How to Write Your Own Prescription

How to Write Your Own Prescription

Even holistic health coaches like me encounter challenges with their health. But most of the time, instead of running to the chemist for a cure, we look to find the cause. When our body is producing symptoms – such as headaches, acne, fatigues, sore throat, colds, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, muscle/joint pain – we first look to our Primal 6. Though it’s common to first look at Food, Movement and Sleep, we must remember that Thoughts, Breath and Water are just as important as their places at the top of the list.

How to Write Your Own Prescription of The Primal 6

A Personal Story

I was never plagued by acne. Lucky, I know. I am blessed with good genetics combined with good nutritional habits. I have smooth, clear, olive skin with few blemishes and the occasional pimple. So you can imagine my surprise one week when every day, my forehead and cheeks became bumpier and redder. Being passionate about my health and vigilant about my nutritional needs, I immediately scanned my memory for something I recently ate that could have started this madness on my face. But then the rest of my body started complaining too. My hips got sore, my shoulders and neck became tight as ever, and the back of my throat started getting that scratchy feeling.

Symptoms = Body’s Cry for Help

Ok, this was clearly my body telling me that it needs some attention. I realised that I had been staying up too late working on the computer, so I started getting back to my early bedtime. I reminded myself daily to drink more water, as my intake had decreased since the start of winter. And I pushed on with my to-do-list, thinking that if I could cross some things off the list, I’d feel more relaxed.

One of the things on my list was to join the local gym for 4 months over the winter, and that new outlet for movement and ‘me time’ was bound to boost my health. I excitedly went to my first yoga class in a long time, and the class was just what I needed – relaxing, releasing and grounding. So much so, that during a very releasing stretch for the hips, I started crying. The instructor, completely unaware of my tears, told the class, “a lot of emotion gets stored up in the hips”. And then the tears really flowed. I could hardly chant my oms at the end without choking up, and my namaste nod of gratitude at the end was more heartfelt than the instructor will ever know. You see, thanks to her, I had started to discover a main cause of my body’s ills. My mind.

Everything seemed fine, what was bothering me? A thorough D&M (Deep and meaningful talk; very effective mental health test) with my husband, Brad, revealed parts of my personal, work and family life where I simply felt overwhelmed and undernourished at the moment. My thoughts, feelings and emotions, simply needed some attention, as they had gotten lost in the to-do-lists of our day-to-day life, and suppressing them contributed physical stress on my body.

Purging for The Cause

Feeling much better already from the emotional purge, I decided to continue purging. I drank some Epsom salts to purge my bowels, and then purged all that clutter out of the bottom of our closets to finally sell on or give to charity or friends. Lastly, I sat down in front of the computer and purged this letter to you.  Partly because writing makes me feel good, and partly because what I learned this time about taking care of myself could help you take care of yourself too. This also makes me feel good.

Anyway, when the Epsom salts didn’t produce much bowel purging, I realised another symptom that had gone completely unnoticed – constipation. I hadn’t had a full bowel movement in a couple days! The fact that I hadn’t noticed this was further proof that I had gotten too obsessed with my to-do list lately, and the lack of time to tackle it. I wasn’t paying attention to my body. Now everything made a lot more sense, as acne is often a symptom of a sluggish digestive system! Emotional and lifestyle stress was diverting blood flow away from my digestive system so it couldn’t function properly. The fact that I wasn’t drinking enough water just made matters in my colon worse. When bowel waste is not eliminated regularly, it putrefies in the colon and creates toxins, which often represents itself as acne, skin disorders, fatigue, joint pain and more.

I’m no doctor, yet after following my personal prescription below for one week, I was feeling back to my happy self, pooing again and the acne was nearly gone.

My prescription:

Thoughts
– Accepting and releasing past and current emotional hang-ups through Radical Forgiveness.
– Listing the things that bring me joy, then putting those things on my to-do lists.
– Taking things off my to-do list that are causing me stress and are not really pressing.
– Consciously feeling and expressing gratitude for all the wonderful moments of my days.
– Taking time to talk to my husband, rather than just in passing as we rush by each other.
– Having deeper talks with my close friends.

Breath
– Stopping to notice my breath several times a day.
– Focusing on belly-breathing, so I’m not stressing my shoulders and neck with chest breathing.
– Doing yoga once a week.

Food
– Continuing my nutritious eating habits.
– Being careful about too many heavy foods while my digestive system is under stress.
– Shutting down my busy mind at mealtime so I can focus on eating and digesting well.

Water
– Drinking at least 2 litres a day for my dehydrated colon!
– Using herbal teas to increase hydration in the winter.

Movement
– Taking exercise classes and doing strength training at the gym I just joined.
– Weekly yoga classes at the same gym.
– Walking around the neighbourhood with my daughter, instead of hiding in the house all winter.

Sleep
– Getting to bed no later than 10pm.
– No more late night computer sessions.

Learn more about the Primal 6: Thoughts, Breath, Water, Food, Movement, Sleep… and write your own prescription!

Please note: Though I have shown you an example here of how you can often use self-care to eliminate the cause of symptoms, there will still be times when infection, viruses and/or long-ignored symptoms need medical assistance. Use your intuition and common sense to distinguish when you can help yourself, and when you need to see a doctor or other qualified health professional.

35 Everyday ‘Exercises’ You Don’t Have to Make Time For

35 Everyday 'Exercises' You Don't Have to Make Time For

Movement, defined as “The act, process, or result of moving” (your body, in this case), is the 5th of the Primal 6 keys of optimal health. We all know that movement is important, yet all we ever talk about is exercise, defined as “bodily (or mental) exertion”. By definition, they are not much different. However, exercise seems like something we have to make time for, sign up to, schedule in. Yet we have many opportunities for movement every day!

Incorporate movement into your sedentary life
If you can’t get a treadmill at your desk, try our other tips for moving your body at work.

Here are at least 35 ways to maximise the amount of movement in your daily life to improve and maintain your health, mood and fitness, defined as “The condition of being physically fit and healthy”.

 

How to add movement into sedentary activities

Sit on a Swiss Ball at your desk
This simple change will make a huge difference to how your body feels at the end of the day, or end of the night if you spend an evening on the internet. Your hips and spine will stay loose and your core will remain active, all while sitting!
– Continually swivel your hips in circles, figure eights, and laterally side-to-side and front to back.
– Learn 5 more ways to reduce computer pain.

Get off the couch and onto the floor
When you are watching TV or a movie at home, you can be doing a variety of things with your body on the floor. As an added bonus, these will also keep you from mindlessly eating while you’re staring at the screen.
– Stretch your muscles that feel tight.
– Get into some yoga poses, changing poses when the scenes of your show change.
– See how long you can balance on one leg in different positions.
– Do some planks.
– Get something heavy and do some basic strength-training movements.
– See how many push ups and jumping jacks you can do on the commercials.
– For motivation and more fun, set up personal challenges or compete with a friend or family member who’s watching the show with you.

Get off the couch and onto the floor
You can watch a TV show without being a couch potato.
Get off the couch and move your body.

Stand up and walk around as much as possible
– When talking on the phone, stand up and pace or walk away from your computer.
– Instead of sending an email to a co-worker in the same office, stand up and visit them instead. It’s faster!
– When you get invited to sit and have a coffee with a friend, say “Let’s go for a walk instead.” If you spend a lot of time sitting in cafes, imagine how much walking you could be doing instead!

Instead of coffee talk, walk and talk!
Instead of coffee talk, walk and talk!

Do ‘airplane exercises’
Long commutes in the car, bus, train or plane mean lots of sitting and no way to walk around. However, you CAN do the exercises that they teach on long airplane rides – just wait for red lights if you’re driving!
– Lift your heels and stay on tip toes for seated calf raises. Extend your leg, put your heel on the floor and lean forward for seated calf stretches.
– Put your hands on the seat behind you and twist your body both ways.
– Roll your shoulders front and back. If you have room lift your arms with elbows bent, then rotate  arms forward and back.
– Do tricep stretches (one arm bent over and behind your head).
– Put one foot on the other knee and bend forward for a butt and hip stretch.

 

Commit to skipping the shortcuts

No more drive-throughs!
This is a movement-killing trap, especially in America, where there are drive-though banks and pharmacies.
– Park the car and walk in! Which leads us to…

Park far away
– Especially if it’s not too cold or hot out, why not park really far away? This everyday exercise opportunity is continually overlooked in our competition to find the best parking spot, which usually means the closest. How about we start competing for the farthest spots?
– If you are going to a large mall, school campus or work complex, how about parking on the opposite side to the area where you need to go. Then you have to walk the entire length of the place!

Park far away and walk!
Park far away and walk! Check out the great story about this picture.

No more escalators!
Forget this invention ever existed. Make a pact to yourself to never take an escalator again. If your fitness level or health is in such bad shape that climbing stairs is a huge challenge, then at least you’ve got yourself an exercise challenge without paying for a gym. Stairs are one of the easiest ways to get in some great cardiovascular exercise, without ever making time for it. Which leads us to…

No more escalators! Take the stairs.
No more escalators! Read the interesting story about this picture.

See you later, elevator
Climbing steps in a high-rise building is like doing an aerobics class, so it would be silly to skip this perfect opportunity for incidental exercise. If you need motivation, try this:
– Make a pact with a co-worker to do the steps every day before you can eat your lunch. At the beginning of your lunch break, walk all the way down the steps to warm up, then climb all the way back up and back down again. Then go feed your well-earned hunger together.
– Get some co-workers together for a daily morning or lunchtime stairs race.
– Time yourself climbing the stairs every morning on your way up to work. Try each day to beat your previous times.

 

Organize stair races with your work mates
Organize stair races with your work mates

No excuses for parents

As parents of a toddler ourselves, we know that kids are often a great excuse for not having time for the type of workout you want to do. However, kids are the perfect catalyst to unscheduled, unbridled movement in your everyday life. Instead of being annoyed by their high energy, be grateful that they are basically tiny personal trainers, begging you to move your body.
– Dance along with your kids in the living room.
– Push your pram (stroller) up the biggest hills you can find.
– Play on the playground equipment while you’re there, instead of just watching your kids do it.
– Play chase, even when you are just walking together a short distance (except in the parking lot!).
– Give horseback, piggy back and shoulder rides.
– Safely twirl them around until you’re exhausted. “Again, Mummy, again!”
Have a Kid Workout!

 

Playing with your kids is unplanned exercise time!
Parents, you are already at the playground,
so get moving!
Pushing the stroller uphill is great exercise
A hill makes a routine walk into a great workout

Put on some music

Whether you are cleaning the house, cooking dinner, or walking to the bus stop, good music will get your body moving in a different way.
– Vacuum to good music for guaranteed speed in your work, spring in your step and plenty of healthy movement.
– While you’re at it, do some squats while doing the laundry. Use less chemicals and more elbow-grease on that shower. The beat of the music will keep you going.
– Listen to your favourite tunes while cooking, and let yourself have a dance. Moving your body uninhibitedly is so fun and freeing.
– Follow the huge trend of commuters wearing earphones. The music may inspire you to stretch your legs on the bus or walk faster down the street.

Turn housework into exercise
Mundane housework time doubles as exercise time.
Pic from The Housework Fitness Plan on kidspot.
Dance in your living room and kitchen for fun and fitness
Dance in your living room and kitchen
for fun and fitness

 

Which of these everyday ‘exercises’ can you start doing today?

The Best Alternative to Breads, Tortillas and Wraps

The Best Alternative to Bread, Tortillas and Wraps

Homemade, soaked and fermented sourdough bread can be a nutritious addition to some people’s diets, and the same goes with tortillas made with the long traditional method. But let’s face it: most bread, tortillas and wraps we buy today are nutrition-less, over-processed grain and gluten products that cause many of us digestive distress, slowly leading to disease.

Sadly, we have become so dependent on these flour-based products, that it’s one of the hardest things to imagine eliminating from our daily diet. What will we toast for breakfast? What will we eat for lunch if not a sandwich? How will I eat my chicken salad or tuna salad at the picnic?

The best gluten-free bread or wrap your tuna salad has ever seen.
The best gluten-free bread or wrap your tuna salad has ever seen.

Lettuce Wraps!

I know that if you are someone who doesn’t eat many vegetables and/or salads, lettuce sounds like the most boring food on earth. Mostly water, not much taste. However, when you are using a leaf of lettuce to hold flavourful meats and vegetables, it is the most perfect food for the job. It’s crispy. It’s moist, requiring no butter or spread. It doesn’t detract from the tastes of the food inside. It’s cheap, portable and requires no cutting board. Yes, as a wrap, lettuce is king.

Many kids who won’t eat lettuce, will have it as a wrap – as long as there is something yummy inside! Our 4-year-old, Kaiya, loves the crunch of lettuce wraps. It’s the only time she enjoys lettuce.

Gluten and grain free tacos coming right up!
Gluten and grain free tacos coming right up!

 

The downside of the movement away from gluten is that people are now eating loads of gluten-free breads and wraps. Sadly, these are also just over-processed packaged products that are not much better. So ditch the gluten-free bread and the wholewheat spinach wrap, and just get a cheap, fresh, head of lettuce!

I find that Cos Lettuce (Romaine) has the best leaves for wraps, and Baby Cos (Baby Romaine) are good for snacks or appetisers. Keep your lettuce nice and dry in the fridge and it will last longer.

Not just for sandwich time, lettuce wraps go well with any meal.
Not just for sandwich time, lettuce wraps go well with any meal.
Lettuce wraps go well with any meal. Here with beef and beetroot and a side of pumpkin.
Lettuce wraps with beef and beetroot and a side of pumpkin.

When you want to take your lettuce wraps out for a picnic or lunch at work, just tear off some leaves and put in a container or little bag. Keep your filling in a separate container, then just make the wraps as you are about to eat them. You could pre-wrap, but often the filling falls out everywhere and the lettuce may start to get soggy.

Even Kids Love Lettuce Wraps
Leftover beef and pumpkin scrap salad for Kaiya and her friend.
They spooned it into the lettuce wraps at the park.

Lettuce wraps are perfect for Lovin’ Leftovers. What a perfect way to enjoy leftover stewed or grilled meats, fish, chicken and veggies – throw it in a lettuce wrap!

 

What do you love to put in your lettuce wraps?

How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 4/5: Swiss Ball Squats

How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball: Part 4/5 - Squats

Note: This is a loose transcription of the video ‘How to get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 4/5’.

Brad: G’day guys! Welcome to Part 4 of 5 on How to get Primal on a Swiss Ball.

Today, I am going to show you how to do squats standing on the ball, and the progressions that I use to get people to be able to do this. First up, I want to make sure that people can actually squat normally on the ground.

Swiss Ball Squats

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Now, you think that will be a fairly easy thing for most people. It’s a primal movement, we all have to do it in some sort form every day. But, essentially I want to make sure that when people go down into a squat, their hips don’t necessarily have to get lower than their knees. It depends on any structural abnormalities they might have within  their knees, hips, or their ankles. But in a lot of instances people just need a lot more flexibility, in particular around the actual ankle joint. Especially a lot of girls that are used to wearing high heels and things like that.

A: Normal Squats

normal-squats-400x

But I want people to be able to go down without twisting or leaning, all those sort of things have to be ruled out first through different corrective exercise and making sure that people are just aware of what their body is doing when they’re doing the squat. From the side, I want people to be able to go down keeping their upper spine nice and upright, sort of like a helium balloon lifting your chest up nice and high, maintaining a curve in your lumbar spine, as opposed to being like this.

All these sorts of movements from that position, basically tell me quite a lot of about where a person is being restricted the most. It’s harder to work with you one-on-one through this video, but if you have the ability to be able to squat like that, then you can do it with weights. This would be a fantastic step — a pretty good challenge to be able to do this sort of stuff.

B: Bosu Squats
So, the second progression, after being able to squat normally on the ground, is being able to squat on a Bosu. Now, we don’t have a Bosu here today but a Bosu is basically an acronym  that stands for Both Sides Up. They’re also known as half swiss balls; half a swiss ball with a platform on top of it. Being able to actually balance on a Bosu, going up and down in a squat, is a much safer first way of being able to do it, before standing up on a ball.

C: Supported 1/4 Swiss Ball Squats

supported-quarter-squats-400x

After you can do that, the next progression is to support yourself by holding onto a bar or a tree or anything when you’re standing on the ball.

Let me show you. So you would get up onto the ball like this. It’s good to also have someone helping to support you when you first do this, either holding onto the ball underneath or from the side. Imagine this branch is like a Smith Machine at a gym, a squat rack that is basically fixed and the bar is fixed to two poles, you can hold onto that and you can just basically do quarter squats. Get used to being able bend down and feel the wobble of the ball beneath you.

D: Unsupported Standing on a Swiss Ball

unsupported-standing-on-a-swiss-ball-400x

The next progression I like to get people to be able to do is to stand on the ball without holding anything and just get used to the ball going forward and backwards, side to side.

E: Supported Full Swiss Ball Squats

Supported Full Swiss Ball Squats

After that then it’s being able to hold the stick, the branch in this case, and squat all the way down the way you would normally squat alternately the same way you would do it on the ground.

F: Hands on, Hands off, in Bottom Squat Position

handson-handsoff-bottom-squat-position-400x

The next progression is being able to go all the way down to the bottom, holding onto the bar, then take your hands off and back on the bar a couple times, then come back up.

G: Supported Down, Unsupported Up, Swiss Ball Squats

supported-down-unsupported-up-swiss-ball-squats-400x

The next progression after that is being able to squat down holding on, take your hands off the bar get your hands out of the way, hold that position and then slowly go back up, not holding on. Hold, back down, hold the position, take your hands off, slowly go back up.

H: Swiss Ball Squats Nearby a Support

swiss-ball-squats-nearby-a-support-400x

The last progression is being able to actually do the whole exercise, staying near your support bar. So you don’t hold on, slowly go down to where you feel the most comfortable and then you come back up. If you feel that you can come down a bit lower, hold the position, go back up to the top. If you get nervous you are going to fall, you can grab onto the support.

I: Full Unsupported Swiss Ball Squats

full-unsupported-ball-squats-400x

The last progression is to move away from anything that is going to support you and do it the way that I showed you at the very beginning of the video. Try that out definitely on grass or somewhere soft because you will fall off at first; I’ve done it plenty of times. I’ve had a laugh, it hurts sometimes, but it’s really challenging. And if you’re getting bored in the gym, especially with squats and things like that, this is an awesome thing to be able to get good at.

So, that’s part 4 of 5 on how to get primal on a Swiss ball.

 

Other videos in this series:

How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 1/5: 4 Point Horse Stance
How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 2/5: Prone and Supine Balance
How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 3/5: Primal Push-Ups
How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 5/5: Kneeling Overhead Press


Which progression did you get up to so far in attempting Swiss Ball Squats?

 

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