I love November! It’s my birthday, it’s many of my friend’s birthdays (Scorpios tend to hang around other Scorpios…professional courtesy?) and it’s Thanksgiving and Hanukkah!
Each year I aim to make the holiday meal healthier than it was the year before. Less breads, less desserts, no processed foods (sorry, we don’t do green-bean casserole around these parts!) no soda. STRESS? Glad to say, I’m learning to keep it to a minimum.
I want to share some excerpts from a newsletter by my doctors at Central Family Practice. I love them, and this is one reason why. The article is by Peggy Ghorbani, L.Ac.
21st Century life is so kinetic that our poor endocrine systems haven’t evolved fast enought to keep up with the demands of all our beeping and blinking devices. Constant distraction, multitasking, and unaddressed, unremitting stress all tax our adrenal glands and their production of the stress hormone, cortisol. This is important because cortisol is a hormone that governs everything from blood pressure, to sleep patterns and cravings, to our capacity to cope with stress effectively.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, our cortisol levels are related to the strength of our Kidney Qi (energy). The Kidneys help us deal with fear, help us sleep peacfully, and determine every aspect of fertility and healthy aging!
In an effort to practice what she preaches, Peggy made a few vital changes:
- She added yoga/meditation classes in order to slow down and notice when her cortisol levels are rising. She said that “it’s a revelation to recognize stress – like a fish noticing water!”
- She proiritized happiness and choosing to relax.
- She quit drinking coffee because despite it’s great antioxidant benefits, caffeine directly induces the adrenocortical cells to produce more cortisol. If you suffer from anxiety, poor sleep, grind your teeth….
- She is limiting alcohol. Alcohol raises cortisol and the effects persist for 24 hours or more. So much for having a drink or two to unwind! She does say that it’s not necessary to completely refrain, but that it’s best to keep consumption at less than 3 glasses a week.
- Her FUN solutions: Eat dark chocolate (70%)! In what may be the most popular study ever performed on cortisol, 40g/day of dark chocolate for 2 weeks lowered urine cortisol levels.
- Get a massage regularly! Massage lowers cortisol, raises oxytocin, and has been documented to improve immune function!
(I’m going to quote somebody here…) “Just Say No,” to things that aren’t fun, that are an obligation that you don’t enjoy, to things you know you shouldn’t do. Just because you’ve always eaten unhealthy food, doesn’t mean it needs to continue. Just because you over-imbibe to deal with the fam, doesn’t mean that needs to continue either. Start some new traditions, ones that support you and make you feel healthier and happier. Give people a heads-up! “Here is what I’m doing this year in order to be healthier, if you’d like to participate, please come join me!” Become a great example.
A relaxed, healthy, happy hostess is a Very Sexy Hostess!
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