Friday, December 18, 2015

Celebrate the Roadblocks

Someone I love dearly just received feedback on her functional diagnostic test results. Her clinician said her results were the “highest I’ve ever seen.” In other words, off the chart, and not in a good way.

I told her she has two choices. She can beat herself up or she can celebrate!

There is no judgment here. Just face the facts, if you are not 100% satisfied with where you are, then no worries. Carpe Diem, seize today, to change the roadmap.

You choose how to react. Recognize that you can either lament, “What’s wrong with me?”  OR you can celebrate the body’s natural ability to heal from within and recognize what’s right with you!

What is your body trying to lovingly tell you? Recognize that your signs and symptoms are the body’s only way to communicate with you.  The test results are merely a signal to change course.

If you are stubborn like me, or a type A Washingtonian that has been bred to “power on” and ignore these messages, then you might have to have more serious wakeup calls before it sinks in.  (Yes, I know this all too well!) I used to have migraines every Christmas Eve after doing all the shopping, wrapping, cooking and cleaning.  Now I’m learning to delegate and to lower my expectations of perfection.

Are you overwhelmed? Are you trying to do too much? What can you do to alleviate the stress you are feeling in your mind, body and spirit?

If you suffer from chronic dis-ease or malaise then try something new.  Take personal responsibility and make a commitment to the most important person in your life…YOU!

Here are a few suggestions:
  1.  Recognize that there are many healing opportunities every day.  For instance:
    • Address nutritional deficiencies and discover what diet is the right one for you. (Hint, forget the many marketing myths.)
    • Commit to resolving sleep issues.
    • Identify the right exercise program for you for optimal healing.
    • Explore different ways to breathe and
    • Learn how to plan, shop and cook for yourself.  
  2. Ask yourself what you can do each day that is yummy, nourishing and delicious. What life affirming choices can you make each day?
  3. Find someone who can help you uncover hidden stressors, work with you to co-create a custom plan for your own roadmap, and help you when you stray off the beaten path.

Enjoy the holiday season and let me know if you are interested in joining me in an online Kick Start Program to support you.

Lisa is an author, inspirational speaker, retired RN, Certified Health Coach and Yoga Teacher. Her book, Savvy Secrets: Eat,Think & Thrive; Seven Steps to Optimal Health, is a self health book to enable healing from within. Her goal is to inspire wellness and to help others look and feel their best at any age. Lisa is part of the New Self Health Movement, the International Health Coach Association, and the Wellness Inspired Network. She is the mother of four adult children, soon to be Grandmother, and believes that optimal health should not be a secret! When she is not coaching, speaking and writing, you can find her practicing yoga and joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance at every opportunity.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Cultivating Joy.

Relationships are a dance…
We need good balance to move gracefully through life, in our relationships with our self and with each other.

Yoga is an experiential tool kit to help you find balance. The Yoga philosophies give us a guidepost to help navigate the dance floor with ease and grace.  They allow us to cultivate conscious change and a wholesome relationship with self and others.

One of my favorite movies is Eat, Pray, Love. 

Why was this such a popular and powerful chick flick? It demonstrates the importance of the four basic aims in life described in the yogic philosophy. 

How do we cultivate joy and feel whole and complete without going on a journey across the globe? There are four basic aims and desires that we strive to accomplish in this dance called life. According to ancient texts these aims are called Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksa.

Dharma is our personal responsibility and obligations. As a mother, wife, employee and employer I have many obligations to fulfill. There is also responsibility toward the common good of society and as stewards of our environment. Through daily choice and practice we find meaning and purpose in life. 

Artha represents our material needs; food, shelter, clothing and anything necessary to fulfill our dharma. 

Kama is our sexual attraction necessary for human survival, and fulfillment of pleasure through all of our senses.

Moksa is the ultimate freedom and joy experienced when you are one with your higher power or with source.

Our challenge is to find balance in all four areas of our life, especially this time of year with so many expectations. It’s also a good time for reflection.  Are we having real meaningful family conversations or are we just going through the motions? Are we giving from hearts and desire or is it just something else we need to check off the “to do” list? 

When we are congruent and balanced with our four basic desires, then life flows effortlessly.  Then you are living and working in “the zone.”

When you are all artha (money oriented) and no dharma (family) or kama (all work and no play), there is incongruence and discord in the home…and stress.

So this holiday season, how can you pay attention to all four desires and aims in life?  Can you make conscious decisions to:
  1. Meet responsibilities to loved ones and family,
  2. Experience joy and pleasure,
  3. Earn money for food, clothing and basic needs, and
  4. Take time for gratitude, prayer and the quiet moments, to really nurture your soul and connection to a higher power?

Isn’t that what Christmas, Hanukkah and all spiritual and religious holiday are about?

Let’s celebrate all of this!

Here is a picture of my pregnant daughter and I posing before the White House Christmas tree, celebrating family (dharma) and life’s pleasures (kama). How are you balancing your desires this season?

Carpe Diem!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Shhhhh! Savvy Secret’s to Survive Holiday Stress

In my book, Savvy Secrets I explain the nervous system, particularly the autonomic nervous system which basically acts like a light switch.  We are in either one or two states, “fight or flight” or rest and (and digest) repair. Why is this important?  Because we cannot meet any of our health goals if we are constantly in the ON switch for Fight or Flight. 

Rather than give you an anatomy and physiology lesson, suffice it to say that most of us are in overdrive stimulating our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) responsible for fight or flight and need some support in stimulating the para sympathetic nervous system (PNS) in order to rest, digest, repair, rejuvenate and even to procreate.  Having trouble getting pregnant? Have high blood pressure? A serious chronic illness? Want to know the secret to slow down aging? Read on please…

Here’s seven success tips on how to stimulate the PNS:

#1 BREATHE…Just Breathe.  Deeply into the lower belly with a longer exhale.  Put your hand on you lower belly and breath into the chest, the side rib cage and then into the lower belly to the count of 4. Hold your breath for the count of five and then slowly exhale to the count of 7.  Repeat 4 times.  You can do this in the car, on a plane or at your desk.  Do this before meals then think of something you are grateful for.  You are now ready to assimilate and digest your food.

#2 BREATHE. Place your right thumb over your right nostril to block the breath there and inhale and exhale through the left nostril.  Do this for 5 -10 minutes in bed before sleep and sleep like a baby

#3 While deep breathing, scan your entire body starting with the feet. Tense and release the muscles so that every muscle relaxes. Notice where you are holding your tension. Better yet, do this to music and dance your tension away. (Let me know if you want to attend my next yoga dance workshop).

#4 Be conscious of your thoughts. Recognize the fear that keeps you stuck, Notice the ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) that fill your brain. Practice re-framing them. Concentrate on what you want and where you want to go instead.

#5 Be conscious of what you eat. Food can stimulate your SNS or PNS. Food can give you lasting energy or artificial stimulation that will leave you tired and wired.  Nicknamed “The energizer bunny,” I can definitely help you here. Write down everything you consume for 3 days. Simply doing this will improve your health.
#6 Discover your hidden stressors. If you are in metabolic chaos, you may benefit from additional functional tests to uncover hidden stressors. Some of us can eat all the right food, exercise and still have hidden toxins and internal imbalances that need correction. Contact me after the new year when I’ve completed my certification in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition, if you are interested in more information.

#7 Do have fun! Find an exercise that is joyful. Some yoga practices stimulate an already overactive SNS and some stimulate the PNS. Many include an opportunity for both. Explore and discover the right program for you that takes in to account your physical limitations as well as your health goals. Try laughter yoga, yin yoga, or dance yoga. Be sure to find one that you enjoy or you will not stick with it.  

Most important is to give yourself the gift of health every day.  Prioritize YOU, become the leader of your life and everything else will flow more smoothly. Rediscover your health by relaxing and having fun.

Carpe Diem, seize the day.  Learning to live in the moment means not ruminating about the past or worrying about the future.  Consistently practice these seven steps to make the most of each day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Oh the importance of Gratitude!

We have so much. We live in a beautiful home, in a beautiful area. Beauty is all around. So much brings me gratitude; family, friends, relationships, clients and patients, and continual opportunities for growth.  I’m grateful for life and my soon to be newborn Grandson.

But what about the times we don’t feel grateful? How do we “get gratitude?”

I’m reminded of the time my ex-husband hit my Achilles heel. He violated my trust and risked hurting my children in a way that I couldn’t comprehend, and created a rage I’d never acknowledged before.  It totally knocked me to my knees.

His solution? After going to 3 therapists, yours, mine and ours, was to “practice gratitude”. In other words, just be happy with what we had. Accept the status quo.  This can be difficult when the status quo is unacceptable. Like high blood pressure, like a cancer diagnosis.

This week I watched the movie Inside Out with my now husband and soul mate. It’s a brilliant piece by Disney on the importance and role of emotions; all emotions, including fear, anger, sadness and joy.

We must feel, acknowledge, and respect all our emotions. My fear and anger fueled me to make the changes I needed to make to live the life I am now living. It enabled me to change careers. My rage pushed me to succeed in a male dominated industry. It gave me the drive to financially support my family. It enabled us to buy our home in Great Falls.

Working through fear, anger and sadness has transformed me to the new me, with joyful loving relationships. Acknowledging my feelings and the feelings of those in my life has created deeper more meaningful relationships. Practicing gratitude is more than just ignoring negative emotions. Funny how my blood pressure suddenly returned to normal when I made healthy emotional changes. Acknowledging and respecting the emotions that inhibit our immune system and fuel chronic illness heals.

Our greatest challenges transform us; like a piece of coal turning to a diamond, or a piece of sand into a pearl. For this, I am eternally grateful.

What is the first step to transformational healing? Take an honest personal assessment. What message is your body giving you? Is it to slow down and rest and digest? Is it to look at toxins in your physical, mental and emotional environment? What small change is necessary to find inner peace? Can you find peace and gratitude in the journey?

This month, as we were discussing fear, one of our patients in our nutrition support group said that her cancer diagnosis was the best thing that could have happened to her. It taught her to slow down, to take time to prioritize herself and to relish each day she is here. In our group, she is learning new things, making new friends and finding joy. This is practicing gratitude.

I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. You enrich my life and for you I am ever so grateful.

Today, I made raw cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie for group. Visit my website to download these and other holiday dessert recipes.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Guest Blogpost from Modernize

How to Plan, Shop for, and Prepare Easy Fall Meals for You and Your Family
Kaitlin Krull

Getting into the spirit of fall seems easy enough when it comes to home cooking, but more often than not we can get stuck into a kitchen rut by serving the same foods week after week. If you have children, you know that they are notoriously hard to please, and that getting anything done when they are around is next to impossible. Here are some tips to help spice up your autumn cuisine the easy way and make everyone happy.

via Modernize

The best way to plan for mealtimes is to make a menu. If you write it down, you’re more likely to stick to it, so get out the pen and paper and start jotting down ideas. Planning week by week works the best, since most of us go to the grocery store once a week (not to mention your food will be freshest this way).

Keep the season in mind when planning your weekly meals. For fall, seasonal fruits and vegetables such as pumpkin, squash, and other gourds, carrots, apple, corn, and potatoes are tasty options. Chicken, turkey, and pork are also particularly seasonal when served as a roast or other warming, hearty fare.

If you’re struggling to think of simple meals, remember that the less prep time, the better. Crock Pot, one pot, and skillet meals are the easiest to prepare and to cook, so you’re in luck this season. Go for meals you can prepare well in advance and leave to simmer for a few hours while you and your family are outside enjoying the changing seasons (or while you get a few chores done, whichever you prefer).

Need some menu inspiration? The Internet is chock full of one-of-a-kind dishes perfect for fall, but here are a few of our favorites here at Modernize:

1. Roast chicken and cauliflower (Rachael Ray)
This one pot meal is super simple to prepare, and the cauliflower offers a creative alternative to some traditional autumnal vegetables. Make sure to save your leftover roast chicken for shredded chicken tacos on leftover night!

2. Apple-pecan pork chops (Better Homes and Gardens)
Skillet meals are a firm family favorite because they require little washing up and are fairly simple to execute. Apple and pork go perfectly together, and the pecan takes your meal to the next level.

3. Fresh, homemade soups
Nothing says crisp autumn days like a bowl of hot soup. Make your own Tuscan bean or tomato and basil soup and serve with toasted sandwiches or tear-and-share bread.

When it comes time to shop, don’t forget your list. If your budget allows, go local and organic whenever possible. If you can only spring for a few organic fruits and veggies, remember the Dirty Dozen and buy accordingly.

Be clever with meat: buying whole a whole chicken, turkey, or roasting joint will seem like more work at first, but it will reward you when it comes to leftover time. You can also freeze extra chicken breasts and packets of ground beef when you buy them, so if you spot a deal, then go for it.

If you know you are going to be short on time when it comes to prepping your meals, it’s okay to buy pre-prepared vegetables. Just remember that you will end up spending more money on less produce, so start teaching your older kids how to chop now!

After you’ve finished your shopping and you’re ready to prepare your meals, consider batch cooking. If you want to get all of your meals ready to go for the week, this is the way to go. It’s also particularly helpful for larger families and nights when you’re hosting the entire soccer team around the dining table. As long as you’ve chosen meals that can be stored in your refrigerator or freezer over the course of the week, you will save yourself hassle on those busy school nights.

Save yourself time over the week by prepping all your meals at once and utilizing your Crock Pot. Remember that you can store freshly chopped vegetables in sealed freezer bags for a few weeks, so the next time you’re motivated to chop, get it all out of the way.

To finish off your autumnal meals, don’t forget the seasoning. Using seasonal spices such as ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, and peppercorn in your sweet and savory dishes will bring everything together with little effort and maximum result.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Trick or Treat…Which one is it?

I have to be brutally honest. As a young mother I dreaded Halloween. I had three children under the age of 5. I felt the pressure of making costumes and carving pumpkins (my daughter still has a scar from the "safe" pumpkin carving knife), followed by the aftermath of dealing with the "treats".

Back then; parents who attempted to be health conscious gave out apples, only to find the news that someone had hidden a razor blade inside one of them. Overnight, we could not offer nature's bounty unless we were willing to trek to the hospital to have our bags x-rayed.

The worst part was the aftermath; the unbelievable sugar rush and inevitably crash, exhaustion from so much excitement and crabbiness for the next several days.

I was fortunate in that two of my three children could carry the ADHD label (had I wanted to bestow that upon them.)  I learned about the Feingold Diet and witnessed first hand the difference in mood, attention and temperament on a diet of fresh whole food versus artificial colors, sweeteners and of course sugar. Do you know that rats will choose sugar 8-10 times over cocaine? Yes, we are all addicted to sugar.

When sugar was first brought to Europe in the 1600’s it was kept under lock and key because it made people crazy.  Yet we feed it to our children in baby food with GMO & HFCS, in formulas, to this holiday of excess sugar. Given that sugar feeds cancer, diabetes and heart disease as well as negative gut microbes that lead to attention deficit, anxiety, depression Alzheimer's, and are a source of inflammation and all dis-ease, I really have to ask, 

"Is this trick or a treat?"

Am I saying no to sugar; no, to sweetness? Become a monk and move to Tibet? No. Seriously though, how do we really want to treat ourselves?  What can we do that is more loving and nourishing to our bodies? What happened to apple bobbing and making apple butter and real pumpkin pies with natural unprocessed ingredients in the right combination that nature intended?

Here is a simple yet delicious pumpkin pie that was made from a regular large pumpkin that my husband carved.  Ingredients? Pumpkin, pecans, dates, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom and ginger. It's full of spices that are anti-carcinogens and warming and healing to the gastrointestinal tract.

Now that is a treat!           Happy Halloween!