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Day 8

The first time someone explained leaky gut to me I didn’t really understand it. I was in the middle of all my pain with NO answers. But, this chiropractor was on to something when he explained to me how when we take antibiotics it wipes out not only the bad bacteria but all the good bacteria as well. So, not only did my drug reaction cause me injury, it pretty much destroyed my microbiome, which is the source of most of our immune system. Also, when we eat inflammatory foods our small intestines get inflamed which then causes particles to leak out of the small intestine and into our bloodstream. When this happens our body then thinks these are foreign objects that need to be fought. This is the cause of many autoimmune issues and fibromyalgia among a host of other things. If you want to know more about leaky gut and the effects on the body click here. .

If you’ve read My Story, you know what repairing my leaky gut has done for me. A forever lifestyle change. Once I knew what inflammatory foods were doing to my body and my BRAIN it was easy to make the switch. If you want to know how I went about changing my diet, please read my blog post title “A Lightening Bolt Moment on the Hallmark Channel”.

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This week Deepak talks about reducing inflammation for lifelong energy. Yes, an anti-inflammatory diet certainly does give you more energy and so much more. Did you know your gut and brain are connected and that your brain can actually become inflamed? This can cause another whole host of problems related to your nervous system and even your mood. You can read more about it here

Did you know meditation actually reduces inflammation? You can read more here. Meditation brings us peace and calm. Deepak says “Daily stresses won’t trigger you as easily.” I’ve talked about how transformative meditation has been for me and it absolutely has translated into my daily life!

If you want to reduce inflammation try an anti-inflammatory diet or paleo diet. I really don’t like the word “diet”. It’s actually a lifestyle. But, you can give it 30 days and see how you feel! I highly recommend Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo.

Thanks for being here!

Make Every Moment Matter

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Day 14-16

Making every moment matter was the next focus of my 21 Day Meditation. Deepak says that the present moment is the only real time that exists. Meditation takes you to the “now.” I have a much better understand of this these days and I no longer let future worries steal time away from me. Being in the flow means I can “feel” my way through life instead of the constant stress and worry.

Here I had to come up with activity where it felt like time stood still. For me this is being at the beach. I find, like many people do, being at the beach to be incredibly relaxing. The sound of the waves, the hot sun and the feel of the sand. Obviously, I can’t be at the beach everyday! But the point is to understand the feeling of time standing still, when you are in the flow and there is no stress and worry.

On the other hand, now I had to come up with anything that made me feel the pressure of the clock. I had three.

Getting older
Kid’s activities
Having dinner ready every night

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At the time of doing this 21 day meditation I really did feel a lot more pressure about my age and where I was in life. I felt like time was SHORT. Part of me was so excited to do all these new things and the other part of me was like, “well it’s great you figured all this out, but it’s too late to really do anything productive with it.” I look at that much differently now. Partly due to a podcast that I absolutely love called The Sheri and Nancy Show (formally know as “This is 50”) You can find it here. At the time of writing this I’m coming up on my 50th birthday. The entire idea behind this podcast is that 50 is truly the halfway point. It’s about working on all the health and wellness areas in our lives and making the best life we can and this includes following your dreams and pursuits. This is not a time to slow down or retire as previous generations did. Now is the time to use all your wisdom, focus on yourself and move forward into the next 50 years. This is exactly how I view the rest of my life right now. I’m working all the areas of my life to make it the best it can be with the goal of another 50 years of health and happiness.

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The other two areas of pressure of the clock were not as serious, but still some things that needed to be solved. When my kids were a younger, I spent a lot of time getting all there accessories together for whatever activities they were off to at the time. What needed to change was more responsibility on their end in getting all their belongings together instead of me. They certainly were old enough, and honestly I never asked them to do it before. I took it on when they were little and then never let it go! That changed with me finally telling them it was time for them to take over these duties and the fact that they were older and actually wanted to do everything on their own.

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The third was the never ending need to have healthy dinners ready for my family. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE cooking. And I’ve also always enjoyed meal planning and grocery shopping. But I was feeling the time crunch every night of getting even the meals I had planned onto the table. I didn’t solve this until recently when I discovered Cassy Joy Garcia’s “Cook Once Eat All Week” cookbook. If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen all my posts of the dinners I make out of this cookbook! I post my cooking regularly because I’m genuinely excited about the meals! This book is full of gluten free and paleo friendly recipes that are broken down into weeks with a prep day at the start. The idea is to dedicate one or two hours of time to cooking once a week and then when it comes time to cook the meals for the week you are only assembling and heating the food you have already prepped. It’s genius. There are a lot of meal planning cookbooks out there but NONE of them are paleo friendly (that I am aware of) and so good! The food is just delicious! So much better than most cookbook recipes I’ve made over the years, paleo or not and I have an entire collection of cookbooks going back years. Not only am I saving a TON of time, I’m saving MONEY because I’m no longer buying 5 different proteins for the week. I buy ONE and use it for all the meals for the week in different ways. I can’t say enough about it! Buy it!! You can get it here. http://

If you would like to start making every moment matter, start thinking about the ways in which you feel time. Try the following:

Think of a way a time when time seemed to stand still. Remember this feeling. You are working towards staying in the present moment to eliminate stress and worry!

List a few ways you are feeling the pressure of the clock. How can you make changes in your life to eliminate these pressures? It may take asking help from others or just making some adjustments in your day to day schedule.

I can’t wait to hear your feedback! Thanks for being here!

Adding the Good Stuff

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I’ve talked a lot about what I eliminated from my diet, now I want to talk about what I’ve added.  I’m fast-forwarding a bit to when I was earning my Holistic Health Coaching Certification. Which I did because I was desperate to know more.  I’m so passionate on the subject of holistic health these days.  I can’t get enough information.  I’m in constant learning mode.  A couple of books I read in my studies that made the most impact on my diet were How Not To Die by Michael Greger, M.D., FACLM and The Whole Foods Diet by John Mackey, Alona Pulde, M.D. and Matthew Lederman, MD.

The glaring message I got was I was NOT incorporating enough variety of vegetables into my diet, among other things. And I was not aware of the power some of these vegetables hold. Food is medicine has never been so clear. For example, the broccoli family of cruciferous vegetables are just powerhouses in themselves. In addition to broccoli, radishes, cabbage, collard greens, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, artichokes, arugula and kale are all part of the cruciferous family. As stated in The Whole Foods Diet, “Not only are these diverse foods all related, they also share extraordinary health benefits, particularly for preventing cancer. Dr. Joel Fuhrman points out that cruciferous vegetables are the most micronutrient dense of all vegetables, and call them “the most powerful anticancer foods in existence.” Read more about cruciferous vegetables as cancer fighters here.

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There isn’t a vegetable I don’t like, but I can tell you I was not eating enough vegetables in this category.  A simple change was to add kale to every salad.  Sometimes kale is enough, other times I get another green to fix with it.  I also add broccoli sprouts to almost every salad I make!  I shoot for eating one of two of vegetables from this family every day. 

Flaxseed is another powerful food totally off my radar. Read more about the benefits of flaxseed here. This is another salad staple. Why wouldn’t I add it?

As my diet stands right now, my priorities are high quality proteins, large variety of fruits and vegetables at EVERY MEAL, seeds and nuts and healthy oils. If you want to hear an incredible story of how food truly is medicine, I highly recommend that you read about Dr. Terry Wahls, M.D.  She beat her progressive MS with diet and functional medicine.  These stories are out there.  Why don’t we hear them more?  No money to be made in food as medicine is my guess.  It is SO important to understand how much we can help ourselves with the help of Functional Medicine doctors and our diets.  To read more about Dr. Wahls, click here.

Are you looking to add more variety to your diet?  Try the following:

• Shop for raw nuts (remember peanuts are not nuts!) Raw is best, but if you buy roasted look out for ones with peanut oil, and other unhealthy oils. Trader Joe’s and Aldi are my favorite places to find healthy nuts.

• Incorporate more vegetables into your diet and especially look to add cruciferous ones whenever you can. Try cauliflower rice, steamed broccoli, cabbage and kale in salads, roasted brussel sprouts. They are all delicious!

• Snack on raw vegetables. My favorites are red, yellow and orange peppers and baby carrots.

• Make greens a part of your everyday diet. The darker green the better!

Can’t wait to hear how it goes! Comment your questions and feedback below! Thanks for being here!

My Foggy Brain

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I dabbled in being Gluten free when I was seeing the chiropractor who was the first to suggest to me I may have leaky gut. (See My Story) But I was floundering, trying to do it myself. I was clueless. I got rid of things, but didn’t have any replacements. I didn’t know what to eat or how to cook. Needless to say that didn’t last long. In fact, I didn’t do it long enough then to even feel any changes that might have been occurring. Fast forward to when I discovered Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo and I had an actual plan as to how to cut it out and how to use other flours such as Cassava and Coconut in my baking and cooking. I just needed guidance. And her book was like my bible. I still refer to it again and again. It covers everything!

My Food Bible 😃

You may have heard that gluten can cause brain fog. That was absolutely true for me, but again how do you know at the time that is what is causing the problem without actually trying to eliminate it? I just thought “Wow, isn’t it weird how sometimes I can’t find the words to say”. Or I would hear myself talking so slowly, like it took so much effort. That is not normal and certainly not normal for the old/new me. You just don’t know how good you can feel until you take it out of your diet. Also with all the gastrointestinal problems gluten causes in those that are sensitive to it, it is difficult to say how much of my distress was gluten and how much was lactose. I’ve accidentally had dairy when eating out and I most definitely felt it! Other times eating out I know there was no dairy yet it still upset my stomach so there I would guess it’s the gluten. As a side note, these things occasionally happen when eating out. The restaurants are always accommodating to the best of their ability but sometimes they just don’t know exactly what is in the food, depending on the type of restaurant and how knowledgeable the staff is. Some people reintroduce the foods eliminated in the paleo diet to see how they do and what they can tolerate. Diane gives a wonderful explanation on how to do this in her book. But like I said, with my autoimmune issues, I have no interest in reintroducing anything in my diet.

There are some conflicting opinions out there about gluten. Some say you don’t need to avoid it unless you have Celiac Disease. But new research is showing that you can still be sensitive to gluten without having Celiac. Doctor’s are starting to listen to their patients. Gluten is another culprit in destroying the lining of our stomachs. It’s actually the way gluten is processed in food that causes it to give us trouble. You can read more about that here.

If you are considering eliminating gluten from your diet, try the following:

1. Remove all gluten products from your pantry by reading the labels. Remove all flours and grains including corn meal, rice, wheat and white flour.

2. Replace with cassava flour, coconut flour and tapioca flour.

3. Do a search for gluten free or better yet paleo versions of your favorite recipes. I always suggest Practical Paleo to start!

4. Evaluate how you feel. What’s different? Do you have less brain fog? Is your stomach feeling better?

I can’t wait to hear your feedback. Be sure to comment below and feel free to ask questions! Thanks for being here!

To Bean or Not to Bean

Ok, that was corny I know. But it made me smile. Let’s talk about legumes. Legumes are one of those foods that have a reputation for being part of a healthy diet for their fiber and protein content. But they also have lectins that irritate the lining of your gut, which leads to leaky gut and can be a problem, especially for those us with autoimmune issues. Read more about how lectins effect the body here.

But what about the people of the Blue Zones who make beans part of their regular diet? The people of the Blue Zones if you don’t know, are people in the world with the longest life expectancy as studied by National Geographic. Many, many factors play into that longevity and you can read more about it here.

With my autoimmune markers I choose not to eat beans. They obviously cause gut irritation and gas and I personally try to keep my gut as healthy as possible. There is a lot of hype about the fiber and protein beans have, but honestly you can get that and more from some vegetables, like broccoli and brussel sprouts. My goal is to not eat anything that will disrupt my microbiome. Especially because I’m still taking an anti-inflammatory for my neck and back issues. I am currently testing the waters of getting off them completely. That is my goal because anti-inflammatory medications also destroy the lining of your gut. So I’m super vigilant about my food. That said, it is NOT as powerful of a drug as I was on in the beginning. I’m now taking Meloxicam which is a low level anti inflammatory. I will get there. Right now I skip a pill here and there without any issue. My doctor seems to think I will feel more pain if I go off of it but I’m not convinced of that. I know my body. What is left for me to deal with is more muscular that anything else and yoga is working that out for me. I’m getting way ahead of myself here! More on ALL OF THAT later!! I got off topic a bit, but my point is I’m choosing to stay away from anything that would cause leaky gut or any other health problems for my own mental and physical well-being.

Did you know peanuts are legumes also? I didn’t until a few years ago. This is one of the many reasons why my blog is called “My Awakened Well-Being”! I was asleep at the wheel of my health for SO LONG. Awakened has multiple meanings for me, some on a much deeper level, as I will talk about later. There was so much I didn’t know or didn’t pay attention to regarding my health. I noticed a few years ago that I did not feel well after eating peanut butter or peanuts. And not in an “allergic” way. Just upset stomach, throat tight, just all around not good. Peanuts are not nuts, they are part of the legume family. So, this makes complete sense to me. I now eat cashew butter and almond butter instead. Try dipping apple slices into almond butter. It’s my go-to snack! Sometimes I’ll roll up a grain-free tortilla with organic fruit preserves and cashew butter. My version of pb & j! So good!

What are your thoughts on legumes? Are they a regular part of your diet? Try the following:

  1. Pay attention to how you feel after eating legumes? Do you have stomach pain, gas, bloating?
  2. Go a week without legumes and up your high protein and fiber veggie intake.
  3. Assess how you feel without legumes. Comment below!

One more thing!  I’d like to provide you with a link to The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin for those that are interested.  I talk a lot about her and her work here on my blog because I find it so incredibly useful.  I know some of you have taken the quiz that I posted last week.  If you want to go deeper or even if you haven’t taken the quiz, you may want to read the book for insights into your own personality.  Enjoy!

I can’t wait to read your feedback and thoughts! Thanks for being here!

Thoughts on dairy

I decided to continue my thoughts on diet after last week’s post on my discovery of the paleo diet 😃. I’m going a little deeper into each part of the diet that had the most effect on me, over the next few weeks starting with dairy.

Pretty much my whole life I said I had “a sensitive stomach” or “I have reflux” when the truth was a simple diet change corrected these issues for me! I don’t know why the doctors I saw over the years never suggested I may have a lactose intolerance. Until I simply tried cutting it out myself I didn’t know either (a lesson in taking control right there).

My acid levels were also all out of whack. It’s amazing to me now that I can eat anything I want without any heartburn at all. You’re talking about someone who was on Nexium and was still having issues. Not just cutting dairy, but my overall paleo diet corrected all of this for me. And no more over the counter medication which is even better. Looking back I can see now that a multitude of symptoms were coming from my consumption of dairy. Random rashes, stomach pain and gas, diarrhea, acne and allergies. I just do not get acne anymore. At all. Period. And my seasonal allergies are much, much less severe. Noticeably so. No more sinus infections or asthma. Such a better quality of life!!! Hooray!! How many people just live with being this uncomfortable and try taking over the counter meds that don’t really do the job? Too many is my guess.

You might be thinking I can’t give up cheese!! Well, you may not have any issues with diary and that’s fine. Take a look at the quality of the food you are consuming. Is it grass fed? Is it whole milk? Is it organic? I also suggest full fat milk vs 1%, 2% or fat free. These products are highly processed and are stripped of all the healthy fats. And as I said in my previous posts, healing a leaky gut is so important to our overall health and preventing chronic disease! How would you feel if you gave it a shot for a thirty days? Just to see what would happen. No harm there.

I still enjoy Ghee which is a clarified butter. I’m getting all the benefits of the healthy fats without the lactose. Alternatives for cream and milk are full fat coconut milk. The cream on top of the can is an excellent replacement for cream used in soups, sauces, etc.

Many people who can’t eat products with cow’s milk do just fine with goat’s milk. I will occasionally have a little goat cheese without any issues. Everyone is different! The key is to know your body and what works for you.

So this week think about eliminating dairy from your diet if you have any symptoms you may think could be stemming from dairy. Try the following.

  1. Eliminate all forms of dairy for 30 days.
  2. Replace butter with ghee.
  3. Replace cream and milk with coconut milk or other nut milks (almond for example)
  4. After 30 days reassess. How are you feeling? What’s different?
  5. Comment below!

I can’t wait to hear your thought on this! Enjoy your week!