THE QUICK FIX: Treating Irregular Cycles with The Pill

Do you or anyone you know have problems with irregular cycles?

How many of you know someone that was put on The Pill to balance their irregular cycle?

I am sure all of us can answer yes to one or both of these questions.

In a study conducted by the CDC from 2006-2008, it was found that 1 in 3 teenage girls take The Pill for non-contraceptive reasons- balancing irregular periods being the most common reason.

Unfortunately, this practice leads to a number of issues:

1-      The imbalance of hormones is not addressed, it is simply masked.  Extremely painful periods are not normal.  They are usually a result of an imbalanced endocrine system.  When the problem is not addressed it has a compounding affect and can result in more serious issues later in life with such things as PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), problems with fertility, and increased discomforts during menopause.

2-      The importance of eating a healthy and balanced diet is not stressed.  It is no secret now that the #1 most important decision we make on a daily basis is what we choose to put on the end of our forks.

3-      Girls are taught to go for the “quick fixes” in life.  This ties over into all realms of our lives.  It is known, but rarely practiced, that quick fixes are generally not the ticket to health and wellness.  When a person decides to make a more holistic change in their life, the rate of change may take longer but the adaptation tends to be much more sustainable.  The change “sticks.”

4-      A negative body-image is reinforced.  One of the biggest issues we have as a nation is that we have given our power away.  We look to others for answers.  Many of us have, for a long time now, lost our innate ability to know what is good for us.  We no longer believe that the answer to wellness is within us.  When girls and women feel that their bodies are a nuisance, the power and beauty of womanhood is given away.

This is not to say that western medicine is all bad, to the contrary.  Many people’s lives have been saved time and time again because of western medicine.  The point to take home is that we should all look at our diets and lifestyles and reflect on what we see and know, deep down in our primordial guts.

As wellness practitioners, our jobs are to empower our clients to teach them how to tap in to the power within their own bodies and spirits; to realize the body’s ability to heal itself when given the right tools.

 

In many families, women take on the role of the health and wellness guru.  For this reason it is of the utmost importance to empower our young girls, to be role models for them, so that we create a ripple effect throughout our society and our world.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing hormone imbalance and are interested in a more holistic approach, please contact Lisa at Fountain Wellness for a health consultation.

435-659-5196
fountain.lisa@gmail.com
www.lisafountainwellness.com

 

Get up and GO!!!

walking

There are so many different health tips that we hear on a daily basis.  They are usually well-founded and great to follow, but we rarely are told why.   This article is for those of you who want to know the “why” of the importance of daily movement, exercise, and less sitting.

A recent study compared adults who spent less than 2 idle hours in front of screen-based entertainment with those who logged more than 4 idle hours a day of screen-based entertainment.  Those with greater idle screen time had:

  • A nearly 50% increased risk of death from any cause
  • About a 125% increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain or heart attack.

Dr James A. Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo clinic has come up with an alarming statement: “Sitting is the new smoking.”  As I sit here, writing this article I am forced to ponder this thought.  I always thought that as long as I got some exercise at some point in the day, the risk of prolonged sitting would be off-set.  Not according to Dr. James A. Levine.  The solution seems to lie in less sitting and more movement overall.  If you are at the mercy of your desk job here are a few tips:

  • Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
  • If you work at a desk for long periods of time, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.
  • Better yet, think about ways to walk while you work
  • Walk laps with your colleagues rather than gathering in a conference room for meetings.
  • Position your work surface above a treadmill — with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk — so that you can be in motion throughout the day.
  • Get up from your chair and stretch for 2-5 minutes every hour.  Make it an official office-wide stretch time so that everyone benefits!  Be an educator amongst your peers!
  • Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair so that you can bounce as you sit!

Dr Levine states that, “The impact of movement — even leisurely movement — can be profound. For starters, you’ll burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy.

Even better, the muscle activity needed for standing and other movement seems to trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. When you sit, these processes stall — and your health risks increase. When you’re standing or actively moving, you kick the processes back into action.”

It is truly amazing how much the quality of our lives can be drastically improved simply by moving 30 minutes every day.  THIS extremely in-depth study showed that walking a total of 64 minutes a day adds 4 ½ years on to your life!  The next time you are looking for some motivation to move, remember that exercise will not only contribute to your emotional and mental health, but it will also increase your longevity on this earth!

Stress and Your Libido

For most of us, stress is a total libido sucker.  When was the last time you remember looking over your taxes or credit card bills, and all of a sudden felt very much “In the mood?”  If it has happened to you, you are not only lucky, but also in the minority of our species!
When we experience stress, our body’s physiological response is to secret cortisol to help us cope.  This secretion of cortisol is not only very normal but also quite helpful in times of acute stress.  We experience acute stress when we are in the “fight or flight” mode.  Braking violently for a car that just pulled in front of you, lunging for a baby that is about to crawl down a huge flight of stairs, and running when you are being chased are all examples or acute stress, and where the sudden secretion of cortisol and adrenalin help us to react fast.  When we are chronically stressed, at our jobs, in our relationships, and/or with our families, our bodies secrete cortisol (the “stress” hormone) on a consistent basis.  This is where stress can cause serious problems with our health.

Chronic stress has been related to:
Heart disease
Strokes
Weight Loss/Gain
Insomnia
Miogranes
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

One of our body’s ways to handle stress is to shut-down certain systems such as digestion, immune function, and reproductive systems.  You can now see why your libido might be the first thing to go when you begin to experience chronic stress.  Cortisol also constricts the blood vessels, making necessary blood flow for arousal next to impossible.

That’s the bad news.  The good news is that sex can actually help your body release toxic levels of cortisol.  Orgasms are not only our biologically-given right to pleasure, but every time you orgasm, your body experiences a huge cortisol flush that releases it from your system.

There is a clear dilemma here:  If you are chronically stressed, it will difficult for you to get in the mood to experience a fantastic cortisol-flushing orgasm.  Stress management is a great place to start.  To begin to balance out your hormones and achieve a rockin’ libido try these few tips on how to manage daily stress:

1- Maintain a diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats
2- Establish a regular exercise routine
3- Put on relaxing music and light candles when at home doing chores
4- Take a bath with soothing essential oils (Lavender) and epsom salts
5- Go for tea with a close friend for quality conversation and LAUGHTER!!
6- Attend a yoga and/or meditation class
7- Download a meditation CD and listen to it at home
8- When you are stressed at work, take 2 minutes to focus on your breath.  Inhale for 4 counts, exhale for 6 counts.

The message to take home is that you don’t have to completely do away with stress in order to have a healthy libido.  Learning to manage stress/cortisol levels on a daily basis will support your body’s efforts in maintaining balance.  Our bodies are extremely capable of maintaining balance given the right tools to work with.  When you begin to experience more balance, your libido will respond beautifully!

 

Do You Crave Sugar?

There are two ways to approach sugar cravings:

1- Restrict the craving from your diet
2- Crowd the craving out of your diet.

When you restrict anything, the natural human reaction is to have a stronger desire for what ever is not allowed.  Think about a toddler wanting to draw on your wall with a marker.  Each time you tell him/her “No,” they will want to do it even more.  It is just simply human nature.  What we can do is apply that same idea to how we approach food.  What generally happens when we restrict something from our diet?  Usually, if you are me, it ends with shameless wolfing down of away too many cookies.

The other way to approach your cravings is to literally crowd them out with foods that are naturally sweet. Some good examples of naturally sweet foods are:

1- sweet potato
2- carrots
3- beets
4- fruit (dried or fresh) and berries

The reason you are experiencing cravings is because it is 100% completely natural for your body to want sugar.  Your body and brain need sugar (glucose) to function.  When we were hunter/gatherers we gathered fruits, berries, and sweet vegetables to fulfill the need for sugar in our diets.  So when you crave something sweet, try not to beat yourself up and remember that cravings are natural.  But, of course, how you satiate yourself is of the utmost importance.  Instead of reaching for cookies, ice cream, or chocolate every time you crave sugar, try to nip your craving in the bud and make meals that contain veggies and fruits with naturally occurring sugars.

I made a DELICIOUS lunch today for me and Jeff after our first bike ride and run (called a brick in triathlon terms) of the season.  We were starving but this very satisfying salad, accompanied by a sweet potato did the trick.  Having the sweet potato there with the salad both made the meal more filling and satisfied my admittedly strong sweet tooth!  No chocolate craving after this meal!

Ò

Ingredients:
Mixed greens
1 avocado
Handful cherry tomatoes- halved
Quinoa and buckwheat -cooked or soaked overnight
Goat cheese
Walnuts
Pepitas
Carrots and beets (grated in food processor)
Radishes and their greens
Fresh basil
Kelp flakes
Nutritional yeast

One sweet potato or yam- Wash and wrap with tin foil.  Put in oven at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes or until soft to touch.

Dressing:
Lemon juice, olive oil, Braggs Amino Acids, pepper

One last note:  Allow yourself a treat every now and then.  Life is short, after all!  I like to try to live by a 90/10 philosophy.  90% of the time I try to eat well and the other 10% is dedicated to cookies, cakes, pizza, and wine.

Beating Inflammation

People who live in Park City know inflammation.  A twisted ankle swells after rolling on a rock during a trail run, pain in the lower back becomes persistent after a few crashes on the mountain bike or skis, and maybe your hips start speaking up after hours of XC skiing.

The reality is that our bodies naturally produce pro-inflammatory responses.  For example, when you twist your ankle, cut your foot, or are fighting a sore throat, the body responds immediately by swelling, which delivers more blood and therefore nourishment to the affected area.  While this pro-inflammatory phase can be painful, it is usually naturally followed and counteracted by an anti-inflammatory phase that is necessary for cellular repair and regeneration. This acute inflammation is normal, short lived, and usually beneficial.  But sometimes the balance between pro and anti-inflammatory processes gets out of whack and inflammation continues for too long at a low, but persistent level.

Chronic, low-grade, internal inflammation is often called, “silent.”  Even though you may not feel it, chronic inflammation makes itself known through the symptoms of illness and disease it causes.

We now know that internal, chronic inflammation is at the root of many different types of illness, from cardiovascular disease to Alzheimer’s.  This is the type of inflammation that is killing the majority of our US population.

High risk factors for inflammation are:  bad habits (like smoking, drinking excessively), poor sleep, chronic stress, obesity, and poor diet.

A great place to start is with your diet.  Well-known and highly acclaimed Dr. Andrew Weil suggests the following diet guidelines to ease chronic inflammation:

1- Eat more healthy fats especially those high in Omega 3s.  Chia seeds, ground flax seeds, avocados, walnuts, sardines, and wild-caught salmon are just a few great options.

2- Eliminate the wrong fats such as polyunsaturated vegetable oils: safflower, sunflower, corn, and soy oil are a few.

3- Eat more fruits and vegetables!!  Especially in a nice array of colors

4- Limit “white” carbohydrates.  White flours and sugars cause drastic spikes in blood sugar which contributes to inflammation in the body.

5- Cut back on animal products

6- Season food with healing spices such as turmeric, ginger, and red pepper.  Turmeric is perhaps the most potent anti-inflammatory herb studied so far.  Studies have shown that turmeric may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.  In animal studies, turmeric appears to help prevent cancer.  Personally, I have been using turmeric daily, with great results, as a means to manage my lower back pain due to a bulging disk.

7- Drink pure water or drinks that are mostly water (tea, very diluted fruit juice, or sparkling water with lemon) throughout the day.

Remember that our bodies are like well-oiled machines when given the correct tools.  Our bodies have an innate ability to heal themselves. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress management goes a long, long way.

Show those Pancakes some Love

Show those Pancakes some Love

I have a deep and profound love for blueberry pancakes.  This is old news for those who know me well.  The aromas of blueberry pancakes cooking on the griddle evoke feelings of contentment, joy, and warmth.   They bring me back to my childhood.  They remind me of innocence and existential happiness.

Having said that, new light has been shed on my favorite breakfast.   Being a recent graduate of a holistic nutrition school, I can see that my blueberry pancake breakfast may not be the most healthy breakfast option.

As Jeff so dutifully prepared my most favorite meal in the world this morning I had a few ideas to make our pancakes healthier.

1- Cook quinoa and add about ½ cup to the batter

2- Add a tablespoon or two of Mila (The highest quality of chia seed on the market) to the batter.

3- Use a batter made with whole grains or even a gluten-free option.  We LOVE “Pamela’s” pancake batter.  It is gluten free but it tastes fantastic!

And Voila! My favorite meal just became that much healthier.

Quinoa is an extraordinary “grain” with a complete amino acid profile, which means it is a complete protein, and is high in fiber, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, and calcium.

Mila is a brand of chia seed that is highly regarded for its outstanding quality next to other sources of chia.  Like quinoa, Mila is a complete protein.  Mila is also a rich source of phosphorous, magnesium, and iron.  It is also a balanced plant-based source for the perfect ratio of 3:1 (Three omega-3s to one omega-6).

Sobuary Comes to a Close

I think that I picked a great month to not drink.  Of course it was genius because it is the shortest month of the year, but along with that I was so busy finishing school and starting a business that I needed all the energy I could get.

The biggest change that I felt from not drinking for a month was that I had more energy.  I was able to stay up a little later at night to study or just hang out with Jeff and I was also able to wake up earlier and feel even a bit chipper!  I also have to say that not drinking for a month was pretty easy.  The only times that I felt a little bummed were the two times I did anything social at night.  Going out with friends and drinking “Mocktails,” as they called them, didn’t really have the same effect as the real deal.  I now have a greater understanding for those who have gone through AA and struggle with sobriety and being social.  Alcohol acts as our co-pilot in social scenes and we feel surer of ourselves with a drink in our hands.  They don’t call it “liquid courage” for nothing!

The reactions from my buddies and family were also interesting.  I thought that I was going to get a lot of grief from my friends and family, and I was especially concerned about the “Oooo, Lisa must be pregnant” whisperings.  I didn’t want to give any family members false hope.  Much to my surprise I got a lot of pats on the back and tales of past experiences with going sober for a spell.

To be perfectly honest, I’m a little sad to see “Sobuary” go, but not sad enough.  I finished school yesterday and will celebrate tonight with Jeff and some friends over some yummy food and a glass of red wine (I know it’s a day early but I have to work tomorrow night).  This has been a wonderfully introspective experience and study.  I highly suggest you try it some time.

Sober February

The infamous, Bill King!

My posts have been any thing but consistent in the past few weeks.  My justification is Sundance and the holidays.  Boom, I said it.  Always good to have a few justifications on hand to make you feel better, right?
To make up for my lack of presence I thought I’d try something brave, courageous, and challenging.  My best friend, Julia, has a really cool dad named, Bill.  Bill has made it a tradition to take the entire month of February off from drinking alcohol.  I always loved the idea and thought that one day I’d strive to follow in his footsteps. The time has come.  With Bill King as my fearless leader I will take the month of February off from drinking alcohol.  Not that I even drink that much, but I have noticed that when I am stressed I tend to reach for a glass of red wine, or at least I think about how much I ‘d love one at that moment.  And why February?  It’s the shortest month of the year, of course!  Bill King is a genius.
So when school work piles up, the dogs are begging to go for a walk, the house has dog hair-tumble-weed  rolling through it,  I’m waiting on 7 tables at once, and I haven’t seen my sweet husband except for in bed for a week, I will not reach for a glass of wine.  I will instead rely on much more creative and healthy ways to de-stress.  Here are a few of my favorites:
1- Take two minutes out of my day to do breathing exercises (inhale in through the nose for four counts, exhale out through the nose for eight counts)
2- Get outside for at least 30 minutes (sit, walk, run, ski, etc..)
3- Exercise for at least 30 minutes (You can kill two birds with one stone with #2!)
4- Eat healthy.  Lots of veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats!
5- Stay on target.  Manage my time.  This is the most difficult for me!

This is what I plan to do for the month of February.  Any joiners??  Lets do it!!!  Thank you to Bill King for being my inspiration and for being such a cool guy.

Oregano Essential Oil Wipes Out Stepdad’s Flu!

Me, Jeff, Mom, Eddy

My stepfather, Eddy (pictured here on far right with my mom and Jeff at our wedding) has an incredible story to tell.  I was supposed to be in Salt Lake this morning to pick my mom up at the airport.  We had a mother/daughter visit planned for the next week or so.  Much to my sadness, my mom called me yesterday to tell me that she had to cancel her trip. Eddy had woken up with a horrible case of the flu.  He was shaking with a spiked temperature and was unable to get out of bed.  My mom, being a devoted,  loving, and thoughtful spouse felt she could not leave him in his current state.  She was not able to make the trip out to Utah.  I understood her position and we hung up the phone with hopes of rescheduling our visit.
I immediately called her back after thinking about how to bring Eddy back to health as quickly as possible.  I have been using essential oils for a year now as both preventative medicine and to treat symptoms that arise. I told my mom to “pump” Eddy full of both oregano oil and a blend called “On Guard” which has a powerful combo of cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, rosemary, and wild orange.  He took both internally and my mom rubbed both oils on the bottoms of his feet about 4 times yesterday.
Eddy woke up this morning, ate some steal cut oats, took  the dogs out, and simply went about his morning.  Has anyone heard of such a fast recovery from the flu?  I love Eddy, but he isn’t a spring chicken any more!  The flu can be dangerous for older (sorry, Eddy) people and can put a real damper on any person’s week.  Eddy is better after one day.  Period.
A note on essential oils:  Not all essential oils are created equal.  Most can not be taken internally.  The oils that I use are the only ones on the market that are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG).  If you have any questions about these essential oils and want to incorporate them into them management of your health please contact me!

 

The Good, the Bad, and the Dirty: The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15

By now many of us know that buying organic is not just for “crunchy granola types,” or only for the rich and famous.  We know that buying organic means fueling our bodies with what every person in this world deserves: real food.  Unfortunately in our current day and age we have to make the distinction between “real food” and chemically altered food.  We need to know that eating GMOs and foods treated with pesticides harms ourselves, our children, and the planet.  On the other hand, until the US government decides to subsidize organic produce instead of corn, soy, dairy, and meat we are forced to remain practical with our spending.  Fresh vegetables, especially organic ones, cost more than processed food.  This is a fact.  Here is an extremely helpful list that makes buying organic a little less painful on the bank account.

12 Most Contaminated / Dirty Dozen™
1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Strawberries
4. Peaches
5. Spinach
6. Nectarines (Imported)
7. Grapes (Imported)
8. Sweet bell peppers
9. Potatoes
10. Blueberries (Domestic)
11. Lettuce
12. Kale / collard greens

15 Least Contaminated / Clean 15™
1. Onions
2. Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet Peas
7. Mangoes
8. Eggplant
9. Cantaloupe (Domestic)
10. Kiwi
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet potatoes
14. Grapefruit
15. Mushroom