by Wendy Midgley, MEd, RD, LDN, CDE & Deb Brothers-Klezmer, BSN, RN-BC, CRRN, NCTMB
“All Light from the Sun–which is where all life comes from–is captured on a green leaf. That’s what we’ve been feeding people for sixty years.” —Dr. Brian Clement, holistic healer/teacher of food as medicine–
It has been a long, cold, snowy winter through much of North America. We have wondered if Spring would ever come!!! But birds are singing loudly and making more appearances–so this is a hopeful sign!
March is a good month to jump in with the new energies of Spring, and re-commit to one’s health and well-being. The Christian holiday of Lent begins Wednesday March 5th. This is a time when many of the observant take stock (for 40 days) of diet and “bad habits, ” and commit to change. Spring itself begins officially at 12:57 PM EDT on March 20, 2014.
Spring provides a window of opportunity to “clean out our closets” literally, as well as CLEAR OUT the debris of old belief and emotional patterns that no longer serve us well.
In this BLOG we offer our BODY-MIND-SPIRIT CHECKLIST to help you review your current diet, fitness level, and overall well-being. We suggest going through this list (without judgment!!) and see what lights up for you! We cannot change everything all at once. But what 1 or 2 areas might you like to address?
- NUTRITION: How am I eating?: Regular meals? Do I consume a variety of veggies, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats (olive oil, avocado,vegetable oils), and proteins (proteins include: chicken, fish, turkey, fish, shellfish, lean meats, dairy such as cheese, yogurt, milks; soy; nuts and seeds, nut and seed butters; legumes).
****Choose More WHOLE FOODS vs processed items. If you don’t know where to start–begin by eating more veggies, all colors!
***Try some ‘GREEN DRINKS’! Put some spinach in the blender or food processor along with some berries, flaxseed and a little water, juice, unsweetened almond milk or coconut water! BLEND! If you want a more specific recipe: check out Katie Flores’ Basic Green Smoothie Recipe @ http://www.katiefloreshealthblog.com/basic-green-smoothie-recipe/
Liquid (1/2 – 1 cup): Use purified water, unsweetened nut milk, or coconut water. You can always add more as needed to blend to your desired texture.
+The Greens (2-3 large handfuls): Newbies should start with something mild like spinach. Other greens are kale, collards, romaine, chard. You can even add leafy herbs like cilantro, parsley, or mint
+The Fruit (about a cup): Berries are great antioxidants (anti-aging!). I really love the creamy texture of a smoothie so I add a 1/2 banana or 1/4 avocado.
+Nuts or seeds (1 – 2 Tablespoons): Adding in flax seeds, flax oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds, raw almonds, or raw walnuts are full of good omega-3 fats, protein, and tons of other nutrients as well.
+Optional Add-Ins: For a little more sweetness, add 1 Tbsp. honey, or 2-3 dates. Liquid stevia is great too if you’re trying to watch the extra sugar, just add 6-8 drops.
Method: Add ingredients to a blender and blend until your desired consistency.
***If food sensitivities or allergies exist—modify your diet.***
- LIMIT/AVOID SUGAR. Table sugar, honey, syrups. US Dietary guidelines: no more than 6 teaspoons/day for women; no more than 9 teaspoons/day for men. (More conservative recommendations: SIMPLY AVOID SUGAR!)
- MAINTAIN a HEALTHY WEIGHT for your body type and genetics.
- FLUIDS: Do I drink enough fluids/water? Recommended: 8-9 cups/day women; 12-13 cups/day men. (Less fluid is OK– if diet is high in veggies, fruits, soups, yogurt) MORE fluids are needed during: pregnancy, breastfeeding; exercising (losing fluids in sweat).
For some of your fluid intake, try drinking “Sassy Water!” Sassy water is a more alkaline (vs acid-forming) beverage, originally part of The Flat Belly Diet. American diets tend to be too acid-forming (highly acidic diets are more disease-promoting). Sassy Water can help change your body’s pH to be more alkaline vs acidic. There are a variety of sassy water or flat belly water recipes. The original recipe contains water, fresh ginger, cucumber, lemon and mint. For this recipe go to: http://www.food.com/recipe/sassy-water-512491
- PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Ideally, we should be moving more every day! Incorporate more walking into daily routines. Take stairs when possible. Recommended: 150+ minutes of planned exercise each week.
- ? SUPPLEMENTS: Check Vitamin D levels (lab tests). Safe levels: 1000-2000 IUs Vitamin D/day. (If severe Vitamin D Deficiency: 50,000 IU PER WEEK—may be prescribed x 8-12 weeks by your MD. Pregnancy: Prenatal vitamins/minerals (Iron, folic acid, B12). Iron: for menstruating women. Children and Elderly who are poor eaters: Multivitamin/Minerals may be recommended. Osteoporosis: Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D plus healthy diet (and exercises.)
***WE OFTEN KNOW HOW TO EAT BETTER; we just wish we were on track more often! If you are looking for guidance or a program to help you get back on track, consider checking out 1 of the following books:
- Clean — Expanded Edition: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body Clean by Alejandro Junger, MD.
- Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole Foods Lifestyleby Diane Sanfilippo
- The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.
- For those with food sensitivities as well as weight issues–JJ Virgin’s The Virgin Diet
- Recently released: Mark Hyman, MD’s The 10-Day Detox Diet: Activate Your Body’s Natural Ability to Burn Fat and Lose Weight Fast
See additional references and websites at close of article.
- DO I GET ENOUGH SLEEP? ~7-8 hours/day is recommended for most people. Chronic lack of sleep can promote chronic disease over time.
- HABITS in NEED of IMPROVEMENT?: Anything I want to work on? You can take small steps. Besides cutting back (or OUT) on certain things: you can ask yourself?: WHAT DO I WANT TO ADD to my life to improve my health?
- REGULAR DENTAL WORK, PERIODIC CHECK-UPS
- STRESS REDUCTION, RELAXATION, BREATHING EXERCISES. Need to plan it in.
The EMOTIONS and Feelings
- EMOTIONS and FEELINGS come and go like waves in the ocean. They seem to have a life of their own. Some are very pleasant. Others—not so much. Some can seem to control us, and feel overwhelming. We often feel a physical body reaction along with emotional states (e.g., Pleasant ones: the heart feels open, we feel relaxed. Negative ones: we feel “contracted,” stomach tight, back hurts, hands shake). If we pay attention, we can sometimes notice what triggers our emotions and feelings. Sometimes: There is no explanation!
***NOTE: Some people look at FEELINGS as having a different tone than EMOTIONS. A way to explain this is: You may tune into your heart (and gut) to see how you really FEEL about someone or a situation. For example, one might say: “I am developping feelings about this person, or about this cause.” We may be asked: “How do you feel about this or that?” With emotions–we may see them exploding “out of nowhere”–replaying and replaying like an old tape. Sometimes emotions are “a cry” for us to look at an old pattern that wants a release.
***Emotions and feelings are part of being HUMAN and some “feel” better than others!! But If “negative emotions” run us too much: decide to do something about it!*** We can learn to release unwanted emotions (vs over-reacting or feeling stuck).
http://www.mkprojects.com/fa_emotions.html “Emotions – How to Understand, Identify Release Your Emotions”
- Like emotions, THOUGHTS come and go like waves in the ocean. We often notice a constant chatter in our heads. “Humans have about 65,000 thoughts a day, 90% of which thoughts of yesterday, repeat today. That’s a lot of clutter and noise to navigate through!” Meditation teachers sometimes call it “monkey mind.” Our “egos” often keep monkey mind going.
- Our HIGHER MIND is a good servant for REASON, LEARNING, GROWTH.
NURTURE the HIGHER MIND– Pay less attention to “monkey mind thinking.” http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-3987/6-Tips-to-Manage-Your-Wandering-Mind.html
- Our SPIRITS or SOULS need regular nurturing and attention! How to better nurture our souls? Our souls seek: CREATIVITY, FUN, JOY, MUSIC, NATURE, BEAUTY, NEW ADVENTURES, ANIMALS/PETS, FEELING LOVED, OFFERING LOVE and CARING, some QUIET TIME. Q: Am I involved in enough of these activities on a regular basis? Q: Am I laughing enough lately! Author Loretta LaRoche tells us to cultivate humor and laughter in daily life. “Life is not a stress rehearsal!” We can benefit by adding more soul-ful ness into our lives.
Take this Spring to get back on track with YOU! What do you want/need more of? What do you want/need less of? The year 2014 in Chinese tradition is “The Year of the Green WOOD HORSE.” The horse is strong, powerful, and likes to move! Let’s ride on the energy of the Horse—to put our goals and intentions into action this Spring and beyond!
“The beautiful Spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.” —Harriet Ann Jacobs–
Happy Spring to all!
Deb and Wendy
The Wellness Shifter Ladies!!
ADDITIONAL REFERENCES and RESOURCES for NUTRITION and WELLNESS:
- http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/dr-ozs-3-day-detox-cleanse-one-sheet (Dr. Oz’s 3-day Detox-Cleanse-Reset, one pager)
- https://www.cleanprogram.com/ (Dr. Alejandro Junger’s program)
- http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=73 “14 Tips for Starting and Sticking with a Work-out Routine
- http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/fitness/art-20048269 (5 Tips to Get Started)
- http://bodyecology.com/articles/7_steps_to_great_health.php (Donna Gates’ website on Body Ecology)