My Foray in to the World of Intermittent Fasting (IF)…and Hypnosis!!!! Oh My!

My Foray in to the World of Intermittent Fasting (IF)…and Hypnosis!!!! Oh My!
I’ve been hearing about Intermittent Fasting (IF) for a few years, and to be honest, I thought it was a crazy idea.  Mainly because I had no idea what it really meant, but still, I was sure that was not something I would EVER do.  

Fast forward to now. I don’t know about you, but I have tried pretty much every diet known to woman. The first diet I ever did back in the early days was the Cabbage Soup Diet. Did I lose a few pounds? Yep. Was that sustainable over the long-term? Nope. And like every DIET I have tried since then, once I wasn’t being strict and following the P.L.A.N. I gained all the weight back – and then some!

I’ve done them all. Here’s a recap of the ones I have tried over the years (at least those I can remember):
Cabbage Soup Diet, HcG Drops, Weight Watchers, Isagenix, Diet Power.com, JJ Virgin Elimination Diet, some weird chalky bark like substance that made you have to use the bathroom immediately, with no notice. I tried to find the name of it, but it no longer shows in my Amazon history. I think it has been pulled from the US market. Probably with good reason.
I am sure there are others I’ve tried over the years that I just don’t remember.

So, what about this IF and hypnosis thing? Well, I met someone in my women’s business networking group who is a hypnotist and focuses on weight loss and smoking cessation. I thought, well hypnosis is one thing I haven’t tried yet. Because let’s be honest. One of the main reasons those other options have not worked for me long-term is because I’m great out-of-the-gate, but when the diets are restrictive I just can’t keep to them long-term. So, I met with her and she explained she uses Intermittent Fasting (IF) and hypnosis. I figured I had nothing to lose – except the weight – so I jumped on board.

The first thing I had to do was homework. What? I thought she would just hypnotize me, tell me what I needed to know, and then voila – weight loss. Guess not.

So, here’s what I am going to do. I am going to chronicle my IF and hypnosis journey here in my blog. The deal is, I don’t know how it is going to turn out. But, if you are interested, I’ll be sharing my journey along the way. My research, my wins, my struggles, all of it. Maybe you’ll learn something too.

For now, you can start with the resources I have used so far or have been recommended to me. In future blogs, I’ll try to recap some of the takeaways from the books as well. As of now, I have completely read Delay, Don’t Deny (https://amzn.to/2PfvBxL) , and most of The Obesity Code (https://amzn.to/2PgsaXE) and they are eye-opening.

I will tell you all about my first hypnosis session I just had and my first week of IF (I’m starting Monday, August 3, 2020) in my next blog. Most likely it’ll post a week from the date of this blog. My goal is to post at least weekly, but if anything super exciting happens, it might be more often.

Are you an intermittent faster?  If so, please share with me your tips and tricks.  I am so eager to learn. 

Feel free to leave comments by clicking the word comments at the top. See you next week.


Packing a Punch in the Kitchen

Are you ready for some secret ingredients that have added health benefits, bursts of incredible flavors, and NEVER expire?  YES!  Hold onto your apron and let's get cookin' friends...

Dietary Essential Oils

Essential oils can be for more than just aromatherapy?

First things first.  NOT ALL BRANDS ARE THE SAME.  Actually, all brands are different than what I am talking about.   There is only one company in the world offering a Seed to Seal® standard.  So please do not try this with any brand other than Young Living Essential Oils (YLEO).  

Which oils are the ones that are safe to take internally or cook with?  In the US, this is super simple, there is an entire line of them called Vitality™ Dietary Essential Oils.  Vitality Oils are FDA approved and labeled for internal use and they are just what you need to add elevated flavor to your recipes. 

Grab your favorite cooking spatula and read on for simple pairings to try. 

Perfect Pairings

Okay, what goes with what?

If you know me you know I live by the keep it simple rule.  Don't overthink it and let's find ways to find healthy living for #RealLife. This simple graphic and tips below from our friends at YLEO to keep things easy! 

Avocado and Lime Vitality
The zesty flavor of Lime complements avocados very well.  Add Lime Vitality to your fresh guacamole, tacos, or salad dressing recipe.

Garlic Cloves and Rosemary Vitality
Using garlic and Rosemary Vitality is great to add a robust, herb flavor to potatoes, meat, or homemade artisan bread.

Tomatoes and Basil Vitality
Craving Italian? Basil Vitality will bring any pasta sauce, caprese salad, or bruschetta recipe to life.

Blueberries and Lavender Vitality
Lavender Vitality adds sophistication and many dietary benefits! Add this multifunctional oil to your blueberry muffin, jam, or scone recipe.

Apples and Cinnamon Bark Vitality
Apples and Cinnamon Bark Vitality are a perfect pair! Bring warmth while balancing sweetness and spice. These comforting flavors together will be just the thing for your next baked apples, apple pie, or a hearty bowl of oats.

Which one interests you most to try first?  Stay with me, I've got one of my cheat sheets ready for you below to get you started right with your recipe conversions to start using oils!

Oily Conversion Made Simple
You need less than you think, I promise!

Possibly the most important thing to understand for using the YLEO Vitality Oils is just how much to use.  Say you want to try them with your favorite recipes, how do they convert to dry or fresh herbs and spices?  I am so glad that you asked, generally, the answer is that they are MUCH stronger.  So a little bit will go a LONG way. #AskMeHowIKnow #LessonLearned

Some need so little to replace your prior measurement that they are measured simply in toothpick amounts!  Wow.

Download and print this recipe to add your collection: Vitality Essential Oil Conversion Cheat Sheet.pdf














Did you enjoy this info?  If so I think that you will really enjoy my guide on 3-Ways to a Toxin-Free Home, it can be so simple, let me show you how!  Check it out right HERE.


Dangers of High Cortisol Levels and Tips to Keep It in Check

Dangers of High Cortisol Levels and Tips to Keep It in Check
Dangers of High Cortisol Levels and Tips to Keep It in Check
 
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is made in your adrenal glands.  Most cells of our body have cortisol receptors which serve to uptake the hormone for a variety of functions, including blood sugar and metabolism regulation, reducing inflammation, and memory formulation.   These are all very necessary body processes, but as you can imagine, too much of this hormone can wreak serious havoc on your body and comes with a host of unwanted symptoms.  Read on to learn a bit more about cortisol and learn some simple ways to manage your levels for optimum health.  

Symptoms of High Cortisol

High cortisol can cause many symptoms in your body.  The most common are weight gain, generally around the midsection and upper back, as well as around the face.  Yay! ☹ Just what we all want, right? Acne is another unfortunate side effect that many people suffer from just when we thought for sure we had left that teenage problem far behind!  Added on to the rounder face and that’s just not a look I am going for, to be honest.  

I can usually tell when I am suffering from high cortisol because one of my first signs is difficulty concentrating.  You know, where you hear the same thing over and over and still can’t make sense of what was said?  That could be “old-timers” but it is likely just high cortisol levels messing with you.   Brain Fog is real and it is no fun!!!!

Other common symptoms are thinning skin and a flushed face – to go with that weight gain and acne.   That’s like the quadruple punch in the face, am I right?  Then throw in some severe fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, easy bruising, slowed healing, and irritability and we are a COMPLETE MESS.   And let’s be honest, I’m not sure the irritability is so much a symptom in and of itself so much as the inevitable response to all the other freaking symptoms!!! Geesh!

What Are the Main Contributors to High Cortisol?

Stress

Both your hormones and your nerves send signals when you are stressed.  This causes your adrenal glands to release hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.  Adrenaline and cortisol kick off the flight-or-fight response and increase your heart rate and your energy to get your body ready for a dangerous or harmful situation that needs dealt with.  Cortisol also has the extra job of limiting functions not necessary to fight-or-flight.   Then your hormones will return to their normal levels after the danger has passed.  This is all a good thing, except….
When you are under constant stress and the response doesn’t turn off.  Then the long-term exposure to cortisol and other stress hormones start to create problems for your body.  Problems like obesity, anxiety, depression, and heart disease. 
 

Medication Side Effects

Many medications can increase cortisol levels. Corticosteroid medications used to treat asthma, arthritis, certain cancers, and other conditions can cause high cortisol levels when taken in higher dosages or over long periods of time.   This includes medications likes prednisone and cortisone which are commonly prescribed.  Estrogen replacement therapy and pregnancy are two other causes of increased cortisol levels.   Of course, you should never stop a prescribed medication without speaking to your doctor, but knowing the side effects can be helpful when having the conversation.

Tips to Reduce Cortisol Levels

Get Enough Sleep

Over time, sleep deprivation causes increased cortisol levels.  Night shift workers are at increased risk for high cortisol ([1]).  Insomnia and interruptions to sleep can also increase levels and disrupt daily hormone patterns ([2], [3], [4]).

Moderate Exercise

Intense exercise increases cortisol shortly after exercise in the short-term, but decrease in the nighttime.  Mild or moderate exercise at 40-60% of maximum effort, however, does not increase cortisol in the short-term, like intense exercise, and it still leads to lower levels at night ([5], [6]).

Eat Healthy Foods

It goes without saying, eating healthy foods is good for you.  There doesn’t seem to be an issue out there that a good diet of whole foods won’t help, and cortisol levels is no exception.   A diet full of fruits and vegetables is good for you.  But guess what?  Studies even show that dark chocolate may be helpful ([7], [8]) as well.  And dark chocolate lovers rejoiced!  
Dehydration can also increase cortisol levels, so drink up. I find that I tend to not drink enough water – come on – it’s boring.  I’ve found a great water additive that I love and that is good for you, too.  

Nutritional Supplements

There are several good nutritional supplements that can help with maintaining healthy cortisol levels.   

Fish Oil

A good fish oil supplement can be a great way to reduce cortisol levels in response to stress ([9], [10]).  

Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotics are friendly, symbiotic bacteria found in foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi, as well as in nutritional supplements.  Prebiotics, such as soluble fiber, provide food for these bacteria.   Both probiotics and prebiotics help reduce cortisol ([11]).  The issue is often the levels in the foods or supplements are not high enough to be measurably helpful.  Choosing a good supplement is therefore very important, otherwise, you are just throwing money down the drain…or toilet if we are honest.  So you have to be able to trust the source.

Specially-formulated Supplements

There are supplements on the market that are specially formulated to work with the body to reduce cortisol levels.  One I trust is a combination of pregnenolone, lipids, black cohosh, DHEA, clary sage, and high-quality essential oils known to help the body manage cortisol levels.   When I am feeling the effects of stress, I add this supplement to my daily supplement regimen for about 8 weeks and the brain fog, bloating, and tiredness melt away.  

Essential Oils

Many essential oils have a positive effect on cortisol levels.  Researchers found that the inhalation of lavender, ylang ylang, marjoram, and neroli decreased blood pressure and salivary cortisol levels ([12]).  Other oils such as basil, bergamot, rosemary, and orange are also helpful.  The important thing to note in the study linked above is that participants who smelled artificial fragrance had no improvement.  So, trusting your oil source is important, as many oils on the market are actually artificial synthetics!  Read below for a free roller bottle blend.  

Cortisol and Stress Reducing Diffuser Blend

Combine the following oils in a cold-water ultrasonic diffuser for stress relief:
4 drops Lavender
3 drops Ylang Ylang
2 drops Marjoram
1 drop Neroli

Conclusion

As you can see, maintaining healthy cortisol levels is important and there are some simple steps such as getting more sleep, moderate exercise, eating healthy, and nutritional supplementation that can assist you in keeping your cortisol levels in check.   

Remember what I said about trusting the source when we talked about probiotics and essential oils?   It’s true.  Not all supplements are created equal and not all essential oils on the market are even made from plants.  Just like I am sure you would rather get your produce from a local source where you can trust the process as opposed to vegetables that were grown on industrial farms with chemicals and picked too early and shipped too far, right?   Lucky for you, I have a source I trust for oils, supplements, and so much more – one where I can even tour the farm and speak to the workers.  How cool is that?  Want to learn more?  Contact Me.

If you liked this content you are sure to love my FREE GUIDE on Boosting your Immune System.  

I’ve put together a welcoming community for people who are just looking to learn healthy tips together in a real, authentic way.  JOIN US.

Until next time - Keep on Keepin' It Real - I know I will.  ~ Cathryn
 

Boost Your Immune System & Get Sick Less Often With Natural Remedies

Boost Your Immune System  & Get Sick Less Often With Natural Remedies

With all that is going on in the world, now is the time to make sure your immune system is in tip-top shape. Here are a couple of simple ways to give your immune system a much needed boost.

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberries and elderberry preparations are a popular remedy in traditional medicine. Taking elderberry syrup at the first sign of a cold or flu infection could help prevent the infection from developing. A placebo-controlled, double-blind study (here) showed that 93.3% of flu patients given Sambucol (a formulation of elderberry extract) were completely symptom-free within two days. 

The rich content of vitamin C in elderberry means that elderberry helps improve your immunity and prevent infection.

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic report that syrups made from elderberries boost the body’s immunity. This means that taking elderberry supplements can help to prevent a cold or flu infection from getting worse. To help keep your immune system strong, doctors recommend taking elderberry along with vitamin C, B6, and E.

Another reason why elderberry syrup and supplements are good for your health is due to the number of antioxidants. Research (here) has revealed that there over 70 different compounds in elderberries that kill off free radicals.

Read to the bottom for a recipe and make it fresh yourself.

Raw, Organic Honey

Raw honey is honey that has not been heated or pasteurized.  It contains natural vitamins, enzymes, powerful antioxidants, and other important nutrients.  The best part - raw honey has natural antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties - and it promotes digestive health.  What's not to love about that? 

Other benefits of raw, local honey is that it contains local pollen, which can strengthen your immune system, and even helps reduce pollen allergy symptoms.  Honey really is a powerhouse.

Added bonus - you need raw honey for that Elderberry Syrup recipe coming up. 

Interested in learning more about raw honey?  Check this out: honey


Essential Oils 

Essential oils have long been used to help people stay healthy and above the wellness line.  Thieves® essential oil blend was inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated and wore a special aromatic combination of clove, rosemary, vinegar, and other botanicals that they believed provided protection while they were stealing. French authorities recognized that there was such value in this mixture that upon the thieves’ capture, they received a more merciful punishment on condition that they divulge the ingredients in their secret formula.

Crafted in the spirit of that legendary combination, Young Living’s one-of-a-kind Thieves essential oil blend can be found in all our Thieves products. Featuring Clove oil, Cinnamon Bark oil, Eucalyptus Radiata oil, Rosemary oil and Lemon oil. Thieves imparts a spicy, welcoming aroma everywhere it’s used.

The Vitality version of this oil is amazing as an immune boosting powerhouse that can used internally. Like in that elderberry syrup recipe coming up!





                                                                                                      

  



















Elderberry + Wolfberry Super Syrup Recipe       
YIELD: 3 Cups      TIME: 45 Minutes

Ingredients: 
Directions:
Add wolfberries, elderberries and water to Instant Pot.  Cover and set manual time for 7 minutes and then allow for natural release method (another 15 minutes or so).  Open and strain the liquid into a glass pitcher.  Yield at this stage is around 4 cups.  Set aside berry solids and pour the liquid back into the Instant Pot and select Saute.  Reduce liquid by half (about 15-20 minutes).  Yield will now be about about 2 cups.

Mix syrup with the raw honey and stir well.  Yield should now be about 3 cups.  Add essential oils and stir. Bottle and store in the fridge in a glass container.  This recipe will stay good for many months.  To prolong shelf life replace half the honey with brandy.

Suggested Use:
Adults take 1 Tbsp per day during the winter cold and flu season.  Increase to every 2-3 hours when you need an extra boost.  Children 1-9 years take 1/2 - 1 tsp per day.  Not recommended for children unde 1 year.

Recipe courtesy of Lindsey Gremont at HomemadeMommy.net

Love this info?   You'll LOVE my guide on simple ways to eliminate harmful fragrances from your home.  Check it out right HERE.

In health,

Cathy

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