The Ultimate NY Resolution Conundrum

We do it every year.. “I’m going to lose 20 pounds in 2 months”, “I’m going to stop drinking alcohol”, or “I’m going to quit biting my nails”. Let’s face it folks.. there’s never a good time to stop eating for 2 months, that Italian water is mighty good in moderation and, well…you should have quit biting your nails last year. For this upcoming year, don’t bite off more than you can chew you eager beaver! Don’t set yourself up for failure and begin your goal blindsided and without a plan, preparation is key my friend!
Below are 5 tips on ways to prepare for your new transformation. Grab your pen and paper…
1)     Clean out your kitchen cupboards and fridge– eliminate all those tempting treats!! Candy, chocolate, refined carbohydrates (breads), any white grains (white rice, pasta), soda, coffee…..anything that might tempt you to sway from your plans. Sure, your grandma only makes rum cake once a year but the bag of chips will go straight to the hips! #jus sayin’2)     Make budget-friendly grocery lists – Going organic? Cutting out the crap? Start by purchasing a week’s worth of healthy food ahead of time and most importantly, stick to the list! This will support a budget-friendly trip as well as an avoidance of the heart attack isle.

3)     Plan your healthy meals in advance on a calendar or in a journal – this will help keep you focused, help you to prepare meals ahead of time, and ensure that you don’t just grab something that’s convenient. If you know you will be busy one evening, plan to cook a bit extra the night before so you have a meal to grab and go. *Tip* Microwaves kill the nutrients in your food, take the extra 3 minutes and pull out the pan to warm up your meal, YOU CAN DO IT! 😉

4)     Schedule in your workouts for each week –  maybe your goal isn’t to run a marathon but besides the appearance benefit of exercise, it will help to circulate your lymph, and aid your body in eliminating toxins. Does your work out partner suck? It’s time to go browse and interview a few new ones. Here are some traits to look for: someone who likes to work hard, set goals, inspires you, shares the same schedules as you and likes to sweat like a pig.

5)     Think happy thoughts! – Healthy choices are not just about improving the health of the body, but also the health of the mind. When it becomes difficult, negative thoughts may arise creating an acidic environment in the body. Write down encouraging phrases which will support you throughout this positive process.


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Breathing 101 – Guest Blogger: Sheena Bounsanga, RRPr

Life starts and ends with taking a breath; the first breath, the last breath, and all the ones in between…

Are you doing it right?

Deep breathing has many health benefits which include relieving stress (yes, please!), strengthening the immune system (HELLO!), accelerating the healing process (that’s an Rx I can handle!), burning calories (a little off the thighs please), rejuvenating and oxygenating organs (natures natural facelift), and promoting peace of mind while filling the whole body system with the ever amazing life-energy-oxygen-Chi (om mani padme hum). And that’s just my short list!

Simply put, deep breathing makes you look and feel great, both inside and out!

So why are 83% of you doing it wrong!?!

83% of the general population are only using a tenth of their lung capacity. A TENTH!! Why? Because they just don’t know any better. That’s why I’m here. Let’s learn how to deep breathe.

Rule #1 – Breathe from your belly, not from your chest.

Rule #2 – *see rule #1.

Rule #3 – The same as rule #2.

Okay, you get the point. Unfortunately, most of us are accustom to shallow breathing which only fills the upper area of the lungs with air. And although shallow breathing is easier, deep breathing is the proper way of breathing if you want to achieve all the awesome things I’ve listed above.

So, now that you have the rules down, let’s exercise! No, no, no… not the ‘make you work and sweat’ exercise, this is a ‘get comfortable and relax’ exercise… my favourite kind!

Belly Breathing

Belly breathing is easy to do and very relaxing. I use this with almost all of my clients, young and old alike. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or relieve stress.

* Sit in a comfortable position.

* Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.

* Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.

* Breathe out and feel the hand on your belly go in.

* Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.

* *For children, place a favourite stuffed animal on their belly. They can watch for the rise and fall of their special little friend.*

Studies show that just observing your breathing is known to alleviate stress. Start each day with 3-5 deep cleansing breaths before you even get out of bed for better health and well-being.

Breath Counting

* Sit in a comfortable position.

* Gently close your eyes and take a few deep belly breaths.

* To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale.

* The next time you exhale, count “two”, and so on up to “five”.

* Once you hit “five”, begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation.

* Try to do 10 minutes of this mindfulness breathing at least once or twice a day.

Never count higher than “five”, and count only on the exhale. You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to “eight”, “twelve”, or even “nineteen”.

Just 10 minutes, twice a day will greatly decrease stress and tension, while increasing vitality and strength.

Chi Breathing

Chi, Ki or Qi is frequently translated as life energy, lifeforce, or energy flow. Simply put, it’s what makes us tick. As a Reiki Practitioner, I work with Chi on a daily basis.

* Sit in a comfortable position and gently close your eyes.

* Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs, your Solar Plexus Chakra; and the other hand on your chest, your Heart Chakra.

* Inhale through the very top of your head, your Crown Chakra; think of taking in the life-energy-oxygen-Chi down into your body.

* Circulating, moving, and breathing Chi in you, through you, and then back out into the world.

* Exhale through your Solar Plexus and visualize this vital Chi energy surrounding the outside of your body like a giant bubble. Growing bigger, thicker, and stronger with each exhalation. Feel your Chi Bubble grow.

* Try to grow your Chi Bubble for at least 5 minutes. Inhaling Chi down through your Crown, and exhaling Chi out through your Solar Plexus.

Not only will this Chi Bubble enhance your energy flow within yourself, but as people come in contact with you (at work, at home, etc.) your high vibrational Chi will raise the life energy vibrations of others around you. It’s contagious!! In a good way!!

Breathe.

Sheena Bounsanga, creator of Blue Bamboo Holistics

Registered Reflexologist, Advanced Level Reiki Practitioner

Children’s Meditation Facilitator and Early Childhood Educator

www.blue-bamboo.ca

Caring for your Ta Ta’s

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which path will you take?

I came close buuut I couldn’t make my way into “Movember” without sharing some tips on how to care for the girls.

Finding the Cure… overdone? Don’t get me wrong, I would be pretty damn happy if a cure for breast cancer were to be discovered but in the meantime, my spot light is on prevention.

Ten tips for keeping the fun bags happy.

1. Incorporate cruciferous veggies
Although all vegetables are great to include in your daily diet, when relating to hormonal imbalances and specifically breast cancer…think cruciferous. Kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and last but not least the popular brussels sprouts. Research shows that this group of vegetables contains a chemical called “sulforaphane” which not only targets and kills cancer stem cells but prevents new tumours from forming. Along with this beneficial effect, these fancy veggies contain indole-3-carbinol which is known to balance estrogen in the body by partially blocking estrogen receptor sites on cell membranes. Kale smoothie anyone?

2. Avoid xenoestrogens
The word itself flashes warning. This harmful chemical mimics estrogen in the body and simply said..confuses the hell out of your bod. These masters of disguise land themselves most commonly on fruit and veggies sprayed with pesticide, industrial pollutants, residues on animal products and get this…interact paper (you know, that stuff we touch everyday).

3. Limit alcohol consumption
This was mind-boggling to me. Well, the alcohol was a no brainer but recently I was reading a health magazine and read a statistic that read “if you consume 3 or more drinks daily, your chances of breast cancer increase by 51%”. Wowzers.

4. Bust a move
Run, walk, bike, swim, skip, sex, juggle or shake whatcha mama gave ya..I don’t care what it is that you do but get moving! Aside from the looooong list of benefits from exercise, it’s good for the knockers too! Women who perform moderate exercise 6 hours a week may have reduced their chances of breast cancer by 21%. Tone, moan and groan!

5. Dry skin brush
I can’t stress enough how many people I see that have a congested lymphatic system. Our lymphatic system plays many roles in our body but it is pretty much a sister to the immune system which everyone knows we need in top condition in order to fight disease. Congestion is so easily corrected with dry skin brushing – simple, invigorating and it will leave your skin with a glow. Find a dry skin brush at your local grocery or health food store. Before turning on the shower, use the brush in a circular motion all over the surface of your body. You will notice your skin becoming red which means you’re doing it right! This is caused by increased blood circulation.

6. Vitamin D
As we’re beginning to experience a change in temperature (burr), Ontario is not sun ‘n beach all year round. This calls for Vitamin D supplementation! In respect to breast cancer, research has proven (thanks U of T), that Vitamin D reduces your risk drastically. Consult your N.D or nutritional practitioner for specific amounts you should personally be taking.

7. Reduce unnecessary radiation
Thermography – if you haven’t heard of it, please do some research! Like all other x-rays, mammograms which are used for early detection use doses of ionizing radiation to create an image. The NCI revealed evidence that, among women under the age of 35, mammography could case 75 cases of breast cancer for every 15 it identifies. Ahem…pardon? Dr. John. W. Gofman, an authority on the health effects of ionizing radiation, estimates that 75 percent of breast cancer could be prevented by avoiding or minimizing exposure to ionizing radiation. This includes mammography, x-rays and other medical/dental sources. By all means, I am NOT suggesting that you don’t get checked but perhaps research some alternative methods such as thermography.

8. Minimize chemical exposure
Have a pen handy? rBGH/rBST. Bovine growth hormone found in meat & dairy
Acrylamides. Compounds that are created when starchy foods are subjected to high heat (french fries and potato chips). Common Betty Crocker, heat that oven up to 350!
BPA (or Bisphenol A). Found in the lining of cans and plastic food containers
Phthalates. Plastic food containers
Styrene. Leaches from Styrofoam food trays and disposable containers
PVC (Polyvinyl chloride). Used in food packaging

9. Kick the cans to the curb
BPA found in the lining of cans and plastic food containers (in case you missed that line!) is a hormone disruptor and should be completely avoided whenever possible.

10.  Create an alkalinizing environment in your body
Cancer thrives in an acidic body. Try incorporating foods such as lemon, dark leafy greens, celery, grapefruit, cinnamon, ginger and curry. Experience the cleansing effects of consuming an alkalinizing diet and lifestyle.

So instead of sitting around waiting for a cure, take control of your own health and promote prevention.  

You’re what?… Tin roof, rusted! Getting Knocked Up with Nutrition

You can spend as much time under the sheets as you wish but at some point, it’s time to come to fruition: the equation isn’t always as simple as sperm + egg = knocked up. In fact, one in seven couples currently have difficulties conceiving and that statistic is expected to double over the next decade. Eager “soon-to-be” parents are now increasingly turning to natural alternatives when faced with fertility issues as science is now beginning to support the fact of going au natural to not only increase the chances of having a baby, but by optimizing the health of their personal health during the process. The holistic approach benefits both men and women since infertility seems to touch both genders, who woulda guessed.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an easy formula either… BUT if you mix up the right ingredients and follow some simple instructions, you’ll have a bun in the oven in no time. Let’s break it down with the do’s and donts of getting started..

The Naughty List

1. Environmental Toxins… these ALWAYS seem to end up in the bad books. Along with the long list of side effects, these toxins play a large roll when it comes to infertility. These contaminants like the endocrine-disruptor, bisphenol A (BPA), pesticides, and emissions all decrease the chances of conceiving. One of the most important things you’ll need to do while trying to get prego is balance your hormones. Trust me – xenoestrogens and other harmful by-products aren’t gunna do it!

2. Avoid processed/refined crap! Foods such as potatoes, white breads, refined sugar, pops and other easily digested carbs are known to spike your insulin and blood sugar levels. When this happens, it sends your hormones for a loop which are necessary for reproduction and may lead to ovulatory infertility.

3. Got Allergies? Food intolerances put stress on the body, leaving fewer resources for conception. The most common foods linked to infertility are gluten, wheat, alcohol, and caffeine, although there are many others that may be the culprit.

4. No Zinc, no think, no Dink – Zinc is the most widely studied nutrient in terms of fertility for both men and women. It is an essential component of genetic material. A deficiency may cause chromosome changes which can lead to reduced fertility and an increased risk of miscarriage. It is necessary for your body to ‘attract and hold’ the reproductive hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Zinc is found in high concentrations in the sperm as it is needed to make the outer layer and tail of the sperm. Remember the old saying.. zinc puts a little lead in your pencil.

5. Crappy Diet .. before you go changing diapers, you’ll need to change your diet. Along with zinc, there are many vitamins and minerals which are absolutely essential when it comes to increasing fertility and can be easily assimilated through a clean, healthy diet.

6.  Smoking – Smoking has definitely been linked with infertility in both men and women. It can even bring on an early menopause, which is a particularly important for older women who are trying to beat the clock. Smoking can decrease sperm count in men, making the sperm more lazy and sluggish, and it can increase the number of abnormal sperm. With men, the effects on fertility are increased with the number of cigarettes. Tasty.

A Cocktail to Knock you Up..

1. Avoid toxic chemicals – One of the best ways to avoid harmful toxins is to buy organic produce for the pre-conceptual period, switch to green house and visit: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/02/19/common-toxins.aspx

2. Balance your blood sugar – choosing slowly digested carbs like brown rice dark bread.s, etc that are high in fiber are linked with a better success rate of getting pregnant, and can lower your child’s risk of gestational diabetes.

3. Fatten up with good fats – okay, they won’t actually make you fat but healthy or “good” fats are the building blocks for hormones and have biological effects, such as turning genes on or off, stimulating or calming inflammation and influencing cell function.

4. Proooootein – it’s not just for the buffs at the gym. Protein plays a HUGE role in your body but most importantly when it comes to pregnancy,  it has been proven that it can raise your chance of getting pregnant. Now don’t go out and buy a cow, understand there are many different sources of protein. Findings from the Nurses’ Health Study indicate that getting more protein from plants and less animals is leap towards drop-kicking ovulatory infertility. Quinoa anyone?

5. Put out the ciggy –  you’re going to have to when you get pregnant (PLEASE!), so you might as well start now

6. Clean diet – eating foods rich in antioxidants, specific nutrients, vitamins, minerals and all the goodies will drastically increase your chances of getting pregnant. Some specific foods include: spinach, cabbage, berries, kale, quinoa, broccoli, yellow and orange veggies, dark leafy greens, and soo much more. Hint hint: avoid the allergenic foods and your specific food intolerances.

There are many supplements and specific dietary recommendations which may jump start your engine but as I always say, everyone is biochemically unique and we all require a different blend to get us started. A natural practitioner may assist in identifying the imbalance and help repair and nourish the body so you and your hunny are able to conceive naturally as we were designed to do.

You’re what?… Tin roof, rusted!

The big move, a success

I’ve been a little slow with posting on the blog but it’s definitely been a busy month. I’m excited to say that as of last week, Verve Holistic Health has moved into a new location!

Health In Balance is a Wellness Centre located just outside of Kitchener. I will be in the clinic on Mondays and Thursdays with flexible hours. For an appointment or inquires, feel free to email me at info@verveholistichealth.com or call the clinic at (519) 653-2000.

336 Eagle Street N. Cambridge ON.

http://www.health-in-balance.com

Book in for a free 15 minute consultation