April is Stress Awareness Month – Are you stressed?

You have all probably seen this list before of the major causes of stress in a person’s life:

Death of a loved one
Getting married
Getting divorced
Losing a job
Moving to a new home/location
Increase in financial obligation or money problems
Chronic illness or injury
Emotional problems (depression, anxiety, guilt, grief, etc)

Pretty common sense things that may cause stress for someone, right? This month, in particular, did you know that April 15 – Tax Day – is also one of the most stressful days of the year? In fact, according to some reports, people are more likely to get into a car accident on April 15 than on another other non-tax day because they are stressed and, subsequently, not focused and paying attention to the road.

At some point, even the most relaxed person will experience stress of some kind. Children, teens and adults will all experience stress and they will often experience stress in different ways. Since April is Stress Awareness Month, I wanted to do a post about stress and offer some healthy ways that you can cope with stress better to maintain better overall health. First, let’s take a look at what stress really is all about.

Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Stress can be felt from both positive events like getting ready for a wedding or by negative events like losing a job. Stress is the combination of tensions the body experiences that are physical and emotional. It is one’s reaction to a situation where a person may feel anxious or in danger and can then trigger a “fight or flight” response.

Everyone reacts to and deals with stress differently and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here are some of the most common reactions to a stressful event(s):

Disbelief, shock and numbness. Feelings of sadness, frustration and helplessness. Fear and anxiety about the future. Feeling guilty.

Anger, tension, irritability. Difficulty concentrating and/or making decisions. Crying or emotional outbursts. Lack of interest.

Loss of appetite. Sleeping too much or too little. Nightmares or bad dreams. Smoking or use of alcohol or drugs.

As you can see, the reactions to stress are both emotional and physical which is why it is so important to have some techniques available that will address both issues ahead of time, making you more capable of dealing with a stressful situation before it happens!

Don’t let life stress you out:

Eat well-balanced and healthy meals that are nutrient rich
Exercise daily – the endorphins help to elevate your mood naturally making stress easier to handle
Get plenty of sleep – when you are well rested, your brain functions more clearly
Talk to someone you trust – sometimes it helps to get things off your chest and share your feelings with someone
Meditate – meditation will help you to remain grounded and focused on what you need to do next
Avoid self-medication – stay away from drugs and alcohol as they both will tend to make things seem more dramatic than they really are
Walk Away/Unplug – sometimes you just have to remove yourself from the source of stress and gain some perspective

The most important thing is that if you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, recognize the signs and ask for help. It is ok to admit that you cannot cope with a situation or situations and ask for guidance. If you cannot find it from family and friends, contact a professional who can direct you to a good resource.

Below is a link to a video put out by the StayingSharp program through AARP:


For more information on how to cope with stress or if you are in need of immediate help, please contact one of the following hotlines:

Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-9454)

Youth Mental Health Line: 1-888-568-1112

Child-Help USA: 1-800-422-4453

2017 Promise to Myself

As 2016 came to a close, I started to think about what it is that I want to accomplish in 2017. What is it that I want to do, experience, thrive at. What kind of impact do I make on the world next year. Sometimes, I tend to overthink things. I am sure that many of you may do the same.

I have a credo hanging in my office that was shared with me when I was a student at IIN. This is credited to Marilena Minucci from QuantumCoachingMethod.com. I love the sentiment in this credo and I have decided that for 2017, I am going to adopt the wisdom from this credo into my daily life and really live it!

I have never been a big believer in the concept of New Year’s resolutions as most of them get broken. I prefer to make a promise to myself of something that is tangible and meaningful. What is your promise to yourself for 2017?

“In this moment….

I choose to lighten up on my path to enlightenment,

I choose to not add one more thing to the burden on my shoulders

I choose to not say I am not good enough one more time

I choose to say I am doing the best that I can and

that I am perfect in my imperfection.

I choose to let in the light…and know that every way in which I thought I was broken is in fact a blessing that will bring in more light…that to be creaked wide open is the way to late in as much light as I can.

I choose to accept that it is my right to be here not because of what I do or produce but just because I am. God and the universe need nothing more from me than simply to be me. I choose to give back all the negative vibes and critical thinking that keep me small. It is an illusion I once bout into but no longer.

I am over being small and know I deserve to dream big because I am a child of the universe.

And I choose to stay connected to the energy and light of those that journey with me and who hold me to my highest.

And on days I may falter…I will remember this light and energy and the promise of all that is to be received and is on its way to me now.”

I hope that your 2017 is off to a great start and that you will accomplish all you set out to do this year and in the future.

International Day of the Girl – October 11, 2016


Today is the International Day of the Girl and, in light of recent comments made by one of our presidential candidates (I cannot even put his name into writing today) this movement should be of utmost importance to girls around the world and to those who are their mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers.

Here is an excerpt from the Day of the Girl website about the movement and what it is about.

“Empowerment of and investment in girls are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights”

-United Nations Resolution 66/170

In 2011, as the result of youth advocacy around the world, the United Nations declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. Its mission is “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.” It’s a day when activist groups come together under the same goal to highlight, discuss, and take action to advance rights and opportunities for girls everywhere.

Day of the Girl-US is the United States branch of this global movement. We are an 100% youth-led movement fighting for gender justice and youth rights. Our work to dismantle the patriarchy and fight for social justice is rooted in girl-led activism across the country, using October 11th as a day of national action.

October 11 is not just a day; it’s a movement.

A worldwide revolution.

We want ourselves, and girls everywhere, to be seen as equals, in the eyes of others and in our own eyes.

My hope is that girls around the world will not only be seen as equals but that they will be support and encouraged to live their dreams, have goals, be educated, feel safe and not have to worry about being chastised, ridiculed, looked down upon, held back, made to feel bad about themselves, neglected or abused.

My hope is that girls around the world will be held up, treated with respect, be taught to love themselves and others for who they are, be educated, nurtured, loved, encouraged, and reminded on a daily basis that they are as good as anyone else….that they shall all be equal.

Give Peace a Chance


Today is the International Day of Peace. I cannot think of anything more appropriate or more necessary today than a reminder that we must all work together to achieve peace.

“It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

It is not just about peace overseas where there is unrest, it is not just about peace between police and those in the community, it also is about peace in our homes and our daily lives because that is where we learn the concept of peace.

I’m not sure how our society has gotten so far away from peace and civility toward one another. It took so many years and so many people who stood up for rights and for peace and we came close. We came close. Then something happened and our society has started to regress again. Black Americans should not ever be afraid to drive in their cars or walk through their neighborhoods with the fear of being shot for nothing. No American should ever live in that kind of fear!

Children in Aleppo should not have to worry about their home being blown up in the middle of the night or fear that they may wake to their parents being dead. No child should ever live in that kind of fear!

Women and children should not have to worry about being beaten by their husband/father because becomes he comes home and is angry about something. No human should ever live in that kind of fear!

“It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt’s words are so true. We ALL must believe in peace. We ALL must talk about peace. We ALL must work at finding peace. On this International Day of Peace, let’s practice, at least for one day, sharing peace with all of those we come in contact with today and spread the word of peace around the world.

Who Needs a Health Coach?

gluten free recipe celiac health coach Houston

So the reason I began my journey to become certified as an integrative wellness health coach was because I was diagnosed with celiac disease about fifteen years ago and at the time, my doctor literally handed me a piece of paper with a list of food items on it and said to me “stop eating these foods.” That was all I got from my medical professional and I was left to my own devices to figure out how to manage an autoimmune disease I knew nothing about.

It took me a very long time to figure how not to eat so many foods that I loved and how to eat things that would not make me sick. Back then, resources for gluten-free foods were also pretty slim so I learned to cook meals from scratch and learned how to eat healthy foods while avoiding gluten while I was traveling about 50% of the year for work as well. It was not easy and I sure wish that I would have had a coach or someone who understood my challenges to help me manage them.

As an integrative nutrition health coach, I work with all kinds of people to help them find real and manageable solutions to their health and wellness needs. Everyone is different and so I work with clients, one-on-one to evaluate their bio-individuality to determine what kind of nutritional plan and fitness plan will work with their particular body type, blood type and lifestyle. No one diet fits all people!

Have you ever wondered why Kirstie Alley has gone back through Jenny Craig three or four times? Those diet plans do not work long term because they do not teach people how to eat for their bio-individuality and they do not coach people through all of the aspects of their life that may have led to their current health situation.

What I practice involves both Primary Foods and Secondary Foods. These terms are probably counterintuitive to what you think they mean and I’ll explain. When I was studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I learned about the concept of Primary and Secondary Foods and it made total sense to me. Primary Foods are those things that nourish our entire being; our relationships, our career, our physical fitness routine, and our spirituality. If those areas are out of balance, it does not matter what food we put into our body because our being will be out of balance. Secondary Food is what you would think it is…food! The challenge is that when we use secondary food to suppress or mask our need for fulfillment in our primary food, the body and mind can suffer. This concept, outlined by Joshua Rosenthal, founder and director of IIN, was an eye opening concept for me and the basis of my practice.

I never realized how much what was happening in my life on a daily basis directly impacted my health and wellness. Sure, I knew that traveling 80,000 miles a year was taxing and stressful but I never realized that it could have been directly linked to the development of my leaky gut and, ultimately, to my various autoimmune diseases and food allergies. At the time I was diagnosed with celiac, I was exhausted, stressed out, single and lonely and juggling a ton of responsibilities to work and other organizations that I was involved in. I did not take proper care of my body and I ate poorly, drank too much, never got much sleep and exercised sporadicly. I was kind of a mess.

There may be many of you who can relate. There are probably some who just want to lose a few pounds or some who want to get back into the jeans they wore ten years ago. Some may be suffering from food allergies or dietary restriction due to medical reasons or there may be others who just feel like something in their life is missing and want to figure out what that may be. These are all some of the reasons I hear from my clients on why they decided to engage a health coach.

Think about it for a minute. When was the last time you talked with someone about your health and received the personalized attention you deserve? I can bet your doctor does not spend an hour with you to talk about your health and go through a full nutritional plan, right? I am your personal advocate for living a healthy and energized life. Together, I can help you discover the food and lifestyle choices that best support you in making gradual and sustainable changes to help you reach your current and future health goals.

The way the process begins for my Sustainable Health for Life Program is with a comprehensive Health Evaluation. I will sit down with you to evaluate your past and current health situation and to learn what your long-term health goals are. They we work together, twice a month to explore the best solutions for you to reach your goals. If you are in the local area, I try to meet with clients face-to-face for their monthly sessions. However, if you are not located in the Houston area, I have many clients who are coached on the phone or via Skype or FaceTime..the beauty of technology!

If you are ready to change your health for life, contact me and let me know what your concerns and goals are and let’s get started on a plan together! My programs are either three months or six months and I am currently offering a discount on both of my programs. Click here http://integrativewellnessstudio.net/connect-with-me/ to touch base with me and get started!

“It wasn’t just a journey about eating better, it ended up being a journey to rediscovering myself mentally and physically where I am the happiest I have been in myself for years! Heidi is committed to you from the very beginning and beyond. I couldn’t have asked for a better coach. She opened up my eyes to all the things that were hurting me and how I could change things. I learned so many new recipes and how to eat differently to make me healthier and happier. Life is good!!!” Char S. – program graduate

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