As I sit here, typing this post, I am overcome by just how much I have been at a loss of words as of late. I have been neglecting writing this post. I have said I was going to post it. I have planned on posting it. I have stared at the blank text box where I type the content for hours. It is not like me to struggle for words. I was gifted the the ability to “shoot the shit,” as my regular gas station customers would claim back in th’day. I feel it is this ability that always put me in a position to find out the stories people had to tell and compose them into articles for the local newspapers. Use words to get words. However, the words have been difficult to string together. I feel as if I have dropped the proverbial ball on this one. That’s when I finally was able to see the difficulty.

The energy center of your words

Vissudha is the energy center associated with the area of the throat, ears, mouth, shoulders, and neck. Also known as Shekhem in some ancient Egyptian healing traditions, it has to do with words. Words are just sounds strung together in order to have a uniform means of communication. This center has to do with speaking words, hearing words, listening and processing those words. It is literally where each being produces sounds of communication and takes in the sounds around us to be processed. This energy center is all about finding the truth in those sounds – finding what resonates within each of us as a unique individual.

Let me paint this picture for you: I was let go from my job. This is something that has never happened to me before. I began experiencing swollen glands in my neck, stiff neck, cold sores, itchy ears, sore throats, and a variety of other physical symptoms centered around the throat and neck area. I bombed some interviews – also not like me. I was not able to get my point across and I really don’t want the jobs anyway. There was at least one question at every single interview where I swear I heard crickets chirping because I had absolutely no answer for the interviewer. Every rejection email added to the voices in my head telling me what a terrible person I am for not being productive enough to stay employed. I must be the absolute most useless human being on the planet, right? I found myself lashing out some days. Other days I would just stay in and cry. The most heartbreaking thing of all was not being to craft my words.

I

could

not

write!

I tried so hard. I would read and research. Everything would seem perfect, yet when I sat in front of the keyboard, I would get sucked into the time vortex of despair. I was (and in some ways, I still do) sucking in all of the negative and hard-wiring it into my psyche. There are no words to write when you truly believe no one wants to read your writing. There are no words to speak when there is no one to listen to your sounds.

A small request

This is where I have to thank a reader. I don’t know who it is. I don’t know why they sent the comment. But I received a feedback form form my site, here. Usually they spam…not going to lie. Internet spam constitutes a huge quantity of the bullshit on the internet. It is the junk mail of the cyber world. Mixed in with the many emails guaranteeing me increased web traffic and foolproof sales funnels and all of the straight gimmicky shit out there, was one small message: “Make a more new posts please :)”

This message is why I forced myself to re-read about the throat chakra. This one positive, tiny request is what led me to see I was suffering from a blocked Vissuddha or Shekmet. I owe that reader a thank you.

In depth

This chakra is associated with the color blue. It is thought to be closely aligned with the thyroid and parathyroids. The thyroid gland is butterfly shaped and sits at the base of the neck, close to the voice box. It controls much of the functions of metabolism. The parathyroids are tiny granular balls that sit atop the “wings” of the thyroid. As far as it is known at this time, the parathyroids play a large part in regulating various minerals, most notably calcium.

This is the chakra, or energy center, of creativity and communication. The challenge associated with this center is “do I have the the right to communicate”. Animals often associated with this area include the elephant, bull, and lion (think of loud, throaty, vocal animals).

Essential oils that may be beneficial

Frankincense: regarded as Holy oil; beneficial in cases of under active thyroid. Rich, deep, and sweet, it is said it increases spiritual awareness and connection with the divine within.

Geranium: Sweet and citrus-rosy, it is used to calm down sore throats, clear oily skin, and move stagnant energy in the body. Creates a feeling of safety and security; used to ease nervous tension and promote a sense of well-being.

Jasmine: has a beneficial effect on the voice. It is used in cases of hoarse voice. It is said to penetrate the deeper layers of the soul and open us up to repressed emotional pain, allowing energy flow through the throat chakra. Enhances greater communication of our feelings, enhancing relationships and intimacy.

Sage: ancient sacred herb and a master healer. Traditionally used to heal gum disease. It is said to ease depression and mental fatigue, opening up channels in the upper body and chest area and allowing for energy to flow more freely.

Cypress: decongestant and detoxifying properties; used to stimulate the flow of lymphatic fluid, clearing build up toxins. traditionally used for bleeding gums, bronchitis, and respiratory congestion. Fresh, herbaceous, slightly woody, it is thought to aid with transformation and inner renewal.

Peppermint: Minty and sharp; long used to freshen breath, for respiratory infections, and to ease headaches due to congestion; invigorates and stimulates the mind and has a direct action on the intellect. It promotes creativity and self expression.

Eucalyptus: Fresh, medicinal, with a woody scent; historically used to calm inflammation of the nasal passages, clear sore throat, and sinusitis. It is said to promote well-being and opens inner space when we feel overwhelmed or constricted by our environment. It promotes the feeling of inner freedom and expansiveness.

Clove: very strong, spicy oil that has been traditionally used for mouth, tooth, and gum tissue healing. It has been said to be used to assist in regulation of the thyroid gland, dissolving blood clots, and removing stagnation in the blood. It is thought to  help to create feelings of protection and safety and promote good sleep.

Tea Tree: fresh, medicinal aroma; used for thousands of years to treat a variety of fungal, bacterial and viral infections; strong antiseptic and has immune building properties. It is said to enhance, harmonize, and possibly promote cleansing and purity.

Affirmations that may be of use

  • I am open, clear, and honest in my communication.
  • I have a right to speak my truth.
  • I communicate my feelings with ease.
  • I express myself creatively through speech, writing, or art.
  • I have a strong will that lets me resolve my challenges.
  • I nourish my spirit through creativity.
  • I live an authentic life. I have integrity.
  • I love to share my experiences and wisdom. I know when it is time to listen.
  • I express my gratitude towards life.
  • I listen to my body and my feelings to know what my truth is.
  • I take good care of my physical body.
  • I am at peace.

Herbs that may be of assistance

Chamomile

Kelp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish Moss

Dulse

Herbal Trace Mineral Blend

 

**DISCLOSURE: any products ordered from the links to The Herbchick’s Shop do pay me a small commission. These commissions, along with selling my books, paid speaking events, and so-forth, are how I make a living. I thank you for your purchase(s). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now YOU can be added to a digital STUDY GROUP led by Lori, The Herbchick. Currently, the group is using the Facebook group format to teach a monthly “live” class. Also included is discussion threads and posts relating to the “topic of the month.”

 

The first month of membership to the group is FREE. After that, the subscription rate is $17.79/month. If you’d like to join the group and learn some traditional and folk wisdom with added scientific research, like The Herbchick LLC on Facebook and contact us (either through this website’s contact me options OR by messaging on the Facebook business page).

A plethora of stars have been in the spotlight lately for flipping their age to the big 6-0. Aging is one thing that no one escapes. We all get older, whether we like it or not. So what have these stars been stressing? SELF CARE.

 

That’s right, they have been stressing the importance of taking care of yourself. Eat right; sleep well; exercise…all of it…the total package. How many times have you heard, “take care of yourself or you won’t be able to take care of anyone else” ? As a mother, I hear it. However, for most of us it is much easier said than done. The biggest thing I have heard from my clients, and even myself, is the financial costs associated with purchasing supplements and/or the lost wages in taking the time away from income earning pursuits. I know the struggle. Believe me I understand! But I also understand what happens when a person gets so run down s/he cannot function any longer. Many times I catch myself pushing things to the limit. Throughout the years I have come down with influenza A, influenza B, multiple UTIs, and frequent migraines. I have found them to be challenging learning processes – very blunt life lessons taught through pain and humbling circumstances. I am now even more dedicated to taking care of myself. After all, it is truly the best insurance you could ever have!

 

Below is a video where I talk about self care being the best insurance a person can have. It is from a periscope live video I did a while back. I want to make sure all of you know I am dedicated to work with anyone who is dedicated to taking care of him or her self. I am open to discussing working with medical doctors, other natural practitioners, etc. After all, we are all on this planet together and we must all use every single resource possible to further the experience for all. So, watch the video and, as always, take care of yourself.

 

 

Those of you who actively follow the “latest and greatest” may have heard some about a supplement called Berberine. This bright yellow supplement is bitter and is often found in capsules alone.

The shrub known as Indian berberry or Tree Turmeric
The shrub known as Indian barberry or Tree Turmeric

 

Berberine is a bright yellow supplement.
Berberine is a bright yellow supplement.

Nature’s Sunshine also has a berberine supplement. While berberine is found in many yellow root herbs ( like Oregan grape and golden seal – both very bitter tasting yellow roots), NSP gets theirs from Indian barberry.

Known in ayurveda for its uses as an antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-fungal and antioxidant, barberry is sometimes referred to as Tree Turmeric. The bark contains many alkoloids, including berberine, and the plant has been studied in India as a possible treatment of the urinary damage that can be caused by the chemotherapy drug called cisplatin. The studies show the nephrotoxicity caused by the cisplatin was reversed by a decoction of root bark of Berberis aristata (Indian berberry).

In traditional herbalism, it is a bitter herb. This usually means it has the ability to flush bile from the liver. This is highly beneficial for those seeking to use it during cleanses.  Bitter herbs aid in digestion, too.

It is now becoming popular in the US for its anti-diabetic uses. It seems use of berberine is associated with maintaining healthy blood glucose levels. This is one point being addressed in many weight loss programs. It seems when the body is supplied with proper glucose balance, a person is not nearly as hungry and does not crave as many simple sugars. In one study, berberine was found to be as effective in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels as the drug metformin.

And that is not all. Berberine is being looked at for an aid in all areas of what is commonly referred to “metabolic syndrome.” This includes high blood sugar levels, high cholesterol, and obesity. Berberine seems to have a healthy effect on the cholesterol and triglyceride levels of a person, as well. This, along with the research pointing to its ability to help reduce fat (even fatty liver), makes it a wonderful resource for those fighting the triple threat of metabolic syndrome.

And there’s even more! Berberine may even help with the following:

Depression, perhaps due to increases in nor-adrenaline and serotonin

Cancer: Berberine may help suppress tumor growth and spread

Infections, including anti-viral effects against the flu

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD),as it helps reduce fat build up in your liver

With the majority of berberine research available on PubMed being done in the last five years, this “newcomer” shows major promise!

 

Berberine from Indian barberry is the ingredient in many berberine supplements.

 

Confusion on mass scale

 

I find many people are seriously confused by the terms “natural” and “artificial” when it comes to sweetners. They also are extremely confused on how those sweetners impact their body, blood sugar levels, etc. In this article, I’m going to tackle the issue from the stand point of “natural,” “somewhat processed,” “highly processed,” and “chemical based.” I hope this clears up some of the controversy and confusion I have heard coming back in the form of feedback.

 

Stevia

Stevia is a plant that grows in the southern United States, Mexico and Central America. It is said to be 200 times sweeter than sugar. I’m not sure of that exact ratio, but the green leaf is sweeter than table sugar. This is a NATURAL sweetener. I offered some stevia to a lady a while back, in lieu of sugar for her coffee, and she replied, “I’ll use my Splenda ™ because I don’t use artificial sweeteners.” I started to open my mouth to argue and chose to smile and nod instead. I do not know where she gets her info, but it is wrong!

Now, that being said, there is a raw stevia option and a refined stevia option. The raw stevia, of course, is the dried green leaf and leaf powder. This is not always desirable in foods, as the green color does not fade or go away in cooking. Therefore, the extract is sometimes used. This extract can be liquid or a white powder. This white powder is sold commercially as a sweetener in the baking aisles of grocery stores darn near everywhere! It is sometimes listed under the brand names SweetLeaf ™, Truvia ™ and PureVia ™, just to name a few. Both are the stevia extract and are listed as Rebiana, which is from the Latin name for the stevia plant. So, while this white, or extract form, is slightly more processed than the green, I’m leaving it under natural. Stevia is considered to have zero glycemic impact and zero calories. Even though the US-FDA raided a tea company in the early 1990’s for adding stevia to their teas, since Coca-Cola bought the rights to Rebiana production, it is suddenly ok with the FDA.

Monk Fruit/Lo Han Gou

Monk Fruit has recently made its way on the sweetener mainstream. It is featured in various lo-cal and no-cal diet programs and is said to be extremely sweeter than sugar. Some estimate it to be 150-200 times sweeter. So, a little dab will do. This is a fruit from southeast Asia. It grows kind of like a little melon on trees. created by removing the seeds and skin of the fruit, crushing the fruit, and collecting the juice. It is sold as a liquid and as a powder. It has zero glycemic impact, zero calories and is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the US-FDA based on the slew of scientific research available on it. Nectreese(tm) is monk fruit.

Raw Sugar

This is the actual the sugar straight out of the cane. It has a light brown color. This is due to the presence of the molasses, which has not been processed out of the sugar, yet. While this is a natural sugar, with very little processing, it does impact your blood sugar the same as white sugar! It has slightly less calories (we’re talking ever so slight) and a molasses like taste which white sugar does not have.

Cane Juice

This is a more natural, but still processed, sweetener. In regions like the Indian subcontinent, Egypt, southeast Asia, and the like, Cane Juice is green and is directly expressed from the sugar cane. It is sold as a health drink in some of those places. Most of the US’s sugar now comes from south America. The “evaporated cane juice” seen listed in many health foods is one step shy of table sugar. It contains a teeny bit more vitamins A, C and calcium, but impacts blood sugar the same as white table sugar.

Cane Syrup/Molasses

This one falls under somewhat processed. Cane syrup is cane juice which has been cooked down into a syrup consistency. It has a brownish color and a slightly bitter aftertaste as compared to white table sugar.

Sorghum

Sorghum and molasses are not the same thing. Sorghum is usually less processed than molasses and has a more sweet taste. It also comes from an entirely different plant! Molasses is from sugar beets and sorghum is from sweet sorghum. They are made the same, though. Sorghum is juiced and then the juice is boiled down to a syrup. It usually has no preservatives and is fairly high in potassium and antioxidants. IT does impact the blood sugar, but may be slightly higher on my choice scale than molasses.

Maple Syrup

I mean REAL maple syrup here. This is meaning the sap which is tapped from Sugar Maple Trees. Most of the pancake syrup in stores is made from high fructose corn syrup. BE SURE TO READ YOUR LABELS! Usually, the syrup is collected in the autumn,as the sap is returning to the roots. It then is moderately processed by boiling it down into a syrup. You can sometimes find raw maple sap or syrup which has not been cooked down. It does impact the blood sugar same as white sugar, but the raw contains slightly higher vitamin and mineral contents.

Corn Syrup

This is one everyone should know about by now! Corn syrup is made from boiling down cornstarch. Anyone who has ever shucked or picked sweet corn from a garden is familiar with the stick corn starch substance. It is moderately processed and impacts the blood sugar identically to that of white table sugar. It is used in cooking and candy making. In recent years it has been replaced by the high fructose version.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

This is one of the most highly debated sweeteners out there. High fructose corn sugar is chemically altered to be sweeter (the glucose in this one is chemically converted so it has a higher fructose content via an ezymatic reaction) , therefore more addictive, than regular corn syrup. It is used in everything from jams and jellies, to baked goods, to soda pop. Dentists hate it as it contributes to dental cavities and it can be deadly for diabetics. It has been used since the middle 1970’s, so it is not a new thing. There is a huge debate on its safety. It has an impact on blood sugar just like table sugar. I stay away from this as much as possible!

Agave Nectar

This is from two types of agave plants which are common in South America, one of which is the one the distilled spirit tequila come from. The nectar is processed much the same way as corn syrup: plant is crushed; the juice cooked down; etc. However, it is slightly lower on the glycemic scale as it contains more fructose than glucose which is the opposite of corn syrup and it’s high fructose version. So, it is moderately processed.  It is sweeter than sugar and should be used in reduced amounts when following sugar measurements in recipes.

Xylitol

Xylitol is found in woody parts of some plants. It is a sugar alcohol. It can be made from birch bark and corn stalks. It is sweet and is safe for use in things such as chewing gums. It has been found to help prevent tooth decay. This is because it is not converted to the simple sugars in the mouth like regular sugar, etc. It is in some sugar free foods, but it has been found to produce painful gas and digestive upset in large quantities when taken internally. It is sometimes used in medicines as it can be antibacterial. It has zero glycemic impact and is generally not used in baking, etc

Erythritol

Another sugar alcohol, it is naturally occurring in foods like pears, soy sauce, wine, sake, watermelon and grapes. It is not quite as sweet as sugar (sources site 60-80%) and has zero glycemic index. It is the easiest to digest of all sugar alcohols and is made by a fermentation process from corn. The US-FDA says it is GRAS and has not been found to be linked to cancers, like most sugars. Just a note: sugar alcohols are NOT alcoholic and will not make you drunk. Some people do develop a bit of gas and/or diarrhea from excessive intake of them.

Honey

Honey is a sticky substance made by bees. It is very high in vitamins and enzymes when in its raw form. However, the pasteurization process kills many of these. It should NEVER be given to a child under the age of two years, due to aggravating possible allergies and/or medical conditions. It is extremely high in sucrose and can have a similar impact on blood sugar as white sugar. There are those who say that impact is dependent upon the source. Since most commercially available honey has been heated to destroy pathogens, the B vitamins which possibly buffer the sugar spiking effects are cooked away. I am a huge proponent of using locally collected honey. Support your local apiary! NEVER spray bees! Call an exterminator who works with a beekeeper to determine which type of bees they are and can remove them. Honey bee populations in the world are declining. They are integral in the pollination of crops. While this is completely true and I love my locally collected honey, it still must be used in moderation and never given to small children.

Fructose

Fructose is fruit sugar. Think concentrated grape juice, cooked raisins, etc. It is sugar and raises the blood sugar accordingly. White table sugar is about half fructose and half glucose.

Sugar

White table sugar is highly processed. It was once natural, and the processing turns it into a sweetener which tastes great. It is about 50/50 fructose and glucose.  Brown sugar is just white sugar which has molasses dumped back over it. This is why it cakes and packs so well. It definitely has an elevation effect on blood sugar levels. Sucrose is the technical name for table sugar.

Sucrolose

Sucrolose is marketed under the brand name Splenda ™. While it has been marketed as being from sugar, it is not sugar when it is done. This is a highly chemical substance. It basically sticks chlorine atoms into what was sugar. While that means nothing to the regular person check this out. Research published in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2013 found that sugar substitutes with sucralose are linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. This is NOT NATURAL STUFF!

Aspartame

I remember when this stuff first came out. When I was little, early 1980’s maybe (ssshhhh….no one needs to calculate my age now), almost every postal patron in the United States received a sample of gum balls in the mail. All marked with that red and white pinwheel showing it contained NutraSweet ™. This is also what is in Equal ™. It seems to stimulate the same taste buds as sugar, kind of. It is used in a variety of foods, beverages, desserts, sweets, breakfast cereals, chewing gums and weight-control products. It is also used as a tabletop sweetener. It has been thought to possibly be linked to migraines, cancers, and more. While there are conflicting studies , there is hard science in a study released in recent years stating diet sodas and artificial sweeteners make you fatter by increasing hunger! There are also independent studies showing it interferes with brain functions. As a migraine sufferer, I will tell you I get fewer when I stay away from this stuff. Check out more here http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/01/12/aspartame-effects.aspx

Acesulfame Potassium

This sweetener is chemical, period. It contains methylene chloride. It is found in many “diet” and “low-cal” foods, including chewing gum, drinks, yogurts, etc. Many times it is listed as just Acesulfame-K or Ace-K. It is thought by some sources to be the sweetener  least regulated by the US-FDA. It, too, kills off beneficial bacteria in the gut, leading to false hunger and lending to obesity. “Long term exposure to methylene chloride can cause nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight and possibly cancer. Acesulfame-K may contribute to hypoglycemia.” (http://www.fitday.com) Early studies on this substance linked it with cancer in lab rats. Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/041510_Acesulfame-K_methylene_chloride_carcinogen.html#ixzz48DTpyfal

 

Saccharin

Who remembers the soft drink TAB? Do they still make that stuff? It used to carry a warning label stating that the ingredients “may cause cancer” in lab rats. The more current studies now touted by the FDA state that artificial sweeteners are ok to use and do not cause cancer (specifically those studied were brain and bladder cancers). However, the threat to the beneficial bacteria of the gut is very real from the artificial, chemical based sweetener just as much as it is in the two previously listed. Some find the taste of this product to be bitter. It is sold unde rthe trade name Sweet&Low ™.

 

My Conclusions….

And these are JUST my conclusions. You can make up your own mind.

While I understand wanting to not miss certain tastes and flavors in your life, I have made a conscious decision to avid the more heavily processed and chemical sweeteners. Period. IF any of you know me, in person, you have been eating stevia, monk fruit, agave nectar and other natural sweeteners. Congratulations. You didn’t even notice!  I FEEL BETTER when I stay away from these more chemical based sweeteners. I find I have less migraines. I find I crave them less and less the longer I am away from them. I have friends who cannot even eat or drink a minute quantity of these for fear of becoming physically ill.

WHY BOTHER WITH THE CRAP WHEN THINGS LIKE STEVIA AND MONK FRUIT ARE READILY AVAILABLE?

It just seems silly to me to allow yourself to be a guinea pig for chemical sweeteners when we have perfectly good ones to use. If you cannot find stevia and monk fruit in your stores, contact me. I” point you to reliable sources. I use sugar occasionally, honey sometimes, whatever is available and as natural as possible. The human body was built for variety. Mix it up a bit. Enjoy the variety. Find your own favorite. Just drop the the chemicals. Don’t be a guinea pig.

CHECK OUT THIS STEVIA NO-BAKE CHEESECAKE RECIPE

 

Prematurely grey

I have had grey hair growing in since I’ve been 17 years old. Many people get grey hair early, I am told. Unfortunately, my hair is dark. Therefore, the grey shows….badly!

Thus, I started coloring my hair at an early age. After some time, I started to notice my hair was thinning and falling out. I had my thyroid hormones and some other levels checked and there were no plausible physical reasons for the thinning and loss. That’s when I read an article about synthetic chemicals, like those in hair dyes, contributing to hair loss. This deeply upset me. I was prematurely grey and not happy about it, but I did not want to be bald. Even if I did joke about shaving my head and gluing on wigs, I wasn’t about to do it if I did not have to.

Enter Henna

Henna is a plant that grows in Southern Asia. It has been for ages to color hair in those geographic areas. It has been used in the U.S., too, just not as widely. It is said that henna can make one’s hair thicker. So, I figured, “what have I got to lose?”

After about two years of avid henna use and experimentation, I feel confident I have the preps that work for me figured out. Granted, I am NOT a stylist. I only do my own hair. I have a lot of hair, but its texture is fine and mostly straight with just a little bit of body wave. Always tell your stylist if you are using henna on your hair. Do not mix synthetic hair lightener  with henna and do not use synthetic bleaches, etc on your hair after using henna on it. Without further ado, check out this vid I made about the process. And let me know what you think!

 


“The longing for sweets is really a yearning for love or “sweetness.”
― Marion Woodman

This quote from Marion Woodman, a Jungian psychologist, gives insight to how food cravings may work for some people. Since psychology was one of my majors in college, I am fascinated with how it inter-plays with human biology. I am firmly entrenched in the belief that our thoughts effect our bodies and our bodies effect our minds and thoughts. Just think, if every thought…every emotion which occurs inside of a person is a chemical signal, and that body must process each and every one, then why would this not be true? In my mind, it must be. Therefore, we must pay attention to our thoughts, our subsequent actions, and how they work together to develop patterns. These could be health building patterns, or health destroying patterns, but patterns nonetheless.

 

There are those who believe long term, chronic illness may be the result of long term negative thoughts. These people propose constantly participating in negative “self-talk” can activate illness or illness like conditions. While I do not suggest anyone forgo the consult and/or treatment of a medical doctor (as explained in earlier posts, etc), what does it hurt to incorporate looking at something like this? Nothing. It is always healthy to examine one’s own psyche in order to further one’s own development. And so….let’s look at the longing for sweets.

 

Losing the sweetness of life

How do we lose our sweetness of life? For one woman, it was the realization the fairy tale life in her dreams was not going to happen in real life. She had wanted to attend college; have some kids; be in a loving marriage; have a house in the country…all those things she had read about her icons doing and having. She ignored her inability to be flexible. She had no “go-with-the-flow” about her. When other males rejected her, she settled for the first one that would take her. He was a controlling, manipulative man who quickly turned the relationship into a dysfunctional passive-aggressive wasteland. Soon, she realized her dreams would never come true in this environment. Of course, by the time she realized it, she weighed 250 pounds (at 5 foot 3 inches tall); had blood sugar levels high enough to be classified as “pre-diabetic”; was consuming three to six sodas per day; and would not dare to sacrifice her king sized Reese cup each day. After all, chocolate is a great antioxidant, right?

Life had become a struggle. A struggle to be “allowed” to follow her heart; struggle to keep in contact with friends; struggle to get the housework done; and so forth and so on. She would describe this as, “feeling as though I must fight the heaviest tides, head-on, with the weight of the world strapped to my back.” The thought of trying to go back to a time where things seemed “sweet” or easy or had a feeling of potential, meant work. Work meant fighting against all those forces, including self-doubt; confidence in the face of condemnation; perseverance; and trusting others to be good people not intentionally causing harm to her.

A good….long…hard look at her life was in order. How many Reese cups did it take for her to feel as if her life were sweet enough? How many times did a bucket of ice cream substitute hugs? How many Hershey bars counteracted the sting of insults? You see, even though those negatives were always coming from those around her, her own self was telling her…reinforcing to her…she was nothing but a washed up fake. She may as well seek comfort in the one thing that has never failed her: SWEETS!

The results were half finished and now neglected projects; a closet full of too tight clothes; and even more sadness and grief. High blood pressure, low stamina and energy, headaches, exhaustion, and more physical ailments, all combined, just compounded the emotions. How does one recover from all of that?

 

Rediscovering the sweetness of balance

Even though the woman above is fictional, this type of thing happens every single day. Stories very similar, sometimes even more tragic, come across my desk. Individuals such as this, need help…assistance…coaching to get back up and get their lives back in order to find appreciation for those sweet things which make life what it is.

Where to begin?

The best place to begin is with the obvious. Physically, the hypothetical woman in the above tale, needs to address her physical symptoms of obesity and blood sugar balance. It is incredibly difficult to get up and move again after a sedentary life! Physical aids may help to give the mental aspect a boost in the proper direction.

If it were me, in this scenario, I would begin by directly lending support to my body’s ability to balance blood sugar. This may help to even out the energy supply, so to speak. I love using blends of herbs.

Blends are great for supplying all your needs, without sinking a large amount of money into individual products. They are premixed to deliver a cost efficient product.

I would look for a blend containing chromium, vanadium, cinnamon bark extract, fenugreek seeds, bitter melon fruit, gymnema leaves extract, nopal leaves and banaba leaf. Chromium and vanadium are two minerals shown to have positive effects on maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Vanadium may have actions mimicking insulin and chromium is needed to get insulin into the body’s cells. The herbs I listed work in the following ways:

-Banaba, gynema, and bitter melon have been historically used to support glandular functioning. Research now supports this, and possibly points to a more specific target of action: the pancreas.

Multiple approaches

 

Then I would, personally, add a flower essence called to vent the grief in my life.There are flower essences out there which may lend emotional support to those feeling as if they are helpless to make change, therefore losing the “sweetness” from their lives. Most are formulated using the same methods set forth by Dr. Bach when he began making flower essences.

Smell the sweetness

 

I would also use various citrus essential oils to brighten and boost the mood. My two favorites for this are Pink Grapefruit and Blood Orange. Do not use oils derived synthetically nor diluted with synthetics. I like to use one of those citrus oils with blends containing other oils like Atlas cedar, Spruce, Ho Leaf, Blue Tansy, Frankincense, Chamomile. Or, at times,  I just use their various blends that already have pink grapefruit included. Since these are blends I like to have diffused throughout my home, I use them in diffusers, plug in “aroma balls,” in a small necklace pendent designed to carry essential oils, and I have even added them to lightweight, non-greasy oils like almond oil or sunflower oil, to massage onto my skin.

 

Talk yourself into finding the sweetness

If negative self-talk got you to this point, positive self-talk may help to bring you back away from this point. Affirmations to boost the ability to feel the sweetness include:

-The universe loves and supports me!

-I am surrounded by sweet love and tenderness!

 

All of these may have a positive impact on your mental outlook and you physical ability to find your sweetness in life!

Life really is sweet….enjoy it!

Earlier, I wrote about metabolic age as an important measurement of your body’s functionality. It is a newer measurement than resting metabolic rate or your basal metabolic rate. Both of these terms refer to the amount of calories a person burns while the body is at rest (not involved in exercise). This is sometimes referred to as your BMR.

BMR Calculations

For women:

BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

For men:

BMR = 666 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches ) – (6.8 x age in years)

Once you have your BMR, you can then compare to other in your same age bracket.

Your metabolic age is simply the age at which your body is functioning.

So, if you are 5 foot 4 inches, female and have the same BMI as a 16 year old female of that height and weight, your metabolic age is 16. You can find many charts and calculator tools online.

Another option is to use various scales that measure your metabolic age.

As a trained IN.form coach, I use a biotracker. This is a fancy name for  a scale that takes various measurements. I input the sex, age, height, and activity level. It then does the calculations for weight, body fat, daily caloric intake, hydration levels, visceral fat, bmi, bone mass and metabolic age. Not a single one of these measurements is an end-all and be-all. The idea is that the weight, visceral fat, metabolic age, bmi, and body fat all come down, while the other numbers go up. These measurements are merely tools to give visual confirmation and feedback to confirm we are doing the right things for our bodies. It can be a huge motivation to see those numbers change. I know it was for me. Especially when my initial reading was 92! (Completely, not kidding….it was a whopping 92!! I was functioning. metabolically as a 92 year old woman….at 40!)

How do we increase our metabolism?

-Exercise

Move your body! Just get up and move. It does not matter what kind of exercise you choose to do. Just pick one. The best kind of exercise for you is one you will do!

-Supplements

Some synergystic blends of supplements may help speed

-Proper Sleep

This is an area where I lag behind. I tend to burn the midnight oil. Not getting adequate rest can work against weight management efforts. Most experts agree that an adult should get between seven to 10 hours of sleep a night. Eight hours is a nice middle ground.

-Stress management

This is where I REALLY fall behind. My stress management, at this time, sucks! As a wholistic consultant and IN.form coach, I know I should probably serve as an example. However, let’s face it. I am human just like all of you. My stress levels have been through the roof, at times! That’s when I find myself eating and grabbing the chocolate. I also know that certain adrenal hormones, produced as a reaction to stress, block weight loss attempts!

Whatever you do, know that there is always a tomorrow.

So your readings one day aren’t that great. Oh well. The world did not quit spinning. You try again. And again. The idea is to keep up the effort. Everyday you make another small change for the better. You then become better and better until you are the best you there is to be!

 

It’s the new year! All thew champagne is gone. All the party poppers have been sprung. You are now left with a brand new year. What are YOU going to do with it? Do you really want an “all new you”? I’m hoping to just improve and refine the “me” I already am!

I recently did a periscope broadcast on just this very topic (you can find me on periscope and twitter under @herbchick1, by the way). I urge you to share. What are your resolutions for 2016? I’ve got mine! I’m aiming to do my belly dance drills daily; become more avid in the use of my kettle bell (hopefully pushing along the loss of my baby apron); reduce my metabolic age (more coming on this very, very soon); and revamp my diet. In the spirit of that last one, please check out the video below. Just changing one thing at a time, like reducing your wheat consumption, can make a world of difference!

Enjoy! And hit me with those resolutions, people! They mean more when you put them in writing!

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Psnn9ttL6A0

The fat loving band wagon

Every day there seems to be another blog about equal love for the “big girls.” Being a bigger girl, I’m all for this. However, I am not all about the loving of the big gals if it means forsaking the health of the big gals.
Health comes in many shapes and sizes. We’ve all seen the pictures of how 160 pounds sits differently on different women. This is true. Frame size, muscle mass, and more all play a part in how one’s appearance takes form. But to truly get to a healthy place, it isn’t all about exalting the heavy girls. It’s not all about equal representation or blindly accepting body weight.

It’s so much more

I spent over twenty years fighting against my self. I always held the idea that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, cute enough, yadda yadda yadda. In general, I felt that I was not enough. To be more exact, I felt that I would never be enough. Ideas such as these is what paves the road to self loathing, eating disorders, cutting and self mutilation, destructive habits like illicit drug use and the like. It takes more than “giving in and giving up,” as the saying goes. It’s not accepting the size and/or shape of your body. It takes finding those parts within yourself deserving of love, awe and celebration. That’s regardless of whether your are 105 pounds or 405 pounds. It took me over twenty years to find those things within myself. Read More