This is not meant as medical advice.  I felt it was important I throw that out there.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been dealing with some very uncomfortable symptoms: heartburn (which started after eating chocolate one day, and I was so sad thinking I could never eat that heavenly creation again), bloating, indigestion… and when I say indigestion, I mean I’ve been feeling like my food is not being digested.  I had an apple, I felt it sitting in my upper stomach.  There were days I didn’t even want to eat, so I drank green juice.  I still felt full, and pressure all the way to my chest and throat.  Since the symptoms didn’t subside, I made an appointment to see my naturopath, who explained to me that when there isn’t enough stomach acid being produced the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) doesn’t get the signal to close.

Courtesy: WebMD.com

Courtesy: WebMD.com

The LES is a bundle of muscles at the low end of the esophagus, where it meets the stomach.  Stomach acid signals the LES to close, that way preventing acid and other contents in the stomach from traveling backwards up the esophagus.  When the proton pumps in the stomach are not producing enough acid, this bundle of muscles doesn’t get the message to close.  My naturopath gave me a tincture (a liquid herbal concoction) to stimulate production of acid, especially at every meal.  She also prescribed a test for H. pylori, a bacteria that could be the culprit.  I have yet to get tested for this pesky bacteria because of my busy schedule (although, there really is no excuse!).

I didn’t get better.  In fact, the symptoms got worse.  Nausea and headaches every time I ate.  Then nausea and headaches, even when I had yet to eat!  I gave in and went to Urgent Care thinking, “Ok, FINE, I’ll see what a so-called real doctor says” (since most people don’t consider my naturopath a REAL DOCTOR, even though she is).  Funny enough, I was told the opposite of what my naturopath had told me at Urgent Care: an overproduction of acid was the problem according to the physician’s assistant who saw me.  According to her, the proton pumps in my stomach responsible for acid production were going nuts!  Of course, my first thought was, “Wouldn’t an overproduction of acid actually mean my food would be digested?”  Her response, “Not necessarily.”  She wanted to put me on Prilosec for 30 days.  THIRTY DAYS!  And possibly longer.  The Prilosec would neutralize the acid, while also telling the proton pumps to chill (like my medical jargon? ha!).  So this physician’s assistant gave me some white, and disgusting drink with the disclaimer, “This is gross, but if it works we’ll know that’s what the issue is..” (referring to acid reflux caused by overactive proton pumps).  FINE.  I guess I’ll take it.  Immediately my tongue and throat started going numb.  Then it dawned on me, this isn’t fixing the problem, this is NUMBING ME so I don’t feel the symptoms!  Yea, no thanks.  I don’t need to cover up symptoms, I’d like to get to the root of the problem.  Not to mention, it didn’t work anyway.

So, as I’ve done many a time before, I left the doctor’s office, in this case Urgent Care, with the determination to do my own research and tackle whatever the heck is going on with me naturally… or as naturally as possible.

While researching I came across so much information about how horrible acid blockers and proton pump inhibitors (medications that tell the acid producing pumps in your tummy to quit it) actually are. In fact, these medications actually CAUSE the very same symptoms they are intended to rid you of, once you stop using them; so, are you supposed to take these for LIFE?!  Ummmmm no thanks (just taking a moment to remind you this isn’t medical advice, and also don’t get off your medications without consulting your doctor).  Not to mention, all the research I’ve come across actually backs up my naturopath’s diagnosis, and refutes what I was told at Urgent Care.

I guess I just needed to be reminded why I have a naturopath, who works with me to find natural ways of healing.  I also really like her, her name is Jennifer Abercrombie and I’ve linked her page all throughout this post.

As I write this I am still feeling symptoms: heartburn being the main one.  From all of my research I’m starting to self-diagnose, but will follow up with my naturopath and will make sure to take that recommended H. pylori test.  I’ll keep you updated.

Long story short, do your research.  Take the reins of your own health.

xoxo

medicine

Food is sooooooooooooo GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!  Especially the fried kind…the high-carb kind…the kind you eat for dessert… nom nom nom…ALL OF IT!  Most of our lives revolve around food or thoughts about food.  The thoughts about what we are going to eat, what we SHOULD eat, what we SHOULDN’T eat, the guilt about what we ARE eating that we SHOULDN’T be eating.  It’s such an obsession.  It’s exhausting.

Recently, as I was beating myself up (AGAIN) for gaining weight (AGAIN) over the past few months, I realized that I don’t think I’ve ever really eaten according to my long term goals.  I juice for days to lose weight quick and then I binge.  I go on cleanses and then I binge.  I guess I just don’t have a middle ground.  In any case, everything that I’ve been doing is counterproductive…kind of explains why I have yet to reach my fitness goals and stay there, or why my weight fluctuates so much.

The truth is, if it were that easy the weight loss and fitness industry wouldn’t be making billions of dollars off us!  Because, well, it’s not easy.  It takes commitment, consistency, and will power.  It takes saying no to that cupcake, when you reaaaaally want to stuff it in your mouth.  It takes making the choices that ARE in alignment with your fitness and weight goals, moment to moment, day after day.  And, no, that’s not easy, especially when everyone around you isn’t on board, and when food seems to have such control over us.  It takes telling all that food that, no, it does NOT have control over you.

Food should nourish, rebuild, energize, give life…not take it by controlling your every thought.  I don’t really know where I’m going with all this… except that it’s time to regain control and not be at the mercy of sweet, salty, fried, and savory.  CONTROL ME NOT, food…CONTROL. ME. NOT!

food

a year from now

So part of falling off the wagon, unfortunately, sometimes includes not finishing things we told ourselves we would do. Maybe we set out, fully motivated, to start a new project or reach a new goal, and as the motivation waned, so did our efforts to reach the goal. Suddenly, we find ourselves back where we started; and, what’s worse, on top of that we are beating ourselves up, and left with the regret and guilt caused by thoughts such as, “if only I had kept going.”  Such are the thoughts swirling around my head as I contemplate many of the things I started months back, but then lost motivation, got distracted, lacked discipline, or simply got lazy.  One of them being a book I started working on, and told myself I would write every day.  I was good about it for quite a while, maybe a few months even…then I skipped one day, two days, a week, two months.

But, see, I want to be a finisher, not a half-asser.

So, in that spirit, I encourage you to re-start something you never finished, and, this time, see it through. Goals won’t be accomplished overnight.  It takes consistent and persistent effort.  But don’t you want to know what it feels like when you’ve reached the finish line?  When you’ve lost the motivation, visualize exactly that, yourself standing at the finish line looking back at what you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come…let that feeling drive you. Remember what the failed attempts feel like…you know, that feeling that totally sucks… let THAT feeling drive you.  When you want to give up, don’t.  Nope.  Not this time.  Not anymore.  We are going to start to finish what we start!

 

 

It happens to the best of us.  Maybe we get comfortable, maybe life got in the way, maybe we got in the way of ourselves.  Falling off track.  It happens.  And sometimes, let’s be honest here, it happens because we got lazy, or we were full of excuses.  Whatever it may be: diet, exercise, blogging… in my case, all three… sometimes we fall off the wagon.  After dealing with depression for a few months (more on that in a future post) I’ve been having a bit of fun lately, which, of course, there’s nothing wrong with, except for the fact that it’s gotten me a little bit further from my goals than I’d like to be.  Recently, however, I decided to make a new determination and strengthen my commitment to my goals.  I usually don’t make new year’s resolutions (yes, I know it’s a little late) because I feel like I’m always working on myself anyway, but in the past few weeks I’ve decided this year I’m going to tackle one of the most crucial contributors to success in any area of life: discipline.

Discipline is the missing link, at least for me, between where I am and where I want to be.  Where motivation fails, discipline can save you… or, at the very least, keep you going.  Discipline is doing the things you know you need to do to get closer to your goals, even when you are too tired, too lazy, too busy, too (fill in the blank) to actually get your butt up and do them.

try again

 

The beautiful thing about life is that every single moment is full of opportunity… to get back on track, to start fresh, to get back up, to recommit, to get closer to our goals.  I’m taking this opportunity to recommit to you, and to myself.  It’s LITERALLY a new day, how ideal to post this right at midnight… totally not intentional, but I like the way that worked out… so, yes, it’s a new day!  Let go of what happened yesterday, last week, etc.  Let go of beating yourself up.  Instead, decide right now what you’re going to do (or in some cases, not do) in this moment to get back on track.  We can do it together.

Sending you lots of love and unicorn kisses!

nv

Can you imagine being told, “I will love you when you’re in better shape,” “I think you’re great, but I would really love you if you had more money,” “I would really fall in love with you if you were prettier.” What kind of messed up person would say that to someone, right?!? In the midst of the “Oh heeeeeeell no” that is going on in your head right now and the, “If someone EVER told me that!!!!!!” sassiness you got going… what if I told you, someone HAS told you that before? In fact, you’ve probably heard it several times, in different ways and through different actions, from none other than YOURSELF. Yup. Think about it. We set all these conditions for love and happiness. “Sure I like myself…but I would love myself if I lost a few pounds.” “Yea, life is alright, but I’ll be really happy when I get a promotion.”

You wouldn’t take it from anyone else, so why take that kind of limited conditional love from yourself? And yet we do it almost daily. Judging ourselves, beating ourselves up, and depriving ourselves of self-love because we aren’t this, don’t have that, and don’t look this way or that. Ok, so let me ask you this: when does it stop? When you attain that thing you think you want or need to love yourself or be happy…will you, in fact, love yourself and be happy once and for all?

photo-5When you set conditions for love and happiness you send a message to yourself and the Universe that you are not worthy, not deserving, and that you are not enough as you are. When love and happiness come only if this or that happens, that love and happiness will dissipate if the conditions set forth change. How fleeting and unfulfilling it is to love and be happy based on factors outside yourself. And funny enough, like I mentioned before, we wouldn’t take that from a partner or anyone else, and yet we set all kinds of conditions, not only for ourselves, but for others as well. “I will do this for you, but what do I get out of it?” “She didn’t invite me to her party so I’m not going to invite her to mine.” “I love you, but I really want you to change.”

Conditions keep us away from the true love and happiness that we deserve, the true essence of joy that we are at the core. When we were born, we were blank slates, bouncing baby boys and girls with no expectations. When and how did we start setting all these conditions that became a brick wall cemented one condition at a time keeping us disconnected from feeling unconditional love for ourselves and for others and experiencing happiness regardless of the circumstances? Love and happiness are states of being. How beautiful it would be to love and be happy independently of the changing tides of life. Because you deserve it. Because the world needs it. Because it would be a complete waste of your beautiful life to spend it incessantly wanting and basing love and happiness on getting.

By no means am I saying not to strive to be better.  What I am saying is you don’t NEED to be anything other than what you are to feel love and happiness.  Working on yourself is a part of life, but as you do, accept and love yourself without conditions.  Be gentle, be kind.  Kick the conditions to the curb.

I love you…without conditions.
xoxo

how would your life be differentI don’t like chisme, pronounced “cheese-meh”… that is, gossiping. I’ve been guilty of it, and it seems it’s difficult to stay away from because, if you pay attention to what people talk about, you’ll notice how prevalent gossip is in most conversations. Gossip doesn’t necessarily ONLY refer to talking about other people, that’s a huge part of it; but, it also includes stories you share about yourself, especially when it involves making yourself the victim. It’s easy to think, “Well I’m just sharing what happened to me, how is that bad?” Well, most often we keep sharing how this co-worker upset me, or how you can’t believe that you got rear-ended, or how you were dating this guy/girl and then he/she stopped talking to you out of nowhere… ok, you get the point.

We LOVE to talk about the bad stuff. But consider that in re-telling the story you’re staying in a negative energetic space, one that will most likely keep attracting more of the same.   I’m not a talker, I know that’s weird considering I’m a TV host/reporter and I talk A LOT on TV, but in life there are so many things I do not talk about; especially over the last few years, where I’ve become extremely aware of what I put out into the Universe. And most often I have very little or no response to gossip, particularly if it has to do with someone speaking badly of someone else. But even just listening is as much a part of the problem as doing the actual gossiping. When you’re involved in a negative conversation, much like when having a negative thought, there is actually a chemical reaction that occurs in the brain and body, the effects of which can be worse than smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating junk food. Considering that fact, your health can be compromised by constant gossiping or even just listening to gossip.

happiest people

Personally, I’ve learned to remove myself from situations and distance myself from relationships that involve a lot of gossip. Or, if I am in a situation where someone is complaining about someone else, for example, I offer a different perspective hoping to bring light to the situation versus being pulled to the dark side.  Don’t be pulled to the dark side.  Consider stopping the gossip standing up for your health.  You may need to distance yourself from people, and they may be upset at you or judge you.  That’s ok.  That’s their battle, not yours.
Do you think you can stay away from gossip for one entire day?  I think you can.  How about you give it a go?  For the next 24 hours do not gossip, and if others try to gossip to you, change the conversation.  You can even be honest and say, “Hey I’m trying this thing for a whole day where I don’t gossip.”  Who knows, maybe you may even inspire them to do the same.  You may even decide to do it for 2 days, or 3 or a whole week!  Leave a comment and let me know how it goes.
As always sending you lots of love.
xoxo
nv

 

That’s exactly the kind of response I receive when people find out I’m juicing… for the next 30 days (well 19 more days, to be exact). Which is why I haven’t told many people…I’m not a fan of explaining myself, or why I do what I do. And, yes, it sounds absolutely crazy, even to me. Just to confirm my level of insanity people are like, “Juicing? You mean, no food? At all? JUST JUICES?!! For THIRTY days?” With each word carefully enunciated, as if I would all of a sudden say, “Oh no no, I thought you were asking something else.” So just to be über clear: I have decided to go on a juice fast for 30 days. This means ONLY fresh vegetable and fruit juices, water, and herbal tea. I drink about 4-6 juices a day, and I mix it up as much as possible to make sure I’m not missing out on vital nutrients. So don’t worry I’m not starving myself, because, of course, the next thought and question people have is, “Is that even healthy? How are you getting protein?” I won’t get into all of that, because this can get quite long… instead, let’s get into what you really want to know…

image-1

Why? Well, other than apparently having lost my mind, the biggest reason is actually to see if I could be disciplined enough to go through such a cleansing process. That’s another reason: cleansing. After dealing with a few health issues, and some back problems AND being diagnosed with arthritis in my lower back, I want to remove everything that can be causing inflammation (all illness essentially begins with inflammation of some sort). While a few days of clean eating and juicing can be very cleansing, usually we end up going back to foods that may be having an adverse effect on our bodies.   When you remove EVERYTHING for a longer period of time, eventually your palate changes, you tune in to your body, and you are able to tell the difference between cravings and nutritional needs. At the end of it all, when you SLOWLY reintroduce foods there’s no way of denying what foods just don’t work with you… trust me, your body will let you know: bloating, discomfort, gas, pain, acne, fatigue, nausea, headaches, just to name a few.

Now I’m not asking you to do a 30-day, 20-day, 10-day or even a week-long cleanse. BUT how about….(you’re thinking I’m ‘bout to say something crazy…chill…wait for it)… you just try incorporating juices into your daily diet? Let’s say 1 per day? Or at least every other day? Try it. See how you feel. To help you out, check out some of my favorite juice combinations below. Sending you lots of juicy love ;)

 

Nat’s Fave

3 cups of kale

2 apples

1 lemon (peeled)

1” piece of ginger (optional, for a little kick)

 

Asparott

4 carrots

10 asparagus spears

1 lemongrass stem

 

Mean Green Juice (from Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead documentary – a must watch!)

1 cucumber

4 celery stalks

2 apples

6-8 kale leaves

½ lemon (peeled)

1” piece of ginger

time use worst

If you wish you had more time, watch where your time goes.  Chances are the Facebook posting, the channel surfing, the Pinterest pinning and the twitter roaming could be sucking you dry of the precious time you do have.  In what areas can you manage yourself a little better to free up time for things you need to get done?

Wishing you a productive week!
xoxo

To many interpreters of The Secret, one must merely sit, preferably in sun-salutation pose, and think of that which is most desired for it to appear, almost as if teleported from the land of eternal possibilities, right to your doorstep…better yet right in front of your big toe, at arm’s length.  While I believe in the law of attraction, and have seen it at work many times in my life, this information can be misleading.  The result: lots of doing nothing, with the energetic intention of getting something.

On the other end of the spectrum we have the doers, of the “good things come to those who work hard” school.  The result: lots of doing A LOT, with the energetic intention of doing A LOT.

While the “thoughts become things” concept can be proven by quantum physics, specifically the work of Werner Heisenberg, it’s still widely considered hocus-pocus mumbo-jumbo.  And, on the other hand, we all know of people who work and work, and do and do all their lives to no avail.  So, who’s right?

 

Both.  For some reason we seem to love to compartmentalize, thinking our arm is separate from our leg is separate from our stomach is separate from our head.  The Universe/Source/God, you, me, our thoughts, our actions, our bodies, all other beings, and everything in between are intricately interwoven.  EVERYTHING you do, say, think, and feel has contributed to what you are getting out of life in this very moment.

you create reality

Then you think, “Man, but that’s a lot of work to get my head, heart, and actions all working together!”  Yea, it is.  Truly getting the Universe to deliver your dreams to your doorstep is a team effort of all the parts that make up your amazing self. It’s choosing your thoughts, exploring your feelings, and consequently aligning your actions.  A million dollars would be nice, and you can meditate and visualize living the millionaire’s lifestyle, in fact, that’s a huge part of it.  But, what was that?  Did you say you never play the lottery?  Oh, that’s cool.  And how about you?  Did I hear you say that you ALWAYS buy a lotto ticket at 7-11 but you “know” you’ll never win?  Alrighty then.  So, do you see how disconnected we are?  Play the lotto AND act as though you’re already a millionaire.  Believe it, feel it, act on it.  It’s really the only way to create a life you love.  Do the work, and you’ll be surprised at how much life reacts in your favor.

Sending you lots of love and big hugs
xoxo

 

Ever notice how we are always looking for someone to tell us what we should do, how we should live our lives, and even what to eat?  We seek the advice of family, friends, experts, Google… for pretty much everything.  While Google and everyone else on your go-to list might have some pretty good info and have your best interest in mind, bottom line is they don’t know your life.  As opposed to what that stretchy tank top has printed on the tag, there is no one-size-fits-all of ANYTHING.

perfect diet

And let’s be honest, a lot of the information out there is confusing and contradictory anyway.  Milk does a body good.  Milk is linked to osteoporosis.  Drink soymilk.  Soymilk is linked to breast cancer.  What a headache.  So I propose that perhaps you stop relying on all this information, and, instead, be your own experiment.

Over the past year and a half I’ve been my own guinea pig.  I’ve tried detox programs, raw food, a vegan diet, juicing….etc etc.  I’ve searched recipes, diets, what the experts eat, and everything else in between.  And where all that research and experimenting led me was to a tailor-made-just-for-me-and-my-lifestyle way of eating.

It all started a few years back when I got a medical diagnosis that changed my life.  I went raw vegan after finding tons of information on the healing benefits of this type of diet.  Raw food did what it needed to do for me at that point in my life, but for me 100% raw was unsustainable long-term.  As I started to push my limits in the gym, I started to feel muscle breakdown from insufficient carbs and protein.  This is not to discount raw or vegan diets, as I believe they have their place, and work very well for some individuals; but I needed more.

So much at-your-fingertips information is great, and getting educated is important (especially when you have a health condition to take into consideration, like I did), so I definitely recommend that you do your research; but don’t let a fad diet that worked for (insert name of your favorite fit celebrity here) be your be-all end-all.  There are so many things to take into consideration, and yet all we focus on is “She lost 10 lbs in 3 days!” and “He got in shape for that movie in 1 week by eating what!?  That’s it, I start Monday.”  Play a little, experiment a lot.  Don’t be afraid of carbs…OR, maybe, be afraid of carbs.  I can’t tell you, YOU are the only one that knows.  Check in with your body, notice how certain foods and meals make you feel, monitor your energy level throughout the day.  Important questions include: what is your goal…weight loss?  Build muscle?  Do you workout?  How intense are your workouts?  Are you allergic to certain foods?  Do you have a gluten intolerance?  A great way to keep track is to have a food journal, where you can also write down how you felt after each meal (immediately after and a few hours after): tired, cranky, energized??  Change things up every few weeks, remove, add, adjust as needed, but more importantly, have fun with it.

Advice is nice and all, but only YOU can figure out what is best for YOU and your body.  Now go play with your food!

Until next time…
xoxo

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