Personal Development Archives - Stephanie Misanik Health Coach


August 21, 2017by admin1

 

Coffee.

What would America be without it’s coffee?  After all, America runs on Dunkin’, right?  It’s more than just a drink.  It’s interwoven within our culture.  It’s family, it’s a date, it’s social.

It’s also super addictive, and I’m here to tell you that coffee had me in a death grip.  I wasn’t able to actually start my day without my venti cold brew from Starbucks.  I became so dependent on it that in the evening, I was finding myself planning how I was going to get my cold brew in the morning before I had to teach, meet with clients, or do anything in the realm of productivity.  The delightful people at my local Starbucks knew exactly how I liked my cold brew, extra almond milk with 2 packets of honey.  If a new person was working, the old timers would be sure they added just the right amount of milk.  They knew me by name and always had my drink ready for me.

 

My Coffee History: It’s a Love Hate Kinda Thing

I have been drinking coffee for as long as I can remember.  I have always been a type A, go go go kinda woman.  Even in middle school, I would stay up late into the evening studying or doing homework.  I remember making pots of coffee after school and would sip away at them throughout the evening to fuel my brain through math and history homework.  As high school approached and I eventually got my own driver’s license, I started to stop for a large coffee on my way to school, and another one after school.  I remember sitting at the diner with my high school friends joking about nicknames for each of us.  Mine was, you guessed it, “java girl”.

As far back as I can remember, coffee for me has never been a social thing…it was always a crutch.  I needed it to study, to wake up, to focus, to simply think and get shit done.  Starting my day without a cup of the good stuff was simply not an option.  I was completely and utterly reliant on its magical powers.

Then in my early 30s, something changed.  Whenever I drank the magic elixir, I started to feel jittery.  I’d be on a caffeine high for about an hour, and then these waves of anxiety would start to wash over me.  I couldn’t quite catch my breath, and I would start to sweat.

So, I experimented.  Cutting coffee out completely simply wasn’t an option, so I decided to cut back.  Instead of a venti, I would get a grande.  It worked.  The anxiety started to dissipate, and I was good at one grande cold brew a day.  No sweats, no anxiety.  After a few months, my symptoms returned.  My body was trying to tell me something, and I just didn’t want to hear it.

 

Why Quit the Good Stuff?

Everyone knows the caffeine in coffee is a stimulant.  If you’re like me, you are reliant on it’s stimulating effects to get you through the day. Here’s some stuff you  may not know about coffee:

  1. The caffeine in coffee releases catecholamines, your body’s stress hormones.  It also increases insulin production.  Both stress hormones and insulin cause inflammation, and inflammation makes you feel lousy.
  2. A coffee habit decreases insulin sensitivity.  This makes it hard for you body to appropriately respond to high blood sugar levels and having consistently high blood sugar levels can lead to arterial deterioration and an increased risk for the development of cardiovascular disease.
  3. Unfiltered coffee is loaded with good antioxidants.  Unfortunately, it’s also loaded with diterpenes which are linked with increases levels of triglycerides, LDL and VLDL levels.
  4. The chlorogenic acids found in coffee have been shown to increase homocysteine levels, an indicator for an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
  5. Coffee is super acidic and can cause digestive discomfort, indigestion, heartburn, GERD and even dysbiosis (an imbalance in the good bacteria of your gut)
  6. Coffee is extremely addictive.  The thought of taking on the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting coffee is overwhelming to anyone looking to quit their coffee habit.
  7. Coffee alone has some serious health effects, but when you add a ton of sugar or artificial sweeteners to your coffee, your negative health effects are increasing ten-fold.  Not to mention, coffee is not an adequate breakfast replacement.
  8. 5-HIA, a component of the neurotransmitter serotonin, is found to be elevated in the urine of regular coffee drinkers, which means they may be at risk for lower serotonin production in the brain.  Serotonin is the happy hormone and is responsible for so many bodily functions including sleep, bowel function, mood and energy levels.  It’s such a vicious cycle.  Coffee can disrupt sleep, cause anxiety and promote depression.
  9. Regular coffee drinkers tend to have elevated urinary levels of important electrolytes like magnesium, calcium and potassium.  This can cause you to have an electrolyte imbalance which can potentially cause all kinds of systemic complications.
  10. Certain components in coffee can interfere with normal drug metabolism and detoxification in the liver.  It can prevent certain medications, including levothyroxine (thyroid medication) and tricyclic antidepressants from being properly absorbed.

It’s always nice to know the science, but here’s what I know.  Coffee stopped working for my body.  I began to have physical side effects related to my coffee consumption, and if I wanted to feel better, I’d have to bite the bullet and say no to my daily cold brew.

 

How I Quit:

I’d love to tell you that the day I realized coffee and I were no longer friends, I simply quit…but that would be a straight up lie.  I fought giving up coffee until the bitter end.  For months I would play this game, drinking my cold brew and thinking that today would be the day I wouldn’t experience shortness of breath, anxiety and profuse sweating.  But, alas, that day never came.

Last week, my body forced me to make a decision, and I chose to quit coffee for good.  To be 100% transparent, I have not totally quit caffeine all together, but the cold brew had to go.  Tea is my new best friend, specifically matcha tea.  The benefits of matcha tea might be in a future blog post, but here are just some of the benefits of matcha:

  • high in antioxidants
  • improves mental focus + clarity
  • detoxifying properties
  • good for hair skin + nails!
  • contains an amino acid known as L-Theanine which promotes the production of alpha waves in the brain
  • induces relaxation without the inherent drowsiness caused by other “downers”

In the morning, I replaced my cold brew with an adaptogenic matcha that I make at home, loaded with herbs including tocos, chaga and cordycep mushrooms, marine collagen and just a dab of raw honey.  It’s absolutely divine.

 

My Matcha Recipe:

1 tsp matcha (whisked)
1 tbsp tocos
1/2 tsp cordycep mushroom powder
1/2 tsp chaga mushroom powder
2 scoops vital proteins marine collagen
1 tsp raw honey
splash unsweetened coconut milk
6-8 oz hot filtered water

 

Tips for Quitting:

Replacing my coffee habit with a matcha tea really helped in the coffee withdrawal process.  Matcha still has a little bit of caffeine, so it eased my symptoms.  Having said that, I’m not going to lie and say it was easy.  Honestly, it wasn’t so much the physical symptoms of withdrawal as it was realizing just how habitual it was for me to get a coffee.  I had to really understand that I don’t need coffee to function.  I’m totally capable of showing up for life without my cold brew.

Here’s some helpful tips that really worked for me:

  • Pick a day and just do it.  Stop talking about it and just do it.  Mark it on your calendar, tell your friends, get some accountability going.  I am not a person that works well with slowly weaning off something.  I’m a rip the bandaid kinda girl.  But, do you, boo.  If you want to slowly wean off, go for it…but just do it.
  • Replace the ritual of making coffee with making a cup of tea.  I already talked about how I replaced my cold brew with matcha tea, but if matcha isn’t your thing, try chai, or earl grey.  Tea will still give you a low dose of caffeine without all the jitters of coffee.  It will also replace that morning ritual of brewing your coffee.  Added bonus: the smell of tea is great aromatherapy.
  • In my matcha recipe above, I talk about adding herbs to my tea.  If you’re new to the world of herbs and have no idea where to start, I suggest getting some ashwagandha and add 1 tsp to your tea.  Ashwagandha is a fantastic ayurvedic herb that helps to relieve stress and anxiety.  It can really help alleviate coffee withdrawals.
  • Get on yo’ mat.  I know I’m a little partial, but do some yoga!  Yoga helps me to really connect to my mind and body and to come into alignment with my purpose.  The physical practice helps energize me without the need for caffeine or any other external force.
  • Drink a boatload of water.  It will decrease any headaches you experience and will increase your energy.  There’s no magical amount of water to drink, just drink more than you do know and stop when you feel like you’ve had enough.
  • Switch to herbal tea in the afternoon.  I love a matcha or even earl grey in the morning, but cutting out caffeine after 12 pm has really helped improve my sleep patterns.  I have been going to bed earlier and getting up earlier.
  • Consider avoiding coffee shops for at least a week.  For me, after a couple days I was okay going back to Starbucks to do my writing and work.  I simply replaced my usual cold brew order with a black tea.  But I know for others, a coffee shop might be a big trigger, so do you.

 

I really hope this blog post helps you get off the coffee, if that’s something you are considering doing.  I would love to hear about your experience kicking the good stuff, feel free to comment below, you never know how your experience could help others.

 

Resources:

van Dam RM, Willett WC, Manson JE, Hu FB. 2006. “Coffee, caffeine, and risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective cohort study in younger and middle-aged U.S. women.” Diabetes Care (2) 398-403

Tuomilehto J, Hu G, Bidel S, et al. 2004. “Coffee Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Among Middle-aged Finnish Men and Women.” JAMA 291: 1213-9.

Moisey LL, Kacker S, Bickerton AC, Robinson LE, Graham TE. 2008. “Caffeinated coffee consumption impairs blood glucose homeostasis in response to high and low glycemic index meals in healthy men.” Am J Clin Nutr 87 (5): 1254-1261

Lane JD, Feinglos MN, Surwit, RS. 2008. “Caffeine Increases Ambulatory Glucose and Postprandial Responses in Coffee Drinkers With Type 2 Diabetes.” Diabetes Care. 31(2): 221-222



August 9, 2017by admin0

I don’t know about you, but I’m an all or nothing kinda girl.  If you clicked on this blog post, chances are you are too.  Sometimes, this character trait serves me well.  For example, when I decided to take my health back, it was as simple as making the decision and with the snap of my fingers, I was officially vegan, no turning back, no easing my way in.  All or nothing.  As a result, my health transformation was swift and dramatic.  100 pounds in 1 year.

Other times, this trait haunts me.  This month my family is away visiting family in Greece, and momma is riding solo. Whenever I mention this to friends or colleagues, their immediate reaction is, “Wow!  No kids for a month?  Finally some time to kick up your feet and relax!”.

Call me crazy, but my first thought was, “I can get so much done while they’re gone!”.  Naturally, I loaded up my schedule so that my days involve me running around like a mad woman from sunrise to sunset, 7 days a week.  New clients, additional yoga classes, house remodeling, house cleaning/organizing, an increased workout/training schedule, the list goes on and on.  Oh and on top of it all, somewhere along the line I decided breakfast was no longer a priority.

Like I said, I’m an all or nothing kinda girl.

I’m here to report I made it about 2 weeks before my body gave me the middle finger and quite literally FORCED me to sit a day out.  And even then, I balked.

Here’s what I have learned about myself, what I constantly struggle with.  I CAN’T SIT STILL.  Not just physically, but mentally.  If I have to sit at home, ALL I can think about is all the more productive things I could be doing.  It is so hard for me.

Here’s what that really means…and I hate to admit it, but here it goes…

My name is Stephanie, and I’m a control freak.

Anybody that knows me personally is probably cracking up because to them it’s so obvious, but for me it takes me pretty much passing out from exhaustion to even become aware of this fact about myself.  Nevertheless, it’s true.  I fill my day with appointments, workouts, cooking, cleaning, and so on so that I can be in control.

I had a dear friend tell me, “If you fill every minute of your day up, you leave no time for God (insert your preferred word here – Universe, Mother Spirit, Mama Jama, Big Kahuna, etc etc) to guide you.”

BAM.

Well, I never thought of it like that…

Here’s the thing, I LOVE what I do.  I LOVE being a Health Coach and yoga teacher.  It fills me up and I cannot believe that I get to do what I do for a living.  I also LOVE to workout.  It is a meditation for me.  Maybe you are nodding your head because you too love your job and love to hit your yoga mat or the gym, but even people who love their job need to take a break.  I always associated the feeling of being “stressed out” with having to do things I didn’t like.  The reality is that the body doesn’t know the difference between stress from a job you hate and stress from an overbooked schedule of activities you love.  To the body, physiological stress is physiological stress.

I’m writing this blog post because I need to hold myself accountable.  I have committed to doing one relaxing act of self love everyday, and I encourage you to do the same.  I cannot be of service to other people if I am burnt out and running on fumes.

Last night, I took a bath with epson salts and listened to one of my favorite podcasts.  It was glorious and I haven’t felt that relaxed in months.  Needless to say, I slept like a baby.  Today I am sipping on this delicious golden milk matcha latte while writing and later I’m making time to hang out with some amazing people that I love, people that lift me up, nourish my soul and aren’t afraid to tell me when I’m going down the rabbit hole.

What are your favorite self-love practices?  I need some suggestions!  What do you do to unwind, shut the mind off and just relax?  Comment below!



June 19, 2017by admin1

 

I have a family member, a person very near and dear to me whom I struggle to have a sincere relationship with.  Can anyone relate to tough relationships with family members?  Of course you can, we all have them to varying degrees.  The thing is, I really do love this person.  She is my family, my blood.  But, I have such a hard time getting close to her, developing a meaningful relationship of depth and weight with her, being myself around her.

If we weren’t related, I’m not sure she is somebody I would want to have a relationship with.  We are polar opposites in every single way you could possibly imagine.  From politics, to parenting, to social justice, to religion and spirituality, there is not one topic that comes to mind that her and I see eye to eye on.  It’s often hard for me to even have a conversation with her because I feel like I’m walking on eggshells.

It’s not her fault, she has the right to be herself just like I do.

The thing is, I spent most of my life not loving myself.  Feeling like I didn’t fit in, running from reality so I wouldn’t have to see myself for who I really was and do the inside work.  Four years ago, I came to a jumping off point.  I knew that if I didn’t start getting honest with myself, uncovering the causes and conditions of why I was the way I was, doing the work instead of blaming everyone else for my problems, I was going to die.  That may seem extreme, unless you knew me at the time, then you know I speak the truth.

So, I dug in and started on a spiritual path.  A path to self-awareness, to service to others, to a God of my own understanding.  So much in my life has changed in the past four years.  Yes, of course the outside stuff has changed, I live in a different house, drive a different car, but more than that, the inside stuff is no longer covered in darkness.  I feel a connection to light, to a higher power.  I live in gratitude rather than victimization.  I have a beautiful life.  I also love who I am, not in an ego-driven way, but from a place of gratitude.

But, how do you stand in your own truth AND have a relationship with someone you fundamentally disagree with?  

That’s the question I have been struggling with for years now…

Throughout this spiritual journey, the Universe has put some absolutely amazing people in my life.  These people are my rock.  They have shown me a love unlike anything I have ever experienced.  They have helped guide me on the path.  These relationships are rooted in love, in supporting each other, in challenging each other do to better.  I am so incredibly grateful for the village of beautiful souls that has grown up around me.  I would not be where I am today without those people.

But I still struggle to have a genuine relationship with this family member.

Over the past several weeks I have been asking myself over and over, “Why is it so hard for me to have a relationship with this person?  Why do I let her get under my skin so much?  Why can’t I be more accepting?”

I haven’t found one definitive answer to these questions, but I thought I’d share what has popped up in my prayer and meditation in hopes that it may help someone:

 It’s not her, it’s me: There is nothing I can do about her thoughts, behaviors, words and actions.  As much as I want to show her the truth according to Stephanie, that is not my job.  She has the right to think and feel the way she chooses.  It is part of her own journey in this lifetime.  Who am I to judge her journey or to step in and interfere with a growth opportunity for her?  This is much easier said than done.  Some of the beliefs that she has are extremely offensive to me and entire populations of people.  But, I have to pause and reflect on my own life.  In my own spiritual development, there have been many times where my thoughts, words and actions have been hurtful to others and my awareness of how much I was hurting others was little to none.  I have to trust that God has a plan for her, just like she did for me.  Faith over fear.  Trust the process.

She’s doing the best she can with what she knows:  The thing is, we are all doing the best we can.  We are all a compilation of our life experiences, and it takes a lot of strength to step out of the societal norms and discover your own truth.  It’s much easier to just go with the flow and do things the way you are told, because it doesn’t require much thought or pushback from those around you.  My favorite quote of all time is by the late great Maya Angelou, “When you know better, you do better.”  I have found this to be true, and you never know when the Universe is going to present you or your family members with an opportunity for self-knowledge and personal growth.

If you spot it, you got it:  Ugh.  This is the hardest life lesson for me, but it also is 100% accurate.  Usually, when something somebody else is doing is REALLY getting under my skin, it’s because I myself have the propensity to act the same exact way if my own house isn’t in order.  All the behaviors that she engages in that drive me absolutely bonkers are behaviors that I myself can easily and often unconsciously engage in if I am not doing the work to stay connected and on the spiritual path.

They say you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.  I don’t really like this saying, because I think that a power greater than me specifically put me into this family and surrounds me with different friends to help me grow and develop, to learn the lessons I am meant to learn in this lifetime.  The tricky part is that not all of the relationships we find ourselves in are going to be unicorns and rainbows.  Sometimes the biggest lessons in spiritual growth come from those super tough relationships.  If I was only in relationships with people that think like me, I would be stagnant.  Learning how to interact with those that are different from me is how I grow and begin to develop compassion.

I don’t have a magical answer for how to have better relationships with family members that you perhaps don’t see eye to eye with.  I don’t think it’s that simple.  But, it starts with a willingness to stop blaming others and to start looking at yourself.  How can you be helpful to your family?  Getting out of self and into service is where it always starts for me.  It makes me feel like I am useful, it gives me purpose and it benefits the other person.  Then, work to change your perspective.  Instead of dreading any and all interactions with a certain someone, look at those interactions as an opportunity to develop compassion.

Do I do this perfectly?  HELL NO.  But, I try.  I’m working to have compassion and to activate that pause button when I feel like just reacting.  It’s hard.  It will take time, but I’m in it for the long haul.  Family is forever.

Plants for Life,

Stephanie Misanik, INHC, RYT-200



June 12, 2017by admin0

This week, I could no longer ward off the voice of a power greater than myself working in my life.  I thought it would be fun to share the story with you, in hopes that maybe some people can relate.

My story starts last summer.  For about a year now, I have been talking (key word “talking”, which is more than “thinking”) about wanting to ditch the van dur​​ing the day when it’s just me and no kiddos and opt for something a little more environmentally friendly.  As you may or may not know, I have three kids, and when I’m transporting all three kiddos, a van is necessary.  But, since I work during the day, running all over Baltimore meeting health coaching clients and teaching yoga, it’s jut me.  Just me and a big ol’ minivan.  

It all started with me mentioning OUT LOUD last summer that I wanted to get a road bike because it killed me every time I clicked that automatic start button for the gas guzzling not so environmentally friendly van.  It started with me just speaking my truth.  Getting it out of my head and into my reality.  What happened next is what happens to everyone when we put something out into the universe, if we are paying attention: the universe provides.

Now, of course I wanted to have a road bike that exact day last summer that I spoke my truth out loud because, “Hello, my name is Stephanie and I love instant gratification”.  But, that’s not how it works.  I had to be patient.  No matter how much I wanted a bike last summer, the timing just wasn’t right.  I didn’t have the money to spend on it, I didn’t know if I was really ready to fully commit, and on and on.  But, I didn’t give up.  I know, because my experience has shown me, that if something is meant to happen, it will, regardless of what I do.  So, deep down, I knew that if I was meant to be a biking momma, the universe would conspire to make that happen with or without my input. 

Well, the day finally came almost a year later when the funds were available and the timing just felt right.  How did I know it was time?  That feeling of misalignment could no longer be ignored.  That’s always how it always works for me.  It started with an awareness that my actions were not matched with my personal beliefs.  My action of driving around a minivan with just myself in it was not aligned with my personal beliefs for doing everything I can to help save the environment.  

At first, it was just a little bit uncomfortable.  I would get into the van and think, “I should really be on a bike instead of driving this huge van,” but after I got going, the thought would disappear and I would go about my merry day.  As time progressed, that thought, that misalignment of spiritual principles and actions became unavoidable.  Now, every single time I was getting in the car, I would have the uncomfortable feeling like my actions didn’t match my beliefs.  

Then, I started to become SUPER aware of all the cyclists on the streets around me, as if they were specifically there to show me that it was possible to use a road bike as a main means of transportation.  It’s funny because I never used to pay attention to the cyclist on the street, except to not hit them.  But I started to notice them in drones.  Their bright helmets, tight bike shorts, skinny bike tires, fat bike tires, and all their accessories.  It eventually got to the point where I could no longer ignore that feeling of being misaligned, and it was off to the cycle shop for this momma.

Here’s the thing, you may be thinking, “All of this over a silly bike?”  YES.  

It’s so much bigger than a silly bike.

It’s about listening to the universe (substitute whatever word works for you here – God, Mother Spirit, The Big Kahoona, Higher Power) when it talks to you.  Once you start trekking down this road of spiritual practice, I have noticed that it gets harder and harder to ignore that inner voice.  Does it mean that I always listen to it?  HELL NO.  I am human.  But, it no longer feels good to me to try and remain oblivious, to try to ignore that calling, that voice, that thought.  It’s downright uncomfortable.  It even gets to the point where that is all I think about and I can no longer ward it off.  

Funny how the universe works.

So, I am in week one of navigating the streets of Baltimore on my new road bike.  I am super lucky because I have a dear friend who is passionate about cycling (and more importantly, safe cycling) that has offered to show me the best ways to navigate this city. Even though I am only a week in, and my ass is so sore I can barely sit, I no longer feel misaligned.  I feel like I’m doing what I am supposed to be doing, and that’s how I know that I am in alignment with the will of the universe rather than just running the Stephanie show, oblivious to everyone and everything around me.

As I work in my sits bones to the bumpy roads of Baltimore, I’m smiling.  The warm sun shinning on me, cars whipping by me.  At night, I can put my head on my pillow and fall asleep with ease because I know that my values are aligned with my actions.  That I am doing my part to help improve the environment, something that is near and dear to my heart.  Am I perfect, NO.  But, it’s the little actions over time that add up to have a major effect.

Maybe for you, it’s not a bike, or the environment.  Maybe it’s something totally different.  Maybe it’s something at work, or in your relationship, or in how you feed yourself.  What is it that keeps nagging you, begging you to pay attention, but you keep stuffing it down in hopes that it’ll go away?  What is one simple step you can take this week to get it out of your head and into your reality?  Speak your truth!  Know that you are supported, and that the path will be cleared for you if you just flex that faith muscle and take it one day at a time.

 

Plants for Life,

Stephanie Misanik, INHC, RYT-200


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June 8, 2017by admin2

Last week I shared with you my journey into veganism.  It has been amazing, has brought me health, significant weight loss, a connection to nature and so much more spiritual growth that I have a hard time even putting into words.  But, it's in my nature to be a curious person, so last December I conducted an experiment.  I pissed off every vegan I knew and dove head first into a ketogenic diet for a month.

Go big or go home, that's my motto.

Here's the thing, I believe that there is no one diet that works for everybody.  Although I was having success with a plant based diet, I kept hearing about this new low carb/high fat keto craze and my curiosity got the best of me.  So, I made the conscious decision to try it for a month and see how I felt.  How can I help coach others in their own health journey if I myself don't remain open-minded and ready to learn?

For those of you that don't know, let me just break down what the Ketogenic Diet is at it's core (also called Low Carb High Fat - LCHF).  Keto peeps change their metabolic state by switching from glucose as their primary source of energy to ketones.  The premise is that ketone bodies are derived from fat and are a much more stable, steady source of energy than glucose, which is derived from carbohydrates.  Entering ketosis usually takes anywhere from 3 days to a week. Once you’re in ketosis, you’ll be using fat for energy, instead of carbs. This includes the fat you eat and stored body fat.  I was told to get ready to lose weight, be more alert, and less hungry.

So, what does a ketogenic plate look like?

  • 65-75% fat
  • 20-30% protein (animal protein)
  • 5% carbs

5% carbs translates to about 25 g of carbs/day. A sweet potato, for example, has about 27 grams of carbs.

Essentially I went from eating a lot of grains, no animal protein, tons of veg and low to moderate levels of fat to zero grains, a ton of animal protein and a super high amount of healthy fats.

Lots of avocados.  Lots of veggies (this part I liked), but I would add a ton of grass fed butter or ghee to everything.  Kerrygold butter lined the shelves of my fridge.  I even started making Bulletproof coffee, commonly known as butter coffee.  I would add a couple tbsp of grass fed butter and a couple tbsp of MCT oil (or coconut oil) to my coffee in the morning.

Needless to say, it was a far cry from my previous, plant-centric diet.

I even reintroduced cheese.

Here's the thing though, to give the keto diet a fair review, I stuck to my core principal that ingredients matter.  All of the meat I purchased was grass fed, all the dairy and butter were also grass fed, the chicken and eggs were pastured, no processed foods and all organic veggies.  I think this is where a lot of people make a big mistake with keto.  Let's be honest, organic, grass fed meat and dairy and pastured chicken and eggs are freaking expensive.  Usually what happens is it is just not sustainable financially.  I know a few people that follow a keto diet and load up on conventional, hormone, antibiotic and pesticide laden meat and "cheese like" products because it's cheaper.  I'm not blaming them, I get it.  My first grocery store bill on a keto diet was over $200 dollars, almost double what it had been under a vegan diet.

So, what happened?

At first, I went through a MAJOR carb withdrawal.  It was crazy!  I literally felt like I was on another planet for 3 days.  I remember sitting on my couch and having a conversation with my cleaning lady and as she was talking I kept asking myself within the comforts of my own mind, "Is this real or am I dreaming?"  It was unlike anything I have ever experienced.  I also had a major headache that hit on day 2.  I made sure to stay hydrated and kept chugging along.

After that initial cab withdrawal, I did return to my body.  After 7 days on a keto diet, I lost almost 10 pounds.  I was pretty intrigued.  Maybe there was something to this!  Something else I also started to notice is that I wasn't as hungry as I used to be.  In the morning, I would have my butter coffee and that would keep me full until about 2 in the afternoon.  My lunches and dinners were comprised of a piece of meat or fish and a bunch of veggies sauteed in grass fed butter.

To be completely transparent, I do not have a gall bladder.  This is a problem when consuming a high fat diet as the gall bladder stores bile, which is necessary to emulsify any dietary fats we consume.  If you don't have a gall bladder, the liver releases a constant small stream of bile directly into your intestines, which isn't enough to break down a high amount of fat. I knew that I was going to have problems with this, so I supplemented with ox bile.  That stuff is intense.  It's quite literally freeze dried bile from an ox.  You take it before eating a high fat meal and it mimics that bolus release of bile that would normally come from your gall bladder.

It took a solid week of experimenting with ox bile dosage and to be honest, I don't think I ever found the right dose.  If I took to much, you would find me puking my guts up in a fetal position on my bathroom floor, passing a ton of cow farts.  It was more painful that being in labor.  If I didn't take enough, I would get a similar pain, although slightly less intense (similar to bad acid reflux) because my body was having a hard time digesting the high amounts of fat I was consuming.

To say I was frustrated would be an understatement.  About halfway into my experiment, I had to drop the butter coffee.  My body just could not handle so much fat.  As I am writing this blog pot, I can almost feel that pain starting to develop right at the base of my sternum.

In addition to all these problems with such a high fat consumption, I noticed that after week 2, my energy levels started to drop pretty quickly.  When I was eating plant based, I always felt light and happy.  Similar to how plants sway in the wind under the morning sun.  Hang in there with me, I know it's far out there, but I have a point.  When I was doing keto, I started feeling heavy, sluggish and low in energy.  Similar to a big ol' cow slowly munching on grass in the middle of the field.

I know, it's kinda weird.  I had always heard that we take on the energy of what we eat.  And I always thought that people that subscribed to that belief were juuuuust a little out there.  But, this was 100% my experience.  I could feel myself taking on the energy of a cow when I was eating a lot of beef products.  Lazy, heavy, slow, sluggish.  When I switched to more chicken, I reminded myself of a chicken, flighty, jumpy, high anxiety, clucking at everyone around me.  It was bizarre.

Another thing happened.  I became very aware of the souls of the animals I was consuming.  To be clear, my journey into veganism had everything to do with my own health and nothing to do with a political statement or animal rights.  But, as I was cooking this giant slab of flesh and tasting the blood of the animal in my mouth, I became disgusted.

Before I went plant based, I (like most people) believed that I needed animal meat to survive.  After all, where the hell was I going to get my protein???  But now that I had been plant based and knew that I didn't need meat to survive and that plants have tons of protein (and had major muscle gains while consuming a vegan diet), I could no longer justify eating meat.  I simply felt unaligned with my own moral and ethical principles that I didn't even know I had.

After four weeks, I put my keto cookbooks back on the shelf.  I had had enough.  Enough pain, enough misalignment.  It was back to plants for this chick.  It took my body a good month of being plant based again to recover.

I think keto may work for some people, but I'm definitely not one of those people.  But, I'm glad I did it.  I became clearer on what fuels my body, what makes me thrive.  I also am so incredibly grateful for the deeper insight I gained, the clarity on my own moral principles.

Have you experimented with keto or do you follow a keto diet?  I would love to hear about your experience.  If you feel so inclined, comment below.  I remain open minded, knowing that this diet might work for some more than others.  In general, however, my main motto still remains: eat whole foods, mostly plants, most of the time.

Back to plants.

Plants for Life,

Stephanie Misanik, INHC, RYT-200



April 24, 2017by admin2

For most of my life, I was under the impression that I needed to fight my cravings.  If I ate that piece of chocolate cake, it was because I didn’t have enough willpower to say no.  I always felt like such a failure if I did give in and indulge myself, like whatever progress I had made thus far was completely wiped out with one doughnut.  If I’m being honest, part of the reason I went to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Holistic Health Coach was to learn how to conquer my cravings once and for all.  I thought that knowledge was power, but what I learned was that knowledge availed me nothing.  IIN gave me an amazing gift, something far more powerful than knowledge, and today I want to share that gift with you!

Throughout my nutritional education, I learned that my connection to food is much deeper than calorie counting, grams of protein and added sugar.  Not only did I learn it, I felt it.  I learned to start listening to my cravings rather than trying to fight them all the time.  This little shift in consciousness changed my relationship with food forever.  I discovered that my body is perfect just the way it is…it is a complex machine that knows what it needs to thrive.  It’s my head that gets in the way.  I started to listen to my cravings in a whole new way…what were they telling me?  Asking this simple question changed everything and led me down the path of food freedom.

 

Here are three things I discovered around cravings:

Your body is trying to tell you something:  If you are getting strong cravings, it may be that your body is trying to tell you something super important!  Don’t ignore it!  Intense cravings can often indicate a nutritional deficiency.  We are all born with an innate body wisdom.  Our bodies know what they need and use cravings to try and get you to pay attention.  Unfortunately, often times we don’t trust these cravings and we try and fight or ignore them, which in the end only intensifies them.  If you’re craving something on a consistent basis, know that there is nothing wrong with you, it’s just your body trying to talk to you!

  • Sugar cravings can often indicate that you are not getting enough protein in your diet.  The more protein you have (preferably plant based protein) the less sugar you will crave.
  • Chocolate cravings can indicate a magnesium deficiency.  A great way to combat that is to increase your intake of nuts, seeds and leafy greens (yay for green smoothies!!)
  • If you crave salty snacks, your body needs more water.  Try increasing your daily water intake.
  • Craving snacks in the middle of the afternoon often correlates with a drop in blood sugar.  A great way to prevent this is to avoid going more than 4 hours without eating and to eat a low glycemic breakfast so that you aren’t setting yourself up for an intense drop in blood sugar later in the day.

 

It’s time to dig deeper:  Cravings aren’t always indicative of a nutritional deficiency, sometimes they are in response to emotional needs.  If you have tried the helpful tips above and notice that they haven’t dissipated, it may mean your cravings are a cry for comfort, love, nourishment and/or self-care.  Sometimes we crave ice cream because it’s smooth texture and childhood memories take away any stress or feelings of being overwhelmed.  Perhaps you crave wine at night because the more wine you have, the less you have to worry about different stressors in your life.

Whatever the craving may be, I suggest looking deeper into your life to discover how you can satisfy those cravings on a deeper, emotional level.  If you are looking for relief from stress or anxiety, no food will be able to solve the deeper, underlying issue.  Acknowledge those cravings and thank your body for sending you a much needed signal to go deeper and explore how you can nourish yourself on a spiritual and emotional level.

 

Trust your body:  Knowing that your cravings are simply your body trying to talk to you is a powerful sign that you trust your body.  It will take time to develop this mind/body communication pathway, to be able to discern between a nutritional deficiency and an emotional issue, but it is worth exploring.  The more you trust your cravings and begin to explore them, the closer you will get to unearthing the root of the problem that’s causing the craving in the first place.

 

Over the next week, start to bring some conscious awareness to your cravings.  Begin by identifying what types of food you crave, and start to explore whether they are indicative of physical or emotional issue.  Trust that your body knows what it needs.  It is an AMAZING and super powerful machine that keeps you alive everyday, and it’s just trying to talk to you 😉

 

Plants for Life,
Stephanie Misanik, INHC, RYT-200



April 10, 2017by admin4

My life really changed when I decided to wake up with purpose.  For SO many years, waking up was my LEAST favorite thing to do.  To be honest, most of the mornings in my 20s I was hungover from the night before, and dreaded that cotton mouth and early morning pounding headache that alcohol gave me.  Waking up with purpose and intention for my day wasn't even on my radar.

Today, mornings are one of my absolute favorite times of the day. There is something so incredibly magical about the morning.  The sunlight as it filters in through the windows, the silence that permeates every part of my house.  I just love it.  Extra bonus is my 1 year old son, Vasili, sleeping so peacefully by my side.  It melts my heart every morning.

I want to share with you what my morning routine looks like.  My hopes are that it will inspire you to create your own routine so that you can start your day out feeling centered, determined and at peace.

  1. I wake up before everybody in my house.  If you like to sleep in, I may have lost you already.  I totally get it.  I like my sleep to.  But, I noticed that if I waited until the last minute to wake up, I was waking up in a panic and without intention.  I would just reactively turn off my alarm clock and begin going through the motions of waking the kids up, getting breakfast ready and rushing out the door without so much as a breath for myself.  It set me up for this feeling of having to rush for the rest of my day.  It robbed me of the opportunity to have some "me time" in the morning and create space for what I want my day to look like.  Now, I wake up 30 minutes before everyone in my house.  It means I sacrifice 30 minutes of sleep, which I know is precious if you are a parent...but for me, the reward is worth it.
  2. The moment I wake up, I connect with a power greater than myself through prayer and meditation.  You do not need to subscribe to a particular religion to have a connection with a power greater than yourself.  I do not consider myself a religious person, but I do have a strong spiritual connection with a force greater than myself.  I have felt it, connected to it and witnessed it at work in my life and in the lives of others.  Call it God, call it Spirit, the Divine, the Universe...call it whatever makes you feel comfortable.  I pray, talking to that power, asking it to guide my thoughts, words and actions throughout the day.  I then sit in meditation and listen for inspiration.  Often times some of my best ideas come to me from that Divine force during meditation.  If you have no idea how to meditate, that's totally okay!  That means you can learn!  There are so many helpful resources out there today that can help get you started.  I really recommend an app called Headspace if you are brand new to the world of meditation.  Connecting to this force through prayer and meditation opens up a channel within me that helps me to cultivate trust and the belief that everything is how it should be in this very moment.  It helps me to step out of fear and into faith...to live in purpose.
  3. I connect to the present moment through breath.  One of the best gifts that yoga ever gave me was the ability to use breath to connect to the present moment.  When I bring the focus of my attention to my breath, I find that I am living completely in the present moment.  The past and the future aren't in my realm of consciousness.  This is SO sacred to me because I am someone that has the propensity to dwell on the past or worry about the future CONSTANTLY if I don't make time to connect to the present.  You don't need to be a yogi to connect to your breath. Just take a big inhale, through your nose.  Notice the space at the top of the inhale, and then exhale through your nose.  Notice how you feel after 4 or 5 breaths.  It's a beautiful thing.
  4. I eat a healthy breakfast.  Finally, FOOD!  I know it's so tempting to grab a bar or just a cup of coffee and bolt out the door, but I am a big believer in that old saying that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day".  Recently, I have really enjoyed making my green smoothies in preparation for my Green Smoothie Challenge.  It has been so much fun experimenting with different blends...some are epic fails, but most are so incredibly delicious!  They are such a great way to start my day off on a healthy foot, fueling my body with delicious fruits and veggies so that I can give my cells the nutrients they need for optimal function.  I also find that if I start my day with a green smoothie, I don't need as much caffeine...BONUS because I can easily get on the over-caffeinated train.

Hopefully this post sparks a fire in you to wake up with purpose.  My morning routine is constantly changing.  I'll try adding in different things and seeing if they work for me.  Remember, nothing stays the same forever.  You can always change your morning and the power to do that exists within you.  Tap into that power and take control of your day.

If you already have a morning routine that you love, comment below!!! I would love to hear about it and you never know who might benefit from you sharing what works for you 🙂

Good morning!!!!

 

Plants for Life,

Stephanie Misanik INHC, RYT-200



April 3, 2017by admin1
stephanie misanik health coach dreams into reality

Hey everyone!  Welcome to my little corner of the vast and forever expanding internet!  I am SO excited to start this Nutrition and Yoga Lifestyle Blog.  It has been something I have wanted to do for over a year and TODAY is the day I turn my dream into a reality!  Thank you for taking the time to read this and subscribe, it really means so much to me!

Here's how this is going to work.  Every Monday, I am going to add a new post to the blog.  The posts will cover everything that is near and dear to my heart...from nutrition, to recipes, to all things yoga, self-realization and empowerment.  I am PASSIONATE about nutrition and yoga and want to use this platform as a means to share what has helped me with you in hopes that it may help you on your own spiritual journey.

This week, I thought it would be fitting to talk about goal setting and making those big dreams you have a reality.  By this time of year, most of our New Year’s resolutions have fizzled out and a lot of us need a little boost.  I am a big believer in goal setting, but the key is to find a method that works for you and is SUSTAINABLE.

 

Here's my 6 Steps to Making Your Dreams Your Reality:

Step 1: Identify your goal and don’t be afraid to dream big.

There is no such thing as a dream that is too big.  Imagine telling your children that whatever they are imagining for their life is way too big and they should dream smaller….you would never do that!  So, why limit yourself?  Some of my biggest achievements in life came to fruition because I wasn’t afraid to dream big and put that energy out into the universe.

 

Step 2: Take pen to paper and write your goal down…but keep it to yourself.

Now that you have your goal alive in your mind, it’s time to get in onto paper.  There is some serious power in taking pen to paper.  It makes it real, out of the land of the imaginary thoughts and into reality.  It seems like such a small thing to do, but I promise you, it will make a huge difference.  At this point, don’t share your goal with people yet.  Keep it to yourself.  Protect it.  Keep that paper on your bed-side table or in your bathroom so you are visually seeing your goal every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed.  This helps the process of incorporating it into your reality, into your everyday consciousness.

 

Step 3: Create your “stepping stone goals”.

What I mean by that is create your timeline.  Achieving a goal is not so much about focusing on that major end game goal, but rather on the daily, weekly or monthly activities that will slowly and steadily get you to your major goal.  When you have those stepping stones in place, it takes your focus off the overwhelming big goal because you are just focused on meeting the next stepping stone.  Design monthly steps that are achievable for you.

 

Step 4: Be picky about who you share your dreams and goals with.

This is a BIG one.  Be mindful about who you are sharing your goals and dreams with.  Often times, we want to shout out our big dreams to the world and usually we are immediately met with resistance that makes us question our goal and possibly even give up before we even start.  Unfortunately, not everybody wants you to succeed because it forces them to look at themselves and that can be threatening to some people.  If you’re surrounded by those types of people, develop a way to create boundaries and protect yourself so that that energy doesn’t penetrate and undermine what you are trying to achieve.  I suggest finding a buddy or a core group of people that you can confide your goal in that will support you and have your back no matter what.  This will help create accountability and will keep you honest.

 

Step 5: Don’t be afraid to fail!

One of the best lessons I have ever learned was to not fear failure.  Setbacks are part of the process.  Not only are they part of the process, they are CRITICAL to the process.  If you fall off the wagon, congratulations….you are human!  Just determine what the next right thing is and do it.  It is from the falls that we learn the most about ourselves.  Nobody achieves greatness without trials and tribulations.  Don’t be overly rigid.  Learn to flow.

 

Step 6: Check your ego at the door

In my experience, whenever I attach a goal or a dream to a greater purpose outside of myself and rooted in service to others, I am much more likely to push through the hard times and reach my end goal.  Ask yourself what you can add to your goal to make it have a higher purpose outside of yourself?  For example, my goal for 2016 was to lose the baby weight.  I made it greater than myself by adding, “I want to lose the baby weight so that I can have the energy to play with my children and be the mom they deserve.”

 

Remember, turning dreams into reality takes time and persistence...and that you are worth it.  Keep showing up for yourself, you never know who's watching.

 

Happy Monday, everybody 🙂

 

Plants for Life,
Stephanie