Tuesday, October 27, 2009


It is well into October. Okay, it is the last week of October. There have been mornings where it has been necessary to wear gloves while walking my dog, Troy. However until last week, I still had an array of different color flip flops lined up, near the front door, in a last stand against the ensuing winter.

The pool cover went on nearly three weeks ago, truly marking the end of the season. When the car pulled up and two young men got out to begin tending to this task it felt the way it does when you are at a funeral and the pallbearers slowly and solemnly step into the room and surround the body. There they are-a sea of dark suits and grave, albeit respectful, stances-marking the fact that the time is up. Yet, I still look longingly at the pool each day as I pass by, as if, miraculously, it would become a sunny, hot July day and the cover would be off it, seductively inviting me to come in for a float.

This seasonal change has occurred every single year of my life because I choose to live on the east coast. Yet every single year I deny that summer is over. Why can’t I simply accept the fact that it’s seriously fall, and enjoy the changing leaves, crispness to the air and all the apples? (Well, I do admit that I enjoy the apples.)

This is not a rhetorical question. The answer here is resistance.

Webster’s online dictionary defines “resistance” as a psychological defense mechanism.
My observation is that everyone uses resistance at one point or another, particularly in relation to self care. We resist so much. I don’t care what is right in front of me. I’m simply going to ignore (RESIST) the gold lame clad elephant in the room and stay in the land of denial.
We all know denial is a beautiful place. The weather is always warm and sunny. They serve drinks with sweet little paper umbrellas in them. But what does denial—in the day to day format of resistance—really do to one’s overall WELLNESS?

Sure, one might know that going to bed half an hour earlier will assist in waking more alert and being able to think on one’s feet. And, it isn’t a surprise that regular movement in the form of some kind of exercise or another, will bring on a forward motion in terms of health, assisting metabolism and other body systems. Of course, we’ve heard long enough that adding whole grains into our diet will help keep blood pressure and cholesterol numbers down.

And, lest we forget, keeping the tank filled with gas, getting up when the alarm first goes off, being honest in relationships and work-related confrontations, not going after the unavailable guy or girl, doing what it takes to complete a task from beginning to end……basically staying in our integrity…..will help keep stress levels down, which naturally helps with overall wellness.

Ah, but this human form we are packaged in is a conundrum of mixed messages, procrastination, brain rather than heart processing (or brain fog rather than heart opening) and…most of all FEAR. Because what would happen if we just took some deep breaths, rolled up our sleeves and moved forward on things we could, would and should do? In the short term there might be confusion, chaos and some crankiness. Long term we would move forward in fluidity, strength and motion by stepping into our potential. We’d all be healthier and feeling better, people.
So, how do you know if you are in denial about something in your life that needs forward movement?

· You basically do the same thing daily, expecting and waiting for things and circumstances to shift, without taking any action toward shifting them.

· There is a subtle numbness around you, the way you move through your day and the interactions that you have with others….something, as understated as it may be, just isn’t right.

· When friends and family ask you about a particular situation/occurrence/thing you provide them with a general shrug of the shoulders, objective, non-commitment-driven statement that doesn’t give any tangible credence to the matter at hand.

None of these bullets, by the way, is a sure sign that you will know that you are in denial. It will sometimes take a swift kick from someone you know/love/respect to “hear” the inference of what needs to be dealt with. Oftentimes it simply won’t shift until you are ready for it to do so…whatever this means for you.

So, what can help with the shift within you?

The nutrition aspects that will help this include drinking more water. (Really, this is a base answer for nearly everything). And eating root vegetables will help ground us. Oftentimes we have to stop and regroup before moving forward. What is put into our bodies aids in this entire process. I tout the root veggies a lot. Now they are in season and in high abundance. Beets! Carrots! Onions! Squash! Burdock! Potatoes! All my idea of grand fun!!

The wellness aspects that will help this include having people around you who support, encourage and—where necessary—give you that loving kick forward. Talking it through with someone both objective and compassionate is an aid.

The key is knowing what it is that you are resisting? How does the resistance show up in your day to day and reverberate throughout your entire life?

Journaling free form for five or so minutes, with the initial answers to these questions being the ones that you take heed of, can reallly help you both accept changes that are occurring around you and make the changes that need to be made .

I can’t tell you how many times each week I hear the words “I don’t journal” from clients. Journaling is a strong portal to move you from point “a” to point “b”—to showcase a real change in your world. Just set the kitchen timer for 10 minutes and sit still with notebook and pen in hand. Write down any and everything that comes through your mind….even if you find yourself writing “the silly woman on that blog suggested I do this and I’m coming up with nothin’ !!” It’s good practice and will eventually lead you directly into your truth . Because when you are writing in free-form, without pre-conceived thoughts rattling about, your true voice emerges. It’s as plain, simple, and frightfully scary, all at once. However it is amazing what you can learn spending a few honest minutes daily with yourself.

With that thought, I officially retire my flip flops for the next few months. Actually, I had better go and pack them. Did I mention that I’m moving to a new place—just a mile away, but still—in less than two weeks?!

Ah, that statement had me knock over the sumptuous cocktail I was sipping on the island of denial. The drink went overboard and that darling little paper umbrella floated away. Sigh. I had better go and get my journal.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. Embrace them.

In my nutrition and wellness practice I work one-on-one in person and/or via telephone sessions with individuals to assist them in making changes in their overall health and wellness. This includes larger scale issues such as weight, managing chronic health issues, and stress management. I also assist with home/office/kitchen organization, as well as shopping/cooking equally delicious and nutritious meals. Through working with precision on food intake, movement in the form of exercise, sleep patterns and fun/joy factors and using tools…like the journaling spoken about in today’s blog post, individuals can make changes that will shift their life into a better/happier/healthier place. And yes, we work on how to journal too! If you’d like to take this step you can reach me via: www.wholebodyworks.net or Mela@wholebodyworks.net

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Long Lasting Sustainable Energy

I walked into my laundry room the other day and I saw a brown liquid hovering on one of the knobs of my washing machine. Glancing slowly upward I saw the slow drip from the shelf above the washer/dryer area. Upon further inspection, I could see a puddle of brown covering an entire portion of the shelf.

On this shelf I keep a large bottle of white vinegar I use for cleaning. Nope. Stored in this area currently are also some bottles of natural sparkling water. Nah. Then I saw it! The one lone dark item with the adjective dark taking on a more pervasive meaning as I realized what had occurred. It was a can filled with an “energy drink” that I had been given as part of a favor bag from an event I attended about four years ago. I kept the aluminum-clad item because I do talks on energy drinks/ energy bars from time to time. And, since my main platform is whole foods eating the energy drink in question proved to be a perfect prop to distinguish something that is marketed as something in the healthy realm that doesn’t prove to be so at all.

The fact that the liquid had successfully corroded a pin hole in the aluminum is great fodder for future talks. If it can seep through aluminum just think of what it can do inside your BODY?

As I spent some time wiping up the mess that was before me, when all I had really wanted was to throw in a load of whites, I berated myself for not dumping the contents years ago and just keeping the darn can. It was the ingredient list noted on the can that I was most interested in. And as I continued to work on the clean-up I recognized that no amount of scrubbing was going to get the deep brown stain marks out of my formerly painted white, wood shelf. It was forever marred by the attack of the tall can of energy drink. Ah….more fodder for the talk. If it can stain a wood shelf so markedly just think of what it can do inside your BODY?

By now even I was curious about the contents of the darn drink. So, I put my cleaning rag down and picked up my reading glasses. Here is what I read:

· water (Well it was a good start, I admit)
· high fructose corn syrup (So not only was the second ingredient a form of sugar, but a highly refined, made in a lab (with genetically modified corn) processing system)
· sodium hexametaphosphate (Really, I have no idea other than the fact that we know what sodium is),
· caffeine (And, along with sugar, we can see what puts the energy in energy drink…nice),
· citric & pantochenic acids (Do we think the acids aided in burning a hole through the aluminum?)

…..and a host of other ingredients that I simply don’t have the energy to note here.

There are several points I wish to make from telling you this tale.

One is that I’m going to have to re-paint the shelf in the laundry room.

Two, for true long-lasting sustainable ENERGY: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. This has been my mantra for years. Anyone who knows me will attest to this. Water in its plain and simple form, provides balanced energy, clarity of thought and assists in the regulation of bodily systems including nervous and digestive. Oh, and it doesn’t stain when it spills. We are not talking long-lasting stainable energy!

Third, it is really important to have a look at the ingredient label when you are deciding to purchase and ingest any item but especially any touted to give you energy—generally a good thing that we all want to have. Honestly, it’s important to read the ingredient label whenever you are eating/drinking something packaged , particularly if you are working towards a whole foods-based diet.

My ingredient label rule of thumb is as follows:

1. There should be no more than five ingredients noted on the packaging.
2. Sugar, in any form, should not be one of the first three ingredients
3. You should know what each of the ingredients is.
4. You should be able to pronounce each of the ingredients.
5. The ingredients should each be whole themselves.

So, to elaborate on point two, if you are eating a dessert-related item, obviously there will be a sweetener in the ingredient list. And yes, it will most likely be one of the first three ingredients. So, desserts do get a caveat here. In true whole foods eating you would be aiming to have that sweetener be more naturally based…….honey, molasses, maple syrup as top examples because of the no processing aspect here.

And, to explain point five I’ll use a packaged coconut macaroon that I love. The ingredients are as follows: Unsweetened coconut, honey, egg whites. Each of those ingredients are whole and complete and unprocessed unto themselves.

Hmmm, I think I’m now going to go and have a few. And I do believe that I will wash it down with a glass of water. Then, maybe I’ll go and re-paint that shelf.