Cravings and emotions

If you’ve been following me on social media you may know that I’ve been eliminating foods in an effort to gain clarity on what may be irritating my gut.

In this post I’ll be sharing a bit more about the emotional side of cleansing. Maybe you’ve seen friends doing a Whole30 or maybe you’ve been inspired by my posts to try out an elimination diet, but what many people don’t share or talk about is the emotions, feelings and thoughts that come up when you start to limit the foods (drinks, experiences) you’re saying yes to.

Hello from me and one of my favorite detox-friendly foods!

Hello from me and one of my favorite detox-friendly foods!

Cleansing and detox is not an easy topic for me to write about because I know it can trigger a lot of people who have had or have a disordered relationship with food.

Obsession, restriction and addiction are all too common in today’s society I think mainly because of media and what we portray as “successful” or “healthy” or “beautiful” but also because so many of us were raised without really being taught how to have a healthy relationship with food and our bodies, and taking it a step further, our emotions.

I want to be clear that my current elimination and desire to cleanse was not and is not about weight loss (although I’ve definitely done cleanses or clean eating programs in the past where that was one of my goals). I’ve been in a lot of pain the last year and I’m finally taking action.

I heard best selling author and coach Alex Jamieson once say “Food is sex with your pants on” and she’s totally right.

Food is love.

Food is pleasure.

Food is connection.

Food is comfort.

Food is also safer (easier, and usually more readily accessible) than having sex, or asking a friend for help or striking up a conversation with a stranger.

It’s not a bad thing that we entwine our feelings with food. The trouble begins when we avoid feeling our feelings and connecting with our selves and with others, and instead “eat over” these things.

There’s a lot to say on this, and I’m more than happy to continue this conversation (in the comments below or 1:1) but really what I want to talk about today are some specific cravings or urges you might experience while detoxing or eliminating certain food and drinks.

Hmmm… I wonder what this craving is really about?

Hmmm… I wonder what this craving is really about?

I'm sharing what I’ve noticed through my studies and self study to be the root cause of these cravings, and what you can do instead.

CarBs > for comfort

I’m not a pasta person (I know, shocking!!) but gluten free toast and muffins are definitely my comfort foods of choice. And for a good reason: carbohydrates are thought to increase the amount of serotonin in your brain, which has a calming effect.

You can totally swap your white pasta (or white bread) for an “upgraded” carb like whole grains, potatoes and sweet potatoes, but here are some non-food ways to experience that same calm:

  • Meditation (it’s helpful in ALL situations, but especially here)

  • Self massage

  • Deep belly breathing

Caffeine + sugar > to push through

One of the foods (well really “substances”) I’ve been working to eliminate is caffeine, and boy is it a tough one to let go of, mainly because we live in such a go-go-go society. It’s easy to push forward and get through your to-do list when you’re on the high of caffeine or sugar, but unfortunately coffee and sweets usually leave us feeling MORE depleted after the initial rush has worn off.

Here’s what to do instead of reaching for that second cup of joe or dipping your hand in the office candy jar:

  • Take a break or nap

  • Drink a glass of water

  • Go for a walk

  • Expect less of yourself (i.e. take your to-do list down from 5 items to 1 or 2)

When in doubt: DRINK WATER

When in doubt: DRINK WATER

Alcohol > To relax and numb out

Ahhh alcohol - the magical liquid that makes our worries melt away and helps us be more social, even in the most awkward situations. We unwind with a glass of wine, connect over a cocktail and celebrate with champagne. Drinking is woven into our culture, even though alcohol is truly a pretty toxic (and extremely addictive) substance.

If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or uncomfortable, here are some things you can do instead of reaching for the bottle:

  • Calming breath

  • Take an Epsom salt bath (or, if it’s available to you, book a session in a float tank)

  • Infrared sauna

  • And if you’re in a social situation… go to the bathroom and let yourself out of the spotlight for a bit

Note: If you are seriously worried about your drinking habits or relationship with alcohol, please contact your local AA support group or seek the help of a trained therapist.

Chocolate (also sugar) > FOR A dopamine hit

Similar to caffeine, chocolate is my go-to when I need a boost in energy or mood. Also similar to caffeine, chocolate has been one of the harder things to eliminate. Again, science explains why this is the case: Chocolate contains small amounts of a compound called phenylethylamine, which acts like an amphetamine, stimulating your brain cells to release dopamine (which is your “feel good” neurotransmitter).

While I totally believe that chocolate can be a part of a healthy diet, here are a few other ways to boost your mood:

  • Have a solo dance party (I have a specific playlist of songs that I know are good for dancing)

  • Work out! Endorphins also make you happy!

  • Add in this mood boosting adaptogenic herb: mucuna pruriens

Any food > to distract or avoid feeling

We can really use ANY food to distract or to avoid a feeling or situation. And while it may be a little “healthier” to distract ourselves with a tray of roasted sweet potatoes compared to a bag of chips, at the root there’s still an issue.

I know this all too well. During a particularly stressful time at my corporate job years and years ago, I would leave every afternoon to get a Cashew Mylk from the Organic Avenue by my office. Although this was probably one of the healthiest “treats” out there - gluten and dairy free, no refined sugars, made locally, etc etc… I felt crappy about it because I knew deep down the Cashew Mylk wasn’t going to help the real issue. Plus, I didn’t really need (or want) to spend $12 every day or have that rich drink every afternoon (too much of a good thing is still too much!). Instead of honoring that I was feeling trapped and stressed in my job, I used food to self soothe.

If you’re feeling like a certain food has control over you, there’s probably something else that needs and wants to be looked at.

Here are a few ways to get in touch with these feelings and emotions:

  • Journal

  • Call a friend and talk it out

  • Have a session with a healer or therapist

  • Work with a health coach ;)

As one of my clients said “Journaling helps loosen things from the heart.”

I know there’s a lot to digest within this blog post, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed or not sure where to start, start with awareness. Nothing can change if you don’t first hold the space to see it for what it is. Next time you have a craving, take a moment to pause and ask yourself: Is there something else going on here? Is there another way I can support myself instead of automatically reaching for [insert your most craved food here]?

And please be compassionate with yourself during this process! No one (at least no one I know!) is completely free of using food to self soothe. It’s simply about cultivating awareness, starting that conversation with yourself and having tools you can turn in the moment.

As always, I’d love to hear from you. Do you noticed yourself craving certain foods when you’re stressed or lonely? Have you done a detox or elimination diet and felt these feelings more intensely? Leave a comment below and let me know! <3

Spring cleaning for your gut!

I spent last week in Tulum - an amazing, magical place home to everything from vegan chocolate smoothie bowls to paleo quesadillas, treehouse yoga to ocean front sound healing, fresh coconuts to passion fruit margaritas, all under the radiant Mexican sun.

It was a true retreat in every sense of the word. If you read my last email you know that I took myself off social media for 10 days, which included the 5 days I was in Tulum, and I traveled alone meaning this trip was full of self reflection and serious ME time.

beautiful sunrise in Tulum

 

With the warm temps, sun, sand, and lighthearted spirit this trip transported me straight from the dreary ends of winter here in the Northeast to the loving arms of SUMMER. While I was beyond happy to be in the summer vibes, I couldn't help but feel that my body was still back in winter. As I put on my bikinis and shorts for the first time in over 6 months I couldn't help but feel, well, a little fluffy.

 

 

Our bodies naturally hold onto weight during colder seasons, mainly to protect us.

Back in the caveman days, more body fat = more warmth, which means you'd be more likely to survive the harsher season.

The spring season is all about fresh starts, cleaning out and lightening up. Likely you'll start to see advertisements for detox programs and summer body boot camps popping up on your Facebook feed or web browser.

It can be easy to jump at the first juice cleanse that you see, but there's actually an easier and more sustainable way to shed that excess winter weight and reset your taste buds.

A meal plan that's delicious and nutritious, and will help you get into a groove of eating in a way that nourishes your gut and calms your cravings.

Join me for The Good Gut Reset from Thin From Within.

 

 

This is the only "cleanse" program I'll recommend because it's
1. Completely sane (ie there's PLENTY of food)
2. Completely do-able (you're given shopping lists, a step-by-step meal prep plan and daily email support)
3. And (most importantly) completely DELICIOUS.

 

 The program is 100% FREE - all you need to participate is a copy of Thin From Within. 

Time to shed that winter sweater...

Time to shed that winter sweater...

Register here to receive daily email support and to get access to our supportive Facebook group!

Besides the results you can expect from just 3 days on this program (less bloat! weight loss! fewer cravings!), the best part is being able to do this with others. There's something about the energy of a group that makes any goal or challenge more attainable, and more FUN!

We already have over 1,000 people signed up to start on Monday. Are you IN?

 

 

Learn more + register FOR FREE here: Spring 2018 Community Reset.

Benefits of infrared sauna therapy

This post has been a LONG time coming! I first posted about infrared sauna therapy on Instagram months ago and immediately received a ton of questions - what is it? what are the benefits? AND (mostly) where can I experience this myself?

I'll try to answer these questions here + share a bit more about what to expect if you choose to try infrared sauna yourself! Alright, let's get right to it!

What is infrared sauna therapy?

Infrared saunas use heat and light to relax and detoxify the body. These saunas omit infrared light waves that create heat in the body, causing you to sweat and release stored toxins.

What are the benefits of infrared sauna therapy?

In addition to helping your body release stored toxins, infrared saunas can help you lose weight, relax, relieve unwanted pain, increase your circulation, and purify your skin. The biggest researched benefit seems to be the coronary benefits, most notably in their ability to help normalize blood pressure and reduce the chance of congestive heart failure.

Are all saunas the same?

There are three different levels of infrared sauna: near, middle, and far. These different levels represent the different sizes in infrared wavelengths and refer to the intensity of the treatment. Most people find that:

  • near-infrared levels are best for wound healing and increased immune function
  • middle-infrared levels are best for increasing circulation and promoting muscle relaxation
  • far-infrared levels are used primarily for detoxification purposes

In addition to the different infrared wavelength size, there are two different physical types of saunas: a sauna room and a sauna bed. I'm going to briefly cover what you can expect with each of these experiences.

Before you go...

I think this goes without saying but it would be irresponsible of me not to emphasize it: You need to be well hydrated, well rested and properly fed before heading to either the sauna room or sauna bed. Think of it as you would a workout - drink plenty of fluids before your session and make sure you've eaten something solid. You'll also want to give yourself time after to re-fuel (both food + liquids) and recover (i.e. don't plan drinks with your girlfriends for 30 minutes after your appointment).

What to expect - sauna room

What to wear: bathing suit or your birthday suit ;)

How long to stay in: Varies - usually you start between 15-30 minutes and can work your way up to an hour.

My experience: I visited the HigherDOSE sauna at ABC Carpet and Home in NYC. The "room" itself was pretty tiny - I booked with a friend and we were both surprised at the size of the sauna (barely big enough for us both to sit comfortably - you could definitely not lay down). I did appreciate that the door and part of the ceiling of the sauna room was glass - this made it feel less cramped, but if you are claustrophobic this may not be the option for you.

Once I got in, I started sweating pretty quickly. I stayed in for 30 minutes and while I was definitely hot, I was not uncomfortable and felt like I could have lasted longer. Afterwards, I felt good, like I had just had a few hours in the sun (which was wonderful considering it was the dead of winter in NYC!). My skin was glowing and I slept super soundly that evening.

What to expect - sauna bed

What to wear: comfortable, breath-able clothing that covers your skin (i.e. cotton leggings, socks and a long sleeved shirt).

How long to stay in: 55 minutes. According to Shapehouse (where I've done all my infrared sauna bed sweats), this is the ideal amount of time for this treatment because 45 minutes is the absolute minimum time and after 55 minutes you don't see any increase in benefits.

My experience: I visited Shapehouse in LA for my sauna bed session. After changing into my sweat clothes (Shapehouse provides a set of clothes or you can bring your own), an attendant took me back to my bed. The sauna bed is sort of like a sleeping bag set up on a massage table. The attendant helped "tuck" me in and set me up - adjusting the headrest, asked me if I needed support under my knees, anything to make sure I was comfortable. She also helped me find a show to watch (at Shapehouse each bed has it's own TV with everything from HBO to Netflix).

The first half of the session was quite pleasant - I felt warm but not super hot, and I was watching TV! Fun! Probably around 35 or 40 minutes, things got a little more intense. I could feel myself sweating more, and even felt my heart beat increase (which I read is totally normal). 10 minutes before the session was over, the attendant came back in with a cool lavender towel which she placed on my forehead. These last 10 minutes were hard - I was VERY hot and feeling pretty worn out. It's recommended that you stay in the bed the whole time, but I was told I could take my arms out of the bed if I needed a little break.

After my time was up, the attendant was back and took me to the "Relax room" where I was given tea and orange slices and had a chance to cool down. I felt like I had done a hard workout, which was great since all I had done was watch TV for an hour! Ha! That day and the next few days, I noticed that my body felt more toned, lighter even, and my skin was visibly brighter and clearer.

Are there risks?

From my research, there are no major risks if you are in good health. That being said, if you do have a health condition or take certain medications, you may want to talk to your doctor before booking your sauna session. Also, sweating is not recommended for pregnant women.

The bottom line

I love infrared sauna therapy. I prefer the beds, but see benefits from both types and definitely want to continue this fun form of self-care moving forward.

 

 

Where I sweat:
HigherDOSE // NYC
Shapehouse // LA
PORTABLE SAUNA // At home

 

Want to learn more?

Here are a few articles I found helpful in doing my research:

- Why Sweat? - Shapehouse

- Health Benefits of Saunas - Wellness Mama

- Why Infrared? - HigherDOSE

- Infrared Sauna Treatment - Dr. Axe

 

WHEW! That was a lot. I hope that this blog post answered your questions and helped you understand a little bit more about infrared saunas. Now I want to hear from you - have you tried an infrared sauna bed or room? Did you enjoy the experience? If you haven't tried it yet, is this something you're interested in doing in the future? Let me know in the comments below!

What I'm doing differently in 2017 [vision board pic!]

Where were you 1 year ago today?

What you did for the holidays? What job or school or situation did you find yourself heading back into? Did you sign up for a 30-day challenge, an intensive training or start reading a new self development book? Were you feeling excited and inspired at the thought of a brand new year in front of you?

Now I want you to fast forward to today - January 3rd 2017. What was the past year like for you? Did you reach your goals? More importantly - how did you feel? Did you stay inspired? Or did the energy die down, the inspiration gone after a few weeks of getting back into real life?

It's okay - I didn't reach all of my goals either.

I made the vision board and even wrote down specific action items (4 pages of them to be exact). But I still fell short on some of my intentions that were important to me.

Here's why...

I didn't have anyone to hold me accountable.

I had the big dream but not the step-by-step personalized support that I needed to anchor that dream into my daily reality.

Now, don't get me wrong, 2016 was a great year in so many ways. But I did feel a little disappointed in myself for not following through on the things I said I wanted to do with my health, my business, and my life.

Here's what I'm doing differently this year: I'm asking for help.

Again this year, I made my vision board and wrote out my goals. But this year I also shared that vision and those goals with people who I know will hold me accountable. Who will [lovingly] call me out when I'm not following through, who will talk it out with me when something isn't working as planned, and who will share in carrying the responsibility of the "work."

This is my vision board for this year:

There's a lot of specifics that I won't go into here (although I am more than happy to tell you if you are interested), but here are my overarching intentions for the next year:

- Be OPEN and HONEST in all communication
- FOLLOW THROUGH on my words and actions
- Be UNAPOLOGETIC about what I want in all areas of life
- Allow work to feel EASY and FUN
- FOCUS on the people and activities that light me up

Now it's your turn. What's your vision for 2017?

What is a goal you want to achieve, or a dream you wish to make come true? Comment below or email me at emily@emilynachazel.com and tell me what you want to make happen this year - it can be just one thing, or maybe you have a whole vision board made. Whatever it is, I want to hear from you.

And if you are not sure where you want 2017 to take you... that's okay too. I can help you get there. Yes, I'm a "health" coach but your whole life impacts your health. I work with clients to get clear on their goals for their bodies and for their lives, and then help them create a roadmap to get where they want to be, whether that's 10 lbs lighter or feeling more appreciated at their job.

Ready to make 2017 your best year yet?

Read success stories from my past clients here.
Then book a time to chat with me directly: Free Health Consultation

Let's do this 2017!!

Summer food trends 2016 {my predictions!}

While I won't claim to know much about fashion or technology trends, I am all over food {and healthy food specifically} trends. Raw foods restaurant that just opened around the corner? Been there. The next up-and-coming superfood? It was in my smoothie yesterday. I love exploring and trying new things - all in the name of "research" of course!

Recently I chatted with fellow health coach and foodie, Amy Height of From the Ground Up Wellness, about summer food trends for 2016. What do I predict is the next big thing? You'll have to head over to the Class Pass blog to find out, and then let me know - how many of these foods have YOU tried so far?

7 Foods You'll Definitely Eat {and Instagram} This Summer

summer-food-trends.jpg