Life

Begin Again

In the silence of snowfall

Today is the 364th day of the year. I feels like it has been about that long since I have written to you, my faithful readers. I want you to know that I appreciate you and I promise to be more active in your life as you are in mine. I also appreciate your emails of caring and concern.

Twenty-nineteen started out pretty normal (normal is very different for each of us) for me. I set goals, dreamed of new opportunities, planned steps to reach emotional and physical wellness and I felt optimistic.

As winter faded and spring opened its wings I lost my uncle whom which I was quite close to. My heart ached for my cousins and for the rest of us as we learned to accept our loss. Several weeks following I lost a cousin and my heart broke a little more especially for his sister, nephew and brother. Add two months and my mother passed away. My schedule basically worked around helping her daily with various appointments, chores and general lifetime duties. Getting through cleaning up what is left behind becomes a full-time job as well as staying strong over emotions is. Fast forward two months and I learned that another cousin has passed away. Feeling overwhelmed with sadness over the devastation of this news and living far away from his family left me feeling helpless; I wanted to be there for them, to give a hug, lend an ear and just be caring and supportive. Move ahead a few more weeks and the news of a newer friend’s passing came through. The heartache his family has been suffering is heart-wrenching.

Dealing with everything involved when someone leaves this world is overwhelming and emotions are kicked aside until you find the time to deal with them. The loss of five people in five months has been emotionally exhausting. Now that Christmas has passed and a new year is hours away, my heart and head are fighting agreement. Life with my mother in the past 3 years has been a pretty constant duty. While it wasn’t easy, anyone who knew her understands, it was part of my daily life. Having that removed in a flash is jolting. I feel both sadness and relief. I’m working through it and I know I will be okay.

Something my mind has been doing to me is feeling that I could be next. So many losses so close together is quite overwhelming and not allowing yourself to show the sadness hurts more than it helps. I’ve recently been retreating from gatherings and other invitations so that I can process all that has happened in the past seven months. I’m allowing myself to exhale.

I plan to stay optimistic; I’ve always been a glass half full kind of girl. I plan to spread love, happiness and my optimism throughout 2020 and I invite you to tag along!

Again, I appreciate you so very much.

This post is dedicated to those I’ve lost this year: Michael Parent (uncle), Alan Hamel (cousin), Jacqueline Hamel (mom), Steven Black (cousin), and Michael Cunningham (friend). May you all rest peacefully and fly free.

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Beat Sugar & Carb Cravings with Spring Produce!

Seasonal eating fuels your body properly..contact me for your personal list of seasonal foods.

Some of us, in fact all of us, get cravings every now and again. Cravings can tell a lot about your body both physically and emotionally. Physically we often crave what our body is missing such as certain minerals, vitamins and other nutrients. Emotional cravings can come from the stresses of everyday life; we crave sweets when things are difficult, crunch when we are angry, carbs when we feel fatigued both physically and mentally, and so on.

Each season causes our body to shift as well as our cravings. Winter brings on warming, heartier foods, spring, cleansing, purifying foods, summer, lighter, raw and cooling foods and fall leaves us in-between summer’s bounty and winter’s chill.

Spring cleansing foods that are available right now help to clean out and purify the blood. These foods also offer great amounts of phyto-nutrients – which help feed the body’s cells, boost the immune system and even reduce inflammation. Phyto = plant, the best fuel and disease defense is plant nutrition.

So how does this help curb sugar/carb cravings? By eating these in-season, fresh phyto-nutrients (leafy greens, dark green veggies, other colorful veggies and fruit, your body can clean out the ‘gunk’ and refresh or reboot your system. Focus on these whole and natural foods and note how your body changes.

Remember, your body will crave what you feed it most. Happy, healthy body rebooting!

Try this simple recipe, from Sunset Edible Garden Cookbook it’s cleansing and alkalizing. Add Arugula in other dishes as well, sandwiches, multi-greens salad, soups, stews…add it last to keep it nutritious!
Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Joint Pain and Dietary Guidelines – Eating Shouldn’t Hurt

Joint pain affects all of us at one time or another; it even strikes kids from time-to-time. As we get older, joint pain is more typical in our daily lives, but through diet and other changes you can reduce joint pain.

Joint pain has many different causes including poor diet, low/no exercise, injury, age, wear and tear.

If you regularly eat foods like white bread, wheat bread and other refined carbohydrates, or if you eat a lot of whole grain breads and pasta, you can count on having joint pain. If you eat fried foods, French fries, donuts, chicken fingers, potato chips, many items in the Chinese food menus, red meat, processed meats and other processed foods, sugary foods such as soda, sweetened juices, candy, pastries, corn syrups, margarine and shortening, you can expect to have inflammation caused joint pain.

If you suffer from daily joint pain and stiffness, give a diet change a try. Changing your diet to better food choices can help ease joint pain without having to depend on medications that make your body toxic and sluggish. The bonus to changing your diet not only improves your joint health, you’ll likely drop a few pounds, improve your blood pressure and clear out your intestinal track, leaving you feeling lighter and more energetic.

Changing your diet will take commitment but you can easily shift into better choices when you know what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. A simple list follows so that you can start making changes today.

Avoid – Inflammatory Foods

Fried foods including chips and other items from the snack aisle, simple carbs (as listed above), processed corn, sugary drinks and snacks, artificial sweeteners, red meat (at least cut down on it), processed meats and other processed foods, artificial butters, salt, alcohol, omega 6 oils (corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and vegetable oil) shortening and lard – use real butter, but practice portion control and try using lemon juice and spices in place of butter.

Eat – Anti-inflammatory Foods

  • Vegetables – All types of vegetables, all colors – raw, steamed, boiled or roasted – broccoli, parsley (phosphuraphane, K & C and calcium)
  • Nut oils- walnut (10x the omega 3’s than EVOO), avocado, almond, peanut, sesame oils and butters
  • Whole grains – barley, farro, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal (if you find that you feel bloated after eating any of these, avoid them, also avoid barley & seitan if you are gluten intolerant)
  • Fruit – citrus, pineapple, berries, melons, cherries (vitamin C)
  • Garlic, onions, leeks
  • Milk, yogurt & cheese (vitamin D & calcium)
  • Nuts/Seeds – peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, almonds, chia, flax seed (1 oz./day = magnesium, omega 3’s, zinc, iron, potassium & blood sugar control)
  • Beans – all kinds without sugar added, soy beans, edamame, tofu (magnesium, iron, calcium, fiber)
  • Mushrooms – (copper helps produce red blood cells and has potassium for heart, muscles and nerve)
  • Molasses – 1 tablespoon (magnesium which helps relieve inflammation)
  • Fish – 3-4 times/week (omega 3’s) Omega 3 supplements (less absorption into the body than fish)
  • Spices – ginger, turmeric, juniper berries, cinnamon, cayenne, chili, pepper (all anti-inflammatory)
  • Tea – dandelion root tea, green tea, black tea (anti-oxidants, polyphenols, EGCG)

Next time you’re at the grocery store or farm stand, choose some of the healthy foods listed and start making change for your body soon. You deserve to eat well and feel good!

Again, changing your diet isn’t always easy but when you practice making healthier choices and begin feeling the benefits change becomes easier. If you’re not fully convinced that diet plays a big role in joint pain, test it out for a month. Make the suggested subtractions and additions to your diet for the next month and make notes about how you feel each day or week. At the very least, it can help ease some pain, reduce a few pounds and help clear out your digestive track from gunk that builds up from the foods on the foods to avoid list.

Let me know your thoughts or get in touch if you would like guidance and accountability in making healthy changes.

Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Comfort Outside of Food

Comfort comes in many forms and for each of us comfort means something very different from the next.

We all seek comfort. We look for it in our family members, our friends, sometimes strangers, nowadays we can reach out and find it through social media, we seek it from our pets, some look for it in cleaning, shopping, going to the gym, finding distraction in a movie; we also look to food for comfort and some look for it in a glass of wine, a bottle of beer or other alcohol. I’m sure there are hundreds more ways people look for and sometimes find comfort.

Along with looking for comforting situations comes the reason we seek it. Those reasons are endless and among them is stress, sadness, boredom, depression and loneliness.

Too often many comforts lead to less than healthy choices. We crave certain foods when we seek comfort. Particular textures and tastes have much to do with how we are feeling. Common cravings are sweets, carbs, junk foods and alcohol. Giving in to these cravings leads us into a downward spiral often leaving us feeling worse.

If you find yourself seeking comfort on a regular basis and turning to foods or activities that you know deep down isn’t doing your body of lifestyle any good, take a step back and make a decision to finally take care of YOU. Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is important for a healthy, happy and long life.

As a holistic health coach, I’ve helped people overcome their overwhelming desire to give in to self-sabotaging choices for seeking comfort. Is seeking unhealthy “comfort foods” getting you down? Let’s talk!

Life

Be the Light in Someone’s Life

As I drift through the days the way we all do, I look for ways to inspire others. I live to help others find happiness and peace. I used to think it was my jog to make others happy but after many years of thinking that way and feeling I had failed somehow, I came to understand that other people’s happiness is not up to me, it’s up to them. 

We are all responsible for the way we think and the happiness we choose. Sometimes life throws us curve balls and interferes with our best thought plans and we feel depressed or angry and out of control. That’s because we are out of control. I’ve heard and read many times that man may plan his course but God plans his steps. (Prov. 16:9) If you don’t think so, just look at plans you made that didn’t work out and think of how in the end, many of those changes were for the better.

We can set intentions and make plans and follow through as closely as we possibly can but if they don’t work out they way you expected, don’t be angry; instead, see with an open mind and look for the good that can come of the new circumstance. There is a reason for everything and you can accept that better when you believe that there are other ways to get to your destination.

Inspiration for others comes in many shapes, sizes, intentions and emotions. Be open to what can be, be aware of what is and be thankful for what never was. Everything will be as it should be. Everything changes in the blink of an eye. Be calm, be love, be open and be true. 

Life

Shoe Style!

Shoes! We either love shoes or hate them or if you’re like me, your feelings about shoes fall somewhere between love and hate.

Sure, I love a nice pair of shoes but I have learned that in my shoes, comfort comes first. I learned long ago, while working in the salon, the importance of a good pair of comfortable shoes. If your shoes aren’t comfortable and balanced well for your body and foot type, you can end up with sore legs, back and feet and possible long-term leg, back and foot issues.

When was the last time you were actually fitted by a shoe salesperson instead of on your own quick pick at the local shoe store or sports shop? Yes, there are still educated shoe and foot people available to help you find your perfect fit for your personal style and there are so many options out there. Even if you don’t purchase anything the first time, at least you’ll have a better idea of what is good for you personally.

Treat yourself to a good pair of shoes or sneakers, your feet, legs and back will thank you!

“Failure is only achieved when you don’t try. Success is the result of every small step you take toward leaving worn out behaviors behind.”

Dawn Silva – Initiate Wellness
Life

Anxiety – Why We Get It & Tips to Let Go of It

Anxiety hits every one of us from time to time. There are many levels of anxiety and many causes of it. Anxiety or anxiousness can be happy and caused by excitement to do something, go somewhere, to meet someone and a number of other good things we look forward to. Other anxieties can be negatively caused by PTSD, the environment, illness, confrontation, stress about school, work, money, relationships, trauma, loss, side effects of medications or other substances and more. Whichever your anxiety, it’s a good idea to learn to handle it and/or get professional help.

Sometimes, you can make yourself physically sick if you’re overly-anxious. This is caused by your body releasing stress hormones. Different parts of the body release different hormones which help the organs to run efficiently and in stressful situations, those organs become ‘stressed’ causing us to feel stomach aches, diarrhea, headache, fatigue…etc.

Positive anxiousness is easier to manage and likely will come to an end soon; such as when you arrive to your destination, meet that person and any other happy moments that bring that anxious twinge of excitement.

When negative anxiety hits you and you feel out of control, it’s important to take steps to relieve it especially before the sick-feeling symptoms begin. Steps to try before anxiety hits hard include:

  • Slow down, breathe deeply and take inventory of what is real and what is just negative thoughts or negative self-talk. Remind yourself that XXX hasn’t actually happened and it might not even happen. This is a way of dealing with what is real and what is or isn’t possible; it’s better to deal with what is real that very moment.
  • Another way to calm anxious feelings is to determine if the issue is in your control or out of your control; if it’s out of your control, follow the steps in the first scenario described above. If it is in your control, take a deep breath in and exhale slowly then decide what your next step will be and then the second step after that until the issue is resolved. Remember, don’t hold tightly to what you cannot control, trust the process.
  • Take a time-out session, meditate, just sit quietly letting your thoughts come and go without overthinking them, listen to soothing music, drink warm tea, go for a walk – short or long walks help a lot! Any form of exercise helps release stress.
  • Surround yourself with positive and happy people, laugh often, talk with a friend (even if it’s not about what is stressing you).
  • Journal it – writing your thoughts, worries, wishes and feelings helps to release them privately
  • Try to have a positive attitude. Learn to ‘let go’ of negative thinking.
  • Eat healthy! The foods you choose to eat help your body run either efficiently or sluggish and ill. Choose whole, natural foods rather than pre-packaged, processed, sugary, salty, chemically treated (for shelf-life) foods.
  • Work with a therapist, counselor or coach depending on your level of anxiety and your personal needs.

Anxiety doesn’t have to be a way of life for you. You can learn how to adopt healthy behaviors and habits to let go of negative anxieties and to handle them in the future. Anxiety is normal from time to time but it should not be a regular visitor in your daily life. Now, take a deep breath in….let it go.

“Failure is only achieved when you don’t try. Success is the result of every small step you take toward leaving your worn out behaviors behind.”

Dawn Silva-Initiate Wellness