Archive for August, 2011

Whatever Floats Your Nutritional Boat

With boat loads of information and conflicting viewpoints, it’s hard not to be confused about nutrition. Many of us are overwhelmed. What should we eat? What shouldn’t we eat? What’s healthy? What’s necessary? What’s good? What’s bad? Lately, I’ve been approached by many Healthy Junkies who are confused, annoyed and weighed down with information.  Some have stepped off the boat and given up on finding their way to better nutrition. Many have bought into the unattainable concept I like to call the “Nutritional Martha Stewart.” That is unless we’re eating only hand-picked, farmed-fresh, from our own backyard produce and meats, we’re simply not cutting it.  If we allow our vessel to be tipped over, and attempt to abide by every rule, we may find ourselves hard-pressed to find anything perfect enough to eat.

My first piece of advice is, relax! Cruising toward good health is not made any easier by stressing. However, incorporating healthier foods and cutting out the sludge can make us feel better and increase our energy. It’s really not that complicated to row our boats many waves closer to improved health. If we exclude non-foods from our diet and incorporate clean, whole foods, we’re sailing on the boat to healthy.

If we focus our attention on the structure we already know, our boat can afford a little sugary and non-nutritious cargo. Eat a range of foods; proteins like nuts, seeds, wild fish, organic eggs (the whole egg),clean meats that are free-range and not injected with hormones or antibiotics, and plain yogurt; whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, millet and oats; legumes such as black, pinto, garbanzo and adzuki beans; fruits (especially berries); and vegetables (the focus). It’s worth repeating—eat LOTS of veggies every day (no joke—this is key). If you’re already doing all this, good for you! Your boat can handle a mild storm of cupcakes, or too much wine, every once in awhile.

Regardless, we can all benefit from the Eat Healthy Challenge. It’s designed to help us really step into a healthier way of looking at food and ourselves. Some of us Healthy Junkies are making it more difficult this time by eliminating gluten for the twenty-eight days. But remember, health is not a competition. Go one stroke further ahead from where you are right now and forget about the other boats. It’s your boat that matters!

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Non-Foods, Kind of Like My i-Phone

“Laura, have a Doritos,” my friend said as the bag was passed around the table.

“No thanks,” I replied.

“How can you turn down Doritos?” he asked. “They’re delicious.”

“I don’t know, I guess it’s the same way I refuse to ingest fast food hamburgers, diet drinks, deli meats with nitrosamines, and French fries. I simply don’t consider them food. It would be like picking up my phone and eating it,” I shrugged.

“Now that’s will-power,” he laughed and popped another Doritos into his mouth.

“I don’t really consider it will-power,” I said. “I know most people enjoy Doritos and I used to eat them by the bag—the large bag of course—but I don’t consider them food anymore. Like I said, it would be like eating my phone.” I pointed to my cell. “They’re not hard to say no to, because I’ve made up my mind and they don’t exist in my repertoire of what constitutes food. Plus, this way of being keeps my trim figure in check,” I joked.

 “Well, I’d eat my i-phone before I’d give up Doritos,” my friend said and licked the orange coating from his fingers. “They sure are tasty.”

I nodded, remembering the yummy taste of Doritos cheesiness. “I’m glad you’re enjoying them,” I chuckled. “I see you’ve made your choice and I respect that.”

I’ve spent many years reading and pondering labels. I’ve studied nutrition and given the experiences in my life—having had tumors and cancer three times—I think most would agree it would be absurd for me to ignore what I’ve learned and continue to eat non-foods. I have no desire to be sick again. I’ve come up with a way to rationalize my food choices based on nutritional value and a sort of risk and reward mentality that suits me. I don’t believe my body wants to tolerate chemicalized or nutrient-dead foods, so I avoid them. It’s as simple as that.

As soon as I see monosodium glutamate; hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated anything; artificial colors, like yellow #5,# 6, red #40, or any other color of the rainbow; aspartame, Nutra Sweet, Splenda; and nitrates or nitrites— I’m out. I wouldn’t eat spoonfuls of chemicals on their own, so why would I eat them in my food?

Deep frying alters the molecular composition of the nutrients, especially in potatoes, and is known to render the compounds carcinogenic. Why would I willingly eat foods that promote cancer—that chomp away at the antioxidants in my body, like a Pac-Man game gone rogue? I’m not going to say I never steal a fry, but it’s pretty darn rare. I feel these “non-foods” are dangerous and I don’t want to roll the dice. Sometimes I reconsider and eat sweet potato fries. You see, we all make choices!

What choices are you contemplating or making healthy junkies? Feel free to share on facebook at The Healthy Junkie fan page.

Next week, I’ll blog about demystifying food—making sense of the abundance of nutritional information. We don’t have to be perfect to be healthy!

Eat Healthy Challenge – Sept, 2011

The next Eat Healthy Challenge begins September 6th (the day after Labor Day) and runs thru October 3rd. This is going to be the most popular Challenge yet. On August 30th, I’m going to be on the local, Napa radio show, “Kellie in the Morning,” to promote the Eat Healthy Challenge. Grab a co-worker, family member, friend, neighbor, stranger … and set your goals. Let’s all rock this Challenge together!

What is the Eat Healthy Challenge?

  • First of all and most importantly, it’s free!!!

It’s also: 

  • A 7-day to 28-day challenge to help reset, refresh and re-energize the body (you decide the time frame). 
  • Eat only clean, whole foods and give your body a well-deserved break.  
  • Omit at least 4 of the 6 items: Processed and hydrogenated foods; sugar; white flour; caffeine; alcohol; & dairy (you decide the level of difficulty). See the Eat Healthy Challenge tab for more details.  

The name has changed from the Community Cleanse to the Eat Healthy Challenge. Many misconstrued the term cleanse with fasting and /or aggressive herbal products tied to eliminating the bowels. The new name is more in-line with what we’re actually doing for the 7 to 28 days: We’re eating healthy. The body will cleanse itself naturally because we’re omitting the junk, nutrient-robbing, non-foods, and mucus-forming foods from the diet.

With only three weeks until the next Challenge, I thought all you Healthy Junkies would like some time to mentally prepare and I encourage you all to recruit a buddy. Enlist your co-workers or families. If no one will join with you, don’t worry … you have a whole community of Eat Healthy Challengers cheering you on. Let’s all get healthier together!

The Power of Positive Thoughts – Video Blog

I see this as my coming out video. Not that I was really hiding. But the idea of posting this video blog, terrified me. The vulnerability was palpable. Then I realized the only way for me to really share … is to expose myself. 

I had to film this seven minute speech to enter a contest through Hay House Publishing to hopefully—fingers crossed—win and have my book published by them. So, I figured, Why not share it with all of you.

In my training to be a wellness coach, I’ve discovered that courage and purpose are two strong values of mine. Posting this video serves both of these values. More than anything, I hope to inspire and empower others through my story. If the video strikes a chord with you, or if you know someone who’s ill or suffering through a dark space, please feel free to share it.  

The quality of the video is enhanced if you click on the You Tube Link and watch it directly on You Tube.

Defeating the Odds

An excerpt from my memoir has been published in the magazine Law of Attraction: Happy, Healthy, Wealthy, July 19th. It’s entitled “Defeating the Odds: How Laura ignores reality and regains the use of her paralyzed arm.”

At twenty-one, I underwent my first surgery for an aggressive thoracic tumor. All I wanted was to get out of the hospital and have my old life back. Instead, two days later, I was left paralyzed by a morphine injection. The neurologists said nothing could be done for my arm. Defying them, I forced myself into the shallow end of a pool. Every day, for many months, I went to the pool at the local gym. I stood in the shallow end and squatted to ensure my body was covered up to my neck in water. My appendage floated up to the surface and I gently pushed it down with my right hand. Over and over, I watched as my lifeless left arm, with only skin covering bones, floated to the top of the water to defy gravity. I continued to visualize my arm as it was before; strong and muscular. I looked down at my sunken-in shoulder, my withered bicep. I couldn’t believe my left arm was going to be paralyzed for the rest of my life—it just didn’t seem possible. I couldn’t accept I was powerless and just give up, like the doctors suggested. I couldn’t accept I had no control over the situation. Half a year later, I could move it again.

I believed—truly believed I would heal. This idea inspired me to ignore my grim prognosis and continue on. Being able to move my arm again became my only focus, it was my only intention. Buddha is quoted as having said, “All that we are is a result of what we have thought.” Although I sometimes forget, I try to remember the power of my positive mind. I know my thinking helps shape my life and I’m so grateful for the results.

{The magazine is sold in book stores, department stores and pharmacies across the US and Canada. Visit the facebook page for a list. Also, the editor, Sue Elliott says, “The Law of Attraction Magazine website will soon be selling it on-line.”}