What Moves You?

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They say we get wiser as we age.. I do believe this to be true only if we take in the world around us, digest it, absorb it and apply it to our lives.

I grew up knowing the benefits of exercise. My dad, an organic farmer by passion, was my role model in terms of fitness. He would walk 5 - 10 miles every day.. and, this was before walking was even popular. Nobody walked back then! He would challenge me to accompany him on his walks.. which, for the most part, I had no interest in. Then one day when he walked 10 miles and told me he felt great afterward, I asked him if I could walk with him when he decided to do 10 miles again. It was 2 days later and he said he was ready. That, in and of itself, impressed me! Two days later? Really? He was about 45 years old and was ready to walk 10 miles after just a 2 day rest? I was 15 and was begrudging it. I decided to take the challenge.

First off, it was a great time to connect with my dad. We talked about so many things on that walk and laughed about many of them. When I would complain that I needed a rest, he would say, “Just breathe and keep walking, although you could slow down the pace.” We stopped after 5 miles, took a little breather, and then walked the last 5 back home. Wow! I felt SO good afterward that I kept talking about it for days. I realized I accomplished something I thought I couldn’t do, connected with my dad, felt more confident and began to think about what exercise program I could incorporate into my life (besides gym class at school).

Fast forward to my mid-20’s, 30’s, 40’s and part way through my 50’s.. I ran! Yes, running became my form of exercise. I entered into marathons (no — not the New York Marathon, although I contemplated it), ran about 5-7 miles every day and did some cardio as well on most of those days. I was definitely fit but had a gnawing lower back pain most of the time.

In my early-50’s, something shifted. I became interested in nutrition, changed my food selections, ate mostly organic, explored different super foods, and began to change my form of exercise. I started researching how stress (even in the form of exercise) can cause various physical and emotional symptoms and I also began taking a look at how I felt before and after exercise. It was the first time I made the connection between dreading something but doing it anyway because I thought the benefits would win out. Boy was I not listening to my body.

I always tell my clients that our bodies know. We just don’t listen all the time. That “gut feeling” or “intuition” is usually our bodies way of telling us that something is out of balance and we need to address it. Many times we ignore that voice and continue doing what we do until we get physically sick.

I now view exercise as something pleasurable that I plan into my day. Pilates is my form of exercise as well as 12 minutes of a high intensity interval workout on an elliptical machine. I do some form of Pilates every day — an ab series, some footwork on a reformer and some spinal articulation such as shoulder bridge, rolling like a ball or open leg rocker. Planks are always a daily part of my routine as they are an all-body exercise.. I love that! For my high intensity interval training, I get on the elliptical and set the timer for 12 minutes. I start on a level 2 and pedal for 1 minute, change it to level 10 and pedal vigorously for 1 minute, change it back to level 2 for two minutes, back to level 10 for 1 vigorous minute and back to level 2 for two minutes, back to level 10 for 1 vigorous minute and back to level 2 for two minutes. I keep pedaling at a level 2 until I have burned up 100 calories and then I get off — I am usually getting off at the cool down with is about 13-14 minutes in. Voila!!!! Done! The important thing to remember is to breathe in and out of your nose the entire time — no breathing into the mouth!! That’s important. You shouldn’t be panting. If you are, change the level and intensity.

Find an exercise routine that works for you. Exercise is stressful on the body so keep check on not overdoing it. Do something you look forward to doing. Stretching is wonderful first thing in the morning and a brisk walk can do wonders.

Our bodies are meant to move.. we should be moving into older age with ease and grace.. not physical decline due to years of pushing the envelope too far. Mindful exercise is key to optimal health. Think about what you like in the form of exercise and incorporate it into your daily routine. Challenge yourself but don’t overly stress your body — it’s just not sustainable.

What’s your exercise routine these days?

xo,

-Cy

Who Says It's No Fun Getting Older?....

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I used to tell people (way before the movie Benjamin Button) that it would have been much better to come into this world at the age of 100 and work backwards.  But, I now realize I really like being older and am not frightened about the future.  

I hear many people say, "It sucks getting older."  But I experience it differently.  I like the fact that things that used to irk me years ago no longer affect me.  I guess you can say it's the time of life when you realize you can just relax into your being.  You can actually take the time to slow down (purposefully) to savor each moment of each day.  It's a time when comments or looks from others don't penetrate you the way they did when you were possibly more vulnerable at a younger age.  

I use the phrase, "Fitting Out" quite a bit.  I like to be different now.. I like to stand out.. I enjoy feeling comfortable in my own skin - aged as it is.  This doesn't mean that I don't take care of my skin, figure, mind, etc.  I treat my body with respect and feed it healthy, nourishing foods that work the different systems in my body.. For instance, I eat organic foods so I am not ingesting GMO's and herbicides/pesticides which potentially could cause health issues.  I eat lots of greens, drink pure water, add in fermented foods each day to colonize my good bacteria (after all, we are more bacteria than we are human cells), take a good Vitamin C each day, K2 and Spirulina.  Spirulina is a blue-green algae and was the first food on the planet!!  I do my best to keep myself looking as good as I can as I age.  I also make sure to put pure ingredients on my skin.. after all, everything gets absorbed into the bloodstream. We don’t want toxins penetrating our skin and finding areas in our body to hide out in, potentially causing havoc somewhere down the road.

The one thing I don't do is say, "Well, at my age......"  Why focus on age?  We're all getting older and many of us are getting better with age.  Remember, anything you focus on expands.  So, if you focus on the fact that you're OLD and feeling OLD and looking OLD, then that's going to transpire.  

I, by no means, am undermining those people who do have complications due to the aging process.  And, I know it's hard to embrace this time with a positive attitude when your health is not good.  I think getting involved in a project, joining a social group, connecting with family, etc. can make a huge difference.  We're all going to age.... that is inevitable.  But, can we change our attitude, give out those positive vibes, laugh more, help our neighbors, friends, family, etc. and leave behind an amazing legacy?

I say we can!

xo, C

 

How attached are you to your story?

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I happen to like Brene Brown and all that she stands for.  She says so many things that make me think, "Yeah, wow.. she's right!!" 

Do you have a story?  Do you find yourself saying the same things to yourself or to people in your life each day?  Do you have excuses for why you can't do something or why you can't seem to get out from under?  If so, join the crowd.  Many of us have our stories -- and, those stories have been told to us over and over throughout the years.  We may have repeated the same story since we were 15 years old!  You may have even caught yourself saying, "I sound like my mother (or whoever)."  Yes.. you may have adopted her story.

When I read the quote (above), I thought it didn't reflect what I wanted to talk about.. but, I realize it is exactly what I want to share with you.  Brene uses the phrase, "Through the Process of Owning.."  To me, she's saying that we need to "hear" what we're repeating to ourselves and to others.  We need to be "present" to the same thoughts and feelings that come up time and time again.  We need to "own" them in order to change them.  There's another saying I like and that is, "When we deny our stories, they define us; when we own our stories, we get to write the ending."  

How many times have you used the same excuse?  You may not even know why you consistently do this, but it has become part of the story you tell yourself.  We all have our story.. a story that many times does not serve us well.  Sometimes we're so tired of our story, but we never think about rewriting it -- or changing part of it.  I guess you can say we're creatures of habit.  Our stories are our habits!

We even believe our story!!  Yes, we do define ourselves by our story!  If it didn't define us, why would we hold onto it so tightly.  Is it that change is difficult?  That changing our story changes us in some way?  That rewriting the ending feels uncomfortable?  Whatever the reason, I feel that opening up to a different mindset and revising our story is the opportunity for personal growth.  We are the masters of our lives and only we can decide to change the outcome.  How cool is that?  How amazing is the prospect for growth and new opportunities?  Only through change can we realize our full potential.. staying stagnant and holding onto our stories, our excuses, our limited mindset only keeps us in a "stagnant" place.  Take this opportunity to look inside and see what your story is... if you don't like it, rewrite it.  See if you begin to realize different outcomes.  

I'd love to know if you've considered changing your story?  I'm still working on mine - :)

To a healthy and happy life,

xo, C

Giving....

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There are many ways of giving.. you might smile at a stranger when you're at the grocery store or hold a door open for someone following you into a building.  Just these simple gestures can really brighten up a person's day.  We're all bombarded with thoughts coming and going throughout the day and don't often slow down to make eye contact with another person -- let alone hold a door open for them.  

Have you ever been on the checkout line at the store and the cashier doesn't even look at you?  I know it's happened to me plenty of times.  What about if saying hello to them and asking about their day is something you do the next time it happens.  I always feel that only WE can make changes.. we cannot expect someone to do what we do or act the way we act.  BUT, we can act and do what we do and not expect anything back.  All change begins with making shifts in the way we interact with the world.. small as they may be.  

As a health coach, I have worked with clients who give TOO MUCH.  So, if giving is a good thing, how can it be possible to give too much?  It depends on why you give so much of yourself.  Are you giving to receive?  Are you giving to be accepted?  Are you giving to be loved?  Are you giving because you're afraid of saying "no."  When giving is attached to an outcome, it can be a bad thing -- and, by that, I mean your health can suffer when you don't give to yourself.  So, set boundaries.. when someone is requesting something of you that you do not want to agree to, say NO.  It is empowering to say "no" when you're following your heart.  You do not want to give for the wrong reasons.  You want to give from your heart.

Self-care is an essential component of being healthy.  Just think about a garden.  If you planted seeds and you didn't fertilize or water the seeds, nothing would grow.  Well, the same with your body.  What does your internal garden look like?  Are you tending to it? nurturing it? knowing when it needs attention?  How can you possibly give to another when you have nothing to give?  When your energy is depleted?  

Here are a few of my tips for taking care of YOU....

  • Spend time in nature - listen, smell, see
  • Meditate - make time to go inward, even for 3 minutes each day
  • Exercise - Endorphins are your happy hormones
  • Take a bath - fill the tub with your favorite essential oil and some Epsom Salts
  • Make a list of all the great qualities you possess
  • Be grateful for all that you are and all that you have
  • Feed your body good food
  • Get a good night's sleep (try for 7-8 hours) and keep your cell phone in another room

I hope I have inspired you to look inside yourself and know that you are deserving of everything good.  Find your "light" and feel its warmth in your body.  Then shine it outwards so others can feel it.  It's all about loving ourselves and then spreading that love to others.... one small gesture at a time.

xo, Charlotte

 

 

 

 

Curiosity

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I have always been curious, but never gave it much thought until recently.  As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I am doing research on various health topics, reading abstracts, scrolling through testimonials from people I follow in the health world, reading articles on cures for cancer, reversing Type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, etc.  As I came across what I thought might be a wonderful addition to my lifestyle -- a specific brand of hydrolyzed collagen -- I immediately felt the urge to order it.  That's not a bad thing by any means except that I just bought a big jar of hydrolyzed collagen a week ago.  Hmm.... but, this new brand seems to be the one I should be taking.  Or is it?  I emailed the gentleman selling it and it seems you should buy 2 jars (at $50/jar) since the effects won't be noticeable until 60 days.  Okay.. well, I thought about it and decided to finish the jar I have first and then give it some thought.  

I am always curious as to what effect various foods or supplements will have on me.  Because of my curiosity, I have tried many different super foods, vitamins, health-related fitness items, etc. and realize that maybe my curiosity is getting the better of me.  And, it can get a little pricey!  Are you the curious type?  Do you find you're susceptible to ordering something new because someone said it was incredible?  It's like watching those infomercials and thinking that you definitely need what they're selling.  

I have come to realize that my curiosity is a good thing.  I am not willy-nilly when it comes to ordering health-related products.  I do my research and I know the things I want to add to my daily regimen.  I like the fact that I'm curious.  I like the fact that I have built up a nice little array of healthy foods that make me feel I'm doing good things for my body.  I'm not saying I'm in favor of taking a lot of supplements -- I actually am of the belief that eating a varied "whole foods" organic diet will provide you with all that you need.  Possibly a good Vitamin C, D3 and some spirulina (blue-green algae) might be the only supplements needed.  

So, I find that I like to experiment with new things when it comes to health.  If I hear about a great collagen that is super absorbable and people write amazing testimonials about it, I will most likely buy it.  The same goes for a portable infrared sauna or a course on The Power of Shamanic Journeying. Why not?  Curiosity can be your friend.  I always want to remain curious!  It's exciting, fun and many times rewarding.  What about you?

In good health,

xo, Charlotte

I'm Baaaaack!

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I love writing and I love inspiring people with my words.  I took a few months off recently to do things that were higher on my "to-do" list than writing.. like, watching my grandchildren, spending more time with my husband, getting into nature and just relaxing with a good book.  Sounds great, right?!!  It is!  We all need to unplug and unwind at times.  In these times of high-tech lives when we can feel compelled to scroll through Facebook or Instagram, it's very important to step back and see if you are enjoying yourself.  If you are, then that's fine.  But, if you feel you're wasting time and not doing things you really want to do, it's time to make a decision to step away from the "addictive" nature of social media.  

I will be the first one to say that I do spend time researching many articles and websites of people I trust with regards to health and healthy lifestyles -- whether that be food, meditation, spiritual journeys, etc.  And, I happen to love that time on either my phone, tablet or computer.  But, I try not to make it last for hours on end.  I will spend an hour and then put everything away and go out into nature, exercise, spend time with Alan or visit my grandchildren.  I think after all these years, I have figured out how to manage my time -- and, how I want my time to be spent.  I feel that's the beauty of getting older.. tuning into what's really important and what feels so good to do for self.  

I have 2 daughters (who I cherish and love wholeheartedly) and I try to impart what I learned these many years onto them -- that everything will happen as it's supposed to.  That life is a long time and to take one day at a time and know that everything will reveal itself in time.  One of my favorite sayings when they feel overwhelmed or upset over something is, "It's just a point in time."  Somehow, that has seemed to make them feel better in the moment.  I also know it's not always easy to navigate this journey called "life" and that we are always going to run into obstacles that need to be overcome.  Just knowing that we're building strength and confidence when we  overcome obstacles makes it a worthy challenge.  I know one thing for sure.. I have learned SO much from my girls.  They are compassionate, wise (beyond their years) and very lovable and loving.  I am truly blessed.

Thank you for taking the time to read my random writing.. just feels good to put onto paper what I'm feeling at the moment.  I'm grateful for each day I can spend with Alan, with Ava & Zach (my 2 little loves), with my daughter, Molly and son-in-law, Alex, with phone calls/facetime with my daughter, Shayna and her boyfriend, Diego and for my stepdaughters, Robyn & Amy, and son-in-laws, Marc & Steve and my 5 grandchildren.. Adam, Matt, Daniel, Emily and Jonathan.  Life is sweet.. this is my life 2.0!! (in case you don't know what that is, you'll just have to hop over to my "home" page. :)

xo, C

 

You Have to Change Your Entire Life

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I love this answer -- You have to change your entire life!  Andrew Saul, PhD said this on a podcast I heard regarding good health and what we can do to get there.

When people ask, "What can I take for this?" "How can I lose 20 pounds?" "How do I get rid of this?"  "What do I need to do for that?"  YOU HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE!  It sounds extreme but I feel this is the only answer.  If you want a well built house that will withstand the elements and stay structurally strong for years, you need to start with the foundation.  Creating a strong foundation is key to good health.  

I feel the gut is our foundation and that making sure we have good gut health is key to our bodies functioning optimally.  Many health concerns today -- autoimmune disease (eczema, psoriasis, hashimoto's, arthritis, etc.), ADHD, autism, depression and many other illnesses are a result of leaky gut or a proliferation of bad gut flora vs. good gut flora.  Just taking a probiotic is not always the answer.  Many probiotics do not make it out of the stomach due to the hydrochloric acid.  This is where the phrase, "You have to change your whole life" comes into play.  

You need to first examine what you are feeding your body every day.. are you staying hydrated.. are you moving your body.. how are your stress levels.. do you sleep well.. These are just a few of the things (AND, they're a lot!) to think about when you want to get to a healthier place.  

My advice would be to start with looking through your cupboards and throwing away anything that's processed -- if it's in a box or bag, most likely it is processed.  Begin to buy organic food as most of the pesticides and herbicides contain poisonous ingredients that are carcinogenic and will wreak havoc on your digestive system as well.  Remove all refined sugar from your diet and start eating lots and lots of dark green leafy vegetables.  Juice your vegetables to get that "good" water.  Actually the water from the veggies has been converted to H3O2.. this is distinctly different from H2O.   It is much more absorbable.  The hydration efficiency becomes much higher with less intake.  This is the perfect water for our cells.  Eat less meat.  If you do eat meat, make sure it's clean -- pastured.  You want the cows eating grass and not force-fed grains that make them sick.  You do not want to put the antibiotics, steroids, etc. into your body from factory-farmed cows (supermarket meat).  Make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.  Don't sleep with your cell phone in your room.  Keep all electronics out of the bedroom if you can.  Exercise every day -- walking is the perfect exercise.  Another great form of exercise is HIIT (high intensity interval training) which I do most days.  You exercise hard for one minute, bring your heart rate down, and bring it up again -- do this about 4-6 times.  It should only take you about 15 minutes and you're done!!  Try fasting each week.. this gives your body a rest and allows your cells to detox and regenerate.  Make time for self care -- spend time with your favorite person, take an epsom salts bath, go out into nature, walk barefoot outside.. whatever you love to you, do it!

The changes can be many when you want to get to a healthy place and maintain it.  The only thing I can say is that you will not regret it.  You will feel energized, motivated, inspired and happy.  You will realize you cannot go back to your old ways.  Cheating once in a while is okay but I assure you that you will not have the desire to cheat -- you will enjoy this newfound freedom.. freedom from dis-ease in your body.  

xo, Charlotte

 

Getting Healthy is a Commitment

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Everything in life is a choice.  Should I go here?  Should I go there?  Do I want this?  Do I want that?  Is this healthy for me?  Is that healthy for me?  We're always bombarded with choices to make.  And, that's a good thing.  It's great to have options.  But, when we make a choice, we then need to commit to that decision -- unless, of course, we decide to change our choice.  And that's okay too.

People have asked me how I stay slim, energetic, and positive.  I am committed to my food choices, my lifestyle and to being the best I can be at all times.  I choose to empower myself with eating whole, organic foods, exercising, drinking pure water, surrounding myself with trustworthy and honest friends, making quality time to be with my husband, children, grandchildren and scheduling time to treat myself to massages, Pilates lessons, epsom salts baths and just relaxing and doing nothing.  These are things that are important to me and I stay committed to making sure they're a big part of my life.

Getting healthy and staying healthy is a commitment.  It's a lifestyle.  It's an investment in YOU.  As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I hold space for my clients to share their desires with me and help them set goals.  Then I am there to see that they follow through with their choices and I hold them accountable.  It's all up to you.  I cannot take the weight off -- only you can do that.  I cannot reverse an auto-immune disease -- only you can do that.  When you take responsibility for your health, you will see the results.  It's making that COMMITMENT.. committing to being the best version of YOU.. committing to losing weight, to reversing a chronic illness and to feeling healthy and energetic.  

So, how committed are you?  How committed are you to sticking to the choices you make?  How important is it to be the best version of you?  EMPOWER YOURSELF.  Realize YOU'RE WORTH IT. Know that IT'S YOUR BIRTHRIGHT TO BE HEALTHY, STRONG AND POWERFUL.  

Are you ready to make a commitment?  Sure you are!!

In good health,

Charlotte xo

Why Traditional Diets are So Nourishing

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It's been many years that I've been on the "health" trail, refining my food choices, exercise program, thoughts, relationships, etc. and I am now at a place where I feel nourished on all levels. Having grown up with a father who was an organic farmer (not his full-time job but the one he was most passionate about), I learned early on the value of growing food, cooking meals from scratch, using good ingredients and sitting around the table with the rest of my family enjoying the "soup to nuts" meal served each evening.  That was pretty much the story of my youth until I left my home at 18 years old and ventured out on my own.  

Now, it's the 1970's and the beginning of a changing paradigm.  No longer is cooking from scratch popular and no longer are some of the traditional foods I was used to eating readily available.  Instead, convenience foods started filling up supermarket space, fast food restaurants were sprouting up everywhere, the Food Pyramid told us to eat less fat and more carbs, the low-fat/no-fat craze was healthy and margarine was the new butter.  Foods that used to taste really good were not tasty anymore (because they added chemicals and artificial flavors to them) and it was more expensive to eat "real" food.  Processed foods were "in."    Foods that were grown locally were now coming from other countries, local farms were closing down and families were missing out on spending time together preparing their meals.  

Fast forward to 2010 when I graduated from IIN and for the first time in a long time realized that I needed to go back to a traditional diet.. foods that connected me to my childhood, to my family.... foods that nourished me physically and spiritually.  I have replaced margarine with real butter from grass-fed cows, make raw goat's milk kefir, bake sourdough bread from scratch, ferment various foods and buy from local farms.  How amazing it feels to eat these wonderful healthy fats again and to know that I'm giving my family the nourishment that not only comes from the foods that I prepare with lots of love but from the knowing that we are connected to something bigger.. to our heritage, our ancestors, to nature and to the universe.

Traditionally Speaking....

Maybe it was spending lots of time upstate NY on my family's farm OR maybe it was visiting my paternal grandmother, uncles, aunts and cousins in rural Ohio OR maybe it's just that I enjoy making foods that have long been forgotten.  Whatever the reason, I have been experimenting a lot lately with bringing in some nourishing, nutrient-dense and fermented foods in my life and the lives of my family.. can't forget my new granddaughter, Ava, who propels me to figure out what I can make next in terms of aiding her immune system and keeping her little gut healthy.  Actually, her mommy and daddy do a great job with that but you know us grandmothers.... 

I'm not sure how it all started but I guess that's how life is -- always evolving and forever changing.  I credit my passion for trying my hand at anything that our ancestors did to the time I spent with my dad -- picking up the rocks in the garden, making, kneading and rolling out the pie dough (he made the best pies!!), lifting the lid off the jug of pickles he had fermenting, adding fresh herbs to the salads, picking the fruits from the trees and digging for potatoes.  He made everything from scratch and I guess that's what I tend to do these days.  

It's been a process for me.. first, learning about nutrition when I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, receiving a certification for attending a holistic digestive intensive series and then just forever researching, attending seminars, connecting with like-minded people and reading lots of great health-oriented books.  I started with an interest in eating only raw foods, tried that for several months and then felt the need to bring in some lightly steamed vegetables.  I stayed away from meat and dairy for many years and, through my research, brought in some raw goat milk and started making kefir.  I felt so good while drinking it and knew my strength was markedly improved.  I ACTUALLY HEALED MY PSORIASIS that I was diagnosed with at the age of 16!!.  This led me to explore and make more traditional foods like fermented cabbage (kraut), bone broth, sourdough bread, kefir cheese, kimchi and now KOMBUCHA!  I am so excited about the kombucha as I was buying it for a past several years in limited quantities because it's a little pricey for my budget -- $3.79 for one bottle!  I have to say that I have been wanting to make kombucha for a few years now and kept putting it off out of fear -- in all my research, I've read about how things can go wrong and I just felt that I needed to wait until I could buy all the necessary equipment to make it.  Well, guess what?  I just made it in a glass jar, a couple of black tea bags, organic cane sugar (don't worry - the mother eats up all the sugar)  and a mushroom (or mother - you can purchase online).  I absolutely LOVE the taste and am excited about experimenting with the flavor by adding in some medicinal herbs and spices.  

So, I hope I have piqued your interest in bringing back some of these nourishing traditional foods.  You won't be sorry if you start incorporating them into your diet.. you will feel amazing!!  They bring in the needed probiotics that our guts depend on for good health.  

To your good health,

xo, C

 

 

 

You Are Not Your Diagnoses

Many of us have been diagnosed with something or other in our lifetime that we seem to define ourselves with.  Has a doctor ever told you that you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, psoriasis, hashimoto's, depression, asthma and so on?.... While none of us want to hear that there is anything medically wrong with us, what we can focus on is that these diseases are not who we are.  A very wise person once told me that if I mention or define myself by my dis-ease, then I am that disease and there will be little chance of getting rid of it.  Hmm.. that stayed with me for a few weeks until I decided that, "Yes, I get that!  And, I am no longer going to just take something for granted as if I have no choice in the matter."  

One thing I have come to realize in all my years of research in the field of integrative health is that our gut is the key to living a healthy life and overcoming and eliminating many chronic illnesses.  While dealing with psoriasis for 40 years and thinking it was just a part of who I was, I finally took action and began the healing process.  While I never suffered from any kind of intestinal discomfort or thought I had any gut issues, I started on the journey of feeding my gut with everything it was lacking. I brought in lots of fermented foods, herbal infusions, prebiotics, bone broths, kefir, fermented cod liver oil and various essential oils.  Well.. I never would have believed I could cure MY psoriasis.  And, I actually used to describe it as "my" psoriasis.  I made it something I would have forever.  Psoriasis is an auto-immune disease and needs to be treated by treating the gut.  Many other diseases are the same way.

Until you realize that your body can heal most diseases, you will remain attached to your diagnosis. Please don't define yourself as a medical term. Your mind plays a huge role in your health -- so, keeping your thoughts positive and uplifting can actually help you in the healing process.  

A healthy gut = A healthy person..

xo, C

Finding Strength During Frightening Times

Since last Friday when the terrorist attacks took place in France, I attempted to post on social media sites a few times and found it difficult.  Somehow I felt that my posts regarding health, food, inspiration, etc. were trivial and meaningless and possibly even posting anything was a disregard for the crisis our world is in.  Each time I sat down to write, I backspaced it away.  Then I began to think about it and realized that this is something these evil people may actually revel in -- the numbness, the silence, the shock and the disgust.  

How does such evil permeate some human beings -- dare I say "human?"  No, I do not think of these terrorists as human at all. They were born into a human existence and then through something beyond my realm of thinking, turned into feelingless, murderous, unconscious souls.  I will never understand the why's and how's of such horrific events, but I do understand that now more than ever, I need to remind myself that I will act out of love and not hate.  I will look deep inside and know that I am a divine being who is here for a reason.  I need to look around me at the love I am surrounded by on a daily basis.. my husband, my daughters, step-daughters, son-in-laws, grandchildren and friends.  

So, I will continue to post healthy tips, inspirational quotes and pics of food because it makes me happy and hopefully puts a smile on the faces of my friends and family who read them.  We all need to SMILE and stay positive because there's a lot of love in the world.  Love always wins out in the end..

xo, C   

Bone Broth

Building a strong immune system is probably the single most important thing you can do for your health.  One way to do this is by drinking bone broth -- something our ancestors did back when and something that is making a "come-back" today.  Here's a simple way to make this nourishing food and to keep you warm and healthy through the winter months.. 

Ingredients:

1 lb-2 lbs bones from pastured animals (chicken feet/necks/backs or beef bones - knuckles are best)
4 cloves organic garlic
1 gallon filtered water
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

1.    Put all ingredients in a soup pot and bring to a boil; then reduce flame to a simmer for cook for 36 to 48 hours.

2.    Strain broth and refrigerate in separate glass containers.

3.    Once it is chilled remove the fat and save it other uses.

4.    Drink the broth or use it for a base for soup.

Bone broths provide important minerals and vitamins that we need to cope with stress in our daily lives. It is an inexpensive way to get minerals and vitamins without taking supplements, which sometimes are not absorbed by the body when isolated from foods. Broth also fights wrinkles, cellulite and is good for loose skin after weight loss. Another benefit of broth is that it heals the digestive tract (gut lining) because it is full of amino acids.

This slow cooking recipe is aimed at getting the most minerals out of the bones to heal your body.  

Here's to your health!!

xo

  

Tou-SHEA!

There was a time not long ago when I did not know what Shea Butter was.  I began to see body care products on the shelves of health food stores that contained Shea Butter and would open a tester, sniff it, and put it back on the shelf.  Well, fast forward to now and I cannot tell you how much I love Shea Butter because of the amazing and therapeutic benefits it offers.  As a matter of fact, I created a "Round About" Hard Lotion Bar using Shea Butter.

So, a little about the history of Shea Butter..

  • Shea Butter is the oil from the nuts that are gathered from wild trees scattered throughout the fields and forests on the African continent.
  • Shea Butter is mentioned in most all African historical documents, including a reference as early as Cleopatra's Egypt, which mentioned caravans bearing clay jars of Shea Butter for cosmetic use.
  • It is a very versatile active ingredient for skin and has excellent anti-aging, soothing and moisturizing properties.
  • In recent clinical trials, Shea Butter was found to help protect skin against climate and UV rays, prevent wrinkles, soothe irritated and chapped skin and moisturize the epidermis.
  • According to Allafia.com, Shea Butter enhances cell regeneration and capillary circulation, which helps prevent and minimize stretch marks, inflammations and scarring.

I suggest using "unrefined shea butter" since it contains the maximum amount of healing and moisturizing properties.  Many of the products on the market (and, yes, even in health food stores!) use "refined" shea butter which is virtually stripped of its healing properties.  Why?  Because it is odorless and somewhat white in color.  I happen to like the smell of "real" shea butter!!  And, we are all about health and healing.  I would never pass anything on to you that I do not believe in.  

The Amazing Properties of Coconut Oil

Not only is coconut oil so healthy to add to your diet, it is one of nature's healing foods that nourishes the skin.  So, what is it in coconut oil that is so good for us and what type of coconut oil is best?

Virgin Coconut Oil - made from "fresh" coconut and not dried coconut called copra.  Since there is no worldwide certification process to determine if it is actually "virgin" or not, anyone can slap a label on a jar and call it Virgin Coconut Oil.  Your best bet would be to check with the store manager to find out the name of the vendor who should be able to ask the supplier for this information.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil - According to Health Impact News, there is no difference between virgin coconut oil and extra virgin coconut oil.  It is simply a marketing term.

Refined Coconut Oil - While some of the nutrients are stripped away in the refining process, the medium chain fatty acids are kept in tact which is a good thing.  Refined coconut oil has less of a coconut taste and smell, making it an good choice for cooking with since it does not alter the flavor of the dish.  Some of the refined oils are Expreller Pressed which are "physically" refined instead of chemically refined using a solvent called hexane.  Another refined oil may be labeled Coconut Oil with no added description.  These are usually cheaper oils and are most likely mass-produced using solvents.  Hydrogenated Coconut Oil is the one refined oil you do not want to eat.  Any oil that is hydrogenated contains trans fats making them solid at room temperature.  Do not consume any oil that is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated.  Liquid Coconut Oil also known as "fractionated coconut oil" is a high refined oil that is best used in some skin care products.  It is missing coconut oil's prized component - lauric acid.  

For too many years, saturated fats have been demonized.  Thank goodness that research in recent years has shown that virgin coconut oil (a saturated fat) affects cholesterol levels positively and is shown to be a good source of fat for heart health.  

BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL:

  • Promotes weight loss
  • Improves or reverses Alzheimer's Disease (coconutoil.com)
  • Helps with hypothyroidism
  • Anti-microbial
  • Kills candida fungus
  • Improves many skin diseases
  • Kills many bacteria and viruses
  • Provides energy/increases metabolism

Now that you know the health benefits of adding coconut oil to your diet, try using this oil on your body -- as a facial moisturizer, a body lotion, or anywhere you want to add in a wonderful ingredient that actually protects the skin in ways that are mind-blowing.  

 

Gratitude and Good Health

When we are grateful for the people or the situations in our lives, we feel happy.  When we feel happy, we are cultivating good health.  How many of us are truly tapped in to the realization that WHAT we feel affects HOW we feel.  Take it from me.... when I was working full-time and doing the whole corporate "thing," I did not have thoughts of gratitude on a day to day basis.  I was tuned in to the office "chatter."  People around me would complain, act moody, be nasty and few would actually be very pleasant.  Leaving for work each morning, my thoughts would focus around what the ambiance would be when I arrived at my desk.   While I did enjoy the actual work I was doing, dealing with the various personalities around me was quite challenging.  

Now, here I am 2+ years out of the office environment and grateful for so much in my life.  I'm grateful that I am able to work out of my house, spend more time with my husband, grateful to have the opportunity to watch my granddaughter, Ava, 3 days a week, grateful to be out in nature on a daily basis, and grateful to sit back, listen to the birds and watch the butterflies flutter around the flowers.  Life is sweet and I feel really good.  I have more energy now and a peacefulness that I don't think I've had since I was a child. 

Are you in a situation where you've lost sight of all the things you are grateful for?  Do you feel your health is compromised?  

What can you do to turn around your life and bring on good health?

Simple Ways to Rid the Bloat.. Just in Time For Spring!

Many of you may not realize that inflammation could be the cause of why you just don't feel well.  While inflammation is the body's natural response to an injury and in this case is beneficial for the body to heal, inflammation throughout the body when there is no injury is very harmful.  Inflammation is the root cause of most chronic illnesses today.  So, how can you know if you suffer from inflammation?  How many of you....

  • Eat processed foods?
  • Are stressed?
  • Eat white sugar and sweets?
  • Do not eat green leafy vegetables?
  • Have taken lots of antibiotics?
  • Are overweight?
  • Do not take a probiotic or eat fermented foods?
  • Eat dairy?
  • Eat fried foods?
  • Eat wheat?
  • Use synthetic sweeteners?
  • Consume food additives (in many processed foods on the market)
  • Eat gluten?

Think Outside the Box when Buying Healthy Foods

I know.. you're thinking, "Geez, what CAN I eat?"  I used to wonder the same thing years ago before I decided to change my lifestyle habits and make health one of my top priorities.  The truth is, there are SO many great and nutritious foods you can enjoy and they don't have to break the bank either.  Many of my clients tell me that organic foods are so much more expensive than non-organic foods.  And, while in some cases that's true, you can find many organic options in places like Trader Joe's, Fairway and even your local supermarket since the demand for more nutritious foods has grown in recent years.  I actually bought some amazing "super foods" in Home Goods and TJ Maxx recently!  

Why are Processed Foods So Bad?

Are you aware that most processed foods are located on the shelves of the aisles in a supermarket.  The reason for this is that to allow a longer shelf life and keep their flavors, most processed foods are stripped of the beneficial nutrients, including enzymes and fiber that help the digestive process and they are loaded with preservatives (to help  them stay on the shelves for long periods of time) and chemicals that enhance flavors.  These preservatives and chemicals are FOREIGN to our bodies and our bodies just don't know what to do with them.  

For example, anything made with white flour is devoid of the beneficial fiber and nutrients which are found in the bran and germ of the wheat grain which is stripped during processing.  Since the body does not know what to do with these food-like substances, and since there is no fiber to help it along its way, they stick around in your gut longer which has a detrimental effect on your digestion.  Also, most of these food-like substances are high in sugar, fat and salt -- leading to cravings for more of the same since your body is not getting proper nutrients.

How Does Stress Cause Inflammation?

Your gut health is influenced by your emotions and experiences.  According to Yoga Magazine, "when your body is flooded with the stress hormones Adrenaline and Cortisol, sending it into "fight or flight" mode, energy, blood, enzymes and oxygen are diverted away from your digestive organs to your muscles and brain, to help you escape from danger.  This reduces your gut's ability to process and absorb nutrients from food effectively and can lead to heartburn, nausea, stomach pains and lack of appetite.  Long-term stress is linked with serious digestive problems including stomach ulcers, leaky gut and IBS."

Take Baby Steps

I remember feeling overwhelmed when I began my journey to a healthier lifestyle.  What I have come to realize is that it IS a journey and you need to take one step at a time and eventually you will open your refrigerator to many more whole foods than you had in the past.  Your cabinets will start to house raw organic almonds, organic walnuts, hemp seeds, flax seeds, raw cacao, etc.  As with any changes in life, it takes that first step to begin the process.  Why not take yours today?!

Bloat Be Gone!

Yep.. once you start to incorporate more organic, whole foods (lots of dark leafy greens), whole grains, probiotics, good water, super foods, etc. into your diet and control your stress level through meditation, yoga and Pilates, your body will release its hold on toxins and you will begin to feel more energetic, lighter and overall healthier than ever before -- no matter what your age!  

So, now that spring is upon us and the sprouts are appearing, think about getting in shape (internally and externally) so you can enjoy the life you deserve.  It's never too late to make changes.  

I'd love to hear from any of my friends who have made some of these changes and are feeling the benefits..

xo, C

 

 

 

In Shape For A 2-Piece Bathing Suit This Summer?

If you are someone who feels that at your age or at this time in your life, you cannot wear a 2-piece bathing suit, here are my tips on how to shift your mindset.  It's not about wearing a 2-piece bathing suit but about how you feel about YOU.

  1. Take age out of the equation.  Somehow in our society, we have been conditioned to think that when we reach a specific age, we need to dress according to that number.  While I believe clothes should be chosen wisely according to your shape and size, there is definitely room for "playfulness."  Experiment with various styles, colors and textures.  Become daring!
  2. Begin an exercise program that targets your abdominals.  While exercise should be something you do most days of the week, if that hasn't happened, think about starting with baby steps NOW.  Start by stretching every day.  Engage your abs at all times during the day.  Stand in front of a mirror and let everything hang out; then, suck it all back in as if you are wearing a corset and lengthen out of your waist.  Stand tall and try to maintain that posture throughout the day.  Eventually you will be standing tall without giving it much thought.
  3. Affirm your goals.  Put up post-it notes each day to remind you of what you want to achieve for yourself.  Write out some positive quotes to keep you inspired.  According to Dr. Carmen Harra, affirmations help purify our thoughts and restructure the dynamic of our brains so that we truly begin to think nothing is impossible.  For example, you might write..  Today, I abandon my old habits and take up new, more positive ones.
  4. Be confident.  Don't compare your body to anyone else's body.  You have been given your body to nourish and cherish.  Do what you need to do in order to give it wholesome foods, good water, sunshine or Vitamin D, exercise and love.
  5. Be daring.  Yes.. try on that appropriate 2-piece bathing suit and don't judge yourself.  Find areas that you may want to target and work on them.  This is a good way to set goals.  Try the bathing suit on in March and then work towards getting in shape by June.  Even if you do not reach your goal, you will have benefited from giving your body lots of good food & exercise  which will take you to another level in your overall heath.
  6. Stay the course.  If you do not feel comfortable in, or have no desire to wear, a 2-piece bathing suit, that's okay.  Setting goals and having discipline to reach them are the beginning of change.  Don't let negative thoughts ruin your progress.  Realize that you may have been in a slump for awhile and that you need to develop this new "muscle."  It takes a shift in our thinking to bring us to a new and different level.  

So, as you can see, it's not so much about wearing a 2-piece versus a 1-piece bathing (or, for that matter, deciding a bathing suit is not for you at all), but it's about shifting your thoughts to more positive ones about how you can take care of your body.  Give yourself the gift of love beginning now.  LOVE YOUR BODY -- LOVE YOUR LIFE -- LOVE YOURSELF.  

xo, Charlotte

 

 

A Healthy Gut = Healthy Aging..

I know when I first learned how important gut health is to aging gracefully and staying in good health as one ages, I began researching everything I could get my hands on to better understand how I may help my clients who struggle with digestive issues.  Is it me..? or do you hear people talk about the upsets they have with their digestive system?  Whether it's an autoimmune disorder, arthritis, acid reflux, IBS, allergies, psoriasis or a number of other chronic diseases, a healthy gut is paramount to overall well being.  

Over the past several years, scientists have been finding evidence that many of "today's" illnesses can be traced to the microbes found in the intestinal lining.  According to David Kohn, The Atlantic, "Scientists are especially intrigued by how these bacteria influence the immune system. In recent decades, the incidence of many autoimmune diseases has been increasing; many microbiome researchers argue that at least some of this rise is due to changes in our bacterial ecosystem. Altered diet, the explosion of antibiotic use, and decreasing contact with the microbe-packed natural world of animals and plants have all combined to transform the bacteria that call humans home."  

Also, according to NYU microbiologist Martin Blaser, "We're losing microbes with each generation; they are going extinct and these changes have consequences."

The gut houses two-thirds of the body's immune cells and this is where microbes have lots of influence.  The gastrointestinal tract must deal with toxins that come in through the food we eat (pesticides, non-food like particles, etc.) and try to destroy them.  When these bad microbes begin to leak out of the digestive wall, illnesses can pop up.  Unfortunately, the leaky gut is caused by years of antibiotic use, various chemicals in the foods we eat, toxins in the body care products we put on our skin, gluten (for some people), dairy (for some people), etc.  Inflammation often occurs in various parts of the body - including the joints.  

So what does all this have to do with how well we age?  When the digestive tract is working well, we are able to absorb the nutrients our bodies need to help with elimination, give us energy and nourish us on a cellular level so everything works better.  Our bodies were not meant to fight a war!  And, unfortunately, that's what they're doing most of the time -- getting rid of foreign invaders that enter our small intestine and escorting them out of the body.  But when these invaders become large in number, the body can only do so much.  Some of these bad guys leak into our bloodstream and cause our body to turn on itself.  Besides attacking these foreign substances, an all-out attack on the good guys begins.  This many times results in some form of autoimmune disease.  

If you know you suffer from gut issues, don't rely on medication to mask the problem.  Take charge of your health and begin the process of healing your body.  Your body has the ability to heal given the right tools.  You deserve a healthy body so you can feel good about getting older.. you know the saying, "Your not getting older, you're getting better."  Now's the time to make that happen.

xo,

Charlotte

 

Could Your Current State of Health Be Due To Old Habits?

I was recently driving with 2 elderly women who were discussing some of their ailments.  One of the women said that she had an autoimmune disease that just popped up.  She had no idea why and how and told me about the medication she was on.  I asked her why she thought that this disease just popped up out of nowhere.  She was very surprised as she told me that she has been eating the same foods for years, gets regular check-ups by her doctor, and takes her meds and vitamins every day.  She did mention she's not as active as she would like to be but still felt that was not the reason for her recent diagnosis.

I don't think diseases 'pop up.'  There is always a root cause for everything that surfaces and, until we investigate something we have been doing over time, we may never know the origin.  Since our bodies have the ability to heal and actually want to heal, it's important to look for some of the reasons why things pop up.  

In all my years of research and education in the holistic health field, here is my list of possible culprits that can make the body turn on itself.

  • Processed Foods - does your diet consist of processed food?  If so, you are eating way too much sugar, unhealthy fats and various chemicals that can cause the body to be in a toxic state.
  • Stress - do you find yourself in a constant state of stress, always thinking about what you haven't done, what you need to do, where you will find the money to get by each month, etc.?
  • Gluten Sensitivity - how does your body react to gluten?  do you know if you have a gluten sensitivity?  If not, get off gluten for 3 weeks and see how you feel.  Then begin to eat gluten and see if there is a difference.  If so, think about getting off gluten for good.
  • Dairy Sensitivity - if you are allergic to dairy, your body will not be able to function correctly and problems may arise.
  • Inactivity - are you sedentary most of the time?  If so, get up and walk!  Walking is critical to good health.  There's no need to work out at a gym and exhaust yourself on a fitness machine.  Simple walking every day will help your circulation and improve your energy level.

Your digestive system is key to a healthy body. Keeping inflammation down by eating more whole foods can really make a difference in your overall health. If you are ingesting too many toxins (whether environmental or through nutrition), stressing out each day, taking antibiotics frequently, not drinking enough water and not moving your body, this can lead to digestive disorders. Autoimmune diseases are a result of a leaky gut which many Americans have today due to everything I mentioned above. Do you see a rise in autoimmune disease?  Hmm.. think DIGESTIVE HEALTH.  

Start to incorporate more organic foods to eliminate the pesticides, find ways to reduce the stress in your life, think WHOLE FOODS by eating more leafy greens, eat fruit as dessert, drink lots of good quality water, move your body and take a very good probiotic to introduce healthy bacteria in your gut.  Ideally, introducing fermented foods into your diet is key to healing the gut.  Click here for my fermented cabbage recipe.  It's economical, easy and YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM WILL THANK YOU!!

xo, C