Book Report

Hey folks, Dana here.

Final weekend of summer with my son away, and I’ve had more reading time than usual, but it is coming to a close.

I don’t know about you, but I try to read a book per week.

You know, things that CEOs do.

Now, I don’t always find that I can, but often I do.

I’ve been very happy with my reading so far this year, especially this summer.

I read one book that I knew I would love before I read it (Dirty Genes, by Dr. Ben Lynch) another that I thought I would not like, but did, (Vitamania, by Catherine Price – great read!) and two books that I didn’t expect to be reading manifested themselves in my life as gifts and impressed me (Botanical Medicine and the AutoImmune Fix by Dr. Tom O’Bryan)

I read a couple of very weird books (The Secret Teachings of Plants was less about botany, and more about things like Zeno’s concept of Time being an illusion), and lots from the library;

The Hormone Boost by Dr. Natasha Turner, The Hormone Fix by Dr. Anna Cabeca, The Wisdom of Menopause by Christiane Northrup, M.D.. are some of the ones I renewed, so that I could read them over again, they were so packed with revelatory insight.

I also read a book I didn’t like as much as I thought I would (Girl, Wash your Face). I wasn’t sure, because it was good on some levels, so I read her next book a bit, and I like that one even less, so yup, I’m done with her.

I stopped reading the latest book halfway.

DO YOU let yourself do that? Or do you FORCE yourself to finish it?

I never force anymore. I didn’t like that she was suggesting that a boob job is selfcare for women, so I BAILED on the book, and I DO NOT CARE.

🙂

I also bought myself a book for my birthday; Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford. Yep, it’s a classic, and now, no matter what problem comes up, I’ve got a congee recipe for that!

I also read several fiction books, like Catch-22, The Shadow Roads, and a few old sci-fi and crime books left to me by my dad, and I was happy that those were good ones.

All in all, a great few weeks in the reading department.

Check out the authors!

Shout out to @Catherine_Price and @DrBenLynch on Twitter or follow the #Buhner hashtag if you’re into super weird non linear thinking…again, it wasn’t for me, but is has it’s appeal.

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN READING?

I’d love to hear from you.

xox

Dana

 

 

Lowering Cortisol, the Stress Hormone

How to Naturally Lower Stress Hormone (Cortisol)

 

STRESS!!!

Its causes are absolutely everywhere. Would you agree?

 

And sometimes, even cute, inspirational quote squares don’t make it go away 😛

 

Our natural “fight or flight” stress response can sometimes go a little overboard. It’s supposed to help us escape injury or death in an emergency and then return to normal after we’ve fought or flew. But, that doesn’t happen too much in our society – it becomes a long-term reaction. It becomes chronic.

 

You’ve probably heard of the main stress hormone, called “cortisol.”  It’s released from your adrenal glands in response to stress. It’s also naturally high in the morning to get you going, and slowly fades during the day so you can sleep.

 

Did you know that too-high levels of cortisol are associated with belly fat, poor sleep, brain fog, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and even lowers your immunity?

 

Do you experience any of these? Well, then read on because I have a list of foods, nutrients and lifestyle recommendations to help you lower this stress hormone naturally!

 

Foods and nutrients to lower cortisol

 

Let’s start with one of the biggies that increase your cortisol… sugar.

Reducing the sugar we eat and drink can be a great step toward better health for our minds (and bodies).

 

High doses of caffeine also increase your cortisol levels.

If coffee makes you feel anxious and jittery, then cut back on the amount of caffeine you ingest.

 

 

Also, being dehydrated increases cortisol.

Make sure you’re drinking enough water every day, especially if you feel thirsty.

 

Eat a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods; this doesn’t just help reduce stress hormone, it helps all aspects of your health.

 

Lower your cortisol levels with tea and dark chocolate (not the sugary milky kind!). Have a bit to unwind.

 

Don’t forget your probiotics and prebiotics!

There is so much new research about the gut-mind connection, and how taking care of your friendly gut microbes is key! Make sure you’re eating probiotic rich fermented foods and getting a healthy dose of prebiotic fiber.

 

Lifestyle techniques to lower cortisol

It’s not just food, but there are things you can do with your time that can lower cortisol.

 

Reduce your stress with mindfulness.

Many studies show that reducing stressful thoughts and worry reduces cortisol. Try putting things in perspective, or asking, what might this be opening the door to?

 

Get enough exercise (but don’t overdo it).

While intense exercise increases cortisol levels temporarily, it can reduce overall cortisol levels. Just don’t be both intense AND lengthy. One, or the other is best for stress hormone management.

 

Get enough sleep!

Getting adequate sleep is way too underrated. Well, not by me, I have written a ton about it, lol. Sleep reduces cortisol levels and also helps improve your overall health in so many ways. Sleep!

 

Relax and have fun. Things like deep breathing, massages, and listening to relaxing music – actually any music YOU like – all reduce cortisol.

 

Be social and bust loneliness. Would you believe me if I told you that science has shown health risks from social isolation and loneliness? It’s true! Maintaining good relationships and spending time with people you like and who support you is key.

 

Conclusion

 

Too much of the stress hormone cortisol can have several negative impacts on your health. There are many proven ways to reduce levels of cortisol naturally.

 

In terms of foods and nutrients, have less sugar and caffeine. And have more water, fruit, tea, dark chocolate, probiotics, and prebiotics.

 

Lifestyle factors are huge when it comes to cortisol. To lower yours, exercise (but not too much), get more sleep, relax, and have more fun.

 

In the comments below, let me know your favourite ways to bust the stress hormone cortisol!

 

Recipe – high-fiber, prebiotic, de-stressing Chocolate Pudding

Serves 6

3 ripe avocados

¼ cup cacao powder (unsweetened)

¼ cup maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 dash salt

 

Instructions

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: Try adding a pinch of cinnamon or vanilla pod in place of extract for a deeper flavour.

 

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/ways-to-lower-cortisol/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-cortisol

https://authoritynutrition.com/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety/

https://www.thepaleomom.com/managing-stress/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response

Womanly Hormones – get that sh*t under control

HORMONAL (IM)BALANCE and LIFE BALANCE go HAND in HAND

From a functional nutrition standpoint, hormone imbalances like PMS, uncomfortable peri-menopausal or menopausal symptoms, even bad blood sugar or stress response, can be caused by many factors; High stress hormones, high toxin levels, inadequate sleep, low nutrients, and gut issues being primary amongst them.

Addressing lifestyle factors like these ^^^^^ first can often help to alleviate symptoms.

In fact, you may need no further treatment, if you address lifestyle stuff. But, we need to know what nutrients and actions may aid detoxification in order to improve our health.

I like to encourage women to create lives that are more pleasurable, less stressful. I like to help them to do whatever they need to do to get a better night’s sleep, even if that means helping them with their money issues, not their diet.

And … I always focus on aiding women to lower their exposure to toxins and improve their biotransformation and elimination of toxins. Doing this can result in a proper menarche, comfortable menstruation, optimal fertility, and easy menopause, and beneficially impact their overall health.

 

WHAT DOES DETOXIFICATION HAVE TO DO WITH IT

Detoxification is a missing piece, in conventional treatment, but it is crucial – we need to clear toxins to balance hormones.

The toxins that are the focus here are the ones that mimic estrogen but act in it’s place in a dysfunctional way – turning off and on things in ways that might shift our metabolism down or our anxiety up – for example, but there are many possible symptoms; Anxiety, depression, irritability, tenderness, cramps, skin issues, bleeding irregularly, fluctuating sexual responsiveness, fluctuating energy levels, etc..

We can feel these symptoms creep up on us slowly over time, especially after certain triggers – hormone changes and stress – during adolescence, pregnancy, and peri-menopause. These changes in our bodies, along with other stress, and especially if coupled with nutrient deficiencies, can cause epigenetic changes – aka changes to our gene expression.

So, you have to clear toxins and manage stress to avoid the big problems.

My preferred approach is to look first at lifestyle factors, especially nutrition, but a full workup should include other lifestyle factors beyond nutrition, such as exercise, toxicity and stress.

There are many lifestyle factors that can lead to hormonal problems.

I am years past the baby making phase. 8 years to be exact. I went through menopause really early, and I am not alone. If you are an otherwise healthy, slim, fit woman, you might be prone to going through it early too. Why do I say that?

If the case of early menopause, there are such lifestyle factors as a history of anorexia and or bulimia, being an athlete/long distance runner, very thin, or a vegetarian, or having low cholesterol levels (such as can be caused by chronic low fat eating).

And it isn’t just early menopause – what about late menarche? I know an athletic, thin, vegetarian woman with no exposure to toxins in any great amount – I mean she was VERY protected and NEVER even had sugar, fast food or alcohol in her whole life – who still had not hit menarche and was going off to college.

So yes, there can be things ASIDE from toxins that can mess with your hormones. Our genetics can be triggered by stresses such as malnutrition, such as was the case for this young lady. What she thought was an ideal diet, her body took for starvation.

But toxins definitely play a role, for many people a huge role. We can feel the symptoms of these things come upon us in an accelerated manor if we get a sudden, noticeable influx of toxins – such as can happen if we get breast implants, or are exposed to mold in an infested home or car.

In the very sensitive, the ones we call the canaries in the coal mine, I can often see toxins slowly dragging them down. If they get get daily exposure to BPA in a job as a cashier, bagging groceries, or if she invests a lot in toxic beauty, such as lip injections, face fillers, keratin hair smoothers, and regular nail treatments, she may have a lot of pain, inflammation, and fatigue.

So I use a functional nutrition approach that looks at the whole person through the lens of systems biology and examines the underlying cause of hormone dysregulation, which can include the effects of endocrine disruptors, aka toxins.

 

TOXICITY

It is now clear that our individual ability to detoxify aka to bio-transform and excrete toxic and synthetic substances is of critical importance to our overall health. We are exposed to a greater quantity and a more complex array of toxic compounds in our air, water, and food than ever before. Understanding toxicity and taking practical steps to improve biotransformation are essential and critical pieces in any integrative approach to health and well-being.

I want to be clear about the concept of detoxification.

We cannot really “do a detox” and force our body to detox. The phases of detoxification undertaken by the liver (there are 3, 2 of them very well recognized) and the clearing of toxins is done by the body automatically, in conjunction with the kidneys/urinary system, lungs, skin, and more, not by any product we take. However, we can give the organs what they need to do these processes, and we can use binders to help to keep some things from recirculating, and we can help them get flushed out faster, which is often called “cleansing”.

The concept that toxins accumulate in the body and are the cause of various health problems has long been a fundamental tenet of traditional healthcare systems around the world. Removal of toxins from the body has long been an integral part of Ayurvedic, yogic, and naturopathic medicine. We know that in Canada, the Ojibwa used an 8 herb formula, drunk as a tea, and in Ayurveda, panchakarma and triphala are some of the methods employed. Naturopaths may use herbs or coffee enemas.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention began measuring human exposure to chemicals in 1976, and more recent science has really taught us a lot about how toxins affect us, where they originate, and how to improve our ability to detoxify. There is a very long list of chemicals we may encounter daily. Biomonitoring of subjects is ongoing and they continue to find new toxins in subjects’ blood and urine. Some of these include pesticides like DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) and glyphosate, BPA (bisphenol-A) from plastic bottles, food containers and cash register receipts, and phthalates from toys and shampoos.

Most people are born with chemicals like these in their blood, and then have a persistent, detectable amount of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in their blood most of the time ever afterward. What endocrine disrupting means is that they look like estrogen in the body, but estrogen that misbehaves, even doing evil, like something out of the movie V, or Men in Black, or even American Psycho.

Several of these hormone-f-ing chemicals have been linked to early menarche and early menopause.

Earlier menarche means starting your period young, and it is associated with some bad health outcomes. Around the world, the age of menarche keeps getting younger and is linked to exposure to a common fumigant, according to an analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data.

The NHANES researchers measured a single chemical in girls 12-16, but there are hundreds of known endocrine disruptors in our everyday environment, affecting women of all ages. In a different analysis of the NHANES data, 15 known toxicants were identified as contributors to early menopause in women, including persistent organic pollutants like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and common endocrine disruptors like phthlates. You are also more likely to reach menopause early if you are unfit, overweight, or if you have irritated ovaries, or pituitary gland problems, or have never had kids, or if you smoke…so again, it isn’t just about chemicals – but they sure don’t help.

 

WHAT TO DO

First of all, I recommend that you be careful to reduce your toxin exposure.

Filter your water. If you can, filter your air. Change filters often. Open your windows year round.

Say no to paper receipts.

Get better shampoo, or no shampoo. Use natural, clean and vetted body care, and less of it. Refuse to use regular nail polish, or to hang out in salons, or in places with toxic air. Don’t use hair treatments like Keratin smoothers or perms that use formaldehyde. Use non-toxic menstrual products.

Don’t buy new carpets, or sofas, buy second hand. If you buy furniture, like mattresses, check what they might be made with, and then, if you can, plan to sleep out of your house for the first week or two that they are in your house, to let them air out. Air out new dry cleaning for a week outside of the house in a covered area while they off-gas. Try not to move into places right after they are built – give them a year.

Eat cleaner, cook for yourself. Don’t eat canned food. Bring your own containers – don’t get take out in styrofoam and thin plastic – especially things like hot soup. Get organic food, pastured animals, don’t eat animals that eat conventional grains – they eat too many sprays.

Give up the dryer sheets, and beware of anything perfumed. Don’t hang out near the dishwasher when it is running. Use safer soap in the dishwasher, and run the kitchen exhaust fan when it runs, and go into another room. Hire someone to dust and to vacuum, and don’t let your kids play on the floor.

It’s along list, and you might feel crazy at first, but just try to work at it little by little.

You might need to do things even harder than avoiding toxins.

You may need to get a more understanding and helpful and supportive partner. You might need to earn more money. You might need to say no more and get what you need help with more. You might need to go dancing more, or accept yourself as you are, or tell an asshole to f off. You might need to make seasonal detoxification a regular thing you do now. You might need to really eat nutritiously, not just eat to stay thin. You might need to say NO to the beauty treatments, like the lip fillers, the Botox, the Keratin treatment, the toenail polish, that you think makes you beautiful, and realize how beautiful it is to think clearly in your forties, and to feel better then, and to be glad you worked on your confidence instead of your forehead wrinkle. You might need to drink less alcohol and coffee, so that you can go the F to sleep. You might need to adopt a habit of doing a little walking, a little weights, and a little yoga, instead of nothing, or everything, like a maniac.

Start practicing now, and you can avoid a lot of headaches in the future.

xox

Dana

 

 

Gardening – the Health Benefits

DSC_4133

What’s an activity that can benefit your mental health, improve your grip strength (one of the most important indicators of life expectancy believe it or not!), help to keep you from gaining weight, all while connecting you to nature …and having no downside?

Gardening!

Gardening can be therapy, art, and sport. It can reduce depression and anxiety, improve mood and cognitive function.

Gardening can be life-sustaining and spirit sustaining, and planet-sustaining. It is associated with JOY, CHEERFULNESS, and ENTHUSIASM.

When I studied healthy aging, these who gardened were more likely to live longer, healthier and happier lives, and if they gardened with their partner, they were more likely to stay together and to be truly happy. Wow, eh?!

Double Forest Refraction Drop by FallOut99

Being outside, being in the dirt, making things grow…it’s all miraculous. Nature is miraculous. It’s just easy to forget if you don’t interact with nature.

Here are some health benefits of gardening:

Gardening has been shown to improve well-being and coping ability, the ability to deal with change, and caring for oneself.

Gardening can raise our self-esteem, and that in turn is something that might keep a person healthy, whether that means letting loose and taking chances, or flossing, resting, getting a check-up or using a condom or seatbelt.

Gardening reduces feelings of isolation. I think people being outside of their homes is one step towards that – being where you can say hi to a neighbour and see your other neighbour’s cat.

Gardening provides a sense of agency – that you can affect the outcome and direction of things, while simultaneously showing us how we must respect the limits of our agency over nature.

Gardening has great potential to be a generative activity – to produce something and hand it down to others, leaving it better than you found it.

Gardening uses our muscles – getting us bending, lifting, pushing, pulling and stomping. We burn some energy, develop stronger arm and leg muscles, stronger torsos, fingers and shoulders. It can improve our hand strength, dexterity, even our balance and cardiovascular health.

Gardening exposes us to all kind of good microbes, like the ones I mentioned in my blog post on poo. They are in the dirt and benefit us in myriad ways.

Gardening can be creative and mentally stimulating. The sense of play is beneficial, and the activity increases blood flow to the brain, leading to better cognitive function.

Gardening can be brain-protective. A 2006 study found that gardening has the potential to reduce the incidence of dementia by a whopping 36%.

Gardening can expose us to vitamin D, a very important hormone-like vitamin that almost everyone is deficient in, and that is correlated with many diseases, especially autoimmune disease.

Gardening gets us breathing fresh air. Indoor air is often much more polluted than air outside.

Gardening exposes our eyes to the sun. This gets us in tune with the cycles of the earth and weather, our circadian rhythms, even protects our eyesight.

Gardening can also help to rectify the issue of Food Deserts by creating self-sustaining communities. It can change a neighbourhood from one that eats very few vegetables to one that eats very many.

City children who garden feel enthusiastic and engaged with the process and tend to eat more and different kinds of vegetables and care more about where their food comes from too. They tend to seek more positive pass-times than non-gardening kids.

Let’s plant some seeds and get them planting some seeds!

DSC_4134.jpg

I hope you will garden, if you feel so inclined. It is a good healthy habit to adopt!

Interested in some of this information?

Link through to the articles and studies.

You may also like these books:

  • Aging Well by George Vaillant
  • The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen
  • Stuffed and Starved by Raj Patel

Happy gardening!!

xox

Dana

Making Room in Your Life for More of What You Love

When we drill down to discover the real reason we want just about anything (money, health, the perfect partner), the core goal is happiness. So why not stop denying ourselves happiness, and cut to the chase?

We’ve talked about how to prioritize tasks that must get done, but what about making time for more of what you love? Do you ever feel like you’re giving too much of yourself?

 

Around the new year, a lot of us made room in our homes for the things that “spark joy”. Now that it’s spring, there’s no better time to do some spring cleaning for your personal life to get back more of what you put out there.

Here are ways to bring that into fruition! (Just like having a home full of joy-bringing things, we can make “room” for joy in our lives by clearing away stuff we don’t need.)

 

1. Be honest with yourself

If you could create your perfect life, what would it be? Write down the things that you would like to have more time for in your life, like reading, learning a hobby or spending time with people that you enjoy being around.

2. Reflect on the things you’re currently doing

It helps to make a list of what you currently spend your time on — from working to caring for kids to running errands. Think of it as a synopsis of your weekly life. You’ll want to look at this compared to what you want to see more of in your week.

3. Decide what you can compromise on

You might not be able to change the fact that you have to go to work, but how you get there could be changed. Maybe the stress of driving is wearing you down. Instead of making yourself crazy, try jogging if you can or taking the subway and reading while on the train. Then you get more exercise and fresh air, or time to read, and you don’t have to deal with traffic — a win-win.

4. Stop saying “but”

If you’re always saying you want to do something and adding “but” in there afterward, it’s time to change that way of thinking. Those three little letters are convincing you that you don’t deserve the things you want more of.

Let’s look at a common place where you add “but” in your life. You need to get groceries for your family. No one can deny that’s not important. “I want to take that new hot yoga class, but I have to go to the supermarket.” Well, not exactly correct!  Our marvellous online world allows you to order all of the things you need and either run by and have it brought out to your car or even better, delivered to your door.  Problem solved.

We even add this “but” when we need to make dinner. No, you don’t. You can prep those meals on your Sunday and voila! Your early evenings are free to pick up another pursuit. We’re so trained to feel guilty for indulging the things we want, but we need to do those things because we can’t be our best for everyone else, or truly milk all the joy out of life, if we don’t.

Remember that ‘what we focus on expands’.

What are 3 things you want to make more room for in your life? Focus on those things.

Imagine how much time or money they would take, imagine ways you could get them.
For me personally, I’d love to free up time every Thursday evening to be able to make it downtown and drop in to a House Dance class.

Hit reply and let me know what you’d love to make room for in your life.

Feel like you are lacking the right support these days?

Join the Facebook group where you can reach out to other people focusing on positive habits, or book a free discovery call with me to see if my support would be a good fit for you.

Talk soon
xox
Dana

What is your face telling you?

What is your face telling you?

 

As a health detective, I take in all the information I can get about you. Your face is a wealth of information! That is one reason I highly encourage you to wash your face before we have a session in person or online via webcam.

If you are curious what I see, read on.

Let’s take it from the top…

 

HAIR

Low iron, low thyroid, low iodine, and/or low EFAs (ALA and LA fatty acids) can make hair dry.

If head and body hair are thin or sparser than usual, it may be the thyroid.

Losing your hair could also be a sign of the autoimmune condition alopecia areata.

A red, scaly rash and hair loss could mean low Biotin (B7) levels

Loss of hair from the head, falling out quickly, is often caused by low iron, or thyroid problems. Check iron levels. If you drop below 40 on a ferritin test, that’s very likely to make your hair fall out. You may need to get your numbers above 80for the hair to grow back in well.

Hair that has greyed rapidly is a sign of certain genetic SNPs and of hydrogen peroxide produced from stress 

Hair falling out can be a sign of stress or recent pregnancy

Brittle hair can be a sign of malabsorption or deficiency in selenium or iron or fatty acids

Hair that breaks before it can grow out may be a sign of a need for more silicon and healthier collagen

Thick, stretchy/bouncy hair may mean good collagen/connective tissue health, adequate protein, adequate silica, vitamin C, iron, selenium, and iodine

Shiny hair that is not greasy may mean adequate intake and balance of healthy fats

Dry hair can be a sign of low vitamin C

Dull, brittle, and loose hair can be a sign of protein malnutrition

Hair that has suddenly gone curly can mean damage / illness

Dandruff can be dry skin, sensitivity to hair products; and skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis or eczema. The overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus can also cause dandruff.

 

UPPER FACE

Receding hairline can be traction alopecia, hormone changes like at menopause or high bad testosterone

Cystic acne near the hairline can indicate an allergic response to hair products

Hollow, deflated temples can be a sign of cancer, serious illness or muscle wasting

Extensive skin wrinkling can indicate low vitamin K2, and omega 3 deficiency

11’s between the brows or numerous deep furrows and wrinkles may mean a higher risk of cardiovascular disease

 

EYELIDS and EYEBROWS

Shrinking, thinning eyebrows, especially on the outer third, or right on the inside, is a common sign of low thyroid or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Losing your eyelashes or eyebrows could be a sign of the autoimmune condition alopecia areata

Drooping lids might mean myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune condition

Soft yellow spots, particularly on the eyelids are usually cholesterol-filled lesions called xanthelasmata. These may show a higher risk of heart disease. A 2011 Danish study of nearly 13,000 patients found that about 4 percent had the spots and that those patients were nearly 70 percent more likely to develop hardening of the arteries and almost 50 percent more likely to have a heart attack over the next few decades than patients without them.

A lupm on the lid, if you have oily skin tendencies, may be a blocked oil duct

A drooping eyelid or side to your face might be one of the first signs of stroke, or or brain or neural issues

 

EYES

Bleeding retinas can be a sign of leukemia or diabetes

Burst blood vessels in the eyes can be from a sudden flare of high blood pressure

Kinky, twisted vessels in the retina can mean an impending stroke

Bulging eyes may be a sign of hyperthyroidism (high thyroid)

Different sized pupils (Horner’s syndrome) can indicate a neck or brain issue, like an aneurysm

Yellow where the whites of your eyes should be could mean hepatitis, liver, gallbladder or pancreas trouble

A white ring around the iris can mean high cholesterol

A dark ring around the eye can indicate lung problems

Dry eyes can be connected to Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus, or Shogren’s syndrome, or an EFA deficiency

Gritty, granular crystals or “sand” in the eyes can be a sign of oxalate dumping

 

UNDER EYES

Dark under-eyes can be a sign of anemia or low iron, celiac disease or allergies. The purple-blue hue can be water or un-oxygenated blood under the surface of thin skin there.

Puffy, tired-looking eyes with luggage under them could be a red flag for chronic allergies, which dilate blood vessels and cause them to leak, or a reaction to makeup

Sunken eyes, loss of orbital fat pads can mean undernourishment, anorexia, or dehydration

Puffy eyes can also be a sign of low iodine.

Puffy or swollen under-eyes can mean depression (crying), or hormonal shifts

Puffy under-eyes can mean kidney disease / low albumin levels.

 

FACE and CHEEKS

Part of the face won’t move? Could mean stroke or Bell’s Palsy

A sallow, pale, deflated skin texture can be a sign of serious illness

An overly red face or broken capillaries can be a sign of hypertension or histamine intolerance

Acne and a mix of oily and dry skin indicates a poor diet, possibly lacking EFAs, zinc and vitamin A

Long hair growing from ears and nose may mean frequent exposure to dust particles

A pale face could be a sign of anemia

Brown or grey blotches on the face are melasma, usually from a pregnancy or hormone surge

Red or white acne-like bumps on your cheeks could mean you are low in essential fatty acids (ALA and LA, found in flax oil) or/and vitamins A and D

Pale or bluish lips or inside the mouth or lower eyelids, instead of pink, could indicate heart or lung disease, or anemia.

Certain infections can trigger facial rashes.

A butterfly-shaped rash across the cheekbones and over the bridge of the nose can be a sign of Lupus.

A change in complexion to a more yellow tone could indicate liver disease, or may indicate that you are eating too many carrots / carotenes!

 

SKIN

Dry, flaky, scaly, cracked, bruised, or bleeding skin can mean protein malnutrition

Dry skin can be a sign of low omega fatty acids, poor fat absorption, low vitamin A, or low iron

Skin rashes can be signs of malabsorption or deficiency in selenium

Glowing, shiny, plump, radiant skin is often a sign of high estrogen.

Red spots, and/ or bad skin can be a sign of low vitamin C

Dry, flaky skin could be a sign of dehydration or a more serious problem that affects sweat gland function, such as hypothyroidism.

Drawn, dry, patchy, dull and thin skin is often related to low estrogen

 

OUTSIDE YOUR MOUTH

Peri-oral dermatitis (a rash around the mouth), eczema, psoriasis and rosacea often indicate some greater immune system imbalance.

Pucker lines around your lips can be a sign of past or present smoking

Cracks at the sides of the mouth often reveal a B vitamin deficiency, but can be iron, zinc, B vitamins like niacin (B3), riboflavin (B2), and B12, or even protein

Cracked lips might mean dehydration, EFA deficiency, or a reaction to steroids

 

INSIDE YOUR MOUTH

Swollen, red gums may be a sign of heart disease.

Sore or bleeding gums or bad skin can be a sign of low vitamin C

Mouth ulcers and cankers can be signs of Crohn’s disease or Celiac.

Discoloured teeth can be sign of malabsorption or deficiency in selenium

Bleeding, receding, dry gums, dry mouth, and wiggly teeth are all typical oral symptoms of patients with diabetes.

A white tongue can mean oral thrush/Candida yeast

A red tongue can mean B-12 or folate deficiency

 

JAW and NECK

Acne along the jawline can be a sign of hormonal imbalance, especially cystic acne

Unwanted hair, particularly along the jawline, chin, and upper lip, could be a symptom of PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome.

Skin tags, such as on the neck, are a common warning sign of diabetes and blood sugar imbalance.

A thick neck with small jaw and receding chin are all more likely to have sleep apnea, a disorder in which your breathing repeatedly stops while you sleep

A lump in the throat of swollen neck could be swollen lymph nodes or a thyroid problem

A swollen neck or dry, flaky skin can be signs of low iodine

Good posture means a happy life, slouching may indicate poor self esteem

Poking neck posture often means long hours of sitting

Alopecia areata can cause patches in a beard

 

ELSEWHERE ON BODY

Wrinkles where the sun doesn’t hit can mean cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis risk

Clusters of red bumps on the upper arms could indicate celiac disease or gluten sensitivity

Red or white acne-like bumps on arms, thighs, or bum could mean you are low in essential fatty acids (ALA and LA, found in flax oil) or/and vitamins A and D

Little red spots called cherry angiomas may be s sign of toxic bromine exposure

Moles, especially ones with irregular borders, can be a sign of melanoma.

Liver spots can be a sign of blood sugar imbalances/surges

Skin rashes and brittle nails can be signs of malabsorption or deficiency in selenium

Ridged, cracked, spoon-shaped, or pale nails can mean protein malnutrition

 

What a list, eh?

And that’s not even everything! At a physical exam, we can learn a lot more from your temperature, blood pressure, weight, demeanour, gait, body composition, nails, feet, posture, and many more signs, but there are some that are easy to check and give your nutritionist information about you.

I also gives you an idea if there is anything you should look into more closely.

Now go wash your face, get a mirror, and have fun!

 

xox

Dana

 

Mindfulness and the Brain Dump

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My sister Zoe is a mindfulness and meditation guide. I mean, she helps people do nothing.

That’s a job.

Her main clients are busy, successful executive types.

Mindfulness can be challenge for chronic over-doers, and for those with ADD. Their minds are already so FULL, it is hard to follow their thoughts, and be present in the moment.

One trick that is helpful for these folks (erm, me) is the Brain Dump.

A Brain Dump is when you take everything you have swimming around in your head, that you think you HAVE to hang on to, mentally and GET IT ALL OUT.

Write.

Write and write and write.

According to Wikipedia, (who we REALLY SHOULD give a toonie to every once in a while, eh?), a brain dump is “the transfer of a large quantity of information from one person to another or to a storage and retrieval medium.”

In this case, I mean to a storage or retrieval medium.

Like your journal or your laptop or your fancy phablet.

Write out everything that might take up your mental space.

Check in to see if you still feel like you have things to hang onto, write that, and then make sure you keep all of what you’ve written.

Now, you can have the enjoyment of crossing things off. And until then, you have a reference place.

It can be such a load off.

All you do is

  1. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING THAT COMES TO MIND

Here, I am about to practice and instruct in the art of the brain dump.

AND

I will be brain dumping everything that I think I Cannot Forget or need to remember about Mindfulness for an upcoming blog post.

Except now, this is that blog post! I love it when doing nothing is productive. HA!

What happened is that I took my brain dump, and I organized the ideas.

I already jumped ahead to step 2, which is COMPLETELY optional:

 2. ORGANIZE IT

 

So here are my organized thoughts

 

Mindfulness

Courses

One thing/Dr. Rick Hanson, Mindfulness-based stress reduction program from Jon Kabat-Zinn, Lifehacker’s Guide to Meditation for the Rest of Us, Greater Good’s mindfulness webpage: education, videos, & resources

Good articles to read/listen:
■ UCLA Meditation podcast, “5 Reasons You Should Start Meditating Today”

■  Self-Talk Plus recordings to program your subconscious in a mindful, purposeful way

■ Greater Good’s Mindfulness Quiz

Good books to read:

  • Meditation for Beginners, by Jack Kornfield
  • Buddha in Blue Jeans, by Tai Sheridan
  • The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Wherever you go, there you are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • 10% Happier, by Dan Harris
  • There is No App for Happiness, by Max Strom
  • When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodron

A different approach

Another way to approach mindfulness is to check out forest bathing. It’s like an easy hike, no, a walk in the woods, but way, way slower, more contemplative, more tuned-in, deeper.

 

Good Meditation Apps (Post Script: what was the result of word association had an unintended hilarious result, ha!)

■ Headspace

Fun and intuitive to use and very well known. Good variety of free and paid guided meditations for beginners and beyond.

■ Happier

Great if you are not into “woo-woo” stuff. This is a no BS kind of app, no extra stuff, but guided meditations. I love a good toothbrushing meditation, yes I do. This is kind of the app version of the book 10% Happier – they are both “for fidgety skeptics”

■ Omvana

Guided meditations, Energy, health, sleep, a bit more for those sensitive to their “fields”.

■Mindfulness Training App

Great for beginners but gives science and context too for those who want it.
Teachings from popular mindfulness instructors Jon Kabat-Zinn and Jack Kornfield.

■ Calm

If you like outdoor sounds, you may like this one, go check it out. Free download, paid subscription. I didn’t pay, so I can’t say much more.

■ Stop, Breathe & Think

Recommends specific meditations based on your answers to questions about your
emotional and physical state.
You can download varying lengths and types of meditation practice including a pack of meditations narrated by KD Lang.

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Forest Bathing is a form of mindfulness meditation.

Whew.

I hope that was as satisfying for you as it was for me!

xox

Dana

Self Care IV – Self care for the soul

Self Care for the Soul

Wow. We are at the final in this series of learning about self-care. How is your self-nourishment going?

Do you have a whole list of ways to nurture your mind and body? I hope you do.

Today we are focusing on nourishing your soul with activities that make you happy and give you a break from your busy life. To be honest, the soul self care could quite possibly be more important than anything else. Even food.

Enjoy life.

Here are some soul-food ideas for you to start with today. Don’t forget to create your own
Soul Food list to work out what works for you!
• Enjoy your coffee/tea in the morning
• Take a hot bath after work
• Meet with your best friend
• Have a good laugh, make another person laugh
• Watch a favourite movie

person pouring tea on a cup

• Allow your self to be looked after by someone else
• Listen to some really great music, look at really good art
• Give to someone else – charity, free gift, thank you note…help them for free
• Create something
• Time with pets

Remember that self care isn’t just something you tick off your list once and never do it again.

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It’s a constant in your life that forms part of your daily routine to create positive health and wellbeing on a deep level. You’ll very quickly feel the amazing benefits of just some small self care routines that can literally change the course of your overall health – and even life!

I’d love to know how you are going to start implementing a self care routine to finally feel good in your body and live the life you’ve been wanting.

So, what’s your favourite form of self care?

Do you have a favourite way to care for your mind, your body, or your soul?

Is there anything that cares for all three at once, and if so, what?

xox

Dana

 

 

Self Care III – Physical self care

Self Care for your Body

So far you’ve learnt about self care, (mid July) discovered your self-care list, learned about looking after your mind (July 25th) and now it’s time to get your body in loving shape.

It’s important to understand that you don’t need to exercise for an hour a day or go to the gym lifting weights. Those can be great for maintenance, but it isn’t always self-care.

Body self-care can include massage, body rolling, and other types of activities.

This isn’t what self-care for the body is all about. YES it’s important for our overall health and wellbeing to move our bodies each day, but for each person it’s different.

Self care for the body is all about doing physical things that make you happy AND have a
positive effect on your body. Now it’s time to incorporate some extra body love each day – and guess what?

You don’t need more than 5 minutes if you are super busy!

Here are some examples of some body self-love activities you can start implementing each day.

Only a few minutes daily can make a big difference on your wellbeing!

• Get 15 minutes of sun
• Move and feel your body – run, walk, dance
• Have a short nap
• Stretch and release tension
• Eat a healthy nourishing meal using all your senses (smell it, touch it, taste it, enjoy
the visual of what it looks like!)
• Lay on the grass with no shoes on
• Stand in some water and feel the sensation
• Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you

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Enjoying the sensuality of the sun and the feeling of air on your skin is very indulgent in a good way.

Your body responds not just to physical movement, but to sensory actions.

What are some sensory things you can do each day that take up no time at all but have a big impact on your body?

What does your body self-care list look like?

Have fun brainstorming!

xox

Dana

Self Care II – Mental Self Care

Self Care Ideas for the Mind

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Today we are going to focus on the mind.

Your mental health is just as important as the food you eat. Today we often aim to fit a lot in, without a lot of down time, leaving room for stress to creep in and take charge.

If you feel stressed, anxious, overworked or generally unhappy or uninspired then it is even more important to give your mind some extra space and calmness.

Many of us find it difficult to quieten the mind so here are a few ways you could start to
take care of yourself which literally can take up only 5 minutes a day!

• Sit outside and watch the clouds for 5 minutes
• Listen to your favourite song with your eyes closed
• Meditate for 10 minutes
• Read a positive book or magazine
• Unplug for an hour – flight mode on all devices and recharge
• Focus on your breathing – take a few deep breathes in and exhale out what
doesn’t serve you anymore (emotions, energy, words…)

photography of woman sitting on chair near window
Doing nothing, or daydreaming, is a perfectly viable option for today.

With a healthy self care routine for the mind you’ll be well on your way to feeling better
in no time.

Sometimes it can take just 5 minutes in your day to change how it is going.

A little mental space goes a long way.
What are some of your favourite ways to clear the mind and look after your mental health to de-stress at the end of the day?

I like to

  • listen to self-talk (selftalk classrooms of the mind)
  • talk with my life partner
  • ask my son about his latest obsessions
  • brain dump (write everything on your mind down)
  • enjoy an herbal tea
  • do a short meditation on my breath
  • read in bed
  • do something creative (crafting, sewing, dancing, writing blog posts or making social media imagery, making homemade greeting cards)
  • go outside and watch the lights twinkle, take some breaths

What are some of your favourite ways to clear the mind and look after your mental health to de-stress at the end of the day?

xox

Dana