Top Brain Health Killers and How to Flip the Script

Five things will always sabotage your mental well-being:

  1. Lack of sleep.
  2. Lack of nutrients.
  3. Lack of sunshine.
  4. Lack of movement.
  5. Lack of community.

I could leave it at that. It’s a whole post in itself.

But I want to flip this, because most of us know these things on some level. However, during times of stress, we often forget to take care of ourselves. We forget that we humans are basically just plants, and plants left without care will wither and die.

We were not designed to stay inside all day, blinking back at a screen with artificial light, head and neck perpetually tilted downward while the rest of our body is unmoving, eating food that is filled with hard-to-digest chemicals and additives, with a schedule so packed we don’t make time for people who are important to us.

Yes, I know that was a massive run-on sentence. It was exhausting (and convicting) typing it out.

Times of brief stress and opposition can be helpful for the body, but when we are continuously stressed, doggy-paddling up to the surface of the water all day long, we will start to feel side effects. It will impact our physical body’s health, and it will most definitely affect our brain’s health. It will cause us to be unable to make clear decisions, show empathy, and connect well with others – because we are in survival mode.

Our bodies are amazing at survival – that’s why you’re here. You’re here because your ancestors survived during difficult times. You gain weight after you diet because your ancestors were able to store weight during famine and not die. Your digestive discomfort is physical evidence that your body knows how to respond to mental stress and anxiety. Your blood sugar fluctuates in order to adapt to emotional stressors and physical stressors on your body. Your hormones are wacky, because duh, it’s never optimal to reproduce when there is a famine or threat to your safety (remember – your body doesn’t know the difference between a stressful job or a T rex chasing you). Even your afternoon fatigue that hits you like a load is a sign that you are overflowing with stress chemicals, and your body’s response system is working properly.

Your body is doing all the right things it is supposed to do. Your body is on your side.

Continue reading “Top Brain Health Killers and How to Flip the Script”

Food, Fertility, and Faith: What is the Connection?

Fertility and reproductive health are hot topics in the world of health and wellness right now. Many women (and men) are struggling and looking for natural tools for support. In this latest podcast episode with one of the leading experts in the field, we cover it all!

Download here or listen wherever you get podcasts.

Dr. Robert Kiltz is a board-certified OB/GYN and reproductive endocrinologist, and Founder and Director of CNY Fertility, one of the largest and most dynamic fertility centers in the country, featured in the Wall Street Journal, Today Show, and CNBC for helping shape the future of fertility medicine. In this fascinating episode, we discuss how to merge intuition and ancestral wisdom with the latest science for fertility and overall health and well-being.

Key Topics:

  • Myths and misconceptions of fertility
  • Difference in Western medicine and taking a holistic perspective
  • The impact of stress on our physiology
  • How food factors in and creates inflammation
  • Obesity is not the cause of disease; it’s a symptom
  • Plant toxins and a carnivore approach to health
  • How the glycobiome trumps the microbiome
  • Prejudice and bias in science

“Living Your Best Life: How to Think, Eat, and Connect your Way to a Better Flow” by Dr. Robert Kiltz is now available on Amazon or at DoctorKiltz.com. For more information, visit Dr. Kiltz’s website, or follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Get $100 off your first month of therapy with Talkspace.com when you use the code sparkingwholeness.

Delicious Ways to Make Lower Carb and No Sugar Fit Your Lifestyle

Deana Karim is a mom on a mission. She is bringing delicious, low-carb, and sugar-free baking mixes to the world – and they are truly delicious! Deana is the founder of Good Dee’s, a company that makes mixes for brownies, cookies, bread, and so much more.

Before I hosted Deana on the podcast, I was able to sample some of the Good Dee’s baking mixes. I tried the brownies, cornless corn bread, and devil’s food cake mix. All were surprisingly delicious. They didn’t taste like they were low carb or sugar free. I can’t stand the taste of anything artificial, and I could tell that Good Dee’s baking mixes are only used with the highest quality.

In this episode, we cover how she started Good Dee’s, and why she feels having options to individualize your health goals is so important! Download to listen here, or find wherever you get podcasts.

Key Topics:

  • Story behind the baking mixes
  • How she came up with different seed flours to use (even watermelon seed flour)!
  • The various sweeteners used and the impact on her blood sugar
  • What makes Good Dee’s mixes stand apart from the others
  • Deana’s mission with her products
  • Deana’s favorite mixes and recipe suggestions
  • Tips to change things up and make it easy to fit your lifestyle!

Find all the Good Dee’s mixes or find a store near you that has them at the website here.

Get 20% off your first order from Ancient Nutrition at ancientnutrition.com – use the promo code sparking at checkout!

Feast 2 Fast: Purpose of the Body

Summer is right around the corner and I’m here to remind you that the purpose of your body is NOT to get swimsuit ready.

The purpose of your body is to be “fit to serve” right where you are, with the body you have.

Here’s the thing, though – sometimes we get into a food rut, due to stress and factors outside of our control, and we find ourselves fueling on food sources that aren’t optimal for our unique bodies. It can lead to blood sugar instability, poor gut health, brain fog, fatigue, and overall blah.

Feast 2 Fast is a complete reset for nutrition, mindset and spiritual health! No calorie-counting, no macro-counting, no deprivation, no complications – just real food, the way God made it!

Continue reading “Feast 2 Fast: Purpose of the Body”

Five Triggers for Anxiety (That Your Doctor Might Not Tell You About)

What’s Behind Your Anxiety?

If you struggle with anxiety or depression, you know it affects your entire life. It affects how you move (or don’t move), your concentration, your ability to sleep, your interactions with others, even your bathroom habits. Because anxiety is on the rise, and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, I want to share some little-known triggers for anxiety that you may not be hearing about from anyone else!

Like everything I share, remember that your body’s response to food or internal/external stressors is individual to YOU. What is a trigger for one person might not be a trigger for you. Being aware of how your unique body responds to this world is only something you can determine.

Five triggers for your anxiety that your doctor might not tell you about: 

  1. Artificial sweeteners and dyes – not only do they disrupt nervous system function, but sucralose decreases beneficial gut bacteria and aspartame increases anxiety and depression (just another reason to lay off the Diet Coke). Sweeteners can also negatively impact blood sugar – which can increase panic attacks! Food dyes may trigger “mind-storms,” which are issues with the brain’s wiring or electrical activity. No bueno!
  2. Too much screen time – blue light from screens can suppress the hormone melatonin which is needed for restful sleep. Screens can also disrupt the calming neurotransmitter Gaba, along with serotonin – the happy one.
  3. Magnesium deficiency – magnesium calms your nervous system and prevents the creation of excess cortisol, the stress hormone. Some call it “nature’s Xanax.” It’s needed for just about every process in the body. It’s found in nuts, seeds, legumes, and leafy greens, but it’s also an inexpensive supplement! Two of my favorite formulations are the Plexus one, here, or Nutritional Frontiers, here.
  4. Excess caffeine – a little is fine, but too much can stimulate the fight or flight response and trigger racing thoughts, or even panic attacks. Some people metabolize it slower than others, so keep that in mind when you have your afternoon coffee or tea break – your mind might be racing at 1 am!
  5. Stored trauma that hasn’t been addressed – trauma can keep our bodies in that constant fight or flight state, which can lead to poor sleep, inability to concentrate, and panic attacks. Fortunately, there are a wide range of trauma therapies, and many mind-body strategies available to help your body unlock trauma and heal! EMDR and EFT (tapping) are two of the most popular. The wellness center I work with has some amazing trauma therapists and resources here.

Honorable mention:
Blood sugar issues: when we’re riding that blood sugar roller coaster it can cause all sorts of poor mental health symptoms. Limit sugar consumption to limit the swing. Consume plenty of fiber-rich vegetables, brain-boosting fats and quality protein with each meal. Many times we fail to fill up on necessary nutrients so we stay hungry, reaching for quick fix glucose fuel and perpetuating the cycle of brain fog and hunger.

Poor digestion: If you can’t digest protein, you can’t make the neurotransmitters needed for mental health. Period. You know that old saying, “you are what you eat?” It’s not true. It should be, “You are what you are able to digest.” When we can’t create serotonin from our food nutrients, we can’t access melatonin either, which affects mood AND sleep. Taking digestive enzymes and working on gut health can help, something I love helping people with!

The next round of Feast 2 Fast, an online coaching group that pairs science-based nutrition principles with timeless spiritual truth to reset your mind, body, and soul starts May 3. Join the wait list here – or contact me directly for more coaching options!

How Many Times a Day Should I Eat?

The blood sugar conversation is more important than ever. We have to understand how to manage our blood sugar before it starts managing us. Like most “common” health concerns, it shouldn’t have to be normal to have blood sugar that is on a continual roller coaster.

Kris DeFoer is a Nutritional Therapist and owner of Happy Body Health. She is passionate about helping women optimize their nutrition and lifestyles to look and feel their best. She believes that healthy digestion and blood sugar regulation are critical to good health and that a healthy diet and lifestyle can address many of the chronic issues that people deal with today.

This discussion with Kris breaks down why we want to fuel our bodies with food that helps to stabilize our blood sugar, and keep our brain and immune systems strong! Download the episode here or find wherever you listen to podcasts!

Key Topics:

– What blood sugar is and why we should care about it

– The difference between hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia

– Kris’ history with dieting and finding a way to regulate her blood sugar naturally

– How many meals a day should I actually eat?

– The stress and blood sugar connection

– What to eat to support a healthy insulin response

– How to eat enough nutrients

– How to support a healthy immune system through food

– The key to salad-building (and a listener challenge)

Learn more about Kris and sign up for her informative emails at Happy Body Health.

Biohacking Hunger Hormones and Blood Sugar to Survive the Holidays

Steve Welch is a nutrition research expert and past guest on the show. He is the co-author of the book, The Ketogenic Key. In our first episode, he shared why fat is good and doesn’t impact cholesterol the way we have been told. In this episode, we discuss why people get stuck in the cravings cycle over the holidays and how to combat that with a few easy tricks!

Key Topics:

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  • How to avoid the temptation of sugary treats
  • How fat keeps you full and optimizes hunger hormones
  • What leptin and ghrelin are and how they regulate your eating and influence your urge to overeat
  • The importance of nutrient density vs fueling on processed carbs
  • The science behind a post-meal walk
  • Brain-boosting benefits of exercise
  • Benefits of fasted exercise
  • Best post-workout fuel
  • The impact of ketones on our immune system

Learn more about Steve at his website here.

Don’t forget to use the code whole20 for 20% off your vitamin and supplement needs at http://www.Swanson.com

What Do We Currently Know About Covid?

All we hear from the news media is wash your hands, wear a mask, social distance. Is that really a long term solution for supporting your immune system?

Dr. Chad Edwards is a former army surgeon and currently works as an Emergency Physician. He is the founder and director of Revolution Health and Wellness Clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Here, he pays special attention to sports medicine and health and wellness as a preventive strategy to optimize health, minimize injury risk, and decrease disease. Viewing his patients through a holistic approach helps identify subtleties in their function that are beginning to show signs of dysregulation.

This interview is a very balanced and informative take on the current pandemic, what we currently know, and what we can do to support our immune function.

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Key topics include:

  • His experience with Covid patients
  • What the current numbers of deaths and infections tell us, according to CDC data
  • The data on wearing masks
  • The issue of asymptomatic carriers
  • Common sense precautions to take
  • Practical steps to support immune health via gut health and supplementation
  • The magic of vitamin c and nitric oxide (and why you want to avoid mouthwash and proton pump inhibitors)
  • The importance of glutathione, n acetyl cysteine and nitric oxide
  • Should we run out to get the Covid vaccine?

For CDC data mentioned in the episode, click here.

For more information on Dr. Edwards and his work, click here.

Stop Fearing Fat!

Have you been told to stay away from egg yolks? Are you trying a low fat diet to improve your cholesterol? Is cholesterol a good indicator of health or a risk factor for disease?

We go there in this episode!

“Cholesterol is so important that your body will manufacture it if you don’t eat enough of it.” – Steve Welch

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Steve is a NESTA certified Fitness Nutrition Coach and former publisher of the world renowned medical journal CHEST. His background in medical publishing provides him with insights into assessing medical and nutrition research, which he uses to educate others to improve their own health and fitness.

He is coauthor of the new book “The Ketogenic Key,” which is available in stores now.

In this episode we cover:

– Why we fear fat

– The history of low fat diets and why the data is skewed

– Why our bodies need fat to function

– The cholesterol conversation

– Carbohydrates, cholesterol, and inflammation

– How cutting extreme calories can backfire

– Individualizing the approach for YOU

This is such a fascinating interview that I hope you enjoy and learn from as much as I did!

Learn more about Steve at http://www.ketosteve.net or on Twitter at @ketosteve.

Feast 2 Fast: A Groundbreaking Nutrition Program Teaching YOU Metabolic Flexibility

Get ready! I have a BRAND NEW nutritional program starting August 17 called Feast 2 Fast. It was developed by Chelsea Blackbird (aka “The Christian Nutritionist”). You may remember Chelsea from a past podcast episode called “Busting Common Health and Diet Myths.” img_0079-1

This program helps people reach metabolic flexibility while also gaining freedom and flexibility in food choices. It truly is a place where “real food meets real life.”

img_0080You know me. You know I don’t promote diet plans. But I do promote supporting health – body, mind, and spirit. This group tackles all three! Registration for this 4 week program starts on August 3. You can learn more and sign up by clicking here.

img_0081If you love food, hate diets, and want to learn how to support your health goals in a balanced way, this program is for you. This program aims to develop metabolic flexibility and overall health while also supporting mental health and your relationship with food through daily encouragement.

The program includes:

  • An online participant portal to access all content
  • Over 100 recipes that are easy and delicious
  • A supportive community on Facebook
  • Access to ME an my support and encouragement whenever you need it
  • Short instructional videos on optimizing nutrition for OPTIMAL health
  • Daily spiritual encouragement and reminders to nourish your soul

img_9936The cost of the program is $179, and I assure you, it is WELL worth it. This program checks all the boxes I look for when I want to really get to the root of food and mood!

Targeted nutritional support can be a catalyst for whole body health. Through this program, you will learn how to become empowered with your nutritional choices and how to individualize your nutrition for your lifestyle and your health goals.

Oh – and did I mention the side effects of better sleep, clear skin, decreased cravings, and super-charging your body into fat-burning mode?

I can’t wait to get started with you on this journey! We are going to learn so much together. Sign up here.