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Welcome ! Here you will find information on me and the wellness services I offer, as well as shared inspiration and advice on common wellness and health challenges we all face. I help men and women get their health and wellness back to balance by addressing root cause issues and working with them to regain their energy, vitality and inner peace. You are not your dis-ease, illness, symptom! Though you currently may be struggling, my goal is to  educate, empower, inspire, and motivate you to take charge of your life, so you have the tools to be your best self. If you are ready, and committed to your well-being, I would be honored to assist you

Journeys With Anxiety

As he pressed lightly, one finger on my jaw, one on my arm, I suddenly felt a deep rooted fear come up. I didn’t understand what was happening, but after many many years of explorations into my body, I rode the wave. Suddenly I noticed my whole upper body was going numb, tingly; my breathing was quickening. Was I starting to hyperventilate? What was happening? I wanted to lash out, punch, scream, SOMETHING. But instead, I just breathed, just observed, and heard a gentle voice ” its okay, you’re safe”; the voice of my practitioner. I lay resting shortly after, still trembling.

No, this was not a shamanic journey or esoteric experience I was having (though it could be interpreted that way) . This was my second session with Osteopathy. I decided to try this bodywork modality out, after dealing with many years of chronic muscle and joint tightness and occasional pain. I understood Osteopathy could be helpful to help re-align and assist healing of soft tissue, vertebrae and overall body alignment. I did not expect that it would help unleash and unblock this storm under my skin.

When I was in my twenties, I started experiencing episodes of depression and anxiety. I did not understand them at the time, and just took it to be “my personality”. I was always a bit withdrawn, preferring to be alone, or around people, but not necessarily integrating. I did become more social in my twenties and thirties, but still often preferred alot of time on my own.

In my twenties, I began to explore the deeper aspects of my feelings with meditation, energy work, and other modalities. I soon discovered that underneath that “hard” surface, I mistook for toughness, strength, was something so deeply buried, that in order to keep it hidden, I had to keep everyone at arms distance emotionally, to keep them, and myself safe. I think I was unconsciously afraid of what was underneath. As time went on, I discovered that much of this was fear and grief, and since then, I have continuously worked to try to free those parts of myself, understanding that this process takes time, and can not be rushed.

Now, many years later, here I find myself having these experiences, while thinking to myself, how much more can I uncover? It feels like a never-ending bucket sometimes. What I’m again reminding myself of is that the body, which holds onto the memories, the learned patterns and behaviors, takes alot longer to “heal” and “re-learn” another way of being, then the mind does. Sometimes I am still caught up in a form of depression, which I do feel is a given, in today’s world. But more often then not, I feel a chronic, ongoing, mild anxiety, simmering in the pit of my belly. I feel this regardless of the state of my world, present circumstances, or happiness and satisfaction levels. After this bodywork session, I have come to understand it a bit more: I am afraid to fully let myself “be okay”, or “relax” , or let my guard down. Its like a constant feeling of impending doom. Why is this here?

I have come to understand that sometimes, chronic anxiety can be rooted in buried, unexpressed emotions, that stay alive in the body. These emotions can also create a self-protective “barrier” around themselves, keeping themselves alive in our bodies. This can create a feeling of “un-safety” in the body; a body not at peace; a body that is yelling out to be acknowledged in some way. A body that is not grounded and secure. This is what personally resonates with me, but it might be different for you.

If I ask myself when I’m anxious, where are my thoughts? Are they in the present? The answer is usually : no. They are most commonly rooted in the “possible” future, or (unconsciously sometimes) reacting from a past experience. This kind of self-reflection has been absolutely essential in my journey with anxiety and depression. How can I heal what I don’t understand?

When we begin to delve deep into our feelings and emotions, we can finally begin to get a clearer picture as to what our anxiety or depression is really telling us. This is not for the faint of heart. This journey takes courage. But the rewards can be priceless in uncovering who YOU really are. Because when we can free those hidden parts of us, we are more free to express our inner truth, our inner wisdom and passion, whatever that may be for you.

Sometimes we need someone to hold our hand in this journey.

Please ask for help.

There are many on this journey with you. We are never alone. Our stories are meant to be shared.

Thanks for listening to mine.

Be well,

Silvia

If you need assistance with your anxiety or other mood challenges, you can book a consultation with me here:

I would be honored to assist you in your journey.

The Army In Your Gut

When we think about our immune system, how many of us think of our guts as the main source? My guess is not too many. We tend to think of our immune system as isolated, connected to our symptoms and where we may be experiencing issues eg. sinuses, throat, chest, head etc. But in actuality, all these areas are directly linked to our gut health. Our body works like an orchestra. No one area is separate from the other. And when it comes to our immune system, our GI system is intrinsically linked to the whole.

When I say “the gut” I am giving reference to the whole of the digestive system, including the stomach, intestines, and all the corresponding organs in between. Our intestinal lining is a very thin layer, which separates our digestive system from the rest of our body including our bloodstream. You can say our GI system is like a giant doughnut hole , that is part of , but distinct from , our bodies. Our GI system is responsible for digesting, absorbing nutrients and removing waste products from our body. The intestinal lining is where most of absorption occurs, and is where most of dysfunction can occur as well. Our intestinal tract is also where our bacteria live, mainly in the large intestine, or in other words, our bowels, but a smaller amount also resides in the upper intestinal tract.

We so often read how important gut bacteria are for our health but do we actually understand why? Gut bacteria can be beneficial and friendly, producing vitamins, modulating/producing hormones, modulating/producing neurotransmitters, digesting/absorbing our food, helping us to stay in equilibrium. But, like anything, when their balance is disturbed, or they don’t get the nutrients they need , dysfunction can begin, and where it ends can look pretty ugly depending on how long the dysfunction is allowed to occur. Our own microbiome’s diversity is actually specifically dependent on our personal lifestyle, including the food we eat, and the level of stress we experience, so no two microbiomes are the same. Certain bacteria can dominate if you tend to eat similar food on a day to day basis. This is part of the reason why something like Candida overgrowth can occur; microbes and yeast are natural to our guts but feed them too much of a good thing and they become like the gremlins in that 80’s movie, taking advantage of the abundance of food.

Now what can occur when we eat what’s referred to as the “SAD” , aka Standard American Diet (a diet high in processed/refined foods), is 1) we will tend to be overfed and undernourished 2) we can begin to have more “allergy” and “sensitivity” reactions to various substances, and 3) we can experience getting sick often, or coming down with the latest cold/flu bug every year. The foods we eat have a direct correlation with the state of our immune system. Why? Because our bodies can only perform with what they are given. And if what they are given is crap food, stress, and toxins, you in no way can expect your body to be in the best condition to fight and protect you from invaders or perform in the way you want them to, or have the energy to do all three!

Lets break it down a little bit: White blood cells which are a large part of your body’s army, require optimal specific nutrients to be made in sufficient quantity in order to protect you daily. If we are deficient in Zinc, Folate, B12, or Copper, due various reasons, then you might have issues making sufficient white blood cells. These nutrients are also coincidentally, important for red blood cell production as well. Also, if we have bacterial overgrowth due to a poor diet, then we may also have inflammation in the gut lining; the same place where we absorb all the nutrients that we need to build our army. If we are continuously eating foods which we are sensitive to, (dairy and gluten are common ones) or eating alot of processed foods, which contain various chemicals your body does not recognize as “safe”, our body will use much of its own resources to fight that “enemy” , leaving you more susceptible to exogenous threats such as virus’s for example. You can begin to understand how important diet and ultimately gut health is for our overall immune system and body’s health.

Intestinal permeability AKA “leaky gut” is another issue that can greatly affect our immune system in the long term. Our gut is “selectively permeable”, as it should be, in order to allow the nutrients from broken down food particles into our blood in order to nourish us. But sometimes, due to chronic poor eating habits, low stomach acid, poor diet, or even stress, we can develop inflammation along the gut lining, which can open the door for undigested food particles, bacteria, or even toxins, to enter the bloodstream. The immune system will respond in exactly the way it should: it mounts an attack against the “invaders”. This sets off a cascade of inflammatory mediators to enter the picture, and you can imagine what kind of state the body is left in if this is allowed to occur on a day in day out basis.

Yet many of us are dealing with this dynamic , without even realizing it, as we can become very used to our habits. Maybe we begin to notice we are getting sick more often; we are feeling run down most of the time; we start having skin issues such as dryness, flakiness, or itchiness; our hair starts to fall out; we may begin to put on weight inexplicably or lose weight, we may have more difficulty managing our mood swings or experience more depression and anxiety. There are many ways our body can express imbalance. The trick is to begin to listen, so we can catch those messages before they become dis-ease states.

I’ve said it often and I will say it again, as I feel this is what is driving the majority of our health issues these days: we must address the fundamentals of health and get away from needing to “treat” every symptom that comes around. Treating symptoms with temporary measures such as drugs or supplements even, can help in the short term, but we are in no way “healing” ourselves, and eventually, we will run out of “treatments” , while the problem still remains. Do we really want to live like this? Wouldn’t it be better to address the root causes, to allow our bodies to heal themselves? Because maybe one day, we won’t need any “treatments”, as our bodies will function optimally, the way they are meant to do. Not a pipe dream, but a very real reality I’ve witnessed multiple times in my own clients.

So what does addressing the fundamentals mean?

Sufficient Hydration

Eating whole real food

Practicing mindfulness/self care habits

Avoiding toxins

Practicing good eating hygiene

Maintaining healthy relationships and letting go of those that are not.

Making Self Care a Priority.

Add your own to the list!

Your body IS your temple, and what you fill it with will determine how “holy” it becomes.

Be well,

Silvia

If you need assistance addressing your digestive and gut issues, book a free call with me today so we can discuss how I can support you in regaining the health you were born to have

How Your Sadness Or Anxiety May Be Linked To How You Chew Your Food

Depression and anxiety. If you talk to others about this , almost all of them will claim having struggled with these emotions at some point. This is part of being human after all, and living in an often chaotic world, how can we NOT struggle from time to time? Many of us can quickly get back on our feet and go on with life as usual . The situation however can change very quickly when we begin to struggle with these emotions daily, or more often then not, and then it can become a chronic nightmare we can’t as readily seem to escape from. Some of us feel like the only way out is to seek help in the form of medications. While this can feel like a life-saver for some, many continue to struggle even with the medications. So what does this have to do with chewing your food you may be asking? Seems pretty simplistic doesn’t it? Actually, it is the exact opposite. I hope that what I discuss here can shed some light on some possibly surprising interconnections between your mood and your eating practices.

You’ve heard me say many times that the body works like an orchestra. There is no one part that is disconnected from the rest. Some symptoms and their sources may seem completely unrelated eg. joint pain as a result of food sensitivities. When it comes to our mood issues, this is no different. Unfortunately in modern medicine, we tend to “treat” the depression/anxiety , which essentially means looking at these disorders as acute, not chronic issues. The problem with treating a chronic disorder with acute treatment is that it does not in any way “fix” the problem, it just manages it temporarily. If we really want to relieve our issues long-term, then we will have to take a few steps back and see what in our lifestyle can be contributing to our symptoms.

Our digestive system is a like a maze. It stretches from our mouth to our anus and contains one of the most intricate microbial systems we can imagine. Our microbiota do everything from regulating hormones, communicating to our brain via the vagus nerve the status of our world, and fun fact: they make their own neurotransmitters! I actually like to think that the digestive system begins in the mind/brain, because our thoughts and emotions, more often then not, modulate our actions. Some may think digestion is as simple as eating food, chewing it, and swallowing. After that, the body does the rest and we don’t really have to think about it anymore. Not so fast. Actually, if you re-read the last sentence, there is more truth there then is immediately apparent. The fact is, that first step in digestion eg. putting food into our mouth, chewing and swallowing, is the ONLY part of digestion we have complete control over. Read that again. This is why it is so imperative to understand how the downstream consequences of dysfunction in this one area, including mood imbalance, can be actually be more under our control then we think, which can help bring us from feeling like a victim of our genes or consequences, to having alot more ability and confidence in managing our moods more efficiently.

Sounds simple right? Actually its not, and I don’t want to give the impression that I’m simplifying a very difficult issue. Believe me, I’m been there, many times and back. But one big thing I’ve learned in all my years of researching, studying, and applying Functional Medicine , is that sometimes the root cause of our complicated issue is right under our nose. Sometimes so apparent we miss it completely. Mood imbalances are linked to many variables, only one of which is neurotransmitter imbalance; this is what the majority of drugs serve to rectify. But treating mood disorders this way is missing one big important piece of the puzzle. WHY is there a neurotransmitter imbalance? If that is what is even occurring? We need to start asking those questions.

Again, we have to back-track a little bit. How do we make neurotransmitters in the first place? Neurotransmitters are largely made from amino acids. Where do we get the amino acids? From the protein we eat. Most of us probably think we get enough protein, so what is the problem? Its obviously not the protein if we are still depressed right? Not quite. The protein we eat has to be digested well to be broken down into amino acids. What does this require? Sufficient stomach acid. How many of us are struggling with acid reflux (which is actually a common symptom of low acid not too much) , or bloating/belching after meals? Going more upstream then that, what needs to occur BEFORE our stomach acid can properly digest protein? You got it, our food needs to be broken down well enough by the only action we have complete control over: chewing . What happens if we don’t chew well, due to being in a hurry, stressed, disinterested/distracted? We will need more work by the stomach to produce even more acid to break the large food particles down (technically for good digestion, food should be a soft pulp going into the stomach) If we already have insufficient acid due to various factors, what do you see happening downstream along the way to making neurotransmitters? Yes, we may certainly begin to have issues here, especially if this is a chronic and ongoing habit. Remember, a large percentage of our neurotransmitters are made in the gut, so what happens here is very important when it comes to our mood, and disorders that occur as a result of imbalance.

Another example: When we don’t chew well, our food does not get broken down well, and especially if this becomes chronic, the partially digested food will begin to cause issues further down the intestinal tract, in our small intestine. Food that enters our small intestine should, at this stage, be fully broken down , as this is where most of our absorption occurs. Our gut lining, which in essence, is what separates our digestive tract from the rest of our body , has very tight junctions, which only allows the very smallest of particles to enter. If large food particles begin to accumulate here, bacteria, which largely live in the large intestine, can begin to migrate to this area, due to the abundance of foodstuff. Bacteria overgrowth can damage the villi in the small intestine and interfere with absorption of nutrients. This is another way that chronic insufficient chewing can lead to more severe issues downstream.

Another factor that can contribute to this dynamic, is that some bacteria also make their own neurotransmitters , so depending on what is growing in YOUR particular gut, an imbalance of microbes can certainly be a factor when we have insufficient or imbalanced neurotransmitters.

Can you begin to see now how an seemingly complex issue like depression or anxiety can have at its root cause, some basic lifestyle factors that can be contributing to symptoms? While chewing properly will not likely rectify your depression or anxiety all on its own, it is a simple and easy way to support your body in absorbing the nutrients it needs to be able to function optimally.

Eating hygiene is a topic that I usually tackle first with my clients. Eating hygiene encompasses not only proper chewing, but the environment in which you eat your meals. Are you stressed? In a hurry? Distracted? Watching TV while eating? Standing up or sitting down? All of these can play a large role in how your food gets digested. Most of my clients have to re-learn this. Our fast track culture has made the sit-down meal a thing of the past; instead, taking its place, is instant-just add water-quick n’ easy substitutions. Unfortunately, this is taking a toll on our health. Taking pleasure in our meals, spending time enjoying, savoring and tasting our food is a habit I think we should re-instill, to begin to have a new relationship with what we put into our bodies. Because as we know, our bodies can only function with what they are being given, and they can’t do more then that on their own. If all they are being given is fast food, stress, toxins, and poor nutrients, then it should come as no surprise that so many of us are struggling.

So, my advice….

Sit down to eat. Take a few deep breaths before you begin. Chew your food well. Eat slowly. Really taste your food; notice the textures, colors and flavors. Choose healthy whole foods. Give thanks. Repeat.

Be well,

Silvia

If you are struggling with mental/emotional issues and need some assistance getting your health back on track, please contact me below:

Fierce Love

I’ve been reflecting alot these days on this life, and what it means to be human in this day and age. Some of you may also be going inwards now more then usual; some of it may be unwanted, especially if it comes with sensations we don’t want to feel such as fear, anxiety, and insecurity. Some of us are feeling a genuine fear of our own mortality, wondering if we have the strength, either emotionally or physically, to weather this most turbulent storm. We are left grasping at straws, looking for any light in the tunnel, any glimmer of hope that we can overcome. For some, dealing with our uncomfortable emotions involves doing it in the quickest and most painless way we know how: alcohol, drugs, or junk food will always be there to numb our pain, even for a little while . With all the chaos around us, it can feel like we are powerless and have no control, and that can be very scary for alot of people.

But

I feel that is just one path of many that we can walk.

Are we really powerless?

Do we really have no control when it comes to our own fate?

I would beg to differ .

When we are struck with an illness, or disease, sometimes seemingly out of the blue, we can feel like we are being punished, or that our body has failed us in some way. We may even think that we have been doing everything right to take care of ourselves and then bam! We have cancer. Or diabetes. Or heart disease. It may seem like a cruel joke sometimes how life works. We might as well give up and eat Cheezies and chocolate all day right? Not so fast.

Our bodies are wondrous things. They are constantly striving for survival. They are constantly striving for homeostasis, balance. The work they do behind the scenes to protect us from foreign enemies, pathogens, virus’s , bacteria, toxins, is outstanding. Even if we don’t feel “sick” don’t assume all is calm within. Your immune system is actually working 24/7 keeping out harmful substances, all in an effort to keep you safe. Sometimes, especially if we are struck with disease, or illness, we think our bodies have let us down. We tend to think of the disease, virus, bacteria, as Enemy #1, and our instinct is to strike it down with whatever means possible. Taking medications can be lifesaving in some cases of severe illness. This is where conventional medicine shines. It is very good at diagnosing and treating acute disease. Even in the functional medicine or holistic health field, many still have that tendency to ” treat” their patients or clients with this mindset of “clearing out the enemy”. Many of us rely on the drug/pill/potion to make us well. But does this mean you are cured or healed? Do you really need to do anything else but this? I would like you to challenge your thinking here.

Example: you are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and your doctor prescribes Metformin. Does taking this drug mean you are cured of Diabetes? No of course not, you are just managing your symptoms. The same example can be used for many chronic diseases, and that is the point: treating chronic diseases as if they were acute illnesses does not in any way promote healing. It just acts as a band-aid approach, which is very helpful temporarily, especially if we are dealing with a lot of pain, but, the dysfunction continues in the body. The body will compensate for the imbalance AND treatment given, especially if it involves drugs. Your body is left vulnerable to a possible secondary imbalance or side effect as a result. In the example quoted above, we are usually left with a severe B-12 deficiency, which can have detrimental consequences if not addressed. Furthermore, we generally need to remain taking this drug for our lifetime to manage the dis-ease. Is this healing? We need to stop focusing on the symptom as the problem and start looking at the reasons why we have that symptom in the first place and address that. Otherwise, its like taking an aspirin for your headache, while you continue to bang your head against the wall.

We know chronic dis-ease is rarely caused by ONE factor. Our body works like an orchestra. A dysfunction in one area will affect another, and so on and so on. A gut issue can result in joint pain as just one example. A headache may be due to a food intolerance. Blasting a bacterial overgrowth in your gut with anti-microbial herbs without doing anything else, is not paying attention to WHAT CAUSED THE OVERGROWTH IN THE FIRST PLACE. Even when we catch a virus for example, a large part of the virulence depends on he state of the host. What condition is the body presently in that will either fight or succumb to the bug? Do we have the WBC’s in sufficient quantities to mount a strong enough attack on the foreigner, before damage can occur? Do we have sufficient nutrient availability in our bodies, necessary to create these white bloods cells in the first place? Our bodies have evolved over millennia to be able to fight a multitude of pathogens on a DAILY BASIS. Are we exposing ourselves to things that may affect that ability? Are our bodies compromised in any way? Are these things we have choices over?

We need to start asking these questions.

So why wouldn’t we want to find out the root cause of why we have a dis-ease or chronic illness? Maybe because going down that rabbit hole will require some change from us, some adjustment to what we are used to, what we know. Going down that rabbit hole will usually require some sacrifice on our part. When we look for the root cause, often we have to go a bit back in time, which we may be uncomfortable with.

Reality check

many of us are doing exactly that right now. What is important to us? What have we been putting so much energy into that seems superficial now? Where have we been ignoring what is really important, in terms of a fulfilled and meaningful life?

Fierce Love.

Its time to stop saying “one day” and start doing RIGHT NOW.

Its time to stop putting off our self-care for other “more important things”

Its time to start TAKING RESPONSIBILITY for ourselves and the choices we make that contribute to our state of wellness or illness. We are sometimes victims, but we are more often chronic deniers.

Fierce Love.

Its time to start making time for our health and well-being. No one else is going to do it for us. We don’t want to wait until its too late, to change our circumstances. The more we put off, the harder it will be later to heal or reverse the imbalance.

Its time to start SUPPORTING OUR BODIES AND MINDS IF WE EXPECT OUR BODIES AND MINDS TO SUPPORT US WHEN WE NEED THEM.

Enough of the excuses

Make the conscious choice RIGHT NOW to make your health and wellness a priority. Even if you think you are too far down the line of illness or un-wellness to start now, know this: it is never to late to make changes. Our bodies are miraculous. What they can do when we offer them just a bit of support, and take away just a bit of the burdens we put on them, will astound you. I see this daily in my practice. Every little bit we do makes a difference.

Let’s make choices that are for our highest good

Let’s make choices that support our highest state of wellness in body and mind

Let’s make choices that feed us, not drain us

Lets give ourselves that love that we have been lacking and searching for in other people, places or things.

Fierce Love

It’s time to take back our power and take a stand for our lives.

These times call for nothing less.

Much love,

Silvia

If you are ready for change, I would be honored to assist you in your healing journey.

Please contact me at sageheartnutrition@gmail.com to set up a consultation. I am currently offering 20% off all my services for the month of April

The Virus Of Fear

The world has become a scary place. Wars are still raging, extreme weather is devastating some areas, drought and fires seem to be a constant threat, and now the majority of the world is facing quarantine to some extent. Big change IS here, and the planet is letting us know that clearly and plainly, with no gentleness on its part. Many of us are having trouble coping. Many of us are finding ourselves drawn into daily anxiety or depression, and those of us with existing challenges are even having a harder time coping. Fear around us, from others, from headlines, from social media, can highlight our own fears. What are we most afraid of? Fear of death is commonly the root cause of our anxiety in many situations. Virus outbreaks such as this one can trigger our deepest primal fears and makes us feel unsafe. What can we do during times when we feel so powerless?

Coming from someone who has experienced ongoing mild anxiety for many years now, I know that when we are caught up in anxiety, it is really hard to think straight, be rational,and remember that often, we are safer then our mind makes us think we are. I also understand that anxiety amplifies things 1000 fold; and if we are facing actual threat, it can make that threat feel much worse. Currently, this situation with the new virus is real and valid. However, when we ourselves are caught up in the fear, and worry, notice how much stronger that threat feels. What would it mean to see the threat, be proactive and make the decision not to let ourselves get caught up in the panic, chaos, meanwhile, taking the steps necessary to protect ourselves and others, without making ourselves sick with worry? Not an easy task at times, but absolutely necessary if we want to stay healthy amidst the challenges.

Stress. In times of acute necessity, our body kicks in with hormone release very efficiently, helping us weather the storm with a big anti- inflammatory hit, and puts other tasks of the body, such as digestion, on hold while we are dealing with the immediate threat. Very effective and helpful during these times. But chronic, ongoing stress has a whole other effect on the body. It suppresses our digestion, impacting our ability to absorb nutrients and digest food. It suppresses our immune system, making us more vulnerable to catching bugs that we may be exposed to, or allowing endemic overgrowth, such as yeast, or bacteria in our guts. It is like withdrawing the army that is protecting our borders while we are dealing with the tiger that is on our tails ( the object of our stress) . When that army is gone, our enemies can take advantage and move in. That is what can happen in our bodies. On top of that, chronic stress is very inflammatory to our bodies, and can make our aches and pains worse then they usually are.

Fear itself can act like a virus. It starts with one person, and spreads very quickly. It can envelope and suffocate you, and can keep you frozen, stuck in fight or flight mode, unable to move or function, or make you manic, stuck in survival mode. It is hard to stay rationale and calm when we are exposed to this, especially in such a massive scale. Social media has not made this easier. Its hard to get away from it all.

While we cannot just make the source of our stress disappear, we CAN try to choose how we react to it. This is NOT an easy feat, depending on the the threat involved, but as I mentioned before, absolutely essential and critical for us to focus on, and make a priority during these times, if we want to assist our bodies in fighting for us and keeping us well. Yes, buy your supplies, make sure you have enough essentials stocked for 2 weeks, keep yourself safe, as this can help you keep others safe, but don’t forget the other necessities. Here are mine:

  1. Remember what I am grateful for and what I have: my health, my home, my partner, food in my cupboards and fridge, good water to drink. A good community that helps each other out. Friends. Family. When I am anxious or depressed, I can forget all that I already have that is good in my life.
  2. Food staples: always, no matter the situation, we always have a good supply of rice, dried beans/rice, potatoes, onions, water, canned fish. These are nutritious and can keep me going long term. I could live off these for 2 weeks if needed without much of a problem. Choose non perishable healthy foods that work well for you. It is good to remember that if you really want to support your immune system and protect it, that buying nutrient-rich foods, not processed junk foods is one of the best choices you can make.
  3. Now is the time to stop procrastinating about my desire to meditate more and DO IT. I am seeing the need for it now as more urgent especially when I get caught up with all the anxiety and chaos around me. Keeping myself centered and my body and mind calm helps me feel like myself again. That place inside that feels grounded and safe. I prefer to used guided meditations so I don’t get caught up in my own thoughts. Here is one of my favorites : https://www.tarabrach.com/guided-meditations/
  4. Turn off the news and social media for a time every day. Yes its important to keep track of what is happening around us, but that doesn’t need to translate to keeping our eyes and ears glued 24/7 to every new article and post or news that shows up. I experienced this first-hand during 911. I remember being glued to CNN for a week, afraid to leave my house. One day I snapped back to reality and realized I couldn’t continue like that, otherwise, I would end up sick. So I stopped watching. I calmed down soon after that. We need a break from the constant onslaught of information. Daily. Read a fiction book. Go for a walk. Talk to your partner. Just do something else. The world will not fall apart if you take a couple of hours off and tune out. You can catch up after you’ve had your break.
  5. Breathe. When we are stuck in survival mode, we tend to hold our breath and not breathe fully. Notice how you are breathing lately. Maybe its time to start practicing. Breathing exercises work because they put you in a parasympathetic state, and literally give the message to your body and brain that you are safe – the opposite of the message you are giving your body when you are anxious or in a panic state. I love the Alternate Nostril Breath for this purpose. Its easy to do, and can be done anywhere, anytime. https://www.doyou.com/a-basic-intro-to-alternate-nostril-breathing/
  6. Exercise daily – I have a rebounder which I use daily, as well as online yoga classes. These have become my daily necessities. Exercise helps me release excess energy that can build up due to stress or anxiety. It is my ‘free therapy’. I also know it is supporting my immune system by moving my lymphatic system, and strengthening my lungs. Choose something that works for you. Go for a walk, ride a bike; do something daily that feels good to your body and mind.
  7. I am grateful I have helpers available when I do all of the above and still feel anxious. The amino acid L-Theanine becomes a good friend during those times when I cannot calm my nervous system down. It supports Gaba production, helping to get you off the fight-or-flight merry go round. Recently, a friend who tried it for the first time remarked “is this how it feels to have no anxiety?”. She was stunned as to how effective and quickly it worked. This is what I use https://www.sisu.com/our-products/chewable-l-theanine-for-relaxation
  8. Having compassion and love for my neighbors who may be at higher risk then me from getting sick. I think of my community , where there is a large elderly population, and am ready to help them if and when they need it. My partner has offered help to our immune-compromised neighbor, such as grocery shopping etc. if he needs it. I find it helpful to remember this: I can get out of my own bubble of fear, by sending out compassion for others, who may be more scared then I am. We are in this together and even in these times when we are advised to distance ourselves from others, we can still find ways to lend a helping hand to our fellow humans.

My wish is that we find a way to unite and take care of eachother, and learn from this. We are in troubled times. I feel things will get much worse before they get better.and because of this, we will need eachother more then ever. Remembering our humanity, and good hearts, and being grateful for all we have, is a big part of that.

Be well,

Silvia

I offer virtual consultation by Skype or Zoom. Please reach out if you need some assistance. This is not the time to put your health on hold. Make it a priority, now and always,

Book a consultation here:

https://www.twisted-oak.ca/virtual-preventative-health-centre

Or email me directly at sageheartnutrition@gmail.com

The Hidden Symptoms of Food Allergies

Last night I couldn’t sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like my skin was crawling, all the cells in my body were buzzing. In the past, when I couldn’t sleep, herbal remedies seemed to do the trick, but not this time. This time, it also became very clear as to what was causing my symptoms. I was also experiencing a slight burning up my esophagus, something I rarely feel. Two words came to my mind: peanut butter. I had begun experiencing rash-like skin issues last year, and narrowed it down to my daily, albeit, minimal intake of peanut butter as the possible culprit. After a few days, my symptoms disappeared. Recently, I decided to give it another try. Peanut butter is my favorite nut butter and I admit I was in denial. I got the message loud and clear last night.

Food allergies. Food sensitivities. The symptoms can be elusive in some cases, confusing in others, and often deceiving. Sometimes, we don’t feel the effects until hours, or even a day later, making it hard to pinpoint. So what’s the difference between allergies and sensitivities? Simply put, the difference is in the type of antibody produced and often, severity of symptoms. True allergies, are usually immediate in terms of reactions, whereas sensitivities, can take hours or even days to show up. Sensitivities are also commonly related to lack of a specific substance needed for digestion , for eg. enzymes needed to digest lactose in milk products.

Food sensitivities are very common. In this era of processed and refined foods, combined with added chemicals, preservatives, coloring’s etc, we are exposing ourselves to dozens of substances a day, much of it not recognized by the body as a “food”. Is it any wonder it would react aggressively against something it feels is “potentially dangerous?”. Sometimes, even what we think is “healthy”, in my case, peanut butter, has natural substances in it, such as mold, that the body can react to, and cause an allergic reaction. It can become hard to know what to eat!

If we continue to consume foods that we are sensitive to, which many of us do, especially if they taste good, we can put our digestive tract at risk for more severe inflammatory reactions which can damage our gut linings and lead to further troubles down the road. Chronic damage to our gut linings can eventually cause a decrease in the mucus lining and an increased permeability. This can cause undigested food particles to enter through those spaces, which should be more discerning, into our blood stream, (where they don’t belong!) and what does our immune system do as a natural reaction? It mounts an attack, sending out inflammatory chemicals, and we can experience it not necessarily in our guts , but more often, systemically, in our joints, muscles, or mental health(brain fog, anxiety, mood swings). That inflammatory reaction can also manifest, as it did for me, in rashes, itchy skin or eczema, and sleep disturbances. In some, a reaction can be more severe. In a few documented cases, those with clinical depression, ADHD, anxiety and bi-polar disorder, have found relief removing gluten from their diet. Sometimes, its not just a “chemical” disorder.

Often, the very foods we are “addicted to” or love, such as chocolate, cheese, wine, beer, or bread, are those we have allergies or sensitivities to. Seems strange that this would occur really! What actually happens when we eat a food that the body reacts to, it sends out chemicals such as endorphins, which serve to “soothe” the victim. Or in the case of dairy products, more specifically, the proteins found in cheese for example, if coupled with a leaky gut, those proteins can actually penetrate the blood brain barrier and affect opiate receptors there. Its no wonder some people find themselves relentlessly craving cheese and other foods; they are actually addicted to the “high” they get from the chemicals released by the inflammatory effect. In the case of wine, beer or bread, the “addiction” can be stemming from an overgrowth of yeast in the body, which can keep you craving these substances in order to continue growing and overproducing.

So if you have a sensitivity, does this mean you can never eat that food again? Not necessarily. If you have an existing food sensitivity, you may be able to re-introduce it after a period of elimination, which needs to be 3 months minimum, preferably 4 in order to cease production of antibody’s. If you have a true IgE allergy however, you may have to continue elimination indefinitely. Make sure you address any damage to the gut lining, and support it with whole, natural foods and/or supplements, before you begin re-introducing foods, to avoid further irritation and alarm to the immune system. Observe your body for reactions. If you notice a return of your symptoms eg. headaches, joint pain, brain fog, itchy skin, etc. then it may be an indication more time is needed. If you are having trouble pinpointing what foods may be causing you reactions, try keeping a daily food diary, and note any changes/symptoms you experience at any point. This will make it easier to see the connections, so you can then make the changes needed.

Above all else, I urge you to respect your body. It’s symptoms are messages to you, that not all is well. It is not wanting you to be miserable, it is actually trying its best to keep you well. Sometimes, we don’t listen and keep doing what we are doing, unaware of the downstream consequences that usually don’t show up right away, but years down the road. When we support our bodies with real, whole foods, and avoid processed, refined and chemical-laden foods, as well as foods that our bodies disagree with, we are giving it the tools it needs to function well, keep calm, not in a fight or flight mode, which can be damaging when chronic.

As for me, I will listen, and substitute peanut butter with other nuts, possibly a variety. I will remember the side effects, and know I don’t want to go through that same experience again.

This is how we learn and grow. By choosing differently next time.

Be Well,

Silvia

If you need help with your food sensitivities and/or allergies, please contact me for a free 30 min Discovery Call, where we can discuss what I can do for you to support you in your wellness journey.

sageheartnutrition@gmail.com

Bullies On The Playground: How To Protect Yourself

In the process of writing this, we are seeing a continuing increase in the infections from a new virus in China, the Coronavirus. The outbreak has now surpassed the SARS outbreak from a few years ago. Fear is rising and many people are starting to wonder what they can do to protect themselves. While there is no “cure” yet for this new virus, there is much we can do to support our bodies so that we are less susceptible to virus’s and other infectious agents in general. In cases such as this, especially if an outbreak is close to your proximity, it may require more stringent forms of protection, but for the purpose of this article, I will talk about general immune support for virus’s and bacterial infections in general, that will hopefully give you some tools to be able to feel a bit more secure in terms of your own health.

Virus’s have always been with us. Most of us are exposed to a few of them throughout our lifetime. Our bodies have evolved to develop antibodies against them, such as with certain bacteria, so we have the tools to combat infection. Sometimes, after infection, a virus can lie dormant in the body and not cause obvious issues, until it becomes ” reactivated”, sometimes due to a trigger which can suppress the immune system, such as stress, antibiotic courses, severe nutrient deficiencies, or another bacterial or fungal overgrowth. This is often seen with the common Epstein-Barr Virus. Surprisingly, some bacteria and parasites can actually serve as immune system regulators, helping to keep balance on the playing field,so to speak ; it is when they take advantage and begin to spread, that problems can arise. Ongoing immune system support and balance is essential in keeping ourselves protected and strong against bullies such as this, which can take advantage of an overwrought system.

So what things may we be doing that affect and suppress our immune system? There are many of them, and some are beyond our immediate control, such as genetics, pollution from the air we breathe and unknown exposure to certain toxins. Others we have some control over such as :

  1. Pesticides/Fungicides/antibiotics/hormones from the foods we eat
  2. Chemicals and toxins from our personal hygiene products and cleaning supplies
  3. Chronic stress
  4. High sugar diet
  5. Immunosuppressants (essential in managing autoimmune disease in some cases)
  6. Chronic antibiotic use
  7. Smoking/excess alcohol/drug use
  8. Poor sleep
  9. Chronic nutrient deficiencies
  10. Poor personal hygiene

Of all these listed, probably the most predominant, common issue I see facing so many of us is chronic stress. This plays a huge part in immuno-suppression. We wonder, why would the body suppress the immune system during times of stress? The body responds to what it is being given and responds appropriately. If it senses alarm, it does all it can to protect you by going into survival mode. This means conservation. It does not want to be burning lots of energy if it is running for its life. It will down-regulate. It will put off fighting a “bug” that may have invaded, put it “on hold” until it feels safe to fight it. This is why so many of us get sick when we go on vacation. Our bodies finally feel calm and more rested, and the immune system says, “now I can fight that bug I’ve been putting off dealing with “, and WHAM , we get sick. Makes sense when you think about. Many of us are in chronic states of physical and/or emotional stress, a constant state of “doing” without alot of “resting”. Sometimes this is all in the mind, in terms of our thoughts. We have trouble “shutting things down”. Over time, this takes a toll on our health.

Certain choices can help to support our bodies when we are faced with vulnerability to infectious agents . These include:

  1. Whole foods, nutrient-rich diet. This means avoiding processed/refined, high sugar foods, “junk foods”, fried foods with damaged fats. Include a variety of vegetables in each meal. Healthy fats and proteins.
  2. Immune supporting foods such as garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, cruciferous and leafy green vegetables, omega 3 rich foods such as salmon, flax seeds, walnuts and chia seeds, as well as nutrient-rich foods such as parsley, cilantro, chlorella and spirulina.
  3. Stress reduction/management. Take rest daily. Don’t wait until you are burnt out. Meditate. Take daily walks. Breathe.
  4. Sufficient sleep . If insomnia or night-time waking are an issue, address stress, blood sugar balance, gut issues, sleep hygiene. Start winding down 1-2 hrs before bed. Turn off your phone/computer. Eliminate stimulants such as coffee,alcohol, sugar,and refined foods before bedtime.
  5. Ensure you are not deficient in key immune nutrients such as Vit D, Vit A, Zinc, Vit C. and selenium. Boost your daily amounts temporarily, especially Vit C, as an extra support for your body *If you are on medications, or have pre-existing health issues, be mindful of not taking higher amounts of nutrients without checking with your pharmacist or researching yourself, to ensure safety.
  6. Avoid exposure to toxins including body products, and cleaning supplies. Buy natural alternatives. Drink filtered water. Buy organic when possible.
  7. For countering viral infections directly, try reishi mushrooms, as a tea or tincture; herbs such as cats claw and olive leaf extract have been shown to have anti-viral properties; the amino acid L-lysine can be very supportive against viral infections. *if you are on medications, check with your pharmacist for possible interactions, when considering herbs
  8. Address gut overgrowth, fungal or bacterial, especially if chronic. Issues here can put the body in state of vulnerability against other more severe infections.
  9. Wash your hands with soap and water. Especially when visiting public restrooms. Simple yet effective.

Our bodies have evolved to protect us from some of the most invasive species out there. Every day it is fighting bacteria, virus’s , parasites, even though most of the time, we don’t even notice. It can best do its job when we give it the right tools to do so, and that is where the importance of the basics comes in. Good food, oxygen , water, and rest. Ignore these, and the body struggles.

Above all else, stressing out about catching diseases will not help in any way to keep your immune system strong! Keeping yourself calm and taking the right steps to protect yourself will go along way.

Take care of your body, and it will take care of you.

Be well,

Silvia

If you need support in strengthening your immune system, but don’t know where to start, contact me to book a free 20 minute consultation to find out how I can help you support yourself.

sageheartnutrition@gmail.com

The Blood Sugar Enigma

We live in a world of technological marvel. We’ve put people on the moon; we have devices that can do what we tell them to with a simple voice command; we can find virtually any information simply by typing in a few words on Google. Amazing. Yet, all this advanced technology and we have still not figured out the most basic of human needs : what our body needs to function well, and what foods we should be eating. There are thousands of diet books out there, giving us different advice: high fat, low fat, paleo, keto, low carb, high carb, high protein, etc etc. All claim to have the answer to our weight issues, and promise to make us slim. Madness! No wonder we are confused!

We have all had our share of misconceptions when it comes to what is “healthy” and what is not. A few decades ago, we were told that fat was the enemy and as a result, the masses followed that advice, thinking it would lead to smaller waistlines and a reduction in our heart disease risk. Who would have guessed it would lead to the exact opposite? More recently, we were all advised to avoid gluten, so a large percentage of people went “gluten-free” , in the hopes it would fix their digestive issues and make them skinny again. What actually happened is that it did indeed help improve some people’s digestive issues, but we also saw, as a result, lots of gluten-free “junk food”, full of added sugars, additives and unhealthy oils; case in point that eating “gluten-free” is not related to eating healthy necessarily.

What does this all have to do with blood sugar? Alot actually. With the decrease in fat intake a few decades ago, we saw a huge increase in sugar, and refined flour products. Fat was out and carbs were in. People loaded up on SnackWells, instant “healthy” cereals, bread, “whole grain” crackers etc. Interestingly enough, in the decade that followed, instead of seeing a decline in waistlines, and heart disease, including diabetes, we saw the exact opposite. The prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes in adults has continued to increase, and is now occurring more and more in children, where Type 1 Diabetes was found most often. Even with the reemergence of fat in today’s world, we continue to see an increase in metabolic and degenerative diseases. So what is going on? My sense is that it is multi-faceted, but the dietary misinformation coupled with the influence of food corporations on our general health information and beliefs have played a huge part in the situation we find ourselves in right now. Type 2 Diabetes is a “lifestyle” disease; it can wreck havoc on our energy, organs such as kidneys, eyes and pancreas, causes neuropathy in advanced cases, and creates systemic inflammation and weight and fat accumulation, often around our bellies. It is also preventable and reversible for most, with the right tools, information and strength of will. We ultimately need to bring balance back into our lives, and start making our health a priority.

Alot of us lead busy lives. We are often in a hurry, trying to fit in many tasks in one day, and end up eating on the run, or gobbling down our meals quickly without even tasting them. My thoughts are that often, this exact situation is what can often serve as trigger for a cascade of events that can lead to metabolic imbalances. When we are in a hurry, we don’t “have time” to cook. We usually grab something quick and convenient, whether its cold cereal from our cupboard, or a sandwich or muffin at the coffee shop on the way to work. When this occurs day after day, week after week, our body can start to suffer. We complain of feeling “hangry” mid- day; we end up so tired in the morning we need multiple cups of coffee just to keep us going; we have sugar cravings mid afternoon and explain it away as “my blood sugar is low”; we begin to have some mild digestive issues such as burping, bloating, and gas; we begin to have interrupted sleep, often waking up in the middle of the night with our heart pounding, wide awake; we are often cranky, irritable, depressed or anxious. All of these, my friends, can be symptoms related to imbalanced blood sugar. Couple some of these with a high-stress lifestyle, either due to a busy family life, or work life, and we have a recipe for weight and fat gain, and metabolic imbalance. So what can we do to change this? The good news is that there is much we can do to help prevent issues with blood sugar from starting in the first place, and also many ways we can assist with re balancing our blood sugar once we receive a diagnosis.

For maintaining blood sugar balance:

  1. Choose a low-glycemic diet: this basically means foods that are higher in fiber, and lower in simple carbohydrates, and/or higher in healthy fats. These foods are slower to break down into simple sugars, helping to keep our blood sugar stable and our stomachs full longer. Examples of this include avocados, nuts, seeds, steel cut oats, whole grains ( the less refined the grain, the lower the GI index eg. choose steel cut oats over “quick” oats, sprouted whole grain bread over “whole wheat bread” ) non- starchy vegetables, peas, legumes, lentils, meats, poultry and fish.
  2. Keep your diet 90-95% of the time whole foods and plant based: This means most of the time, you choose foods that are unprocessed and unrefined ( they are often in the produce aisle; they are not in a package; they don’t come with directions; they haven’t been taken out of their whole food form eg. oranges vs orange juice; whole chicken vs chicken nuggets) Allow 5-10% of the time for foods you enjoy but are not necessarily good for you. Although if you are like me, my version of a treat is a bowl of stir-fried broccoli and mushrooms, no joke…Most of us will rebel in some way if we are too strict with ourselves all of the time, give yourself space to relax sometimes. ( I do love french fries from time to time 🙂 )
  3. Stress management as a priority: We can have diets that are very healthy but still struggle with blood sugar imbalance. This if often due to chronic stress. Stress stimulates the release of the hormone cortisol, which raises your blood sugar, as an adaptive response ( the body thinks there is an emergency and is getting ready to run from that tiger) . Incorporate practices such as daily short meditations, walking, being outdoors, sleeping sufficiently, journal writing, yoga, breathing exercises. Adaptogenic herbs such as ashwaganda, ginseng, rhodiola, and reishi mushrooms, can all be part of a healthy stress management lifestyle.
  4. If you are not sure about your blood sugar levels and are experiencing symptoms such as often being “hangry” , fatigue, weight gain especially around your middle, please get your blood sugar levels checked. This does not mean one test of fasting glucose. Ask for a Hemoglobin A1C test, which is a measure of average blood sugar in the last 3 months or so, AND fasting insulin. What we often see the years leading up to insulin resistance and diabetes diagnosis, is higher insulin levels, even with “normal” A1C and fasting glucose. This body is trying hard to keep all that sugar out of the blood and is having a harder and harder time doing it hence, the higher levels. Ask for these tests. If you are refused, consider an alternative opinion. Catching high insulin before it gets worse, can make the difference between taking medications or not.

For those with existing high blood sugar/insulin resistance:

  1. All of the above
  2. Increasing your fat intake and decreasing your carbohydrate intake temporarily can assist with blood sugar balance. Choose healthy fats such as unrefined coconut oil, raw nuts/seeds, organic extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nut butters. This can be especially helpful when you have a sugar craving.
  3. Intermittent fasting can be very helpful for the insulin resistance that usually comes before a diabetic diagnosis. This practice can help to access the stored energy in the cells, assisting with insulin sensitivity. Please consult your doctor first if you are on medications or suffer from hypoglycemic episodes, to see if this is suitable for you.
  4. Cinnamon: Explore the uses of this herb , which has been shown in studies to assist with blood sugar regulation. Try sprinkling some in hot drinks, on oatmeal, stewed fruit etc.
  5. Increase your Omega 3 fat intake: Some studies have shown that a higher dosage of good quality Omega 3’s can help to protect the arteries even in the presence of a high sugar diet. Aim for 3 grams/day Omega 3’s , with food. Make sure you check the label for Omega 3 content, not total fish oil; we can misinterpret the labels sometimes) Consult your doctor if you are on blood thinning medications to see if this dosage is right for you. Temporarily discontinue usage right before or after surgery.
  6. Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency is common with insulin resistance and Diabetes. Magnesium plays an important role in insulin production and sensitivity. Make sure you are getting enough. Check RBC Magnesium status if you are not sure, and supplement with a good quality product if you are have low levels. Magnesium glycinate is a well-absorbed form.

Blood sugar imbalance does not need to lead to disease! Please take the proper measures to protect yourself, and make sure you are covering all the bases if you are currently suffering. Seek help if you need assistance.

Be Well,

Silvia

Connect with me sageheartnutrition@gmail.com to set up a consultation. You don’t have to do this all by yourself; sometimes we just need a little guidance to help us on our way.

Re-Discovering Mindfulness In Our Eating Habits

It’s been a while since I last posted, life has been so busy! But I finally have some time, and thought I’d write about something that I find is a very common issue with so many people.

When I talk about mindfulness in eating, some people think I am saying we should meditate before eating to get into a calm state. Not exactly. What I am talking about is something many of us have forgotten, or been too distracted with life to concern ourselves with.

When you have a meal, do you encounter one or more of these scenarios? :

  • You are starving and hardly taste your food as you literally inhale it; it is gone before you realize
  • You have so much to do, you have no time to eat, but you know you have to eat something so you quickly gulp down whatever is handy, not taking your eyes off your task
  • You are in a hurry or hungry, so eat while standing; no time to sit!
  • You are not really hungry but eat anyways as its ” lunch time” or “dinner time” and others are eating.

Any of these sound familiar? Does this behavior sometimes or always lead to : indigestion, gas, bloating, burping, suddenly feeling overly full, or feeling hungry for something sweet soon after…

Our busy lives in this modern age, has led to a nation of people who are disconnected from their food, and ultimately, their body and its signals. When we are in a hurry, or so hungry we don’t even taste what we are eating, we bypass the normal hunger and digestive mechanisms that lead to good digestion and absorption of the very food we are inhaling. Doesn’t this defeat the purpose of eating? Food is for pleasure yes, but ultimately, we are biologically driven to eat for nutrients, to support our body and all the functions it needs to live. I see this so often in my practice, it is one topic I usually begin my discussions with, regardless of the symptoms presented. Disconnection from our food and the eating experience itself can lead to physiological imbalances as well as mental/emotional imbalances. It can lead to mindless eating, where we are not eating out of hunger, but for emotional comfort, or out of grief, or anger. This can be so deep rooted that even the thought of being mindful when eating can illicit feelings of fear in some. Because being mindful when we are used to eating for emotional reasons, means we have to look inside and feel what is behind it. Not an easy feat.

Mindless and disconnected eating habits can also have the consequence of more deep rooted physical manifestations. Think about it: digestion begins in the mouth. When we don’t chew well, or when we are in a stressed or hurried state, food particles end up leaving the stomach, partially digested, for the small intestine, where food is mostly absorbed, and the low amounts of gut bacteria there can all of a sudden be faced with a feast, not used to the undigested food abundance! (The largest quantity of bacteria should be in the colon, large intestine, not the small intestine) Overgrowth can quickly happen , especially if this way of eating is chronic, and we end up with fermentation and symptoms such as gas, bloating and pain due to the poor digestion, and in some, can pave the way for leaky gut, nutrient deficiencies, and SIBO. All started from the first bite. Can you begin to see how important this is? We need to re-learn how to eat. Some tips:

  • Always sit down to eat. Even if its just a snack. Avoid eating while standing, walking, driving, etc. Give your food your full attention
  • Take a few deep breaths before you begin eating. Especially if you’ve had a long day, or are stressed from your kids running around, or are in a hurry. Your body needs to be a parasympathetic state to digest well.
  • Try eating with chopsticks if you are in the habit of gulping your food down fast. This will force you to be more mindful and slow down. I personally took on this habit many years ago and I can tell you from experience it works!
  • If you are in a hurry or very stressed, wait until you have some time, or are calmer, to eat. You will not absorb or digest well in these states, so why waste that wonderful nutrient dense food? Wait until you have time to enjoy it. If you must eat something, have a liquid protein shake or smoothie,, which requires less digestion, but hold off the solid foods until later.
  • Choose one meal a day you will give all your attention to. No phones, TV, or books/magazines while eating. Pay attention to the smell, texture, flavor, how it feels in your mouth. How it MAKES YOU FEEL. Chew well. Enjoy your food. Really enjoy. Rediscover this relationship with the most influential substance you put into your body.
  • If you are in a disordered relationship with food and/or your body, and are prone to binges, try this: When you first have the urge to binge, stop for a few seconds and ask yourself : “what do I really need ?”, and wait. It may not initially change the outcome, but the more you can intervene when you first get that impulsive thought, the more you begin to feel the reasons why you are binging in the first place, and this is the first step to healing.

I hope some of these tips have helped you in understanding why mindfulness in eating is so important. You CAN have a healthy relationship to food and your body, but it starts with a single step.

Be well,

Silvia

If you need assistance in healing your relationship with food and your body and/or want to improve your eating habits, contact me now to book your free 20 minute Discovery Call.

sageheartnutrition@gmail.com


Releasing “The Sick One”

This month, I had an epiphany of sorts at a local gathering I regularly attend. We were working with releasing our burdens, whatever it was that was holding us back from being truly happy, weighing us down; things we did not want to carry around anymore. This practice is one I know well; in the past, I have been involved with various healing modalities to work with difficult emotions, and old patterns , to break out of them, release them, but I have not ever been able to fully let go , for unknown reasons. I would release them for a little while, but like many things, they kept coming back, returning, like a long lost friend, or in this case, like a ghost that I couldn’t send home.

I realized then, in that one moment at the gathering, that the emotions I had been working so hard to let go of these last few years, actually had a “form”. It was a like a whole separate person almost. Strange, but not one that really shocked me, just startled me a bit. Was I possessed? Had a spirit entered my body and been with me all this time? Crazy I know, but these are the thoughts that sometimes come into my mind when I have a strong emotional experience. Then I realized that no, I was not possessed. But something had occurred over all those years, when I had buried my emotions, and not faced my emotional demons.

Many years ago, my main practice was shamanic healing. I studied and apprenticed with medicine people in the Peruvian Andes, and learned how to harness my own energy to help others to heal themselves. I learned many things in all those years, and one of them, was that when we have trauma, that event can get “lodged” into our energy body, complete with emotions and memory. Often, this memory gets repressed deep inside, as we are unable to deal with it at the time, but it does not go anywhere; it just gets buried within, until one day, we are “triggered” by something that causes a similar emotion in us, and some of that memory or feeling can spill out. What can also happen is that in the process of working with our traumas, illness, or repressed emotions, is that we tend to develop a “name” or “label” for our discordance. Sometimes we call it a ” wound” , or just use phrases like ” I have a bad temper, or “that’s just the way I am” or even ” I am (fill in dis-ease state)” . What happens when we label something for our emotions, or state of un-wellness, or give it a name, is that it also gives it form. Now I’m not talking about anything very esoteric even, but it is energetic. Scientifically speaking, we are all energy, beyond this illusion of human form. Like my dad used to say, if you were to take a very strong microscope to observe us, down to the very smallest atom, it would be empty space, at some point. And as many of us also understand, the more energy, attention we give to something, the more it expands. It also can solidify it in a way.

So think about it: when we are suffering from chronic fatigue, fibromayalgia, depression, anxiety etc, our “illness” tends to go with us, wherever we are, whatever we do. It becomes “who” we are in many ways. I realized in that moment in the gathering, that the same thing had happened to me. These emotions and old patterns I had been working so hard to let go of all these years, had actually become a force of their own. I actually felt it like a solid object; I also knew I had attached to it, invested in it, and that it had to go.

We can become attached to our illness or emotional trauma without even realizing it. But we don’t want to be sick, we say. Yes, true, but ask yourself if you are invested in your illness in any way. Is it doing something for you? Is it serving you in any way? Are you afraid of what you would be without it? Or better question, WHO would you be without your illness or wound ? These are key questions to ask ourselves if we really want to be truly free from our dis-ease states, whether they are emotional or physical.

Of course, moving out of our dis-ease states involves more then just intentional thinking. Sometimes we are dealing with truly serious health-threatening conditions. But in my experience, all illness has an emotional component, and this is not looked at often enough. I do believe that addressing these aspects will go a long way in helping us understand and hopefully move through our un-wellness in a much more balanced way, that hopefully will help us to heal faster and ideally, permanently. As one of my first teachers used to say, there is a difference between being healed and being cured. We can still have our physical illness, but be healed from the emotional component that kept us stuck, attached to it.

Personally, I felt I had been attached to my previous state of un-wellness. I have been attached to and identified with the “wounded one” I felt I have been for so many years. And it has been keeping me from truly being free. Truly living my best life. And keeping me from being truly happy. It was time to let that go. Let that old “me” go. I needed to release “the sick one”.

Are you holding on to who you think you are? Are you identifying with a state of unwell-ness, only because you don’t know anything else? Maybe its time to finally let them go. Hasn’t it been long enough? Don’t you deserve to be happy?

Wishing you well,

Silvia

I invite you to my monthly series of workshops starting this month. Click on the link for more details: https://saltspringexchange.com/list/reclaiming-the-journey-back-to-peace-in-our-bodies-and-hearts/

If you are interested in knowing more about supplements, the benefits and practical applications, and possible health benefits of using them, please join me for a workshop this month where we will discuss this and more : https://www.facebook.com/events/1366213280209263/

If you would like some assistance with your own healing journey, please connect with me at sageheartnutrition@gmail.com . I offer a free 20 minute Discovery call, where we can discuss how I can help you on your journey to wellness.