Fear can get in our way of just about everything. Sometimes we don’t even know it’s fear that’s holding us back. We may believe it’s time or money or other obligations. The list is long. Fear hides behind so many things. Fear is the main driver of the brain stem with the goal of survival and no change.
Sometimes the fear won’t go away and you have to do things while feeling afraid. This is a lesson I’m teaching my grandchildren. It’s okay to do things even when we are scared. Riding a bike without training wheels is one example that comes to mind. If we don’t push through the fear of falling or not being able to stop or other people knowing we are afraid, we may never take a chance to ride freely.
The same is true of so many things. Even as adults, we must do things that scare us. It might be speaking in front of an audience or simply speaking your mind. When we don’t do the things we want because we fear how it will play out, we do ourselves a disservice by not stepping out of our comfort zone and discovering that it’s not so scary.
Fear comes from our experiences, and from others. Fear can be a good thing! It can keep us from jumping off a cliff just to see what happens. It can keep us from putting ourselves into dangerous situations. Fear is a survival mechanism meant to keep us safe. That’s a good thing. Where fear gets in our way and limits us is when something is safe, but we aren’t willing to test the waters.
COVID-19 has left many scars on us as a society and as individuals. Increased fear and anxiety is one of those scars. Fear not only can get in our way of loving life, but it can sabotage our immunity and cause us to become ill. Ironic that our fear of the virus can actually make us more susceptible to the illness. Fear can cause other illnesses, as well. Fear causes sleep disruption and food deregulation. Often, when we are experiencing fear, our sleep patterns can be poor leading to chronic fatigue and depressed immunity. Fear can lead us to eating fatty, unhealthy foods for comfort which can damage our gut microbiome and also impact our immunity.
Long term, chronic fear can lead to high blood pressure, depression and anxiety, as well as, respiratory conditions like asthma. Brain fog can occur with fear. Our ability to think clearly becomes a challenge, especially with chronic fear. Fear can lead to other conditions like alopecia (hair loss) and to an inability to relax…we can get stuck in fight or flight mode and always feel on edge.
One of the ways to reduce fear is through self-talk. What we believe becomes our truth. Telling ourselves repeatedly that we are afraid leads to more fear. On the other side of that is, telling ourselves that it’s not so scary may lead to be less fearful. Check your self-talk. What are you saying to yourself? Is it true or could there be other options that may lead to less fear and more enjoyment of life?
Other ways to reduce fear is to talk to a trusted friend about it, face your fears head-on, visualize your happy place and the best outcome…or the imagine the worst outcome (it rarely happens as bad as all that!). Take a time out…remove yourself from a fearful situation and breathe! Taking a few deep breaths can reset our brains and allow us to think clearly and rationally.
It's okay to have fear. It’s normal! When it gets in our way of enjoying life is when it’s time to take action to reduce fear. It can be a process and taking the first step is often the scariest.
Obesogens - Substances That Can Make You Fat
Obesogens are chemicals that promote obesity. Did you even know this was a thing? It is! And these substances are more prevalent than ever in our lives. Obesity rates are on the rise. Look around you. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that we, as a society, are becoming larger and sicker.
Environmental factors play a role, as well as our food. Plastics, cookware, personal care items, cleaning agents and medical supplies all can contribute to obesity. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) interfere with our endocrine system and our hormones. These regulate our metabolism and our body weight and they play a significant role in our energy balance and fat storage.
Obesogens promote obesity by increasing the number of fat cells in our bodies and by increasing the storage of fat in our existing fat cells. They alter the rate of fat cell production versus destruction and they can shift energy balance to favor calorie storage (versus calorie burning!). Obesogens can change our basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is how many calories our body needs to fulfill our basic functions. They alter our gut microbiota to promote food storage and modify hormonal control of appetite and fullness.
The worst part is that exposure to obesogens may start as early as in the womb and they can impact future generations! Some of the most common environmental obesogens are:
Bisphenol-A (BPA) – a synthetic compound used in plastics and epoxy resins that are used in food and beverage containers. Many of us have become familiar with BPA and now manufacturers are using other chemicals that are not so well-known. What also is not known is whether other substances are obesogenic, as well.
Phthalates – man-made chemicals used to make plastic more durable and flexible. They can be found in toys, medical devices, food packaging, detergents, soaps, shampoo, nail polish, lotions, and perfumes. Phthalates are associated with increased risk for obesity and type II diabetes.
Atrazine – a widely used herbicide in the USA. Long term exposure may be associated with increased risk of obesity, gestational diabetes, cancer, and infertility.
Organotins – Used in plastics, paints and pesticides and is often released into the water and deposited in sediments, contaminating lakes and coastal waters.
Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) – a chemical used to make heat, oil, stains, grease, and water-resistant products and is associated with obesity.
Food additives can be obesogenic, as well. Additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG), carrageenan, and high fructose corn syrup are known to be obesogenic and contributors to insulin resistance and fatty liver.
So, wow, this is all very scary (talk about fear!!). There are some ways to reduce our exposure as adults and for our children. Opting for organic foods as much as possible is an excellent step for those who have access. Reading all the labels of personal care products is another step in the right direction. Look for organic products and learn what to avoid. Many personal care products now say if they are phthalate or PFOA-free. Choose stainless steel and glass over plastics and NEVER put plastic in the microwave. Even the plastic covers many people use in their microwave can leach obesogens into the food you are warming.
Choose less processed foods. MSG is a food enhancer that can become additive. Ever know anyone who loves ranch dressing (I won’t mention the name brand but it is popular and packed with MSG)…they love it so much they put it on everything. Or, more likely, they are addicted to it and cannot get enough because food manufacturers know that if you love it like crazy, you will buy more and more. Be aware that nail polishes can be toxic, especially to little ones. Choose wisely when putting nail polish on your children. They have many years ahead of them to gain exposure. Starting younger may lead to more obesity and other diseases as they grow into adults.
The bottom line is to become educated about products that you are allowing into your homes. You could be exposing yourself and your family to harmful substances without knowing it. Do you research. You and your loved ones are worth it!
5 Ways to Improve Your Health Now
Improving our health does not have to be all or nothing. Every little change we make can impact our overall health. What often happens is that when we start making small changes and see that it’s not so hard or positive effects, we want to do more. Feeling better is a strong driver to building on healthy habits. One of my favorite quotes is one of the tools I often say to my clients.
Small hinges swing wide doors – W. Clement Stone
Now more than ever our health is our biggest asset. Starting small and stretching yourself little by little will bring you to the place you want to be. Starting is the hardest part…don’t let that inner voice tell you that it’s too hard or it’s too late for you. These are untruths that are intended to keep us safe. There is safety in our comfort zone. Stepping outside to the uncomfortable zone takes courage and determination. Here are five ways you can improve your health as we enter the new year. Give yourself the gift of health in 2023!
Eat more vegetables. According to the CDC’s data from 2017, only 9.3% of American adults eat the daily recommendation of vegetables. That’s just one in 10! Start where you are…if you are currently eating no vegetables, start with one or two that look appealing. Add to the amount you are eating every day. This is likely the #1 thing you can do to improve your health. Food is medicine.
Drink more water. Similarly, most of us do not drink enough water. It is estimated that less than half of Americans drink even 4 cups of water daily. We are chronically dehydrated. So again, start where you are. If you aren’t drinking enough, you probably know it. Adding 2 cups of cold water three times a day can boost your energy and Dr. Michael Greger reports it can aid in weight loss. Drink up.
More your body. Going to the gym is great but it is the movement throughout the day that is best for our overall health. Many of us have sedentary jobs…we sit…a lot. Creating a habit of standing up, stretching and doing some type of movement even for 3-5 minutes every hour will improve your health and your immunity. Move yo’self.
Quiet time/gratitude. Finding some peace during your day and expressing gratitude for all we have is essential to good mental and physical health. We can get caught up in the busyness of the day and forget to appreciate the good things in our lives. What we focus on, expands in our lives. Focusing on stepping away from the crazy and taking some deep breaths away from your devices will free up some bandwidth in your mind to be more productive and ultimately, healthier.
Reduce or stop all dairy products. Milk and cheese and other dairy products are linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and increased risk of breast and prostate cancers. Those who eat dairy products are at greater risk for reduced immunity and the dangers that are associated with it. Learn more about how dairy products may be making you sick on www.pcrm.org. We know that reducing our saturated fat intake is best to reduce and maintain weight. Normal body weight is associated with longer, healthier living.
There are plenty more ways to improve your health. This is just a short list of ways that you may be able to enter the second quarter of the new year with a new outlook on health. You have the power to create a healthier you. Opening your mind to possibility of what you CAN do is key. Getting the support you need makes the journey more fun and a bit smoother. Connect with me to learn more about what steps you can take to improve your health in a way that will bring more energy and vitality to your life.
You can cruise to better health?
Check out the Holistic Holiday at Sea Vegan Cruise. I'm on the cruise right now! It's my 4th time and I love being in this environment with like-minded peeps. Awesome lectures by the plant-based experts, great destinations and amazing food and movement.
Recipe of the Week
This hummus is only flavored with lemon juice, garlic and optional salt. I like to sprinkle a little paprika on top as well but it’s optional.
1 - 15 oz can of chickpeas (or 2 cups of cooked chickpeas), reserve the liquid
4 cloves of garlic
1 lemon, or 1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup of chickpea liquid (aquafaba)
salt to taste, optional
paprika for garnish, optional
Pour your chickpeas into your blender or food processor. Save the liquid to use soon.
Add your garlic and lemon juice. If your lemon isn’t juicy enough for 1/4 cup of lemon juice, you may want to add another lemon or some lemon zest to give it more flavor.
Add 1/4 cup of the chickpea liquid, this is also known as aqua faba (this is the liquid from the canned chickpeas) and some people whip it like eggs to make vegan meringues and other interesting dishes.
Add optional salt if using.
Blend or process until your hummus is creamy and smooth. If it’s not smooth enough, add another 1/4 cup of chickpea liquid and blend again.
Pour into a bowl and garnish if desired. Enjoy with veggies, on sandwiches or any other thing you think of.
I love hummus. I often use it as a salad dressing or a sandwich or wrap spread. It’s so versatile and filling. Plus, this recipe is lower in fat with no oil or tahini so you don’t have to worry about over eating it. It’s like having a serving of beans with your veggies.
Note: You can add some nutritional yeast (1-2 tablespoons) for a yummy alternative. You can shred leafy greens and add, as well, for a nutritional boost. Or use your favorite spice! Double the recipe to have plenty on hand!
Recipe from www.myplantbasedfamily.com
72 Reasons to Be Vegan
By Gene Stone and Kathy Freston…72 reasons why being plant-based now may be the best decision of your life!
Catch my Health Tip Tuesday video on Facebook on Tuesdays to hear my book review!
“Becoming a vegan is not about self-denial; it's more a matter of self-awareness. It is about trying new foods and broadening your palate, expressing the joy of being alive, and knowing that you're making a daily effort to live less violently and more sustainably.”
--Gene Baur, Co-founder of The Farm Sanctuary
The content in this newsletter is intended for educational/informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care professional.