How Environmental Toxins Mess With Our Health

Mystery symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, and frequent headaches? Unable to lose weight no matter what you try? Skin issues? Bathroom problems? You might be struggling from toxic overload!

Diana Edwards is the founder and CEO of Optimally You and co-owner of Revolution Health and Wellness and Against the Grain Podcast with her husband, Dr. Chad Edwards. She is an expert on environmental toxins and their impact on our health.

In this episode, we learn about all the sneaky toxins we encounter day to day that impact our mental functioning, hormones, and so much more!

Key Topics:

  • headshotDiana’s health journey, how every traditional treatment failed her until she learned how to treat the root
  • Common household/environmental toxins and their effect
  • How these toxins overload our body
  • The danger of commonly used cleaning supplies
  • Simple ways we can reduce our toxic load in cost effective ways
  • How to support detoxification pathways, especially if you have the MTHFR gene mutation
  • Why some people have a harder time detoxing than others
  • How you know if you are struggling with toxicity

To learn more about Diana, head to her website here.

This episode is sponsored by Forager Project, a company with 100% organic plant-based products like kefir, milk, yogurt, and sour cream. To learn more about Forager, head to: http://www.foragerproject.com/vote

How to End Comparison and Release the Burden to Be Better

So often in the world of wellness, we find ourselves getting caught up in chasing optimal health yet finding out that there’s always a better goal, diet, plan, solution, etc.

Heather Creekmore is a body image expert, speaker, and the author of Compared to Who along with the newly published The Burden of Better.

In this episode we discuss her newest book, the inspiration behind it, and WHY we need to stop comparing and set aside the heavy burden of better. Download the episode here or listen wherever you get podcasts!

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But that’s not all! Heather and I are excited to share that we are partnering together one last time in 2020 to bring you our 14 day ecourse, Re-Focus 2020! In this course, we tackle the topics of body image, wellness, spiritual health, nutrition, and so much more!

To learn more about Re-Focus 2020, and to sign up, click here.

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.

 

Habits of Healthy Moms – Interview with Dr. Orlena Kerek

orlena_square_smDr. Orlena Kerek is a pediatrician turned weight loss coach and mom of 4. In this packed episode, she shares how she wants to make nutrition easy and fun for both moms and kids.

She gives practical tips to create healthy, sustainable habits. She shares her 4 keys for health and how she incorporates those things for her clients.

Learn more about Dr. Orlena and access her free gifts at www.drorlena.com and listen to her podcast Fit and Fabulous over 40! Continue reading “Habits of Healthy Moms – Interview with Dr. Orlena Kerek”

Re-Focus 2020 – It’s Back!

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Can you believe it’s almost March? This new year isn’t so new anymore. Maybe you’ve already forgotten your word of the year, or broken your resolution. Or… maybe you’re still figuring out if you should have a word or resolution!

In January, my friend, body image expert and author of Compared to Who, Heather Creekmore, joined me to coach 50 women in an online group called Re-Focus 2020. This group was a huge success. We both believe strongly that being caught up in body perfection is enslaving. We created the group because we want to help women change their views of themselves and find purpose outside of the scale, pants size, or mirror. We want women to see that there are ways to nourish yourself that have nothing to do with a restrictive diet plan.

Here’s what a few participants had to say about their experience in January: 
Continue reading “Re-Focus 2020 – It’s Back!”

A Taste of Grace – Interview with Melissa d’Arabian

I was thrilled to get the opportunity to sit down and talk to Melissa d’Arabian, Food Network host and author of the bestselling Ten Dollar Dinners, about her newest book Tasting Grace.

In her book, Melissa describes 16 invitations that transform the way we view food and our relationship with food.

I don’t know about you, but I have felt burdened by all the food rules lately. Everyone has an opinion on what is “good” or “bad” food. This book was a breath of fresh air in shaping my perspective on food as a gift and a joy.

In my interview with Melissa, she talks about why she chose to write this book, the intentional process she went through in forming it, and she shares some of her views that helped shaped the invitations in this book.

If you are feeling caught up and confused in the “eat this, not that” culture we live in, this book and episode of the podcast offers a fresh and balanced perspective. Food can unite us, and we can utilize what we’ve been given to be filled with more gratitude – and grace.

If you love this interview, I can’t recommend the book enough. It is a love letter to food and the Giver of good things. For more information on Melissa, check out her website here.

Be sure to subscribe to the Sparking Wholeness podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts! To access my show page, click the tree to the right!

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Healthy For the Holidays

Here I go, adding to the noise in cyber space to try to tell you what it means to be healthy during the holidays.

img_1244But seriously – this is an important time of year to take care of ourselves – body, mind, and soul.

Rule number one: Take care of your stress load. This is a great time of year to exercise your “no muscle.” Don’t try to do it all. Stress weakens the immune system, shuts down proper digestion, and wreaks havoc on our health.

Start a gratitude journal. Get outside and move your body. Play with your kids. Breathe. Eat your colors. Minimize your screen usage (and social media). Do the things you WANT to do, not the things you feel you HAVE to do. This is supposed to be a season of joy, not a season of obligation.

In the latest episode of Sparking Wholeness, I chat with my friend and fellow health coach, Melissa McGaughey. We discuss our top tips for staying healthy during the hectic holiday season. Click here to find it on iTunes, or here to find it on my show page.

The Truth About FAT

Fat is getting a lot of attention these days. Which is pretty awesome, because does anyone remember Susan Powter and the days of “fat makes you fat?”

Those days are over.

In fact, we now know that our brains MUST have fat. Personally, I think it’s pretty interesting that we have experienced a rise in mental illness and other chronic illnesses following the “fear of fat” campaigns. Could there be a connection? Maybe.

But not all fats are created equally.

Processed, trans fats – the hydrogentated oils we find in all our Doritos and Twinkies and good old standard American packaged food – is extremely damaging to our mental health. These fats increase inflammation and modern day research on mental illness tells us that an increase of inflammatory cytokines in our bloodstream could very well be at the root of mental illness.

To keep inflammation levels in check, we MUST have a healthy balance of fat in our bodies. We NEED fat for vitamin absorption, brain health (our brains are made of fat), heart health, metabolic support, and to keep our hormones functioning as they’re supposed to.

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Olive oil contains oleocanthal, which has been proven to decrease inflammation similarly to ibuprofen!

Where to Find Healthy Fats

  • Avocados, olives, and coconuts are great sources of healthy fat, along with animal sources like ghee, grass fed butter, wild salmon, grass fed beef and omega-3 rich organic eggs (always, always eat the yolks).
  • Whole nuts and seeds, and their butters like almond butter or tahini
  • Look for the highest-quality organic oils when shopping. Stay away from genetically modified vegetable oils like corn, canola, safflower, and soybean.
  • Words to look for: organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin, and unrefined. Avoid expeller-pressed, refined, and solvent extracted.

How to Use Healthy Fats:

  • For cooking at high temperatures (stir frying and baking), try butter, ghee (clarified butter), or coconut oil
  • When sautéing foods, try organic extra virgin olive oil.
  • Oils like flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut, and pumpkin seed are best used unheated in sauces or dressings.

I try to get a healthy fat in at every meal. It keeps me full and my brain clear. I start my day with fatty coffee – French pressed coffee, MCT oil, coconut milk or grass fed butter and sometimes I add in some collagen protein. I blend it altogether and it’s like my own homemade latte. I try not to use bottled salad dressings, and instead make my own. And my pantry is ALWAYS stocked with various raw nuts to snack on or to add to meals.

Gut Health 101: Part 2 – What Do I Do?

Now that I shared what leaky gut is and how it starts, I’m excited to share my top tips for nourishing your gut! If you’re already feeling nervous or annoyed that I’m going to share a long to-do list that will overwhelm you, scroll down to Tip #4, then come back up to the top and be encouraged! Learning to take care of your gut is such a rewarding process.

First things first – because I love all things food, my inclination is to start there. But that may be backwards.

See, if you don’t take care of external triggers, it doesn’t matter what food you eat.

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Tip #1: Manage Stress

We can’t avoid traffic, work deadlines, soccer practices, family conflicts, etc. But we CAN handle how we manage the stress they create.

The best thing I’ve done for my stress levels is learning to breathe. Guided breathwork has been so beneficial. There are various studies into why and how they assist the parasympathetic nervous system, but let’s focus on this – deep nostril breathing will decrease the stress center in your brain. It will instantly calm and soothe you. Just a few minutes of calm, steady breathing can be a game-changer for your stress levels.

One other thing that helps lighten my stress load when my mind is racing is taking a bath with Epsom salts. I am NOT a bath person, and I’ve never been a fan of just laying there, but an extra hot bath that leaves me alone with my mind and deep breathing practices is something I’ve come to depend on during stressful times.

I’m also a big fan of a gratitude journal, either first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. Reflect on what went well the previous day. Try to list 3-5 things. It’s hard to be stressed or fearful when you’re acknowledging the positive in your life. Being grateful changes your brain, the expression of your genes, and improves your gut health!

Tip #2: Eat Real Food!

…And eat it slowly. It’s no secret that processed food is damaging for us. But we all know that, and we just keep on keeping on with our gut issues. So while ideally, one would focus on cutting out the triggers, for some it is a much more realistic approach to crowd in the most fueling foods. Eating slowly and mindfully gives your digestive system time to digest and process the food. Taking breathers between bites and chewing slowly gives your enzymes a chance to do what they need to do and break down your food.

Vegetables contain prebiotic fiber that feeds the good bacteria in our gut. They detoxify our bodies and provide much needed vitamins for our brain health. They also help produce short chain fatty acids like butyrate, which is so important for mental health and has even been studied to be helpful in reducing symptoms of mania. Side note – butyrate is found in grass fed butter and ghee, so by cooking vegetables in either of those you’re increasing your fat-soluble vitamin content AND getting a double dose of brain goodness!

Continue reading “Gut Health 101: Part 2 – What Do I Do?”

Freedom Friday

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit to a yolk of slavery” – Galatians 5:1

Today is Good Friday, the day Jesus took His last breath on the cross. The day He gathered the weight of the world and restored balance in the most unexpected way possible. Talk about a plot twist. God on earth, submitting to a degrading death. For the sake of FREEDOM. Our freedom.

Lately I’ve been pondering the concept of freedom. My lastborn’s middle name is Freeman, as tribute to my grandpa (as that was his middle name as well). It’s a fitting name, since the last 2 and a half years that Rhett Freeman has graced this earth I have been on a “freedom journey” of sorts. God is breaking major chains in my life.

The thing about freedom… is that it’s free.

I didn’t pay for my freedom in Christ. There is nothing I can do to earn it or work for it. It is a gift.

I can think of a thousand ways this has brought peace and healing to my life. But lately, this freedom has come in the form of healing my relationship with body image and food. Continue reading “Freedom Friday”