Are you eating for a good life or do you have “Orthorexia”?

I came across an interesting wellness article entitled: “Orthorexia: When Healthy Eating Becomes Obsessive.” Of course I clicked on it. I am known in our family to be border line obsessive on fresh food vs. factory food and I am often criticized for it.

Orthorexia is defined on the article as, “a dangerous and obsessive preoccupation with eating healthy. In extreme cases, it can become so restrictive that it can chip away at the patient’s relationships, mental health, and physical well-being.” There are a list of questions to ask yourself if you’re showing symptoms of it.

What was forgotten in the article is that a huge part of why we now have to read labels on our food and why a lot of us are careful of what we eat is that there’s been an impact on our health or the health of our loved ones when we didn’t use to care where our food came from.

Some of us have gotten severely ill from the lack of awareness about the local food supply we are getting. Reading food labels is the only way to find out how much preservative, and other laboratory derived ingredients are in our food. Much of these ingredients cannot be processed by people with sensitive systems and may cause moderate to severe allergic reactions.

The fact that there is now a label created for folks who are reading food labels, nutritional facts, and minimizing factory food in their lives just creates another box to put people in.  Another box we don’t really need or do we?

Are we eating healthy so that we can enjoy a good life or are we showing symptoms of Orthorexia?

There are diseases that can be controlled and kept at bay when we watch what we eat. It is a matter of finding what foods are good to you, what aren’t, and sticking to it. Once you find a sweet spot, nourish that relationship between yourself and food.

What You Seek Is Seeing You

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“Nirvana”

There is a silence,

a gentle breeze,

that takes over me when I empty myself.

What I’ve been looking for,

this tenderness,

this profound peace,

was in me

all along.

-DS

There is no price that can amount to the happiness I feel after a good workout. Working out at home and at the gym is by far the best “self-emptying” method I’ve found (long walks come in second, and meditation comes in third). It gives me an opportunity to connect with my mind and body. It gives me some sort of physical stress, but I can tell this is the kind of stress that my body wants…and need. When we empty ourselves, we break the habit of carrying negative stress caused by interactions from our immediate environment.

I used to push ‘fitness’ to the side when I was in my 20s thinking that it’s not a vital part of living. I always said, “don’t have time for it.” Fast forward to my 30’s I began to feel my body more, I have stress coming from different places, and I didn’t know where to begin my personal overhaul–I just know that something different needs to be done. It was overwhelming to have so many symptoms of unhealthfulness. I would constantly medicate just to pacify all these feelings of stress and anxiety from thinking too much about my health.

Luckily we have 2 young dogs that are eager for walks. Long walks was where my fitness journey began.

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These two special souls remind me that I need to stay on top of my health. They saved me when I couldn’t save myself. My Obi (Rhodesian Ridgeback) and My Akira (Shiba Inu). 

I started taking long walks with my husband and our two dogs. Washington is such a beautiful state for doing this kind of thing. The air quality is really good because of the trees and there are hundreds of trails to choose from. Luckily, we live close to a trail alongside a river that streams from Mt. Rainier. I started to feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. The feeling was similar to waking up after a long frustrating dream. Like, “oh, was I the prison guard all along?”

This gave me the idea that the more movement I add in my life, the better I would feel. I incorporated routine workouts, and wow, it’s truly life changing.  I love this place where it takes me. Which I think may be my personal nirvana. It’s so beautiful, so peaceful, and it’s a place where I know that everything is okay.

I see now that when we operate from this place, we feel good and confident that even the toughest storm will have a hard time shaking our foundation.

So I invite you to embark on a journey. Find what empties you, what brings you that genuine happiness, what makes you surrender in joy and peacefulness. When we know how to access this place and we continue to show up to the part of ourselves that want to be in healthfulness, our life and our well-being will improve dramatically.

Aloe Vera and its Healing Properties

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Experience the freshness by going to your local health food store. ❤ 

Aloe Vera Plant (believed to have originated from Sudan) is one of the most revered plant worldwide for it’s healing properties. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, saccharides, amino acids, anthraquinones, enzymes, lignin, saponins and salicylic acids–all of which our body can recognize and know how to process. 

There are many benefits in including aloe vera in your medicine cabinet, refrigerator, or freezer. 

Here are some of the benefits of Aloe Vera that I’ve gathered:

  • It soothes burns and skin irritations (some claim that it may even help soothe symptoms of psoriasis
  • It instantly moisturizes the skin and hair
  • It can be a laxative (so if you are new to eating aloe vera, you might want to test a small amount). 
  • Aids in digestion when consumed in its juice form
  • It can be used as a topical on inflammed body parts.

I hesitated buying it because I was lazy, until one Saturday morning while shopping at Whole Foods (at $3.29 for a good sized leaf), I finally added it to my cart. My husband smiled and jokingly said, we now have a lethal weapon in our cart. Yes, it’s got spikes on the sides but they can be carefully and easily removed using a sharp knife. 

Here is an article by Wellness Mama on how to deal with fresh aloe vera, she includes how to remove the sides, how to extract it, and how to turn it into aloe vera gel: click here to read it

I am amazed by the instant gratification effect that this plant have. I used it for both my dogs and I. 

Purifying Mask For the Face:

  • Mix 1 tsp of aloe vera gel with 1 tbsp of raw honey. Leave it on for 30-40 minutes and rinse in the shower or cold water. 

The Result: Clear, smooth, glowing, rosy complexion

Leave-on Conditioner For the Hair: 

  • Apply the gel from the roots to the tips of your hair. Massage some gel on the scalp as well. Leave it on.

The Result: Shiny, hydrated, moisturized hair

Conditioner for the Dogs:

  • I lathered the aloe vera gel on their coats and bellies. My Rhodesian Ridgeback’s belly is a little bit on the dry side this time in the winter. My Shiba Inu, just loves to look like a goddess. 

The Result: My Ridgeback stopped itching, and both their coats looked amazing!!!

Aloe Vera plant will now be a staple in our home. I hope you give it a try because it’s as good as it’s reputation, and it is very affordable. There’s a lot of recipes for aloe vera concoction that are worth a try once you have a plant in your hand. Here’s the one that I liked: Click here to visit the face mask recipes.

 

 

 

How Elimination Diet can Improve our Quality of Life

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We save ourselves from trauma when we are conscious of what we put on our plate.

It’s not easy to make good food choices and eat healthy in this culture. Luckily for us, our built-in body intelligence  knows when have eaten something that we shouldn’t. With awareness, time, and practice, we learn to understand this intelligence. Eating and doing good by our bodies are habits that drastically improve our quality of life.

On occasion, I indulge in something I know that contains one of my allergy triggers like red wine. Food additives that trigger my allergies which can cause body inflammation and my skin to break out are: sulfites, tartrazine, benzoates, grains, sugar, and other processed foods with preservatives. These are the ones that I know of so far that cause suffering and stress to my body.

Dealing with suffering takes away so much of our good energy. I remember being at the peak of feeling unwell (inflamed skin, abdominal pain, leg cramping, low energy, frequent migraines, and insomnia all at once) I felt powerless, I just kept asking how much more of this I can handle. All I know in that moment is that if I go see a doctor, they will put me on a medication that can potentially destroy my organs and affect my fertility over time. My health is not an option I can risk or gamble. 

The reason why I got into elimination diet is that I needed to be done with my physical and internal suffering so that I can focus my energy on my passion and my essential task (my family and my work). I had every reason to believe that I can gain control of what’s happening to me. 

One of the first things I had to remove were all highly processed packaged foods. If it comes in a box or a bag, I’d avoid it. I got into reading ingredients list on everything that I am buying. I stopped shopping at places that sell foods that are unfriendly to my body. If a store is not transparent on where they are sourcing their food from, we don’t go there. A year later, I followed it by detoxing from cannabis (both THC and CBD). Then I developed an exercise routine that can easily be done at home. I was surprised to find out how much it made me feel better and more connected to my body. I am reminded of how sacred life is. Now I have the energy and the will to focus on what matters most in my life (my marriage, our beautiful dogs,projects and little things that gives me happiness :)😘) 

What I would hear from my community when I tell them that I cannot eat from certain food group was, “oh how sad you have to give it up, it’s so delicious,” or “that’s so crazy” or “oh that’s great, but are you actually happy?” Insome ways, elimination diet may appear or sound extreme. But the results that we get when we eat only the food that’s good for us is priceless. 

We all have different body types, blood types, and allergy triggers. That’s why I recommend elimination diet by personalizing your journey. It’s easy to follow health gurus and popular diets. It’s hard when there’s something in that box that doesn’t suit us and we only get frustrated and give up hope.

What we mostly do in our home is a hybrid of Ketogenic and Paleo Diet. I mention these two diets because it is easy to find recipes online and modify them if there is something in the ingredients list that you are allergic to. The foods in these categories have eliminated highly processed foods + bad oils and is a good start if you want to learn what whole foods are. 

This article by Mark Sisson from 2012 helped a lot when I was beginning this journey, he has a good list of what to avoid when learning to eat clean and only shopping for what is good : click here to read it

When doing elimination diet, it is important to: 

  • Pay attention to the way your body feels after having a meal. If you suspect something on the food triggers negative impact, write it down. You will need to test it again in two ways: both in its isolated form and combined (mixed with other foods) form.
  • Make notes to remember what foods trigger your allergies. This is only until you remember what to avoid.
  • Read labels when food shopping (pay special attention to ingredients). Do not shop in a hurry. Allergen triggers can hide in those bottles of condiments that are sold in the market. 
  • Choose organic produce when you can. It’s better to know that somehow the food you are buying passed certain standards (organically grown fruits and vegetables still has pesticides but it is grown with limited application and the pesticides used are derived from organic matter instead of harmful chemicals that not only poison us, it also poisons the environment). 
  • Buy meat and dairy (if you tolerate it) that are not treated with antibiotics.  Although the labels will claim that there is no proof that this impacts us, the consumers, do we really want this stuff in our bodies when our goal is to kick what doesn’t serve us?
  • Get into meal preps and DIY snacks of only stuff that you know that’s good for you. The internet is filled with amazing resources. Find your favorite food blogger who is on a similar path. 
  • Prepare and eat meals at home as much as you can. This way, you have full control of what’s in your food. Most restaurants will cook with bad oils / fats to cut cost. Our  brain is made of fat and needs good fat to power through life. So learn to use and cook with good fats.

The hard work is only in the beginning. This is a path that will have long term positive results that will improve our quality of life. Know that there are others from all around the world that’s doing this journey. This is the truth that I keep reminding myself as I go along. I am not alone. 

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Meat and vegetables make me feel at my best.

Showing Up is an Expression of Love

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Photo by Ian Parker

What does it mean to “show up”?

To the best of my understanding and experience,  “showing up” is our ability to grant our passion and accountabilities our full presence. It doesn’t necessarily mean that our physical bodies need to arrive somewhere. Showing up pulls from our capacity and willingness to focus our attention where it is needed (either by something or someone).

Showing up is key to achieving success in our lives. It is a vital part of our creative process because that is when the REAL work gets done.

When we show up to our life and to our immediate environment, the things that need our attention and support gets taken care of. When we show up for the people in our community, not only does it strengthen our relationship, we also learn a lot from each other in the process of showing up for one another. These interactions that happen in our immediate environment has the most impact on our personal evolution and therefore are the ones that we need to pay attention to.

Showing up is an expression of love, both to ourselves and to our community. We may have friends and family that are not affectionate, or expressive of their feelings, but are always there showing up for us when we have a crisis or we just want to catch up. 

The people in our lives are here for the reason that we chose them to stay in ours too. To keep the connection alive, we simply must show up. 

We each have our own way of expressing ourselves, our love, our gratitude, irritations, anger, and all of our other human qualities that don’t necessarily define who we are. These are very short-lived feelings. What matters in showing up is that we are willing to do the work that is involved and we are willing to work through it, even on days we don’t feel like it.

This may be coming from a self-ISH place: there is a very satisfactory feeling that occurs in our inner self when we show up to our commitments. A part of what can keep us happy is when we feel that we have accomplished something, whether we are in the prepping stages of a project, or at congratulatory stage for the completion of it’s life cycle.

When we have a lot of things going on, the best we can do is keep track of our commitments and show up for it.

How to create a healthy environment for ourselves so we can keep showing up:

  • Self-care. Eat well and get the amount of rest that your body needs. We function better when our personal needs are taken care of. Make sure to create a ritual for yourself that will allow you to feel how special you are. Whether it is working out, a long bath, a cup of wellness beverage, sitting down doing absolutely nothing, a drive in the forest, a good read, …whatever floats your boat. That ME TIME is a must. When we show up to ourselves and our own needs, we can be sure that we can handle everything else that needs our brilliant presence. 
  • Create a good routine. (a.k.a setting yourself up for success) It’s all about the flow. Good time management is helpful when have a lot going on in our daily grind. So setting a time for the tasks that we need to show up for can help manage the stress that comes within the territory of being accountable. I start the day with a shower followed by a good hearty meal before my many things. If I have an appointment, I create reminders on my phone that alerts me three days before (in case there’s prep work that needs to be done), again the day before, and another one two hours before. For my daily tasks, I like to keep it old school with a notebook with an itemized list of what needs to be done that day, followed by other things / interests outside of work that I like to do that day a.k.a, play.  Before I end my work, I try to make another list for the next day’s important tasks. This helps me get a better rest at night. 
  • Pay no mind to procrastinating. It is a distraction to the real entity (a.k.a the brilliant, YOU) that shows up and does the real work. 
  • Make time for your passion. The things we are passionate about are what makes us happy, so it’s important to make time to show up to your passion. This is us feeding our soul. This is the kind of happiness that affects us on a cellular level which is really great for our health. I notice how much happier I feel when I make time to get into things I am interested in. 
  • Show up for the people you love. In this day and age it is impossible not to be able to reach out to our friends and family no matter the distance. The Internet has just made our world a much smaller place and there are so many tools we can use to let the people we care about know we are here for them.
  • Honor our commitments. By showing up. 🙂 

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Side Effects of Caffeine

My top concern is the health and well-being of my family. That is why I have decided that  we need to cut down on the stuff we drink or eat that our bodies don’t really need, as well as enhancements that only lead to suffering when all is said and done. For us, one of those things is caffeine. This is a tough one because we love the main effect it gives, which is a good focus on our work and that is why I go back and forth with this. But ultimately, I’d love to just not have it in my life because when I think about all the side effects, I can already tell that it is not worth adding this substance to our system on a daily basis.

Although the effects may vary from per person, here are some side effects of caffeine based on our experience: 

  • The body temperature tends to run cold shortly after caffeine intake.
  • Our body responds to caffeine like how it would if we were in danger, hence the sweaty underarms, palms, and feet.
  • It disrupts the normal function of our nervous system.
  • Because it takes time for caffeine to leave the system, it disrupts sleep.
  • Too much caffeine can make one so anxious, and lose focus.
  • After the boost of energy has worn of, we want more caffeine thinking we can dodge the fatigue that comes after. The fatigue wins regardless of the dose.
  • There is urgency to use the bathroom afterwards
  • If you have an autoimmune disease, it triggers adrenal fatigue and it can make certain body parts hurt as the body’s way of telling us that it’s too much to handle (ex. joint pain)
  • Caffeine is no bueno for our heart and blood pressure. It can cause our heart rates to go up as well as our blood pressure.
  • For women, it can put the “Pain” on our PMS. Click here for more info on this.

The first day of no caffeine consumption is always the hardest if your intake has been regular. It would feel as though you are orbiting space. So trust the process because the next day will always feel a little better knowing that you are making a conscious decision for your health.

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Howdee space cadet, we got this!

There are alternative beverages you can have if you are into having a morning beverage, research a good herbal tea that you will enjoy to replace your morning joe, matcha, or energy drink.

In addition there are supplements in the B-vitamin family that can boost your energy without giving you harmful side effects.

I started making lemon water, and do enjoy a warm cup of it.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Water

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I’m a big fan of the Beyonce’s Lemonade album and the emotionally liberating book I read that reminded me of  how good lemons are called The Clarity Cleanse by Dr. Habib Sadeghi (where the lemon water is part of the Intentional Unsaturation Diet Plan that I got into so much that it has become a regular part of my meals.)

I am a believer exerting continued efforts to being well and staying well. So recently, I started making lemon water in a big batch. I love how energizing it is when consumed early in the morning instead of a caffeine beverage.

Benefits of Lemon Water:

  • It’s a good source of vitamin C
  • It’s hydrating than drinking plain water
  • Great for the skin
  • Aids in digestion
  • It helps prevent kidney stones. The citric acid in lemons help combat development of new calcium stones
  • It helps flush out toxins from our system
  • It has antibacterial properties that can help with sore throat and other respiratory related symptoms

I would usually just squeeze the lemon on a cup of water and call that lemon water. Reading from The Clarity Cleanse book, I learned that boiling it with the skin on is actually better and more nutritious.

How to make Lemon Water:

  1. Bring 3 liters of water to a rolling boil
  2. Wash and chop lemons
  3. Drop the lemons to the boiling water and cover for 5 minutes
  4. Turn the heat off and let it steep for 15 more minutes
  5. Serve some for yourself and have the rest throughout the day.
  6. Strain before transferring to a glass pitcher. 

I put the rest of the lemon water in a mason jar. Next time I’ll put it in a good thermos to keep it warm.