All posts in Inspiration

Is Your Attitude About Money Holding Your Health Hostage?

I never used to think money had anything to do with how I feel from day to day. The decisions I made at the grocery store, shopping mall, church, gym, pretty much everywhere, belonged in different folds of my brain – far away from ‘health’.

healthy attitude about money means healthy woman

Attitudes about money can hold our health hostage

Then, I went to see someone who helped me sort out my attitudes about money.

She asked me to write down what money meant to my family when I was growing up. And how I felt about it in my relationships and now as a small business owner.

Talk about a hornet’s nest! I had no idea I carried around such ridiculous stress and self-judgement.

I was going through life with the notion that I didn’t deserve things unless I earned them. Which is not so abnormal until you heap guilt on top of it.

So, the only way to earn a new coat, or a night out with my friends, was to be someone better, someone skinnier, nicer, more productive, a better mom. And since there is no way to quantify those ‘standards’, I rarely thought I deserved what I got. Regardless of where this self-defeating thinking started, it was still dogging me in my middle age.

Every day, I meet someone who uses this same kind of thinking to deny themselves care that could improve not just their wardrobe or social life, but their whole health.

Naturally we apply the same destructive, unhealthy thinking patterns over and over in different areas of our lives. Maybe we develop an attitude of ‘not deserving’ that leaks over into our relationships, our diet and even our connection to a higher power. Imagine the havoc that can play on a person’s life!

Herbs are great, and I’ve seen them do wonders for women’s health. But, physical and emotional health are absolutely connected to every other decision we make every day, including  how we think about money.

Ten years ago, I started looking at what needed change in my life. Herbs and yoga and a better diet got me 50% of the way there. But it wasn’t until I understood how my thoughts were holding me back that I made real progress. Talking to a professional whose job it was to understand the ins and outs of money took a load off my shoulders.

A group of women are meeting at Omaha Integrative Care for 5 weeks this Fall – starting October 14 and ending November 11. We’ll take a close look at 5 critical areas of our ‘whole’ health, including attitudes about money, relationships, spirituality and food.

Join us. Email info@naturalhealingomaha.com for details. Or visit www.NaturalHealingOmaha.com. Become a healthier version of you while 2013 is still here!

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Autumn – No Time For Hangups

The other day, a patient shared with me that after a very long relationship, she decided it was time to get her own apartment, move out and start taking care of herself. The day she told her partner she was leaving, all the digestive symptoms that had been plaguing her for months of visits quickly cleared up. No more constipation, no more tummy problems. Just like that. She could breathe easily again.

Maybe you’re hanging on to an unhealthy relationship, or maybe it’s a bad habit you can’t shake, like gossiping or nighttime snacking. Sometimes, we just get hung up on what someone said to us 20 or 30 years ago and can’t let it go.

Whatever your hangup, it’s time to hang it up.

The weight of your emotional baggage is a giant burden on your physical health, whether you see it or not. Letting it go means a chance at feeling light and playful again. Smiling and joy are guiltless pleasures that we owe ourselves.

Fall cleansing means letting go and finding fun again

Let go of worries and feel playful and healthy again

I swear, letting go is one of the hardest lessons to learn in life.

Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes a clear connection between the Lungs – which play a role in expressing grief, releasing the past and detaching from unhealthy patterns and behaviors – and the Large Intestine, where another kind of ‘letting go’ happens.

A healthy and balanced Lung/Large Intestine pair helps you withstand the stresses of respiratory threats like colds and flus, and environmental imbalances like dryness or excess humidity and dampness. Did you get that? Letting go of unhealthy people, patterns and even poop 🙂 gives you protection from seasonal illnesses.

My patient discovered on her own that simply making up her mind to let go helped her physically release, making space for something new.

The season of the Lungs and Large Intestine is here right now. This is a great week to start a Fall cleanse.

A seasonal diet and herbs that focus on preparing your lungs, large intestine and lymphatic system for the cold weather can give you a leg up on immune system challenges.

Two weeks of delicious foods like squash, root vegetables and wild game, and herbs like cleavers, burdock root, stillingia root, poke root and cascara sagrada bark provide a lymph, lung, large intestine and deep tissue detox that stimulate and renew your sluggish system.

I tell my patients to get a good massage and indulge themselves in an afternoon nap. This is time to really let go of unhappy thoughts and enjoy the shocking blue skies and comfy sweater weather to the fullest.

I can help you understand how to accomplish cleansing with healthy, nourishing foods, herbs and simple daily practices. Everyone deserves a healthy start to Fall. Email me at info@naturalhealingomaha.com and get started.

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What’s the Monkey in Your Mind Saying?

My life coach says I’m ‘up to big things’, which explains why my mind’s been chattering lately with lots of self-talk. Not the happy Oprah kind.

Monkey mind interferes with healthy thinking

Is your monkey mind distracting you from success?

I’ve learned this is a good time to sit on the floor beside my bed, take a few breaths, and listen to what’s going on between my ears. Instead of calm, peace and universally loving thoughts about my life, the words lately sound more like this:

“I can’t do that”

“I’ve had it hard and that’s why I’ll be a failure”

“I’m not smart enough – so-and-so is better at this than me”

“You’re not successful enough to try”

“People will be watching and you might make a mistake”

“You don’t know enough”

“You’re gonna fail”

“Someday you’ll be good enough to do this, but not right now”

“You’re selfish to even try”

“It’s gonna cost too much money”

It’s like I’m trying to talk myself out of success so I’ll have an excuse when things don’t go like I expect.

This pattern of self-destructive thinking is sometimes called monkey mind. Pretty accurate description, I’d say. That monkey in my head is distracting me, jumping all over the cage, throwing insults and trying to push me off my game. She’s on full blast when I’m getting ready to accomplish something I’ve never done before.

I used to think I was the only person who struggled with this. Other people just got up in the morning, made up their minds to do something and did it. No self-doubt, no ‘poor me’, no excuses. Now I know better.

The most successful people you know hear this same monkey jabbering away when it’s time to face a big task or step out of their comfort zone. Somehow they learn how to tame the monkey and go ahead anyway.

Me? I wrestle with the mind chatter every day. Sometimes the monkey wins, sometimes I do. On the good days, I manage to keep calm and focus on where I’m going and what I love – sharing what I know about holistic healing, herbal medicine, and how it changed my life.

On those other days, when the self-doubt bubbles up and threatens to sabotage my plans, I forgive the monkey, act gently with myself and breathe. Sometimes, I just write a blog.

How do you handle the self-destructive mind chatter? What’s your strategy to keep the monkey mind from holding you back? Do you have a little retreat in your home or office, or a mantra that helps you cope or get beyond the critic in your brain? I’d love to hear your ideas!

 

 

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7 Coolest Things About a Farmer’s Market

farmers market berries selected by happy child

Fresh goodies from your farmer’s market tempt tastebuds

Why don’t more people shop at farmer’s markets? Heck, why don’t I shop there more often?

After last weekend, I’ve concluded that the only possible answer is this: habit. I’m just not in the habit of stopping at more than one place for groceries.

The thing is, the food at these neighborhood markets is so ridiculously cheap and fresh, I almost feel like I’m cheating someone. But really, I’m only cheating myself by not taking advantage of it more often.

Every time I walk into the deep freeze they call a grocery store these days, I wonder why I didn’t start at the market.

White and red radishes for 75 cents a bunch, spinach for $1, huge bundles of turnip and mustard greens for $1 (don’t know what to do with them? Click here for a photo and recipe).

Here’s what I discovered about the farmer’s market this weekend:

7 BEST THINGS ABOUT YOUR LOCAL FARMER’S MARKET:

1- You can find a farmer’s market almost every day of the week somewhere in your city [Omaha peeps, scroll down for a listing].

2- A $20 bill gets you enough veggies and meat protein for two people for at least 3 days.

3- Talk to the guy/girl who grew your food. It’s almost a little humbling to realize how much we depend on these gracious growers.

4- Eat your groceries while you’re still shopping. That’s how we discovered the white radishes are less spicy than the red ones.

5- You find out what’s in season, and discover that seasonal eating is healthier eating. [Here’s a link to a recent blog explaining why]

6- Fresh-picked food (within 2-3 days of market) has SO much more taste/flavor than supermarket food. Hands down.

7- Even if you don’t buy anything, you’ll be entertained. Street musicians, crowds of interesting people and pets, and displays of local crafts made my visit last weekend SWEET!

And now, here’s a listing of Omaha area farmer’s markets. Go get some fresh food today!

Bellevue Farmers Market / Flea Market – Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

  • May 18 – September 14, Washington Park on Franklin Street at West 20th Avenue, Bellevue

Benson Farmers Market – Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

  • May 4 – September 28, Military Avenue at Maple Street

Charles Drew Health Center Market – Wednesdays, 3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

  • July 10 — October 2, 2915 Grant Street

Florence Mill Farmers Market – Sundays, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

  • June 2 – September 29, 9102 North 30th Street

Main Street Farmers Market Council Bluffs – Thursdays, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

  • May – September, Corner of 9th Avenue and South Main Street, Council Bluffs

Omaha Farmer’s Market in Aksarben Village – Sundays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

  • May 5 — October 20, 67th and Center

Omaha Farmer’s Market in the Old Market – Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

  • May 4 — October 19, 11th & Jackson Streets

Papillion Market Faire – Wednesdays, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

  • June 5 – September 18, 1st Street Plaza located off 84th and 1st Street in Downtown Papillion (New Location in 2013!)

Wohlner’s Midweek Market at Midtown Crossing – Wednesdays, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

  • May 1 – September 25, Parking garage next to Wohlner’s at 33rd and Dodge

Village Pointe Farmers Market – Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

  • May 4 – October 5, 168th & Dodge
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Holistic Healing Looks for Simple Solutions First

A gentleman brought his 94 year old mother to me asking for help with her 4 months of bowel incontinence, which was making her miserable and exhausted, not to mention the loss of dignity that goes with that sort of thing.

Her doctors had prescribed all sorts of medications, but nothing worked and she was getting weaker every day. In my office, she covered up with her winter coat, looking frail and pale, but I could see the feisty woman she really was underneath the weariness.

warm food and diet for spleen qi deficiency brings natural healing

A warmer diet for a weakened person can make all the difference

One solution jumped out at me right away, but I questioned whether her caregivers at the nursing home would get on board.

I suggested the staff hold off on serving her fruit juices, cold fruit, iced tea and cottage cheese, all of which are known to contribute to loose stools and digestive problems for those with the TCM pattern of Spleen Qi Deficiency.

It’s a clinical term that describes a pattern of disharmony in Traditional Chinese Medicine. People with this pattern have sometimes been weakened by a long period of stress like an illness (my patient had suffered a stroke), or excessive cold, damp foods, or both. In her case, a very long life even by today’s standards, contributed a large degree to her deficiency patterns.

A week later, the patient’s son called to say that even before starting the course of herbs I recommended, she was 50% better. The staff was shocked at how much just a simple diet change, including warmer foods, soups and hot teas, did to improve her quality of living.

Holistic healing isn’t always about taking an herb or supplement. It takes into account everything from lifestyle factors to diet and even spiritual practices. Even a minor adjustment like the temperature of your food can make a big difference in the whole you.

Could there be one simple practice that needs a tiny little turn-of-the-dial in your life or the life of someone close to you?

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Got 90 Minutes This Weekend? Treat Yourself to My Women’s Class…

Are you focusing on health but running into roadblocks? Are you confused by all the free advice you’re getting? Do you need some health sorting through the obstacles to find answers?

Woman with Green scarfIf you can squeeze one more thing between all those graduations this weekend, I’d love to have you in my class Saturday morning.

The class is Savvy Health for Women Over 50but don’t let that age thing keep you away. Women of ALL ages are welcome to attend.

In this class, you’ll:

  • Learn health secrets for eating, sleeping and feeling better than ever.
  • Find support and discover a community of women with passion for healthy, happy living.
  • Watch or join in a demonstration of movements for longevity, fitness and lifelong health, with guest instructor Sarah Brandt from 5elementharmony.com.

Take a little break for some ‘Me time’ from 10-11:30. Discover profoundly simple ways to make these the best years yet!

Bring your friend, sister, mom or co-worker. It’s $35, including handouts and herbal women’s tea. Call 402-933-6444 to register or email info@naturalhealingomaha.com to tell us you’re coming!

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Inspired – and embarrassed – by Mom. Will I Ever Grow Up?

A funny thing happened when I hit the ‘Send’ button this morning. I accidentally told my mom, and about 12 other women friends, that I was glad she didn’t embarrass me in front of them at a mother-daughter event last night.

And you know what she said in her email reply? “I’m glad I didn’t embarrass you. The thought had crossed my mind.” My mom is a total good sport, but I almost never give her credit for it. I wonder if it occurred to her that I might embarrass HER?

mom inspired career as a professional

I have a not-so-loving relationship with my mother. It’s not her fault. People always tell me how charming and funny and lovely she is. How much they enjoy having her around. But all I see through my judging eyes is someone who struggled with bipolar disease and didn’t pay enough attention to me.

I never stop to remember that she gave birth to 5 children in 7 years, moving with her military husband to at least 5 different bases, with no ‘I’m too tired to cook’ processed food dinners on the days when everyone was sick or crying or snowed in.

It rarely occurs to me that she was an inspiration for my holistic-style career, insisting on whole wheat bread and a ‘no sugary snacks’ household when Wonder Bread and Super Sugar Crisp were standard fare in 70’s suburban homes.

I always forget that she was the one who told my sister and I (I guess she assumed it was a given for my brothers) that we could do anything we want with our lives, and proved it by doing exactly that. As soon as we kids were all in school, she put her Chemistry and Physics degrees to work in a series of jobs that landed her in a professional engineering career.

That’s the kind of life that would make a grown kid proud of their parent. Even if I stopped right there, it would be plenty of reason to knock me upside the head for missing opportunities to tell her.

There’s more. Last year, we saw Mom flirt with death at least 3 times while she struggled through major surgery and a 4-month recovery. None of us kids thought she would live to see 2013. But her incredibly resilient constitution allowed a full recovery and in some aspects, allowed her even better health than ever.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 3.35.26 PM

Instead of sending accidental emails about how embarrassing my mom is, I can only hope to be a good sport and take the high road with her a little more often. That’s how I’ll honor Mom on Mother’s Day.

That little email has me wondering, now, if my own kids feel this way about me. I guess what goes around, comes around…

The answer to the Mother’s Day Herbal poll: Roses

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How My Guest Blogger Got Her Healthy Groove Back

Cleanse and detox helps kick start new health habits

Healthy cleansing can be the push you need to better health

Below is a guest blog that started as an enthusiastic email from a friend who was tired of being ‘stuck’ in her old patterns, and found a way to break through after a couple weeks of  seasonal cleansing. With some light editing of exclamation points, I’ll let her tell the story…

I was recently guided to attend one of Mo’s classes – a Spring cleanse. What a good idea, I thought. Get a little healthier, feel a little better, you know…the usual. Little did I know that this 2 week cleanse would completely change my life – healing my unhealthy patterns at a very deep level – and giving me a renewed sense of self.

The class turned out to be a cooking class, meant to prepare us for this 2 week, nearly vegan life-style. Mo, by showing us the actual “to-do’s”, empowered us to go find the healthiest foods we could, and re-engage with our kitchens. And her enthusiasm and commitment to each of us was contagious.

It was tough, but because I’m married to an amazing man who also loves to cook (and who realized quickly that life was simply going to be easier by getting on board with this one). We made our collective way through it. I won’t give the details of everything this diet pushed us through in this blog (but perhaps over a healthy lunch??) but on the other side of 2 weeks….here’s what we are experiencing: my diarrhea  (my companion for the last 20 or so years) is completely gone. We’re both sleeping through the night (rare!). My husband’s snoring….gone. He’s lost 13 pounds, I’ve lost 7, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Seriously, the energy that we are experiencing and the way our new bodies feel has changed us. We can never go back to drinking wine nearly every single night. Miracle of miracles, the desire is gone! Who knew? And who wants a huge chunk of beef in their stomachs now? Not us. Of course, we’re enjoying these things again, but in moderation as opposed to gluttony. We’re the “all in” types….enough said. The way our bodies feel now has actually become our dietary compass, and it’s joyful!

Last but certainly not least, because I’m getting a full night’s sleep, I’m getting up earlier, finding time for breakfast again, and have gotten back into a morning meditation practice – something I haven’t had in my life for years.

We are changed…

Love,

Carolyn and Kurt Johnson

Seasonal cleansing is a gentle and safe way to bring about subtle (or in Carolyn’s case, not-so-subtle) change when you’re feeling stuck or stagnant. It could turn out to be just the nudge you needed to break a bad habit and start some new ones. Take cleansing to a holistic new healthy level – schedule a personal visit with me 402.933.6444 or gather a group for a class at your school, church or workplace. Email info@naturalhealingomaha.com for more information.

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Detour Out Of Your Comfort Zone and Kick a Habit

get out of your comfort zone and take a detour to natural health

Take a detour to natural health and get out of your comfort zone

When was the last time you took a new route to work or changed the part in your hair? Did you decide a really long time ago you didn’t like a certain food, like brussel sprouts, so you never, ever tried it again?

It’s easy to to make a habit of behaviors that feel comfortable, flow smoothly and only require occasional minor adaptation. Routines provide a safe feeling, you know what to expect, and you come to identify with the person you see in the mirror.

Granted, there’s something to be said for making a habit of regular dental hygiene, for instance, or driving to work using a route with predictable stoplights and traffic patterns.

That’s part of the benefit of habits – they become so much a part of you that you can funnel less mental energy into them. And that frees up your mind for creative thoughts, like ‘what’s a seven-letter word for organic fertilizer?’

The flip-side of routines is this: after a while, we pay so little attention that sometimes we don’t notice a problem until it’s a BIG one. In our bodies, minor annoyances become chronic pain, insomnia and outright misery because we follow the same patterns day to day despite that tiny warning light that says ‘stop and check engine’.

While I struggled to recover from the depleting drugs and the emotional drain of chemo, it frustrated me that habits which used to comfort me – eating sweet, rich food, drinking coffee to wake up, and even complaining, and blaming other people for my problems- didn’t satisfy me anymore. My habits had formed a roadblock to healing.

Having a health problem or crisis has a way of making you re-examine how you do just about everything. That’s how I discovered the truth about this old maxim – if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

When it comes to health care, we’ve been trained to get results without requiring a change of patterns, habits, or ways of thinking. A pill or surgery gets the depression, the pain, or chronic irritation to stop bothering us. But this approach often masks the real issue, and we end up having to go back to deal with the core problem later.

There’s no way around it. Getting genuinely healthy means making permanent CHANGE. And there’s no time like the present to start. My life coach calls these ‘small, sweet steps’.

  1. Start by observing habitual behavior, like midnight snacking, mindless refills of coffee all morning, or even checking and re-checking email, twitter or Facebook 14 times a day (the national average for smartphone users).
  2. Decide ahead of time what you’ll do when faced with the temptation to snack, fill up your cup or tap into social media to fill space in your day.
  3. Be specific, then write it down. “I will only check my [insert social media platform] twice a day at [insert actual times].
  4. And then stick to it. Give yourself a week to catch on. And eventually you’ll get un-stuck, lose weight, sleep better, feel less pain, be less stressed out. And happier.

Every now and then, it’s healthy to fluster and confound your brain, shut down the cruise control driving those habits. Make new connections.

Like freshly hiked paths, these brain connections have to be ‘trod on’ over and over until the new behavior/thought is learned and becomes the new routine. That takes some work. It will frustrate and irritate you and tempt even the strongest of you to slip back into old patterns.

Without a plan, I always fail at this. I’m a genius at coming up with excuses for unhealthy behavior – the best one is “I don’t really have PROOF that this is a problem for me, so one more [insert behavior] won’t hurt.”

By mapping out my detour, I know where I’m going and what success looks like. At the new destination is a sense of accomplishment, pride, and a more flexible, creative me, with brain connections that lead to crossword answers like ‘compost’ [raise your hand if you got that one 🙂 ].

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