Love More

This is the sixth blog in a series delving into the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, the support system I incorporate into my nutrition coaching because good nutrition includes more than just what we eat. (image credit unknown)


Healthy relationships can be a challenge even for the most committed, but there’s a really good reason to try: they can boost positive feelings that motivate us to stick to a healthy lifestyle. 

From healthy hormone production, to a diverse flora in our mouths (for realz!), listen up for why Love More (aka Sex Ed) is one of the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life.

Produces Oxytocin and Endorphins

We want to be in relationships where we feel safe, where there is a healthy dose of cuddling, and getting busy between the sheets. Why? Because orgasm, cuddling, and holding hands (and I’d be remiss not to mention breastfeeding!) releases the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin acts like a “soothing antioxidant”, which can lower anxiety, increase feelings of trust between partners, and help us feel relaxed. More on how these feel good hormones motivate healthy behaviors here.

Promotes a Healthy Weight

Many of us want to stay fit so we feel our best when we don our bathing and birthday suits. Well guess what? Being at a healthy weight is great for the libido. And sex does burn calories. So being at a healthy weight not only helps get us in the mood but being in the mood can help us manage a healthy weight. Sounds like a good relationship to me!

Kissing is Good for Your Gut

This is a new fun fact for me and one I’m really excited about because I almost like kissing more than sex, almost. Exchanging saliva with your lovey means you both are exposed to the bacteria in each other’s mouths. Overtime, this can help boost your immunity. Be sure to check out this article that highlights many more reasons why kissing is good for you. 

So read that relationship 101 book, be sweet to your sweetie, and love on your besties because loving more motivates you to make more time for love!


Sleep Deep

This is the fifth blog in a series delving into the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, the support system I incorporate into my nutrition coaching because good nutrition includes more than just what we eat. (photo credit University College London)


Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a real nerd about getting enough sleep. Besides stubbornness, I think it’s my superpower. I learned a long time ago in order to feel good and to function, I need to hit the sack around 9pm, lights out by 10pm and wake at 5:30am. 


Now bed time varies from person to person but getting enough sleep is essential to everyone’s wellbeing which is why it is a Pillar of a Nutritious Life. “When you are well rested you make better food and lifestyle choices, plus you have more energy for healthy habits like exercising, walking to work, or taking time for your favorite activities,” writes Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN. “When you are not well rested your defenses are down and you are more likely to overeat and make poor food choices.”


So what happens while we sleep that is so important to our health? A lot! The Sleep Foundation has many articles and studies you can delve into. But in a nutshell, sleep is when our brains are actively resting, and our bodies ​produce lots​ ​of​ ​hormones ​including​ ​growth​ ​hormones​ ​and​ ​other​s ​that​ ​fight​ ​off infections​ and boost​ ​the​ ​immune​ ​system. Sleep also affects the hormones that regulate our weight and appetite. Here is a study that shows how sleeping a healthy amount aids weight loss.


Wondering how many hours you should get? 7-8 hours is still the recommendation for adults 26-64 years old. The articles here and here explain that in more detail. But what if you have a hard time falling or staying asleep? Below are some tips to help you get in the mood to snooze, keep on snoozing, and to snooze well!


Have a bedtime ritual  Keep it simple. The main thing is that it is doable. Maybe it’s a cup of Calm before going to bed. Magnesium is a great way to relax, helps with restless legs, and a host of other benefits. Or you can try a little bit of gua sha with a calming oil before lights out! 


Ready your body, ready your room  Get into comfy pjs, have a loving skin care routine, dim the lights in your room, make sure the air in your bedroom is cool, and turn off electronics a half hour before falling asleep. 


Have a consistent bed time and morning alarm  Go to bed and wake at the same time every day – yes, even on weekends. It helps to steady our circadian rhythm.


Move More!  Besides all the other great benefits (see my last blog), exercise helps us get high quality sleep.


Play Outside  If you can exercise outside, even better. Regardless, try to get some time outside as it helps cue our circadian rhythm.


Sweat More

This is the fourth blog in a series delving into the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, the support system I incorporate into my nutrition coaching because good nutrition includes more than just what we eat. 

Exercise – some people can’t live with it, others can’t live without it. The truth is, all humans need it.

“Ideally five, one hour sweat sessions per week is a good goal for the average person,” says Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN. “Aside from burning calories, exercise is important because it causes your body to release endorphins, which make you feel good. This motivates you to eat well, play well, and simply be happy!”

Moving to break a sweat builds muscle which boosts metabolism, prevents disease, reduces risk for depression, is a stress reducer, helps us sleep better, improves our brain function, and boosts our immunity. Whoa! That’s a LOT of benefits!

However, even when all the evidence says to move more, many of us still aren’t motivated to “just do it?” I’m going to save the “why aren’t we motivated” piece for another post. For now, here are a few tips to help make Sweating More, more doable. 

Start Small | Stay Consistent | Be Patient

Over time, 10 minutes a day will make a difference. 30 minutes three times a week will too. It certainly makes more of a difference than zero minutes a day! Decide the smallest amount you know you can do and how often, and stick to it because it will pay off. James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, calls this the “compounding effect of small changes.” (Clear’s book is an easy read that I highly recommend because he explains habit change in layman terms and then gives practical advice on how to implement it. It’s a game changer!) 

Just Move

  • Stand for 5 minutes if you’ve been sitting for 25 
  • Take the stairs any chance you get
  • Park further away from the store entrance to get in extra steps

Walking counts In March 2020, a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that taking 8,000 steps/day vs. 4,000 steps/day lowered risk for death from all causes by 51%. When steps were upped to 12,000/day, risk for death was lowered 65%!!!

Find an exercise you love My good friend Martha Newport gets a great workout and has a blast doing it (just check her IG feed for proof!) with Supernatural, a VR exercise program. And, if you get bored with one routine, find another one that excites you. Bonus – our muscles like it when we switch it up!

For me, I’m a runner and I love it! I run for my brain, not weight loss (though another benefit is my low resting heart rate that my doctor likes to listen to!) I do cross-train riding a gravel bike or using a trainer and doing strength training. I want to run well into my 70s, so I now work with a kick-ass run coach Rachel Bell Kelley who is helping me train smart and teaches me about things like recovery WEEK. Who knew?

Why do you exercise? Why do you not exercise? What are some of your favorite ways to move? Let us know and let’s encourage one another to Sweat More because embracing exercise is part of living a healthy life for the rest of our lives!

Living Consciously

This is the third blog in a series delving into the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, the support system I incorporate into my nutrition coaching because good nutrition includes more than just what we eat. 

Living consciously means being intentional about the choices we make. It’s the motivation behind those choices such as wanting to be our true self so we choose to be around people who accept us for who we are. Or, we want to be good environmental stewards so we only use toxin-free cleaning products. 

I like to think of our intentions as the energy that fuels what we do and say. Some people think of intentions as values, character, or integrity. Why do they matter? Well, if we are in tune daily with our motives and we choose to live by them, they can help us feel good about ourselves, keep us aligned and moving in the direction of our purpose and goals, and shape the impact we make on our community, world, and/or environment – all of which helps us to live our healthiest life!

There are many ways living consciously can look in our lives. For example, when we eat mindfully we have the ability to tune into how hungry we are, or what is needed from our next meal, or simply that we need to slow down and chew. Or, we may choose to keep a tidy and de-cluttered work space because it creates a calm and peaceful work environment. 

Lately, I’ve wanted to move away from zip style storage bags and plastic containers because of toxins and environmental effects (full disclosure: I still use zip bags when we go camping and I make sure to reuse them). I bought these Pyrex dishes recently for meal prep and love them! And I keep these on hand for pantry and fridge storage. Working towards this goal makes me feel like I’m a good steward of resources. And, I prefer the way glass containers look in my fridge and pantry.

Living consciously will look different for each of us. I’m not perfect as seen by the piles of paper stacked around my house which causes clutter. And, I still use some plastic containers for storage. But paying attention to the choices I make has always made me feel that I’m trying to live a life that reflects who I am and what is important to me. I would love to hear ways that y’all are living consciously. Feel free to comment away!