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women's health

 7 MINI TO-DO'S THAT WILL MASTER YOUR OXYTOCIN AND LOWER YOUR STRESS.  

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 7 MINI TO-DO'S THAT WILL MASTER YOUR OXYTOCIN AND LOWER YOUR STRESS.  

The Anti-Stress Hormone + How To Increase It

Sometimes I geek out on biochemistry –– those chemical processes that prompt how we move through life.


Our biochemistry drives our behavior.


Each day, our stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) run through our bodies influencing many of our imperative functions –– including metabolism, energy, blood sugar, sex drive and sleep.


When our stress hormones are in balance, we feel generally strong, resilient, positive, and joyful.


When our stress hormones are out of whack things tend to go awry:


  • We may try and try and try some more to manage our anxiety, or our high levels of overwhelm and simply find it to be a losing battle over and over again.


  • We may wake up in the middle of the night with our minds spinning and lie awake (in a panic) for hours.


  • We may notice our high levels of stress are destroying our eating ––we crave sugar, french fries and/or a couple extra glasses of pinot to take the edge off.


  • Our thoughts are a hot mess! We may blame ourselves for not being more resilient, strong and grateful.



All we are doing is trying to cope. 🙈


Have you heard of oxytocin (also known as the love hormone)? Oxytocin promotes connection, bonding, and closeness.


Today I want to tell you why oxytocin is my favorite hormone (and maybe the most important of our time!).


Not only is it the feel good, warm and fuzzy, cuddle hormone, but oxytocin also keeps us calm, lowers inflammation and most importantly balances out our cortisol –– the sneaky, chronic and destructive stress hormone that has most of us in a tailspin.


If you are like me, you would most likely prefer your oxytocin be higher than your cortisol –– to relieve chronic states of stress, higher levels of depression and/or anxiety, extra weight gain, and uncontrollable cravings.


The good news is that you can create more oxytocin in your life.


Want to know how? I've got some answers for you today:

 7 MINI TO-DO'S THAT WILL MASTER YOUR OXYTOCIN AND LOWER YOUR STRESS.  

 

Not only are these simple, do-able and user friendly to-do's, but they are so very pleasurable, because oxytocin elevates our pleasure –– so feel free to let it fly!

1.     EAT OXYTOCIN PROMOTING FOODS

 

Yes! You can eat yourself into a more positive and calm state. Balanced-blood sugar, loads of tryptophan rich foods, healthy fats, antioxidants and B vitamins to support your brain chemistry result in higher level of serotonin, higher levels of oxytocin and lower levels of stress.

Be sure to check out the following calming superfoods to feed your body into a more oxytocin induced biochemical state.

  • Dark chocolate (specifically raw cacao)

  • Black sesame seeds

  • Avocado

  • Fig

  • Quinoa

  • Cashews

  • Walnuts

  • Brazil Nuts

  • Wild Salmon

  • Spirulina

  • Sweet Potato

  • Berries

  • Wild Mushrooms

  • Yerba mate

  • Pomegranate

  • Organic Turkey

  • Whole milk yogurt or kefir

  • Eggs

  • Bananas

 

2.     TAKE OXYTOCIN PROMOTING SUPPLEMENTS

 

There are several (high quality) supplements that encourage the release of oxytocin.  On a biochemical level, there are many ways to boost you up. Here are a few to explore.

  • Vitamin D

  • Vitamin C

  • Magnesium

  • Chamomile

  • Melatonin

  • B vitamins

  • 5HTP

  • Tryptophan

  • L-Glutamine

  • GABA

  • L-Phenylalinine

  • L-Theanine

 

** often times you can find a blend of many of these supplements that will . support your oxytocin. If you need a little help, let me know. Check out our online apothecary HERE

3.     ENJOY OXYTOCIN PROMOTING MIND-BODY PRACTICES

 

While it may seem like your monkey mind is not on your side at times when it comes to calming and uplifting your spirits, try these mind-practices to boost your oxytocin and shift yourself out of your habitual stress response.

  • Meditation

  • Yoga

  • Gratitude practice

  • Have a good cry

  • Personal reflection

  • Positive affirmation

  • Long deep breaths (to engage to calming side of your nervous system)

  

4.     CONNECT AND BOOST YOUR OXYTOCIN

 

Oxytocin is often called the love hormone, the cuddle hormone and even the connection hormone.  Being close to another person elevates our oxytocin.  Try these relational tips and see what happens.

 

  • Hug someone

  • Laugh

  • Connect with your friends

  • Call a loved on on the phone

  • Give or receive massage

  • Orgasm

  • Give a stranger a compliment

  • Snuggle your pet

  • Enjoy a romantic meal with your partner

  

5.     MOVE YOUR BODY TO ELEVATE YOUR OXYTOCIN:

When you move your body, you secrete endorphins and oxytocin. These hormones enhance your brain chemistry and are also the primary reason that folks tend to exercise to relieve stress. While cardio works well, you don’t have to go to the extreme, join a gym or become a hard-core athlete. Moving your body in a variety of ways will suffice.

  • Dance

  • Hike in nature

  • Swim

  • Go on a bike ride

  • Do some cardio

 

6.     GET OUTSIDE AND SOAK UP SOME OXYTOCIN:

 

Being outside correlates to higher levels of oxytocin. Soak up some sun. Listen to the sound of nature –– birds chirping, rivers rushing, frogs croaking. The connection hormone is also about connecting to nature.

  • Try forest bathing (sit and enjoy nature while doing nothing)

  • Camp in the woods

  • Read a book in the sunshine

  • Sit by a river

  • Garden

  • Enjoy your lunch under a park tree

  • Have a bonfire

  • Sit at an outdoor dinner table

  • Sunbathe

 

7.     GIVE FOR THE LOVE OF IT:

 

We are social creatures and we are wired to help one another. Giving is a neuro-pathway that has been shown to be a powerful way to creating more joy and improving overall health.

  • Help a friend

  • Make a donation

  • Volunteer with an organization that speaks to you

  • Give advice (when warranted)

  • Help a stranger change a tire

Handling a stressful situation the best you can (with the above knowledge in your back pocket) may help you navigate some of the most common automatic responses to stress that could lead to or exacerbate imbalances in your stress hormones.

Ultimately, you don’t have control of when or what stress life throws at you, but you do have power within your stress response that can be honed and sculpted over time to create a healthier and happier life.

I’d love to hear from you! What is one oxytocin boosting to-do you are going to try? Tell me in the comments below.

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GRATEFUL CRANBERRY SAUCE

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GRATEFUL CRANBERRY SAUCE


Did you know cranberries are often referred to as a superfood?


While we tend to hear a lot about cranberries, we sadly don't the rest of the year. This naturally sweetened zesty version of traditional cranberry sauce highlights the health benefits of cranberries without all of the added sugar.

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This delicious fall flavored rendition of cranberry sauce has a lot to offer your palate and your health!

Cranberries are known to decrease inflammation, prevent UTI’s, protect against cancer, improve cardiovascular health…the list goes on!

Enjoy these healthy and delicious treats this holiday season or really anytime at all!


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WHAT'S YOUR FLAVOR FAV?

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WHAT'S YOUR FLAVOR FAV?

THE SECRET INGREDIENT IS ALWAYS LOVE


 

Sweet honey crisp apples, pungent roasted green chillies, salty farmers market cukes...


Fall flavors are a flowin'.


In traditional medicine, the 5 flavors are a representation of the geography of our palates, as well as a larger geography of our lives. Each of the five flavors have their own unique medicinal properties.
 

Flavors attune your body, mind and soul.


Subsequently, with our unique body ecologies, we can inquire into the flavors we crave on our plates and how they may reveal some deeper patterns in our lives.


Every craving has a message.


Let 's take a peek into the deeper currents of flavor:
 

  • Sweet:  Sweetness is the most nourishing flavor –– all the way from breast milk to a homemade desert. Often a metaphor for love and attention, sweet is the most over eaten and out of balance flavor in our culture. When used wisely, sweetness nourishes the body and heart to the highest degree. 

  • Salty:  Foods such as sea salt, seaweed and cured cheeses deliver salt to the body. Salt maintains the electrolyte balance in our cells. The salty flavor is said to increase inner courage, drive and fearlessness.

  • Pungent:  Foods such as hot peppers, garlic and ginger bring the pungent flavor (also known as spicy). Pungent flavors clear the sinuses and improve circulation. Pungent foods are said to increase passion and excitement.

  • Bitter:  Bitter is experienced in foods like kale, spinach and chocolate. Bitter is the flavor most lacking in the Western world’s diet, even though bitter foods often offer the most health benefits and spiritual enhancement. Bitter foods purify and cleanse the body, mind and soul.

  • Sour:  Citrus, green grapes and fermented foods such as vinegars and pickles offer the sour flavor. Sour is energizing and supports a strong and healthy digestion. The sour flavor is known to soothe irritability and increase our sense of calm and peace. 


Often known as the taste of satiation, the combination and balance of all five flavors gives us the feeling of being fed, and being fed well. 



Notice the foods you crave when you are worried, stressed, irritable, bored, lonely or tired.


Which flavors you are drawn to?  Which flavors do you shy away from?  What do you need to be nourished?

Check out some of our favorite fall recipes HERE


Eat Well,


 P.S. For upcoming foodie fun and recipe demos follow us HERE


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PALISADE PEACH CAPRESE

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PALISADE PEACH CAPRESE

"PATIENCE IS BITTER, BUT ITS FRUIT IS SWEET"

JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU

 

Here in Colorado we love our Palisade peaches. To me there is nothin' better than a late summer peach. This recipe is a fun spin on a Caprese salad and a delightful addition to your harvesty table.
 

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This low glycemic fruit is a great late summer fruit to boost up your antioxidant intake without throwing your blood sugar off track.  If you can find local organic peaches in your area, you will notice the flavors are even more full and tasty. 

If you are not a dairy eater, feel free to substitute the fresh mozzarella in this recipe with a nut cheese (such as ricotta) and enjoy!!

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ROASTED FIG AND ARUGULA SALAD

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ROASTED FIG AND ARUGULA SALAD

"COOKING IS LOVE MADE VISIBLE"

 

This time of year gets me back into the kitchen roasting. A nice merge of roasted figs over a fresh bed of arugula with a garnish or toasted pine nuts and goat cheese is a gentle ease into the flavors of fall.  Deeelicious!

 

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Did you know that fig leaves were made into clothing for Adam and Eve in the story of the Garden of Eden?  Not only that, historically figs have been considered a potent aphrodisiac.  

I don't know about you, but I'll take some! Part of the mulberry family, these succulent little fruits are full of a healthy sweet flavor full of good fiber and trace minerals such as magnesium, copper, potassium and calcium.  

Also, take note:  Figs get more nutritionally dense when dried (say what?). Feel free to snack on them dried with your favorite nut or seed.

Enjoy this delicious late summer salad.

 

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ROASTED BRUSSELS WITH BALSAMIC GLAZE & TOASTED PINE NUTS

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ROASTED BRUSSELS WITH BALSAMIC GLAZE & TOASTED PINE NUTS

Roasted brussels with balsamic glaze & toasted pine nuts

 

"SMALL CHEER AND GREAT WELCOME MAKE A MERRY FEAST"

 

There is nothing like roasted veggies and nuts at this time of year.  To me they make up the perfect side dish to any festive holiday meal.

 

Once you get the hang of veggie roasting, you too will see that with just a few ingredients and a little time, you can create delicious, warming, and nutrient dense additions to any meal.

 

  • Brussels sprouts are part of the brassica family, closely related to cabbage, kale and mustard greens, known for their highly medicinal properties. 

 

  • Brussels are very high in fiber, vegetable protein, and alpha-lipoid acid – an antioxidant that has been show to support insulin and blood sugar stabilization.

 

  • Brussels are also very high in vitamin K, making them great for bone health an calcium absorption.  

 

  • Brussels sprouts are one of the best veggie sources for omega-3 fatty acids.

 

Warm and crispy roasted brussels are one of my favorite parts of any Thanksgiving feast.

 

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A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS

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A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS

" NO ONE EVER MADE A DIFFERENCE BY BEING LIKE EVERYONE ELSE "

P.T. BARNUM

 

As I write to you today, I am enjoying one of those awestruck picture-perfect, wintery days here in Boulder... A fresh snow fall, a clear blue sky and the majesty of what I most love about Colorado – nature's beauty.  
  

For the past few weeks, I have been enjoying the quiet inner space of winter: finding my flow with 2018, cozying up with my honey, snowshoeing in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, resting more, and treating myself to a few of my favorite things.  


Sovereignty, embodiment and presence happen for me more naturally in a sacred space filled with ambiance, quietude and a moment to step away from the chatter of daily life – for a minute.


This time of musing with my inner world and indulging myself with my favorite goodies has been inspiring my creative juices to flow more freely.


So, today I want to share with you a few of my favorite things. As you will see, they all have a little something in common: they nourish me on many levels, they enhance my daily experience and they simply make things a bit brighter, tastier and sweeter.



I would LOVE to know more about you too. This past couple of months the Boulder Nutrition's readership has expanded in big and beautiful ways. Let's get to know each other! What are your favorite things? (scroll down to share your comments 💗)


To your simple pleasures...
 

A Few Of My Favorite Things

{Nutritionist Approved}

 

As a health care practitioner, I get asked questions all the time about different kinds of health products, supplements, superfoods etc.  I like to try new things out and do my research so I can be better informed to answer your questions.  I linked these all up below, so you can explore for yourself if you feel called.

Most of my favorite things have come from this type of informal research and of course, my love of health, radiance, pleasure and feeling our best.  I hope you enjoy!

 

Pekoe :: Steamed Mate 

You may see me around Pekoe Sip House if you are a Boulder local.  My office is right across the street, so I meander over often on breaks to grab myself a cup of steamed Mate.  When I drink Yerba Mate, I always feel energized, clear minded and focussed.  It is my favorite helper for long days or  days when I get immersed in my writing.

Yerba Mate has been used as a base for herbal medicines in South America for centuries, and the plant’s benefits and therapeutic properties have recently been verified by a number of scientific studies. The chemical components of Yerba Mate are similar to those found in green tea; however, Yerba Mate is even more nutritious and alkalizing.

 

Foodie Fuel

Do you ever just need a quick snack, but can't think of something that will truly fuel you up?  Foodie Fuel is the answer.  Founded by a friend of mine, Eloise Nelson and her partner Chris here in Boulder CO, Foodie Fuel is high in protein, paleo friendly, naturally sweetened, gluten free, non-GMO and super tasty treat.  My favorite flavor is the Butter Toffee.  

You can buy Foodie Fuel at most health food stores, Amazon, and of course right from their website (linked above)

 

Pangea :: Canadian Pine and White Sage Essential Oil

Okay.  First off, I grew up in Canada.  In college I became a tree planter in my summers off, way up near the border of Alaska. I have a serious emotional connection to the smell of Canadian pine trees.  This essential oil takes me right back. Long baths with a few drops are so comforting.  But wait...the best is when Jason and I sprinkle in on our pillows, turn on some forest music to fall asleep to, as we gaze at the glow in the dark stars on my ceiling... we feel like we are camping, and we get a great nights sleep. 

Pine Oil has a warming, purifying quality with properties that freshen the air and benefit the respiratory, nervous and circulatory systems. For the mind, pine is at once elevating, grounding and expanding. For the body, it is cleansing and invigorating.

Pangea Organics, another local Boulder company founded by an old friend of mine, Josh Onysko, gone international.  You can even find his company in Singapore.  They have a wonderful online store and an incredibly potent and pure line of essential oils.

 

Gaia Herbs :: Golden Milk

I used to make golden milk a lot, in fact there is a great recipe in the Winter Self-Care and Recipe Guide (that you can download for free by clicking the announcement bar at the top of this page).  Then I tried the fairly new Gaia Herbs Golden Milk.  WOW!  It is delicious and it has one of my favorite ingredients for sleep, stress and adrenal health: ashwaganda (an Ayurvedic herb).  

Golden milk is full of one of natures most potent superfood, turmeric.  

Turmeric is both a super food and a super spice.

Turmeric is ranked number 6 of the top 100 high ORAC value antioxidant foods which really means it is one potent substance.  Turmeric is a spice most commonly found in curry but its medical benefits are golden rich.

Some of the most amazing turmeric properties include: destroying multi-drug resistant cancer, destroying cancer stem cells, protecting against radiation-induced damage, reducing unhealthy levels of inflammation, protecting against heavy metal toxicity and preventing and reversing Alzheimer’s disease associated pathologies.  

 

Instant Pot

Sometimes my mom knows best.  Especially in the case of my Instant Pot.  I would have never purchased this kitchen miracle on my own (I'm a bit more of a traditionalist in the kitchen) but she surprised me with this gift for my birthday last month.  

I was skeptical and a bit intimidated by all the buttons and things this kitchen wonder can do (yogurt making rice cooking, sauteing, slow cooking, pressure cooking etc)

With just a little practice (it's been a month) I am figuring it out.  I have made a few soups, stews, chilli, and some other goodies in less than 20 min – start to finish.

Apparently this was the most purchased item on Amazon this past holiday season.  Worth checking out? 

YES!  Just sayin.  

(if you want to peak at my first instant pot attempt check out m y post from January 20th HERE)

 

LuluLemon :: Align Tights

I am a texture person for sure.  ALL of my clothes need to be somewhat soft and cozy. While I have worn Lululemon clothing for years (and they are also a Canadian company founded in my home town, Vancouver) these particular pants are my new favorite.  

Cozy, comfy, well fitted and soft to the touch.  I treated myself to two pairs recently, and you will find me wearing them probably a little too often.  

Lululemon has many many other wonderful items in their shop.  They are my go-to store for most of my yoga attire.

 

Birch Bender Paleo Pancakes

Being highly hypoglycemic and on the far end of the protein type spectrum, I have never been able to eat pancakes (even the gluten free ones) without a major blood sugar red-alert.  Not the case with these tasty easy paleo pancakes.  Ari and I make these on the weekends for brunch all the time.  Honestly, I feel great afterwards – full of energy and perfectly balanced with no blood sugar crash in sight.

I really like the taste and the ingredients.  We all need a pancake once in a while right? These could not be easier to make, totally affordable, and super yummmmm.  Check out one of my favorite ways to enjoy them HERE.

 

Lovely Lady :: Facial Nutrients

Lovely Lady is a local fair trade organic delightful skin care company that a friend introduced me to.  I am so addicted, especially in the winter months with the dry Colorado air.  

I use the Everlasting-Argan Immortelle Facial Nutrient morning and night and I love it!

One of the key ingredients is helichrysum essential oil. There's a reason this oil is called "Everlasting" and "Immortelle". This flower will not wilt or wither after it has been picked. This formula is complete with properties from the immortelle plant, so just imagine how effective these properties can be for your skin.

 

(Unsweetened) Bhakti Chai

I love to buy un-sweetened versions of things because I am a bit of a sugar patrol, and it can just sneak into almost anything these days. 

I LOVE the spicy, tasty warming hues to this delicious chai, and I love to add my own sweetener (usually raw honey) with my own milk of choice (usually raw milk or Ripple).

This is a great treat to order at some of Boulder's hip coffee shops (most of them carry it) or of course buy the grab and go version from local health food stores.

Sometimes, I even make my chia pudding with Bhakti Chai.  That's some wintery goodness right there.

Winter, warming, tasty, naturally sweet and full of spicy gingery goodness.

 

Fresh Thymes Eatery

We all need that place that feels like the food is made just for our palate.  Fresh Thymes Eatery is locally owned, organic, gluten free, dairy free and easy to swing into for lunch or dinner.  

I love when I can order anything on the menu and not have to worry.  

Some of my favorites are the Crying Tiger Bowl (no quinoa, sub extra veggies), the skirt steak combo plate and the dairy free, gluten free Mac Attach (their version of mac and cheese).  I also grab there bone broth to-go if I am fighting something off and haven't had the energy to make my own.

Affordable, effieicnt, easy and so tasty.  

 

Isagenix Amped Hydrate Electrolytes

We all need a little electrolyte boost here and there.  I enjoy my favorite electrolytes (raise your hand for orange) after my morning spin or yoga class, before bed for some extra hydration, and really any time at all.  

These electrolytes help me to drink more water.  I crave salt, and the little bit of sea salt in here hits the spot. These are infused with lots of B vitamins, a little bit of stevia and raw honey, and a great flavor.

Click the linked title above for all the deets!

 

Wonder Press :: The Cure (pressed ginger and lemon shot)

Okay.  Let's talk about the flu.  So many folks have been hit hard this year.  As soon as I feel something coming on this is my cure.  These little shots of wonder are a ginormous immune boosters.  You can totally make this at home if you have a juicer, and it is always nice to know where you can get them if you want a grab and go. 

Ginger is a wonderful immune booster that naturally warms us up in the colder days of winter.  This superfood is great for digestive issues, flus – very anti-bacterial, anti-viral.  

I often cut this concoction with a little hot water as it is super strong.  

 

Instacart

Like most new technology, it takes me a little while to get on board.  It wasn't until Ari and I were sitting at the Seattle airport on our way home from a family trip when I tested out Instacart.  Have you tried it?

I got home at nearly 10 pm that night with a fresh bag of groceries waiting for me.  How awesome is that after a week of traveling and a long travel day?  

My day-to-day life can get a little full here and there and on those days, Instacart is the answer to simplifying.

When you download the app on your phone, you can pick your grocery store, choose your items, pick a time for delivery and voila, easy peesy.  

Instacart is blowing up, so if you are not in Boulder, you may find it showing up near you soon.  

 

Kavinace

We all no there is nothing better than a good night of sleep.  While there are many many things to do to create a happy sleep environment, sometimes we need a little boost.

On our retreat in Costa Rica this fall, we brought some with us, and before you know it we were sharing sleep support with many of our retreaters.  The results were amazing. Many of the ladies said they slept better than ever.  Being a health care practitioner, I have used many many sleep formulas with my clients – this one works the best by far.

One of our Boulder Nutrition team members works for Pharmaca (Boulder's holistic pharmacy) where she reported that this product is the number one best seller of all supplements store wide.

I love it's blend of amino acids and melatonin and how it addresses so many imbalances that could be causing restless nights.  

Here's to great sleep!!

 

 

 

 

Above photo credit: Jeremy Sheehan (@jcshamrock)

 


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