Create and Curate

Guard Your Gut For Better Health

January 5, 2021

There is nothing better than waking up after a good night's sleep -- refreshed and excited for a new day. I woke up on January 1st, refreshed, having had a good night’s sleep, excited for a new day and a new year! The part about a good night's sleep and waking up refreshed, however, is far more complicated for most of us.

 

Even before 2020, restorative rest and feeling great were universal wellness challenges. Dozens of little daily lifestyle habits chip away at our ability to be the best versions of ourselves; everything from consuming highly processed foods and artificial ingredients to sedentary lifestyles with too much screen time. Just one sneaky, little habit, like overeating sugar or using artificial ingredients, can start a chain reaction that affects our sleep and mood. High quality sleep is required for the body and brain detox and repair; directly affecting our immune system, energy levels, and metabolism. Restorative rest is what helps us live longer and better, and it begins in our gut.

 

That's right -- our gut is responsible for producing several important hormones that directly effect sleep, including serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is produced mainly in the GI tract and has many functions, including regulating appetite, mood, and sleep. Serotonin is also a precursor of melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone we all remember from biology that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, known as the circadian rhythm. The body relies on this signaling to achieve the deep sleep state required to detox and restore itself. Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation in the body; and chronic inflammation is a major contributor to every disease we want to avoid. 

 

The brain and the intestine and its microbiota all communicate; when we impact one, we influence the others. Our brain is responsible for controlling food absorption and the ability to move fluids throughout the body. The intestines and microbiota send signals that effect our brain and behavior. This is an oversimplification of the gut-brain axis communication system, but basically the brain and the gut can control each other. What we eat is vitally important to our health because it signals reactions in our bodies and brains. 

 

Every bite or sip we take is a chemically coded message that tells the body to do something. When we feed our bodies the right things -- and all that messaging works well — we look good and feel great. Feed the body processed, sugary, chemically enhanced things, we are messing with Mother Nature. The gut can only do so much to protect us from bad food. It all comes down to eating in a way that allows the gut to send the right chemical messages to the brain.

 

If we want to sleep like babies and wakeup refreshed and energized, it begins on the end of our fork. The antidote to gut disruption is a plant-rich eating plan filled with prebiotics (plant fibers) that nourish our good gut bacteria (probiotics) and improve our gut health. It is essential to use what we eat and drink strategically to get the gut-brain axis signaling right. When the signaling is right wellness falls into place; our immune response is strong, our weight is healthy, and restorative rest comes easy.

 

Food in its most basic form is calories, and calories in their most basic form are energy. Think of food as fuel. What do we want our food, or fuel, to do for us? If we want more energy, a clear mind, improved mood, better sleep, and a body we love that loves us back, we must eat in a way that sends those signals. Mindless eating is the enemy of mindful health.

 

Harness the power on the end of your fork to make 2021 a year of culinary wellness, one bite at a time. 

 

Detox with Guidance here.


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Let’s All Deck The Halls And Light The Lights

December 7, 2020

And just like that … There are only 24 days left of 2020!

 

I am so ready to celebrate as we end the year that will forever be a demarcation point in our lives. I suspect in the future we will refer to before 2020, and after 2020. How we experience the holidays this year will be no exception -- picture family viewing parties of seasonal videos, holiday classics on Netflix, and Zoom holiday dinners.

Kristen Coffield (Photo by: Kristen Coffield) Kristen Coffield

 

Like many of us, the holidays have always held a certain magic for me. When I was growing up, my mother had a shop in our little town of Bronxville, New York. She was a single mother for many years; and her store, which was called Cliffhangers, was much more than a way to support our family -- it was the embodiment of who she was. Her name was Joy and that easily could have been the name of her store.

 

While my mother passed ten years ago, people continue to share stories of my mother and her store. Many get teary sharing a story of some kindness she showed them, or they tell me of a special item she sold them that continues to bring them JOY. She was well known and well loved.  My mother knew how to make shopping and the SHOPPER feel special.

 

When the holidays came, my mother decorated her store windows as visual fantasies to capture the imagination. People came from all over to see them. I can still remember sitting with my sister, watching my mother create a window display that looked like the perfect Christmas morning. Meticulously wrapped gifts under a perfectly decorated tree. Stockings fat with gifts hung by the chimney with care. A plate of cookies and a glass of milk that Santa had obviously enjoyed. My mother understood that the best gifting is an emotional connection. Objects have more meaning when the purchaser is swept up in the spirit of gifting. 

Kristen Coffield (Photo by: Kristen Coffield) Kristen Coffield

 

This year, we all have so many challenges to how we shop. Shopping online can be impersonal, and, quite honestly, I give the online behemoths enough business. This season, I plan to align my gifting with my values; giving thoughtful items from businesses and companies that align with the values I hold dear -- Health, happiness and protecting the future of the planet we all call home. 

 

I love helping people understand how they can turn their habits into good health. It’s crazy, but the little things we do over and over actually add up. They have a huge impact on our wellness destiny. Knowing this motivated me to write a book that everyone can use as a starting point for improving their health. How Healthy People Eat: An Eaters Guide To Healthy Habits shares the gift of healthy habits. One bite at a time we can make choices that are better for us and better for the planet. You can pre-order your copy for a January 5th delivery here

 

For the wine drinkers on my list, I am selecting natural wines that are tested for purity from grape to glass. Zero growing chemicals, zero added sugar and none of the 250 allowable additives that wine makers use to create consistency in their products. Wine should be interesting, taste of the place where it is grown, and pair perfectly with food. I have curated a lovely selection. Order ASAP to get free shipping and a guaranteed Christmas delivery.

Kristen Coffield (Photo by: Kristen Coffield) Kristen Coffield

 

In the spirit of holidays past, I put together a list of my favorite gifts -- Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas that are better for us and better for the planet. Thoughtfully curated items from women--owned companies and businesses that we can feel good about supporting. 

 

When I unpack the special ornaments from my mother’s store, I am transported to a time light years before 2020. When I hop on the Sunday Zoom call with our kids, I am filled with gratitude for the technology that can keep us connected and make it possible to share the holidays despite the pandemic. At the end of the day, and the year, I am grateful for the best gifts of all – family, friends and health!

 

Visit me at The Culinary Cure for inspiration and motivation to live your best life.


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Basic Rights Were Denied To My Mother And Grandmother

October 15, 2020

There is one essential thing every woman in America can do to leave the world a better place.


Exercise the right to vote. Never take the HARD-WON privilege of voting for granted. 


A hundred years ago, women did not have equal rights and couldn't vote in America. Put your seat belt on because women still do not have complete constitutional equality in our democratic nation. It would be a mistake to think that the rights we currently enjoy are a given.


My mother was one of the original independent women. She was a divorced single mother living in a small town and running her own business. Being a divorcee in 1964 was uncommon and slightly scandalous. My amazing mother experienced all sorts of discrimination in both her business and personal life. Her divorce left her with financial challenges, and she had no choice but to support her little family. The legal system favored men. She told me her lawyer said, "don't worry when it comes time for college Don will take care of the girls." Needless to say, that didn't happen. But my mother didn't let that stop her. She worked hard, fought for what was right for her and her daughters, and helped build a better world for my sister and me.

Kristen Coffield (Photo by: Kristen Coffield) Kristen Coffield


I remember my mother saying something that has stuck with me over the years. She noted that many of the women in our town would vote how their husbands encouraged them to vote. "Kristen," she said, "when you vote, it is only you in the voting booth. Do what feels right". 


It's worth remembering that it was only a few decades ago that women were denied access to contraceptives, which only became a right in 1972. Or that a woman could be disqualified for a job if she had preschool-age children up until 1971. And it was only in 1974 that a woman could have a credit card in her name.


This is the year we need to pay attention to our constitutional rights. Not get sucked into the many distractions designed to obscure and distract. Instead, take a bird's eye view of the constitutional issues on the table and understand how they could potentially widen the inequality gap between men and women in our country for decades to come. 


I want to ensure my daughters and their daughters will enjoy all the rights and privileges that women have fought long and hard for. I voted this week. It's time to do the right thing.

 


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