Sunday, February 5, 2017

My Life Makeover Using the 4 Primary Foods

Ask any Ironman... Training for that race teaches you things... about life, yourself... it helps you grow in ways you could never predict or imagine.

I share this story not to garner sympathy, but to perhaps inspire you to break out of a rut you've found yourself in and remind you you're not alone.

As most would assume, my first full Ironman was a challenging experience, but what surprised me most is that the challenge was far more emotional than physical. You can read all about it here if you are so inclined. I had poured 9 months of my life into training for this race and when it was nearly canceled, I found myself questioning whether it was worth it at all.

As I began to re-peak in my training and re-taper, I recognized how much of a hermit this social butterfly had become. Despite my outgoing personality, I have always been very comfortable with my alone time. I had always been a classic ambivert, chronically balanced on the Meyers-Briggs between Introversion and Extroversion... But for the first time I can remember in my whole life, I felt genuinely lonely. This fostered a sadness within me that I don't recall ever experiencing before. Once the "Post Ironman Blues" kicked in, these feelings intensified. I knew I had to do something to break out of this rut. So I planned a party to gather all the people I missed during training... those I had lost touch with... those I claimed not to have time for... I thought this was the solution; gather the troops and reignite my social life! I set up a facebook event and invited 100 hand-picked guests... people I missed or people I had raced or trained with, people I wanted to eject back into my life. And when the evening finally came, guess how many people turned out!

Zero.

Yup! You got it, a big old goose egg. And what had felt like a rut before now felt like a canyon.

Even my patients seemed to be noticing it and trying to boost my mood. They started bringing me small gifts and thank you cards, heartfelt notes... one even looked at me with sympathy one day and said I looked like I needed a hug. Though I loved them for their wonderful intentions and it warmed me to the core to see how much they wanted their doc to be happy, I felt sad and frustrated that my feelings were becoming so large and unmanageable that I seemed unable to contain them at work. Despite my silence, the emptiness I felt was palpable. I felt guilty that I was burdening them with this energy and, instead of being a rock of support for them, they felt the need (perhaps unconsciously) to take care of me. And what started to confuse me even more about the loneliness is that it seemed to be there even in a crowd.

I noticed a pattern of emotional eating kicking in that I had not struggled with in years and I noticed myself chasing a relationship that I knew was completely wrong for me. I knew something needed to change, but I wasn't sure how... so I prayed, I journaled, I meditated, I met with my fellow NET practitioners for some work, and one day it occurred to me that if I was feeding myself without satisfaction, seeking fulfillment in vain, perhaps I needed to take a good hard look at what I was truly craving.

I had heard mention of "The Primary Foods" and did a quick google search. That seemed like a great
jumping off point of self-exploration.

The Primary foods are not something you eat; they are the basic things that nourish our being: Spirituality, Career, Relationships, and Physical Activity. Since I was already training for another Ironman at the time, I knew my physical activity needed no further additions. I love what I do and patients were getting great results so I saw no need to work on my career at this time. But my connection with God and myself had fallen by the wayside. Really, most of my connections had fallen by the wayside.  I looked around my life and saw such amazing people everywhere, sprouts of wonderful relationships. Some had even blossomed into beautifully intimate connections at one point. But I had failed to nurture those connections and give them the attention they needed and it was time to change that.

First, I reconnected with myself. I set up daily routines and worked on honoring my promises to myself to get enough sleep, eat nourishing food, and meditate. I practiced forgiving myself. And listening to myself. There were lots of conversations with my inner child, rediscovering what brings me true joy based on how I spent my free time in my youth. I asked myself what I *really* wanted to feel truly nourished...

And I started making a list.

I thought to myself, "Who brings something positive to my life?" And despite not having seen some of them in years, I started reaching out to these people.  I started becoming a conscious creator of my social life. I decided to start becoming more selective about who I spent my time with and which events I attended. I recognized that my busy-ness had been a barrier to allowing myself to be vulnerable and really deepening those relationships. So instead of waiting for invitations to come to me, I started reaching out to the people I had lost touch with.

I started playing cards with my parents regularly, I started going to game nights with my brother and his family, I started meeting friends for lunch or dinner... And I started sharing with them that I missed them and wanted them in my life. I apologized for not making space for them in my life. And they were honored to know that I valued them so much.

It has been almost a year since I had this epiphany, and, even though it hasn't been perfect, I can say that my life feels richer for it.

And that loneliness? It wasn't so much about being with others as it was about being present for myself. I felt abandoned because I had abandoned myself. There were so many little ways I was chronically letting myself down, ignoring my needs, and failing to check in with what I truly wanted to manifest in my life. I filled my life with busy-ness, but never delved deep to discover what would truly satisfy me. Instead, I just ate a cupcake. Or 6.

This past year may have been filled with beautiful souls, but being present with that still, small voice within is what allowed me to truly cherish their company. I am certain that there is still a lot to learn, but I wanted to share this because I know that some of you are experiencing the same emptiness that I was wrestling with, and I want you to know that you can change that. Seek how you have abandoned yourself and make amends with the child within. Ask yourself what you would change in your world if you thought life could be better, and ask yourself how you can create it! I look forward to hearing about your success!





Friday, November 18, 2016

Real Food Recipe: Pecan-crusted Chicken Fingers (Gluten/Dairy/Sugar-free)

Since I have been religiously following the Leap Program with nutritionist Monique Ryan, I have had to get a little more creative in the kitchen.

"What is the Leap Program?" you may ask?

During Ironman training this past summer, it became increasingly obvious that my body was struggling with food sensitivities. It was not only affecting my race performance, but my health as a whole. Monique suggested getting some blood work at the end of the season and getting to the bottom of it. After my blood tests confirmed sensitivities to such common and seemingly healthy foods as turmeric, black pepper, beef, turkey, and lentils, along with some unhealthier but common race fuel foods like corn, potatoes, and cane sugar, we decided to purge my diet of everything I was sensitive to and spend two weeks only eating foods that were tested safe for my body. Since food sensitivities can show up in multiple ways and hide from test results at times, we started with a list of 20 foods and closely monitored my symptoms to narrow down any other potential culprits. Over time, we will slowly begin adding in other "safe" foods and observing for any negative reactions.

This recipe was a result of a craving for something other than grilled chicken and is definitely one of my more successful experiments!

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350' and grease a baking dish with ghee or coconut oil. (I used ghee.)

What you'll need:

6-8 raw chicken tenders
1 cup Tapioca or Cassava flour
1 beaten egg
1 cup raw pecans (you can pulse pecan halves in a coffee grinder for 30 seconds or chop them finely with a knife)
1 tsp Ground Ginger (optional)
2 tsp Ground Cumin (optional)
Sea Salt to taste
ghee for greasing the baking dish

First, set up your batter station:

One plate has your tapioca flour, one shallow dish or bowl has your beaten egg, and one plate has your ground or chopped pecans. (I will be adding pics later.)

Mix ground ginger and cumin in a small bowl.

Dip the chicken pieces in the flour, then the egg, then roll in the pecans. Place in baking dish, sprinkle with spices and sea salt and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees or until chicken is cooked through.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Warning: Don't Read This Review: Gluten Free Gloriously

I warned you. Read this review at your own risk.

Curiosity drew me in and now I'm hooked.  It doesn't help that this place a just a few short blocks from one of my favorite local bike shops.

I was first told about this lovely little gem by the Nutritionist in my office, Carol Clinton. She brought me an incredible lemon bar and I decided I had to check it out for myself.  Finally, almost a year later, I wandered into their tiny establishment and had a complete fangirl moment. My inner child was doing cartwheels. I felt like the chubby kid in the Wonka factory... if there had been a chocolate river, I assure you I would not be here to type this blog today. Many of their creations are also dairy and nut-free, but everything is gluten free... from fresh-baked bread to cheesecake bars and cupcakes. I was completely overwhelmed with options and for those of you who have also been forced by your body's violent protests to gluten, I'm sure you can understand how rare that can be in the world of tasty gluten-free goodies.

***DISCLAIMER: I do not support embarking on a gluten-free lifestyle simply to replace processed, sugary foods WITH gluten with processed foods WITHOUT gluten. I support a diet filled with whole foods, lots of fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, and minimal sugar... but when I am going to have a treat, I want it to be WORTH IT and SATISFYING. And as a bit of a self-proclaimed foodie, I have found a lot of disappointments out there. So when I find a winner, I want to tell you about it!***

Photo taken from GFG's facebook page
The staff was extremely friendly and helpful, allowing me to sample many of their treats to help me decide what I would be bringing home to test, as well as a couple surprises to share with my hard-working assistant/office manager, Valerie. I think the best thing I can do here is give you a review of all the things I sampled. As I sampled, I noticed that they were making adorable cake pops that looked like chicks for Easter. I also learned that they freeze all their baked goods to preserve them but the samples I had were previously frozen and I had no idea until they told me. Impressive! They also provide party trays and custom cakes and their products are carried at select Shop-rites.

The Bread:

Wow! Chewy gluten-free BREAD! The dough for all the bread is the same. They simply pipe it into different shapes depending on it's use. There are dinner rolls, baguettes, sandwich rolls... I opted for a bag of dinner rolls... great on it's own or with some grass-fed butter. They could even be used to make small sliders and single serve bruschetta. I couldn't help but wonder if they ever made soft pretzels with the dough... the texture would have been perfect with an eggwash and coarse salt.

The Cupcakes:

Cupcakes have always been a weakness of mine.

I rescued this little fellow from the case (he was all by himself!):
That's a scoop of gluten-free cookie dough on top!
"Remember this cupcake..."



I also picked up a container of cream-filled chocolate cupcakes labeled "Remember this cupcake" from the freezer to share with Valerie. They reminded me of the Hostess kind I used to eat in my misguided youth. Both varieties were some of the best gf cupcakes I've ever had. Moist and delicious, I stopped to wonder for a moment if they could really be gluten-free. Had this bakery pulled the wool over my eyes????




The Cookies:
Batman vs. Superman themed sugar cookies
I loved the whimsy of the sugar cookie battle! I'm also a sucker for sprinkles, so of course I had to try the sugar cookies. Though not chewy, they were not grainy either and had a good flavor. The chocolate chip cookie matched in texture and were equally delicious. 

The Brownies:

These not only were one of the best gf brownies I've ever had, but may actually be THE BEST BROWNIE I've ever had... fudgey and chewy with a crunchy crust on top. I highly recommend sampling these for yourself.

Then again, DON'T.  I can't get them out of my head and I'd hate for you to suffer from the same haunting visions.

Gluten Free Gloriously's store can be found at 267 Main Avenue, Stirling, NJ. They can be contacted at 908.647.7337

*DISCLAIMER*: This was not a sponsored review and is not a paid advertisement.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Awakening the Healers

I have always wanted to heal the world. When I was younger, I thought that meant I had to individually help each and every person who is hurting on this planet to get better.

It was exhausting. And an impossible goal for one person. So I settled for helping as many individuals as possible. It was rewarding, but there was always this sense of inadequacy... it felt like I could never do enough because I was always falling short... After all, turn on the news for five minutes and it seems like the whole world is suffering and I was failing.

But a few months ago, it occurred to me that my logic was flawed.

In the healing arts, we practitioners have a gift to share... but that gift does not end with the patients or clients we help directly.  As a result of healing, that person starts to wake up. Like Neo in the Matrix, they are reborn... and that reawakening not only has a positive affect on those closest to them (friends and family) but even the strangers they encounter in their daily lives. (If you don't believe me, think of how cranky someone can get when they are in chronic pain or how sad and hopeless one can become when living with chronic illness.)

I often reference the Butterfly Effect when talking about my patients. My goal is to help change the world for the better by sending patients out my door with a higher vibration than they came in with. I do this using Chiropractic Adjustments, Neuro Emotional Technique, Aromatherapy, Homeopathy, Nutritional Adjustments, and Coaching as well as providing a safe, nonjudgmental, nurturing environment to facilitate change. Over the past decade, I have watched so many lives transform... But as I am maturing in practice, I am witnessing a miracle... As a result of the work I do, more and more patients are becoming healers themselves. And a couple of months ago, it hit me...

as healers, we awaken more healers.

Eureka!

I don't have to heal every person on the planet, and neither do you... simply help facilitate healing in those you can reach and the rest will fall into place.

We are all healers... some of us just haven't realized it yet.

Namaste.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

If you're ever feeling alone, read this.

There is a patient I have been working with for a few months now. He was part of our Veterans program and came to my office struggling with PTSD. He's been aggressively working towards
healing and has come a long way. Last week, we had our last visit before he moves to California to start his new life.  On that day, he announced that he had something special for me. He presented me with his olive green t-shirt and sweatshirt he was issued when he first enlisted in the marines. He explained that those two articles of clothing had traveled around the world with him, to the tops of mountains, to war... and gotten him through some really tough days. He knows I am training for my second Ironman and explained that there's got to be days when I just don't have it in me to train. He wanted to give me those prized possessions to help get me through those days and to thank me for the work we had done.

I was touched.

We hugged and said goodbye. I told him to make sure to check in with us from time to time. And then I started thinking...

I am so lucky to have the people in my life that I do. My family, my patients, my friends... Even the strangers I encounter... It's like this beautifully curated garden of people that God has placed in my path... And I wouldn't be who I am without them. As I thought about this beautiful mosaic of faces in my life, I was not only overwhelmed with gratitude but overcome with the feeling that every step of my life, I have been lead where I needed to go. Angels seem to be strategically placed around every corner, especially at the times we need them most.

I encourage you to try this exercise... Be mindful of everyone you encounter this week, how they came into your life, and the gifts they have given you. You might even want to think about the dark moments in your past and see who was placed in your life at the time who helped you through. Let me know what you discover in the comments below.

Friday, November 20, 2015

HRV, Neuro Emotional Technique, and Failure to Thrive

In my office, I test Heart Rate Variability on each patient. I find it to be a useful tool in testing their adaptability and how that changes over the course of their care. In these charts, you will notice a little white block. That indicates where the person falls on the scale. Ideally, we want them to be exactly on the center line and as high up the line as possible with both scores that you see on the upper right at 100 or higher. In a way, this is a great measure of someone's vitality. Chiropractic care, especially coupled with the tool of Neuro Emotional Technique and a healthy diet, seems to have an excellent effect on this measure.

This patient perplexed me however. As you can see in the next two charts, not only did she not improve under care... she actually got worse! Her top score (which is often what I explain to patients as their reserves to handle incoming stressors) went from a 32.95 to a 27.44. And she wasn't looking too great to start with! I have never seen anything like it. This patient was referred to me by family members concerned for her life. She is diabetic and has recently been put on dialysis.


Once I saw the second hrv score, I was concerned. Something had to change. And then the thought occurred to me... she is failing to thrive. Is she even ok being alive? So I tested her with the concept. And she wasn't.

We cleared her using the N.E.T. process and I am so excited to show you her new scan:

CHECK OUT THOSE SCORES! 105! I couldn't be happier for her.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Peek Behind the Curtain: Feeling unworthy of Love

Many times, Neuro Emotional Technique will provide "Aha!" moments for my patients. But sometimes, I am blessed to have my own in being a witness to their care. This was one of those days.

I had a patient who was wrestling with depression and anxiety. She had grown up in a severely abusive home, and now, in her golden years, she was haunted with "irrational worries"... worries that she knew were irrational but she couldn't figure out how to shake. She ended up on anti-depressants because she was losing the ability to get through the day or even get out of bed. I listened to her talk about how frustrated she was... she had such a good life, a loving husband, wonderful grown children and grandchildren who adored her... but she found herself overcome with worry. She felt she should just be grateful, but with every gift seemed to come more worry and the more she worried, the guiltier she felt. The depression just kept increasing exponentially throughout this cycle.

Of course, I encouraged her to dive into the feelings with NET.

What we uncovered was an NEC (Neuro Emotional Component) that not only opened her eyes, but mine.  

You see, she grew up with a violently abusive, strict father who she, despite all his harsh behavior, adored (as children often do). What surfaced with our session was how undeserving he felt of her love and adoration. And as she saw him struggle with his self-worth and self-love, she did what many 7 year olds would do... and what many adults channeling their inner 7 year old try to do... she loved him even more, trying to show him how lovable he was... trying to show him what she saw so lovable. She was trying to help him. And the more she loved, helped, tried... the angrier he got, the more undeserving he felt, the more severely he punished her, and the more his self-esteem suffered.  

As an adult, struggling with incapacitating anxiety and depression, she found herself wrestling with the same cycle, only now SHE was the one who felt like a burden, unlovable.

As she struggled, her family tried to help, but it just made the cycle continue. 

I share this story, not to discourage you from trying to help those you care about, but to give some firsthand insight as to what is going on. And if you are trapped in this cycle yourself, please put the self-judgement on hold and seek out a Neuro Emotional Technique practitioner.

In case you are wondering, she is feeling much better and currently weaning off her medication with the help of her MD. She has also been encouraged to seek the help of a licensed counselor to help process her current emotions and the scars of her past.