Olympic Inspiration

Hi there again! Happy Hump Day!

I wanted to pop on here for a quick post today. I just watched the 2016 Olympic anthem, “Rise” by Katy Perry. And it’s breathtaking and so moving, I had tears in my eyes. I was so inspired I had to share it with everyone in case you haven’t seen it yet.

I hope it inspires you as much as it did me. Enjoy!

My Year Alcohol-Free

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I have been procrastinating writing this post for a few days when I wake up in the morning it’s on my to-do list, but yet somehow SOMETHING or NOTHING always gets in the way of me writing it. So today, I am sitting here after procrastinating yet again for at least an hour or so, and I am finally putting some words to the proverbial paper. And yet all I can think about it going and checking my laundry. You know… maybe it’s done and needs to go into the dryer. You know, that’s SO much more important than this… hmmmm.

So what is so important and yet so hard to write, you ask?!? Well, a very personal topic to me. Drinking. No. Not soda or water. But Alcohol. It’s been a love/hate (mostly hate, if I am being honest with you) relationship. For those few people that follow my somewhat inconsistent blog, I assume that’s mostly friends and family, you probably are aware of this, whether we have discussed it together or not. And to those of you that don’t know me, here is a small glimpse into my decision to give up alcohol for a year.

A year ago on June 12, 2015, I decided to stop drinking. It was one of those moments where I woke up with a hangover that I thought I might Actually die from. You know those, right? Well, I hope some of you don’t. But I know some of you do. And there there will be a few of you that think you do, but still haven’t actually felt this way yet. To me I think it’s the closest thing to a “rock bottom” that I have ever felt. Aside from my feelings of headache and nausea, there was a heaviness in my heart. Followed very closely by that sinking feeling in your gut of “oh shit what did I do last night” moment. That moment of let me check my phone to make sure I didn’t call/text/email someone in that drunken blackout state. Follow by the sadness and anger of thinking “seriously, how did I let myself drink this much again?!”

After a cup of coffee and a little breakfast. I sat there with one of my best friends going through my excuses, it was a party, celebration, there was open bar, I wasn’t driving anywhere, etc. Followed by a realization that I was 32, married to a wonderful man and WAY too old to still be acting this way. Not that there really is ever an excuse for this type of behavior no matter what age. But I should know better. So my wonderful friend suggested that maybe it was a bigger issue. Maybe I should try eliminating alcohol from my life? Maybe I should try AA? I knew she wasn’t judging me but rather deeply caring for me. The more I thought about it the more I was truly excited to take on this challenge. The more I reminisced the more I could tie alcohol (and excess) to all the bad events in my life: losing friends, breaking and losing things and much more I won’t delve into right now. Needless to say, my relationship to alcohol had never been a good one. And no one should ever stay in a bad relationship.

Coincidently, I had just moved to Colorado from California a few months prior to this. I had few friends in this new town, and the more I thought about it, most of those I did know here didn’t drink or rarely drank. Ironically, I also had just started nutrition school. I use the words “coincidently” and “ironically” but really the more I thought about it the more I realized these events and people were in my life for a reason and I needed to listen. It was the PERFECT time to stop drinking. I had a world of support in my life.

I DID go to AA for a few meetings, I found wonderful people there. But yet something still didn’t feel right when I went. I ended up not going anymore and for a while felt very guilty about it. I knew the people that didn’t see me there anymore would think they lost another one that just wasn’t committed to the cause. But in reality I just needed to find my own way. I know some say there is no other “way” to sobriety. But I even had a hard time with the word “sobriety”. To me, I wasn’t sober. I was just not drinking. I know there are some out there that will say it’s semantics at that point, but to someone that is in a fragile state semantics can be everything.

Also, AA is just one wonderful way for people to finding what they need in their life. Know that there are so many other options, so know if that’s didn’t work for you seek other ways. Do some research on your own or email me, I am happy to share some of what I have learned along my journey.

My struggle was real. But if everything was easy, everyone would be doing it. There was lots of guilt, shame, and feelings of worthlessness swirling in my head. Thankfully, I have a very supportive husband, who has never struggled with this type of issue with alcohol, in fact, upon hearing about my new vow to not drink he kindly decided to go on this journey with me.

I did a lot of work on my own. I read numerous books on alcohol, addiction and of course nutrition in relation to addiction and mental health (because in my opinion drinking in most forms is a way of covering up depression, other mental health issues and these are tied directly to nutrition and our physical body). I journaled through a lot of emotional times. I worked out a lot, it’s such a great way to immediately lift your spirit. I found yoga and meditation were great stress relievers. I also did a lot of work with my therapist. And throughout this year of no alcohol, the big question constantly swirling around in my head was: am I an alcoholic, an addict, or was it a bad habit, abuse and a possible nutritional imbalance?

After going an entire year without drinking you realize you can do anything you put your mind to. I know that sounds corny, but honestly, I wasn’t sure that I could go an entire year without my glass of wine. I mean even someone that is pregnant only really goes 8-9 months without alcohol. And I have heard even that seems like a long time. The longest I had ever gone was that one month break in January where everyone and your sister is taking a break or “detoxing” from the overindulgent holidays. But if I am being honest with myself and you, if it was just that one glass of wine, I wouldn’t have needed to take a break from drinking. And here I am before you today. With an entire year of no alcohol. And in the end what is a year of our life but a blip in time. A year is so inconsequential, I have had 33 of them so far. What was one in that span? Nothing. But it was by far one of the most important years of my life so far.

If you’ve ever woke up with a hangover one to many times or wondered about your relationship with alcohol, I would highly suggest giving it up for a year and reevaluating your relationship with alcohol. I am not saying it’s all roses through the journey. Of course it will be an adjustment. But nothing but great things have resulted as a consequence in my life.

In my honest opinion, and without judgement (none of us are perfect), our society has accepted this drug with open arms, we use it to cope with stress and other aspects of life. But daily drinking and binge drinking should not be so openly accepted. The more and how often you drink the likely it is that you will develop alcohol-related issues. Seems obvious I know, but really sit with that and think about it. In this Newsweek article “A new study shows that 32 million Americans, nearly one in seven adults, have struggled with a serious alcohol problem in the last year alone. It gets worse if you look at numbers across people’s entire lives: In that case, nearly one-third have suffered an ‘alcohol-use disorder.’”

From a nutrition and health standpoint, alcohol is listed as a carcinogen in the same category as asbestos and tobacco. Yuck! It also means putting yourself at higher risk for stroke, heart and liver disease and all sorts of cancers. In 2015, the Center for Disease Control says “Because of the astounding 80,000 deaths that are related to alcohol abuse every year, alcohol abuse is the third highest cause of death in the U.S. More great facts on alcohol can be found in this article.

In conclusion here are the top 10 things I learned from my year off of alcohol:

  1. I eat healthier and make better choices when it comes to food. Also, I am more mindful about what I eat and how great it tastes.
  2. I listening to my body’s natural rhythm. For me that means going to bed earlier and waking up earlier, getting a full 7-9 hours of sleep every night and not needing an alarm or coffee to get out of bed. I sleep better and I love mornings! I love waking up feeling good every single day for an entire year (minus the one week I was sick)! And my face isn’t puffy in the mornings! What a perk!
  3. I learned how to really relax and destress. I have always loved working out but since giving up alcohol I have really gotten into my yoga practice in a deeper level, meditation and love taking Epson salt baths in the evening.
  4. I can read more books and spend real quality time with family and friends.
  5. Replacing the glass of wine or cocktail with a mocktail, tea or sparking water is great for hydration and most likely tastes WAY better than that alcoholic drink.
  6. I learned how to get though social situations without drinking. Having a ”mocktail” in hand no one even knows you aren’t drinking and it’s great to easy my social anxiety. It really builds confidence in social situations, since I wasn’t drinking I could more easily see how others struggle with social anxiety as well.
  7. You can have fun without alcohol. If you’ve never tried it, sure, it will be an adjustment. But it gets easier and you remember the fun you had the next day as well! In fact, I have learned how to laugh from my belly and it’s amazingly enjoyable. I don’t care what my face looks like!
  8. Learn to come up with responses for when you are out and people offer you a drink. I started with a simple “no thanks, not tonight” response. But as I saw the same people over and over out or at dinners, I started to be honest with those closer to me. I would simply say “I am not drinking right now.” Or sometimes I would go so far as to tie it into my nutritional program or simple tell them it had become a bad habit in my life and I needed a break. It’s amazing how responsive people are to that. Most people will sympathize or congratulate you with sincerity. Then move on to the next conversation. It’s not nearly as big of a deal as I anticipated it would be.
  9. You learn who your real friends are. These are the ones that are proud of you and don’t judge you. They support you and make your life better.
  10. You learn quickly what people in your life have a healthy relationship with alcohol and who doesn’t just by the mere act of pushing on you or not. It’s really is amazing how society encourages drinking heavily at events, in celebration and every day. This is not normal and we shouldn’t accept it as so. If we are drinking every night (I know, I’ve been there) then we need to step back and reevaluate why and find other ways of decompressing, relaxing and communicating.

As a nutritionist and also as someone who has struggled with these issues, alcohol can contribute not only to depression, sleep issues and weight gain, to more serious things like cancer, stroke, diabetes, and even death.

Take the challenge! Start with committing to 30 days alcohol-free! I dare you not to feel better! How do you feel about your relationship with alcohol? Do you drink and how often? Have you ever desired to stop?

(Image: Judith Collins /Alamy)

Dunton Hot Springs Weekend

A little over a month ago my husband and I went on a bit of a road trip. We didn’t really plan to be taking a road trip, but set out for along weekend getaway not realizing how far away it was from our home when we booked it. But it was SO worth it! And since moving to Colorado early last year we’ve not really made time to explore this gorgeous state. So we thought we’d better start… and what better way than off to Dunton Hot Springs. So we packed up our stuff and we were off!

The drive out from Denver to Dolores, Colorado was breathtaking.

dunton_01dunton_02dunton_03dunton_04dunton_07dunton_06We saw a ton of elk on the drive. Look at those cute little asses! Ha!

dunton_08On our drive out we stopped for lunch in Telluride. I had never been and despite being overcast and a bit rainy and the beginning of shoulder season (the first week they closed in between ski and summer seasons) it was a gorgeous ghost town.

Then just a short 8 hours after leaving Denver, plus a 20 minute drive on a dirt road we were there!

dunton_09dunton_10dunton_19dunton_22And since we were there during off season, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. It was AH-mazing! These grounds though! Too much cuteness!

We stayed in the Bjoerkman cabin. How adorable is this?!?

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And… the natural HOT SPRINGS!!!! Ahhhhh! They have 3 pools, all are so unique, different temperatures and characters. The main one below is indoors, has plenty of seating, upstairs and down, a hammock, a place to play your own music, a fireplace and has a great swing you can sit on in it with a cold plunge as well. This was our favorite place all weekend.

dunton_13dunton_14dunton_16dunton_23There were two outdoor pools. This one also has a cute little sauna in that hut in the back there.

dunton_15One of the owners loves reading, so her husband, as an anniversary gift, built her her own library! I spent a few hours in there relaxing one afternoon. You can even check out a book to read while you are there! Just don’t forget to return it before you depart.

dunton_20Throughout our 3 days there we kept learning little bits of history about this amazing place. I wont bother you with all the secrets, you’ll have to visit yourself. But one tidbit is back in 1885 when it was simply a saloon and post office, it was visited by Butch Cassidy after he robbed a Telluride bank. He inscribed his name in the bar, which is the bar they still have today.

More here.dunton_17And of course no travel adventure of mine wouldn’t be complete without a little sweat! They provide bikes for the guests to tool around on, so we each rode fat tire bike on the snowy roads. So fun! And boy! What a workout!

dunton_21Definitely highly recommended trip. Though a little bit challenging to get to, no matter where you are, it’s worth the trek. And probably also why it’s just so special and charming.

Registered Dietitian vs. Nutritionist

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Hi again! I thought I would take a crack at trying to explain the different types of nutrition “people” out there. I don’t know about you, but all the different terms can be confusing. There’s registered nutritionist, holistic nutritionist, nutritional therapist, licensed nutritionist, health coach, registered dietitian, to name the most common. Who does what and how did they get these titles? As I started getting more serious about getting certified as a nutritionist I did some research on these terms and figured out what was best for me based on my philosophy on health and wellness. Here’s what I found:

The main designations in the nutrition world are nutritional consultant and registered dietician. Both are food and nutrition experts and base their practice in science and nutritional research studies. Both have the ability to work in private practice or with another health practitioner like a naturopathic or allopathic doctor. Health insurance may or may not cover either of their services, so check with your provider or FSA first to see if the services are covered. Also, just as a note, these are in reference to the United States designations. Other countries may have different classifications.

Nutritional Consultant (NC), can also be referred to as a Holistic Nutritionist, Nutritional Therapist or health coach. People with this certification have attended a specific school where they become certified to consult in nutrition and lifestyle for their patients. Certifications can vary from state to state. A nutritionist may not use the title of a dietitian.

NC’s are educated in how food affects the body and how diet and lifestyle can be used to prevent disease and live healthfully. They do this by evaluating the diet and lifestyle of their clients and making recommendations accordingly. In doing so, NC’s take into consideration the whole person’s mental and emotional perspectives rather than just the physical. They also take into consideration preventative measures, food sensitivities and allergies. NC’s focus less on calorie counting and more on the quality of food and what the individual needs in terms of nutrients and vitamins. They use natural and herbal remedies as well as vitamin and mineral supplements to support their food-based practice.

Some nutritional consultants may choose to focus on additional alternative methods of wellness to add to their practice, including Ayurvedic medicines, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine or homeopathy.

At Bauman College, the school I chose for my nutritional consultation certificate, we are taught in two “semesters.” The first one is all about fundamentals of nutrition. These are classes that include what Eating for Health means (macronutrients, micronutrients, vitamins and minerals), different kinds of “diets” out there, biochemistry, anatomy and more. The second half of schooling is more focused on therapeutics. This includes classes that focus on stress and the endocrine system, weight loss, sports nutrition, blood sugar regulation, cancer and disease, among others.

Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) go though a four-year, bachelor’s degree in nutritional science or dietetics, participate in a one-year internship, pass a national exam and become licensed in their state of residing by the Commission of Dietetic Registration. They typically work with hospitals and schools and focus more on the USDA myPlate standards and calorie counting. They may also choose to call themselves a nutritionist.

There are a lot of different terms out there in the nutrition world and these are the two most common. There are many different reasons to choose one over the other and most importantly what I think it comes down to is personal connection. Do you agree with their philosophy? Do you feel comfortable sitting with them and talking about your personal life, family history and eating habits?

I chose to go the route of nutritional consultant for several reasons. One, I made this career change later in my life. I am in my early 30’s and have already had a whole other career life. I have been a graphic, web and user experience designer for the past decade. Two, I already have a bachelors of science in mathematics and studio art from Georgetown, and I didn’t feel like getting an additional bachelors to become a registered dietitian. Three, the program I really wanted to go though had a physical campus location in Berkley, California and Boulder, Colorado. And when my husband and I needed to move from Los Angeles to Denver a year ago, I took it as a sign that I needed to follow my fascination with food and wellness. It’s been an exciting time to change careers and also a bit nerve-wracking to go from a stable and well-paid job to a student again with much uncertainty. But I am enjoying it, every bit.

References:
Bauman College. (n.d.). Nutrition Consultant. Retrieved from http://www.baumancollege.org/programs/nutrition-consultant/
Vega. (2013, May 9). Registered dietician vs. nutritionist – what’s the diff? Retrieved from
https://myvega.com/blog/registered-dietician-vs-nutritionist/

I’m not going to say it…

holisticI am not going to say I am back, because I have done it way too many times since starting this blog. It’s always a new year’s resolution and it always seems to fall by the waste side.

So for now, I am just going to write a quick post. To say “Hi!” And tell you what’s up in my life.

It’s been a whole year since I moved to Denver, Colorado. And it’s been a great year at that. We moved out here for my husband’s business he started. And in April of last year I started down a new path as well. I went from being a used experience and graphic designer for a decade in Los Angeles to going back to school at Bauman in Boulder for my Holistic Nutritional Consultant certificate. I am just wrapping up classes in a few months, getting ready for our practicum and then eventual graduation in October! And I am super excited.

Though I haven’t, and never really will, leave my graphic designer self behind, as you can see in my fun new business cards (pictured above). I have to say without my design background starting this new journey wouldn’t be nearly as fun. I am designing all kinds of fun handouts and health info with my graphic design background for my clients. For example, handouts on adrenal fatigue, leaky gut, hypoglycemia and blood sugar regulation, just to name a few.

I am going to work on posting fun nutrition-based and health info on this blog now. Fingers crossed I actually stick to it. Let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see that you aren’t seeing out there already and stay tuned!

 

The Female Body and Kindness

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It seems most days bring a constant struggle between my mind and my body: Do I go to the gym today? How many calories is that? Can I eat that? What IF I eat/drink that? How much do I weigh? Can I wear those pants, will they fit? Remember those resolutions to lose 10 pounds, what happened?

My husband would tell you I don’t need to lose any weight, and you would think that would be enough for me to hear. But it’s not. I know I can do better. I Should be doing better. Why can’t I do better?

A few days ago, on The Glamourai, Kelly wrote about the beauty of the female body. Not just one type of lady, but All women. How hard we are and have always been on our appearance. It’s everywhere, the images we see in magazines, billboards and Television. We are never satisfied.

She even writes about herself, “I have always been a naturally thin person ~ but I’d love to lose 5 or 10 pounds. Gazing into the mirror, I see my flaws long before my beauty: my arms aren’t thin enough, my bum is a little too dimply.” I was shocked that this women who I admire daily in her Instagrams thinks this of her own body. It proves we all have our own issues.

When we look at someone else and think they must have it all because they look like what we aspire too or the opposite, we should take a moment to stop ourselves. Stop judging them and stop judging ourselves. They maybe struggling with the same body issues we are and we may just not see it. Or other issues all together that we don’t struggle with or understand. I am reminded, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

We all judge ourselves and others too harshly and we need to stop. Let’s start accepting all the hard work we put into our wonderful bodies and give our minds a break from all the negative thoughts we feed it.

She ends with “This essay and these pictures only scratch the surface of a much larger story. The more we see, the more we know; the more we know, the less we fear. The less we fear, the greater capacity we have for love. We are the stories we tell ourselves: please give your body a little extra praise today.”

Not coincidentally, this week Mind Body Green put this article out and the Greatist put this article out there on a similar topic. It’s clearly a hot topic.

To Kelly and everyone calling attention to this issue, thank you for putting this out there. With every word and image we are chipping away at the thick walls of self-hatred for our bodies that we have somehow managed to put out there and accept.

Image by Jamie Beck for The Glamourai

Moving State Lines

Three, almost four months ago, I made a few resolutions, as did a lot of us, right?

And I stand here now, contemplating those goals and where they went. Some I’ve followed though on and then of course, some not so much.

This blog has definitely fallen in the latter category. Sometimes when we want something to be perfect it paralyzes us to the point of doing absolutely nothing. So, it’s time to suck it up, know it’s alright if it’s not perfect, and just do it!

So onward we go!

Those of you that know me, know that I moved this past month. Not across the street or down the block. But across state lines. From Los Angeles, California to Denver, Colorado. The move for for my husband’s job. But it’s the most significant move of my life, outside of moving away for college.

The past few weeks since we’ve moved have been challenging for me, to say the least. It’s been a complete role reversal for Russ and myself. I went from riding my bike into Santa Monica for work every day, while Russ worked from home and took care of our little one… Bodee (the not-so-little-pup). And now, it’s my turn to work from home and walk the dog while Russ commutes to work.

When I left my comfy job and city not too far from where I grew up, I was asked often to post updates on Facebook for everyone to follow along. There was just one problem with that: I don’t have a Facebook account. Sure I DID a long time ago from about 2004 to 2010. But I felt like it got out of control and I decided to step away. Let me tell you, you find out who your Real Friends are when you quit Facebook. And yes, it’s been harder to stay in touch with many, but I have found that my relationships with the ones that I do stay in touch with are that much more meaningful.

The point. I HAVE to blog more. It will be my way to stay in touch with many and maybe even more so, it may be a bit of therapy for me on what it’s like being a stranger in this strange town. This new beginning.

So for today, I wanted to share the beginning of our move. Though we hired movers to do most of the dirty work, we did decide to drive the car out and enjoy a bit of a mini-road-trip. Here’s a recap of the fun and beautiful 3-day journey.

This is where Russ and I first moved in together 3 years ago, in sunny L.A. And gonna miss this view, and this one and this one.

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Packing up. And someone’s NOT so thrilled about it.

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Hitting the road, early on Saturday morning. Again… someone’s a little worried about this situation here… hmmmm.

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We have HOW MANY miles in front of us today?

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This view makes it all O.K.

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And our first stop. Utah. You. Are. Gorgeous.

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Day 2 on the road. Only one word needed: ZION.

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Snow? Who cares?!?! You make it even more magical.

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The Troopers first snow!

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Just a few of the cool signage along the way.

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Day Two ended in Beaver Creek, CO. But come Monday morning, this is the amazing view! Swim anyone? Don’t worry it’s only 17 degrees out!

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And we’re off on our last short leg to Denver. This road trip has left me breathless. America, Well Done. Well done, I say.

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And we pull up on our street.

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And the goal, our cute little house.

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Note: sadly, my good Nikon camera got packed up, so I took all these photos on my wonderful iPhone.