nutrition, Uncategorized, wellness

How to Restore Balance in your body and Activate your Incredible Healing System

Dr Mark Hyman, Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Centre for Functional Medicine, Founder of the Ultra Wellness Centre and 10 time #1 New York Times  Best Selling Author believes we all deserve a life of VITALITY.

Does this word describe you?  How do you feel day to day?

Vitality…. Energy & Strength

Are you living a life of vitality?  Or are you lethargic, moody, tired and needing to lose a few pounds?

If the latter, there might be a good reason.  Our body has a precise operating system.  There are 37 billion billion chemical reactions happening in our body at one time.  And yet, people are working on hope, guesses and off the shelf generalised diets, workouts and health programmes to stay well.

One size does not fit all.

Just like a car, we all need to use a fuel that we are made for.  If we fill up with diesel when our car runs on unleaded, it breaks down.  Even if we use the wrong octane, it affects how the car runs.

Image result for dr mark hyman ultra wellness

Dr Hyman believes that we all have the power to improve our health by following simple principles that optimise our biology.  Effectively, nutrition and exercise that is personalised to our unique needs.

So the question is, what nutrition and exercise?

This is where Dr Hyman advises finding out where the body is out of balance in order to have a roadmap to rebalance.

Nutrition

He is clear that DIET is the #1 place to start because food is linked to all the key things that put our body out of balance in the first place:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Food sensitivity
  • Inflammation
  • Toxic load

He suggests that a mostly plant-based diet with good fats, meat and fish in moderation is a good place to start, but we do need to understand in what proportions our macronutrients will serve us best; based on our genetic metabolism.

We also need to know what to supplement.

Our bodies are made to naturally be able to get what they need from our food and the environment, but soils are depleted and plants are bred for yield and resistance nowadays rather than optimal nutrition, so we don’t actually get what we need from our fruit and veg anymore, compared to years ago.

Image result for dandelion nutrition

Dr Hyman compared a wild dandelion to farmed spinach and suggested the dandelion would do more for us in terms of nutrition!  But we aren’t grazing on dandelions for dinner, or eating other wild food and wild fish that has what we need to thrive (with vitality)…

We don’t get enough sun.  We spend our time indoors or smother ourselves with sunscreen.  We don’t sleep enough.  We are bombarded with environmental toxins.  We are chronically stressed.

So basically, most people need some sort of supplementation, and different needs will again depend on a person’s genome, lifestyle and environment.

Exercise

Exercise is positive to weight management, our brain health, anti-aging, but also our emotional state.

Depression is not a prozac deficiency.

Image result for Depression is not a prozac deficiency.

There is a reason we feel low…

It might be:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Folate deficiency
  • Toxic metal overload
  • Gut issues.

Vigorous exercise has been shown to be as effective as anti-depressants. People who walk have been shown to have less Alzheimers.

One reason is that exercise creates BDNF in the brain, which is like Miracle Grow.  It is proven to improve mitochondria in the brain.  Generally, the best way to generate it is through HIIT workouts, but we can find out the exercise type that most serves us through the analysis of our genes.

Conclusion

Traditional medicine would take symptoms like lethargy, mood, fatigue and weight gain and find a reason for them.  They would give them one label.

Maybe you go into the doctor with lethargy, but you’ve also got lights in your eyes and headaches.  Maybe the doctor would say you have Migraines.

But what your body really has is an imbalance.  Maybe your gut bacteria is out of balance because you’re eating foods that your body can’t digest and you have food sensitivities and deficiencies.  Our bodies and those 37 billion billion chemical reactions are too complex to believe one label can provide a permenent fix.

There used to be only 12,000 official diseases in the medical books.  Now there are 155,000, but are people better off?  Is there more vitality in the world?

Just because a disease has a label doesn’t mean it only has one treatment, but doctors and Pharma are not willing to pay for system trials.

So what is our alternative?

The proactive will visit multiple practitioners to avoid the traditional route of a medical label and medication:

  • A Nutritionist for a diet plan to follow
  • A Personal Trainer to get exercises
  • A Naturopath to get a herbal tincture for better sleep

These remedies might work in combination, but at what price?  Most people can’t afford such a holistic approach, so they either do nothing or they take the medication, which takes away the symptoms that are actually red flags of a body that is out of balance and could be at serious risk of chronic disease down the line.

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What if nutrition, exercise, lifestyle changes and supplements (where necessary) can be used together, along with a roadmap personalised to the individual, to get the body back to its natural balance so that it’s own incredible healing system is activated?

If you would be interested in this kind of approach to your wellness; to your vitality, click here to answer a few short questions!

 

 

 

anxiety, mindset, Uncategorized

4 Ways to Train your Brain like a Muscle for Better Performance and Happiness

“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” —Anais Nin

Our brain is amazing.  I didn’t realise quite how much so until very recently as I recovered from anxiety.

It’s easy to dismiss the power of this 3 pound blob in our head; our “grey matter”, but it is the most complex (and perhaps the most powerful) and beautiful organ in our body. I know!  How can that ugly blob be beautiful?

Because it has the power to transform our life.  And we’re only using about 10% of it.

IF:

  • You feel your mind gets the better of you too often
  • You are looking to peak your performance as an athlete, business person, etc
  • You are ready to own your thoughts and master positive thinking that serves you
  • Or if you have depression or anxiety… Keep reading!

There are approximately 86 billion neurons that make up our brain, and if we laid those 86 billion neurons in one long line it would stretch approximately 534 miles (860 kilometers).  Our brain’s health and resilience impacts every aspect of our life.  It controls our thinking, memory, cognitive efficiency, physical health, emotional health, habits, urges, cravings, resilience and so much more.

How many of the issues in your life that you have right now could be attributed to those very things? Over-eating, relationship troubles, not coping, stress, being stuck in your comfort zone and unable to chase your dreams!

How would your life be better if you could make positive, long lasting changes?

Your brain could be the answer you’ve been seeking.

Although it accounts for less than 2% of our body weight, it consumes 20% of the body’s total energy.  This high energy consumption of our brain demonstrates the crucial role it not plays in keeping us alive, but alive and thriving.

Have you ever just flipped out , seemingly randomly?  Gone from 0 to 100, silence to rage?

It’s likely that your brain has responded on instinct to a “threat” and your evolutionary brain has made a decision based on partial information. You see, in reality the threat is just intense pressure to get something accomplished on time. But the reaction within your body mimics a deeper threat (heart-rate rising, breath rate increasing, etc).  In your primitive brain’s experience, your body’s reaction is the same as if you were responding to the surprise of walking round the corner to a lion in wait, it roars, so you roar louder and you are ready to fight for your life!

You know what this feels like.  Maybe you are under pressure at work with an important deadline that makes you feel anxious, irritated, or both. Somebody catches you off guard with a request or some information and you explode at them with rage. You completely overreact!

Or maybe, your a mum like me, who runs a business and is under pressure to juggle her work with her children, or you just have a massive load on your plate! You are overwhelmed and the kids are squabbling and nagging at you. You just explode and scream at them. You experience the harrowing physical symptoms of your over-reaction and afterwards you become physically tired and your emotional energy is drained. Maybe you even feel like suddenly taking a nap! Your eyes feel heavy like you’ve been sedated. You feel like shutting down and spacing out.

You just bounced from hyperarousal to hypo­arousal.

This instinctive hyperarousal state (fight or flight) is as damaging as a hypoarousal state (freezing/immobilising/taking no action) because its in these states where we suffer things like anxiety, rage, depression, mind fog, etc and operate in unhealthy past patterns because our responses are driven instinctively by our reptilian brain that can’t create new information. When this part of our brain is activated, our neocortex – the most recently evolved part of the brain, which is responsible for conscious thought and language – is suppressed. This means we impulsively react from a place of habit, rather than step back, think about and plan a rational response.

However, we have so much power to change how our brain responds and so therefore how we respond and how we direct the actions we take in a positive way.  Basically, accurately assess a situation and appropriately respond in the present moment.  The problem is that we generally don’t know how to fight against our instinctive response.  This causes us jump to conclusions (I’m not good enough), make
inaccurate assumptions (they won’t like it, I’ll fail if I try), and respond from a defensive place. This can cause so many problems in our lives and cause us unnecessary suffering both at home and at work. It leaves our beautiful potentiality untapped and stops us living our best life and experiencing optimal wellness because this defensive state has harsh physical effects as well.

In this blog I am going to share the experiences that can prime your brain for the deeper work that will literally rewire it.

The theory at the foundation of these is “Neuroplasticity”. If you have heard this term, it’s the recent discovery that our brain can adapt and change based on our experiences and other things.  We can physically manipulate our brain for better responses and improve our brain health.

For me, this manipulation caused me to stop existing and start living; free of the anxiety that was ruining my life.

Neuroplasticity can be positively influenced by a number of things.

The first is our environment.

         1. Our environment promotes positive Neuroplasticity

If you are  somebody who sits at home all day in same environment, or in an office with the same white walls and no windows you will suffer with a kind of negative plasticity. Whereas, if you see new things, regularly challenge yourself, discover new places and be mindful of where you are in the moment – sit and notice, and focus fully on what you’re doing, you will promote neuroplasticity.

POSITIVE ACTION #1

Think about how you can get yourself out into new environments regularly, facilitate a tight bubble of total focus in your work or study, and challenge yourself regularly.

         2. Regular mental activities can improve cognitive abilities.

As few as 10 x 1 hour sessions of cognitive training over 5-6 weeks has the potential to reverse the same amount of age-related decline in the brain that has been observed in the same period.  If we work our mind like a muscle we can reverse age-related decline!

Image result for flex muscle gif

POSITIVE ACTION #2

Investigate my MyndDojo.  

         3.  Working out the body can also slow down neuronal death and degeneration of our hippocampus (learning and memory centre).

Exercise, physical activity and good physical fitness can preserve brain.

POSITIVE ACTION #3

Review how much movement your body is doing.  Both nutrition and exercise are huge for our powerful grey matter.  For a personalised nutrition and exercise plan, click here! 

Intermittent fasting is another brain positive activity because it promotes adaptive responses in our synapses.  Intermittent fasting is not something I do yet, as I’m just getting my head and habits around a hyper-personalised diet to my genes and biometric data, but I have heard good things and I am researching benefits.  I’ve heard our body compared to a room that you keep throwing stuff into without ever tidying up. If we continue to eat without  our body finding time to process it, it accumulates and can be bad for our metabolism, toxic load and our brain.

        4. Sleep is another critical consideration to brain health

We can actually develop a sleep debt if we don’t sleep enough that can have devastating health effects.  Chronic insomnia, even disrupted or lacking sleep cycles causes brain atrophy. While we are not sleeping, we are killing off brain cells instead of promoting Neurogenesis (developing new brain cells).

Positive manipulation of my brain’s functionality has been a big part of me healing from anxiety. It has also improved my performance in my sport and helped me build relationships and my business.

Anxiety, social anxiety, depression, low mood, anger etc damage the brain. It causes negative plasticity, so our focus and effort must be on remodeling the brain through our daily experiences; actually flexing our mind muscle on a daily basis in a positive way like we would a bicep in the gym.

By doing this, we can rewire our brain to our advantage.

 

Freedom, Uncategorized, wellness

Netflix for Health?

What is the deal with Netflix?  Why do people love it so much?

Answer? Because it is the simplest & most easily understood way to get a personalised service.

So what has that got to do with health?

The biggest problem when it comes to taking action in our health is our human nature.

We’ll do what we need to for a while to get healthy, but we’ll easily slip back to bad habits. This is a big symptom of us existing in sympathetic overdrive like I describe here.  Our habitual neuron pathways are deeply conditioned. Which means that when our sympathetic overdrive state activates our reptilian brain, whose job it is to find pleasure and avoid pain, we will easily fall back into bad habits because they are safe.

It’s all about feelings.  It’s uncomfortable to develop good lifestyle and nutritional habits.  It’s confusing and overwhelming to pick from all the different choices.  It’s frustrating when we make the wrong choice and we work hard at it to have no noticeable results.

Our hectic, busy, risk-averse, comfortable, contemporary lifestyles have caused us to operate and function mainly out of our reptilian brain and thus we have been trapped in constant reptilian brain generated reaction.  Conscious eating, conscious living, conscious efforts in terms of our health requires the activation of our neo-cortex.  And thus, we must learn to by-pass the reptilian brain completely in order to THRIVE instead of SURVIVE.

Instead, people are working on hope, guesses and off the shelf ‘generalised’ diets, work outs and health programs. The scary thing is that advertising, media and even political propaganda is supporting this by targeting the reptilian response section of our brains.  Every experience we have in our life creates a belief that dictates our future action.  It’s these previous experiences that really causes us to fail. Human nature is to avoid making the same mistakes again. So if we’ve had a bad experience dieting, or it didn’t work, it’s very hard to overcome the instinct to avoid change again, or throw in the towel early when it gets hard or seems like it’s not working.

And that’s often the case, as one size doesn’t fit all.  80% of diets failing certainly backs up that fact; if you like numbers.  The industry of Weight Loss has become a cycle where people are trapped in a loop of stop-start diets over the course of their lifetime and this is not supporting the fight against the chronic diseases that are ending our lives prematurely.

It’s time to take our power back.

There is no off the shelf – one size fits all approach to our health. And that’s why 80% of people end up on yo-yo diets and sleep-walking into chronic disease.  But the good news is OUR HUMAN BODY IS INCREDIBLE!

determinants of health USA.png

It has everything it needs within to keep us healthy, when we do what it needs and give it the right environment to thrive.

The thing is… every single person’s internal chemistry is as individual as a fingerprint. 

So we have to start by understanding it.

I heard a great analogy from Jim Rohn once that put this into perspective for me…

Think of your body as a vehicle. Now, imagine for a moment that you had worked hard and had been able to save enough money to buy the car of your dreams. Maybe it is a fine luxury car that costs $75,000. You love every aspect of it. It gets you where you want to go, and it gets you there in style! Now, after driving for a few hours, you know you will run out of fuel, so you turn to the owner’s manual and find it tells you that you need to use unleaded fuel. Would you then go fill up the car with diesel? What would happen if you did? It wouldn’t run right. It wasn’t designed for diesel. In reading the owner’s manual, you would also see a recommended grade of fuel in order for the car to run at its most efficient level. There will be an octane suggestion; it might be 89. Now, the car could probably run on 87 octane, but not as well as on 89. So you would put in 89 octane. You must fuel the vehicle properly.

And yet we are not taking this approach with our bodies. We are designed to run on good fuel. There are other fuels we can put into our bodies, but they won’t run as efficiently if we do.

We hear, “eat right & exercise” all the time as the answer to great health, but what is right for you?

Our bodies are naturally a powerhouse of wellness. Starting at the deepest place within, with our body’s life forces; microscopic energy factories called Mitochondria. When they do not work as well as they should our body gets out of equilibrium and is unable to fight off diseases, give us the energy we need to thrive or stop us from ageing prematurely.

It is the seemingly simple things that we do not pay much attention to that are throwing our bodies off its natural balance – bad sleep, bad diet, lack of exercise and the toxins flooding our lives. And we chuck away the symptoms we feel as a consequence, like excess fatigue, digestive issues or mood swings as par for the course in a busy, hectic life (the same lifestyle activating our reptilian brain..). And yet they are the key symptoms in just about every chronic disease you can imagine that accumulate over years and winds us up with heart disease, diabetes, auto-immune disease and other chronic diseases that we could have avoided.

Cancer initiation and progression has been linked to the oxidative stress response elicited by mitochondrial dysfunction.

We are sleep-walking are way to chronic disease.

Imagine if you were to get sick right now and realise there was something, multiple things you could have done to avoid it.

We’ve all been there.  We feel a lump or we get chest pains or that cough turns into something more sinister than “nagging”.  Chronic disease and cancers do not just “turn up” overnight.  The risk factors for them developing are accumulating over years – disorders in how our body manages sugar, abnormalities on our Blood Pressure or Cardiovascular condition; sometimes arrhythmias or fibrillation that we would not necessarily notice. Sleep is also a huge risk factor and imbalances regarding our energy intake or utilization.

So how do we keep an eye on all these things?

How do we stay finely tuned like the expensive car we just talked about in the analogy?

Where do we find the instructions about what fuel our body needs and the special care that will prevent an unexpected break down?

Netflix.

Well, not the Netflix that gives you your favourite shows, but a similar service for your health.  A subscription service that regularly calculates and elaborates your own personalized Health and Wellness Plan and helps you with Disease Risk Prevention.

This provides you with easy, continual steps towards becoming your best version of health and accountability to keep you focused and motivated.

While it might not be some “all in”, Bikini MIRACLE diet come EPIC workout that is going to transform your body in a matter of weeks!!!!!!!

It is the facilitation of a new way, where a little bit of the right change makes a big difference.  Where the first step creates momentum to take the next step, and so on.  Where the consistent, steady movement in the right direction makes the small, incremental investments in your wellness and longevity seem painless and creates the confidence and excitement to be truly self-motivated and driven toward your ultimate wellness success.

For more information about the subscription that is right for you to start making a difference in your health (from $1.99/day!), click here and answer a few quick questions!

Uncategorized, wellness

I gave up supplements for 30 days and this is what happened…

It’s easy to think, when you’ve been on supplements for a while, that their effects are a placebo.  When you find a good supplement that works, and you start feeling alive again, you begin to forget how bloody awful you felt without them.

In 2016 I hit a really rough patch in my health.  I had a small baby who breastfed like there was an award for it and I’d not really taken much of a break between breastfeeding her and my elder daughter; I was run down, excruciatingly tired and my thyroid was out of whack.  I’d taken various supplements since I’d had my eldest daughter and really started to invest in our holistic health as a family, but I’d really not felt much of a difference using them.

Then I was introduced to a brand that was not synthetic and did not contain mega-doses of vitamins, just essential nutrients, metabolism benefits, and powerful antioxidants designed to help promote energy, health, and lifelong vitality.  Within one month of taking these supplements I felt a world of difference!  Even my thyroid and anxiety improved, but what I really noticed was the difference in my skin and energy.  My body was clearly lacking in something that it was getting back in these supplements.

Last year I got the opportunity to figure out just what I was lacking and why. I did a DNA test to find out exactly what my body needed and was potentially lacking in terms of nutrition.  I was flabbergasted by my results!  The biggest thing that the DNA test revealed was my body’s inability to process carbohydrates.  This made so much sense.  I’d eaten low carb for years (because that’s how you stay thin, right?) and I’d always struggled to last between meals, regularly got faint, suffered low blood pressure and had no muscle mass.  My DNA test also revealed that my body had difficulty processing healthy, monounsaturated fats and that I also have the fat gene, which explains my lacking off switch in regards to food!  I can literally eat and eat food that tastes good (so usually all the bad stuff) and the only way I have managed to get around that lack of control is to avoid junk food almost completely and stick to food portions at meal times.

In regards to micro-nutrients, vitamins, my body showed an inability to process and absorb Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Folate.

You see our DNA is like an Instruction Manual.  A DNA report tells you what you have and how to work with it.  Like a hand of cards, you can either play them really badly and subject yourself to chronic diseases you may have avoided, or play them well and enjoy a long, healthy life.

In general, I had been doing quite well with my hand of genetic cards, but there were definitely some changes I needed to make and fast, starting with my carbohydrate intake.  In terms of my vitamins though, it seemed my choice to take a high quality, natural supplement had been a good one.  In order to get enough of the Vitamin A, D and Folate my body needed, I would have been having to eat heaps of eggs, carrots, pumpkin, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli and liver, which in fairness, I do try to eat most of, but I struggle to get more than a couple of portions of vegetables a day and I am not a huge fan of fish, eggs or liver.

And it’s interesting because I’d noticed that if I ever forgot to reorder my vitamins and had a week or so without them, the skin around my cuticles would begin to peel and crack.  Vitamin A is a key vitamin in skin repair.  My youngest daughter, who is very fussy and eats very few vegetables unless I force feed them to her, also has the same issue if she doesn’t take her vitamins regularly either.  I wonder now if she has the same genotype as me and also has some trouble converting plant-based Vitamin A (beta-carotene) to the active form retinol.  There are more worrying concerns about not absorbing proper amounts of the vitamins our bodies need though:

  • A lack of Vitamin A can increase the risk of heart problems
  • Vitamin D plays an essential role in bone health, energy and anti-ageing because it promotes better absorption of calcium and lowers inflammation
  • Folate, alongside other vitamins fuels the body during workouts and are important in the synthesis and repair of DNA.  It also enhances brain health and moods.
  • Several vitamins are crucial to proper immune function, which ensures that we are able to properly fight viral and bacterial infection, deal with inflammation and stress, effectively digest food and heal.

So what happened when I took 30 days off my supplements?

  1. The first thing I noticed was my energy drop substantially.  Substantially!  I’m a kickboxer and a mum, so energy is vital to my day, and I started dragging my feet in a big way!
  2. I looked awful.  One of my eyes started to droop, my skin looked washed out and almost grey and I looked old and tired.
  3. The skin on my finger nails started to peel and crack, and got very red and sore, to the point I was embarrassed for people to see my hands
  4. I got an awful migraine
  5. I got sick with a head cold/cough after I haven’t been sick for months
  6. My productivity and creativity flatlined because I felt low on energy and not like my bouncy self.

Here is a before and after from my YouTube channel of daily videos:

When I was taking my supplements daily:

blog picture 2a

After I stopped!:

blog picture 1a

I was even surprised myself when I looked back to 4 weeks ago and compared to my videos now.  I knew I felt different, but to see such a difference as well?

So why did I stop my supplements?

Despite my supplements being awesome and effective, I have been offered the opportunity to have my supplements personalised to my body’s needs.  This means my body will get everything it needs and nothing that it doesn’t and my supplements will evolve as those needs change!

This personalisation is not done through a very non-personal one size fits all quiz like other personalised vitamin services.  These supplements are personalised to your DNA and the lifestyle factors that will either activate your not-so-good genes or keep them happily dormant; therefore helping me avoid potential chronic diseases and supporting me to experience optimal health because everything within my body is working as it should be.  Supplements are delivered to your door, monthly, and all the guesswork and confusion is removed and replaced with a solution bespoke to you.

I know I was very lucky to find a supplement that worked for me, but it took going through many different brands and complexes (most of which I peed out!)

But, is a daily dose of vitamins and minerals necessary?

I actually believe a “food first” approach is better, but then I am living the reality of being a busy mum with fussy children and little inspiration for healthy, colourful meals that everybody in my house will eat.  I never used to need supplements because I ate such a good diet, but now my situation is very different, plus you have extenuating circumstances like breastfeeding draining your body of nutrients and extreme workout regimes and our soils lacking the nutrients in the first place because land as been overfarmed.

Health and wellbeing needs are unique.  Solutions for people on a health journey need to be targeted to people’s unique needs.  Many people are like me and don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables and wholefoods, but unlike me they don’t actually have the information about their own bodies that they need to know what food choices are best for them, so they can plan and be proactive, rather than fumbling around in the dark and getting frustrated and giving up.

I now know from my DNA a baseline of fruits, vegetables and wholefoods that are really good for my body and I can meal plan around them.  It is easy.  And I know that where my diet falls short my supplements can pick up the slack and I can have the peace of mind that as my lifestyle changes (my sleep changes, my stress changes, I exercise more/less, my mood changes, etc) my supplements will evolve with me.

If you are open to see whether this solution will be helpful to you too, click here to answer a few short questions to provide you with the information relevant to your situation.

In your high vibes, happiness and optimal health!

CW x x