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Enjoy the Feast Without Getting Fat: A Guide to Conscious Choice this Holiday Season

Ready or not the holidays are full steam ahead!

During this time of year there is an abundance of delicious food and treats available almost everywhere we go: gigantic family dinners, tasting events at local restaurants, and of course personally wrapped fresh baked goodies from neighbors delivered right to your front door. I love to go to festive social events and enjoy delicious foods during the holidays—but, I especially love maintaining my health practices throughout this season of indulgence. There is a way to “have it all,” – the freedom to enjoy the holidays, without having to pay the price of gaining those extra pounds. Here are three key principles that will allow you the freedom to enjoy the holidays, surrounded by abundant food, while still maintaining your waistline.   Principle 1: Abundance vs. Scarcity: Changing the way we view holiday food A mindset of scarcity can make it easy to overindulge during the holidays.  If we view eating certain foods as an expiring opportunity, our tendency will be to overeat.  Yes, the pumpkin cheesecake is amazing, and the homemade rolls are to die for….but this isn’t the only season of the year when fine dining can be enjoyed. Take an honest assessment of the diversity of opportunities you have to eat calorie laden desserts and rich foods.  You may be surprised to note just how many pieces of fudge and other delicacies are presented to you throughout the year.  Being honest and accurate in assessing the abundant opportunity to enjoy good food empowers us to partake of smaller portions, savoring the bites we choose to enjoy, and perhaps passing altogether on foods we don’t truly love.

Principle 2: Everything is a choice: Say “Yes” to yourself

Have you ever been told that something you wanted was “off-limits,” and found yourself wanting that thing even more?  There is something very alluring and enticing about things that are placed in the “off-limits” category in life.  It is human nature.  So, get in the habit of saying “yes” to yourself, and realize you are in control of your choices. Several years ago my uncle told me how frustrated he was that his three year old daughter wasn’t interested in playing with the multitude of toys he had purchased for her.  What she did want to play with were all the breakable items that she had been told “no” to time after time.  Naturally, she wanted most what she couldn’t have, and her tantrums let everyone know that. Consider the foods that may be in your “off limits” category.  The psychology of human nature is similar to that of my young niece—our desires are often magnified by the “forbidden fruit.”  Saying no to ourselves over and over again can allow a residue of pent-up emotions to build within us, perhaps eventually manifesting as an all out binge session.  Choose instead to say “yes” to yourself.  On one occasion saying “yes” may mean ordering a chocolate molten cake.  On another occasion you may choose to say “yes” to your healthy lifestyle and refrain from eating dessert altogether.

Principle 3: Keep moving forward: Indulge and move on

Quite easily, the holiday season can morph from being a few great meals to an all out stuff-fest for several months. After indulging on one occasion it may be tempting to just twirl a white handkerchief in the air and “give up” and just choose to eat anything and everything for the entire holiday season in an unconscious blur.  To feel better you may even tell yourself that you will “start” a diet at a popular future date……the New Year! Realize that when you choose to indulge at an event or feast, you can also choose to do so moderately, and then move on.  Having a few good meals during the holiday season is not going to destroy all of your hard work and good daily habits.   If you have a few occasions that you consciously give yourself permission to indulge, your health goals can still be maintained.  Don’t give up the war simply because you may have lost one battle.

With these simple ways of changing the way holiday food and events are viewed, you can have it all this holiday season.  Focus on what you want most for yourself in health, wellness, and enjoying life. Through doing this, your food choices will be more balanced and fulfilling this holiday season and for the entire year!


Are you the holiday planner in your household? The hostess with the most-est? Head chef, personal shopper, and queen of witty cocktail party banter? We ladies seem to be everything to everybody at this time of year but the stress of keeping it all together can drain our energy and take a toll on our health, making us feel significantly less than sexy. Of course, the downside to misplacing your sexual mojo is that there is nothing quite like a good old fashioned orgasm to improve your health, reduce your stress, make you feel absolutely amazing, and kick your attitude back up to rockin’ levels. Yep, we are going to go there. We are talking about orgasms. Orgasms not only feel great, but they release endorphins (aka the happy hormones) into your system, lowering blood pressure, and even helping you sleep (something that is often in short supply for women!). But what’s a woman to do if you’re between partners, your dance card is empty, or your partner is even busier than you are at this time of year? Sounds like its time to go shopping… for a vibrator! Trust us, it’s the gift that just keeps on giving (and it can be put in a drawer and ignored without questions whenever you want) . Need some convincing? Here is some straight talk about S-E-X:
  • Vibrators have come a long way! Many are designed by woman-owned companies who actually put some thought into creating products that work for women’s bodies. Some are so ‘cute’ and discreet no one would ever know what it was.
  • If you are like 70% of women (that is 7 out of 10 of us!), you may have a difficult time orgasming from penetration alone. A vibrator is not only great for solo play – most guys like them too. No man wants to see his partner unhappy or unfulfilled in the bedroom and you can bet he will be willing and maybe even thrilled to try out a toy that will get you where you need to go!
  • Some women can be shy or inexperienced with self-stimulation. Why not see what a vibrator can do for you. It was a lifesaver for me after my divorce and even now with a full dating card, it is a constant companion for me.
Don’t let the stresses and overindulgences of the holidays lead to getting burnt out, run down, or irritable. Orgasms are as important as sleep, exercise or meditation in helping your body nourish and replenish itself. As Mae West would say, “An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away.”

The Company HO HO HOliday Party: How to Stay Off the Naughty List

Ah yes, the holiday party. For some, its one of the perks of the job, for others, about as painful as a root canal. No matter what your feelings about this once-a-year shindig schedule, we have the scoop to help you navigate these holiday minefields with grace, poise, and dignity; you may even come out of them one step ahead up the career ladder! Here are some of the essential Dos and Don’ts of the annual office Christmas Party that will determine whether you come out of it all on Santa’s naughty or nice list: THE NICE LIST (ie. the ‘DOs’)
  1. If there is a scheduled office party… go! Respect that your employer has invested time, money, and energy in hosting this gathering. It can provide you with good exposure, networking opportunities, and visibility if you attend.
  2. Arrive on time or, better yet, 10 minutes early. The least stressful time to make yourself known to your senior staff is before festivities get in full swing. Remember these folks make the key decisions about your future. Be smart and don’t monopolize them.  Maturity is the watchword. Also, early on is when the big brass make some decisions on whom they will potentially socialize with later on during the party.
  3. Remember that everyone is a subordinate to someone at an office gathering. The reality is that this is a business gathering. Someone is always watching you and noticing your behaviour.
  4. Do go out of your way to meet new people but don’t talk straight business. This is a chance for you to grow your network, to meet people you may not always work with, and to find out about peoples lives and interests outside of work.
  5. Keep a level-headed approach. Look at the party as an opportunity to develop and increase socio-office networks to further streamline and improve workplace relations across all levels of the organization.
  6. Consider the company newsletter. Be totally aware of ALL pictures being taken. We cannot emphasize this point enough: you don’t want to be captured in a compromised position, be munching on a chicken wings, doing the lowest of the limbos, or have two cocktail glasses in your hand. Be aware, because those pics WILL live long after the company newsletter meets the web. Keep your head up and prepare for a calm and collected pose.
  7. Remember that the holiday party event can often be a toss-up of who will prove to be the biggest jackass this year. Don’t let it be you!
The NAUGHTY LIST (or the absolutely, positively DO-NOTs!)
  1. DO NOT OVERINDULGE! This may seem like a no-brainer, and yet there are enough pictures floating around the internet the prove that every year, people do not heed this warning. Overdoing it with the alcohol can make you the subject of office gossip, the target or ridicule, and, yes, can even lead to your termination from your job. Alcohol loosens sexual inhibitions and can lead to inappropriate sexual interactions that can get you in A LOT of trouble.
  2. PLEASE leave the kooky reindeer sweater with the blinking nose or the Santa Baby outfit at home. It will be remembered, but most likely not in a good way.
  3. Don’t avoid other holiday parties. Your spouse, significant other, or friend may need an escort. Use that opportunity to network as well (just remember that your behavior reflects on your date!)
  4. This is not the place for flirting! Never troll for affection at the company event—it erodes reputation, can damage your work relationships, and hurt your career. If you need two words to cool your jets, consider these: sexual harassment.
  5. Holiday party hook-ups are NEVER a good idea. Too much fun, too much booze, too much skin, and too many loose tongues can leave you the next day with a hangover, a tarnished reputation, and possibly even a job on the line. You don’t want to become fodder for office gossip (made worse if you’ve temporarily forgotten you’re married), so if you’re crushing on somebody, don’t use the holiday party as your excuse to make a move. The function is, at its core, a business gathering. Hook up with your desired hottie another time.
WHAT SANTA DOESN’T KNOW CAN’T HURT YOU If you just can’t resist the urge to make merry with your office-mates, it is often suggested that the best alternative is a Happy Hour. It should be organized by someone in the office, with an offering of inclusion to all, thus making it fully optional and non-obligatory. This kind of dutch treat, buy-your-own-booze event means that you are self liable. But remember, you are still with your co-workers, so know what is still at stake. From flirting to fornication, you could still end up on Santa’s Naughty List. The holiday office party IS your chance to remind your boss and co-workers why you were hired, not what jobs you’re suited for after hours…and after a few drinks. You want to leave with your dignity and attire in tact, not with people recommending you for AA. Always remember this piece of HR wisdom courtesy of Claire Knowles of Lights On! A Reflective Journey: “The special person you are going home with after the office party…should probably be ONLY your cab driver!”

Inspiration for Women: Desk to Dinner – The Art of a 16 Hour Wardrobe

In the ‘80s, I was in full-time ‘corporate mode’. I didn’t even consider wearing clothes that would let me transition easily from work to evening. I didn’t think once about including more “feminine” pieces in my wardrobe. It was suit, pantyhose, belt, high heels, briefcase. IBM set the dress code: that’s what we wore. Period. It took me over 8 years to even try to wear a camisole that might show through my blouse. The thing is, you’re not a man and your clothes are one of your most powerful attributes in creating the juice, the power, the sassiness, and yes, the success you desire! Men’s fashions are much more constrained than those for us women. Our clothes really can help define us. You don’t have to wear the “uniform”  that society created. You’re a force to be reckoned with—a woman who’s smart as a whip, focused, and successful. You’re used to super-achieving in almost anything and everything you want to do. You are someone who KNOWS how to make things happen. And you wouldn’t be here today if you didn’t know how to make it in a man’s world. So …. Be authentic! Show up! Be all the woman you are! There is ALWAYS a way to create a great wardrobe that allows you to shine. I am going to show you how to add some sass and sensuality and confidence to your wardrobe and allow you to maximize the advantage of being a woman. I am going to help you take your wardrobe from the desk to dinner. The truth: Most of us in our late 30’s through 50’s are in pretty much the same shape. Our bodies are not as quite as tight and perfect and 22 anymore. There are saggy bits, wrinkly bits, and even sunspots sprouting up. Our kind of bodies won’t fit in tight revealing clothes made for a size 0 with less than 15% body fat. But that doesn’t mean you have to hide your body in a ‘burlap sack’ or ‘dumpy duds’. If the whole wardrobe makeover is a bit overwhelming, here’s what you want to do: 1. Get a personal shopper Get your butt out of the computer chair and into a clothing store; the right, higher end clothes store, like a Nordstrom, Macy, or Holt Renfrew, to name a few. Start asking about personal shoppers and start talking to them. These people have the information that you need! Ask for a quick consultation before you decide to actually engage a Personal Shopper. Bring some of your staple pieces with you, walk into a store, and get an opinion. That helps you decide who you want as a personal shopper and if they can work with you. You want to look and feel great in the outfits that they select. Tell her (or him):
  • I’d like to add some bold/eye catching pieces to my wardrobe
  • I’d like some ‘swishy’, soft and/or textured pieces
  • I’d like some great accent pieces (eg. shoes, purse/bag)
  • I’d like some tops or blouses that I can wear after work so that if I wear a daytime jacket and take it off, then I have a different look – one that accentuates some womanly attributes.
  • I’d like accessories (scarves, gloves, a hat, etc.)
Remember to take some of your own clothes to the store. Let the Personal Shopper (or a great retail person) offer suggestions so you don’t need to purchase a completely new wardrobe. In fact, you may make several visits. Take some photos of other items with your mobile phone so that you have reference for later. If you are less inclined to get an in-person consultation, go online and search for a fashion consultants for women. The digital age makes it incredibly easy. Google “Image Consultant” or “Image Stylist”. Some will work remotely with you. You can take photographs of some of your wardrobe as well as you in some clothes and post them for advice. If all else fails – let a girlfriend who has impeccable taste go through your wardrobe and then out shopping with you. Lunch is on you! 2. Wear flattering make-up I advocate that  every woman who wears makeup needs either a red statement lipstick or a great pink statement lipstick – something that isn’t just neutral. A colour that says: “Here I am!” Go to a MAC counter or to a specialty counter and get a pro to help you pick the shade. Trust me, they see you in a different light than you do (and tell them in which type of light you will mostly be wearing it).  If you aren’t going high end, another tip is get a tester/sample and ask a friend to judge the tone on you. Also, purchase an “under color” that will soften it during the day. Keep them in your purse. When you wear your softer color during the day (presuming you’ve got time to put your lipstick on at all),  then you can add the darker lipstick at night. 3. Get a great pair of dark washed flattering jeans and a pair of statement shoes Lots of times and in many situations, you may be able to wear a great pair of slimming jeans. Dark wash is really the only pair to consider for the ultimate slimming and “desk wear to dinner” option. Team your new jeans with a great pair of shoes!  I am going to call these your “CFM” shoes (if you have to ask what CFM stands for then ask me on our facebook page:).  These shoes are really tall yet still comfortable. They make a statement out of your legs and silhouette.  With the new platforms that are in vogue, you can get quite comfortable platform shoes. Buy a pair – and no, not just in black! You can keep them at the office and slip them on as you head out the door. You can even provocatively dangle them off your foot if you are so inclined when you are at a bar … men love a high heel and this move especially seems to be a show-stopper! It’s not wrong to play up your feminine sensuality! 4. The underworld Spanx has taken over the world – and for good reason.  (Thank you Sara Blakely!) She has allowed us to to show off our current gorgeous curvy shape by helping us appear slightly tighter and more supported. This bodywear holds us together and we still get to show that we’re women. Get the proper support you need – spend the money and get different pieces. It makes the world of difference to your figure and the clothes you can now choose from. 5. Layers, layers, layers Wearing layers is going to create flexibility in your look and help create an easier transition from day to night. Take off your suit jacket to show a fabulous blouse and skirt and replace the blazer with a pashmina or wrap that can drape seductively over your bare arms. Switch up your accessories, adding more sparkle to your nighttime choices and change up your shoes for your fabulous heels. Remember that you are trying to command attention and that is not going to happen if you look like you just stepped out of the boardroom. So to recap, here are your daytime to nighttime essentials:
  • Wear colour(s)
  • Wear skirts and dresses ideally not pants
  • Wear soft, feminine fabrics that accentuate your assets
  • Wear heels (or a great pair of heeled boots)
  • Invest in some statement pieces like fabulous heels or a sparkly blouse
  • Incorporate ONE sparkly, bold, textured, or bright detail into your outfit.
  • Accessorize!
  • Layer your clothing.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither is a fabulous wardrobe. Get help or shop online. Once you have the essentials, you will never be wondering what to wear when you are meeting that special someone for cocktails (or looking for the next special someone) or romancing your honey on ‘date night’. It’s both fun and easy to turn from daytime power player to nighttime diva.

Tips for Women in Business: Change Your Perspective to Change Your Results

Chances are you have spent hours searching for something only to find it was, quite literally, right under your nose the whole time.

With a 4-year-old in residence, this scenario happens quite a bit in my house. My little fashion diva recently misplaced her favorite shoes, a fact which she informed me of (through devastated tears) mere moments before we were to leave for preschool.  And as I was practically tearing the house apart to find the missing pair of flip flops, it turns out I actually had missed the shoe the first time around. The shoe had fallen behind the rocking chair in her bedroom, and when I looked under the chair from the front, I couldn’t see it. I almost didn’t bother to look in from the back, thinking there was no way it could’ve made it by there. Turns out, you should never underestimate a 4-year-old’s ability to lose their beloved belongings in strange places; the flip flop had, in fact, fallen in between the back rockers, lying in just the right spot to be missed from the front perspective. But when I switched to a different viewpoint (or perspective), I found the shoe and managed to save the day, just in time for preschool. The same thing goes for your marketing. Sometimes, when things just aren’t working, it’s time to switch perspectives. Maybe you’ve gotten so bored or discouraged with your marketing that you just plain aren’t doing it anymore. Or perhaps you’re still following the motions but readers just aren’t responding (chances are, they’re feeding on your lackluster feelings…’been there, done that!’). There are a few ways you may need to do this. 1) Change the way you approach your marketing and writing As a copywriter who earns her bread and butter through writing, it’s hard for me to admit this, but there was a time in the not-so-distant past when writing my newsletter articles was almost painful for me. Whenever it came time to put out another article, I’d secretly groan to myself and would often put it off as long as possible. You see, I’d pinned myself into this box of thinking that I always had to write about one thing: tips and techniques for writing better website copy. But it was very literal, as in, “Top 10 Ways to Write Great Web Copy” and other fact-based, tips-type articles. Quite frankly, after writing on this topic for over 3 years, I was really bored. There are only so many ways you can approach the same topic! Or so I thought. And then one day it’s like I woke up and realized that I could broaden my topic, and talk about how things going on in our everyday lives can affect our business writing (because, after all, it’s not like we leave our personal lives on the side of the road when we step into our offices). And so when I changed my perspective to include talking about things that interested me, my marketing became fun again. Think about ways that you can make marketing fun, like maybe by making a game of it. As a competitive person, maybe declare a challenge between some friends to write 10 articles in one month and whoever does it gets treated to something special, like a gift card that the “losers” chip in on or even just bragging rights. Or make an actual game of it, like I did in my “Get Prospects on Demand” online marketing mastery program, which comes with a ‘Prospect Surge’ card game that prompts you to pick a card and engage in the spur-of-the-moment marketing activity listed there. Whatever it takes to get and keep things exciting! 2) Try looking at things from your readers’ point of view Sometimes, when we aren’t getting the responses we’d like to our marketing promotions or writing, it’s because we don’t have enough WIIFM (that’s What’s In It For Me) lingo in our copy. When we sit down to write a promotional piece, whether it’s website copy, a promo email, or even a request for a raise, our natural instinct is to write it from our own perspective. We’re thinking about what WE want the reader(s) to take away from the document. Speaking from experience, it takes a LOT of practice to shift that perspective to be more client or reader focused. Meaning, whenever you write anything, you have to step outside of yourself and your goals and step into your clients’ shoes. With every word you right, you need to ask yourself, what will my reader(s) think of this? What will they take away from it? Will this excite them? Annoy them? Leave them so indifferent as to not even take notice? Be brutally honest with yourself. Get a second opinion if you need to from a trusted friend, colleague, or mentor. And then get it out there. 3) Change your actual visual perspective Sometimes a different setting is just what you need to freshen up a stale, ineffective marketing plan. For example, a relationship coach could take a field trip to the zoo and recording a tongue-in-cheek video about how such-and-such a species mates for life and here are a few ways that they might be using to keep their love alive for so many years… Of course, the tips are really for your human viewers, and if you wanted you could add a line at the end about how watchers too can follow these tips to make their love last. Just an idea to liven things up a bit and keep things fun for you AND your audience. When you change your perspective, you keep yourself and your readers engaged in your business. Engaged readers are more likely to buy than those who see your stuff in passing…and then don’t give it a passing thought. © 2012 by Tammi Metzler

Thanksgiving: What Happens When We Don’t Feel Thankful?

Most holidays are spent with family members or loved ones, eating and drinking, while reflecting on gratitude and appreciation of each other. But, consider this…with all of the single or divorced women, military personnel or spouses that are traveling and kids in school who are away from their families during Thanksgiving and other holidays, do you consider the holiday times have become stressful instead of thankful? Thanksgiving was always a fun time for me when I was a little kid. Our families would drive for hours just to be together on this special day. We would celebrate the “family” while eating way too much food, play games and tease each other with all the cousins, all the while letting our parents and grandparents sit around the table and tell stories about their childhood. It was just a great time. Then, we grew up and began having children and families of our own. The theme shifted and so did our holiday traditions. Without a doubt, as an adult, I have never personally cared for Thanksgiving. It is supposed to be a time to be thankful, a time to be helpful and full of gratitude, a time to be gracious and to serve others. I never found any person to compliment my solid core values on this when I was dating or married. So, I just sort of went with the flow. And I hated it. Looking back, I cannot believe I succumbed to that. It wasn’t until I was divorced and was raising my son that I finally began my own traditions for all of the holidays. Whew. Yes, this was so much better! So what can you do as part of your Thanksgiving traditions? 1) Give back to those less fortunate: I was able to work with my college students and perform service learning at homeless shelters. We served 705 meals each night around Thanksgiving time. My students described the experience as humbling. I had four classes at that time and each class worked with the homeless population on two occasions. Many students are still working now during their own free time – four years later – with the homeless. I am thankful we all had this opportunity of learning and helping. 2) Do simple things to show you care: Being thankful can be as simple as helping your next door neighbor take out their trash, pay for groceries for the person in front of you (if you can afford to do so), drive a friend to work, or notice that you are still able to even drive your own car. Thankfulness is gratitude for the abundance in your life. Who do you know who may be alone, unhappy, and just plain grouchy? Perhaps this person is terribly lonely and just needs some love. I am speaking of brotherly love. What if it has been so long since this person has experienced any type of joy that they have given up on life, given up on love, and given up on humanity? Are they worth reaching out to? I think so. 3) ‘Break bread’ with someone you normally wouldn’t spend time with: The next time you are planning a meal, make a little extra and take it over to your neighbor, or better yet, invite them to break bread with you. If not your neighbor, think of someone you may work with who is a loner. Perhaps this person would really enjoy a home-cooked meal, a dessert, or an offer to spend time with you. Thanksgiving is only once each year. We do not need to wait for Thanksgiving to roll around to be kind to others, give thanks, and show gratitude for beauty or for the things we value and love. Do you want to know what the best thing of all is? Being thankful does not cost you one dime. You can be thankful in prayer, meditation, and service each and every day. ©Copyright – Gayle Joplin Hall, PhD.

4 Steps to Beating Colds & Flu: Boosting Your Immunity is as Easy as 1 – 2 – 3 – 4!

Why do some of us seem to suffer an endless string of illnesses from November to April while others sail through these rough waters completely unscathed?

The degree to which we become sick can vary from person to person. Expose three people to the same set of germs:one develops pneumonia, one experiences a mild cold and the third won’t be bothered at all. Why is that? There is little doubt that viruses are responsible for colds and flus.  Although western medicine has been unable to effect a cure, alternative health-care practitioners now believe that once you’re exposed to a virus the end result (whether you get sick and how sick you get) will depend upon your body’s ability to defend itself. In other words, the strength of your immune system determines the severity of your cold or flu. In seven years of practice I have observed that immune response is influenced more by the quality of diet and the stresses and strains of lifestyle than by any other factor. Implement the following four steps in your life and be one of the few left standing the next time everyone else is dropping like flies!

Step #1: Feed Your Immune System:

The standard North American diet is overly processed, refined, and overcooked. As a result, it lacks many of the nutrients we need to maintain a healthy immune response.  For example, vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene and the mineral zinc, all vital nutrients for a strong defense, are in short supply in the average American’s diet. Low protein intake and deficiencies in essential fatty acids (found in nuts and seeds), B-vitamins, and the mineral selenium also contribute to suppressing your immune system. Eating a diet high in “live” foods, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, pure water, and a modest amount of animal or vegetable protein is important.

Unfortunately, there are many more factors that suppress immune function than enhance it:
  • Consumption of sugar, including “natural” sugars like honey and concentrated fruit sugar as well as the sugars in alcohol, wallops our immune response. Sugar competes with vitamin C for transport into our white blood cells, weakening the white blood cells’ ability to fight infection. A sugar sweetened soda or piece of cake you nibble at the office party can stun your immune system into inactivity for as long as five hours.

  • Meats and animal products cause difficulty in digestion and can also put a stress on your immune response. During cold and flu season, try to limit your intake of animal foods to three or four times a week. Poultry is better than red meat, and fish is best of all. Whenever possible, purchase “clean” meats at a health food store. Animal products sold in other stores may contain bacteria, hormones, pesticides and antibiotics that put an extra strain on your immune system.

  • Non-food additives such as synthetic colors, synthetic sweeteners, flavorings, preservatives and synthetic oils such as margarine can stress your digestive and filtering organs and hamper immune response as well. Do your best to eliminate them from your diet.

  • Alternative practitioners have linked two of the most common food allergens, wheat and dairy, to increased mucous production. Whether this increase is a direct result of eating these foods or our body’s response to them is debatable, but either way the result is increased susceptibility to viral infection. During cold and flu season, try reducing or, better yet, eliminating wheat and dairy from your diet. Make a list of all the things you eat on a daily basis that contain wheat, dairy, or their derivatives. You’ll be shocked at the amount of this stuff you put into your body.

 Step #2: Improve your Elimination:

Many natural health care providers believe that catching a cold is one of the ways the body does its housecleaning. This line of thinking holds that when the body is laboring under the weight of its own debris, or toxins, it will actually attract a virus to create the cleansing effect of a cold or flu.

To boost your immunity, put yourself on a good internal detoxification program. After you’ve “cleaned house,” stay away from foods that are clogging and congesting such as white flour products, dairy (especially cheese), and high-fat foods.

 Step #3: Manage Your Stress:

Have you ever noticed how after a particularly stressful event, such as moving or changing jobs, your resistance is diminished? During stressful times, hormones are released by the body that can shrink the thymus gland, weakening your immune response. The more stress you are under, the greater your chance of viral infection.

 Step #4: Get Enough Rest:

Sleep is one nutrient for which there is no replacement. Nor is there a supplement that will make up for a lack of it. The immune system functions best when you are relaxed, resting, meditating and especially when you are sleeping. There is a natural ebb and flow of energy in the body’s organs and systems over the course of a day. The immune system gathers strength during the dark hours when we are at rest. When you are ill, the biggest regeneration of viral-damaged cells occurs between midnight and 4:00am.

Most of us require between six and eight hours sleep a day. If you’re not getting this much or if you rely on an alarm to wake you, there is a good chance you are sleep deprived. To make sure you are giving your body the amount of sleep it needs, try going to bed five minutes earlier each night until you are able to wake up before the alarm goes off.  


The following nutrients can help you boost your immune function: Vitamin C: This enhances white blood cell function and increases interferon production (proteins released by white blood cells that fight viruses). Vitamin A and Zinc: These help strengthen the immune system and speed tissue healing. They kill viruses directly and help heal mucous membranes that get inflamed with a cold. They increase T-cell activity and the function of white blood cells. Along with vitamin C, they activate the thymus gland. Vitamin E and Selenium: They improve antibody production and response and cell membrane integrity. Echinacea: This mobilizes the lymph system, the source of much of our immune response. It reduces inflammation anywhere in the body. Use it for short periods of time and don’t use it with HIV or with auto-immune disorders. Astragalus: This is toning to the immune system. It balances the energy of all the internal organs and combats fatigue by nourishing the adrenal glands. It can be alternated with Echinacea. B Vitamins: These counteract the effects of stress on the central nervous system, which is essential to the healing process. Free-form amino acids:  The sulfur-containing amino acids, L-cysteine and methionine are free radical trappers. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant and immune system enhancer. Taurine is used as a shield by white blood cells when they go into battle. Ninety percent of all the taurine in the body is in the white blood cells. Magnesium: This increases the number of white blood cells, especially T-cells. Garlic: This possesses strong anti-microbial and antiviral activity.  Allicin, the active element in garlic, is deactivated in heat. Garlic should be eaten raw or in deodorized capsule form.

The Forgotten Women of the Military


It’s Women Who Run It – Military Style!

Yesterday was Remembrance (Canada) /Veterans Day (USA), and for many in these countries, we took a moment of silence to commemorate the men and women who keep us safe. Today, we wanted to feature some of the unsung heroes of the forces: military spouses. We were lucky enough to speak to four ‘super-women’ whose husbands have been in the military between 13 – 23 years and who are left to run it all while their men are gone for months at a time. We wanted to give them a voice as we can always learn so much from our sister ‘women who run it’. Here is what four strong, opinionated and resourceful Canadian military wives share about coping with long distance relationships, loneliness, communication, careers, kids and running it all: 1. “Hard truth: We are all mistresses with wedding bands on our fingers. Prepare to be alone. He is married to the military; ” Separation is never easy but wives of military men deal with deployments for months at a time, taking care of everything from finances, to childcare, to household repairs and snow shovelling.  Although they all admit that it can be exhausting, they have come to rely on neighbours, family, and friends to help make it work. Asking for help when you just can’t do it yourself is a difficult thing to do for a strong, independent woman, but it is something that all of these wives have learned is important in coping and thriving. The other truth is that military families can also move around a tremendous amount which adds to the stress on relationships with family and friends who are left behind. One woman admits, “Intimacy can become collateral damage of friendship. I can only share so much online or through email and phone calls. It’s not the same as sitting in your kitchen sharing over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.” 2. “Making connections with other women in similar circumstances is key.” Nobody is going to understand the life of a ‘military wife’ more than another military wife. The connections these women make are critical to helping them cope. It  means putting yourself out there with every new location, learning to meet new neighbours, joining new support groups, putting trust in people you have just met. These women simply don’t have the option to be wall flowers and have to push past any reservations they have to go out there and make friends and connections in each new place they are stationed. 3. “You try to set up a schedule for communication but it doesn’t always work out.” With today’s technology where most of us rely on email, smart phones, or Skype to keep in touch, these women deal with frequent or extended lack of communication from their men. Imagine having to schedule phone calls and skype sessions, but then having to cancel for reasons that you are not even allowed to know or question. A ‘communication lockdown’ happens when troops are overseas and these wives must sit and wait, maybe never knowing what has happened. Which leads to the next point our military wives wanted to make… 4. “Do you completely trust your man?” Trust is a fundamental issue for military couples. The men are gone for long stretches, the women are at home to keep everything going. There has to be absolute trust from both sides, particularly when communication is impossible. One wife admits, “I’ve seen time and again that marriages just aren’t strong enough to get through the military lifestyle.” Hand in hand with that trust is communication. Keeping in touch is one thing, but actually learning to communicate and listen to each other is a skill that many couples lack. When your partner in life is gone for such long periods of time, life goes on at home without him and the wives need to keep a dialogue going, no matter how difficult it can be. “It’s important to talk about everything as it arises because one never know when they will be gone again or for how long. Yet you don’t want to distract them from the job as well. It’s a delicate balance.” 5. “I go where he goes.  I take second chair.” Sometimes the levels of sacrifice these women make are something that very few would ever be capable of. All four of our military wives admit that demanding careers are something that are either put on hold or simply not achievable for women in their position. The frequent movement and the demands of being a single parent usually mean that priorities shift elsewhere. While one woman maintains “You can have a ‘career’, but you need to learn boundaries and have different priorities” (including part-time work or shortened hours), another believes “I don’t think it’s impossible but highly improbable for a military wife to have a career. It would take two very special people; highly driven, resilient individuals.” All four women believe that “someone has to keep the home fires burning, and be the constant for the children when your spouse is away that much.  Children need stability. They need a soft place to land at the end of the day, or the end of a deployment.  It takes a full time job at home to make that happen.” One of our ladies summed it up best when she said “Every hardship I felt along the way prepared me and made me the person and the woman I am today. All the years of ups and downs have gotten me to the place I am in now: confident, capable, courageous, strong. For me, I wouldn’t want to see into the future because if I had all those many years ago, I may not have wanted to take the journey, but I am sure as hell glad I did.” We at Women Who Run It would very much like to thank the four amazing women who opened up to us for this article. Through their honesty and candour, we not only learned what kind of sacrifices and concessions are made by military wives, but are reminded that strong, capable, ‘alpha’ women are in all walks of life and for that, we are grateful.

Give Your Relationship the Gift of Confidence

Men are attracted to confident women.

No matter what way you look at it, a man just wants a woman who feels good about herself.  He doesn’t want to spend all of his time worrying about what you’re feeling about yourself at any given time.  He wants a woman who knows who she is, and knows she’s a gorgeous goddess with a ton to offer him. I have seen this countless times in my own life and in my friend’s lives.  Whenever insecurities hit, the relationship starts to show cracks.  As soon as jealousies arise, fights start.  He wants the confident woman that he met to show up in the relationship and you, as a woman, want reassurance and love from him.  He can’t and won’t want to give you that reassurance when you’re whining that your legs are too fat or you question if he still loves you. It’s important to step into the role of the confident woman that you were when you first met (that is part of what being a “goddess” is all about!)  You probably haven’t gained any significant weight since you first met him and if you have; he probably hasn’t even noticed.  If you think he doesn’t love you then you need to first reflect on where that insecurity is coming from.  Does he actually treat you differently with tangible examples, or is it based on an insecurity and therefore all in your head? Some insecurities have their justifications but if you react every single time something pops up into your mind it’s going to start having its effects on the relationship. When the insecurities start showing up for you, there are a few things you can do to calm yourself, think rationally, and keep the drama down. 1.  Breathe When something comes up for you; stop. Take a deep breath and let it out slowly.  Instead of reacting to it, respond.  Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself and to really take the time to allow yourself to feel the emotions you’re feeling.  It’s okay to feel the emotions.  Emotions are natural and come up for a reason.  This doesn’t mean that every emotion needs to be expressed, but rather felt in awareness and silence in your head.  Once you’ve done some breathing you’ll find that the emotion releases and even recedes and you can think more rationally upon it. 2.  Reflect Is the emotion you’re feeling truly justified? Once you’ve done your breathing and have calmed down to a point where you can really reflect upon the emotion; determine if it’s something that is real or if it’s only your perception.  Did he really cheat on you – or are you imagining suspicious phone calls in your head?  Once you take the time to really look inside yourself for the answer you’ll then know how to respond to it. 3.  Let it Go If you determine that the emotion is unjustified then you need to let it go. Hanging onto a negative emotion is toxic and will only cause you more grief.  If it’s not justified then allow it leave.  Exercise, dance around your living room, hug a tree, or go out into a field and scream your head off; whatever you need to do to get that emotion out of your head so that you can move forward.  Once you’ve let go of the emotion you can return to your calm and centered self and things will be much improved. Obviously emotions are justified yet many emotions don’t need to be expressed in the exact moment; before you react and emote with every single emotion that pops up, try the above steps first.  He will appreciate it and it will strengthen and nurture your relationship in more ways than you can imagine.

Dating Advice for Women: The “Get Over It” Gene

Once upon a time…

I went on a date with a guy a couple of weeks ago who was introduced to me through a mutual friend.  The date went amazingly well.  We talked for hours, flirted like crazy and of course it helped that he was absolutely drop dead gorgeous, offered to take me dancing and we had a ton of things in common.  By the end of the date I couldn’t believe how great it was; and when he kissed me, the butterflies in my stomach woke up from a year long hiatus.

But… Yes, you knew there was a BUT coming…  (there always is when I start a story with a ‘Once upon a time…’). Even though we had fun during our date we’d also had a pretty serious conversation about what it was we were each looking for in our dating lives.  He mentioned that he was recently separated and that he knew his marriage was over but it was still tough going.  I mentioned that I wasn’t looking for the ‘white picket fence’ relationship and just wanted to go out on dates and have a good time.  I also mentioned that I was dating another man at the same time and we both agreed that we could get along with our situations. After a five hour date and some really great kissing I told him it was time for me to go home.  He asked if I was sure and (despite my body screaming at me ‘no – this is way too hot to stop’) I went home alone with promises of seeing him soon.  Let’s just say I had some great dreams that night! Then the next two weeks go by.  He knew he had to go on a family trip with his ex and let me know that the two weeks would be busy. I knew he was away so in the interest of no drama,  I let him be: no initiating texts, no long talks on the phone, etc.  I just let things go as they would.  Then today I got a text from him.   He said he was sorry and he was terrible at texting and thanked me for being cool about the reduced communication.  In response I asked when I would see him again and that’s when I started to get the huge song and dance…excuse, prevarication, excuse…. It came down to the fact that somehow his ex had found out he had gone on a date and she wasn’t happy so he “wanted to just be friends with me” for now until things were settled so he could end it peacefully with his ex.   Um…. can you say emotionally unavailable? Feeling all the roiling emotions of disappointment, anger and frustration I called up Fiona (my dating guru) for some SOS advice before I blasted him via email, text, phone or all three for being two faced and wasting my time. She listened to me rant that he was an idiot and insensitive and ‘how dare he?’ and ‘dammit, we f#cking talked about it all on the actual date’ … @#$^…. grrrr. A third of the way through the rant and emoting, she cut me off in mid rant and said “I am going to be give you some really tough love on this topic ‘coz I know you can take it.”  She laid it all on the table so to speak (inter-friend-tions aren’t always pretty). Was I going to make him wrong for being emotionally not ready (and not realizing it)? Was I going to be a “typical girl” and blast him when he told the truth? ….Did I really want to be just friends with this guy or was that too much for him to ask under the circumstances? She told me to set my boundaries. I know that me just being friends with this guy won’t happen as the attraction is too strong.  I would be looking at him with more than just friendship in mind and so my boundary had to be set at ‘NEXT’… Listening to her words of wisdom, we laid out a plan of attack and wording of a cool/unemotional text: “Wow, that sucks. Get back in touch if/ when it all settles down”.  I left all the emotions/frustrations out of it.  Even the disappointment of “Sh#t, I was really into you and I thought we were on the same page!!”  And most of all, I left ALL the drama out of it! Yep, you guessed what came next… I got a text back a few minutes later, thanking me for being so cool (which of course I am!) Better yet, I knew from the plan that Fiona and I spoke about that I did not have to answer him – nor did I.  He’ll call me when he’s ready – or he won’t. The faster I get over it, the better my life is!  Until then, I’m not interested in dating an emotionally unavailable man (confession: but whom I’m hopelessly, sexually attracted to). A lesson I got given in all of this? Don’t let what boys do make you think all men are terrible.  Don’t blame him nor the next one in your life. As Fiona said, “He didn’t do this on purpose and he honestly didn’t know what it was going to be like going on a date after 7 years of marriage”.  So I cut him some slack, called it what it is and I move on to the next man.  When/IF he calls, I’ll give him another chance without blaming or attacking him – if it that is what I choose to do and it works for me. Because I am learning to have the “Get Over It” gene.


Note from Fiona: Men screw up a lot!. In my private practice and when I speak to men around the world their refrain is the same: “sometimes we can be inconsiderate jerks – please can you get over it if it is small stuff and not harp or remind us of it over and over”. “Your ability to “get over it” is going to make me appreciate that you are a really cool woman and that I need to always be earning your respect to deserve you – the ultimate prize”. Ladies – we need to learn to GET OVER IT more!