Favorite and Life Changing Podcasts

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Are you a podcast listener? I LOVE podcasts. My addiction started slow, but once I found ones I loved I became hooked. There are podcasts for any niche thing you are into. I find I would much rather spend time listening to something that really resonates with me or be learning something over most (not all) of the mindless shows on television.

I have many favorites that have either helped me in some way, or I’ve learned something from or I just flat out find them entertaining! I thought I’d share some of my favorites.

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Personal Development/Health and Wellness

Happier with Gretchen Rubin/Happier in Hollywood
Goes without saying that I’m a huge fan of her work. This show has all three of things I was talking about. I learn little tips and tricks to use in my life, it’s helped me to focus on what is important and it’s super entertaining. It’s where I began my second Happiness Project that sent everything in motion for me and how I started my “18 for 2018” lists and every year after.

Happier in Hollywood is Gretchen’s sister Elizabeth’s podcast that she does with her TV writing partner Sara Fain. In the same vein as Happier but with the twist of life in LA as TV writers.

Balanced Bites
This one is no longer producing new episodes but you can still access all the previous years of content. This was PERFECT for me when I began my paleo lifestyle. Diane SanFilippo and Liz Wolfe are just a fountain of knowledge when it comes to clean eating.

The Doctor’s Farmacy with Dr. Mark Hyman
This took my knowledge of wellness and food to a whole other level. His guests are top-notch! He goes beyond just “what should we eat”. He dives into climate change, farming, mindfulness, mental illness, social justice and list goes on. He has truly opened my eyes to the BIGGER picture and has inspired me to get involved with food advocacy. Future project!

Infinite Potential with Deepak Chopra
Another teacher/mentor I have learned so much from . With all of his 21-day Meditation Experiences I did, this was a no brainer. Every week Deepak interviews a guest to discuss everything mind, body, spirit and beyond.

Ten Percent Happier
If you are familiar with Dan Harris from ABC News you are probably already aware of this podcast. Every week he interviews a mediation teacher or leader. I always come away inspired and motivated and I learn something new every single time.

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
It’s Oprah! What’s not to love? I’m a fan of SuperSoul Conversations on TV but if I miss the episodes, I can always find them here.

The Sheri and Nancy Show
If you are a woman 40+ I guarantee you will find this show not only relatable but entertaining! Sheri spent most of her career as Oprah’s producer and now with her friend Nancy they are working on their “pillars” for all of us to hear and learn from. This show is great. It’s all about the second half of life. Sheri is 60 and has no intention of slowing into retirement. What keeps you alive are all the things I talk about on my blog and on this show they are sharing what happens as they work on all of those things. This show gave me a total mindset shift. When I was approaching 50, I kept thinking, I can’t believe I finally figured out how to live and it’s almost over. I was sad about that for a while, but after listening to this podcast I have a whole new attitude. When I tell people my age I also add that “I’m only half way” and that’s how I view it. I’m in the second HALF. When I reframed it, I now think, “ wow, there’s SO much I want to do and I have the time to do it. Life is good”. But it doesn’t magically happen on it’s own. If you don’t work on all aspects of your life you won’t get there or if you do you probably won’t feel so great and will be force to stop “living”. See my post on my Wellness Wheel to see the areas I’m working on for longevity. Another way I’ve heard it described is “training for the centurion olympics”. I love that. If you want to get to 100 AND feel good you absolutely must train NOW. Ok, that was a lot on one podcast! Update: This podcast is no longer producing new episodes, but the old ones are there for you.

Being Well with Dr. Rick Hanson
Think of Dr. Hanson as a kind of Mr. Rogers for adults. He is SO CALMING. And extremely knowledgeable. His show focuses on mindfulness, compassion and happiness and all the science behind it. I find it fascinating.

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Personal Finance

HerMoney with Jean Chatzky
You may know Jean Chatzky from the Today show or Oprah. When I decided to truly get our finances in order I began listening to MANY personal finance podcasts. Some stuck and some didn’t. This one stuck. It’s informative and practical and she always has interesting guests. I needed a lot of help in this area. I knew NOTHING about personal finance and money in general. I was starting at ground zero. I’m so much more literate now. This podcast was only a very small part of my learning. I went to our local library and checked out every basic personal finance book and read them all. I found a budgeting method that works for me and now I work on our finances every single day. But the podcast keeps it in the forefront of my mind.

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Music (aka podcasts that makes me happy)

Disgraceland
Stories of rock stars behaving badly told by Jake Brennan. Not for the faint of heart. Some of these stories are just outrageous. But that’s what it is to be a rock star. Personally, I can’t get enough.

My Favorite Album with Jeremy Dylan
Great concept for a music podcast. Jeremy invites a musician to discuss their favorite album song by song. A lot of fun to hear what these artists favorite albums are and why.

27 Club
Another darker podcast from Jake Brennan. This focuses an entire season to one artist that passed away at 27 years old. I love a podcast that takes a deep dive and this one definitely does.

Rolling Stone Music Now
From Rolling Stone magazine. The best interviews and music journalists in one place. I love their conversations and find myself laughing all the time.

80’s Music Exposed
This is a fun one! Especially if you grew up in the 80’s like me. This is a monthly podcast where they discuss the albums that came out in the 80’s in order by month. It’s really fun to hear some of this music again and to hear the critiques. The two guys are musicians and also around my age so I like hearing their opinions about what they liked then and now and what holds up and what doesn’t.

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Random

You Must Remember This
Probably the most well done, entertaining, informative podcast I listen to. Karina Longworth hosts this podcast about old classic Hollywood. These stories are FASCINATING! The best part about this podcast and what makes it unique is that she doesn’t just pick random stories. She selects a subject and then goes deep. Truly better than anything on TV. This podcast along with Disgraceland have won a couple of awards and you can tell why when you start listening. They are just on a different level and it’s obvious the work that went into them.

The Librarian is In
The New York Public Library has a podcast of book recommendations and what I love about this podcast is how it’s relaxed, but intelligent. I’ve tried other book related podcasts and they are either stuffy or just someone reading a list of recommendations and info off the book jacket. These are two employees of the library who come to discuss one book that each of them read. The conversation always takes a turn into something else. It’s just conversation. I love it. It’s funny, emotional and educational. And very New York.

Clear and Vivid with Alan Alda
I’ve always liked Alan Alda. Smart and funny, just seems like a great guy. And loved watching him on MASH. I didn’t know until recently about his interview podcast. All the guest are well know and when Alda interviews them, it’s a sincere, thoughtful and intelligent conversation. Reminds me of BBC’s Desert Island Discs if you’ve ever listened to that podcast.

Lost at the Smithsonian
Assif Mandvi takes us to the Smithsonian Museum to explain the importance of one object in the museum per episode. He interviews the staff as well and those who are knowledgeable about the history of the object. This one is so fun to listen to partly because Assif is so funny. One of my favorites was Henry Winkler’s Fonzi jacket from Happy Days. His interview with Henry Winkler was just heart warming. Another favorite was Dorothy’s red ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Give it a try!

Listening to podcasts about things you are interested in or want to learn from can help you achieve all your goals. By listening regularly you will keep everything that is important to you at the forefront of your mind and help you stay on track. Win-win.

I’d love to hear your podcast recommendations! Thanks for being here!


Inflammation

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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. .https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/leaky-gut-what-is-it-and-what-does-it-mean-for-you-2017092212451

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 https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection.

Did you know meditation actually reduces inflammation? You can read more here. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/meditation-brain-changes-study_n_56b4b7aee4b04f9b57d93bef 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!


Seasons of Life

Day 13

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Happy Days = Happy Life. So simple, but so true. Increasing my every day happiness had become a goal along with everything else I was doing. It also seemed to just happen naturally when I started focusing on the things that would help me grow and heal. Like Gretchen Rubin says, I was “living in an atmosphere of growth.”

Deepak asked what three things I was doing in my life that made me happy. That was easy:

1 Meditation
2 Exercise
3 Reading

My mainstays. I’ve talked about them before. So, what was making me unhappy and stuck in the past (besides the obvious pain issue)? And for me that was worrying about what other people think. And when I say other people, I mean former “friends” who I considered friends, but turns out were not. I had recently made a big change in my life by removing my daughter from an activity and enrolling her elsewhere. This may sound like a small thing, but she had been spending over 20 hours a week with with the same friends and teachers for over 10 years. And that means I became friends with many of the moms as we watched our children grow over the years. When we left, I assumed I would stay friends with most of them, but that was not the case. Turns out when you make a change that is good for you or your family, not everyone is along for the ride. A major change makes people look at themselves. And then can get judgy. For example, sometimes when I tell someone I eat a Paleo diet, they start telling me all the reasons why they could never do that. I certainly didn’t ask. They just are feeling judged by my changes. This unhappiness due to the changes I made didn’t last. I was upset for a time, but now I’ve moved on and realized I have my tribe and I’m all the better for it. Those were not my people. I will say two of these friends stuck with me and we still see each other often. So, after the fallout I was left with the right people and that’s the way it should be.

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Next I was to look forward to the next 5-10 years at what changes that will be made in my life and some positive outcomes of those changes. Here’s what I wrote:

1 Being empty-nesters (good and sad)
2 Downsizing
3 Volunteering more

The idea of being empty nesters is both thrilling and devastating. On the plus side, we will be done paying for college, I will have more time for all the things I enjoy, I won’t be locked into the “school schedule” when making plans, among other things. Then, there is the obvious sadness that comes when your kids leave. Every time my son comes home from college on break and then leaves I am sad all over again. I’m so proud of him and excited for his future, but I can’t help getting teary eyed when I see a little boy and his mom in the library or at the store. It brings back all those memories of me and my son when he was little.

Downsizing! This is something to get excited about. I can’t wait to downsize our home! I’m so looking forward to a cozy space, not the oversized house we have now. Don’t get me wrong, our house is beautiful and for a time it was functional (although excessive). But this house no longer serves our needs. I’m already giddy about having a smaller mortgage or NO mortgage to speak of. It will be life changing and I can’t wait!

And the third positive outcome I see is the ability to volunteer more. I’m very happy with my volunteering life right now. I’m heavily involved in a cause I care about deeply. I devote quite a bit of my time to it. But I can see how I will be able to do more and step into other causes I care about too in the near future.

Have you thought about how you spend your days to make yourself happier? Try the following:

List 3 or 4 things in this current stage of your life that make you happy.


Is there something in your past that is keeping you stuck and unhappy?


List 3 or 4 things that you see making you happy in the next 5 -10 years.

I’m looking forward to reading your comments! 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 https://amzn.to/2JQ5OsU and The Whole Foods Diet by John Mackey, Alona Pulde, M.D. and Matthew Lederman, MD. https://amzn.to/32I7jCb

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. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cruciferous-vegetables-fact-sheet

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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. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/benefits-of-flaxseed#1 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. https://terrywahls.com/about/about-terry-wahls/

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!


Not All Oils Are Created Equal

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So, do you know the story of how we, as a culture started eating things like vegetable oils? I was fairly shocked to learn that these oils were used in manufacturing until someone had the brilliant idea to start selling them as a replacement for lard in this country.  And so began the uptick in heart attacks in the US population.  This article explains it very well. I think it’s a MUST READ. Extremely eye opening look at how we got to this point. I really hope you take a minute to read it. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/04/how-vegetable-oils-replaced-animal-fats-in-the-american-diet/256155/

Eating only healthy oils is another part of the Paleo diet that I adhere to. This means for me, I stick to olive oil, coconut oil and ghee. Unfortunately for me, avocado oil is out. Avocados give me horrendous stomach pain. It’s disappointing because so many healthy alternative foods and recipes are made with avocado oil! If you don’t have a sensitivity to avocados, by all means you should include it in your diet! In the end it doesn’t stop me from enjoying everything I want.

I just want to say that overall, eating a Paleo diet with all it’s health benefits and positive effects that I feel, one of the noticeable differences that I felt right away is that fact that I’m full after eating. I’m not starving all the time and looking for snacks. If you actually eat healthy fats and proteins, you will not be hungry. You may even lose weight. I eat three full meals a day with breakfast being my largest, then slightly smaller for lunch (usually leftovers or a salad with protein and my lightest meal is dinner, because you don’t need a giant meal to go to bed. I mean, it’s fuel and if you eat a big meal and then just sit there and then go to bed, you certainly don’t burn any of it. This was a HUGE mind-shift for me. I, like most people, I think, used to skip breakfast, hardly have lunch, do a lot of snacking and then have an enormous dinner and snacks through the night. Now, I love getting up and making eggs, potatoes and bacon with berries on the side, then going out to do my yoga, strength training or hike. I’m ready and I DO NOT get hungry during my workout. It’s a great way to live. Feeling satiated.

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Knowledge is power. Know what you are eating. We have been told not to eat animal fat, but instead eat these vegetable oils that cause heart disease. Animal fats are not the enemy. Needless to say, I avoid eating anything with canola oil, safflower oil, vegetable oil, etc. Take a look at some food labels around your house. They are in everything. Are you baking with canola oil? Is it in your salad dressing? It’s most likely in any chips or processed foods you have. My thought is, why would I eat something I know will cause my body harm when there are alternatives out there? I still eat chips but now ONLY the ones made with olive oil. They are out there. You can find them on Amazon, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s among other places. <a href="http://”><iframe style=”width:120px;height:240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=myawakenedwel-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B014GCS5FY&asins=B014GCS5FY&linkId=aae15585d2ef7be5487ee2b02c6474ab&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff”> It’s even easier to find them made with avocado oil! I bake and cook with coconut oil, olive oil and ghee. It’s really a simple replacement.

It’s all about choices and your “why”. Why am I eating this way? Why do I want to change? That’s what motivates you and will keep you on track! Would you like to make the change to eating healthier oils?  Try the following.

  • Go through your pantry and refrigerator/freezer, read the labels and toss anything with the following oils; vegetable, safflower, sunflower, soybean, canola, rapeseed, corn, peanut.
  • Replace with olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil or ghee.
  • Use these oils when cooking and baking!  Feel good about your choices! Hooray!
  • When eating out just ASK. If your server doesn’t know they can and most likely will find out for you.

I would love hear your thoughts! Please comment or ask a question below on this post or any of my previous posts. Can’t wait to hear from you! 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. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/celiac-disease/features/gluten-intolerance-against-grain#2

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. https://www.google.com/amp/s/health.usnews.com/wellness/food/articles/2017-11-29/the-trouble-with-lectins%3fcontext=amp

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. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6125071/

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! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1524760919/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=myawakenedwel-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1524760919&linkId=961771dc8819af9694a02c2b808778c7

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


Ditching the sugar

We all know sugar is not good for you. But do you how bad is actually is? I didn’t. I grew up hearing sugar rots your teeth and makes you fat. And although that is certainly true, it does so much more. Sugar causes inflammation among other things, which in turn causes a multitude of chronic diseases. Read more here. https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/what-sugar-does-to-your-body/

And more about the link between sugar and cancer here. https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/10/health/sugary-drinks-cancer-risk-study-intl/index.html

This was fairly easy for me to give up, personally, for a couple of reasons.

  1. There are SO many alternatives to processed sugar.
  2. Once I knew what it was doing to my body, I was completely on board.

That is partially my personality type at work (I’m an Upholder, see The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin https://gretchenrubin.com/books/the-four-tendencies/intro/) Once I decide to do something, I’m all in.

I think the best alternative to processed sugar is honey and organic pure maple syrup. I bake and cook with both. When I first eliminated sugar I was doing a lot of baking of paleo recipes to fend off my sugar cravings. But now I only do that maybe once a month or so. If I want something sweet I eat fruit or a Larabar. My taste buds have completely changed.

Processed food is not food. Period. It’s what some of us have become accustomed to, to the detriment of our health. Sugar is hiding in things you may not think of. We all know it’s in sodas, desserts and the obvious places but you will also find it in bottled salad dressings, condiments, soups, etc. A lot of foods labeled as organic still have sugar. Reading labels is key. Pretty much anything in a box or a can has sugar with few exceptions. Some companies are coming around due to demand but it’s slow. I was raised making our family recipe for salad dressing since I was a kid so I’m not one to buy bottled dressings, but if you haven’t tried making your own I promise it’s super simple. Or just throw some oil and vinegar/salt and pepper on your salad. And yes, I do like cooking. That also makes it easier. But I think cooking is a life skill! Not some chore to complain about like cleaning a bathroom. Your health is the number one most important thing. Without it you have nothing. I know this to be true first hand. Until you lose it maybe you’re not aware of how important it is and how important what you eat is to your health. No dessert will ever be that enticing to me when I look at it this way. I feel good. And that’s all I need. And I want to stay that way.

Have you thought about eliminating sugar from your diet? Try the following steps. Remember, it’s good to know your personality type. It will help you figure out the best approach for your internal expectations. I highly suggest taking Gretchen Rubin’s quiz here. https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/Once you know your personality type everything you want to do for yourself becomes easier!

  1. Decide to eliminate sugar from your diet. Hooray!
  2. Shop! Read the labels. Pay attention. Look to avoid sugar, corn syrup, fructose, etc. Buy replacements like honey and maple syrup.
  3. Try a few recipes for baked goods, salad dressings and replacements for your favorite foods. I suggest recipes by Cassie Joy Garcia, Diane Sanfilippo or any quick paleo recipe google search will do the trick.
  4. If you are having a craving eat fruit.
  5. When eating out just ask! Be THAT person. Lol. I am. I ask, I alter, whatever I need to do to get what I want. I’ve never had a restaurant not comply.

Good luck!! I want to hear your feedback. Please leave a comment with your questions and experiences! Thank you 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!