How to Individualize Your Diet for Your Unique Body

Our bodies are so unique! The food that makes you feel amazing may make another person feel horrible.

While it is important to have freedom to enjoy the food you want to enjoy, it’s also okay to say no when your body doesn’t respond well to something.

This was hard for me to learn, and left me with “reverse food shame” for choosing the foods that are health-promoting for my body and brain.

We unpack all this on the latest episode of the podcast with guest Tracy Cromwell who recently wrote the book, Your Personal Journey with Food.

Continue reading “How to Individualize Your Diet for Your Unique Body”

The Science Behind Why We Eat What We Eat

Have you ever wondered why we have all the health and diet information in the world, yet there are still so many struggling to make the right decisions to improve their health? In this episode we cover the WHY behind making the food decisions we make.

Download and listen here or get wherever you find podcasts!

Jack Bobo is the CEO of Futurity, a food foresight company that advises companies, foundations and governments on emerging food trends and consumer attitudes and behaviors related to the future of food. Recognized by Scientific American in 2015 as one of the 100 most influential people in biotechnology, Jack is a global thought leader who has delivered more than 500 speeches in 50 countries.

His new book is called Why Smart People Make Bad Food Choices.

Key Topics:

  • The way our brain is biased against our efforts
  • Why we can’t just agree to disagree
  • How we have less trust in authority figures about our health
  • Confirmation bias in excess of information available today
  • Why people fear certain food over others
  • The “naturalness” bias
  • Why healthy food doesn’t taste good
  • The history of supersizing and unit bias
  • The “clean your plate” method and how it works against us
  • How our minds can trick us with what we’re eating, and the study that confirms it
  • Mental fatigue and decision fatigue in eating and grocery shopping
  • Solutions to change the way we think about our choices
  • Reshaping personal food space

Jack’s book is available now, and you can learn more about his work at this website. This episode is sponsored by Talkspace.

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

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”

Feast 2 Fast Lent Round

The Lent round of Feast 2 Fast, starting February 17, is open for registration!

Typically, Feast 2 Fast is 4 weeks long, as we systematically use a pattern of feasting and fasting to increase metabolic flexibility and restore nutrient density. The Lent round is six and a half weeks long. We start with a brief sugar detox and incorporate a weekly superfast. We are encouraging each other to give up a food/practice/poor habit for the duration of Lent, while also adding in a divine activity to level up the spiritual focus and become more mindful and purposeful in who we are.

We are simplifying our lives to focus on what truly matters, and I hope you will join us! For more information or to sign up, click here.

  • No calorie counting.
  • No logging macros.
  • No mandatory workouts.
  • No shakes or supplements.

In this program, we use intermittent fasting in a way that works for YOUR unique body. We introduce real food carbs, whole food carbs, and my favorite – heck yeah carbs – which not only encourages metabolic flexibility, it encourages a healthy mindset toward food as well!

Weekly Zoom meetings are available for those wanting more individualized support, but they aren’t mandatory. You get to go at your own pace and use what components work best for you!

Sign up here.

How Relationships Impact Your Health

It’s February, the month of loooooove, so I can’t NOT talk about the importance of relationships to your overall well-being.

While loneliness is just as detrimental to your health as smoking, there are numerous studies showing that having healthy relationships increase your quality of life and longevity! Those with social support have better mental health, cardiovascular health, immune system function, and cognitive ability.

In fact, a study spanning eight decades of research at Harvard, proved that close social connections are better indicators of health and lonevity than anything else.

Our relationships with others are PRIMARY NUTRITION.

What you put inside your mouth may cause a temporary shift in your body’s digestive processes, but being in a stressful, unhealthy relationship – or being in isolation – can be a chronic stressor that causes permanent dysfunction to your entire body.

Why is that? I have a few thoughts.

  1. When a body is in “fight or flight” mode from stress, it is impossible to access the prefrontal cortex in the brain to make clear decisions, show empathy, connect to others, regulate emotions, be open-minded, and control impulses. So for someone who is under chronic relationship stress, or under stress from isolation and loneliness, it is possible that they will struggle with making good choices when it comes to health and well-being. They will literally be in survival mode, taking the easy way out, time and time again, because their brain can’t offer any other solution.
  2. Another possible reason stressful relationships wreck physical health is because it increases the amount of cortisol pumped into the bloodstream. Where there is cortisol imbalance, there is inflammation. Where there is inflammation, there is chronic disease and lack of health.
  3. Stress destroys digestion. When digestion is altered, your body can’t utilize nutrients from food or restore bacterial balance in the gut, which is so needed for mental and physical health.

I encourage you to make the effort to strengthen the relationships you have.

Maybe that means seeing a marriage counselor, or finding an individual counselor for yourself to deal with your past hurts in relationships. Maybe you need to call up an old friend or schedule a dinner date with someone you care about but haven’t had time to see lately. If you’re married, plan an intentional date night (you know, something different than turning on Netflix after the kids go to bed).

Take time to nourish your relationships this month. Your health and theirs depend on it.

*If you are looking for a professional therapist to support your healing journey, check out Talkspace and use the code sparkingwholeness for $100 off your first month of therapy.

How to Add Meditation and Mindfulness Into Your New Year

A regular practice of meditation increases gray matter in your brain, which can help with decision-making, empathy, memory, and of course – improved mood and focus. (I write more about the topic here).

But how do we make it practical and work in our crazy, busy lives?

In this packed episode of the podcast, we cover the importance of mindfulness and meditation, why they help, and how to incorporate them into our daily lives. Colleen Long is President of Adventum Mental Health Network in East Texas.  She is a Registered 200 hour Yoga Teacher, Master Reiki Practitioner, and creator of all things Adventum.

She opens up and shares vulnerably about overcoming head trauma and grief and how quieting her mind changed her life and led her to start a movement for mental health in her East Texas community.

Download here or listen wherever you get podcasts!

Continue reading “How to Add Meditation and Mindfulness Into Your New Year”

Should You Practice Fasting?

Should you try fasting this year?

That’s a hot topic question right now!

Fasting is a practice that has been implemented for thousands of years for a variety of reasons. It isn’t a dieting trend, though it is often misunderstood as another weight loss quick fix. While there are plenty health experts promoting it as a great option to bring balance to your body, optimize insulin sensitivity and support digestion, there are others who treat fasting as if it’s a type of starvation tool that will lead to an eating disorder.

This is why fasting must be addressed with an individualized approach – what I teach in my Feast 2 Fast program!

Most people can benefit from different types of fasts, whether it is a true water fast, or fat fast, or even a bone broth fast. It is a good way to improve your health, and it can be a beneficial spiritual discipline as well.

The majority of studies on the trendy 16:8 style of intermittent fasting have been done on men and postmenopausal women, so it’s important for women who still have a menstrual cycle to nourish hormones and not restrict food too much at all cycle phases. That can really backfire and cause stress to your body!

My advice? Start with a 12 hour fast. Everyone can benefit from a 12 hour break between their last meal and first meal. And hey – if you’re sleeping 8 hours at night most of your fasting will happen then, which makes it even easier!

Want to make fasting work for you, while also learning how to incorporate more nutrient density into your real life? Join my four week Feast 2 Fast program that starts January 4!

This program is one of the most science-based approaches to health I have seen! But we don’t just target physical health; that’s secondary. Every day you will receive nourishment for your soul in the form of a short devotional. We even meet weekly on Zoom to individualize our approaches to even more!

For more details, and to sign up, click here

Past Participants Say This:

“Through Feast 2 Fast I learned to listen to the natural cues from my body. After years of dieting I had stopped listening to the natural cues like hunger. Feast 2 Fast slowed me down and forced me to listen and learn what is best for my body and not just follow it because some ‘diet’ tells me it’s right. It literally brought joy back to my relationship with food!!” – Jen

“The feast to fast program allowed me to stop and really think about the way food affects me. It was truly like a reset and I now feel more in-tune with my body and mind! I lost a lot more weight than I expected and gained confidence in my ability to listen to my body!! That is priceless!” – Laura

Join the program here!

What to Cook When You’re Sick of Cooking

Thanksgiving was last week and I think many may be suffering from “kitchen fatigue.” Whether it’s the limitless sides and casseroles and baking, or unending prep and clean up, I know there are many of you out there who just don’t want to think about food after a holiday.

So let’s get back to basics. Let’s keep it simple! Step inside my kitchen for a second, and I will share my favorite ways for simplifying cooking in a way that packs in the nutrients.

The first thing I do after a time of celebrating or a big holiday is consider how I can up my veggie load again. Veggies make me feel good and my brain clear, and even though I turned just about every vegetable I know of into some kind of casserole for Thanksgiving dinner, I missed the simplicity of roasting them or throwing them into a quick salad.

This is where my favorite tried and true principle of “cook once, eat a few times” comes in.

Continue reading “What to Cook When You’re Sick of Cooking”

Refocus 2020: Don’t Wait for the New Year to Feel Good About Your Body

My friend Heather Creekmore (Compared to Who) and I teamed up in January to bring a different kind of detox for the new year. We wanted to bring women a mindset detox, heart detox, and a spiritual reset about health and body image. It was a success!

We start our final round on November 30. In this 14 day e-course, you will receive daily videos from me and Heather, written inspirational posts, and tips for whole body health. I include a FREE recipe download for all participants, and Heather provides her ebook “Mountain Top Experience: Personal Body Image Retreat.”

The cost of the group is only $28. This includes two full weeks of daily content, an additional month of access (in case you get behind or want to watch the videos again!), interactions with me & Heather through the week, and a live Q&A call on Zoom where you can get your questions answered! Other online coaching courses may cost about the same –but you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a course like this that will give you direct access to the facilitators through Facebook conversations every day!

Here’s what a few past participants have said:

“Listening to the heartfelt, prayerful, and knowledgeable videos by Erin and Heather was like having good friends giving me a heart-to-heart. I looked forward to every single video and post, and gained a renewed and healthier perspective on food and body image. Thank you so much!”

“This was a GREAT value for my money. I couldn’t believe how available Heather and Erin were to answer my questions and dialogue about tough issues. I’m sad it’s over!”

“I loved this group so much. . .Every single post was so well planned. I liked that both Heather and Erin would reply to people’s comments. I learned tons from the posts and the videos but I also learned from the comment section.”

Sign up here! You don’t want to miss this opportunity to renew your heart, mind, and body this holiday season!

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