I have the distinct pleasure of introducing you to my friend Dr. Sarah Green. Sarah and her husband are both local chiropractors with a passion for helping our community live healthier lives. This past winter, Sarah and I along with another dear friend hosted a really special morning for ladies called, ‘Replenish.’ I was so taken with what Sarah shared that I couldn’t possibly keep it to the ladies in the room on that day. I asked Sarah if she would share it here so more women…men too for that matter could benefit from this not very well known perspective on living your best life. Without further ado, here is the information that can help you go from feeling frazzled, guilty and frustrated to embracing your ways.
As a mom, trying to function in society, run a business, and still feed my kids, I am no stranger to the ongoing battle of trying to fit my life into 24 hours each day. Sometimes I feel on top of the world as I check off boxes of all the things I have accomplished, while other days, especially when I am with the kids all day, I question if I have done anything at all.
But this past year I have been shown a whole new way to look at time management as experienced in the female body. It has altered the way I feel about myself as a mom, business owner and a human. I am much happier and connected to myself as well. So, let’s get started,
there’s no time to waste!
(This information was brought to me by Kate Northrup and she has written a book called Do Less which has a ton more information. My advice, if you want to learn more, check out her book)
Obviously, there are 24 hours in a day…
However, how we choose to live in those hours are mostly up to us. The 24-hour cycle is very much a male construct. The male body functions and cycles on a 24-hour clock, as men go through all hormonal phases in one day. We live in a patriarchal society, so it makes sense that most of us feel we must conform to this cycle.
Do you notice for yourself (or the females in your life), that some days you just don’t have the same energy? Maybe you don’t feel the same inside, maybe you feel like being around people and socializing (when normally you don’t), and maybe your motivation can skyrocket then at other times wax and wane?
The reason for this is that women function more on a 28 day cycle with 4 distinct phases and we are different during each of these phases. Each phase has its own unique opportunity. Let me explain by relating this to your menstrual cycle.
Follicular phase: This is the phase when the egg-producing follicles in your ovaries begin to mature and the ovary gets ready to release the egg. This is the part of your cycle when you are most primed to plan, plant seeds of creation and start new projects.
Ovulation phase: This is then your physical body is the most fertile and you are also energetically and creatively most fertile. You will be the most articulate and magnetic during this time. Your ovary releases an egg and its ready to be fertilized.
Luteal phase: This phase is after ovulation and before menstruation. This is the time of your cycle when your energy turns inwards. Physically, the corpus luteum, which is what is left of the ovarian follicle that housed the egg that was released, produces progesterone. This is the
the longest phase of the cycle and it is a great time for completing projects and wrapping things up.
Menstrual: This is when your endometrial lining is released and you bleed and is the start of a new cycle. Energetically this is the time when you should be resting and reflecting. Your brain is most wired for connectivity between the right and left hemispheres and your physical energy will be the lowest. You may not be very interested in socializing so it is a great time to take some time off.
What happens if you are not cycling?
The amazing thing about the cyclical nature of women is that it mirrors the cycles of the moon and it also mirrors the four seasons. So, if you don’t have a cycle, you can look to the moon to be there as a guide.
Follicular phase = Waxing crescent moon = Spring
Ovulation phase = Full moon = Summer
Luteal phase = Waning crescent = Fall
Menstrual phase = New moon = Winter
Common Concerns or Questions
1) My cycle doesn’t line up with the moon – Your cycle is your cycle. The purpose of understanding this is to better understand your ebbs and flows. If you menstruate with the full moon, you may just experience it to be more heightened or intense. That is okay.
2) I can’t only work with the moon or my cycle based on work/mom life, etc. None of us can. If you focus on 20-25% of your activities for being ideal for the phase you are in, it can make a huge difference.
3) I don’t have a cycle. Easy – track the moon. There are tons of apps that can tell you exactly where the moon is at.
How do I start doing this?
Currently, I am using Kate Northrups planner called the Do Less planner. BUT you can answer a bunch of these questions on your own. Ask yourself each day:
1) What day of my cycle am I in?
2) What phase of my cycle am I in?
3) What is the lunar phase?
4) How am I feeling today? How is my energy?
5) How can I fit more of me into this week?
6) What do I want to do?
This is just the tip of the iceberg but it can be world-altering if you dive into this information more.
Overall, my dream for you is to:
1) Give yourself some grace. We are all doing our best and showing up the best way we can.
2) Trust your body is incredible and we are all intuitive beings. We just have to listen to the wisdom coming from within.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com
Yours in health,
Dr Sarah Green
There are so many reasons to invite children into the kitchen. In the nutrition world, there are countless articles and studies that suggest we are raising a generation of children who have no idea how to make real food. Sure, they are able to open the freezer and pop the frozen pizza snack in the microwave, but we all know that just isn’t going to cut it for long term health and wellness. It is my goal to send my boys out of the nest knowing a thing or two about cooking and how to take care of themselves. I want them to thrive, not just survive!
My top 7 reasons to Invite Kids into the Kitchen
1. Monkey See, Monkey Do!
Children learn by example. Our actions speak louder than words. Want your children to appreciate real food? Let them see you in the kitchen cutting up veggies for a snack. Ask them to find the carrots in the fridge or locate the cutting board in the cupboard. If your child sees you making healthy food choices, they will too!
2. Makes the Kitchen a Safe Place!
The kitchen can be a scary place for some children as well as adults. This one room in the house has sharp knives, a hot stove, many breakable items and the potential to start a fire. The kitchen does pose some reason for concern but the rewards far outweigh any risks. It is up to us to discuss with our children how to hold a knife safely, to remind them to stay focused while cooking and what to do in the case of an emergency. It is our job to teach them these skills and send them out into the world well equipped to care for themselves and their families one day.
3. Contributes to Family in a Meaningful Way!
Asking your child to help in the kitchen gives them a sense of empowerment, purpose and builds their confidence. It feels good to help someone else out. Children are eager to be of good service to you. All children regardless of age can help in the kitchen whether it is placing napkins on the table, finding a measuring spoon or making the whole meal independently. The earlier you begin allowing your child to help in the kitchen, the more natural it will feel for everyone.
4. Super Skill Booster!
Cooking requires following directions, paying attention to details, reading, measuring, problem solving and turn taking. What family couldn’t use a little more practise in this area?
5. Creates an Adventurous Eater!
If a child helps prepare food, they are more likely to be an adventurous eater. It may not seem like it right away, but with more exposure comes more interest in diverse flavours. The big thing here is consistency. At our house, we’ve enacted the, ‘One bite to be polite,’ policy with much success. It is understood that there will be some flavours that aren’t enjoyed by everyone. Try one bite without complaint and move on to another food on your plate. This strategy applies to adults as well.
6. It is Fun!
Sure it can get a little messy but the memories that are created in the kitchen can last a lifetime. Sometimes life is messy and if we panic over a little spilled milk or egg shells in our pancakes, what is that teaching our children about handling real life problems. There is much wisdom in remembering not to cry over spilled milk! Let your hair down (just not in the food) and have a good time in the kitchen. Put on some music and dance while the pasta boils.
7. Extra Time to Connect
In a world that seems over scheduled and harried, we need to make the most of the time we have together. When we are in the kitchen making food or cleaning up, there is an enormous opportunity to connect with your child. Interesting things are sometimes said while chopping cucumbers. Your child isn’t feeling the pressure of the after school questions that usually have the answers, “Nothing, good or I don’t know.” They have the opportunity to just let their thoughts flow in a way that is natural while they are spending time with you.
8. Adults Can Learn Something Too!
I like to think of myself as a lifelong learner. I also like to think of myself as open minded enough to let my child teach me a thing or two. A interesting thing happened a while back with the mustard bottle. One of my boys was looking at the mustard bottle and discovered that if you pushed the cap back far enough, it actually clicked out of place and no longer got in the way of the mustard as it was being squeezed out. Volia! With that one discovery, I no longer have to remove the mustard lid on a regular basis and clean it. Children have a unique way of seeing the world and I love it when that quality shines through.
How do you encourage your kids to get involved in the kitchen? Sharing is caring. Share your wisdom and tricks with us.
Do you ever get that feeling that you are making things more difficult than it needs to be? Somehow it gets into our heads that if something isn’t really hard to do with lots of rules and restrictions that it isn’t going to work.
We tend to start the new year wanting to throw everything away and start with a clean slate. I am all about setting goals, but not before we talk about the things we are already doing really well.
Eating healthier is no exception. When I meet with clients, we talk about the great food habits they already have. We all have struggles and we can call those out pretty quick, but something kind of neat happens when we first take a moment and acknowledge our successes.
When we can call out our accomplishments first, we have more motivation to build on those highlights. When we spend time listing all of our follies, we approach goal setting already defeated.
Today, I want you to take a moment and write down on a real piece of paper 3 things you are already doing well at in the nutrition department. Visually seeing our successes encourages us to keep at it, especially when we are having a rough patch. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be over the top spectacular either. Having trouble getting started? Read the list below and feel free to borrow from those.
- ate breakfast before leaving for work
- packed your own lunch
- ate supper at the table as a family
- drank water
- like the following fruits/vegetables
- ate without using a screen (i.e. t.v., phone or tablet)
It takes many small steps to reach success. The important bit is that you keep moving forward – even if you stumble from time to time. Start with listing your successes this week and we can talk about what to do after that next week. Please feel free to share your successes below!!!
Christmas is only a few weeks away. For some, your holiday preparations are in the bag. You’ve checked your list twice and wrapped everything up with a bow. For others, you are wavering between feeling on top of all the things, waves of overwhelm or experiencing a complete and utter lack of motivation.
We often feel the pressure to find just the right gift, to keep up with food prep and party planning. Add on top of that, trying to do normal life…you know eating well, sleeping and finding time to exercise.
I want to take a moment to remind you of something. It is something that you already know, but if you are like me a few reminders here and there are helpful, especially at this time of the year.
The gift of time is so much more precious than most material gifts. We remember experiences together far more than we remember gifts that were given. Okay, in all fairness, the year that I received my Cabbage Patch doll was pretty great! But, I think that you get the idea. With less than two weeks away from Christmas, I want to focus on time spent with family and friends rather than hustle and bustle. When all is said and done, time really is the only currency that matters!
Take a deep breath my friend.
Carve a quiet moment for yourself. You need this and you will be a much happier and productive person if you start by giving yourself this gift. Sip a hot cup of cozy and gaze out the window, flip through a magazine, read a book or spend a little time journaling, meditating or in prayer. Whatever you do, don’t pick up that phone or tablet. When that hot cup has warmed you from the inside out, spend 5 minutes prioritizing your day. You will feel calmer, more joyful and approach the day with a clear head. To find this time, you will likely have to get up a little earlier – eeek! I know, it is a sacrifice, but I’m telling you it is so worth it. I get up most mornings at 6:00 and it is absolutely worth the early wake-up call. By first giving yourself the gift of time, you will be better able to give others the gift of your time.
Challenge yourself to be fully present with family & friends over the holidays. All the time would be great, but let’s start here!
First of all, let yourself off the hook of self-imposed perfection. When you do this, all of a sudden there is freedom…so much freedom! And then, try some of the ideas below or add your own.
Gift of Time Ideas
Spend the whole day in your p.j.s with your family. You can stay home all day, or if you are brave enough go somewhere together like the library, the local cafe or the movies. Venturing outside in your p.j.s is definitely memory making material.
Bake cookies together. While my vote is for homemade goodness, I am not opposed to the tube of cookie dough you can buy in the store. This is about time together, right?
Go for a walk in the dark. There is something especially calming about a walk in the moonlight. Fortunately, with a sun that sets by 5, there is plenty of time in the evening to do this.
Have a family sleepover by the tree. Yes, even if it is just grownups in the house.
Build a snowman, go tobogganing, make snow angels. I know, at the moment in our little part of the world there is very little snow to be found. It will come…it always does.
Drink hot chocolate on your porch. Bring out a large carafe or your slow cooker with extra. Invite your neighbours who are walking by to stop for a cup.
I think you get the idea! I am also certain that you have some pretty great ideas yourself. Please comment below and share your inspiration with us!
The point is to spend our most valuable resource on each other. Time is a currency that cannot be bought. Spend it wisely.
How do you like to spend time with loved ones? Share your ideas below!
It seems like everywhere you turn, you will find food with special labels such as gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, Halal, Kosher, Keto and the list seems to go on. What’s the deal? What has happened to us that we seem to have a need to categorize our food to such a degree?
True, there is more awareness about food sensitivities and allergies. We are getting better at connecting the dots of what often feels like elusive and intermittent symptoms. Recognizing this was a huge turning point in the health of my son at an early age.
We also live in a world where we have become quite health conscious. While I believe this to be a good thing, I also see the drawbacks. We are becoming more selective and divisive about the food we will and won’t eat and sometimes it is extreme…even for me. Some of these things absolutely make sense and other times, I wonder if we have lost sight of the big picture.
I will fully acknowledge that there are certain health conditions that benefit greatly from sticking to a strict menu. I am in full support of using food to support our health. Sometimes this does mean avoiding certain foods in favour of the greater good. If you fall into this category, I applaud you for the realization that food matters. I encourage you to stick with it and to keep an open mind, observing and listening to your body.
What I am struggling with started here…
I was shopping with my boys. We happened upon a bottle of water that proudly proclaimed it was gluten-free. Water has always been gluten-free. Why do we feel the need to state the obvious? I fear that when we give special labels to items that clearly don’t require such a label, we encourage people to disregard labels or warnings when they really count. Tell me about the last time you encountered a fire alarm in a public place. Did you make haste and exit, or did you figure that it was probably a drill or a malfunction? I am not suggesting that we ignore fire alarms in the least…in fact, next time you hear one, I urge you to act. I merely wish to point out that the world has set us up for multiple warnings and rules about seemingly everything that has led to overall desensitization. I fear we may miss something important when it really counts.
I also recently chatted with someone who shared the opinion that carrots are the worst thing to eat. They didn’t know anything about my profession and I chose to just listen. Their reasoning is due to the carbohydrate value in a carrot. I wondered if they knew about the available fibre, beta carotene, vitamin K1, potassium and anti-oxidants? It really isn’t just a rumour that carrots help eyesight. The beta carotene converts to vitamin A which nourishes your eyes.
What about the organic label? While I too want to eat foods that have been minimally sprayed, one must consider the source. Is eating organic apples from across the ocean really better than eating conventionally grown local apples?
My concern here is that we’ve become so selective with our food choices that we have constructed a myriad of rules that are hard to abide by. At times it may be warranted, however, most of the time it just adds to the stress of our already full lives.
I speak with people on a regular basis who have an unhealthy relationship with food. Their food choices have the power to make them feel like they are a good person, successful and worthy of love and respect or like a complete failure. Here is the deal. Regardless of whether you eat kale or not, that tells me absolutely nothing about the type of person you are, how loving you are towards others or your level of integrity.
I’ve worked with hundreds of people over the years and the story is often the same. In some shape or form, food holds a place of authority over their lives. My friends, may this not be so.
May you take a moment and consider some of your beliefs about food. I ask you to critically think it through. If you get stuck and want to know what I think, let’s chat. I’m up for a friendly debate.
Don’t let your food choices become a form of religion with rules and regulations to follow. Keep things simple. Eat real food – lots of plants. Drink plenty of water. Above all else, enjoy your food…with others when you can.
A Holistic Approach
This wraps up our final chapter in this hormone series. Hopefully, by now, you’ve learned a little more about your hormones and how they help you function on a daily basis. We’ve talked about food, but what are some of the other ways we can help support our hormone function? Read on to learn how simple shifts can lead to big change.
- Pay attention to where you are in your cycle: journal or use a cycle tracker app like, ‘Clue.’ This will help you plan a little better and also notice patterns in your cycle in terms of mood, breast tenderness, energy levels, etc.
- Typically, during the first half of your cycle you have more estrogen than progesterone floating around your body. This often means an increased appetite and extra energy. This is usually a good time for more intense workouts
- Then during the second half of your cycle, you have more progesterone than estrogen in your body. This will often result in less of an appetite and your body will crave gentler workouts.
- Exercise doesn’t have to hurt to count. Walking, swimming, lifting even small weights can help.
- Excessive or intense exercise can have a negative impact on hormones – especially for those with hypothyroid or adrenal gland issues
- The more muscle you have the more calories your body burns – increases metabolism
- Lean muscle mass supports insulin sensitivity & bone health
- Good quality sleep sets the stage for better hormone regulation, better mood and fewer cravings.
- Make sure your room is as dark as possible and slightly cool. Pile on an extra blanket or two on your bed for an extra layer of coziness.
- Use low lighting in your bedroom before sleep.
- Keep technology out during sleeping hours.
- Turn off the TV before you fall asleep so it doesn’t wake you in the middle of the night. If you enjoy watching television before falling asleep, make it a calm and happy type of show.
- Establish regular sleeping hours – try to be in bed by 10 and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep depending on what your body needs to function optimally.
- Deep breathing/prayer or meditation
- Eating healthy
- Gratitude lists
- time just for you
- no agenda or list of tasks
- hobby, reading
- time with friends
- health & hygiene products
And finally, appreciate your womanhood. All too often I hear women gripping over their cycle. If I am being honest, I’ve joined in the chorus too. While it can be an inconvenience at times, it is part of what makes us who we are and we would serve ourselves better if we learned to find the positives here. Our menstrual cycle can give us clues about our overall wellbeing such as the health of our thyroid, bones and how to plan for creativity, romantic interludes and leverage our energy for adventure and exercise. Click here to read more about the benefits of your cycle.
If you are struggling to get a handle on your hormones, consider making an appointment with your health care provider for detailed hormonal testing. Many Naturopathic Doctors offer excellent options for testing hormones and while it may involve some out of pocket expenses, once you figure out how to best support your body, the experience just may be priceless!
If you want to know more about how to best support your hormones with food and lifestyle choices, drop me a line. I am always here to help cheer you on and guide you on your way to nutritious living!