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When In Doubt, Don’t…

Heels To Laces is on a mission to break through the clutter of health and fitness and make it easier to live healthier – and have a ton of fun doing it.

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QUOTE FOR THE WEEK
“I don’t have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect, and beautiful journey of my life. ” ~Kerry Washington

TRUTH OR DARE
Each week we will present you with a truth or dare. It’s your job to tackle it with gusto and make it happen. Often, by just focusing on one change…just one, it’s much more palpable and achievable and becomes the jump start you need.

Dare (you knew it was coming): Get it in.
Get moving. This week challenge yourself every day (that’s 7 straight days, folks) to:

  • 10 push-ups (tight, straight plank – lower to the ground, squeeze up; do not arch your back or cheat on your knees)
  • 20 alternating lunges (one alternating right leg, left leg, count as one) – maintain a 90 degree angle on your front lunging foot, push off from your toe
  • 30 squats – shoulder width apart; knees and toes straight – sit down as if you are sitting in a chair, butt low, squeeze the glutes tight on the lift
  • 10 dips – start sitting on the ground – lift up into a “table” (pelvis up), dip your elbows up and down

It will take you all of 5 minutes. Note where you start at the beginning of the week – and where you end at the conclusion of the week. Having this type of repetition will challenge your muscles in a concentrated segment of time. Who knows – after you complete one week, you may want to continue (but up the anty – increase your numbers by 5-10 reps.

ASK THE EXPERTS
We don’t claim to know everything – so sometimes we have to ask the experts.

There is no doubt that most of us doubt ourselves on a daily basis (see how we did that?). Self-doubt is defined as “lacking in confidence in oneself and one’s abilities”. And sometimes, we just get in our own way of success or achievement. Imagine if you had no doubt or no fear? Even if we have done something many times in the past…it tends to creep in. But, why? And are there any benefits to self-doubt? We asked psychotherapist, Lauren Pardo, LCSW to help us dig a little deeper.  Here is her insight:

Self-doubt is a core, maladaptive belief which causes us to not trust ourselves or our innate abilities. It often causes feelings of inadequacy and causes us to seek advice/opinions from others for decisions. Self-doubters are trying to self-protect and ultimately rationalize their irrational thoughts.  Although, some amount of self-doubt can be beneficial as it can challenge us in a situation of discomfort, it can prevent a hubristic (excessively proud or self-confident) way of thinking

There are several implications for chronic self-doubt including a rise in cortisol levels, under and overachieving, interference with perseverance, personal will and determination, procrastination, avoidant behavior, depriving you of the opportunity to succeed, hyper-focus on perfectionism (will not settle for “good enough”) and not “showing up”.  Chronic self-doubters are more likely to have addiction and mental health concerns (anxiety, depression).
So how do you cope with self-doubt?
You need to learn to reprogram the self-doubt thoughts to self-acceptance thoughts.  Challenge the inner rumination by asking yourself “is that a thought I am having or a true fact?” Envision yourself talking to a friend who is in need of compassion – it is a helpful way to learn self-compassion (learning how to treat yourself with kindness). Focusing on the process, rather than the end result, will improve the outcome.
  • There are two great TED Talks by Brene Brown that can offer insight and guidance on self-doubt: “Vulnerability” and  “Listening to Shame”
  • Ground yourself – what connects you to you?  Being in nature?  Walk with a good, trusted friend?  Meditation? (love the Breethe app)
  • List 5 to 10 things you love about yourself (I know it may be hard when in true self-doubt mode, but if done earlier, it’s great to refer to)
  • Understand your strengths, we all have them
Just as a successful eating or fitness program can challenge you and create a body you are proud of, mentally challenging yourself to combat your thoughts of self-doubt is something everyone needs/deserves.
Lauren Pardo works out of Summit, NJ: lpardolcsw@gmail.com
WHAT’S TRENDING
Sickness. Everyone around us is sick. It’s unavoidable. Other than walking around with masks on (it’s become the new fashion trend) or in bubble wrap, we believe there are some incredible homeopathic preventative and healing options. And they work. We’ve tested them tried and true.

  • Elderberry – this is a well kept secret that is not so secret anymore.  It is an immunity booster that works quickly. Aside from making your own (which you can do), Elderberry is readily available – you just need a great source. We found 2 options that are said to be the strongest in the industry, that come highly recommended from nutritionists and health food specialist aficionados. Same brand, one is a syrup (9 carbs, 1 gram sugar) and one is an extract (0 carb, 0 sugar). Same potency. Local and an instant gratification kinda person? It’s available at The Health Shoppe on Springfield Ave in Summit.
  • Garlic – Garlic contains allicin – a powerful antibacterial only present shortly after garlic is crushed so you need to eat it raw, and quickly. It’s more satisfying than you think – mix it with ghee butter and put it on a cracker or small piece of bread. Tastes just like garlic bread. (caveat – your breathe might be kickin’ but it’s worth it).
  • Vitamin C – High doses of vitamin C are said to help kill the bugs causing sickness. It is a water-soluble vitamin and powerful antioxidant, and also helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including bones, blood vessels, and skin. Our favorite option? Mega Foods (this is the “Farm to Table” brand we talked about in our last post). It is one of the purest forms available and is made from whole foods. Sometimes too much is too much, so try to stick to under 1,000mg/day.
  • Oregano Oil – Not gonna lie, this one has a very strong taste – but packs a punch. It is said to get rid of any respiratory ailments that you may have and it’s health benefits are attributed to it’s properties as antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, digestive, emmenagogue, and an anti-allergenic substance. Whew. We told you.
  • Tumeric – Tumeric has been widely recognized as an anti-oxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Mixed with lemon, mint or green tea, honey and raw ginger – it’s a potion in which illness has no chance.
  • Gargling – This is a mom favorite from the 80’s and beyond…and it works. Salt and hot water, gargled in your throat. The salt is said to clean and kill bacteria in your throat and loosen up mucus.
  • Pineapple Juice – Fresh squeezed, organic pineapple juice contains bromelain, an enzyme found only in the stem and fruit of pineapples, that can help suppress coughs as well as loosen mucus. Side note: Bromelain may interact with antibiotics, so check with your doctor if you are taking any medications.
  • Pre and probiotics – we have preached before in multiple posts. Get your fill and continue to build up your microbiome.

Can you do all remedies together? YES. Alternate a remedy every two hours until you start to feel better.

WHAT WE’RE OBSESSED WITH
Sometimes, you just gotta have it.

Whee!…It’s Ghee
We have been taught to avoid butter – due to saturated fat, dairy and excess calories. Not the case. We use Ghee butter when we want an alternative to dairy butter.  Why is ghee a healthier option? Ghee is a clarified butter that has a high smoke point (can be heated at high temps before it will start to smoke), it’s abundant in fat-soluble vitamins, it has no lactose or casein, it contains conjugated linoleic acid (a fatty acid with incredible health benefits), it’s loaded with butyrate (plays a central role in gut health), it has an intense buttery flavor, it strengthens your bones, it reduces inflammation, and contains vitamins A, D and E. This is our favorite.

Magic Fairy Dust
L-Glutamine, a free-form amino acid, and when converted to glutamic acid, it is a usable energy source for the brain and a precursor to the important inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). It improves gastrointestinal health because it is a vital nutrient for the intestines to rebuild and repair, helps heal ulcers and leaky gut by protecting from further damage, is an essential neurotransmitter in the brain and helps with memory, focus and concentration, improves IBS and diarrhea by balancing mucus production (healthy bowel movements), promotes muscle growth, improves athletic performance and recovery, improves metabolism and cellular detoxification, curbs cravings for sugar and alcohol, fights cancer and improves diabetes and blood sugar. We use it for all of those reasons – and found this one to be the best source. It doesn’t have much of a taste. You can sprinkle it in yogurt or blend into a smoothie. Contains no yeast, dairy, egg, gluten, soy, wheat, sugar, starch, salt, preservatives, or artificial color, flavor or fragrance. Source: Dr. Axe

THE DISH ON DELISH
All of our recipes will always be quick, healthy, easy, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, mostly dairy-free, SCD legal and Paleo friendly. And yes, all sorts of deliciousness.

This is a healthy, gluten free, filling power meal:

Cauliflower Grilled Cheese (slightly modified for ease)
(thank you, Lauren Miyashiro)

Ingredients:

  • Organic cauliflower rice (available at Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano (optional)
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded white Cheddar
Instructions:
  1. Defrost cauliflower if frozen
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cauliflower, eggs, Parmesan and oregano. Mix until evenly combined then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat with olive or coconut oil. Scoop the cauliflower mixture on one side of the pan and shape into a bread shape.  Repeat to form a second patty on the other side. (These are your “bread” slices.) Press down on both pieces with a spatula and cook until golden underneath, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until the other sides are golden, about 3 minutes more.
  4. Top one cauliflower slice with cheese then place the other cauliflower slice on top. Cook until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes more per side. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

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Disclosure: some product recommendations are affiliate sites, which simply means we get a small compensation from the companies that sell the products we endorse. We will never endorse a product we do not personally use or love. Opinions expressed are solely those of Heels To Laces.

 

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Drinking Your Greens

The explosion of green smoothies and juices is everywhere.  Within the last couple months, 3 new juice places have opened within one mile of my house and grocery stores and Starbucks are now selling pre-packaged juices.  Are they as good for you as they seem and what are the differences?  My friend, Elizabeth Girouard, a Certified Holistic Health Coach, wrote an excellent article that answers many of these questions and explains why we all should give green drinks a try.  We have posted a portion of her article below.  Read on to learn more.

green-juice-grape-kale-5

I am often asked:  What’s the rage with Green Smoothies? 

This is a great question.  Many of my Healthy Eating Challengers still start off their days with a Green Smoothie – and here are a few reasons why!

Green Smoothies are:

1)  an easy way to get in more than 3 servings of vegetables

2)  easier to digest since the blender starts the digestion process for you by breaking  down the veggies’ cell walls.  This means your body can quickly assimilate the nutrients.

3)  a great vitamin, mineral, phytonutrient and anti-oxidant infusion to start the day.

4)  a nutrient dense powerhouse that can improve your immunity to colds, flus and other potential bugs.

5)  able to help alkalize our bodies which reduces our susceptibility to disease

6)  filled with dark leafy greens that have a lot of chlorophyll which delivers oxygen to our bodies that can increase our energy levels.

7)  able to help diminish cravings and reduce hunger as it is providing nourishment to your body.

8)  able to help you lose weight as you are adding in more vegetables and crowding out the less beneficial foods for your body!

Other related questions that I often receive are:

What’s the difference between juicing and blending (smoothies)?  And, is one better than the other?  And, does juicing increase my blood sugar?

Read the rest of the article at: http://tinyurl.com/pwr8w5h

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Your Second Brain

Our bodies contain a second nervous system, separate from our brains, made up of about 500 million neurons that contribute to your physical and mental well-being.stomach_tummy

Meet your stomach. With its vast network of neurons lining the stomach, it is often referred to as the “second brain” in our bodies. This enteric nervous system in our stomach goes far beyond simply  processing the food we eat and giving us “butterflies” when we are anxious. The “brain” in our stomachs, in connection with the brain in our skulls, contributes to our mental state and plays key roles with some diseases in our body.

The condition of our stomachs will directly correlate to brain function. Your gut produces more hormones than any other part of your body, including 95% of the body’s serotonin. When your gut isn’t functioning properly, you could experience emotional distress. Up to 90% of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) also suffer from mental-health issues. This relationship between the two brains may also cause other diseases, like osteoporosis, since the gut regulates bone mass.

So, what you put in your stomach can directly affect your mental and physical functionality.

When our stomach does not function properly, it indicates an imbalance. Cutting-edge research is investigating how the stomach controls the body’s immune response and function. At least 70% of our immune system is a function of the gut, which is responsible for expelling and killing foreign invaders. Trillions of microscopic bacteria fill our stomach (called the intestinal microbiome) and are essential to life as they help the body extract nutrients from food, regulate tissue development and kill off germs.

If we aren’t feeding our stomachs with the right nutrients, these vital bacteria are not able to do their job. It is believed that our modern diet of processed foods is disrupting the function of the microbiome in our stomachs, therefore our stomach function. In addition, excess amounts of stress, alcohol and antibiotic medications destroy these beneficial bacteria.

There are ways to recoup the healthy balance in your stomach. This includes swapping junk foods for natural, healthy foods, getting outside, exercising to relieve stress and adding probiotics to your diet to balance the healthy bacteria in your gut.

From a personal perspective, my son was getting sick every month, to the day. We thought he had an immunity problem. After a lot of blood work and many doctors’ appointments, nothing was found. I decided to put him on Florastor Kids probiotic to see if it was an issue with the balance of the bacteria in his stomach and it literally fixed him. He has not been sick since. I am a believer in probiotics.

Future research will continue to help us discover the connection between the two brains and the impact it has on our health. For now, it is important to feed your stomach (and hence, your mind) with healthy, natural foods as often as possible and keep a high activity level to maintain a natural balance in your body.

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