The Link Between Food and Depression {What to Eat to Naturally Feel Happier}

ivana-cajina-dnL6ZIpht2s-unsplash.jpg

Oftentimes we view the mind and body as separate entities. We treat the mind with cognitive therapy and see a psychiatrist and we treat the body through the various systems and health care specialists for each system’s issue, such as a cardiologist for the heart, or neurologist for the brain. Unfortunately this view of the body and mind is antiquated and simply not true. Everything in our body is connected and the foods we eat and digest can and do directly affect our brain, our mood, and mental illness.

Medicine has now discovered the link between insulin resistance or even prediabetes and a greater risk of losing brain function prematurely, having cognitive decline, poor memory. and alzheimers.

But how does sugar and processed foods affect our daily mood?

I personally feel spikes in anxiety a day or two after eating any amount of excess sugar. Before I dove into research on all things wellness, I never thought to ask myself after a period of heightened anxiety,

WHAT DID I EAT?

Now I do, and I generally can tie that moment of anxiety back to food that didn’t serve me. Through my research, I began to find studies that validated what I was experiencing. Even more so, there are other studies indicating that diabetes medications are being tested to treat anxiety and depression because the connection between heightened blood sugar and depression is so evident. The goal for most of us though is to prevent that initial rush of sugar and then insulin in our bloodstream in the first place. There are so many success stories of people eradicating or controlling otherwise debilitating anxiety or depression with the use of food.

Here are 3 Ways To Reap the Benefits of Limiting Sugar

  • Recognize the Addiction: In the previous study mentioned, sugar withdrawal was substantiated as a real thing. You can become addicted and it can be very difficult to stop. Being aware of it gives you power. When you begin to remove sugar, know that you’re craving it and be patient. With time those cravings will be reduced.

  • Fill Up On Real, Healthy Foods as Replacements: Great substitutes for sugar are berries, fruit, or dark chocolate that contains 70% or more of cocoa. All are excellent alternatives to processed sugar to stave off cravings and get over the initial obstacle of cravings.

  • Increase the Intensity of Your Workouts: Add higher intensity to your workouts and not only will you increase the feel good hormones in your body, you may reduce your cravings altogether. This study showed that exercise participants who exercised at a greater intensity had lower levels of the hormone that stimulates appetite.

69630330_124799785531299_748290836059389952_n.jpg

For those of you inspired by the stories of people healing themselves naturally, but may be dealing with more complicated health issues, there are some amazing medical doctors who also believe and practice functional or integrative medicine to use your own body’s healing mechanisms to create big changes.

One of those incredible game-changing doctors is Dr. Jessica Floyd, a Mayo-Clinic trained, Board-Certified Neurologist, who just launched into the world of coaching clients with a more integrative approach through her new business Synapse & Soul.

Check her out on social media and stay tuned for her website to launch soon! Also, come back to the blog for a Q&A on Dr. Jessica’s new business.

Instagram @synapse_and_soul

Facebook Synapse & Soul

What is Yoga?

“I’m not really flexible” is usually the response I get when I ask someone if they’ve tried yoga. I get it, lately with the yogis posting on instagram all the super difficult, highly flexible postures, it’s easy to believe it’s not for everybody.

jared-rice-8w7b4SdhOgw-unsplash.jpg

There are millions of articles and tons of dialogue about yoga trending right now. But for some reason I felt the need to get back to the basics.

What is yoga?

When you ask that question, you will get varied and maybe even conflicting answers.

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the fundamental literature on yoga and a compilation of sutras or “threads” of meaning on which the yoga philosophy and tradition is based on, sutra 1.2 says (as translated from sanskrit), “The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.” In other words, yoga is the experience of taming or controlling the monkey mind and thoughts which then empowers you to create a peaceful existence, a peaceful life no matter your circumstances.

Others may describe yoga as a path to enlightenment and healing through 8 limbs, which include Yamas or ethical standards, Niyamas or self-discipline, Asana- the physical practice, Pranayama or breathwork, Pratyahara or sensory withdrawal, Dharana - concentration, Dhyana- meditation or contemplation, and lastly Samadhi or state of ecstacy or bliss as you finally experience true peace.

Still others define yoga as a science, the balancing of the neurological system through breathwork, meditation and physical postures.

Yoga is so many things to so many people and to each person experiencing the practice it may be different.

I first found yoga at a new studio in my hometown in highschool. I too just thought of it as the physical practice. The room was candlelit and hot. I was an insecure young girl that focused way too much on comparing my flexibility or strength with the others in the room; however, even at that time it gave me this feeling that I was small and the universe was loving. Yoga then followed me to college with a vhs tape of MTV’s Yoga Video performed by reality tv stars from the Real World. Then it continued to show up as I was first married and dedicated myself to an at-home yoga practice 5 days a week. Then drawing me to train as a yoga teacher last year. It kept showing up and my curiosity and need for it in my life grew deeper, my practice changing as I changed and always being there like an old friend that gets you and doesn’t care if you haven’t called in over a year.

Misconceptions about yoga prevent a lot of people from ever trying it. I live in the South and it’s common to find people who think it’s a religion that conflicts with christian beliefs.

The truth is yoga can fit into any religion. It deepens your connection with your God through meditation, stillness, inner work, but it doesn’t require you have beliefs in a higher power. Your yoga practice can be devotional or not. This is what makes it so unifying. People from all religions, backgrounds, histories or cultures can practice yoga, worship their own God, and still unify with collective energy and the desire to grow into their true selves.

The takeaway here is that from everything I described above,

physical flexibility has very little to do with it.

What the physical postures are intended to do is prepare the mind for that experience of the peace that passes all understanding. The mind cannot contemplate or meditate and achieve samadhi with physical ailments and pain. Also the body serves as a holding place for stuck energy or trauma and a significant goal of the practice of yoga is to raise your energy and allow energy to flow freely without blocking in your body.

You can spend a lifetime studying yoga. There is so much to learn and as an ancient practice thousands of years old, it will continue to grow and expand and change lives.

Yoga to me is a daily practice and philosophy to guide my habits, my thoughts, and my behaviors towards a life of peace. It is also the most healing and empowering practice I have found to counteract the stress response in my body.

For now, I just ask you this, if you seek stillness, peace, a way to turn inward to find peace rather than waiting on the world around you to give it to you, then try yoga. If the first class feels like too much, try again.

Your yoga teacher truly doesn’t mind your lack of flexibility or knowledge of the postures. Your yoga teacher is there to hold space for you to grow into your true self. Your yoga teacher sees you and the fact you showed up and that is truly all that matters. Namaste.

The Power of Simple Rituals To Help You Stay Present

ritual (n): (1) a set of actions or words performed in a regular way, often as part of a religious ceremony; (2) any act done regularly, usually without thinking about it.
— Cambridge Dictionary

Simplicity and routine. Doing something just for the doing of it, not for an outcome. A ritual is underrated. I never understood the power of rituals, even simple routines, until I did a complete 180 on my life and changed everything. I then craved the simplest of things I used to do that brought me comfort.

drew-coffman-_KCOqLoqpfk-unsplash.jpg

What is it about a ritual that calms you? What types of rituals can we adopt in our days to give us that feeling over and over? Could it serve as meditation?

I don’t believe there’s anything magical in a ritual, except for the consciousness of doing it. An ordinary routine or practice turns into a ritual the moment you release the time constraints, sense your way through the experience, and find gratitude for it in its simplicity. Now, rituals span back thousands of years and I do believe there is magic in a group of people in a community channeling their energies to a common purpose. But that’s for another post.

What we can learn from those ancient communities is that our human selves love rituals for the grounding they provide in this chaotic world. Why have we almost neglected all of the rituals our ancestors did?

What rituals can do for you are this:

  1. Simple Meditation. The pleasure of doing the simple things, such as washing dishes, watching children play, grounding our feet into the earth, cannot be overstated. In a world of technology, blue lights, and constant stimulation, try to use these simple things as your meditation. See what feelings come up and if it makes a difference in your day.

  2. Profound Impact on Food. If you view your meals, the preparation of your meals, the eating with your family or community as a ritual, it could actually change your entire life. This slows it down and makes food about nourishment and community, not about being full or numbing. This can have a huge impact on making healthier choices.

  3. Slow Down Time. Time flies and it can give a lot of people a sense of anxiety. It does for me. Treat moments of your day as a ritual, a sacred time where you bring your full and complete self to the moment and to the people in it. Watch how time slows, and your mind follows.

3 Life-Changing Tips on How-To Believe In Yourself (A How-To on Training Your Thoughts To Support Your Dreams)

Arguably, believing in yourself is the number one requirement to accomplishing anything in your life. If you never believe in yourself, you’ll never take action, and if you never take action, things stay the same, you stay the same.

baylee-gramling-xWzIy_vo0YE-unsplash.jpg

Believing in yourself means changing the broken record of sabotaging thoughts going through your mind. To change your thoughts you must first be aware of them and the effect they have on your reality.

The past year has brought tons of changes in my life. More importantly, I finally took action on things/dreams/goals I’ve had for years. How did I do it? I got sick and tired of waiting. I finally understood that no one and nothing will come into your life and just tell you, you’re good enough. And even if they do, if you don’t believe it for yourself, it’ll never stick. So, to do things in life, make changes, reach for dreams, you have to, must, first believe in yourself and believe you’re worthy.

I’ve included 3 life-changing tips on how to, finally, believe in yourself.

Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.
— Eckhart Tolle

Tip Number 1: Practice Thought Awareness

Consciousness of your thoughts is huge. It is so big that this one tip could change everything in your life. Eckhart Tolle is an incredible resource to dig deep into thought awareness. He explains how to garner this awareness and listen to your thoughts. He has taught me to become the objective observer of my thoughts. Once you start to become aware of your thoughts, you can start to question them. Somewhere in your upbringing, history, or experiences, you may have been told things about yourself that stuck with you. Maybe you failed at something or were picked on for one particular thing as a child and it stuck with you. When you have to overcome fear and begin to believe yourself as worthy of a goal or a positive change in your life, you have to address these thought patterns that can most often prevent us from growing.

A great way to increase this awareness and work on this is this simple meditation/journaling exercise.

  1. Find a pen and paper and have them near you. Find a comfortable seat, and close your eyes.

  2. Begin to tune into your breath. Focus on the air moving in your nose and slowly releasing out your nose. Bring your focus to your belly as it rises and falls with each breath.

  3. Let your breathing maintain its natural rhythm as you begin to bring your awareness to your thoughts.

  4. Be patient with yourself and imagine yourself as an objective observer inside your head.

  5. As thoughts spring up into your awareness, acknowledge their presence, and detach or disengage from any involvement, judgment or reaction to them.

  6. Begin to turn inward and pose the question, “who am I?”

  7. Listen for the response. Bring your awareness to the back and forth within your mind. Maybe your thoughts are positive, confident, and empowering and then somewhere in your mind those empowering thoughts are shut down or rejected.

  8. Just listen. Follow up with questions such as “What am I good at?”, “How can I serve?”

  9. Again, listen to the back-and-forth.

  10. Open your eyes and write down what came up. All that came up even if it was conflicting or contradictory.

If you are feeling emotions that rise up unexpectedly or that you can’t seem to process, this is a great exercise to continue doing. Meditate on questions you need answered and get to the root of your emotions as if they’re simply symptoms to an underlying thought pattern or reaction to a current situation. This is how to learn from yourself.

Tip Number Two: Suspend Belief and Talk-Back

This tip can feel quite silly to begin with but this is a process not a quick fix. Once you are aware of the thought patterns in your mind you must then begin the work on addressing them. The first part is to suspend the belief of the thought. So many of us believe what our minds tell us. We forget we are not the thoughts but the observer of the thoughts and we believe. That belief carries us through life as probably one of the most significant influencers on our decisions. Our decisions make our reality. So, to begin, you must challenge the thoughts that don’t serve you. Why do I say “suspend belief”? Why can’t we just not believe them? Well, I personally have found it’s just not that easy. Sometimes these thought patterns have been ingrained in our thinking for decades. Our mind creates a cozy little home for thoughts that have been around for decades and it takes a bit more work and time to undo that.

So, once the thought that does not serve you comes into your awareness, tell yourself that just for this moment or this day you will not believe it. Say to yourself, “that’s not true” or “that’s not real” or “(insert thought) is not really me.”

Secondly, talk back to yourself. Develop a manifesting (present tense) mantra. Maybe if your sabotaging thought is “I can’t exercise” your manifesting mantra to talk back is “I am strong and healthy.”

Continue this process of suspending the belief of the thought that doesn’t serve you and countering it with the manifesting mantra.

Tip Number Three: Embrace Authenticity - Be Courageous Enough to Show Up As Yourself

Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.
— Brene Brown

The last tip is pretty tough. But that’s why the title says “life-changing”. To be authentic takes courage. I love this Brene Brown quote because she hits on a very important part of this. It’s a daily practice. It doesn’t just happen once and you never have to work at it again. Once you bring an awareness into your life about the stories in your head about who you are, you’ll get to know yourself better. You’ll also get to know the story you’ve told yourself. The most important part of this is simply understanding this one truth - you are not that story. So start living by that truth. You are not that story you’ve believed. Once you detach your identity from the “story” you’ve convinced yourself you were, begin to build your authentic self back piece by piece. It can be a bit unsettling to have to stop believing in an identity you’ve clung to for years. So be patient and know this is part of the process. As you grow into and find that authentic self, that place of true joy, know that it will cause you to feel expansive, excited and peaceful. You’ll find less resistance because it’s not someone else’s life you’re seeking to live, it’s your life that you’re born to live.

Why Detox? 3 Reasons It's Important and Simple Ways to Start

Your body has it’s own natural detoxing system. Although detox diets are extremely popular, Intense juice detoxing or cleanses aren’t required to get the benefits of detoxing. To feel cleansed, energized and renewed, you can simply follow daily tips to enhance and support your body’s natural system to rid the body of toxins.

izzy-gerosa-RgplfXbxLFs-unsplash.jpg

Here are 3 reasons Detoxing is important:

  1. Toxic Buildup Happens Steadily Overtime. Even if you’re diligent about not smoking, limiting alcohol and eating reasonably well, toxins are everywhere in the world we live in. The impact of toxic buildup in our bodies can happen gradually overtime through accumulating small amounts of chemicals in our body on our daily encounters or by our daily habits. Your shower routine is a great example of this. If your self-care products have chemicals and you spend 10 minutes a day in the shower, your skin is soaking in those chemicals daily and overtime the effect on the body increases.

  2. Less Time To Detox Naturally. Although our body naturally detoxes, we live in a society where we don’t give our bodies the time and space it needs to properly rid the body. For example, if you eat a late meal and maybe dessert and then wake up the next day to drink your coffee with sugar and milk, your body had less than 8 hours to detox. That’s just simply not enough to do the work it needs to do. (see below about intermittent fasting)

  3. Notice Beginning Symptoms of Inflammation Or Allergic Reactions. In addition to common toxins, all of our bodies are made differently and some of us may experience more intense allergic reactions or inflammatory responses to certain things we encounter. Tuning in and being aware of what your body feels like when everything is clean and working well is a great way to know when you may be exhibiting symptoms of something greater.

Get started with these two beneficial ways to assist your body with its natural detoxification system.

INTERMITTENT FASTING

This is an approach to detoxing that involves not what you eat but when. By quitting your consumption time earlier and eating later the next day, you’re giving your body extended time to detox. If you eat dinner by 7 p.m. and do not eat again until 11 a.m. the next day, you’re providing 16 hours of time for your body to cleanse what has been consumed and detox. If you eat sooner, then your body redirects its focus to digestion and doesn’t have the time or energy for the detox. It has been shown to affect your body on a cellular level and have huge benefits for your overall health, such as lower insulin levels, improved brain and heart health and more.

See more great tips on intermittent fasting at https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323605.php

REDUCE SUGAR

Sugar is one of the most toxic substances you can eat. It’s in everything. By simply focusing on consuming less of it, you’re giving your body a huge break. Sugar has been shown to cause heart disease, diabetes, obesity, inflammation, and so much more. A big way I started to reduce my sugar intake was by completely removing sodas and sweets, but also making switches in my daily coffee. I began to use raw honey instead of sugar or sweetener. My body processed this so much better and I felt better. Start by looking at small changes and work your way up to removing it all together.

See great tips on reducing sugar at https://www.forbes.com/sites/nomanazish/2018/04/20/five-smart-and-doable-ways-to-eat-less-sugar/#480afef87327

4 Classic Barre Moves To Tone Your Lower Body

Sometimes you don’t need to recreate the wheel. These 4 classics from Barre are regulars for a reason. They work to strengthen your thighs, glutes and calves and through a series of large range of motion movements progressing all the way to small pulses and isometric holds you will also generate heat in the body to turn this into a total-body exercise.

Calf Raises

This is a simple exercise to start firming up the quads and calves and warm up the body. For balance, you can use a barre if you have it, chair or sturdy countertop.

Begin just lifting your heels up, engaging your calves and then lowering the heels down again. Start with a tall, neutral spine and tune into your breath.

I’ve included a pilates ball high between the inner thighs for extra work, but it is not required. Feet can be placed together or hip-distance apart.

Portraits-37.jpg

Chair Pose

Begin chair pose by lifting your heels and lowering your seat down as if sitting in a chair. Try to maintain your posture by keeping a tall spine and open chest and shoulders. Move your seat back and try to track knees over ankles to protect the knees.

Begin with 10-20 reps lowering all the way down to where your legs are in a 90 degree angle and raise up to the calf raise we did earlier.

Next, lower down completely into chair and begin small pulses, still balancing on the balls of your feet. If you have any feet issues, it’s perfectly fine to begin with heels down. As you pulse, remember to breathe and maintain neutral posture. Shakes are good.

Lastly, finish with an isometric hold and see if you can challenge yourself by lowering your seat a bit more to fully engage your quads.

Portraits-38 (1).jpg

Plie

I do these in every class I teach, even yoga. They’re incredible to stretch your inner thighs, open your hips and strengthen your lower body.

Begin with heels down and start lowering down and raising up to straight legs. As you lower down, try to reach the point where your thighs are parallel with the floor.

After your first set of large range of motion plies, option to raise your heels for more of a challenge, lower your seat and pulse. Keep your heels down if it feels better for your feet.

Lastly raise your hands off the barre or chair if you can balance safely and hold the pose briefly. Feel your entire body join in to balance you and strengthen you.

Portraits-40.jpg
Portraits-42.jpg

Leg Lift

These were a gamechanger for my lower body. I was blessed with curvy, strong thighs, and these really helped me tone and tighten my lower body while keeping me strong and flexible.

Start with hips in line and lift your leg back squeezing your glutes. If you lower your chest forward, you’ll be able to provide space in your lower back to protect against any tension.

Lower your extended leg down to tap your toe on the floor and back up for 10-25 reps in a controlled, intentional way.

Keeping your leg long behind you, engage your glutes, and pulse.

Option to keep a slight micro-bend in the standing leg.

For more of a challenge, release your hands from the barre or chair and use your entire body to balance you.

How I Started to Overcome Fatigue and Brain Fog

1-55.jpg

Flow Space’s mission is to elevate your daily life. We believe a necessary component to improving the quality of your days is movement. That is why we offer fitness classes! It is truly our passion. However, there seems to be a trend on going harder and faster no matter your situation or no matter the cost to your body. I’ve learned firsthand that you must tune into your body to see the desired results of increased energy, reduced inflammation, weight loss, stress relief, increased strength and more.

Why is that?

The body needs rest and recovery too. There are times in your life when you are very stressed, physically and/or mentally. Maybe it wasn’t the worst stress of your life, but there is a cumulative effect of multiple stressors that happen over time. When this happens, your body is being flooded with stress hormones, and it may be stuck in a constant state of “fight or flight” mode. This can lead to depression, anxiety, increased inflammation, and a compromised immune system that leads to sickness.

I’ve experienced this many times in my life, but the one time I can recall the most clearly was when I was going on month 12 of sleep deprivation from having my second child. The child is beautiful and happy and joyful, but wasn’t a fan of sleeping for the first 18 months of her life.

I felt exhaustion like I’ve never felt before. Even when I started getting more sleep, it was like my body was stuck in a state of depression or fatigue. I was going hard, working, caring for my girls, exercising, trying my best to be healthy and didn’t think about my body needing a reset from all those months of sleep deprivation. Not to mention the hormonal changes I was going through.

Since I started talking to moms, mostly newer moms like me, I realized there is a common question…how do I feel better? They tell me they’re exhausted, but what’s more scary is that they feel like they can’t think straight. It’s a feeling I know very well.

What I learned was this:

It’s helpful to educate yourself about Adrenal Fatigue: Check out this very on point and informative article on what this is. https://www.drnorthrup.com/adrenal-exhaustion/

  • I was never clinically diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, so if you feel you need a doctor’s opinion because of other health issues you have, please get one. The things you can do to address adrenal fatigue are all great treatments and practices generally, so it doesn’t hurt to try the below suggestions even if you’re not sure that you have this exact situation. I did my own research on this, but to start, my symptoms were brain fog, lightheadedness, inability to focus, depressed mood, fatigue even after a full night’s rest, and just general achiness. I came to the conclusion my body was stuck. It was depressed and tired and I had to make significant adjustments to get out of this state.

    1. To feel better I began to do several things:

      • Slower, Gentler Exercise: I still would do my toning barre exercises and yoga, but I’d probably take a child’s pose when I started feeling my limit in yoga class or focus more on posture and core and lengthening. Moving slower, stretching more and breathing. I dialed back my cardio and high-intensity. I took breaks during runs or just walked. This is needed to avoid placing more stress on your body and allow it to reset. If you go to a barre class or yoga class, know that it is perfectly acceptable to pause when your teacher is asking for 10 more reps. The body ebbs and flows and honoring that is half the battle.

      • Herbal Supplement: I took an Adrenal support supplement that contained Ashwagandha. It is an adaptogen used in Ayurvedic or Traditional Chinese Medicine proven to help the body regulate stress. I took my vitamin religiously and felt no side effects. I was trying to give my body as much support as possible, and this was part of the plan. How much it helped? I’m not sure, but I still turn to it when I’m feeling extra-fatigued and it seems to help.

      • Recognize that Stress created a physical response and make changes to counteract it. I began to accept that I felt like crap because I was stressed. I did go to the doctor for blood tests on my thyroid about 1 year after having my daughter, right around the time these symptoms could not be avoided any longer, and she said, “Everything looks great! You’re healthy.” I was happy to hear that, but it didn’t explain how I felt. I wanted to fix this so badly, but a pill wasn’t the answer. After this realization, I consciously took on less. Less obligations meant letting myself sit down instead of requiring myself to maintain the cleanest house, taking a nap, focusing on my breath, not rushing, and being ok with life not being perfect. I did things that women often don’t do because they’re trying to keep everything in peak condition. Let it fall to the wayside, fill your cup, and you’ll be back at it in no time. But if you keep on the path of “doing it all”, it will wear you down.

      • Relaxation Mode: I learned in yoga recently about how your body’s stress response and relaxation response are like the gas and brakes on a car. You can’t experience both at the same time. Our bodies react to real or perceived stress just as it did thousands of years ago- because our bodies needed to run from a lion or tiger. Hence, the flood of cortisol (stress hormone) or adrenaline needed to motivate us to act and protect ourselves. However, our bodies can also be told that everything is ok and we can engage a relaxation response. This response would induce a calm, relaxed feeling from the flood of endorphins or feel good hormones. If you voluntarily breathe in a relaxing, slow way, by breathing fully into your belly, your body reads this as a signal that “everything is ok.” This can be achieved by 3 Part Belly Breathing. It is very simple and goes like this. You sit in a comfortable position. You start by inhaling and breathe in fully to fill up your belly, your ribcage and your chest. You then exhale slowly by exhaling and lowering your chest, ribcage and belly. It is helpful to place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly to feel the rise and release.

Let Go of the Ways You Thought Life Would Unfold

marco-de-waal-151139-unsplash.jpg

Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold;

the holding of plans or dreams or expectations- Let it all go. Save your strength to swim with the tide. The choice to fight what is here before you now will only result in struggle, fear and desperate attempts to flee from the very energy you long for.

Let go.

Let it all go and flow with the grace that washes through your days whether you receive it gently or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders. Take this on faith: the mind may never find the explanations that it seeks,

but you will move forward nonetheless.

Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry you to unknown shores, beyond your wildest dreams or destinations. Let it all go and find the place of rest and peace, and certain transformation.

-Source Unknown


Someone I loved needed to hear the sentiment in this poem this week. It was perfect for them as they felt frustrated by a lack of certainty, of knowing what step to take, or how it’ll all turn out. I struggle with this a lot too. I’ve decided the only certainty I’ve learned is that there is no change or transformation without pain, struggle and then ultimately surrender. It’s quite possible that no door opens until you allow another to close completely and lock without possessing the key. So, what do you do? You let go and have faith. You don’t become worthless and useless while you let go….you lean in every day into a more authentic version of yourself but you simply stay open and release the need to know why. It’s hard as shit believe me. But the good stuff always seems to come when you surrender to faith.

In health,

Erica

6 Week Series- Yoga + Meditation | Learn How to Develop a Daily Practice for Stress Relief

train smarter.png

Science has now proven the incredible effects of yoga and meditation on the brain and body. However, how do you begin incorporating it into your life on a consistent basis? This series will show you how. This series is for anyone seeking to find more peace, contentment, or stillness in their life. Yoga and Meditation are tools you can use for a lifetime to counteract the body’s stress response and manage anxiety or even the general busy-ness of life.

The series begins on June 26th and will continue for 6 weeks every Wednesday from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. For non-members the series s $125.00 and for members the series is $95.00.

Sign up online. Message us on social media or email erica@flowspacefitness.com for more questions.

4 Simple Ways to Be Healthier When You Don't Know Where to Start

scott-warman-525481-unsplash.jpg

“Just start” can sometimes be discouraging or confusing advice. Often you may feel like screaming, but HOW? Do I cut carbs? Do I just exercise? Where do I begin? Yes, we know getting healthier and making changes to our daily routine is often very hard, especially for people who have been doing things the same way for decades. It’s not easy. It has a lot to do with the difficulty of habit change but also the overwhelming amount of information we are exposed to. This post is about simplifying and starting with the basics to start, just to start.

Let’s begin with nutrition. There are countless contradictions from incredibly informed and educated health professionals about what “diet” is the best one. Do I avoid carbs? Do I avoid sugars, even fruit? Do I eat meat? Do I count calories or points?

Then how should I move? There are just as many conflicting “how-to’s” on how to move for prevention of disease, weight loss or to support your health as you age.

However, there is a place that most, if not all health professionals, should agree. There’s a consensus on what causes disease, and that is inflammation. Inflammation “is a natural response of the body to protect itself from potentially destructive agents such as infection.” Chronic inflammation causes damaged cells which is directly linked to chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

What some people do not realize is that inflammation is also linked to weight gain. A lot of the struggle with batting obesity is linked to the body’s inflammatory response and being “stuck” in it.

So a good place to begin if you feel sick, depressed, or overweight is to tune in…..“listen to your body.” What symptoms are your body or mind exhibiting? Irritability can be a symptom. Joint pain or fatigue or maybe poor digestion.

As you may guess, there is no black/white answer immediately to this question. Oftentimes, it takes a period of trial and error with different types of foods, supplements and movements to determine when symptoms of inflammation are reduced.

Inflammation can also be increased by stress. Beginning a strict, rigorous and hard core diet that depletes your body of what it needs is not going to reduce inflammation. Releasing judgment of yourself, taking yourself off the strict diet, and getting real and honest about how you feel is often a million times more effective.

Ok, then where do we start?

Take Inventory. Before you begin making any changes, take inventory and write it down. Take note of your body- any pain, tension or injuries. How is your digestion? How is your skin? Are you fatigued, anxious or have brain fog? It is very helpful to write down how you feel after you eat a certain meal. Try new things, don’t put yourself on a strict diet, but try one meal eating mostly greens. Take note of how you feel compared to when you eat processed food. As you start to make small incremental changes, take inventory again. At the very minimum check in once a week and write it down.

Start moving. Any type of movement will work. I mean that. Don’t worry about people that say you have to have a certain amount of a certain type of exercise. Just move. If you’re drawn to or curious about yoga, go to yoga or roll out your mat at home. Just try to move every day or every other day. If you want to dance, youtube “dance cardio” and get moving. If you feel good after weight-lifting, go for that. Start somewhere and don’t worry about it being perfect or complete. 10 minutes every other day is a start.

Add in Greens. Once a day, eat a salad before your meal, or add the spinach to your omelette or smoothie. Add greens into one meal once a day. It can start with one cup of spinach once a day. Notice I didn’t say “take away.” We are just adding in something nutritious, detoxing and fibrous to get our system some energy.

Drink 16 oz. more of water. Stop and be sure you’re drinking two large glasses more of water than you usually do. Many of the symptoms you may feel that lead you to fatigue or exhaustion or brain fog could be due to dehydration. Give your body a chance to be replenished and it will reward you with energy to move, eat better and feel more optimistic about change.

This type of process is truly the key to habit change that works and becomes a lifestyle change.

Small changes over time with an intention to feel better.

It also respects that each person’s body may need something a little different. Working on simple changes, and raising awareness in your body of how it makes you feel will lead you down a path of health inevitably because most people, if not all, want to feel better.

Resources:

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/transcripts/8976_fighting-inflammation-with-food-how-to-follow-an-anti-inflammatory-diet

https://drhyman.com/blog/2012/01/27/inflammation-how-to-cool-the-fire-inside-you-thats-making-you-fat-and-diseased/