While I enjoy celebrations, and I’m a big advocate of setting goals on a regular basis, I’ve found it difficult to get behind the big hype of New Year’s resolutions. Surveys show that most of the individuals who make resolutions are also in the same boat since only 8 percent of those who make resolutions are successful in achieving them.
No matter if you make new years resolutions or not, I feel it is important to recognize the transition period – hasta-luego 2015, hello 2016! – through personal reflection and growth.
Before we completely say goodbye to 2015 and plunge fully into 2016, I like to reflect upon these two specific questions:
I feel reflecting on these questions helps me to celebrate and enjoy my current life, while guiding me toward my vision going forward. I believe answering these questions as they pertain to each of us individually are major contributors to improving relationships, overall happiness and toward the life I want to generate and the world I want to contribute to.
This year I’m grateful for my wonderful family (and soon to be "official" new addition with the love-of-my-life, Will), for my health, for the work that I love doing and thoroughly care about, and for all my local and extended friends, colleagues, readers and clients. This year with our recent move to Washington, D.C. I am looking forward to enjoying the D.C. metro area, fun travels, our wedding celebration and helping more people feel better locally and nationally, helping them reach their personal health and/or performance goals while understanding how lifestyle and nutrition can greatly impact their body.
So, what are you grateful for?
What are you looking forward to in 2016?
Let me know on my Facebook page, I’d love to hear from you.
I hope 2016 brings you safe and joyous times with friends and loved ones!
PS - I've included a yummy and super simple dessert recipe below. If the ingredient list works for you and your digestion, try it out and let me know what you think!
PPS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative ideas.
Nutty Coconut Balls
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes
Serves: about 12 balls
Do you experience or know anyone who experiences any of the following symptoms?
- Gas and bloating
- Allergies and/or sensitivities to certain foods or smells
- Eczema, canker sores or acne
- Migraine headaches
- Abdominal pain
- Brain fog, anxiety and depression
Did you know that the above symptoms all have the same root cause in common?
Nagging and often irritating manifestations, from your brain function to your skin to respiratory system to your belly, all stem from the same place.
Any guesses to where the root cause is located? Knowing me, you might know where this root cause is…
Yep, it’s in your gut!
First let’s remember that your body is a complex and amazing one. It is an interwoven and unique system that is constantly interacting. Organs are not independent from one another, but rather work in unison together.
At first, I can understand how it might be odd to think of your respiratory challenge, or most other health conditions, as stemming from the health of your primary digestion and absorption organ; the small intestine. But when really diving into the chemical reactions that are going on inside your body, things start to become clearer. These health challenges are warning signs that the body is sending you, informing you that something has gone wrong.
By getting to the actual cause of the manifestation, we can improve the health issue instead of masking over the signs and symptoms. You have a greater chance of being successful with your health challenges when identifying, addressing and understanding the knowledge of the root cause(s).
Let’s say you are experiencing a health challenge. You might go to the doctor to try and improve the situation. Often more times than not, the health challenge isn’t improved, instead the symptoms are dealt with. Those symptoms listed are often covered up, like a band-aid. Yes, your symptoms might disappear, which is great! But whatever is causing your symptoms to appear in the first place is not rectified. This is like putting a band-aid over a gaping wound.
Instead, we need to give our bodies what they need to function properly and improve our organ or organs that are working insufficiently. Poor gut health limits the organs, and whole body for that matter, from being able to function properly.
So, how can health challenges be impacted due to your gut?
Let’s start by discussing the gastrointestinal (GI) membrane…
The GI mucosal membrane surface is the largest interface between our internal body and the external world. It covers more than 400 square meters, that’s over 200-fold greater than the surface of your skin.
Over an individual’s lifetime, a person consumes over 25 tons of food, which gives the body nutrients through the processes of digestion and absorption. The GI tract is not only responsible for digestion and nutrient absorption, but is an essential protective layer from external pathogens.
When you consume food, it goes into your mouth, down the esophagus and to the stomach. From here the gallbladder and pancreas produce enzymes that are secreted into the gut and aid in further digestion. The quality of the enzymes produced by those organs is dependent on the health of your small intestine. These enzymes are then pumped into the gates of the small intestine.
Well, there are many detailed chemical processes that facilitate what is put into circulation by the small intestine. When functioning properly, the small intestine is your main gatekeeper. It determines what will and what will not travel into the circulatory system. Therefore, it’s the health of the small intestine that allows the gatekeepers to do their job.
And if your small intestine is being compromised, you are too. You could be absorbing the many not so good “foods,” or as prolific journalist and professor Michael Pollan likes to put it “food like substances,” (such as toxins) into your body. With poor nutritional intake and absorption, the cells of the small intestine are not able to support healthy regeneration, profoundly affecting the integrity of the small intestinal barrier. The gates are compromised, thus causing symptoms to arise in numerous possible ways.
Some factors associated with poor small intestine health:
- Nutrient insufficiencies
- Excessive stress
- Gastrointestinal infections
- Food allergies
- Excessive simple sugar consumption
- Poorly digested foods
- Food additives
- Over-the-counter drugs like NSAIDs
- Foreign microbes
- Whole food exposure before the age of 4 months
Therefore, it is key to have proper GI barrier function within the small intestine so certain poorly digested nutrients and other factors do not enter where they are not supposed to be. If they enter, they cause havoc on the body causing symptoms to arise, which can also disrupt your mental and hormonal health.
Even if you don’t experience any symptoms linked to your digestive system, one of the root causes of all manifestations is usually the health of your gut. This needs to be in good restoration.
But don’t worry, if your small intestine is out of whack, there’s hope. It can be restored!
Remember, a healthy small intestine is your gatekeeper for peak health.
In our nutrition sessions we get to the root causes, giving you the tools to heal your gut and improve your signs and symptoms.
PS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative ideas.
Sharing quality time and lots of laughter with loved ones this holiday season helps to build not only healthy relationships, but helps to improve the health of your body on a cellular level. In a nutshell, laughter helps improve the immune system, thus reducing chronic inflammation.
Some common sources of inflammation
- Diet (high omega 6:3 ratio, high sugar, high flour)
- Unfriendly gut bacteria (creating a healthy gastrointestinal microbiome is critical!)
- Antibiotic use
- Toxic metals and other toxic compounds
- Too little or too much exercise
Components commonly missing in individuals
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Adequate exercise
- Sufficient sleep and rest
- Properly coping with stress
- Laughter and a positive mental attitude
- Sunshine and Vitamin D
- Vitamins, minerals other nutrients
- Friendly gut bacteria
We are all unique. When it comes to our health, some individuals might have inflammation due to excess amounts of certain components while others might be deficient in others. The simplest method for reducing chronic inflammation is to eradicate these imbalances thus, allowing us to live our daily lives healthier and happier. If we don't have our health, what else do we have?
Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and safe holiday season!
"Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got."
Think of all the intelligence, creativity and time you spend on improving, altering and judging your appearance. Who would you be and what could you accomplish if your valuable resources weren’t used this way? Constant emphasis on the external makes us discount the great presence and intelligence that is housed by the body. It makes us forget the magic of our internal rhythms and fail to acknowledge the beautiful bodies we have.
The body you have right now is incredible! It never misses a heartbeat, it maintains homeostasis and it miraculously digests whatever you put in it. It is your instrument for expressing your creativity, intelligence and love. By focusing on the 1% you don’t like or wish were different, you may be ignoring the remaining 99% about your body that is beautiful, unique and delightful.
What would your life be like if you were simply at peace with the body you have? You may wish to make your body healthier and stronger, but could you do that out of love and respect for your body instead of the opposite? Could you begin to treat yourself with kindness, to limit the negative self-talk and to reconnect with your inner wisdom? Take a minute to imagine what that would feel like. It would mean celebrating your body rather than punishing it. It would mean nourishing your body rather than depriving it. It would mean a chance to watch your body flourish when treated with care and respect.
Food Focus: Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are on everyone's mind this season. They seem to go hand-in-hand with the holidays, and fortunately, eating these and other sweet vegetables do not need to be limited to just this time of year. Cravings for sweets can be greatly reduced by adding sweet vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips, beets, squash, turnips and rutabagas to your daily diet. Sweet potatoes elevate blood sugar gently rather than with the hold delivered by simple refined carbohydrates, so there's no energy crash after you eat them. Much higher in nutrients than white potatoes and especially rich in vitamin A, sweet potatoes offer a creamy consistency that is satisfying and soothing. They are healing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas and reproductive organs, and hep to remove toxins from the body. They can increase the quantity of milk in lactating women and can lessen cramps and premenstrual symptoms. Next time you are at the store, buy some (organic and local if possible) sweet potatoes and try out this yummy and simple recipe!
Recipe of the Month: Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Cilantro
This recipe is an eye-opener for those who find sweet potatoes cloyingly sweet or those who are tired of eating them smothered in marshmallows and brown sugar. Japanese sweet potatoes, with their pale flesh and delicate flavor are indeed a yummy treat.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
4 sweet potatoes
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
olive oil, butter or ghee
1. Wash the sweet potatoes and bake them whole, in their skins, at 375 degrees until tender, about 40 minutes.
2. Wash and chop cilantro leaves.
3. When sweet potatoes are done, slit open the skin and place on serving plate.
4. Season with pepper and a dot of butter or a sprinkling of oil, if you like. Then squeeze fresh lime juice all over and shower with cilantro leaves.
What is your favorite way to cook and eat sweet potatoes? Let me know in the comments below.
PS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative ideas.
Hello, my name is Stacy Phillips, licensed Functional Nutritionist and Holistic Health, Wellness and Strength & Conditioning Coach with a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine practicing whole-foods nutrition and physical training to individuals around the globe.
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