Lioness Lessons Series, Passion, Pride, Self Love, Spirit

In Praise of My PRIDE

 

Where My Girls At?

Where my girls at,

From the front to back,

Well is you feelin’ that,

Put one hand up,

Can you repeat that,

 

(Performed by 702…Writer(s): R. Stewart, E. Seats, M. Elliott, Rapture D. Stewart, Eric L. Seats, Melissa A. Elliott Copyright: Mass Confusion, E Beats Music, Rap Tracks Publishing, Mass Confusion Prod., WB Music Corp.)


As I began the process of writing this blog I had lots of words for what I have been feeling lately but none of them were quite right. The poet in me (such as it is) kept taking over. Finally I decided to let her have her way. She wanted to send out words of special meaning to the women of her PRIDE. Her daughters, her nieces, her cousins, her Aunties, her close friends and the sisters of her heart. Those that have travelled this journey before her, after her and alongside her. Each of you know who you are and what you are to me but just in case there is any question in your mind…”Where my girls at?”

 

The best times of my life were spent on “Beaches”

When I was so “Clue-less”.

We were “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”

Even when you wore a dress.

Yeah Sister we were living “A League of Our Own”

I was Doris, you were Mae.

But even after years have passed

You still won’t see it that way.

We’ve been our own “First Wives Club” while “Waiting to Exhale”

The bond between us spans time and space

But it doesn’t fail.

My daughters are my sisters too

The future of my PRIDE.

Magnolias made of steel

For them I’d die or ride.

Now we’re about to “Set It Off” like “Thelma and Louise”

And I got my girls with me

Living “The Secret Lives of Bees.”

Nia

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General Thoughts, Lioness Lessons Series, Toxin Free

90 Day Ready 2 Roar!

I woke up this morning humming “Happy” by Pharrell. Reached over and turned off my alarm clock and searched my ipad for my motivation playlist so that Pharrell could sing it to me while I slithered into my leggings and struggled to get my sports bra over the girls. I was prepared for an incline workout on my treadmill. No need for speed with this workout. This was purely about increasing my endurance, building my strength and…ahem…building my booty. Now I have to tell you that for the last few weeks I’ve worked out in my pajamas without much enthusiasm. Just enough energy expended to say I did it… if anybody asked.

 

But this morning, Friday, August 1st is a momentous occasion for me and for my coaching practice. The Be Well Lioness! 90 Day Ready2Roar  Beta test starts today!

 

I piloted a similar program the last year and it was quite successful with every one of my clients seeing real results. But I’ve learned so much more since then and I felt there was more work to be done. So I tightened it up. Added additional modules to the group sessions and made it more interactive. Yes. We’ll discuss nutrition. Yes. We’ll discuss exercise but we’ll work on stress reduction, the importance of positive relationships and the role toxins play in affecting health as well.

 

Be Well Lioness! 90 Day Ready2Roar looks like this:

It’s a 12 week program that consists of a cleanse to get everyone started. Followed by a clean eating, plant based meal plan which eliminates dairy, gluten and sugar in order to balance blood glucose, cool the body’s inflammatory responses, increase energy and as a side effect, promotes weight loss.

Group coaching occurs twice monthly and each group coaching session will deal with a different aspect of wellness.

  1. Clean Eating
  2. Goal Setting – Managing Expectations
  3. Physical Activity
  4. Avoiding Toxins
  5. Stress Management
  6. Identifying Toxic Relationships

It includes a Farmer’s Market tour, a quick and easy cooking demo and a discussion of budget friendly ways to live healthfully.

 

Generally  this program is directed at clients who are dealing with weight issues of 30lbs or more or a chronic health issue that can be addressed by life style adjustments ie Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity.

 

So far my PRIDE is excited and motivated. But I know this is only day one and change for them and for me isn’t always pretty, or fun, or easy. Wish us success. I’ll keep you posted!

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Body, Toxin Free

Pardon the Interruption…Uh Disruption

Many of the chemicals in our personal environments have been proven to be endocrine disruptors. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences defines endocrine disruptors as “Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.” This system literally affects every aspect of a human’s existence and should be of particular importance to those raising children.

The WHO (World Health Organization) informs us that pregnant women and small children are the most vulnerable members of society to environmental toxins and anything that stands between us and the proper functioning of our hormones. Affecting healthy growth, neurodevelopment and maybe even causing them to be more susceptible to non-communicable diseases. http://www.who.int/ceh/risks/cehemerging2/en/#

Last Saturday I woke up in a potion making mood. There was cleaning that needed to be done but I don’t ever want to add to the toxic load in my household. I desperately want to protect my growing nieces, my elderly dad and my adult offspring whenever and where ever possible.

My nieces are six years old and still have a lot of growing to do. I feel compelled to do all I can to make their home as toxin free as possible. Insulin, leptin and ghrelin are all hormones that affect appetite and metabolism. We have a family history of diabetes and obesity. I don’t want history to repeat itself.

My adult daughters may want to reproduce at some point. I don’t want to contribute to the toxic load they may already be dealing with and I know that one of the key ways to “DE-tox” is to prevent or hinder as many new toxins as possible from entering them and causing road blocks to their wellness.

Environmental toxins are also a danger to my sons and son-in-law. According to the Men’s Journal, prostate cancer may be triggered by the chemical BPA which is probably the most well known endocrine disruptor. In addition to cancer causing BPA, other toxins have been shown to affect male reproduction. Before you decide reproduction is only a female issue…think again. In 40% of those couples dealing with fertility issues it is a joint problem or the man’s fertility is the primary dysfunction. http://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/health/toxins-the-environment-and-your-health-20140319

And then there’s my dad. He’ll be 78 in August. The website for Centre for Studies on Human Stress states “Older adults’ bodies contain a lifetime’s worth of environmental contaminants, many of which can remain in their systems for decades. Elderly people are highly vulnerable to these toxins, because their brain has a reduced capacity to compensate for impairment, and because they have been longer exposed than younger adults.”http://www.humanstress.ca/stress-and-you/elders-and-stress/environmental-toxins.html

I know I can’t protect them from every chemical they may come in contact but I can certainly do more to control what toxins are in our home. So Saturday I went to the kitchen with my potion making supplies in hand. And with one twin on each side of me I made up a batch of Pride Lands All Purpose Cleaner. In addition to being a cleaner non-toxic product, making my own gives me an opportunity to use essential oils that lift my mood and energize me which is just what I need when I’m cleaning since it’s not my favorite thing to do. Come to think of it just knowing I’m protecting my loved ones, my Pride, improves my mood too!

Pride Lands All Purpose Cleaner

1 tsp borax

1/2 tsp washing soda

1 tsp liquid castille soap

Essential oils* – (I find that citrus oils work best…lemon, orange, grapefruit or some combo)…14 drops plus 4 if you like your clean scented.

2 cups of purified warm water

Add to spray bottle (preferably glass as citrus reacts to plastic over time).

Cover bottle and shake well.

Use as needed.

Works well in bathrooms, kitchens and other solid non-porous surfaces.

 

 

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Body

First Do No Harm

The words translated “First do no harm” have been attributed to Hippocrates but there has been much debate as to whether this quote came from him, from his “Hippocratic Oath” or from some other source. Quite frankly, as a Wellness professional, it matters very little to me when, where or who spoke the words. The concept is sound. And it is for that reason I am a proponent of Holistic wellness, natural and integrative approaches to health care.

Most prescription pharmaceuticals and OTC (over the counter) products have a host of side effects and contraindications while taking the drugs and another set that may occur as you try to wean yourself from them. Some cause symptoms that may require you to take yet another drug to deal with the symptoms caused by the first drug.

Dr. Mercola’s website lists these 26 “terrifying” side effects:

  1. Drainage, crusting, or oozing of your eyes or eyelids
  2. Swollen, black, or “hairy” tongue
  3. Changes in the shape or location of body fat
  4. Decrease in testicle size
  5. Sores or swelling in your rectal or genital area
  6. Blue lips or fingernails
  7. Purple spots on your skin
  8. White patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips
  9. Irregular back-and- forth movements of your eyes
  10. Enlarged breasts in males.
  11. Unusual risk-taking behavior, no fear of danger
  12. Extreme fear
  13. Hallucinations, fainting, coma
  14. Fussiness, irritability, crying for an hour or longer
  15. Paralysis
  16. Thoracic Hematoma (bleeding into your chest)
  17. A blood clot in your lung
  18. Liver damage
  19. Kidney damage
  20. A lump in your breast
  21. Decreased bone marrow function
  22. Congestive heart failure
  23. Shingles
  24. Nerve pain lasting for several weeks or months
  25. Bleeding that will not stop
  26. Coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/04/12/the-terrifying-side-effects-of-prescription-drugs.aspx

Let’s take depression for example. This is a condition that is becoming more commonplace in our fast-paced and stressful lives. Most folk feel a little blue now and again and some suffer from depression. Many doctors will prescribe depression meds for what may be relatively mild cases. A common drug prescribed is Cymbalta®. Possible side effects from the drug are:

Worsening depression, other psychiatric conditions, suicidal thoughts or actions, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, irritability, hostile actions, impulsivity, severe restlessness.

Admittedly depression can be very debilitating and it isn’t something anyone would want to deal with in the long term. It can be a chronic condition not just an occasional mood disturbance. We are talking about more than the blues. And in many cases an allopathic medical intervention is called for but there are much more natural, holistic approaches that can be considered to lessen the need for or the amount of medication taken.

  • Exercise is a tremendous help and it doesn’t have to be strenuous Iron man type training. Regular aerobic type for 20 minutes per day at least 3 times per week will do the trick.
  • Meditation activities including Tai Chi, guided or mindful meditation, yoga or repetitive prayer.
  • A personal spiritual practice has been found to reduce stress that may cause or exacerbate depression.
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Body, Brain

Slide Some Oil To Me!

“Slide Some Oil To Me”

Slide some oil to me Let it trickle down my spine If you don’t have S.T.P. Crisco will do just fine Slide some to my elbows And to my fingers if you would Slide some oil to me, girl Whoo! Don’t that feel good! Slide some oil to my feet, look I got toes again Come on and slide some oil to my knees And let me see if I can bend Slide some oil to me I’m beginning to feel just fine Slide some oil down my throat And let me lubricate my mind Slide some oil to me Go ahead, hit my shoulder blades Those who don’t have to lubricate Sure got it made Slide some oil to me Let it slip down my side Laying there in one position Sure does make me tired Now watch me dance! And let me lubricate my mind

 

From The Movie “The Wiz” as taken from the website http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/dianaross/slidesomeoiltome.html

 

Shhhhhhhhh! I have a confession to make. I am relatively new to how amazing and vast the uses of essential oils are. Don’t get me wrong there are a few I’ve been using for years with great success but I just never thought of how many there are or how many other things they could be used for.  A lot of the wellness coaches and alternative health professionals I work with have been using them for a long time for therapeutic uses. Many have found them to be very effective with little or no side effects in their own practices. I’m not sure why I wasn’t on this bandwagon sooner. I can’t recall anyone ever telling me just how beneficial they could be for health and wellness applications. Maybe everyone assumed I already knew. But I’ll admit it. I didn’t know the extent of the wonders of oils. But now I know and I want to share what I’ve learned.

There are quite a few big and complicated definitions of essential oils with big multi-syllabic words that are all accurate but…well…big and complicated. So let’s go with this more user-friendly one:

Essential oils are the natural compounds that come from the bark, roots, seeds, stems or flowers of plants that give them their distinctive aromas. These oils just happen to have some remarkable properties other than their smells. You are probably already familiar with a few of the basic citrus based ones if you have ever squeezed a lemon to make lemonade or peeled an orange before eating it. That clear shiny liquid on your hands was the essential oil of those fruits. They are called oils but they are in fact not oily like the animal fats or like the cooking oils most of us are more familiar with.

Essential oils have been in use for millennia and two of the most famous are frankincense and myrrh. Christian tradition tells us that these oils were brought to the bedside of Jesus when he was a babe and given to him as a sign of deep respect. They were a precious gift even then, expensive and rare. We know that the Egyptians used them for their antimicrobial properties during mummification to preserve the bodies of the honored dead as well as for their healing and curative properties. Alabaster jars containing trace amounts of many of the oils used have been found in tombs largely unchanged from when they were originally stored thousands of years ago. The uses of these oils were passed on to later civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans in turn. Ancient Asian cultures in China and India and in many ancient cultures in Africa used essential oils widely and have continued to do so.

It has long been established that scent is a powerful force in our mood and on our sense of well-being. In our modern world we are bombarded with artificial fragrances in every aspect of our lives from our cleaning products to our personal care products. These substances are synthetic hormones meant to make us “feel” good so we’ll choose one product over another but there are consequences to allowing ourselves and our hormone receptors to be manipulated by these synthetic products and those consequences are NOT better health or more wellness.

Now that we are faced with a world where so much of what touches us daily is toxic, many wellness professionals and Integrative medical doctors are turning to these natural products to solve many of our issues in ways that won’t add to our toxic load. That’s the part that matters most to me since one of the key ways I assist my own clients is in dealing with all the aspects of their wellness. After all it makes very little sense to me “Eat well” and “Move Well” in an attempt to “Be Well” if we don’t address the damage being done by subjecting ourselves to toxins.

Now that I’ve told you why essential oils excite me I would like to extend an invitation for you to join me over the next couple of weeks for a discussion of what essential oils can do for you and your family and some ways of bringing more of these amazing benefits into your home and your life. Maybe once this series is complete you’ll want someone to “slide some oil” to you too.

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Brain, Lioness Lessons Series, Uncategorized

Ah To Sleep…Perchance to Dream

You’ve heard the saying “a cluttered desk equals a cluttered mind” right? Well you know what else equals a cluttered mind?… A cluttered mind does. Seriously… there are days when there are so many thoughts, ideas and plans running through my head that I can barely form a coherent thought. So I started really using the task app on my iPad in order to break things down into more manageable steps. It was a great idea until it got… well…cluttered. The problem is that I just want to do everything!

I feel like I found my passion late in life and I have so much ground to cover. I have about a hundred years worth of things I want to do and only about 50 left to get it done in. I worry that I won’t get it all done unless I create some more time. So I sleep a little less. I skip a few exercise sessions. I’m not as careful with nutrition; sometimes eating the same thing for lunch every day rather than wasting time thinking up something fresh and engaging.

These are all incredibly bad strategies however because when I miss my sleep I risk becoming ill, my thinking becomes foggy and I get clumsy. Like the time I decided to turn around on a moving treadmill, fell and broke my coccyx (that’s my tailbone for those who prefer). One year and I’m still paying for that dumb move. If I had gotten a good night sleep, I might not have thought that was a good idea just because the woman on YouTube did it.

I think better on a good night sleep. My meals are better planned out and more enjoyable. My workouts are more productive and not only do I tend to be more creative; what I create makes more sense to me and everyone else.

I’m getting more sleep these days and sometimes I miss a late night email or text message and I try not to schedule clients after 9pm so I can prioritize the next day’s activities, work out and meditate before bed. On Friday nights I turn in as early as possible. I want to be energized for the twins’ ballet classes on Saturday mornings and the seminars I conduct on Saturday afternoons.

I have accepted that I won’t accomplish everything on my list every day and that many of the things I dream of doing with the rest of my life may not get done at all but I have more energy for the most important ones. I don’t fall down as much as I do when I overtax myself and I pass on dancing backwards on treadmills…while they’re moving at least.

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Lioness Lessons Series, Self Love, Spirit

In Another Woman’s Kitchen

This past weekend I got this tremendous surge of energy! I’d felt it building steadily for the last 2 weeks so when I woke up Saturday morning I knew I would feel good. I just didn’t know how good I was going to feel! This was a feeling of well-being, strength and energy like I haven’t experienced since before I ran my very first half marathon. It was amazing! (And long overdue.)

You see I ran that half marathon 4 months after my mom passed away. I was ill-prepared. I hadn’t trained all that well. Hadn’t lost the weight I’d planned to lose. I was in fact a mess. I started that race with pure adrenaline that dissipated at mile 5 or 6 but finished the race just short of crawling with nothing but fear of the sweeper bus to get me over the finish line.

Grief is a powerful force. It can sap your will and zap your energy. I knew that having lost my younger sister less than 12 months earlier and in between my step mother and step brother. What I didn’t realize was how long it could linger. How long unresolved mourning could continue to drain you. At least I didn’t realize it until…until it lifted! I woke up this past Saturday morning and jumped out of bed like someone had hit an eject button!

I relocated to my parents’ home to raise my nieces and care for my dad and I’ve made some changes in the house but the kitchen really hadn’t been touched. My mom was an amazing cook. I mean the things she could do in a kitchen seemed like the product of magic rather than any human skill. The kitchen represented my mom to me and I just didn’t want to “do” anything to it. So for the last 18 months or so I’ve just worked around it. Squeezed myself and my spices, oils and herbs in between those she left behind. It wasn’t the most convenient way to prepare meals but I was apparently still in a fog that allowed me to function without questioning whether or not that made any sense at all.

So any way Saturday I woke up and worked out as usual…maybe with more bounce in my step than I’d had for a while. Took a shower and sang a little bit as I washed my hair. Then I went down to my mother’s kitchen to make breakfast. I reached onto the spice shelf to get my turmeric and knocked over several bottles of stuff. I picked them up and looked at them. One or two of them contained spice combinations I would NEVER use and one or two of them had expiration dates that had expired. So I tossed them in the trash can without giving them a second thought.

I prepared my breakfast but noticed that one of the skillets had a cracked non-stick coating. The Wellness Coach in me was appalled because I know that the chemicals in non-stick coatings are toxic. Heck I’ve conducted seminars where I shared that very same information. Yep! I tossed it! It felt good. It felt right. It felt better the more stuff I threw away. By the time I finally sat down an hour and a half later my breakfast was cold but my spirit was on fire!

I felt liberated and at peace as I again prepared my breakfast. This time as I prepared my breakfast most of the jars and bottles on the shelves were ones I had purchased myself. The pots and pans were stainless steel and scrubbed clean using essential oils and baking soda. The veggies came from my own little urban garden in the back yard. I smiled a peaceful smile as I took the first bite of the breakfast I made in “my” kitchen. And I truly believe my mommy would have wanted it that way.

 

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