ARTICLES

Emotional Health

How to improve your mental health with food

I LOVE to eat! Maybe it’s because I am Italian and German, I don’t know! LOL And because I love to eat, I have to be extremely conscious about the types of foods that I am eating. For me as well as my clients, too much sugar or alcohol will put my body in a tizzy. If  I overindulge or eat the wrong foods for my body, I gain weight, feel sluggish, unmotivated and downright grumpy! Sound familiar? We know the key to having a healthy body is a healthy diet, but not everyone realizes that your diet can also affect your mental health. Studies have shown that individuals who incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diet report higher levels of wellbeing (source). Must be all those amazing nutrients! Certain foods and diets are known to help improve mental health and can actually reduce depression symptoms. Because I understand how difficult it is to keep yourself healthy mentally and physically, I created this food guide to help you improve your depression, anxiety, overall well being and quality of life. 1. Reduce sugar intake Despite how hard it may be to control your sweet tooth, reducing sugar intake is essential

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Emotional Health

My guide to dealing with emotional conflict during the holidays

If you are prone to anxiety or depression, or you experienced a trauma this year that you are working through, you may notice a change in mood during the holiday season. With the increase of demands that the holidays put on us, it is easy to get weighed down. Studies have shown that people with depression find the holidays can make their conditions worse (source). While it can be difficult to manage emotions, it’s healthier to address them at the cause of your stressors. To help you emotionally survive the holiday season, I created this guide to prepare you for managing the conflict that might head your way. Deal with conflict When the holiday parties arrive, you may be forced to sit at the dinner table with family members or friends that you have experienced conflict with, or that maybe trigger sensitive spots for you. It can be hard to enjoy your holiday time if you have negativity from the past resurfacing. Preparing yourself emotionally if you know someone you don’t get along with will be attending the same holiday events is crucial to maintain your sanity. If you’re open to reconciling the relationship, talk to the individual alone ahead

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Emotional Health

Stress-free seasonal activities to enjoy (plus healthy cookie & hot chocolate recipes!)

With Christmas only a month away, the pressure to organize holiday dinners, shop for presents, and hang up festive decorations is growing. While some individuals may welcome all the planning that is required in these activities, it is easy to feel stressed and worn out with all the hustle and bustle. During the holidays, there is such a big emphasis on buying presents for people, not to mention the pressure that comes from our commercialistic culture to have the latest and greatest ourselves. We feel an obligation to buy gifts for everyone and wrap them up in shiny paper with bows. Some may enjoy shopping. But there are many individuals who feel the financial strain from buying presents or feel guilty if they can’t find the perfect gift for their loved ones. The holidays can really create a lot of negative stress and emotions for people because of all the expectations there are surrounding this time of year. I want to remind you that you not required to take part in activities that give you stress! You don’t have to buy a whole slew of gifts. You aren’t required to host a giant holiday dinner party for your entire friends’

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Emotional Health

How to combat the winter blues

As the winter months creep in, the amount of daily light decreases. For many of us, we will go to work in the morning, and by the time we get out at five, the sun is already setting. This time of year, you might notice the lack of sunlight and seasonal change having a negative effect on everyday mood. If you notice a downward turn in mood as the number of sunlight decreases, you may have “winter blues” or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Know that you are not alone if you are experiencing SAD! Studies have shown that four to six percent of people may be suffering from winter depression and another 10 to 20 percent may have mild SAD (source). If you think you have the seasonal affective disorder, it is essential to try your best to combat the negative side effects and even seek professional help. Depression can actually harm your immune system and leave you more susceptible to disease, so it’s important to treat it and take care of yourself to avoid any additional health issues (source, source). Know the signs and symptoms of seasonal affective disorder Be aware of your body and how you are feeling

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General

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes to Strengthen Your Immunity

Enjoy your Thanksgiving family time, MINUS the uncomfortable post-meal bloat and guilt hanging over you! There’s a way to still feel like you’re indulging, but minus the health-compromising ingredients—through using healthy Thanksgiving recipes! With a little creativity, you can incorporate foods and spices with powerful health benefits that will give your body the strength, vitamins, nutrients to fight off sickness this season. Here are some alternatives to your favorite holiday meals, but with a healthy flare! Best Spices to Incorporate in Your Thanksgiving Dinner Herbs contribute a significant amount of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to a dish in a small, power-packed punch. Not only do they add flavor and dimension to dishes, but you can select herbs specifically to strengthen your immune system! Thyme – is high in vitamins C and A, and is known to help lower blood pressure (Source) Cilantro – is anti-inflammatory, a natural pain reliever, and is high in antioxidants  (Source)   Garlic – is high in the antimicrobial allicin, helps to reduce blood pressure and reduce hardening of the arteries Turmeric – is anti-inflammatory, protects your body from disease, and may even help prevent cancer (Source) Oregano – exhibited the highest antioxidant capacity compared

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General

How Stress Can Harm Your Immune System

Stress seems to be an unavoidable part of our daily lives. In small doses, stress can be a helpful tool and motivator. But when daily stress becomes chronic stress, it can leave you feeling worn out and fatigued. The result can be adrenal fatigue and a weakened immune system. The connection between mind and body is inextricable and shouldn’t be taken lightly! To avoid getting sick this cold season, learn how your stress impacts your body, the negative role it has on your immune system and what you can do to manage your stress. What exactly is stress? When you are feeling stressed out, your adrenals are releasing the hormone, cortisol, into your body. Overtime, that cortisol builds up in your body and you become used to having excess amounts of the hormone in your blood. When this happens, it can leave your body susceptible to diseases, increased inflammation and weight gain (source). Cortisol blocks your body’s ability to burn fat and so it’s not unusual to gain weight in the belly. Sleep patterns can also be disrupted when cortisol levels are high which adds fuel to the fire. Many times, I will recommend a cortisol reducing supplement, such as

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General

My Immune System Boosting Grocery List

It is cold season — literally! The weather is getting colder and the common cold, the flu and other viruses are rearing their ugly heads. As cold season sets in, preparing your body to fight off these viruses is an essential step to remaining healthy this winter. Thankfully we can be proactive in setting ourselves up for a healthy holiday season by altering what we eat. To avoid getting sick, I have several specific food items I incorporate into my diet on a regular basis the help keep my immune system as strong as possible. Top Foods that You Can Add to Your Grocery List Now Blueberries are high in antioxidants Broccoli is high in vitamins A, E and C, and lightly steaming it retains the nutrients Oily Fish like wild caught salmon Dark Chocolate is yummy and high in antioxidants Sweet Potatoes are loaded with vitamin C and several B vitamins Spinach is high in vitamin C and beta carotene Ginger is anti-inflammatory and great for nausea too Turmeric increases the antioxidant capacity of the body Garlic is high in the antimicrobial allicin, helps to reduce blood pressure and reduce hardening of the arteries Green Tea is high in

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Inflammation

Homemade, anti-inflammatory protein bar recipes

After receiving questions about healthy protein bar choices, I did some research on yummy, anti-inflammatory protein bar recipes. With so many tasty, natural foods that have anti-inflammatory properties, the combinations to create at-home protein bars are endless. Plus, if you make the bar yourself, you know exactly what is going into them and you can avoid harsh processed additives. Below I have found five variations of popular, make-at-home protein bars! Feel free to add your own touches and experiment with these recipes. Cater them to your own taste and needs, and if you find a great combination, please feel free to share it in the comments below! First, since these are protein bars, they all call for protein powder. My absolute favorite brand is Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein by my good friend, Dr. Josh Axe. They are devoid of inflammatory ingredients like whey or soy. Plus there are a variety of delicious flavors to choose from! Now, let’s get to the recipes… Turmeric Turmeric has is a brilliant colored spice that has is known for its countless health benefits. From using it in face masks to whitening teeth, turmeric has infinite possibilities to improve your health. Not to mention,

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Inflammation

7 Reasons Why You’re Experiencing Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is a healthy and normal process that occurs in the body. When we have inflammation, our body uses white blood cells as a way to fight off invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. However, when inflammation persists and becomes chronic, things can take a turn for the worse. Like many things in life, inflammation is only helpful in moderation. Symptoms of chronic inflammation tend to be hidden until a major issues arises. Chronic inflammation can be silent and can cause long term damage, but with the right knowledge, you can get to the root of your inflammation and take control of your body! Take a look at the list below to see if these everyday factors could be causing inflammation in your body. 1. Harmful beauty product A hidden cause for your chronic inflammation may be caused by the type of nail polish you use. Nail polish can be a mix of harmful chemicals. Getting manicures and pedicures is always a fun treat, but not at the expensive of your health! Three harmful chemicals commonly found in nail polish are: Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) –  used to make the polish hard, durable and last longer. Toluene – a compound commonly

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