Beauty, Wellness, Recipes, Food
Metabolism - the cellular actions that convert glucose to energy - is dynamic and largely under your control. Do not believe that metabolic decline is inevitable. So many clients and friends come to me suffering from low energy, stubborn weight issues, menopausal weight gain and feel hopeless.
Have you too heard that after 40 or after menopause metabolic slowing is inevitable? It’s not true. Just like physical conditioning interrupts the decline of the body; metabolic conditioning keeps energy up, weight healthy, and inflammation low.
Metabolism is essentially the generation of energy within the body from the environment - air - and food. The factors which inform metabolism are physical activity, stress, sleep, food composition, food order, and eating frequency.
When energy is available and steady, you have optimal metabolic health.
With optimal metabolic health your experience:
Less anxiety and depression
Improved fertility and sexual health
Stronger immune system
If this is not you, then it is time to change how your metabolism is running with conditioning practices.
But how do you change your metabolism?
Sleep more. Lack of sleep slows down metabolism by hormonally favoring glucose storage over use. This means when you consistently get less than 7 hours of sleep, your body is primed to hold onto fat, create more fat, and burn less of what you eat. You can’t catch up on sleep, so the primary way to make sleep work for your metabolism is to consistently get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. The effect of sleep is cumulative so consistency is important.
Exercise. You have energy stored in your muscles. The pathways that move energy from blood to muscle and from fat cells to muscles benefit and become more efficient with regular activation. Daily exercise keeps these processes online, so that they are more accessible to you even when not exercising. That way when you eat, instead of a spike leading to fat storage, your body will store energy in your muscles; then when you need glucose instead of the valley of hunger and tiredness, your body will draw fuel from the stored energy, glycogen, in your muscles.
Use your stress tool box. Stress is normal when it is situational. Chronic, all day, frequent stress is not what your system evolved to manage. For that reason, you have to be intentional in bringing your stress down by stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system. Your natural de stress pathways are activated when you exercise, do yoga, breath deeply, spend time outdoors, have social connections, or enjoy a cup of tea. Not activating relaxation keeps you in a metabolic straight jacket - cortisol favors fat storage, hunger, high insulin.
Food wise you condition your metabolism by avoiding foods and food sequences which create glucose spikes. Key ways to do this is to start each meal with vegetables, eat your starches and sweets at the end of your meal, and always avoid consuming sweets or carbs on an empty stomach.
Your body is equipped with programming to slow aging and prevent the concurrent diseases of aging: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and dementia. The interesting fact is that the body only activates these protective pathways when it experiences a drop in food intake, extreme heat or cold.
You want to activate your anti-disease and aging programs regularly. I do this with a seasonal juice cleanse. Low sugar juice cleanses like we have a jolie mimic fasting, as does the first leg of the 10 Day Reset.
Doing the juice cleanse is easier when you know what you are doing for your body. Benefits are motivating.
What happens when you juice cleanse?
By dramatically lowering calories and protein, your body perceives this as a time of scarcity and upregulates all systems to work more efficiently creating more mitochondria, cleaning up damaged cells, upping metabolism, and tapping into fat stores.
The ideal length of time for a juice fast or cleanse is 3 days for maximum benefit with adequate nutrition. It is also important that the cleanse be low in sugar. You want mainly vegetable only juices and nut milk with one to two juices containing fruits other than lemon.
Here is what is happening in your juice cleanse:
Day One - You burn through stored glycogen in your liver and muscles and begin to transition into fat burning.
Day Two - Fat Burning and Brain Clarity
By this point your body has fully transitioned into fat burning. This is the beginning of mild ketosis where the liver begins to produce ketones for brain energy.
Ketones are made from fatty acids coming from your fat cells. This is how your stored energy becomes used energy.
The ketones created by your liver from the fatty acids fuel your brain and other organs. The use of ketones is beneficial - it reduces inflammation, improves brain health and the creation of new neurons, and improves metabolism long term. At this point, most clients feel amplified brain clarity.
Day three - Stimulated Healing and Fat Burning
By day three, fat burning accelerates.
Due to deeper ketosis, other healing systems are activated.
With all these positives in three days, why not continue? Here is where the principle of diminishing returns kicks in. With fasting you want adequate nutrition so that your body leaves the cleanse stronger than it entered. Prolonged fasting can create nutritional deficits that are not desirable.
With a regular cleanse or fasting schedule you provide yourself with intense self activated healing that improves your immediate and long term health.
You can increase longevity by improving the health of your skin. It’s your largest organ and the cellular age of your skin affects vitality and, in fact, once you are over 60 the condition of your skin is of life and death importance.
Feeding our skin is not just about beauty. Skin protects you against a myriad of allergens, pathogens, infection, and foot ulcers. Skin thinning is a major problem as we age that weakens the skin barrier leading to tears in the skin, abrasions, easy bruising, and foot ulcers. The incidents of foot ulcers in those 65 and older is growing. Foot ulcers can lead to death within 5 years even when treated.
Bioage determination is a growing field of research which is finding that bioage of our skin correlates with longevity - mainly because of senescent cells and what is good for our skin is good for our overall body and what harms the skin, harms other cells in our body.
Senescent cells are cells that are damaged to the point that they no longer replicate, but do not die. Senescent cells exist throughout the body, but accumulate more densely in the skin due to sun damage, environmental stressors, and nutritional oversights.
These cells inhibit the healing of the skin and are implicated in cancer, diabetes, dementia, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and decline in eyesight, Senescent cells secrete cytokines, pro-inflammatory factors that not only damage nearby cells, but also pass into the bloodstream contributing to systemic inflammation and cell dysfunction.
Eating for skin health and practicing skin care is less cosmetic, but is deeply connected to your overall health. You can strengthen your body by lowering the age of your skin.
Specifically to decrease senescent cells:
The bonus here is the more you nurture your glow the better you feel, the more confidently you face your world, and the more you improve every aspect of health.
I started Monday last week with a colonics session at Living Waters in Morristown. I would never choose to begin my week like that ever in my life again. However, I’m writing about it because it was truly opening, worth the discomfort, and helped me be more intentional about what’s going into my gut.
Colonics is a detoxifying therapeutic procedure where the colon is irrigated. (Yes, that’s a very santitized description as the reality for me was never ending water and sensations that reminded me too much of childbirth.)
After the session, and being gifted with squeaky clean insides, I did not want sugar inside my gut, nothing processed - not even “healthy processed foods,” no dairy, no meat, no eggs, and no wheat. It was not even a feeling of good vs bad or plant based vs. not plant based. It was more that I got to consciously choose with what to repopulate my gut.
What I did want was lots of water. I wanted fresh fruit, greens, broths, soups, green juices, tea, veggies, and sweet potato.
I also wanted to do more yoga - interestingly post colonics my practice has been longer each day. I love ab exercises - I am doing more of those, and walking. I want to walk more.
The feeling of lightness is something I want to preserve after the extreme feeling of lightness that comes about 12 hours after colonics.
On reflection, after writing this, I may choose a Monday again, but I would clear my morning schedule beforehand and have broth and green juice waiting for me and set the whole week up as a cleanse week which is what it turned into. Unprepared - on Tuesday I made a huge pot of mineral broth to nourish me throughout the week.
The colonics was like a turbo boost to detox more deeply. I’ve been doing a “reset” ever since, but it’s been super easy because my body just wants it that way. So far, I haven’t added dairy, gluten, or meat into my diet, but neither beans, rice, or other grains. For the last week or so, I have enjoyed what I am eating although I know the next steps are reintegration. Introducing back in more variety is important for my long term health. I am thinking of fish as the next step - as I was a pescatarian for a long while and fish digest easily in my body.
So my recommendation:
The long term benefit and the reframe the experience gave me was worth the process. It was like instead of renovating a house, you are given an empty plot to build it as you want. That is quite extraordinary! And I will say Living Waters was wonderful!!
Wintering by Katherine May has transformed my winter. A client suggested this book in early December - both my daughter and I read it, loved it, and were inspired to make changes to embrace winter itself and the winters in life.
One practice inspired by the book was using the sauna regularly. I have taken to sauna-ing two to three times a week - a practice I really haven’t had since living in Russia. There is no greater pleasure than being warm. I follow with a cold shower. My energy and focus for the rest of the day is completely dialed in. Additionally, my skin is loving the pre and post sauna treatment with the Pomona Skin - goodbye winter dry skin. I get to detox and boost my immune system all with a 15 minute time commitment.
The book inspired me to enjoy more soups and broths and hot matcha.
As it relates to life - magically the book has evoked more patience in me for the process of life. I am definitely one who could live in perpetual summer, but May reminds us in so many ways that the quiet, more insulated times of life are necessary for more robust and expansive springs and summers. Also, not to fight the quiet times or the times of healing because they are as much part of the cycle of life as are the seasons.
We are offering a four part cooking class focusing on soups and broths. You will learn how to make a fortifying mineral broth that you can use as a soup base or drink alone. Mineral broth contains anti-inflammatory herbs, sea vegetables for thyroid support, and immune boosting vegetables. We will also learn to make a mushroom broth. We call mushroom broth Immunity Broth because it is such a big booster of immune activity and down regulator to auto-immunity.
After broths you will learn to make soup. We will concentrate on the technique or formula for making a traditional soup. I love to teach by breaking down the components of cooking because it frees you from recipes and long ingredient lists. Simplifying the process will help you make the simplest soup as well as the most complex.
We will also learn to make cream soups that are completely devoid of dairy, cream, or butter. They taste amazing and are great soups for guests, celebrations, lunches, and cleanses.
Along the way we will talk about health, nutrition, and how to make cooking a pleasurable, intuitive activity. You will always leave with something to take home and enjoy and with the experience of cooking yourself.
Eat to share is a wonderful phrase I came across which epitomizes how we should approach nourishing our gut. It is simple and clear. Eat for you and your good gut bacteria.
Your gut is a source and generator of health through the activity of the organisms that live in your gut. When you eat, you either nurture that symbiotic relationship with your gut flora or you clog it up by underfeeding your gut organisms. That is why the concept of eating to share is so important in creating balance in your diet.
So how do we eat to share:
Eat enough for you and your microbiome, but not too much. When you have a meal - make sure there are fiber rich foods or prebiotic foods for your digestive “partners.” (veggies, fruit, sweet potato, sunchokes). When we eat large meals, however, digestion is backed up and foods begin to ferment which is not a good environment for your gut flora.
Eat on a schedule that allows for regular eating times and rest times. You give your digestive microbiome members a chance to process what they eat and time to rest. If you are beginning, start with no snacking between breakfast and lunch, then move onto creating an evening eating cut off, then look at any grazing between lunch and dinner.
Eat for you. Each individual's microbiome is different - so what you need is not that same as what someone else needs. This is where listening to our own body and being aware of how it is functioning is most important. Above dietary philosophy is your individual GPS.
Eat more plants and less meat. A meat heavy and processed grain diet is typical in America and has health effects. If you look back on your last few days of eating and you see mainly meat, dairy, wheat products, white potatoes, rice, and beans you're out of balance. Adding in vegetables and fruits will help bring you into balance and mitigate the ill effects of the above mentioned imbalance.
The principle of eat to share is to eat for your body - brain, movement, living - and for your gut microbiota. You’ll feel the change quicker than you think. The microbiome is extremely responsive - in just a day of eating to share, the composition and activity level of your gut builds and diversifies. You will feel the difference.
November is my self proclaimed month of happiness, so I am reintegrating some of the daily rituals I have let drop off.
Autophagy is the key to delaying aging and possessing wellness as we age. It is the name of the process by which your body clears out old and damaged cells. Proteins, lipids, cell debris, damaged mitochondria, and other cell parts that are no longer functioning well are broken down or released from the body through autophagy.
The rate and degree to which your body engages in autophagy dictates not only how long you live, but more importantly, how well you live. It is the process that allows us to thrive throughout aging, especially as it relates to our cognition.
When the mechanisms for autophagy are overwhelmed or dysfunctional, your cells cannot function optimally, disease has more opportunity, and aging accelerates.
Significantly, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are marked by the accumulation of damaged proteins and cell debris. It is clear through research that impaired autophagy causes disease although causality is not fully understood.
We do know it is important. And to live our best life, we must support this natural process through nutrition, lifestyle, stress mitigation, and environment.
So how do you optimize autophagy?
1. Leave a 12 hour window between dinner and breakfast. This creates a window of low sugar and low insulin which triggers autophagy, especially in the liver, brain, muscle, and fat. Regular detoxing of these systems contributes to cognitive function, hormone balance, and mobility.
2. Eat plants. Enzymes used to degrade damaged cellular material require vitamin cofactors found in plants. These cofactors are necessary for autophagy. In addition, plants provide antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress which inhibits autophagy. Foods that are especially helpful to autophagy are berries, sprouts of cruciferous vegetables, green tea, turmeric, and ginger.
3. Avoid pro-inflammatory foods like sugar and processed foods. Inflammation impairs the power center - the mitochondria - within your cells. Mitochondria play an important role by signaling the pathways for autophagy. When they function poorly, autophagy is impaired.
4. Exercise. Exercise increases blood flow and facilitates the release of degraded cellular material.
5. Nighttime sleep. The glymphatic system - the system responsible for performing the rinse cycle on your brain - and autophagy are extremely active during night time sleep. They work together to improve the health and function of your brain. Good sleep is supported by maintaining the circadian nature of your brain. Support this by having a regular bedtime and waking time. Go outside every morning for morning sun. Keep your meal and exercise times consistent. Routine and rhythm help you attain better sleep.
6. Reduce your toxic load by using clean beauty products on your skin, reducing chemical usage, avoiding environmental toxins, and eating pesticide free foods. The less time spent clearing these toxins means that energy, antioxidants, and cofactors can be direct to autophagy.
7. Seasonally detox with a cleanse. Occasional low calorie spurts help upregulate autophagy. This is one of the main long lasting benefits of cleanses and resets.
8. Release stress naturally with time outdoors, gentle exercise, and quiet time. Although it's not clear how, stress suppresses the immune system including autophagy. In the same way, emotional and traumatic stress inhibits autophagy. Resolving that stress is also important for longevity and youthfulness long term.
Autophagy is a wonderful way the body works to protect our cognitive ability and overall health. Modern eating and life work against this process, but if we intentional support it we make an investment in our wellness and mind longterm.
The beauty of the body is that it is never to late. Even at the point where we are seeing aging and cognitive decline, these practices can slow or stall the progression.
For more guidance, feel free to contact me.
Digestion is an interplay between your body and your food. The food you eat directly impacts your digestive health. This means that every bite is an opportunity to heal, protect, and support digestion.
Adding flavor to your food at home with herbs and spices is an easy add that will make a huge impact on bloating, indigestion, GRD, intestinal churning, and intestinal gas.
Here are the top five that we use at jolie for maximum health impact and flavor.
1. Lemon. Technically not an herb, but in cooking it is used as one. Many digestive and absorption issues begin in the stomach. Low digestive enzymes prevent adequate breakdown of food prior to emptying into the small intestine leading to painful digestion and malabsorption. Adding lemon naturally increases digestive enzymes allowing food to be more completely digested.
2. Parsley is in many jolie dishes - finely chopped so the flavor does not become too strong. Parsley helps reduce intestinal gas and maintain regularity. We prefer flat leaf parsley for texture and flavor.
3. Cumin enhances the activity of digestive enzymes and aids in the production of bile which you need to digest fats - both plant and animal based fats. Using ground cumin is easiest. Add it when you are cooking the onion and garlic base of a dish or a sprinkle before roasting vegetables.
4. Ginger you know as an anti-inflammatory, but it also soothes the stomach, reduces nausea, gas, bloating, and intestinal spasms. We prefer to use fresh ginger in sauces and cooked dishes. You receive maximum benefit this way and can more easily control the flavor by how finely you chop or grate the ginger.
5. Coriander is an herb and spice. We use both. The fresh herb is added to a dish raw. The spice is used in the initial stages of cooking. Coriander is great for speeding up recovery from stomach illnesses and diarrhea. It is also being research as an plant medicine for colitis and ulcers.
6. Here is your + 1 - Turmeric helps the stomach by reducing bloating, heartburn, and gas. It too is an anti-inflammatory that also benefits digestion. Turmeric we use fresh and powdered. I prefer fresh turmeric for flavor, however, at home it is easier to incorporate a sprinkle of turmeric in your dishes.
Many of these you can benefit from in a tea form. Our Digestive Tea (soon to be renamed Happy Belly) contains all the herbs above except parsley. It also has other spices that benefit digestion that we didn't mention.
Another way to integrate these spices is with the jolie Digestive Spice blend which contains cumin, cardamom, coriander, ginger, turmeric, and a pinch of black pepper. You can also make your own by blending the above spices. Use 1/4 teaspoon per 2 person serving - if you want the spices to be more faint, use less.
Just like we were forced to yield to the hormonal changes of our teenage years, in this other part of our life we also must surrender to and find new ways to take care of our bodies.
You are a beautiful person inside and out. Is it hard or easy to feel that? Can you feel your beautiful qualities as much as you feel your external beauty? Humans are beautiful creatures. Babies and children feel their innate irresistibility.
Beyond that age maintaining that sense of beauty is intentional because so much negative body image energy intrudes on what we once knew ourselves to be - beautiful.
Negative body image comes in many forms: self hate, self criticism, non-acceptance, denial, and even abandonment of the self. Rather mild or extreme, not fully believing yourself beautiful inside and out limits what you feel capable of, what you think you can achieve, your self worth, how you take care of yourself - how you feed and nourish yourself.
Feeling beauty confidence is something that I have worked for; as a mother, I worked also for my children to always feel beautiful. And, at the heart of jolie, I want everyone to fall in love with themselves and feel beautiful.
So, how do you do the work of seeing your beauty? Here are my practices and practices that have moved clients into greater self love, feeling beautiful, and acceptance of their body.
1. Look at yourself. Children love looking at themselves, not out of vanity, but because they like what they see. Bring yourself back to that age and behold yourself in a mirror.
Find something to admire, to give loving attention to for a moment. If this is hard - as you look repeat "yes" to yourself. If this is easy, go further admire more, blow yourself a kiss, tell yourself how special you are.
2. Use negative self talk as ideas to challenge. How do you know the idea is negative? If you have to ask, you know it is not one of love.
I view negative self talk just as a storyline that gets repeated. That story line can be edited or revised at your discretion. You are the chief scriptwriter for your thoughts.
I always suggest revision - its a non-resistant path to change. If you are recycling a self criticism, begin by softening the criticism. Then, once you've mastered that - entertain the thought that the opposite could be true. Explore evidence for that new thought. Over time you will change the thought through non resistance and curiosity.
3. Up the volume on what you do find beautiful about yourself. Write down what you love and focus on reminding yourself of those things. This allows you to spend more time in positivity. Positive thoughts magnetize other good feelings.
4. Exercise improves your outlook as well as how you appreciate what our bodies can do. Part of negative self image is not allowing yourself to celebrate what your bodies can do. When emphasis is placed on what you cannot do or on illness, you lose sight of your physical achievements and your wellness.
5. Nature is as a great healer as food for your body and mental outlook. Sometimes I meditate on the quote by Hermes Trismegistus “As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…” The beauty you see all around you and the wonder of the universe is simply a reflection of the beauty within you and the beauty that is you.
6. Be patient with physical change and habits that support a healthier you. The body can change and heal. Yet, it takes time. So, if there are parts of you you are unhappy with, give yourself 6-12 months to work on the change you want to see. If you don't want to commit the time to change, commitment the time to accepting that part of yourself.
7. Take care of yourself. Attention is love. The more attention you give to yourself, the more in love you will fall. Take time to take care of yourself every day.
8. Decide you are beautiful. Your perspective is as much a determinant of reality as anything else. I hated New York when I first moved there - but one day, I just decided that I was going to love New York City. So everyday, I’d look for one thing to love. Now, I can't see myself with it.
It’s never to late to start loving yourself and seeing your beauty. And, there is no limit on beauty or love.
Digestion is an interplay between your body and your food. The food you eat directly impacts your digestive health. This means that every bite is an opportunity to heal, protect, and support digestion.
Wonderful digestion is the centerpiece of health. Healthy digestion makes you feel lighter, boosts immunity, reduces inflammation, improves metabolism, and gives you more energy. Promoting healthy digestion is at the center of jolie.
What can we add to our nourishment to support digestion? Adding flavor with herbs, spices, and ingredient diversity is an easy boost to digestive health. It won’t require will power, taking anything out, or deprivation. Even for the non-cook, small adds can make a profound difference without overcomplicating meal preparation.
For complete beginners: add a squeeze of lemon and a little chopped parsley. Both will improve digestive enzymes and settle your stomach. For many, digestive issues can be resolved at the start by making sure food is able to be broken down properly. For extra credit, try not to drink too much during your meals - hydrate 30 minutes before or after your meal.
Ready to take it a bit farther: add a light sprinkle of the jolie Digestive Spice blend or make your own by blending cumin, cardamom, coriander, and ginger to your desired flavor profile. Sprinkle this on anything - it will not dramatically alter the core flavor of your dish. Use no more than ¼ teaspoon per four person serving if you would like only the benefits and not the flavor. These medicinal spices help heal your stomach and gut. They have been used for centuries to balance digestive enzymes, heal gut lining, and reduce bloating.
Variety is another important aspect of digestive health. When I plan the weekly menu for the jolieLife meal delivery, I am looking to address the six tastes that are central to Ayurveda. This is an ancient way of eating that balances your digestion and hormones while ensuring nutritional depth. As a benefit, you can eat less and feel more satisfied for longer.
You can use the six tastes and apply them using foods from the farmer’s market or supermarket. Ideally in each meal you want the six tastes represented. I aim for four or more.
Here is a list of the six tastes and examples of what foods provide them:
Sweet - carrots, sweet peppers, sweet potatoes, sautéed onions
Sour - lemon, vinegar, grapefruit, berries
Salty - sea salt, olives, miso, seaweed, nori (these also improve hormone balance)
Bitter - kale, brussels sprouts, green tea, sprouts, cacao, coffee, turmeric, radishes, arugula
Pungent - onions, garlic, chilies, mustard, ginger
Astringent - all tea, chickpeas, rosemary, oregano, coriander, turmeric, bay leaf, raw leafy vegetables
At the cafe, the soups showcase variety, spices, and herbs. Here is a recipe for the Moroccan Carrot Soup which provides the six tastes, herbs, and spices for digestive health.
Moroccan Carrot Soup Recipe
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
3 pounds of carrots peeled and cut into 3 inch chunks
6 cups mineral broth
Zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Finding hormonal balance comes with diet, surrender, and movement. This September we will offer a 5 day hormone balancing reset to put you on the path to balance. The food and menu will be geared toward healing with superfoods such as maca, turmeric, ginger, flax, and ashwaganda. We will daily enjoy the jolie Health & Wellness broth which has over twenty herbs to balance hormones, reduce inflammation, and improve digestion. We will use nori, nuts, seeds, and a rainbow of vegetables to address deficiencies.
Food is a huge part of balance - BUT not the only important aspect.
Just like we were forced to yield to the hormonal changes of our teenage years and find new ways to care for our skin, growing selves, and menstrual cycle, in this other part of our life we also must surrender to and find new ways to take care of our bodies.
Rest is more important during times of hormonal shift. These times include menopause, as well as menstruation, childbirth, and puberty. If you find yourself off balance or low libido, rest is important to restoring you. Rest includes sleep. Rest is also wind down time, a chance to take a deep breath during the day.
Meditation lowers cortisol; it takes you out of fight or flight. Resting your adrenals and allowing the nervous system to relax allows your sex hormones to return to normal levels. Reproductive hormones are not the only ones to benefit - it will benefit blood sugar and reduce insulin levels. You will feel calmer, more in control, and centered. Deep breathing, sitting unplugged outdoors, sipping hot tea, or a bath can be meditation if a sitting meditation is not your thing.
Movement - especially gentle, rhythmic movement like walking, dancing, mindful yoga, jogging, or swimming - provides many of the same benefits as meditation. Movement has the additional benefit of burning off energy. Releasing energy will help your nervous system access calm more easily. As such, allow your meditation to follow exercise.
Balancing out your hormones begins with openness to change. It's an opportunity to learn new ways of caring for yourself, a new life rhythm, and refocusing your self care to serve you.
To join the 5 Day Hormone Rescue, sign up here. Look out for upcoming cafe events to support you during the rescue and after.
You wake up and immediately begin making decisions about food. Whether to eat now or later? What kind of coffee to have? Should I have coffee at all? Is decaf better? Is it better to eat something first? When I eat what should I have? What kind of protein? Fruit or no fruit? Smoothie or banana bread?
It’s estimated we make 200 decisions a day regarding food. When you are trying to change your life, health, or body, these choices can be overwhelming. Ultimately, however, your choices determine your outcome. So, it’s important that we make it easier to make good choices for ourselves by creating a framework of how we nourish ourselves.
Creating an eating philosophy is a huge help. An eating philosophy is built around 1 - how you want to feel; 2- your wellness goals; and 3, your likes, dislikes, and habits. When creating your philosophy all three are important. We create from where we are now looking at where we want to go.
Your eating philosophy is tailor made meaning it has to be rooted in you and needs to fit like a well formed garment. So, if you have date night or a regular food ritual or something you can’t give up that you think you should - remember there are no shoulds that come from outside you - you want your framework to be your guidance in all situations.
I will be hosting a workshop on Saturday, September 18th at 11am on creating your eating philosophy for yourself at jolie.
To get you started, begin to write down what foods, habits, and food routines make you feel best. Note areas of challenge, confusion, or frustration. If you can, notice triggers for positive action as well as triggers that lead to food choices you regret or that are not aligned with your goals.
All the above is vital information to use to create your eating philosophy. Then, look at when you like to eat, what you like yourself to eat, and what times or situations are challenging.
With this we begin to create your food philosophy. Join us on Saturday to create your own framework from start to finish to help you soar through fall into the holidays.
A big salad at lunch is a game changer for health. I remember reading The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes and her confession that, “what happened is, is that you change what your palate wants. I'm suddenly craving fish and salad."
A huge part of jolie is The Salad. It is also one of the most challenging for clients. Somehow - I think it was the iceberg salads of the 80s - salads are seen as the quintessential diet, deprivation food. But, it’s all in your mindset.
Let’s talk about mindset. The mindset that gets me to eating another salad, to actually craving my salad, is first, I look forward to it. As 11 rolls around I start anticipating my salad. I look forward to sitting down, taking a break, and enjoying my lunch. I look forward to seeing the beautiful colors, to all the crunchiness, to the taste of olive oil, the creaminess of avocado or sweetness of fruit. I look forward to the nuts or seeds. I look forward to the variety of lettuce, herbs, and veggies. I look forward to what is seasonal in the salad that I can only have at that time.
I also have a ritual around my salad. I get out a large silver bowl. I dump the salad in and pour the seeds, nuts, and dressing over it and toss with two spoons. Then I sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and pile it on to my favorite white (great color contrast), shallow salad bowl. I sit down. I take a moment of gratitude and enjoy.
I love how full, but light I feel afterwards. I love the variety of flavors. I love how clean my palate feels. Ummm.
You can look at your salad like that. Or, you can say to yourself, “Another salad. I know it’s good for me. It’s going to make me healthier. It helps my digestion. I know my skin loves it. It will help me get these pounds off. They say it will bring down my inflammation.” That too is a mindset.
Choose to cultivate a mindset that makes you feel good and excited about the choices you make. Choose to look at your food in a way that supports your choice to give yourself the best. When you set down to your next salad, think about how awesome it is that you are gifting yourself this bowl of amazingness that is going to energize you and make you feel great.
Learning to take on a mindset that supports you is a tool you can use over and over - whether it is making financial changes so you can switch jobs, training for a marathon, or going back to school. Mindset and self talk is a power tool we can use FOR us!
On the road to health transformation, our food rituals sometimes need to be reframed. One ritual common to many is using food or drink to relax, release frustration, or as an end of the day reward. Often, however, these habits don’t support our health goals or add a few unwanted pounds.
One of my “relearns” when losing weight after Eli was learning to relax without food or wine. Learning to uncouple food and relaxation allowed me to reach health goals faster, grow as a person as I learned new ways to nurture myself, and I began to relax in ways that I didn’t regret later.
When we want to relax, we are looking for relief -from the day, a feeling, or tiredness. I looked at how I felt toward the end of the day from both the cause and effect level. By 7 I was exhausted, so I looked for ways to make my day less exhausting, stressful, and draining. Then I looked at what was available to me as other ways to relax.
Out of the first inquiry came the ever changing list I wrote about last week, “How to Make My Life Easier.” If you missed it, you can find it on our blog. Hopefully, you made your own list and are on the road to making your life easier.
I also made a Pleasure List for new ways to unwind. These are things that give me joy, that are easily accessible (like food), make me feel good (like food), and have no potential downside (unlike relaxation snacking).
Some of the items on the Pleasure List are:
Now write your own Pleasure List of easily accessible ways to relax.
Actively use your two lists. As the day winds down today choose a new way to relax and reward yourself for all your efforts today. Learning new ways to nourish yourself and stay aligned to your goals will build your momentum of showing up for yourself and trusting your ability to nurture yourself.
If you think you don't have time to take care of yourself or work on your goals, I suggest you begin to look at ways to free up the physical and mental time you need.
I frequently ask myself, “How Can I Make My Life Easier.”
Making life easier translates into more efficiency, smoother flow, and less decision making time spent throughout the day. Doing this gives you mental space to take care of the things you want to focus on now. It's the only way I find time to take care of myself.
Here is my list:
1. Don’t make life harder than it needs to be. This is the cardinal rule. If something doesn’t fit, feels like it’s more work than it needs to be, causes needless aggravation, or drains you - hit the eject button. There is always something better for you.
2. Make pleasure a priority. Whatever you are doing use your mindset and environment to make it fun - it will go faster and the "doing" won't drain you as much. If you have to run around all day - you want to enjoy the running. Hating it makes it drudgery. If you have a lot to do, don’t complain and moan about it. That makes it worse. If we have learned anything from lockdown, it's a privilege to have things to do. Life can seem like groundhogs day, but music, laughter, dancing, smiling, and self care elevate life.
3. Delegating to the soldiers as my daughter says. Ask for help. Ask for help with errands, cooking, cleaning, laundry. Give up carrying your cross by yourself and being the martyr. Everyone benefits - the home runs smoother and everyone feels like part of a community. Praise all the help given - even when not exactly what you expected. Praise gets us so much farther than “constructive criticism.”
4. Automate as much as possible. I have standing appointments for all my regular self care like nails for instance. I sign up for dry cleaning pick up and delivery, coffee bean subscriptions, and automatic refills. All doctors appointments I group - so everything gets done in a 2-3 week period.
5. Get as much support as you can afford. You know your pain points. For me it’s housekeeping, so I schedule as much as I can. When the kids were not driving, I hired someone to help with the driving. When they were younger, it was childcare so I didn’t have to take everyone, everywhere. It is okay to not do everything yourself. If lightening the load, makes you lighter - it benefits everyone.
6. Create uniforms for yourself or a capsule wardrobe. I recently came back to this as I was spending too much time figuring out what to wear on Sundays; but, when I was a young mom, my “uniform” was my daily shortcut to fabulous. Last year, I worked on a capsule wardrobe so that everything in the closet coordinates, fits, and compliments. It is a game changer.
7. Schedule yourself for efficiency. Group errands, tasks, or activities together in a way that it’s easier to knock them out.
8. Clear out energy frequently. I clear my own energy with journaling and meditation. Holding on to things drains your focus and mental energy. I also clear the house with palo santo or sage regularly.
9. Take a Saturday to declutter, then take a few minutes a day to declutter. A Princeton study showed that decluttering can cut housekeeping time by 40%.
Take a moment now to make your own list. Use mine for inspiration and tailor your list with specifics you can implement now to lighten you load.
Being uncomfortable is a quality of change in progress. I work with many clients who are healing their bodies through food. Most come with the expectation of deprivation - needing to cut out tasty food and their favorite foods.
The knee jerk reaction we have when our doctor says our cholesterol is out of whack, or we get pre-diabetic numbers, or the scale goes into scary territory is to cut, eliminate, and forbid certain foods. Our actions are the equivalent to slash and burn agriculture. Unfortunately, the results are similar too. We end up in a cycle in unsustainability where our willpower is depleted, and like the used up land, we abandon our goals.
I want you to know you don’t have to go into deprivation.
Deprivation is not a sustainable way to live. There is no joy there. It leaves us seeking cheat days, binge weekends, and eventually we get close enough to our goal that the pain of continuing our diet of deprivation is worse than the angst that started us off. When that happens, we stop and end up back where we started.
I want you to be willing to be uncomfortable. But here is the key, the discomfort that needs to come and be worked through is mental - you will have to change your mindset.
My most successful clients are willing to take the dietary changes that need to be made slowly. The pace allows them to do the mental work that reteaches them how to eat, changes the relationship they have with themselves, and gives them a way of eating they can commit to for the rest of their lives.
If you are reading this, you probably have a health goal right now. I am going to help you see some small changes you can make now. Think of all the foods you eat that are not aligned with your health goals. Make a list of them. These are your yellow light foods.
Now think of all the foods you eat that are aligned with your health goals. Make a list of those - these are your green light foods. From a place of love, decide what you are eating tomorrow. What can you decide to eat tomorrow that will support you in moving closer to your goal?
Write down all your meals and your snacks that you are choosing for yourself. You can include as many green light foods as you want to eat tomorrow; then choose something from the yellow light list that you choose to eat tomorrow.
Tomorrow you will eat your pre-decided foods. The list is not one of deprivation, but of choice. Now, we get uncomfortable There will be things you want to eat tomorrow that are not on your plan. But, we are going to show up for ourselves. The next day we can include them if we want.
Food is tied with emotions. So, as you sit in discomfort know that it is okay, it is normal, and you are being there for yourself. Frustration, tiredness, exhaustion, restlessness may all come. It’s okay. You will gently hold yourself through it.
Taking each day as described above will create lasting change.
Choosing your word for the year frames the year and sets intention into the year which shapes how you show up throughout the year, what you manifest, and the opportunities that arise. The word I chose during the Seeing into 2021 retreat we had on Tuesday is GENEROSITY.
That word will manifest for me in a variety of ways, but one of the ways I am going to be intentional about is sharing with you how you can transform your health and how I changed my own over 10 years ago.
I want you to know that transformation is essentially an easy process - the challenge comes as we work on our mindset, habits, and relationship with ourselves. I want to help you through the hard stuff and along the way teach you how to better feed yourself.
I wanted to transform my health because I was the heaviest I had ever been, I felt sluggish, I had small children and wanted to model good habits, I had daughters watching me and I didn’t want them to struggle with body image, I wanted to shop wherever I wanted, I wanted to fit the clothes already in my closet, I was tired of shopping at Eileen Fisher, I didn’t want achy joints as I got older. That is just the beginning of the list. I had at least 20-30 more.
As I got thinner, I found new reasons to transform my health. I found different reasons kept me on track in some circumstances, but not others. I developed more reasons so I could talk myself through different situations and challenges.
To begin your transformation, spend some time writing dwn all the reasons you want to transform your health. Think of the situations you find challenging. Develop reasons for losing weight, dropping gluten, eating more plant based, or (filll in the blank) that will help you in various situations. Think of reasons that might motivate you when you’re tired, when you’ve had a bad day, or on Saturday date night.
One challenge I have for myself to help you through is to do more Instagram lives and write more to help you. We also have the Glow Up coming which will focus a lot on the mental side of transformation to make it easier for you to reach your goals. You can find information about that on our website.
Tune in and Happy 2021!
My capsule wardrobe has been such a joy to create. I have clothes for every occasion and season; everything matches and mixes - BUT what gives me the most joy is that over half of the collection is second hand and 30% of the pieces I’ve had for over 10 years.
Sustainable fashion is a passion of mine. Discarded clothing is extremely damaging to the earth. A dress made out of manmade materials is estimated to take 200 years to decompose according to Fashion Revolution Most of the clothing we throw away or put in clothing collection bins ends up in landfills - I was so disappointed to find that one out, but clothing is so cheap in America most people opt for new over used. One trash truck worth of clothing is burned every second.
Living beautifully extends to dressing beautifully and thoughtfully. To guide myself toward sustainability and earth friendly fashion, I created a list of standards to direct my clothing choices toward conservation.
In my body transformation, my first commitment was to exercise daily for 20 minutes. My second commitment was to eat the plants first. Every time I sat down for a meal, I first had to eat all the vegetables and fruits and then I could enjoy everything else.
This goal was twofold. First, I found that I was attracted to the meat or carb on the plate first. When I finished those, I had little desire for the plants and usually left them on the plate. So by eating the plants first, I was ensuring that I get the “good for my body” stuff first. The plants contain the immune fortifying, age defying, and gut nourishing substance you need.
The second benefit was that I filled up first on the nutritionally dense, but calorically low foods. .So after having my vegetables, I always ended up eating less high calorie food such as meat, fats, and carbs. The end result was that I lost weight and ensured my body was getting everything It needed nutritionally.
Your home is your sacred space to relax, enjoy, and nowadays work. Creating a home that is beautiful and comfortable is important for your emotional health regardless of the size or ownership status.
Begin with the entrance of your home. Allow that space to give you a welcome. Some ideas which will enhance the welcome is a bowl for your keys; a place for items you regularly bring into the house such as your coat or bag; greenery, flowers, or a pretty ornament to greet you.
Over the next two weeks I am taking 5-10 minutes a day to care for the outside of my home. Today I cleared the entrance of pumpkin bits left from a squirrel who is eating the decorative pumpkins. I added some seasonal dried flowers like broom corn and sorghum, and put all the patio furniture in its place. Five minutes and coming home feels so much better.
We sometimes make things harder for ourselves than necessary. Last year, 2019, my theme for the year was EASE. My goal was to create as much ease in my life as possible.
One thing I discovered is that we often forget to create an environment that supports our goals and desires. I wanted to SoulCycle at 5:30am every morning. Scheduling a weekly call at 8:30pm did not support my desire and made it impossible to get to bed at a time that would support waking up a 4:45. Putting an 8 pm hard stop on activities made it so much easier.
Trying to do, achieve, or create change without modifying your surroundings and life creates unnecessary demands on willpower and obstacles.
During the Lean Out program, healthy food is supplied; daily habits and rituals of wellness are emphasized; and Bar Method classes provided. Why? To make success easier. We took out food choice, we added easy access Zoom classes, and we set up daily routines to make us feel good so we are less tempted by food as a pick me up.
Let’s say your goal is to get more sleep. What are some environmental changes you can put in place to support you?
These environmental changes set you up to be successful. They do not insure success, but get you at least half way there with little effort.
So let’s do this together.
Now implement what you have come up with over the next week. See how it creates more momentum behind your goals.
P.S. We have much to achieve. Being in the flow, creates ease and achievement - and when you get there, you still have energy left for others and yourself.
Body confidence is a gift I have not because it came naturally to me, but because I cultivate it. I expect health and I appreciate the shape and curves of my body. Simone de Beauvoir, a wonderful French groundbreaking feminist, said, “To lose confidence in one's body is to lose confidence in oneself.” I am ultimately all I have, so if I lose confidence in myself, I lose my connection to my inner wisdom and God. That I cannot let happen. So I developed a personal practice which reconnects me to confidence.
It is not an overnight transformation, but with daily practice of expectation, cooperation, and adoration you will develop more body confidence and find yourself moving through the world more confidently. As you develop confidence, you will see greater health, ease in making changes you desire for yourself, and more outward confidence.
As the weather cools, they become less bitter, but still are great support for your digestive flora and help detoxify the liver. I use dandelion sprouts for me and my clients because they are more nutritionally potent and have a softer texture. I also use them in salads chopped finely. This year I grew an Italian variety in the garden for a steady supply.
Heart Opener is my favorite yoga pose. It allows you to clear your head, release stress, and to feel more open to the light and love which surround you. 10-15 minutes a day is transformative. I am focusing on my ability to receive more, so I wish to increase my energetic openness to the love and support of the universe.
To do it place a yoga block on a cushion. Gently lower yourself with the lower edge of the block hitting where your bra strap comes across.your back. Relax for 10-15 minutes.
Words to Live By
I am not a heroine, but I have chosen the person I want to be.