Good Bye Foodie Bitch – Hello Natural Life Foundation!

Natural Life Foundation

Wondering why we haven’t been posting much lately on Foodie Bitch?

We’re still here!

Head on over to Natural Life Foundation and see what we’ve been up to!

In all honesty, I was getting a bit frustrated with limiting our conversation to just food.  Although I absolutely ADORE food, and am fascinated with the amazing healing qualities (as well as the disease-causing qualities) food can have, I know that there is so much more involved in living a healthy life than just what we eat.  I felt I needed to include these other areas in our conversations.

Think about it: Haven’t we all seen some people who eat all the right kinds of foods, yet still seem sickly and depressed?

And, contrarily, haven’t we all seen people who live on fast food and convenient snacks, but still look healthy and happy?

I wanted to start sharing some of my research and experience that may shed light onto why this happens.

So, over at Natural Life Foundation, we’ll still be talking about food – it’s still a huge passion of mine and is such an integral part of our lives, culture, economy, and history.  Now, however, we’ll also be sharing insights on exercise, happiness, relationships, philosophy, organic gardening and farming, herbs, essential oils, alternative healing, animals and nature, and a number of other areas.  Our hope is that, with this broader range, we can all move closer to a more balanced, healthy, and passionate life… naturally.

Come and join the conversation at Natural Life Foundation!

Nancy  Smorch

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Setting Goals – Why So Many People Fail

Setting goals

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

In trying to help people lead a healthier life, I’ve noticed there are people who will do whatever it takes to be in peak health… and then there are those that aren’t willing to make the changes needed to even marginally improve their health.  Actually, many people I talk with aren’t even willing to make a fraction of the diet and lifestyle changes necessary to move closer to peak health.

Why is it that they say they want to be healthier (lose weight, cut out gluten, decrease the sugar intake, exercise more frequently), yet they fall short of accomplishing their goals?

Over the last couple of months I’ve given this a lot of thought and here are two of the top reasons I’ve found for this discrepancy.

The first reason is lack of clarity of their goals.  As with any area of your life, when you’re setting your goals or intentions, the more clarity you create, the more likely you are to see your intentions become a reality.

One of my favorite quotes (and I have many of them) is the proverb, “Where there is no vision, the people will perish.”

I have definitely seen evidence of this first hand, and on many occasions.  There are certain areas of my life that I am crystal clear about – I tolerate nothing but what is moving me toward that vision.  Then there are areas (multiple) of my life where I have an “idea” of what i’d like to accomplish, but no specifics – just a sea of possibilities and generalities.

Remember that clarity trumps generalities every time!

Examples of weak goals in health would be:

I want to lose weight.

I want to have more energy.

I want to eat healthier.

Although all of these statements sound nice and make you feel like you’re moving in the right direction, they really aren’t setting you up for actually achieving them.  Why?

First of all, they are way too vague.

Let’s take the goal:  I want to lose weight.  Great, lose one pound and call it a day.  Oh, you wanted to lose more than that – why didn’t you say so?  Exactly how much weight did you want to lose?  Let’s say it’s 10 lbs.  Great – but you need to be even more specific.  Is that 10 lbs. over 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, or 10 years?  The time frame you chose is going to dramatically effect the strategy you will use to lose the weight.

If you decide you would like to lose 10 lbs. in 2 months, now you can break it down and see that means you need to lose 1.25 lbs. per week.  Now you have benchmarks and checkpoints to hold yourself accountable and to measure whether your strategy for achieving your goal is effective.  If, for example, by the third week, you’ve only lost 1 lb., you’ll want to re-evaluate your strategy and make some changes.

Let’s take the second goal:  I want to have more energy.  Why are you not likely to accomplish this goal?  Again, it’s too vague.  If you want more energy, drink a Red Bull.  Just kidding, of course, but you need to define exactly what “more energy” means to you so you know exactly what that would like like in  your life and you would know when you’ve achieved it.

How about saying instead, “I want to create a healthy routine and system of food and activity each day so I no longer experience a mid-morning and mid-afternoon energy slump (no need to reach for coffee, carbs or energy drinks).  I would like to start immediately so I have a system that works so within one week, I am no longer experiencing dips in my energy level.”

Much more specific, so much more achievable.

On to the second major reason people don’t achieve their goals:

People tend to do things for one of two reasons – to avoid pain or to gain pleasure (you’ll find most people will do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure).  So you need to look at your reasons for wanting to accomplish your goals and intentions.

In order to set yourself up for success, you need a strong enough “why.”

If you don’t have a strong enough reason, when a challenge or temptation comes up or when everything becomes chaotic in your life, you’ll start allowing breakdowns in your strategy and you won’t reach your goal.  You need major leverage.

Let’s take the example of wanting more energy.  Even if you were more specific about exactly what more energy looked like to you, you still need a big enough “why.”  And telling yourself you want more energy throughout the day so you don’t have to rely on energy drinks may not be a big enough why.  You need to dig a little deeper.

Why do you really want more energy?

Is it so you can be more effective in your job or career which will help you make more money so you can save for the trip you’ve been wanting to take to Italy in the fall?

Or maybe it’s because you want to be fully present with your kids who are growing up so fast.  You want to be able to play with them and be creative and be disciplined with them to create a foundation for a great lifetime relationship with them, and when you are tired, you find yourself snapping at them or setting them in front of the TV or computer to “babysit” them because you can’t focus enough to have a conversation let alone play soccer or go for a bike ride.  Also, if you’re tired, that’s probably the first symptom to show up from an energy deficiency, which if left untreated, could lead to so meting more serious down the road (hormonal imbalance, adrenal fatigue, silent inflammation, gluten sensitivity).  It will be much easier to deal with and correct now than it will be months or years from now when you have many more symptoms besides dips in your energy.

Would these be big enough whys for you?  If not, you need to dig deeper and find out why you really want to achieve your specific health goal (or any goal for that matter).

There are other reasons, of course, that people don’t reach their goals, but these are two of the top reasons I wanted to bring to your attention.  We’re coming up on the end of the year and about to enter into 2015, and this awareness will come in handy as you plan your life for the next week, the next month, the next year, and throughout the rest of your life.

Healing Mood Disorders With Food

Trudy Scott

By Shannon Keirnan, Contributing Foodie Bitch

During the Natural Cures Summit, one of the speakers that resonated with me was nutritionist Trudy Scott.

Her segment, entitled “Healing Mood Disorders With Food,” dealt with how changing the way we eat can help us combat issues like depression and overcoming food addictions.

As someone who has dealt with depression and eating disorders in the past, I found her information very useful.

What were the highlights?

One is that sugar is especially addictive, and with its prevalence in today’s market, becoming a serious issue. Sugar in the body depletes it of nutrients, and alters our blood sugar levels, which will immediately affect mood. It can also alter chemicals in the body like serotonin, or catecholamines, which, when unbalanced, lead to feelings of anxiety,  stress, apathy, rage, and depression.

Secondly, we all know that gut health is also a major link to our overall well-being, emotionally and physically. Yet today we are seeing major trends in food allergies and intolerances, medical problems like leaky gut or SIBO, Celiac’s, and other autoimmune disorders which mean our guts cannot properly absorb nutrients. Like many doctors and other nutritionists, Trudy recommends people with health or mood issues first try removing gluten from the diet. While not everyone is affected by gluten, 80-90% of the patients she removed from gluten thrived, and there are no ill effects to taking gluten from the diet. Often this is a beginning step toward healing the gut, even if you do not present any obvious symptoms, and putting the body back in balance.

So what other tips does Trudy suggest for improving and maintaining a positive outlook?

-Eating grass-fed red meats, which have a huge correlation to good mood. Vegans and vegetarians should make sure they are getting enough iron, zinc, B12, and omega-3’s, as deficiencies in the body can negatively affect mood, or consider adding in a little humanely raised animal protein now and then (if able and willing).

-Eating real, whole foods, of course, with healthy proteins and fats – especially at breakfast – and eating food before drinking coffee (a “drug of choice”). She places an emphasis on healthy fats – too low of cholesterol can lead to depression, as cholesterol is a raw material for creating proper hormones.

-Exercise, sunshine, and natural light throughout the day. Vitamin D is especially linked to mood, and most people are deficient.

-Minimizing stress, which can worsen symptoms of mood disorders.

-Getting proper sleep in a dark, quiet room. She recommends lavender or chamomile scents before bed, or tryptophan supplements if you have difficulty sleeping.

Some of this seems pretty straightforward – we know that not being stressed, and being well-rested, puts us in a good mood, right? But it’s always good to keep in mind that the body is one big system working together, and that if one aspect is off, it can throw everything out of whack. Give yourself priority!

So eat well, get some sleep, and relax this weekend! Happy Friday!

Natural Cures Summit – The Top Four Health Boosters

Natural Cures Summit

By Shannon Keirnan, Contributing Foodie Bitch

This week, the Natural Cures Movement is running an online summit, with a variety of different speakers discussing health-related topics.

You can register here for free if you want to catch the remaining speakers within their 24-hour window, but if you’d just rather get the gist of it, I’ve got you covered!

I’m only on day three so there’s still lots left to learn, but one of the things I have found most interesting so far has been the “must-haves” presented by every speaker. While everyone has had different opinions, there were three things that caught my attention, either because of the enthusiasm with which they were touted, or because they came up multiple times as one of the first and best steps toward health.

1) Ashwagandha

As I have been doing some research into adrenal fatigue, this adaptogen had already caught my attention. Ashwagandha is considered a powerful Ayurvedic herb, especially helpful for healing the body after illness, and imparting a sense of well-being. As someone who struggles between fatigue and insomnia, my interest was especially piqued when I heard that it can assist with both. As an adaptogen, your body can use it in the way most beneficial to itself – for example, as previously mentioned, adaptogens may lower high blood pressure in one individual, while raising low blood pressure in another.

Ashwagandha is especially helpful in alleviating the symptoms of stress (a necessary component to healing adrenal fatigue). It is also known for improving memory, stabilizing blood sugar, reducing anxiety, lowering cholesterol, having anti-inflammatory properties, and building immunity.

Unlike a lot of supplements, nutrients, herbs, etc., that are taken for specific health issues and can be dangerous or not beneficial if taken incorrectly, ashwagandha is safe for daily use and extremely low in potential side effects. Once I overcame my fear of saying “ashwagandha” out loud, I went to the health food store and picked up a bottle to try!

2) Frankincense 

Essential oils have been discussed quite a bit in this summit, from their healing properties to cleaning abilities, but the one that is continually mentioned as being one of the most valuable is frankincense.

I could go on and on about the properties discussed – frankincense is antiseptic, it boosts the immune system and speeds healing, it aids digestion, increases focus, aids in the absorption of nutrients, is an excellent beauty aid due to anti-aging and anti-wrinkle properties, it protects against tumor formation, and alleviates pain and inflammation… basically, “what can’t it do?” as one speaker joked.

Essential oils are systemic, as well, I learned, which means that, initially there may be some variation in how the body uses the oil – whether it’s ingested, applied, breathed, or however you’re getting it in there – but the overall picture is that your body will eventually utilize its benefits the same way regardless.

Of course, this happens to be one of the pricier oils out there, especially the best-quality brands, but the importance of buying a good quality of oil was highly emphasized, and remember that a small bottle goes a long way!

I added a couple drops to coconut oil, baking soda, and cocoa butter for a DIY deodorant inspired by Paleo Chef, and started putting a little frankincense into my nightly face cream as well, as its ability to keep skin fresh and youthful was definitely something that stuck in my head.

3) Coconut Oil

I’ve already expressed my love for coconut oil in a separate post, so I won’t go into it much here… but safe to say, my love is still going strong, and the more I hear people discussing the wonders of it, the happier I am. If you haven’t jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon yet, then you are missing out, my friend.

4) Black Seed

This is one of those things that sounds almost too good to be true. “The remedy for all diseases except death,” reportedly said the Islamic prophet Mohammed regarding this little miracle, the “blessed seed.”

Black seed has been observed to be useful in treatment of type II diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, high blood pressure, and MRSA. It defeats viruses, bacteria, and fungi. It kills pain. It aids in fertility. It can protect tissues from radiation damage. It can suppress, or kill, cancer cells. It improves skin conditions. Again, essentially, what can’t it do? And it’s another one that is safe to take daily, to target specific health issues or just keep your body running smoothly overall.

So why don’t we know much about it? Why isn’t black seed (Nigella sativa) sweeping the nation?

Who’s to say? Possibly part of the reason is that those who take black seed oil complain that it “smells like a tire.”

Lesson learned from that – if you can’t handle a stinky oil, try it in capsule form! I haven’t tried this one yet, but choking some down is on the list.

I’ll keep you informed of anything else that I take away from this summit as it continues. In the meantime, what’s YOUR “miracle” go-to health product? Sound off in the comments or on the Facebook page!