The word “SOAR” started for me as an acronym to Spine Orthopedic Active Rehab when I ventured into my own private business. As I moved into a blend of health coaching and physical therapy, the meaning of the word soar became one of the four principles to health and wellness.
Soar means to fly or rise high above the usual level. There is something both majestic and effortless about watching a bird soar thru the air even though it must return to earth to feed and rest.
I don't write much about Crossfit. Mostly because the eye roll people give me gets a little old after I tell them I don't eat gluten. Sometimes though, I just have to pause and appreciate what my body is able to do. Every single time I go to Crossfit Initiative I get something unexpected.
Not pain....not injury...not tired (well, maybe sometimes)...not stronger....but...I get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Why is that good you ask?
It's good because it makes me a better parent. It makes me more comfortable doing the job that makes me the most uncomfortable.
That might not make sense to you, but maybe this explanation will help.
As you all know, I have been doing a lot of reading and research related to nutrition and health. Although I find the science enlightening, I also find the science of human behavior, psychology and neuroscience even more fascinating. Although it seems like I am hopping all over the place and one might question my "expertise" in anything outside of my traditional degree of physical therapy and now to include holistic nutrition, I'd argue that no one is an expert in anything. In fact, those you find you might respect their advice the most have a curiosity in ALL areas related to LIFE.
Really, the key point I want to make is that I am an "expert" on me which has made me a much better parent (improving as I learn and experience life). As I understand myself better, the more well equipped I am to help my kids understand how to be good at being who they are. I am not an "expert" on you either, only you can be that. I am not an "expert" parent either, but I try to do my best, E.V.E.R.Y day. Mostly, I am open to new information that may help me on this journey. I write to share with you in hopes it may help you too.
This list of books are some of the most pivotal for me personally in understanding myself better so I can translate that to better parenting. These are not the typical "parenting" books. They focus on principles related to stress, nutrition, psychology and even life skills.
I didn't read them all in one week. Some I have listened to on CD or audible. So please don't pressure yourself to get it all in quickly as each book has a very specific purpose. Spending time focusing on transitioning the principles in these books to life will have a powerful impact on your parenting and family life.
This is a repost from 4/20/2016. I recently just re-listened to Mistakes Were Made(But Not By Me). This book is so fascinating. As I look back at my own family transition and the struggles of current families, this book is entirely relevant. It is not uncommon for parents to have conflict with each other related to making lifestyle changes to how they raise their children. It is easier to stick with comfort than it is to make change, especially when change requires admitting mistakes were made. Although my husband and I are comfortable with our current lifestyle choices, that doesn't mean we didn't have struggle. In fact, I think the act of both of us reading and listening to this book allowed for some pretty dramatic changes in our relationship that continues to support us today in doing difficult work in communicating with each other in a productive manner. I went back to this blog to re-read and see if I feel any differently or have anything to add. The main thing is that this may become a book that I recommend all parents and couples read together as they embark on making lifestyle changes. We are all human and it is important to understand when working towards change and betterment of your self and family. Much of this blog is still pertinent and consistent with where I continue to be in my life personally and professionally, so I really haven't changed much. Cheers to all and I hope this book brings you some guidance in how to proceed in making lifestyle changes even in the face of what appears to be resistance from your partner or children. The more you understand yourself personally the better off everyone is around you.
Let me begin by saying, this isn’t going to be a blog where I give you a resolution to your problem. I am still working it out for myself. It is also a bit longer than normal but I hope you stay awake long enough to read it. I believe this may be my most important blog yet…..
A few months ago, my daughter's teacher shared a story with me. As the teacher was describing how she was running late because she had to make her and her kids lunches that morning, my daughter said something along the lines of , "You should make your lunch at night after dinner. That's what we do. And your kids should make their own lunch because it's their personal responsibility."
Yup. My daughter who is in first grade, said personal responsibility to her teacher.
I was proud of her for many reasons, but mostly astonished that she was actually "listening" to me all those times.
Did you know that one in four Americans suffer from pain per the National Center for Health Statistics? Pain is the primary reason for seeking health care services. In 2010, the annual cost of pain was greater than the annual cost of heart disease, cancer and diabetes COMBINED. This pain is often caused by chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
Common treatments for painful and inflammatory conditions includes Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAID) medications like Advil or Motrin or Celebrex. The mechanism of action to decrease pain is in the NSAIDs ability to block the COX-1 or COX-2 pathway which is why it reduces inflammation and pain. A common side effect of NSAIDs is gastrointestinal disruption especially with chronic use. More recently there was a study published demonstrating an increased risk of cardiac arrest with the use of NSAIDs.
Improve Intestinal Integrity and Optimize Nutrient Absorption
I have written in the past about osteoarthritis and the contribution of metabolic health to joint health. You can read more here and here. You are also familiar with the leaky gut/intestinal permeability as a potential root cause of systemic inflammation and it's contribution to joint health among many other health related conditions.
Although the primary source of healing the gut and improve your joint pain is to eat real food, move your joints through their full range, gentle exercise, and adequate restorative sleep, often supplements are needed to aid recovery.
As I have mentioned before, SUPPLEMENTATION is only to aid in recovery of an already healthy lifestyle. If you suspect you have leaky gut, you can ask to be tested as described here.
This is a story that I hesitate to share only because I can see lots and lots of JUDGEMENT. Not just judgement of me personally, but of all those involved. I urge you to keep criticism to yourself, as all parties involved were attempting to help. Yet, if you know our family, you know that we live a life that is often “stranger than fiction.”
Keep in mind, this story has a happy ending.
One of our cats climbed a tree last week. Not just a little bit, but a lot. He climbed 40 feet up. My son heard him meowing for help after being gone for 24 hours over night. It’s likely climbing the tree was the escape from a coyote looking for dinner.
In case you are wondering, we do NOT own a ladder that goes that high…and they don’t make them actually. Because of safety and things….check this out here.
Oh dear...the DIET bashing....AGAIN....
I have something I need to say about diets. Here me out. A diet as defined by the Webster dictionary is "a special or limited selection of food and drink, chosen or prescribed for health or to gain or lose weight."
Many folks, whom may or may not understand the true purpose of a diet, are shaming very useful diet strategies because they are "difficult" to do and then discredit them. Check out the US News report. I think there is a misunderstanding about a diet versus lifestyle. An effective diet is NOT designed to be a lifestyle, but a TOOL to gain health. The "diet" is the tool designed to help you design your life, specifically related to what you put into your mouth, so that it can be a sustainable lifestyle. Many of the easiest and most popular diets are not healthy because they do not give you information about your body. Let me speak (write) clearly....
A diet is a TOOL to gain INFORMATION about yourself so that you can MODIFY your LIFESTYLE to fit your PERSONAL health needs.
DIET = TOOL
TOOL = INFORMATION
INFORMATION => PERSONAL HEALTH
You have worked hard to change your lifestyle by Eat Well, Move Well, Sleep Well and Soar On. Are you looking for something to support you as you get older to keep metabolically healthy, have optimal hormonal support, and brain health? Health of these systems will help to keep your detoxifications systems running, your inflammatory system operation normal, and well all things important to your body including your muscle and joints.
A SUPPLEMENT as defined by Wikipedia is:
"something that completes or enhances something else when added to it"
A good supplement is appropriate when it enhances the body's function ADDED to an already healthy lifestyle. It is NOT a replacement nor back up plan for poor lifestyle choices. This is why I DO NOT promote supplements until lifestyle habits have been adjusted for my clients and/or patients. Not before then. Only AFTER lifestyle modifications have become habit. Some folks can do this on their own, some need assistance. If you have already made adjustments to your lifestyle and think supplemental support would be helpful, then this is the blog is for YOU!
This past week I gave a talk to a small group of high school students in an elective class on nutrition. Relating to teenagers is not my specialty, especially since I was so shy during high school. Yet, with some advice from a dear friend on how to relate to teenagers by talking about how eating real food would allow you to "take a selfie without a filter" or "go to prom looking great" or "kick ass on that math test" or "improve your ability to compete against your schools rival" it actually went....um...ok?
It's hard to read these kids. One fell asleep. A couple watched me. A few did homework. I rallied, and engaged them enough with a few activities,....I think.
In the end, I think I made them more aware. I focussed on why the SIMPLE choice is always the best and that packages are tricky. We focussed alot on sugar as well which is why the photo above. Yes, I purchased those things to make a point about how our food is often loaded with added sugar, and if it doesn't have added sugar, it is made with chemicals.
Pain : (noun)
1. Physical discomfort caused by illness or injury
2. Careful effort, great care or trouble
I am on the top of Copper Mountain ski resort above the tree line at 12,000 ft.
It's 1 o C with a wind-chill factor of -6 o C.
I take my gloves off to capture a panoramic view with my phone. In moments, my hand begins to hurt from the cold. The pain is severe.
What would you do in that situation?
"Ever since our little chat in December I have implemented about a dozen little changes. I must say real food is the silver bullet for many ailments. Thanks Carolyn!"
- Irene V, mother of two, radio personality, real estate mogul, SOARing parent
If you have followed my blog the past few years and even read my book, you may have wondered what I do. My identity was blurred for a bit as folks tried to encourage me to leave the field of physical therapy and focus on health coaching. Although I understood why they suggested I do that, for ease and money, I simply couldn't do it.
See, even as I have expanded my knowledge base into nutrition, it hasn't changed the fact that in the world of pain, there are many causative factors. Optimizing nutrition alone may or may not reduce someone's pain if there is a mechanical component. Optimizing movement alone may or may not reduce someone's pain if they are in a physiological inflammatory state from lifestyle issues related to nutrition, sleep or stress.
This past week I attended our national combined sections meeting of the APTA. It was like a knowledge, passion, creativity, compassion and innovation explosion. My introverted nature struggled at times with 13,000 physical therapists there, but I now would like to reclaim my title of physical therapist and explain what physical therapy is in case you didn't know.
Anxiety (noun): a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome (wikipedia.org)
I have shared how I lost my anxiety with our lifestyle changes, starting with eating paleo-inspired naturally gluten free. As time has gone on, I realize that the statement isn’t the whole truth. What actually occurred, is I lost the brain fog in order to see what actually caused me anxiety so I could address it. It is no longer endless and meaningless or debilitating as it was before. Anxiety for me now is a signal that something amazing is about to happen. I don’t ignore it. I don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. I jump into it and explore what it is. It isn’t easy, of course and requires a lot of my attention and time. It also forces me to grow personally and often strengthens my foundation with family members and those close to me. I look at anxiety much like stress (as I have described in Soar Into Health), too much is unhealthy, but my life is much brighter with it in my life.
"One niggling feature of my existence which has negatively impacted my life is a long running low back injury. I have a disk bulge in the L4-L5 region that, if improperly managed, can lay me out for days. So long as I stay up on my mobility and trunk-work, things are pretty good, but if I get “too busy” and sit too often, neglect my mobility, particularly my hip flexors, I am begging for problems. When I was wrapping up the editing for Wired To Eat I found myself in a situation in which I convinced myself I was “too busy” to stay on top of my mobility. A jiujitsu class got my back irritated. A sneeze (really) dropped me like I’d been tasered. A friend of mine here in Reno, Carolyn Dolan heard that I was laid up and offered to help. Carolyn is a DPT who is also certified in the Mckenzie Method of back assessment and rehab. I’ve tried just about everything from PRI to crystals and moonstones, so I was not overly optimistic about this whole process. Well, after a thorough movement screen Carolyn suggested a sequence of simple movements which provided almost immediate relief. It’s been a process, but so long as I stay on top of my symptoms, and really work on the exercises that help to (in theory) pull my bulging disk back into place, I do pretty damn well. Sitting too much can still be a problem. Working too much closed guard with 240lb guys can get me into trouble. But now I am paying much better attention to the low level symptoms and just staying religious about my corrective exercises. ALSO. If I am feeling a bit “fragile” I don’t roll, or if I do I pick my partners carefully and I work on things I know will not irritate my back. I’m hoping to get Carolyn on the podcast soon to delve into all of this, but I wanted to mention all this as I know many folks suffer from low back pain and the Mckenzie method might be a good option."
-section of blog post from robbwolf.com
Robb Wolf, author, father of 2 and BJJ competitor, SOARing parent
It's finally here….the ONE and only recipe you can’t live without.
I am sharing it here exclusively for YOU.
Now, before you get too excited, I am going to give you a dose of honesty.
It is NOT a recipe for brownies (paleo or not) nor ice cream nor some alternative version of your favorite pasta dish (you would only be disappointed with anyways since you didn’t want to give up gluten in the first place until I suggested you should give it a try). It is NOT a free pass to throw all caution to the wind and just “enjoy” life frivolously eating candy bars and drinking alcohol because you can. Technically, it isn’t really a complete recipe, only partial.
This blog is following appropriately after my discussion about Why Are Mother's a Good Target Market?. This book came timely as a grappled with sharing that blog 4 months after it was written. I worried about offending people. I worried about expectations. I worried about my accountability to myself and others. I wrote this after reading a book which helped me understand why.
Have you ever tried to start a healthy habit but struggled? Do you make New Year's Resolution only to fail? I certainly have in the past. The reasons for my failure however are likely different than yours.
I recently took a quiz to determine my personal tendency. This quiz was designed by New York Times Bestselling author Gretchen Rubin. No, this isn't some validated personality measure as per a randomized controlled double blind study. Yet, if you read her book Better Than Before, you realize that it is based on published research, personal experience, interviews and well..... a lot of thoughtful analysis.
This book was a Lightning Bolt for me. Gretchen describes the Lightning Bolt as something that transforms habits by the power of knowldege, beliefs, and ideas. It is something that happens to us, you aren't able to plan it on purpose. Yet, when they happen, habit changes often occur spontaneously.
Warning: This blog has profaninty. I have held onto this blog for some time...clearly since summer at least. Why share now? I am not sure exactly, but the new year seems as good a time as any especially as many make resolutions. I also would like to be clear that I do believe many things have value in this world including those things that are marketed to women and especially mothers. My primary issue is that if we don't do any personal exploration to fully understand ourselves and our tendencies then we end up booby trapping ourselves. And who has time for that while raising a family????
Mothers, it’s time to stop.
The only reason I am targeting you, another mother, is because I am one.
This past weekend, I was at the beach with some family. A family member asked, “You look great. Do you CrossFit all the time?”
“Does working out 2-3 times a week count as ‘all the time’?” I asked.
Although I love this quote from Micael Pollan, I have struggled with this image with the croissant because of my relationship with gluten. Yet, somehow it seemed an appropriate image for this blog on cheat meals.
I have written before about how trying to be perfect is both an illusion and unrealistic. Yet, sometimes I have clients or patients say things like, “I can’t be perfect like you.” Or “We are almost perfect paleo like you.”
It always strikes me as interesting because although my life is “perfectly imperfect” I certainly don’t strive for perfection in any aspects of my life. In fact, I actually practice allowing for imperfection in my life. You know…like letting the kids do their version of fold the laundry or cleaning up and being ok with whatever they actually do and assist only when necessary.
When we transitioned to whole foods-paleo inspired 4 years ago, I didn’t expect to lose something and find that I would miss it.
Yes, I lost a few things that I don’t miss:
40 lbs of unwanted weight
Sugar and soda habit
…to name a few
Dr Carolyn Dolan DPT, Cert MDT, MSHN
Where physical therapy, nutrition and lifestyle meet, because how you live your life determines whether or not you soar. Inspiring action with information so you can reduce pain, optimize healing and improve function naturally during recovery from injury, surgery or painful condition. This is a website for the open-minded; obstinate need not apply.