We like certainty. When things feel uncertain, it is normal to feel stressed. Part of protecting your health is being mindful - what are you thinking?

What Are You Thinking?

We like certainty. We are hard-wired to want to know what is happening and notice threats, and when things feel uncertain, it is normal to feel stressed. And while this reaction is there to protect us, it can cause havoc when there is a sense of uncertainty and conflicting information around us. What are you thinking?

Are you feeling some anxiety? Right now, many of us are worried about COVID-19. We may feel helpless about what will happen and uncomfortable with our apparent loss of control, and this uncertainty can remind us of times when we didn’t feel safe and the future was uncertain.

In times like these, our mental or emotional health can suffer without our realizing it’s happening. Take time to notice … what are you thinking? You might feel more on edge than usual, angry, or sad. Or you might find yourself feeling depressed and less motivated to carry out daily activities.

I want to encourage you that you are not helpless, despite what you are reading in current news. You can always choose your response. If you notice that you are struggling here are some things you can do to take care of mental and emotional health in the face of uncertainty:

Separate what IS in your control from what is not

Focus on what you can do. Wash your hands. Make sure you sleep. Check out other suggestions I shared earlier this month, and limit your consumption of news (it’s not encouraging positive thoughts, right?).

Do what helps YOU feel a sense of safety

This will be different of each of us, and I encourage you not to compare yourself to others. It’s okay if you feel safer when you limit your attendance at social events, provided you are isolating yourself out of concern for infection and not because of depression.

Get outside in nature!

Even better, take a walk in nature. There are numerous studies that have documented the benefits of being out in the sun where you can see the signs of spring and hear the birds and the wind in the trees. This one practice alone will boost your mental, emotional and physical health. If you didn’t read my suggestions for supporting your immune system, check it out here.

Challenge yourself to stay in the present

Do you find your worry is compounding – you are not only concerned about what is happening now, but also the “what ifs” in the future? When you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened, gently shift yourself back to the present. To do this, notice sights, sounds, tastes and sensory experiences in your environment and name them. This is called mindfulness, and coupled with deep breathing, it helps to reduce stress. Here are more approaches.

Stay connected with people and reach out for support

Talk to trusted friends or family members about what you are feeling. It’s okay to reach out to a mental health professional for support. You don’t have to be alone with your worry. It can be comforting to share what you are experiencing with someone trained to help.

Parents be aware that teens tend to feel emotions more intensely. If you have a teen who seems anxious about current events, read this article for some tips.

There may also be a physiological reason for your anxiety or depression. The microbiome (bacteria in your gut) is a key player in making the neurotransmitters that govern our feelings. When it is damaged by medications or eating foods to which your body reacts, your body will lack the neurotransmitters that it needs. Thankfully, the gut can heal and the microbiome can rebound, and I can help identify what is needed to support healing.

Life is full of uncertainty and change. It is important, as part of your overall wellness, that you take note of your emotional and mental health and mindfully take action to support yourself.

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Rather than get caught up in fear from all the reports of pandemic, you can be proactive and arm yourself for Coronavirus

Arm Yourself For Coronavirus

You cannot view any news media without coming across the latest development with the Coronavirus strain. It’s even being touted in political campaigns. What thoughts do these reports prompt? Disbelief? Concern? Fear?

How do you respond to the reports? Are you feeling that it couldn’t possibly be true, or letting your imagination run rampant and barring the door?

I’m not going to weigh into the debate about the accuracy of the reports we are hearing. Instead, I want to share some guidance on how you can support your immune system, because that is the aspect over which you have control in this crazy situation. I recommend you arm yourself against Coronavirus rather than succumb to fear.

Your Environment

Your can address risks in your environment by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, many times in the day
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces – doorknobs and light switches are often overlooked
  • Avoid touching your face – eyes, nose or mouth
  • Practice cough etiquette
  • If experiencing symptoms protect others by staying home or wearing a mask

Observation skills are key. Notice the environment around you and what you are feeling in your body.

Your Immune System

Your front line defense is your immune system. You often aren’t aware, but it is on the job every moment of every day. Your best defense in the face of daily threats is to support your immune system for effective function. Here are ways to boost your defenses:

Food – the goal is to keep the body alkalized

  • Skip foods/drinks with added sugar which depresses your immune system
  • Consume immune boosting foods – chicken broth, garlic and ginger
  • Eat lots of greens and non-starchy vegetables
  • Pass on the farm-raised fish in favor of wild caught
  • Skip the dairy products which raise acidity
  • Avoid refined carbs (flour-based foods)
  • Avoid alcohol which suppresses immunity

Supplements – because you can’t always get what you need from food

  • Supplement Vitamin C (1000mg or more), Vitamin D3 (5000IU), Magnesium (400mg)
  • Cod Liver Oil providing Vitamin A & Omega 3s
  • Elderberry Syrup which has been shown to block viral attachment in cells
  • Zinc Glycinate (30mg) to inhibit viral replication
  • Monolauren (600mg) to disrupt biofilms that disguise viruses from your immune system

Listening to the media can stir up fear, which also suppresses your immune system. Rather than wring your hands and wallow in “what ifs,” I encourage you to prepare yourself and your family and arm yourself for Coronavirus. Having a strong immune system is vital for wellness no matter what is threatening from across the ocean. The steps I have outlined above are not extreme, yet they can have significant impact.

And if you are one of the many in our population who suffers from acid reflux, I highly recommend you join my class. The effectiveness of your immune system is dependent on good digestion, and acid reflux is a sign that your digestion is weak if not broken. The good news is it can be fixed when you understand how it is supposed to work and provide the body with the building blocks to correct it.

Take a deep breath and evaluate your situation, then take the steps to prepare. You’ve got this!

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

 

 

Photo by Curology on Unsplash

 

If you supplement your nutrient intake to fill gaps, you may wonder how and when it is best to take them for greatest benefit.

Timing For Supplements ….

Are you one of the growing numbers of Americans who are recognizing the need to supplement your nutrient intake? Have you explored how to take them for best effect?

I do meet people that believe supplements are unnecessary. These have often accepted the media reports that vitamins don’t work, or questioning whether the FDA has approved them. I won’t take the time in this newsletter to fully refute these positions. Suffice it to say, the media was reporting on studies that were done using synthetic vitamins. The body doesn’t recognize or use synthetic vitamins well. Bioavailable forms are absorbed and provide benefits.

When you have determined that your body needs a supplement, and you have chosen a quality form, there may still be some questions regarding how and when to take them. Let me offer some tips ….

Some are taken with meals

Most supplements are best taken with meals. This would include minerals and fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K. These cannot be absorbed without fat (the fortified skim milk you may be drinking offers you no benefit for this reason). If you find that you have issues with nausea when you take supplements, you should first verify that your supplements are not synthetic and then take them with food.

You may be one who finds it hard to swallow pills or capsules with liquid. In this case, I recommend that you try popping one in your mouth just before you swallow a bit of food. That has worked for some of my clients.

If you are taking Vitamin B12 you will need a strong level of stomach acid. Taking acid-reducing or PPI medications will limit the absorption of even a quality methylated supplement. I suggest a sublinqual form of B12 supplement. And if you would like to talk about how you can break free from those meds altogether, reach out and we can chat.

Digestive support in the form of digestive enzymes or Betaine HCl with Pepsin is best taken in the middle of your meal, with as small amount of liquid as possible.

Some are best on an empty stomach

Not all supplements are effectively used by the body in combination with food. Herbal supplements often work best when taken away separate from food. Likewise, if you are taking amino acid supplements (creatine, glutamine, glycine, arginine, leucine, lysine, for example), they are best taken on an empty stomach. That would be either 30 minutes before a meal or 2 hours after you eat.

I also recommend taking probiotics on an empty stomach so that the bacteria is not used to digest your food. We want those little buggers work their magic in your small intestine rather than on your food. But you can aid their effect by including raw vegetables in the meal before you take probiotics. The insoluble fiber in the veggies will provide a meal for the bacteria and help them work for your benefit.

Nutritional supplements should never take the place of fueling your body with real food in a variety of colors and macronutrients. Yet you can supplement your nutrient intake to fill the gaps and boost the individual nutrients that your body needs as building blocks for function.

Don’t excuse your symptoms as the result of growing old or the effects of a diagnosed disease. Instead, consider those symptoms to be your body’s cries for help and begin to explore the root cause. By taking a proactive approach, you can support your body’s ability to heal, and I’m available to help!

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

And aspirin a day is dangerous

An Aspirin A Day Is Dangerous

Are you one of the millions of Americans whose doctor has advised to take a baby aspirin daily in an effort to protect from heart attack or stroke? If you don’t take it yourself, I know you know someone who does. But, do you (or they) know this is no longer recommended in light of recent studies? In fact, an aspirin a day is dangerous.

Aspirin is one of a variety of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that is often used in a preventive mode against future heart attacks. Research has shown that aspirin therapy works for those who have already had a heart attack. However, there is a strong risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and inflammation with regular consumption of NSAIDs.

An aspirin a day …

The typical “preventive” aspirin dose is 81mg – the amount in a baby aspirin. Unfortunately, that dose is not effective in reducing the risk of heart attack. For this benefit, you must take about 325mg a day which creates a more significant risk for gastrointestinal bleeding.

It’s a Catch 22 – taking the low dose doesn’t have the protective benefit we have been told to expect. However, taking the high dose comes with far more risk. Even the American Gastroenterological Association has confirmed significant numbers of hospitalizations related to regular use of NSAIDs.

Are there other anti-inflammatory options?

Yes! There are anti-inflammatory options that don’t carry a bleeding risk. You’ve probably heard of them:

  • Good quality Fish Oil – I recommend that you take at least 1500mg of Omega-3s (EPA + DHA) in divided doses daily with meals. What’s high quality? Look for a molecularly distilled brand.
  • Curcumin – 500mg of Meriva curcumin (curcumin in a lipid capsule that makes it to the small intestines for better absorption) taken 1-2 times daily.

Don’t quit cold turkey!

If you have been taking either low-dose aspirin other NSAIDs (Ibuprofin, Aleve, full-dose Aspirin) on a daily basis – even for just 1 or 2 weeks – do not stop suddenly. The body’s reaction to such a cutoff can cause blood clots and increase risk. Instead, take half your dose for 2-3 weeks while incorporating at least one of the natural anti-inflammatory choices above in the middle of weaning.

Are you shocked to hear of these dangers? While we have the expectation that medications sold over the counter should be safe, that’s only when used infrequently. If you have been in the habit of popping NSAIDs for common aches and pains, you may at risk. I would recommend that you shift to Meriva Curcumin. Or consider scheduling a chat with me to see whether your symptoms are cries for help from your body.

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Bust The Holiday Stress Cycle

Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza, the holidays can be a great time of joy for many. But for others, they are filled with anxiety and stress. You can set yourself on a more positive path – and bust the holiday stress cycle – when you understand the how to best support your body for joy.

When stress hits at this time of year, it’s easy to turn to that tray of cookies for moral support. After all, cookies won’t criticize you about your choices the way your family will. What we don’t realize is that we are self-medicating with sweets – the quick spike of sugar in our system can bring an increase in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of well-being and happiness. Sadly, the benefit is fleeting, and we find ourselves reaching for another fix.

How do we bust the holiday stress cycle? First admit that it’s a problem, and then consciously choose some strategies to support a different outcome. I am offering you these tips for boosting your energy and outlook through these coming weeks.

Be active

Instead of reaching for the holiday goodies when you feel a lag in energy, get outside in the fresh air for a walk, hit the gym, chase your kids in the yard, or just do something physical that appeals to you. You’ll release the stress and the exercise will help release the proper chemicals in your brain to make you feel better.

Workout your mind

Your brain needs exercise too! Rather than allowing your mind to dwell on the negative things that push you toward those cookies, give your mind something constructive to do. Take 10 to 20 minutes to yourself to read something engaging for you, or work on a crossword puzzle or something else that stimulates your mind in an enjoyable way. I use my Sudoku app for this purpose. It will help you feel refreshed.

Focus on healthful eating

While it’s true that the holidays are certainly a time for more indulgent meals, when you focus on your healthful eating prior to those big family dinners, it won’t be such a shock to your waistline. Make sure you’re eating meals that have a small amount of protein, a portion of good fat, minimal grain-based carbs and lots of vegetables. Don’t skip meals. If you starve yourself all day because your job or your family (or both!) is making you nuts, you’re more prone to stuffing yourself at dinner with things that aren’t very healthful.

Practice moderation

Yes, there are certainly foods we only get to enjoy during this time of year. But again, eating all of them isn’t going to do any good. So indulge mindfully and moderately. Looking forward to your sister’s famous pecan pie? Then focus on eating that when the time comes and say no to treats that aren’t as delicious.

Forgive yourself and others

No one is perfect. If you find you caved in to peer pressure at work and ate treats you declared you wouldn’t, forgive yourself and move on. Take a deep breath or two and release the situation. Get back on track with the next food choice and move your body. But above all, keep your head up and your focus on gratitude.

Make gratitude your focus

I have noticed that more and more people are recognizing how a gratitude practice is  profound in its effects. It isn’t time consuming – you are simply recording 3-5 things for which you are grateful on a daily basis. I have found it helpful to write these on an index card to review throughout the day. Something as simple as being thankful for the poinsettia arrangement my husband brought home, or the uplifting smells of spices, can shift my energy … and yours.

YOU are on my gratitude list. I am thankful for all who recognize that they have a choice related to their health. I’m passionate about encouraging the choices that will support their body and supporting those who prioritize their pursuit of wellness!

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Arm Yourself Against Illness

‘Tis the season – the flu season is being heralded all around us. Are you prepared? And how can you arm yourself against illness, be it flu or cold or other form?

Though there’s no guaranteed way to avoid getting sick, supporting your immune system is what I consider the best way (even ahead of vaccines). Here are 7 ways to arm your immune system:

Decrease Stress

Prioritize taking time daily to enjoy relaxing activities such as meditation or listening to music, which reduce physical perception of stress. When experiencing stress, your body releases hormones that can tax your immune system and raise your susceptibility.

Get Out In The Sun

The sun does more for you than raise your Vitamin D levels – it improves your circadian rhythm and lifts your spirits. So get outside, even in the cold. If getting sufficient levels of UVA rays from the sun is difficult in the winter where you live, explore getting a Vitamin D lamp or lightbox. These simulate noontime sunshine and can provide an alternate source of “sunshine.”

Exercise (Or Move) Regularly

Getting 30 minutes of physical activity daily will increase your blood circulation and can help strengthen your immune system. Movement helps antibodies and white blood cells move around the body faster so they may detect invaders sooner. Walking outside combines sun and exercise – win!

Eat Purposefully

No single food will fend off a cold or flu but certain nutrients can help protect your body from bacteria, viruses and other germs. Consider these foods:

  • Garlic and ginger – antiviral and antibiotic
  • Wild-caught salmon & cold-water fish – Omega3
  • Pumpkin seeds, grass-fed meat – Zinc
  • Brazil nuts, broccoli, sardines – Selenium
  • Bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, kale, citrus (fruit not juice) – Vitamin C
  • Reduce sugar which depresses the immune system for hours after consumption

Boost Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D is crucial for healthy immune function and maintaining a positive mood in the winter. Therefore, have your blood vitamin D level tested and supplement it if your level is below 30 nanograms per milliliter.

Drink More Water

Hydration is key to whole-body health. Every system in your body needs adequate water to function properly. It’s not just liquids your body needs – water or herbal teas provide hydration.

Prioritize Restful Sleep

Clinical study has demonstrated that several days of partial sleep deprivation has significant detrimental effects on immune function. Adults should try to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, while those with a compromised immune system should get even more.

You can’t expect your immune system to function well if you don’t support it with the right building blocks. A vaccination won’t cover you if you are skimping in the other areas. Rather, it will initially depress your immune system.

So take a cue from the airline safety briefing and put your oxygen mask on first.

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Simple BBQ Ideas

Simple BBQ Ideas

Cooking food outside is a regular practice in our family, especially in the summer. It’s fun to eat outside and enjoy a different setting whether it’s a picnic or backyard gathering. Each of us can recall memories made as we gathered around a table to enjoy a meal alfresco. And, cooking food doesn’t have to be hard… here are some simple bbq ideas to get you started.

Unfortunately, much of what we put out on the grill isn’t so good for us.  If you’re looking to host an outdoor barbecue with healthier options than the typical hot dogs, hamburgers, and ribs — take a look below for some tasty yet healthy suggestions.

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Is Heartburn Caused by Lack of Acid?

Is Heartburn Caused by Lack of Acid?

Do you joke about heartburn? Perhaps it started off as an occasional, nagging burning in your chest and you blamed Grandma’s cooking. Is it still occasional, or has it crept into regular discomfort? Are you wondering if heartburn is caused by lack of acid instead of too much?

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Food Journal Benefits

Food Journal Benefits

Jotting down everything you eat throughout the day can unlock so many clues as to what foods work best for you, and what foods may have a negative effect that you haven’t noticed until now. I want to talk with you about food journal benefits and what you can discover by recording what you eat!

It can be as simple as carrying a small notebook with you, or even as quick as downloading a Food Journal app on your phone to keep track.  There are many great ones to choose from if you search for “food journaling” in your phone’s app store.

Here’s what you’ll discover about yourself when you start keeping a food journal.

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Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Are you in full spring-cleaning mode, yet?  Tidying up your home and cleaning its surfaces can breathe such a breath of fresh air into your life.  Provided your cleaning products are not adding more toxins in the process. I’d like you to try some eco-friendly cleaning products to shine up your home.

The majority of the household cleaners we see in the store and advertised in media contain chemicals that can make it hard for us to breathe, cause our eyes to water, or even lead to health concerns we certainly want to bypass.  These damaging chemicals are found in everything from your fabric softener that gets clothes feeling snuggly to your soap-scum remover, and everything in between.

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