My Journey – Part 3

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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.

 

 

 

 

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!

April Catch Up

(reprinted from April)
Hi Friends,

Sorry for losing touch this past month. I really feel like March came and went and I didn’t even have a chance to process it. And now, April is basically doing the same thing.

Things are super busy with me. I am flying through my nutrition program at IIN (which is fantastic, I am learning so much), teaching at night, trying to get through my day job..and trying not to forget my amazing Arbonne clients in the process (thanks for the patience guys!).

Oh and one more thing! I am 4.5 months pregnant. 🙂

Yep, many years and months of trying..it finally happened in January. We are very happy, but at the same time taking things day by day, as to not get overwhelmed. It probably helps that I barely have any extra mental energy most of the time. But, I know some of you were probably sensing something was up with me, haha.

I am due Oct 2, and I will write out a separate post talking about this!

 

“Good Carbs” 

Anyway..back to the nutrition stuff. It’s been hard coming up with an interesting topic this month,
mostly because my eating is totally out of whack right now. But one thing that has caught my attention these past few weeks were whole grains (I know..doesn’t sound that exciting, but hear me out)

This is coming from a sort of carb-fearing person because pre-pregnancy, I always felt like just by looking at carbs, they made me bloat, lost my focus..and gain weight. I never paid much attention to whole grains. Sure, I kept hearing from “nutrition experts” that they were good for you (but I still kinda ignored it).

Enter pregnancy and all new cravings…

I very much believe that cravings are your body’s way of telling you something, like if you are missing a nutrient or in need of a nutrient, your body is trying to tell you that..hence cravings. So..I get pregnant and then I instantly started craved carbs like crazy! Like, I was literally daydreaming of stealing someone’s bread out of their hand one day because I had to have it..right that second.
(I didn’t….so you know, I’m not that crazy).

I realized that it’s really my body’s way of telling me, it needs more energy (to prepare and make baby). Then, I watched an amazing lecture about whole grains, and how much more nutrition they contain..in addition to carbs. Now, at this point I am intrigued, because my body is literally yelling for carbs and I am also trying to supplement with as much nutrient dense food I can, because I figured in growing a human, you need to make sure you are loaded up.

What struck me specifically about whole grains, was how much more was in it besides the usual suspects of carbs/fiber. They are basically a solid source of minerals…like ones you don’t hear about much..like manganese. Then they started talking about different whole grains.
(side note: before this, whenever I heard “whole grains,” I just envisioned whole grain bread. Just me?)
Buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, millet, etc..are actually really nutrient dense foods.

I’ve been obsessed with breakfast porridge lately. I was making just regular oatmeal, but then I
discovered you can make a “porridge” out of a lot of things. Buckwheat has been my new favorite (its also more filling than oatmeal). Took some practice getting it right, but it really is delicious (the one I got is from Thrive market). I top it with berries (organic because berries are loaded with chemicals, like 100’s of them!), drizzle with coconut nectar (I like the taste, maple syrup or raw honey would work too), and maybe some almonds and/or coconut flakes.

Fiber is your friend. You need to eat more of it, especially when eating carbs. It slows everything down in your intestines, so you don’t absorb sugar fast (which is what you want).
Fast sugar absorption = high blood sugar = bad.
Fiber is usually the piece people forget about or don’t understand why “sugar” from fruit is considered better. (Hint: It’s really the fiber component). Sugar is always sugar..no matter the source But if we could get it into our body slower, the better.

Minerals are also your friend. Minerals literally control every chemical reaction in your body, but they aren’t talked about enough. Sure, most people hear about the importance of electrolytes and hydrating..but that’s just one reason. Minerals keep your blood the right pH, your muscles working properly, your heart working properly, your digestion working properly, your metabolism working, etc..etc..etc…Eat lots of minerals and all of them!

Also, these bonus minerals are only found in real food. Nothing processed, at all. Hence, I tell my students and clients..real food first always. There is more to food then just the protein/carb/fat content. Lots more. If you are going to eat carbs…make them good ones.

 Lia’s Favorite Product of the Month

So, the products I want to tell you about this month are more like “aha!”
products for me. If you wear makeup…like at all, and you haven’t found
primers yet..you need to, like right now.

Disclaimer: I have always been skeptical of makeup primers in the past
because “I did not want one more thing on my face, ” you know what I
mean?

Then, I started to work long days. So first, I started with just the face
primer, and I realized that in addition to increased longevity of my face
makeup..it makes the makeup go on BETTER. Like, I cannot put
foundation on without it now because it doesn’t blend or melt on my
skin the same way! LIFE CHANGING. Also, the one from Arbonne,
literally feels like silk..no joke. This is amazing stuff here.

Then, I was very hesitate about the eye primer and it took me awhile to
even try it. But again..I was proven wrong. Longevity..yes, but it also
made my eye shadow go on BETTER and it even increased the color
pigment of the shadow, so it looked more professional and just better
overall. So now, I am a makeup primer convert and regardless of how
long my day is, I put them on.

Seriously, if you wear makeup at all, you need primer in your life. Your
makeup wearing life will be forever changed.

                      What’s new this month: 

Daily life musings can be found on Instagram @balancedlifewithlia

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

ALSO: I need some help from you guys! As part of my health coach training, I need to
start practicing on real people. If you are interested in a free initial health consult
with me (so I can practice), please let me know. I will be forever grateful! It can be
over phone, in person, or via video chat!



Want to be part of May’s healthy living group to help
you get (or stay) on track this spring? We have
coaching, accountability partners, recipes and
everything you need to help! Let me know. I will get
you started right away! (Bikini season will be here sooner then you realize!) 

Thanks for reading and your continued support of me
and my new journey!

xoxooxox   Lia