Why I’m No longer Afraid Of Food

My Unpopular View Of Diets

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

(If you’d like to watch the video I made about this topic, check it out here!)

I’ll be honest, this has been quite a revelation for me and I know it will be for you too. Food has been an obsession since the first fast weight-loss diet. The idea that we could lose weight at rapid speed simply by radically changing the food (or “food”) we ingest and how often we eat. But with that comes unhealthy obsession, eating foods that don’t actually sustain us, relying solely on food instead of treating the lifestyle changes, yo-yoing between one weight and the next, etc. Diets only last for so long, they’re not sustainable, and it is such an unhealthy way to try an obtain an “ideal body.”

However, with that comes the complete opposite end of the spectrum- Obsession with HEALTHY FOOD. This is much healthier and far more beneficial for your body, but as with all things, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. I’m not referring to healthy, vibrant, whole foods because you can literally eat as much of those as your body needs and you will become the most lively, lovely, vibrant person. I am referring to the obsession with healthy food. You can go too overboard. There is even something people can be diagnosed with called Orthorexia, which is “a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods in the belief that they are harmful.” source

This causes STRESS. The nasty six letter word that is the underlying cause for so many diseases and conditions.

You can literally look up any problem you have, might have in the future, your friend has, your dog has, and you will always find that there is some food group that you should remove from your diet to help heal your body and/or as prevention.  This isn’t a bad thing- it is quite miraculous! The fact that our body is literally made up of the food we eat is nothing short of incredible. We have the ability to change our weight, our skin, our ailments, even our genes just by choosing what foods we put into our mouths. Can I get an Amen because I think this definitely deserves an AMEN!

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

But as I have learned through my time at the Institute Of Integrative Nutrition and from personal experience, you must must must have balance.. with everythingI do have a type A personality so I do have the tendency to go to the extreme with things. I am a research lover and really enjoy learning as much as I can and becoming the best I can be.

But I now know for sure that I went overboard.

There was a time, quite recently actually, where I felt like I literally couldn’t eat anything. If you read health articles or books, or listen to podcasts, or watch documentaries, you can always find someone bashing each and every food group. And not only sugar and gluten because those have been “evil” for awhile (and for good reason.) But there are some that say you shouldn’t eat meat. Or beans. or fruit. or fats. or anything with seeds. or grains. The list goes on and on and contains all types of food no matter how raw or pure it may be.

While I was searching for my one ticket to save me from my breakouts and heal my gut, I was listening to anyone and everyone. I was trying all of the recommendations, cutting out all of the food groups, taking all the vitamins, I was like a derailed train that just kept going and gaining more speed. But you know what? Nothing seemed to be that one perfect answer that solved all of my problems. Yes, there are definitely things I do that keep my skin more under control and my stomach more manageable, but there wasn’t anything that seemed like my holy grail.

And I had become afraid of food. 

I never felt like I could go out with friends, eat the same dinner as my husband, go to family functions because I knew either A. There would be nothing for me to eat and I would be really hungry. or B. If I did indulge and break my insanely strict diet I would break out horribly and my stomach would swell up to a 6 month old pregnant woman. And you know what this caused? STRESS. Big fat stress all day every day. Even when I wasn’t dealing with the crossroads of deciding if I should or shouldn’t go to an event, it would be there all day. I would have mini battles in my head of “Oh I really want this. But can I? I have already had so many fruits today. But will this red apple be too much sugar for my system? Will I have a reaction? Is it worth it? Am I seeing anyone soon? Will I look okay when I take my makeup off? Oh but I really want that juicy apple. But nah, I guess I shouldn’t. Let me just have a little more water.”

For real you guys. This was my life. And looking back at it now I realize how crazy it was, how much low level stress I was dealing with every day.

But then we decided to go to France for vacation. And I told myself that I will give myself complete leeway to eat whatever I wanted. Breakouts be damned, I wanted to treat myself! It’s not everyday you go to a beautiful country, and why go and not have the complete culinary experience?!? It’s near blasphemy.

So we went and for the first day I was subconsciously keeping track of how much bread I ate, how many veggies I had, and I had to break that habit. So I don’t know how many vegetables I ate during our trip, but I definitely know it wasn’t the allotted 3 cups a day. And those baguettes and pastries? Yeah. Your girl ate them. A lot of them. I also had delicious cheeses and alcohol.

Are you ready?

I FELT INCREDIBLE. not only that, but I also looked absolutely great.

My body was bangin’, my skin was glowy, but most importantly I felt so joyful and more at peace than I have in a very, very long time.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

I could not believe the results. All this time I thought that “unhealthy” food was the root of all evil, when that wasn’t it at all. The stress over being healthy and not allowing myself to ever let go, and then the guilt when I did indulge was doing damage to my mental state which was totally affecting my body and it’s symptoms.

And then it hit me- No food is inherently evil. It’s the manipulation and modification of foods that can make it unhealthy. Eating foods that are made in a lab or that are heavily with pesticides and chemicals, food that has been so processed and pumped with artificial sugars, THAT is what is unhealthy.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

But bread that was handmade by the baker early that morning, cheese that came straight from the farmer’s farm, meat that came from the hands of the butcher, these are not the things that put our body out of balance. They are the things that sustain us. Not only from a physical point of view, but also our mental and emotional state. If you constantly eat foods that you find gross or unappetizing, your body isn’t going to receive it as well as a beautiful balanced meal that satisfies every taste bud in your mouth.

However, we must remember that everyone’s body is different. You must always listen to your body to see how it reacts to foods, what works for your friend may not work for you. And you shouldn’t always eat super heavy, extravagant meals, your body will feel sluggish and probably run down over time. But hey, your girlfriends wanna go out to eat and chow down on some delicious food thats full of dairy and gluten and sugar and split a bottle of wine? GIRL, DO IT.

The medicine you will receive in the form of laughter and community is far more beneficial than staying home alone and eating the same food you’ve been eating all week. 

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Being back home, I now approach my diet with a much softer and relaxed hand. If I want that cheese on pasta? I’ll add it. If I’m way too exhausted to make dinner, I have no problem going out and picking up something to eat, even if it’s not the healthiest thing. Balance is key. You can be healthy eating tons of whole foods while also eating some gluten here and there, or dairy, or whatever. Try to get good quality foods because that is what counts. You should really try and avoid that processed junk that filled with preservatives and colored dyes, but again, if you’re at some barbecue that only happens a couple times a year and you see your favorite chips, girl- eat those chips.

Stop restricting yourself to the point of stress. Let loose and be wise.

I hope you now feel a little less suffocated and constricted. Your body is a wonderful, magical thing and it can handle a little indulgence every now and again.

Be kind to your body and your mind.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

I hope this helps you further along your journey of Becoming A WellSpring Of Life.

All my love.

Joanna

How A Garden Is Healing for Your Body and Mind

Becoming a Steward of the Earth

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

 

IT’S SPRING!! Like a whole beautiful month into it. I don’t live in the northern part of the US, but I can still enjoy the new flowers blooming, all of the birds chirping while building their nests, the warm afternoon hugged by the cool mornings and nights.

Living in Florida I can grow food all year long, but the spring is especially fruitful. And it hit me the other day how wonderfully healing gardening is.

A garden not only allows you to grow your own food and save money in the process, but it also offers a variety of physical and mental benefits.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

A garden gives you something to tend. to care for. to check up on.

The nurturing side of humans, I believe, is very important. Especially in the age we are currently living. We constantly rush, have pressure placed on us from others and ourselves, we stress, we worry, we become angry, hurt, exhausted. It is difficult for us to slow down and take care… of anything. Even when we do take the time to take care of our food or clean the house, or even taking care of our bodies, it somehow turns into a chore. Something that has to be done, not something you are thankful for the ability to be doing. It seems the only area in our “lives” that there is room for nurturing is when we have children. But what about those who don’t have children? What about those who can’t? Women are especially created to be nurturing, and we need to nurture that side of ourselves.

Waking up in the morning and checking on your seedlings, seeing if they’ve arisen from the ground. Checking the leaves for bugs that may harm it, or fungus that make kill it. Taking the time to water, talking to them to help them grow. Keeping a watchful eye on your little plants so that they may grow big and strong. This long, yet extremely rewarding process feeds not only our stomachs during the harvest, but our souls as well. You put your heart into your garden. As you tend your garden you also tending to and taking care of yourself.

A garden requires you to put yourself in the elements.

If you’re like most, you live in a city. You’re surrounded by buildings, concrete, cars, pollution, noise. You must drive far and long to achieve a state of peace and calmness. But in our fast paced society, many don’t have the time or resources to really take the time off of their normal life and go do something in nature.

With a garden, you have managed to create your own little space of peace. You may still be surrounded by other houses or buildings, but in this space, you have brought nature and made it fit into your home. You are then able to experience the sun on your face, back, and shoulders. You can feel the wind brushing across your cheeks, filling you with gratitude. The scents of the flowers and trees that rush into your lungs, expanding your body and breath until you are at peace with yourself and your life.

You are cooped inside for probably 90% of your life and being outside in the fresh air is extremely beneficial for your physical health; increases brain function, raises vitamin D levels, reduces stress, reduces inflammation, fights fatigue, boosts immune system, protects eye health, etc.. There is scientific proof that being in the fresh air, surrounded by plants can help you live a happier and longer life.

A garden demands your thoughts.

We all have things we are worrying about, struggling with, suffering for. No one has a perfect life, and too often these feelings can consume us until it’s all we can think about. It can be hard some days to distract yourself, and many people use mind-numbing devices and activities to forget. Drinking, TV, phone, social media, drugs. None of which actually offer any benefit to you and your healing. Having a garden is an activity that benefits not only your body, but also your mental and emotional health. You are forced to forget, even just for a little bit, about your troubles. And you can let yourself be consumed with the joy of taking care of something. of nurturing.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

I am no master gardener, I am only in my mere second season of growing. And while it can be sometimes difficult or disappointing, remember that these too are all part of the cycle of life. You must make mistakes to learn from, you must go through the motions to have a grasp on what it is you are trying to accomplish.

So if you have ever dreamed of having a garden, or even if you haven’t until now, I urge you to take that leap. Even if it’s just one pot with one tomato plant. Pour your heart into it, and feed it with the love and attention that all of us crave.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Wishing you a beautiful day, and that you are taking the steps to become a WellSpring of Life.

xxjoannaxx

Stop Feeling Guilty For Relaxing

Time spent wasting time, is not wasted time.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

I know the holidays have somewhat recently passed, and you probably (hopefully) took some time off work/your regular schedule to rest, relax, recoup, and enjoy time with family and friends. I’m sure you’re now back into the swing of things, juggling a thousand projects and ideas at once, your mind whirring a million miles an hour.

Holidays are a wonderful forced break, making you get out of your head, and enjoy the season of laughter and giving. But– what about the rest of the year? What about those thousands of other weekends that you spend still running around, still stressing out?

If you’re one of the many, then you rarely allow yourself the blessing of complete, utter relaxation and stillness. Americans are a hardworking group, we are a super dedicated, driven, motivated people. That has its many benefits, but if you’re not careful, it can also some awful side effects.

Heart Attacks. Strokes. Cancer. Digestive Problems. These can all be (and frequently are) caused by a constant surge of stress. You may be under this constant fight or flight sensation and don’t even realize it.

However, with all of this said, the main reason I wrote this post is to encourage you to relax. actually relax.

and not feel guilty.

For many, this is a difficult habit to break. We have this idea that we should be super productive and busy all the time- every day, all day long. So even when we try to “sit down,” there’s that nagging voice in our head and body that makes us feel that we should get up and do something more “important.” Just this small surge causes anxiety and stress. and judgement.

Your body needs to rest. and not just while sleeping.

It’s a wonderful thing to be busy and accomplish everything on your list; but at what cost? And why right this second? You have your whole life to do whatever you want, but you won’t be able to get there if you exhaust yourself at an early age.

Your body and brain weren’t designed to constantly run without a solid, intentional break. (even while sleeping you’re subconsciously processing what you did that day, and planning what you need to do.)

Here’s the real question:

Would you rather go flying through life, only stopping for brief seconds, only looking ahead. Or taking your time, completely tasks thoroughly, while enjoying your present life and moments that make life so special.

It’s okay to say no to invitations.

it’s okay to cancel previous engagements.

it’s okay to ask for someone to help you out, take the kids.

it’s okay to stay at home all day on the couch binge watching your guilty pleasure tv shows.

it’s okay to take naps.

to take long baths.

to read that book you’ve been wanting to read for a year.

YOU DESERVE IT. you work hard, your body is tired, your mind is exhausted.

please, stop feeling guilty for something you have been given that you undoubtedly, irrevocably deserve.

And enjoy this process of honoring yourself. It won’t be easy, you’ll forget, fall back a few steps, but as long as you realize that you need this. that your life will be better, fuller, brighter.

you will get there.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

xxjoannaxx

What Are Essential Oils?

Are They Safe?

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Those moments when you’ve smelled a flower or peeled an orange- you have enjoyed the wonderful experience of essential oils.

“These naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants.”

Essential oils are the things that give plants their smell, and are their natural defense system. Plants are constantly attacked by mold, fungus, insects, etc and actually have a natural way of defending themselves! Not only do essential oils protect the plant, but also aid in helping the plants become pollinated!

But before I go any further, I should probably break down what a “Volatile Organic Compound” even is:

They are small organic molecules that have the ability to change quickly from state to state (ie- solid to liquid to gas) at room temperature. This is what makes them volitile; their ability to change so quickly. There are over 3,000 varieties of volatile aromatic compounds, and they determine what the essentials oil’s aroma and benefits are.

The composition of essential oils and their VAC’s can often vary depending on where and how it was growing, the time of year, the weather, the harvest, distillation, etc. Every step of the process plays a huge role in the quality of the essential oil.

Essential oils can be used in three ways; aromatically (smell), topically (touch), and internally (mouth). They can be used for physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Essential oils are used in medicine, food preparation, and beauty treatments!

COOLEST FACT: You’re probably wondering why these work on humans. Essential Oils are great for plants, but how can they be applied to me? WELL, plant cells and human cells are actually suuupppper similar! So when your body comes into contact with an essential oil, the essential oil knows what to do because it’s working with similar material.

This blows my mind. It’s absolutely incredible.

The most important thing to remember is that you need to prioritize buying high quality essential oils. There are many companies out there trying to sell you crappy oils full of chemicals and nasty fillers. do not buy them. I know they’re tempting, but there’s a reason why they’re $5 instead of $30. People have become seriously sick/injured from using impure essential oils.

If you’re serious about your health, then you will want to only buy the best.

I exclusively use DoTerra. Not only are they the largest essential oils company, but they have the highest quality essential oils available. They also source it from all over the world, constantly giving back to developing countries.

If you’re interested in taking your health journey to the next level, send me an email! I would love to talk to you, figure out your health concerns, and from there talk about what are the best options for you <3

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

xxJoannaxx

Healing From Openness//My Story

Examine Your Heart

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Let me start off by saying that this is not a normal thing for me. I do not open up my heart to many friends or even family members, let alone strangers. I am extremely private and introverted. But.. recently I have had the insane pressure put on my heart to open up and be vulnerable. 

From my own experience I know how letting all of your sadness, worries, anger, and grief out into the open can be the most healing, weight lifting action. Not only for yourself, but for others. Hearing someone else’s struggles allows you to feel more connected; and truly know that– You are not alone.

While struggling these past couple years, I did feel alone. completely, utterly alone. Who could I turn to that would be able to offer some comfort or solace? Who could really lean into my heart and pick it up for me?

But I realized one day.. that we are all silently suffering. All of us. We all have things in our life that make it difficult. But we all still exist. We all thrive despite the occasional feeling that our bodies are about to burst.

And I am here to share my story as it has been told so far. And to tell you that I see you. I know you are broken and trying your hardest. I understand the pain, I understand the sadness, I understand the need to push it as far from you as possible.

My heart goes out to you. You are doing so well despite it all.

My Story

Okay so my parents are divorced. If you knew my family when I was younger, then you may be surprised. Despite living in the home, and seeing some problems, I can’t help but admit that I, too, was surprised. It happened about 2ish years ago? I think? See- I’m so far detached that time doesn’t exist for that period.

But I was newly married trekking across America, miraculously protected in this little bubble of separation. I was sad and angry, but the events had taken place so far from me, and existed outside of my life that the blow wasn’t nearly as impactful as it would’ve been if I was still living at home.

Of course having your parent’s date other.. let me say “less than desirable” people is maybe even more difficult to swallow. However, like everything else, I buried it. I thought I dealt with it, but I unconsciously just buried it deeper into my heart so that I could move on.

And then of course- there’s marriage. The most self sacrificing journey anyone could ever begin.

So yes, like everyone else, we have problems.

But again, I became quite skilled at acknowledging, superficially dealing, then letting it sit and fester within my heart.

It wasn’t until I was in Italy for two weeks, forced out of my life, forced out of my comfort zone, forced to slow down, that I was forced to acknowledge the utter grief. I have a tendency to keep myself busy, and to never rest. Which does have its benefits, but too much can lead to unacknowledged problems. Which just grow bigger and stronger with time.

So unfortunately, instead of admiring and being thankful for the magnificent opportunity I had been given, I became overwhelmed with the sadness that had made its home within me.

I had thrown myself into daily tasks. I threw myself into my role as a wife. I threw myself into my school. I threw myself into my business. I threw myself into every other thing. Except what mattered the absolute most.

Do you ever feel like you’re constantly on the brink of crying, but try your absolute hardest to resist because you fear if you let one tear slip your whole body might shatter from the intense pressure of utter sadness that needs to flow from your body?

I realized I needed to do something, I needed to find a release. And I began seeing a counselor.

Who quite literally saved my heart.

I am still seeing her, crying every session. But there has been so much progress. And even though the trip to Italy isn’t what I dreamed it would be, I cannot help be thankful that it happened. That I was exposed to my heart’s needs.

I can struggle with being joyful. with being hopeful. with trusting. with feeling worthy. with feeling wanted.

I well up when I see photos of myself, things I was doing, because I know my state of happiness was far greater that it is now. And I struggle to imagine myself ever becoming that person again.

But I am working towards it. I have the goal in mind. I am examining my heart daily, I am being open with myself and others. I am trying.

Always trying.

I write this not to gain pity or empathy, but to be honest. So that you can understand that absolutely no one has it all together. And everything I have learned and talk about, is from my own experiences.

I want to encourage you to speak to someone. Whether it be a counselor or mentor. You need someone who isn’t biased, who isn’t already involved with your life. Seek out wisdom.

Daily distractions can be healthy, but too many can damage your sight on whats important. Don’t push everything down and away. It never truly goes away until you look it in the face and hear its cry.

Hope that you are on a path to becoming that wellspring of life.

FullSizeRender (10)

xxjoannaxx

My New Year’s Intentions + 4 Lessons from 2017

New Year, New Moments, New Discoveries, New Dreams

FullSizeRender (7)I recently discovered this quote and it instantly struck home with me. I never really quite thought of the word “resolution,” but it’s not the right vibe I wanna start the year with. And you shouldn’t either. 

I learned SO much from last year, and unless I sit down and think about it I can forget so easily and only remember the struggles.

 

2017 Lessons

 Be Rooted In Love. Pray for it for the ones you have trouble giving it to, and give it freely and openly to those that need it.

I Am Cherished. People are finite and imperfect, but I am loved and created and was knitted together by my Almighty, Holy Creator who cherishes every cell of my being.

Know When To Ask For Help. It can be so easy to think I can handle everything on my own, but I can’t. Community and support are key for the struggles and celebrations.

You Create Your Own Happiness. Do not depend on circumstances, they are always changing. 

New Years Intentions

Celebrate Every Success. Don’t only give attention to mistakes, but cherish and rejoice in those which you have succeeded in.

Serve. Serve family, friends, strangers.. give and give and give, for I have been given so much.

Be Present. Don’t go through every day in a daze, but focus on the present moment and it’s fleeting beauty.

Stop Worrying. The constant fear and anxiety that riddles my life, let it go- b r e a t h e. it will all be okay.

I LOVE making intentions, I actually make them monthly and post them on my instagram (check my instagram here.) It keeps my mind in the right place, and breathes new life into the month, giving it purpose and uniqueness.

What are you ‘Intentions’ for this year? Is 2018 going to be the best year yet? Leave me a comment below and let me know! It’s so great to be inspired by others and their dreams. <3

FullSizeRender (6)

this stunning photograph is me in 2018 : www.niravpatelphoto.com

xxjoannaxx

How To Achieve an At Home Spa

Relax- You Deserve It

static1.squarespace

image via TheJewishLady

I get it, we’re all in the same boat as you. You are tired. Exhausted, rather. There are just constantly so many things piling up, so many responsibilities, so many plans, and just not enough time for you. You may feel guilty for taking time for yourself, or you may not prioritize it. Whatever the reason is— it frankly isn’t good enough.

You are so important. Your mind, body, emotions, all that stuff makes you into the wonderful, lovable person that you are. And when you get stretched too thin, when you’re constantly on the go, that takes a huge toll on your well being. Do you know what a major cause of disease is? Stress. That one letter word that packs one hell of a punch.

 

It is actually a health issue when you don’t take time for yourself. You may not feel the effects now, but eventually your body will just give up. It will break down in order for you to force yourself to take a breather.

But who has time for being sick? Plus it’s not exactly enjoyable.

So how do we avoid this?

You simply just take time for yourself everyday. It doesn’t have to be hours, just something small will do. Whether that’s meditation, watching your favorite show, taking a bath, whatever suits your personal needs. A popular stress relief is the spa. You relax, you get rubbed with all sorts of things, you feel good, you smell good, you’re glowing. Theres really nothing better.

Spas are expensive though. SO you should make your own! It’s quite simple really, you just need a couple things and you’ll immediately feel that tension rolling off your back.

 

  1. Essential Oil Diffuser. This baby is so nice to have around. The whole room will swim in whatever intoxicating scent you choose. Lavender essential oil is a popular one, but there are also many others.
  2. Candles. Oooooo baby. Light the candles, turn the lights off, and enjoy that vibe. Bright lights are super invigorating and stressful, so taking time to be away from them is really beneficial. (When buying candles, make sure to buy the non-toxic kind- such as beeswax.)
  3. Music. If you choose. Some people love a little background music, some people prefer silence. If you are the music type, put on something soft and calming like classical piano or a yoga station. Music will help distract you from all the thoughts and events from the day.

 

Now these are the basics, you can add in a face mask, bath, face massage, really anything that makes you feel good.

So remember to – take time for yourself! You only have one body and mind, so please take care of them.

xxJoannaxx