Healthy Life Stylist: Caffeine Addiction

caffeineaddiction

Question

I drink tea and coffee all day, even at night. Are tea and coffee really healthy or unhealthy? What is the truth about how caffeine can help or hinder me from having a healthy life?Jamie, TN

Answer

Jamie,
This is an excellent question & certainly something that many people seem to struggle with these days. As a culture we’re overworked, under-rested and, as a result, highly caffeinated. Plus, because caffeine is an addictive substance that often causes withdrawal when you try to quit, it can be quite hard to shake the feeling of tired to wired and back again.

There are two sides to the argument about caffeine, on the one hand, moderate amounts of caffeine have been found to improve concentration, increase memory function, reduce muscle soreness and even possibly prevent Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, it also interferes with your absorption of vitamins & minerals, stimulates stress hormones, spikes your blood sugar and dehydrates your cells, causing premature aging.

From the sound of things, your personal caffeine consumption is certainly above average. Over time, consuming at your current rate could fatigue your adrenal glands, putting your body in a perpetual state of stress and exhaustion. Cutting back on your caffeine, especially from coffee, can bring things back into balance, help you sleep better, and allow your body to absorb important nutrients it could be missing out on.

If you were one of my clients, I would encourage you to choose tea over coffee for awhile. Yes, you’ll still be consuming caffeine, but the caffeine in tea is more bio-available to your body than the caffeine in coffee. Plus, since tea is super high in antioxidants, the healthy benefits far out way any damage done by the caffeine that accompanies it.

The other great thing about the caffeine in tea is that it varies from type to type. This is helpful when trying to reduce your stimulant consumption slowly to avoid withdrawal. You can start off by trading your cup of joe for a nice black tea, the most caffeinated variety of teas. Then switch to oolong, green & white teas, the next step down. Until finally you can switch things up entirely with some tasty herbal teas. With the exception of yerba mate, herbal teas contain no caffeine at all, but they do help to replace the ritual of waking up to a warm beverage. If you find that you miss the earthy taste of coffee after cutting back, you may want to check out Teeccino, an herbal tea brand that’s roasted to mimic that java taste without the harmful caffeine.

Happy Drinking,
Michelle Shea Walker, H.C.

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Just make sure you are clear about if you mind your question/answer being published on Miseducated and if you’d prefer to be anonymous. All questions will be answered by Michelle regardless so ask away!

For more information about Health, Happiness, & Hoola Hoops please visit Michelle‘s website!

Multi-tasking, Mindfulness and Moving On

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed yet in our increasingly fast-paced society that multi-tasking seems to be an un-sustainable idea. It seems like the obvious thing to do when you have a never-ending list of tasks to complete each day but instead of multi-tasking simply to speed through actions try focusing on one thing at a time and master your current activity. I do admit that I enjoy doing multi-tasking occasionally (I am a young mother afterall) — especially when I’m uninspired to write. Right now I’m attempting to write an article, editing a video, listing to fidget, eating pineapple and chatting with my best friend, Kimi. Not to mention my focus is rather off due to some very vivid and upsetting dreams. Not all of my dreams have been bad in this stressful time but they have all been very vivid, colorful and often lucid which has been a skill and gift I have worked towards mastering for many, many years. Mastering everything that you do throughout your day and night (even when sleeping!) is much more rewarding than just completing as many tasks as you can. It might not seem that way but after trying both for extended periods of time I’m sure you’ll find that you feel much more at ease by doing and focusing on one thing at a time.

After attempting to live mindfully for quite a few months it almost seems as though I’m radiating the light of a thousand rainbows, a symphony of magical mermaid pheromones and rays of positivity. I’m attracting all of the opportunities I stopped chasing when I became very sick and not only that but I’ve found I have much more family and friends than I originally thought that are sweet, giving, honest and true to me. Losing contact with those you were once very close to is many times a sad affair but it’s always fun to reconnect and to catch up. I also got another friend into the musical world of Sound Cloud. What’s funny is I’ve always loved it but hadn’t logged in until he requested use of my quotes as lyrics. I have strong support to those living their dreams by working for what they want and not being afraid to ask. You know what you want to be/do? Be it! Do it! Remember you are the only one that can do it your way, you’re unique and no one else sees the world through your eyes.

One of the first things you will learn if attending therapy is the mindfullness skill (yet another article I started writing at least a year ago, heh) which basically means doing one thing at a time and doing it as well as you can. It reminds me of Buddhism because of the importance of mastering the spectacular as well as the mundane. In other words, if you’re going to do it, do it right. Cut the multi-tasking. Try focusing on the task at hand, put all of your effort into it and do your absolute best. Trust me, you wont be disappointed. You’ll feel great having given your all and also having achieved a goal no matter how small or gargantuan.

Speaking of multi-tasking, if I told you everything I was doing/going through at the present you’d be shocked I’m still kicking. Not only am I immersed in my work but I’ve had to move and change my entire life in relation to both my physical, spiritual and mental health. I’ve had to move, let go of the past and to still be able to allow myself to succeed while feeling an abundance of fear. I’m starting to think that I’m beginning to actually have things figured out in this life. I’ve stopped using everything mood-altering, alcohol, cigarettes, even the prescribed medications that used to help me to get out of bed in the morning and go to sleep at night. I feel more powerful, as though I’m playing an unbeatable hand in poker while sitting on a high pedestal with an attractive clan, drinking French carbonated pink lemonade from a straw and munching on lavender macarons. I sure do occasionally miss the complex flavors of wine and champagne and I do realized that it’s quite tough to let go of them. Still though, they could never compete with my obsession with tea, espresso and black coffee which are much more helpful to my health, work and writing obviously. Have you let go of any unhealthy habits recently? Have you taken on any healthier lifestyle traits? Have you noticed more clarity and stability in your health and life? It surely is an empowering thing to let go of unhealthy addictions. Keep going strong and keep becoming the person you are meant to be and you have my word I’ll continue to do the same.

Maintaining a Healthy Brain While Working Online

I’ve recently had the pleasure of chatting with the media-proclaimed “Poker Barbie” Lacey Jones about playing poker on and offline and actually making a living doing it. It seems rather strange to me to rely on a chance game to supply your income but I suppose many people feel the same about freelance design work and professional blogging (sometimes you have tons of jobs and advertising opportunities, sometimes just a few) and so, having had several friends that seem to successfully live this way, I had to learn more about how they are able to make the most of the unconventional (Miseducated) lifestyle and career they chose.

One topic we kept coming back to in our discussion is how to stay healthy while spending the majority of our time sitting down doing mostly brain work and very little body work. In being a blogger and artist I can definitely relate to my body getting the short end of the deal and began to realize that our work actually holds many more similarities than I had previously thought.

So what exactly is needed to run both a healthy brain and a healthy body while sitting for long periods of time? I thought you’d never ask! Let’s take a look at some brain foods, unhealthy foods and health tips used by professional poker players around the globe and use this information to our own benefit whether we be playing poker for money or blogging for fun.

“Add these ‘superfoods’ to your daily diet, and you will increase your odds of maintaining a healthy brain for the rest of your life.” ~ WebMD

Brain Foods

Blueberries
Wild Salmon
Nuts and Seeds
Avacados
Whole Grains
Beans
Pomegranates
Tea
Dark Chocolate // Cacao

“Whether you play live or online, poker guarantees one thing; you spend plenty of time sitting in a chair. In order to be profitable in the long run it’s crucial to revitalize the body and mind with exercise and healthy food.” ~ 9 Essential Health Tips for the Online Poker Grinder

Health Tips

Ergonomic and Comfortable Chair – Make sure your chair is supportive to your back, your monitor is at a comfortable height and your wrists are relaxed.
Take Breaks – Take 2-5 minute breaks every 30-60 minutes to maintain high brain performance and productivity and don’t forget to take a 30 minute lunch in the middle of your work day.
Rest Your Eyes – Remember to look away from the monitor throughout your workday and focus on something farther away for a short time.
Use Routine Exercises and Good Posture – Don’t simply melt into your chair and write away, be sure to keep moving throughout your work day even in the smallest of ways. Roll and stretch your wrists, contract and hold your abdominal and gluteus muscles, exercise your calves by pushing up onto the balls of your feet. Utilize a routine which allows you to be habitual in your seated exercise regimen.

“By reducing or eliminating the foods that should be avoided you will optimize your brain power today and reduce your risk of developing brain related diseases in the future.” ~ LIVESTRONG

Foods to Avoid

Processed Carbohydrates
Trans Fat and Fried Foods
Meat
Fatty Dairy
Sugary Sweets

Ask a Healthy Life Stylist and Coach


Greetings & Salutations, Miseducated!

As your new virtual healthy life stylist, I am thrilled to be your guide through the wonderland of wellness. In the coming months, I look forward to answering your most burning health & wellness questions, but first, allow me clear up a few common questions about what I do:

What is a Healthy Life Stylist?

A healthy life stylist is like a fashion stylist for the health world. Much like a fashion stylist would help you makeover your wardrobe [getting rid of the items that don’t flatter you & giving you new items that allow your inner goddess to sparkle], I help you makeover your life. From what to eat to feel your best to what steps to take to achieve your dreams, my job is about creating health for your whole being. Health and wellness aren’t just about eating vegetables; they’re about loving yourself, loving your job, developing healthy relationships, and cultivating a spiritual practice that makes you feel enlightened & at peace. I’m here to help with all these things and more.

What kind of questions do you answer?

Because I like to think of myself as a nutritionist, a life coach, and a therapist, all rolled into one, I can answer questions about any area you’re feeling less than fabulous about. I’m here to help you feel your best.

How can I learn more about your services?

If you’re in need of more than just a few questions answered or you want to receive an individualized lifestyle plan, consider signing up for my Health & Happiness in Half a Year program. You can check out the details & pricing for individual or group sessions on my website.

That’s it for now, darlings. <3 I look forward to answering your deepest health ponderings. xoxo, Michelle Shea Walker, H.C.

Just make sure you are clear about if you mind your question/answer being published on Miseducated and if you’d prefer to be anonymous. All questions will be answered by Michelle regardless so ask away!

Photo of Michelle by Aaron Ehinger Photography.

Learning to Live in the Moment

This cherry frosting is the best~ Oh hai. Here's looking at you, kitten.

I like to pinpoint areas in my life I’d like to change and then work on them..
If you can retrain your brain you can begin to let go of those issues.
I feel that I have never been able to live in the moment.
I’m always thinking about the past or waiting for the future.. never living in the here and now.
My new goal is to change this.
Want to come along for the ride?

In order to live a happier and healthier life, we need to slow down and learn to live in the moment.

We’re often so worried about our health, what we’re eating, doing, wearing, seeing that we sometimes forget how to enjoy living right now. Today. I seem to always be focused on my schedule and what I need to do next that I don’t enjoy the moment. This is one of the reasons I have started therapy, I want to live in the moment. I don’t want to be concerned with the past.

Just because we’re learning to live in the moment does not mean that we ignore tomorrow. Still concern yourself with tomorrow but involve yourself more in today. Tomorrow will come. Yesterday has gone. There is nothing you can change about the past, let go of your sadness or regret.

Living in the moment is easy when you’re having an exciting time.
Think back to vivid memories you have about fun times in the past.
You had no problem living in the moment then, why can’t everyday be that sunny vacation?
Why can’t every cup of coffee fill your mouth with a warming aroma of energy that warms you to the bone?
For some periods of time you are living in the moment.
Now how can we do this all the time?

One mistake that I and many others make is focusing too much on the future.
Weighing your happiness over something taking place, a raise, a lover or a bigger apartment.
Every time we achieve the “if only” we find we need something else to maintain this false facade of happiness.

Living in the moment means seeing the blessings you have today.
This is another one of those “take gratitude” tips from me.
Realize what you DO have and be thankful.
Try to quit focusing on what you DON’T have.
Allow yourself to leave your worrying behind to become a thing of the past.

Just as you guessed there are skills you can use to help yourself live in the moment, here are a few of them:

1.

Make a list of everything you have that makes you happy. Don’t try to be picky, just be thankful. These things, people, places may not be perfect but they are a part of your life. Make sure all of the people in your love understand how much they mean to you.

2.

Take time out of the day to do something special for yourself. Try having a square of chocolate in a bubble bath surrounded by calming lavender candles! Why not? No chocolate? Savor some tea.

3.

Do something special for someone you love.
Don’t expect anything in return, including a thank you.
Just watch their expression and see their enjoyment and know that it is because of you.

4.

Learn to laugh at everything.
Find humor everywhere and don’t take yourself so seriously.

5.

Keep a gratitude journal of everything you are thankful for. Try 5 things a day for a few weeks. Soon you will take notice of all of these wonderful things naturally.

Remember that for many of us, living in the moment is tough, it’s is a skill to be learned.
Start small and take each day as it comes.
Stop trying to change the past or live for the future and live in the right now.
I’m going to make a drastic change in my daily life to ensure that I experience each moment to it’s fullest and I know you can too.
This is your life, these are your years, let’s enjoy them.

How to Look Good and Feel Great

One important way to getting your life on track and going the way you want it to go is by keeping healthy. But for a second, forget about all the vitamins, potions, and shots that everyone says you need to keep going strong. The one easy (and fun!) way to keep yourself running like a tank is by exercising. And exercising not only keeps you healthy and fit, it can keep you looking hot!

I know, I know. You’re tired of people telling you to get your butt to the gym all the time. You think lifting weights is boring. I agree. You think running on the treadmill (literally) gets you nowhere. I also agree. I used to DESPISE going to the gym. And I do mean despise. My hall mates actually had to pick me up out of my bed and carry me to the door to get me to go to the gym with them. But when I realized I was falling victim to the dreaded “freshmen fifteen” last year, I knew something had to be done.

Getting in the habit of exercising is all about finding what exercises not only work for you but which ones you love as well. It could be all well and good that the StairMaster whips your thighs into shape, but if you dread doing it then you’ll be more likely to quit working out. I’m not gonna lie, it will take a little bit of time experimenting to find out what exercises you enjoy.

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Have a cat? Cat Yoga!

It took me a few months to finally discover my thing, which happens to be cycling classes. But once I found them, I seriously fell in love. I go almost every day, and cycling not only burns a TON of calories, but the classes are fun too! They go by really quickly, and when I leave the gym I have so much more energy than I had when I got there.

Overall, I still despise the gym in general. But never again will I have to resort to attempting to lift weights in a room full of overly-buff boys, or spend 45 minutes running to nowhere on a treadmill. I found what works for me, and I really enjoy it. Since I’ve started working out on a regular basis, I have a lot more energy than I had before. Not only that, but in the midst of this awful flu and cold season, I haven’t gotten sick!

Many gyms have free trial memberships where you can check out the various classes they have to offer. Take my word for it. Go to your local gym, pick up a trial pass, and see what works for you! It could be something totally unexpected, like belly dancing or karate, but if you enjoy it and you’re getting a good workout, that’s all that matters.