Thursday, November 2, 2017

Natural Anxiety Reducers

Many moons ago, I was a University student studying Psychology. I sat in class one day and read an article detailing something I had never heard of before - social anxiety. And it hit me like a ton of bricks.

It outlined the debilitating fear I experienced when I found myself in a group of people.
It explained the dread I felt when I had to leave the house at times.
It echoed what my body and mind went through when I had to enter a department store.
All the feelings, emotions and reactions I had in social situations that made no sense to me and left me feeling like a crazy woman were all in print, before me.

It made so much sense and I was relieved to know that I wasn't crazy. Or alone.
Armed with a label, I went home that day and googled everything I could about Social Anxiety. I participated in online discussions and read every article I could get my hands on detailing how I could get rid of this paralyzing condition.

It got to a point I barely left my home.
At University, I skipped every seminar and automatically lost 10% of my grade so I wouldn't have to speak in front of a room full of people.
I canceled plans with friends because the thought of going out brought on panic
The worst was an incident at Walmart where I couldn't get out of my car.

I realized at some point that a large degree of my freedom was gone. The fear was winning and keeping me from living a full life.
It wasn't acceptable, and I decided I needed to find my freedom once again.

In all the research I did, a few herbal remedies were suggested, but otherwise the message boards were flooded with names of various medications.
This wasn't a route I was willing to partake in until I knew I had exhausted all other options.
The problem was, I couldn't find any other options.

Fast forward 10 years, I feel I have (finally) accumulated a decent amount of "alternative" options for treating anxiety. And I use the word "treatment" loosely. As someone who has a history of anxiety, I am well aware that it is always there, ready to creep into my life when I stop actively working on myself. I feel it come back when I am feeling overwhelmed. I feel it lingering if someone says something to hurt my feelings. The old Rachel would hide in a corner and not speak her mind because...what if someone thought I was stupid? Self doubt and lack of confidence perpetuated my anxiety (though I'm not certain which one perpetuates which at times).

Anxiety is something I am always aware of, and constantly have to ensure I don't let too much of it into my life. If I slip and allow it to start making decisions in my life, I know that all too soon, it will run my life and I will lose control. So these tools I share with you are things I do on a daily, or at least regular, basis. This ensures I maintain control, empowerment and freedom in my life.

1. Breathe
This was one of the first tools I started using when I sought help for my anxiety. My therapist at the time had me practice deep belly breaths every time I felt anxiety starting to take over. The bonus of this is that I could use it anytime, anywhere and nobody would have any idea. When we're stressed we tend to breathe shallowly, from the chest, which holds the body in a fight or flight response by keeping active the sympathetic nervous system. Instead, taking deep and slow breaths, to and from the belly, will help activate the parasympathetic nervous system (known for it's "rest and relax" response).

2. Meditate
This is a newer tool for me, one I've been using for close to 2 years now, and I do it daily, for a good 30 minutes, as soon as I wake up. For the same reasons as breathing, meditating helps calm the scattered mind, get connected back to your truth and makes space for everything else to fall away. Even taking 5 minutes a day to sit in silence, breathing deeply and quieting the mind will provide you noticeable shifts in your anxiety levels.

3. Eat Healthy
It was only when I was journaling for my Yoga Teacher Training program that I linked crap foods (sugary especially but also processed foods) with the level of anxiety I would awake with. Now when I work with clients struggling with anxiety of any kind, we overhaul the diet. We include more wholesome, nutrient dense ingredients and reduce, or remove high sugar items, processed foods, and any foods we suspect an intolerance to (which will cause many reactions within the body, including triggering anxiety)

4. Move Your Body
Motion moves emotion. I heard this recently and realized how true it rang for me. I have 3 physical outlets I use for stress and anxiety: yoga, weight training and running. Depending on my mood, when I feel emotions coming on, I choose to do one of the three. I move my body regularly anyway, but even more so when anxiety is near the surface. Exercising helps stimulate and release many natural hormones in the body, including serotonin, the "feel good" hormone.

5. Release the Stress
For me, my anxiety levels are directly related to my stress levels. The more stress and overwhelm I am experiencing, the higher my anxiety is. I HAVE to manage my stress if I want to keep my anxiety at bay. I do this through the above ways, but also through journaling, talking about it, or writing, which is a huge passion of mine. Find an outlet and release that feels good to you.

Finally, I make sure to continually put myself outside my comfort zone. Anxiety wants to seclude and isolate you. And the more you give in to those fears, the more they will show up. Until one day, like me, you'll find yourself in the middle of a Walmart parking lot, unable to leave your car because the fear is that strong. So, I continue putting myself outside my comfort zone (as much as I hate it sometimes) so my comfort zone continues to expand, rather than close in on me. I continually work with my clients on this, and am always reminding them to get uncomfortable. It's kinda where the magic happens.

Working with anxiety takes time. It takes time, patience, effort, consistency and faith.
But I promise you this - you can live a life of freedom, joy and peace. I hope these tools are the starting steps you need to get you there.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

How to combat sugar cravings

How do I deal with sugar cravings?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions I encounter as a Holistic Nutritionist

It's such a common hurdle for so many people, and unfortunately, the answer isn't as simple as some people hope it to be.
I use a Holistic approach to all that I do. And in doing so, the firs step is to zoom the lens back in order to find the WHY behind the issue. I am never satisfied finding a quick solution for someone, nor will their changes be long-lasting. Any solution will never be effective until the root cause of the challenge itself is explored and tackled first.

So here are some of the most common reasons people have intense sugar cravings to begin with. Have a read through and see if any ring true for your own life.

1. High Stress
Stress causes many hormones to be secreted in the body (typically in excess), one of which is cortisol. Excess cortisol creates many imbalances in the body, but in the case of sugar specifically, over time it will cause dysregulation in your blood sugar levels , creating more intense cravings to keep blood sugar levels elevated. Sugar also stimulates serotonin, which gives us an immediate feeling of satisfaction and relaxation, which is something (of course) that we tend to crave more of.

2. Yeast Overgrowth
Due to excessive stress, poor food choices and perpetual high sugar/high carb choices, oftentimes I see clients with something called Candida, which is a yeast overgrowth in the body. Candida grows by feeding on sugar, and therefore will create cravings to get more of it.

3. Lack of Magnesium
Stress actually causes a depletion of an important mineral in the body - magnesium. (yes, stress is a contributing factor to a TON of health issues!). A strong craving for chocolate specifically is a good indication of this deficiency, and until you give your body what it's actually needing (magnesium), you will continue to have strong cravings for chocolate.

4. Low blood sugar
When we are dealing with low blood sugar, our body craves sugar. Our brain functions on glucose (which comes from food), and it becomes an emergency situation when levels drop. Why do they drop? They do so because of high sugar diets (creating a spike, hormones are secreted to reduce that spike, then levels drop quickly), and also from waiting too long to eat. A steady supply of glucose is required to keep our blood sugars regulated, eliminating a need for cravings. (so stop skipping meals!!!).

5. Low fat or protein diet
If your diet is low in fat and/or protein, chances are good that it's higher in carbs. Carbs create large blood sugar spikes, resulting in low blood sugar. Fats and proteins also slow down the rate of absorption of foods, maintaining and more steady supply of blood sugar. A diet low in fat and/or protein is highly likely to create many sugar cravings because of this.

6. Not drinking enough
Lack of hydration creates lots of imbalances within the body. If you have those times when you crave SOMETHING but aren't even sure what and you start eating a bunch of random things without ever feeling satisfied, it's likely that you just need more water.

Of course there are other reasons we might be craving sugar - adrenal or thyroid imbalances, fatigue or lack of sleep, PMS are some of the other common reasons you might be craving sugar.

So now what?

Hopefully you've identified your issue(s), or at least brought an awareness to some possibilities.
Your first step will be dealing with your WHY behind the cravings. Do you need to spend more time relaxing? Drinking more water? Eating more regularly? Eating more fats or proteins? (hint: good fats include nuts or nut butter, avocado, and oils such as coconut, EVOO, avocado and grapeseed)

Start there.

Then, once you've addressed what you think to be your root cause, you can add on the following:

1. Drink some water
2. Drink an herbal tea and add a bit of honey
3. Make a quick, sweet alternative. Here is a recipe for a quick energy ball that should satisfy the craving - double benefit is that it contains a decent amount of healthy fat
4. Eat a piece of dark chocolate
5. Eat a protein or fat source

I hope you found this helpful!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Is it really yours to carry?

I taught a yoga class a few weeks ago and had to hold back my tears much of the class. During savasana especially, I was overwhelmed with a heaviness through my chest, and a deep need to cry uncontrollably. After I brought the women out of savasana and concluded the class, I casually mentioned that if anyone was feeling really sad, to please go home to cry and let it all out. It turns out, one of the girls had recently (and suddenly) lost a pet that had been a huge part of her life. This information confirmed my suspicion - that the deep sadness I was feeling wasn't mine.

Being a yoga teacher, reiki and reflexology practitioner, I have been taught how to ground myself to avoid taking on other people's "stuff," yet it's a practice I have been neglectful of, believing I was immune to other's energy (sometimes I'm like that, you know, I think the rules don't apply to me).

Then I got to thinking about this incident. I didn't just feel sad during that class, I felt like I was being crushed under the weight of deep grief. Every cell in my body was bathed in sorrow. It was a lot to feel so suddenly.

And that made me wonder. How much of my life have I been taking on other people's emotions? How much of my anxiety, fear, sadness, lonliness....was never mine to begin with? I suspect the answer is this:

a fuck-load of it.

Could this, perhaps, be the case for you as well?

I have a new mantra these days.
Any time I feel anxiety, sadness, anger, hurt, fear, overwhelm, frustration....I pause. And I close my eyes and silently say, "this isn't yours to carry Rachel."

I repeat it slowly if I need to, but I always feel a huge shift in my emotions and thoughts. I actually feel a physical release, like a weighted vest removed from my body.
And I can move on, without the load that was never mine to carry in the first place.

Next time someone around you is angry or upset, I want you to tune into your own body and emotions for a check. Do you start to feel tense? Does your breath quicken? Do you feel yourself shutting down? Does your energy begin to plummet?

These are all signs that you've taken on their energy.

Ask yourself how much of other people's shit you take on. If I had to guess, I would say that a decent amount of what causes you stress or overwhelm was never your stuff to begin with.

And if you find this to be true, try out my mantra and let me know how it goes.
Awareness is the first step. Actively working at re-wiring both your mindset and your response is the next step.

How much lighter will you feel if you could let go of everyone else's stuff?
After all, how can you fly with wings that feel like stone?


Thursday, August 3, 2017


I love the concept of Greatness.

I probably first became familiar with it as a personal attribute a few years ago when I purchased Robin Sharma's "The Greatness Guide" as a gift for my Grandfather. I had followed Robin Sharma for a good 12 years before this point, as he was someone my Mom highly recommended and respected.
It sounded so cocky to me.

But then I started thinking about greatness through a different lens altogether, and the definition, for me, incorporates multiple characteristics:
More than average.
Authentic living.
Living your passion.
Designing your life.
Always striving for more (while simultaneously being content with where you are)

Mediocrity is something that has always frightened me. Well maybe not always. But back in 2004 it became a concept that entered my awareness. After the very sudden passing of my Mom, I decided (consciously or unconsciously I'm still not sure) that I would not live a mediocre life. I will not be an average person who is willing to settle for what feels comfortable. I would not be a bystander in my life, I would be an active participant. I would set big goals and achieve them. I would dream big and embrace possibility. I would inspire & lead and be the person I wanted to be - patient, kind, giving, but also determined, driven, motivated, and relentless in the pursuit of joy. I believed that my vow to live from a zone of greatness would give my Mom's life meaning. I could make her proud. I could show the world how great of an influencer she was on me. I could use her wisdom and example to continue inspiring the world, even though she was no longer here. And when it was my time to go, I would have no regrets or wonder, as I feared she perhaps did. I would improve the quality of my own life to make up for the limited quantity of time she had on this earth.

Lewis Howes is a another big influencer on me. He hosts a podcast called "The School of Greatness," which I listen to just about daily: while I'm in the kitchen, in the gym, cooling down after a run or folding laundry (more on that in a minute). He interviews influencers from all over the world, digging into how and why they are living a life of greatness, from their daily habits, to mindset and routines.

This idea has been evolving in me and I find myself surrounded by it on a daily basis.

I was recently enjoying a latte with a friend of mine and I was discussing the things that bring me joy. In my business, I shared that the best part of what I do in working with women, is the evolution I get to witness through my time with them. They begin hesitant, unsure and a little fearful as their journey of nutrition and fitness begins. Over time, I begin to see (and feel!) ambition, confidence, excitement and assurance.
Empowerment. (greatness!!)
They begin to realize that they are strong, capable and worthy. And holy shit, that aura of power is unlike any other.

My deepest passion is guiding women to this place through tools, encouragement, tough love, accountability and unwavering support. A good friend of mine recently shared a quote that resonated with her, "you cannot transmit wisdom and insight to another person. The seed is already there. A good teacher touches the seed, allowing it to wake up, to sprout, and to grow." ~ Thich Nhat Hahn

How could I possible encourage my clients to be outside their comfort zone in order to find greatness, if I myself, wasn't doing the same? How could I understand the discomforts of evolution and transformation if I, myself, haven't been through it as well? I am only able to reach these seeds within my clients but aligning my life with what I value. They see that and feel that.

I wanted to share with you the top tools or practices that I feel have guided me onto this path of living in the zone of greatness. (keeping in mind, I will forever be evolving, growing and learning. We're in this together).

But first, let me share a quote I came across the other morning on Instagram via Mastin Kipp:

"There is greatness within you.
To release it, work each day to face your fears and push yourself further than what's comfortable. Greatness is forged through challenge."

Let's begin there.

1. Challenge yourself. Daily.
You will never know what you are capable of until you are willing to try things you assume are too hard for you. In fitness, this is easy. Lifting heavier than you think, running a couple minutes longer than you think you get the idea. In life this can simply translate into goal setting. I'm obsessed with goal setting. For me, these goals give meaning to my day. I can set my goals up and align everything else with them to ensure success.
What are some goals you can begin setting for yourself?

2. Face your fears. Often.
Hey comfort zone? Fuck off.
That's where we're at with concept #2. Fears are learned behaviors that tend to keep us in a safe little comfort zone, where we don't get to experience new things or explore new worlds. Lame if you ask me.
Being outside your comfort zone is the only way you can expand your life, and reiterate the fact that you are a multi-passionate person with endless possibilities, talents and interests.
Write down 10 things that you have wanted to do or been curious about, but have been halted by fear, anxiety or uncertainty.
Set a timeline, and start checking those bad boys off.

3. Keep your heart open. No matter what.
When we close off our heart, we think we're closing off potential hurt and heart ache. Yet, much like spot training, we cannot choose what we close off, and inevitable also end up closing off opportunities to connect, love, share and fully enjoy people and experiences. It is through vulnerability and expansion that we allow deep peace, joy and abundance trickle into our lives. We connect with others at a deeper level, we learn to find growth through challenges, and learn to connect deeply to the center of who we are...if we can just keep our hearts open. More on this in a later post.

4. Align Your Life.
My bread and butter. This concept lights me up like nothing else.
First, decide how you want your life to FEEL and LOOK.
Second, set some short and long term goals that act as stepping stones to getting you there.
Third, create actionable steps to achieve these goals.
All while being true to the first step.
For example. Say I want to feel FREEDOM in my life. My goal is to create and accept work that allows me to feel that way. Someone offers me a weekly yoga class to teach Saturday mornings at 11:00, for minimal pay. What to do?
Well..first off, Saturday mornings are typically my time with my kids. It's a day of the week we can sleep in, take our time and just slow down. If I took the class, I would give this up, throw a wrench in basically all of Saturday itself since I'd scramble for a sitter, drive, teach, drive, then it would be nap time for my little one, meaning we'd only have a few hours after he wakes up to spend together. Does this scenario, despite additional pocket money, lead me to feeling freedom? No. It feels more like a box to me. So my answer is "no, but thank you for the offer."
Alignment. Authenticity. Boundaries. Learning to say no and learning to say yes. Be that one who walks her talk.

5. Learn. Expand. Grow.
Remember when I was talking about Lewis Howes' podcast? This is an example of how I am constantly tapping into new knowledge. I listen to podcasts every opportunity I can, I read articles online, or highlight books about a topic I'm interested in learning more about. I dive deep into discussion with those around me who inspire me, tapping into their thoughts, ideas and mindset. I like to try new things as often as I find the opportunity. For example, I just signed up to take a SUP yoga class in a couple weeks. It's like stepping outside your comfort zone, without perhaps the fear and hesitation. Be mindful of opportunities for expansion in your life, and seek them with an open heart.

I hope you find these tidbits of ideas helpful.
Feel free to add your own (and share with me!)


Friday, July 21, 2017

Why I Am So Invested In My Health (and why you should be too)

Lately I've had this discussion with a few different clients/friends.

So, I'm a healthy person. I eat clean foods and limit processed foods. I actively work at reducing the toxic load in our home by not using chemicals. I make our own cleaners and body products. I don't wear perfume or makeup. I put a lot of care in the quality of products I put both on and in my body. I do the same for my children. I move my body in a way that feels good every single day. That may include weight lifting, hill running, volleyball, golf, hiking or yoga. There are certain things I refuse to consume or buy for my children, such as pastries, white bread, pop, frozen dinners, most cookies and crackers, and most granola bars. I'm very selective about the things that go into my grocery cart and into my home.

And you know the sad truth about all this?
I'm seen as someone outside the norm.
I'm the abnormal one.

And I have a hard time wrapping my head around that.

I teach workshops at a local cancer support center every month. I am highly passionate about my time there and the energy that circles all these people who have faced their own mortality in a way I cannot fathom. It's inspiring. And you know what I say every time I am there?

Be an advocate for your health.

And you know their response? A resounding "hell yes!" (or something along those lines). It is something they have learned through facing the possibility of death sooner than they had hoped or expected. It is something they wish they could go back and understand before their diagnosis. this fast paced society we have completely forgotten about the fact that our bodies are our vehicles in this life to carry us through the world. We treat them like shit and get angry when they don't work properly. And we find the quickest, easy fix to patch it up and continue abusing the heck out of it - through drugs, alcohol, a shit ton of food, sugar, processed chemicals...and so on. We loathe who we are because we are embarrassed of the reflection we see in the mirror. Yet our behaviour and choices are what lead us to that reflection in the first place. It's not our body's fault. It's ours. So what do we do out of frustration and resentment? We abuse our body some more. Through crash dieting. Through self loathing. Through starvation. Through working out excessively. Through diet pills. Through extreme detoxes. Through overeating illness-promoting foods. Through(insert your own current or past abusive behaviours here).

It's so sad to me. And infuriating.

There's a child in this world whose legs were just amputated because of disease. Or war. He or she would give anything for one more opportunity to run down the road freely. Yet we sit on the couch for hours, or take the elevator, or park as close as we can to a building. Just so we don't have to walk.

There is a Mother in this world who was just given the news that she has 3 months left to live. She holds her child closely, wishing with every fiber of her being that she could live just 5 more years to watch her precious baby grow. Yet we smoke, do drugs, use chemicals or stuff our faces with crap, knowing the effects on our health, knowing the carcinogenic effects of such habits. We play Russian roulette with our lives through the destructive choices we make.

For the love of God, it needs to end.

Our bodies are incredible and we need to make time every single day to find gratitude for all it does for us.

How lucky am I to hop out of bed, go for a run, lift heavy things and feel good?
How awesome is it that my body carries me on field trips with my kids, and to the park to play freely with my children?
I can climb, hike, play volleyball, wrestle my kids, practice handstands, kick a ball, and jump around.
I use my body to teach yoga and fitness classes to amazing women who fill my life.

Holy fuck I am blessed. I remind myself of these things daily. I am humbled even more so when I pass by a wheelchair, or someone who clearly struggles to move unrestricted. I have freedom in my body. And I'll be damn sure to both appreciate and honour that as long as possible.

This is why I am an advocate for my health. I have seen the effects caring for my body has on my every day life - energy, lighter moods, clear skin, a vibrant aura, strength, stamina, resistance to illness, quicker recovery, regulated thyroid levels, better ability to manage stress....(shall I continue?)

In working with so many women, I also see the effects of not being a conscious health advocate: low energy, mood swings, depression, anxiety, frequent illness, disease, weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, infertility, and the list goes on. I have mentioned this lots in the past but my Mom died in 2004 of lung cancer. She didn't take care of her health. And the consequences of that have been more impactful than I could ever put into words.

Our health is (mostly) in our control. We seem to have this belief that fate, or genetics are what determines the course of our well-being and that simply is not the case. There are so many actionable steps you can take to ensure your days are not only extended, but full of vibrancy, joy, energy and vitality. It isn't normal to feel sluggish or irritated on a regular basis. If you only knew the possibilities and power your body would never again disrespect it or take it for granted.

It all begins with gratitude, awareness and a vow.

To be kind.
To be loving.
To be patient.
To make choices from love.
To be the best version of you that you are capable of being.

Repeat and rinse every single day, and feel the abundance of energy and joy that floods into your life.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Empowerment or Validation?

Empowerment: the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one's life and claiming one's rights (Google Search)

Empowerment is a concept I hold close to both my life and the work I do. Underneath all that I do, this term underlies it all. I strive to experience it as often as I can, and strive to provide both tools and space for my clients to feel it in their own lives as well.

I had an incredible experience a few weekends ago. I participated in my fourth Spartan race (third time for the Super, I've also done the Beast). Every year I train a group of women who want to push their limits and test their strength. We drive the couple hours up together and split off into similar abilities, and work together to get through the 13K challenge. It is seriously one of the highlights of my year every single year. There is nothing like the sisterhood that develops, and the deep respect for one another that inevitably happens through facing obstacles that challenge both body and mind.
This year, instead of running with the group, I decided I would just venture off on my own to see what I was capable of doing on my own. So we began race by hiking up the first of MANY black diamond hills, and tackled the first obstacle (a wooden wall), before I took off.

After dealing with the effects of a sluggish thyroid and high stress that had affected my appetite on and off for months, I was concerned. I promised myself I would push hard but not to the point of sacrificing my health. I would rest when I needed to.
So, with that vow to my body, off I went. I crawled and ran through mud, pulled my body weight over walls, carried a log over my shoulder up a hill, dragged heavy things, lifted, pulled, heaved, climbed…and felt surprisingly good. When I began feeling a big sluggish halfway through the race, I dug into my Camelbak and ate some energy chews. Immediately I felt better and more energized. My feet went back to running.

For every obstacle skipped or missed, you have to do 30 burpees. I came to the javelin and knew burpees were coming. In the years of doing this race, I haven’t once even come close to landing that one. I grabbed the stick (I'm sure there's a more technical term) with 2 hands, set the rope up on the other side of the barrier, envisioned a clean hit and threw as hard as I could. I watched the stick sail through the air and hit the middle of the hay bale. I did it! I cheered aloud for myself and gave a random guy high five and ran past the line up of people doing their burpees. Shortly thereafter I came to the monkey bars. The dreaded monkey bars that I almost pass every year but always slip off near the end.

I climbed atop the hay bale under the first bar and asked the girl behind me for a boost. Even with a jump I wasn’t able to reach the first one. Hanging on to the first bar, I looked to the end, took a deep breath and silently whispered “you’ve got this Rachel. You can do hard.” The people beside me started dropping off like flies while my eyes focused on the bell at the end. One bar at a time. I swung madly from one bar to the next, and before I knew it, I swung at the bell that marked the end and whooped along with its sound. I did it! I again, cheered loudly for myself and continued on.

The whole race went that way. Up those dreaded black diamonds that tortured my hamstrings, I kept putting one foot in front of the other and kept going. I passed buff men who had to pull aside to break. I passed girls 10 years younger than me who could no longer breathe. Steady paced, eventually I hit the top and didn’t require a break, not even once. At the top I walked for 30 seconds or so to recover and went back to running.

In the end, my goal was 3 hours.
I crossed the finish line in 2:26:54
Of my age group, I was 3rd of 103
Of my gender, I was 8th out of 531
Overall, of 1416 people, I was 122.

I was (and am) insanely proud of these numbers. And while I don’t love numbers, and don’t promote valuing your worth by numbers, these ones…make me feel amazing. I killed it. I totally killed it. Despite some health concerns. Despite feeling as though I’m not in the best shape.

And I am fueled. I have not felt this empowered in a very long time.

Here I am – 36 years old. I have 3 children. I am a busy Mama and business owner. I don’t have a trainer, nor did I specifically train for this event. Yet evidently, I am in the best shape of my life. And I know I could have even managed a faster time had I understood what I am capable of (seems like an ongoing lesson for me - to quit underestimating myself!.

Then I got thinking about the things that empower me. There have been a few that stand out:

This race and all the races I have done, similar to this. There is seriously nothing like crossing the finish line after a lengthy struggle (metaphor for life, right? There's nothing better than the good that comes from the flames of hardship).

Giving birth to my 3 children without drugs. I followed my body’s cues and managed through the experiences without a tear, or a single intervention for any of them.

Competing in a fitness competition. I trained hard for a good year and stepped on stage with a bunch of girls much younger than me. I had a 4-year-old and an 18 month and I stood on stage, alone, in a skimpy bikini, feeling amazing.

Anytime I serve my clients, whether that be through classes or workshops. The energy starts to flow through me and I feel incredibly full and blessed.

Empowered. It’s a feeling I NEED to have and it’s a feeling I strive to bring to all the women I work with. There is no better way to fuel passion and spark inspiration. And it trickles into the hearts of everyone around you.

Then I think about validation, and lately have been researching the lines between the two.
Validation is confirmation of worth. It comes from external sources. It's effects are short term, requiring further validation for the same "high."
Empowerment is internal. It's effects are longer lasting.
Let's give an example.

Me running the race and getting through those obstacles on my own, using my own strength, will and determination by believing in myself and telling myself I can do it is an example of empowerment.
Me posting my results on Instagram, waiting for the likes and comments from others so I can feel good about myself - that's validation. Needing someone to compliment me to feel good about myself and confirm my worth.

Which do you think ends up filling and which ends up depleting? It's obvious, isn't it?

So what's the strategy here? Simple.
Do more of what empowers you and less of what causes you to seek validation

List out all the things you have done that made you feel good about yourself that did NOT require a word or gesture from anyone else to affirm your belief and confidence in yourself.

When do you feel strong?
When do you have lots of energy?
What is something you do that you would do even if you were a millionaire?

Immerse yourself in these things. Over time, you will notice your need for validation decreases while the effects from empowerment increases. Before you know it, you'll be riding a steady high. And it will all come from within.

Everything you need is already within you.

Know this.
Feel this.
Honour this.
And nurture the shit out of this.

Know your worth and your capability. Accept nothing else.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Supplements taken by a Holistic Nutritionist

I am FINALLY getting the chance to get this blog post done. It's been a long time coming. Back at the beginning of March I shared a photo of myself on Facebook, talking about how much hair I now have after taking my supplements religiously for a month. A few weeks later I showed another picture of me with even more hair . I've always had thicker hair but I had begun to notice how ridiculously thick and long it had gotten in a short period of time. Not exactly what I wanted, but I also know that one of the key indicators of health is the health of your hair (along with skin and nails). I've received loads of questions on what I'm taking, so here it all is:

1. doTerra's Microplex VMz
Loaded with vitamins and minerals, this supplement is meant to support overall daily wellness. It contains loads of antioxidants to help support the immune system and helps ease digestive upsets. This is also formulated with a digestive enzyme blend and contains a blend of kale, dandelion, parsley, kelp, broccoli, brussels sprout, cabbage, and spinach

2. doTerra's Alpha CRS+
This supplement is meant to support DNA functioning through antioxidants. Good for mental clarity, brain functioning, immune functioning and cellular stress. doTerra's blend includes potent amounts of powerful polyphenols including baicalin from scutellaria root, resveratrol from Polygonum cuspidatum, ellagic acid from pomegranate, proanthocyanidins from grape seeds, curcumin from turmeric root, and silymarin from milk thistle to help support healthy cell function

3. doTerra's xEOMega
Healthy omega fats are one of those things we do not get enough of in our diet. Important for heart health and circulation, immunity, healthy joints, hormone regulation, and healthy brain, eyes and nervous system functioning. doTerra's blend is a unique formula of CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils and a proprietary blend of marine and land-sourced omega fatty acids.

4. doTerra's Mito2Max
Energy, energy, energy! I workout 6 days a week right now, sometimes twice a day, and on top of the 3 supplements above, I attribute a portion of that energy and stamina to this supplement. Mito2Max promotes efficient production of ATP in the mitochondria of cells, enhances stamina and efficient use of oxygen, supports metabolic adaptation for diverse activities and improves mental energy

5. Genestra's HMF Super Powder
Probiotics are a MUST for anyone. Due to poor food choices, stress, antibiotics and other medications, the condition of our gut flora sucks. Since 80% of our immune system and 95% of our serotonin production are found in the gut, it is imperative we care for it. This is one myself and kids take every single day. I get this particular brand from my ND, and she rotates me between this one and another brand (that I can't quite think of right now). It's important to get as many strains of bacteria as you can through probiotics, so rotating them is a good idea. I always recommend going through a ND to ensure you receive a good quality product. Genestra is one that I love.

6. doTerra's Terrazyme
I don't take this one daily, but I take it if I'm eating something I know my body isn't excited about and has difficulty digesting (like pizza, breads, chicken). This supplement is a blend of whole-food enzymes and supporting cofactors that help strengthen the body's production of enzymes which is important in the process of healthy digestion of food nutrients and cellular metabolism of nutrients to energy

Other supplements I take include:
Vitamin D - only during the months I don't see the sun as much. Otherwise I try to spend as much time outside as possible.

Zinc lozenge - as soon as I feel anything illness-wise coming, I suck on one or two of these a day. Zinc is amazing for the immune system

BCAAs - this one is related to weight lifting. Coming in powdered form, I dump a scoop into a large shaker of water and drink before, during and right after my weight training session. I rarely deal with sore muscles despite making gains. BCAAs are great for muscle recovery and growth

Protein Powder - I typically add a scoop of powder to a large bottle of water and drink right after a workout. I love Vega's Sport Performance brand for this purpose as they include BCAAs designed to support the body after a workout. For an all around health supporting drink though, I do like Vega's all-in-on nutritional line. There are a variety of flavours, but I tend to stick with vanilla. For those local, they often have Vega on sale at Zehr's. I believe Costco carries a couple choices as well.

So, there it is.
If you are looking to order any of the doTerra supplements, you can order through

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I hope that was helpful1