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8 Causes of Cravings

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The body is amazing. It knows when to go to sleep, wake up, go to the bathroom, maintain 98.6 degrees and tighten the eyes when the light gets bright. It knows the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth. Your heart never misses a beat. Your lungs are always breathing. The body is a super-computer and it never makes mistakes.

Look at the foods, deficits and behaviors in your life that are the underlying causes of your cravings. Many people view cravings as weakness, but really they are important messages meant to assist you in maintaining balance. When you experience a craving, deconstruct it. Ask yourself, what does my body want and why?

The eight primary causes of cravings are:

1. Lack of primary food. Being dissatisfied with a relationship or having an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little or the wrong type), being bored, stressed, uninspired by a job, or lacking a spiritual practice may all cause emotional eating. Eating can be used as a substitute for entertainment or to fill the void of insufficient primary food.

2. Water. Lack of water can send the message that you are thirsty and on the verge of dehydration. Dehydration can manifest as a mild hunger, so the first thing to do when you get a craving is drink a full glass of water. Excess water can also cause cravings, so be sure that your water intake is well balanced.

3. Yin/yang imbalance. Certain foods have more yin qualities (expansive) while other foods have more yang qualities (contractive). Eating foods that are either extremely yin or extremely yang causes cravings in order to maintain balance. For example, eating a diet too rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat (yang). Eating too many raw foods (yin) may cause cravings for extremely cooked (dehydrated) foods or vise versa.

4. Inside coming out. Often times, cravings come from foods that we have recently eaten, foods eaten by our ancestors, or foods from our childhood. A clever way to satisfy these cravings is to eat a healthier version of one’s ancestral or childhood foods.

5. Seasons. Often the body craves foods that balance the elements of the season. In the spring, people crave detoxifying foods like leafy greens or citrus foods. In the summer, people crave cooling foods like fruit, raw foods and ice cream, and in the fall people crave grounding foods like squash, onions and nuts. During winter, many crave hot and heat-producing foods like meat, oil and fat. Cravings can also be associated with the holidays, for foods like turkey, eggnog or sweets.

6. Lack of nutrients. If the body has inadequate nutrients, it will produce odd cravings. For example, inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings, and overall inadequate nutrition produces cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, like caffeine.

7. Hormones. When women experience menstruation, pregnancy or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings.

8. De-evolution. When things are going extremely well, sometimes a self-sabotage syndrome happens. We crave foods that throw us off, thus creating more cravings to balance ourselves. This often happens from low blood-sugar and may result in strong mood swings.

*This article is courtesy of Integrative Nutrition 2010

How to Cope with the 6 letter word of death!

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Aka “INJURY!”

tiredwoman

It seems like a death sentence for those of us super active people.  It’s awful, it feels like you can’t move on with your life, you might as well just pig out, and become one with the couch and your TV… I mean whats the point right if you can’t run, or bike, or do yoga or whatever it is that is your sport of choice.

I used to have this mentality, and yes, I am still guilty of at first getting into that mental black fog.  However, there are so many other things that you can do to still stay active and not gain weight while on the bench!   I am currently in this exact boat.  I’m a runner and have been battling some type of injury in my hip.   I’ve had this same injury before so instead of feeling sorry for myself  I immediately transitioned over to biking and elliptical as well as still keeping up with my circuit workouts.  I just take out any jumping or pounding that will further aggravate my hip.

Whatever your injury might be there is always something that you can do, it may not feel as active as you’re used to doing, but it is certainly better then doing nothing!  The other most important thing is to make sure that you are continuing to eat clean!!  Make sure you are adding in crucial healing foods.  Ginger is a major one to add in if your injury has any kind of inflammation involved.  Ginger is an anti-inflammatory food, along with Blueberries and Turmeric.  Add them into your salads, smoothies, juices or slice up the ginger and let it steep in hot water and have ginger tea!  If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know my obsession with Ginger, read my post on it here!

blueberries-0015ginger

I know it may feel like the end of the world during your healing recovery time, but the key to getting through this is to find the thing or things that you CAN do!  For me I’m doing a lot of spinning and I just got into boxing!  It is quite therapeutic!  I have no idea how long I’ll be out from running, and there is a chance I may have to miss my big 50k race June 1st if I can’t get back to training soon!!  So needless to say, I did have my moment this past weekend feeling super sorry for myself, but I’m back to cross training and feeling pretty good!!

   How do you all cope? Any other recommendations?

Nourishing Wisdom Cont’d

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A few blog posts ago I was mentioning a book I had started reading called Nourishing Wisdom. “The Good, the “Bad”, and The Ugly (If you click on the highlighted part I link back to that last post in case you missed it) It is a fantastic book that has hit on quite a few points that have struck major cords with me. I wanted to follow up on them before I strayed too far from it!

There were 2 other points that I left out of that last post because I thought they deserved a blog post on their very own!! Powerful stuff I tell you.

Here they are:

1) Working a boring job you might find yourself hungrier then usual; food serves either to calm us down or activate our interest when we feel unfulfilled.

2) There are 5 Key Factors that play a roll in our food desires and changes: Lifestyle, Environment, Season, Age, and Health.

I completely relate to these two on a very deep level. Why? Because I’ve lived them both!! I was in a job about 3 years ago now where I was severely unhappy. I had big plans to stick with it long enough to save some money and then move forward. Then I got fired. Which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as this job was so unbelievably toxic. But never the less, while at the job, I began gaining a lot of weight. I was mindlessly eating just to fill this major void and mask my unhappiness. Then about a year and a half later, I was at a different point in my life where I was unemployed and also extremely unhappy because of being unemployed and broke (go figure) and therefore basically eating whatever I could find just to fill the void which then leads to being more unhappy. It’s a vicious cycle. In any case, I gained back even more weight after losing quite a bit.

When you’re unhappy you inevitably gravitate towards sweet or salty processed foods because we view them as comfort foods. These then spin the chemicals in our heads which make us feel happy, momentarily, so we want more. Then we fall out of our healthy regimes like working out, going out with friends, being outside. So our lifestyles then change. Not to mention as we get older our metabolisms slow down. I’ve lived every single “key factor” that is mentioned. So now what does one do?? We set intentions for ourselves, we re-organize, set goals, call a friend and tell them what you’re goals are to hold you accountable. You make a Game Plan!! Setting yourself up for success rather then failure sets the ball rolling. Yes, you very well will slip up and falter a few times. What matters is this, that you get up and TRY! Keep going forward, because ultimately after a few tries you WILL succeed!!! Make a chart for yourself like we had in pre-school, for every time you make it to the gym or eat clean all day you get a star. When you get a whole consecutive week filled you go reward yourself with a manicure or movie with a friend!

bi-health-chart

That’s all I got for today 🙂

So go get ’em my lovely followers! Make a list, make a game plan and by all means share them with me!! 🙂 I’d love to hear from you!

I’m BAAAAAACK!!!!!!!!!!

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Hello my beautiful lovelies!!

I feel like such a bad blogger! Life has been crazy, I’ve been crazy, therefore my blog took the backseat for a while.  So, let me update you on what all has been going on!

Last you all heard I was living in beautiful California!  It was gorgeous and fun, but once my AmeriCorps year ended, I was jobless!  So I went on the hunt for a job and ended up finding a job all the way back in my home town of DC!  So after only a year in California, here I was packing up my car again and headed back east.  So disappointing!  But I needed a job, so off I went.

I started my job in October, and it’s been a crazy whirlwind of ups and downs.  While I absolutely love that I am finally working as a personal trainer, like I’ve always wanted, it’s also incredibly stressful!  It’s not a job secure job situation, you’re clients come and go, which means your income goes up and down.  So I’m now finally trying to get myself organized, make sure that I pre-plan, make the most solid experience with my clients, but A LOT of work and planning goes into that!  Basically this whole job has been a lot of trial and error, and figuring out.  I suppose that goes with most first time jobs.  Prior to this job and AmeriCorps, I’d only had jobs that I just showed up at and did the work.  No outside work was ever required.

So that’s what has been going on.  My goal for the next few months is to really begin building my brand, building my business and trying to bring in as much side work as possible so that I can make a real true living and be able to take more vacations, do more races etc… !

So here is my question for you all.  What would you like to see more of on here?  I am also going to be offering services such as health coaching, online personal training etc…  Making this blog an up and running business!

Please feel free to comment or send me a message!!

The Good, The “Bad”, and The Ugly

I’ve recently started reading a book called “Nourishing Wisdom” by Marc David.  It is an incredible book, filled with so many amazing and insightful words of “wisdom”.   So I suppose the name is rather fitting.

Here are several quotes I’ve found so far that really stick out for me:

1) Labeling a food as “good” or “bad” automatically sets us up for a cycle of perpetual anxiety.  For once we label something as bad, we invariably desire it, and the desire grows stronger the more we resist the food.

2) By giving power to food rather than seeing things as they really are, we feel helpless and weak in the body.  We are afraid of sugar, overeating, and any food or desire we have labeled as bad.

3) By following a diet we believe to be perfect.  We are pretending that the body never changes and that we can therefore avoid the unknown.

4) Believing that a perfect diet will protect us from the unknown changes in the body is like buying an insurance policy from an imaginary company; it never pays off.

5) For, in the long run, understanding the mind of the eater may well prove to be as nourishing an act as understanding the foods that are best to eat.

6) Because we fear changes in the body and the inevitability of disease and death, we try to take control by believing in a perfect diet that guarantee’s perpetual health.

7) The fear of shifting to new foods with the body’s changing needs is symbolic of our fears about adjusting to changes in life.

These points are so amazing and so dead on.  I mean really the only word that comes to mind isn’t even a word.  They are flat out boomtastic!!

The overall point here is that our body is an ever changing being.  Therefore, we need to listen to it, and feed it accordingly.  Now, I’m not saying listen to that voice that constantly wants cake pops or candy bars.  I’m saying that if your body is craving more salt, perhaps you are lacking nutrients and should eat more seaweed etc…  Our bodies generally do tell us what we need and when we need it.  We just have to make sure to listen.

I highly recommend this book.  So go get it! 🙂

Spirit Junkie

This past Saturday, September 24th, I drove down to San Francisco to attend a lecture and book signing by the amazing and glorious Gabrielle Bernstein!!   She just came out with her new book Spirit Junkie.  I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was to be able to meet her!

I discovered her by discovering her book Add More ~ing To Your Life a couple years ago, and totally fell in love with her and her whole philosophy on life.  She implements lots of meditations and small steps towards forgiving yourself and loving yourself to get passed all the s#!t that’s blocking you from doing what you love.  It was so great to hear her speak in person, and I was definitely a bit star struck, which always seems to happen when I meet someone I admire.  So much so that I totally froze when I got up to the table and all I could say was “I think you are amazing, and thank you so much!” then sheepishly walked away… totally forgetting to ask if I could take a picture with her! DOH!

I got so inspired hearing her speak, it totally made me want to re-evaluate myself and my priorities with everything that’s going on, as well as my attitude towards them.  Since moving to Northern California and into an extremely rural teeny tiny town, where I am living for the next ten months, I have found it to be a bit more of a challenge then I had anticipated.  I knew it would be hard adjusting to a much much slower pace of life, but I didn’t think it would be quite as difficult as I am finding it to be.  Coming from a busy, political, fast paced city such as Washington DC I have found myself getting bored really easily and frustrated with how slow things were evolving at work.  Things have picked up a lot though in the past week so I’m much happier with that, I work much better when really busy!  But overall, hearing Gabrielle speak, and hearing her confidence in who she was and how far she had come from the old her, which part of me related a great deal to, I decided to get my own spirit junkie on, and deal with a few of my own demons that were beginning to bubble up again.

I am so excited to dive into this new book!!  I’m sure I will be posting more about it as I get further into the book, spouting her words of wisdom.

I encourage you to check out her website which I attached a link to up above over here name.   She “Vlogs” which means she blogs via video, which is really awesome if you want a dose of inspiration for your day but don’t feel like reading!  Here is the link again:  Gabrielle Bernstein’s Webpage

Laughter Yoga? Smile Yoga? Oh my…….

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“To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver. Practice tonight at hotel. Not to hurry. not to try too hard. Too serious, you make you sick. You can calling the good energy with a smile…Let your conscience be your guide.” – Eat, Pray, Love [p. 231]

While I was in India I desperately searched for places to do yoga as well as Laughter yoga, which I had recently learned about and become totally fascinated by it.   Ironically I found rather difficult to actually find places to do yoga.  Perhaps it was because I was in a foreign country so I wasn’t too familiar with where things were or how to find them.  It wasn’t until I went up to Rishikesh, the meca for all things yoga/mediation related that I found yoga!!  But I still had not found Laughter yoga.

A couple weeks ago I went to an Ashram out in Buckingham, VA for a weekend of yoga, relaxation and meditation.  It was amazing.  I finally learned how to meditate truly, I went on nice long walks, had amazing food and met some amazing people.  My final day there they offered a Laughing yoga class!!  Well you can imagine my extreme excitement!!!  What a way to end my stay there!

It was everything I had ever imagined it would be, it was hilarious, fun and silly.  Everyone was genuinely laughing at the end of it.  I wanted it to keep going!  Even at the end when we were supposed to slowly drift into a silent meditation, my new friend and I could not stop laughing! haha!  Afterwards I felt so amazing, smiley, glowing and had an overall fantastic feeling of happiness and joy.

I highly recommend you all investigating this class and trying it out yourself! You will NOT regret it one bit!

Laughter Yoga

This is from the website above: “Laughter Yoga combines Unconditional Laughter with Yogic Breathing (Pranayama). Anyone can Laugh for No Reason, without relying on humor, jokes or comedy. Laughter is simulated as a body exercise in a group; with eye contact and childlike playfulness, it soon turns into real and contagious laughter. The concept of Laughter Yoga is based on a scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter. One gets the same physiological and psychological benefits.”

And here is a video by John Cleese about it:

How awesome is that!? I just find it so fascinating, I mean here we are as a nation, throwing millions upon millions towards insurance, medical bills, medication etc…. and there are so many other forms of healing oneself, something as easy as LAUGHTER can heal someone!  I am certainly not putting down medications, as I know full well that some things cannot be helped and medication helps to fix minor flaws.