Author Archives: drdawn

An easy 10-minute home cooked meal

What if it were possible to create a healthy home-cooked meal for 4 people in about 10 minutes? And what if that meal cost you about $10? (I mean for the whole thing, not per person.) Would that be of interest to you?

Well, I thought I would share with you my top strategy for making a fast, healthy meal. But instead of writing about it, I made a video.

Check it out here!

And let me know what you think.

Do you have any super-ninja “I didn’t plan anything but don’t want to spend money on takeout” tips? Share them in the comments below.

Some things are just hard … or are they?

I was talking with a client the other day. She was sharing her frustration with a change she has been trying to make for some time, but she keeps sabotaging herself. She said she felt like “it’s a lot to let go of” and “it’s pretty massive giving it up”.

As someone who is always listening to the stories we tell ourselves, I was intrigued by the words she chose. Hard. Massive.

Boy, if I was trying to make a change that I told myself was “hard” and “massive”, what do you think my chances of success might be?

So I innocently offered: “Well, what if it weren’t hard? What if it were no big deal?”

You see, your thoughts and beliefs create your experience. I know I’ve talked about this before. But this is another great example where of this, one that you might be able to relate to.

Just as two people can witness the exact same event and have very different experiences, because they bring different beliefs to the table, two women can be confronted with wanting to make essentially the same change, but for one it seems easy while for the other it’s nearly impossible. Because they hold different beliefs, they have different stories about themselves and about the world.

What if you chose to change your story?
What if it were no big deal to do so?

Funny thing is, I recently found myself caught in this very same belief trap (this is why even coaches need coaches). I found myself stuck in thoughts like: “running a business is hard”, “marketing your services is hard”, “creating clients is hard”, and the like.

You see, in the past few months, I’ve been published in a number of very reputable sources (including being an expert contributor to an article in the Diabetes Council’s online site) and interviewed for podcasts and other live shows. In each of these, I invite people to a free consultation or offer them a discount on one of my services. And what have I been getting back? Crickets.

I could tell myself it’s just too hard, or even worse, “I suck” or “what I offer isn’t of value”, and react from that place.

Or I can tell myself something different. It’s easy. And fun!

I mean, when I think of the amazing people I’m privileged to be working with, it wasn’t “hard” connecting with them and partnering with them on their health journeys. In fact, it was, and is, a joy.

And that gets me to think of all the fun I get to have doing what I love. Whether it’s writing or speaking or connecting with clients individually or in groups. And that warms my heart.

Yup, I think I’m going to choose the easy and fun road. Ah, that feels liberating.

How about you? What stories have you been telling yourself? What have you been believing is hard? What if it weren’t? What if the opposite were true?

If you want to share your thoughts on this, send me an email.

In the meantime, I look forward to dancing with you on easy street.

Warmly,

Dawn

p.s. Check out my latest video interview on the Dr. Jaime Show. You may learn a few things about me that you didn’t know. And please – leave a comment.

 

The ONE THING everyone wishes they had more of

Hello and Happy October!

If you’re like me, October seemed to sneak up pretty fast. And now it’s here! Which means we are moving quickly towards the holiday season.

I bet, being that I’m The Food Freedom Coach, you might be thinking: Oh, holidays… she’s going to share something about food and the holidays.

Nope. I think we’ve all heard enough about that over the years, right? And hey, you know I’m all for Food Freedom – freedom to make your choices, own them, and enjoy them, without guilt. So what else could I possibly say about that? (But if you are worried about food and the holidays, I’d be more than happy to chat with you.)

What I really want to talk to you about is time. The one thing, in my experience, everyone wishes they had more of.

As we approach the holidays, time seems to compress! There’s even less of it. The days get shorter. There’s more to do. Overwhelm takes over.

And overwhelm leads to stress.

I recently wrote a guest article where I shared my Top 5 Strategies for Creating More Time. These are the same strategies I share with my clients, and now you can have them too. Check them out, more importantly, try them out, and let me know what you think!

And do me a favor while you are at it. I would really appreciate it if you could comment on the article and share it. This helps increase the visibility of the article in search engine’s eyes, which means this information can impact more people.

Next week I’ll be sharing a home cooking video showing you how to create a simple, healthy meal for 4 people in about 10 minutes! How’s that for a time saver!

Until then, I wonder: if you had more time, what would you most want to do with it?

Warmly,

Dawn

 

 

Is this shutting down your thyroid?

Well, it’s almost the end of September. How’d that happen? 🙂 

That means we are at the end of our focus on thyroid health. Why have we spent an entire month on this? Because:

  1. So many people are experiencing thyroid dysfunction (whether officially diagnosed or not).
  2. Your thyroid affects so many systems. If it isn’t working properly, you can’t be your best YOU. And your best YOU is what the world needs!
  3. There are simple, natural strategies you can implement to improve the health of your thyroid!

In previous emails, we’ve talked about toxins, food sensitivities, and critical thyroid nutrients.

Today I want to focus on the thing that has the biggest impact on your thyroid (and overall) health: Stress.

In today’s world stress runs rampant and often lies hidden as one of the root causes of disease. In a study performed by the Cleveland Clinic, the number one factor they discovered that improves health across the board is pro-actively reducing stress.

How does stress affect your thyroid? Well, when we are under stress, our adrenal glands produce a hormone called cortisol, which produces a number of effects in the body. Concerning the thyroid, when there is too much cortisol in the body, TSH conversion in the brain gets blocked, leading to a buildup of reverse T3, which “puts the brakes” on the thyroid. (TSH and T3 are hormones that play an important role in thyroid function.)

For those of us who recently experienced the extended stress of Hurricane Harvey or Irma, our adrenals were probably working overtime producing excess cortisol. You may have noticed that you felt fatigued, or your appetite was off, for several days after the event passed. I know I did. That’s your adrenals affecting your thyroid.

It’s time to take a comprehensive look at how stress shows up in your life and begin to take small steps to lessen it.

In my coaching practice, I share my 3-layered approach to stress management, as depicted in the Stress Management Pyramid:

  1. Resilience – cultivating a frame of mind and body that is resilient in the face of stress so that you experience stress less frequently, and when you do, you don’t react as strongly.
  2. Reactivity – shifting your mindset through cognitive flexibility exercises so that you are less likely to react to situations in a stressful way.
  3. Release – building a menu of tools that will help you effectively release stress when it does occur.

While I can’t get into all these layers here, I will share my top 3 strategies for building stress resilience:

  1. Mind-Body Nutrition – this includes giving your body adequate vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and adaptogens to help it be stress resilient. But it goes far beyond just what you eat.
  2. Meditation – regular meditation practice can contribute greatly to improving  your stress resilience.
  3. Sleep quality – poor sleep is a stress on your system, while getting consistent, good quality sleep will help you build stress resilience.

If you are looking to reduce your stress, whether its to improve your thyroid health or your overall health, let’s chat! As you know, I offer affordable, effective self-study courses and coaching programs, and I’d love to talk to you to see how I could serve you further.

Just reply to this email and we’ll set up a time to chat on the phone. What’s the worst that could happen? And what’s the best that could happen?

Now go ahead and rock your day!

Two Brazil Nuts a Day …

In this post, I’m continuing to focus on thyroid health. Earlier in the month we covered the effect of toxins and food sensitivities on your thyroid (if you missed those, let me know!). Today I want to talk to you about an important mineral that has a huge impact on your health: Selenium.

Not only does selenium protect us against many health problems associated with the aging process, but selenium is vitally important for thyroid function.

If you are deficient in selenium, your thyroid will have to work harder to produce its hormones, and your body will have more difficulty converting those hormones into a form that your cells can use. This is because selenium is a chief component of the molecules that are necessary for the body to be able to create and use thyroid hormones.

And selenium deficiency is becoming more and more common, for several reasons.

1. The concentration of selenium in our food sources depends on how much selenium is present in the soils where the food is produced. As our soils are getting more and more depleted, the concentrations in foods are decreasing.

2. It’s not just about how much selenium is in the food that you swallow – it’s how much selenium your body actually absorbs that matters. Our ability to absorb nutrients naturally diminishes as we age. And digestive issues (especially those related to chronic stress) inhibit the absorption of minerals.

My favorite way to get the selenium I need? Brazil nuts. They are rich in selenium. Just 2 nuts a day and you’re good to go.

Support your thyroid: try adding Brazil nuts to your routine.

Next week’s email will wrap up our focus on thyroid health. I’ve saved the most impactful factor for last! (of course)

Until then, enjoy your Brazil nuts!

The Hurricane Diet

Thanks to all of you who reached out to me to ask about how I was doing during the Hurricane. We chose to stay in our house. We put up hurricane protection over all windows and doors and prepared as best we could. Thankfully, the storm had weakened somewhat by the time it reached us. We have some minor external damage, but we are fine. We didn’t lose power during the storm, although it has been flickering on and off since then as crews work to restore power to millions of homes in the state (apparently this is the largest power outage ever recorded in the US).

Normally I’m a pretty calm person, but during this event (including the days leading up to it and the days after), I found myself operating at an elevated level of anxiety. Watching the news and reading the social media definitely contributed. Plus, I tend to absorb the energy of those around me. I tried to maintain my regular routines as much as possible – still eating the way I normally would, still sticking to my regular morning and evening routines. But life felt somewhat surreal. Grocery store shelves empty. Gas stations without gasoline. And as I am writing this, it will still be some time before things return to normal.

As a Food Freedom Coach, I admit I have been amused by some of the comments I have heard and seen on social media about food during the hurricane. Take for example this meme that’s been passed around on social media channels:

From what I gather, people are elated that this hurricane event is an opportunity to go off their diet!

Hmmm.

If your “diet” is such that you get excited when an impending unwelcome event gives you an excuse to eat differently, shouldn’t you re-examine what you are doing regularly?

Now, I’m not talking about taking comfort from food during difficult times. There are times when I do believe that needs to happen. Even when we normally have other tools at our disposal to help us handle difficult emotions, sometimes those tools (like going to the gym) just aren’t available to us.

I’m talking about the sentiment that the way I’m eating feels restrictive and depriving, so let me jump on this opportunity to suspend that. 

And yes, this meme could also be taken as humor during a difficult time. But where does that humor come from? From the notion that we should all be dieting, restricting, and depriving ourselves. 

And that’s sooooo not true! Or at least that’s not the way I choose to live.

I consider myself to be a healthy eater, but definitely not a dieter. I eat the way I do because I like to feel good – I like having good energy, feeling balanced and satisfied, not suffering from cravings and deprivation. I don’t deprive myself of foods that would give me pleasure. Nor do I deprive myself of feeling good!

Why would I not want to do the same during a time of crisis if I can? Why would I not want to feel my best during this time too?

I used to be a restrictive dieter. So I can appreciate the idea of “yay I can throw my diet out the window for a few days!”

But I have learned that feeling free is so much better.

I continuously hope that others can achieve the same peace and freedom that I now enjoy.

Wishing you continued vibrant health,

Dawn

xoxo

Mind over lunch: Using the gut in your brain to boost digestion

It seems every day we are learning more and more about how our gut, commonly referred to now as our “second brain”, communicates with our brain, influencing our mood, our mental health, and more.

But what’s still not getting a lot of attention is the reverse, what I call the “second gut”: the gut that’s in your brain. I’m talking about the influence your mind has on digestion and nutrient assimilation, and consequently on your hunger, cravings, and overall relationship with food.

So in honor of Mindfulness Day, September 12, I want to share with you how your brain affects digestion, and how you can use that to your advantage.

Attention and the Cephalic Phase Digestive Response (the CPDR)

If you’re like most people, you don’t give too much thought to eating. In fact, you’re probably engaged in some other activity while “eating on the side”.

If this is you, then you are missing out.

Research estimates that 30-40% of our digestive capacity comes from paying attention.[1] Digestion actually starts in your brain. Your Cephalic Phase Digestive Response (CPDR, where cephalic means “of your head”) combines catalogued information about the food you are eating with input from chemical receptors on the tongue and in the oral cavity to prime your digestive system for what’s coming. The CPDR initiates secretion of digestive enzymes needed to handle the incoming food.

If your attention is elsewhere while you eat, that is, if you are multitasking, you’re not fully engaging your CPDR, which means your digestion is operating at about 60-70% of capacity. Your body will not absorb nutrients as efficiently, which can lead to increased hunger and cravings, as your body tries to get the nutrients it needs.

In addition, hunger later on is influenced by our perception and experience of what we ate.[2] Experimental evidence suggests that people’s hunger levels are better predicted by their memory of how much food they ate rather than by how much they’d actually eaten.  But if you aren’t paying attention when you eat, you won’t remember.

In other words, by paying attention – by being present and mindful when you eat – you will digest and assimilate nutrients more efficiently, and your appetite will be satisfied.

Your thoughts influence digestion too!

What kinds of thoughts, beliefs, and emotions do you bring to the table?

Your mind is extremely powerful. Your thoughts create your experience, including your eating experience. And your thoughts influence digestion.

If you are thinking stressful thoughts while you eat, whether it’s because you choose to discuss the day’s challenges or the news, or because you have an embattled relationship with food such that the very act of eating brings up thoughts like “This food will make me fat,” “I shouldn’t be eating this,” “I wish I didn’t have to eat at all,” “I hate this bland diet food,” your digestion will be impacted.

Think of stress and digestive power as being in opposition: the more stressed you are, the weaker your digestion will be. By thinking negative thoughts that trigger stress in your body, digestion and nutrient absorption are diminished.

Enter the skeptic: but there can’t be all that much of an effect here, right?

Well, think about the placebo effect. It’s estimated that 35-45% of all prescription drugs may owe their effectiveness to the placebo effect, and the percentage is even higher for over-the-counter medications.[3] In one very powerful study [4], subjects given a placebo but told they were testing a new chemotherapy treatment actually experienced hair loss. To quote Marc David [1: p. 125]

“If the power of the mind is strong enough to make our hair fall out when taking a placebo, what do you think happens when we think to ourselves: ‘This cake is fattening’?”

You’ve probably heard of the mind’s ability to heal the body. Why is it so far-fetched to acknowledge the mind’s ability to empower digestion?

So next time you sit down to eat a meal, be mindful of the experience and think positively about how the food is going to nourish and energize your body. Perhaps say a prayer or grace or give thanks for the food that is before you. After all, thoughts of gratitude and appreciation will help you relax and put you into the state for optimal digestion and nutrient assimilation. I doubt that’s the original intention of saying grace before a meal, but if doing so can have that effect, why not?

 

[1] David, Marc, 2005, “The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss”. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press. 

[2] Brunstrom, Burn, Sell, Collingwood, Rogers, Wilkinson, Hinton, Maynard, Ferriday, 2012. “Episodic Memory and Appetite Regulation in Humans”. PLOS ONE, December 5, 2012.

[3] “Placebo—The Hidden Asset in Healing”, in Investigations. Institute of Noetic Sciences Research Bulletin 2, no. 14. 1985.

[4] Fielding, J.W., 1983. “Adjunct Chemotherapy in Operable Gastric Cancer,” World Journal of Surgery 7, no. 3.

Are food sensitivities disrupting your thyroid?

I want to again talk about your thyroid. Why? Well, thyroid dysfunction is one of the most misunderstood conditions in the medical community. As a result, it’s often mismanaged and under-treated. The thyroid is a vital gland that every cell in the body needs in order to function optimally. Currently, there are approximately 300 million people, worldwide who experience thyroid issues and half of them are unaware.

Last week, I shared how environmental toxins can disrupt thyroid function and what you can do about it.

This week I want to focus on food.

Food is the strongest ally we have when it comes to making significant shifts in health. With eating being one of the most repetitive activities you do several times in a day, it’s also a pathway to compromising your body if you consistently eat foods that do not agree with it.

I’m talking about food sensitivities.

Food sensitivities are a large contributor to hormone imbalance and disruption in the body. Common foods that people show sensitivities towards include gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, corn, nightshade fruits and vegetables. Of course, everyone is bio-individually unique, and you can be sensitive to pretty much any food.

Here’s the thing. There’s no reliable medical test for food sensitivities.

Let me be more specific. There are tests that can tell you:

  • Yes, you are allergic* to this food.
  • Yes, you are sensitive to this food.

What medical tests cannot tell you is what you really want to know:

  • No, you are not sensitive to this food.

The only way to really know whether you are sensitive to a particular food is to use your own body as a guide and conduct what’s called an elimination / reintroduction experiment: you eliminate the suspect food from your diet for at least 7 days, and then reintroduce it slowly while monitoring for symptoms. This kind of experiment is best conducted under the guidance of someone who understands and is experienced in how to do this and what to watch for.

This is precisely what my 14 Day Mind-Body Reset Challenge does.

I shared about this challenge last week, and congrats to those of you who already signed up and took advantage of early bird pricing – which ends TODAY!

This challenge is designed to help you figure out what foods you may be sensitive to. It also provides a pathway for your system to detox, heal, and restore your baseline of well-being.

Best of all: you come away from it having learned a protocol that you can then repeat on your own at any time.

I put myself through this protocol a couple times a year. I love it because I get to eat whole foods that make me feel great. And each time I challenge myself to find new, delicious recipes to use not only during the challenge but as part of my regular routine (my recent find: “Smoky Garlic Quinoa Stir-Fry”).

I invite you to visit this page to learn more about the challenge. Make sure you check out the testimonials, because while I know the challenge has yielded profound results for many people, I also know you won’t just take my word for it.

Honestly, you owe it to yourself to try this challenge – to discover how good you can really feel!

p.s., I also offer a private 1:1 version of the challenge that we can customize to meet your needs and your schedule. If you’re interested, contact me!

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