MAKE TIME TO EAT FOR IBS – With the fast paced life many of us lead it can be difficult to find/take time away from our desk/responsibilities to sit down to a meal. So many of us eat on the run, often eating too fast, eating without tasting, eating while multitasking, putting food into our bellies while our while we are already under stress it is not surprising we are becoming a nation of people with chronically upset guts. Make the time to eat in peace: step a way from your desk, turn off the TV, the phone, and the computer. If you are on a tight enough schedule that you at times eat in your car, find a quiet place to pull over. I’m not talking about setting aside time for a several course meal, just enough time to slow down and be aware of what you are eating.
Take a few deep breaths before you begin. You may find you enjoy your food more and actually eat less. Try this for a couple of weeks, you may just find the difference it makes in your daily life to be worth the time it takes.
More hints to reduce the effects of IBS? Schedule small frequent meals to avoid a becoming so hungry that you might eat too fast or too much. Don’t drink water for about half an hour before meals to avoid the risk of rinsing away the “friendly bacteria” that aid digestion form your intestinal tract.
CILANTRO TO DETOXIFY – With the increasing number of toxins found in our food, water and air it is becoming more and more important to choose carefully what we eat. Along with decreasing the amount of toxins we ingest by buying organically, we can choose foods that will help our livers eliminate the toxins we are exposed to. A great detoxifier is cilantro or Chinese parsley. Cilantro has been found to remove heavy metals from the human body, even mercury. Cilantro is a classic ingredient in many salsas, but can also be added to salads, soups and stews.
For more information (and a great chili lime grilled chicken recipe), see: Cilantro
For a collection of recipes that include cilantro see: Recipes
For my favorite black bean recipe featuring lots of cilantro, e-mail me and I will send it to you. It’s a crock pot recipe that takes less than 20 minutes to throw together in the morning (or the night before and stash in the fried until morning) and you have a tasty healthy dinner waiting when you get home from work.
REDUCE STRESS BE/FIND A FRIEND: Having friends to confide in during times of stress can lower your stress just by being part of your support circle. A friend may be able to be more objective about a specific stress as she or he may be a step or two removed from the immediate situation. Hearing a friend’s troubles can often bring your own “crisis” into perspective. Make the time to find and nurture positive relationships a priority. It will be worth every second.
EAT A RAINBOW (EVERY DAY)- As many of you have noticed, several of the healthy tips focus on good foods to eat to make sure we get the proper amount of different, health promoting anti-oxidants and phytochemicals. The point I am trying to make today is not to find and load up on one “good food”, but to get a wide variety of foods into our diets every day to ensure we get a consistent supply of as many of these important nutrients as possible. Each of the different color groups of fruits and vegetables: yellow-orange, red-purple-blue, red-orange and green is highly concentrated in different disease fighting nutrients. Now that Farmers’ Market season is upon us, it will be even easier to add several colors to your daily meals.
For more information on “eating rainbows” and what the different colored fruits and vegetables provide, try: Eat a Rainbow
For more information of Farmers’ Markets and how to find one near you, try: FarmandFood.org
EAT AVOCADOS TO IMPROVE ANTIOXIDENT ABSORPTION Avocados have gotten a bad rap as a fatty food, but researchers are taking a second look. The fat in question is monounsaturated fat which may help lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol according to some studies. In another study, adding avocado to salad increased absorption of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein 7.2, 15.3, and 5.1 times higher, respectively, than the average amount of these carotenoids absorbed when avocado-free salad was eaten. Adding Avocado to carotein rich dishes such as salad or salsa will help you get the most out of these foods.
For more info see: Avocados
For Recipes and fun facts about avocados, try: Recipes and Fund Facts
PINCH YOURSELF FOR HEADACHE RELIEF Sounds funny but it can help. This “trick” is based on the principles of Reflexology that believes every part or system in our body has a corresponding energy trigger on our hands or feet. Putting pressure into that trigger can stimulate the energy flow in the target area, restoring balance. For tension headaches, try putting firm pressure into the web space between the thumb and forefinger of your dominant hand, using the thumb and forefinger of your non-dominant hand for 60 seconds. Breathe deeply, (If you are new to health tips or just need a refresher, e-mail me and I will send you the tip on diaphragmatic breathing.)
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables for Calcium: Many of us are avoiding dairy these days due to lactose intolerance, dairy allergies, choosing to live a vegan life style or a combination of these factors. Dark green leafy vegetables can be a great source of calcium along with beans. Some dark greens like kale, mustard greens and turnip greens have an absorption rate of calcium of over 50%. Many dairy sources (cow’s milk for instance) has an absorption rate of about 32%.
For more info, see: Calcium Foods
MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF: In order to “keep your batteries charged” it is important to make and take a little time for you each and every day. Making a date with yourself, even if it’s just for 15 to 30 minutes a day is vital to keeping stress at bay and staying in balance. Ironically, the more stressful life becomes, the more important it is to keep that date with you. What you choose to do is totally up to you whether it be meditating, grounding, yoga, exercise, reading, listening to music, walking the dog or engaging in a favorite hobby. The important part is that you DO it. If it starts to feel like a chore, remind yourself that this is time for YOU. It may be a good idea to have few activities to choose from to have a sense of variety. I find starting the morning with a grounding exercise allows me to stay more centered through out my day and to handle what ever little emergencies life throws at me with greater ease (less stress).
To find time for yourself try getting up just 15 minutes earlier or looking at time waiting in lines as “found” time to read, journal or day dream.
For ideas on what to do, try: Your Time
For a sample grounding exercise try: Grounding
For ideas on finding time, try: Finding Time
BOOST YOUR MOOD FOOD After a long, hard winter it may be difficult to wait for spring and the return of the sun. Eating more omega-3 fats can help reduce depression, make you less impulsive and become easier to get along with! Experts suggest getting two servings a week of high-omega-3 fish, including sardines, salmon, herring and mackerel. Salmon is the easiest to find, but try adding sardines, herring or mackerel to your salads at home for a complete, healthy meal. Non-fish sources of omega-3 fats include flax seed (ground) and walnuts. Take heart, spring is in less than a week!
This weeks tip was inspired by my friend Bryan, (thanks!) who sent me the following:
A man is born gentle and weak;
At his death he is hard and stiff.
All things, including the grass and trees,
Are soft and pliable in life;
Dry and brittle in death.
Stiffness is thus a companion of death;
Flexibility is a companion of life.
An army that cannot yield will be defeated.
A tree that cannot bend will crack in the wind.
The hard and stiff will be broken;
The soft and supple will prevail.
Think of how soft, pliable and resilient we were as infants. Our feet were in our mouths. We fell down and bounced back up. Allow yourself the opportunity to be pliant in all that you do; physically, mentally and behaviorally. Our flexibility in life can be our greatest strength.
Maintaining our flexibility is important as we age. Being able to move freely and without pain allows us to lead an active life. Engaging in a daily stretching or yoga program can help keep you flexible or help you gain flexibility. Remember not to bounce or force any position and to hold each pose/position in a comfortably stretched range, never to the point of pain. In order to receive the maximum benefits from a stretch and work at releasing soft tissue restrictions, try holding each pose a minimum of 90 seconds and if possible 2 or 3 minutes as you would a self-treatment technique for MFR.
For a beginner’s guide to flexibility training, see: Beginners Flexibility