50 Free Tools for Changing Your Reality

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50 Free Tools for Changing Your Reality

Why do we care:

Consider this: it’s raining outside.

I can think: ‘Hell yes! Feed those plants, Baby!’

or

I can think: ‘Fudge, soggy sneakers and paranoid drivers.’

Which perception do you think *feels* better? Which perception creates momentum towards a fully positive moment, hour, day, week, life?

Each perception holds the power to dictate our reality— our reality being the life we experience.

THEREFORE, and this is delicious & a game-changer, your perception creates your reality.

THEREFORE, THEREFORE, you can create your reality. You basically have a MF magic wand.

What are tools and when do I use these tools:

The ‘tools’ I am referring to are techniques, actions, to-dos that can contribute to shifting your perception from ‘Fack, it’s raining’ to ‘Hallelujah, I love rain.’ There infinite tools available to you. Some will work, some won’t. We’re all different and require different approaches— the trick is learning and implementing the ones that work FOR YOU.

Knowing when to use your tools is the most important step to the process. It requires an honest look at your situation, and that can feel scary.

But consider this— are the best things and the best people attracted to negative thinking and a victim mentality? Nope. So buck up, Champ.

To have all you want, you have to put in the work first. The first step to the work is... be honest about your current reality. The second step is... if it’s not working for ya, change it immediately.

50 (free) Reality-Rocking Tools for your Toolbox:

When you’re feeling the funk, pick a tool from the list & make it happen.

  • Hug a plant.

  • Go outside.

  • Touch your bare feet to the Earth.

  • Take 10 deep, cleansing breaths.

  • Flip upside down and touch your toes (at least reach in that direction, touching toes not

    required).

  • Drink 8oz. of water right now.

  • Prepare a nourishing meal for yourself.

  • Eat a nourishing meal without distraction.

  • Listen to an inspirational audio or video from Youtube.

  • Read a motivational passage.

  • Open the door for someone.

  • Make eye contact with someone.

  • Smile to 5 strangers.

  • High-five the next person you see.

  • Dance like a maniac for one whole song.

  • Close your eyes and visualize your favorite place to be for 30 full seconds.

  • Think about cute things.

  • Watch a video of cute things online.

  • LAUGH, really hard or even just a small smile.

  • Hold a smile for 30 seconds. I dare you to not let it turn into a real smile. OK, just let it ;-).

  • Hug someone.

  • Kiss someone.

  • Think lovingly of someone.

  • Yell aloud, ‘THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!’ Louder.

  • Go for a run.

  • Do 10 jump-squats.

  • Light a candle.

  • Meditate.

 

Copyright ToryDube.com, 2016

  • Sing a full song.

  • Leave an anonymous love note for a friend or co-worker (doesn’t have to be mushy, just kind).

  • Post an inspirational note for yourself on your mirror.

  • Paint.

  • Draw, color.

  • Journal about the top 10 things you’re most thankful for.

  • Keep a daily gratitude notebook.

  • Hold hands.

  • Organize your space.

  • Donate *stuff* that no longer serves you.

  • Volunteer for someone(s) in need.

  • Let sun shine on your face.

  • Tap your pointer, middle, and ring fingers (pressed together) on your chest and declare ‘I’ve

    got this.’

  • Close your eyes and rub your temples.

  • Take a shower.

  • Take a bubble bath, complete with no technology.

  • Take a nap.

  • Listen to a podcast about someone going through a similar situation.

  • Vent to a friend then vow to change your mind once the venting has completed.

  • Do a 5-day social media cleanse.

  • Say a prayer.

  • Go for a walk around the block.

 

 

 

Want some more? This video will change your life.

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Dear Tory: Binge Eating.

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Dear Tory: Binge Eating.

Dear Tory, 

Self-Control... willpower... I know I own it - I've proven several times how strong I can be when resisting temptation... Having lost 30 lbs and then again 55 lbs I know I can do it (and I did have a reasonable amount of healthy chocolate both times when losing weight)... Then other times - it's like I don't even know the definition of willpower - and I go through a huge load of chocolate or other crap. Part of my says - well - we'll just take care of the problem by EATING IT ALL NOW!!! if it's not here - then it can't tempt me... One trick I know is to not have it in the house... Or not order it in a restaurant... but I should be able to own a treat and not devour it senselessly... I try to be aware of what I'm feeling/thinking when I binge like that... but in the end - it doesn't stop me from stuffing my mouth... Please help! Thanks!

 

Hi Chocolate Lovah,  

I've rewritten this response a couple times. As someone who has struggled with binging (and purging! And restricting, shaming, mental-game playing...) I know there are so many layers to why we eat the way we do.

Instead of giving you suggestions in the vein of dieting, I'm going to assume you're ready to swim in the deep end of the pool. Until you get to the source, identify it, get cozy with it then ambush it with lots of gentle love and attention, nothing is going to change. As with all *real* transformation, this takes guts, patience, honesty and LOVE. Loads and loads of love. 

Before you start anything-- figure out: what's at stake? Why do you care about losing weight? Spend some time really getting specific with this.

Do you want to be healthy for your family?

Do you want to be healthy do you'll be alive to meet your grandchildren?

Do you want to attract a partner?

Do you want to feel more confident?

Do you feel sluggish and want more energy? 

Whatever your reasons, you'll have many, get specific.

Now with each specific reason (you wrote these down, right?)-- up the stakes. Imagine the absolute worse that will happen if you do not get control of your eating... all the way until you're emotionally wrecked by it. Take notes, close your eyes, allow this to really take hold of your emotions so it can motivate you to stay true to your needs moving forward. 

Now with each reason, do the opposite. Imagine what you'd look like, feel like, be able to accomplish if you were your healthiest, most confident self. Build it to feel as real as possible, feel it and believe it in every cell. 

Side note, your whole life is an ecosystem. Every aspect of you-- relationships, physical nourishment, mental and emotional health, fulfillment level, career-- they are all interconnected and influenced by one another. For a relevant example, if you're not taking care of yourself physically your self-esteem is going to suffer, influencing your relationships, career, level of fulfillment, the confidence to workout, etc. Be sure to look at the full picture when defining your reasons why.

OK. Now back to the love. 

Every thought and action we make starts with a choice-- a choice to think and act out of love, or to think and act out of fear. Love is support, understanding, patience. Fear is judgment, hatred, criticism. 

I'm going to guess your binging on chocolate isn't motivated by an immense love for chocolate-- but rather a fear of sweets not being available to you someday. Or in attempts to 'feed' a discomfort you're experiencing. Or even because this 'problem' has been your comfort so long and you're afraid of what it would feel like to NOT have a binging distraction-- because then you'd have to show up fully in your life. 

You've got to reconnect with you. You need to slow down, identify why overcoming this is important to you-- then be brave enough to slooooowwwww dowwwnnnn, face life moment to moment, and have honest conversations with yourself.

Do you have a regular meditation practice? I use this analogy often, but life without meditation is like trying to read a book right up against your nose. You're too close to the information, it's overwhelming, you can't see the big picture. Being completely engulfed in our own issues is the same thing-- and many times we make choices out of fear just to escape the discomfort as quickly as possible. Meditation helps us cultivate space and patience-- so when we have to make choices we can step back, evaluate gently and move forward in love.

Keep love at the forefront of all of your actions and your desires to diet, purge, hate, hide, restrict will recede. Acknowledge how closely intertwined your emotions are to food-- be mindful of it by being brave enough to take a genuine peak-- and then call yourself out on it. For example, when I'm anxious, suddenly I am trying to stuff food down my throat to soothe my nervous stomach. Now that I am aware, I have to be brave enough to say, 'Ok, I see what's happening here. How about I just work through this anxiety, instead of further fueling it with food that's going to make me feel even more like crap.'

It's so natural to need a physical way to cope with vague (but consuming!) emotional pain. The real learning and evolution begins when we actually sit with our emotions and feel them, so they can work through us.. and leave! Even if it means crying, screaming, being in a cruddy mood for days. Think of emotions like waves-- if they can can build then crash forward, the wave dissipates. If they build, then hit a wall, the power is sent backwards again (back into you). 

The great news is everything you need to make this happen already lies within you. Step up to the plate and be the hero of your own story, Sistah.

Love, Tory

PS. Cleansing and detoxing may be of help in this situation. Processed foods are emotionally rewarding (we even release serotonin when eating them, which makes us think we feel happy!) and we get addicted to it. The more you eat, the more you want. Focus on whole foods in organic, nutritious meals. Eat as much as you want! No starving! It'll be difficult for a couple weeks and then your taste buds, stomach and emotional response will reset and you'll feel clearer and stronger. 

 

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The first step to healthy change: Defining Your Ecosystem

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The first step to healthy change: Defining Your Ecosystem

Remember studying ecosystems in biology class? An ecosystem is a community of living, breathing, moving parts that all contribute to the state of the whole.

You’re an ecosystem. Every piece of your life is living, breathing, moving, changing, growing, dying– all the time! Unfortunately, we’ve been taught that if we just keep our food and exercise in check then we’ll be ‘healthy.’ We’ve been led to believe that financial wealth is the fastest way to ‘happy.’. Even worse, no one has ever acknowledged that our healthy affects our happy, and vise-versa.

Everything you ingest is metabolized within you, and affects you. Food is literal– you eat it, you digest it, your body takes what it wants, leaves what it doesn’t, you feel a certain way after having ingested this food.

But what about conversations? What about movies? What about social media, self-talk, your environment, the products you put on your skin, the chemicals you inhale? They all count too.

Consider this:

  • You watch something horrific on the news and you feel fearful and sad for the rest of the afternoon.
  • You read an inspirational book and suddenly you’re motivated and excited to kick some butt.
  • You go to lunch with a friend that’s constantly complaining and you leave feeling down, less enthusiastic about your life.
  • You drink coffee and mistake the jitters for anxiety– you feel nervous and insecure as you give a presentation at work.

AND SO MUCH MORE.

Point is.. *everything* that goes in the bod affects your quality of life.

Before you can decide what to tweak, add, or remove– you have to know what you’re working with.

Take a look at the graph below– in the center is your health and happiness, the two most important things to maintain for your ecosystem.

ToryDube

Each leg coming off of the center represents an area of your life that contributes to that health and happiness. What contributes to yours? Some obvious categories are physical health, mental/emotional health, relationships (to yourself, to others), self-esteem (your subjective evaluation of your worth), and job.

What about passions/hobbies? What about spirituality? What about community?

Create a graph like the one you see above and spend 15 minutes putting the whole of your life to paper. I promise– it’s the biggest, most essential first step to truly feeling like a rockstar in your everyday.

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Utilizing Food to Access Your Magic

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Utilizing Food to Access Your Magic

You know there's much more to life than dieting, stressing, dramatic relationships, social media, and constant fear... or else you wouldn't be apart of this community. You've heard your inner voice before, the tug felt like a divine calling, you're ready to have more access to the *magic* available to us each and every day. What is this magic? It's intuition, it's alignment, it's 'living in the vortex', it's experiencing 'flow', it's daily floods of gratitude and love, it's feel purposeful and as if you're exactly where you're meant to be.

To be clear, we all have our own path. Every body is different, everybody is different. The one principle that applies to EVERYONE is: we must nourish and strengthen our container (the body) if we want to lead a life of our personal full potential.

Learning to nourish our bodies with breath, food and water is the first essential step to evolving beyond a life of victimhood and circumstance. Not only is mastering this process empowering (one of the most influential tools for living a love-based life), but the formula serves for every other relationship (to all persons, places, things!) in your life.

There are two invaluable lessons within our relationship to food: 

1) What you ingest affects how you feel, which affects how you show up in the world.
2) Self-nourishment takes focus, intentionality, patience, and unconditional love.


To begin to master this formula we must find willingness, awareness and choice within how we treat and eat food. 

1) Declare your willingness. Say it aloud, tell a friend, invite a friend to join the mission, conduct a 'brain dump' in your journal detailing your commitment to this new level of growth. Whatever the approach, make the declaration clear and definitive.  

2) Find awareness. There is infinite stimuli bombarding the brain daily. If you want to find awareness around a pattern you have to spoon feed it to yourself-- track it! Start a food journal and take 2 weeks to write down what you eat, when you eat it, and how it made you feel physically/mentally/emotionally. Dedicate yourself to noticing patterns *without* indulging in your stories. This is a fresh start! Gift yourself a clean slate.

3) Make choices that best serve you. Until you can learn what's best for YOU, through YOU-- I'll give you a place to start:

  • Start the day with breath and water, always!
  • Keep it liquid, simple (1 - 2 food groups at a time), and/or raw as long as possible throughout the morning.
  • Eat mostly plants.
  • Drink 1 gallon of filtered water a day.
  • Make each meal a ritual. No cell phone, no TV. 
  • Find gratitude for each bite and place the fork down between bites. 
  • Give 12 - 14 hours between your last meal at night and your first meal in the morning to allow for proper digestion.
  • Give 3+ hours from your last meal to bed time. 

Your body is the container for your soul, and your soul has a direct line to the inherent wisdom, clarity, perfection and purpose we're all seeking. The more you practice reverence and care for your container, the stronger the connection.

Let's love ourselves to change the world. #thisisthefunstuff 

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Be a conscious creator

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Be a conscious creator

tory_dube

Life mirrors back to you what you're putting out there. In other words, you're creating it all. Whatever is coming back at your is feedback. Will you be a victim to the feedback? Or will you use it as information to evolve and improve? 

if you're always getting fired
if you're always attracting the same kind of relationships
if you're always in debt
if you're always sick or injured

... you're creating it.

if you're always finding extra money
if you're always getting 'lucky' with job opportunities
if you're always stumbling upon amazing adventures

... you're creating it. 

Use the data to get honest about how you view yourself and your life. If you'd like to be creating *other stuff*, start now. If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got. 

#thisisthefunstuff
 

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Know when to take things personally

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Know when to take things personally

tory_dube

It's easy.

👉🏼 When to not take things personally: 👈🏼

*Guiding rule: Nothing people do, even the most seemingly specific-to-you assault, is because of you-- it's because of them.*

Don't take it personally when... 

- Someone says something hurtful to you.
- Someone does something hurtful to you.

They are hurt themselves. Only hurt people are willing to hurt others. Feel sad for them. Bonus points: love them harder to help them heal.

👉🏼 When to take things personally: 👈🏼

*Guiding rule: We, as in the human race, are only as strong as our weakest link. WE ARE ONE. An attack on another is an attack on you.*

Take it very personally when... 

-You witness hatred, inequality or injustice. Speak up, action up, love up for our brothers and sisters.
-You witness someone hungry, hurt, in need, sad, angry. Speak up, action up, love up for our brothers and sisters.

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The prerequisite to all change

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The prerequisite to all change

Last week I sent out a post titled The Anatomy of Change. If you read the blog, you remember that the first two steps of change are willingness and honest observation.

(If you haven't read it yet, check her out right here:
 The Anatomy of Change. )

I then snuck into your brain and heard you think, 'OK, cool T, but what the hell am I willing to do? What am I supposed to be observing?'

So errrrrtt, rewind. I made you this quick video to help you make sense of it all. Grab a piece of paper and a pen to follow along.

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Eat Vibrantly to feel Vibrant

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Eat Vibrantly to feel Vibrant

EatVibrantly.001.jpeg

🌱👄While doctors/scientists/fitness experts don't really agree about much, one thing they *all* advocate for is... EAT MORE PLANTS.

PLANTS are fantastic for numerous reasons. Here are a couple...

1. Poor digestion causes food to rot in your body. This manifests in bloat, gas, skin issues, constipation, joint pain, and LOADS MORE. Plants contain fiber, protein and water-- all of which ensure you're pooping regularly. (Chill, everybody poops). Get that toxic crap (pun intended) OUT OF YOU.

2. Plants contain enzymes. Think of enzymes as little workers that ensure you’re digesting properly and absorbing all of the useful nutrients within your food. Enzymes are the life force within food. Want to feel vibrant and alive? Eat foods that are vibrant and alive.

Every cell in your body (and remember, there are 37 trillion…) needs specific nutrients to function. Want to ensure you’re providing adequate cell-fuel? Eat more plants. 🌱👄

 

 

Cover photo by Raya on Assignment

Cover

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Willingness Comes First

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Willingness Comes First

tory_dube

// WILLINGNESS COMES FIRST //:

To level up you've gotta change. The foundation of evolution is continual, happy, hairy, scary, fun, honorable.. change.

The foundation of change is a willingness to do so. You can't step into the *more* if you're committed to the safety of now. Willingness is like peeking your eyes open to the possibilities and saying, 'OK, I'm open to it.' A simple, but not always easy, first step.

 

 

 

 

Cover photo by Raya on Assignment, photo of Lauren Lee of RaiseYourBeat.com 

 

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The Anatomy of Change

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The Anatomy of Change

When I started nutrition coaching, it quickly became apparent that without a foundation of self-esteem, there would be no transformation within one’s physical health habits.

So I shifted to self-esteem coaching.

When I started self-esteem coaching, it quickly became apparent that without acknowledging the whole ecosystem that makes up one’s health and happiness, there would be no transformation within said ecosystem. 

So I shifted to a more holistic approach that focused on one’s health and happiness ecosystem.

When I started ecosystem coaching, it quickly became apparent that without an understanding of change, there would be no transformation in any frickin’ area of anything.

So here we are. Boiled down to the core, to the veeeerrryyyyy first step of all evolution ever, ever, ever:

The anatomy of change.

Change is the most infuriating and simultaneously, the most empowering concept. We have absolutely no control over most change, yet we also have complete control over most change. Bah! Mind-boggling! What the hell does that even mean!?

As someone who has surrendered to the truth that I will forever be a student of life, until my last deep breath on this gorgeous Earth, I wanted to know … how do we change?

Like, what’s the manual?

Gimme the play-by-play.

What are the steps I can take when I just really don’t want to change but know I need to-- or when change just seems too vague and cloudy and hairy.

Tell me what to do!

I figured you might want that playbook too. 

So I broke it down to be more digestible and systematic. And then I created these little shapes and charts because shapes and charts feel a lot more conquerable than heavy, hairy words and concepts. 

So here it is first, the anatomy of change in shapes and charts:

1) The Anatomy of a Perception Shift:

 

OK, now it gets exciting (or terrifying. But if you’re thinking ‘ah, fudge, lots of work!, use the chart to change your perception to think, ‘ah, fudge YES, I have the treasure map!):

2) So once we have mastered the shift, we start piling them on top of each other. THEN, the accumulative shifting creates… ta da… 

The Anatomy of Changing a Habit:

There’s no beginning, there’s no end— there’s just a consistent cycle of willingness, observation, conviction, shift (insert life and new ‘obstacle’), willingness, observation, conviction, shift (insert life and new ‘obstacle’), until forevs. The BEAUTY of it, though, is that once you’ve changed a habit— it won’t need this cycle any more.

For instance, if one of your stinkin’ thinkin’ habits is road rage and you use this shift system to change your perception of driving, which then leads to changing your habitual rage that’s associated with driving— NOW your new habit is habitual happiness and gratitude whenever you drive. Then, this specific cycle gets wiped off your plate of ‘things I need to evolve out of in life so I am happier and healthier.’ Check, completed, on to the next.

3) Then you take thousands of these bad boys, and use them for all stinkin’ thinkin’ habits in your life… and we then have...

The Anatomy of Personal Evolution:

Tory_Dube

And there you go— CHANGE no longer has to require a tsunami of willpower, expertise,  gym memberships, celery sticks and magic wands. It simply starts with a one little trapezoid at the bottom of a little pyramid. 

Say that aloud— change simply starts with one little trapezoid at the bottom of a little pyramid. 

🙂✨

Now that we’re super crystal clear on the simplicity of change, let’s define each little trapezoid. Also, so we can keep saying TRAPEZOID. 

• Willingness to Observe: 

Seems like an unnecessary-to-mention first step, but willingness is like creaking open the door, even just an inch, to peek inside. Without the inch of openness, you’re not seeing anything on the other side. 

You can’t see the light if you refuse to open your eyes, Baby. 

Many times willingness is the hardest step. We’ve all been in a bad mood—and most of us rationally know that if we just change our mind to decide to be in a good mood, we’d eventually get there.  But when you’re in the thick of it, that’s an obnoxious notion—one that feels like overturning massive, misshapen boulders.

The first step to shifting is just willing to be somewhere else, to feel something else, to exist in a new way in this moment. Usually my willingness sounds like a half-hearted (on good days, a mostly-hearted) yelp out loud: “OK, this isn’t working for me. I am willing to explore new options, thanks.” I say it aloud so it feels like a more official declaration—and so the willingness gods know I am at least trying.

Tip: Say it aloud or write it out. You don’t even need to fully mean it—you just have to be brave enough to document it with words.

• Honest Observation: 

It’s easier to tweak the situation if you understand what’s actually happening. Usually the best approach to changing the stinky feeling you’re experiencing is to… go in the complete opposite direction. To go even further, you can thank your stinky situation for giving you clues as to what you do not want—because in that information lies what you do want. You don’t have to get there yet, you just have to put a name to it. The trick to honest observation is the honesty part—there’s no room for victims here, because they actually don’t want to change, they just want to validate why they’re stuck in the mud. If you can’t look at your situation objectively, ask someone else to.

Continually remembering and committing to honest observation will allow you to start noticing your personal patterns. Once you know your personal patterns, you can catch your BS before it starts to stink.

Tip: If you cannot objectively observe your situation, ask a trusted friend or family member to help you. 

• Conviction to Shift

Think of conviction like a pact you’ve made with your authentic, infinitely full of potential self. The pact states, “When I am in a rut, I vow that I will ALWAYS commit to changing my perception about this stuff because I am too fab too let myself drown in the muck.’ And that’s it. 

Tip: craft and write out a statement of conviction— and post it in a few places you frequent throughout the day. That way, if you’re ever losing conviction, your post-it note can be a cheerleader for you. 

• Do the dang thing— Shift: 

This usually requires digging into the ol’ life tool box and employing a technique that will be a catalyst for the shift. This toolbox never gets full, so if you notice that something usually (even sometimes) makes you feel really dang good—drop it in the box. Being familiar with your tools is like being a superhero—you’re pretty much unstoppable when you have immediate perception-shifters in your pocket. Since your reality is reliant on your perception, you’re basically a reality-rocking machine.

There aren’t any rules to what the tools have to look like—EXCEPT that they have to be completely positive. Intuitively you know what these tools *aren’t, but I’ll give you a hint—if it helps you to escape yourself to be something else, ultimately causing more harm that you return to, it’s not a good tool. Some examples include: alcohol, drugs, reckless activity, food sometimes, social media sometimes, television sometimes. You get it.

Some super cool, usually free tools that I use on the reg are: sunset and sunrise viewing, moving my bod, saying a prayer, listening to a motivational audio, reading an inspirational book, dancing like a wild woman,  loving people, doing something crafty, feeding myself a nourishing meal, laughing.

Tip: Start a gratitude/happiness notebook. Throughout the day, when something has filled you with that magical sense of ‘holy crap, I love this’, add it to the list. When in need, refer to the list and mimic the action to get back to that state. 

Yes, phew, that was a lot of work for changing just one thought. I’ve got exciting news, though—the more you practice this, the more it becomes muscle memory. Once it becomes muscle memory, you get to stack these shifts on top of one another—and create a freaking work of art. 

THEN THERE’S MORE: Now you have numerous, new habits—really beautiful, positive ones that don’t leave any residue garbage in your path because they’ve all been tended to by your cleanest, sharpest, most effective tools. 

Everything we need to know is already within, Baby. See you out there, Champs. 

#Thisisthefunstuff

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Are all your cells burning?

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Are all your cells burning?

Are all your cells burning? Good! That’s where true transformation begins.

Transformation hurts because it forces you to investigate the stories we’ve been telling ourselves all along. The stories that validate our trials and tribulations, that confirm we are victims and couldn’t possibly have done anything more. Because if we could have done more.. and we didn’t step to the challenge, then we are failures, right?

You can’t always DO more, but you can always BE more. You can always settle more into the present, into the uncomfortableness of change. You can always be more mindful, more gentle, more forgiving, more compassionate, more empathetic. You can always be more honest, you can always *be in the now with more integrity. And that’s on you—only you can decide to be courageous enough to follow through with these things.

If you don’t, are you a failure? No. But until you employ this awareness and conviction, you aren’t fully going to conquer the trial at hand. And until you conquer it, it’s going to come up again and again in your life until you surrender and stop doing—and start being.

Wars on obstacles never work. You can kick the mountain, punch the mountain, spit on the mountain. But you’re not getting over the mountain until you surrender to the fact that it's there and trudge your ass over it. That’s choice number one. Choice number two is—how much are you going to fight the trek over? Or, can you surrender again and decide to enjoy the view? To be grateful for the exercise? To marvel at your body’s ability to move. To find gratitude for the tree, the oxygen, the intricate, brilliant design of nature?

Simple, but not easy.

Let's love ourselves to change the world.

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Here's how to recover physically and emotionally from running a marathon

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Here's how to recover physically and emotionally from running a marathon

Photograph by Erick W. Rasco/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Photograph by Erick W. Rasco/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

I ran my first marathon yesterday. I don’t know about you, but I woke up feeling like I was trampled by horse and carriage. I have a headache, stomachache… and wholebody ache. Between my painfully pulsing body and racing mind, I couldn’t achieve restful sleep despite feeling exhausted.

The obvious is… well, obvious. You’re going to be sore after a marathon. But why the headache, stomachache, anxiety, depression, hunger, lack of hunger, constipation, and diarrhea? And what’s this about being extra susceptible to sickness in the following weeks after a race?

Let’s start with the physical.

The headaches are potentially due to residual dehydration, low blood sugar levels, hormonal imbalances due to the stress of the race (I’ll explain below) and/or tension from tightness in the neck and shoulders.

The stomachaches may be due to intestinal dehydration, your digestive bacteria being thrown off by loads of Gu packets (I ate 6 yesterday, barf!) and other sugary energy supplements, and/or continued recovery from the physical stress. 

AND THE SICKNESS PART, more than half of your immune system lives in the gut. Your gut environment has taken a beating between dehydration, loads of sugar, hunger, and lack of blood supply (blood is shunted to the working muscles in the legs during the race). As you recover, your immune system’s attention and energy is diverted to muscle recovery—leaving little attention to fight off sickness.

WHAT TO DO for your bod:

1.     Intestinal health is key—as it’s essential for proper hydration, digestion (and the refueling of key depleted nutrients!), and your immune system. Start each day with at least 8oz. of warm lemon water to hydrate your stomach/intestines and stimulate proper digestion. Plus, the dose of vitamin C from the lemon is an added immunity-boosting bonus!

2.     Take a high quality probiotic. A healthy gut equals a healthy bod.

3.     Get back to eating healthy foods. I loved being able to eat full boxes of Mac and Cheese throughout the training, but my intestines weren’t loving the processed junk. Crap food is stressful for your body to digest. Instead, choose simple, clean meals such as whole grains (like rice, quiona, millet), veggies and proteins.

4.     Continue to hydrate between meals with filtered water and natural options like coconut water. Avoid drinking too much water during meals, as it will impede digestion and potentially worsen stomach discomfort.

5.     Take a warm bath, warm Epsom bath, and/or steam. Your muscles are tense and traumatized. Millions of tiny muscle fibers were torn during the race and your body is actively repairing. You’ve got to keep moving to get blood pumping to facilitate that repair! And heat will aid in easing the stiffness through improved better blood flow. **Hot environments are dehydrating, keep drinking that water.

6.     Massage yourself or pay someone to do it for you. Removal of metabolic waste (lactic acid in your muscles) and blood flow is imperative for recovery. By massaging the sore areas you're reducing the production of cytokines, which are natural compounds that are responsible for inflammation.

7.     CHILL. Your body doesn’t differentiate and discriminate when it comes to stress. You’ve just gone through a battle—be sure to be gentle on yourself in the coming days. Remove outside stressors if possible. Be sure to get extra sleep in the coming days—especially since in your recovery you may not achieve the deep sleep you’re seeking due to hormonal imbalances during rehabilitation.

OK, now your emotions.

You’ve had a massive goal to work towards (some have prepared for years!) and now it’s over. Maybe your expectations were so high that they couldn’t be met and now you’re consumed with disappointment. Maybe every expectation was met and you’re still riding high off of the victory! Whatever the case, many runners experience post-race depression. Sure, the psychological part makes sense—the big moment has passed. It’s like coming back from vacation—so much planning went into the process, and then it’s suddenly over.

But, there’s much more behind the slump then just FOBNA (fear of being normal again). Your hormones are funky!

Your endocrine system is a collection of glands that produce chemical messengers, called hormones. Hormones dictate the how and when of our bodily functions, ranging from digestion, to stress, to mood, to the immune system. One massive job of our hormones is to maintain homeostasis in the body—so, bringing you back to ‘normal’ (happy, calm, focused) during and after disruption.

You’ve just experienced a massive disruption. Without getting too technical, you physically and mentally pushed yourself to a state of extreme discomfort… for a period of HOURS. Imagine your little hormones working hard to help you get back to homeostasis when you’re stressed, nervous, damaged, exhausted, thirsty, hot and on an adrenaline high. It’s gonna take a while!

WHAT TO DO for your emotions:

1.     See the physical tips. Your mind and body are intricately connected. Feeling your best physically substantially improves your chances of feeling good mentally and emotionally. When your hormones are wonky, your emotional state is going to feel wonky too. Hormones play a large role in whether you feel stressed and fatigued or energetic and happy.

2.     Breathe deeply. You’re made up of 37 trillion+ cells and each one needs oxygen to thrive. Belly breathing, or intentionally breathing deeply through the diaphragm, can greatly affect one’s mood. The body mimics your breath—if you were to breath quickly and shallowly as if you were having a panic attack, your body would eventually think you were really having a panic attack. Inversely, if you’re feeling anxious or depressed, you can use slow, deep breaths to tell your body you’re cool and calm… and eventually you’ll really get there. Try it! Find a quiet, comfortable spot. Sit in a position that allows your spine to be straight. Place a hand under your rib cage-- this is your diaphragm-- it should be moving up and down when you breathe, not your chest. Practice taking deep breaths in and out, aiming to use the same counts in as out. (Example, inhale for 8 counts-- exhale for 8 counts). Try to sustain this for 3-5 minutes. 

3.     Limit caffeine, alcohol and processed sugars, they mimic anxiety in the body and will exacerbate any negative emotions you’re experiencing.

4.     CHILL AND SLEEP. I know, I said this before. But removing outside, unnecessary stressors (traumatizing movies, gossip, dramatic news stories, toxic people) will do wonders for your mood and wellbeing. If possible, intentionally surround yourself with positive, relaxing people and things. Also, lack of sleep is one of the top hormonal disruptors, do your best to make it a priority.

5.     Find gratitude. I swear, it’s a miracle drug. When in doubt, thank it out.

Hey you, congrats. You’ve achieved an amazing feat and you should be immensely proud. Long after the muscle pain and rollercoaster emotions have passed, you’ll forever get to say you are a marathoner. Best of luck in your recovery!

Want to know more about balancing hormones and detoxing upsetting toxins? Download my free ebook on the front page of my site, here. 

 

1 Comment

Dear Tory: What's the scoop on water filters?

2 Comments

Dear Tory: What's the scoop on water filters?

Dear Tory,

I recently moved from NYC to Hong Hong. I am trying to find a water filter for our faucet but the information on the local products isn't great (aka it's all in Chinese) and I tried to order the ZeroWater filter through Amazon but it won't ship here. I have been reading a lot about the negative effects of fluoride in water and want to make sure the filter removes as much of it as possible, especially since I have low thyroid already (possibly from fluoride?!?!). Allegedly there is also a lot of lead in the water here too, so I need to get one that filters that bad stuff out as well.

What are your thoughts on water filters? 


Dear Water Drinker (haha),

Considering water is essential to the life of every cell in your body and the health of every cellular function occurring within your body, it makes sense that you want the good stuff. Every time you ingest something, whether it be water, air or food, the chemicals mixed in with that substance tag along and lodge themselves inside your parts. Sure, we have a natural filtration system within us that is constantly identifying foreign stuff that doesn’t belong, and promptly removing it through urine, feces and exhalation-- but we have *so many* chemicals ambushing us now, that it’s hard for the body to keep up. (Wanna know more about detoxing those chemicals? Download my free ebook here.)

Do some people drink dirty water and survive? Yes. Do some people drink tap water and never experience an apparent ailment that ties back to their tap water consumption? Sure. But, according to EWG, tap water can contain over 300+ contaminants so if you’ve got the chance to avoid some of that crap for the sake of your cells, I say go for it.

Some of the grimiest contaminants found in tap water are:

Fluoride: In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first city in the world to intentionally fluoridate its water after 44 years of research as to how natural fluoride affects teeth. It was discovered that too much fluoride causes severe browning of the teeth-- but also, the hardening of enamel, which protects teeth from cavities. This discovery led to a controlled amount of fluoride being added to public water sources around the US-- ‘dramatically improving’ the health of teeth. At least, that’s the story we are told. 

UNFORTUNATELY, you can control the amount placed in water-- but you cannot control how much water an individual consumes. Additionally, fluoride is also in our toothpastes, mouthwashes, processed foods and beverages-- contributing to a massive overdose of this unregulated, (not even FDA approved) drug. Aside from other hairy side effects (which, let’s be honest, are just straight up effects), fluoride is an endocrine disruptor. The endocrine system, or your hormone system, is made up of the chemical messengers that are responsible for dictating how and when processes within you take place. This means fluoride may produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in humans ingesting it.

YUM

Other Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: As we learned from fluoride, endocrine disruptors are chemicals that mess with hormonal activity in your body. Endocrine disruptors may turn off, turn on, or alter the instructions hormones carry, consequently affecting the cells, organs and tissues in one’s body. 

Here is a 2010 testimony in front of a congressional committee on the issue:

“Over the past fifty years, researchers observed increases in endocrine-sensitive health outcomes. Breast and prostatic cancer incidence increased between 1969 and 1986 ; there was a four-fold increase in ectopic pregnancies (development of the fertilized egg outside of the uterus) in the U.S. between 1970 and 1987 ; the incidence of cryptorchidism (undescended testicles) doubled in the U.K. between 1960 and the mid 1980s ; and there was an approximately 42% decrease in sperm count worldwide between 1940 and 1990.”

Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs): VOCs are carbon-based chemicals that evaporate easily at room temperature (meaning they’re very inhalable). Some VOCs you may recognize are formaldehyde and acetone. Some items that release VOCs you may recognize are cosmetics, air fresheners, carpets, gasoline, moth balls, adhesives, cleaning products and .. many, many more. 

Herbicides and pesticides also contain VOCs and due to water run-off from crops, those VOCs make it into our water supply. 

Research shows that long-term exposure to VOCs (so uh, drinking water your whole life) can result in cancer, liver damage, kidney damage and Central Nervous System damage.

Heavy Metals: Some heavy metals found in tap water are arsenic, lead, mercury, copper and cadmium. Severe effects of ingested heavy metals are cancer, organ damage, reduced growth and development, nervous system damage, and even death. (Fluoride is also a heavy metal).


So yeah, I think filtering your water is a great idea. Problem is, not all filters are capable of filtering out all of the above mentioned garbage. Knowing what’s in your water would be helpful to determine which kind of filter you’d need to buy-- and the best way to do that is to hire professionals to investigate a water sample.

In Hong Kong, you can go through the Hong Kong Standards and Testing Centre and get an answer within 2 days. (For everyone else, google a local water testing lab in your area).  If that’s just annoying and expensive, just assume you’ve got a little bit of all of it in your water!

The best, all-encompassing filter I could find was… The Berkey Water Filter! It ships internationally, too. It’s big and kinda ugly-- but here are the specifics on its capabilities:

ToryDubeHealthyLiving

 

Ok, so what about the typical water pitcher filters we all use? They are better than nothing and generally reduce chlorine-- but they do not have the ability to remove fluoride, other heavy metals, other endocrine disruptors and VOCs. (Brita claims to remove Zinc, Cadmium, Copper, Chlorine and Mercury). 

Another note: Bottled water is usually just tap water. Sometimes it's tap water with ADDED chlorine-- beware! ALSO, the plastic from the bottle leeches into your water... contaminating it. Your best bet for holding/transporting water is glass or stainless steel that has a 100% food grade stainless steel interior with no plastic lining.

Love,

Tory 

PS. When your water is nice is clean-- aim to drink at least 2 liters a day. 

2 Comments

Find a community, Change your life.

1 Comment

Find a community, Change your life.

ToryDubeHealthyLiving

I ran my first pain-free 2.5 miles in 14 weeks this morning. The fatigue in my legs and the burn in my chest was a feeling I’ve missed, and the gratitude I felt today was overwhelming to say the least. (OK, I cried.)

I went to my first November Project workout last October. I started in the way that most of us start—someone bothered me about it until I ran out of excuses. Obviously, I loved it and came back for more. Back then I would #JustShowUp, but hang in the outskirts—not committing too fully to actually making friends. I’d come home each time and my boyfriend, an extreme extrovert, would ask, ‘Did you make friends yet?!’ and I sheepishly say.. eh, not yet.

Over Christmas break I went home to New Hampshire and my parents forced me to clean out 5 tubs of memories before their impending move. Apparently I was a hoarder, as I had every card, every picture, every love note I’d ever been given saved in those tubs. I stayed up all night, all week, reading through every single one. I’d make peace with it, stepping into a life I’ve forgotten for a long time, then put it in the trash bag. It was part nostalgic- part heartbreaking. Every note, award or trophy said the same thing—Girl, you’ve got spunk and it’s really fucking awesome to know you.

I won ‘Most Spirited’ in High School, ‘Most Heart’ on the basketball court (OK, that’s totally because I wasn’t that great at anything else on the court), ‘Miss Congeniality’ for my dance company. People commented that I was the silliest, funniest girl they knew.

Shit. What? 

In NYC I was a hermit. I was shy. After 8 years of being in the city I had a total of 3 friends I would lean on—and I still wouldn’t really let them in. I have two Besties that see the silliest, craziest side of me—and one is my SISTER who lives in Cali, and my sister-from-another-mother that lives in Florida. I’d lost myself. I’d surrendered to the bitchiness of NYC and let it suck me dry while I was so distracted 'making my dreams come true.'

I created an event on facebook when I got back to NYC and decided I was going to put in effort to make some November Project friends. I reintroduced myself online, stating I’ve been hiding in the sidelines but I’m ready to party. Literally, like, let’s all go to a party together. People were receptive and enthusiastic, as I’ve learned is now just a given, and it was the beginning. I didn’t quite know what yet, but it felt good to start.

Fast forward, I ran my first half marathon in March. I had a goal in mind—a goal I wasn’t convinced was even plausible—and I demolished it. Shit, now I was hooked. I went to every NP workout, I started running 10+ miles on the weekend at a pace I previously thought was reserved for only ‘real runners’, and most importantly, I made some fucking friends. I ran another half marathon, this time with some pain in my hip—but you’re supposed to push through that stuff, right? And again, shaved off 6 minutes from my previous time—I felt unstoppable.

My career blossomed. My confidence went through the roof. My runs pushed me mentally to a place that seemingly gave me a direct connection to the blog gods—words poured out of me. Some silly and some funny snuck out. It was like the egoic dam that held back my creativity and inspiration was losing its strength and it was only a matter of time until the good shit trickling through was going to be a flipping waterfall again.

Oh yeah. But then this hip. Too many weeks of ‘I should get this checked out’ led to the doctors saying, ‘Sorry, you’ve gotta stop running.’

 

“You don’t understand, I’m running my first marathon in November. I finally got over the mental part of running—they say that’s the hardest part, you know? And I did it. And if I just push through this, #justshowup, I’ll be fine I think. This is my year, the dam is about to break,’ I’d plead back.

They ultimately won. I couldn’t argue with the pain I felt trying to walk.

It felt like I was going through a breakup. I lost some anxiety weight, I lost my inspiration and creativity. I forgot how to de-stress without being able to throw on some sneakers and run it out.  I had my first panic attack in over 3 years. I was just trudging through the motions. Nothing feels heavier than just going through the motions. I surrendered to the idea of not running the NY marathon, not going to the NP Summit (a massive race/party each year). My self-esteem plummeted and I assumed my running friends would dissipate too. 

I’m a Life Coach. I coach LIVING, what a silly thing to say. I am a glorified cheerleader, I love people unconditionally and without judgment—and when they think they can’t go anymore, I’m the one who takes their hand for the 58th time and helps them do one more lap around the obstacle.  We can achieve whatever we want if we are willing to be flexible and let go of the specifics we envision. THANK GOD I had to listen to myself telling clients this for 3 full months until one day I had an epiphany—you can only give what you already have. I was running reallllllyyy low on ToryLove, and when it was gone, I’d have nothing to give to my clients anymore.

I started Physical Therapy. I did a deep 30-day nutritional cleanse. I sang morning affirmations. I signed up at a yoga studio that reintroduced me to the dancer, singer, writer, creator and athlete I am every damn class. I continued going to the workouts even though it really pissed me off to have to stand on the sidelines. I ‘helped’ the leaders with the taking pictures at November Project workouts, even though I know he just created a job for me so I could feel useful for a bit. I cheered my face off for races I couldn’t run.

But I still had this nagging feeling of ‘I’m almost there.’ I wouldn’t allow myself to be THERE until I could run again.

And today was the day. A mile into my pain-free (aside from my burning lungs, oh my lanta) run I started crying and thought I’M FUCKING BACK, BABY. But then that ToryLove I cultivated these past couple months—with the help of a community unconditionally loving ME (they totally didn't go away even though I couldn't run)—reminded me, ‘You’ve been back for a while now.’

It’s easy to confuse exactly where our energy should be put to use. I put it in all the wrong places it for a longass time. I’d even say the past 8 years I’ve been a floundering mess. The answer is far more simple than we give it permission to be. It’s just Love, flexible, non-judgmental love. It’s being brave enough to boldly love your community, your body, your life in all it's forms. It’s showing the fuck up for YOURSELF— even when it doesn’t look exactly like you thought it was going to look. It’s patiently rehabbing your foot so you can run that marathon in memory of your mom, or relentlessly staying positive and vibrant after undergoing surgery to remove cancer, or racing faster than the last time, or racing slower than the last time, or eating to nourish, or getting enough sleep, or cutting out toxic friends and putting yourself out there to meet quality ones.

The power of unconditional love is immense. The power of community is immense. Put them together (plus a massive dose of post-workout endorphins) and you’ve got November Project. Thank you.

May you be infinitely flexible and constantly amazed (and amazing).

1 Comment

Dear Tory: Help! I don't know what to eat at school.

Comment

Dear Tory: Help! I don't know what to eat at school.

Dear Tory, 

I've just graduated from high school and I'm scared out of my brain about going to college because of the food. I was wondering if you have any advice, insight, anything to save me from dreading the food. I currently try to eat as clean as I can, but I know my school doesn't have quinoa, chia seeds and avocados at my leisure! Ahh!

 


Hey College Go-er, 

Chill girl. College is going to be an overwhelmingly fun and evolutionary experience for you-- don't sweat the small stuff. If you slow down and stay present, listen to your body (aka don't stuff your exhaustion/anxiety/insecurities/excitements with Oreos and alcohol) and rely on your intuition, you're going to be absolutely fine. 

There's a practice intuitive eating specialists often use with (very) overweight children where the parent can no longer tell the child what to eat. For every meal, the parent/caretaker provides a normal meal and dessert at the same time, not placing special emphases on anything offered. Sure, the kid chooses dessert for a while. But, once the dessert isn't so forbidden anymore it loses it's appeal.  After a few weeks, the child regains his nutritional intuition and starts choosing foods that his body is telling him he needs... and all is well and balanced again. 

Lucky for you, this applies to college students too. Even luckier, you have the ability to understand and notice when you feel drained, bloated, tired, unfocused. Pay attention and you'll know when you need to clean up what you ingest. Other times, enjoy the tasty stuff. Knowing it's available every day should inspire you to eat it only when you really want it-- not to eat it just because it's there. 

OK, so day-to-day meals. While you can't control the menu, you can control what you choose. You will absolutely have rice, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, beans, lean meats, roasted veggies and salads. I bet you'll even have avocados at the salad bar! Joy. 

**A note about rice**: Somewhere along the line we all decided carbs were the devil. Hi, you need carbs. And all carbs are not created equally. Carbs such as rice, millet, quinoa and farro contain the bran, endosperm and germ-- hence why we call them 'whole,' they've got all their parts still.

  • When you eat a whole grain, in it's whole form, the fats, fibers, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals are in perfect, beautiful proportions to digest most effectively. With the support of the fiber, fats and protein-- the sugar from the carbs do not spike your blood sugar so drastically. Other examples of 'good carbs' that contain fat and fiber are vegetables, beans, fruits. 
  • When you eat a white grain, the carbs are not supported and they rush into your system-- causing you to have a high, then a crash. The blast of 'quick energy,' or glucose, from the sugar is shocking to the system and can cause health complications. 
  • Processed grains, even whole ones, have been ground up and mixed with other BS to create the desired texture, color and taste of your bread/chips/cakes/cookies.
ToryDubeHealthyLiving

Point is, brown and black rice is acceptable. Eat it. 

NEXT. I did a little snooping and found that it's OK to have a mini fridge in your dorm. You can also have a mini blender! With your fridge and blender, the smoothie possibilities are endless. Keep some greens and fresh fruit in your fridge. Keep some raw nuts, chia seeds, green powders, and whatever else to float your boat on your shelves-- and you've got yourself at least one bangin', packed-with-nutrition meal a day.

QUICK TIPS:

1. Start the day with WATER. If you can add some lemon juice in there for detoxifying and stimulating your gut, bonus points. 

2. Before you do anything, give yourself 5-10 minutes to chill and regroup before leaving the dorm. Take 10 deep breaths, listen to a meditation audio, jump on your bed-- just make sure you feel like you've collected all your parts (physical, mental and energetic) before flying out the door. 

3. Continue to drink water all day. Want clearer skin, less bloat, more energy? Water. To keep it simple, aim for 2 liters of water a day (imagine two of those big, nasty soda bottles). 

4. Try to eat 70 percent cleansing, clean foods-- 30 perfect other stuff. 

5. Love dat liver. 

6. As best as you can, get to bed before 11pm on school nights. Getting up early to study is a better choice than staying up really late. Your circadian rhythm ain't no joke-- and it'll cause you lots of stress, anxiety, fatigue, acne, weight gain.. if you're constantly fudging with it. (PS. After 11 your body thinks "oh cool, we're staying up all night' and gives you a second wind.)

7. Work out! Burn off stress, gift yourself some endorphins. A mix of weights, intramural sports, runs around campus, dance, yoga and just being *outside* will make for a delicious cocktail of health. 

Here are some other helpful resources:

Guiding Principles for Optimal Nutrition

Free Detox e-book (by moi)

And the previously linked, Liver-Loving for Weight loss.

 

Hearts. Kick butt out there!

 

Comment

Why can't I have coffee when I'm doing a cleanse?

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Why can't I have coffee when I'm doing a cleanse?

ToryDubeHealthyliving

 

Tory, coffee makes me poop. That's cleansing right? Why can't I drink coffee on a cleanse?

 

Eeeeek. A cleanse that solely makes you poop is essentially a laxative-- and that's not what we're going for. Laxatives wreak havoc on the digestive system (you're basically irritating your insides to the point of your body screaming OK FINE, IT'S COMING OUT) and set you up for debilitated digestion after the fact. 

A healthy cleanse is a *cellular cleanse*. Inherently, yeah, you'll go to the bathroom and probably shed some pounds. But, the ultimate goal is detoxing built-up toxic sludge from your cells. Some of this sludge is excess fat and BS, so naturally you'll be thinner and have clearer skin. 

First off, a toxin is a poisonous substance that's not supposed to be in the body. Think inhaled cleaning products, pollution, food additives, pesticides, beauty products-- we don't want 'em. They latch onto our busy, working cells and hold them back from being their best beautiful selves. 

A cleanse aims to detoxify the toxins. This happens in two ways: 

1. Digestion is relived by consuming only liquids. Digestion is one of the body's top priorities, and it takes a lot of energy. Every time you eat, energy is diverted from other things (like repairing cells and your immune system). Ever feel tired after eating? You energy was being used for digestion. When you consume liquids, the body is relieved of this task and can concentrate on it's other jobs.

2. We have an internal pH balance. Remember the basic to acidic scale from high school science? With the body, we call it alkaline to acidic. Fatty, sugary, alcohol-y things cause more acidity in the body-- hence making us feel junky. Raw fruits and vegetables bring the body to a more alkaline state-- making us feel vibrant and strong. (This is the idea behind curing disease with raw foods and vegetables-- when you shift the body's pH to be more alkaline, the sickness starves). Recap: Acidic body-- lethargic, sugary, fatty, sick. Alkaline body-- cleansed, vibrant, clear skin, excess weight flushed. 

Because the bulk is removed from juice, you can consume many more vegetables throughout the day. In one juice alone you can pack in the nutrients of a pound of kale plus loads of other veggies. This means you can affect your body's ph much more effectively than trying to eat 56 salads each day (which just won't happen).  

NOW TO THE COFFEE. Coffee is acidic. When you drink it during a cleanse, you're fudging up all your hard work trying to shift the ph to alkaline. THAT'S ALL.

Love, Tory.

PS. I found a coffee on the market that's essentially neutral on the ph scale... and fortified with minerals and coconut oil. Geeking.   

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Dear Tory: I can't get pregnant.

3 Comments

Dear Tory: I can't get pregnant.

Dear Tory,

I am currently going through infertility treatments. My husband and I have been trying for a baby for two years with no luck. I know that there are a TON of women out there dealing with this issue. It was interesting to me to hear that many other women (even many that I know personally) are currently struggling with this or have in the past. I could see how tips to calm your mind would certainly make a difference with this rollercoaster of emotions. 

What are your suggestions?


Hey Soon-To-Be Mama, 

This is such an important question for all woman, trying to get pregnant or not,  and I am so happy you've addressed it! I know you asked for mindfulness suggestions specifically (excellent thinking!), I want to address the whole picture-- as we all should with every obstacle and celebration we face in our lives, especially concerning our health. 

There are so many intricacies of our menstrual cycle. Unfortunately, many of us aren't even reaallllyyy sure what's going on down there-- whether we are trying to get pregnant, or trying to *not* get pregnant.

On the smallest level, we need healthy cells. You had about 37 trillion and every single one has a purpose. More that that, every single one is in constant communication with the other 37ish trillion cells, to make sure they are able to achieve their purpose and keep you healthy. 

Every single cells needs to be NOURISHED with healthy foods, providing essential vitamins and minerals. 

Everything we put in or on our body affects the health of our individual cells. *Detox* has become a bit of a buzzword, but it's a real necessity. Processed food, pesticide and herbicide grown crops, beauty products, cleaning products, THE AIR... all contain toxins, and we are ingesting them daily. On a cellular level, this means our cells not only need to carry out their purpose-- but they have to use energy to combat random BS that invades the body. The more energy our cells use fighting off invaders, the less they have for keeping you thriving. Also, toxins build up in the body and begin to coat, distort, funk with your cells. You gotta detox that crap out.

For more info on detoxing all areas of your life (in simple steps), check out my free download of 'Get To The Heart of Detoxing' on the front page of my site. 

Now let's consider hormones, which are the chemical messengers that tell your cells what to do. Hormones are responsible for numerous processes inside the body-- including but not limited to ... formation of acne, your appetite, love, arousal, the production of stress, regulation of stress, the successful formation of a baby... and so on.  Hormones are affected by the foods we eat, stress, sleep quality, toxins ingested, medicine, etc. 

NOW TO MAKING A BABY. 

I think because 1. we aren't really sure how a menstrual cycle works, and 2. so many people 'accidentally' get pregnant, we believe this process is a given. Like, it should happen when we want it to, when we want it to. 

Here are the essentials to makin' a baby.

1. There has to be a healthy egg, a healthy sperm to fertilize the egg. AND, they have to be present at the exact right time. (Did you know you only ovulate ONE day a cycle? Luckily sperm can live up to 5 days if conditions are perfect, but that only gives a very short window for the two to overlap). 

2. There has to have been the release of specific hormones to stimulate certain mucuses (I hate that word) that help protect and guide sperm to the egg. (There are other hormones and mucuses throughout the rest of the cycle that are released to block and kill sperm). 

3. You need healthy fallopian tubes for the sperm to travel to the egg, and for the fertilized egg to travel to the uterus.

4. The lining of the uterus (endometrium) has to be in the right stage of development for the egg to implant. 

All of these stipulations-- in addition to your health and hormones, contribute to your ability to get pregnant. SO, what do you do?

1. Feed yourself goodness- nourishing foods, laughter, people that inspire you, environments that make you giddy-- full up on it. Happy, fed cells heal faster. 

2. Check your blood levels. Many women are deficient in key vitamins (vitamin D) that support the reproductive system.

3. DE-STRESS. Stress causes your body to shut down. Digestion suffers, sleep suffers, mood suffers-- and then all of these things stress you out more. Get the F out of the stress cycle and see #1. 

                 3a. BREATHE (you'll learn in your free ebook download), and then download the                    free Headspace app and learn what meditation is all about from a sexy AF                                  Australian accent. 

4. Learn what's really happening down there. After adopting a holistically healthy lifestyle, being on the Birth Control Pill seemed icky to me. I was pumping my body with artificial hormones, that jumped in the way of my own hormones, EVERY DAY.  In my two years of research for a solution I found the Billings Ovulation Method. It's a shame it's rooted in a religion and sometimes withheld from women who aren't married or engaged, as this information should be available to every effing vagina on the planet. PLEASE check it out. And email me if you'd like more information.

I found this stuff to be so powerful that I am actually going through a process of being a certified teacher-- so I can help women escape birth control hormones and reclaim their bodies. 

Wishing you a peaceful, delicious weekend.

Love,

Tory

PS. Birth control wreaks havoc on the body-- nutritionally and functionally with the reproductive system. Detoxing and nourishing are essential to regain your health if you were previously on BC. xo

 

3 Comments

Dear Tory: Relationship troubles.

2 Comments

Dear Tory: Relationship troubles.

 

Dear Tory,

I'm having trouble in my relationship.  I am dating the most fantastic man who loves me more than anything and treats me like a princess.  However, we are different in every way possible.  For example, he is a morning person, I am a night person.  He is super driven and likes to do his own thing, I like to go with the flow and watch life unfold.  He's very fast, I like to take my time.  He's an introvert, I'm an extrovert.  He likes to hike and be active, I prefer relaxing on the beach.  He's a complete techie, and I would be happy never seeing another computer as long as I live.  It just feels like we don't fit together the majority of the time.  

We have been dating for years and these differences seem to be the source of any of our conflicts.  Our problem is never that we don't love each other.  With each conflict, we talk it out and both make compromises.  But I'm just not sure if compromising forever is what I'm ready for.

The thing is, he's so perfect.  There are sometimes when I could not imagine my life without him, but there are lots of times when I just wish he was more into what I'm into so not everything in life has to be a compromise that neither of us fully wants.  I'm not sure it it's all in my head and frame of mind, or if we're just not made to be together forever.

Help!


Hi Relationship Troubles, 

I want to preface what I am about to say with: relationships are our most influential, lifelong teachers. There's no other facet of our lives that is as actively morphing and needing adaptation as much as our relationships.

Every given moment you're growing and evolving-- you're using the input of the day, whether it be conversations, traumas, victories, stressors, actual research-- and you're applying it to your life and outlook. Based on how this input affects you, you become a slightly new, evolved version of yourself. The person you're in a relationship with is also constantly going through this process. They grow every minute of every day too. NOW, the challenge is to maintain 'the same relationship' with forever changing participants.

Each time you grow, your expectations, thoughts and actions change. Each time he grows, his expectations, thoughts and actions change too. 

A guaranteed upset is to hope someone always aligns with your preferences. We have an innate need to be challenged, as it's the only way we learn. If you're comfortable 24/7, you'll never find a need to learn something new about yourself or your surroundings. Without challenges you're stagnant. Stagnant ponds smell weird and attract flies. When you're constantly pulled out of your comfort zone, challenged to interpret life moment to moment (instead of relying on a false sense of peace based on assumptions about someone 'just like you'), there's no way to be stagnant. Instead, you're a rushing river- forever changing, always moving forward, always colliding, influencing and being influenced. 

Compromise sometimes. Other times, do your own thing. We put too much pressure on our partners to be our best friend, companion, therapist, hobby partner, inspiration, lover, etc. Cultivate other relationships in your life, either with hobbies, friends or with yourself. Be sexy with it, get flirty, let there be a romantic spark with the things you love (of course, keep it appropriate :). 

So how do you know if he's challenging you in a way to help you grow or if these are just blatant red flags as to why you shouldn't be together?

Ask yourself this: What's keeping you together, love or fear?

Are you still together because you fear the idea of being without him? Are you still together because you fear not finding someone as kind and loving? 

Or

Are you still together because you love him, because his love invigorates you and pushes you to be a better person-- buuutttt, there's little list of things in the back of your mind that kind of stinks?

Take inventory next time you're together. Is he a nourishing meal or a snickers bar? Does his presence fuel you in a way that builds you up, challenges you to be braver, bigger, louder? Or does he make you feel good for a minute, just because having someone so lovely on paper is comforting, but then later you're drained and grouchy?

Toss logistics out the window. There's nothing logical about love. It's the best and the worst feeling in the world. You'll always be able to tell whether it's worth fighting through the 'worst feelings' if the 'best feelings' are just so good they make up for it. Or maybe stop fighting the worst feelings all together and ease into life, certain you're at least growing throughout the discomfort. 

Putting love at the forefront of all of your decisions doesn't mean having to always say 'yes.' It means being present, taking an honest look at what would be best for you, and being brave enough to make it happen... even if it means being uncomfortable now and again.

Love,

Tory

 

Have a question? Email Tory at Tory@hotchickpea.com and your question may be posted. 

 

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The *real* reason you should get healthy.

5 Comments

The *real* reason you should get healthy.

ToryDubeHealthyLiving

I got the philanthropy bug at 14-years-old after organizing a carwash for a little girl in my community that was battling leukemia. Her name is Tori, my name is Tory—I felt an obligation to help out my soulsister even though it wasn’t that simple in my high school brain. Nothing feels simple in a high school brain.

I was an overachieving teen. I strived for perfect grades, I danced for an elite performing company, I was president of student council. Experiencing the love and appreciation of Tori and her family was another validation to add to my list, another way to feel like I had a purpose in this massive world.

I couldn’t stop volunteering. I couldn’t get away from children and their ability to live freely and lovingly. It was only when in the presence of children that I too could live freely and lovingly because despite the happy, productive and confident façade, I hid a nasty secret. At the time, the secret was I had an eating disorder. Now, I realize the secret was I hated myself, I had low self-esteem, and I lacked self-respect.

You see, self-mutilation, addiction and eating disorders are not the cause of destruction. They aren’t even the catalyst for destruction. The vague but massive feelings I described before-- self-hatred, low self-esteem, lack of self-respect—THOSE are the catalyst and cause for destruction. Because it’s difficult to process these heavy emotions, we look to create something tangible to process instead. I couldn’t communicate with my self-hatred, but vomiting in the high school toilet in between classes sufficed. My painful, empty stomach gave me a physical pain to focus on, to control, instead of trying to understand why I felt so worthless. Hating the fat on my inner thighs was easier to comprehend then hating myself for unknown reasons.

So I volunteered. And for a long time the love and appreciation I received compensated for love and appreciation I refused to give to myself. There are infinite amounts of people in need and I could help some, get the love, then move on to new ones. I even started to downplay my food obsession, justifying that if I was a ‘wonderful person’ with all of this philanthropy then surely it’s acceptable to have a tiny problem.

Once people start loving you, you have to face your inherent loveliness. Unconditional love has this magical ability to hold a mirror to your face and reflect back the brightest, most beautiful parts of yourself. But if I started to emulate the respect friends and boyfriends were showing me, I couldn’t maintain the restricting, hating and judging. Unconditional love is having a heart so full that there’s no room for fear. Fear and hatred were my comfort; I couldn’t give them up yet.

I was fortunate enough to have been loved unconditionally numerous times by friends and boyfriends. I was stupid (read: broken) enough to sabotage every relationship in hopes that they’d go away and I could continue living safely in my fear.

In my fear but also in my service to others less fortunate! So it was totally OK.

January of 2013 I was dumped by a man I worshipped. There were numerous issues, one being I was worshipping. I was certain I was going to marry this person, so I put all my focus on making sure he was perfect, stable, and happy as to be my savior, ah hem, I mean husband. Hint, no one wants to be worshipped. We want to be loved, respected, valued, and to feel connection—not put high on a pedestal and critiqued.

In my crumpled-on-the-floor, wailing despair, I heard a little voice inside myself say, ‘Hey Tor, if there’s ever been a time to repair yourself, this would be it.’

So I learned how to meditate. At first it was my overachieving ‘being proactive’ source of comfort, but soon it became the first facilitation of actually conversing with myself. And once you get to know yourself, you can’t allow your bullshit to linger anymore.

Fast forward. Without dragging this novella on for many more pages, the massive epiphany was that I hadn’t ever felt true service to others. Once I was actually filled with love for myself, THEN I had love to give to others. And shit, THIS kind of service is out of this world. Like, orgasmic times infinity, heart and brain exploding shards of chocolate kind of feels.

Secondly, I have a new idea to add to why you ‘need to get healthy.’ Your doctor, friends, co-workers, family, and the media are going to tell you it’s because junky food and junky eating habits will make you fat and sick. (They are somewhat right, PS.) But I want to tell you that your obsessing, worrying, validating, shaming, hating and fluctuating are causing much more damage. They’re distracting you from showing up in the world as your best self. Any second you’re NOT spending on loving the shit out of yourself, your family and your friends is a big ol’ time suck. Any energy you’re wasting on worrying about those cookies you ate could be instead utilized to make your wildest (but totally plausible, have you met you?) dreams come to fruition.

I have so much love in me right now that I can honestly say I love YOU just because you’re perusing Hotchickpea in search of healing or inspiration. But, it won’t matter until YOU love you.

May your heart be so full of love that there’s no room for fear.  

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How to be OK with Being Alone.

2 Comments

How to be OK with Being Alone.

ToryDubeWellness.com

Our biggest, boldest, constant need is intimacy. We want to feel loved, needed, wanted. We want to be touched, to touch, to experience the presence of others. 

The problem is, many of us rely on other people to provide this intimacy-- and sometimes your family, partners and friends just won't be available for you. Or, they may be available, but not in the way you expect them to be, which creates a whole new set of disappointments.

Relying on others to fulfill a deep basic need is a recipe for disaster. Relationships are forever changing and your needs are constantly shifting. I was never too great at math, but with infinite pieces of uncertainty to take into account, it's going to be rare that everything falls into place and you're completely fulfilled in the intimacy department. 

So, how can you experience intimacy and connectedness if no one else is around? Get intimate with LIFE. 

We tend to live big moment to big moment, skating over the inbetweens.  I can completely check out while folding laundry and suddenly, 30 minutes later, I'm back on this planet and I can barely remember what just happened. In the interim, I missed the opportunity to feel the warmth of newly dried clothes, to smell the sweet scent of clean clothes, to be full of gratitude for the fact I have clothes at all. There's a richness to every moment that's available to you if you click off autopilot and choose to be HERE. 

Surprise, I'm not going to tell you you have to start meditating. (I think you should, though-- for the record.) Meditation is abdominal work for your happiness. Just as you don't want to be floppy and tossed around during a workout, you don't want your mood and emotions to be tossed around during your life. There's a misconception that in meditation you check out and your mind goes somewhere else. Instead, meditation is a constant practice of bringing yourself back to the present. 

If you haven't found the time, energy or courage to sit and meditate, I encourage you to start LIVING meditation. Live mindfully. Cultivate an intimacy with your life that gives you goosebumps and makes you giddy. If you know me, you know I fall madly in love with every sunset and can't stop talking about good looking trees. Sure, I like humans, but if all else fails I will have my moments with sunsets and trees to make my heart plump with lovin. 

Today, try this:

Notice the breeze on your body. How does it feel? (It feels really fcking good, right?)

When washing your hands really acknowledge the water and bubbles. How does it feel? How does it look?

Dance. Alone. With your eyes closed. Get funky and every time your mind wanders to self-consciousness, snap it back to the present and your booty poppin. 

Take a media break. Even for an hour. The constant, instant gratification from social media is like eating junk food. The more you eat it, the more you want it. Retrain your brain to be just as amused by the sunset as it is to see how many likes you just got on instagram. Disconnect to reconnect. 

Do something kind for someone else. Hell, do like 1000 kind things today... then don't tell anyone about it. Donate anonymously, clean up someone else's mess, leave a dollar on a vending machine, pay for the person behind you at the tollbooth. Feel the high of being a stellar person and indulge in the feeling alone. 

2 Comments