Wellness Tips

Stop Dieting With This One Food Rule 1024 683 Thayer Fox

Stop Dieting With This One Food Rule

Stop dieting today. I have one food rule that I adhere to; the majority of my diet consists of food that comes directly from nature.

All vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, and fish are on this list. I don’t limit quantity, but I don’t eat a lot of starchy vegetables like potatoes either.

It’s okay if natural food is crushed like nut butter or olive oil or dried like a prune but I must be able to directly link the food back to a source like a tree or a plant. If I can’t visualize quickly where it came from, then I don’t eat much of it. There are no bread trees or cracker plants. You could also include animals on that list, but I stopped eating animal meat years ago.

My diet also includes small amounts of grains, raw cheeses, and processed foods. I don’t have a forbidden list like I did in my 20s. Even thinking about all my old restrictions ignites cravings. Nothing is off limits now. By having one central rule that I use as my true North, it’s easy to stay committed and successful. You won’t let yourself down either if you keep the food rule general. Continually breaking your own rules takes a toll and spills into other areas.

I had a piece of cake this weekend to celebrate my seven-year-old son’s birthday. It was delicious, and I had a big container of pineapple to eat in the fridge afterward in case I longed for more cake. I often eat sweet fruits for dessert that diet books tell you to avoid on a full stomach. It works for me, and I don’t fantasize about baked goods, because of my allowance. A sliced Honeycrisp apple with almond butter or a handful of dried organic mango is a satisfying dessert.

The next time you go grocery shopping or order a meal at a restaurant, try to fill your cart or plate with food that resembles what it looked like when it was growing. If you fill yourself with that category first, you won’t have much room for the fake stuff.

The result of this will be weight loss, less brain fog and a ton more energy. Easy rule, guaranteed results.

Win the Day With a Morning Ritual 1024 768 Thayer Fox

Win the Day With a Morning Ritual

I love the expression “If you win the morning, you win the day.”

I first heard it said on a Tim Ferriss podcast, and then another variation of it at a Tony Robbins event. Every day can be extraordinary if we consciously set that intention through our actions. The creation of key steps combined amounts to a morning ritual. Morning rituals stack the deck in your favor because they plug you into deeper consciousness shortly after waking.

The critical component in creating a morning ritual is to be true to you. Don’t try and mimic others who sound like they have it all figured out. It MUST be enjoyable and something you look forward to doing. I have a knee-jerk aversion to anything with the word “morning” in it. As I mentioned in my Bulletproof Coffee post, I am NOT naturally a morning person. I could sleep til nine happily if I didn’t have children who needed to get to school. Creating a morning routine that works for your schedule and biochemistry is essential. The thought of waking up at 5am makes me anxious and miserable. Most people who share their morning rituals talk about waking up and meditating as the sun rises. Great for them, and no thank you. I look forward to my morning ritual because it works for me.

I wake up between 6:30-45; this is the latest I can sleep and get the kids to school on time. I make my bulletproof coffee while I feed the kids and then put it into a Yeti cup, which I am obsessed with because of their size and functionality. Here it is:

https://www.yeti.com/drinkware/rambler-30-oz-tumbler/YRAM30.html

I only drink water with lemon squeezed into it at that time. The kids eat, and I leave the Yeti on my desk before I walk out of the apartment with my son at 7:45. His school is close to our apartment, so I am back home by 8. I then check my phone and return any texts or emails that are a priority or that I must address to clear my headspace. People that say they don’t look at their phones in the mornings don’t have young kids. Next, I make my bed. Then I sit in a comfortable chair in my bedroom or living room. For the next 15-20 mins, I either do Transcendental Meditation or I Prime, which is a Tony Robbins guided meditation. I select which version according to how I feel that particular morning. If my head is noisy and negative, I do TM (growth story about TM to come). If I feel down or tired, Priming gives me the energy and gratitude necessary to shift. Here is the link to the Priming mediation:

 

Tony Robbins: Priming Exercise

Then I take a quick cold shower (not wetting my hair) and listen to “Rise Up” by Andra Day. I highly recommend finding a theme song that you play every day. “Rise Up” makes me feel courageous and expansive. Yes, it’s corny, and it works. To get into the cold shower, I make a few power moves which I describe in Power Moves or Crazy Lady post. Then I sit down at my desk to drink my bulletproof and write. I have found that drinking coffee before meditating prevents me from sinking into a more expansive space, which is why I wait until after to drink it now. It’s around 8:45, and I write for the next 3 hours.

The days that I take on my morning ritual entirely and the ones when I half-ass it are remarkably different. Of course, I don’t always “feel” like doing it, and my AA training becomes invaluable at this juncture. When I first stopped drinking and working with my AA sponsor, she would tell me regularly when I complained that my feelings weren’t facts. If I wanted to see results in my life, I had to put 100% effort into getting sober. She said I needed to develop smart feet that would take me to meetings even when my head didn’t want to go. Day by day, my life started changing because I went to AA meetings, called my sponsor, and read the literature- no matter what. These were all simple action steps that done daily created enormous change in my mental state and life. I view my morning ritual the same way that I did my early sobriety, it’s a no matter what. When I am traveling or have an early start to my day, I do an abbreviated version that still gives me a boost.

Great days add up to great years and produce great lives. Thirty minutes is well worth this equation.

 

Sinus Management 1024 768 Thayer Fox

Sinus Management

When I get run down, my sinuses start to ache. Especially in the indoor dry heat of winter or mandatory AC summer months; either extreme can trigger my sinuses. Tylenol Sinus works short term, and I don’t like to overuse medication. Fatigue from low-grade sinus issues is the symptom that affects my mental state and productivity. Avoiding antibiotics unless I have a severe infection, I have four tricks that help a great deal.

First of all, get a humidifier and put it close to your bed. During the winter months, this will make a big difference. We have humidifiers humming all over our apartment and keep the heat as low as possible. Wash the humidifiers carefully once a week and fill them with fresh water daily.

Next, I do not consume milk or yogurt. I have always found dairy unappealing, and the more I have learned about the dairy industry, the more strongly I feel that I shouldn’t be eating dairy. Aside from the disturbing details about a dairy cow’s life, it’s also a fact that most adults don’t digest dairy well. Dairy thickens saliva and mucus, which aggravate your sinuses further. Here is an excellent short article on it:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/WellnessNews/story?id=8450036

Many of you have heard of neti pots. They look like something Aladdin lives inside and are awkward to use. They are effective, and I used one for years, leaking water all over my face as I tilted my head to gently pour the water into my nostril instead of spilling it out of the top opening. A few years ago, a sinus doctor told me about a modern-day neti pot called NeilMed Sinus Rinse. It’s a plastic squeezy bottle that you order online with salt packets. I use it twice a day (morning and night) and find it much more manageable. It doesn’t trigger my gag reflex nor does it make a mess. Here is the link:

http://shop.neilmed.com/Products/Sinus-Rinse/Sinus-Rinse-Regular-Kit

Aside from having a humidifier near my bed, I also dab a cotton ball with eucalyptus oil and leave it on my bedside table. Aromatherapy is not my department of expertise yet I do know that this works wonders. It’s just enough of a scent to open your sinus passages and not too much to make your eyes sting and hair smell. I also do this during long car trips when the heat or AC is blowing directly on my face. Here is one of the brands I use from a website I love- you can also find eucalyptus oil at a local health food store:

https://www.amrita.net/catalogsearch/result/?q=eucalyptus+globulus

See a doctor if these tips don’t work.

 

 

 

Move a Muscle, Change a Thought 1024 543 Thayer Fox

Move a Muscle, Change a Thought

Do you think walking is useless? Not a calorie burning exercise and a slow way to get around? I didn’t learn about the benefits of walking until my first year of sobriety.

The first year of my sobriety was like restoring electricity to a house that had regularly been hit by hurricanes for sixteen years. Overwhelmed by the wreckage, I didn’t know where to begin. AA recommends you find a sponsor to guide you through this process. Fortunate to be immediately introduced to a woman I deemed appropriate, she told me to call her every day to check in. That sounded ridiculous initially, but I ended up calling her 3-4x a day because I had the coping mechanisms of a thirteen-year-old.

Most of my problems were fictional, stories I made up and played on a loop in my head. My thinking was obsessively cynical, portraying me as the victim in all scenarios. I complained to my sponsor incessantly. Two months into working together, she interrupted one of my monologues, “Since you have already been to an AA meeting today, why don’t you go for a walk around the block? Or if you have time, go for a walk in the park. Move a muscle, change a thought.” The simplicity of her suggestion annoyed me.

At that time in my life, exercise was a punitive measure after an evening of binge eating cupcakes. After I quit running due to injury, I would spend hours counting calories on an elliptical trainer at my neighborhood gym. Aimlessly walking around was a waste of time and how the hell would that solve any of my problems?

I took her advice because she had been spot-on about everything else so far. I got off the sofa, where I had been sprawled out stewing, put on some sneakers and a jacket, and walked out of my apartment. I had never walked without an end goal in mind. Something shifted as I walked around, listening to Van Morrison and looking at passing people and clouds. The thought bubbles I was stuck in burst and started flowing. I felt lighter, all my problems more manageable in this mindset.

Walking became my primary mode of transportation around New York. I walked home after work most days, sixty blocks from the Meatpacking District to the UES. On weekends, I walked around the park. Aside from AA meetings, it was the only time I could escape my mental tenants, Fear, and Anxiety. Occasionally, when I was focusing on the scenery around me, another voice would speak up. “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” Friedrich Nietzsche This voice was softer and didn’t ramble on. It came from a deeper place, below my regular chatter. All my best thoughts pop up out of nowhere and come from this voice.

I still walk everywhere, in silence or with music or podcast or audible book playing. The combination of walking and replacing my thinking with better thinking works wonders. The problem du jour goes away in minutes. Taking in new information has been the most effective method of influencing my patterning. Move a muscle, change a thought.

 

Back Pain Secret
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Back Pain Secret

I have been fortunate to avoid serious injury over the past 44 years. I do experience chronic back pain from tightness in the surrounding muscles. Once it activates, it can take weeks to go away. If you have other aches and pains from exercising, traveling long hours or sleeping too often in one position, then this tip is for you.

Aside from my daily multivitamin pack and two omega fish oils, I prefer not to tamper with my body chemistry.  The data on the effects of long-term pain reliever use include liver damage and ulcers, so I avoid them unless my pain level is at a 10. Two years ago, I strained my back doing yoga. Attempting to imitate a seasoned yogi on the mat in front of me, I felt a sharp, sudden pain in my lower back. This ego-inflicted injury taught me more of a lesson than my yoga practice ever did.

I visited a doctor even though I knew it wasn’t anything serious. She told me not to exercise for a few weeks, see a physical therapist to strengthen the surrounding muscles and take some Aleve when needed. Going without activity is only an option if I have been up vomiting all night. Exercise doesn’t have to be a shirt drenching, Soul Cycle class; it’s anything that gets me moving. An hour walk in Central Park or some light weight lifting is sufficient. Bottom line, I didn’t listen and learned quickly that consistent movement agitated my back to the point where I was in constant pain.

I reluctantly set up an appointment with a friend’s PT. My experiences with PTs range from a waste of time to feeling ripped off. Monica Joshi at Back in the Game Therapy located in Midtown Manhattan is the real deal. Aside from being an attractive woman, she is also a straight shooter with the goal of getting you in and out of her practice short term and long term at a rapid pace. She taught me exercises and gave me lifestyle strategies that helped my back enormously and still do two years later. It turns out the way I was standing was hurting my back more than any exercise I was doing.

Pain management became a fixation because I missed park walks and sitting upright in a chair at a restaurant was still sending my back into spasms. While grabbing some toothpaste at Duane Reade, I walked past an aisle and noticed a section with Icy Hot patches and ThermaCare Heat Pads. I had never used either. Grabbing a few boxes, I hurried home to conduct a performance evaluation. The Icy Hot patches worked well and reeked of mint. The ThermaCare pads were more effective without stinking up my clothes.

What started out as a way to manage my back pain turned into an obsession. I actually have one on my lower back now as I type this. Sitting and working on my computer for hours can still bother my back. The heat pads last for eight hours, staying in place even under a cocktail dress. They also function as a heat source on winter days. I also wear them to bed because I find that when vital muscles in my body are soothed, I sleep more soundly.

No, ThermaCare is not paying me to write this although they probably should.

https://www.thermacare.com

 

 

Why You Should Start Drinking Kombucha Today
Why You Should Start Drinking Kombucha Today 768 1024 Thayer Fox

Why You Should Start Drinking Kombucha Today

Start drinking kombucha today. It will change your digestion entirely in a few months.

If the taste doesn’t appeal to you, suck it up and drink half a bottle to start off. It will grow on you.

If your stomach bloats a bit in the beginning: that means it’s working.

If you don’t drink alcohol, make sure to check the alcohol content on boutique brands. Also, check the sugar, because not all kombuchas are created equal. Find a low sugar option when possible.

Don’t drink kombucha if you are pregnant or nursing.

All bottles have an expiration date, so read it before opening. My husband had a bad Kombucha once and it was a terrible experience.

GT’s Kombucha is my choice brand. Gingerade, Gingerberry, and Trilogy are my favorite flavors.

I drink one or two bottles a day.

Satisfying and energizing, you will look forward to your kombucha.

If you are eating a healthy diet, after the initial kombucha adjustment bloat, you will never feel bloated again. EVER.

Go stock up now.

 

Bulletproof Coffee 1024 684 Thayer Fox

Bulletproof Coffee

Morning coffee has always been sacred. My alarm goes off at 6:30 and I have to get the kids out the door on their way to school by 7:30. Waking up before the kids to meditate or journal is not my gig. Even with a self-imposed curfew of 10:30 pm, I don’t fall asleep until 11:30 pm. Two cups of coffee with milk in the hour that I am running around brushing hair and making breakfast has always been my routine. Never a breakfast person, I would wolf down a protein bar or banana, just in case “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” wasn’t just a marketing slogan. By 10:30-11, the caffeine wore off, and I was famished.

I first heard about David Asprey last July at a Tony Robbins event called Unleash the Power Within. A separate post will detail this event. The week after UPW, I noticed The Bulletproof Diet Book on my nightstand. I had not made the connection between the coffee and the orange diet book that I had purchased per a buffed friend’s recommendation. After flipping through it, unwilling to take on the fancy coffee and rigid diet plan, I moved it from my bedside table to Daniel’s. When God wants us to know something, it happens repeatedly. We are never at risk of missing what we are meant to know. One morning a few weeks later, I woke up to Daniel handing me a mug of frothy yellow coffee.

The discovery of Bulletproof coffee was a game changer. Aside from being delicious, it is also more satisfying than food. Daniel and I drink it every morning and don’t eat until lunch. My productivity is highest in the morning, due to my bright brain space. It’s the time when I write. I don’t follow the diet plan because I gave up restrictive diets after overcoming eating issues in my early 30s. Without trying, I have lost weight as a result of my new schedule. Hunger is a slower build now; the caffeine doesn’t drop me so abruptly. In the beginning, the French press and blender seemed like a hassle to deal with every morning, and now it’s a delight.

There is a science behind it that I won’t bother explaining since you can read about it here:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/blog.bulletproof.com/how-to-make-your-coffee-bulletproof-and-your-morning-too/amp