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.  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 green 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, 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

 

Is Weight Creeping Up On You As You Age?

Location Location Location

Living in an over 55 complex definitely has its ups and downs.  I remember feeling really down when we first moved in, thinking that somehow I ended up in this 'retirement' village or 'old age community.'  As a matter of fact, my husband, Alan, felt the same way and we ended up putting our condo on the market.  Fast forward 7 years and we've both come to feeling 'okay' with living here.  We love our unit, feel it's home now, take advantage of the workout room, sauna and pool and have met some really nice people.  

Do you think your LOCATION can influence you?  Hmmm.. do you think that hanging out with people who sit most of the day, eat foods that do not facilitate weight loss and complain about getting heavy is good for your health?  I've heard comments such as, "Well at our age, what else is there to do but eat."  Or, "Who wants to sacrifice at this point in our lives."  While Over 55 communities have great gyms, tennis courts, pools, etc. that can help people to stay in shape, the majority of people I witness are sitting most of the day.  The same 4-5 people swim in the indoor pool in the colder months, the same 4-5 people swim in the outdoor pool during the summer months and the same 4-5 people exercise in the gym on a fairly regular basis.  BUT, we have 750 families living here!!!!  That's just crazy!!  

It Gets Harder To Exercise As You Age....

That's just pure nonsense!!  What gets harder is your attitude towards changing your habits and creating healthier ones.  Please don't be stuck in thinking that having a lean body, lots of energy and being in good health is relegated to the younger folks.  YOU can have the body you want and more energy than you had in your 20's!!  

Believe me.. I remember when I started to feel some weight come on and worried that it was THAT time (menopause) when I was going to start gaining more and more weight.  I felt that I really didn't have too much control over it -- that biology had the upper hand and I would have to work out longer and harder to keep my weight (and my emotions) under control.  Actually, I entered IIN at that time (Institute for Integrative Nutrition), did loads and loads of research and came to the realization that I could impact my body and mind without having to workout like crazy and deprive myself of yummy foods.  And, as many of my friends, family and clients know, I DO NOT BELIEVE IN PUTTING ANYONE ON A DIET.  Diets are stressful and we all know that stress contributes to weight gain.

You can feel amazing in your body.  AND, you can increase your energy levels so you can enjoy the next 50 years of your life!  (I'm talking to YOU 50 year olds!!)

The Time Is Now 

Don't wait until chronic illness hits before you decide to make changes.  And, if it does hit, it's still not too late to reverse things.  Our bodies are made to heal given the right information and the specific tools with which to heal it.  

I have helped many of my clients go from OLD to YOUNG.  They only felt old because their bodies were not working to capacity due to not feeding and fueling it properly.

If you need help getting back to feeling amazing after 50, reach out to me as I was there and understand what I needed to bring myself back to a place of good health.

Energetically yours,

Charlotte

Anti-Aging?!! Really?!!

If you have the answer to this, please let me know.  The only way I know to stop aging is to die. I like to think of the aging process as a natural progression of a life, whether it be the life of a tree, an animal or a human.  We all age.  But, how we age is another story.  I'm sure you know a few people who say things like, "Well, at my age...." or "I'm too old for that...."  Yep, we all know someone who has said these things.  I believe if we want to STOP feeling "old," than we need to START acting young.  And, that means getting rid of thinking you're old and begin feeling you're young.  

When we think things, we eventually feel them.  It's the law of attraction, actually.  You know the saying, "Be careful what you think?"  While newspapers, magazines, TV and ads on the sides of buses (have you ever seen one?!!) tell us that old age is not something we want to aspire to and the plethora of photographs of young and beautiful people adorn the covers of magazines, it's time to reclaim your life and LIVE in the moment.  We all know that when our health turns, we then realize how precious life really is.  Why wait until that time.  NOW is the your time.  

Start making a list of everything you want to do and post it on your fridge.  Then take action!  Plan a trip and put down a deposit, join an organization, sign up for a class or learn how to play piano.  Embrace the aging process.  Some people do not get that opportunity.  It's not about all the changes that are not to your liking but more about what you can give to others while you're here.. right now.

Aging is inevitable and also exciting.  How else would we be able to navigate our future if it were not for all the information we gleaned from our experiences.  Only the passage of time teaches us what we need to learn and what new opportunities we may want to explore.  Aging provides wisdom, confidence, playfulness, clarity and freedom.  Freedom to be just who you desire to be.... freedom to love yourself unconditionally.... freedom to keep aging along with the rest of the universe and being okay with that.

How do you feel about aging?  I'd love to hear..

xo, C

Where Does Your Medicine Come From?

I'm sitting here in my warm house, fireplace lit, dog by my side and hubby watching a football game on TV.  Aahh, a perfect Sunday as far as I'm concerned.  I just bottled up a gallon of bone broth which I'm very excited about.  Not sure if you realize how healing bone broth is.  Well, all I can say is that it's filled with immune-boosting properties and can really help stave off those nasty winter colds and flus.  See my recipe below.

I've been reading The New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman and thought about the word 'medicine.'  There was a time when medicine came from the earth -- plants, flowers, trees, etc.  Today we think of medicine as drugs that we buy at the local pharmacy.  Many of the drugs on the market today have their origin in plant material, although that is quickly changing.  According to David Hoffman, only since the refinement of chemical technology and developments in chemotherapy has the use of herbs apparently diminished.  

It's sad to realize that we rely on chemists to put together a concoction of chemicals and call it medicine.  Don't get me wrong.. many medicines do help many people but there are also many more that do more harm than good.  We all know that some drugs heal one thing and cause another ailment to pop up.  And, what about all the drug commercials on TV?  Are they scary or what?  They talk for for 60 seconds on the benefits of the drug and then they spend 2 minutes on the possible side effects, including death!  Yikes!  That, to me, is not something I feel is going to heal my body.  I'd much rather rely on Mother Nature since she has been here a lot longer than the drug companies, the chemists, etc.  

That being said, plant material has potent healing qualities and has been used throughout history.  All essential oils are antiseptics and when applied topically, they eventually show up in the urinary system, the lungs and even in your sweat and saliva.  According the David Hoffman, besides their direct antiseptic action, they also stimulate the production of white blood cells, thereby augmenting the body's own natural defense system.  They aid digestion by stimulating the lining of the colon.  Essential oils also act on the central nervous system and produce either relaxation (Blue Tansy) or stimulation (Peppermint).. All tend to induce a state of inner ease and well-being.

Are you interested in learning more about the health benefits of essential oils.  Contact me for a 30-minute free consultation and see how these therapeutic oils can support you and your family on your healthy journey.

Bone Broth

Ingredients:

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

other vegetables (optional, can make it bitter )

other herbs (optional)

Directions:

1.    Put all ingredients in slow cooker overnight or longer and set to low (8-24 hours).

2.    In the morning, 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 in supplements. 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. 

You can put veggies or herbs but sometimes they turn bitter when cooked for a long time. I would use the broth made here to make other soups later where you add more veggies, grass fed meats and herbs. This slow cooking recipe is aimed at getting the most minerals out of the bones to heal your body.

 

Essential Oil-ista!

Some Things Never Change..

During my Wannabe Hippie days - circa 1970 to be exact - I used to wear lots of different essential oils.. some single oils as well as blended ones.  Fast forward some 40 years later and who knew that I would be starting a healthy body care company with my daughter, Shayna, incorporating essential oils that are close to my heart.  

I knew that the oils and body care products I would create would have Patchouli, Vetiver and Ylang Ylang in them.  How could they not?  After all, these were my favorites when I was at a time in my life when every day was exciting and I was venturing out on my own, renting my own apartment away from my home town and creating a life that I loved.  

Life is funny like that.  We never know what lies around the corner for us.  I say this with some humor because I do not think our life is lying around waiting for us.  I know that we must create the life we want.  We must have a vision and see ourselves doing what we love to do.  While I spent many years in corporate America, I always knew I was destined for a different career.  I felt that I wasn't going out of this life having been confined to an office job for 30+ years.  I knew there was more and I decided to make it happen.

Charshay Essentials will be launching its essential oil blends and essential oil mists in November and we couldn't be happier.  We will be adding to our line various body butters and roll-ons using the essential oils that we love.  Our company mission is to provide our clients with the finest body care products using quality, therapeutic and organic/wild crafted essential oils that promote stimulation, relaxation and balance.

Please be on the lookout for our launch promo that we will be offering you soon.

Essentially yours,

Charlotte

 

Wish You Could Sleep Like You Did As A Teenager? Unplugging May Help You!

Do you find it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep?  Getting good sleep is so important for overall health.  When we're asleep, our bodies are busy doing lots of things.  This is the time the body is repairing and detoxing.  Every tissue in the body is renewed faster during sleep than at any other time.  So, it makes sense that good sleep is something we need to get more of.

Have you noticed how many sleep clinics there are these days?  Is there something going on with people's sleep patterns?  

Several of my clients have difficulty falling and staying asleep.   One of them (well, he's not actually a client -- he's my husband!) is the reason I began researching the importance of sleep on good health as well as the detriments of not getting enough sleep.  What I have found is that we could be doing things better to promote a good night's sleep.  

Here are a few of the things you might want to consider to help insure quality sleep:

  1. Make sure the room you sleep in is dark.  Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland (located in the brain) and is responsible for helping us to fall asleep and stay asleep.  It is secreted into the bloodstream and is highest at night. So, if there is any light coming through your windows, buy "black-out" shades.  We actually put them over our window treatment! If this is not an option, wear an eye mask.  Make sure you try it on first to make sure it's comfortable. 
  2. Relax before bed.  If something is bothering you, think about ways to relieve the stress before you get into bed.  Cortisol is the hormone produced by the adrenal glands and is definitely beneficial when we need it -- which is not at night!  Cortisol is produced in response to stress.  Cortisol levels should be lowest at night so we are able to enjoy better sleep.
  3. Keep the lights dim.  Studies show that exposure to dim light before bed has much less impact on melatonin levels than regular room light, which can shorten melatonin secretion by 90 minutes in 99% of people (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism). 
  4. Reduce the amount of electromagnetic radiation in your bedroom.  Think about TV, clock, radio, etc.  Remember the old fashioned battery operated clock?  Do you really need another TV in the bedroom?  Keep your cell phone in another room.   If you want your electronic devices in your bedroom, try unplugging them at night.  It just might help you to sleep a little better.
  5. Soak in a hot tub. Combine 1/2 cup Epsom salts with a few drops of Time To Relax essential oil blend in hot water and soak for 20 minutes. Everything feels calmer when you step out of the tub.

And, of course, exercise and eating nutrient-dense foods play a major role in getting a good night's sleep.

 

How Stable Are You?... Physically Speaking

While we all know how important it is to move our bodies, many of us have become more sedentary as we age due to an office job where we sit most of the day, time spent on the computer, time spent watching TV, and just not carving out the time for our health.  My idea of exercise these days has changed from years past.  I no longer feel the need or desire to do intense cardio for 30 - 45 minutes every day.  I must admit, walking and stretching each day have provided me with more flexibility and a positive attitude.  Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi are my new favorites in terms of giving me the confidence in knowing that my body is becoming younger every day.  

Make Gravity Your Friend

While gravity tends to pull things downward, which is not always great for certain body parts, we can use this force to our benefit. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Stand up from a chair a few times a day; do you use your arms to help you up
  • Take your time in sitting down - go very slowly, resisting gravity
  • When you bend down to pick something up, bend your knees and rise up slowly
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator - especially going down the stairs

Make stretching a big part of your exercise routine.  If you can't get to a gym or a yoga/Pilates class, do some stretching at home. One important thing you can do is stretch before you get out of the bed in the morning.  When babies wake up, the first thing they do is stretch.  Dogs and cats do the same thing.  We have forgotten this important part of staying healthy!  Instead, we jump out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off.  Remember, as you age, your muscles tighten and the range of motion in your joints diminishes. Also, when you stretch, make it last -- extend the stretch and hold it for at least 30 seconds -- no bouncing.

Don't Become Like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz

You remember how he couldn't move when he stayed in one position for too long?  Well, don't let that happen to you.  Continue to move your body in ways that honor how you feel each day.   Functional activities like gardening, house cleaning, grocery shopping, etc., are all ways to move your body.  If you want to sit to watch a movie, keep your water bottle (or popcorn!) in the next room so you have to get up to get them.  

What is your favorite way to exercise?

xo,

Charlotte

 

Want To Relieve Anxiety? Try This Essential Oil!

At the end of a yoga class the other day, the instructor came over to me during Shavasana to help with my relaxation and the smell of lavender on her hands made me think about how much I love this herb.  I also remembered that I bought a lavender plant years back because I loved the beautiful purple flowers and the wonderful scent.  I actually felt a sense of calm and inner peace.  

As the Founder of Charshay Essentials, I have been experimenting with various blends and am always drawn to the scent of lavender.  I began to research this herb and found out that lavender was traditionally used for medicinal purposes.  According to Smiljka Kitanovia, Ph.D., scientists report that inhalation of lavender oil reduces anxiety in patients about to undergo operations.   It seems that lavender decreases levels of cortisol (the stress hormone).  

Scientists in the UK performed a small study of nursing home residents diagnosed with dementia.  They had them inhale lavender one day and water vapor another day and found that 60% of them were calmer on the days they inhaled the lavender.  

Although I have been told you can take essential oils orally, I feel it's best to either diffuse or inhale them.  We at Charshay Essentials created 3 blends that can be applied topically as well as diffused or inhaled.  We are in the midst of creating our 4th blend using lavender essential oil and will have it on our website in the next few weeks.  As we are a mom and daughter team, we take our time coming up with various blends using essential oils that we feel elicit certain emotions.  And, we know that what and how we feel emotionally can translate to how healthy we are.

So, whatever your preference of essential oils, make sure you have lavender on hand for those days when you're wanting to feel calm and relaxed.  

If You Have Lower Back Pain, Here Are 3 Simple Solutions.. Plus 1 Good Exercise!

As a Pilates teacher, I am hearing a lot about low back issues with many of the women in my classes.  While there are several exercises you can do to alleviate low back pain, there are also some things that are even simpler that you might not realize can make a big difference in easing the pain.

  1. Make sure you check your Vitamin D level and if it's low, get a good source of this essential vitamin.  Especially now that the sun is not as strong (at least on the east coast), Vitamin D is needed more than ever.  Heike Bischoff-Ferrari, MD, University Hospital in Zurich, and others have made the case that weak muscles lead to falls and broken bones.  Vitamin D is needed for normal muscle production and strength, and a lack of the vitamin leads to muscle weakness.

  2. Be aware of your posture.  If you sit in a chair for long hours during the day, make sure your abs are sucked in, your pelvic is tucked slightly, your spine is stacked straight with your ears over your shoulders and your shoulder blades drawing down the back.  

  3. Check your stress level - as we all know, stress can cause lots of physical ailments.  If you find your lower back is aching, check in with what's going on in your life and see where you can possibly 'let go' of things you cannot control.  Try deep belly breathing to help eliminate stress.

A Great Foundation-building Exercise:  

Lie on your back with your knees bent and both feet planted on the floor. Feel equal weight on the back of each side of the pelvis. Engage the abdominals and hover one foot off the floor without changing what happens to the back of your body. Keep the back of the body stable and still. Do the same with the other foot.

Imagine that you have a hot bowl of soup on your belly and don’t spill it as the legs move.

Hot Tip:  To advance the Marching, move the leg from the hip while keeping the same angle of the leg as you lower and lift it. When you’ve become confident in the larger motion of the leg, you can begin to scissor the legs past one another.