managing stress quote

Learn how to manage stress to optimize your health, both physically and mentally.

There’s a lot we’ve learned over the past couple of years filled with stress and worry. I saw the need to manage stress taking a bigger role in the conversations with my clients. Figuring out how to feel calm and safe in our bodies is a huge priority to me. 

What are some of the symptoms of stress?


-brain fog



-hair loss


-muscle pain


All these symptoms are your body’s way of protecting you…it just doesn’t work for modern-day living.  We go into fight-or-flight mode, and it impacts everything from our digestive system to our immune response. 

Holistic Yoga

Dealing with your daily stress is the only way to help optimize your health. You can eat the BEST diet, take ALL the supplements, but if you don’t deal with your stress daily, you’ll never feel completely energized. (and we are not going for the wired, caffeine energy here)




How to Break the Stress Cycle

As a mother, there’s no shortage of stressful situations the past couple of years with remote school and missed events. But even now, there is the daily stress of getting out the door on time and running from event to event that has the potential to wear me down. 

burnout book managing stress


In book club last year we read Burnout, by Amelia and Emily Nagoski, and it helped me better understand how to reset the stress cycle. The short version is, we need to close the loop. Basically, if we encounter a stressful situation in our day, if we never process it physically it gets “stuck.” Our goal is to give the stress (the hormone cortisol) a chance to exit the body.

How do we do that? We can do something that makes us feel good from this list: 




-singing/yelling (go find @the.schoolofmom and the #momscreen)

-meditation (see below)




The goal is to do something physical to close the loop on your stress. It may feel like a constant battle some days, so learn some simple breathing exercises to help bring your heart rate down. As a Holistic Patient Advocate, I’m always working with my clients to help them figure out what the right method is for them to feel like themselves again.


Ziva Meditation to Manage Stress

Meditation to Manage Stress

There is no shortage of different options for meditation. You can try transcendental meditation, kundalini, and Vipassana. There is no one “right” meditation for you, so I encourage you to try a mix of options.

I took the Ziva Meditation program at the beginning of the pandemic. I know it helped me stay productive and calm in those early months of being home together. There’s a free class next week Emily Fletcher is offering…3 Ways to Stop Making Your Life Harder Than It Needs to Be. Emily’s energy is magic so I’ll be joining the Wed workshop. (there’s also one on Tues evening)  

Easy Magic Stress Solution

Click here to sign up for one of the workshops, or catch the replay.

Stress is only as harmful as we let. Be open to finding a way to process it, work through it, and manage its effect on your body’s health.


What is a holistic patient advocate? As someone who was the victim of medical errors, I am passionate about my new role. I was misdiagnosed and spent years on a medication I had no business being on. This is one reason why I choose to become a certified holistic patient advocate. I’ll explain what this means, and how it can help you.

I want to take some time to talk about intermittent fasting. I get a lot of questions about this trend from both clients and friends. I have tested it out myself, and I’ll share with you today a little of the science behind intermittent fasting, but also my personal experience.


What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is based on a cycle of eating rather than a specific dietary plan. What we’re talking about is eating within a certain window. And we call that time-restricted eating.

Now, this is not for everyone. From the beginning, I will say that time-restricted eating is not for women who struggle or have struggled with disordered eating. I am very sensitive to this, both with clients and having been through an eating disorder myself. I recognize that when we use the term restricted in any way when it comes to your diet, many emotions can come up. Honor those, and understand this is not about what to eat and more about when to eat.

What are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF) gives your body a chance to fully digest your food and keep your blood sugar stable, leading to happier hormones. That’s the basic idea behind it.

IF can be a great way to restore normal appetite, so you actually start to crave nourishing foods. This can help lead to glowing skin, mental focus, and the energy you need to accomplish your goals. By avoiding the ups and downs of blood sugar imbalances, your hunger hormones start to work the way they are supposed to. The goal of intermittent fasting is to really help fix any metabolic damage that may exist in your body or has been caused since gaining extra weight.

Intermittent fasting may help support your immune system as well. It can help upregulate proteins that also protect our DNA and prevent cancer. There’s also been a study showing if intermittent fasting can lower white blood cells, which triggers our body to make new white blood cells that are a key part of our immune system. If there’s ever been a time to pay attention to the health of your immune system. This year is it.

Intermittent Fasting Eating Windows

There are two different ratios you will see when people talk about IF. There is the 16:8 eating window, or a 5:2.  The 16:8 window is the most common. It means you have eight hours of an eating window and 16 hours of fasting. For example, you would be eating from 10 am-6 pm, and not eating after 6 pm till breakfast time.

paleo meal plan sweet potato quiche

The 5:2 cycle is eating a regular healthy diet 5 days a week and practicing IF on two days.

You “break your fast” with breakfast at a later time in the morning than what you may be used to. What you’ve done is given your body ample time to digest your meals from the day before fully.

Side note: Breakfast is actually the worst time of day for starchy carbs and sugar because it spikes your insulin. Your body’s cortisol hormone is at its highest, and insulin and cortisol have opposite effects. Cortisol is about burning fat and energizing, whereas insulin is about building fat and making you sleepy and tired. You really want to focus on having a high-quality protein and fat-rich breakfast that will nourish you and sustain you till the next meal. Interesting, right?

How Intermittent Fasting Stops Snacking.

The key is learning how to eat meals to prevent unhealthy hunger and ditching the snack trap. Intermittent Fasting is very good at helping to reduce snacking, especially at night. Many women struggle with eating snacks, typically after dinner, or enjoying caloric beverages late into the night.

Intermittent fasting doesn’t work if you are still eating the wrong things. If you’ve been eating an unhealthy diet, you need to switch your diet first before trying intermittent fasting.

morning routine for moms coffee

Can I drink during my fasting window?

The eating window applies to both food and beverages, to a point. If you stop eating at 7 pm, that also means you are not having a glass of wine at 8 pm. (yes, even your clean-crafted wine.) You can, however, enjoy herbal tea, hot water with some essential oils, or seltzer. Those are all perfectly acceptable to hydrate, with no calories.

In the morning, you can have tea or coffee. There is mixed opinion on whether or not you are still in a “fast” if you doctor up your coffee with collagen and MCT oil. I’ve read often that if you keep the coffee add-ins to less than 50 calories, you are still in “fast” mode. In truth, to get the best benefits, wait on your coffee for a bit if you want to add anything to it (yes, almond milk included.)


Do I have to do Intermittent Fasting every day?

You can practice intermittent fasting on and off during the week and see benefits; it doesn’t have to be an everyday thing. Some people get into a routine and feel great with IF, so they practice it more often than they do not. It’s up to you to do some trial and error. The 5:2 IF ratio is about the 5 days of regular eating and 2 days of IF. These two days don’t need to be right in a row either.


Additional Intermittent Fasting Resources

Several people focus on intermittent fasting and can offer more resources to you.

Amy MD focuses on circadian fasting. Her review of the body’s natural tendency to sync with the sun rising and the sun setting and timing our meals to this natural cycle is explained with circadian fasting. I really enjoyed her take on IF and how to implement it with women’s menstrual cycles.

Jenn Pike did a great podcast cast episode via The Simplicity Sessions about intermittent fasting. She explains in detail how intermittent fasting lets your liver do its job more efficiently. She also recognizes that intermittent fasting is not necessarily for everyone, and especially not for all women.

Another view I appreciated is from Jessica Ash, who has an objection to intermittent fasting. I think it’s important to look at both sides of the argument to recognize that one dietary trend is not a solution for everyone. I think she makes great points about why it’s important to focus on nutrition first and foremost.

You can’t share IF resources without naming Dr. Jason Fung. He has written extensively about the benefits of intermittent fasting, and you can find a number of his books here.


My take on Intermittent Fasting

I hope this article about intermittent fasting lets you decide if you want to test it out for yourself. I’ve tried it and find that it has allowed me to become more cognizant of when I’m hungry and when I’m not. Instead of eating breakfast straight away in the morning, I wait a bit to actually feel hunger. This took time and some trial and error. (and I do love my 1/2 caf coffee in the morning, too, with a little almond milk and MCT oil.) Again, it’s not necessarily for everyone, just like any dietary trend. You can join the conversation about intermittent fasting over in my private FB group here.


If you want to learn more about your own health care, please book a free health evaluation. We offer webcam/virtual consultations for people across the country and around the world.

Should you try intermittent fasting_

Thank you for sharing!

My top 5 supplements for immune support have been a part of my healthy foundation for years. I’ve never been so grateful for having a plan to stay healthy, in any season. During cold and flu season, we need to do everything possible to keep ourselves feeling our best to better fight any signs of infection. Today I’m giving you a peek inside my medicine cabinet.

If you have ever glazed over with decision fatigue in the supplement aisle or while researching about what supplements to take then you are not alone. We have limited daily capacity and energy to make decisions. Based on the research, it is easier to decide if you have limited choices, in the morning, and after you’ve eaten a healthy breakfast.

top supplements for immune support medicine cabinet

My Favorite Immune Supporting Supplements

I can help you by limiting your options based on my extensive research and experience in the field of culinary nutrition. So, no falling victim to overwhelm here, I’m going to help you outsmart it.

Before we dive in I want to remind you that supplements can’t make up for poor health habits and I recommend 5 super simple ways to boost your immune system as your foundation. Please, start with the basics and you will have an easier time deciding which supplements are vital to your unique body and lifestyle.

Starting with a food-based multivitamin and multimineral is one of the easiest and simplest ways to get what your body needs. But, if you need extra during times of illness then supplementing is a great option. Here’s what I suggest – vitamin D3 (actually a hormone), vitamin C, zinc, and magnesium. 

Vitamin D sunshine vitamin immune support

Vitamin D3

Let’s talk about the number 1 most important supplement first – the sunshine hormone! Did you even know that vitamin D3 is technically a hormone?! Ideally, we are designed to make enough D3 through sun exposure. But, in the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere it is hard to get enough, and supplementing is often necessary; especially since a vitamin D3 deficiency results in a suppressed immune response as well as issues with low mood.

I live in the North East where it is easy to get low in vitamin D3 over the winter, so I turn to supplements to feel my best and avoid getting sick. I am not alone either, it turns out that about 40% of the population is deficient in vitamin D3 and two of the biggest signs that you are low in D3 is if you are prone to catching colds more often or if your mood gets low in the winter months. Neither of which are fun to deal with.  

Since our bodies make vitamin D3 via sun exposure, the best way to get your levels up is to increase your sun exposure to 30 minutes twice a week. Of course, with all the sunscreen we wear in the warmer months, this can get tricky. You can also get your levels up to optimal by incorporating vitamin D3 rich foods such as cod liver oil, fatty fish, and eggs into your diet and by supplementing when needed.


As always, I advocate for meeting nutritional needs naturally as much as possible but if you suspect you need a supplement to boost your D3 levels then it is recommended to get your blood levels checked so you can dose properly. If you aren’t able to get a blood test right away you can certainly follow the current RDA for vitamin D which is 600 IU for children and adults 1-70 years.

Some functional medical doctors suggest much higher doses or around 2,000 IUs a day, which still falls below the suggested upper limit of 4,000 IUs. If you are going to take a dose beyond the RDA, I suggest you work with your doctor to determine the safest dosage as there can be negative side effects from too high of a dose including digestive pain, nausea, increased thirst, and kidney stones.

One last note on this important supplement, it’s easy to absorb in liquid form. This is the Vitamin D + K2 that I use myself daily.


Vitamin C


Next up is another key vitamin for immune health – Vitamin C. It’s an antioxidant superstar and sweeps up free radicals that damage cells and it also supports the production and function of white blood cells. It’s known to reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of the common cold and viral pneumonia-related hospital stays. I will raise a mug of warm lemon water to that! 

There are so many ways to get vitamin C via food and I always suggest you start with diet. Check on my top foods to fight the cold and flu to learn which ones we add into our diet when we get a hint of the sniffles.

But sometimes we need a boost, especially if we are deficient in vitamin C or facing illness. In that case, it’s helpful to supplement. The current RDA for vitamin C is 75mg for adult women and 90mg for adult men. Higher doses have been used in hospital settings and by functional medical doctors with great success as well, but if you are not fighting a viral infection that is endangering your life then megadosing is not necessary.



Have you ever tried slamming zinc lozenges when you get a cold to minimize the duration? You aren’t the only one; it’s commonly known that zinc is supportive of immune health. But, did you know that you need this metal daily for your body to function optimally? Zinc deficiency is really common, especially if you eat a plant-based diet.

Ideally, you will get your zinc from your diet and the best food sources of zinc are lamb, grass-fed beef, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, chicken, eggs, mushrooms, salmon and cacao powder. The last one makes me happy! Anyone else want to eat dark chocolate and drink hot cacao to help ward off colds?!  Sign me up.


Now, if you are deficient despite eating a zinc-rich diet then supplementing is a wonderful way to get this vital metal. The RDA for zinc is 11 milligrams/day for men and 8 milligrams/day for women. In times of illness up to 20mg of zinc, a day is recommended to support the immune system. Men especially tend to be low in zinc, and it can affect their fertility as well.

epsom salt magnesium immune support


I call this the “mom” vitamin. If there’s isn’t enough magnesium, nothing works great. Remember it this way, if mama isn’t happy, no one is happy. Magnesium is a mineral and electrolyte that many of us don’t associate with the immune system but it plays a key role in over 300 biochemical processes in the body. 

A magnesium deficiency is associated with inflammation and apoptosis (cell death), neither of which are good for the immune system. And, as we age a magnesium deficiency is often associated with an increase in susceptibility to viruses. 


A delightful way to increase magnesium levels is to take frequent Epsom salt baths before going to bed. While this method is luxurious it still may not be enough to fix a deficiency. In that case, you need to supplement using the RDA of 420 milligrams for men and 320 milligrams for women. There’s a lot of different kinds of magnesium and I share resources with my clients about which types are the best match with their symptoms or diagnosis. 


best supplements for immune support (1)

Ongoing Immune Support

I hope you’ve made it through without getting that dreaded feeling of overwhelm and decision fatigue. The world of supplements can be truly hard to navigate. It helps to remember that building a strong and intelligent immune system begins with diet and lifestyle. And, if you suspect you are deficient in vitamin D3, C, zinc, or magnesium then you can always get a blood test that reveals your levels and then work with your doctor to pinpoint exactly what works best for your body. 

What I want you to be most aware of is that deficiencies in vitamin D3, zinc, and magnesium are very common and you need optimal levels to have a thriving immune system…and body in general. So, if your daily multivitamin/multimineral doesn’t cover the RDA values and you are getting sick often and just not feeling your best then it is time to investigate further. 

*This info is for educational purposes only. Please work with your own functional medicine provider to determine the best supplement plan for your own individual needs.