Sleep Tips from an Insomniac

Posted by on Feb 18, 2015 in Blog, Clinical Aromatherapy, Paleo, post-partum, progesterone, supplement, Uncategorized, Wellness coaching | 0 comments

Sleep.  We all know that we’re supposed to get 8 hours of sleep.  It’s one of those old recommendations from childhood, like how grandma always told you to eat your vegetables.  “Treat others how you wish to be treated.”  “Don’t talk with your mouth full.”  “Sit up straight.”  “Get your beauty rest.” We have all heard of the increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, decreased immune system function, higher rates of depression, and reduced tolerance to stress that are associated with poor sleep. If we know all these things, why are we such an exhausted society?  Many of those who do keep the mojo up all day often rely on energy drinks and coffee.  There are some who enjoy quality sleep on a regular basis, or can at least replenish their inadequate sleep on the weekends.  They are NOT parents of infants or young children. I have had issues with insomnia since I was 8.  It has been a life-long issue, and I like to consider myself well versed in sleep deprivation and home remedies.  At one point in my life, I managed to improve my sleep significantly through nutrition and supplements.  Since having a baby, my body needs a little extra help beyond basic nutrition to get some zzz’s.  After two years of raising Sterling, my body still has a difficult time sleeping through the night.  Sterling is a pretty good sleeper, but sometimes will wake up in the middle of the night.  He’ll either cry for me or come to our room.  Even after we get him back to sleep, my body has a hard time going back to sleep.  It is especially irritating on nights that Sterling sleeps soundly until 7am, but I wake up multiple times. Through continued work with lifestyle, nutrition, and mild supplements, my quality sleep is an ebb and flow.  I am so thankful that I can get help for sleep without the use of prescription pills.  While I am currently in a pretty nasty insomnia spell as I write this (it’s been almost 2 weeks since a good night’s sleep and last night was a disaster), I remain hopeful that rest is just around the corner.  I saw a  few recent posts from women on a couple of internet mom groups asking about tips for sleeping. I’d like to share the habit changes and other tips that can help me sleep.  It really is brighter on the well-rested side. NUTRITION & SUPPLEMENTS –Clean Up the Eats- I finally cleaned it up and did the Whole 30 in October. It’s a super strict paleo cleanse for 30 days. No cheats, no excuses. It was helpful to eliminate all the grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol, and added...

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The Importance of Blood Work

Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Blog, boundaries, brain health, drug-free, Gluten-Free, Graduate School, happiness, Mood Disorder, Nutrition, Paleo, post-partum, progesterone, supplement, Uncategorized | 3 comments

As with all of my blog posts, it is my hope that I can help someone out there by sharing a story from my own journey. Sterling just turned 17-months old, and I am currently working part-time on this company.  I spent his first 5 months of life exclusively with him.  In the spring, I went back to my internship and my final semester of Graduate School at UT-Austin, and graduated in December.  The effort to complete my master’s degree, resume CrossFit training, and balance the baby and family duties was quite taxing to say the least.  This is an excerpt from my journal shortly after graduating. “12/6/13 Finally finished grad school.  I feel like my adrenals have been on over-drive pumping my veins with adrenaline to keep up with everything.  I want to collapse and do NOTHING for at least 3 days…. I am taking a [CrossFit] break to give my [parasympathetic nervous system] a chance to recharge my body.  I finally crossed the finish line and need to collapse and shudder all the excess away. .. Thanksgiving took a lot out of me. … I want to : yoga, meditate, get a massage, watch a movie, sleep uninterrupted, dance, laugh, take a hike, sit, NOTHING.” After a month of family time, I started LCR Wellness.  I thought my short “break” was enough to recharge my body, and I was ready to press on.  (Come on, moms.  We all know that taking time off to be with the baby is hardly a break.)  By March, I was exhausted.  None of my old nutrition or supplement tricks worked.  My energy and motivation had dwindled to a slowing trickle.  All I wanted to do was sleep.  My outlook on most things became quite negative, and I started experiencing intrusive thoughts.  I was well beyond the time frame for post-partum depression, though I presented with similar symptoms.  After all I have been though in two combat deployments and my time in the Army, I felt ashamed.  Here I was, an emerging Wellness Coach, yet I felt that I my own health needed help.  This was not something I could suck up and endure. One evening, we ended up in the ER as my hands started to tingle and go numb.  The ER doctor recommended I go on anti-depressants based on my symptoms.  It saddens me to think of how many women have been in a similar circumstance and decided to take the advice of doctors such as this.  How unfortunate that our societal norm is for professionals with over a decade of medical training to hand out pharmaceuticals without hesitation.  Seriously, this needs to stop.  Instead of popping a pill, I knew my...

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Eating Clean, Supplementing Clean

Posted by on Aug 22, 2013 in advocare, Blog, CrossFit, CrossFit Mom, Paleo, supplement, Uncategorized | 0 comments

As many of you know, I support eating a clean diet.  This means minimally processed foods, local and organic produce, clean meats, and good fats.  I avoid harmful ingredients such as nitrites, nitrates, Genetically Modifed Organisms (GMOs), artificial additives, and trans fats.   A lot of CrossFitters rely on supplements to help get strong and fast.  These include branched-chain amino acids, caffeinated vitamin drinks, post-workout protein shakes, and omega-3 fatty acids.I try to read labels and be an informed consumer.  It recently came to my attention, that my prefered supplement company includes several products made with corn and soy and does not test for GMOs.  I do not know your personal stance on consuming Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), but there is substantial evidence that it is harmful to our health.  If not the modification itself, the fact that GMO crops are either bred to be resistant to harsh pesticides (Round-Up Ready soy and canola) or contain them (corn) results in our consumption of elevated levels of toxic pesticides.  The most recent long-term study in France showed an elevated incidence of cancer and infertility among other health problems in the group that ate a GMO diet.  Here’s an article on the study:http://rt.com/news/monsanto-rats-tumor-france-531/ I did a little research on the supplements I was taking and was concerned about GMO content in the products.  The response was disappointing, and I will no longer be supporting AdvoCare.  Instead, my money will go to companies who are dedicated to the non-GMO project such as Garden of Life and Metabolic Response Modifiers.  For more companies, look here Non-GMO Project, they even have an App for IPhone and Android!This is the response e-mail I got from AdvoCare Distributor Support:Subject: RE: GMO Product IngredientsDate: Wed, 21 Aug 2013 14:09:02 +0000 Hello,Thank you for your email. Genetically modified organism crops (GMO) are not only approved as safe and effective by the FDA and the USDA but in official regulatory terms they are identical to standard versions. In fact while these foods have been on the market for twenty years, for the past ten years, 90% of all the top ten crops consumed in America have been from GMO stock.In the opinion of the FDA and USDA, the agencies charged with food safety in the USA, genetically engineered foods have passed the most stringent levels of scientific study and safety analysis the resulting foods are every bit as safe as, in fact identical to any others. These conclusions have been supported by oversight groups such as the CDC and the Institute of Medicine. Since AdvoCare operates under the advisory guidance of these authorized bodies we use ingredients they say are safe and effective. No compelling, scientifically valid evidence has been brought forth to challenge...

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What it takes to compete elite…. (with a twist)

Posted by on May 26, 2012 in advocare, Blog, compete, CrossFit, elite, supplement, Zone | 1 comment

Two years into my CrossFit journey I thought I had tried everything to get my PR’s.  I was eating strict paleo and during the 2011 Sectionals, finally succumbed to The Zone.  I had read article after article revealing the amazing body transformations and gained strength from elite nutrition.  I was leaner and faster, but my strength was still lacking.  I asked Lisa Bender Thiel what she was taking after she came in 3rd at the 2011 South Central Regionals.  “Crack,” she replied.  I had watched her the previous year get stuck on her head at Regionals and wanted to try whatever she had done to improve.  After the 2011 CF Regionals, Bigg Dave put me on his Meathead Maddness strength building protocol.  Some of the other CFCP competitors were put on the same plan.  We were his pilot study for his exclusive SuperStrong program.  I was motivated, disciplined, and ready to become a freak.  After 12 weeks, my PR’s were hardly more than a five pound gain.  Granted I could throw medium-to-heavy weight better, I still wasn’t experiencing that amazing breakthrough.  Frustrated and feeling defeated, I finally decided to add Advocare supplements. No shit, the first time I took Catalyst, I did my first strict hand stand push ups (two in a row!).  Things got better for a little bit.  I was definitely feeling stronger.  My body eventually became accustomed to the supplements, and I needed to increase.  I finally started seeing real gains when, won’t you believe it, I was on a $200 a month supplement regimen.  That’s right.  Despite years of hard work, it wasn’t until I started throwing down on pills and shakes that I saw the results I wanted.  I was very excited to get the big girl weights over my head.  But, I was also pissed off and irritated.  That’s the secret?!  Timing Muscle Strength, Catalyst, coconut oil, SFH recovery protein, SFH Super Omega-3 Oil, Muscle Gain and Nighttime Recovery= Elite CrossFitter?!?!  I could have started on this stuff three years ago and not gone through the agony of years of intense training with limited results.  At the same time, there was some serious value in watching my gains come so fast after so many years of struggle.  I no longer feel that the “elite” are blessed with mutant strength and wicked skills.  Most of them have mastered the chemistry of supplements.  So for those of you out there who are so awe-struck and inspired by watching the elite, give Advocare a try.  You may find what you’ve been looking for. Enter Irony, stage left.  The 2012 CrossFit Cedar Park team was ready to take on Regionals and kick some ass.  Our team was...

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Not All FATS Are Created Equal

Posted by on Feb 11, 2011 in Blog, CrossFit, Fat, Nutrition, Paleo, supplement | 3 comments

There’s been a lot out there about the wonderous beauty of fats. Omega-3’s have taken center stage, and it made me think about balancing food intake. In the Zone Diet, you calculate “blocks” of food focusing on macronutrients of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. While they do mention variety, I have heard of some individuals who will eat the exact same meal to keep things simple and from getting over-complicated. That’s all fine and good if you want to make sure you’re getting the appropriate 3-block meal. But if you don’t have variety, you could be doing MUCH more damage than you realize. I am amazed at the body’s physiological response to certain fats. I could write a very long and drawn out essay, but to keep you readers from wanting to stab out our eyeballs with a toothpick, I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I made a chart to clarify fats, their sources, and benefits. Bottom line, go with variety throughout the week. Make sure you don’t just rely on an avocado with nuts to get fat. You’ll be depriving your noggin’ some seriously needed nutrients. Try to keep a 1:1 ratio on the Omega-3’s to Omega-6 sources. Another point to keep in mind is that some sources are composed of several types of fat. For example, Spirulina is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and also provides alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA), stearidonic acid (SDA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and arachidonic acid (AA). This is not the most comprehensive list of all time, but it will at least get you started. TYPE NAME WHERE TO GET IT WHAT IT DOES SATURATED FAT WILL INCREASE LDL, BUT NOT A PROBLEM IF YOU EAT TRACE OR NO CARBOHYDRATES LAURIC ACID – COCONUT, PALM OIL – REDUCE/HEAL GUT IRRITATION. ANTI-VIRAL PALMITIC ACID – PALM OIL, EGGS, BEEF, POULTRY, SEAFOOD- MEMORY AND COGNITIVE FUNCTION STEARIC ACID – MEAT, EGGS, CHOCOLATE- INCREASES HDL LEVELS MONOUNSATURATED FAT OLEIC ACID – AVOCADO, OLIVE OIL, NUTS- IMPROVE INSULIN SENSITIVITY, PREVENT OXIDATIVE DAMAGE TO CELLS POLYUNSATURATED FAT OMEGA-3’S – CRITICAL TO BRAIN DEVELOPMENT AND COGNITIVE FUNCTIONS, ANTI-TUMOR, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY ALA (ALPHA-LINOLENIC ACID) – FLAX, HEMP, CHIA, WALNUTS, ETC – KEEP YOU ALIVE, BUT WILL NOT THRIVE (CAN CONVERT TO DHA, BUT IS INEFFICIENT AND LIMITED) EPA (EICOSAPENTAENOIC ACID) – COD, HERRING, MACKEREL, SALMON, MENHADEN, SARDINES, FISH OIL- ANTI-INFLAMMATORY, MENTAL WELLNESS DHA (DOCOSAHEXAENOIC ACID) – ALGEA (SEAWEED), COLD-WATER FISH (SALMON, SARDINES, TUNA), FISH OIL, EGG YOLK – COGNITIVE FUNCTION OMEGA 6’s LA (LINOLEIC ACID) – VEGETABLE OILS, SAFFLOWER, SUNFLOWER – PRO-INFLAMMATORY, CAN BLOCK EPA AND DHA GLA (GAMMA LINOLENIC ACID) – BORAGE, PRIM-ROSE, HEMP OIL- ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DGLA (DIHOMO-GAMMA-LINOLENIC ACID) – CONVERTED FROM GLA- REGULATION OF...

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