• coachconnie@lifestylehealthmentor.com

Nutrition Book

Working on Yourself: Why You Need to Start Practicing Self-Care

 Written by: Julia Merrill

We have all heard of self-care, but many of us don’t take the time to practice it. We may think it involves countless spa days or something impractical, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Self-care means seeing to your basic needs, many of which we often overlook.

 

Transform Your Home

 

Do you often feel anxious inside your own home? You should feel at ease and comfortable when you come home after work. Are your relationships causing you stress? It may be time to open up with your loved ones about things that have been plaguing you. If your home isn’t organized or clean, you may feel uneasy and tense. Get your housemates to agree to a cleaning routine. It doesn’t need to be complex, and can really take seconds to get things orderly. You also should have a space where you can relax that is just for you, such as a meditation area. It doesn’t take much to make. A quiet space free from distractions that offers a peaceful place to relax is all you truly need. If we don’t have a place where we feel at ease when we’re home, our mental and physical health can slowly decline.

 

Get the Sleep You Need

 

The amount of sleep we need changes as we age, but almost half of adults aren’t getting the amount the government suggests. Most adults should get at least seven and a half hours to maintain optimal health, both physically and mentally. Sleep deprivation can be dangerous and can affect every aspect of your well-being. It’s never too late, however, to improve sleep hygiene. A simple breakdown is easily followed. Keep a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and getting up at the same time, no matter what day it is. This trains your body to get sleepy at a certain hour. Turn off anything with a screen an hour before bed as the light can keep our brains awake. Keep your bedroom cool, as we sleep better in lower temperatures, and only use your bed for sleep. If you read in bed, you may have that association, rather than slumber.

 

Ask for the Help You Need

 

When we are stretched too thin, it can cause our stress levels to skyrocket, which affects how well we are doing emotionally. Sometimes, we need to step back and say “no” when we need to. Other times, we need to actively seek assistance. This can be intimidating, especially in a work environment. Therefore, prepare before you do. Assemble some potential solutions to a specific problem you’re dealing with, and their outcomes, before reaching out. People are also more likely to lend a helping hand if you have returned the favor, so be amenable to others when they too are in dire straits. Asking for assistance at home can be just as difficult, but in different ways. Be honest with those who live with you. If you need something, be specific and direct. Even our spouses can’t read our minds. If we need something, we need to verbalize it.

 

Care for Your Body

 

When we look after our bodies, we look after our emotional and physical health. That includes both how we eat and how we exercise. By eating regularly and avoiding overly processed foods and refined sugars, we can keep our blood sugar stable, which combats things like depression. Not getting the right nutrients can make us sick, as well as sad. Make sure you eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. Physical activity is also a good means of staying healthy and happy. It doesn’t take much — a 30-minute walk after or before work is all you need. Gardening or doing a deep clean can be just what we need to feel better in every way.

 

We all need to care for ourselves and be our own first priorities. If we don’t look after the basic needs we have, our mental health — and often physical well-being — will suffer for it. Don’t let yourself suffer. Practice self-care, and feel better today.

Image Courtesy of Pexels

 

Author Bio:

Julia Merrill has many years of experience in the medical field and runs the site BefriendYourDoc.org.

Julia’s mission is to close the gap between medical providers and their patients, and aims to provide tips on finding the right medical care, health insurance, etc.

 

Conquering Stress and Managing Your Time Wisely

Connie Stoltz-McDonald/ All MFN blog/ exercise, Healthy Aging, stress management/

We all know stress takes a toll on our family, friends, work, and don’t forget the internal breakdown within your body and health, but it’s something that we can take control of and find ways to cope.

How do we decide when not to get overworked, frustrated or fly off the handle? It all comes down to defining what is a priority to you. That means identifying those are your key objectives that have to be done and looking through those to get the ones that well, maybe you have been putting off, because you literally don’t want to do them. Well, I’m here to tell you that they don’t just get done with a magic wand or disappear, you must tackle them head on. Once, you take out the tasks haunting you, relief sets in and the rush of hitting the list hard kicks in. It’s the adrenaline to focus on the end result… You’re done. And let’s not forget, that the hype of just trying to tell yourself to do it- causes the stress factors to heat up and cause the stomach discomfort, migraine or moodiness. At this point, most co-workers are now running for the cover, because they don’t want to be anywhere near you when you blow.

Here are some key points to making that list seem painless and help relieve the internal fire:

1. Requires immediate attention

  • Maybe it’s that long dreaded task that never moves — moving it from important to urgent initiates most of us to actually do it. Keep in mind that by never dealing with it, leads to additional stress.
  • Define it as it’s your internet bill and well, you’re lingering on possibly being disconnected. When you draw your mind into the end result, the task seems clearer and the why is no longer the concern. It becomes the push to completion.

2. Crucial but not death defying

  • Is there a deadline? When and is it time consuming? It may lead to critical status- break it down under crucial- if it helps you move to the next step. We all know things come up that are unforeseen and wonder where the day went. Interruptions always happen- whether you have that co-worker that can’t seem to quit talking or clients who schedule coffee time with you, but you didn’t accept the invite. Those tasks impact our day depending on intensity level – could be driven by your manager moving it to the top of the list.

3. Unimportant

  • Does it even belong on this list? Have you been putting it off because it’s not something you really intended to complete or the ambition isn’t there. Let’s not forget why it was added to the list. This category still carries weight- there’s identifying reasons to achieve it, but maybe not today or tomorrow. But as I know firsthand, it doesn’t mean it stays on the list for months or even a year. Ask yourself: “Do I need to do this now or Do I need to do this at all?” Then at that point, you move it to option 4.

4. I call it the “Back-Burner”

  • Yes this list can get extensive, but it doesn’t mean it won’t ever get done. Set categories of timelines based on urgency of these, because there is time for them — it’s how you make the time.

Have you ever thought to maybe tackle them as they come in versus struggling later to juggle your time to meet the deadline? Managing your focus around prioritizing can help alleviate procrastination which drive up the stress inductors. The slightest adjustment can aid in managing a productive day by breaking down your daily to do objectives by the following identifiers:

  • Perfectionist. We want it done right the first time. But you have to get started – most of the time we talk ourselves out of accomplishing it firsthand because it has to be perfect. One thing, I have learned over the years is as you get older, time goes faster and we don’t have time to waste time over every little detail. I remember back in high school when things seem simplistic and things were never hectic. Did we somehow loose time? Lol
  • Identify the bigger tasks. Don’t put it off because of the timeline required. Get started right after accomplishing those immediate commitments, with blocking out parts of your day so it doesn’t initiate a panic attack. It’s all about how you let life control you and how you handle what life throw at you. And let’s not forget — Is there an option to delegate?
  • Prioritize time allotments. Keeping track of your day with a planner or app will keep you in line with your appointments, tasks and upcoming objectives.
  • Identify small tasks. Do you get the feeling there is always too much to do? When you break each step down, set a reminder such as an appointment for each hour you plan to work on the project so it doesn’t control you or your day. Identify the A, B, C, and D’s to fine tune each objective and make it easier to complete them. This way it identifies time in your day for those pop up disasters that seem to torment us daily.
  • Organization. Take 5 minutes at the end of each day to organize and set up your desk for the next day. There’s nothing like coming into an office where your desk looks like a tornado tore through it. This also bring on the additional stress that you don’t need at 8 am to start your day. Set up a designated area for everything- making time more effective and your day will go more smoothly. Set up folders for your memos, so it breaks down by read now, do now, or read later.

How do we “Let go” and be less overwhelmed?

If I’ve learned anything over the years, I have to say – Learning how to say “No” moved up the list. We all have that kind hearted spirit that wants to be there for everyone and help each other with the drop of the bucket, but is it leading to stress, anxiety, frustration or other health problems. Identify the trigger of why it’s happening and if you truly are taking on too much in your life, well it may be time to just say “No”. I know most may be tuned out to you always being there, but we have to take care of ourselves first. By making yourself a priority, you will eliminate the barriers that define who you are and feeling like you’re being dragged by your feet. I have found over the years that as people change, our focus changes, our drive changes and most of all – the people we want to surround ourselves with changes because we’ve identified what is truly important in our lives… We’ve become wiser…. Which keeps us in tune with our sanity and our health. Stress can take on many health factors such as lose of sleep, moodiness, fatigue, difficulty focusing or keeping concentration, headaches, and depression.

Ways to incorporate stress reduction into our busy lives:

  • Meditation. Take 5 minutes to breathe deeply, sit up straight, close your eyes, and put your hand on your belly. Start by inhaling through your nose, feeling the breaths to take effect in your stomach all the way to your head. This will help lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Laughter. Releasing endorphins and acts as a natural pain reliever. Plus it burns calories — 10-15 minutes of laughing can burn up to 40 calories.
  • Take a brisk walk over lunch and take in some Vitamin D or add in physical activity or yoga after work.
  • Reduce sugar and caffeine. Try to eliminate coffee after lunch to ensure it doesn’t affect your sleep regimen. Finding a healthy alternative to our sweet cravings such as having celery with peanut butter or substituting honey, maple syrup or almond butter in your dessert recipes.
  • Muscle Tension. Get up and move around to stretch and get the energy flowing again. Take that 15 minute break and take the stairs to regain your focus.
  • Let’s not forget that we need 6-8 hours of sleep each day to rejuvenate our body.

In conclusion, I will leave you with a quote that Eleanor Roosevelt said “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan”. So, why not do it right the first time and set a plan, which saves you the hassle of touching the task twice and eliminating the ongoing stress to conquer it and overcome the procrastination habit. When you focus your time on results, the chaotic and busyness factor that prevents you from achieving you goals fades away. Never lose confidence in yourself that you can achieve anything you set your mind too. Stay positive and you never end up off track on your dreams. Remember a task, list, goal or deadline wasn’t set up to sit on a list to never be accomplished! You had a definitive reason to add it — now do it!

As always consult your health professional. I hope this article finds you in good health.


Connie Stoltz-McDonald is an Integrative Nutrition-Certified Health Coach, CPT, Wellness Educator, Blogger and Author. From her passion for writing, she is excited to announce her first book release titled “Healthy Lifestyle- The inside secrets to transforming your body and health. You can connect with her at:  FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

Sources:

www.webmd.com
www.cdc.gov

Connie Stoltz-McDonald

MFN Industry Expert


Brain Enhancing* Benefits of The Irresistible Cocoa

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Ok, there are a few, but they’re far and few between. Ha-ha…. I am the first to admit…. I am a chocolate lover. I’m not going to lie- this is one of my favorite subjects to talk about. So, if this is your favorite subject as well, all you have to do is keep on reading and discover more information on cocoa benefits.

As you will see, when it comes to the benefits of cocoa, there are quite a number of interesting facts to discover – for example, did you know that cocoa is rich in antioxidants and thus can enhance* the functioning of the brain? Cocoa brain benefits are plenty, as you will be able to read below.

So what is it that draws us to chocolate, well for many of us, it’s telling us that our body is lacking essential nutrients such as magnesium. That’s why at meal times, it’s recommended that we consume unprocessed, whole foods (recommended), including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, meat, poultry, fish, and dairy.

Let’s not forget, the key component to finding the right chocolate is one that is in its purist form, called raw cacao, also known as “cacao, the food of the gods” in the Greek language. It has a surplus of health benefits that may contribute to weight loss* due to its natural ability to suppress* the appetite. Another important factor is that chocolate has antioxidants along with essential vitamins and minerals, that boost* the metabolism, and therefore, the calories are more in balance.

And to think, I’m now convinced I need to add more chocolate into my daily diet. Then researchers come up with even better news… that chocolate can keep us thin. Yes, they have my attention and here’s what I found out!Scientists from the University of California of San Diego studied nearly 1,000 individuals and found out that those who regularly eat chocolate are thinner than those who just sparingly eat cacao. Of course, they are not saying that eating a few bars a day will help you drop lbs., but due to the antioxidants and ingredients in cacao, can boost* weight loss* and they show lower BMIs.

Chocolate Diet

Then to find out there was such a thing as “The Chocolate Diet”. I thought I had gone to heaven. So what’s behind the so-called “Chocolate Diet, well by allowing yourself just a few chocolate bites per day – can actually make you feel more satisfied and therefore, lead to less chances of binging on those unhealthy treat* options. This leads to reduced* snacking that can aid in weight loss* benefits. According to a small study by the University of Copenhagen, dark chocolate may even reduce* cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods.

The essential minerals include calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese. They contain polyphenols called flavonoids, with antioxidant properties that can offer skin protection against UV damage, along with the following vitamins- B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, and E. It also carries essential heart-healthy fat called oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, along with protein and fiber.

Raw chocolate has many amazing nutrients that most of us had no idea that our sweet tooth led to creating an abundance of the following healthy attributes Just, remember, there are many benefits of cocoa to discover. The most important ones that you need to keep in mind are the cocoa brain benefits – as cocoa is rich in amazing ingredients, it should come as no surprise that it can stimulate brain health and the overall cognitive function.

1. It can promote cardiovascular health by lowering LDL cholesterol and lowering plaque buildup on the walls of the arteries along with lower risk of heart disease. This is reflected by the benefits of dark chocolate being so heart-healthy and inflammation fighting perks.

2. It may fight diabetes. According to a 2005 Italian study, they found regularly eating chocolate increases* insulin sensitivity and therefore; reducing* the risk for diabetes.

3.It can reduce* blood pressure and enhance* circulation by aiding in the strength of dilation and health of blood vessels.

4. It supports digestion while the cacao moves the production of digestive enzymes in the body.

5. It can balance the free radicals from sun exposure, or pollution by protecting the body through the high level of antioxidants in cacao.

6. It enhances* mental and physical well-being by improving* mood, lowering stress and reducing* depression.

7. It reduces* stroke risk.

Raw Cocao Info

So, How Does Chocolate Boost* Our Brain?

1. It can make you smarter- According to a British study, the cocoa’s flavanols increase* the brain’s blood flow, which seems to make people feel alert and more awake and therefore; perform more efficient on counting tasks and improve* thinking skills. “From laboratory studies, we know that flavanols smooth the way for brain cell connections and survival, and protect brain cells from toxins or the negative effects of inflammation,” says Dr. Miguel Alonso-Alonso, a neuroscientist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

2. It improves* vision due to the improvement in the blood flow caused by the benefit of chocolate, may increase* blood flow to the retina and therefore; improving* vision.

3. It can quiet a cough, due to the theobromine, an ingredient in chocolate that seems to lower activity of the vagus nerve, the part of the brain that provokes hard to shake off coughing.

4. It can prevent blood clots, and fight cell damage, due to the flavanols in chocolate.

Chocolate Boost* Our Brain

Of course, keep in mind chocolate is high in calories, so according to news out of England, the middle aged to older adults can eat up to 3.5 ounces of chocolate per day to aid in lowering heart disease rates than those who turn down chocolate. Really, who turns down chocolate? The 3.5 ounces are actually more than 2 standard Hershey bars….. According to the European Food Safety Authority, it is suggested that 200 mg of cocoa flavonoids per day is a good target for the general population.The higher the cocoa content of the bar, the more health benefits it will provide, usually bars with 70% cocoa or more.

In summary, knowing the many health benefits that chocolate offers to aid in our goal of being healthier, it’s a win-win. But as I always say, all in moderation. As always, consult your health professional before starting any diet to ensure you are on the right track. When it comes to cocoa benefits, think about its rich content in antioxidants and how this can help your brain to work more efficiently.

Discuss with your family physician about the benefits of cocoa and how you can incorporate it into your daily meals and/or snacks. Ask about the cocoa brain benefits and he/she will certainly confirm these as well.

I hope this article finds you in good health.

Sources:

  • Sweet dreams: eating chocolate prevents heart disease www.health.harvard.edu
  • Cocoa: a sweet treat* for the brain www.health.harvard.edu
  • 2017 Integrative Nutrition, Inc. Learning Library under Dietary Theories
Image CreditsFeatured Image: Shutterstock

In-Post Images: Shutterstock & onegreenplanet.org

Q&A With Inver Grove Heights Lifestyle Health Mentor Connie Stoltz-McDonald Submitted by EatIGH.com

I break down the techniques to the most common weight loss struggles and to fight the battle & make it reality in the following article with EatIGH.com:

Q&A With Inver Grove Heights Lifestyle Health Mentor Connie Stoltz-McDonald

I wanted to share my own personal struggle to loose weight- it happens to all of us…. At one point or another- we need support and the right knowledge to change for good and finally make a lifestyle transformation.

“I have to say the most common struggle is losing weight. When I look back on my own experience, I started running to lose weight. I kept increasing the number of miles I ran to the point of 12 miles a day and I couldn’t figure out why the scale wasn’t showing any results. It was beyond frustrating, but I was determined to figure it out.”

Health Coaches are knowledgeable advisors who provide ongoing support and guidance as you set goals and make sustainable changes that improve your health and happiness. As your Health Coach, I will listen carefully and help you to navigate the world of contradictory nutrition advice to determine what changes are necessary for you.

Your personalized program will radically improve your health and happiness. Together, we will explore concerns specific to you and your body and discover the tools you need for a lifetime of balance.

To decide if health coaching is right for you, I invite you to schedule a free initial consultation with me. 

Schedule: Complimentary Consultation

 

 

Coach Connie

New findings may explain the advantages of polyunsaturated fat

Written by Coach Connie,

Lifestyle Health Mentor

 

When we think of the word “fat”- We remember back to our parents and grandparents using lard for everything they made or putting a huge slab of butter on bread. Back then, we didn’t think anything of it when we were eating fat, whether it was good or bad for us. We just thought it was part of our diet.

Today, no matter where you look – you see news reports saying eat this fat but don’t eat this fat. We’re always trying to find the lowest fat diet. It almost seems as if we all need to be scientists just to figure out what should we eat. So let’s take a look at what polyunsaturated fat is, why it’s good for us and what should we consume to achieve the full benefits.

So, what is polyunsaturated fat and how does it affect our health? It is found in animal and plant foods, which is known as one of the healthier fats, together with monounsaturated fat. The biggest thing to remember is that we want to add in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, which will be replacing saturated fats, commonly found in red meat, butter, cheese, and ice cream; and trans fat, which are unhealthy fats found in partially hydrogenated oil, that could increase health problems such as risk for heart disease. When you reduce the red meat and butter intake, substitute them with fish, beans, nuts, and healthy oils rather than refined carbohydrates. That’s why adding polyunsaturated fats into your diet can help lower your bad cholesterol (LDL), which causes your arteries to become blocked or clogged. It can contribute vitamin E to your diet, which is an antioxidant. By adding more of this healthier fat into our diets, it can boost your overall body, mind and soul, along with your waistline. Now isn’t that a bonus.

This type of fat includes omega-3 and omega-6 fats (EFA’s), which are essential fatty acids that helps our brain function and cell growth. We need to supplement these EFA’s through our food, since our body does not produce this on its own. They protect our heart because they contain EPA and DHA. They lower the risk of fatal heart attacks and sudden cardiac death caused by electrical problems that occur in the heart. By consuming fish, it may reduce the risk of stroke too and keep in mind, it contains vitamin D, healthy proteins, selenium, and other nutrients. It is recommended that you consume at least two 3-4oz servings of fish and seafood, including one serving of oily or dark meat fish per week. As for vegetable oils, it is recommended that you consume 5-6 teaspoons per day, which includes oil found in foods.

Lately, all you hear about is coconut oil or palm oils. Are they really better for you? Well, according to the AHA, there is no real known evidence as of now so, they recommend to stick to vegetable oils, because of the overwhelming evidence they are good for the heart.

So, how does the omega-3 and omega-6 fats work to our benefit?

  1. Lower triglycerides and lowers the risk of having an irregular heartbeat, known as arrhythmia.
  2. Cuts down the buildup of plaque in our arteries and decreasing our blood pressure
  3. It can regulate our blood sugar and lower our diabetes risk
  4. Lower inflammation and contains beneficial phytochemicals from the oil seeds

There are several foods that are recommended as part of the polyunsaturated fat category:

  1. Fish, including salmon, herring, trout, albacore tuna, anchovy, sardines, bluefish, mussels, halibut, bass, oysters and mackerel
  2. Vegetable, Safflower, Corn, Flax, Olive, Canola and Soybean oil
  3. Sunflower, poppy, chia and flax seeds
  4. Eggs and avocado
  5. Walnuts, soybeans, almonds, pine and brazil nuts
  6. Fresh, raw pork sausage, pork, roasted turkey, roasted chicken wings and duck
  7. Quinoa, toasted wheat germ, raw oat bran, dry chickpeas, millet, tahini and firm tofu

So, what if you don’t care for fish or have a fish allergy? According to the American Heart Association, you may want to supplement with over the counter fish oil capsules. Keep in mind, they are not regulated by the FDA. Most capsules carry about 200-400 mg of EPA plus DHA, which should be sufficient for most people. As always, consult with your doctor on a higher dose requirement. Some capsules leave an aftertaste or cause burping, so it’s best to choose the burp free option when choosing the right fish oil capsule.

Please note: As I always say, all in moderation, because eating too much of this type of fat can lead to weight gain, which contains 9 calories per gram. Carbohydrates and proteins carry half of that amount of calories, so just be aware of your consumption amount.

So, how does this compare to my daily healthy plate regimen? It is recommended to allow no more than 25%-30% of fat in your daily calories, of which should be from the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated groups. Keep in mind, limit the other fats, such as saturated fat to less than 6% of your daily calories.

Should we really have to read every label to see what type fat is in the product? Yes, because as stated, there are good and bad fats, so by knowing what to look for when purchasing the product will only benefit your health in the long run. Of course, keep in mind, that when food manufacturers lower fat, they usually substitute it with carbohydrates from sugar, refined grains, or other starches. These are digested faster in our bodies, which affects our insulin and blood sugar levels. This can result in weight gain and diseases.

As always, consult your health professional on any health concerns or questions.

I hope this article finds you in good health.

Sources:

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000747.htm

https://healthyforgood.heart.org/Eat-smart/Articles/Polyunsaturated-Fats

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-fats.htm

http://www.anneshealthykitchen.com/top-30-foods-high-in-polyunsaturated-fat/

https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/food-and-nutrition/fats-and-cholesterol/monounsaturated-and-polyunsaturated-omega-3-and-omega-6-fats