“And the time came when the risk to remain in a tight bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” – Anais Nin It’s that magical time of year again, the sunshine grows stronger, birds are singing, butterflies are fluttering and the flowers have gracefully blossomed all around us. As we witness the beauty of Mother Earth unfolding in front of our eyes, we feel the natural desire to want to grow ourselves. This is the time of year to welcome all change in our lives in order to fully blossom and continue growing into our best-selves. This means taking care of ourselves. Getting proper rest, eating more greens, getting outside more, spending time with yourself, building new habits, saying no to old patterns, moving your body more, reading more books, meditating, developing a gratitude practice, surrounding yourself with supportive people, and most importantly, believing that you can change! It all starts with being open to the change that you seek and giving yourself the permission to grow. Growth takes time, but with some self-love and patience, it will flow through you and help you blossom into the best version of yourself. Radiate love & sunshine and we will all continue to bloom!
The days are getting longer which means we’re gearing up to spring forward into a new time change! And while more hours of daylight are typically a collective “yay!”, losing an hour of sleep on March 10th can negatively impact our circadian rhythm and cause stress to our mental and physical health. The good news is that you can minimize the health implications of the time change by working with your circadian rhythm. This means taking a look at your lifestyle and behaviors, making modifications, and utilizing a few easy tools that I have listed below. Prioritizing sleep is essential for our health and without restful, adequate sleep, our risks for illness and disease increase tremendously. Sleep is an invaluable piece of a healthy human, so follow a few of these tips and set yourself up for a healthy transition into longer days and summer nights. Better yet, use them year round if you want to really bulletproof your nighttime routine. For the week leading up to the time change, begin your nighttime routine one hour earlier. You can set yourself up for success by starting your nighttime routine after dinner or earlier to avoid over stimulating your mind and body before bedtime. Change into comfortable clothes that you don’t mind sleeping in as soon as you know you’re in for the evening. Wash your face, take out your contacts, and brush/floss your teeth as soon as dinner is over and the dishes are put away. This not only will help in your routine, but it also signifies that eating is done for the day and will help those who struggle with nighttime cravings. Set a reasonable bedtime and be consistent, no exceptions. Know yourself and recognize how many hours of sleep you actually need to function optimally the next day. Think maximum, not minimum and know that everybody’s sleep needs are different. No matter your bedtime, the importance is your consistency. The bedtime app on the iPhone is a perfect addition to creating a regular bedtime! (Android has several similar apps). Listen to a meditation app, podcast or an audio book you’ve already read. This will allow your mind to relax knowing you aren’t missing any new or valuable material. If you aren’t a podcast fan or a book-on-audio listener, try listening to a meditation app like Head Space. The narrator has a very calm and soothing voice that puts me to sleep just thinking about it.
Over the last three months, I have noticed a recurring theme in the mindset of many of the patients of Aligned Life Chiropractic and Wellness. I have also noticed this same mindset in myself lately. This theme, I believe, stems from a lack of understanding of who we really are as human beings. An inability to look inward and recognize our own brilliance. I believe it also comes from a lack of maintaining a long term focus and instead, getting caught up in the short term details. The theme I am speaking of is not loving yourself during a time period in which you are struggling physically or emotionally. As someone who regularly comes in direct contact with people who have either recently been injured or who are dealing with a chronic problem, I see the mental and physical challenge of keeping a positive outlook about ourselves. For myself, I have identified that when I am injured, I will commonly resent my body. I will feel as if my body is letting me down and that it is inhibiting me from being my best. Due to these negative feelings, I also notice that my emotional health suffers too. I am writing this not to sound like a complainer, but to let you know that if you have similar feelings that these are common emotions. That being said, what can we do when our bodies are not running in pristine condition (or even average condition)? The first step in eliminating this downward cycle is recognizing that we as human beings are not just our bodies. We are blessed to have many different pieces of ourselves, all of which are capable of giving us joy. What I mean by this is if your physical body is weakened, then it may be a time period to use your mind to bring you joy. For example, it may be a perfect opportunity for internal reflection, for preparing for your future by setting goals, by getting clear on what you can do for other people and for using your mind to bring you happiness. It may also be the perfect time to focus on getting back to basics with your nutrition, your journaling, your stretching routine, your date nights with your spouse or any other non-physical action that breeds the feeling of progress. Secondly, I recommend changing the story in your head that is trying to have you focus
It’s that time of year again, when friends and families travel near & far to gather around the table, bringing love, smiles & thankfulness! At my house, it’s tradition that before gobbling down all the savory goodness, we go around the table and say one thing we are thankful for. I thought during this season of giving, we could raise our awareness at this special gathering we call Thanksgiving, as it wouldn’t even be possible without the gifts of Mother Earth. So why not focus on giving thanks back to her? Here’s a little gift from me to you, in order to help us give back to our Earth. After all, this is a gift that keeps on giving! 1) Conserve Water – Most of us aren’t as mindful as we should be when it comes to water, considering it is our most precious resource! Take shorter showers, turn off the water while brushing your teeth and only run dishwasher when it’s full. 2) Grow Something from Seed – Try building a planter box, patio garden or windowsill. You can also use seeds harvested from your organic produce 3) Plant a Tree – Trees slowly remove carbon from the atmosphere. One tree might absorb as much as one ton of carbon during a 40-year lifespan! 4) Compost Food Waste – Check out Pinterest for incredibly easy ways to do this! 5) Eat Organic – Shop local and support a nearby Farmer’s Market to beat the 15,000 miles produce can travel to get to your local grocery store. 6) Switch to Sustainable Products – Say no to single use plastics! Use a paper or metal straw/cup, switch to a bamboo toothbrush, and use eco-friendly grocery bags. Check out Stasher Bags, Eco Bags, Simply Straws & Mizu Water Bottles. 7) Recycle – Recycling is the best way to prevent unnecessary trash in landfills. Donate clothing you don’t want, kitchen accessories, toys & appliances. Hosting a *clothing swap* with friends can also be a fun way to recycle old treasure. 8) Power Down – Unplug any unused appliances in your household. Your energy bill & Mother Earth will thank you for it later. 9) Join or Organize a Community Clean-up – Help keep our neighborhoods & beaches clean before it has a chance to pollute the ocean! 10) Say Thank You to her every day, she hears you loud & clear! <3
It’s technically fall here in San Diego and the season of Pumpkin Spice everything is upon us. It’s time to break out the Ugg boots, unpack the flannel scarves, light all the cinnamon scented candles and cozy on up until Christmas. Ok, I may be getting a little ahead of myself given that the high tomorrow is 88 degrees and the leaves haven’t changed because we haven’t had rain since like January, but hey we can pretend right? Fall has always been my favorite time of year, which is ironic because I’ve only ever lived in cities with seasons of hot, hotter, hottest, and inferno (Tampa & Tucson). I’ve never actually experienced a true fall season but despite the heat and lack of changing leaves, there’s something about this time of year that has always felt so magical to me. Perhaps it’s because I know my favorite holiday is just around the corner. Thanksgiving, Duh! Although I won’t be breaking out the Ugg boots anytime soon, I did get in the kitchen this weekend to whip up some of my favorite pumpkin treats. The smell of freshly baked pumpkin spice muffins will get anyone in the mood for fall. This recipe is clean, super easy, kid-friendly and customizable. These muffins are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free and low in sugar so you will feel great about eating them! Just make sure you don’t eat all of them! I added collagen to this batch to make them even more nutrient rich and protein packed. Enjoy! Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Muffins Ingredients: 1 ½ cups almond flour 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda Small pinch of salt 2 tbsp cinnamon 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice ¾ cup unsweetened canned pumpkin 3 eggs 3 tbsp maple syrup (more if you like your muffins sweeter, can sub for honey) 1tsp vanilla 3 tbsp melted coconut oil 1 scoop collagen +1tbsp water (only add water if you add the collagen) ¼ cup dark chocolate (I used a 85% dark chocolate bar for reduced sugar) ¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional, I added to half of the mixture) *Makes about 10 muffins Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine wet ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Fold in dark chocolate/nuts/dried fruit/additional add-ins. Grease non-stick muffin pan with coconut oil or use liners. Fill each cup to about ¾ full. Bake for about 18-20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
Over the last year I have been recording a weekly podcast with my cohost Rachel Freeman, interviewing people from all different specialties within healthcare. We have developed five principles that I want share with you that have changed my life. The key, and the challenge associated with these five principles, is attempting to implement and balance all five of these at the same time. When you are able to do so, we call this living an Aligned Life. Shea Family Chiropractic's theme of the month is “balance” so I thought this would be a great time to unveil this concept! That being said, the name is not important. You can call this state of being anything you like. Some people have called it having their mojo, or being in a flow state, being in a sweet spot, being on purpose or having their chakras aligned. What is important however, are the steps associated with getting to that place as often as possible and attempting to stay in that space for as long as you can. I want you to know that living an Aligned Life is not a destination. In fact, it is rare to being completely aligned. It is fleeting. It is much more about the journey because what I have found is that what will help me feel alignedat one point in my life will not get me there later on because I have evolved and often my goals have changed. 1. The first principle of living an Aligned Life is you must Know Yourself. You must understand who you are at a very deep level. The reason why this is the first principle is because the only person who can determine if your current actions are balanced is who? You. For some people, taking a nap in the middle of the day is a way to find balance and for others it is an avoidance tactic. For some people working out super hard 6 days a week is great exercise in work life balance and for others it is a recipe for disaster. For something to be seen as balancing, it must be viewed as such by the person doing the activity at that time. Knowing yourself also helps you establish balance-based practices through creating 2 things; boundaries and self-worth. Boundaries are standards of living that we set up for ourselves and uphold even in the presence of others. Examples of boundaries are saying no
I recently picked up the book, Spark Joy, by Marie Kondo – a guide to minimalism, tidying up your physical space, and choosing to surround yourself only with material things that spark joy. This simple yet powerful concept can be applied to many things in our lives – material goods, relationships, and the ways in which we choose to spend our time. With an abundance of activities available to us throughout the summer, we can easily feel pulled in many directions and attempt to do it all. Over-commitment can drain us of precious time and energy that could be better funneled toward the things we actually want to cultivate in our lives. The good news is, with a little time and reflection and asking the simple question, “Does this commitment/use of time bring me joy?” we can make some simple changes to our calendar that will have a significant impact on our overall happiness and mental/physical health. So, where do we start? Take time to look at everything you have committed to on your calendar and sit with the sensations each thing brings up. Does that coffee date with a distant friend bring joy or anxiety? How about the long anticipated road trip with the family? The goal of this reflective method is not to avoid any situation in which you may experience anxiety or discomfort – we grow in situations that challenge us. However, that’s why this mindful and reflective method can have such a radical impact. It challenges us to keep not what just is “necessary” or “useful,” but only what brings us joy. It's definitely a hard thing to do and you have to get real with yourself. For me, I find that looking at my commitments from this zoomed out lens helps tremendously in seeing my energy input and output and empowers me to say no to that which ultimately doesn't bring me happiness. But what about our “must-do” tasks? For example, a trip to the DMV - “necessary” but dreaded. Reflecting with the question of what brings joy in mind, we can see that while going through the DMV process may be draining or frustrating, ultimately, maintaining a functioning car and license allows us to traverse the city and take on summer trips – and that certainly brings joy to our lives. Perhaps this is a stretch, but it makes for a thought-provoking and enlightening exercise and helps us to
School’s out for summer and the season for travel is upon us. Whether you have a summer vacation planned or you frequently travel for work, staying healthy while on the go will be super critical for your overall health and happiness. Below are some easy tips to help you navigate the travel scene so you can sail (or fly) smoothly to your destination. 1) Pack quality snacks to have on hand Airports are filled with all kinds of sugary and fatty treats. Arm yourself with quality snacks in your carry-on so you can give a firm “no thank you” to all airport/airplane temptations. My go-to snack options: Coconut oil packets- quality fat to add to coffee to make it bulletproof Olive oil and vinegar packets to add to packaged salads (Kasandrinos is my favorite.) Dried meats, meat bars, & jerky (Epic & Thunderbird are my favorites.) Nut butter or coconut butter packets (Justins, Artisana) Avocados Baby food packets (Yes, adults can eat these too! Just look for organic and no added sugars.) **Pro tip: As long as your liquid food items are under 3.4oz, you’re good to go through security. While you can pack a travel-sized packet of almond butter, I would not recommend a regular-sized jar as it may become liquid at room temperature and therefore will be over the allowed limit. 2) Bring your own premade food Planes allow for coolers/lunch boxes as a carry-on item, so you can pack your meals and avoid airport food all together. As long as your ice packs are frozen when you go through security, you should have no issues. If space is limited and you don’t have room for a small cooler, pack a disposable Tupperware container and recycle it at your destination. You can freeze items before which will thaw out and be ready to eat after a few hours. I like to make my own protein bars to pack with me. Get creative, as the possibilities are endless. **What not to eat on planes: Be aware of thy neighbor while travelling in a small, confined space. Avoid packing tuna, hard-boiled eggs, seafood, or any other strong smelling foods to keep everyone on the plane from being mad at you. 3) Pack any necessary food staples that will help keep you on track in your checked luggage Because I try and stay dairy-free, having a can of coconut milk in my suitcase is an essential for my morning coffee routine. Other items I like to
Moving your body on a regular basis is 100% an absolute must in order for you to express health and maintain homeostasis. There are no shortcuts or substitutes for this required nutrient. Looking back at how our genes were formed, in order for a human being to survive, we had to move in order to provide shelter, hunt and gather food and procreate. The more movement a person did, the more likely they were to survive and create the next generation. Due to thousands of years of evolutionary encouragement for regular movement, your genes have become hard wired this way. Through advancements in healthcare and technology, we now understand that movement must occur in two different categories in order to express optimal health. The first type of movement is called “global movement.” This is movement of the entire body, which is typically accomplished through full body exercise such as running, swimming or hiking. The second type of movement, which is not commonly understood by the general public, is called “segmental joint movement.” This type of movement takes place at one individual joint. It has long been understood that in order to keep each joint of the human body healthy, they must move through a full range of motion and on a regular basis. This is due to the body constantly adapting to the environment we put it in. The scientific community is able to document scar tissue formation occurring within 30 MINUTES of lack of movement at a joint! This means while you watch a movie, go on a long car ride, take a flight across country or even sleep, your body is laying down adhesions in your joints to stabilize and adapt to this lack of movement. In order to eliminate the progressive and eventually permanent rigidity, maintenance of segmental joint movement is an essential. In the modern world this type of movement is best provided through regular chiropractic care. Without constant upkeep to continue the full range of motion at our joints, the body becomes more likely to incur sprains, strains, disc herniations, fractures and radiating pain. Besides receiving regular chiropractic adjustments, providing your body with on-going self-care such as massage therapy, yoga, and other stretching techniques is necessary to decrease muscle rigidity. Despite the challenge of committing to a lifetime to taking care of the physical body, there are no other options if you wish to live a life that is relatively free from pain, disability and regret. In hopes of providing an easy, convenient and
With the spring season newly upon us, it’s not uncommon to hear people discussing their plans for an annual “spring cleaning” of their homes and offices. When it comes to my own spring cleaning, I go for simplicity in the process: I ask myself: “Does this thing add value to my life?” If it does, I keep it. If it doesn’t, I let it go. The less excess and meaningless things I have in my physical space, the more room I create for that which inspires me, makes me feel healthy and creative. Similarly, we can apply that same concept to our minds and bodies. Learning how to observe, assess, and shed what no longer serves us mentally and physically is a powerful process of self-discovery. It empowers us to surround ourselves with more of what brings us joy and fulfillment and shed the layers of what distracts us or prevents us from connecting with who we truly are and want to be. So, how can you spring clean your body and mind this month? -Swap screen time for “me” time: Technology is a wonderful tool, but it can easily consume our lives and distract us from discovering what truly brings us fulfillment. Prioritize time for the things that make you feel good and bring joy to your life. Like picking up that guitar you’ve been meaning to practice, showing up at the dance class you love but make excuses to not go to, or taking a long walk around the neighborhood with a dear friend. If you don’t know what that is for you, make time to experiment and figure it out. When we swap out screen time for “me” time (even just 10 minutes a day), we swap out what is often mindless consumption for mindful stimulation. We can better connect with and discover that which inspires us and makes us more healthy, creative, and fulfilled individuals. -Go outside with a beginner’s mind: Leave the phones at home and go for a walk around the block, try a new hike or bike ride, picnic in a favorite or new park. With spring flowers in bloom and new generations of animals hopping around, it’s a perfect excuse to get outside and discover your immediate physical environment. Undistracted time outside allows us to get in touch with our five senses and experience the present moment. It’s an opportunity to discover your own inner landscape of