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Tampa Bay Holistic Wellness is a preventative health care practice offering corrective exercise, sports performance, massage therapy and nutrition services.

TBHW Blog

The Tampa Bay Holistic Wellness loves to share information about health and wellness! Get your health fix here with a variety of healthy topics.

Filtering by Category: Prevention

Preface (Book Lionesses Need Lions)

Dawn Molina

            Reverse engineering deep patterns of personal dysfunction is sobering. At this point of my life I can categorize my life into three stages: my unconscious evolution, my humility through demolition and my conscious re-engineering. My humility through demolition was the most painful part of beginning to navigate what love means to me, because it became increasingly clear that I didn’t love myself. I loved many people with whom I shared my life, both past and present. I could ascertain what love “is” through these relationships, because I was able to give love freely. What I couldn’t define was my love for myself. I found myself becoming brutally capricious about people, places and things that didn’t return my love as vigorously.

            The deeper dive into my own self-reflection revealed an ambiguous personal value system that was the core to my personal instability. Although there were compartments of my life that were extremely successful as defined by societal terms I struggled to harness any real fulfillment in my personal life. Because of my unwavering ability to compartmentalize my fear was never apparent. Because of my unwavering ability to compartmentalize my level of control due to my honest ability to focus was unquestionable. Yet of my unwavering ability to compartmentalize, albeit concealing my loneliness, it was destroying my heart. I suffered from deep personal pain although I was surrounded by a horde of people that I loved so much. Why then?

            When my son was ten I sought his approval to leave my first husband. He shockingly expressed that we could make it alone, but due to my fear and lack of self-love I sought love outside of myself. Once again, I was desperately searching for an answer I didn’t know I had within me. One day when my son was sixteen while sitting in our kitchen nook he unsolicitedly affirmed, my reason for being the way I was. He told me “mother women have to be like you these days, because men aren’t men anymore.” This began the stage of my humility through demolition. I only partially believed what he said that day at the time and I believe it even less now that I have begun my conscious re-engineering stage. Instead I have developed some complex personal ideas about why I became the way I was totally apart from the men I chose to share my life with. The answers weren’t defined by them, they are mine-and-mine alone.

            During my humility through demolition stage I observed pro-feminist women, privately steeped in patriarchy, making conscious decisions to stand beside men that disgraced them publicly amongst friends. I connected with women from different cultures who shared their experiences of survival by means of manipulation to find freedom. To date I have worked closely with over three hundred women to help develop a sense of physical strength & wellness through preventive health care measures. I never struggled with any of these issues directly in my unconscious evolution stage. So why then?

            This is a story about a little girl who watched her mother suddenly die when she was seven years old. My father that was a USMA West Point Graduate who was a strict disciplinarian who couldn’t express his love. My father was a beautiful man with a brilliant mind and a depressed heart. When my mother passed away my father never recovered and it was never about the motherless child, but instead the wifeless husband. Although my father provided a financially stable and nourishing scholastic environment he suffered at being consciously present. He deliberately dissociated love and intimacy. During my humility through demolition stage I realized this was my why.

            The dissociation of intimacy and love is a travesty. Yet it macerates our society through the ever-growing need for ephemeral connection and superficial relationships. Love and intimacy require truth; the truth about ourselves and one another. To go from shallow to intimate relationships one must become familiar with truth where we deal with issues we don’t often care to deal with. Repressing truth about ourselves makes us laden with resentment and ultimately creates great personal pain. Our willingness to face rejection in the pursuit of our own truth is in of its self an act of unselfish love.

            My father indeed raised me to be the strongest woman I could possibly be. For this I will forever be grateful. My abilities, skills and capacity were developed directly under his influence. However, the contradiction of his values that he expressed after my mother passed away was by choosing to court women that were exactly the opposite of my mother: much younger, uneducated and codependent. During my unconscious evolution stage, I unknowingly developed a pattern of seeking out a specific kind of man: southern, impressionable and who had parents that remained married to their first spouse. Nonsensical and not deliberate, but a true pattern none the less.

            The devastating disharmony with these men was their likewise dissociation with love and intimacy even though they came from a different establishment. Although their parents were still married they were no longer in love, never shared real intimacy and due to this only remained together due to financial constraints, children or shame. Because these men were raised in this environment they thought nothing of their dissociation with love and intimacy. They too were broken and could not help me find what I needed or wanted. They were great men, but neither could fully engage in real sensual connection beyond the honeymoon phase when lust is often mistaken for intimacy. My deeper desire to establish real intimacy in pursuit of a resolute married life was admonished due to their own renunciation of personal truth (whatever it was for them) and I was often left feeling indecent.

            Now as I am working through my conscious re-engineering stage I have established real personal values that define my true character and have greatly impacted every aspect of my life. These ideals guide my behavior and I am now positive when I say no to things that are vehemently opposed to my established personal values. Love and intimacy in all my personal relationships are the core principals in my value system. I know for myself personally that being of loving impact on other’s lives is my truth. I’ve reorganized my entire professional life to follow this structure and I have chosen the same for my personal life. This isn’t an easy process, I face rejection every day and there are many unknowns when navigating love. I do know that relationships don’t always fail because men aren’t men anymore, because women are always victims of sexism and gender inequality or anywhere in between in same gender relationships. There is a larger disconnect and it’s often rooted in our inability to define our own truth first.

 

 

           

Position Over Submission

Dawn Molina

Dawn & Kayla

For my entire adult life, I have valued the Jiu-Jitsu philosophy: position over submission. It makes total sense right; why would anyone choose to faultily jump the gun and do something prematurely? Knowing our position during every step of the process helps to lessen probability of disaster, right? It seems like a no brainer. I believed in this philosophy for many years with unwavering rigidity.

However, as I get older I realize that this philosophy applies less and less. Although this philosophy may be important when dealing with spatial awareness, I find it less important when dealing with everyday life. Is painstakingly planning every move a quality endeavor? Is knowing where we stand every step of the way as critical as those of us with obsessive compulsive disorder would like to believe? At this point of my life I have determined for myself personally this causes more stress than I care to live with. By no means am I asserting that there is a lack of importance in assessing and planning “life” things. It’s simply become my experience that life is more unpredictable than this philosophy can encircle. Flexibility over constant positioning has come to serve me in better ways.

Flexibility tends to alleviate stress both physical and mental. It can provide stability even if we don’t know where we are in the moment. Flexibility influences the ability to ebb & flow depending on topical presenting factors. Incessantly positioning ourselves for better outcomes can impose impractical measures of outcome that can leave us feeling unaccomplished, angry and sad when things don’t go as we’ve planned. Positioning, simply put, can be downright stressful.

"Stress is not a state of mind. It’s measurable, dangerous and humans can't seem to find their off-switch." These words of warning come from renowned author and award-winning neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky in the documentary Stress: Portrait of a Killer. Sapolsky explains how we are more vulnerable to stress if the following factors are true:

§  If we feel like we have no control

§  If we are not getting any predictive information

§  If we feel we have no way out

§  If we interpret things as getting worse

§  If we have no "shoulder to cry on" (e.g., lack of social affiliation or support)

The first four bullets outlined above can be tightly linked to poor positioning and lack of flexibility. Flexibility impacts adaptation; adaptation reduces stress. So why is flexibility so hard for humans to achieve: both physically and mentally? The answer is easy; no one wants to be submitted. Hasn’t this come full circle? We tend to over position to avoid submission. We over think in an attempt to control outcomes. Being prepared and disciplined can be practiced apart from over positioning. There is no doubt that we can achieve a better position through preparedness and discipline. Be that as it may choosing to be flexible, even if it means submitting for a better position, in the long term can reduce our stress. So why choose to be stressed? The answer to this is not as easy.

Science has established that stress kills us. The research is all around us. We are the most medicated, obese and depressed America to date. There is no promise for a better outcome; tomorrow may never come. Stress is the number one silent killer being linked to many psychosomatic, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological, reproductive, endocrine and sexual disorders. I mean who wouldn’t be depressed? If we could just learn to flexible. Flexible with ourselves and flexible with others.

Sweet Potato Brownies Vitamin "A" Not One Nutrient!

Dawn Molina

The term "vitamin A" makes it sound like there is one particular nutrient called "vitamin A," but that is not true. Vitamin A is a broad group of related nutrients. Each of these nutrients provides us with health benefits, but these benefits may be quite different and they may be provided in different ways. This particular recipe is rich in the plant form of Vitamin A (carotenoid), in the form of beta-carotene! Carotenoid forms of Vitamin A provide us with unique health benefits. Most carotenoid forms of vitamin A function as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Scientists now know that the T and B cells of the immune system cannot be correctly synthesized without vitamin A, nor can immune responses be effectively activated without participation of vitamin A. Many researchers believe that vitamin A may play an important role in our immune & inflammatory "braking" system that assists our cells from becoming over-reactive. Since some aspects of food allergy can be related to our immune system's over-reaction to food proteins, optimal intake of vitamin A may turn out to be important for lowering risk of certain types of food allergy!


This healthy brownie recipe swaps avocado puree for butter, unsweetened applesauce for sugar, pureed prunes for syrup and pureed sweet potato for half of the necessary flour.

Brownie Ingredients: (Wet) 8oz. Cooked Sweet Potato, 4oz. Avocado, 4oz. Unsweetened Apple Sauce, 4oz. Pitted Dates, 2 Nest Fresh Large Eggs, 1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract, (Dry) 1/2 Cup Gluten Free Flour, 1 Tsp. Baking Soda, 1 Tsp. Himalayan Salt, 2oz. Organic Cacao Powder, 1/4 Cup Walnuts.

Icing Ingredients: 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder, 2oz. Almond Hazelnut Butter, 1oz. Organic Cacao Powder, 1/2 Cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt, 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil.


Recipe Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease a 9" x 9" baking pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving enough extra to extend over the sides.

  • Combine the avocado, sweet potato, unsweetened applesauce, pitted dates, vanilla extract and eggs into a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, cacao powder, salt and baking soda and mix well with a whisk, until completely blended.

  • Add the dry ingredients the food processor and resume processing until well combined, about 30 seconds. Pulse in walnuts and transfer the batter to your prepared pan. Spread evenly and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out almost clean.

  • Set brownies on a wire rack to cool for 15-20 minutes.

  • While the brownies are cooling, prepare the icing by adding all the ingredients to the bowl of your food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

  • Pour over warm brownies and spread evenly with a spatula.

  • Leave the brownies on the wire rack until they reach room temperature then transfer to the fridge until completely cool. Cut into squares and enjoy!


Food Labels: Understand What You're Reading

Dawn Molina

As lots of people make new year’s resolutions to improve their diet, some may start to pay closer attention to the nutrition labels on the foods they buy. You may have recently caught my brief interview on WTSP Tampa Bay News 10. In this blog I will specifically expound on what to look for on your food labels as a concerned consumer. If you would like to schedule a grocery store visit with me, feel free to reach out and we can visit the store together. I totally understand how confusing and frustrating reading food labels can be!

Here are some guidelines to get you started:

1. Look at Serving Size

Start by looking at the nutrition facts and the serving size. Packages frequently contain more than a single serving, which means that you may have to multiply all of the amounts listed to get an accurate picture of how many calories or how much sugar is in a single container.

2. Check Calorie Count

Although calories are only part of the picture when it comes to reading labels, they’re vital to help you determine appropriate portion size. The standard daily caloric intake guidelines are 1,800-2,200 calories for adult women and 2,200-2,500 for adult men. (These calculations vary according to physical activity.) So, if you choose a food with 700 calories per serving, keep in mind that is approximately one-third of your daily calorie intake.

3. Avoid Enemy Fats

Trans fats raise LDL (“bad” cholesterol), lower HDL (“good” cholesterol), and slow your metabolism. Look for foods with zero trans fats, but be aware of this disturbing little factoid: If a product contains less than 1 gram of trans fat per serving, it can be listed as containing zero trans fats. Those trace amounts can really add up if you’re eating multiple servings per day.

So, how can you avoid eating trans fats? The best thing to do is stay away from foods that contain any partially or fully hydrogenated oils, which contain large quantities of trans fats and other altered fat substances.  Hydrogenated oils, which are often found in commercial baked goods, are designed to be impervious to bacteria so that they can sit on grocery store shelves for long periods of time. Is it any surprise that our own bodies would have trouble breaking down and processing these synthetic compounds?

4. Minimize Sodium

The recommended maximum daily intake of sodium is 2,300 mg per day (about one teaspoon), or 1500 mg per day if you’re over 40 or have hypertension. Consuming excess sodium is correlated with hypertension because it draws in water, which increases blood volume, which in turn increases blood pressure. The increased pressure strains the heart and increases the risk of atherosclerosis. If you have hypertension or heart disease, talk to your health care provider to determine your recommended daily limit of sodium.

5. Choose Carbs Wisely and Avoid Added Sugars

Carbohydrates (“carbs”) are often demonized in the media, but in truth, they’re abundant in whole foods and are a very important source of energy. The key thing to keep in mind is that complex carbohydrates (i.e., the carbohydrates in natural, fibrous foods like fruits & vegetables) are infinitely better for you than simple carbohydrates like refined sugar. The presence of fiber in complex carbs causes your body to break down the food more slowly, thus preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar. This is why you’ve likely heard that eating a piece of fruit is a healthier option than simply drinking fruit juice–the whole piece of fruit contains fiber, while the juice has been processed and stripped of fiber.

When you look at a food label, you’ll notice that there’s no recommended daily amount for sugar; the amount of sugar in the food is simply listed in grams. But most of us can’t really visualize a gram of sugar. To get a better picture, try converting grams to teaspoons by dividing by 4. For example, 20 grams of sugar is the equivalent of 5 teaspoons of sugar. As you read labels, you may realize that your daily sugar intake includes a lot more than what you add to your coffee!

Keep things simple by choosing complex carbohydrates, and by keeping added sugars to a minimum. For further advice, consult a nutritionist – we love talking about this stuff!

6. Get Your Fiber On

The American Dietetic Association recommends 25 g of dietary fiber for adult women and 38 g for adult men per day. Fiber is a crucial component of any food because it helps prevent big swings in blood sugar, keep your colon healthy, and best of all, it makes you feel full – so you eat less!

7. Stick with Short Ingredients Lists

Ingredients are listed in order by weight, so the first items on the list make up the bulk of the food. Look for foods containing unprocessed, recognizable ingredients.  If you can’t pronounce or don’t recognize some of the ingredients, put the product back on the shelf!

Another common rule of thumb is to look for foods with no more than five ingredients. Lengthy lists are usually a sign that a product has unnecessary extras such as artificial preservatives.

8. Look for Sugars with Nutritional Benefits

White sugar is highly processed and has been stripped of other nutrients. Instead of white sugar, look for less-processed sugars such as: Brown rice sweeteners (which usually include fiber), Honey (which contains beneficial antioxidants) or Molasses (which contains trace minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium)

Please remember even though these types of sugars have more nutritional value than other processed sugars, they’re still sugars, and should be kept to a minimum.

9. Be Aware of “Hidden” Sugars

Sugar can masquerade under many different names. Be on the lookout for dextrose, fructose, galactose, glucose, lactose, levulose, maltose, sucrose, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, beet sugar, corn sugar, corn sweetener, high fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, isomalt, maltodextrins, maple sugar, sorghum or turbinado sugar. You might even find more than one listed. These are all just variations on high-calorie, low-nutrient, added sugar.

Sugar alcohols deserve special mention – there are many different types, a few of the most common include: sorbitol, mannitol, and maltitol.  A food sweetened with “sugar alcohols” can  say “0 grams sugar” on the nutritional label, but if the product is labeled ‘sugar-free’ or ‘no added sugar,’ the manufacturer must list the sugar alcohol count separately.

In general sugar alcohols are not completely absorbed by the body, which means they can have less of an impact on your blood sugar. That’s arguably a good thing, but the side effects are often intestinal discomfort, bloating and gas, so our advice is generally to steer clear!

10. Look for Whole Grain Breads

If you don’t see the word “whole” before the name of a grain, it’s not a whole grain. “Enriched flour” is not a whole grain product, nor is “unbleached white flour.” They are the same as white flour and have been stripped of fiber. To maximize your fiber intake, look for whole grains in the ingredient lists.

11. Know that Ingredients May Change

Even if you’ve been buying a particular product for years, it’s still a good idea to glance at the ingredients list every once in awhile. Things change! A recent example is Green & Black’s chocolate – their dark chocolate was always deliciously dairy free, but since they were acquired by Kraft Foods in January of 2010, their chocolate now contains whole milk powder.  This may seem inconsequential, but if you’re sensitive to dairy it is important to know.

When you begin reading food labels, it can feel almost feel like a second job. But once you get into the swing of it, it becomes more natural. Most importantly, it puts you back in control of what you’re eating. Start with a close examination of one or two packaged foods on a weekly basis–take a moment or two to understand what you’re really putting into your body…and let us know how it goes!


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