The Best Gift a Mom Can Give

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I often prescribe self-care to Mom’s. I post Facebook statuses ad nauseam instructing women to nurture and love themselves. I have even, jokingly, gone so far as to make someone confirm their commitment with a ‘yes ma’am’. Yet, I still get the glazed over ‘yeah, sure…okay’ response from most women. Then recently, my husband was looking at my Valentine’s Day posts urging women to remember to love themselves for the holiday. He said to me so simply and brilliantly “explain why”. Hand-to-forehead moment, of course.
So, I get it. I’m a mom and in the course of the day you have to meet a lot of people’s needs; children, spouse, boss, co-workers, teachers, and on and on. You are like a well-oiled machine; you have to get everything done and to fit it all in 24 hours. Not to mention, the world around you tends to be a little more expecting of moms to get it all done for their family and a little less forgiving if they miss a beat. Usually, there is very little time left over to indulge in luxuries for yourself, and if there is, you are so high-wired the best you can do is a glass of wine at the end of the day. Does this sound at all familiar?
I’m going to explain to you why it is not only essential for you to put yourself at the top of your priority list, but why it’s selfish not to.

1. You teach the world how to treat you
Translation, if you are constantly putting yourself last, what are you teaching those around you? If you get frustrated that your family isn’t treating you as you’d expect them to, it could be what you taught them. Part of our job as parents is teaching our children how to get along in this world. We should be teaching them to honor their mothers, as is done in many other cultures, not expecting them to appreciate martyrdom. No one does. By teaching our daughters to honor their mothers, we teach them to love and respect themselves as well, and we teach our sons to take care of themselves and one day love and respect their future partners. Children model our behavior, showing them to nurture themselves sets them up for a lifetime of good mental and physical health. It’s actually selfish not to give your children this gift.

2. A good habit does not just happen after 20 years of pushing it aside
I’ll take care of myself when the kids get older, or when the kids move out, or when the kids have kids. The start date continues to get pushed back until it’s just you. The kids have their own families taking up their time now. What now? Why do you think empty nest syndrome hits so hard? Everyone thinks it’s easy to just start taking care of themselves when they need to, that it will naturally kick in. When you have told your mind and body for 20 or more years to ignore doing something, it doesn’t just start doing it with the flip of a switch.

This is actually a scenario that has become really personal. A family member unexpectedly lost her husband a few years ago. All of her children were long gone with families of their own. They all wanted to support her in any way they could. She resisted all of their efforts not wanting to be a burden. At the time, this woman was beautiful, healthy, and vibrant. She did yoga and ate well. However, not being prepared for the scenario of suddenly being alone, and not knowing what to do, she chose to give up. This same woman, just three short years later, lays bed-ridden barely speaking, with a tube in her nose to provide sustenance despite having no medical problems. I can’t even think about this without tearing up. Many will dismiss this as an extreme case that can’t happen to them, but the truth is she was no different than most of us and you have no idea how you will respond until you are in the situation. We have no guarantees in life, but by practicing to take care of ourselves even just a little each day, we prepare ourselves to take care of ourselves when we really need to. Imagine how difficult it would be for your family to see you deteriorate when it’s totally preventable. Preventing this is an amazing gift to give your family.

3. You are freakin’ worth it
Sorry I didn’t mean to get vulgar there, but think about you and your life, and the person you are, and the kindness and love that you give. Don’t you deserve to feel as amazing as you make everyone else feel? Besides that, how can you keep giving love if you aren’t replenishing it from within? Depending on others to provide you with the love and nurturing you need can be a dangerous game, and lead you to co-dependent, unhealthy relationships. Start showing yourself the kindness and love you deserve.

Great, I’m convinced. How do I do it? For everyone it will be a little different. If you are still working on feeling worthy, I want you to spend a couple of minutes every day in front of the mirror making eye contact with yourself. Tell yourself out loud: ‘I love you, you are amazing, you deserve everything you desire from this life’, or whatever else comes to mind, but you get the idea. It may feel awkward at first. Have you ever heard the saying “fake it ‘til you make it”? That’s what you are going to do here. Just do it until it feels authentic, and you can really look yourself in the eyes, say these beautiful things and mean it.

Also, find moments in your day to capture for yourself. Sit and relax with a cup of tea, stop at a favorite store, read a chapter or article, get a massage, whatever gives you enjoyment. Even if it’s only a few minutes each day, eventually, you will get so good at this that you will start pursuing hobbies and activities that fulfill you without feeling the least bit guilty about it. As we have already covered, you should not feel guilty, you should feel proud of the lesson you are teaching.

If you have trouble with this, don’t feel bad, its hard work to break a bad habit, and its hard work to start a good habit. Get an accountability partner, someone who will check in on your progress without judgment, or work with a holistic wellness coach (make sure they use a holistic approach). A well-trained wellness coach or adviser is trained to support you without judgment, give you individualized progressive goals, and give you the tough love you need to hold you accountable so you are successful. No more excuses, no more saying ‘I don’t have enough time’. There is always enough time for what’s important. Make this important. Let me get a “yes ma’am”! Good.

Gotta go. If you need me, I’ll be in the mirror.

KalusionKaluwa  is “the Dancing Health Coach”.  She has graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a BA in Human Biology, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition  as a Certified Holistic Health Coach recognized by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  She is also a  Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and a Dance Instructor. Kaluwa enjoys healthy living, and “walks the talk”. Her family shares the passion and enjoys activities together such as growing herbs and vegetables, cooking, walking, rollerblading, dance, martial arts, meditation, yoga, and learning and playing at every opportunity.

Back-to-School Recipe – Eggplant Pizza Pie

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This is a simple throw-together for a busy back-to-school night.

Ingredients (I must admit I don’t use exact measurements here. I just throw it together, and it comes out awesome every time):

  • Onion
  • Eggplant
  • Basil
  • Spinach
  • Pine nuts
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Feta (Bulgarian)
  • Naan bread

1. Dice and sauté onions, add diced eggplant and cook until soft
2. While the onions and eggplant are cooking, make a simple pesto. I prefer using the bullet to quickly grind it all down.  In the bullet, add spinach, basil (and any other herbs of choice i.e. oregano, cilantro, etc), pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil.
3. Finally, put it all together. Place Naan bread on a cookie sheet (you can toast it in the oven for about 5 min before adding ingredients  – depending on preference). Add a layer of pesto, top with sliced tomatoes, crumbled feta (we prefer the Bulgarian kind), and finally the eggplant and onion mixture.
4. Bake at 375 for about 10 min

This takes about 30 minutes total, and is phenomenal! Enjoy!

(Sorry, there’s no picture yet. We ate it too fast 🙂 )

kaluwa pic 2013Kaluwa  is “the Dancing Health Coach”.  She has graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a BA in Human Biology, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition  as a Certified Holistic Health Coach recognized by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  She is also a  Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and a Dance Instructor. Kaluwa enjoys healthy living, and “walks the talk”. Her family shares the passion and enjoys activities together such as growing herbs and vegetables, cooking, walking, rollerblading, dance, martial arts, meditation, yoga, and learning and playing at every opportunity.

4 Steps to Beating Sugar Addiction vs. Cold Turkey

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In my last entry Is Willpower the Problem, or Is It Something Else? I identified sugar as a highly addictive substance, more addictive than cocaine. That’s significant when you consider the effects on your mind and body. So many people are identifying the symptoms of a sugar imbalance in themselves, known as Candida. Candida can present in so many ways – brain fog, sluggish immune system, fungal infections, skin problems such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis, and learning disorders; just to name a few.

This brings up the question – now that I know how bad it is, what do I do to eliminate it from my diet? So many go for the all or nothing approach; banning anything that contains sugar from their diet including fruit. This is an approach that tends to be recommended often, but it may not be the best approach for you.

Consider this, if you feed your body and brain a toxic substance every day for ten, twenty, or more years, your body may actually depend on it to function. If a person that has consumed alcohol heavily over many years just stops drinking one day, they may experience seizures and other violent physical symptoms. Yes, the alcohol is not good for them, and yes they should discontinue its use; however, suddenly stopping something your body has been receiving for many years can send it into shock. The same is true for sugar. Most people are addicted to sugar; it’s what most food companies have intended so you will buy their products. After many years of enjoying store bought cereals, spaghetti sauces, and even many brands of peanut butter your body is used to a daily dose of sugar that has accumulated into that imbalance called Candida. When you suddenly stop consuming sugar, the Candida monster inside your gut gets hungry and travels through your system looking for sources of sugar. This can create a systemic condition, and you really start experiencing unpleasant side effects such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and high cholesterol.

Every person’s body and background are different so their needs will vary, but some general ideas to assist you in cleansing your system and breaking the sugar habit are:

1. Cleanse

There are many good quality supplements that target Candida. Usually, someone in your health food store can help you locate these. As with any supplement, strive for food based so your body absorbs it more readily. A good probiotic will help your gut flora in its quest for balance. Another option is clay. Many are finding that a glass of Bentonite Clay daily will help cleanse the body of candida and its die off toxins. It is best paired with a good quality fiber supplement, and of course lots of water.

In addition, we put together a kit to cleanse the body from the inside out, and the outside in. It’s the Kalusion Candida Kit, which contains a Sugar Buster Tea to balance the blood sugar, cleanse the liver, and quiet the cravings, Bentonite Clay, and Control body oil to absorb Candida healing moisture into your body.

2. Ditch the liquid sugar

Begin eliminating sugar from your life with your drinks. Soft drinks and juices contain enormous amounts of sugar that many just don’t think about as they sip back. A 12 oz can of soda contains 39 grams of sugar. Yikes! I know the diet soda option may sound like a good alternative, but artificial sweeteners are actually even worse for you, so avoid starting a nastier habit when giving up sugar. Instead opt for water, seltzer with natural flavors, unsweetened iced tea, or fruit infused water.

3. No thank you to processed foods

With 80% of processed foods containing added sugar, it’s just a good idea to avoid them all together. Opt for real foods such as the vegetables in the produce section, or the meats in the meat department. Not to be confused with packaged lunch meats, hot dogs, and sausages. If you are buying packaged foods; always read the ingredients. Strive for foods that contain 5 ingredients or less, and make sure you know what they are, and that sugar is not one of them. Also, just because the package says organic it does not mean sugar free. Other foods to be wary of are low-fat, non-fat, and gluten-free. They often have extra sugar added.

4. Enjoy the process

Have fun creating new recipes, and enjoying new tastes. You are creating a new lifestyle, and a new you. As you reduce sugar from your diet, you can taste the natural sweetness in fruits, nuts, and sweet vegetables. It’s like an awakening of the palate. Enjoy these foods again for the first time.

As with all things worth achieving, this won’t happen overnight. It’s a journey that will lead you to new places, until next thing you know you are feeling fantastic, and looking great. That’s a worthwhile trip!

kaluwa pic 2013Kaluwa  is “the Dancing Health Coach”.  She has graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a BA in Human Biology, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition  as a Certified Holistic Health Coach recognized by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  She is also a  Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and a Dance Instructor. Kaluwa enjoys healthy living, and “walks the talk”. Her family shares the passion and enjoys activities together such as growing herbs and vegetables, cooking, walking, rollerblading, dance, martial arts, meditation, yoga, and learning and playing at every opportunity.

Is Willpower the Problem, or Is It Something Else?

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Is Willpower the Problem, or Is It Something Else? Have you ever been in a scenario like this?

You set a goal to lose 20 lb (numbers may vary).  You are armed with the perfect diet this time.  Your mom’s friend’s aunt lost 150 lb on this diet of eating blueberry and kale smoothies all day and a sensible meal for dinner (diets may vary – the blueberry kale smoothie diet is not an actual diet).  You can’t go wrong this time, but somewhere along the way you fall off track, you feel ashamed and self-defeated.  Then you give up.

This is pretty common, but there’s something you should know.  Many people have a hard time giving up their favorite junk foods because the foods have been developed to trigger pleasure points in the brain.  Guess what else triggers pleasure points in the brain?  Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, drugs.  Yes, addictive substances.  Guess what is added to these foods to trigger pleasure points?  Sugar!

Sugar is added to 80% of pre-packaged foods, and sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine.  So when that monster inside your head is screaming I need that doughnut at 4pm, it really thinks it does.  Breaking an addiction is extremely tough.  That’s why there is no shame in seeking outside support and accountability with a reputably trained health coach, or a dependable friend or family member to ensure your success.

I think everyone should be successful in achieving their health goals because something more devastating happens in the scenario in the beginning than a person not losing weight.  The real tragedy occurs when a person gives up on themselves.  They lose confidence, and don’t go after the things they really want in life feeling they don’t deserve it.  That should never happen because you deserve health and happiness unconditionally!

 

kaluwa pic 2013Kaluwa  is “the Dancing Health Coach”.  She has graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a BA in Human Biology, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition  as a Certified Holistic Health Coach recognized by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  She is also a  Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and a Dance Instructor. Kaluwa enjoys healthy living, and “walks the talk”. Her family shares the passion and enjoys activities together such as growing herbs and vegetables, cooking, walking, rollerblading, dance, martial arts, meditation, yoga, and learning and playing at every opportunity.

A New Year and a New You!

9923922_lHere we are encroaching on a brand new year.  New Year’s Eve celebrations are a significant part of holiday celebrating with some people more excited about the stroke of midnight on January 1st than their previous holiday’s rituals.  On New Year’s Eve you can actually feel the buzz of excited energy.  It’s all around you, even when you turn on the TV.  Look at all those people huddled up in Time Square, packed in like sardines.  To me it looks absolutely torturous, yet no one looks as if they’re suffering, they actually look elated.  Of course, they may have some liquid cheer to help a little, but the overall excitement is internal.   So why all the fuss, about a holiday, that merely celebrates starting a new calendar?

I notice the excitement comes not from the holiday itself, but what it represents, the NEW – a fresh start, the unlimited possibilities of what you can accomplish and have in your life, the breaking of bad habits, the total transformation of you as a person, and the opportunity for attaining your wildest dreams.  On the night of December 31st we wipe our slate clean, and begin fresh on January 1st.  Beginnings are extremely powerful and empowering; you can re-set the course of your life.

So what happened when you get back to December 31st, and your life hasn’t changed in the way you envisioned last New Year’s Eve? Many blow it off to unresolved resolutions, being too busy, not having the right opportunities, or just that they made unrealistic goals.  We often place the blame for our lackluster goal achievement on outside circumstances, but the reality is WE are the reason we didn’t achieve our goals.

It sounds a bit harsh, but imagine that there are no goals too big for you, that you truly can achieve the things you want in this life.  All you have to do is change your thinking.  We are all completely capable of having it all, but then those thoughts creep in – the thoughts of fear, doubt, and just not deserving to have it all.  What makes you so special that you get to have the life of your dreams?  YOU, that’s what makes you so special.  So what can you do this year to start achieving your dreams?

1. Stifle those negative, doubting internal thoughts that like to creep into our minds.

Quieting those negative thoughts can be challenging, but start by replacing every negative thought with a positive one.  It may feel forced and artificial at first, but after a while you will begin to believe the nice things you are saying about yourself.

2. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Sorry, but making changes in your life do require a bit of work, and the toughest part of this work is getting out of your comfort zone.  I know we work so hard to get in that zone, but finding ways to get out of that zone even with little acts on a daily basis will open you up to experiencing new opportunities and achievements.

3. Be grateful

Practicing gratitude is so powerful in so many ways, but especially when you are achieving new goals in your life.  It’s so easy to see what you haven’t accomplished, and forget how far you have come.  Use daily gratitude to reflect on all of the amazing things you have done.

4. You are not alone

Find someone to hold you accountable.  It’s not as easy to blow things off when someone is checking on you.  Some people enjoy working with family and friends, but others prefer to work with an impartial person, in that case consider a health coach.  Health Coaches are a viable part of health and lifestyle care, with professionals such as Andrew Weil, MD praising the benefits of working with them.  They work with you individually or in groups to help you find clarity in your life and goals, nurture you towards the goals you set, and hold you accountable in achieving them.

So this year, as we approach the New Year, we have some tools in hand.  I wish you the best in achieving the life of your dreams, because you absolutely deserve it.

kaluwa pic 2013Kaluwa  is “the Dancing Health Coach”.  She has graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a BA in Human Biology, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition  as a Certified Holistic Health Coach recognized by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  She is also a  Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and a Dance Instructor. Kaluwa enjoys healthy living, and “walks the talk”. Her family shares the passion and enjoys activities together such as growing herbs and vegetables, cooking, walking, rollerblading, dance, martial arts, meditation, yoga, and learning and playing at every opportunity.

Your Skin Eats Too

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Your skin is your largest organ.  That means even if you’re eating real foods and a pure diet, if you’re applying chemically laden creams and cosmetics you are still introducing toxins into your system.  Everything you apply on your body is absorbed inside your body.  An experiment I have been told about is to rub garlic on the bottom of your feet, and see how long it takes to taste the garlic.  This is how long it takes to absorb into your body, which is usually somewhere between 20-40 minutes.  Isn’t that fascinating!

Daily exposure to toxins has been linked to many health issues including weight gain, cancers, thyroid disorders, learning and behavior problems, and mental health problems.  We know that beauty comes with a price, but these are too costly for me.

Shopping for products that work, and don’t contain chemicals is no easy task.  Even many of the products that claim to be all natural have undesirable ingredients hidden in their list.  For this reason, I have started making my own products.  Now I not only know what’s going into my products, I’m also saving some money. I can’t recommend this enough, but realize that many people don’t have the time or interest for this.  So what can you do?  Try shopping small, local businesses, farmer’s markets, or even Etsy for homemade products.  Also, health food stores and vitamin shops tend to have products without the harsh chemicals.

My biggest advice is just start becoming as aware of the things you apply to your body as the things you put into your body.

kaluwa pic 2013Kaluwa  is “the Dancing Health Coach”.  She has graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a BA in Human Biology, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition  as a Certified Holistic Health Coach recognized by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  She is also a  Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and a Dance Instructor. Kaluwa enjoys healthy living, and “walks the talk”. Her family shares the passion and enjoys activities together such as growing herbs and vegetables, cooking, walking, rollerblading, dance, martial arts, meditation, yoga, and learning and playing at every opportunity.

Feeling Grateful and Feeling Great

November is here.  I can’t even believe it.  As I reflect on a November only a year ago, and look at how different that picture of my life looked I remember one thing that has remained, gratitude.  Last November I decided to actively practice gratitude, and dragged my entire family into it for accountability.  It’s pretty easy to start things with a vengeance, but one forgotten day can erase an entire practice from my mind.  My family won’t let that happen.  So it began, at our main meal of the day we each proclaim one thing we are grateful for that day.  Sometimes the day is beautiful, the birds are singing, all is right with the world, and being grateful is extremely easy.  Other days the sink won’t drain, the dog has escaped and is running amuck through the neighborhood, and everything I touch falls apart.  These are the days I have to dig deeper, and the days gratitude is most important.

Practicing gratitude activates your frontal brain, and pulls you out of your survival, primal brain. It improves your outlook, which results in feeling uplifted, and decreases depression.  All of this feeling good leads you to make better decisions, eat better, and participate in some form of physical activity.  This results in improved health, and feeling even better.  It’s a forceful cycle of wellness.

Practicing gratitude is personal.  There is no right or wrong.  It is correct if it works for you.  Some popular methods for practicing gratitude are to journal what you are grateful for, reach out to someone to express gratitude, or say a prayer of thanks.  I like the “What’s New & Good?” approach.  This works by brainstorming 1-3 things that happened during your day that you are grateful for.  If you want to go deeper, ask yourself why they happened.

Today, I am grateful that you took the time to read what I wrote just for you.

kaluwa pic 2013Kaluwa  is “the Dancing Health Coach”.  She has graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a BA in Human Biology, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition  as a Certified Holistic Health Coach recognized by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  She is also a  Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and a Dance Instructor. Kaluwa enjoys healthy living, and “walks the talk”. Her family shares the passion and enjoys activities together such as growing herbs and vegetables, cooking, walking, rollerblading, dance, martial arts, meditation, yoga, and learning and playing at every opportunity. – See more at: http://enlivenwellnessworks.com/blog/#sthash.BP5CeVNa.dpuf