My Healthy Story Episode 01: Nancy Cava Shares her Story with Chronic Migraines, Headaches, and Acne

my healthy story.png

Introducing my new interview series: My Healthy Story!! 

No, this is not my personal story... even better! These are stories about those who have found a healthier life by overcoming either a mild or severe health issue. I do this with one goal in mind: to inspire hope in all of us that we CAN get better.

I am on a brand new mission this year to seek and find those who have dealt with chronic illness and are better today than they were yesterday. What was life like for them at their worst? How is life better now?

And to answer the curious question: WHAT did they do or HOW did they do it so we can, too?!

We all have much to learn from one another and if we can improve our health by learning what others did, this world will only benefit. 

That's what these interviews are all about. I'm grateful to Nancy for getting the ball rolling and being the first to share her story on healing her chronic migraines, headaches and acne.

Her story exemplifies the importance of doing what you love, recognizing our emotions (and letting them be), and deep work vs a band aid is the best path to health.

Enjoy!

(P.S... We did this interview outside at a cafe so please excuse some of the background noise!)

19 Dec 2017  00:11:05

Nancy is a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and a Certified Reiki Practitioner. She works, lives, and loves in Asheville, NC. Connect with Nancy here.

 

To your health and healing,

Mandi

 
150403-Paleo-122-retouch.jpg
 

6 Ways to Support Your Body this Winter: (aka How to Build Energy & Avoid Getting Sick!)

winter blog title.png

Today is the day of the Winter Solstice which means that it's officially the first day of winter (although here in Asheville it's felt like winter for a month already!).

This is the time of year where we often find ourselves getting sick between the colder weather and not honoring the stillness of winter.

In Chinese Medicine, winter is associated with the water element, the kidneys and urinary bladder, salty taste, the colors of black and dark blue, and the emotions of fear and paralyzed will.

Each day has the cycle of the sun and our year has the cycle of seasons. Just like high noon is the most yang time of day and the middle of the night is the most yin (the point furthest from the sun shining), the summer is the most yang and the winter is the most yin.

Starting the new year in winter is a bit contradictory. Spring is the season for new beginnings, not Winter! Therefore, we must take extra care of ourselves starting now until spring to honor what winter, the water element, is all about.

Because when you live in balance with the earth and it's amazing energetic cycles, YOU are more balanced, too. And when you are balanced, you're healthier and a more authentic YOU.

Here are 6 ways to support yourself in the winter time that will allow you to build up your energy for the new year and stay healthy throughout the season.

 

1. Honor Rest

Nature is in it's rest phase of life, so why aren't we? Yes, we all have some sort of full time job and responsibilities. Unfortunately, we all just can't escape into a tiny cabin in the woods surrounded only by our animals- and maybe our 3 favorite people- cozying up with hot chocolate and journaling, reading, and writing all day long... sigh... (as the introvert describes their dream winter vacation).

BUT we can let a piece of this into our lives. Carve out alone time to journal and cozy up with a hot cup of herbal tea. This is the time of year to build up our energy reserves by letting more "yin" into our lives so that come spring, we are nourished to allow growth and to have energy for new beginnings. 

Become aware of integrating this nourishing rest into each and every day just a little bit more than you do the rest of the year.

 

2. Go deeply inward

As you're resting, get lost in your thoughts. Daydream. Free write. Access the deep inner you. How do you want to feel everyday? How do you want to be different this year? What do you want to be different? Just ponder... no action... no planting seeds yet (save that for the spring!). 

 

3. Drink Water, Eat Salt

Okay, don't take a bite of a Himalayan salt rock... put it down. Don't over salt your food either, a little bit goes a long way.

Since the water element is associated with the taste of salt, one of the best ways to get wonderful salty food in you is seaweed. Yup. I know you just thought "yuck!" BUT it's truly delicious! I love adding dulse to my salads and it adds a yummy umami flavor to soups. Kelp and wakame are also great options. Try toasting it in the oven for a salty crunch that's basically a chip. 

To add more water to your life (other than obviously drinking water) is in teas and soups. Other foods to support the water element are black, dark blue and deep purple foods. Think blackberries, wild blueberries (they're dark on the inside unlike cultivated blues; find them in the frozen isle), eggplant, black radishes, black olives (bonus because they're salty!).

 

4. Get More sleep

This goes with getting more rest. We push ourselves to the limits. We demand so much of ourselves everyday. The sun goes to bed early and so should we, whatever "early" means for you. And if you can't hit the hay early just try to sleep longer or allow yourself to nap.

 

5. Exercise, but Less Intense

Movement is essential for our health. Whether you like to push it or you can't stand it, we all need it. Now is not the time of year to exhaust your energy reserves by running long distances or sprinting out your best. Keep your fitness up if you're a runner and run... just do so with low to moderate intensity and allow your body to build it's energy reserves.

No movement isn't good either. We need movement to keep qi (prounouced "chee"), the vital life energy, flowing throughout our bodies. We need this qi to help build our reserves. Yoga and qigong are the perfect practices for building energy in the winter months. 

 

6. Support the immune system

I'll share with you how I like to support my immune system this time of year. First, I just made a big batch of homemade elderberry syrup (pinterest has many recipes for this).

I also take ionic zinc twice a day because zinc is ESSENTIAL for optimal immune function.

Then, if I feel like I'm coming down with something I'll get more rest, eat raw garlic and raw onions on top of my food, and I'll take antivirals such as cat's claw herbal tea and silver hydrosol.

That's my personal strategy. (Always check with your doctor before choosing to supplement your diet). 

 

Follow these 6 tips to stay healthy in the cold winter months and to build your energy reserves for the rest of the year. You'll have your best year yet!

 

To your health and healing,

Mandi

 
150403-Paleo-100-retouch.jpg
 

Need more help than this blog post can give? Contact me for a free 30 minute phone consult!

Say Goodbye to Guilt Over not Exercising with These 4 Exercise Myths... BUSTED!

Add heading.png

Movement. Exercise. Fitness. It's something many of us feel obligated to do but often find ourselves ignoring it. We have negative feelings surrounding this topic. And if we ignore it, we feel guilty. We don't feel good about ourselves for neglecting our fitness!

I'm here to tell you today that you no longer need to feel guilty or have these negative feelings surrounding exercise. I'll share with you how you can have a much more positive relationship with movement. Replacing these 4 common myths with these 4 Truths will change your beliefs about exercise and get rid of the guilt.

 

Myth #1: It's essential to exercise to lose weight

This is hogwash. And I can tell you from many direct, personal observations.

Back when I owned the CrossFit gym for 7.5 years with my husband, I worked with thousands of clients over the years. And let me tell you this with absolute certainty: There were many people who worked their asses off and were AMAZING athletes. Strong, agile, and fast. BUT if their food choices were junk, they kept their spare tire. Their belly went nowhere. The extra weight NEVER left.

On the other hand, if an individual made just one positive change to their food, THAT'S when they saw results! And the ones that completely transformed their eating habits, they were the ones that transformed themselves. 

The ones who continued to drink beer, eat dairy and refined foods never lost weight. They got stronger, they improved their fitness, but they never lost weight and they never saw significant body composition changes. I saw this pattern time and time again.

You don't need to exercise your ass off to lose weight. You need to adjust what goes in your mouth and focus on cleaning up the liver so that it can do it's job to clear out the crap causing you to retain water weight and put on fat easily.

 

Myth #2: Yoga isn't "exercise" or a "workout"

There is some truth to this. Because there are different types of yoga and various teaching styles, yoga is an extremely versatile practice. So, yoga is exercise and isn't exercise... but it's always MOVEMENT. And movement is always good.

The easiest way to see yoga's versatility is to explore an online program under a free trial (or if you're an extrovert you may feel more comfortable going to your local yoga joint and trying various classes). You'll find meditation classes, yin yoga classes, and recovery classes that focus on going inward and delegating soft, healing intention to one particular area at a time. These will fill you up when you are feeling empty, tired, and sore.

Then, you'll find classes that focus on stability and skill while simultaneously focusing on lengthening and opening. THIS is where yoga IS, in fact, what we would consider a "workout." My favorite for this is "Vinyasa Flow."

The greatest thing about yoga is you can choose the intensity for that day. If you're feeling strong, you can attend a class that is going to get your fire going. Alternately, if you're tired, you can choose a comforting yin or recovery style class. 

Yoga is a wonderful tool to get more movement, flexibility, strength, and skill into your life.

 

Myth #3: Thinking you must be doing a formal fitness program to get started or to see results.

Movement is movement! You don't need to join a gym. You don't need to buy videos. You don't need to formally sign up for any type of program. All you need is to move. 

If you wake up one day and think, "Man, I would really like to move around today." Do it. Don't put it off because you haven't signed up at a gym yet, or gotten a trainer, or bought the one piece of equipment for the one activity you told yourself you were going to do.

Are formal programs helpful? Abso-friggin-lutely! Especially when it comes to knowing how to move properly because injury is very possible when moving incorrectly (especially under load using weights). So, if you have never had any formal training, I highly recommend it, at least in the short term.

Alternatively, there are so many wonderful online videos and programs to follow. Then, once you know what you're doing, you can do more on your own (if you're self-motivated).

If motivation is your problem- especially when it comes to formal fitness and exercise programs- you'll want to find something you enjoy doing. The bottom line here is you will not continue with it if you do not enjoy it!

 

Myth #4: I need to exercise to stay healthy.

I'm going to emphasize this again: what you put in your mouth is more important when it comes to health and longevity, got it? Another important point is "exercise" per se is not necessary for people in all stages, but "movement" is. (More on this below)

Stretch. Walk in nature. Go up and down a flight of stairs a few times. Ride a bike. Learn Qigong (I can teach you!). Do yoga. Dance. Swim. Jump on a rebounder. There are so many options to get moving that are not formal exercise or fitness regimens. 

Movement is essential for health because it gets our blood moving. It gets our lymph flowing. This oxygenation from increased blood flow and movement of lymph and tissue is going to clear our body of toxins. It's going to bring more oxygen to stagnant areas. It's going to improve our energy, lubricate our joints, and bring heat and movement to our muscles and connective tissue. 

This is how movement adds to longevity. It can be a formal exercise regimen if that's your cup of tea, but it most certainly does not have to be. 

 

An important note on Where you are now & Movement

If you are working through some type of chronic illness, and are especially low on energy, take this clue from your body. Right now, all your energy reserves are going towards healing this issue. This is the wrong time to move with intensity. Choose gentle activities and soft movement and you'll feel so much better, and possibly invigorated.

If you're someone who has trouble getting out of bed due to neurological fatigue (this is a deep, deep, feeling of fatigue where lifting a limb is hard work) then just start there. Lay on your back and bicycle your legs. Move your arms in big circles and little circles... things like that. 

 

Let go of your expectations on what exercise is and just add movement to your life!

There is no need to feel guilty about not exercising. Take one day at a time. Find activities to increase your movement and activities that you look forward to doing. This way, you'll stick with it, you'll gain confidence and rid yourself of the negative beliefs you have around exercise. 

 

To your health and healing,

Mandi

 
150403-Paleo-104-retouch.jpg