Summer is the perfect time to make a transformation.
Conscious Wellness has two openings for health consultation and counseling beginning Summer 2016.I use a holistic framework to educate my clients about how and what to eat in order to feel energized, grounded and well nourished. I help them to create habits that support their health and wellness goals. This includes counseling and education around holistic nutrition, meal planning and the connection between food and mood. I help my clients to identify the core values in their lives and to understand how emotional eating can affect the realization of their goals. I help my clients develop strategies around food that support their vision for wellness in a meaningful and sustainable way.
I coach my clients on creating the life they want within the life they have by bringing consciousness to their health. I help them bring awareness to their daily habits and determine whether their habits nourish or deplete. I help them find joy within the fullness of their lives.
I will support and coach you in achieving your health and wellness goals using simple techniques you can incorporate into your daily life. I will help you to identify what is most meaningful in your life and help you make your self-care a priority.
Sessions are available in person in Santa Fe, NM or by phone or Skype.
Contact Francie now to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.
I invite you to consider the qualities of spirit as the most important of your dietary guidelines.
Peace is not a synonym for agreement. Peace is a quality of stillness and acceptance. When we can stop placing our mind’s conditions of peace onto the world, then we can be at peace. When we can let go of the grip we have on our own agenda and find a deeper trust in our lives that is bigger than anything we could have imagined, then we are entertaining peace. We don’t “fight” for peace. In peace, there is no againstness. Peace does not exist when something else stops existing. Peace is in the stillness that is already here. Are you listening for it? Are you able to let go when things don’t go the way you want? It’s hard, I know. We get so invested in our plans and our hopes for ourselves and for others. We get confused and we think that we are being loving. What if loving was much simpler? What if there was no effort in loving, as loving just…..is? Peace.
Orienting ourselves towards peace and loving helps us navigate from an empowered and uplifted state. Imagine, every morning, taking a moment to refocus on your loving nature. Imagine taking a breath, or two, or ten, that was only devoted to peace, to stillness. How might this small activity shift things for you? How might you choose differently in your morning routine? What would stay the same?
It’s simple. Not easy. There are many distractions. And the distractions are not going anywhere, and likely will become more compelling. Bringing down inflammation is very much about choosing healthy foods, and it is also about soothing what is inflamed within us. When we attend to the fight within than we are really making progress for our own wellness. So how do you do that?
We have to give up the luxury of thinking the problem lies outside of us. Catch yourself when you blame them, or him, or her, or anything external for being the problem. Instead, turn your gaze inward. The answer to your discontent does not lie outside of you. Peace is not about managing your reality into a fragile harmony. It is about soothing the conflict within.
Where is your inner conflict?
Where are you judging yourself?
Where are you pressuring yourself?
Where are you suppressing your feelings?
When are you telling yourself you are unsafe, unlovable, no good, a failure? How are you hard on yourself?
The willingness to explore this terrain is critical.
What is also critical is the willingness to let go of the inner conflict.The idea that letting go of all the ways you control and manage yourself with judgments, criticism and fear will most certainly lead to you being out of control and worse off than you are now is how fear maintains its grip on you. We must challenge this kind of thinking, and start to consider what it might be like to trust in yourself.
Trust is essential and many of us early on had reasons not to trust. I get it. Me too. And so the journey back into trust becomes all the more worthwhile. It is possible to stop living in fear. Fear of messing up, saying the wrong thing, getting fat, being rejected or abandoned. Yup, all that is there. For most of us. And it does not have to rule you. It does not have to be your boss. Consider that everything so far in your life has brought you right to this very moment. Right to the place where you are starting to consider that you are worth more than you thought you were. Consider that every hardship has been in service to your own awakening into a deeper understanding of yourself. You can trust yourself and you can trust your life.
Everything in your life, on the micro and macro levels, is working for you.Every disturbance, irritant, discontent, is grist for the mill. It is a stepping stone for you to reach deeper into yourself than ever before, past all the pressuring and judging and attachments. The world is for your own liberation. Liberation is the opposite of control. Beyond liberation lies peace.
Use your lifetime to find your own liberation. I believe this is what deeply serves the world. More so than our anger and our cynicism ever could. It is exciting to me to think of where your liberation might lead you. What might you create? How might you treat yourself and others? Ultimately we each have the opportunity to genuinely love our lives and love ourselves. So cultivate peace from the inside out. Do whatever it takes and then observe the changes in yourself and the world. Then tell us all about it.
There is a lot of talk about brain health happening these days.
The excitement is that we are really beginning to see connections in the way we live and what we eat and how that affects our brains. And brains are not just for thinking and problem solving – they control our moods (depression, anxiety, irritability, low patience), our energy levels, whether we can manage the stressors well in our lives, our tolerance for stimulation (noise, smells, touch, movement), our physical coordination and balance, and many many other things that absolutely affect the quality of our day to day lives. So, if you knew that certain foods create inflammation in the brain and increased our likelihood to be depressed or anxious or fatigued, would you give them up? And if you knew there were certain foods that protected your brain from inflammation and toxicity which in turn would improve your mood, would you eat them? I know I would! Simple changes in our diet can go a long way towards feeling great.
Omega-3 fats are essential for good brain health and incorporating more of them into your diet can help to improve your mood. Omega-3 fat consumption is also associated with prevention of cognitive decline. The standard american diet is chronically deficient in Omega-3 fats and way too high in Omega-6 fats (interestingly we are seeing rates of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s on the rise which may have a lot to do with how inflammatory the standard american diet is). High amounts of Omega-6 fat tips the balance towards high levels of toxicity (free radicals) in the brain which results in inflammation in the brain, which affects our mood and many other things. Increasing our intake of Omega-3 fats is the best way to address this imbalance. It is also important to know that balancing our source of Omega-3 fats from both plant and animal sources is beneficial especially as we get older because the enzymes used to convert the vegetarian sources of Omega-3s into the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA decline as we age.
Here are some of the best sources of Omega-3 fats:
Here are some ways to incorporate more healthy Omega-3 fats and improve your mood with food:
Blend 2 ripe bananas, ½ can coconut milk or 1 cup of milk of your choice, 1 cup plain kefir or plain yogurt, 2 TB almond butter, 1 TB chia seeds, 1 cup fresh or frozen berries (blueberries or raspberries recommended), and 2 cups ice. For added flavor add few drops of vanilla extract or honey to sweeten.
Try making your own Caesar salad dressing! (Minced garlic, fresh squeezed lemon, 2-3 chopped anchovies, 1 raw pastured egg yolk, extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp dried mustard, ½ cup organic shredded Romano cheese (omit for dairy free). Whisk together in large salad bowl until desired taste and consistency, then toss in chopped romaine lettuce. Top with another ½ cup shredded Romano if desired.) Delicious with fresh grilled salmon!
Try this yummy quick recipe for healthy currants and healthy fat: Mix together ½ cup coconut oil, ¼ cup coconut flour, ½ cup dried currants (or dried blueberries!), 2 TB collagen protein powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 TB maple syrup. Pour into small muffin tin for mini “muffins” and freeze for 15 minutes.
Eating for wellness is really delicious!
When we start incorporating these essential nutrients into our diets and naturally let go of convenience foods that have been highly processed and refined, we bring in more nourishment and pleasure with eating. Enjoy trying these suggestions and adapting them and making them your own! As always, I’d love to hear your discoveries in the comments whether it is yummy recipes or changes you’ve made with your brain health through diet.
For more nutritional science on brain health and recipes check out my book, "Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s: Delicious Recipes and New Research to Prevent and Slow Dementia."
The book is jam-packed with easy to read science and suggestions, as well as great everyday recipes that are for anyone wanting to improve their brain health and bring down chronic inflammation. Here’s to happy and healthy eating for happy and healthy brains!
You may have heard the term “adrenal fatigue” or “adrenal burnout.”
These terms are meant to describe a physiological situation in which the systems designed to help us respond and deal with stress become compromised. The adrenal glands, which sit atop our kidneys, secrete a hormone called cortisol when we are experiencing any form of stress. Cortisol helps shift things physiologically (such as suppressing digestion, fertility and blood circulation and turning on fight, flight and flee mechanisms) to that we can “survive” the stress at hand. This is an incredible system for us surviving acute stressful situations. However, chronic stress over time is not conducive to long-term health. When cortisol is chronically high, or even chronically low (which can happen after too much output over too long of a time) we suffer for it.
Possible symptoms of adrenal fatigue, or what is more accurately termed hypothalamic pituitary axis (HPA) dysfunction, can mimic other symptoms of chronic illness. HPA dysfunction, turns out is not simply about fatigued adrenals, but about a delicate interplay of hormones and feedback systems within the brain that becomes maladaptive. It is highly recommended to work with a skilled practitioner and get accurate testing done in order to identify any issues with your HPA axis. However, it can be reasonably assumed that if you suffer from any kind of chronic illness, addressing the health and functioning of your HPA axis is a critical must for regaining your health.
In addition to testing, if you suffer from any of the following, it may indicate as well an HPA dysfunction:
You may find this resource on HPA dysfunction helpful for exploring the above in more depth.)
There are multiple causes for HPA dysfunction and some of those we have control over and others we do not. One huge factor is disrupted circadian rhythms, and disrupted sleep. Therefore, a powerful step one can take to address HPA dysfunction and begin reducing symptoms is to start prioritizing sleep by getting enough sleep and getting good quality sleep.
Lets look at some ways you can start to make small changes that will have big impacts on your quality of sleep, which in turn will support your overall health.
(Read more about healthy sleep and why it is important here.)
Not only can adequate sleep help resolve any dysfunction in your HPA (your stress response) but it can also be restorative in areas you wouldn’t think about.
When our bodies perceive chronic stress and have a lowered resilience to stress (due to HPA dysfunction) it will shut down, or limit its resources in areas of the body not necessary for immediate survival. This includes the digestive system, reproductive system, and detox systems. Circulation of life giving blood gets limited and rationed. Getting enough quality sleep, regularly, can not only provide you with more energy and brain function during the day but can also improve your ability to absorb essential vitamins and nutrients (which in turn help you look and feel your best), can increase your libido and nourish your intimate relationships (good sex is good for you!), and also supports you getting out toxins which we are exposed to every single day (additives in foods, chemicals in our buildings, furniture, water and air). All in all, supporting our critical need for sleep lays a powerfully strong foundation for health and wellness that will positively inform the quality of your life.