Yoga & Sugar-Free

Yoga and sugar-free? What? You may ask is she crazy? Actually, the two go together, kind of like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong. No, that's not a yoga chant nor is it the sound you'll find yourself making if you quit sugar. It's actually the lyrics from We Go Together from the movie Grease. Indulge me for a moment...

My creative pursuits (writing), my purpose and business (sharing the benefits of oils), my physical & emotional health (exercise and nutrition), are all interrelated—and the overall nourishment I give one affects the others. They go together to make the whole me. Like rama lama lama... You get the idea. Your snapshot is likely slightly different, but wherever you are in your journey, I want to share what's worked for me in the hope it'll help you live your best, happiest, healthiest, most rama lama ka dinga life!
 
I believe we're only as strong, productive, impactful, and happy as the foundation we build beneath us. That means becoming intentional about supporting the pillars of our health and wellbeing. This includes a generally healthy diet, regular exercise, as well as consistent rest and stress management. After adopting Doterra's Healthy Lifestyle Guidelines I experienced the value in reducing toxic load (environmental exposures and relationships), informed self-care, and proactive medical care (empowering ourselves with the knowledge and tools to advocate for ourselves). *These are guidelines to lean into as we aspire toward progress (no pressure or perfection).

For me my healthy lifestyle generally looks like:

Nutrition: a vegetarian diet with an emphasis on whole foods, greens, protein, and whole food supplements. I also don't eat sugar or gluten (more on that below).

Movement: yoga, interval training, walking, running, dancing, surfing, and hiking.

Community: family, friends, pets, and time spent together, unplugged. As well as the amazing team of tigress, essential oil lovin' geeks and my beloved writer friends.

Activities & creativity: spending time at the beach, meditation, religious studies, writing, using essential oils for self-care rituals, journaling, traveling, reading, learning, sleeping, and exploring.
Two of the key pieces of my wellness puzzle were yoga and quitting sugar. You can read my story for each experience below. First, I'd like to share some essential oils resources if you're ready to change your life!

Yoga

Essential oils for yoga: every essential oil has emotional and energetic resonance and can help us move more fully and deeper into asana and meditation. One of my favorite yoga teachers and the person who introduced me to Doterra, Elena Brower, collaborated with Doterra to create the Yoga Collection. View the trio to help steady, center, and uplift here.

A few examples of other eos I use in my yoga practice:
Frankincense and/or sandalwood: powerful during meditation
Peppermint: energizing and breath support
Lavender: lovely during Savasana


Sugar Free

Essential oils to support becoming sugar free:
Dill: stimulates satiety
Black Pepper: craving assistance
The metabolic blend: containing grapefruit, lemon, peppermint, ginger, and cinnamon: balances blood sugar, stimulates digestion.

Because confections are so much a part of our lives, celebrations, influence the addictive parts of our brain, and are added to our food supply, it's vital to have supportThrough my thyroid and anxiety research I came across Sarah Wilson and her 8-Week program, book: I Quit Sugar, what now amounts to loads of cookbooks for everyone: foodies, men, kids, chocolate lovers, and more. Click here for more.
IQS 8-Week Program
Starting something new takes effort, lasting change requires support, consistency and patience, but the improvements and benefits and YOU are well worth it.

If you'd like to learn more, discuss your health concerns and goals, and have a lifestyle overview please contact me. 

Scroll down to read more about my yoga and sugar free experiences.
 
My Yoga Story

My grandmother introduced me to yoga when I young enough to think the word yoga sounded a lot like yogurt. It still makes me giggle.

However, my yoga journey didn't really begin until high school when I enrolled in the class as part of my P.E. requirement. Little did I know that trying to avoid the strenuous activity associated with athletics would lead me to one of the most physically challenging and gratifying journeys of my life. Looking back, I see the irony.

I practiced sporadically in the years that followed and had numerous experiences that would later qualify me as someone who really needed to get on a mat. Like, stat.

Flash forward to prenatal classes and then mommy and me… Becoming a member of the motherhood tribe brought up a lot of "stuff" from my teen years and earlier. Old stuff, new stuff, anxieties about previously unforeseen what ifs. A lot of anxiety in general.

Nerves and stress had wound themselves so tightly in my mind and body, in desperation I got back on my yoga mat. It was then that I truly learned that the breath, movement, and meditation is extremely daunting, humbling, and especially effective at releasing and resolving anxiety. The trick though is consistency and patience. Not always an easy task.

In the meantime, a good friend introduced me to Pilates, which was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I became an instructor through my local YMCA, adding aerobics (turns out, I'm incredibly uncoordinated), senior citizen fitness (mostly I listened to fascinating stories), and then yoga basics: taught in a room packed with people, probably as anxious as I was for relief. Yet, I still felt like a fledgling, a student, a yoga baby with so much to learn.

In 2008, together with my Pilates buddy and bestie, opened the Peaceful Palm: movement, arts, and wellness center. Along with other practitioners, we offered Pilates, yoga, massage therapy, music, art, workshops, and more. The Peaceful Palm became a hub in our community. Sadly, like so many small businesses, the US Recession took us out.

At that point, I really needed yoga: for my body, mind, and heart… Upon my sister-in-law's suggestion, I attended a class at Yoga Sanctuary, in Northampton, MA. Game changer. Like whoa. I was terrified of the level of skill, but also in love, hooked, and swiftly introduced to paradox: my favorite concept of and rather than or. I could be worried and practice yoga. I could be sad and practice yoga. I could feel out of my element and intimidated by so many amazing yogis and practice yoga. So I signed up for teacher training. Even though I'll always be a student, I decided to be a student and a teacher.

I completed my YTT-200 in 2011 with Sara Rose and Sarah Faircloth, but wished I could spend my weekends with those amazing women always. Since then, I've been registered with Yoga Alliance and have taught classes to people of all ages: from toddlers to seniors with an emphasis on yoga fundamentals including asana, breathing, and meditation—all framed within elements that promote a balance of stability (strength) and freedom (flexibility). My personal practice and classes come from the heart with laughter, buoyancy, and light.

My Sugar Free Story

When I was a child visiting Italy, I have a vivid memory of my cousins and I getting our hands on some very rich chocolates. They were such a treat, but after I'd had more than my fair share, I started bouncing off the walls. Literally. I ran around the room, jumping on beds, popping out of chairs, singing and screaming nonsense until finally, my cousins (probably annoyed), went to my father and asked him to please make her stop.

I'd eaten too much sugar and was out of control. I could feel it in my body and mind. A wild, racing that wouldn't cease until I fell asleep. This story is a family favorite to this day.

Later in high school, I recall feasting on day old pastries from the shop where I worked. They were going to be thrown out anyway, so I went home and skimmed the jelly and custard off with my finger, delectable. Before long, the entire box was empty, my stomach hurt, and I had a headache. Not to mention the guilt once I realized how much sugar I'd eaten.

In college, during a particularly lonely Valentine's Day, I went through bag after bag of cheap, gummy hearts—the red kind dowsed in sugar for just ninety-nine cents. I'd chew on them until my teeth and jaw ached.

When I was pregnant with my oldest child, I kept a stash of candy corn, always at the ready, to fill my craving.

Sweet, sweeter, sweetest.

Years later, with a completely reformed outlook on nutrition, health, and lifestyle, I'd developed a thyroid disorder. I consulted my doctor and before going on prescription medication, I asked if she had any alternatives. Luckily, she suggested a trial period of diet and lifestyle adjustments.

Sugar and gluten have a close and complicated relationship with the thyroid gland—if you'd  like to know more, I suggest Jen Wittman's work http://thyroidlovingcare.com/Additionally, through my thyroid and anxiety research I came across Sarah Wilson and her book I Quit Sugar. Click here to view the 8-week program, cookbooks, recipes, and support. This helped tremendously, especially. in the early days—so much so I became an affiliate because I believe so fully in this lifestyle. 

Suffice it to say, nearly five years later, I am prescription drug free. It's been difficult at times but the question I ask myself daily is who do I want to be and are the things I'm doing (eating, activities, thoughts, etc.) supporting the best version of myself and serving my highest good? I want to be present and  to my children, husband, friends, family, and faith. I've found in order to do so, it's important for me to devote time and attention to my health and wellbeing. I hope the same for you. 

More Resources for Quitting Sugar

Here are a few blogs I've found extremely helpful, chockful of supportive and insightful posts, and brimming with ways to feel your best. Not all of them are strictly sugar-free, however, they do all offer insight into eating in a way that is of service to each of our unique bodies. 

Detoxinista- New York City based Holistic Health Counselor who believes healthy living can be fun and indulgent. Her site is very extensive and she's adorable. 

Gabriel Bernstein- My modern life guru, my spirit junkie, the gal who helped me put a bit of ~ing into my be~ing. She has been there and done that and found her way to the present moment with a playful and sincere dedication to honesty. From time to time she blogs or vlogs about her sugar free experience.

I Quit Sugar- The site that grew out of Sarah Wilson's work quitting sugar as part of a magazine article/experiment to see what would happen that grew into a major life-changing experience. A book, a program, support group, and recipes. This is where it's at.

Kate Quit Sugar- Kate's story about her emotional relationship with food. Heartfelt and inspired on a low sugar diet, great for those transitioning, leaning, or considering removing sugar from their life.

Sarah Wilson- Outstanding writer and human being. Sarah Wilson guided me out of my sugar-coma with posts on thyroid and immune disorders, depression, real life, all with down-to-earth wit and compassion. She's also a waste-not advocate and avid cyclist and hiker. Oh, and she has a few cookbooks. Delish.

Spoonful of Sugar Free- Comprehensive site with recipes, thoughts on sugar and Alex's path to sugar (dairy & gluten) free is interesting. She also blogs about eating healthy on campus.

Sugar Free Kids-  Wonderful resource for creative snacks and meals for kids and adults alike who enjoy having a little fun with their food.

Tone It Up- Not strictly sugar-free, but these gals know how to do fitness and nutrition right by leading with the heart. They have free videos about health for the whole body including a meal plan that's delish and includes something for everyone.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the link. 
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