Beating Emotional Binge Eating, by a Holistic Nutritionist

We have all been there at one point or another…..You have a crappy day at work, you spill coffee/tea all over you new shirt, maybe your project gets shot down, you get cut off in traffic, your favourite pair of jeans somehow gets a giant hole in the crotch, or maybe it’s all this and then some! So you go home, open your cupboard, fridge or BOTH and seek comfort and security in whatever is inside….

I am not here to tell you that you should NEVER do this… I mean after all, I am only human and have indulged in this once, twice or a hundred times myself. After all, there is a reason that we find food so comforting, and most of the time it comes from the memories of our mother (or father) making us smile with delicious treats and meals filled with love!

BUT emotional eating, if done too often and as the sole way of coping, can lead to binge eating, and seeking emotional security in the form of food. This can all lead to weight gain, self confidence issues, mental health challenges and physical health issues like diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and hormonal disturbances.

Being a reformed binge and emotional eater myself,I know that overcoming this challenge, and even just acknowledging that it even exists can truly be very very difficult for so many reasons. First, food is everywhere in our society and society has really made it okay to seek comfort and security within food…especially for women! Think of all the times in a movie/tv show you have seen a woman who has just been dumped digging into mountains of food, usually in the form of sugary treats like ice cream, cookies, cake, and candy. Second, food is a cornerstone and a must for our survival as human beings! And third….part of the reason ALL living things eat is for pleasure! There are literally certain neurotransmitters that are released when we consume MOST food that give us a sense of well being, connection and pleasure.

So why is it so important to not just rely on food for emotional comfort?

Well besides the physical and mental health issues that have already been listed it is also important for 3 other main reasons:

  1. Relying upon food as your sole way of coping with distress and emotions actually makes you dependent upon it, which can lead to addiction to food. This is often how most drug/alcohol/tobacco addiction starts. We feel pain, or emotional distress, so we to cope we use. Using makes us feel good (temporarily) and so we keep using every time we feel bad again. Want to learn more about food addiction visit: https://www.thehealthloft.ca/food-addiction/
  2. We can stunt our emotional growth and intelligence. A lot of the time, emotional and binge eating is used as a way to escape whatever it is that is going on within your life, or yourself, that is causing emotional distress. The more that we avoid emotions, the more detached we become from our emotional well being, which means the less happy we usually feel over all.
  3. Our pleasure centers get all confused. When you start to create reliance upon ANY substance, food included, our pleasure centers become rewired over time to stop receiving pleasure from normal things that we should receive pleasure from. In the food world, this is when you see people who “do not like” vegetables or fruits…..it’s not because they do not like them! It is actually because the pleasure centers in the brain have been rewired to see pleasure as only that coming from eating whatever foods they are using to cope (using sugar treats, baked goods, or heavy carbs).

So how do we start breaking away from food as a coping mechanism and stop emotional binge eating?

woman riding big swing in front of waterfalls
Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

Well, depending on how long and how often you use food as a coping mechanism for what is going on in your life will depend on how much work, time and effort you will have to put in. If you are someone who is deeply addicted to food and binge eats often to help deal with your emotions, you may want to consider joining a support group (there is one is almost every city, as a well as tons online!) or enlisting the help of a health professional. If you are someone who does it just every now and then but would like to nip the habit in the butt before it gets out of hand, doing it on your own with the support of a loved one, close friend, can usually do the trick. BUT, no matter where you are on the spectrum, the following tips will definitely help set you up for success!

 

  • Make and drink a hot beverage BEFORE digging into your comfort food. Whether it is some herbal tea, a superfood elixir, or a decaf coffee, taking the time to actually make something for yourself shows love and appreciation for yourself (think of it as a form of self care) and it also gives you a few extra minutes of distance between that negative emotion that you were feeling to when you reach for your comfort food. By doing this, you are starting to rewire the brain, not solely associate food with comfort. Plus, let’s get real….Sipping and holding onto a hot beverage really feels like a big mug of love in and of itself!
  • Get silent. When you start to feel that emotional distress rear its ugly old head and the need to reach for comfort in your favourite foods, try instead to just get silent with yourself, breathe deeply and really feel into that emotion. It doesn’t need to be a full sit down meditation, but maybe just a moment or two with your eyes closed really scanning and breathing into your body, and where it is exactly you are feeling that emotion. A lot of the time, when we just feel into an emotion and meet it head on, it will release itself because all it is looking for is recognition. BUT, most of the time we avoid doing this because we are scared we will get stuck in that negative emotion, when in fact it is exactly the opposite!
  • Ditch the processed sugar! I am sure you are sick of hearing by now that sugar is the enemy…but in this case it really truly is! Seeking comfort in the form of processed sugary treats creates a cycle that is really hard to break because not only are you emotionally forming a dependance, BUT you are also physically forming a dependance! Processed sugar actually activates the SAME neural pathways that opioids and alcohol do! Processed sugar also causes a blood sugar spike and then crash later on which will leave you feeling depleted of energy, irritable and in a low mood/headspace which will have you reaching right back for that sugar, AGAIN!
  • Learn a new POSITIVE coping mechanism. Often we pick up our coping mechanisms as children and don’t really give any thought to what they are or how we got them. BUT it is very easy to teach yourself new ones. All you have to do is pick something that intrigues you like; journaling, working out, singing out loud, getting outdoors, counting to 10, deep breathing, or busting a dance move! Once you have something that you think you would like to incorporate into your coping skills, start making a conscious choice to do that thing instead of reaching for food when you feel like you need a bit of comfort! After 3-4 weeks of consciously working on this, it will become second nature and then, BAM, you have yourself a new coping tool!
  • Practice gratitude. Incorporating gratitude is a huge part of overcoming any obstacle in life but even more so when that thing has to do with our emotions. There are numerous ways you can incorporate gratitude into your healing process but my favourite ways are; listing 5 SIMPLE things you are grateful for when in emotional distress, keeping a DAILY gratitude journal, and saying a prayer of gratitude and thanks at the end of each day naming the biggest thing you are grateful for that happened that day.

Not sure whether or not you are emotional eating or have questions about what exactly emotional eating is? Visit https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/tests/health/emotional-eating-test for a free quiz and more resources.

DanielleDanielle is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Certified Counsellor and a Lifestyle Coach with a focus on mental health, adrenal, and thyroid issues. Danielle received her CNP from the institute of Holistic Nutrition in Vancouver and studied Psychology at the University of Calgary. Danielle has always been fascinated with just how much physical and mental health are linked when it comes to healing and so she takes a deep dive into each when working with clients on achieving their health goals. You can catch Danielle talking about all things health and wellness on her blog/website www.thymetonourish-ca.com and on her instagram page thyme_to_nourish

 

Advertisements

Soak It All In With DIY Herbal Bath Bombs

bath-bombs5

Bath bombs are a great alternative to bubble bath, which is often laced with dyes, perfumes, SLS and parabens.  As you soak in a bath, your skin is absorbing what is in your bath water, so you might want to ensure you are using only natural, chemical-free ingredients.

Baking soda fizzes in water, so as you drop a ‘bomb’ into the bath, it fizzes up in a sort of bubbly explosion, releasing all of it’s wonderful ingredients.

In these I used

  • baking soda: is alkaline and soothes irritated skin
  • cornstarch: gives a nice consistency and soothes irritated skin
  • epsom salt: relaxes muscles, soothes the nervous system
  • olive oil: moisturizing
  • dried flowers or bath tea blend: oats, chamomile, lavender and calendula all soothe skin
  • essential oils: sweet orange uplifts the mind, lavender relaxes the body
  • citric acid powder: naturally exfoliates dead skin cells

I also played around by adding red clay and beetroot powder to some of the balms, different essential oils and different dried flowers. Get creative! Make sure you do a patch test on your skin before using the bath bomb to ensure you do not have an allergy or intolerance to any of the ingredients.

bath-bombs2

Recipe makes 9 standard muffin sized bombs

In a glass bowl, combine:

  • 1/4 cup citric acid powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup epsom salt
  • 1 cup baking soda

Mix well, then add:

  • 1 tsp olive oil or other carrier oil
  • 10 drops essential oil of choice
  • 1/4 cup (SLOWLY) water or witch hazel

It is crucial that you slowly add the water or witch hazel as not to dissolve the baking soda.  If your dry ingredients start fizzing, you have poured the liquid in too fast and the powder will all dissolve. Once liquid has been successfully mixed in to the dry ingredients, the consistency should be spongy so it sticks together when squeezed.

bath-bombs3

Prepare muffin tins with liners and fill the bottom of each one with dried flowers.

bath-bombs1

Press mixture into each muffin cup and firmly press down. Allow to dry for several hours before removing from muffin tins. Store in a tin or tightly sealed jar away from moisture. Drop one into a warm bath when ready to use.

bath-bombs4

bath-bombs7

Did you try this recipe? Upload your creation and tag us on Insta!

Jen Casey is a Holistic Nutritionist with Next Bite Nutrition Coaching in Vancouver, BC. She focuses her practice on whole body wellness and building a solid foundation for the pillars of health. Learn more about Jen and her healthy meal plans on Instagram.

5 Ways You Can Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Shine Up Your Skin + Hair

Apple Cider Vinegar, or ACV, has been used for centuries for external and internal benefits.

When processed, ACV is fermented, the sugars turn into alcohol, and you are left with a vinegar which is a similar PH to skin.  The acetic, lactic, citric, and other acids in the apple cider vinegar help to dissolve dead skin cells, revealing a shiny, fresh layer and restore the acid balance of your skin.

There are many benefits of ACV when used internally, and Bragg’s website claims a few important benefits of using their vinegar externally, including

  • Helps maintain healthy skin
  • Helps promote youthful, healthy bodies
  • Soothes irritated skin
  • Relieves muscle pain from exercise

When purchasing ACV, be sure that the “Mother” exists.  This ensures that the best part of the apple has not been destroyed during processing and that it is rich in it’s natural minerals and enzymes.

clear glass mason bottles with apple juice

We have 5 ways to use this natural pantry staple in your weekly skin and hair care regime:

  1. Fight oily skin and acne with a purifying ACV mask, made of 1 TBLSP green clay to help draw impurities, and 1 TBLSP ACV to balance PH.  Apply liberally (avoid eyes), leave on for 15 minutes and rinse.

    adult art beautiful beauty
    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  2. Shine up dull skin using ACV to dissolve dead skin cells.  Apply vinegar to your skin using a cotton ball dampened with purified water. Repeat weekly.
  3. Add shine to dull hair that is built up with product.  Add 1 TBLSP ACV in a small bowl of water.  Pour over hair and comb through.  Rinse. This is one of my weekly treatments that leaves my hair so soft and shiny.hair
  4. Eliminate odour and fungus from feet! Soak feet in a bowl of warm water with 1/2 cup ACV and Tea Tree Oil (5 drops). Soak for 15 minutes, rinse off and towel dry well.

    alone bed bedroom blur
    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  5. Soothe sunburns, sore muscles and rashes by adding 1/2 cup ACV to your bath water.  Soak for 15-20 minutes.

    bathroom bathtub ceramic chrome
    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Jen Casey is a Holistic Nutritionist with Next Bite Nutrition Coaching in Vancouver, BC. She focuses her practice on whole body wellness and building a solid foundation for the pillars of health. Learn more about Jen and her healthy meal plans on Instagram.

Embracing Winter: How to Cozy Up Your Life with a Good Dose of Hygge

Huh? Hygge? Unless you are from Denmark or Sweden, you might not be familiar with this Scandanavian tradition. Hygge, pronounced hoo-ga, is a lifestyle. Consider it the new mental health trend.

It’s a Danish idea which means to be happy and feel cozy during the winter. Also known as the Art of Happiness.

hygge

The term Hygge goes back to the 16th century, meaning “to comfort”. Practicing Hygge is a way to cope and embrace the dark, cool days of winter when sunshine is minimal. This Nordic secret might be just what many of us need to get through SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. Sometimes, wrapping your brain around, and simply accepting, something that you cannot change is the best way to deal with it. Enter Hygge.

Embracing darkness and cold might not sound easy. The key is to surround yourself with what means “cozy” to you. Literally blankets, fire, candles, friends, laughter, warm drinks, warming and grounding foods. Interestingly, Hygge doesn’t  shy away from the darkness. From what I have learned, the lifestyle does not involve trying to make rooms brighter, or by any means counterbalance the darkness. Rather, darkness and candle light add to the ambiance, add to feelings of coziness and closeness.

Want to add a little Hygge into your life? Here are 5 lessons we can take from Scandanavia:

blanket cliff female foggy
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com
  1. Hygge together: gather your friends and loved ones, make a meal together of warming foods like roasts, root vegetables, soups, warm rye bread, warm drinks, and foods that “stick to your ribs”. Friends that hygge together, stay together. 🙂
  2. Bring the outdoors in: create a centerpiece for your table, make a promise to always have fresh flowers in one or two rooms, or start a collection of beautiful dried flowers and leaves and display it on your coffee table.
  3. Lots of blankets and pillows: bring out your favourite hand made afghan or buy the fluffiest throw you can find. Create a little corner on your oversized chair or loveseat with giant throw cushions and wrap yourself up for the night.
  4. Aromatherapy: burn some organic essential oils, light some beeswax candles, add some fresh rose petals to your warm bath. Inhaling essence of flowers can have a stimulating, relaxing or calming effect on your nervous system. Choose oils or plants that make you feel good. Some prefer citrus, floral, even woodsy.
  5. Make a “me corner”: a place to call your own where you can write, meditate, stare out a window, contemplate your thoughts. Fill it with a few of your treasures, a candle, an essential oil diffuser, a journal and your book.

Adding a little Hygge into your life will surely reduce your stress. Your negative thoughts toward winter or cold or constant rain will dissipate if you simply embrace what you cannot change. Hold my hand, come sit by the fire and Hygge with me.

love romantic bath candlelight

Jen Casey is a Holistic Nutritionist with Next Bite Nutrition Coaching in Vancouver, BC. She focuses her practice on whole body wellness and building a solid foundation for the pillars of health. Learn more about Jen and her healthy meal plans on Instagram.

Turn 5 Healing Plants in to the Ultimate Natural Skin Care Remedies

Using plants and flowers topically might seem like the new trend. Companies are including chamomile, lavender, salts and clays in products to 1. bring us back to nature, and 2. create a more healthy product.

In fact, using ingredients from nature goes way back. Think of Cleopatra and her milk and honey baths with a sprinkling of rose petals. Having access to these luxurious ingredients was a sign of wealth. In the ancient Roman baths, prior to the invention of soap, olive oil was used all over the body and scraped off with a rounded metal spoon-spatula to remove dirt from the skin.

These ingredients were used because they were available, yes, but also because they had purpose. Plants contain constituents that soothe, nourish, stimulate and coat. Some plant oils are extracted in the form of essential oils and used in aromatherapy for their healing properties. Some plants are steeped in tea form and ingested or used topically. Either way, our internal and external self can reap the rewards of nature’s gifts.

Here are my 5 top plant picks that work wonders on the skin:

face oil

  1. Oats (Avena sativa): Oats are warming overall. Eating a big bowl of oatmeal soothes the digestive tract, calms the nervous system and topically is a demulcent and emollient. Mix up some ground oats with honey for a weekly face mask, or add oats to your bath to help relieve itching or rashes.
  2. Rose: Roses were grown traditionally for medicinal use but are wonderful in skin care as they are high in vitamin C and aromatic. Rose essential oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it useful in skin toners and cleansers. Try making rose infused face oil or use rose petals in a weekly facial steam.
  3. Aloe Vera:  Internally, aloe juice can aid in digestion with it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Topically, aloe contains constituents that aid in wound healing by  stimulating the growth of skin cells. If you have a live aloe plant, simply break open a leaf and apply to wounded skin. Otherwise, you can purchase aloe juice or gel and use directly on skin. For sunburned skin, keep aloe refrigerated and apply directly as needed.
  4. Calendula (Calendula officinalis): From the pot Marigold flower, Calendula has a purpose in skin care from baby to adult. Topically, it’s major uses are for burns, wounds, skin infections, and reducing inflammation. A cold infusion compress works well on burns and calendula-infused oil is my favourite addition in salves.
  5. Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana): A plant with astringent, anti-inflammatory, and healing properties. Traditionally, it is used in skin care to tone the skin, tighten pores, reduce inflammation and protect against UV damage, with antioxidant properties. Apply directly onto cleansed skin, or mix with steeped herbal tea as a face toner.

Get back to basics. Try incorporating one or two herbal remedies into your daily routine to help reduce some toxins, and naturally clean and protect your skin. Experiment with infusions, salves, compresses and even try mixing them together for a synergistic effect. You can grow your own and dry the leaves, or purchase organic plants and flowers at organic markets, dispensaries, wellness clinics and DIY soapmaking/beauty suppliers.

 

Beauty Foods: 5 Common Nutrients That Give Your Skin That Glow

As a former Make Up Artist, a Nutritionist, and the creator of a line of natural skin care for babies, I know a thing or two about skin.
Topically, our skin is affected by what we eat, or don’t eat, what we put on it, and by our environment.  Consuming trans and saturated fats can clog pores and promote bacteria production and acne.  Also, high refined carbohydrate consumption can increase testosterone conversion to DHT, which enlarges the pores and increases sebum (oil) production and acne.  Sugar is also a culprit as it is turned into saturated fatty acids by our body and forms a greasy film on our skin. (1)
A lack of nutrients can also cause skin conditions.  A deficiency in zinc, antioxidants, fiber, water and EFA’s can cause acne, premature aging, dehydration and sun damage as your skin is less protected from free radicals. Some foods work well topically to improve suppleness, shine, and clean pores, but some foods contain nutrients which are more effective when eaten.
Of course, a balanced, healthy diet with plenty of water will keep our entire body systems working optimally, but these particular nutrients will help your skin looking its best. 

Liquid EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids): Oils containing EFA’s work better internally rather than topically as they can become rancid if left on the skin and exposed to air.  Internally, EFA’s, such as walnut, sesame, and flax oil, help to improve the skin’s suppleness and makes it less prone to infection.

bowl delicious diet dry
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Zinc: Zinc is a micronutrient that works particularly well on acne conditions. A deficiency in this mineral can increase the conversion of testosterone to DHT, increase pore size and sebum production. Zinc plays an important role in healing and tissue building. Foods rich in zinc are spinach, oysters, lamb, eggs, nuts and pumpkin seeds.

 

Selenium: A trace mineral that helps to protect against free radicals that can cause premature aging, dryness, tissue damage and even skin cancer. Cold water fish and brazil nuts are excellent sources of Selenium.

appetizer crab cuisine delicious
Photo by Terje Sollie on Pexels.com

Fiber: This is the roughage of plant material that binds to cholesterol and other toxins in the body and flushes it out. Daily fiber intake is important for our entire body to keep it clean. The skin is our body’s largest organ, so if the body is not clean, the evidence shows on the outside, usually in the form of skin rashes and acne. An excellent form of fiber is ground flax, an ancient seed that is the richest source of alpha-linolenic acid, plus protein, vitamins and minerals. It is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and has cancer fighting properties. (2)

four brown wooden spoons screenshot
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

Antioxidants: Vitamins A, C, and E help protect our body from free radical damage that can cause premature aging, tissue damage, disease and the deterioration of fatty acids. Foods high in vitamins A, C and E are berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, wheat germ, carrots, avocado, sunflower seeds, eggs, dairy and spinach.

full drinking glass with slice of lime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Always include exercise in your daily routine. It aids in detoxification of toxins through the skin.  Sweating is good! And, don’t forget about water. You can liven it up with lemons and berries for flavour and an extra boost of antioxidants.

 

Additional sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, 
  2. Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill

 

Jen Casey is a Holistic Nutritionist with Next Bite Nutrition Coaching in Vancouver, BC. She focuses her practice on whole body wellness and building a solid foundation for the pillars of health. Learn more about Jen and her healthy meal plans on Instagram.

5 Myths About Sex & Relationships

Five Myths About Sex & Relationships by Lucy Snider, Psychosexual and Relationship Psychotherapist and Sexual Health Educator

1) Sexual Desire is Always Spontaneous
Desire can be spontaneous i.e. you feel sexual desire randomly without anything specifically triggering it, but it is much more likely to be responsive. Responsive sexual desire is when we are exposed to something stimulating (such as sensual touch, kissing, fantasy or erotica) and by engaging with the stimulus we begin to feel sexually aroused and then desire may kick in later (or it may not). If one partner complains that they always initiate sex it may be that they experience spontaneous desire but the other does not. There is nothing wrong with either partner, they are just different.

2) Most Women Can Orgasm from Penetrative Sex
Most women (roughly 80%) cannot achieve orgasm through vaginal penetration alone. This is because the clitoris has thousands of nerve endings and plays a big role in orgasm. Most positions that accommodate vaginal penetration don’t provide adequate clitoral stimulation. Even if a woman can achieve orgasm from penetrative sex, it is likely that it occurs in a position which allows for clitoral stimulation. If you struggle with achieving orgasm, experiment with different types (speeds, pressures, instruments such as finger, palm, tongue, toys) of clitoral stimulation to find out what works for you. And remember the lube! If you don’t feel you’re naturally lubricating enough it doesn’t mean you’re not “into it”, lots of things can affect natural lubrication, but adequate lubrication is really important otherwise sex is likely to be painful and no fun at all! I recommend the following range of organic lubricants: http://www.yesyesyes.org.

3) If We Argue Then the Relationship is Over
All couples argue! Conflict is enviable as we are all individuals with unique personalities and there will always be things we see differently from others. So it is not the absence of conflict but rather how you manage conflict that is important. There are healthy and unhealthy ways to manage conflict. If you feel things getting heated, take a time out. It is much better to come back to something once you have both had the opportunity to calm down. Stick to “I” statements rather than “you” statements and frame feedback factually i.e. “I feel hurt when I see you on your phone” rather than “you are always on your phone, you’re so selfish”

4) If We Have to Schedule Sex the Romance Has Gone
Real life means we are all busy with a to-do-list as long as your arm. It is very common that sex gets pushed further and further down the list until we forget about it completely. Making a commitment to dedicate specific, protected time to being intimate with your partner means you acknowledge that it is an important part of the relationship that needs to be nurtured. Scheduling can help both of you maintain it as a priority. It might feel weird at first but you can still mix it up, take turns initiating on the days you choose to schedule sex or deciding what activity to choose. Ironically, the more time you dedicate to intimacy the more likely it is that those spontaneous moments might occur!

5) Sex Has to Include Penetration and Orgasm
“Sex” can mean anything you want it to mean! Any kind of intimate contact that you feel is sexual is sex. And it doesn’t have to include orgasm. The more we “try” to make something happen, the less likely it is to happen, and the more likely you are to get stuck in a negative cycle of worrying you won’t come, focusing on trying to, not coming, then being upset/disappointed. Then you probably won’t want to engage in sexual contact the next time there’s an opportunity because “what’s the point”. Instead, try experimenting with different kinds of touch and really focusing on the experience without thinking about “the destination” (of course, easier said than done, but the more you practice, the easier it gets). This can be especially helpful for new mums who feel nervous about having sex again after baby is born. You don’t need to jump in at the deep end, start slowly, and above all, communicate with your partner.

Lucy Snider is a Psychosexual and Relationship Psychotherapist and Sexual Health Educator based in Kelowna, BC. For more information you can contact her via her website at www.bcsexualwellness.com or find her on social media – Twitter: _sexualwellness and Instagram: @sexualwellness 

KPG website photo.jpg