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November 2019

Healthy Happenings Newsletter

We have teas for Sale! Small batch and personalized blends. Contact us to find out what we have in stock. [email protected]


February 2019

Healthy Happenings Newsletter

Happy February Everyone!

February evokes feelings of love, as in valentines day, but self-love, also known as self-care is very important too. In this day and age of spending more time at work and running from one event to another, we rarely take time for ourselves to just rest and revive. Let 2019 be the year you begin your self-care practice. 

The School of Living Arts is now offering singing crystal bowl meditation and sound healing sessions as well as Aromatouch therapy (Aromatherapy Massage).

These can be both private or group sessions. If in the Broward County Area, why not start the year off right with one of these rejuvenating therapies for body, mind, and spirit. 


January 2019

Healthy Happenings Newsletter

Welcome to 2019! Here at the School of Living Arts, we are excited about all the new opportunities this year has to offer.

Some new offerings we will be advertising this year are sound healing meditation and aromatherapy. Stay tuned for the official announcement. 

We hope you are able to begin your year with the same enthusiasm we feel towards it and that you will be able to join us for one of our fun classes as they are posted! Happy New Year Everyone!

November/December 2018

Healthy Happenings Newsletter

As we get ready to say goodbye to 2018, I find the year is ending with as much excitement as it began.  I started The School of Living Arts officially in 2017 but didn't hold my first classes until January 2018.  This year has been amazing. The people I have met and watching the business grow and navigating being a new business owner and educator has been life-changing. I can't wait to see what 2019 brings.  

For 2019, I am working on more classes and collaborating with local farms, businesses, and vendors to reach more and more people.  The biggest hurdle currently is finding reliable, inexpensive space to hold ongoing classes, but I have a feeling that is going to fall into place very soon.

In 2018 I submitted several articles for AromaCulture magazine, including the December 2018 issue (available now) that discusses herbal and natural element gift giving. If you are interested in reading the article as well as many other great articles,  it can be purchased at this link.  Also, if you need some ideas for healthy holiday treats and are in the Broward County area in December, check out our Healthy Holiday Sweets class

(No refined sugars & plant based)

December 15, 2018 from 1:00 pm to 2:00pm at the Yoga Source in Plantation Florida. 

Class Fee is $35 per person and you will leave with your own delicious creations. 

To attend call 954-549-7518 to register. 

Last Day to Register is December 11, 2018


Mostly, I just want to say thank you to all of you for being a part of this amazing journey with me. I use the word amazing alot, but honestly, I do find myself in awe often at where life has taken me and how lucky I am to get to share what I have learned and to help others share their gifts as well.  It is hard to explain but, I guess the best way to say it is that I am blessed to wake up every day knowing I am on the right path (not that doubt doesn't try to convince me otherwise), and the sense of peace I get from that is something I treasure.

Thank you and let peace and love fill your lives and fun and adventure find you wherever you may roam. I am blessed to know you all. 

See you in 2019!






October 2018

Healthy Happenings Newsletter

To me, October is the start of the fall season.  We start by decorating with our fall leaves and pumpkins and make our way to evergreen and hollyberries.  It is my favorite time of year. Statistically, It is also the most likely time of the year when we will get completely derailed from our health and financial goals.  Making January gym memberships skyrocket.  We all want to take part in the festivities and delicious foods, however, yo-yo dieting (losing and gaining weight repeatedly) may have significant negative results on our health. Financially speaking, we all feel pressure to buy the newest and best for our loved ones, however, this can lead to debt that may take years to pay off and keep you from being able to afford fun, memory making activities during the year, like travel.  


There are some things you can do to keep yourself on track during this time of the year. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as the holiday season approaches. 

  1.  Halloween Candy- For the past few years I have given away small toys like funny whistles, pencils, and erasers, etc to trick or treaters. I have also purposely purchased candy I have no desire to eat. Making it far less tempting to sneak a few treats for myself. 
  2. Build a budget and stick to it- Ask your loved ones what they want for the holidays but stick to the budget you have created. We can get swept up in the gift giving but as someone with more than 20 years past their own childhood, I can tell you that I only remember a handful of the gifts I got but I do remember the times I spent at my Nana's house and what we did as a family. 
  3. Ask for and offer help- Letting people know about your health and financial goals and asking them to help you to stick to your plan to achieve them is important. Offer to bring healthy food items to parties or suggest activities and games be played during the party/gathering that keeps people active and not focused on the food.  Last year my husband and I worked at a food bank on Thanksgiving morning. Instead of the hustle and bustle of cooking food and making a mess in our kitchen, we went and helped others and had a wonderful time meeting new people. 
These are just a few simple tips that can help you experience the fall season more happy and healthy.  This truly is my favorite time of the year so above everything, enjoy it by experiencing what the season has to offer like the changing color of leaves, time with family, fruits, and vegetables we can only eat this time of year and all your personal traditions. These are what will be most lasting in everyone's minds. 


If you need some ideas for healthy holiday treats and are in the Broward County area in December, check out our Healthy Holiday Sweets class

(No refined sugars & plant based)

December 15, 2018 from 1:00 pm to 2:00pm at the Yoga Source in Plantation Florida. 

Class Fee is $35 per person and you will leave with your own delicious creations. 

To attend call 954-549-7518 to register. 

(The image above is just one of the items on the class menu)






Healthy Happenings Newsletter 

September 2018

The fall is quickly approaching and unfortunately so is cold and flu season. Learn about what Herbal Allies can support a healthy immune system during this time in the September 2018 Aromaculture magazine featuring the School of Living Arts director Brenda Bordogna.

September 2018 Aromaculture Magazine 


September is National Yoga Month

 September is National Yoga Month.  The School of living Arts provides 1 on 1 and group yoga sessions to individuals, businesses and organizations.  We specialize in gentle and chair yoga as well as the Sivananda tradition.  Yoga is an amazing way to provide both physical and mental self care for yourself.  The gentle movements, breathing exercises and even meditation all work to soothe and tone the body from the inside out while giving us a literal breathe in the busyness of life. 

Click below for images of yoga, meditation and other classes that the School of Living Arts has conducted. 

See More Class Images

Yoga Off the Mat

Yoga has become an industry and as not to take away from anyone's efforts to spread yoga, sometimes we can focus so much on the physical we forget its' original intent and other benefits.  

The word yoga means to yoke, as in to reign in, which originally was applied to reigning in the chaotic state of our minds or a state many of us know as monkey mind. 

Through asanas (physical pose) and pranayama (breathwork) we are able to prepare our bodies to sit in meditation and bring union back to ourselves, back to peace, or back to God (whatever your intention or convictions may be).  This original idea of yoga is often placed somewhere in the back of achieving a yoga body or being the first to conquer a difficult pose. 

Again, I take nothing away from anyone's journey into yoga. Each person will experience it in their own way and for their own purposes. 

As someone who has experienced life changing injury, yoga has changed for me as well. It started as a search for peace and yes for physical reasons too. But during my yoga teacher training, LAL, one of my teachers said something that shifted my view. I wasn't able to practice yoga for a week  and felt awful but my pets required more attention that week. He reminded me that I had done yoga. Taking care of my beloved pets and their needs, putting them before my own was in fact yoga. Bhakti yoga is loving kindness in practice and that was my yoga. Sometimes it is the only yoga one can do. 

I have practiced jnana yoga as well, through study and striving for wisdom. In difficult times such as injury or when there seems to be no time, we may be reminded that yoga has many forms and can be practiced in many ways, but we should try to remember this always. 

Yoga has something for everyone and something for every phase of life. During this month long celebration of yoga, learn more about this ancient practice and all of its amazing benefits. 

Namaste'

August 2018 Healthy Happenings Newsletter


The School of Living Arts presents yoga and meditation classes for Confidential Office Personnel Association (COPA) Conference in Broward County.

 Clerical and Support staff don't always get their due kudos for their hard work, but at this year's COPA conference for Broward County Schools, staff was treated to great food and informative talks as well as massage and aromatherapy treatments. 

One of the services staff could take advantage of was chair yoga and meditation classes taught by the School of Living Arts. 

Some staff were familiar with yoga and enjoyed their mini sessions while others had never tried it before. 

I find it to be such an amazing thing that I am able to go into people's places of work, where they spend 8 hours or more a day, and give them a little bit of knowledge or a skill that can truly benefit their lives. I fully know most people would not take the time for themselves or may not know about certain topics we cover, so by coming to their place of work we can increase awareness and maybe plant a few seeds that can grow into better self care for everyone. 

The School of Living Arts and Aromaculture Magazine

The August 2018 digital edition of Aromaculture magazine features an article by the director of the School of Living Arts, Brenda Bordogna.

Aromaculture magazine highlights the latest in herbal medicine and aromatherapies.

Brenda's article entitled, Plants and strategies to assist in the healing of grief and trauma, details how behavioral therapies and herbal therapies can assist us during difficult times in our lives. The article was written one week following the Marjorie Stoneman High School shootings, which happened 25 minutes from the writers home, heightening the writer's awareness for the need for these healing strategies.  

Aromaculture magazine is a paid subscription so to read the full article you will need to purchase access for $9.99 from Aromaculture.

To Purchase Access Click Here

This edition is well worth it as it features 17 different articles from practicing herbalist and aromatherapist on natural ways of dealing with grief and trauma. 

July 2018 Healthy Happenings Newsletter


HIT Fitness Warehouse renews American Heart Association CPR/AED and first aid training to ensure client safety. 

On Saturday June 30th, 2018 Hit Fitness Warehouse staff renewed their American Heart Association CPR/AED and first aid training. As personal trainers, up to date CPR training is a requirement to maintain your status as a trainer.  It is a requirement for other professions as well. 


Hit Fitness Warehouse is a high intensity training facility in Fort Lauderdale Florida. When dealing with people performing physical activity, accidents can happen. Knowing the right thing to do in an emergency can save lives. 


Thanks to Carolina, Kevin and Sean of HIT Fitness Warehouse for hosting this fun and important class. www.hitfitnesswarehouse.com


The Hit Fitness facility is pet friendly, a big plus for pet parents like myself who feel bad leaving the kids at home. 


The School of Living Arts does onsite American Heart Association CPR, AED and first aid certification and renewals. 



The School of Living Arts joins 

the American Herbalist Guild as a Member School

Starting in June 2018, The School of Living Arts, LLC is now a recognized member school with the American Herbalist Guild.


Their mission is to "promote clinical herbalism as a viable profession rooted in ethics, competency, diversity, and freedom of practice. The American Herbalists Guild supports access to herbal medicine for all and advocates excellence in herbal education."


Their founding members are some of the most recognized and skilled herbalist in recent history and it is an honor to be a school that continues that tradition. 


Group, one on one classes and hands on workshops in herbal education are available through the School of Living Arts.


June 2018 Healthy Happenings Newsletter:

June 18 -24 is National Pollinator Week

As an organic master gardener, the importance of pollinators is not lost on me. Bees, butterflies, birds, wasps and flies are all examples of pollinators. They are responsible for helping 90% of the world's flowering plants to reproduce. So, if you like fruit, coffee and chocolate, thank a pollinator. 

Thinking about pollinators leads us to think about our choices and how our choices affect others. The current pollinator population is being heavily affected by humans. Namely, our use of pesticides. No one is excited about the idea of an insect infestation in their garden or their home, but you don't have to release an arsenal of poisons to solve the problem either. 

In the garden:

- Check on your garden daily and remove diseased leaves and infected plant parts or plants, sometimes you have to sacrifice a plant to save your garden. 

-Know what bugs are most likely to do the most damage. Because I know caterpillars can do a lot of damage, but I want the butterflies that they will eventually become, I plant milkweed in my yard near my flowers, not by my food.  Snails are a big issue too. But knowing their behavior, I also know they like areas that are very moist with lots of shade and decomposing plants. To combat them, keep your beds clean. Compost your plant materials instead of just letting them fall into the bed, where they can make a slimy mess, snails will love.

-Build your soil. A strong soil that is full of compost helps to make strong plants that are better equipped to fight disease. Remember compost needs both dry material like grass clippings and hay and also wet materials like food waste. 

-The next step. If your garden is taken over by disease, fungus or insects, you may need to take the next step and look for less harmful ways to treat. Their are soaps and essential oils like neem that can be helpful and less damaging. Just remember, whatever you add to your garden will change its biology so you will need time to build back a healthy environment. 

Because I know the damage insecticides can cause, I personally would start over instead of resorting to pesticides. It may seem a huge loss, but removing all the affected plants (do not compost it) and building up the soil again will give your garden a chance to heal. 

In the home:

-Using essential oils in your cleaning supplies can be a great deterrent to pests.  Citrus and mints especially in a vinegar base can keep away many household insects.

-keep your food stored correctly. Sweet foods, grains and flours and even fruits left out on the counter (or kitchen compost containers) can all be a buffet for insects. Use containers that create tight seals and take out compost daily. 

-Spot treat. Ants used to be a huge issue in my house before I started these steps that we are discussing. Because they had set up residents, instead of spraying the whole house, I used terro ant bait traps, which contain borax. This has been very successful and I can limit my families exposure to pesticides. Once treated and with continued cleaning with the vinegar and essential oils, I havent had to re-bait the house in years. 

-Let the outdoors in. Because I don't spray pesticides or herbicides in my yard, I have a huge population of lizards that are absolutely amazing at pest control. On occasion, they come in the house and we let them hang around for a bit and handle any insects that we may have missed, before returning them to the yard. 


There are simple ways, that may take a few more steps but the choices we make do matter. There may be a future where the children of today and tomorrow, don't get to experience the same foods we do, because there are not enough pollinators left to do the work. That may seem like a small idea, but a lack of pollinators can also lead to food shortages. 

There is a Native American saying that says in all our choices we should think seven generations into the future and see how that choice will affect them. We cannot live in a bubble, seeing only what is in front of us. Choosing natural methods and less damaging methods will help us begin to heal some of the damage we have done. 


If you believe this only affects the bees, think again. Outside of our homes and gardens, glycophosate (round up brand and others) have been sprayed in yards and on farm land to control weeds. This chemical residue is showing up on our foods at much higher rates than previously thought. Why Does This Matter? Glycophosate, is being linked to several diseases from cancer to infertility to skin burns on those working the fields. 

Other countries have started the process of banning this chemical from use. You can reduce your exposure by not spraying it and hand picking weeds, buying organic and non-gmo foods. Organic foods have not been sprayed with any pest or herbicides and some foods have been genetically modified with herbicides within their structure. Non-gmo foods will not have been modified in this way.  


Let us all take the time to think about how what we do affects the world and people around us. Strive to make better choices that are kinder to plants, animals and people. We are not apart from nature, We are a part of  it!


The American Gardener; The magazine of the American Horticultural Society. May/June 2018. Page 10.

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/15/glyphosate-health-effects.aspx

https://www.growingagreenerworld.com/the-importance-of-pollinators/

https://www.hgtv.com/design-blog/clean-and-organize/everyday-items-that-can-help-control-household-pests





May 2018 Healthy Happenings Newsletter:

Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month

First, let me say Happy Mother's Day to all the nurturers of the world. Whether you have human babies, fur babies, or are caring for the world that cares for us all. Thank you for all you do to add a little love to the world. 


May is asthma and allergy awareness month.  As someone who has suffered from both, I can tell you how much herbs have helped me to manage my symptoms. Before we get into our helpful herbal allies, lets take a closer look at what asthma and allergies are.

Asthma (AZ-ma) is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning. Asthma affects people of all ages (1).


Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance — such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander — or a food that doesn't cause a reaction in most people. Your immune system produces substances known as antibodies. When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that identify a particular allergen as harmful, even though it isn't. When you come into contact with the allergen, your immune system's reaction can inflame your skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system. The severity of allergies varies from person to person and can range from minor irritation to anaphylaxis — a potentially life-threatening emergency (2).


Steroids are a first line of conventional treatment for asthma, from inhalers to pills.  Steroids have many side effects including; weight gain, mood changes, headaches, nausea, skin issues such as rashes or acne, and trouble sleeping just to name a few.

Antihistamines are usually the first line conventional treatment for allergy systems. Antihistamines can have side effects including; drowsiness, dry mouth, increased appetite, upset stomach, weight gain and nervousness or irritability. Herbs can support a healthy immune system and help your body to better deal with the symptoms of asthma and allergies. There are many herbs that have properties that can support your immune system during asthma and allergy symptoms, but I will just name a few that I have personal experience with. 


Stinging Nettle-Urtica dioica- Stinging nettle may help with the sneezing and itching associated with hay fever. This may be because the herb can reduce the amount of histamine the body releases in response to an allergen (5). Stinging nettle also has pain relieving properties that may help to ease the pain associated with sinus pressure and pain.  Nettle also contains calcium, iron, potassium and silica as well as some vitamins like A and K. Proper nutrition supports a healthy immune system.


Oregano Oil- Origanum vulgare- Oregano oil has potent antibacterial properties. It can be useful for sinus infections that can occur from allergies. Using a few drops in a bowl of boiled water and inhaling the steam can be useful for sinus infections. For sore throats, a few drops of the oil in water as a gargle can soothe irritated throat tissue. There are products on the market that combine oregano oil and saline as a nasal rinse. I have used some of these with fantastic results during allergy season. Make sure to follow the manufacturers directions if you choose to use one of these products. 


Black Cumin Seed Oil- Nigella sativa- Black cumin seed oil has been shown to have antiasthmatic (bronchodilatory)  effects in asthma patients. The oil contains vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, that are shown to have anti-inflammatory properties (3). The oil is available in gel capsules and as a loose oil.  Follow the manufacturers directions for dosage.


Sage- Salvia officinalis- Sage is an amazing plant. I for one, cannot walk past a sage plant in a store or nursery without rubbing the leaves and smelling that musky and fresh, invigorating and restful all at the same time, scent. Beyond the scent, is a very powerful herb and one of the best ways to use it for allergies is as a gargle or to drink as a warm tea. One of the unpleasant symptoms of allergies is post nasal drip, sinus fluids flowing back down your throat, usually while you sleep. It can make you cough and leave your throat irritated  and raw. Making a tea of dried sage leaves, 1 teaspoon to 1 cup, steep for 5 minutes, offers a soothing remedy that can bring down inflammation in your throat due to its astringent and antibacterial properties. Sage is readily available in grocery stores, home improvement stores and plant nurseries. Sine you are using this as medicine, look for plants grown organically. 


Not an herb, but one of the most helpful things I have found is a saline nasal rinse. A bit of warm water, sea salt and baking soda,  inhaled through the nose can help to clear nasal passages of allergens. To make the solution, mix 2 to 3 heaping teaspoons of non-iodized salt that has no additives, to 1 quart of distilled or previously boiled water. Add a teaspoon of baking soda (4). Devices such as squeeze bottles or neti pots can help to get the solution deeper into the nasal passages. 


We really only touched the very tip of the topic as far as herbs supporting our respiratory and immune system. Be curious about herbs and check out books from your local library. Also take classes with herbalist locally or via distance learning, attend local herbal conferences and fairs. There is so much to learn about how the plant world can support our health. For questions or to schedule a one on one herbal consult contact 954-549-7518. 


1-https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/asthma

2-https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/symptoms-causes/syc-20351497

3-https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20149611

4- https://www.webmd.com/allergies/saline-spray#2

5- https://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/herbs/stinging-nettle/



April 2018 Healthy Happenings Newsletter:

National Gardening Month

If it were up to me, gardening month would be a much more celebrated event every year. My garden is my sanctuary. I go there to unwind and recharge. No matter what the day has brought me, a few moments sitting in my garden helps me to let it go and re-center myself. 

Gardens and their symbolism have been with us for eons. They are the place of mans beginning in Christianity and places of contemplation and meditation in Japanese and other Asian cultures, and Persian gardens incorporate scared geometry into their design, which reflects our connectedness to all. They are the settings of love stories, murderous plots and redemption in our literature and movies. They are a world unto themselves that we are lucky enough to be apart of. 


A backyard garden was common place in my grandmother's time and I was lucky enough to grow up with one because of my mother. Luckily for all of us backyard gardens are making a comeback with new products for small spaces and water conservation, as well as the trend of urban gardening, that encourages city and suburb dwellers to take advantage of whatever space they may have. 


So why garden? Isn't that what grocery stores are for? Well gardening has many benefits you not have considered. Let's take a look at just a few.

  • It can relief stress and symptoms of depression- more and more research is showing that time spent  in nature is helping us to feel better. Much of our time is spent in the hustle and bustle of modern life and behind computer screens or under florescent lights. Time in a natural setting resets us and allows us to mentally and physically slow down, while allowing our bodies to sync with more natural rhythms.
  • Reconnecting with our food- When our food comes from stores or restaurants, we tend to forget just what went into getting it to our plates. When you garden you get first hand knowledge of the care it takes to make every fruit and vegetable happen and you tend to appreciate it more. For me, the first tomato, strawberry or sprout is an exciting time. It forces you to plan ahead , prepare and adapt, which are important lessons that we can take to other areas of our lives. 
  • Control additives- If we grow our own food and cook our own food, we know what went into it. Starting from what was added to the soil or put on the plant while it grew, to what salts, sugar or spices were added to a recipe.  There are chemicals, colorings, gums and stabilizers added to some of the  foods we purchase that just aren't necessary and can cause issue with those who are sensitive to them. 
  • Keeping it local- Eating foods from closer to where you live is a good idea on many levels. By eating locally or having a garden, you get to eat with the seasons, making your food choicest the freshest. You also help to build your community. Whether by gardening in a shared space, participating in farmer's markets by selling what you produce or by just sharing the extras from your garden with your neighbors, all of this goes along way to build relationships in your community.
  • Its Exercise!- Guess what? Gardening is indeed exercise. You will walk, squat, stoop, chop, shovel, drag, lift and if your yard is like mine, break rocks. A 160lb person will burn 347 calories in one hour of gardening.
  • The philosophical side of gardening- Along with the health and social benefits, gardening teaches us a lot about ourselves, our relationships and how we do or can relate to the world around us. Here are just a few of the more philosophical things gardening can teach us.
    • Patience- If you have grown anything from a seed you will learn the importance  and gifts of patience.
    • Faith- Gardening itself is an act of faith. You put seeds or seedlings in the ground and tend them, all on the faith that they will grow, with no guarantees. 
    • Count on your friends/Build a good support system- Many plants work together to create conditions that not only help them to grown but help other plants to grow as well. Companion planting, where certain plants are planted together to support one another or cover crops that nourish the soil for soon to be planted plants, or even dead plants that are composted to provide nourishment for the next plants to come,  all provide each other with support.
    • You get what you give- If you give your plants water, good soil, compost and the occasional conversation, they will thrive.  If you forget to water them and let your soil dry up and never sit in their beauty, they will wilt and die. Like the people,  relationships or even dreams in our lives, if we nurture them  and give them what they need, we will often reap the fruits of our efforts. 
    • Resilience- Sometimes we forget to water our plants and they look awful, but come back to life after a quick drink. Or like the picture above, seeds from plants that were tossed away into the compost, decided they would become plants anyway. Plants have an amazing ability to learn their environment and adapt their water needs or even take root in unexpected places. In order to be resilient in our own lives we must learn to adapt to our environment, evaluate our needs and make use of what resources we have. 
Celebrate National Gardening Month by starting your own garden. Need help getting started? The School of Living Arts can come to your home or business and do organic gardening classes or help get you started on your own garden with designs and set up services. call us today to find out more 954-549-7518.



` Want to Learn More? Click Here to Find Out More About the Classes We Offer

March 2018 Healthy Happenings Newsletter:

National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month. Inevitably, when we think of nutrition we think of diets, diet plans, diet supplements, etc.  I have been in the wellness industry for about 20 years and have seen so many extremes as to what the next miracle pill, drug or diet will be. All of them made to help everyone meet some idealized goal of what we are "supposed" to look like. 

Here is the thing, each human is different and that includes their nutritional needs. Yes there are basic guidelines for our nutritional needs and guidelines to prevent overdosing on things like iron and fat soluble vitamins, but if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Over the top marketing and misinformation abound in the world of nutrition. What we once knew,  isn't true the next decade (look at low fat processed foods and products with trans fats), and if something promises you results faster and with no effort, lets be real, your results wont last.

Being healthy takes effort. That is not a popular thought and is not always easy. Highly processed, high fat, high salt, high sugar foods are just a drive through window away and convenience is often king. We are currently a society of instant gratification and that includes our foods. 

I don't say this atop some health throne looking down, I get it!  Life is not set up to help us achieve our health goals with long work hours, multi-tasking expectations and often without the help we need. But that's when we have to make the decision to make our health a priority. 

So you say, ok!  I'm going to make it a priority, where do I start?

Good questions. Here are a few tips to get you on the right track. 

  • Eat More Fruits an Vegetables- If you follow the my plate model then half of every meal you eat is fruits and vegetables and that is ideal. That also may not be realistic, so start where your at. Set a goal. If your eating a piece of fruit a week and maybe one salad a week, start bumping that number up. Think about the snacks and meals you eat. Instead of chips for a snack could you do carrots and hummus or an apple with nut butter. Make small changes and keep upping the challenge by increasing the number of fruits and vegetables you are eating each week. 
  • Keep it Balanced- We have all heard of diets that have no carbs, no fat, etc. Well guess what? Leaving out whole food groups usually means leaving out vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. Don't forget food is fuel. Your body needs carbs, so if your doing a diet that suggests no fruit or limited vegetables and lots of meat and cheese, enjoy it now, because it is not sustainable. I have seen people on high protein diets ldl cholesterol skyrocket on these diets and high protein diets can tax your kidneys. If you have it in your mind that this is the diet for you, then at  least add lots of vegetables. Green leafy ones and high fiber ones. With all that meat and dairy, your digestive system is gonna need fiber. Your body also needs fats. People that avoid all fat can have issues too. Your body requires fat for certain functions however that being said quality matters.  Using healthy plant based oils or getting healthy fats in your diet through avocados and nuts is even better. Just remember fat has a lot of calories so if your watching your calories, be aware of the foods you are eating that are higher in fat.  Its all about the balance you keep throughout the day. If you had donuts for breakfast, then lunch and dinner better be full of fruits and veggies and quality protein to make up for all the nutrients you didn't get at breakfast. It is also important to note, going vegan or becoming a raw foodist without knowledge of what nutrient requirements your body has, can also be an issue. Research is showing that plant based diets do amazing things for our bodies. But if you decide that being plant based means being vegan or a raw foodist then make sure to read up on plant sources of iron, protein, calcium, food combing for amino acids and supplements that you may need. 
  • Listen to your Body- We all have intuition. Some are more in tune to theirs than others. Believe it or not, your body has intuition about the food it wants too. You will find as you clean up your diets and eat less foods that are highly processed with salt, fat and sugar (which stimulate parts of our brains that are also stimulated when we use addictive drugs), we actually start to be able to really experience our food and develop a connection with it. You may find yourself craving a juicy nectarine or the crunch of a carrot dipped in savory hummus. Sounds crazy, right? But your body will have a new normal and in that new normal, you will learn what makes your body feel good. What foods energize you and what foods drag you down. If you really think about it, you already know what foods do that? Crashing from sugary foods, bloated from fried foods and swollen from salty foods. Your body is talking to you.
  • Speak to a professional- As stated before, there is a lot of misinformation out there about nutrition so go to the source. Find a nutritionist or nutritional counselor who you like and who you can work with on your nutrition goals. Why do you need a professional? Well you might not, but most people have never had formal nutrition education and this is what these folks do all day and they have to do continuing education to keep up with the latest information. Its a good idea to start with a good foundation so you can build on the concepts they will teach you. 
  • Get Support- Changes are hard and even harder if your the only one doing them. It isn't always easy to get the family on board with your health plans so make sure you have the support you need from friends, coworkers, your church or interest groups. Please who will eat healthy foods with you and talk about healthy foods. Work is actually an excellent place to try this as I have seen groups start salad clubs or attend weight loss or nutrition classes together. Knowing your not alone can make a huge difference. 

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