lifestyle

Anti Inflammatory Lifestyle

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You’ve probably read that chronic, low-level inflammation is the silent killer. If you're like me, it probably scared a bejesus out of you. 

I once asked my friend who is a recognized wellness expert, if we really needed to scare people to death with such messages to make a point? 

My intention with this post is to take the fear out of your mind by providing perspective. Every situation that you're in can have many different points of view, and I want to help you learn how to explore them. If you regularly read my blog, you know that I’m the girl who likes to look from a billion different points until I understand some topic. I am not ashamed to ask when I don't know, and I'm not ashamed to ask many different experts. I like it holistic.

If there was no darkness, how could we see the light? 

Let's get into nitty gritty of the inflammation.

Inflammation is important. It’s a part of the body’s normal and healthy response to injury or immune system impairment. There are different forms of inflammation: it could be visible on the skin; it could manifest as a pain in joints; or it could be a low-level, cellular inflammation. Typically, with cellular inflammation people cannot feel anything, until they have enough in-organ damage which translates to chronic disease (obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer, asthma, allergies, cancer and heart disease). 

The answer could be quite simple and accessible to EVERYBODY. The problem is - it's not very profitable for big pharma, food industry, and those who market their products and services as "revolutionary." 

If you want to focus on the anti-inflammatory diet, I suggest that you read the book called The Zone Diet, by Dr. Barry Sears. It’s by no means a diet plan (which I appreciate), quick cleanse or detox, but a compelling guide on how to create the lifestyle to live long, healthy, and disease free life.

If you're ready to put in the work - you'll understand the importance of the long-term approach and create the sustainable lifestyle.

The truth is - all the chronic diseases connect to the inflammation. Given the latest discoveries within the field of epigenetics, we know that eating the right foods and having the right lifestyle can keep our genes at bay, without exposing us to our "destiny." In other words, if you have a gene that would give you a celiac disease, it may never express itself unless poor lifestyle choices trigger it. 

Gaining weight, getting sick, aging faster - it’s all about the cellular inflammation. However, as I mentioned earlier, the inflammation is also necessary.

What switches on the inflammation?

Omega 6 fatty acids (plant oils), saturated fatty acids, trans fats, refined sugar, alcohol, food additives, low-quality dairy products, heavy metals, pollution, excess carbs, stress, feelings of hatred, toxic relationships, psychological factors.

How to switch off the inflammation?

By taking omega 3 fatty acids and polyphenols (compounds that give color to the fruits and vegetables), long walks, breathing. Drink pure water, green tea, eat blueberries, dark chocolate, wild-caught salmon, ginger, turmeric, chia, buckwheat, quinoa, wild rice, brown rice, oats, flax, hemp, walnuts, almonds, pomegranates, raspberries, peas, onions, squashes, lentils, beans, cinnamon, raw cacao, thyme, basil, rosemary, garlic, dark leafy greens, and kelp.

How to live life to reduce the inflammation? 

Dr. Sears says that the key is in balancing your plate. Practically, that would look like this (almost all book is summoned in a few sentences):

One-third of your plate consists of colorful vegetables, other third of the palm-sized lean protein (plant-based or animal), and the last third saved for a whole (ideally sprouted) grains which will lower your cortisol, and a dash of fat (olive oil, avocado or nuts). Avoiding refined carbohydrates is essential as they dramatically increase inflammation. Take a quality omega 3 (DHA&EPA) supplement and indulge in low sugar polyphenols (berries, leafy greens, beetroot, sweet potato).

Meditate, practice yoga, have a regular low-impact exercise.  

Be consistent with what you do. David Wolf said that it is not important how much of something you take, but how consistent you are with that. 

Whenever you feel overwhelmed, just come back to basics and Do Simple Better

Love You,
Marija

 

Your Journey to Hotn(m)ess

Have you ever imagined your head standing on someone else's body?

Speaking from the physical standpoint, for example, have you thought about how you could look if you lose extra weight, put on some muscle, improve your image or change your posture? How would you show up in the world? What would be different? 

For many of us - even tho we want to believe differently - the answer is - nothing!

 

We tend to get into the trap of judgment of what will happen one day when we are good enough, or disciplined enough. That’s the unhealthy approach that leads to a downward spiral of shame and blame, and I beg you to stop doing that now. It will not make progress faster. Trust me. Instead, learn to appreciate the pleasure that’s coming from the incremental changes.

Let me try to help you with some actionable steps in this article on how to enjoy and savor the process of transformation.

It’s not easy to chill when we’re continually being told how to look, how to behave, what to eat, how much, how to interact, what to wear, what profession to chose. Everything. 

Connecting with yourself, your desires and your capabilities feel like launching the space shuttle to Mars. Benchmarks are all around, and we are taught to follow the metrics (not only in numbers but in pictures, status, degree, profession). Society is doing everything to domesticate us. 

The shift doesn’t come with age; it comes with awareness. 

Trust me on this one. No matter how old you are, what will determine your capability to break through societal dogma that teaches you how you should be is not your age, education, nor money, but your level of consciousness and self-awareness. 

If you are walking your walk unconsciously - I bet that you are feeling kind of - okay, or may I say - great in your ignorance. On the other hand, if you feel intimidated by the engineered picture perfect - you’re probably becoming to live your life more consciously than the majority of the people around you. 

Don’t get me wrong - wherever you are, it’s not your fault. We’re humans, the social animals. As such, we get influenced by many sources - media (and a lot), influencers (if only we could follow their blueprint for life), science (will tell us with “precision" what to do).

I believe that setting the goals is excellent and if you do, I appreciate you so much for that. You understand that whatever achievement you’ve had in your life has come as a result of setting the goal. However, I’d like to encourage you to pay attention to the process of achieving your goal. That is the real GOLDEN PATH with so much potential in it. 

If it’s on your way, it’s your way
— Lao Tzu
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During the pursuit of your goal, if you open up and confront with what you find in yourself, and become willing to adjust your habits and behaviors, you’ll have a wholly transformational experience. Start asking yourself questions like: “Why am I not being able to follow through?, or "Why do I feel envious?, or “Where is this resistance coming from?". If you want something to work in your life, speak the truth and be centered around it. 

Even tho you might never be able to look like Victoria Secret angel, or the hottest fitness guru (and the majority of people aren't), you still might feel happier and healthier than before because of your journey or experience that you’ve had along the way. 

Having the role model is easy, but the role models can distract us from our journey - whether or not we even notice that. 
— Dallas Hartwig

 

Open up to authenticity, honesty, and integrity as a new cornerstone of what is considered hot. I encourage you to be vulnerable and to say - "Here’s who I am even overweight and messy. I know there is some work that I need to do and I am willing to embrace the process." 

By doing this, you’ll become the person that will have a higher awareness of your journey and someone who will be able to have a meaningful conversation with others. AND THAT IS HOT! Don't try to cover your modest inner world with excessive attention to outer expression through clothes, shoes, makeup, jewelry. 

What if you decide to become healthy? Do you think that you’ll miss out on hotness? No way! Your whole being will become lighter, your skin and eyes will be radiant and glowing, you’ll become calmer and more centered, and the most importantly - you’ll become a loving and compassionate person. 

Your life is going to change when you get to know yourself. 

The perfect scale number or a fitness model's fat percentage will never make a mean person become a better human. Your unhappiness will only get exacerbated if you start chasing the metrics. Instead, look inside and commit to doing some inner work. Become little happier each day. 

Your task is to become a healthier person not just in body, but in mind and spirit, as well as your heart and community. By doing so, you are going to become as hot as you desired. 

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Now, let's see where to start!

1. ASK YOURSELF WHY YOU WANT SOMETHING.

This may sound repetitive, but reminding yourself daily why you want to achieve something will settle into your subconscious mind. Learn to check in with yourself daily, and you’ll stay grounded on your path.

2. EVALUATE YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED.

This one is hugely important - evaluate how each person that you follow makes you feel. You don’t even have to label that feeling any further than - "I feel inspired," or "I don't feel inspired." And then take responsibility for the images and energies that you allow into your screen. Put yourself first and feel free to unfollow those that do not make you go and do something good.  

3. WHERE DO YOU SPEND YOUR RESOURCES  (TIME, ENERGY, MONEY)?

Is your spending in alignment with your values and your goals? Are you sitting in cafes with friends every day drinking lattes while your goal is to get in shape? Does your behavior take you closer to your goal? 

4. MEDITATE.

Advice that follows is not a cliche, so you better pay attention. A lot of people meditate and still stay in their heads. If you want to get the benefits of meditation or prayer, you want to build the stronger center. Your spirit needs to get grounded. Practice meditation and pay attention to your energy levels. Your energy (chi) is vital for your feeling of centeredness. If you feel energetic, this means that you are on the good path.

Do simple better and remember that lifestyle is a set of choices you make on a daily basis, so choose wisely. 

Much love,
Marija

P.S. If you liked this article and find it insightful, I'd so much appreciate if you could share it with your friends on social media. Thank you & love you!

You Cannot Swallow Sleep - Here's What You Can Do

Hello beautiful!
 
I have a confession – I’ve been struggling with sleep for quite some time. Getting to fall asleep has been challenging for me in the last year. As a holistic health coach, I’ve been working with people and helping them master the sleep, yet I’ve been struggling with the same thing myself. 

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As I wanted a sharp focus, vitality, energy to work, create, run around with my boys, as well as the ability to be present with my family and friends, I knew I needed to hack my sleep. However, let’s get clear here - I don’t value sleep only regarding being a servant of waking life (improving memory, appearance, immunity), but as an extension of natural rhythms on our planet.

It's easy to realize that I was very motivated to learn what was going on with my staying awake and getting energized in the evening. Hopefully, my insights will help you in finding that missing piece of the puzzle, so you can accept the benefits from the sacred time you spend in your bed (and stop looking at it as a wasted time).

First of all, here’s a little bit of a hot truth about the importance of sleep. The facts always get my attention on point, so here you are. There is substantial evidence emerging from chronic, severe illnesses tied to not having enough sleep. Short sleepers have 50% increase in the risk of viral infection, insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, mood disorders. 

Insomnia is an early sign of depression and depression is a late stage of insomnia.

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If we consume too much, we won’t be able to sleep well. Consumption of poor indoor light during the day, an excess amount of information and food that inflame our bodies all contribute to the accumulation of excess energy.
 
We have the reluctance to go down and let go. People who do not sleep well get excessively energized at night. Are we able to emotionally, physiologically and spiritually let go? There is very much turbulence that’s happening all the time, and we have to know how to calm our minds, our bodies and prepare them for sleep. 

I actually learned how to do this thanks to my kids. They need a structured nighttime routine to fall asleep - showering, brushing the teeth, putting on pajamas, hearing a story, getting and giving plenty of kisses and bam - they are off. However, if I just tell them to go to sleep - that will never happen. Adults, just as kids, need to unplug and disconnect from daily events slowly. 

Some people keep saying that we should take a rest, so does it mean that we can go and watch TV to relax? Did you know that rest is not about having fun, reading a book, hiking or watching TV, nor scrolling the Instagram page? Rest is being in bed, unplugged, meditating and preserving the energy.

While we sleep and dream the brain digests and assimilates the information that it has received during the day. Dreams are the part of the memory consolidation as well as emotional healing.
 
Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine say that we need to be in horizontal position by 10 pm as that is the time when we get a second wind if we stay up. The horizontal position helps our bodies balance the liquids.

Now, there is a vast body of research on the effects that sleep has on our hormonal balance. It affects regulation of cortisol, leptin, ghrelin, HGH, etc. I will cover this subject another time, but for now, I want to share what has changed my life for better - release of a Human Growth Hormone (HGH) during the sleep. That one is responsible for antiaging, tissue regeneration, liver regeneration, muscle building, a breakdown of fat stores, normalization of blood sugar. If I don’t sleep well, I will wake up with tension in my calves. However, thanks to HGH release - I wake up fully refreshed and with my limbs ready to move and be active during the day. 

We cannot swallow sleep through pill, tea or milk. We should build faith in our capacity to sleep. Our task is to learn to let go of the emotions, aspirations and other things that we carry to the bed. Chronic use of sleeping pills increase the risk of cancer, more than smoking, so play smart. 

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Now, I suggest that you observe your behavior during the day. When do you wake up? How do you feel when you wake up? How does your day look? Are there tasks that drain you? How do you feel after meeting certain people? Can you easily identify your thoughts? What and when do you eat? How much do you move? When do you get tired?  

When you get clarity on what is going on on daily basis, I suggest that you apply some of the following hacks. Discovering them all at once can give you additional stress, so take it slowly. Less is more, give yourself a time and find out what works for you. 

1. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE

I mean it. I've been guilty of this one. Entertaining yourself with your phone is such a time waster which provides additional stimulation for your brain. We don't need that before going to bed. All the information coming from different photos, news and articles interfere with our intention to relax. My goal is to turn the airplane mode on at 6 pm. 

2. HAVE A LIGHT MEAL 3-4 HOURS BEFORE GOING TO BED

Your body starts cleaning the house around 10 pm. If you eat at that time, it will be too busy digesting the food and you'll miss a part of the valuable cleansing process and as a result wake up grumpy, sluggish or exhausted.

3. SHOWER WITH WARM WATER AND USE LAVANDER ESSENTIAL OIL

If your nervous system is aroused, showering with warm water can calm you down. I do not recommend to finish with a few seconds of cold water as this will wake you up. Leave it for the morning or afternoon pick me up, and instead use a few drops of lavender essential oil to inhale under the rush of the warm water. That will help you regulate the activity of your nervous system and get you ready for the beautiful and restorative sleep.

4. USE BLUE BLOCKERS IF YOU NEED TO WORK AT NIGHT

Any light suppresses the production of melatonin, but the blue light is even more powerful in doing so. Melatonin helps us sleep, so we want to make sure that our body is producing sufficient amount of it. Our eyes are the gateways for light, as well as our skin, so for the basic protection use the blue light blocker glasses. In case you need to work at night, I have a nugget for you - the most amazing software that removes the blue light from your computer called F.lux. Here you can get it for free. You welcome! 

5. GUIDED MEDITATION FOR SLEEP

I love guided meditations. They are so comforting and they easily propel me into the world of fairy tales. The most important thing is to find the voice that you like. Here is one beautiful meditation for chakra alignment that you can listen with your earphones while already in your bed. No worries if you fall asleep - that's exactly what we aim for. 

Do simple better and remember that lifestyle is a set of choices you make on a daily basis, so choose wisely. 

Have a beautiful holiday!

Love,
Marija

Get Happier And Forget About Happiness

Achieving happiness has become a goal for many of us. Wherever I travel people ask me if Danish happiness is a myth or a truth. I came from London yesterday where I met at least 7-8 people that were curious about this topic. I have to admit that I do not believe in the westernized idea of happiness, nor that we can achieve it by any means. Happiness is not out there. It’s present; it’s here. It’s about you choosing to tap into it or not to tap into it in every single moment. 

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Scheduling quality time with your children or partner, or scheduling time for self-care, self-love and other human activities makes me think of us as robots, not humans.  

I have to admit that this realization came after years of living western lifestyle. My schedule was full for months in advance. Every social event, even a walk or a coffee with a friend would be scheduled on the calendar for the weeks to come. For example, you invite people for dinner a month or two months in advance. In the meantime you don’t speak to each other, you don’t see each other, but they'd show up on the exact day, and you’d have your scheduled time to socialize. If you don’t feel like socializing that day - I’m sorry, it's on your calendar. 

So, if we have to follow the schedule for our work/study commitments, our children’s activities, or maybe even our exercise routines, what is it that we don’t have to schedule to live our human lives and express our human nature? Is our meticulous schedule making us happy? Does it give us enough space to think about anything else but ourselves?

Who are the happy people?

Happy people are those who are more interested in other people’s problems, and they want to help. They are altruistic, they give money away, or they volunteer. They will give a hand if a family member, a colleague or a friend needs it. They care about the world. They are able to turn outward and think about problems of other people. They are healthier, have healthier habits, and they make better team members and better leaders. 

When people are unhappy, they tend to stay within their realm of problems; they become isolated and defensive. They don’t cope with diversity very well. 

How to feel happier?

Starting with your body is an excellent idea. I’ll explain why. Physical experience always informs the emotional experience. If you have the energy and vitality, that will affect everything that you do. If you want to be happier, get enough sleep and cultivate exercising habits. 

Sleep will affect your mood, concentration, energy levels, immune function, hunger, and satiety, as well as the processes that help in gaining muscles/losing fat. 

Relationships - to feel happy we need to feel like we have meaningful and intimate bonds, that we belong, that we can confide and that we can get support. Take a look at your relationships and be honest - do you have someone who is close to you? 

Self-knowledge is a crucial part of the happiness equation. If you don’t know yourself, you won’t be happy. You can build a happy life only on the firm foundation of your nature, interests, and values. 

 

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What I know for sure is that happiness is coming from taking action.

Ask your self - what can I do now to feel little happier instead of how can I achieve happiness?

You’ve probably heard about the correlation between expectations and happiness. Some people would say that to be happy we need to lower our expectations. This notion has never resonated with me, and thanks to my teacher Gretchen Rubin, I understand that happiness is not about reducing the expectations, but understanding our attitude towards the inner and the outer expectations. In other words, are you able to meet the expectations that you have for yourself and on the other hand, are you able to meet the expectations that others have from you?

If this sounds like monkey business, keep reading for one more minute.

As per Gretchen Rubin, there are four tendencies and knowing which one is yours will help you design the environment in which you’ll be inspired to take the constant action. None of us is the same, and none of us gets inspired in the same way. Here's the brief overview:

1. UPHOLDERS - they are the most disciplined of all. They happily respond to both outer and inner expectations. 
2. QUESTIONERS - they question everything. If it sounds reasonable to them, they’ll do it. If not, they won’t.
3. REBELS - resist all expectations - outer and inner alike. They want to do what they want to do, and if you ask them to do something, they’ll likely do the opposite. 
4. OBLIGERS - very good in meeting the outer expectations, but hard with personal expectations. 

In order to help you discover your tendency, I’m sharing the link to the online test that will help you do just that. After submitting your email address, you’ll receive a short but detailed guide on how you can tackle your barriers and actually take the action. It's not the annoying and spammy newsletter, and you can always unsubscribe from it if you don't feel like you get the value from it.

Everything that I am sharing in this post is proven and free, and I wish for you to use it for good.


Now, I'd love to learn what's your tendency? Feel free to share in the comments below. 


With much love,
Marija

Deconstruct Your Excess

Nothing succeeds like excess. If a little of something is good, more must be better.
— Arianna Huffington
Source:  Unsplash

Source: Unsplash

“More" in today's world serves as a legitimate measure of success, life’s mission and an ultimate life goal for many. It’s the proof that we’re doing everything as society intended and performing very well. We collect more stuff, take more education, live in the bigger houses, drive bigger cars, have more clothes. Society has taught us on how to be hungry for more. If you want more stuff in your life, people will pat your back.

We are widely encouraged to feel that settling for enough is for those of us who are weak and non-ambitious. Capitalist societies have given us a detailed manual on how to live life and how to measure our success. Every deviation would be considered either inappropriate or a non-volatile act of the extreme luck - depending on the outcome.

In that light, I was wondering, what about the excess weight?! What about that stubborn layers of fat that wouldn’t go away, that protect us from something?

What about that obvious statement of insatiable hunger for more?

Here's how it usually goes. Early morning, you get to the bathroom and face your reflection in the mirror. You give it a glimpse, lightly smile and affirm that you need to get rid of that annoying flab that’s stopping you from living your best life.

So what do you do? You either get to punish yourself with another circle of deprivation that balances you out until the emotional craving for the equilibrium caused by lack, propels you in yet another cycle of over-eating.

Perhaps you start re-inforcing all the blessings that you’ve earned in this lifetime, go on with your life as you know it, hoping to eventually manifest what you genuinely desire of your body.

Enough is not the amount. It’s your relationship with what you already have. - Geneen Roth

The major diseases are not the causes of death. Diseases are effects. What is causing them in 80% of the cases is a day to day lifestyle choices. There is still no pill that can outsmart your body’s intelligence in a way that it stays blind to your poor daily decisions. The power of food and lifestyle is so high that we can re-fashion our medical destiny at the very level of our genes.

So, how to apply this to healing our relationship with food?

We either get so scared that we promptly get out of our way and start applying everything that could make us not to die prematurely, or we give it a little more thought. We obtain more knowledge which leads us to more cerebral eating.

The next level is to connect to our bodies which lead us to more intuitive eating. We explore different dietary approaches, consult different practitioners and then, armed with the cutting edge knowledge, we get the feeling of having the power.

However, knowledge is not the power. We need the effort to translate it into energy. The initiative is called the action.

Exploring the health from the holistic perspective by integrating different aspects of your living experience could be your path to freedom. Everyone can do it.

Do you have an excuse?

Explore it with me on your FREE mini session that you can schedule now.

Sources:
1. Dr. David Katz, notes from lectures
2. Huffington, Arianna. Thrive. New York, NY: Penguin, 2014.
3. McGinnis JM, Foege WH. Actual causes of death in the United States. JAMA 1993.