Archive | July, 2012

Increase Your Energy In 6 Weeks Through A Diet Makeover

31 Jul

There are few things that are more important to our health and well-being than what we eat and how we digest our food. Having success with managing our weight often have to do with our relationship to food and the food we eat relates to the energy we have to sustain us throughout our day.  In fact the foods that we eat and how we eat them are so important that they have a profound effect upon our health and wellness.

To assist you with getting on track with your diet and naturally increasing your energy, I have created a 6 week plan to help you meet your healthy-eating goals.

Week 1

Rethink your drink. Our bodies crave simple water, not the empty calorie beverages like, soda, iced teas, energy drinks, and coffee concoctions we often drink instead. This first week focus on trimming your consumption of these sugary liquids in half to benefit you in two ways, (1) slashes a ton of calories (2) helps your body to maintain balanced blood sugar. Carry a refillable water bottle or keep a pitcher and glass at your desk. Try adding a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber for a healthy flavored option.

Week 2

Portion your plate. Increase the health quotient of your meals by mentally dividing your plate into three section; ½ vegetables and fruit, ¼ whole grains and ¼ lean meats or seafood. You’ll get more fiber and antioxidants while controlling servings. For a different cooking option for vegetables, try roasting them for a deeper flavor. Experiment with different grains such as couscous and quinoa. Going vegetarian once a week is a nice option as well. The fruits and vegetables provide natural sugar to are bodies that are easier to break down and are more beneficial for our cells to utilize.

Week 3

Learn how to sauté.  Knowing how to do a proper sauté will help cut the amount of fat in your diet. This basic yet versatile cooking technique using high heat with little fat is perfect for prepping veggies, lean meats, poultry and seafood. Adding spices such as cumin, cardamom, coriander, black pepper and turmeric will add a bounty of flavor to the veggies and will also aid in the digestive process. A normal functioning digestive systems keeps the sluggishiness from invading our bodies and zapping our energy.

Week 4

Make your sweet work for you. It is recommended that women should limit their intake of sugar to 6 teaspoons and for men 9 teaspoons per day. It is best to avoid sugar however if a sweetener is needed it is suggested that a natural sweetener be used such as agave, honey, maple syrup, turbinado or stevia. In week 1 you cut back on sugary drinks and this will boost you slightly further with decrease the intake of sugar into your daily diet thus decreasing your caloric intake and naturally increasing your energy.
Week 5

Start a window herb garden. Having fresh herbs handy will help you kick your salt habit, as they add a ton of flavor to home cooked foods. Basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley, dill are some wonderful herbs that are very versatile and easy to grow. The added bonus with this is two fold, you can use these herbs fresh in your cooking or you can dry them out and use them that way in your cooking, also the greenery in your window sill will add a touch of spring into your kitchen.

Week 6

Consume Whole foods that are not processed. The foods we take should be fresh and less processed. The processing of food is well known to devitalize the food thus destroying natural enzymes and depleting important vitamins and minerals. This translates to eating fresh vegetables, no eating of boxed processed or microwaveable foods, no frozen or pre-cooked food and no leftovers. The fresher the food and the more closer it is to its natural state the easier it is for our body to use and the greater benefit it is to our bodies. So go ahead and eat fresh and natural.

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Sleep Tight

17 Jul

Sleep is one of the three pillars of life in Ayurveda. In fact getting proper sleep is so important that there have been an influx of commercials on television promoting sleep aids and prescription sleep medication. More and more people are sleeping less due to modern technology that keeps us connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With all that stimulation who has time to focus on getting a good night’s rest, after all there is just so much to do.

The above sentence is a common statement that is repeated more often than not. In fact people are sleeping 10% less than they were ten years ago and are sleeping 17% less than they slept in the eighties. Over the course of a 100 year life span that is 17 years less a person is sleeping now than they slept 30 years ago.

After a busy day of multitasking even the most serene among us can find it difficult to get a good night’s rest. According to theNationalCenterfor Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health, some 30% to 40% of adults suffer symptoms of insomnia within a given year.

Sleep follows a normal health pattern and brings refreshment. Deep sleep is essential for renewing both body and mind and restoring our vital energy. Without proper sleep, we will not have the proper energy to function in life. The effect of sleep is like that of diet, to provide nourishment. Just as we require proper food, rest of the body and mind through sleep is also essential. Happiness and misery, obesity and leanness, strength and weakness, sexual vigor and impotence, consciousness and loss of sensory acuity, life and death all depend upon proper sleep.

If you occasionally suffer from sleeplessness or difficulty sleeping, keep reading for some simple strategies.

  •  Say Goodnight. Create a bedtime ritual to signal to your body and mind that all activity is done for the day and it’s time for rest. Any food sensory stimulation, or even thought you take in must be digested and absorbed before you will be free to rest. Finish eating two hours prior to bedtime, and turn off the television or put aside your cell phone and laptop at least half an hour before retiring.
  • Show Your Body Appreciation. When you come to bed, take a moment to notice your hands, your feet, and the rest of your body. Close your eyes and mentally shower your entire body with love and appreciation for a few seconds. This is the precious container that holds you and allows you to experience the world. Imagine every cell is filled with love.
  • Stretch and yawn. Rest on your back and contract and stretch your muscles from head to toe. Flex your feet, spread your toes and then curl them under three times. Stretch out one foot and reach the opposite arm overhead. Gently squeeze and release the leg and arm muscles three times. Change sides. Hug yourself and shrug your shoulders toward each other. Hold for three or four seconds and release. Change the cross of your arms and repeat. Rest the base of your palms above your eyebrows and place your thumbs on your temples. Slide your fingertips along your hairline and circle the thumbs lightly on your temples. Yawn three times.
  • Rest in love. Either in bed or on your yoga mat come into Child’s pose with your knees wide apart and forehead resting on your hands. Imagine a blanket made of infinite love covering you. Let you hand relax onto your hands. Tell your skin, muscles, and organs that they are fee from the demands of multitasking and being on constant alert. Settle into this cocoon and rest for at least a minute.
  • Let yourself melt. Lie flat on your belly, resting on your forehead on your hands. Feel your navel expand toward the floor as you inhale and pull back as you exhale. With each exhalation, imagine releasing tension from your body. Do this for 10 breaths. Roll slowly onto your back. Rest your fingers on your belly, feeling it rise and fall as you take 12 more breaths. With each exhalation, let yourself melt and be absorbed into radiant love. Then curl into a fetal position on your right side and rest. You may even drift off to sleep.

Tonight when you get into bed to go to sleep remember that sleep is just as important to your body as nourishment. Without sleep your body can not function properly, so curl up in your warm and comfy bed, close your eyes take in some slow long deep breaths and fall off into slumberland knowing that “Sleep Does A Body Good.”

Namaste,

Rochele M. Lawson, RN, AHP, CMS

The Power Of Positive Thought

3 Jul

What we think we often believe. In fact, there is such a strong connection to what we think and how we feel that individuals have been know to cure themselves from terminal illnesses just by believing in themselves, a higher power or a combination of the two.

According to Ayurveda, the body itself is a mental organism, a vehicle of perception designed to support the functions of the senses and to facilitate experience by the mind. Any breakdown in bodily function has its root in the perceptual process and results from wrong use of the senses. Too much, too little or wrong use of the senses results in wrong actions that cause us eventual pain. For example in today modern high technological world our problems are mainly psychological. We have adequate food, clothing and shelter, which prevent us from getting most physical problems, yet we still suffer from psychological unrest which over time manifest in physical symptoms. This unrest may manifest as feelings of anger, overwhelm, and stress, loneliness, not being loved or appreciated. On the other hand if we use the senses in the correct manner then we experience feelings of joy, peace, relaxation, gratitude, love and being appreciated. Positive thinking leads to a positive state of mind which manifest in a positive and balanced body. In this state of being the body is free of sickness and disease and the mind is clear and balanced and does not deplete the body of its natural energy.

How many times during the day do you catch yourself thinking negatively? Ok now how many times do you catch yourself thinking positive? I have a simple test for you to conduct and based on the results of this test you can begin to put together an analysis of how your thoughts are affecting you.

For the next week, each time you have a positive thought document the time, place, what you were doing and how you are feeling i.e.… well, happy, stress free, joyful, relaxed, not sick, etc. and each time you have a negative thought do the same. At the end of the week tally the number of positive thoughts versus the number of negative thoughts and the result of how you felt whether you were sick or not, experience symptoms of acid reflux or not, headaches or not and so on. Also document whether you were able to stay on task and felt successful.

As you review the results, you will be able to see the times when you experienced more positive thoughts and feelings and how your body felt and the times where you may want to be mindful so that you can make improvements to incorporate more positive thinking. The goal is to over time increase your positive thinking which will lead to a more balanced energy state, increase in performance due to no late afternoon energy dips and success due to a focused, clear mind which leads to improved performance which in turn manifest in Success.
When we work in harmony with nature which is a goal of Ayurveda, simplicity and contentment are keys to well-being and this is a factor of positive thinking.  Ayurveda shows us how to live in a state of balance in which fulfillment is a matter of being not becoming. It connects us with the wellsprings of creativity and happiness within our own consciousness, so that we can permanently overcome our addiction to negative thinking.  Ayurveda provides a real solution to our health problems, which is to return to oneness with both the universe and the Divine within. This requires changing how we think, live and perceive.

In closing, here are some tips to assist you with becoming a more positive thinker. Use what works and discard what does not. Have fun and enjoy your journey as a positive thinker.

• You are human and are here to learn and enjoy life so focus on the positive.
• When you catch yourself in that negative thinking mode, don’t ignore it, acknowledge how you are feeling and why or what bought on these feelings
• Try journaling when you catch yourself having the negative thoughts notice any patterns, triggers or maybe an association as to what causes the negative thoughts and focus on changing them. From that point you can begin to take action to make lasting changes to improve your thoughts
• Lastly, every time you catch yourself having a negative thought, laugh and change the negative thought into a positive thought. Overtime this will become automatic thing for you to do and does two things gets your mind off the negative and focused on the positive and you get to open up your lungs with a good laugh which will in turn bring more oxygen to your body increasing your energy, naturally.
Enjoy!
Namaste,

Rochele M. Lawson, RN, AHP, CMS