Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Season to Laugh and A Season to Cry . . . and then a season to happy cry.

Well friends, it has been about a whole season since I have written and I thought it was definitely time to start typing and sharing again. Since my last entry I have had quite a few things happen in my life. Back in September I had a super scary health "episode" sneek up on me and almost convince me to call the trusty ambulance. As many of you know, I have been battling what doctors are labeling as "panic attacks" for about 2 years now. As I shared in previous posts I had found some natural supplements, as well as nutrition advice, that had helped me stop the panic attacks all together. I had a blissful handful of months where I finally felt like a little bird that had been set free and was no longer caged in fear of another "panic session" wreaking havock on my body. As the months went by I continued to maintain my supplement and nutrition plan. However, about 4 months ago, on a random morning, my body completely started shutting down and acting like it was just simply giving up the fight. After hours of being curled up in a ball and unable to stand, due to low blood pressure type symptoms and many other issues, everything finally passed. My mom came to my rescue, as moms always do, after her two hour drive to get to me; and by the time she arrived I was feeling like my body was trying to return to normal slowly but surely. Ofcourse this whole time I was mentally battling massive amounts of fear, which only made some symptoms worse. . . as fear always does!

I was blessed to have my youngest sis stay with me for a few days, to keep an eye on me and play nurse :0). I seemed to feel tolerable the next few days and weeks but then it happened again. After 4 months, more holistic Dr visits, tests, and even more money, no one still has a clue what's going on and exactly what to do. The biggest conclusion is that I am anemic/ blood deficient. So, I have been eating red meat like its the end of the world and seeing a acupuncturist every week the past 2 months. I have to say that my fear of these attacks definitely trumped my long lived fear of needles. Haha.

All in all I do believe everything I have been doing has been helping in its own little way. I still have little waves of "oh no, is it happening again?" but so far it's been a lot tamer and nothing close to the intensity of the first experience.

I didn't write and share about all of this for a while because I have been concerned that I would sound like "Debbie Downer", but I do want to continue to be open and honest about my journey and what I find out along the way :0).

The Fall season this year was extremely challenging for me and definitely caused many tears to leak and fears to rise, but it's a new season now and even though its cold and seams dead outside it is a season of hope, laughter, and love.

In my last post I shared a little about the amazing man thats in my life now and what a blessing his friendship, patients, and love has been the past 3 years. On December 10th he asked me, under a full moonlit sky, to be his girl forever. . . a new season bloomed in my heart and in the world around me that very moment.

We are only just 3 weeks engaged and currently in the middle of joyious wedding planning mayhem, haha; because the military is sending us to a post in Germany the second week of February. So, we have a total of 4 weeks left before our big day, and then we are on our way to a honeymoon in Paris and two years of newlywed adventure in Germany.

The seasons of your life change so fast, and you never know what is just around the corner on the path ahead of you. All I know is that each season is new and makes up the story of my life. Even though I haven't understood a lot of the "seasons" in my life that have past, I can see more clearly now why they were so important and how they played a part in causing Daniel's and my friendship to blossom into everlasting love...even in the middle of a moonlit winter night.

Meg

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Warm Embraces



You never know what unexpected gifts lay ahead of you on your journey through life. This September 10th, on the second anniversary of when Tyler was killed in Afghanistan, I received a gift of compassion in the form of a warm embrace from the First Lady Michelle Obama.

 When my family, Tyler's and my friend Erik, and I all showed up at Arlington National Cemetery we had no idea what a special surprise awaited us. We had all been spending some time reminiscing and placing special items around Tyler's stone when we were approached by the secret service. They informed us that the Obamas had planned a surprise visit to section 60, to pay their respect to our soldiers that have paid the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11; and to any families that might happen to be there at the moment. They informed us that the President and First Lady were arriving at section 60 in just a few minutes and that they would like to visit with us if this would be alright; and if it would not be an infringement on our personal time. They said we had just a few minutes if we decided we would like to leave the cemetery before they arrived; but we of course said we would be honored and all the while were a little stunned that a series of random events that morning had apparently all lined up to bring us to such a special moment. Erik and I both had mixed emotions at first about if we should stay or not because we didn't want attention from the media, and we both know that Tyler never liked drawing attention to the fact that he was in the military. However, we both also knew that because of his service and ultimate sacrifice he deserved the president's attention to his name, his service, and his sacrifice, so we made the quick decision to stay.

In a matter of minutes the White House motorcade was pulling up to the curb near us and the President and First Lady were walking towards us. As I introduced myself, each moment seamed to become more surreal and before I could even soak up what was unfolding, I found myself in the compassionate embrace of both the President and his wife. They spent quite some time visiting with us...asking about Tyler, learning about who we are, and then offered sincere words of sympathy and encouragement to me that I will treasure my whole life. 

I'm still not sure whether the events of this September 10th were more for Tyler or from Tyler :o). It felt as though he sent a little wink to say that everything is going to be alright and to keep being strong as I continue to move forward into the life and blessings that lay ahead of me. I still miss Tyler very much, and tears continue to flow from time to time; but I am blessed beyond measure and have many exciting chapters ahead of me that I know he is happy to see unfolding. Losing Tyler in my life has been the most excruciating experience I have ever been through, but two years later I can now say that despite the continued pain, there is new joy and happiness in my life and that I know I am exactly where he wanted to me to be if he didn't come back home to me...

"Meggie, If I don't come back I want you to find a man that adores you as much as I do and encourages you to be everything that I know you can be...find a man that helps you pursue all your dreams and talents...and  I want you to find someone that can take care of you and make you happy..."

Two and a half years later after he laid his hard working calloused hands on my shoulders and spoke those words, as much with his determined piercing blue eyes as he did with his voice, I know that I have found someone who does just exactly what he wished for me. And with some encouraging words from the First Lady I will continue to be the kind of strong women that Tyler fell in love with, so that I can live in the present and be everything that I need to be for the one who now holds my heart in the pocket of his own uniform every time he leaves.

When you are the girlfriend, fiance, wife, mother, or any other relation to a loved one lost in the service of the military, you receive a tab on your heart's 'uniform' that will remain there the rest of your life. This deep scar on my heart has become a part of me and is sometimes easy for many to see; it is my story, it carries my fears and doubts, it is painful at times and numb in other moments. Most importantly though is that I remember to choose to look at this scar as our solders look at their Ranger Tab upon graduation from the course. When you wear the deep emotional tab of loss on your heart you and those around you know that you have survived something that only a select few can make it through. The scar on my heart has changed me but it has not damaged me. I will continue to march forward and live my life just as Tyler ask me to do. 

I will continue to let love in and openly love, and I will choose to have courage and faith each time as I raise up on my tiptoes to place a kiss on the cheek of the man who now tenderly cares for my heart and the scar within.




 












(4 Photos taken by Associated Press)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dark Temptation . . . for the Taste Buds



I have been CRAVING dark chocolate all evening and I finally found the perfect little treat in my cabinet for my taste buds. The greatest part is that it also helped out my hard work'n muscles :o).

I found this little packet of organic dark chocolate whey at my favorite local organic grocery store, and I will definitely be stocking up on more for my late night chocolate cravings.

I mixed the powder with 4 oz of unsweetened coconut milk and 4 oz of water. Next time I am going to try making a shake with ice and natural peanut butter in the blender :o).

Enjoy,
Meg

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

That Which Has Been Your Delight

"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."  ~Kahlil Gibran

Life has been busy busy busy once again, but I wanted to take a moment to share this quote. It has almost been two years since I lost Tyler in Afghanistan (Sept. 10th), and this time of year is always a lot tougher for me as that day approaches. It find myself fighting back tears more often than usual, and it's a little more of a challenge to manage my anxiety and adrenal issues. I've been panic attack free for about 5 months now (with the exception of low blood sugar causing one attack 3 months ago). However, I've been noticing subtle struggles in my body and mind the past 3 days or so. I ran out of 5HTP a few weeks back, so it's probably not helping that, during the most emotional time of the year for me,  I'm not taking the one natural supplement that has helped me in this process. I bought a new bottle the other day and am hoping that I notice my anxiety and adrenals calming down in the next few days.

Even though September brings more tears for me, I know that the reason I have tears is because I was blessed to have felt a love so deep. I am extremely thankful to have made so many amazing memories with Tyler while we were together. In moments when it seems impossible to breath, and tears flood my heart and soul, I stop to focus on all the happy memories that we shared; and remember that my tears are because I am blessed with memories in which I can now find comfort. I feel broken at times, but the delight and love that Tyler brought into my life are forever a part of me and shaping me for all that I am meant to be each day.

Stay Strong, Meg

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Shaken or Stirred (Juice Recipe)


Now that I've decided to start training for a fitness competition next year, I am being extra careful to make sure that my nutrition is well rounded with lots of organic/wild protein and raw veggies. I've been really mindful of what I eat for the past year and don't eat many breads or sweets, so the only big difference this far is trying to get enough protein in my diet. I tend to gravitate more toward vegetarian dishes, but I have really enjoyed eating more wild salmon, tilapia, and bison meat.

Even though I haven't had to cut a lot of sweets and carbs out of my diet, because I don't eat them in the first place, I do have to be mindful of what I'm drinking on the occasional weekend when I'm hanging out with friends. Even though a glass or two of wine or a Guinness may not be a huge problem now, it will be a problem as I start to get closer to my competition date.

So, instead of sipping on an empty calorie, high sugar/high carb alcoholic drink, I will be enjoying a freshly juiced virgin cocktail at home.

Try my most recent virgin green martini...serve shaken or chilled and stirred :o).

Recipe:

1/2 Cucumber
1 or 1/2 an apple
1 celery stalk
Half of lemon
Small handful of parsley

Place lemon and parsley in between cut pieces of apple, or cucumber, to ensure the lemon and parsley are pushed all the way through your juicer. Place the juice in a container that allows you to fill with juice to the top (this eliminates any air inside the container/jar from oxygenating the juice and causing it to lose nutrients) and chill for 30 minutes before drinking.


Train Hard and Stay Positive,
Meg

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Big Shadows



I think this proverb just about says it all. Lately I have been hiding from rather large shadows, much like the ones I thought belonged to big hairy monsters under my bed when I was a little girl. I don't know about you but I certainly know that the looming shadows of worry can grip a person so tight that you can hardly breath.

The past few months I have been on a desperate search for a job; specifically one that will be flexible enough for me to attend holistic nutrition classes, study to be a personal trainer, teach a children's dance/workout class, and move forward towards my dream of helping women and children though grief and anxiety. Did I mention also be able to pay all my bills and have a life somehwere in the middle of all of that as well? It has been a very unsuccessful search thus far, but it has been my experience in the past that if I am patient and follow my heart ('gut') the perfect opportunity will come along, even if it's at the last moment.

It's so easy to spend endless hours a day worrying about what the future holds, but if I'm not careful I will worry myself into believing that the shadows being cast are going to eat me alive. Haha. At the end of the day the fact is that my energy spent worrying will not have changed a single thing, except for stealing precious time from me that I could be spending enjoying life.

Worry eventually leads to anxiety, panic, and generally an overall 'freak out' session...at least in my own past experiences, haha. In the end- life turns out exactly as it was always meant to be and it's up to me to decide how I will wait it out and react to the end result. Maybe those big scary shadows will shrink just a little and turn into something quite surprisingly friendly :o).

Meg


Matthew 6:31-35

The Message (MSG)
 30-33"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
 
 34"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Thrills of the 'Ups and Downs'

The elated screams of roller coaster patrons filled the air and I immediately felt my heart beat faster. Instantly I wonder if I will have to battle my hands becoming shaky and if dizziness would set in. For a year I have felt trapped in my skin and unable to participate in the usual adrenaline pumping activities that I used to enjoy so much. I am an adventure bug at heart and love to challenge myself to do thrilling and daring things. One of my biggest fears, after discovering that I was dealing with chronic anxiety and adrenal issues, has been that I would never again be able to do all the fun things I love.

I started off the day with concerns about what my body would be able to handle, but I was also determined to keep my thoughts positive and pick my rides carefully (haha). And that's exactly what I did. My first ride was with my newly married younger sister and we had an absolute blast screaming at the top of our lungs. At the end of the ride we had to pry our fingers apart from clenching each other's hands so tightly. Haha. When we got off I quickly mentally scanned my body and realized that my hands were only slightly trembling. If I wasn't taking the holistic supplements that I've been taking the past 3 months I can guarantee that I would have been massively trembling from head to toe and fighting to remain consious. It felt so wonderful to feel free of the trappings of anxiety.

I rode 5 rides during the day and even though that's not as many as my family, I was still so pleased that I was able to strap myself inside even one. It was a great day of new ups and downs and I am super excited to be making progress with my anxiety and adrenal problems in a natural way.

Stay Encouraged,
Meg





Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lacing Up My Determination

I know I've been MIA the past couple weeks. so I wanted to at least update you on what I've been up to and also share some great quotes I found today.

I have been spending a lot more time working out and running, now that I feel like my adrenal glands and panic attacks are under more control. I can't even put into words how great it is to feel a little more "normal" and to be able to get my heart rate up with a good workout. The 5HTP seems to really be helping a lot !

This past Saturday I decided last minute to run a 5K, in the crazy heat, and have been trying to recuperate since then. Haha. I ran with a few friends and we all had a pretty tough time, due to the heat and humidity, even though it was a twilight run at 8:30PM. We all got pretty disappointing finishing times, but I kept trying to remind myself that what mattered is that I got out there and challenged myself and at least finished it standing up and not passed out on the course. Haha. It was a good challenge and I can at least say I ran a 5K during one of Washington DC/Northern VA's hottest weeks ever!

I have been determined to get through these panic attacks and adrenal issues since the very first day they showed up and I am so pleased to finally, after a very long time of researching and trial and error, be able to start accomplishing my goals. One of the things that Tyler told me before he deployed was that he wanted me to continue to go after my dreams and never give up...I think he would be proud.

I was looking on-line today for some good encouraging quotes to add to my collection and I wanted to share what I found, in hopes that it might encourage you. I hope you enjoy.

Meg

"Instead of giving myself reasons why I can't, I give myself reasons why I can."
~ Unknown


"When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place."
~ Unknown


"Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you."
~ Aldous Huxley

Before. . .

After. . .

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Is Happiness In Your Juice?

"Happiness is an inside job."

I found this quote inside the wrapper of a delicious dark chocolate treat and absolutely loved it-both the chocolate and the quote :o). I believe that happiness truly is an inside job and until we learn to be content and happy with ourselves, and on our own, we will be unable to be truly happy in relationships and friendships; and definitely in difficult times.

There are so many situations and people in life that can hurt and discourage us, but it is up to us to decide if we are going to hold on to that hurt with an iron grip; or instead, let it go and learn how to be content and happy despite our circumstances. When we learn to react with gracious strength we can selflessly love others no matter how they have hurt us. I know from multiple experiences that bitterness and unforgiveness both like to parade into my heart in an effort to convince me that they are everything I want. I have learned the hard way that "unforgivenss is like drinking poison and hoping it kills the other person", and holding onto pain only fills my hands too full to receive emotional healing instead. When we learn to sift the good out of a bad experience we are able to learn and move forward in life with a gracious and thankful attitude. You will look back and be thankful for the lesson learned and know that it is has played an important part in shaping you into all you are meant to be in life.

So you may be asking why I'm talking about everything BUT juice. I believe that the way we look at moments in life is heavily influenced by not only our upbringing, but also our daily nutrition...or lack thereof. What? Yep. Without proper nutrition, especially for your brain, your body is left to struggle through the variety of emotions you experience each day. The result is a very tired, foggy brained, emotional, stressed out you. As I've shared with you in my bio, I started dealing with panic attacks and light depression a year after going through heartbreaking loss. In a desperate attempt to heal my body naturally and feel "normal" again, I began to research continuously and seek advice from a multitude of people with knowledge in the field of holistic nutrition. I eventually found the book The Mood Cure and have been taking suggested natural supplements for about a month. In addition to taking 5HTP, GABA, and krill oil, I have added more healthy fats such as: coconut oil, unpasteurized butter, nuts, and avacado. I have also started being more consistent with juicing daily. I feel SO much better. My panic attacks have subsided significantly and I am able to run/workout longer without my adrenal glands cutting my activity short and causing my body to "freak out".

I know how hard it is to find "happy" when you are discouraged or hurt. Dealing with sadness, anger, and stress are hard enough as it is, and grief, anxiety, depression, etc. only make the whole experience that much more of a seemingly impossible task. However, life will always throw you a curveball and there will definitely never fail to be people willing to be hurtful. It's up to you how you will allow it to shape you...for better or worse.

I believe that happiness is indeed in your juice if you always strive to see your glass half full.



To fill your glass with a healthy yummy juice try this 'Happy Morning' flavor combo from one of my favorite books. I left the spinach out of mine and drank it in a martini glass :o).


Recipe:
1/2 green apple
4-5 carrot, tops removed
3 fennel stalks;include leaves and flowers
1/2 cucumber
1 handful of spinach
1 inch piece of gingerroot, peeled

*Fennel juice has been used as a traditional tonic to help the body release endorphins, the feel good peptides, from the brain into the bloodstream Endorphins help diminish anxiety and fear, and generate a mood of euphoria.


Also check out what Dr. Mercola has to say: Can Juicing Really Lead to Happiness?

Love and Support, Meg



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Strength in Your Stride

"Life is a Journey, Not a Destination." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


Whether you are walking through grief from loss, dealing with anxiety, suffering through depression, or all three; I promise there is hope for healing and happiness along the way. It has almost been two years since I lost the person I thought I would be sharing my journey through life with (full story on Who Is the Watered Sprout page); and even though there have been so many obstacles on this unexpected route through grief, I have always somehow made it past the challenge and continued to press forward. One of the things Tyler used to say to me all the time was the quote I posted above. He would look me square in the eyes and gently remind me to enjoy all the ups and downs in the journey of life and focus less on the destination. Dealing with grief and anxiety is no exception to the rule. I have found it to be that much more important for me to "live in the moment" and not focus on what the future holds. When I find myself rushing through moments in life, or worrying about what obstacles are ahead of me on this path, I try to stop and remember Tyler's determined gaze and Arkansas accent lovingly reminding me to take a chill pill and be patient with life.

Yesterday morning I was reading more in the book Unattended Sorrow and  I really liked what the author says about the mindset through loss, and how simply walking can be a crucial tool to enabling ourselves to heal...


(Excerpts pgs. 96-104)
"When we investigate our feelings instead of blindly following them, relating to them with mercy and  mindfulness instead of relating from them with fear and despair, we can glimpse the difference between  freedom and bondage...Grief and all the inflictive emotions that are associated with it have a certain hallucinatory quality about them insists it is going to go on forever and only going to get worse...Fear says, "I will ruin you!" and a moment later, turning toward fear with mindful fascination, we find ourselves "a whole world new person."...We begin to discover just how much of our anger, our fear, and our distrust in everything but our pain is a manifestation of unattended sorrow...Unresolved grief results from not only the loss of a loved one but also from the way that life roller-coasters between clinging for dear life and a hollowness in the pit of the stomach. Most of our resentments in life, no matter how guilefully disguised by the mind, are actually a grief reaction spawned from earlier feelings of loss...It may take being lost in the maze of feeling totally hopeless and helpless before we can eventually surrender our pain, open it to investigation and eventual healing...When we investigate, we find beneath the grief of anger a reservoir of sadness. And beneath that sadness, an ocean of love beyond our wildest dreams...

Today, take yourself for a walk.Walking, much like singing, steadies the mind...At first we find the mind doing the walking; then the body soon takes over, and with that, our thoughts are free to flow...As we watch the beginning, the middle, and the end of each step.perhaps we notice thoughts with that same focused attention-the beginning, the middle, and end of each thought-before each blends into the next...After walking for a while, stop to rest...Sit quietly, reflecting with the mindfulness accumulated with each step fully noticed. Feel the body you sit in, listen for the sounds that take a moment to hear, feel the air on your skin..."


I have found this past year that it really has been helpful for me to briskly walk or run when I am dealing with emotional pain. There was a time, mostly the first year of dealing with the overwhelming grief, that I couldn't muster up the energy or desire to even leave my bed, room, or apartment, but eventually I worked my way out the door and then took one step at a time. As days passed, my walks turned into runs and I continued to add more strides each time. There are still emotional days that sneak up on me and drain me of my energy and motivation to to do much; and dealing with panic attacks and muscle complications from my IT band and hips have definitely been a challenge, but I know that each time I make it out the door and walk or run I am gaining strength in my body and my soul.

So, lace up your shoes and head out with me on a little run or walk to soak up some sun, feel the wind against your back, and set your thoughts free. You just might find that your worries stay on the path behind you, making a little more room for peace to move into your heart.

Meg





Friday, July 15, 2011

The Finicky Olive

I recently posted about the benefits of using coconut oil as your main oil in cooking. I was comparing the oil to extra virgin olive oil; and while I still believe that coconut oil does wonders for your body, inside and out, I just learned that a semi-refined olive oil could actually be better for you, or at least equall to coconut oil, due to it's sturdiness against oxidation (which causes an oil to become rancid). Extra virgin olive oil contains chlorophyll, which accelerates the oxidation process. I included the Mercola video below where Dr. Rudi Moerck talks about the best way to use and store a semi-refined olive oil.

Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Rudi Moerck on Cooking Oils

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hello World

Sunny rays dance on my skin
Eyelids heavily emerging from dreams
Hazy vision and tousled hair
The gift of a new day as I breath in the air

My feet dance a shuffle across the floor
Yawn, brush, swish, splash, pat pat
Squinting at the sun's persistent greeting
A determined 'Rise and Shine Darling!'

Eyes a little more open to the arising world
Mental checklist goes something like this:
Find the positive to every negative
Look for ways I can abundantly give

Fully awake, sipping tea, peaceful heart
Tying shoes...running with perseverance
the gloomy feelings inside don't stand a chance!
Hello world


Meg







Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Metabolism Jet Pack

I don't know about you, but I'm all for helping my metabolism fire on all cylinders. When it comes to obtaining a healthy body inside and out I'm shooting for the moon. It's hard enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and the physique of your dreams, on a normal day in this stressed out and fast pace world; much less adding chronic anxiety or anything else to your body's work load. I have battled with anxiety attacks for exactly a year this month, but I am here to happily say that it is very possible to restore your body and mind back to 'normal', any probably even better than you were before your battle began.
You are what you eat. Okay, so maybe you don't morph into a giant cheeseburger while driving, or frost over like a pint of ice cream while running errands, but don't be fooled about what's going on inside your body. What we choose to eat directly affects our health, energy, and outward appearance.
If you do struggle with anxiety or depression it is absolutely crucial that you understand how processed foods (most the boxes of "food" on your grocery shelf) are affecting you. I highly recommend reading this book. It helped me gain so much information on what the best nutrition and natural supplements are for my body to kick panic attacks and occasional depression to the curb. Since finishing the book, which was an easy read, I started taking 100 mg of this natural little gem each evening, and felt a huge difference in just a few days. 

For the past year I have been eating a rather clean (limited processed foods) and raw (uncooked veggies) diet. As I've continued to learn about nutrition and how it directly affects the mind and body I have adjusted my nutrition plan even more so that my body is getting the right nutrients, not only to help me get rid of my anxiety but to also aid me in obtaining the physique that I desire. If we are unaware of how different foods, natural and processed, interact with our body then we will most likely never achieve our goals for our physical appearence, much less heal from anxiety, depression, obesity, etc.

I have included some of Dr. Mercola's post below and hope that it helps shed a little more info on how to help boost your metabolism; and as a result get you fired up to do whatever it is that you haven't had much energy to do in the past :o).
"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you'll land among the stars."

Happy Learning, Meg


How Your Hunger-Satiety System Affects Your Physical Shape
Your hunger-satiety system consists of multiple neuro-peptides that act to initiate or terminate your feeding. These are your hunger-satiety hormones. Their signals are integrated by centers in your brain to modulate how you consume, spend or store energy. The balance between these signals dictates whether your body is in a fat-burning or a fat-storing mode.
In order to maintain a healthy body weight, your hunger and satiety signals must continually adjust your food intake to your energy expenditure. Any imbalance between these two will affect your fat stores and physical shape. Obesity, for instance, is a result of a disrupted energy balance in which a surplus of accumulated food energy is stored as body fat.
Again, your physical shape seems to depend on the ratio between your hunger and satiety hormones and so is your biological age. Both hormones regulate your eating behavior and metabolic rate, albeit with opposite effects on your body.
Food restriction, exercise and weight loss increase the sensitivity and effectiveness of your insulin and leptin while potentiating the actions of your other satiety hormones. This means that with proper diet, exercise and restoration of a healthy body weight, you can increase the efficiency of your satiety hormones to allow you be at your peak physical potential. But how do you put this in practice? How do you put your satiety hormones in charge?
There are three ways to achieve that:
  1. Eat satiety foods
  2. Avoid hunger foods
  3. Train your body to endure hunger

Eat Satiating Foods
The food that promotes satiety most is protein. It yields satiety more effectively than carbohydrates or fat. Out of all proteins, the one with the fastest satiety impact is whey protein – that's if the whey is whole and non-denatured.
Studies reveal that consumption of whey protein before meals can swiftly boost the satiety peptides CCK and GLP-1, which have been shown to decrease food intake and increase weight loss. Whey protein is also beneficial when consumed before exercise. Having a small serving of whey protein (with no sugar added) about 30 minutes before exercise seems to help sustain intense muscle performance and increase the efficiency of muscle protein synthesis after exercise. A pre-exercise whey meal has also shown to boost the body's metabolic rate for 24 hours thereafter. 
Other satiety-promoting foods are low glycemic plant foods including raw nuts, seeds, legumes, roots, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, eggplants, grasses and green leafy vegetables.
Being low glycemic and fibrous, these plant foods are a great fit for your insulin and leptin as well as your whole satiety system. Nuts and seeds trigger PPY – a satiety peptide which is highly sensitive to dietary fat. PPY shifts your cravings from carbohydrates to fats and increases your metabolic capacity to convert fat to energy.
That action counteracts your hunger hormones, which typically shift your cravings towards carbohydrates. Note that it's the shift towards refined carbohydrates that has been linked to chronic cravings and excessive food intake. This is the reason why once you open a bag of potato chips and start crunching, you may find it difficult to stop.
And note that your muscle isn't programmed to do well on hunger foods; it rejects fructose and has a limited capacity to utilize high glycemic foods. But your muscle literally thrives on satiety foods. Combinations of whey protein and berries, eggs and beans or meat and nuts have unmatched muscle nourishing properties. Furthermore, being satiety oriented, these food combinations promote the right hormonal environment for muscle rejuvenation and buildup...


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Coconut Oil-The Rock Star

I LOVE coconut oil. It is the only thing I cook. I do also use some extra virgin olive oil, but I have phased out of using it to cook with and only use it for homemade salad dressings.

If you are dealing with anxiety, panic attacks, thyroid issues, or any other health concern it is imperative to eliminate food toxins and rancid oils from your diet, as they are an additional stressor to your body. Olive oil is a lot more delicate than coconut oil when heated, causing it to become rancid (oxidative damage).

And don't forget about the toxins we put on our skin. Grab a jar of coconut oil before you reach for the latest 'beauty' lotion on the store shelf. Therock star oil is packed full of great benefits for skin :o).

My favorite brand of coconut oil is here.

To learn more about the benefits of coconut oil check out some of Dr. Mercola's article below:
(For the full article visit: http://products.mercola.com/coconut-oil/)


Peek Inside My Pantry to See the Only Oil I Cook With
If you could peek inside my pantry, you would find two oils that I use in food preparation.
The first, extra-virgin olive oil, is a better monounsaturated fat. It works great as a salad dressing.
However, it is not the best oil to cook with. Due to its chemical structure, cooking makes it susceptible to oxidative damage.

And polyunsaturated fats, which include common vegetable oils such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower and canola, are absolutely the worst oils to use in cooking. These omega-6 oils are highly susceptible to heat damage because of all the double bonds they have.

I strongly urge you to throw out those omega-6 vegetable oils in your cabinets. Why?
Reason #1: Most people believe that frying creates trans fats. That is not the major problem, in my opinion. Although some are created, they are relatively minor. There are FAR more toxic chemicals produced by frying omega-6 oils than trans fats.


Frying destroys the antioxidants in oils and as such oxidizes the oils. This causes cross-linking, cyclization, double-bond shifts, fragmentation and polymerization of oils that cause far more damage than trans fats.
Reason #2: They contribute to the overabundance of omega-6 fats in your diet, and the imbalance of the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. As you know from my extensive writing on this subject, I believe that excessive consumption of omega-6 fats contributes to many health concerns.

There is only one oil that is stable enough to resist heat-induced damage, while it also helps you promote heart health, maintain normal cholesterol levels and even supports weight loss -- coconut oil.

So, whenever you need an oil to cook with, use coconut oil instead of butter, olive oil, vegetable oil, margarine, or any other type of oil called for in recipes. Even though I don't fully recommend frying foods, if you must fry, by all means use coconut oil -- it's your smartest choice.
Curiously, coconut oil contains the most saturated fat of all edible oils. We continue to be inundated by media portrayals of saturated fats as dangerous, but now you know better. And now you should have more peace of mind, knowing that you're making the right choice by using great-tasting Fresh Shores Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.


Coconut Oil Is Not Just For Cooking & Eating -- Your Skin Likes It, Too

The benefits of Fresh Shores Extra Virgin Coconut Oil don't stop in your kitchen. For decades, professional massage therapists have used pure coconut oil to knead away tight stressed muscles.
However, you don't have to be a professional massage therapist to gain the skin and tissue support benefits of coconut oil. Feel free to use this high-quality coconut oil as you would any lotion.

Coconut oil is ideal for skin care. It helps protect your skin from the aging effects of free radicals, and can help improve the appearance of skin with its anti-aging benefits.

In fact, physiologist and biochemist Ray Peat, Ph.D. considers coconut oil to be an antioxidant, due to its stability and resistance to oxidation and free radical formation. Plus, he feels it reduces our need for the antioxidant protection of vitamin E.

Like Dr. Peat, many experts believe coconut oil may help restore more youthful-looking skin. When coconut oil is absorbed into the skin and connective tissues, it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep connective tissues strong and supple.

Coconut oil will not only bring temporary benefits to the skin, but it will aid in restoring your skin's youthful appearance. The coconut oil will aid in exfoliating the outer layer of dead skin cells, making the skin smoother. It also penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin to strengthen the underlying tissues.
Responders to the Mercola.com survey provided remarkable feedback on how Fresh Shores Extra Virgin Coconut Oil supported healthy skin, including:
  • Smoothing and moisturizing effects
  • Promoted skin elasticity
  • Convenient eye make-up remover
  • Use in shaving applications

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Battle of Fructose vs. Your Dream Bod

If you've been trying to trim down, shape up, or simply ban the dreaded 'muffin top,' and can't figure out why your body is just refusing to cooperate, you might be battling an un suspected apponent- drum role- Fruit. You might also be consuming too much fructose in processed foods.

I have personally eliminated all processed fructose (table sugar) for almost a year now, and now stick to appropriate amounts of fresh organic fruit. Don't be fooled though, switching to fresh fruit doesn't mean you get to eat as much as you want all throughout the day. Fruit is full of vitamins and minerals, but it is still fructose and that sugar will cause you to gain fat if it is not used. People looking to lose weight, including body builders, eliminate all fruit to reach their goals for their physique. Think of fruit as a great alternative to a candy bar.

I believe that fruit plays a great role in supplying wonderful nutrients to our bodies, but it must be in moderation. You do NOT want to juice up a whole glass of fruit and expect to lose weight or even be healthy. However, I do believe that juicing and drinking veggies and greens can restore and heal our bodies from many illnesses, including helping us to shave off pounds of "lubber". When I juice I limit the fruit I use to very little just to sweeten up my veggie/green cocktail of the day. Often times I don't even need fruit if I am juicing veggies like carrots, which contain higher sugar than most other vegetables.

For more information on processed and natural fructose take a peek at Dr. Mercola's article below.
Meg


For the full article visit:: The Worst Thing You Can Eat if You Want to Drop Pounds

At the heart of the low-carb theory is this: You don't get fat simply because you overeat—you overeat because your fat tissue is accumulating excess fat.
But why would your fat tissue continuously accumulate fat if you're not simply "eating too much and exercising too little"? Because:
  1. Dietary carbohydrates, especially fructose, are the primary source of a substance called glycerol-3-phosphate (g-3-p), which causes fat to become fixed in fat tissue, and
  2. At the same time, high carb intake raises your insulin levels, which prevents fat from being released
The resulting equation is simple: fructose and dietary carbohydrates (grains, which break down into sugar) lead to obesity and related health issues...

Conventional wisdom tells you that if you consume more calories than your burn, you will gain weight. But as you can see, the issue is more complex than that. It's really important to understand that the type of calories you consume is far more important than the number of calories.
If you eat a lot of fructose (and there's a good chance you are, considering it's the number one source of calories in the United States), it could be "programming" your body to become fat.
Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, has been a pioneer in decoding sugar metabolism. Here are a few important facts about fructose:
  • After eating fructose, 100 percent of the metabolic burden rests on your liver. With glucose, your liver has to break down only 20 percent. The fatty acids created during fructose metabolism accumulate as fat droplets in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, causing insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Insulin resistance progresses to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
  • Fructose converts to activated glycerol (g-3-p), which is directly used to turn free fatty acids (FFAs) into triglycerides that get stored as fat. The more g-3-p you have, the more fat you store. Glucose does not do this. When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as fat. 120 calories of fructose, however, results in 40 calories being stored as fat. Consuming fructose is essentially consuming fat
  • The metabolism of fructose by your liver creates a long list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and causes gout.
  • Glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which suppresses your appetite. Fructose has no effect on ghrelin and interferes with your brain's communication with leptin, resulting in overeating. For further confirmation on this, check out this 2008 study published in the Journal of Nutrition. The researchers concluded that fructose turned into body fat much quicker than glucose, and that having fructose for breakfast changed how the body handled fats at lunch.
Ironically, the food products that most people rely on to lose weight—low-fat diet foods—often contain the most fructose! So beware, and always read the content labels...


Another recent study illustrating the connection between your weight and the type or quality of the calories you consume (as opposed to just counting calories) was published last month, in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
As reported in Time Magazine:
"It matters, of course, how many total calories you take in each day, but the authors say the age-old advice simply to 'eat less and exercise more' may be naïve. To control weight over the long term... the study suggests that people benefit more by focusing on eating right, rather than less." [Emphasis mine]
In this comprehensive study, the researchers determined how much weight gain is associated with the consumption of certain foods:
  • Potato chips led the pack, causing more weight gain per serving than any other food; followed by potatoes, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Weight gain was inversely associated with: yoghurt, nuts, fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.
However, I would caution you to fall into the whole grain trap. Whole grains will increase your insulin levels just like any other grain. Additionally, whole wheat contains very high amounts of Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA), which even in small quantities can have profoundly adverse health effects...

Limit fructose to less than 25 grams per day. Ideally, you'll also want to limit the amount of fructose from fruit to 15 grams per day, as you're likely consuming 'hidden' fructose if you eat even small amounts of processed foods or sweetened beverages
  • Limit or eliminate all processed foods
  • Eliminate all gluten, and highly allergenic foods from your diet
  • Eat organic foods whenever possible, preferably locally-grown
  • Eat at least one-third of your food uncooked (raw), or as much as you can manage
  • Increase the amount of fresh vegetables in your diet
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners of all kinds
  • Swap all trans fats (vegetable oils, margarine etc) for healthful fats like raw butter or coconut oil
  • To re-balance your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, take a high-quality omega-3 supplement, such as krill oil, and reduce your consumption of processed omega-6 fats from vegetable oils (trans fats)
  • Drink plenty of pure water
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels, either through appropriate sun exposure, a safe tanning bed, or a vitamin D3 supplement

Friday, July 8, 2011

Glass Half Full

I found some really great quotes that encouraged me and made me smile, so I wanted to share them with you (Also check out the Green Lemonade video recipe I included at the end)...


"Happiness is an attitude.  We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong.  The amount of work is the same."  ~Francesca Reigler

"If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it." ~Mary Engelbreit

"Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts.  It's what you do with what you have left."  ~Hubert Humphrey

"So often time it happens, we all live our life in chains, and we never even know we have the key."  ~The Eagles, "Already Gone"

"I've decided that the stuff falling through the cracks is confetti and I'm having a party!"  ~Betsy Cañas Garmon

"The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


There are definitely seasons as a person journeys through loss, and I know that it takes quite a while before you go through a season where you notice the sun again. It's rather dark for quite some time, but I have seen for myself that slowly and steadily little rays of sunshine reach your heart and warm you for moments at a time. Eventually you find a smile on your face as you remember a special memory with your loved one, or you realize that something during your day made you feel just a little bit of happieness. Days go by and sometimes without you noticing, your heart becomes a little lighter and makes a tiny bit of room inside for hope to move in. There are still hard days and many unknown challenges ahead on your journey, but as you continue to place one foot in front of the other you will find that you become a little stronger with each step. The rest of the journey's challenge is to make the choice to only look at the thoughts and memories that help make you stronger and allow you to continue forward. Each effort we make to look at life with hope begins to slowly heal the heart and moves bitterness and unforgiveness out of the way so that grace, love, and strength can lead us through the journey. Sometimes the only way to begin to look at life in a positive way is to start with your glass. Is it half full or half empty? Every little thought is a stepping stone to being able to look at life with a happy and hope filled heart.



To fill your glass with a yummy fresh juice check out this video recipe to make Green Lemonade that is full of great vitamins and detoxers for you body.

Cheers to living life with a glass always half full,
Meg

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stary Host

Sometimes it only takes a simple glance up into the night sky to comfort our troubled souls and help us remember who tenderly holds the broken peices of our hearts. I found this wonderful video today and wanted to share it with you, in hopes that it might bring some confort and peace to your heart.  

Much love, Meg



Psalm 147:3-6

He heals the heartbroken
      and bandages their wounds.
   He counts the stars
      and assigns each a name.
   Our Lord is great, with limitless strength;
      we'll never comprehend what he knows and does.
   God puts the fallen on their feet again...


Isaiah 40:26

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Unattended Sorrow (excerpts)

I have slowly been reading through the book The Unattended Sorrow- Recovering from Loss and Reviving the Heart, by Stephen Levine. There is a lot of encouragement and advise, so I thought I would start sharing some of what I've highlighted from each chapter.

I have spent so much time searching on-line for advise, coping mechanisms, holistic alternatives to anti-anxiety drugs, advice from women that have lost a loved one, and just about anything else that I thought would help me. After spending countless hours plugging in various words in Google's search engine, I have collected some favorite websites; but still haven't found a blog where anyone is talking about her journey through grief or/and anxiety.

My goal with this blog is to provide you with the information I am able to find as I continue to search and read through articles on healing emotionally and physically from loss and anxiety; as well as share my personal journey.

Here are some of my favorites from The Unattended Sorrow- Chapter 1:


"We close around our pain by refusing it mercy, by resisting the softening and letting go that might give it a little more space to breath."

"When we turn away from our sorrow, we intensify our pain and close off parts of ourselves."

"Investigating our feelings of powerlessness increasingly empowers us..."



Much Love, Meg

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Green Protein Juice Fit for The Hulk


Okay, I know this doesn't sound like the first thing you want to reach for in your fringe, but I was actually pleasantly surprised with the taste test results. If you are used to drinking green juices and shakes then this combination won't be a shock to your pallet :o).

This morning I juiced (click on each ingredient for a link to health benefits): 1/2 cabbage, 1 cucumber, 2 Pink Lady apples, 1/3 bunch parsley, and 3 cups fresh spinach. The juice made enough for two servings so I divided it in half, After I juiced everything I added two small scoops of Dr. Mercola's Pea Protein, and then a packet of Amazing Grass Wheat Grass. I filled my shaker to the top to eliminate as much oxygen as I could, shook it up, and then let it chill for 30 mins in the fridge.

I know this probably doesn't sound exciting or appetising whatsoever, but I promise that it was actually a little sweet after adding the wheat grass packet, and it didn't leave a nasty aftertaste. This juice was the perfect balance of protein, natural sugar, and detoxing agents that I am trying to get in the morning. I feel energized and ready to take on the world :o).

Happy Juicing, Meg

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Juice Lady

Meet 'The Juice Lady', Cherie Calbrom. She is the Author of one of my favorite books, and she was recently interviewed by Dr. Mercola. She explained how juicing the right  greens, veggies, and a little fruit, will not only help you shed some of those extra pounds, but will also make your skin glow and aid in healing your body of a multitude of aches and illnesses. Check out Mercolas interview and article for yourself and then go start juicing !

I'm on my way to the kitchen to make a yummy cocktail of carrot, orange and ginger juice :o).


Link: The Juice Lady Interviewed on Mercola.com

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Watermelon Juice

Ninety-five percent of the nutritional content in watermelon is in the rind, so think twice before you throw it in the trash! Watermelon rind is super nutrient rich and makes for a refreshing juice. Nutrients in watermelon rind include: chlorophyll, vitamin A, protein, potassium, zinc, iodine, nucleic acids and enzymes which aid digestion.

I found this great video on juicing watermelon rind and wanted to share! Enjoy!
Watermelon Juicing Video- by Raw Model

Meg

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lucky Juice (Recipe)



Yesterday's juicing experiment included the goodies in the picture above, and a little bit of luck. I have misplaced my favorite book so I decided to grab the veggies in the fridge and challenge myself to be nutritiously creative. I've been trying to use very little fruit in my juice because it is too much concentrated sugar for your body to process at once. Yes, fresh organic fruit juice is not as 'good for you' as you may think. I try to juice lots of veggies/greens and then sweeten things up a little with an apple or carrots.


I ended up with two different juices yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised with the taste test. My first juice included a stalk of celery, a parsley bunch, one cucumber, 6 carrots, and a granny smith apple (all organic). At first I combined everything with only half of the apple and decided that the celery was way too strong, so I added the other half of the apple and was much happier with the results. The next time I juice celery though I will only used half the stalk.



My second juice was a combination of 6 carrots, half a Granny Smith apple, and a beetroot. It was much sweeter that the first juice since it didn't have the celery and parsley. Beetroot is slightly sweet and very earthy tasting, so it was an interesting addition to the juice.


When all was said and done it was a fun experiment that provided enough juice to savor for the rest of the day...and just maybe the yummy cocktails will bring me a little lucky health ;o).

~Meg