Why I Believe in My Superfoods

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This is how Superfoods make me feel! And, for a girl w a chronic pain and fatigue disorder, that’s pretty damn special!

Superfoods…  a health term that gets thrown around A LOT these days, huh? So, what are they? Why are some foods super and some not? GOOD QUESTION! It’s taken me a long time to figure it out too. If you want to know the truth, I’m still learning more every day!

My superfoods have changed the way I am able to live. I have multiple chronic illnesses that were being controlled by what I was putting in my body.

I don’t like veggies very much. I’m a very picky eater, my grandmother used to call me “finiky”… it’s a texture thing and an anxiety thing for me. If I think I don’t like it, I don’t like it… I know, grow up, Katie. I’ve tried. I’ve gotten better, but I’m just not one that likes a big variety of foods.

I know I can eat plenty of protein and fiber (kinda) and goods fats. Y’all do know the necessity of good fats, right? The whole fat-free thing is a bunch of milarchy. It’s crucial that our bodies get good fats and if they don’t multiple disease processes can appear. Good fats keep our brain working… our brain controls EVERYTHING!

Did you know you can get TOO MUCH PROTEIN, and it will make you gain weight just like sugar will? Actually, when you eat too much protein, it turns into sugar, and then fat. That’s why I’m not a protein shake kinda girl, I’m a SUPERFOOD shake kinda girl. Sure, I need protein, but I eat protein… eggs, steak, chicken, and bacon aren’t the hard part for me, it’s the veggies. Yes, I was that kid, and still am at 46.

So, how do I get my veggies, I have some that I love and we have them with dinner each night, some days I have Caesar salad w meat on it for lunch, but my Shakeology fills in the missing nutrition. #winning

Why Shakeology?

I took this holistic nutrition class and learned about adaptogenic herbs. Cool things, those adaptogens… they help my body adapt to stress. I didn’t know food did that!!! Did you?? Adaptogenic herbs help my body detox and fight the stress of everyday life and the toxic substances that I breathe in and ingest.

Then, I learned that Shakeology has digestive enzymes and prebiotics and probiotics. Why does that matter? Have you heard of digestion? I know, stupid question… Digestion is the process of absorbing nutrients to fuel our body. Here’s the thing, we need digestive enzymes to help absorb the good stuff and not the bad, we need prebiotics to help feed the probiotics. Those probiotics help digest the food we eat so we can absorb the nutrients. These enzymes and natural organisms used to be in our food.

Ever heard of phytonutrients and antioxidants? These are the super greens and funny sounding plants that provide immune benefits. Did you know with a healthy immune system you can fight off almost any disease there is, including cancer? I know I sound like a nut, trust me, it was new to me when I first heard it too. I am a total believer though, I’ve seen too many people get healthier by committing to holistic nutrition.

Did you know that antioxidants actually are like a detox for your body? Seriously! Isn’t that cool!? They help eliminate free radicals. What are free radicals? There are toxic substances that float around in our bodies from different environmental assaults (foods, stress, organisms, chemicals, etc.). Antioxidants eliminate those free radicals… SWEET, give me some! I’m all for free, but not when it comes to toxins in my body, that’s what weakens my immune system. Not cool!

So, what else do I need to tell you?? Oh, yea, there IS protein in Shakeology. What I found in the past was most protein shakes are whey or soy, both are inflammatory for most people. (More about chronic inflammation and how it contributes to disease here.) Whey, soy, and too much protein are going to cause weight gain, which is not what most people are looking for.

My choice for protein is plant-based proteins: quinoa, oat, rice, flax, chia, and pea. Why? flax and chia have omega 3 fatty acids which are good fats that my body needs. I don’t want whey because dairy is inflammatory. I significantly limit soy because soy is bad for our endocrine health, want to know more -> read this.

You see, Shakeology is my way of getting 70 different anti-inflammatory foods, most of which I don’t know how to source or prepare. That’s A LOT of holistic nutrition in a tasty treat, folks!

Superfoods are super important for the long-term health of your body. If you’d like to know more about the choices I make, reach out, let’s chat. If you want to join my groups, I’m happy to be your health coach, we ALL need a health coach (mine makes my world a much easier place to navigate). If you want to contact me via my coach website or order Shakeolgy, start here, or you can find me on Facebook @ Katie Pink Tolley

I hope you find a way to make your wellness journey enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all get by with a little help from our friends. 😉

If you’d like to hear what’s so special about Shakeology from the developer herself (yes, HER, one of my heroes, Isabelle), click here.

Oh, I should probably add the health issues that I had that are almost non-existent now that I practice an anti-inflammatory lifestyle 90% of the time along with adding in Shakeology: Asthma, Allergies, Thyroid imbalance, Eczema, Restless Leg Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrom, Constipation, Anxiety, ADHD, Sleep problems, constant stomach pain, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Disorder. Yea, that’s tiring to even think about, so glad I found holistic nutrition and these superfoods. They’ve changed my life, actually, now I can live my life! #golden

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Graphic compliments of Beachbody

As always, Enjoy the Journey & Be Well. ~kp

Why I Believe in Functional Fitness

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NEVER SAY NEVER

Contrary to popular belief, I am not superwoman… I’m soooo far from it.

I AM Katie Pink extraordinaire though… that works for me. It’s taken me a long time to figure that out. My path has had many avenues and many dead ends, paths that were laid out for me, and paths I foraged own my own. I’ve grown from all of it. What I’ve learned is that I need to keep FUNCTIONING at my most extraordinary. I don’t like the alternative.

Life is HARD. Life is always full of stressors. Life is about how we learn to navigate the challenges. I deal with a bad hip and short leg, Fibromyalgia, scoliosis, asthma, irritable bowel, and a few other diagnoses. I’ve lived with pain all my life. Having strong muscles to support my body equates to less pain. When I workout, I feel strong. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too. I am better able to “function”.

As a child athlete, I’d always been in decent shape. I didn’t realize all those years of soccer, gymnastics, skating, tennis, biking, hockey, etc. were actually like pain medicine. When I stopped doing all of those activities, the pain increased, I didn’t know why. I was young and didn’t think about how my body worked. I didn’t think about the everyday function of my body. I didn’t think that all those activities were keeping my muscles strong and “functioning”.

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at 25, just weeks before starting nursing school. I was told to decrease my stress and exercise more. HAHAHA. That was an oxymoron knowing what the demands of nursing school were going to be. I didn’t workout, but I did work, as a waitress, the physical demands of the job helped to keep me strong in some ways but sure didn’t help that back pain. I was functioning, but barely.

I’ve learned a bit since that initial Fibro diagnosis. I’ve struggled with my pain, my sleep, my stomach, my hip, my anxiety, my ADHD, and that little voice in my head that doesn’t always believe in me (she’s not nice). I made sacrifices. I missed opportunities with loved ones. I missed opportunities to learn. I missed opportunities to enjoy my life… because I wasn’t functioning.

I’ve learned that the secret to dealing with chronic disease is maintaining “function”.

So, my goal is “functional fitness”… What does that mean? It means keeping my body functioning the best it can with all the stressors that life brings. Life is not going to stop and allow me to regroup and take breaks, it just keeps on happening. If I’m not happening with it, I’m losing. When I’m losing, I’m not functioning at my best. See the circle there?

So, what do I do? Strength training, core training, yoga, pilates, workouts that keep my body functioning. When I say functioning, I mean, full range of motion in my joints, no pain (or very little), a digestive system that absorbs nutrition and eliminates toxins, a sleep schedule that doesn’t leave me tossing and turning at night, a life that I can enjoy with the people that I love. That isn’t the way it’s always been, and it’s not fun to not function.

Non-functional means pain. Non-functional means sleepless nights. Non-functional means exhausting days. Non-functioning means missing important events and milestones. Non-functioning to me… means not living. It’s depressing and demoralizing, and I didn’t like it. That’s why I speak out about my health and how I’ve started to save myself.

In saving myself, I’ve saved my marriage and my family. In saving myself, I’ve also learned how to make my family healthier and happier. I’ve learned how to help them avoid chronic illness and disease, or at least how to make it more “functional” and that’s not easy.

Today, I wanted to share all this with you. The ones that believe in me. I want you to believe in you too. I’m an example of what you can be. I’m also willing to help you figure out the secrets I needed to figure out. I share a lot of those secrets in my health and wellness articles.  I also share a lot as a Health Coach because I enjoy helping people feel better. It helps me believe there is hope in the world. If I can help one person feel better, I can help two. And, one by one, we can make our world a happier and healthier and more functional place. That works for me, and I think it just might work for you too.

Enjoy the Journey, Friends… that’s what it’s all about!

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Dear 17 (there’s always more;)

img_8455Dear 17,

Those that die…  they don’t want to… not really …

They just don’t know what else to do…

It’s not that nobody is listening…

It’s that nobody hears…

Nobody has time to really absorb the impact, the compound effect of what’s happening…

The words are never clear, or never clear enough…

But, TRUST ME…

NONE of us want to die…

You’ll learn… it’s gets all too real…

Love YOU & who YOU are!

Love,

Me

PS ; THERE IS ALWAYS MORE TO YOUR STORY!

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Dear 17, (starting and stopping)

Dear 17, (starting and stopping)courage is the absence of fear

You’ll start with the greatest excitement! It makes you tingle. IT’S FUN! You know what I’m talking about. You’ve always been this way. Like the day you got your driver’s license. No more taking the car when you shouldn’t. You got lucky on that one, you won’t always be so lucky.

Actually, one thing you should know… we create our own luck. I’m still learning that at 46.

Sooner or later, the excitement wears off…. Sometimes it’s the monotony, sometimes you think it’s too hard (that damn anxiety and self esteem thing again), or maybe someone doesn’t think your excitement is warranted and you take it to heart.

That’s when the trouble starts. You will let it get to you. It will devastate you. It will STEAL days from your life, DON’T LET IT!! I say that now, but I still let it. I still have to talk myself down. We’re just sensitive. It’s a good thing though, trust me.

It will take you years to understand how sensitive you are. You will accept it, but at the same time, take offense to anyone that tries to use it against you. Problem is, it’s too late once they step inside your space. You react. You can’t help it… It’s a defense mechanism. You learned all about it in college in one of your psych classes, there were plenty. Ha, I love psychology, you’ll see Enjoy the classes, pay attention just a little bit more, it helps you navigate through life more than you realize.

About the sensitive-reacting part, that’s gonna be a problem. That’s the stopping and starting catalyst!! Ugh, I wish I could help you learn… I’m still learning, guess I always will be. Aren’t we all?

Your biggest problem… you let your reaction to the outside world consume you. It changes you.

It changes your relationships.

It changes your thinking.

It changes your ability to think.

It changes your ability to function.

You basically shut down.

Kate, you need to get over that shit… you lose days of your life!! It’s NOT healthy. It’s toxic. I know it’s the anxiety. I wish we knew then what I know now. (sigh)

The shut down, that’s the anxiety. It interferes with your whole world. It’s ugly and it hurts. It’s heavy, the weight may not be visible, but it’s there and it’s real. When you finally figure out how to lift it off of you, you realize how heavy and consuming it actually is. You only realize the weight when you feel the weight lift. It won’t lift until you finally address it and do something about it. That’s the hard part. That takes strength.

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It’s ok to be afraid…

Strength isn’t something we have. It isn’t something that people are. Strength is something that people earn. Strong is something people become. And you will. You are so much stronger than you know. You will prove that to yourself over and over again. I will still take decades for you to really believe it though.

You see, at 17 you’re still learning who you are and what life is all about. Being a kid and growing up is the “learning” part, it takes years, even more than those arbitrary 18 years that precede “adulthood.”

Adulting is hard shit! Enjoy your youth. I wish you knew how much you need to enjoy your youth, we all do. We make it too serious, and it doesn’t have to be that way. I think we’d all be a lot healthier and happier if childhood wasn’t so serious. #lessons

Make life work for you, my dear. Hold your head up. Face your fears. Share your strengths. Share your wisdom. Help others. It will all help you be who you want to be.

only impossible journeyThe only things you cannot accomplish are the things you don’t attempt. #truth

We’ll chat again soon, promise.

Love,

Me

Work Hard. Be anything you want to be… #whatajoke #iamconfused #nowwhat

If we work, we will succeed, and be rewarded. WHAT A FUCKING JOKE!

We grew up in a time that hard work meant you could do and achieve anything. So, we worked hard. That was the American way. You went to college, you worked in trade, you went in the service. You gave back. That’s what America is. img_3118

So, we did that. We gave back to our communities. We started to have families, and then we gave back to the community even more when we had children. As parents you want to build your community up for your children. Children do that to you, and for you. It’s about something bigger than you.

So, I worked hard, I had faith, I tried to give back, I tried to be happy (and I have been), I tried to live the life we were told we could live… and be successful. #whatajoke

It’s not true. For so many of us, it was a lie. We worked hard, we started families, we bought and built houses to provide for that family. That was our primary goal, take care of and build and spend time with the family.

Somewhere along the line, things broke… we couldn’t continue to live the way we were living. Things were more expensive. Things like shirts and pants, cheese, milk, gas, haircuts, cribs, diapers, childcare, dance lessons, sports, insurance (health, car, home, pick one), things insurance didn’t pay for, don’t even get me started on taxes (as smoke comes out of my ears)… and don’t we at least get a weekend away sometimes that doesn’t cost a thousand freakin’ dollars?

Overnight, our paychecks didn’t pay our bills. How did that happen??? I played by the rules.

We’re a 2 income family, doesn’t that mean we’re the ones working harder and should be able to get ahead. Isn’t that the whole idea of working??? Isn’t that what that Women’s Lib movement and “burn the bras” was all about? Sometimes, I wish I lived back then, maybe I’d understand it better. I’m thinking not though. Most of those bra burners put their bras back on, drove their station wagons, raised their kids and are now snow birding in the Sunshine State while the rest of us lose our everloving minds trying to keep it all together. WTF? How did that happen?

WHY did working since I was 14, even through most of my college and grad school years (minus the nursing school part, God Bless my Grandma Lorraine) NOT PAY OFF? I worked my ass off so that when my kids needed me I had a job that was only part time or at home or I had saved enough to be available for them.

WHAT A FUCKING JOKE IT ALL WAS!

Apparently, the jokes on me and many of my generation. WE TOTALLY BOUGHT IT!!! And, now I’m paying for it, and I know many of my friends are too. Nobody can get ahead in this economy if they have school debt, health care cost debt, health issues (so many do) and try to live a healthy lifestyle to remedy or avoid those health issues.

When I say a “Healthy lifestyle,” I mean, affording healthy food, time to exercise, time to work, time for family, time to troubleshoot the ups and downs of life, time to decompress, time and money for a vacation, the opportunity to get ahead. Is that so bad? Isn’t that life? What am I asking for that I haven’t earned? I’m confused. If this is what’s expected, we might as well succumb to a life of pain, illness, stress and shorter lifespans. I for one refuse to submit.

I know there is a whole adult generation younger than me now, and they don’t have the same experiences. I have friends with grown kids crying because things in society (specifically this ignorant election of 2016) don’t go their way. Many don’t see why everything can’t be free? Have we dumbed down our society to the point that they don’t realize that somebody has to pay for it? Who’s that supposed to be?

A family that makes $80k a year can’t afford $20k in health care, 30% in income taxes, another significant percentage on property taxes, utilities, groceries, home/car insurance, pets, vacations, sports, home maintenance, clothing, savings, school, etc… That doesn’t end in a balanced budget. This is why the middle class is slipping.

So, now what do we do??? #bethechange

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What’s Your Excuse?? Reality Maybe?

Here’s my list of excuses:

  • Congenital Hip Dysplasiaaf8119baa06da42794553e2c664e150c
  • Asthma
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • My Kids, time I want to spend with them, and the time they just need me
  • Work
  • Taxiing my kids to/from wherever it is they have to be….
  • Care for my family, aka paying bills, cleaning, pet care, permission slips, troubleshooting printers (and f’n routers every couple months, like right now, ugh), school plays, guitar lessons, horseback riding, groceries that. are. always. gone.!!
  • Then, of course, something unexpected throws the whole game plan off….. Like today’s migraine… UGH!

Excuse vs. Reality? Reality really is what it comes down to when you think about it. We are so hard on ourselves sometimes, we’re usually our own worst enemy. Let me ask you… Continue reading

Stress…Are we setting a good example?

Stress affects everyone.

Stress interferes with our basic human needs to survive.

Stress interferes with our health and ability to live productive lives.

Stress changes our world.

Young or old, alone or part of a family, stress affects all of us. It changes how we act. It changes how we think. It changes our decision making. It affects how the world perceives us.

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How do you handle stress?   Do you let others see your stress?   Do you let your kids see your stress?  Do you make sure your kids see you dealing with stress in a healthy way? That last one is the hard one.

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When you think you have everything all under control, and it just unravels and falls apart…. Have a plan!

The past few months were pretty stressful in our house. I don’t always handle stress well. I don’t think clearly. I don’t make the best decisions. And, it’s obvious to everyone in my world that something is wrong. I wear my stress just like a new outfit. When it’s bad, it overcomes me. I get stuck. It sucks. And, what also sucks is that my kids don’t get the mom they need. None of us are able to be 100% the person we want to be when we are stressed. Fact.

Many of us don’t deal with our stress well, and the effects are profound. We have a society that is tired, less productive, irritable, gaining weight, depressed, anxious, and generally unhealthy both mentally and physically, all because of stress. Stress changes our bodies in multiple ways, hormonally, gastrointestinally, and cognitively, just to name a few.

When the brain, the gut and the hormones are messed up, guess what? Life is messed up, and things just don’t go so smoothly. Unfortunately, our immune system gets the direct assault. If you want to read more about stress and the immune relationship, I recommend  Paleo Mom’s blog posts about how leaky gut and stress affect our health. The impact of stress on our health is so profound, I encourage you to learn more about it, and hope to write another post about it soon.

Take a look at our society, 1 in 3 are sick, the majority are overweight, many are out of work or incapable of keeping a job, most self medicate with alcohol and cigarettes, and many with illegal drugs. The majority of relationships fall apart, many children don’t live with both mom and dad (some with neither), and respect for one another seems to be at an all time low.

As a society, we are not functioning well. We are not dealing with problems and they are causing stress and it has a domino effect on our society as a whole. So, back to the reason I started this post…

We need to deal with our stress, but HOW? 

Lifestyle choices. Simply put, we need to go Back to Basics:

  1. Safety and love. This is a basic human need, and many people are not loved and do not feel safe. Many things about the basic needs of our society are broken. Lack of respect & broken family systems are a central part of this problem. Everybody needs somebody.
  2. Proper Nutrition. This might be #2, but only because #1 is so primal. This is such a crucial element to one’s health both mentally and physically. Balanced nutrition can cure and prevent many of today’s “modern diseases.” Eating 3 balanced meals a day is a must. Not just our body, but especially our brain needs fuel, and food is that fuel. Too many unnatural foods (I use the word food loosely here) in our diet lead to health issues. If you’ve ever read my blog, you know how I feel about processed vs. natural foods. We will save that discussion for another post.
  3. Adequate Sleep. If we don’t get enough quality sleep, our body doesn’t have time to replenish. Simple supply and demand here. You can’t keep drinking out of a glass that you don’t refill. For more details about the importance of sleep and how much sleep we each need, check here.
  4. Exercise/Physical Activity. Our body is mechanical, it’s quite amazing actually. Our body needs to be toned and fit to perform how it was meant to, and how we expect it to. Muscles are there to support bones, if muscles are not toned and in shape, they can’t do their job. Think about all the back pain, neck pain, knee pain, and hip pain in this country. Much of it is because we don’t keep our muscles toned. And, exercise has a direct impact on good digestion. Good digestion is the key to good health! Learn yoga or pilates, just 10-15 min before bed will make a lifetime of difference in you physical and digestive health. I promise. 😉

All of the above have a huge effect on how our body functions.

Proper care = proper function, aka, we can deal with life (and it’s stressors) better when we are healthy. Fact.

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Life does this to us from time to time.

So, last month when my stress meter was in the danger zone, and my boss (Who is The Best!) asked what I was doing to take care of me, I knew what I had to do… I told her that I wasn’t doing so well the first few weeks. I even left the house for a couple hours one night because I just couldn’t take it anymore. (I’m not totally nuts though, I just went to my aunt’s house to deflate.)

So, what was I doing to help with my stress? I had been trying to eat pretty healthy (keep in mind that wine is made from grapes 😉 ). I was trying to get adequate sleep (the nights I wasn’t up late researching everything I could find to help my son). And, I was getting ready to start an exercise program (that I should get off of this computer and good do). The exercise program was something I was excited about; the “physical activity” part of my equation had fallen off my radar and I was feeling icky not being in better shape.

Another thing I support wholeheartedly, but was not doing was talking to someone professionally, as in a therapist. I am lucky to have a 2 for 1 in my massage therapist. My massage therapist is one of the best people in my world. We found each other about 12 years ago, and we’ve developed this true friendship/inner psyche kinda love. We share so many of the same philosophies about life. She knows where my muscles are the most stressed and we chat during my massages, it’s better than psychotherapy… Well, better until she gets to the painful parts, but I call that “feel good pain” because it helps decrease the daily muscle aches/pains and gets the stress toxins out of my muscles (and out of my body). She helps me survive. I can’t express the impact massage therapy has on my world. I highly recommend it. I think most alternative therapies deserve more credit than we give them. Alternative medicine works, these therapies haven’t been around for thousands of years for no reason.

We need to fulfill our basic human needs to survive and be productive.

We need to be healthy and happy to live productive lives and be prepared to deal with life’s stressors.

We need to be good role models for the next generation. We need to deal with our stress. We need to address problems, not ignore them. We need to find solutions, not complaints. We need to treat others as we want to be treated.

We need to demonstrate positive alternatives to acting out in negative ways. Our youth need to see adults dealing with life’s stressors in positive ways. This will make a huge difference in our world. This is a job that all adults are responsible for, like it or not.

Learning to deal with stress is a continuous journey for all of us. I’ve been struggling and learning for decades now. I’m still doing research, but I’m also doing a few Sun Salutations (that’s yoga for those of you that still haven’t caught on to how wonderful yoga is) along this journey to help decrease my stressed. I have tried to work through the most recent “worst” stress in my life. It’s much easier to deal with now that we are on the other side of it (well, mostly). I am proud to be able to show my kids how to deal with stress. At times, I set a good example of what not to do, but I most recently set a good example of what to do by making the lifestyle changes that help me deal with my stress. Just 2 weeks into my exercise program, I’m feeling so much better. And, my kids have the mom they need and deserve. Maybe I’ll share a little more about my exercise program in another post soon.

I hope you have outlets for your stress. If not, I hope this post encourages you to create a few. If you want a little help, just let me know. There is nothing easy about life. We all need to stick together. It takes a village, no matter what your age. The support system I had through my most recent stressful issues made all the difference.

Don’t let life dictate what you do; take control of your life and take it where you want it to go.  Learning how to deal with the stressors makes the journey much more successful and enjoyable.

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A nice vista along the way is good for the soul.

So, eat well, sleep well, exercise, surround yourself with like-minded, positive thinking people and…. Enjoy the Journey! You’ll be glad you did.