A ‘no excuses’ approach to eating healthy while traveling

dallas foodI’m in Dallas for the rest of the week at the Institute for Functional Medicine’s annual conference.  This year’s conference is all about energy.  We’ll be hearing about mitochondria – the little organelles in our cells that make energy and the food that keeps our cells healthy enough to make energy.   We’ll listen to talks about brain, heart, and gut health, tissue repair and athletic performance.  EMF radiation and how it impacts us, to the therapeutic, healing energies of compassion, intention, and connection.    I’m sure my brain will be full when I get home!

Of course, for me, having the ability to keep up with all this will take energy too and so when I travel for something this intense, I make sure I arrive prepared with some foods that I know will get my mornings going on the right foot and keep my energy up throughout the day.

More and more, I’m packing food when I travel and eating out less and I prefer it this way.   It saves me time and money, and it gives me greater control over what I’m eating.   It also helps me handle and recover from a trip more quickly and reduce my chances of getting sick.  Even this morning, on my early flight, my breakfast was leftover chickpea salad that I threw together last night for dinner.  “Chickpea salad for breakfast?” you may be wondering.  Yes, it worked for me!

As I was unpacking here at the hotel, I laughed because it seemed like I had more food than clothing in my suitcase.  And as I piled it on the desk, I decided I would share with you what I brought so that you could see that it is possible to travel and eat healthy.  I carried a couple of the items myself, but the rest were stowed away with the cargo.

In the picture above, there’s whole oats, hemp seeds and a protein/green powder mix in recycled glass jars, almond milk, wild Alaskan salmon, walnuts, avocados, green apples, lemons, cucumbers, and some teas.   For the most part, it’s a relatively simple combination of foods.  I’ll be eating some meals out too, but there’s plenty of great options here to begin my day and to keep me full, keep my brain working, and keep me energized.

Here’s the thing.  There will always be an excuse to start eating healthy ‘tomorrow’.  There will be that vacation, or wedding, or birthday dinner, or barbecue, or conference.   Yet, it is possible to eat healthy and enjoy life.  It doesn’t have to be a one or the other, and I’d like to suggest that life will be more enjoyable when eating in a way that works for your body, mind, and spirit, becomes your way of life.

Off Meds After a Decade [Testimonial]

tammytI love sending out my newsletter with tips and tools and inspiration to help you live your healthiest and happiest life.  It’s actually great motivation and inspiration for me to constantly grow, because the more I do, the more value I can offer you.  For example, this weekend, I’m attending a seminar to learn about some of the latest research on the topic of weight loss as well as hear from some practitioners who have had very good success with their patients.

And periodically, I like to share stories about my clients as inspiration and testimony to the possibilities, and to allow you to see that every client’s story is different, and so even with your unique situation, it is possible to regain your health. This week’s success story is about my client, Tammy.   When I began working with Tammy last September, it didn’t take long for me to realize that this was one committed and determined woman.

At each of our sessions, we’d talk about her goals and challenges, we’d agree on a plan for the coming two weeks, and the next time we’d meet, she’d have news about the action she had taken and how she was eating better, feeling better, and looking better.   One day, she very excitedly stood up and said, “Look!  I’m wearing skinny jeans!!”  And I wanted to cry.  Because at that point, it was way more than the jeans.  To me they represented the transformation she was undergoing.  A transformation that didn’t involve deprivation or punishment or guilt; it was more like enlightenment.  And so here is what she wanted to share to help inspire others:

Linda is Amazing! Working with Linda has changed the way I look at myself and my relationship with food. My goal was to change the way I eat for my health. After spending a decade on medication for acid reflux it finally got to the point where I could barely talk as I was always choking on acid. I just wanted to feel better and get off the medication. Working with Linda has helped me do just that. I have been off reflux medication for four months and by eating the right diet, it is no longer a problem. I have also reduced the hives I was getting by eliminating foods that didn’t work for me.  And as an added benefit I lost eight pounds, which made me very happy!! She provided me with healthy recipes for my busy lifestyle as well as the support needed to move forward. I have reduced stress and I sleep well due to her guidance. I can’t thank her enough for all she has done. I am on my way to a happier healthier future!

If you’re ready to make the commitment to yourself and want the support and accountability to make it happen, let’s have a conversation.  It just may change your life…

Self-sabotage and the Fear of Success

Courtesy of Stuart Miles

Several weeks ago, I wrote an article that talked about a book by Gay Hendricks called the Big Leap in which the author discusses the universal “Upper Limit Problem” and how so many people, no matter how successful they are, will find a way to sabotage their world when things are going well.   Today, I want to share with you a ‘real-life’ example from one of my clients to demonstrate how easily we can fall into this trap – for any number of reasons.

Over the summer, Laura took part in a three-week detox program and got tremendous results.  She was following a healthier eating plan, was feeling and looking better, was releasing a lot of emotional baggage, and was excited to move forward with her new healthier lifestyle in her personal life and within her role as a spiritual coach.

Then something interesting happened.  Laura took part in a photo shoot that produced some stunning photos of her.  When I first saw them, I remember thinking, WOW!  She’s gorgeous, she’s glowing, she’s confident, and I could see success in her future.  Yet, rather than continue to move upwards and outwards during this growth spurt, Laura suddenly found herself–without contemplation–pulling into the drive-thru everyday for a fast food lunch.   She (unknowingly at first) was shrinking back due to a fear of success and sabotaging all the great results she was beginning to see with her health.   Luckily, she identified it very quickly and took steps to get back on track.

Isn’t it ironic that although most of us are afraid of failure, we also have a fear of success?  Whatever that success may look like–and it’s different for everyone–we begin to tell ourselves stories like: I’ll be too busy, I’ll have to give up something, I’ll lose people in my life, I’m not good enough, or things will change.  These are just a few of the many “reasons” we tell ourselves about why we can’t go for it; whatever “it” may be.  I catch myself doing it too.  It usually involves the word “but”.   As in, “I would, but…” And these types of situations are also why I work with clients over a time frame of 3-6 months, or more; because things inevitably come up and it helps to have the support and accountability from someone who’s not “in our heads” so to speak, buying into our false beliefs.

Think about where and how in your own life you may be unconsciously sabotaging your own personal growth and why.  Is it through procrastination, food, TV, toxic relationships?  What is this behavior producing in your life, and what is it ultimately costing you physically, emotionally, spiritually, or yes, even financially?  If you believe a fear of success is something you struggle with, I want to leave you with an excerpt from Marianne Williamson’s book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles that may help release any resistance that holds you back from going for what you really want:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? 

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. 

How to Safely Eliminate Estrogen

Last week, I talked about the estrogen production in the body and how the enzyme aromatase was a key player in regulating how much estrogen your body makes.  Once it’s made, it needs to be transported to the tissues and cells, for example reproductive tissue, bone, and brain, where it functions in a number of signaling pathways.

Estrogen (in the form of estradiol, and testosterone) is transported by a large protein called SHBG.  Think of SHBG as a school bus carrying lots of children (estrogens) to where they need to go, letting them get off when they should get off.  If the number of school buses is too low, then there are children loose all over the street­–this is not a good thing, so it’s important that we make enough SHBG.

What are some of the factors that result in not enough SHBG?  Fat fat cells.  Believe it or not, fat cells can be too fat, and when they are, they don’t work. If you remember, last week, I wrote about how VAT increases inflammation, which stimulates aromatase to make more estrogen.  When VAT cells are too fat, they contribute to insulin resistance and a rise in insulin levels, resulting in less SHBG (and chaos on the streets!). This means that excess fat can both increase estrogen and decrease SHBG.

If estrogen does arrive safely and does its job, in the liver, it then needs to be converted into an intermediate form, which is actually more dangerous to the body than free estrogen, and then it’s transformed into its final, safer form to be eliminated from the body through the feces.

The conversion process is one place where a surprising number of people can have problems.  For example, a process called methylation is carried out which adds a methyl group to estrogen.  Some people are poor methylators, either because of genetic variations in the genes responsible for this, or because of poor diet and the lack of nutrients needed.   As a result, besides the BRCA1 and 2 genes that are risk factors for developing breast cancer, genes involved in detoxing estrogen (COMT, CYP17, CYP1A1, GST) have also been implicated as risk factors for breast cancer.

If estrogens are safely neutralized, they’re transported via the bile to the feces to be excreted; however, the story is still not over.  Gut bacteria can produce an enzyme called b-glucoronidase that can transform the inactivated estrogen back into an active form that’s taken back up into the body.   The enzyme is more active in an unhealthy gut and constipation will also increase the chances of reuptake, which is why good digestion and elimination is so important.   Stress will also increase the activity of this enzyme.

So how do you ensure that you’re detoxing and removing estrogen safely?  Here are a few tips:

  • eat your cruciferous veggies: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower – they’re sulfur containing and produce something called I3C that is involved in estrogen detoxification and balance;
  • take high quality supplements  that support processes like methylation.  I carry a number of supplements that support healthy detox.  Contact me for recommendations;
  • eat a plant-heavy diet with lots of fiber to keep your digestion running smoothly and get any animal sources of protein from grass-fed, organic,  animals;
  • keep your gut bacteria healthy with a good probiotic.  I can offer you a number to choose from depending on your health situation;
  • keep or get your weight at ideal levels so that your fat cells work to maintain a positive impact on insulin, blood sugar, and inflammation.

If you’re struggling with your health because of hormone imbalances, I can help you make changes that will transform your health now and help you move into a healthy future.  Contact me to see if my support is a good fit for you.

It is Possible for You Too [Testimonial]

I love to share client’s stories for many reasons:

  • I always get so inspired by their willingness to share their struggles and their commitment to making positive changes;
  • Their stories allow others who may be weighing in on their own health to hear what’s possible and understand that they’re not alone;
  • The results are often far more than they bargain for;
  • And finally, their experience helps them to see the big picture with their health and motivates them to continue.

This is true for one of my recent clients and I want to share her story with you. 

Before working with Linda, I was in need of a complete remake of my nutritional habits. I was lethargic and felt like an uber-blob. I felt bloated in my face and my abdomen all the time.

I chose to work with Linda’s detox program at first to plunge into a better way of eating. What I didn’t know is that I would get so much more than just how to eat better. Her program allowed me to take a long, hard look at my emotions around eating and address these at the same time.

The three most significant improvements I experienced during Linda’s detox program were:

  • Weight loss & healthier looking skin
  • Much more energy
  • Improved self-care both nutritionally and emotionally

I feel lighter from a physical standpoint and that transcends into an emotional one because of the content of this program. I was able to get rid of a lot of weight (water weight, poundage AND emotional garbage).

Linda’s program is not only a program of information and tasty ideas ~ which it is. But, it is also filled with empathy, compassion and understanding. You can feel it every time you read something from her. She has a wealth of knowledge and understanding that is both supportive and inspiring. Her kindness has helped me make some changes that my body and spirit have long been waiting for and I’m certain will be long lasting.

~Laura Clark, Hope Valley, Rhode Island 

What I’m most thrilled about for Laura is that she continues to practice healthier eating habits and continues to lose weight ~ as a beneficial side effect.  To me, weight loss is not the main objective I would like to see my clients achieve–better health is what I want for them; and if they do lose weight on their journey–which they often do as a result of their healthier habits, then I’m super thrilled for them.

For Laura, she told me that she is far more aware and mindful of what’s she’s eating.  In addition, she’s simply making wiser choices across the board.  For example, she’s now eating more regularly, rather than concentrating most of her food later in the day.  While she would typically have a cup of coffee for breakfast, she now chooses a warm bowl of oatmeal.  And when she eats out, she also makes healthier choices without sacrificing what she likes.  The other night, for her birthday dinner out, rather than a stuffed lobster, she ordered a steamed lobster and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Improving your health doesn’t mean a future of deprivation.   We all know this doesn’t work.  The key is to develop your own personal relationship with food that satisfies your body, mind, and spirit.  If you’d like support in this area, contact me today – I’d love to help!

Can You Handle Happiness?

I just finished reading a fascinating book by Gay Hendricks called The Big Leap.    The book is about how he created the life of his dreams by solving for himself what he believes is a universal challenge for most people:  The Upper Limit Problem.  He’s also gone on to coach some of the most successful people in the world to break through this barrier (which was holding them back, even in their successful lives).

Gay says that we basically live in one of four different states:  zone of incompetence, zone of competence, zone of excellence, and zone of genius.    Each one of us has an internal setting that sets how much love, success, and creativity we’ll allow ourselves to enjoy, and if we go beyond this setting in any of these life areas, we’ll find a way – usually unconsciously – to sabotage the good feeling.   Even many uber successful people are stuck in their zone of excellence because of an internal block that they’re not aware of.

What does this have to do with your health, you may ask?  Well, if you’ve been to any of my talks, you’ll remember that I talk about the concept of primary (what you do, etc.) and secondary (what you eat) foods and how feeling unfulfilled in one area of your life can impact, among other things, your food and lifestyle choices.

Here are some examples of The Upper Limit Problem:

  • You’ve been eating healthy and exercising all week, and then you go on a weekend binge that undoes all of your hard work.
  • You get a raving review and promotion at work and then you start an argument with your spouse or friend or colleague.
  • You start a new job and then you get sick and are laid up in bed, or you injure yourself.
  • You are feeling good about something going well in your life and you suddenly begin to worry about something else for no good reason.
  • You’re given a compliment and you deflect it with a self-deprecating statement.

What do all of these scenarios have in common?  They all stop or block the flow of positive energy that you’re experiencing and brings you back into your comfort zone.   Except, this is not where you’re meant to live and preventing yourself from living in your Zone of Genius is why you may turn to cookies and ice cream while watching TV at night, or drink too much, or sabotage your relationships.

The author asks probing questions in the book to help the reader identify their Upper Limit Problems and offers solutions, including an Ultimate Success Mantra that is an intention you use to center yourself in your Zone of Genius:

“I expand in abundance, success, and love every day, as I inspire those around me to do the same.”

Recite this mantra anytime of the day, especially first thing in the morning to set a mood and mindset for your day.  And use it at any point throughout your day where you feel your spirit needs a lift or you want to re-center yourself.

This book forced me to take a long, hard look at many moments in my own life where my Upper Limiting beliefs have held me back and is helping me to move through those beliefs as I reach for my goals now.   I highly recommend it and hope that you too can take some jewels of wisdom and apply them in your own life.