Have you ever had a meal that nourished you so deeply that it lit you up inside - like down to your soul?!
Nutrition can be a sticky subject - the mainstream media marketing companies have done a really good job of confusing the heck out of us! There are so many mixed messages out there. How do we even begin to know what’s right and wrong?
Here’s the truth - each one of us is genetically and biochemically different. So why compare our food intake and nutritional needs to those around us? In addition to the importance of individualizing our food consumption, it’s also important to know that as we go through the different stages of life our food intake and needs change too! Meaning you probably shouldn’t be following the same diet as your mother, daughter, father, friend, or older sibling.
We need to begin to invite patience and connection into our lives, and disconnect from what we’ve been taught about foods that are right and wrong for us via mainstream marketing. We should be eating to fuel our gut and brain, and aim to feel our best. The foods we eat not only have a massive impact on how we feel, but also how we function - physically, mentally and even emotionally!
Below I’ve included some different tips that have been quite transformative throughout my health journey. While learning these, I have crossed paths with many other people who have also had great success incorporating these practices into their lives.
Listen to what your body is craving - like deeply craving. Craving some chips? You likely need more salt or minerals in your diet. Craving some chocolate? Your body may be asking for more magnesium. It’s important to know that it’s not just the type of food we crave, but the reasons why we’re craving certain foods. But be careful, if it’s sugar you’re craving - know that it is very addicting and there aren’t any benefits to reap by consuming it. When a craving comes about, be mindful of why it may be coming up - does a certain emotion arise when you eat a certain food - and vise versa. Let that ego go and connect back to your inner self!
Have awareness of your environment when consuming food. Do you love watching tv during dinner, or are you eating lunch at your desk during the day? These environments, and those similar, are an invitation for stress to be present. This is something to try and avoid when you’re eating a meal, or even a snack. Simple external factors such as your work desk or tv impact the way you digest your food a LOT more than you can imagine, trust me on this! Try and practice eating with the television off - starting with a couple times per week is a great start, or step outside into nature if your environment allows. Even eating near a window so you can look out at the nature surrounding you is helpful. Find somewhere while eating that makes you feel calm and relaxed.
Fibre, fibre, fibre. Many people seem to be fixated on getting enough protein in their daily diets when the truth is we all need to focus more on getting enough fibre! If we aren’t getting enough fibre, then it’s likely that we aren’t efficient at ridding of toxins or having good and regular elimination (you should be eliminating at LEAST once per day, if not more). When we don’t eliminate toxins properly they can easily build up inside of our digestive tract, which can create a poor environment for those good nutrients our body needs to absorb and utilize.
Eat consciously. Be mindful of how the food you consume smells and tastes. Is it sweet, bitter, sour or salty? Can you identify all the different flavours when chewing your meal? One of my mentors recently told me this analogy, and I love it: You could eat a Big Mac intuitively and reap more benefits from that than if you were to scarf down a big’ol salad full of whole foods that are much more nourishing for you. I do not recommend practicing this!!
Take your time while eating. Try and be still for a few moments before your meal to moderate your breath and take in the aromas of your food. Putting down your fork between bites is a great method too - allowing yourself a couple of breaths between bites.
Chew properly! Along with mindful eating I’d like to add that we need to be conscious of our chewing. Many of us aren’t chewing our food nearly enough! We’re wolfing down our food to ensure we aren’t hungry anymore, or maybe it’s because we’re rushing to work. We’re consuming too much too fast, and our stomachs can’t keep up. When we eat quickly, the stomach cannot properly detect when we’re full. Next thing you know it’s too late and there’s a food baby growing in our stomach - nobody wants this! When we don’t break down our foods properly in the mouth, the rest of the digestive process doesn’t function optimally and we are unable to reap the benefits from the nutrients we’ve consumed.
Prepare your food with love. Practicing gratitude while you’re creating and consuming your food is a game changer. Instead of viewing food prep as a chore, try and give gratitude to yourself for putting in the effort to nourish and fuel yourself. The way that we prepare and consume our food reflects the relationship we have with ourselves and is an important aspect to eating healthy.
It’s time for us to connect back to our roots - to nature. To know the source our food is coming from, know who is growing our food and what’s in and on it. Food is fuel, I promise you this! I’ve spent the past four years deeply connecting to my body's response with the foods I eat, my energy levels pre and post meals, my skin, hair and nail health, and incorporating whole foods into my daily life. With every year of practicing the awareness of how different foods make me feel, my intuition has up-leveled big time on what type of foods I should be consuming to ultimately bring and keep my body in balance. I’ll be honest, it takes work, self-control and a lot of connecting and listening - because what I need personally isn’t the same as what the media is portraying.
We are what we eat. So please do your body a favour and continue this journey understanding your nutritional needs as I have learned to, and eat the foods that nourish your body, mind and soul. Be conscious, be patient with yourself, and be aware. Next time you reach for something, ask yourself if your mind is asking for it out of habit or out of a deeper need.
Be happy & stay whole.
Tay Hill, R.H.N
“Let’s talk about all the good things, and the bad things that may be. Let’s talk about stress. Let’s talk about stress.” – Bill Nye
Stress is a hot topic! Did you know that stress can interfere with your appetite, energy levels, sleep and mood? Chronic stress can lead to a wide range of harmful health effects, including indirectly leading to heart disease.
Little things that we tend to experience everyday such as traffic jams, relationship strains and on-the-job aggravation can lead to an accumulation of stress and the build up of bad habits.
Frustrations and anxiety can lead us to turn to comfort foods such as pizza, ice cream and cookies. Too many unhealthy foods like these over a long period of time can contribute to heart attack and stroke.
When we are stressed, we are also more likely to skip out on our healthy routines such as going for a walk or exercising. Exercise melts stress away, not to mention it prevents heart disease by making our hearts stronger and healthier. When we are physically active the heart pumps oxygen to our working muscles, strengthens the heart muscle and helps to lower blood pressure. You probably know that there are many other positive healthy reasons to exercise!
We tend to spiral into a negative mindset when we are already stressed about something. If we get upset or worked up over something our heart rate can skyrocket. The more frequently we tend to this, the worse it can be for our health. We need to learn how to change our reactions to situations in order to reduce the stress it can cause. Being aware and analyzing our feelings can be very beneficial in managing a stressful situation and lowering overall stress levels.
Taking just a few moments each day to check in on our stress levels is a very helpful way to reduce chronic stress. Try these 4 tips below to reduce stress and keep your heart healthy!
1. STAY POSITIVE
Laughter has been considered a good way to lower stress. Turn negative thoughts around, and try to smile and laugh throughout your day.
Sit down for a few minutes and follow a guided meditation, or simply pay attention to your breath. This can be an easy practice for anyone and it reduces stress by lowering your heart rate.
We need those feel-good hormones to give us a boost! Go for a walk, or do basic jumping jacks, squatting and plank at home! Aim for 3 times per week.
Stress follows you around in the form of your cell phone. Take time away from emails, social media, videos and the TV, even if it’s just for 15 mins.
When stress is left to pile up, it is harder to tackle, and the negative side effects can worsen. Remember to take a moment each day to destress, breathe and relax.
If you find this information helpful, please find the poster in PDF format under the Downloads tab. You can display it for your employees to read.
Have a happy and healthy day!
With my mind on my money and my money on my mind”. – Snoop Dogg
I couldn’t wait for my paycheck to come in so that I could swiftly tend to the balance. I was responsibly paying off everything that was due, but also, I needed a real picture of what my balance ACTUALLY was after paying things off. I felt frantic at times, I was constantly opening my accounts through the ever so easily accessible apps. I was obsessed.
The solution to my problem and my first step to take was to sit down and write up a budget. I had never learned how to make a budget, but an excel spreadsheet can make it easy to figure out. Budgets are like a road map that assign your money to a job.
So, I sat down, and I assigned my money to eight different categories:
Each category will have sub-categories where I will list the item and the total spent on that sub-category. I create a total for each category to use in the equation that will determine if I am spending above or below my incoming money. In one corner of the spreadsheet, I put my total income after taxes, the total of my listed expenses, and then I subtract my expenses from my income to determine what I have left over.
I recommend tending to your budget on the last Friday of every month. It has worked well for me as a good cue to remember it. Every month that you work on your budget you can add more and more details. Eventually it will be a streamlined process and it won’t take much effort at all. This is a healthy habit that will help deal with some of the anxiety that comes with finances.
The first time you fill in your budget, make it easy on yourself. List the things that you can think of and the approximate value you think it is, creating a few sub-categories under each category. Done! You did your first budget. Give yourself a pat on the back!
The second month that you tend to your budget you will want to add more accurate numbers. Scroll through your bank account statements and take exact amounts to add to your budget. You can even use a separate spreadsheet tab to tally up the totals in your sub-categories. You will also want to create a new tab for each month to see your progress.
At first it was hard for me to admit some of my spending and list detailed sub-categories. There were things that were “wants” such as eating out, or clothing purchases that had way higher totals than I anticipated, or there were small purchases I just didn’t think of, getting a car wash, or buying cleaning supplies. Once I assigned some of these expenses into the appropriate sub-category, I started recording my spending under each one. I was better able to see what I was spending my money on and establish “needs” vs. “wants”.
Perhaps by the third or fourth month of tending to your budget, you can begin highlighting areas where you can make a reduction in your spending. This step allows you to set money aside for things, such as saving up for a new gadget instead of impulsively buying $300 headphones. It allows you to be mindful of your extra spending, and to be conscious of your debts and savings. For some of your essential services and essential costs, while it may seem like you can’t make any reductions, it never hurts to pick up the phone and ask them how you can save some money. In fact, this is something you should aim to do often! I called up my home insurance company and was able to save $500 a year because I had agreed to some terms that I really didn’t need. When talking to these services, ask about requesting certain payment dates, a date that will flow with your budget better. This is also a great way to make your budget more predictable.
Once you have a handle on what money is coming in and out of your account, you can start to tackle your debts and savings. What kind of debt and savings do you have going for yourself? Do you need to create an action plan? Do you need help from a professional to analyze your situation and get some advice? There is a correct sequence to paying off debts and many different ways to save or invest your money, so doing some of your own research would be very beneficial.
If you could use a basic budget spreadsheet to get started, please send “Budget” to firstname.lastname@example.org. Becoming aware of your budget and your spending can be freeing.
If you’ve always got money on the mind and it’s negatively affecting you, it is time to take charge and start making your budget work for you!
Thanks for listening.
xo Coach Ro
Optimize YOU with Coach Rochelle
I just wanted to take a moment here to wish you and your family all of the best this holiday season, as we go into 2021.
I would like to express my thanks, for being a part of the Optimize YOU circle and training with me. I am honoured that you take the time to improve your health and well-being with my guidance.
To my girls that were on Team Optimize Hustlers (our running group), you guys rock! I had a blast training for that 5k and hearing about all of the success stories. I also did the run and got a PB for a 5k, and I even got my husband and puppy into it too 😊.
To my ladies that are crushing - not only their weights and their goals, but on their careers, their focus and their lives. You are a true inspiration, and you are living up to all of the motivational sayings I could come up with. Keep crushing.
My wish for everyone of you is that we continue to be ourselves and stronger than ever.
As I reflect on 2020… it was a wild year!
An UP was that I moved to an amazing new place and I get to grow and explore. I feel cheerful to connect, even if most of it is virtually. A DOWN is that I am forced to see my family only by video chat. The day that I can see more of my friends and family and give them a big hug is a day that I look forward to!
I have been challenged mentally and physically this year, but I learn to grow, accept and make new with what I am dealt. I am grateful for my husband and my circle that keeps me moving my feet forward.
I learned about functional movement, stretching, and pre/post natal training these last few months and I look forward to helping more clients with these techniques. I will continue to learn so that I can fulfill my goals and dreams of helping others.
I also feel grateful as I reflect on the past, that we have new technologies available to us that let us socialize virtually, and do all sorts of things from our finger tips.
Going into 2021, I feel a sense of excitement for all of the things that are to come.
I feel passion again for the environment and I work towards making better choices. I look forward to further supporting eco-friendly products and businesses. I wish that we continue to make the environment the centre stage. That we can make choices now so that our environment can be better, cleaner, and healthier.
I also fully support the third 'E' which is equality for all humans and animals alike.
The world is changing, and I am changing too… sometimes I feel like the song from the Grinch. Faith Hill has such a beautiful voice!
Overall, I am grateful for my health and yours. Let us keep moving forward.
Thank-you for trusting me, cheers to 2021!
xoxo Coach Rochelle
#health #coachrochelle #OptimizeYou #balance #grateful #bringon2021
Your Environment Matters...
It is more influential than you may think to be mindful of the surrounding toxins in your life - they are all around us. Whether it be the humans you spend time with, the cleaning products you use in your house or the products you put onto - and therefore into - your body.
Toxins disturb the human body's homeostasis (state of balance). Toxins interfere with the way our hormones communicate and increase the amount of free-radical formation within our cells. As you may know - our cells are our foundation. But I also believe our hormones are too - they are the base of so many of our body’s functions.
Below I have provided some important areas in your life to be aware of to help reduce your body’s toxic load.
1. Detox your household cleaners:
If you’re using chemical cleaning products in your home, it is likely that you’re absorbing them and breathing in toxic-air for much longer than you may think. Using pure household cleaners results in clean air - but yet, still a clean home.
Switching your dish soap, laundry detergent & dryer sheets, household cleaners, and fragrances throughout the house is as important as using clean skincare products.
Have plants and grow them! They help purify the air you live in and breathe in. And the joy of watching these guys grow is truly gratifying. I recently read that having plants in your home can also help reduce humidity levels. Plants have been shown to help reduce stress and improve mood and negative emotions. Exposure to fresh, clean air, improves psychological well-being, enhances spirituality , can improve sleep, boosts creativity and lifts energy levels.
Although there are many different aspects to detoxing, our skin has a big impact on this as it is the largest organ of the human body. Detoxing through the skin can be experienced through sweating, acne and skin breakouts. Our skin doesn’t just help us detox but it also absorbs what we put onto (and into) it. This consists of: makeup, deodorant, shampoo & conditioner, body wash, face wash, moisturizer, sunscreen and toothpaste to name some basics. Women - this also includes feminine hygiene products!!
Putting toxic products on and into our skin can lead to a number of issues. Toxins can contribute to many issues including hormone imbalances and disruptions, acne, tiredness and sluggishness. I believe it is just as important to be aware of the products you're using on your body as much as you should be aware of the food you’re putting into your body to feed your cells.
If you only choose 1 product to detox in your life, choose your deodorant! Based on what I have learned I think it’s extremely important to change your deodorant to something that allows your armpit to perspire/eliminate. By wearing antiperspirant deodorant we are not only halting the detoxification process that happens largely through our armpit glands and pores, but we are also encouraging retoxing! There are a lot of glands around the armpit and chest area, so allowing your body to release the toxins through this area is critical. Some people can be sensitive to the baking soda that is used in some natural deodorants - so try a couple of different ones and find what works for you.
Another way you can encourage the release of toxins through the skin is to dry brush before you shower and also wet brush while in the shower.
Water, water, water - drink lots of it. You can spice up your water in so many ways - lemon water or infusing it with different fruits, veggies and herbs. It’s so nutritious for your skin and helpful in the detox process.
Detoxing our bodies is super important for me and I could go on for a while, but this is my summary based on personal-care products. I’ll definitely be posting an entire blog about detoxing your body in the future - so stay tuned.
4. Surround yourself with Non-Toxic People:
Who are you surrounding yourself with? Do you enjoy their company or do you find them ‘exhausting’ or ‘draining’?
Over the last couple of years I have learned the importance of being surrounded by people who love you, expand you, accept you and support you. These are the kind of people that will lift you up when you need it, and encourage you to be your authentic self. They will inspire you and motivate you throughout your life. They are your cheerleaders. You need to find your tribe. I encourage you to do this.
Ending a toxic relationship with a friend is hard as hell - I’ve done it (after about a year of indirect consideration). But it was only for my best interest. Sometimes people change and take different paths, and that’s okay. Removing yourself from toxic relationships will allow you to have more good energy and time to invest in YOU.
Be happy & stay whole.
Taylor Wilkinson, RHN
Expressions of our
Are you in tune with your body and aware of what it’s trying to communicate to you? When your body’s in need, are you there to nourish it or know what it’s even asking for?
These are just a couple bits of information that I’m going to enlighten you on. You’ll want to keep reading!
It is very important to be in tune with your body, keep it fueled properly, functioning optimally and nourishing it to its fullest so your best life can be lived. But let me warn you, patience is a virtue. If you ignore what your body is trying to say, chances are likely the signs and symptoms may emerge more severe. Any damage or imbalances that have been constructed take time, and so does the mending process.
Below are some explanations of common signs and symptoms that individuals experience regularly. My hopes are to help you connect the dots and cultivate more awareness and comfort.
Low energy & strength, dizziness, cravings for red meat, ice, or other unusual foods
These expressions could be a good indicator to get your iron levels checked. Low iron is very common in women, as many go through menstruation and experience loss of blood. Iron contributes to energy production and the formation of hemoglobin (the oxygen-transporter in the blood). Alongside low iron, nausea and dizziness can also be linked to inadequate protein consumption. If you chose to supplement, be mindful that every individual has a different iron tolerance - some have weak stomachs on an iron supplement. Some iron-rich foods include: legumes, kale, broccoli, spinach and nuts - especially cashews and almonds.
Muscle spasms & cravings for chocolate
A good hint you may be deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is a pretty important mineral that’s involved in many processes throughout the body. Foods that are high in magnesium include: green leafy vegetables, dark chocolate, nuts, seeds and legumes. A supplementary form of magnesium can be a good option too. Keep in mind there are many different forms of this mineral as a supplement, so make sure to do your research and know which is the correct form you need.
Premature aging (lines and wrinkles), frequently ill, dry, brittle or dull hair, thin nails, eczema
Your body could be craving protein!! Protein is the main building block to the cells in our body, and after water is the largest component of the body. It’s a large component to the formation of hair, skin and nails as well. Quantity as well as quality are big when considering your protein ingestion. It also doesn’t have to be a meat source - but if it is, make sure you know what’s in your meat or where it’s coming from. You can obtain plant-protein from foods like quinoa, lentils/beans, cruciferous vegetables and more. Try a smoothie with fruits, spinach or kale and adding a powdered protein or collagen supplement. This tasty treat is a great way to absorb lots of nutrients, especially when on-the-go.
Eczema, psoriasis, irregular menstrual period, skin imbalances, poor memory
Look into consuming more healthy fats in your diet. These healthy fats must be consumed in food and/or supplemental form as the body cannot construct them, which makes them very important. It’s also very important to know the difference between ‘good fats’ and ‘bad fats’.
**If you don’t have a gallbladder talk to your physician before considering adding extra fats into your diet.
Fats (aka lipids) are involved in a LOT more body processes and functions then you may think. They are crucial for our hormones, our nervous system and are a component of our cell membranes. Some of my go-to healthy fat consumptions include; good quality olive oil - comes in a dark glass container to prevent going rancid, avocado, nuts, salmon, cashew/nut butter, and quality eggs.
Food for Thought
Are you fueling yourself with foods that constantly result in stomach aches, bloating, smelly farts, sleepiness, sluggishness the next day/morning, low energy, bad mood?
Maybe it’s time to consider reducing or eliminating some of those foods. Actually, I encourage you to do so! Why fuel your body with gunk that results in you feeling exactly that way when you could be igniting yourself with lively foods that leave you strong, healthy and feeling GOOD. Do yourself a favour and listen to your body - it’s in constant communication with you. You won’t regret it - and you’ll end up feeling much better in the end.
About 5 years ago I started producing incredibly deep, painful acne on my face. It took me about 4 years until I even started to see results, why? Because I wasn’t in tune with my body and I had no idea what the signals it was sending me meant. I wanted a quick fix and tried many ways to relieve my pain; a strong face wash, a different birth control pill and different creams to topically zap the zits away - these are just a few of the poor methods I chose to turn to.
It wasn’t until I started school to become a holistic practitioner that I started to be more receptive to my body’s messages and what it was trying to express from the inside out. Honestly, I had no idea there was even a connection between what I put in my body and how it feels - but let me tell you, it 100% does!
I also worked alongside other practitioners who helped me greatly along the way, becoming more understanding of what my body needed. It’s truly because of my prolonged health journey that I share my insight on the connections between signs & symptoms and how to understand it all.
This information is to be used as an educated guide and is acknowledging nutritional imbalances. It should not be used for diagnostic purposes or taken as medical advice. However, I hope my words have resonated with you.
Be happy & stay whole.
Taylor Wilkinson, RHN
A few important concepts re: what's behind that beautiful smile.
Where Does Digestion Begin?
Have you ever been out for dinner & started drooling over your food before it even gets to your table? Haven’t we all?!
When we use our senses to see, smell, or even anticipate a plate of food, the body immediately begins preparing for digestion with the release of saliva in the mouth and stomach acid, a.k.a. ‘gastric juices’ in the stomach. There are enzymes located in both our saliva & stomach acid that assist in the chemical breakdown of food into an absorbable form.
Our saliva contains a specific enzyme called amylase. Once the food’s in our mouth the enzyme in our saliva begins to immediately break down starches and carbohydrates while the tongue and teeth also help to physically break down the food. The mouth’s role in digestion is BIG. It’s to ensure the food is broken down enough and prepped for the next phase of digestion - as we may all know, occurs in the stomach. The less our food is pre-digested in the mouth, the higher the workload for the stomach and stomach acid.
Our stomach often isn’t given the credit it deserves for all the hard work we force upon it. The stomach's role in digestion is to further metabolize our food into a form that can be used in the absorption phase. When we don’t chew our food thoroughly, or eat foods simultaneously that are digested at different rates, we are simply asking for trouble. This frequent overcompensation we force upon our stomach may eventually lead to an under-active stomach.
If you aren’t digesting your food enough in your stomach OR mouth, the truth of the matter is you won’t end up absorbing much of your meal at all. Therefore, you really aren’t reaping the full benefits of nourishment that your meals actually have to offer you. Malabsorption can then lead to a snowball effect of concerns: skin issues, brittle hair and nails and low iron to name a few.
Along with the above-mentioned issues, frequently scarfing-down your meals can also be connected to other concerns such as acid reflux or heartburn, gas and bloating, gut dysbiosis or candida, and can also be linked with other pathologies.
Side note: There are a lot of misconceptions about acid reflux. It’s important to understand that ant-acids are actually going to enhance the severity of your acid reflux over time. They create a snowball effect, and you are only getting instant ‘band-aid’ relief rather than long-term results.
While you’ve just learned a few ways that digestion is impacted in physical aspects, it is also directly affected by many other external factors. This will definitely be a topic discussed in the future, so stay tuned!
The Condition of Your Teeth Can Reflect Your Bone Health
Here are some simple ways to ensure you’re supporting your teeth (and your bones):
Finding the Balance
As a Holistic Nutritionist, I believe it’s just as important to focus on balancing all aspects of life, not only your food consumption. Therefore, oral health and hygiene is just as important as your digestion of the foods you choose. Here are some simple considerations to ensure good oral hygiene:
Thank-you for hanging out with me. Stay tuned for more educational blog posts.
Be happy & stay whole.
Written by Taylor Wilkinson, R.H.N.
Check me out on Instagram @realisticallywhole