The start of taking control over your own health is becoming comfortable in the kitchen. Cooking healthy food doesn't have to mean being in the kitchen all day. As a coach, I specialize in working with busy and chronically ill people who don't necessarily have the time, desire or ability to cook all day. I personally love to cook, but I remember all too well the constraints that my battle with chronic Lyme Disease put on how much time I could even stand up, much less cook. And so, in this blog you will find more and more recipes that will suit people who want to eat clean whole food, but have restraints. Some will be original, some borrowed and cited, but the goal is that they will all require a maximum of 15 minutes of physical standing time. I want cooking to be accessible for all, especially those struggling to find their way back to health again.
Today my daughter and I made ice cream for the first time. I am dairy-free, soy-free, peanut-free and sugar-free (among many others) and so this recipe from Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry fit the bill! With few ingredients, all from sources I can tolerate and support as a coach, it seemed the perfect time to dip my toes into the ice cream department. This recipe calls for a strong mixer (I love my Vitamix) and an ice cream maker. It will be unusual for me to post recipes that require a bunch of gadgets, but a hint - I use my Vitamix and my Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) almost daily. The Instant Pot is the single best $100 investment I have made this year.
Homemade Sunbutter Ice Cream
Combine coconut milk and coconut oil in a strong mixer and blend until smooth. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend. Put the Vitamix container in the fridge to cool for an hour or two, or whatever your ice cream maker suggests. Remove the frozen ice cream maker drum from the freezer and insert in machine. Pour the mix into the ice cream maker and blend according to your maker. Mine took 25 minutes. It's serves up better fresh than frozen, but both are tasty.
Try it out! Let me know what you think! What flavors would you like to try next?
Are you wondering how I can help you find balance, greater health, weight loss, and happiness in your life? Reach out to me at Andrea@ChronicWellnessExperts.com and let's have a free consultation! Cheers!
Today I have spent an almost comical amount of time thinking about sleep and its importance in day to day health. To some, this may seem a no-brainer, but I am often astonished by how many people seem to think that getting 4-6 hours of sleep at night is enough to sustain any kind of balance in the long-term. When I sit down and really talk about sleep with clients who think they can get away with such little sleep on a consistent basis, we talk gradually about the reasons behind why they are not sleeping more. You see, the human body is built to function on 7-9 hours of sleep a night, depending on many variables such as age, nutrition, general health, etc. When this is being cut by almost a third, there are usually other issues that come into play.
When we start to explore these areas, my unknowingly sleep-deprived clients start to unravel their reasons behind being such champions of... no sleep. I have found that many times people who don't get enough sleep are stressed about a myriad of different life situations. The most common suspect is, of course work, because as Americans, we have a hard time turning work off. While living in Sweden for nearly a decade, one of the best life and wellness skills I learned was to just "be". In Sweden, as in many other European countries, leaving work at work is a way of life. In the U.S., it's a skill, even an art. As a former high-level manager of a couple of very large international corporations, I noticed that our European colleagues understood the concept of balance better. As a while, they spent more quality time with their families, turned off their devices at a reasonable hour, took vacations, and actually stayed home when they weren't feeling well.
Now, would this work in every demanding American workplace? Probably not. There seems to be some kind of celebration of the workoholic in some professional circles. But when I sit down and discuss turnover, burnout, and how common it is to let employees go due to any number of "distractions". The fact is, workoholics who don't seem to know how to put work away and allow in time for healthy balanced a lifestyle are often not putting in as many hours as they think they are. Why? Because those who get too little sleep and/or work too many hours without creating time for the enjoyment of other aspects of their lives. Often times, the workoholic is also a "surfoholic," suffering from other addictions related to devices; be it social media, dating apps, chat, gaming, or any number of other distractions. I was intrigued by the fact that a few CEOs mentioned that once they started monitoring the device activity of their staff that productivity skyrocketed, while actual hours at the office decreased. Interesting, isn't it?
Another reason people suffer from a lack of adequate sleep is due to matters of the heart. Oh please make it stop. If you are in love, you can't sleep. If you are having relationship problems, you can't sleep. If you miss someone, you can't sleep. Oh, the heart. I swear it's more effective than caffeine. So how does one stay balanced and rested when matters of the heart are not only a part of life, but can be an enriching and invigorating aspect of life? We all need love. We all want to be loved and hopefully most of us want to give love back.
So what can you do about keeping your heart from acting as a double espresso? The answer is to do all you can to keep your relationships in balance. Now that is easier said than done, because it usually takes two. Of course we can control our reactivity in relationship, but we cannot control another's. So maintaining your own sense of self is imperative. It's not always easy, especially in the kinds of intense relationships that affect your sleep, but it can be done. Pamper yourself by taking a bath by candlelight. Read a book you love, even if it's only for ten minutes a day. Go for a walk. Eat well. Play a game with your child. Do something to feed YOUR soul and let the rest follow. Most importantly, BACK. SLOWLY. AWAY. FROM. YOUR. DEVICES. If you put half of the energy you put into your shenanigans on Instagram and Facebook into your relationship with your partner and with yourself, you'd see improvements in all areas of life.
So what does do devices have to do with sleep? Everything. When individuals learn when their bodies want them to walk away from devices, tv, their phones, and so on, they get in their beds earlier, they fall asleep earlier, have more frequent and better sex, experience greater emotional intimacy in their relationships and, imagine this, sleep more.
There are so many more contributing factors to lack of sleep - worries about finances and loved ones, physical pain, addiction, and anything that causes stress or anxiety of any kind. I'm interested in hearing from you about your sleep habits how they have changed over the years, how they are affected, how you would like them to change, and how you think more or less sleep would affect your life.
You've happened upon this blog for a reason. Perhaps the reason is that you are a friend of acquaintance of mine who has watched my life's journey and is excited to see me take this next step in my life. Perhaps you read my book and we are forever connected in that way. Either way you know me, my story, my struggles and triumphs - both of which have been many. There's also a good chance that you have landed on this blog because you are in search of support for your health, your life, your wellness. Whoever you are, welcome to the Chronic Wellness Experts blog.
As you may have already gathered from my bio, I am an author, a writer, and a lover of the written word. And so, sometimes in this blog you will find straightforward health tips and recipes, other times you may find me tripping over some of my own ideas in my head. Through the years I have written two very successful and widely read blogs and I have found that my best work is always that which comes naturally from my fingertips with little editing - for these are the words which are spoken from the heart.
So here we are - I'm now a Holistic Health & Wellness Coach and you are either working with me as a client, interested in what I am up to, or curious as to how I can support you on your own road to wellness. If that is the case, please know that the reason I offer a free full-length consultation appointment is so that you can get an idea of how I work, what I may be able to do for you and if you should commit to yourself to work with me for a few months.
So, how did I end up here? Well, to put it simply - I have been THROUGH it. Life has thrown me some daggers of curveballs and while I have certainly seen the darkest of times, I have somehow always come out on top. I completely understand what it feels like to be hopelessly chronically ill, but I also know what it's like to turn the tables on that illness and become "chronically well". And it is in that spirit that I founded Chronic Wellness Experts.
There is literally a book about what I have been through, so I won't get into all of that here. If you're interested, click on the "book" tab. A Twist of Lyme: Battling a Disease That "Doesn't Exist" was written for myself, my family, and for other patients and caregivers of invisible illnesses, especially neurological Lyme Disease. But it doesn't stop there. My life's story is one full of love and broken hearts; a struggle to become a parent; the realities (good and bad) of being a single mom for years; the search for true love and success in finding it after kissing many toads; financial ups and downs, career changes, self-exploration; weight struggles... the list goes on.
Many of my book readers will be thrilled the learn what happened AFTER the book was published. I credit my Lyme specialist, Dr. Joseph G. Jemsek in Washington, DC with successfully treating me into the maintenance phase (one step before remission) after five rough years of treatment. This man saved my life. Full stop. I have learned, however, to give myself credit where credit is due. I STUCK with him, didn't stray from his treatment program even though at times I wondered if I would EVER get better. But I did. And I added people and education to my "team". I took the bull by the horns to find the missing piece to the puzzle and I believe that nutrition played an absolutely instrumental role in my final stages of healing. Here I am. Healthy, happy, in love, with an exciting new job and exploring my spirituality on a level that I haven't in a long time. But here's the thing - my story and process continues. It does for all of us. And so here we meet, perhaps for the first time, perhaps again. Whichever it is, I look forward to walking this path with you.
The best part of this whole nutritional component is that the last thing you will ever do with me is count calories, or go on a low-fat or low-carb diet from outdated flawed research. What happens when you join forces with me is I learn about you and in turn create a program specifically tailored to your needs, goals, AND tastes.
While starting to compile a plan for a new client the other day, she begged me not to take away her beloved smoothie. She looks forward to it, enjoys it and it's really a must for her. So why on EARTH would I start by taking that away from her? No way. that's not my style. Instead we'll start with other parts of her day and diet and leave that smoothie as it is and when she is ready, she will keep that smoothie and perhaps make some very minor tweaks to it that she won't even notice - except in the results!
When I embarked on my own nutritional journey, I had a VERY healthy diet. The thing is, while I was eating very healthy food on paper, it wasn't all healthy for me as an individual. With some guidance from my own health coach and from my education with the Insitute for Integrative Nutrition™ piggy-backed by a long history in the naturopathic medical field working intimately with an ND and with an even more detailed history as a patient, I ran laps around my old ways of thinking and relearned how to eat. It starts with food. I'm not going to be selling you shakes or drinks or a bunch of stuff - this is about making simple changes in the kitchen and at the grocery store over time. I lost thirty stubborn pounds in three months (of er the holidays!) that I just couldn't shed until I figured out what my body did and did not agree with. These pounds stayed off and while I look forward to losing more weight, I am happier than I have been during most of my adult life because my body is healthy now and I know how to nourish it - nutritionally, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
If you have a chronic or invisible illness, suffer from sluggish energy, sleep disturbances, a desire to gain or lose weight, aches and pains, women's issues or just want to learn about how you can be healthier - talk to me! Fill out the contact tab and let me know you would like to take advantage of my free consultation with no obligations. I look forward to hearing from you and exploring the possibility of us working together for a few months to facilitate the change or transformation you desire. Welcome to Chronic Wellness Experts. This is all about YOU.