Julie’s 8 Favorite “Foodie Finds” in 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR! As we get ready to kick off the new year with our goals and aspirations for 2017, I took some time to reflect on the past year.  I like to look back as I determine my top areas to focus on moving ahead.  I thought it would be fun to reflect on my top favorite ” foodie finds” from 2016 that I have fallen in love with and now can’t live without!

Check out my top 8….then leave a comment and share your “favorite food finds” that support your wellness goals.

ps…and if you give one of my top 8 a try…. come back and share your thoughts!

  1. I Love Beets:  No more excuses of why you can’t indulge in all the benefits of beets! Toss in smoothies, slice on salads, eat as a snack….options are endless .  Despite this little gem as my “go to”….I do still prefer getting my organic beets and roasting them…especially this time of year when they are local and in season! But let’s face it, sometimes life calls for a little convenience!  (ps. if you saw my cake recipe in the last newsletter – these work great!) 
  2. Braggs 24 Herbs & Spices Seasonings: I have tried so many spice blends but am often less than pleased with lack of flavor or versatility to use with a wide range of foods.   This blend seems to be great on anything…sprinkled on salads, dips, added to dressings, mixed with roasted or steamed veggies, added to soups!   Not only is this blend delicious, but adds a punch of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to your meals… a win-win in my book!
  3. Clean Soups by Rebecca Katz: If you want to master delicious soups filled with amazing flavor and ingredients… this is the book for you!  This goes beyond your basic soup cookbook and gives the true meaning of “food as medicine” in each and every recipe.  Colleague and culinary guru, Rebecca Katz, is known for her amazing gift of of healing and health for those impacted by cancer.  From broths and stocks, blended soups, to more hearty soups…each recipe is perfected to brilliance!  (I include many of her recipes in my 10-Day ECF Detox – perfect for gut-healing and detoxifying!) 
  4. Good Karma Flaxmilk with Vanilla: I admit… 12 years ago when I had to give up milk, it was hard.  But when I switched to organic soy milk, it seemed to fit the bill for all my needs for years.  However, due to my own health issues and concerns with soy… last year I said goodbye to my daily soy milk and switched to organic coconut and almond milk.  The downside to the change is no protein, and I didn’t like either in my coffee.  After trying almost everything, while refusing to go with sweetened creamers… I found cold-pressed flaxseed milk.  It was the right creaminess with the extra protein and now a regular staple! 
  5. Cardamom: It wasn’t until the past 2 years that I had been introduced to this amazing spice.Related to ginger (another favorite) it can be used to combat nausea, acidity, bloating, gas, heartburn, loss of appetite, constipation, and more.  This spice helps the body eliminate waste through the kidneys, and why I will use this in my detox regimens.  I would love to say I am uber creative with this spice, but mainly I toss it in teas, hot cereals, pancakes mixes, and have used as a rub for chicken!   Check out more about benefits of cardamom!  If you don’t have this spice in your cabinet…perhaps it’s time to jump on the bandwagon.
  6. Organic Red Lentil Rotini: Non-GMO, organic, gluten free, high in fiber (11 grams), high in protein (21 g), rich in minerals and essential vitamins, cholesterol free…..and cooks in 8-10 minutes! Besides the fact it is in a box (but is recyclable)….you can’t go wrong with this product when it comes to nutrition benefits.  Taste is great and since it is so high in protein, it makes a super fast meal paired with veggies and your favorite sauce.  Try homemade marinara or pesto… or my new favorite – Creamy Avocado Pasta
  7. Avocado Oil: This has been the year of avocado for me.  I can’t get enough… and almost panic if I am without…avocado in smoothies, avocado cream sauce, dressings, and now oil!   I love using this in place of my EVOO when roasting veggies, making dressings, and sautéing at high heat when making stir fry (Check out my blog – are you hurting your health by choosing the wrong oil!)  Be sure to look for cold-pressed and non-GMO. 
  8. Truly’s All Natural Deodorant: OK, so I know this is not “food”.  However, with only 4 ingredients (organic coconut oil, organic powdered sugar, baking soda, and beeswax) it practically qualifies. (grin).  I had to share due to my enthusiasm.   My 2 year search for an all-natural deodorant (that works!) in order to avoid the toxic aluminum and other ingredients has ended.  Numerous bottles can be found in my drawers that failed to deliver anything close to my clinical strength deodorant.  This was the BEST find of 2016 for me.  Works perfectly and covers me in any and all sweaty and stressful circumstances.   Truly’s is my new “true love” for my personal hygiene needs! 

  Do you want to achieve your wellness dreams in 2017… beat the bloat, lose the weight, regain control of your health, renew your vitality, discover the root cause of your health struggles? If so, give me a call.  I would love to hear about your wellness dreams and help you discover abundant health in the New Year!

In the meantime, leave a comment about YOUR favorite 2016 FOODIE finds!

Wishing you a healthy and vibrant 2017!  Julie

7 Natural Therapies for Amazing Sleep

sleeprestrelaxHere it is again – the importance of SLEEP!  Around the holidays is often a time to skimp on sleep.  But it is the MOST important time to be proactive and make sleep a sacred part of your wellness routine.  The stressors of holidays can take a toll on our health without time to rest and recharge.

Before your head sinks into the pillow at bedtime, there are some very simple things you can do to prepare mind and body for a night of deeply restful sleep. The evening hours are a time when the busyness of your day should begin to wind down. It’s important to create a bedtime ritual that will help tame the thoughts that may still be racing through your mind and which can prevent you from falling or staying asleep throughout the night.

In addition to the lifestyle tips for better sleep that are described in my blog- Sleep – Essential to Mind-Body , try adding some of the following naturopathic and holistic approaches to your evening routine.

7 Strategies to Support Sleep

  1. Enjoy a warm bath including Epsom salts and/or lavender oil. Diffuse essential oils while bathing or in the bedroom. (Check out Natural Partners for discount on essential oils and diffusers)
  2. Consider adding a quality magnesium glycinate – this type of magnesium is well absorbed and particularly good for aiding in sleep since over 50-75% of us are deficient!
  3. Listen to the relaxing sounds of ocean waves, classical music, or chimes. There are specialized acoustic recordings that are orchestrated to affect specific brain wave patterns for relaxation or sleep.
  4. A guided recording of progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing exercises, restorative yoga poses, can help the body create the ‘relaxation response’.
  5. Herbs and other botanical or aromatherapy treatments are useful for calming down after a stressful day. Lavender used topically or diffused in your bedroom can be effective. Try a cup of chamomile tea.  Additional teas and tinctures may be effective such as valerian, passionflower, or lemon balm.
  6. Try meditation, beginning with just 10 minutes a day. Meditation has numerous health benefits and recent studies show it can significantly affect quality of sleep.  (Check out a user-friendly introduction with 10 minute/day – HeadSpace
  7. Be sure to have your vitamin D and B-vitamin levels checked annually.  Both can contribute to poor sleep due to underlying deficiencies!

Do not undermine the importance of sleep when it comes to your health.  If you have difficulty concentrating, feel anxious during the day, can’t lose the extra 5 pounds, and have trouble managing stress…check in with the amount and quality of sleep you get each night.

If you are not getting 7-9 hours of sleep, it is time to make a change!

Remember, without adequate sleep….all the healthy lifestyle changes you make will have little impact on your health.

Make it a priority to rest and reboot for amazing health!

ps. Need some support to individualize an effective plan that is right for you?  Contact me.… jump start your New Year with amazing health!

One of my favorite ways to concentrate on sleep and rest is through my 10 day Detox challenge!  


Be Good To Your Adrenals!

adrenalsThe stress of modern life is enough to wear down even the healthiest of person.  Top that with added holiday stressors…shopping,  family activities, social gatherings, decorating, cooking, traveling ...and it can push your body beyond healthy limits.  You may end up grumpy, tired, exhausted and unable to enjoy the holidays.  Don’t let yourself cave into holiday stress…be proactive and be good to your adrenals.

Overload of stress or  intense stress, such as a fight or emotional conflict with a loved one, trouble at work, or a physical injury, can take a toll on the adrenal glands. During a stressful situation, our brain sends distress signals to different parts of our brain and body.  The phrase fight or flight sums up the response.

The adrenal glands respond by pumping epinephrine through the bloodstream.  Our heart beats faster, more oxygen flows through the body and breathing becomes rapid.  Our body is preparing us to fight the stressful situation or duck and take cover.   This fight or flight response is vital when we encounter life-threatening circumstances.  However,  frequent and intense stress can overstimulate the adrenals.  This may lead to them being ineffective at regulating the body’s hormone levels. This is known as “adrenal dysfunction” or “adrenal fatigue.”

The more stress we experience, the more cortisol is utilized to help us handle the pressure.  Depending on the duration of the stress..this will impact if cortisol is deficient or elevated.  As a result the effectiveness of hormone production will be affected, including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, etc.

This may lead to a variety of symptoms, including constant weariness, inability to cope with stress, recurrent infections, irritability, cravings for sweet foods, weight gain, and more. Adrenal fatigue is complex and symptoms should be discussed with your doctor and healthcare providers.  Consider getting your hormones tested to determine if your cortisol levels are deficient or in excess. Other hormones may be monitored as well…and it is always good to look at your thyroid function.  The treatment for adrenal fatigue requires a comprehensive and integrative approach.

Five Ways Help Support Your Adrenal Glands:

  1. Load-up on nutrients, especially Vitamin C. A healthy balanced diet of whole foods is an important part of maintaining adrenal health. Focus on fresh veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts/seeds, and choose local organic produce as able. Adequate lean protein is important as well as lots of healthy fats! Be sure to minimize added sugars and avoid artificial sweeteners.  The adrenal glands rely on B and C vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and quality proteins for optimal health and function.  Talk with your MD or dietitian about key supplements and herbs that also may help support you.
  2. Move it out!  Daily movement is essential to maintaining adrenal health and reversing adrenal fatigue. Adding a strength training regimen, on a bi-weekly basis, will help your body to more appropriately respond to stressors throughout the day. Exercise also helps build up your body’s defense to stressors, making them easier to deal with internally. Depending on your level of adrenal health, you may need to slowly ease into an exercise program!  Often high intensity exercise may not be the best choice.  Consider yoga, walking, and getting out into nature!
  3. Keep stress at bay. Stress management is vital when it comes to restoring adrenal health, and often the most challenging for my clients. Try integrating some simple stress reduction techniques into your daily activities, such as deep breathing, yoga, meditation, or prayer. Find a technique that calms you and easily works into your daily schedule. Also consider counseling, therapy, acupuncture, massage, and other alternative techniques to help reduce stress.
  4. Relax. You deserve it and your body craves it (and needs it!).  Try 10-15 minute bouts of meditation/breathing.  If you sit for extended periods of time during the day, fill this time with soothing music and simple stretches that will loosen your body and realign your back. Surround yourself with tranquility and make your environment a positive and uplifting place.
  5. Make beauty sleep a priority. Sleep is perhaps one of the most important!  This is because adrenal glands are constantly working throughout the day and need time to recharge in order to avoid exhaustion. Help regulate your body’s internal clock by sticking to a consistent bedtime. Choose a time that allows your body enough time to fully recharge, leaving you refreshed when you wake.  Without sleep your body is unable to respond fully to the other healthful habits you may implement.  So make quality sleep one of your top priorities! (for more tips check out my last blog)

Being mindful of your adrenal health will help you feel more grounded, balanced, and happier so you can enjoy the holiday season.  Check in with your stress level daily and take steps to manage it. Keep your task list realistic, make healthy eating a priority, squeeze in time to take a walk or attend a yoga class…and you will breeze through this stressful time!

Keep calm so you can enjoy your family, friends, and festivities this season!

With you on the Journey to manage that holiday stress!

Cheers:)  Julie

Need a little inspiration and jump start?!

Join me for 2 weeks of support and encouragement so you can feel vibrant as you welcome 2017!
Blast away the bloat, blahs, and bulge left over from the holidays.
Step into the New Year feeling radiant!


Why a Detox May Be Right For You!

What does the word DETOX mean to you?

If you are thinking about starving yourself, eating only 4 foods, or drinking liquids for a week…that is not the way to healthful detox!  Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about the meaning and proper practice of detox.  Even for me… years ago I thought it was a crazy practice to entice people to drink liquids and drop weight fast (absolutely the worse thing to do for your body!)

Proper methods of detoxing is not about depriving your body of food or nutrients!  It is an opportunity to provide your body with the essential nutrients needed to support your body’s natural detox process to bring you into balance.  It is a chance to introduce your palate to foods that will help your body balance and heal from the inside out!

Approaching a detox in a positive and healthy way can help you to re-establish a baseline and allow your cells and organs to function at their optimum potential. By introducing key foods and nutrients (eliminating others) while focusing on mindfulness, proper rest, movement, and environmental factors, your body will experience a well-balanced and effective detox.

Why is a detox a good idea?

  1. Detoxification is a normal but complex process where the body neutralizes and eliminates toxins through its major organs such as the liver, colon, kidney, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin — your body efficiently does this every day! But our self-cleansing system can get overloaded…even more so today than ever before…by  unhealthy food, lifestyle habits, exposure to environmental toxins, and emotional stress.   Sometimes it needs a break and a little support to function at its best!
  2. Many factors contribute to toxicity in the body….processed foods; alcohol; sugar; outdoor pollution and smog;  harmful chemicals in the home and office, including kitchen and bathroom cleaners, detergents, etc.  Some of us are more efficient than others in the detoxification process.
  3. We may have limited control over the environment that we are exposed to, but we have total control over the food we eat and the products we use on our body and in our homes.
  4. Even if your diet is good, a cleanse or detox can restore and boost your immune system…as well as protect against environmental toxins that pave the way for disease-bearing bacteria and viruses and increase risk of chronic disease.

A detox program may be right for you if you experience:

  • Low energy, and fatigue
  • Cravings for sugar, salt, and processed carbs
  • Bloating, gas, and indigestion
  • Skin problems like acne, rashes, or eczema
  • Weight gain and difficulty losing weight
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Depression, moodiness, irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • Weakened immunity

OR if you are ready to reset and refresh your system to experience greater health, vitality,and energy!  (especially after overindulging during holidays!) 

What are the benefits?

  • Rest the organs and eliminate stored waste (you may even lose weight!)
  • Improve vitality and energy levels
  • Enhance and improve digestion and absorption of nutrients
  • Clearer skin and complexion
  • Greater productivity and calmer mind and spirit
  • Enhance mental clarity
  • Improve immune function
  • Greater sense of well-being
  • Lower risk of disease and illness

When is a good time for a detox?

 It can be different for each person but change of seasons, around the new moon, or after a time of overindulging (the NEW YEAR is a perfect time).

Stay tuned for my upcoming online detox programs!

Slow Down The Holiday Hunger with Mindfulness!

mindfulnessThanksgiving is over…but I am still enjoying leftovers!  How about you?   The holiday eating season has begun…the time when most of us indulge in our favorite treats and have a busier social schedule. We are less than 5 weeks away from New Year…when a majority of Americans will gain weight and look back wondering if it was worth it?

Eating well is not about perfection, or giving up your favorite foods. A better approach involves honoring your body and knowing what works best for you and just as importantly… what doesn’t work.  For example, if I go to a party and eat sugar-laden treats and cheese, I will definitely feel the after effects.  Feeling sick, tired, and bloated is not how I want to feel the next day.

Mindful eating aims to reconnect you more deeply with the experience of eating and drinking. It is the process of deliberately paying attention to what is happening both within yourself and in your environment during mealtime and social events. Often this can help you to make better choices based on past experiences.  When you eat mindfully, you are in tune with the aroma, taste, and texture of food and become more aware of your appetite.  Mindful eating brings enjoyment (and control) back to eating. It helps sheds light on how food affects your body – positive or negative.

NOW is a perfect time to try a new approach and bring greater mindfulness into your planning and indulging this season! Try some of these strategies to keep you focused on your wellness goals.  Just like anything else in life….preparation is the key.

8 Strategies to Slow Down and Stay on Track During the Holidays 

  1. Remember your goals.  It is a good idea to write down your wellness goals before you hit the holiday parties and festivities. If you want to feel great (and avoid the extra pounds), you will be less likely to over-indulge.  Set an intention for how you would like to feel after each meal and hold yourself accountable by sharing with a friend or spouse. Sometimes treating yourself to your favorite sugary sweet and other pleasure food is exactly what the moment calls for…however, most of the time, you will feel better if you refrain!
  2. Pause & connect. After you give thanks for your meal, but before you pick up your fork, take a moment to connect with your appetite. How hungry do you feel? Of all the food on the table, what are you truly hungry for? What flavors will nourish you and replenish your energy?  Fill your plate first with the nourishing foods your body needs most. Then, finish your plate with smaller amounts of those traditional holiday favorites.
  3. Clear digital distractions. At holiday time when family and friends gather from near and far, it is easy to forget to turn off the digital devices that are such a huge part of our lives. Sure, someone may complain about missing a key play in the big game (my house on Thanksgiving;)), but what is truly important? Everyone at your table should be in the moment for the main part of the meal…free of distraction and enjoying a precious time of fellowship.
  4. Relax…and engage the senses. Take five deep breaths before your meal.  Take small bites and focus on chewing slowly… notice the smell, color, and flavor of your food. Consider the nutrients that the food will provide for you. Digestion begins with the act of chewing. Salivary enzymes break down food the moment it enters your mouth. Your taste buds awaken to flavors as you chew. Pause between bites to set your utensils down and breathe.
  5. Respond to pushers politely. Perhaps you know exactly what I mean.  That friend or relative that asks you repeatedly why you are not indulging at a party or having dessert (or seconds!) Consider responding politely that you are there for the people and fellowship, not the food.  Perhaps you have already eaten your dinner so you can focus on the people and have a good time.  This limits the risk of offending anyone…especially the cook.
  6. Avoid or limit alcohol.  Alcohol reduces your inhibitions and can therefore cause you to overindulge, making poor choices.  Most types of alcohol are filled with sugar and empty calories.  Instead, bring or ask for sparkling water with lemon or lime.  If you do drink…stick to one drink and sip slow and make it last, then switch to water.
  7. Stay active and people-focused rather than entirely zeroing in on the food.  Plan on an activity to look forward to after a meal like a walk on the beach, miniature golf, or visiting with other friends or family.  Offering to clean up and help your host helps prevents overeating or reaching for dessert.  Sit next to someone you find genuinely interesting and engage in conversation with them.
  8. Don’t beat yourself up.  I see this all to often with my clients…they are laden with guilt over slipping back into old habits.  Leave the guilt behind!  Guilt is a toxic emotion that creates more harm than good.  When things get out of control (which they do), simply make a change and begin to revert back to your healthy habits. If you indulge a little, be gentle with yourself and don’t judge or be critical.  Ask yourself if you enjoyed the process.  How did you react to the food that you ate?  Pay attention and move on by making a U-turn back to the foods and activities that make you feel your best!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!  Be sure to stay connected.  I will be sending out exciting information about the New Years ECF Detox Program and discounts for 2017!  If you want a sneak peak and are ready to kick off the New Year feeling your best then CLICK HERE for all the juicy details!

I am so excited for 2017 and all that is in store for YOU! Together let’s work to meet your wellness goals so you can accomplish all your dreams for the New Year!   ~ Julie 🙂

Sleep – Essential for Mind-Body!

How has the time change affected you? Are you energized, tired, indifferent? Do shorter evenings inspire you to get into bed earlier for some extra zzzz’s?  Or do you find yourself struggling….failing to feel a sense of refreshment and vitality upon rising?

A growing area of health concern is lack of SLEEP – quality and quantity!  More than 20 years of research shows us that sleep is vitally important to physical and mental health. Yet, over 50% of clients I work with struggle in this area.  Without sleep, all other therapies related to nutrition and lifestyle have little effect. Sleep is often the most important area to address.

What happens to the mind and body when we don’t sleep enough, or at all?  Research, both animal and human, shows us that living without sleep for even a few months resulted in death. Sleeping fewer than 7 hours a night on a regular basis is associated with increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke, depression, colds and flu, and obesity.

What Happens When We Sleep:

Sleep affects brain chemistry and has an important role in the functioning of the nervous, immune and endocrine systems. During sleep we develop and reinforce neural pathways involved in memory, learning, and emotion. New research suggests sleep helps flush toxins from the brain.

While we are sleeping, the body manufactures hormones that repair damage caused by stress and the environment in which we work and play. Growth hormones cleanse the liver, build muscle, break down fat, and help normalize blood sugar. We also produce hormones that help fight infections. If we aren’t getting sufficient sleep, we get sick more often and take longer to recover. Lack of sleep increases inflammation, which has been linked to heart disease and stroke. (Sleep is pretty important!!!)

Skimping on shut-eye is linked with obesity in adults and children. And lack of sleep even interferes with the levels of ghrelin and leptin, metabolic hormones that signal when you’re hungry and when you’re full.

How Much Do You Need:

The amount of sleep you need varies based on age, activity level, quality of sleep, and genetics. Infants typically require 14-15 hours of sleep per 24-hour period; young children about 12 hours; teens about 9 hours, and most adults 7-9 hours. A general rule of thumb for determining your sleep requirement: If you do not wake feeling refreshed, you may not be getting enough sleep.

Tips For A Good Night’s Sleep

  1. Keep the bed for sleep and sex only. If you don’t feel sleepy, leave the room and do something relaxing until you feel drowsy.  (See the blog on Natural Therapies for Amazing Sleep). Then, go back to bed.
  2. Set a sleep schedule. This includes a soothing pre-sleep routine, such as a warm bath, reading or gentle yoga. Go to bed and wake at the same time each day. This trains your body rhythms, making it easier to fall asleep. If you need a nap, get it in before 5:00 PM; limit to 20 minutes.
  3. Surround yourself with cave-like ambiance. A sleeping space should be quiet, dark, and cool (between 60-72°). If you do shift-work, use blackout shades or an eye mask.
  4. Remove electronic devices, computers and TVs from your room. Research shows that use of digital devices within an hour of bedtime has a negative effect on sleep quality.
  5. Let the light in early and exercise regularly. Natural light helps regulate hormones that promote ideal sleep-wake patterns. Open the curtains as early as possible and get outdoors during the day. Exercise during the day or early evening makes it easier to fall asleep and increases the amount of deep sleep obtained.
  6. Eat a light dinner 2-3 hours before sleep is ideal. A full stomach interferes with sleep as the body works at digestion. Steer clear of spicy or fatty foods that can cause heartburn. If you need a bedtime snack, combine a carbohydrate and protein, such as almond butter on an apple or organic Greek yogurt with pumpkin seeds.
  7.  Avoid products containing caffeine, sugar or nicotine as their effects can last several hours.

Are You Sleep Deprived?

You don’t have to pull “all-nighters” to become sleep deprived. A sleep debt of just 1-2 hours a few nights a week can affect your health and performance.To become fully well-rested and regain energy after a sleep debt, get an extra hour of sleep each night for one week. If you experience any of the following signs of sleep deprivation, talk to your healthcare provider about natural approaches to getting your sleep back on track.

  • Daytime drowsiness; fatigue
  • Poor memory; difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty dealing with stress
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension; impaired vision
  • Increase in accidents or clumsiness

Is your sleep quality and quantity suffering?  If so, consider making sleep your top priority!  Feel like you have tried everything and still can’t sleep, consider talking with your doctor to help identify any underlying health condition. Many key nutrients are essential for sleep and many medication may impact getting adequate amounts.  This is why SLEEP is an essential area I address when working with clients!

Wishing you good health & good night sleep!  ~ Julie 🙂 ♥

ps. Are you ready to take your health to the next level?  Let’s connect to see how we can best work together to make your wellness dreams come true!


‘Prime’ Your Gut for Good Health

priming the gutDid you know your body is working BEFORE you eat?

Think about smelling the aroma of your favorite dinner cooking…or cake baking in the oven?  Did you feel yourself begin to salivate or stomach growl telling you it was time to eat.  The process of eating and digesting is an extremely intricate and amazing event!   Good digestion begins before food even enters the mouth!   The first phase of digestion affects your gut, however, it is not driven by it!   It begins in the head….this is called the cephalic phase of digestion.  

The sight, sound, smell, and often the thought of food triggers signals from the brain.  These signals are transmitted down the central nervous system via the vagus nerve.  These signals drive your digestive processes and prepare the way for food to enter your digestive tract.  Many of us fail to recognize or create mindfulness around this vital process! Why so important?  Because you may secrete as much as 40% of the hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes (super important to break down protein and other nutrients) needed to effectively digest food.  This is even before you consume a single ounce of food. We must appreciate our brain for its role in digestion. This is because the autonomic nervous system has a vital role related to digestion and gut function.

It is imperative to pause and mindfully engage in the complexity of eating in order to heal or optimize your digestive tract!

 For example:  You are having a smooth day, everything is going according to schedule, you are calm, content, and feeling in control…more relaxed than you have been in weeks.  You notice that you are getting hungry and you think about the leftovers in the frig that you would love to heat up for lunch.  The thought triggers impulses in your brain that flow nicely to your vagus nerve (beginning in the lower part of your brain and travels down through your neck, chest, and into your abdomen).  This nerve mediates the parasympathetic nervous response which only functions well when you are relaxed.  In your happy, peaceful, and mindful state, it is operating well telling your gut to secrete optimal flow of digestive juices and therefore aids in the movements required for proper digestion.

Now, lets think about an “off” day…you are rushed, grumpy, moody, and feel like the day is controlling you.  You had a fight with a co-worker, spouse, or child and your parasympathetic system is not activating…and you start to feel hungry.  Now at this point those signals can’t flow properly down your vagus nerve.  Instead your sympathetic nervous system kicks in and in this frame of mind, with this part of your nervous system activated, your digestive tract is derailed before it even has a chance!

TAKE AWAY:  Your state of mind impacts your Cephalic Digestion.  

A positive and mindful state of mind will help with optimal digestive health! 

Steps to Optimize the Cephalic phase of Digestion:

  1. Learn and engage in the practice of mindful eating
  2. Pause and breathe before rushing into a meal
  3. Give thanks for the food and recognize how it will benefit your body
  4. Limit multitasking when eating
  5. Avoid eating in a stressful environment
  6. Prepare your own food at least 80-90% of the time

Knowledge is Power!  The more you understand your body and how and why it works….the more empowered you are to engage in change and transformation.

My passion is to help equip you to live the healthiest life possible.

Have a question you want me to blog about…. Drop me a line and let me know.

Until next time!  Julie




Welcome Change for Good Health!

Jersey Shore 2016

Tired of the same routine, food, exercise routine, or lost the “spark and spunk” for life?  Maybe it’s time to hit the pause button and reflect on the benefit of a CHANGE?  Yes, scary word for some. For me and many clients… it is easy to forget that WE have control over our life (not the job, kids, grandkids, boss, or spouse! Yes, you!)  Our choices and mindset are OURS to own. Making mindful changes in routine, eating plan, sleep, work life, personal life …can do wonders for health and contentment.   How about you….

Can you relate to any of these?

  • Feel like you are on the “hamster wheel”
  • Lack productivity in your work, home, or personal life
  • Go through the motions of the daily grind but are not truly “present”
  • Stuck in your same rigid routines and rituals – can we say inflexible!
  • Stagnant and not growing in your spiritual, work, or relationship life
  • Lost touch with YOU – what you love, your values, what brings you joy, and appreciating who you ARE

It took a HUGE wake up call  during my time away for some R&R (way overdue) at the shore, to realize that change was necessary to keep me fully engaged and loving LIFE!  Merely getting out of my routine (and myself) provided the clarity I needed to embrace and commit to needed CHANGE!  This place of wonderful childhood memories lead me to reconnect with family, friends, and provided a time of rest, reflection, and refreshment.  My schedule and rigid routines were negativity impacting my health, productivity, and creativity. Just this commitment to get away,  quiet down my brain, change my routine, and even my eating… helped me realize that I needed to do a better job of caring for ME and my health.

I came home armed with a realistic list (remember SMART goals everyone – Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic, and Timely) and I am excited to begin to apply (with grace) to my daily life.

I have already begun by trying out a new exercise routine (thanks PureBarre for intro to Platform), committing to eating without multi-tasking, exploring new recipes (wow, Green Chef…what a treat), setting boundaries around sleep, balancing work/play life (hello Selby Gardens!), so I can be truly present!

For those that can relate –  this blog is for you!  To encourage you to take some time to SHAKE IT UP!

I write this to hopefully inspire you if you are not truly LIVING your best life.  We are all on a journey. A final destination is not realistic since we are always learning and growing…. but we can be intentional and mindful beings. I am right there with you.  It may take a day trip away or just some time set aside to reflect on areas that may need CHANGE.

Consider what areas you need to work on that would allow you to grown, thrive, and live fully present!

I challenge you….Write down 2-4 goals and begin working on them TODAY.  Life is short…

“Dance. Smile. Giggle. Marvel. TRUST. HOPE. LOVE. WISH. BELIEVE. Most of all, enjoy every moment of the journey, and appreciate where you are at this moment instead of always focusing on how far you have to go.” ~ Mandy Hale

Drop me a line…I would love to hear what you discover!

Your Partner on the Journey Toward Abundant Living :),  Julie

Bloated? 5 Top Reasons Why + What to Do!

Bloating is a top complaint from my clients!  You may have heard me say…I am most passion about helping those who struggle with the “blah, bloat, and bulge”.  Let’s face it…bloating can put you in a funk! It is uncomfortable, makes your clothes feel tight, and is often accompanied by gas, pain, and unpredictable bowel movements. The list of digestive dysfunctions that cause bloating is a long one and can involve some serious gut health issues..and some minor ones.

Here are 5 top reasons + steps you can take to tame the bloat.

(Keep in mind, the root cause of bloating is often complex.  Don’t feel discouraged if you make changes and don’t get immediate relief.  Give me a call, let’s figure it out together!)

1. Speed Eating

I have lost count of the number of clients referred by gastroenterologists who were baffled about a patients “bloating problem”.  They were scoped inside out with no conclusive findings.  One important question they often failed to ask…“how quickly do you eat”?  Too many meals today are eaten in a hurry while standing up, working at a desk, driving, checking Facebook, talking on the phone, or zoned out watching TV! . Here’s the problem: Our digestive function only works optimally when we’re relaxed, calm, and mentally prepared for food. This is known as the parasympathetic state of our nervous system or “rest and digest” mode. Today’s world leaves little room for us to get into this mode.  Instead we are rushing, rushing, rushing in the sympathetic mode…also known as “fight or flight.”

Eating on the go doesn’t allow for proper digestion.  Our brains don’t communicate with the gut, informing it that food is on the way. We don’t take the time to chew thoroughly, so food passes on before it is primed. We now have partially digested food sitting in the stomach…and therefore the stomach has to work overtime! The food then can ferment and produce gas….and, then of course, bloating.

What to do: Make it a priority to make mealtime sacred. Turn off all distractions, taking time to sit and enjoy mealtime.  Stop, take a few deep breaths, and give thanks for the meal you are able to enjoy. Take a moment to actually look at your food, smell it and taste it…experiencing all the flavors and textures..  Put your fork down between bites and allow your mind, body, and thoughts to relax for at least 20-30 minutes.

2. Bulking Up

The raw food movement has been around for a long time.  So many raw foodies love to “bulk up” meals with tons of raw veggies, salads, fruits, and nuts.  While I give a ‘thumbs up’ to fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients galore…for some this is just too much fiber.  Consuming more than 40g of fiber can be problematic.  It may inhibit absorption of key nutrients. (Note: The Average American diet ingests a mere 15g.)  It is important to gradually increase your fiber intake and listen to your body.  Honor your body’s own wisdom and physical cues.  Some days you might eat more fiber, and some days you might eat less. Trust that your body will let you know what it needs for healing and nutrition. Every person is unique and has different needs, regardless of established guidelines. You may find that you need more or less fiber than someone else, and the type of fiber will play a role.  Often soluble fiber – things like oats, sweet potatoes, bananas, and apples – may be better tolerated than insoluble fiber like nuts, leafy greens, fruits, and seeds.

What to do:  Eat a wide variety of produce, fruit, veggies,  and alternate cooked and raw veggies. Also include a mix of soluble and insoluble fibers in your day. Gradually build up your fiber and water intake as you increase fiber consumption to 25-40g.  Exercise will help to encourage peristaltic action in your colon. Yoga, walking, and stretching all help your colon function well.

3. Low stomach acid

Believe it or not, having too little stomach acid is all too common.  This may be due to stress, age, medication, and a weak digestive function…which can wreak serious havoc on the rest of your digestion. In order for the stomach to do its job, it needs to be highly acidic.  If it’s not, the ingested food has a hard time moving through the digestive system.  This is especially true if the pancreas is not triggered to release enzymes to continue breaking down the food.  Once again, you have partially digested food in your stomach for far too long. Thus the bloat!  (And not to mention that without enough acid, you may not be able to optimally absorb key nutrients such as B12, iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C.)

What to do: First, identify the root cause and support your stomach acid production.  Talk with your doctor to find out if taking an acid reducer is really a good choice for you!  Especially if you don’t have a stomach ulcer or been diagnosed with gastritis.  For those not on medication… you may try supporting your stomach acid production.  For mild cases, you can try this with a a shot of diluted organic raw apple cider vinegar (1/2 tsp. mixed with 8oz water 15-20 min. before a meal).  For more severe cases, talk with your health care provider and dietitian/nutritionalist about supplements that may be right for you to support your low acid level.  It is important to find your dose and stay consistent while your body relearns the process on its own.

4. Leaky gut

Leaky gut used to be a word you heard in the holistic world, it is finally coming mainstream and often recognized by conventional doctors as a real problem.  Leaky gut, also known as gut permeability,  happens when undigested food particles make their way out of the digestive tract and into your bloodstream via small fissures in the lining of your small intestine. This causes a response from your immune system because suddenly there are foreign invaders in your blood and an attack is necessary. The immune system produces antibodies toward this invader… and food intolerances are formed. Now, every time you eat that food, the body will launch the attack, and you won’t feel good. Until those small openings in the small intestine are sealed back up, this will keep happening and may result in issues like bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea.

Why does leaky gut happen in the first place? The standard American food supply is one big reason. Mass-produced grains and inflammatory foods like sugar, alcohol, commercial processed dairy, and processed packaged foods are all drivers in the formation of a leaky gut. Bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections can also lead to gut permeability. And of course, stress can play a role.

What to do: Cut back or eliminate inflammatory foods like refined grains, dairy, refined sugars, packaged foods, and toxins from your life for a minimum of 15- 30 days. Even better, food sensitivity testing is valuable , or try an elimination diet to find out the specific foods that cause an immune reaction for you. Repair the gut lining with nutrients specific to repairing and developing tissue is important, like the amino acid L-glutamine, vitamin D, and other support minerals.

5. Imbalance of Bacteria (The bad is taking over)

Ideally, we would all have an abundance of different beneficial bacterial strains making a home in our gut and providing us with a balanced, healthy system. However, for too many people today that is just not the case due to many factors related to medication, current food supply, stress, environment, exposure to toxins, and the list goes on.

We are “out of balance” when there is a larger number of bad bacteria crowding out the good guys, known as dysbiosis.  It has been estimated by some researchers that we should be at least 80/20 (meaning 80% good bacteria and 20% of the bad guys).  This battle is something that should be confined to the large intestine, but at times it can back up into the small intestine, a place that should be relatively free of bacteria. This is known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and is a difficult situation to eradicate. SIBO can come with symptoms such as intense bloating, pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue…and also resistant weight loss. It requires a very specific treatment protocol that should be monitored by your physician and dietitian.

What to do: Supply your gut with more of the beneficial bacteria.  One way that may work for some is by eating raw fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha. (However, caution to those that have a histamine sensitivity for which these foods may not be the best choice).   Add a good multi-strain professional line of probiotic (right for your situation) to your daily routine. If you suspect you might have SIBO, ask your gastroenterologist to get tested to confirm your diagnosis.

Need some guidance and support?  I would love to connect with you – Contact me!

Let’s work together so you can say goodbye to the bloat… it IS possible!

Check out my 5-Step ECF System designed to banish the “blahs, bloat, and bulge”…for good.

Your partner on the Journey to Optimal Wellness,   Julie


In A Rut? Embrace Change!

Photo of happy girl taking pleasure in summer day outsideIn a rut?  Tired of the same old recipes or food, workout, or daily routine. Do you struggle to lose weight, meet your deadlines at work, or make it to the gym?  Are you going through the motions without living each moment to its fullest?

 If so, it’s time to embrace a change!

I tend to be a “creature of habit” and have fallen head first into a “rut” before I barely realized it.  Have you been there?  Do you feel stuck, uninspired, and ready to embrace change?  If so…read on…

Julie’s 4 Tips for Digging Out Of  a”Rut”:

  1. Change Your Routine: Visit a new local farmer’s market, find a different fitness class, cook a new recipe, or catch up with an old friend.  Get out of your normal routine and switch it up!  A couple weekends ago, I needed to make an intentional change.  This lead me to a new fish monger who sold me some gorgeous grouper (Sarasota Farmer’s Market), cooked a new recipe, ran into an old friend, and made 2 new ones! I was “OPEN” and sometimes that is all it takes.   Change can turn around the day, uplift your mood, and make way for opportunities!
  2. Try Something New: I have always held to the adage that to grow… you have to get out of your comfort zone.  This is easier for some than others.  However, challenging our brain and bodies broadens your horizons and life experiences. You also improve your ability to process change, build self-efficacy, and boost confidence.  Try a new hobby, start planning that dream vacation, join a book club (yes, they still exist!), or even better…get involved in an organization that gives to others.  Often if you give, you receive so much more…what better way to dig right out of that rut!
  3. Turn on Positivity & Gratitude: “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy: they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom”~ Proust.  Stop focusing on your struggle and problem. Instead, make a list of all the things you are grateful for. Certainly happiness is influenced by genes and external circumstances, but up to 40% comes from how you approach your life.  The idea of thankfulness seems simple, but surprisingly it is quite powerful! How will you foster more gratitude each day?  For some ideas check out my blog on Gratitude.  Really want to increase your happiness factor…check out this on-line course to “awaken joy”!
  4. Know Your Strengths: You have specific strengths that make you special and unique.  Identifying and using your strengths on a daily basis have been shown to help deal with life’s challenges and achieve  personal and professional outcomes.  Your strengths are those that come naturally to you. They help you stay engaged and joyful…allowing you to thrive in life.  This has been proven by research in the field of Positive Psychology.  Check out one of my favorite websites and take the VIA Strengths Survey to find out YOUR special strengths!

   “Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut, that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive” (~Edith Wharton) …and live abundantly!

So true!  Let’s allow our habits to keep us healthy, but embrace opportunity for change when we fall into a rut.

Searching for inspiration, opportunity, and a fresh change to transform your health?

Check out my 6 month Signature 5-STEP ECF SYSTEM or Nutrition Counseling & Coaching Services to see if this may be the ticket out of the RUT!

I would love to hear about the strategies YOU use to keep you inspired.   Drop me a line or leave a comment!

Keep living abundantly,