How I Am Managing To Overcome My Anxiety

Anxiety is a funny one, isn’t it? Why spend your time worrying, feeling uneasy and apprehensive about something when you don’t have to? Ha, if only it was that simple. From those that cannot relate, I have frequently heard “Well, just don’t be anxious about it as there’s no point!”. Yes genius, you think I don’t know that?

So now, as I go about my days trying to work on regaining some form of a ‘normal life’, whilst still battling with my pesky neck and shoulder headaches, I have come to realise that I am actually more anxious now than I have ever been.

You think after coming all this way that this would be the easy part, right? You know, integrating into society again, doing all the things that you used to do pre-illness? Well, it’s proved harder than I thought, however, this was until I recently discovered the key to overcoming this beast, once and for all.

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This all came to light after a visit to my Physiotherapist. He is without a doubt not what you would call a normal Physiotherapist, and for all the best reasons. Not only does John look at what’s physically causing me pain, he delves deeper into what’s going on in my subconscious and how my mind is influencing my physical body.

After explaining to John how much I long to do ‘normal’ things like completing more than one task in a day or even just being able to sunbathe (yes, ridiculous I know when I live in the flippin’ desert and it’s sunny 365 days of the year), he stopped me in my tracks and asked me why couldn’t I do these things? To be honest, I had no valid answer to give other than they simply made me anxious right now.

That being said, John challenged me to adopt his approach which he likes to call exposure therapy. Simply put, this means basically overcoming what it is you are frightened of by facing it head-on (excuse the pun). So off I set, feeling even more anxious about what I was about to undertake but deep down I knew this had to be done.

If I have learnt anything along this journey, it’s that great things sure don’t come from comfort zones.

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On return from my session, I actually sat down and made a list of all the things that currently made me anxious and then set about to tick them off one by one. My first challenge was sunbathing and not shadebathing for the first time in forever. With frequent dips in the water and of course my trusty hat, it actually felt damn right glorious to finally soak up some rays.

Next I tackled having a group of friends round for a BBQ, something we hadn’t done in so long. It went so well that the whiskeys were still flowing at midnight (obviously not mine) but I made my way through seven hours of hosting! My other small victories included going for a beach walk in the sun before breakfast with my friend, lunch in a busy cafe and I know it sounds small but even just staying out during the day without coming back to the safety of home.

Of course, attempting these things made me anxious but by overcoming these small feats has taught me that I CAN do more than I think and gives me the confidence next time to push myself even further.

Remember friends, you are only confined by the walls that you build.

#Physiotherapy #Headaches #Anxiety #HealthCoach #MyJourney

 

 

Social Media – A Healing Help Or Hinderance?

Ahhh social media. For most people, It’s like Marmite. You either love it or you hate it, but if I had to guess I would say that 99% of people would admit to loving their daily dose of Facebook goss, Instagram stories, and Twitter rants. And let’s be honest, most of us would be lost without it.

The routine of waking up each day and reaching for our phone so we can make sure we are up to date with “what’s going on in the world” real or not, even before we leave our bed has somehow become as routine as brushing our teeth is every morning! Or is that just me?

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After all, social media is just fun and games, right? But to someone who has, or still is, suffering with a chronic illnessor any illness for that matter I’m sure has already found out that it can either be a comforting tool to connect with others in a similar situation or a tool to make you feel even more insufficient, small and a more of a failure than you already do.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned upon my journey of recovery from migraines is that in order for your body to have the optimal chance to heal and repair it needs to be in the best possible place both physically and emotionally and for me, as hard as it was, that meant learning to be ok with exactly where I was in that moment. Not judging myself for where I “should” be, how I “should” be feeling and what I “should” be doing,  but just being patient with my body and trying to find some peace in the current moment.

However, the daily hours I would spend flicking through my social media feed only left me feeling completely inadequate compared to the rest of the world that seemed like that they were living the best days of their lives! 

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Unfortunately, this is where social media is going to do you no favors. As Theodore Roosevelt once said “Comparison is the thief of joy” and boy was he right.

Personally, throughout my journey of recovery, there have been several points at which I have taken a break from social media and honestly, try it! It does you the world of good.

When you suddenly don’t have to prove to everyone that you’re having a great time at a beach completely headache free or that you’re eating the healthiest salad in the coolest cafe, you suddenly feel a real sense of freedom and most of all relief from the expectation of the world and what you “should” be doing. This, in turn, allows you to be ok in that moment which is exactly what your nervous system is desperate for.

So what if where you are right now is in bed, reading a book, dealing with the aftermath of a migraine! And so what if you can only walk on a treadmill at the gym for 15 minutes when everyone around you seems to be doing some sort of military assault course! Where you are right now is perfect for you and as soon as you come to realize that, your health will be able to blossom. 

Why not try a seven-day social media detox for yourself and see how you feel mentally, emotionally and physically afterwards? I would love to hear how you get on.

 #Blogger #SocialMedia #Healing #Migraines #Headaches 

 

 

 

There Is No Such Thing As The “Perfect” Diet

In this day and age, as a human race we have never before had access to such an abundance of information so readily available at our fingertips. Granted, this is an incredible thing, but when it comes to the world of nutrition and food this can become particularly confusing.

Through platforms such as social media, the news and the internet we are now bombarded with the latest scientific research claiming that the “perfect diet” has been discovered. Whether this be the mediterranean diet, the latest keyto craze or the vegan way of living, it doesn’t actually matter because unfortunately I am here to give you some bad news. Don’t believe what you read friends because there is actually no such thing as the “perfect diet”.

Yes, I know, it’s true. And breathe.

Phew, now that’s out in the open, I can explain to you why….

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Joshua Rosenthal, the founder of The Institute of Integrative Nutrition, where I studied to become a Health Coach, best describes this as “one man’s food is another man’s poison”. This essentially means that what works for me, may not work for you and I’m going to give you a great real life example of this.

So when I switched to a whole foods plant-based diet I noticed such a huge change in my health and a huge reduction in my migraines. Amazing! And as I had been studying the benefits during my training at IIN, I had been educating my Mum on this during the process. She was totally inspired and decided that she too would adopt a plant-based diet due to all the wonderful health benefits it provided.

Initially this wasn’t a problem until a couple of months in when she started to experience some stomach issues. After a trip to the doctor she discovered that she was actually suffering with gastritis and this had been mainly caused by the foods she had been eating! Lots of spices, cooking oils and tomatoes turned out to be the main culprits in her discomfort which had been the staple for nearly every single plant-based meal she had been eating.

So on the flip side, my Mum now consumes a diet high in fermented foods including soy products, good quality dairy, cheese, bread, eggs and pasta all which are soothing on her stomach but all of which are my form of poison! If I were to eat the foods she now consumes I would be one big headachy, migraine mess!

One person’s food really is another person’s poison so you simply have to find what works for you yet still maintain a healthy balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.

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Another reason that there is no such thing as a “perfect diet” is because we are all completely individual and unique in life and our needs nutritionally are no different. What our bodies need depend on:

  • Our age – A growing teenager’s intake of calories would need to be different to a retired pensioner.
  • Our physical activity level – Are you very active or do you live a more sedentary life?
  • Our ancestry – Are you eating the foods that match your heritage or going against your culture?
  • Our job – Do you sit in an office all day or are you physically active at work?
  • Our health – Do you have a health condition that requires certain foods to be consumed and avoided?

Considering all these factors, I hope it’s now easier to see that there is no way that there could be a “perfect diet” for us as a whole, just the perfect diet for you.

#Nutrition #Food #Diet #HealthCoach #PerfectDiet

Amazing Things Happen When You Get Out Of Your Own Way

Recently I hit a bit of a brick wall. No one tells you that after beating chronic migraines that there will be a whole other chapter that you have to face afterwards. Extreme tiredness no matter how many hours you seem to sleep, brain fog, headaches and muscle aches seem to be the most prominent symptoms right now.

So as you can understand, I have felt somewhat frustrated by this newest revelation. As close as I thought I was, I am not yet able to spend all day at the beach like my friends, go to parties and busy social events like ‘normal’ people do or make it all the way through a wedding, which I have to admit has been driving me pretty crazy. All I have recently been focusing on was what I couldn’t do. In turn this then made me super emotional (yes, even more than normal), highly sensitive and creating so many other issues for myself that of course weren’t issues whatsoever!

After what I would call a ‘mini meltdown’ or what my good friend Anthony calls ‘a checkpoint’ in my recovery journey, I had an epiphany. I realised that all the frustration, anger and emotional upset that I was creating by not being exactly where I wanted to be, was causing me actual physical pain and stopping my body’s ability to heal.

Not so coincidentally, it was at this point Gabriella Bernstein’s book “The Universe Has Your Back” made an appearance in my life and from this point on everything changed.

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The book teaches you that by trusting in the universe and it’s ability to guide you, allows you to no longer live in fear and negative emotions. The aim is to perceive any problem that arises in your life through the teacher of love, meaning it has been sent as a lesson and is part of the process. Choose to embrace it and be at peace with it.

Gabriella says that every obstacle is simply a detour in the right direction so simply trust the process as the universe has a higher plan for you.

One of my favourite quotes from the book is “Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait and wait without anxiety”. This was a game changer for me as I realised that due to my uncertainty and view of my situation from the position of scarcity and lack, this is why I was experiencing anxiety, fear and so much tension. And as I know from my migraines, in order for the body to be able to heal it needs homeostasis and a calm nervous system which is certainly not what I was creating for myself.

My second epiphany came after attending a positivity talk at the Brahma Kumaris center in Brighton. The speaker delivered a sentence that completely changed my view on where I am right now in my journey. He said “Pain may be present but suffering is a choice.”

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Ok, let’s hear that again and really think about it. Pain may be present, but suffering, is, a choice. Bingo! I suddenly had all the answers I needed. With Gabriella telling me to lean towards love and joy by trusting that my highest good is coming to me, and with this incredible revelation from the speaker also telling me that I can still find love and joy even in pain, I realised that this was what I needed to do in the next step of my journey to heal my body. So that’s what I have been doing!

I visited my Grandad and looked over beautiful family photos and soaked up the love and joy reminising with him.

I have enjoyed lovely afternoons in watching films with my Mum, laughing, being totally present and grateful for these priceless moments with her.

I even found the joy in simply being alone, tucked up in bed with a good book and a cup of herbal tea. As a result my health has definitely benefited, and to be honest, I feel ten times happier than I did before making these changes.

We have a choice in the world to choose scarcity, lack, conflict, anxiety, tension and fear which will all manifest in our physical body, or we can choose to live in peace, love, serenity and joy by finding the good in every situation and trusting in the universe.

What will you choose?

#Love #GabriellaBerstein #TrustTheUniverse #FindTheJoy

The Most Simple Migraine Diet That Will Change Your Life!

Isn’t the world of nutrition super confusing sometimes, especially as a migraine sufferer. What to eat for the best? Before becoming a Health Coach I had tried everything in order to get rid of my migraines diet wise. I jumped on the paleo train for a while, then went low carb, high protein and so many more until eventually I discovered a plant-based diet, which turned out to be the answer to all my prayers.

Now, this is the interesting part, by switching to a whole food plant-based diet it meant that I eliminated all dairy, meat, poultry, fish and eggs but the most crucial, ALL PROCESSED FOODS! Yes, simply put, I replaced any form of processed anything with a huge amount of fruits and vegetables. 

Now 6 months completely migraine free and after experimenting with introducing some animal products back into my diet, I had a major revelation. As much as I promote the benefits a whole food plant-based diet 110%, I realised that when I introduced good quality animal products back into my diet my migraines still stayed away.

So why was this? Simply due to EATING CLEAN! I realized that the bottom line was that you could be a vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or even an all round meat eater if you like and still be able to eliminate your migraines through nutrition but that eating clean was the key!

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As a result, I wanted to share with you 5 steps to take you from pain to freedom through eating clean. Right, here we go.

Step 1 – Saying Goodbye To Processed In Every Form

It doesn’t matter if it is some processed deli meats, vegetarian sausages or vegan cheese, it is all a form of processed food.

These foods are packed with artificial flavors, genetically modified soy products, preservatives, colorings, unhealthy fats, tyramine and sulfites, all of which will increase inflammation in the body thus producing a migraine cocktail you want to avoid at all costs.

Step 2 – The One Ingredient Rule

It’s time to go back to basics and eat real food again, none of these ‘food like’ products that line our shelves. As Jamie Oliver says ” Real food doesn’t have ingredients, real food IS ingredients”.

I challenge you to purchase your one ingredient items and make your food from them. This is essentially what clean eating is all about! Real, simple and pure. I promise you that by avoiding those so-called healthy crackers, snack bars and veggie crisps you will be reducing your migraine potential 10 fold.

Step 3 – Plants Must Be Your Staple

When you adopt this approach I encourage you to stay true to your personal preference in terms of being a vegan or a meat eater etc, however the rule I ask you to live by is that plants HAVE to be your staple.

As a nation, we are so used to letting a slab of meat take up the whole vicinity of our plate, with our veggies an afterthought but in actual fact, we benefit hugely when this is the other way around. Remember friends, plants are the healers!

Step 4 – Quality, Quality, Quality

Now one thing I have learned is that quality counts. I know it’s not nice to hear, but so many meat, poultry and animal products nowadays are packed with hormones, antibiotics and are fed genetically modified feed. So in order to eat clean and avoid anything that could aggravate our migraines further I recommend investing in quality produce.

Aim for organic, grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic free produce, ideally sourcing your food from your local butcher or fishmonger ensuring the best quality.

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Step 5 – Still Avoid The Standard Migraine Triggers

Ok so now we have gathered how to eat clean, we still have to be mindful and avoid the usual migraine triggers such as red wine, cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits, nuts, caffeine, yeast and gluten products, you get the picture. Obviously, not all will apply to you but avoid the ones that do.

So there we have it. Stick to these guidelines and I promise you that you will without a doubt, see a reduction in the frequency of your migraines, it’s that simple.

After personally going from chronic migraines to completely 6 months migraine free I can vouch that this changed my life and it will yours too. 

 #CleanEating #FoodIsMedicine #Migraine #Health #Nutrition

 

Time To Release The Old And Embrace The New

If you have followed my journey from the beginning then you will know that this has been one hell of a roller-coaster ride. From losing my dream job with Virgin Atlantic due to crippling chronic migraines to now regaining my life, qualifying as a Health Coach, starting a new journey as an entrepreneur and now celebrating six months completely migraine free!

As such an exciting new chapter stands before my very eyes, I wanted to talk about something that has been coming up for me a lot recently and that is allowing myself to let go of the sick person I once was and learning to embrace the new healthy Kristie Jane, businesswomen, entrepreneur and chronic illness free.

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You think this would be the easy part, right? Well, actually it’s proved to be more difficult than you would have thought and here’s why.

Detaching Myself From Sympathy And Attention

Now, this is hard to admit, but when you have suffered from a chronic illness for a long period of time you kind of get used being the centre of attention. Not that you want it of course by any means, but it just kinda happens over time simply because your friends and family care about you, want to support you and know how you are.

As my health now begins to flourish and I feel stronger than ever, I realise that this is a part of the ‘sick me’ and my ‘old story’ that I now have to release, and instead use these conversations to write my new story by focusing on all the healthy, positive changes in my life such as being able to exercise, starting a new business venture and using my story as a platform to help others.

Goodbye sympathy and hello adversity.

Deciding Not To Choose The Drama

Before I got sick my life was drama free, that was until chronic migraines changed everything. Between a myriad of appointments, hospital visits, new treatments, a lot of pain, stress and frustration, chaos became my new ‘normal’ and I could not escape the drama that chronic illness brought.

Once again as my health improved, I have to admit at times I think I held on to some aspect of the drama, as it kind of felt like a little safety blanket for me, as strange as that may sound. Being totally honest, I think I transferred this drama into other areas of my life as part of me felt lost and confused without it.

Releasing The Tension

After beating chronic migraines my next battle has been tension headaches and until now I have not known how to tackle them. However, this week I had an epiphany and realized that my reaction to life situations is key in managing this tension.

By choosing to deal with whatever life throws at me in a calm and effective manner and not choosing to react and choose any drama, this then reduces my stress and therefore any potential reaction in my neck and shoulders which would result in a headache.

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I know it might be hard to understand but when you have been chronically sick for a long period of time it becomes your identity and part of regaining your life entails you to create a new identity and this involves breaking free from the sick person mindset and habits I used to adopt.

No longer am I sick Kristie Jane, the poor girl with those awful chronic migraines, no, no, no, now I am a businesswoman, entrepreneur, health enthusiast, trying to make a difference in the world through sharing my voice and story.

She is stronger, more driven, and has a purpose so bright to share with the world.

Hello new chapter….

#ChronicallyIll #Health #ChronicMigraineFree #NewChapter #Headaches 

 

A Beginner’s Guide To A Plant-Based Diet

When most people think about switching to a plant-based diet their initial thoughts tend to be something along the lines of “what on earth will I be able to eat?”, but trust me when I say the possibilities are truly endless. And no, this doesn’t mean you have to live on bland lettuce, beans and tofu for the rest of your life, quite the opposite actually.

When you get past this initial phase and decide that you want to make some healthy changes and take the leap into the plant-based world, most people are normally then daunted by the prospect of  “well, where do I start?”. Don’t fret friends, I am here to help!

So today I am going to share with you 10 essential steps to help you transition to a plant- based diet so you and your family can start reaping the health benefits of this beautiful way of life.

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1. Test The Water  

I know the thought of changing your entire diet can seem overwhelming so let’s start small. Initially try switching just one meal a day to plant-based so choose either breakfast, lunch or dinner, or alternatively you could simply start with ‘Meatless Mondays.

Make small changes to begin with and over time as you increase your plant-based repertoire you can incorporate more plant-based options into your day.

2. Pantry Essentials

To make plant-based cooking super easy it is time to stock your pantry and get plant prepared. A few essentials are tinned tomatoes, coconut milk, lentils, whole grains, brown rice, tinned beans, oats, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and nut butters.

I would suggest buying organic tinned products because there will be no added colours, firming agents or artificial preservatives.

3. Spice It Up

Plant-based cooking uses a lot of herbs and spices to create super flavoursome dishes so it’s time to invest in some dried herbs and spices. My essential dried herbs include thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, parsley, tarragon and bay leaves.

In regards to spices, I would recommend purchasing some cumin, coriander, chilli powder, cayenne pepper, turmeric, curry powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, nutmeg and my favourite of them all, smoked paprika.

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4. Experiment with Milk Alternatives 

A couple of years ago there were limited alternatives to cow’s milk in our supermarkets but nowadays we are blessed with a variety of plant-based alternatives.

Why not try experimenting with hemp milk, rice milk, soya milk, cashew milk, almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk or flax milk. The possibilities are endless!

5. Introduce One New Fruit or Vegetable A Week

Us humans are creatures of habit and tend to stay within what we know, so I am going to challenge you to purchase one new fruit or vegetable a week and incorporate it into your diet.

Try experimenting with papaya, pomegranate, guava or some kale, radishes or artichokes and before you know it you will have a whole new repertoire of foods to incorporate into your meals.

6. Avoid The Processed ‘Food Like’ Options

As much as good quality soy products can be part of a healthy balanced diet, the aim is not to make this your staple, plants should be your staple. There are so many vegetarian/vegan alternatives in supermarkets that are classed as ‘plant-based’ but this is effectively just another form of processed food.

Try your best to buy real food in its original form, as close as possible to how it came out the ground, exactly the way nature intended.

7. Try Plant-Based Versions Of Your Current Meals

Going plant-based doesn’t have to mean a complete switch from what you know and love to eat, it’s all about making simple adjustments.

For example, at breakfast you could make your favourite pancakes but instead swap the ingrediants to a banana, coconut flour and almond milk and for dinner you could make some delicious fajitas with large lettuce wraps filled with peppers, mushrooms, black beans and avocado. It doesn’t have to be difficult.

pexels-photo-2476858. Find Inspiration 

Today we are so lucky because we don’t have to go out and spend money on cookbooks anymore as there are just so many resources online. I advise you to set up a Pinterest account and get searching as there are so many beautiful recipes from amazing plant-based bloggers for free!

Some of my favourites include Deliciously Ella, Plant-Based Pixie and The Glowing Fridge. Check them out.

9. Be Aware Of The Refined Carbs

You will find that a lot of plant based recipes can be high in refined carbohydrates so be aware of this. Refined white flour, white pasta and bread are the culprits which are nutrient poor and calorie dense, however there are alternatives.

Instead I suggest experimenting with healthy flours such as coconut flour, buckwheat flour, sorghum flour and quinoa flour.

10. Learn The Health Benefits

In order to stay motivated and inspired on this journey I advise you to do a little background research. There are some incredible documentaries on Netflix that share the amazing health benefits associated with a plant-based diet such as Forkes Over Knives, and Food Matters.

After watching these films I can assure you that you will come away feeling super motivated to carry on the plant-based way of life.

 #Plant-Based #Healthy #Nutrition #BeginnersGuide #Nourish

 

 

 

 

The Truth About Life After Chronic Migraines

When I began this blog a couple of years ago, my intention was to always give a true and honest representation of my journey, no matter what that may be, through the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, the beautiful and the damn right ugly, of which there have been many of these moments.

So with this in mind, I felt I needed to share with you the genuine truth about what happened when I finally broke free from the ‘chronic migraine curse’ and began to try and live a so-called ‘normal life’ again. Surely that was going to be the easy part in all of this, right?

Wrong! It was never going to be that simple, was it?

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Now, I want to get one thing straight before I continue, and that is how UNBELIEVABLY GRATEFUL I am to be five months migraine free! It honestly feels incredible and I feel so very blessed every day for how far I have come. Not having to live in fear anymore of an impending migraine truly gives you a new lease of life and makes you realise that anything is possible. 

However, what I want to share with you is that although I may be migraine free, life can still be a struggle sometimes. I may have just ended one journey but a new one has just begun and one that suddenly feels more daunting than the first, for some confusing reason.

Of course, we are all unique and our post migraine battles will be different but for me, mine has been three-fold:

  1. Neck and Shoulder Pain
  2. Tension Headaches
  3. Anxiety

And unfortunately, these three seem to love to work in tandem together. Anxiety causes neck and shoulder tension which therefore results in a tension headache which can then lead to feelings of anxiety. So you can see the pickle I can get myself in here.

Everyday I still have to work hard to strive to live a life free from pain but I do know without a shadow of a doubt that I WILL get there, it’s just a matter of time. After all, if there is anything that I have learnt from my chronic migraine journey it’s that your belief is everything!  

So, as much as I would like to put my feet up, order myself a mouth-watering Chinese takeaway and celebrate my success by catching up on all those glasses of red wine I have missed out on over the past four years, it is just not possible. I still have to practice self-care daily in order to keep progressing and move forward in my recovery. This routine consists of my daily Dr Joe Dispenza meditations, stretches for my tight muscles, deep belly breathing practice, good clean nutrition, occasional massage and working with a physiotherapist to get me back into exercise again.

Despite this, I wouldn’t swap it for the world. The good days have become more and more and the bad less and less and I am so grateful for where I am in my journey today.

Ofcourse I still get those days when I just want to bury myself in my duvet and have a little cry, but those days are far outweighed by the stunningly beautiful and completely magical days when I actually feel like a ‘normal’ person again with no migraine or tension headache! Yes, this actually happens more often than not now!

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In this new world, you face different challenges though. How to integrate into society but still manage your boundaries, how to fit back into a ‘normal’ routine again yet at the still time ensuring that you make time for your essential self-care musts and managing the guilt of letting friends and family down when you know you are not quite ready to take on all of the world’s challenges just yet. I’ll be honest, it’s a balance and a difficult one at that but I am getting there.

That said, I can’t explain to you in words how wonderful it feels to now be able to start rebuilding my social life again, being able to just pop out for a meal with my husband whenever we feel like it, to make exciting travel plans once again, to find a purpose and a career that I am so passionate about, but most of all, to have my freedom back. It’s truly magical and worth all the blood, sweat and tears it took me to get to this day.

So never stop fighting migraineurs, as YOU WILL get there! YOUR freedom awaits…

#Healing #ChronicMigraineFree #MyJourney #UpsAndDowns #Headaches 

 

 

 

 

The Conflicting Science Of Nutrition And How To Truly Eat Healthy

Nowadays you only have to scroll down your Facebook news feed and you will easily be greeted with an array of nutrition based articles, whether it be how to incorporate the latest superfood into your diet or a study about the harmful effects of too much red meat on the body. Whatever it is, we just cannot stop talking about what it is we should be putting into our bodies, and rightly so! Food on cellular level affects our skin, hair, nails, blood, tissue and vital organs, so of course we should be concerned.

So why is it then that one minute coconut oil is classed as a ‘health food’ and can help you burn fat and increase brain function, and in the next breath we are being told it increases your LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) which contributes to cardiovascular disease and heart disease? Wait a second, how can this be?

I am here to tell you that unfortunately, chances are, both could be be correct. Now bear with me here. Joshua Rosenthal, the founder of the largest nutrition school in the world, IIN said “Nutrition is a funny science. It’s the only science where people can scientifically prove opposing theories and still be right”. Hard to grasp, but it’s true. Let me give you some examples.

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Take dairy, it has been proven that yoghurt is fantastic in helping you maintain a healthy gut flora due to its probiotic qualities, yet at the same time it has also been shown to be linked to prostate cancer and heart disease. 

Here’s another. The omega three fatty acids in fish have been shown to reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack, great! Yet in another breath we are advised to avoid fish such as king mackerel and bigeye tuna to minimise exposure to contaminants such as mercury. 

So faced with this contradicting science that bombards us on a daily basis, here are some of my top tips to help you navigate through the confusion.

It’s All About Balance

As we know already, too much of a good thing in life can sometimes be bad, especially in nutrition. So what we need to strive for in order to create a healthy diet is balance. For example, we all need protein (not as much as society thinks we do) but we still need it, however too much protein can cause bad breath, headaches and constipation.

Try to make sure you vary your diet with a mix of different proteins (plant and animal) such as red meat, lentils and beans, complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole grains, sweet potato and healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados and nuts.

Eat Mostly Plants

Plants are the key to vitality and health and they were put on this earth for us to consume and enjoy. Eating a diet high in fruit and vegetables means you are consuming plenty of essential phytonutrients which have been shown to prevent chronic illness, strengthen the immune system and to even prevent cancer. Yes, cancer!

It is also essential to vary the fruit and vegetables you are eating as you benefit from different essential vitamins and minerals from every plant. Another tip is to always try to eat what’s in season as it will taste amazing and the nutrient content will be at its highest.

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Always Choose Quality

Nowadays we are blessed with so much variety on the shelves of our supermarkets, however, sometimes this can lead to confusion as to what to buy. When purchasing meat, poultry, eggs or fresh fruit and vegetables it is always preferable to buy organic if possible.

This means that your produce will not contain any harmful antibiotics, artificial hormones, GMO’s, ionising radiation, herbicides or pesticides which all can negatively impact our health. I appreciate organic can be expensive sometimes, but it does ensure the healthiest outcome for our bodies.

The Avoid List

Now, I know nutritional studies seem to contradict each other, but they stand united in one area and that’s what not to eat! In order to ensure you are eating a healthy diet it is essential to eliminate the following; All processed foods, refined carbohydrates, refined sugars and harmful fats such as trans fats. 

Now I know you don’t want to hear it but the reality is that burgers, french fries, sodas, pizza, sweets, cakes, biscuits and baked goods are never going to be healthy. So if you truly want to adopt a healthy diet then do your best to cut out these nasties, as these foods are one of the main reasons that we have seen such a rapid rise in chronic illnesses and obesity in our society today.

Respect Bio-individuality

As much as one person will tell you dairy helps their gut, there will be several others that disagree with you and tell you that it causes them no end of issues. That’s because we are all unique and news flash, there is actually no perfect diet! Yes, it’s true, only a diet that suits you.

Some people may thrive on a diet including animal products and others will benefit from a more plant-based approach. As a Health Coach, I advocate bio-individuality and this simply means that no one diet fits all. One man’s food is another man’s poison so the key is to truly listen to your body and find out what works best for you.

 #Nutrition #HealthCoach #Diet #Health #Food #CleanEating 

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How To Take Control Of Your Migraines With Deep Belly Breathing

Did you know that breathing is the new Botox in the migraine world? Yes, it’s true.

Something as simple as a bodily function has the power to mitigate depression, anxiety and stress, all of which are commonly a result of suffering with chronic migraines and in turn only make suffering with migraines so much worse.

Meditation using diaphragmatic breathing has also been shown to even improve cell health, balance hormones levels and even reduce blood pressure and it’s something that we all have the power to access, we just have to learn how.

 

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How Can This Help My Migraines Then?

In order to explain to you how this can help you, I need to delve into the science behind it first but trust me it’s actually super interesting. So here we go.

Our nervous system is broken down into several different parts but what we are going to focus on today is two areas:

  1. The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS)
  2. The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)

The sympathetic nervous system is connected with our ‘flight or fight’ response which I am sure you have heard of before. This was initially installed in us to protect us from that lion that was trying to eat us millions of years ago. However, our body is also designed to ‘rest and digest’, activating our parasympathetic nervous system after the threat has disappeared and the lion is no longer present.

Unfortunately nowadays, relaxation doesn’t happen anymore and we are all running around in panic mode and chronically stressed, either waiting for that lion (or in our case that migraine) that’s lurking around the corner. Now I know from personal experience, when my migraines were at their worst I spent all of my time in the SNS, ‘fight or flight’ mode’, on edge, living in constant fear of another attack.

However when I started to meditate and just breathe through my migraines and the pain, the miraculous used to happen. They would calm, my pain would begin to lessen and without question the duration of the migraine would reduce and until this day I never really knew the reason why this happened, but now I do. I was switching my body from ‘flight or fight’ to my ‘rest and digest’ system without even knowing it. God I wish someone had told me how powerful meditation using deep belly breathing was when I was super sick but hey, now I’m telling you so that’s all that matters.

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So Why Is Being In The ‘Rest and Digest’ System So Important?

Without returning to the ‘rest and digest’ system, with the extended release of stress hormones in your body it lowers your immunity, makes you more susceptible to illness (more migraines) and means that your body is never able to heal, restore and repair. Deep belly breathing can also reduce tension in the neck and the shoulders which again, I am sure most people can relate to when suffering from a migraine.

How Do I Practice This Then? 

Right, so find a comfortable, quiet space where you will not be disturbed, ideally sitting upright on a chair or a bed. My top tip is do not lie down otherwise there is a very high chance you will fall asleep. Happens to me every time!

Place your hands on your belly, thumbs touching on the navel and connecting your index fingers together so that you are making a heart shape with your hands.

On the inhale your belly will expand as you fill your diaphragm with air which will push your hands outwards and away from your body. Try to do this slowly and to the count of five in your head, hold for a second at the top and then exhale contracting your diaphragm and releasing the air out through the mouth and the hands should fall back towards your body again.

Simple, right? 

Personally I find doing this whilst listening to some calming music such as the sound of waves washing up onto the shore makes this even more powerful.

Now check you out! You’re now a qualified mindfulness and meditation guru!

I honestly don’t believe I would be here today, over 4 months migraine free without learning to breathe and by finding some calm in my pain. This was a game changer for me and I know it can be for you too.

#DeepBreathing #Mindfulness #Health #Meditation #Healing