My Gut Healing Protocol

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I was back home in Alaska for the Thanksgiving Holiday and went to see a bodywork healer that both of my parents go to on a regular basis. Her name is Lorna and she is an absolute wealth of knowledge and so intuitive in her skill. You know when you meet those people and you just KNOW they are doing the exact work they are meant to do? Lorna is one of those people. I started telling her about the gut health issues I have had for years and the poor circulation I have always experienced. She immediately started giving me a healing protocol to follow that would help with the symptoms I had been experiencing. I was happy to be back in Alaska to see family and friends and enjoy Thanksgiving at home for the first time in 4 years, but I also couldn’t wait to get back to Seattle to implement the advice Lorna had given me.

I flew back the Monday after the Holiday and actually started my protocol that morning before I left. This meant no airport food, no airplane snacking, and no champagne or sparkling beverages on the plane. I don’t prefer the first option anyways, but I do like to eat and have a beverage or two while traveling. I was committed though and I found it interesting how I was much more willing to follow this protocol because she had told me to. It was basically drinking bone broth for 3-5 days, which is something I have recommended to people as a Health Coach in the past. It made me truly understand the importance of being a Health Coach and Nutritionist. People can read all the health and wellness information out there and maybe even know what they need to be doing, but sometimes it’s hard to implement unless you have a coach of some sort who acts as your accountability partner or authority telling you this is what you need to do in order to feel better and watch your symptoms disappear.

So I started my “cleanse” off by drinking 24 ounces of warm beef bone broth in the morning. Since I wasn’t able to go through security with broth, I knew I would have to wait until I was back in Seattle to have anything again. I have read that it’s good for your digestive system to fast while traveling anyways, so I figured it wasn’t the worst situation to be in. As soon as I landed back in Seattle, I dropped my bags off at my apartment and went down the street to Whole Foods to grab the last, yes the VERY LAST, bag of beef bone broth they had. I came home, sauteed some onion, garlic, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and cilantro and then added the broth and let everything simmer for about 30 minutes. I ended up finished the whole bag (24 ounces) of bone broth that night with the added vegetables.

The next 2 days I started my mornings with 12 ounces of warm lemon water (a half of a lemon juiced into 12 ounces of water), 16 ounces of pure celery juice (one whole bundle of organic celery juiced), and had about 36 ounces of bone broth throughout the day. The last 12 ounces of bone broth of the day would have added vegetables; celery, carrots, onion, garlic, mushrooms, and cilantro. I also ate a spoonful of papaya seeds with one teaspoon of honey every day. This helps to kill off any harmful bacteria and parasites in the digestive system. I had experienced two parasites this year; one after I spent 2 weeks in Bali and one after I spent about 9 days in Spain. I had been on a protocol to get rid of the parasite, but I figured since I was giving my digestive system a rest, it wouldn’t hurt to take extra measures to make sure the parasite was completely gone. I also ate the small papaya I got specifically for the seeds because they happen to be very easy on the digestive system and act as a natural digestive enzyme to help break down and assimilate your food.

I felt amazing on day 2 when I first woke up, but definitely felt the desire to have a real meal by the end of that day. My energy was great overall and I never felt faint, light headed, or dizzy. I told myself that while doing this, if I ever felt any of these things, then I would add in a regular meal. I had done a juice cleanse in the past and felt absolutely terrible while doing so. I was shaky, very light headed, fatigued, and really anxious. I absolutely love juicing, but I know doing a juice cleanse is not beneficial for my body. I think one of the reasons this bone broth healing protocol was better for me is because I was still giving my body substance (each 8 ounce cup of broth has 10g of protein) and was listening to the way I felt and went into the process knowing very well that if it wasn’t feeling right for my body, I would stop.

At night I would add in my homemade cashew mylk that consists of only cashews, filtered water, dates, and cinnamon. I mixed it with a superfood cacao mix called, Cacao Bliss, that my mom gave to me that has no added sugar and various other healing superfoods. This was my night cap and something that really helped me get through the 3 days.

I didn’t exercise while on this protocol because I wanted to give my body some rest and didn’t wan’t to overexert myself. I did make sure I walked a good amount and drank lots of water to help flush out any toxins that might have been stirred up. I also took an epsom salt bath on day 3 with essential oils to help restore minerals in my body as well as help my body to detox. Overall, the process felt very healing and like something my body really needed. I believe it gave my digestive system the break it needed and helped to increase circulation and decrease inflammation in my body. Another big thing I noticed was that when I did add in simple foods, I ate much more mindfully and wasn’t craving bread and salty foods like I normally do. After having an allergy test done 9 years ago and finding out I was gluten intolerant, I have mostly cut it out, but this past year I’ve let myself have it quite a bit more frequently than I used to. I know that gluten puts stress on my body, causes inflammation, upsets my digestive system, and taxes my adrenals and thyroid. I’m so thankful this break gave my body a much needed reset and gave me the ability to regain a better relationship with food once again.

If you have any questions about the cleanse I did, why I did it, and/or if it would be good for you , please feel free to reach out to me at ashley@ashleycarlson.co ! As always, I would love to hear from you.

With love,

Ashley

What I Eat in a Typical Day

There are days where I have pizza, burgers, or super delicious breakfast burritos and there are days where I drink green juice and smoothies and eat really big salads. Not because I feel like I have to, but because I genuinely want to. I typically eat plant based because thats how I feel my best. I have come to realize that I am a very, very sensitive person who needs to be careful about what she consumes, otherwise I really start to feel the effects. I used to eat whatever the heck I wanted and not feel the effects at all. Now I’m so in tune with my body that I can pinpoint almost exactly why something feels off. I also work with a Nutrition Response Testing Practitioner who is fantastic and fine tunes the things that I can’t on my own using healing herbs and supplements. I understand that some people may think my way of living is overboard, “too much”, or “too strict” and to those people all I have to say is you are entitled to your opinions, but I like my lifestyle. Some days I wish I could eat whatever I want still, but most days I really enjoy nourishing my body with healthy foods. This is what a typical day looks like for me.

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Morning

12-16 oz warm water with 1 lemon squeezed in.

I wait 15 minutes and then drink 16 oz of fresh celery juice. All you need for this is one bunch of celery, which makes roughly 16 oz. Drink that and then wait at least 30 minutes before consuming anything else.

Next up is my GREEN SMOOTHIE. Yes. These are my favorite. I can add so many healthy ingredients and still make them taste good. The recipe for my typical green smoothie is as follows:

1 cup of almond milk

3 cups of spinach

1 frozen banana

1 tsp spirulina

1/4 cup dulse

1 tbsp flax seed

1 tbsp cacao powder

2 dates

few sprinkles of cinnamon

1/2 tsp He Shou Wu

1/2 tsp Ashwagandha

hemp protein powder

I blend this baby up and top with cacao nibs and its SO GOOD.

Afternoon

Now is the time for my all time favorite ceasar salad. I got this recipe from Kaleidoscope Juice, an organic and amazing juice bar in Phoenix, AZ that I used to work at. I will post the recipe from them soon because it really is that delicious. I top it with chickpea croutons, watermelon radish for some spice and color, and cherry tomatoes. Love, love, LOVE this salad so much.

I will snack on fruit like apples, oranges, or berries or I will have some gluten free crackers with hummus. My favorite brands for gluten free crackers are Simple Mills or Mary’s Gone Crackers. I look at the ingredients when buying gluten free because a lot of brands will sneak in weird ingredients like corn starch, maltodextrin, “natural flavors”, or soy. I try to buy gluten free items with the least amount of ingredients and no corn or soy. The reason being is these two ingredients often tend to be GMO’s, especially in processed foods. I love the brand HOPE for my hummus. They have a black garlic one that is sooo good.

Some days I love to toast gluten free bread and make avocado toast. The recipe can be found under my blog in the recipe section.

That 3pm slump can get very real for me some days and thats why I love mixing in a green drink to give me lots of nutrients and an energy boost. The brand that I’m really loving right now is called “Smart Pressed Juice”. I drink the Organic Pressed Greens from them and I love it because it includes everything from Alfalfa and Barley Grass to Spirulina, Chlorella, and even Ashwagandha! It’s amazing and actually tastes pretty good too (I've had some green juice powders that taste like you’re actually eating hay). Their product is also non-gmo, organic, gluten free and contains enzymes and probiotics. I love it. One thing I will say is that I will NEVER ever ever rave or support a product I do not use love, and trust. It just does not sit right with me and I can’t do it. So if I’m ever talking about a product, it’s because I love it and actually use it. Every body is so different and is going to react to products differently, so you just have to find the products that work best for you.

Evening

Now that it’s fall I’m obsessed with making different kinds of soup. It’s easy to make, easy to sneak in lots of vegetables, filling, and comforting. Another plus is that there are usually left overs that I can save for the next day or freeze and heat up later on. I love making butternut squash soup (you can find it in the recipe section of my blog) now that its fall. This recipe has so many vegetables and is the perfect mixture of sweetness from the squash and savory from the other vegetables and spices. I love to top this one with red pepper flakes and truffle oil.

I have chocolate almost every single night. I just do. Usually just one or two pieces do the trick. I love Honey Mama’s cacao nectar bar because it’s sweetened with just honey, is made with only a few simple ingredients, and tastes so good. I also love Alter Eco’s salted caramel truffles. They are TO DIE FOR. I’m not joking. They aren’t quite as clean as Honey Mama’s and are sweetened with cane sugar, but they’re so worth it. They are organic and use fair trade ingredients, so in my opinion, they make up for it.

I also love to end my night with tea. I feel like it signals to my body that it’s time to start getting ready for bed. I love peppermint, dandelion root, lemon balm, ginger, or my own mixture of red raspberry leaf/red clover/stinging nettle tea. My favorite brands for tea are Traditional Medicinals or Organic India Tulsi Tea.

During the day I typically have between 60-80 oz of water on top of the lemon water, celery juice, tea, and any other beverages I consume throughout the day. I shoot for at least 90-120 ounces of liquids (mainly pure water) throughout the day.

I hope you enjoyed having a glance at what I typically eat in a day! Of course every day is going to vary a little bit depending on my schedule, how hungry I am, etc. I try my best to listen to my body and give it what it needs. Please feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment if you have any questions. Xo

**I would like to mention that I consumed roughly 55-62 grams of protein this day (mainly from the spinach, hemp protein, chickpeas, and chicken bone broth from the butternut squash soup) for those wondering how people get enough protein from eating a plant based or mostly plant based diet.

Meditation: Do you or don't you?

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I started meditating 6 years ago. I didn’t know what I was doing, if I was doing it “right”, or if meditation really made a difference. I wasn’t consistent because I didn’t know enough about the subject and hadn’t found a technique that I enjoyed. It was always on my list of things “to-do” and was something I started and stopped more times than I can count. It’s always been on my list of goals and something I wanted to add to my daily routine. I’ve tried sitting in silence and just breathing, I’ve tried countless different apps, and I’ve even tried a technique where you repeat a sound in your mind for 20 minutes. No thanks. I had read countless articles, blogs, books, etc. on the power of meditation and all the benefits that come along with this practice. It is said that meditation reduces stress and anxiety, increases productivity, boosts confidence, and promotes happiness. I knew it was something I wanted to incorporate in my daily routine, I just hadn’t found my groove with it yet. Like I said before, I have tried countless meditation apps, but had yet to come across one that I really enjoyed. Awhile back, I heard about the meditation app, Headspace, and downloaded it. I had it on my phone for at least 6 months, maybe a year, and hadn’t even used it. One day I was cleaning up my phone, deleting old apps I no longer use, and organizing everything into folders. I came across the Headspace app and decided I should give it a try. They let you play around on the app and try out a meditation before signing up. The monthly fee is a bit higher than most, $12.99 a month, but they way I see it is that if its something that is going to positively affect my health and mind, then it’s worth it. So I paid the fee and have used the app for the past 30 days. I love it. It’s something I look forward to as the first thing I do each morning and I honestly feel that I can already feel the positive affects. I always end every meditation with a few positive affirmations, right now being “I am worthy, I am abundant, I am love, I am enough”. I truly feel this part of my morning routine puts me in a good mindset and sets me up for my day. Some days I meditate for 10 minutes and some days I do the full 20 minutes. It’s all about how I feel that day and I never pressure myself to do more than I feel like. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit and although I don’t necessarily believe that timeframe works for everything, I do think it did for this. At first it was a little difficult to adopt this habit and I felt myself wanting to skip a day or two, but I made myself sit still for 10-20 minutes anyways because I knew it was good for me in the long run. Sometimes you have to give yourself self love in the way of only doing what you want, but sometimes you have to give yourself “tough love” because you know it’s better for you in the end. I hope you try something new that you know will benefit your health because it’s always worth it. It is so important to look at health with a holistic view; the health of your mind, body, and spirit are all equally important. 

Nutrition Response Testing: What it is and why I believe in it so deeply

"Nutrition Response Testing is a non-invasive system of analyzing the body in order to determine the underlying causes of ill health. When these are corrected through safe, natural, nutritional means, the body can repair itself in order to attain and maintain more optimum health."

“What Is Nutrition Response Testing?” Ulan Nutritional Systems Home Page, unsinc.info/nutrition-response-testing.html.

If you've been following my insta-stories the past week, you will see that I've been talking a lot about Nutrition Response Testing (which I will also refer to as NRT). This healing technique is something I believe in whole heartedly. I started going to a Chiropractor in Alaska 6 years ago, at the age of 23, after being in a battle with "mystery symptoms" and extreme anxiety for 2 years. This was the first time I had walked into a doctor's office and felt heard, understood, supported, and at ease. Having been to so many different specialists, doctors, and naturopaths at this point, it was such a relief to feel like I had finally found a space that didn't dismiss my "weird symptoms" or think that it was "all in my head". The Chiropractor I went to, Dr. Sternquist of Alaska Health Improvement Center, was not for chiropractic care (although I did end up using their chiropractic and massage therapy services as well). Instead it was for what is called "Nutrition Response Testing".  If you have never experienced or heard of this healing technique, then chances are it is going to sound very strange and possibly unbelievable to you. I get it. Upon first hearing of this technique, I was VERY skeptical but I was also so desperate to get to the bottom of why I felt so awful all the time and I was willing to try almost anything.

Up to this point (a few years ago) I had gotten a scope done on my stomach, heart monitor for two weeks, extensive thyroid testing, EKG's, multiple blood tests, and various doctor appointments that always left me with no real answers other than a written prescription to mask the symptoms. I never filled one of those dozens of written prescriptions I received because I knew deep down that that wasn't the way for me. This is not to put shame on anyone who takes prescription medication for any number of health reasons, as I do believe in some cases they are beneficial, but I just knew this wasn't the route for me and I didn't wan't to simply mask my symptoms. The only slight bit of relief I felt during this time period of 2 years was when I had an allergy panel done at my Naturopath's office who then told me I needed to stay away from gluten and dairy, among a few other foods. Once I cut way back on these foods, I started to notice a bit of a shift, but I still didn't feel well most of the time. 

This is where Nutrition Response Testing and the amazing, Dr. Sternquist, come in. Like I mentioned above, this was the very first time I felt like I was heard and had faith that this technique and team would help me get to the bottom of what was going on. To get started, I had to fill out a very lengthy questionnaire about all the symptoms I had been experiencing along with my health history.  This part of the process was really refreshing to me because there was a section that listed a wide range of symptoms (some unusual ones) and you had to score how often you experience them. It was so nice to actually see all of my symptoms listed on this page, like they were real and I wasn't the only one who experienced them. After this, I was hooked up to a small computer, with a strap wrapped around my chest, to check my "heart rate variability" which basically measured my physical fitness level. Some basic vitals were also taken at this time to measure things such as my blood pressure, which showed signs that I had adrenal issues. 

After the initial assessment is completed, it's time to get "muscle tested". This is the part where most people get skeptical because it's a completely different from of treatment than most have ever experienced. Again, I get it. But if you're willing to keep an open mind and an open heart, you might just find that this is the most personalized treatment you can get to heal your ailments. Since I'm not sure I can phrase what Nutrition Response Testing is as eloquently as I would like, I'll leave that part up to the professionals...

"The analysis is done through testing the body’s autonomic nervous system. Nutrition Response Testing analyzes different areas on the surface of the body that relate to the state of health and to the flow of energy in each and every organ and function of the body. This information is derived from the part of the nervous system whose job it is to regulate the functions of each and every organ. Interestingly, since the human anatomy has not changed significantly in thousands of years, the utilization of these organs / areas have become extremely useful in our practice because they are so accurate! Each area that gives a response represents a specific organ, tissue, or function, and indicates the effect that energy, or the lack of energy, is having on the body. By testing these organs / areas, we have a system of monitoring your body at each visit that has proven to be extremely accurate clinically, and that helps us identify exactly what the body needs and how well we are meeting that need. Instead of connecting electrodes to the areas being tested, as in an EKG, the Nutrition Response Testing practitioner contacts these areas with his/her own hand. With the other hand, he/she will test the muscle of your extended arm. If the organ/area being contacted is “active” the nervous system will respond by reducing energy to the extended arm, and the arm will weaken and drop. This drop signifies underlying stress or dysfunction, which can be affecting your health."

"Let’s say the liver or kidney areas are active. Then what? Our next step is to test specific, time-tested and proven, highest-possible quality nutritional formulas against those weak areas, to find which ones bring the organ/areas back to strength. Our decades of clinical experience tell us that when we have found the correct nutritional supplements, as indicated by this procedure, and have worked out a highly personalized nutritional supplement schedule, we have identified the most important first step in correcting the underlying deficiency or imbalance that caused the organ/area to be active in the first place. By following the program as precisely as possible, you are well on your way to restoring normal function and improving your health. It’s that simple! In medicine, the medical doctor makes a diagnosis and then uses drugs or surgery to attack or suppress the symptom, or to surgically remove the “offending” organ or malfunctioning part. In Nutrition Response Testing we use designed clinical nutrition to correct the cause of the problem, so that the body can regain the ability to correct itself."  Ulan Nutritional Systems Home Page, unsinc.info/nutrition-response-testing.html.

To sum it up, the practitioner is able to see where you have imbalances and/or invaders in your body and is able to give you the specific, nutritional, whole food supplements your body needs in order to best get rid of the invader and/or bring that area of your body back into equilibrium. When you first start out, you will be seeing the practitioner once every week or two, depending on the state of your health. After your body starts to heal, function, and balance out, your office visits will become less frequent and the number of whole food supplements you have to take will lessen. Before you roll your eyes, take a moment to think about how intelligent our bodies are. This idea of our bodies being so intuitive and intelligent never quite struck me until I experienced this type of healing technique. I also didn't believe in this technique until I started to see my symptoms dissipate, one by one. Of course this took time, a change in my lifestyle, patience, and a whole lot of self care, but it's truly the only thing that made me feel like myself again. Of course the extremely personalized protocol that this healing technique provides is amazing, but what I also loved is that this method is all about educating the importance of eating a healthy diet. Dr. Sternquist gave me handouts and pamphlets on nutrition, how our food system works, the toxins that are in our beauty and household cleaning items, foods to avoid, how to read food labels/nutrition facts, along with more extensive information about Nutrition Response Testing. I was hooked. I can honestly say this is what instilled a passion for health and wellness in me and what made me ultimately decide to get certified as a health coach and finish my Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition. 

It has been a little over 3 years since I moved away from Alaska (again) and since the last time I've had Nutrition Response Testing done on me. Ever since coming back from my trip to Bali in mid February this year, I felt the pull to see a practitioner for Nutrition Response Testing again. Upon returning from Bali, my digestion was awful, I felt fatigued all the time and my skin broke out like crazy. Quick little side note- I had NEVER experienced break outs in high school or in my early 20's. It wasn't until I turned 26, and (coincidentally?) stopped going to a NRT practitioner that I had my first bout of bad skin. I will talk about this in a blog post in the coming weeks, along with before and after photos, but let me just tell you that bad skin is tough to deal with and I have absolutely NO doubt that it starts from within. Anyways, I had a gut feeling that my thyroid was acting up and that maybe I had contracted a virus of some sort, so I decided it was best to see a practitioner to get to the root of everything. Sure enough, I had a virus, fungus, AND a parasite (EW)! My gall bladder was sluggish and so was my thyroid, along with my adrenal glands. My new practitioner in Seattle, Josie Steuart, was able to pinpoint exactly what was wrong and give me a protocol specialized for me in order to rid my body of its' ailments. I have since been to two appointments and am already starting to feel a shift. My energy is better, my skin has cleared up, I sleep better, and I just have a better sense of overall wellbeing. 

I started to incorporate a lot of Anthony William's (from @medicalmedium on instagram) recipes and protocols from his books "Medical Medium" and "Thyroid Healing" after I got back from Bali and noticed changes almost immediately. Anthony William's protocols and recipes, along with NRT are what I believe to be some of the best healing methods out there. I'm excited to take this time to tune in to my body, practice lots of self care, eat healing foods, exercise in ways that make me feel good, and take my health to the next level. I've also been doing more hot yoga and infrared saunas to help my body detox the virus and parasite I picked up. I will definitely do a post on infrared saunas soon because I believe they are so beneficial in detoxing your body. 

Considering I'm a certified health coach and hold my degree in Nutrition, it's not always easy to admit when I don't feel my best, but I know there is strength in being vulnerable and sharing my journey. I hope this posts find anyone who is needing to hear this type of information and if you are feeling unwell, I hope you take the time to seek out a professional and invest in your health. As always, if you have any questions on Nutrition Response Testing or anything I mentioned above (or just anything in general!) please send me an e-mail : ashley@ashleycarlson.co. If you are looking for a Nutrition Response Testing practitioner in your area, the best way to do so is through this link here. I've created a 5 week program that has over 50 of my healthy (and tasty!) recipes along with a topic of the week ranging from self-care to healthy digestion. You can grab the program here and use the code "NRT25" for 25% off! I will also post the websites for additional information on Nutrition Response Testing and for Anthony William, the medical medium, below. Sending you all so much love and healing vibes!

xo, Ashley

https://www.nourishandglow.co/p/nourish-glow-mind-body-and-soul

http://www.unsinc.info/index.html

https://www.medicalmedium.com/

What living a "healthy lifestyle" means to me

Everyone can have their own interpretation of what living a "healthy lifestyle" means. And thats okay. For me, this lifestyle goes beyond the surface level of eating healthy foods and exercising. I, of course, believe those play a huge part in health and are very important, but its deeper than that. 

 image from @luminosity_crystals on instagram

image from @luminosity_crystals on instagram

When I think about what this lifestyle means to me, I think about things like...

  • meaningful + genuine connections and relationships
  •  lots of laughter
  • reading books and constantly learning
  • expressing creativity
  • mindfulness 
  • finding joy in the little moments
  • self-love + self-care 
  • a spiritual/religious practice that resonates 
  • meditation + positive affirmations
  • career fulfillment and enjoyment
  • adventure
  • rest, relaxation, and SLEEP
  • lots and lots of fun
  • anything that lights up your SOUL

Because the truth is, if you are living life according to the list above, most likely your level of stress and anxiety will be very minimal. You will feel centered, happy, balanced, and whole. How many times have you come home and binged on all the junk food because you were sad, angry, stressed, frustrated, bored, or just plain old unhappy? Sometimes we don't know what to do with all the energy from our emotions because we were never taught. Some people even binge eat when they are happy because in this day and age, we often suppress our emotions. A lot of us are out of touch with ourselves, so when things get intense, we don't know how to deal. We don't always think or know that it's okay to express these emotions and to let it all out. 

Meditation, positive affirmations, journaling, and mindfulness are all great techniques that bring you back to the present moment and help you get in touch with yourself and your emotions. When you practice being present, you stop seeking external fulfillment that can be detrimental to your health. You get to know yourself better. You find a deeper love for who you are and it's easier to choose healthier foods, movement/exercise you enjoy, relationships that bring you happiness, etc. Once you get to know yourself, you realize that you want to fuel your body, mind, and soul with things that will make it thrive and grow. You realize that putting yourself first is not only the opposite of being selfish, it's actually necessary in order to be the best friend, wife, mother, brother, sister, dad, boss, etc. You realize that the word "diet" does not exist in your vocabulary because that's not what it's all about it. That was never what it was about. Health becomes your lifestyle because you love yourself, you deserve the best, and you are worthy. 

I never struggled personally with dieting and counting calories, but I did struggle with debilitating anxiety, adrenal and thyroid issues, and digestive problems. I was so out of tune with my body and what it needed/craved in terms of food, movement, self care/self love. Over the past 8 years, I have read and studied everything I can get my hands on in terms of health and wellness because I am so passionate about it. I'm even more passionate about helping others feel the relief I felt after I started changing my lifestyle. I'm not perfect and I will never claim to be. I still eat "junk food", go out with friends, slack on exercise some weeks, forget to meditate, etc. because I'm human.  But at the end of the day I always come back to this lifestyle because it makes me feel good and lifts me up. It's something I believe in so, so deeply and I crave it. I'm on a mission to educate, inspire, empower others to live a healthier lifestyle and to remind them they are worth it.

Your reason for making these conscious decisions has to come from a deeper place than wanting to be "skinny" or to "look good". Sure, those are good side effects, but your "why" has to lead you through the times when you don't feel like putting in the time or effort. You have to be willing to make a commitment to yourself because it isn't a quick fix, it's a lifestyle.  

Here's a little peak into my morning routine:

  • wake up and make celery juice
  • write my "morning pages" or journal for 3 pages in my notebook
  • meditate for 15-20 minutes
  • recite positive affirmations

My positive affirmations at the moment are: "I am worthy, I am love, I am enough". I recite these over and over until I feel satisfied. 

What is one baby step you can take today to start creating a healthier lifestyle? 

 

The Fruit Fear and My Favorite Ginger + Greens Smoothie

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Until roughly a year ago, I was "careful" with the amount of fruit I consumed. Why? Because fruit has sugar. I was led to believe that fruit has sugar, sugar is bad for us, therefore I should limit my intake of fruit. The part that I was missing was the fact that although fruit does contain sugar, it also contains SO MANY beneficial vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, polyphenols, etc. The sugar in fruit is not the same sugar we consume if we are eating a candy bar that contains processed sugar or highly processed cookies/muffins/cupcakes that contain high fructose corn syrup. The sugar in fruit is naturally occurring, just the way nature intended, AND it comes along with so many other beneficial factors that fruit provides. At one point I was careful about how much of a banana I put in my smoothies and would limit myself to lower sugar fruits such as berries and green apples. Do you see the problem with this kind of thinking? Without even realizing it, I was creating a fear internally around a group of food that was made to be enjoyed in abundance for the pure fact that it tastes amazing and is amazing for us. I do believe that since fruit is metabolized by the body at a very quick rate, it is something that should be consumed separately from certain foods such as meat protein and dense carbs like potatoes, rice, and quinoa. The reason for this is that fruit gets digested really fast and if it is eaten with items such as meat or complex carbohydrates, then it sits there and starts to ferment in the digestive tract and can create am imbalance in the gut. Other than these exclusions, I think fruit should be enjoyed freely. I think it's silly to not add the entire banana to your smoothie along with a couple of dates and I think it's silly to not eat an orange and then a mango purely because these fruits contain a higher sugar content. Of course if you have some kind of medical condition that requires you to watch your sugar intake, then this is something you should talk to your doctor about and proceed with caution on. But the bottom line is, if I want to enjoy half a watermelon in the middle of summer, then I'm going to. And if I want to make one of my favorite smoothies with lots of mango and banana, then I'm going to. The way I see it is that if food is in it's pure and natural state, then we should be able to enjoy it abundantly. I have completely shifted my fear of fruit into a love a fruit. I'm curious to hear your thoughts: do you think fruit is something to be limited or do you believe it is something we can enjoy limitlessly? 

Here is one of my favorite smoothie recipes!

Ginger + Greens Smoothie

Ingredients:

2 cups frozen mango

1 ripe banana

1 cup filtered water

1-2 cups spinach

1 inch ginger, peeled

optional: scoop the gel out of 2 inches of an aloe vera leaf 

Method:

Blend all the ingredient together and enjoy!

Rewiring Negative Thoughts with Holistic Psychotherapist, Roxie Saremi

Do you ever come across certain people and you can feel the beauty and goodness radiating out of them instantly? I came across Roxie Saremi a few weeks ago on Instagram and instantly loved the vibe of her page and her genuine, heartfelt message. Her page is full of beautiful pictures, lots of crystals, inspirational quotes, and loads of healing wisdom. She is a light maker and I knew I wanted her to be a guest blogger on my page. As a psychotherapist, her work is holistic and integrative, focusing on emotional healing and well being. She is also licensed from USC as a marriage and family therapist. Basically, she's pure magic. Read below for the post she created special for my readers like YOU. Enjoy, xo.

 

A Healer’s Guide to Rewiring Our Negative Thoughts

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We’ve all had those experiences where we felt uncomfortable emotions that we just don’t want to feel. Those moments where we wish we could just hide under a blanket and hopefully time travel to another dimension and escape! I know I’ve had my share.

Whether it was telling a guy you like him and then feeling rejected by his response, messing up at work and doubting your intelligence, feeling anxious before a first date, saying something that hurt someone’s feelings and instantly regretting it, clogging the toilet at your in-law’s house and feeling mortified, or beating yourself up for being late on rent.

Whatever the situation might be, do you notice how you’re talking to yourself? Is it helpful or making you feel worse? Maybe it’s become such a pattern that you don’t recognize it as negative. It might sound a little like this:

“How could I have been so stupid? Why did I do that? I should have known better.

Suck it up!”

Sound familiar? Telling yourself that you should have done something differently or that you are not good enough is causing more self-harm than you might realize.

We have all been there. The best part is that we are resilient humans and if you WANT to heal and live a healthier and more peaceful life, you are already taking that first step!

You may have tried deep breathing and positive affirmations and that may not have worked for you. It does not work for everyone, and I am here to tell you that those are not the only tools.

Today, I want to show you simple rituals that will help you regulate uncomfortable emotions, stop judgmental thoughts, grant emotional freedom and increase overall self-worth.

So here we go.

 

Just Notice

Every time you have a negative thought of yourself or you notice yourself starting to have that inner nag, notice it. Just notice it. Say hi to it. Allow yourself to observe yourself having a reaction. Check in with your body. Is your heart beating faster? Are you having a gut reaction? Really sit with these emotions and notice how your body feels.

No Apologies Needed

Do not apologize for catching feels. We have emotions for a reason! FEEL THEM.

If you feel angry, then express that. If you feel sad, it’s okay to cry. The more you acknowledge your emotions, the better you will understand where they are coming from.

Find A Sound Board

Whether it’s a friend you tell everything to, a parent, your guardian angels, or a therapist, talk to someone! Sometimes just by expressing your thoughts and emotions out loud, the less intense they’ll feel.

Write It Out

Is all this new for you? It’s okay to be private too. Another option to getting in touch with how you are feeling is to journal. Journaling is one of my favorite ways to talk it out with myself and get in touch with my inner guidance. Some of my most enlightening moments have come from journaling. Just try it!

Cut The Cord

Sometimes we don’t recognize that the emotions we are feeling aren’t even our own! As social beings, we are always connecting with others and are exposed to other people’s emotions and vibrations. Without knowing, we can pick up these emotions and mistake them for our own.  Generally, these are negative and don’t make us feel so good.

My Life Coach, Angela Simson, Happiness Expert and Wellness Guide, gave me one piece of advice that will always stick with me.  I told her how burnt out I was beginning to feel after seeing clients back to back. She taught me that after you have a conversation with someone, anyone, take about 2-5 minutes to imagine a loving cord cutting between the two of you and that person leaving with all their vibes and you being left with yours. This tool guarantees that you are only experiencing what is yours.

Find Your Space

In addition to making sure you are only carrying emotions that are yours, it’s also really important to have a positive space that can become your safe haven. This can be in the form of your favorite corner in your bedroom, a meditation center, somewhere in nature, or any place you feel a connection to a grounding source.

One of my favorite things to do after a long day is light incense and just lay on my bedroom floor surrounded by pillows and good vibes.

Celebrate Sparkling Moments

In therapy, we like to call small victories, sparkling moments. When we acknowledge the moments in which we feel good and are able to express ourselves, we create a pattern of positive self-talk.

Did you just score a big win at work? Pat yourself on the back! Did you show up even when you were exhausted? Did you speak your truth and say how you felt when you usually wouldn’t? Celebrate these sparkling examples!

You are creating a new way of feeling on the inside and shaping yourself into the person you want the world to see.

Change to Positive Self-Talk

Easier said than done, but what better way to end negative self-talk than to start now with some positive reinforcement. Did you notice yourself getting upset because you forgot your credit card at the restaurant? Are you beating yourself up because of this mistake?

How would you talk to a friend who did this by accident? If you wouldn’t tell her she’s stupid, then don’t tell it to yourself! Try noticing when that little hater comes out. Keep her in check.

 

Although change cannot happen instantaneously, with these tools and gained insight, you are on the path to healing self-judgment and creating a life of emotional well-being and self-empowerment. Uncomfortable emotions are a fact of life, but what is important is how we respond to them. Being kind to yourself is the stepping-stone to creating a more loving relationship with yourself and the best way to shine your light for the rest of the world.

 

You can follow Roxie on instagram @thenativehealer

 

Resources

 

National Institute of Mental Health

 

Marsha Linehan, on DBT therapy

 

Jori Adler, LMFT

 

Angela Simson-The Gratitude Project

Am I Vegan? Vegetarian? Paleo?

I get asked often if I eat meat or animal products. I do. But not a lot. My take on this topic is that mostly “plant based” makes me feel my best while giving my body the nutrients it needs. What does plant based mean? Exactly how it sounds. It means that the majority of the foods I eat are plants and everything else is secondary.

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About 80-90% of the foods I eat are plant based, but I’ve decided not to put a label on myself because there are those rare occasions when I just really want a burger, ya know? The kind that has bacon and avocado aioli on it? Yeah, I’m a huge fan. Every once in a while I want some buffalo chicken wings. And I know that it isn’t the end of my healthy lifestyle. Because I LOVE this lifestyle. I will always come back to it. And usually when I eat less healthy foods, I eat super clean the next days. Because life is all about balance. It isn’t about creating a stressful or restricted mentality around foods. Food is meant to be enjoyed.

 

What do I eat? So many different things. I LOVE to cook and I love coming up with new recipes and creations. I juice a combination of fruits and vegetables at least 3-5 times a week and drink a (usually green) smoothie almost every single day. I make lots of big salads and stir fry dishes. My recipes are always gluten free and dairy free because those are both inflammatory foods and not conducive to gut health (which is my jam). One thing I NEVER do is compromise flavor in my healthy recipes. I believe you can have both because healthy eating is not meant to be restrictive or boring. I use lots of spices, GARLIC, and herbs (cilantro is my best friend) in my cooking and I’m a huge fan of homemade clean dressings and sauces. I love experimenting and taking inspiration from other recipes and making them my own. I also love taking a recipe that is less healthy and putting my own healthy spin on it. But, my favorite thing ever is taking “non-believers” and junk food addicts and creating something even they love and enjoy.

 

I truly believe that eating more plants and less animal products is the best plan for overall health, wellness, and longevity. Plant based foods literally harness energy from the earth and pass that on when you consume them. It’s best to eat a wide array of fruits, vegetables, and nuts/seeds. You know the slogan “taste the rainbow” from Skittles? Yeah, do that just with fruits and vegetables instead of Skittles. Your body will thank you and love you right back, promise. If you are interested in information on plant based lifestyles or want more validity behind the claim to go plant based, here are some documentaries to watch:

 

http://www.whatthehealthfilm.com/

https://www.forksoverknives.com/

https://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/

 

If you are interested in a free 30 minute consultation with me, please don’t hesitate. I would love to guide you on your journey.

With love always,

xo Ashley

My "why"

Why did I start health coaching in the first place? Why do I want to inspire others to lead a healthy lifestyle and be the best versions of themselves? Why do I choose health and wellness everyday?

This is my “why”…

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Because I’ve been unhealthy.

Because I used to live with fear and anxiety every single day.

Because I’ve had numerous loved ones pass from cancer.

Because I watched my dad almost pass away from a preventable disease.

Because I want to inspire.

Because health, nutrition, and overall wellness are my PASSION.

Because I want to leave a positive impact and touch as many lives as possible.

Because I want to live from the heart.

Because this fire to spread health, love, kindness, and light burns inside me every single day.

Because I don’t want to leave this earth with any regrets.

Because I believe right down to my core that this is what I was made to do.

Because I’m done playing small.

Because I want to make my own path.

Because this is me being my most genuine and authentic self.

Because my heart holds so much love and compassion and I want to spread that into the world.

Because I believe this is how I was meant to serve.

 

I was always told it’s important to have a strong “why” behind building a business. I always knew I was meant to help and serve people. I didn’t know “how” until I had health concerns of my own, which led me to diving into a healthy lifestyle. I genuinely love guiding others to lead a healthy lifestyle and to ultimately be the best version of themselves.

Xo,

Ashley