active stress management partner forevermore. It activates the relaxation nerve (vagus nerve) and gets the parasympathetic nervous system online, giving the sympathetic nervous system (the fight-or-flight response one) a break.
    When you’re feeling stressed, or you feel your blood pressure rising or your chest tightening, breathe. Focus on the area that is tight or otherwise talking to you, and breathe into that area. Mentally picture your breath flowing into that area. If you can close your eyes, and do this for 1-2 minutes, you’ll feel the difference.  Do this for 10-20 minutes a day, and you may accidentally develop a meditation practice. 🙂
  2. Take inventory.
    What are your stressors? List them.
    What can you let go of or delegate? Which items or activities can you postpone, avoid or say no to?
    What can you reframe in your mind to give you peace? Is there a belief, attitude or assumption that crops up in the moments you feel most stressed that would be in your best interest to change?
    Be aware of the underlying causes and take steps to change them.
  3. Tend to your stressors.
    What jumps out at you from the list that you feel most compelled to address? Trust your judgment as a guide to what to let go of, what to say no to, etc.
  4. Consider a few lifestyle changes.
    • Clean up your eating and upgrade your diet of processed, non-whole foods (i.e. soda, “diet” versions of food, crackers, candy, etc.) for better choices. Focus your grocery buying on the areas of the grocery store that are along the wall, i.e. produce section, fresh meats/cheese (go as cage-free, free range and organic as you can afford), etc. Minimize the amount of boxed or bagged foods you buy, particularly if the shelf-life is longer than two months. By fueling your body with better nutrients, you will allay some of the stress that might be caused by what you ingest while also giving your body the building blocks it needs to better combat the stress in other areas.
    • Cut back on sugar, caffeine and alcohol, which are counterproductive to reducing stress and anxiety.
    • Swap traditional cleaning and gardening supplies for better, non-toxic alternatives. Breathing in the fumes, vapors and chemicals in traditional cleaning products can contribute to auto-immune and allergic responses and hormone disruption.
    • Cultivate healthier relationships with friends and family who leave you feeling better when your time together is done. Speak up about your needs and allow loved ones to help you, even if that means cutting you some slack when you turn down invitations.
    • Find social or community outlets that allow you to learn new skills, like meditation, yoga, knitting, etc.
    • Talk to your doctor about critical nutrients you may be missing, like omega-3’s, B12, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Iron levels, all of which, when too low, lead to fatigue and brain fog.
      • Take a good quality multi-vitamin as a start, along with probiotics, which improve gut health. Mental stability and immune strength start in the gut; take care of it, and it will take care of you!
      • Look into adaptogenic herbs that help support the adrenal glands, like ashwaganda, holy basil, and rhodiola.
    • SLEEP! Good gracious, you need sleep more than ever, and it’s ok to go to bed early, say no to happy hours and take a nap on the weekends! Listen to your body and balance the need for social and community support with your need for rest.

The Main Takeaway for Fatigue & Stress Relief

Life can be stressful, and those stresses can take many shapes. Your individual tolerance for stress is unique to you, as are the ways to find relief. Take what you can from this list, apply it and tweak it as you learn what works. You are the most qualified to assess what you need.

One last thought: Avoid comparing yourself to others to determine what is “normal” or what you “should” be able to handle. Listen to your body and your instincts when you’re hitting a threshold. Ask for help, and be kind to yourself in your thoughts and activities.

If you don’t feel right after cleaning up your diet and lifestyle after a few months, see your doctor and ask him/her to offer more than medications to help you navigate this phase of fatigue.  Reach out to a health coach, who can help you translate any diagnosis into tangible, actionable steps, so you are stepping into optimal well-being without a slew of Rx’s.

Know someone who could use some stress relief? Share this post with them! We love our community and the knowledge you share with us. If you have a favorite stress tip, drop it into a comment below.

Wishing you a life filled with greens and grace … and peace in your mind and body!

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