My Journey – Part 3

atmosphere blue bright cloudiness

Missed Part 1 and Part 2?

Finally….

I discovered something that I was passionate about, but didn’t know it until I was doing it. Which, in retrospect I find very interesting and how having a strict plan in life, may not be the way to go. A road map, guideline..perhaps. But one thing I realized writing this story is that the road to where I am now was not the one I planned on 10-15 years ago. The universe had its own plan, I just had to listen to it.

Teaching has become a primary focus in my life. It was something I really wanted to be good at. I spent (still do) a great deal of time researching for my nutrition lectures. I always wanted to make sure I gave them good science background for every topic (with my own experience trickled in too). This was a science class, technically. I actually really like reading biochemistry and nutrition journals (yes, I am still a science nerd, haha). Truthfully, I never cared to “research” for any other job before, because the material never excited me to the same extent. This is material I can get excited about. I truly love learning about this stuff, so it makes it very easy to keep learning.

Nutrition is a weird subject because everyone can have a different spin on it. “Eat meat, or don’t”. “Is fat really bad, and how much”? Everyone has a different opinion when it comes to food (some people can treat it like a religion, ever noticed that?). Its the only “science” where both sides can have valid arguments or be “right”. So then what does one do?

I knew from the very beginning that I could never teach one way of eating because everyone is different and has different needs. I also really cared about my students. I wanted them to actually get something from the course. I didn’t really care if they understood the chemistry or got straight A’s. I always joked that I had to grade them, but I didn’t really want to (which is true). I was just happy showing them this stuff. I just wanted them to learn healthier habits, especially because they were in college. I wished I took a course like this in college. It would have set me up in a much better way when I got out on my own. Perhaps, I wouldn’t have struggled for so long during my twenties, if I knew what I know now.

After a few years of teaching nutrition, I came to a realization. “How can I teach this stuff and help people outside of the school”? That’s what led me to becoming an Integrative Health Coach. The program I found has met my expectations and so much more. I am amazed how much more information there was still to learn! Healthy living really is more than the food you eat. Its everything in your life being in balance. This was something I think, I intuitively realized through my own health journey. Its why I named my site “Balanced Life.”

Then a few weeks after I enrolled in the course, my life met another big change. We found out we were pregnant. So, I am currently involved in two major transitions in my life that are happening at the exact same time. Which has made both journeys better (and perhaps easier?), I think. Because I am navigating the ever-changing process of being pregnant (and what’s to come after), plus being ingrained with all these new holistic teachings. (I rather write another post on this topic or this post really will be a novel).

I realized these past 10+ years that “being healthy” really just means being happy and calm in life. If something is off, like hating your job situation, it really affects other areas of your life. For me, when I was miserable at work, it led to other problems like not eating right, constant stress, which led to gaining weight, grumpiness, and just feeling crappy all the time. When, I started following my passions and doing what I wanted, and changing my mindset, things made a dramatic turn with my health (and sanity too, honestly). I ate better, slept better, lost weight, exercised consistently, made time for myself, which snowballed into just being a better version of me. Also, when I did put time into bettering myself, the other areas of my life improved too. When I ate better and took better care of myself,  I was more productive, energetic and just handled stress better. This was a huge epiphany moment for me.

Now, I always think of it as a circle:

food stress health circle

If one is off, it will affect the other two. They all have to balanced for you to feel your best.

This is what I hope to bring to my health coaching practice. I want to help people improve their circle. I want people to follow their passions and truly enjoy life. Its more than just eating better. Of course, that is one major piece. But sometimes there is something blocking it. And that’s ok. Everyone is on their own journey. It took me a long time to get here and who knows where I will be 10 years from now. I am scared again because it is something new. But, the last scary thing I did, I ended up doing well and everything worked out better on the other side. Sometimes, its good to be scared, especially when its something new and exciting. I know that I will only get to the life I want, but pushing through this and just letting the universe do its thing.

 

 

 

 

My Journey – Part 2

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If you missed part 1, see it here! 

Where we left off…

Even though I had this new outlook in life and newly found confidence in myself, I was still stuck in my current job situation. I still haven’t figured out my new path yet. I still very much felt lost in terms of work and what to do about it. Do I job search? Go back to school? I had no clue. Then something happened out of my control: I was laid off. Or, as they put it: ” I am being displaced.” Thanks.

Yes, most people would probably freak out at being laid off. Which I was, at first. Really, I felt hurt (and maybe embarrassed) that I was one of the chosen ones. But it was the best thing they could have done. I would have never left on my own. I still didn’t have the courage to or a point of direction that would have allowed me to leave on my own. I needed that kick in the pants. I needed a push. Yes, it helped that I got a severance and unemployment. But those funds really don’t last long when you have bills (plus thanks to taxes, they take like half that money away right off the bat, so you really don’t get as much as you think you do on paper).

I got let go in November, so I decided that the following spring I would go back to school full time and finish my Masters in chemistry. For a few years at this point, I was going to school part time, which was taking forever since I was only taking 1-2 classes at time. I took this opportunity to at least finish this degree and be done with it. I only had four classes left, so I just took them all at once.

It was nice being in school full time again. Felt weird because I felt like the oldest one there (I was only like 29, but everyone else was right out of college, so I felt old). I also came from working full time for like 7 years, so I really felt like I was in a different mental place than everyone else. Even though it was a graduate program, majority of the students were in their early twenties and haven’t really entered the work force yet (just out of undergrad). I remember thinking, “you have no idea what you are getting yourself into, “ haha.  (Mind you, I was just burned by the industry, so of course I was bitter).

However, during this time, I really enjoyed being home. Like a lot. I loved getting up and just starting my day when I wanted, and the only worry was going to class. I really wanted to take this opportunity and just catch up on life. Since I had this newly found time freedom, I told myself I have no excuse for getting myself healthy again. I realized that years of job stress contributed to me gaining weight and not putting consistent healthy habits first. I started to workout, everyday (no excuses!). I discovered Zuzkalight and HIIT workouts. I found out that I loved to workout at home and loved the intensity of the shorter workout model. I still workout to her everyday (well, not so much now during pregnancy, but still a few times a week. She is amazing.).

I created my own schedule and routine of getting up, having coffee, relaxing a bit, working out, and then continuing on with my day. I realized that working out first thing was the best for me, and it really set me up for the day. I had more energy and confidence throughout the day on the days I exercised first thing.  I realized the importance of having a good morning routine to creating less stress for the rest of the day (now “morning routines” are all the rage, but back then you never heard about them, so this really was new found knowledge for me).

All these practices I started then, but I still do to this day because I realized that starting the day right, is very important to me. Getting up, having a cup of coffee, and just relaxing for the first hour of the day really does set the tone and mood (plus does anyone else notice that your first cup of coffee (or tea) is the best thing ever?). So, when I eventually did go back to work full time, I never gave this routine up. I rather go to work late, but in the right frame of mind, then start my day with stress and not having “my time.” My productivity is actually better when my mornings are about me, so I always kept these little morning rituals going.

After the semester ended and it was was now summer I realized, “OMG, my first summer off in like 10 years”! It was amazing! I was able to visit my parents during the week and go to the beach. I was able to actually have a summer where it felt like summer. Forgot what that was like. Yes, I was starting to become a little more broke as time went on but I never really actively job hunted.  I hated the idea of going to back to the pharmaceutical industry or corporate life, because I was so miserable before. Yes, finances were starting to stress me out, but I still wasn’t ready yet and honestly, I didn’t really know what to do. (I might have applied to some things online, just to say I did something, but my heart was never in it). I spent this time, still reading and listening to personal development books to keep my mindset in check. I knew that I had to in order to get through this. If I had dwelled on being unemployed or freaked out over my situation, I knew it would not help me. I sort of had this mentality, that everything will work out. I just didn’t know how yet. (Yes, I know I was very lucky to go this long without a job and be able to do this.  Disclaimer: I was still a consultant with Arbonne at this time too, so it wasn’t completely like I was doing nothing. Doing that really helped with the sanity too).

To this day, I am very grateful to my husband for just letting me have this time without pressuring me to get a job. I told him,”everything will work out, it just sucks now”. He really was good to me during this time and allowed me to just figure things out on my own. Yes, our savings was taking a huge hit and we had to cut back on a lot of things. However, reflecting back on this period now, I realized that I really needed time to “reset.” It was like I had left a horrible relationship. I had to rediscover what I really wanted again and to put “me” first.

Right when money was about to become a real issue, something happened. I received an email from the chemistry department chair from my school about becoming an adjunct professor to teach lab. What?! Talk about timing. She knew I had industry experience, and was unemployed so asked me if I was interested. Mind you, I had no teaching experience and if you had asked me to teach like 5 years ago, I would have definitely said no (and thought you were crazy for even asking).  But, I accepted. I felt very flattered that she would even consider me, so I jumped on it.

I was given a freshman chemistry lab course. It was the scariest thing I have done in a long time. I literally had no idea what I was doing. I just followed one of the other lab professors and thankfully, they have a really good lab coordinator who helped me a lot that year. But every single time I had to talk in front of the class, I turned beet red and basically fumbled my way through. This was entirely new territory to me. Since, I was home during the day, I was able to take the time to learn the material before each class so I didn’t look completely stupid to them. I really wanted to be good at this. I would practice in front the mirror a lot and just walk through what I was going to say before each class, so I would feel more comfortable. It was a whole new experience for me.

It didn’t take me long to discover something: I loved teaching. The students were so much fun and I loved showing them lab stuff. It did take me a looooog time to feel at least somewhat confident to talk at the chalkboard, but if I was showing them how to set up experiments or lab stuff, it felt very natural to me. I still loved being in a lab, even if it was just a freshman college lab. I spent 7-8 years in a industry lab setting. I knew some stuff (haha). I taught in a way that felt the most authentic for me. This whole teaching thing was actually kinda cool.

I taught two semesters of just lab. Loved every second of it. Plus, I liked the flexibility of it. Yes, class times were set, but the rest of the time was mine. Since I was only an adjunct, I only had to be there during my class time. I could prep and grade at home on my schedule. Before my third semester at working at the school, I was offered a class upgrade: lecture course. I had a meeting with the department chair and she offered me a chance to teach a lecture in the fall. I had two choices: forensic science (which, yes would have been an interesting class), and nutrition. Well, more specifically, Chemistry and Nutrition. In my head, I was shocked. A nutrition class!! Something about this opportunity felt very good. I mean, they were offering me a class to teach two of my favorite subjects: chemistry and healthy living. Talk about the universe talking. Of course, I jumped on it. I spent the last 10 years teaching myself how to be healthier and obsessing over all the nutrition info I was learning and reading. I really felt this was something, I was meant to do. It may sound so silly, but it felt like the universe really was telling me something at this moment. It truly felt like I was given a huge gift or a big slap in the face, “This is your path! Seize it!”

However, teaching a lecture is completely different than teaching lab. In lab, you are given everything. I didn’t have to write up anything and the whole syllabus was given to me to how to run the class. But for lecture, I had to come up with everything. The lectures, the exams, and all the materials. I was given a book at the beginning and some old lectures/exams from when it was taught years ago which was a starting point. It gave me a baseline to work on. I basically just lectured straight from that book that first year. It gave me structure and a foundation.

That very first day, I was scared to death. Probably more freaked out than when I first starting teaching lab. This was my class. These students were completely dependent on me. Scary thought.  I still feel bad for those first semester students. I had no idea what I was doing or what I was talking about. Also, I felt like I looked like a student, so it was a real test to my confidence. I somehow survived (and so did the students). But after that first semester, I realized that that was the most fun I have had in a long time “working.”

 

(Stayed tuned the Part 3 and where I am now!)

My journey

I feel like the journey to becoming a health coach (and where I am now) wasn’t exactly a planned one. It really was a specific set of circumstances over the past 10+ years that sort of led me down this path. Ten years ago, or even right out out of college, I would have thought you were crazy, if you told me this is what I was doing in my life now at 34 (I can’t be the only one who feels like this, right?). I split it into parts, so this post wouldn’t end up being ridiculously long. I wanted to write this out because I seem to be in a reflective state at the moment (either due to the impeding life change that is about to happen in my life or that I just had a birthday, which is always a weird reflective time for me anyway, or maybe both).

I also felt that if there is anyone else who feels stuck in life, or hate their job situation, maybe this can help you too. Because I was stuck too, for a very long time. It hard to feel like things will work out for the better when you are knee deep in a crappy or unsettling situation in life and don’t see the light at the end. Also, reading other people’s life stories have always helped me. Or maybe you just like reading other people’s stories, which is totally cool too. 🙂

Part 1

I went to college with every intention of majoring in chemistry. I literally picked the school I went to for three reasons: it had a chemistry major, the campus was pretty, and it was close enough to home to be able to drive home, but still far enough away that I was on my own. I never did a campus tour or really mulled over the decision. Those were literally my reasons (Now come to think about it, I still base a lot of decisions that way. Very to the point. I guess I just had a good vibe from the place and went with it). At first, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the major, I just liked the idea of being a “chemist” and thought I would probably get a good job afterwards. I didn’t exactly have a thought out plan or anything. I just liked chemistry and was sort of decent at it.

The summer before my junior year of college, I was able to get a research job in a chemistry lab for the summer at school. I loved it! I had the best summer that year. It also helped that my best friend stayed on campus too that year and we basically spent the summer hanging out, partying and doing fun things on campus (like crashing campus functions for food and alcohol, or raiding empty dorm rooms, because apparently people leave a lot of stuff behind when they move out, who knew? I remember collecting a broom and a mirror, haha). We had the best time.

In addition to getting myself into crazy campus shenanigans, I had a real summer job, in my field! This job was the first time I realized that I loved working in a lab, creating something that could potentially be useful for the future. I liked mixing chemicals and using the fancy equipment and actually seeing real life results that weren’t from a boring book. It was way different than what I was during for class. It was actually fun! From there, I realized that I wanted to do research as a career. I wanted to work in a research lab, doing fun lab experiments everyday.

During my senior year of college, like most seniors, I started to think about getting a “real” job.” At this time, I wasn’t sure how to even begin to get a research position (or really in what type of lab). I just did things that seemed to make sense to me at the time. I learned how to write a resume and went to a job fair. I didn’t want to completely overwhelm myself because my classwork was hard enough as it was to deal with. I also really wanted to enjoy my last year of college, since I knew it was ending soon.

Also, during this time I started dating someone new (who ended up marrying me 10 years later 🙂 ) He used to visit me on the weekends and we used to go to this diner for breakfast every time he came to visit (can’t exactly make him eat my (nonexistent) dorm food or go to the school cafeteria, so a diner it was). On our way to this diner, we would past a big pharma company. Every time we passed it, I would think to myself “This is the type of place I want to work.” Literally, I thought this every time. Doubt I even said it out loud. I don’t even think I knew what company it was or what exactly I would do there. I just knew that it was the type of place I wanted to be at. It just seemed so flashy to me. It had a nice campus and it was a big company and it just seemed the place to be. “Very professional” looking, I guess.

Flash forward to about a month before graduation, I got a interview (from a contract company I met at that one job fair I went to) for a temp research position in a lab. I made it through the pre-interview, then phone interview and then I was invited for the in person interview. However, when it came time to go into the in person interview, it turned out to be for the company near the diner!  (The location wasn’t specific on the job description.) The same campus, I had told myself that I wanted to be at. Crazy right? I met like 3 different people at this interview and as I was given the lab walk through, I just kept saying to myself..”This is perfect, I have to work here”. The lab was super fancy and new and it seemed so cool to work there. I remember literally sending brain waves (“I want to work here..”) to the interviewer the whole time, no joke. They hired me that day. It wasn’t until I read The Secret many years later, that I knew that I totally used mindfulness to get me this dream job (and why I am so passionate about that book now). I had the research job at the location that I wanted. It was perfect! For the first few years, anyway. I was happy and I felt very lucky and worked very hard.

Then the recession happened. My company was bought by another company and literally overnight everything changed. It went from being a good “research position” to a politically charged corporate one. Sucky new managers, super competitive environment, major layoffs, relocations which gave long commutes..everything. During these next 3-4 years, I began to become very disenchanted with my job. I looked at people who were older that me, doing this work for longer, and realized they all had one thing in common: They were miserable. “Is this my future?”, I thought. I lost a lot of my motivation at work. I just couldn’t “play the game.” I didn’t care to. I just wanted to be in the lab, doing fun lab experiments. That’s what I signed up for. I never thought that this fun research job would turn into this. The fun was over. I felt like no matter how hard I worked, it was never enough. It was all metrics and numbers and fighting for “visibility” (Anyone, who has worked in corporate understands what I mean by this). Plus, they moved my location twice, each further away, so my commute got increasingly worse. Also, imagine that every single person you work with is unhappy? How is that for morale? Remember “misery loves company.” It was horrible. Life got really crappy and when you aren’t happy at work, the rest of your life suffers too (I know this now, but at the time I definitely did not pick up on this). I was tired and grumpy all the time. Which isn’t good or fair to the partner you live with. I drank more often because I was stressed everyday and needed a stress release. Not a “healthy” situation at all.

Since, I was bored and unmotivated most days now, what did I do? Peruse the internet, of course. I discovered blogs at this time, which was a good source of time passing. I loved reading about other people’s stories. I mainly read the healthy living ones (with some interior design and food ones too). Rewind back a few years: Right after college, I realized that I had gained some weight (maybe like 20 lbs-ish), especially during my senior year. Which honestly, shocked me because I never had to worry about my weight before. I also remember one day looking down at my thighs and saw stretch marks for the first time, which was a total wake up call for me too. Like “where did those come from?” Granted, I partied a lot in school and never once thought about whether I was eating healthy or not. I would routinely eat a bag of candy multiple nights a week when I was studying at the library. I doubt I even ate one vegetable most days. Pretzels, chips, sandwiches, burgers..whatever I could scrounge in the cafeteria was what I lived on. Also, since my parents never really allowed a lot of processed food or soda in the house growing up, I also binged on a lot of these things once I was on my own too. After college, I realized that the super fast metabolism I have had my whole life wasn’t permanent and I needed to start to watch what I ate. So, during this time is when I started the long journey to healthy living.

At first, I thought it was just age getting the better of me! (which is funny to me now). So of course, I wanted to lose this weight and I did what everyone else does when they try to lose weight…diets. Well, I tried, anyway. Never was good at it. I tried the traditional low fat and low calorie for a while..which sucked and did not work (and I know why now, but at the time it baffled me. I mean it worked for those people!). I started working out and going to the gym. Actually, I was pretty consistent with working out. I loved it. I was a “runner” for a minute. I did all the exercise classes on my lunch break. I liked the variety of trying new things and I really did enjoy group classes. The scale never moved, however. Actually, kept creeping up (again, I understand now that you can’t exercise away a bad diet (plus I was still stressed out all the time), but I was just doing what these “experts” were saying to lose weight).

However, this whole time I was fascinated by what I was reading online. I wanted to know everything. I tried all the trendy “health” foods and recipes (still guilty of this! But I love to cook and try to new foods, so I consider this is a good thing). I read a lot of books about eating better. I read the China Study and lots of vegan books, which prompted me to stop eating meat for a few years (which my husband calls the “dark time,”  haha). I credit those books to my first nutrition knowledge and food experimenting and also learning what really happens at factory farms, which, even though I eat meat now, I am very conscious of where my meat comes from. I even drank those slim fasts everyday for a while, which (in retrospect) never satisfied me (Haha, I cringe thinking about that now). But I kept learning. I kept reading. I kept following blogs, because I loved being a part of this little community, where there were others out there who liked this stuff too, and liked to talk about it.

I started to want to leave my job, badly. In fact, I wanted to leave the pharma industry completely because it seemed to be the same crappy, political, corporate, culture everywhere, so what was the point of just going to a different company? That definitely didn’t make sense to me. Plus, not having a PhD in the pharma industry really set me back, which frustrated me. I had the experience, but because I didn’t have that degree, it didn’t mean anything. It was too competitive of an environment now. So, I didn’t know what to do. I researched becoming a nutritionist, which would mean going back to school. I researched just going back to get a PhD (I did get my Masters, but I will get to that), but I wasn’t sure in what. I felt extremely stuck and miserable for a long time. Then, something pivotal happened. I was introduced to Arbonne. Mind you, I have heard of it and was asked about it way before this and turned it down. I never even tried any of the products. But this time was different. I hated my current situation. I needed something new to put my focus on. I was super scared to try something new, but I signed up anyway. I just needed something different. I knew nothing about social marketing, but I figured I would learn (plus it was a health and beauty company, so how bad could it have been?). I still remember the day I signed up (which in retrospect was not a big deal at all), but I was so freaked out, that my husband thought something was really wrong by the look of shock on my face (so funny, thinking about that now).

My Arbonne journey is totally a roller coaster in itself, but there was one major thing that it taught me: There is a whole life outside what you are currently doing and there are people who are willing to help you figure that out. I needed that. Desperately. I did not want to become one of those miserable people who stayed in their current situation for the next 10, 20+ years because that is all they knew what to do. I saw that there was hope. I found a new group of friends who were loving life and were happy. There was this whole other world out there beyond what I was seeing every day in my current situation. Just having something different to focus on, being with people who were doing the same things and wanting to be better and more successful at life was mind blowing to me. (Remember, all I knew was misery and complaining, so this was a whole new territory for me). I also learned what personal development was and how important it was. That alone was life changing to me. “Personal development” wasn’t even in my vocabulary before. Now, it was something I was doing on a consistent basis. I started reading books that helped grow confidence, leadership skills, success, and just how to improve mindset. I started to learn how to build meaningful relationships and getting out of my comfort zone (I am totally an introvert, but have learned to overcome it in many ways because of these new teachings). I started to face my fears about talking to new people, talking in front of people, and just getting out there more. Who am I? My husband even noticed a change in me.

All of sudden, I wanted to be a better person. Not just a better “worker, ” but a better, happier, and more balanced person.  I wanted to succeed in life and actually be happy doing it. All of a sudden, a light bulb switched on inside me. I don’t have to settle anymore for a boring life “just because everyone else has.” I can do whatever I want. I had hope for the first time. Still no real direction, but for the first time, I had hope.

(Continue reading in Part 2….)

June Newsletter

Hi Friends,

So, June is over, but I technically started this letter a few days ago and then life got in the way a bit, and I didn’t send it out, so let’s pretend its still June, haha.

In baby news, I am one week away from being officially in my third trimester!! I can’t believe how fast this year is going. (Also, I feel so huge already and I still have 3 months left!!, which freaks me out, no joke). We have started the process of getting his room ready. Majority of the the stuff that was in there, got relocated /stored (or rather, threw into a box that went into attic). We also bought the paint and supplies. I don’t want anything too “baby” or “blue” just because he’s a boy, so we are keeping a rather neutral theme (walls are going to be light gray), but then add in some fun details along the way. I’ll post pictures on IG, when its all done.

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I am halfway through my health coaching program, so excited!! I have learned so much already and I cannot wait to help people and spread my knowledge! This past month, we focused a lot on digestive issues, like gluten-sensitivity and how the microbiome plays such a fundamental role in our health. Also a lot about autoimmune diseases, allergies, food sensitives and leaky gut, and how nutrition plays such a huge role in helping people with these types of ailments too. Very interesting stuff.

I have thought all month about what to include in this month’s newsletter. I was thinking about getting back to basics.

Since “gut health” has been getting a lot of attention these days. For good reason though. Like many things, I have seen that many people still don’t have a good understanding of how our digestive system works and how it’s literally tied to our health. So,

 

“What’s up with gut health?” 

We have about four major organs involved in our digestion system (there are other helper organs, but let’s keep things simple): Mouth, Stomach, Small Intestine and Large intestine. 
I think we all have a rough idea of how each work, but there are some things that I have found teaching the digestive system in class that many people don’t realize exactly how each work. 

1. Mouth. Yes, you taste and chew food (hopefully!). But in addition to chewing, there are actually enzymes in your saliva that already begin breaking down food further. So, the longer food hangs out in your mouth, the better, because in addition to chewing it, the enzymes (especially ones for carbs) are actually breaking things down on a molecular level as well. 

Quick explanation of an enzyme: Its a protein. It looks like pac-man (yes, like the video game). It has a mouth and everything. You have thousands of enzymes in your body (not just in your digestive system). They are molecules that make your body more efficient by making new molecules and also by breaking apart other molecules.  

Ok, back to to digestion.

2. Stomach. The big takeaway for the stomach is that it contains hydrochloric acid (which is crazy acidic, think pH 1-2, it would burn your skin if you touch it). The acidity of your stomach is so crucial for making sure proteins get broken down, pathogens get destroyed, and smaller food molecules can broken down. If the pH changes at all, these things just won’t happen. What could throw the pH off: Medicines (like an antacid…or others), bad food choices and even age can play a role. 

Side note: The pH scale is not linear, so even minor changes in the actual number, are actually big changes (The difference between pH 1 and pH 2 is 100 fold). So it’s a big deal if something affects that number. 
3. Small Intestine: This is where majority of your digestion happens. There are lots of enzymes here waiting to break things apart as small as possible. One enzyme for each job. Again, these enzymes are dependent on the pH of your small intestine (which is actually basic, pH 6-8). So, if somethings messes with that number, they won’t work.  Their job is to break things down as small as possible to get absorbed in the cells of your small intestine. Nutrients can only enter your body (for their destined purpose) if they are absorbed. No absorption = nutrients are useless. THIS is why they talk about the health of your gut being important. You could eat all the good things in the world, but if your small intestine does not absorb them, it’s pointless because they aren’t actually entering your body. The key thing here is to make sure your small intestine works properly. If the walls of your small intestine are damaged (from meds, bad food choices, allergies, disease, etc), nutrients will have a hard time getting absorbed OR the wrong things will slip by (creating even more havoc..aka “leaky gut”). 

4. Large Intestine. Everything that did not get broken down (and absorbed) by this point, ends up here. The major player here is bacteria! There are no enzymes here, only bacteria. The bacteria in your large intestine has been a big focus lately and there is a lot of research being done on it that is basically telling us, these little guys are doing A LOT. In addition to helping us break down food, they are linked to our mental health, autoimmune diseases and to our overall health in general. They even believe that these little guys are talking to our nervous system about other things. Isn’t that crazy? This is why you have seen an emergence in probiotics, fermented foods, and just gut health in general. What throws them off: meds (like antibiotics), bad food choices, chemicals, etc. 

So, what did we learn? A lot of things can throw off our body’s ability to digest food properly: too much medicine (especially antibiotics and antacids), wrong food choices and too much exposure to chemicals.  If we don’t absorb our nutrients properly, they won’t actually get into our bloodstream to go to the cells in our body. If we throw off the bacteria, it can lead to a whole cascade of problems that are linked to depression, brain fog, fatigue, autoimmune diseases, hormone imbalances, allergies, and basically so many things. 

Most of people’s “issues” are linked to bad digestion (improper nutrient absorption), but don’t realize it. If you suspect this may be the case for you, let me know and I can help your correct it. 

Arbonne’s nutrition program is also programmed to fix digestion too. Most people see it as a way to lose weight, but really you lose weight because your digestion is being fixed! Win win! I see now how powerful their program is to helping people fix a lot of problems…all stemming from digestive issues!! This program is perfect for people who don’t know where to start, work better with a support system, or just like being told what to do, because you get all the tools you need to be successful at it, like recipes and a support system! 

 

Super easy, quick,”real” pickle

Does anyone else love pickles, like I do? I don’t even think this is necessary a pregnancy thing either. I always loved them. I recently found out that pickles are a good way of adding more fermented foods into your diet to feed the good bacteria. However, those vinegar ones we generally buy in the store, don’t count! You have to make “real” ones. I found this super simple way to make them and I’m already on my 3rd batch this month. 

You just need a clean jar, veggies to pickle (like cucumbers, if staying conventional), salt, dill (dried or fresh) and one garlic clove. 

The amount of water and salt you need depends on the size jar you have. But for a regular sized one: Mix in 1-2 tab salt into 2 cups filtered water (you are making a brine).  Its ok, if salt settles to the bottom. 

Cut up veggies and shove into jar with the garlic and about 1 tsp dried dill (or 1 tab fresh). Pour in brine. Place (don’t tighten, keep lose) lid on top of jar. Place jar in a dark place in your kitchen (like in a cabinet). Let sit for at about 3 days. 

That’s it! You should see tiny bubbles and cloudiness, and of course they should taste like pickles. If anything smells or tastes off, throw away and try again. Store in fridge. 

These are for dill flavored ones, but you can totally change up the flavorings to your liking! Let me know if you try them! 

 

Lia’s Favorite Product of the Month

In keeping with today’s theme, I figured it made sense to showcase Arbonne’s Digestion Plus. This is a supplement, so it will not replace a bad diet, no matter what. Its job is to “supplement.” But if you are doing the 30 days clean eating program (which in itself improves your digestion), or already feel your eats are good,  it’s a nice compliment. What I love about it is that it contains the trifecta: probiotics (good bacteria), prebiotics (food for the bacteria) and enzymes! It also contains other natural things to help like chicory, peppermint and chamomile. Its safe to use everyday, and I think it tastes really good, sort of like unsweetened tea.

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It comes in single serving packets (really easy to travel with). I tend to be really lazy about it and eat it like pixie stick, and then chase it with water (haha), but you can do it the real way and mix with water too. Some people also mix it in their smoothies or with a fizz stick. I make little “shots” of it for my husband to drink, because he’s lazy like me and prefers to shoot it, haha.

 

Happenings

I wrote two blog posts this month about what my time in Vegas and also my top 5 personal development books that have really helped me. Both posts are very personal to me and took me a while to write, so check them out! 

My health coaching business is almost ready to go live! Yay!! If you would like a free health consult with me, I would love to talk to you! It can be via phone, video chat, or in person! Or, if you know of anyone, just send them my way too!

Follow me here! Instagram @balancedlifewithlia

Arbonne products can be seen here!    Liaplaner.arbonne.com

And if you are interested in a deeper discount on products, want some extra cash, an extra income stream to “take the load off” or just a fun thing to do! Arbonne is letting people sign up to be consultants this summer for only $49!
That’s insane! Very few places where you can literally have your own business for the cost of a dinner out! Let me know if you have any questions about this or anything!

My top 5 personal development books

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Hi sweet friends,

I hope you are enjoying your summer so far. It seems to already be speeding by. I mean, July is right around the corner! I love July because its warm enough to go to the beach (in NJ, anyway), and my birthday is in July too! (I asked for Harry Potter broadway tickets..but they are soo hard to get!!). July also puts me in my third–aka last trimester! Omg! Home stretch!

We started taking birthing classes, and I am learning a lot about the whole birthing process in general. It’s very interesting, especially from what your body actually does in the process. Actually, I have found being pregnant very fascinating in general, because it basically confirms (to me anyway) that your body is so ridiculously smart and knows what to do and is capable of so much! In learning about what your body goes through, we want as much as a natural birthing experience as possible, so that is what we are preparing for. We are even looking into a birthing center as an option. I know that is a sensitive topic with a lot of people and isn’t for everyone, but if you are interested in hearing more about my reasons and thoughts, just let me know!

I have been very calm throughout majority of this pregnancy. Of course, I have some days, where I am very tired and basically just want to be left alone (but who doesn’t?). I always thought I would be super nervous and worrying about everything all the time. It hasn’t been the case at all, actually. I just take each day as it comes and just have felt very relaxed in general. I think I am also conscious that if I am feeling anxious and stressed, that the baby might feel it too, so I check myself a lot and try to let as much go as possible. Since, I am very aware of nutrition’s role in a lot of this too, I make sure this part is covered as best I as I can (and try not to to eat things that make me feel too “off”), and just trying to just stay as relaxed as possible (breathing and mindfulness has been extremely helpful in this regard). I just keep telling myself that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. Everything has also been right on target this whole time. I know that not everyone is this lucky, so I am just very grateful that I am able to have a relatively “easy” pregnancy (so far..*knocks on wood*). Honestly I feel like myself, for the most part..except for sleep. Sleep is the only issue I have. Carrying an extra 20 lb in your stomach, makes sleeping a bit more difficult these days. My back stiffens up completely when I am in one position for too long, so it takes me a long time to get into a comfortable position when sleeping (and then I wake up every 2 hr, and process repeats all night). I also think the cats know, because they have been sleeping on me this entire time, which is very cute, but also not helping the sleep situation either 😛 (Munchkin (he’s the one I post about more on IG) recently discovered just how comfortable my pregnancy pillow is, and basically fights me for it every night). 

These past few years,  I have learned to just take things as they come, and be grateful for everything, as much as I can. Some days are harder than others, but most days I try to keep this mindset to the best I can.  It really helps to keep things in perspective and keeps your mind in check as well. I journal more now, I write and say affirmations, and I literally write down what I am grateful of. I don’t do these things everyday, but every time I feel really stuck or things are just not going the way I’d hoped, I do this. To some people, it seems very “granola” or “corny” and I get that. But for someone, who tends to worry a lot, get a anxious about a lot things, this has helped me. I am not perfect. I still doubt myself a lot and worry if things are going to work out (especially with work-related things), worry if people like me…etc, etc, etc. But, keeping my mind as clear as possible has helped me in a lot of these ways. Because I think back to when things really were crappy, and how I overcame them, made it to the other side and realized that the other side was actually better and where I was supposed to end up anyway. 

I also do this mental thing where I envision things that I want in the future and write down that I am grateful for them, as if they already happened. You would be surprised to how many actually came true!!! This is how I know it works. Always blows my mind. Seriously, try it. The trick is, to not make it a wish list. You have to actually feel it being real. I find doing this first thing in the morning is good for me, because after the day officially starts, you get distracted with life stuff. It also sets you up for the day, because you already feel calm and happy.

These practices have come from years of reading lots of personal development books, following like-minded people, Arbonne, and also health coach training. All these things in my life have changed the way I think about my life, how I approach it and the world in general. I highly recommend reading some of these books, if you never have. It helps the mind so much. You learn to be more confident in your daily choices, you look at relationships better, you help face your fears better..so many things. The right mindset is really everything.

If you need some place to start, here are my top 5 personal development books that seriously helped me so much!!

  1. The Secret. By Rhonda Byrne. This book changed everything for me after I read it. Some people take it too much at “face value” and don’t get it. But it really just teaches you to keep you head and your mind in check. You can control your future, if you keep your mind straight. Things changed dramatically for me after I read this and I also realized that all the successes in my life were because of me and what I created on my own. If you feel stuck at all in life, definitely read this. Or just read it in general, because it really is a good book.
  2. Training Camp by Jon Gordon. I read this a few years ago and remember it being a quick read, but the feeling I had after I read it stuck with me. It’s a motivational story to being successful by just working hard at something you really want. I finished it being very motivated to work harder. Very very good. Again, if you feel like you won’t succeed or are just scared to try something new, this book is very helpful.
  3. The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. I actually listened to this on Audible, which was an excellent listen. This book was the kick in the pants I needed. Mel Robbins really is a genius (and hilarious too!). Read this if you are like me and tend to overthink everything, afraid of the unknown or what people think of you, or just procrastinate, over analyze, etc.(which I am all of the above). Honestly, I wish I read this years ago!!
  4. Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone. I first listened to this on Audible too and then had to buy the physical book, because I needed a written copy of this. This book really helps you realize that in order to be successful in life, you have to go for it and really do what others aren’t willing to do.  You can’t just dream of the successful life (that’s being average), you have to really work for it (because most people give up, unfortunately). It’s good for entrepreneurs and also for everyone who wants to be successful in life, especially their work life. Who doesn’t want that?
  5. The 4-hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. This is my current read, but I am already learning so much from it. I keep highlighting everything and taking notes (because I am a nerd like that, haha). There is a difference between being “busy” and being “productive.” I feel like most things he is saying, are like “yes, that makes sense,” but most people don’t actually implement ways to actually being productive in their lives, especially, their work lives. Not just for entrepreneurs either, he talks about how to be better at any job, impress your boss and how to just get your life back.

Have you read any of these? What are some of your favorites? I am always looking for new books to read 🙂