A Healthy and Healing Holiday Season

A Healthy and Healing Holiday Season

It is almost the holidays again and if you’re like me you are probably getting excited for all the festivities. I absolutely love the holiday music, seeing close friends and family and also taking part in some winter fun! Not much of a skier, but I do love to ice skate!

Anyways, people also correlate this time of year with food and indulging in some dishes that only come around once a year. And since you have to wait until next year to have it, it’s easy to overeat and then regret the decision a few minutes later.

If you find yourself struggling during the holiday season, you are not alone. I work with many individuals during this time. I guide them through logical steps so that they can stay on track, reach their health goals and still enjoy the holiday season!

At the same time, comfort foods are the epitome of the holiday season and you do not want to feel like you have to deprive yourself of all the goodies. Deprivation can often lead to feelings of anxiety, stress and you with the cookie jar at midnight.

Once Thanksgiving hits, it feels like the holiday parties, feasts, and goodies just keep coming day by day, and you might find yourself giving into the unhealthy patterns. First of all, do not judge yourself if you happen to indulge in something. Let it go and move on. If you allow yourself to feel guilty after indulging, you are going to keep brewing negative thoughts in your head and that will lead to a series of negative behaviors. So let’s now move onto some simple steps that you can implement.

Healing Tip 1: Stick to a Routine

It can be very challenging to stick to a routine during the holiday season. Parties on the weekend, shopping in the evenings after work and coordinating travel plans with relatives coming into town.  It’s certainly easy to get off track and slip from your exercise and health routine.

Do the best you can to stick to your routine. There is only so much time in the day, but set aside at least 15-30 minutes for self care and prioritize healthy meals and eat vegetables daily!

Healing Tip 2:  Listen to Your Body

When you are attending a holiday dinner, truly listen to your body.  When you tune into your hunger and fullness cues, it can be easier to slow down and not overeat. Turn this meal into an experience. Let’s practice.

- As you sit down, take a few deep breaths. Breathing can help to stimulate proper digestion and calm the nervous system.

- Give thanks and gratitude for the beautiful meal that has been prepared for you.

- Take a few sips of water.

- With your fork, take a small bite of food. Chew slowly, fully breaking down the food. Think about the flavor, the texture on your mouth and how this food is serving and healing your body.

- Rest your fork down, converse with someone else around the table.

-Eat slowly, repeating this process for 15-20 minutes. Tune in to your fullness cues. Are you still hungry? Are you satisfied? Keep in mind, that you will want to finish your meal when you are 80% full, as opposed to actually feeling full. If you are still hungry, you can always go back for more!

-We often overeat and underestimate the power of just slowing down. You don’t necessarily need to make major changes in your meal during the holidays, just slow down. This can definitely help you to eat less.

Healing Tip 3: Movement

Move your body. With the winter months, it can be easier to sit inside and munch on the extra holiday sweets as opposed to getting in some movement. Move your body every day.

This does not mean you have to do an intense workout every day. Try something as simple as walking.  Especially after holiday dinners. Get the whole family to join in on a walk. Make it a new, fun tradition!

Healing Tip 4: Be Prepared

The absolute worse is when you show up somewhere ravenous. Trust me, it is so easy to overeat when you are starving. I’ve been there!

Be prepared and have a snack before you show up. It’s culturally accepted to starve yourself all day until a holiday meal so that you can eat more. Instead, try to stick to a regular eating routine.

Eat a snack with protein or healthy fat. This will stabilize blood sugar, curve cravings and save you from overeating.

I personally like to pair nut butter with celery sticks, munch on macadamia nuts, eat ½ avocado or even a hard boiled egg.

Working with a Dietitian this time of year can be crucial for your health. Especially if you are someone who tends to have the winter blues or get caught up in the holiday fun, only to realize in January you are far from your goals.

Be sure to reach out and let me know how I can support you.

Happy Holidays! Wishing you all a healthy and healing holiday season.

Xoxo

Eleni


Managing Blood Sugar Naturally

I love that we are addressing natural ways to manage blood sugar today. I was someone that always struggled with low blood sugar, fatigue, “hanger” cues and the shakes. Then if I ate something high in carbs or sugar, I felt shakier, sick to my stomach and ended up with a headache! It was honestly a never ending battle. I also felt anxious and stressed if I had to go more than three hours without being near food. All because of my wacked out blood sugar.

If this is also you, you’re not alone. You also don’t have to feel like this! I was able to break this cycle and prevent the harmful effects that the swings in blood sugar and insulin could have had on my body down the road. I did this just through nutrition and lifestyle changes!

Swings in Blood Sugar

Swings in blood sugar and especially high blood sugar can be harmful. Particularly if it goes unattended to for quite some time. Glucose or sugar enters the body through the consumption of foods rich in carbohydrates like grains, dairy products, processed snack foods, fruit and starchy vegetables.

When you overload your system with glucose, it signals the pancreas to release insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin helps carry the glucose into the cells so that you can use it as energy.

What you don’t want is extremely high levels of blood sugar for a long period of time. It can lead to various complications pertaining to your health. Some things that can result from high blood sugar levels are weight gain, diabetes, stroke, eyesight issues, fatigue and intense sugar cravings.

Naturally Managing Blood Sugar

There are many natural approaches to managing your blood sugar and even get things back in check!  The idea is to eat a healing diet with foods that are low in natural sugar, good healthy fats and protein. I always talk to patients about a balanced plate. This will contain plenty of non-starchy leafy greens, a high quality protein source, olive oil/avocado or some other healthy fat and a small amount of a carbohydrate. Such as a starchy winter squash, gluten-free whole grain or legume.

Protein and healthy fats will help to stabilize blood sugar throughout the day. Trying to stick to 2-3 meals daily can also be beneficial. Quick tip, letting your blood sugar get too low can be very stressful to the body. If you’re someone who typically skips a meal and is ravenous a few hours later, try something different! Carry a protein rich snack for an on-the-go option like nuts or make a quick meal ahead of time to have on hand. The key is to avoid these roller coasters throughout the day.

Sleep and Exercise

A combination of daily exercise and a proper sleep schedule is the recipe for success when it comes to managing your blood sugar levels. When you workout it increases your ability to metabolize glucose and rid the blood stream of all that excess sugar that is hanging out in there.  In fact, a fasted walk before breakfast or walking after meals can balance blood sugar and insulin levels.

Likewise, adequate sleep will boost your tolerance of glucose and essentially increase glucose metabolism as well. Did you know that when you are tired you tend to eat more because your body is desperate for energy that it is deprived of? So strive to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night!

An hour before bedtime, hit the switch! Shut off the computer and dim the lights. Recent studies show that blood light can increase insulin resistance.

Check out some of these blood sugar friendly snacks below. For more information or to personally start your healing journey, reach out to me. I’d love to hear how I can help you!


Blood Sugar Friendly Snacks

Celery Sticks with 1-2 TBS Nut Butter

Olives and Sharp Goat Cheese Slices

Half Avocado with Olive Oil and Sea Salt

Mixed Raw Nuts

Hard Boiled Egg

Herbal Tea with 1-2 Scoop Collagen Powder

1 cup Bone Broth


How to Naturally Reduce Stress

What Causes Stress

We have all experienced some type of stress in our lives rooting from a variety of things, such as a job, social commitments, school work, etc. The cause of people’s stress may be different across the board, but the way our bodies react to stress is the same for everybody.

Essentially your body goes into what we like to call the “fight or flight” response, when this happens, your adrenal glands release a bunch of hormones including adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline is responsible for increasing your blood pressure, heart rate, and energy supply. Cortisol is the main stress hormone that can alter all other important bodily functions such as suppressing your immune system and digestive system during times of stress.

Usually when whatever is causing your stress has passed, your hormone levels normalize and your body functions can proceed as normal. If your stress is long term and your hormones remain in an elevated state, you are at a higher risk of developing other health problems such as anxiety, depression, headaches, etc.

Healing Tips to Manage Stress

Tip 1

There are several natural ways that your body can manage stress, For starters, pay attention to your diet. Foods that are highly processed and loaded with sugar will only fuel the fire. Make sure you eat regular meals with high quality protein, healthy fats and plenty of vegetables. This will fuel your body and keep your blood sugar stable.

Tip 2

One of the most important ways to manage your stress naturally is through exercise or some type of physical activity. Exercise is shown to reduce the levels of your stress hormones and increase your endorphin levels. This helps to elevate your mood and relax your mind from the stress that is burdening you.

Tip 3

I’m sure we all know that stress likes to mess with our sleeping patterns, leaving us up until all hours of the night and depriving us of precious beauty sleep. I know once my brain starts, it won’t stop. The less sleep we have the more stressed we will feel. I suggest creating a nighttime ritual after dinner. Start by reducing electronic use and completely avoiding all electronics an hour before bed. Take a bath with epsom salts, sip on chamomile tea or pick up a book. Work on shutting down your brain. Try to get to bed before 10pm. By doing this, you are promoting your ability to enter into a deep sleep cycle and skip the second wind that happens if you stay up late.

Tip 4

Restorative yoga poses are a wonderful way to relax, sink into some feel good stretches and recharge at the same time! I personally love the legs up against the wall pose. Blood will flow back into your organs away from the extremities. This can be very healing and naturally help to reduce stress. Try this for as little as 3-5 minutes daily. Lay flat on the floor, with a pillow for under your head. Make sure your bottom is touching the wall and your legs are parallel and also touching the wall. You can also put on relaxing music for an enhanced experience!

Tip 5

The last tip I will give you for managing stress is to simply just breathe! Deep breathing exercises can activate your parasympathetic nervous system which controls your relaxation response. It also helps to reduce your heart rate and will make you feel a sense of calm and peace. I personally like to use the equal breathing technique with clients and myself. Find a quiet place, either sitting or laying down. As you inhale through the nose, puff the belly out. As you exhale through the nose, pull the belly in. Count to four each time, creating equal length in breathing. The counting is also a great way to distract your mind from racing with thoughts.

I hope you find these tips helpful during heightened times of stress. Addressing the root cause of emotions and stress is important during your healing process.


Healing and Nourishing with Hibiscus

What is Hibiscus

Hibiscus is a plant that is typically cultivated in tropical regions like Sudan, Egypt, Thailand, China and Mexico. In the world today the top commercial producers and exporters of the hibiscus plant are China and Thailand. Hibiscus was used in the past as a type of historical folk medicine, used to treat high blood pressure, liver disease, and fever. The flower is large and trumpet shaped with five or more petals.

Benefits of Hibiscus

There have been many studies conducted to test the effect of hibiscus on people with certain medical illnesses. The flower of the plant contains a large amount of compounds called flavonoids, proanthocyanidins and vitamin C. Aside from fancy words, this simply means that this is a nutrient packed flower with high amounts of antioxidants to fight inflammation and boost immunity! Hibiscus has also been used to address mild colds and flus, bruising or swelling.

Consuming Hibiscus

The most common use of the hibiscus flower is to steep it in hot water to brew as a tea, where it can be an alternative to many teas such as green, black, etc as it is caffeine-free. The flavor of the drink can be naturally sweet, tangy and tart and throw your tastebuds for a loop!

Not an overall fan of hot tea? No problem! This unique flower can be brewed as an iced tea alternative if that is something that appeals more to you. It’s a great way to stay hydrated during warm months if you find it hard to drink water. Traditional Medicinal (one of my favorite tea brand - no affiliation) provides a fantastic hibiscus tea blend. If you want to perform some herbal magic in your kitchen, check out this tasty ice tea to make at home!

Mixed Fruit & Hibiscus Tea

Ingredients:

  • 3 organic red apples

  • 1 pack of fresh organic blackberries

  • 3 Hibiscus tea bags

  • 10 cups of water

Steps:

  1. Put the tea bags, apple slices and blackberries in a large pitcher.

  2. Pour the boiling water in a pitcher.

  3. Let stand for 30 minutes.

  4. Remove the tea bags and discard them.

  5. Refrigerate the ice tea. Serve chilled.



The Healing Benefits of DHA- Omega 3 Fat

The Importance of Brain Development

Our brains are important and we can’t get much done in our busy lives without them! Do you often feel like you forget things easy? Lead a life with a foggy and spaced out brain? Lose attention quickly? Feel depressed? Many Americans lead their lives feeling this way on a daily basis and have accepted it.

Often times, these imbalances can be associated with nutritional deficiencies. More specifically, an omega 3 imbalance. DHA or docosahexaenoic acid, is an important polyunsaturated fat (PUFA). As an omega-3 fatty acid it is essential for brain development at all stages of life. In fact, it makes up about 30% of the brain. DHA in the diet is essential because of its ability to support functioning in cell signaling as well as the structural component of the adult brain!

The reason I am focusing on it today, is because research  shows that DHA can improve cognition, neuroplasticity and promote production of new neurons. The simple fact that this nutrient and beneficial fat can improve memory is nearly mind blowing. Our brains are precious and with the prevalence of things like dementia and Alzheimer's Disease, it's important we take care of them.

Multiple studies show that just eating one fish dinner a week, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s by 60%. Unlike EPA, another omega-3 fat, DHA provides a very strong protective factor for brain health and memory.

You can see that taking care of your brain is as important as a daily workout.

DHA Is Important At All Ages

We all know that the body goes through a significant period of growth during our infant and teenage years, and that is held true with brain development as well. Brain development begins as early as pregnancy and continues into the first two years of birth and into later years of life.

That being said, diet plays a significant role in distributing an adequate amount of DHA to the developing infant. This means the mother must have enough DHA in her diet to pass on to the child.

From a young age, it is recommended that children are taking in enough DHA for better cognitive and visual functioning of the brain.

As we move through life into our adult years, our brain is still developing, so it is equally as important to consume enough DHA. Due to the western diet, adults are just not consuming the recommended daily amount of DHA that they should be. Most adults are only taking in around  11 mg per day which is significantly low. The average recommended amount for adults of DHA + EPA omega-3 fats combined is a minimum of 250-500 mg daily.

Does this make sense? Can you see how depleted most individuals actually are?

Food Sources of DHA

One of the main sources of DHA via the diet is fatty fishes which include salmon, herring,sardines, and halibut. Do you want to know why these fishes are considered a rich source of DHA? What most people might not know is that the algae that is in fish food is what actually makes fish have such a high amount of DHA. What happens is that when the fish consume the algae, the EPA and DHA from the algae is absorbed into the tissue of the fish and then humans eat it. Pretty cool right?

Remember the quality of the fish is crucial in receiving the health benefits. Be sure to purchase wild caught.

Recipe Time!
Check out this tasty salmon recipe that you can make at home. It’s easy and this brain food will keep you feeling sharp, full of energy and boost your mood!

Honey Chipotle Salmon

Ingredients

  • 4 wild caught salmon fillets ( 4-5 ounces each skinless)

  • Honey Rub: 

  • 3 tbsp honey

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 4 tbsp chipotle chili powder

  • 1 tbsp garlic powder

  • 1 tbsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning

  • Sea salt and pepper 

  • Garnish with fresh scallions, chopped and lemon wedges 

       Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. In a glass baking dish, lightly grease with avocado or coconut oil. 

  2. In medium size bowl combine honey, olive oil, sea salt, chipotle chili powder, garlic and onion powder, paprika and Italian season.

  3. Place the salmon on a plate and spoon the mixture over fillets, spreading it to coat each piece of salmon evenly. Then place each fillet on baking sheet about an inch apart from each other.

  4. Bake salmon for about 8-12 minutes or until it flakes with a fork.

  5. Remove from oven and garnish with fresh scallions and serve with lemon slices.

Reiki and Whole Body Healing

What is Reiki?

Reiki (pronounced “ray key”) is a form of energy healing, that originated from Japanese culture. Reiki can help to address physical and emotional imbalances, by enabling the body and spirit to become harmonized.

The Healing Arts

Incorporating a healing therapy can be very beneficial as you move towards whole body health.

A study was done with 22 patients; 13 with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, six with Ulcerative Colitis, and three with Crohn's disease. This study was created to analyze the perception of each participant following a course of healing therapy, and the data was collected via an interview.

Each participant received a 30 minute session of a healing treatment for a duration of 5 weeks, administered by practicing members of the ‘Healing Trust’. The type of therapy used for this study was administered from the practicing member to the patient via their hands usually at a distance of 10-12 inches above the body, with some light touching as well. After treatment patients reported improvement in their symptoms, pain reduction and better GI function. Take a look at the table for more information.

Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 5.38.26 PM.png

Our bodies can be characterized as a unique machine that works together to maintain a state of “homeostasis” or balance. Everyone is different in that their responses to these imbalances can cause a series of emotional and physical stress related states of being.  

I hope you all enjoy this article I wrote for Flowing Free. I've had the wonderful experience in introducing Reiki to many friends and patients. Dive into some serious self care in this article and learn more about how Reiki can be an essential tool in your healing process. For more questions about how Reiki can benefit you, be sure to reach out to The Healing Roots. Happy reading!


https://flowingfree.org/reiki-whole-body-healing/

 





 


 

Spearmint Tea- A Healing Herbal for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Spearmint Tea- A Healing Herbal for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Many women face the difficulties of polycystic ovarian syndrome in today’s society. A whirlwind of symptoms such as acne, hair loss, facial hair growth, depression, weight gain and hormonal imbalance can all be indicative of PCOS.  

PCOS is triggered by excess androgens. A heightened amount of free flowing testosterone is the main culprit behind symptoms. It typically affects about 1 in 10 to 15 women and even some girls starting at the age of 11.

I understand PCOS on a personal and professional level. The emotional pain and physical change can be very overwhelming for a woman. Bringing more awareness around this imbalance is important so that more women can find an answer during their healing process.

I specifically want to highlight PCOS today to touch on one specific herbal that may be shown to reduce the negative effects of PCOS.

CAN PCOS BE CURED?

Unfortunately there is not a known cure for this syndrome, but there are natural ways to support the body and reduce symptoms. Some include a healthy low-glycemic diet, stress management and moderate/ restorative exercise.

We all know that leading a healthy lifestyle can have positive consequences when it comes to any situation in life, but a healthy diet is extremely important in reducing the symptoms of women with PCOS. It is important to maintain a relatively active lifestyle because weight loss can help to reduce the symptoms as well.

HOW DOES SPEARMINT HERBAL TEA HELP WITH PCOS?

I mentioned herbals, and there are a few that have been used when addressing PCOS. One in particular that is less commonly talked about is spearmint.

Spearmint leaves are square shaped and contain an abundance of vitamins, antioxidants and beneficial nutrients for the human body.

Although there have been some studies done to test the effect of spearmint herbal tea on treating PCOS, it requires a longer duration of time to see significant results.  In order to see a decent improvement, women should use spearmint tea regularly, 1-2 cups daily.

One of the main and most prominent reasons why spearmint tea is recommended for women with PCOS is because the little leaves have an important characteristic called the “anti-androgen effect”. Essentially what this means is that it blocks the free testosterone in the body and inhibits it from functioning at all, in turn it reduces free testosterone by 30%. This is a significant benefit for women who are experiencing symptoms because like I stated before.  

The two key hormones in the menstrual cycle are luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone. Spearmint herbal tea will help increase these two hormones by 15-30%. As a result it will aid in regulating proper hormonal function for women with PCOS.

The table below shows the results from a recent study done, using spearmint herbal tea and chamomile as a control group:

Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 6.37.57 PM.png

(http://www.naturalhealthresearch.org/spearmint-tea-helps-polycystic-ovary-syndrome/)

I personally like the to stick to herbal teas that are high quality and organic. Try Traditional Medicinal organic spearmint tea for a delicious and blend.

Check out my herbal iced tea recipe below. It’s perfect while the weather is still warm and can keep you hydrated without any added sugar.

For more information on how to naturally heal PCOS through diet and lifestyle changes with The Healing Roots, reach out here.

The Healing Roots Spearmint Tea

INGREDIENTS:

  • Spearmint leaves (about a palmful)

  • 1 C. boiled water

DIRECTIONS:

  • Rinse the leaves with cold water

  • Bring 1 C of water to a boil

  • Drop leaves into water and remove from heat

  • Steep for 15 minutes then remove leaves with a wire strainer

  • Add ice to a chilled cup and pour tea over the ice

  • ENJOY!





 

The Healing Benefits of Basil

Benefits of Basil

Tis the season for summer gardens, overfilling with vibrant, fresh and aromatic herbs. I want to share with you my absolute favorite herb so that you can also experience the benefits!

Growing up, I was surrounded by fresh gardens in the summer. Naturally, I gravitate towards using these culinary herbs in the summer and dry them out so that they can be used during other months. One herb, in particular has won my heart for many reasons!

Basil is a very versatile herb and can be used in many more ways than just your average pesto! In fact, fresh basil provides vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, magnesium, calcium and antioxidants. Often times we look only to vegetables and fruits to gain the benefits. Try to be more mindful and conscious about consuming culinary herbs for the same nutrition!

Basil is also a powerful medicinal plant for its antimicrobial benefits. Studies show that when basil essential oil was combined with other essential oils like thyme, an antibacterial effect was produced against pathogenic bacteria strains like E-Coli and Salmonella.

Check out this delicious Raspberry Basil Smoothie recipe below! I’m giving you a complimentary recipe to try this season from The Healing Roots Recipe E-Book. I hope you enjoy the flavor and healing benefits from this smoothie.

Serving: 1

Raspberry Basil Smoothie

1 cup frozen raspberries

⅓ cup fresh basil

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

½ small ripe avocado

1 cup greens (optional)

Blend together until smooth and enjoy.

Root Veggie Cassava Chocolate Chip Cookies

As many people begin giving up foods and start to make healthier diet changes, the hardest thing can be parting from comfort foods.

These foods are delicious, sweet and have an indulgent taste. Obviously you still want them! I would prefer to give individuals alternatives that they enjoy as opposed to feeling deprived.

As you shift your eating habits, you want to find something that is sustainable! So instead of banning yourself followed by a guilty binge, enjoy these delicious and healthy chocolate chip cookies on occasion!

Cassava is a root vegetable and resistant starch. Not only are you enjoying the taste, you're also getting some fiber for gut health! They are also grain free, contain no processed sugar and are very simple to make!

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 cup cassava flour

¼ cup raw cacao nibs

¼ cup coconut oil

1 egg

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp sea salt

¼ cup pure maple syrup

¼ cup almond milk

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. In another, mix wet ingredients.

3. Combine together and form into cookies on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through.