Friday, July 10, 2015

A Life In Balance- How To Do It All and Not Be Exhausted

 A Little Less Exhausted?!

A balancing act is a constant activity that one pursues. We juggle and jiggle to keep all of our activities and the activities of our children (if we have them) balanced. My Mom did an excellent job of keeping us well rounded. Not too much television, not too many after school activities, decent bed time, good healthy food. 

Life as an adult is a LOT more challenging. We get to do all the balancing making sure that we are well rounded- and hopefully not so when it comes to our waistline. I don't have any children and I am astounded at how so many people manage it all- I have a hard enough time dealing with the stress of maintaining my life, house, and body that I look at others and wonder how they do it? Well maybe it's a front and they don't do it as well as they would like. I think on some level, as adults we are all exhausted.

So how can we be a little less exhausted? How do we manage the stress and maintain a healthy immune system, a healthy brain (as in not loose all our marbles- literally in old age?), is there a way to not get cancer?

The key to balance and a healthy body is largely determined by food and stress. The kind of foods that you eat matter A LOT!!! I can't emphasize this enough. It can be hard being the only one at work eating a salad and having Jimmy say, "Oh I wish I could eat healthy like you". And you can't say anything because you know deep down that Jimmy really wants to be eating his fast food.

Not giving in to peer pressure and eating some of the brownie cake at work IS REALLY HARD and causes stress that a builds throughout the day with everything else that we deal with causing us stress too, till we cave and binge on something- this sucks, especially when we are trying to loose weight!

So how do we manage it all? How do we eat healthier, stay fit, and NOT get stressed?? We have soooo much going on!

I just finished reading wonderfully interesting book on adapotgenic herbs and I fully believe that everyone (unless you don't have to have a job and live on a beach somewhere awesome) needs to be taking to help achieve a better stress and inflammation level.

Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston, RH (AHG) and Steven Maimes

What Are Adaptogens?

"There is a category of herbs called adaptogens that help the human body adapt to stress, support normal metabolic processes, and restore balance. They increase the body's resistance to physical, biological, emotional, and environmental stressors and promote normal physiologic function." p.1

Adaptogens have been used for thousands of years in many other countries and types of medicine including Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Indian, and Native American.

Quoted here- sorry it's a tad long but so good!
"Adaptogens enhance general health and well-being, thus creating a positive overall effect on the body and mind. When used along with other therapies, they can help to positively alter the course of my acute and chronic diseases. 
  Adaptogens provide an anabolic effect. They strengthen the entire body by allowing the cells to have access to adaptive energy. They work to protect energy resources from depletion, thus working as tonics in states of fatigue and stress. This annabolic quality of adaptogens is especially important for people involved in athletic training and body building. It is also important to our bodies as we age and start to develop wasting of the muscles and become weaker.
   Adaptogens work at the cellular level to help the body cope with stress-related situations. As powerful antioxidants, they protect cells from oxidative stresss (free radical damage). They also affect the basic process necessary for the body to produce energy. The cells use a substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as a major source of energy. Many adaptogens have been shown to enhance the action of cellular ATP and stimulate parts of cells called mitochondria to produce energy. Mitochondrial energy production is a necessity for physical sstrength and energy. 
   In addition, some adaptiogens also provide needed support to the liver. Among its may funtions, the liver promotes glucose production for cellular energy. Using adaptogens to increase funtional liver health can enhance energy, vitality, and well-being, and the removal of toxins helps the body to funtion more efficiently.
   Adaptogens have the ability to slow the biological aging process by reducing the impact of physiological aging factors- primarily oxidation and stress. Adaptogens help reduce wear and tear on the body, balance anabolic-catabolic (builing up/tearing down) activity, reduce inflammation, and reduce free radical formantion. As such, they are an important component to any longevity program. (See chapter 76 for more information on how adaptogens can slow the aging process.)"    p.49-50

What Adatogens Should I Take??

This is where I HIGHLY encourage you to get the book and read it as I don't have the ability here to impart of all the detail and information that you will need to make this decision. I will include a list here of all adaptogens and what they are generally used for, but this is not all inclusive. Adaptogens work better with one another rather than singularly- a fact that I am looking forward to experiencing! I just ordered my new adaptogens eluthero and holy basil last night! Yay! I have been taking ashwagandha for a couple years now and I do notice the difference in my stress level, but I do look forward to being more emotionally balanced and I am hoping the holy basil will help. Thank you for reading this article and I hope it helps!!

Nervines: Complementary Herbs for Adaptogens

"Nervines are nerve tonics that is, calming herbs that are mildly relaxing without the overly suppressant effects of sedatives. This type of herb restores emotional balance and nourishes the nerves and nervous system. Nervines help calm anxiety, heart, or gastrointestinal tract symptoms that are caused by stress, mild sleeplessness, irritability, and white coat hypertension. Some adaptogens also are used as nervines, including ashwagandha, eleuthero, jiaogulan, reishi, rhaponticum, rhodiola, and schisandra."

Nootropics: Complementary Herbs for Adaptogens

Nootropics are "especially useful for enhancing emotional well-being and promoting cerebral circulation. "..." The word nootropic is derived from the Greek workds noos (mind) and tropos (a bend) meaning 'acting on the mind' and is pronounced 'no-trp-ik'. These herbs are used to enhance memory, slow or  prevent the onset of age or Alzheimer's disease related cognitive decline, reduce oxidative or ischemic damage to the brain, and improve mood."