The Breath

I know I have covered Breath as the theme for the month before but, in my opinion, there is always more to learn!

Did you know the secret to life is right under your nose? How you breathe can change your life. Literally. How, you ask? Stress, emotions and how we control them, sleep, blood pressure, and more are are all affected by how you breathe.

“As early as the first millennium B.C., both the Tao religion of China and Hinduism placed importance on a ‘vital principle’ that flows through the body, a kind of energy or internal breath, and viewed respiration as one of its manifestations. The Chinese call this energy ‘qi’ and Hindus call it ‘prana’ (one of the key concepts of yoga). A little later, in the West, the Greek term ‘pneuma’ and the Hebrew word ‘ruah’ referred both to the breath and to the divine presence. In Latin languages, ‘spiritus’ is at the root of both ‘spirit’ and ‘respiration’.”
– Science American

Our breath is truly monumental!

One inspiring cue:

I recently was reading an article about how to find a more high-quality breath and came across this cue:

Take an inhalation and when you’re almost finished inhaling, count “one, two, three” as you take the last bit of air. Then, when you exhale, do the same. Take an exhalation and when you are almost finished exhaling, count “one, two, three” to expel any residual air.

One inspiring tip:

Don’t force this. Find a comfortable position to stand or sit in (remember last week’s newsletter about good posture) and, as you take the last bit of your inhale and exhale, keep your shoulders and neck relaxed. The goal is a full but comfortable breath.

One inspiring song:

“Don’t Tread on Me” by Kai Straw

One inspiring quote:

“Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours.” – Swedish proverb

Nutrition nugget:

FIBER! I’m still talking about fiber because I think it’s that important! In my last newsletter, I talked about how fiber can help lower cholesterol, usher out excess estrogen, and help control blood sugar.

Let’s look a little closer at how fiber can help lower LDL cholesterol. This is an excerpt from my nutrition program: “Higher fiber diets are really important, and the inclusion of fiber in the diet actually has to do with cholesterol management. Fiber binds and transports excess bile acids out of the system, so they don’t get reabsorbed by the liver. Basically, fiber reduces the absorption of dietary cholesterol, and your best sources of fiber are vegetables – especially leafy greens, seeds – especially flax and chia, whole grains, beans, nuts, coconut, and select fruits.”

Note: You don’t want your cholesterol  to be too low. We need cholesterol to perform certain functions in the body. In my program, they don’t like to see total cholesterol below 160.

In my last newsletter, I told you I’d share a bread that I sometimes use to melt my raw cheese on, put sunbutter and banana or strawberries on, and anything else I can think of. It is a dry bread so I don’t love it on its own. It’s all about what you put on it! I keep this bread in my freezer and toast it when I’m ready to eat it.

Look at the carb to fiber ratio – 6 grams of carbs and 5 grams of fiber! 6-5=1 gram of net carbs, which won’t spike your blood sugar. Why is this so important? I will cover blood glucose next month – tease, tease!!

Remember, always start low and go slow with fiber! Increase your intake over time and make sure you’re getting enough water.

One inspiring cue:

While breathing, stand and/or sit with good posture. Simple as that!!

When you are hunched over even a little, your respiratory muscles can’t move as they are supposed to. When you sit or stand with good posture, your breath is circulated as it should be through your body. Give this a try – round your shoulders forward, slump over a little bit, and try to take a comfortable and full breath. Then, try the same thing with good posture and notice the difference!

One inspiring tip:

Don’t worry about constantly holding good posture! Changing positions, especially when you are sitting at a desk, can help relieve tension in your back. The time to focus on your posture is when you are working with your breath.

One inspiring song:

“Jungle Dub” by Mollano.Bass, Ava Asante

One inspiring quote:

“The process of breathing is the most accurate metaphor we have for the way we personally approach life, how we live our lives, and how we react to the inevitable changes that life brings us.”
– Donna Fachi

Nutrition nugget:

Fiber, fiber, and more fiber! If you follow me on Instagram, you have have seen some of what I shared from Dr. Mark Hyman and the benefits of fiber. I’ve shared some essential facts about fiber before, but because I keep coming across the importance of it for general health, I want to share a bit more.

Dr. Hyman says to aim for 30-50 grams of fiber daily and states, “Soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and insulin, prevent cancer, balance hormone levels, remove excess estrogen and reduce the risk of breast cancer, make vitamins and minerals, provide food for the colon cells, and more. So it’s easy to see how crucial soluble fiber is to good health!”

Do you know how much fiber you are getting? I highly recommend you take a closer look and even track your intake by writing it down each day. It is not always easy to reach fiber goals with only fruits and vegetables unless you eat copious amounts. For example, if you have a big salad with 2 cups of romaine lettuce, 1/2 cup onions, 1/2 cup chopped broccoli, and one chopped carrot, you get approximately 7 grams of fiber. So, you can see, that if you’re trying to get 30-50 grams each day, you still need quite a bit more.

Here’s an easy way to add more soluble fiber to your diet: whip in one tablespoon of psyllium husk to your eggs when making an omelet or add it to your smoothie. In doing this, you’ve just added 5 grams of soluble fiber!

My lunch (see below) has 20 grams of fiber! You’ll find the fiber in the bread (I’ll share in the next newsletter), the psyllium husk in my omelet, kale, and strawberries. The sprinkles on the plate are oregano, thyme, and dill. In case you missed my last newsletter about the nutrient density of herbs, click here.

If you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber, start low and go slow. Add in a little each week and drink LOTS of water.

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