Chronic Back Pain? Bet You Haven’t Tried This for Pain Management!

Chronic Back Pain? Bet You Haven’t Tried This for Pain Management!

It wasn’t until I lost the ability to move that I ever appreciated my pain.

It was March, 2012. I had come off not one or two, but fourteen different medications – just a year before.

In that time, I found myself bedridden for the majority of the year, fighting withdrawal symptoms that rivaled a handful of the most hard-to-watch scenes in Trainspotting.

Being bedridden had changed a lot about who I was already. I had no choice but to lay on top of my sweat-soaked sheets, staring at the ceiling, waiting to get breathlessly sick (again), contemplating my life choices.

Many of them had been not just awful or poor decisions, they’d been completely toxic. Totally unhealthy. I had treated my body like garbage – for my whole life! I had run myself into the ground. Between my lack of thought with the food I put in my body, to the attempts I’d made at masking my pain, to the drugs I’d taken in hopes that I’d someday wake up pain-free, I realized that for years I’d been selling myself not just a pack, but a house full of lies.

I’d suffered from scoliosis, arthritis and excruciating back pain for more than a decade, but I’d never done anything for it except take the pills I was prescribed. Painkillers, opioids, muscle relaxers, nerve blockers… it never ended. When they didn’t work, all I did was complain, switch drugs and make more doctors appointments. It’s exhausting just to think about!

A little over a year after my withdrawal began, I was sober and began feeling well enough to take walks and to move. More and more I found myself up at dawn, butt in my meditation pillow, relaxing my mind and preparing myself for the day. Often I’d leave my workout clothes or running shoes out by my bed the night before – a not-so-subtle reminder to get myself in gear. Directly after this I’d get up, change,wake up my pup, put her harness on and take her on a long walk, hike or bike ride. This is when everything changed.

There were days I’d wake up convinced that I was too drained, too sick or too exhausted to move. I’d have absolutely no energy, feel more frail than I’ve ever felt or be in such excruciating pain that all I wanted to do was lay in bed.

But this new mindset I had gained while meditating forced me to push myself. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I pushed myself up when I wanted to sit. I pushed myself outside when I wanted to lay in bed and sleep. I pushed myself to get ready when I felt like I wanted to stay inside and hide. And something miraculous started happening…

It worked! I felt better, I looked better, and I GOT better – which had been the goal all along.

Today, my entire life – and my entire life’s work – focuses around this type of healing. Not only is exercise a non-negotiable for me, it’s something I truly enjoy. It’s my healing. It’s healed me from chronic pain, nausea, exhaustion, depression and unhealthy habits. It’s encouraged me to explore other natural methods for pain treatment, such as anti-inflammatory foods and spices.

I went from treating myself with Fentanyl – one of the deadliest and most addictive painkillers in the world – to treating myself with turmeric, one of the most traditional and widely used spices in the world. Spices like turmeric, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and skullcap (all herbs I take regularly) have been used for thousands of years for the treatment of pain and inflammation. Studies show that spices like turmeric work in a superior way to drugs by breaking down existing inflammation in the joints and supporting the body’s natural healing techniques.

Turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants scavenge molecules in the body known as free radicals, which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Antioxidants can fight free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause. You can use these spices in tea or in your cooking every day for the most effective benefits.

Below are some of my favorite exercises to combat back, joint and ligament pain. I practice these exercises 1-2 times a day for at least 5 minutes each – to amazing results! With regular maintenance I am now pain-free and have been off all drugs, including painkillers and muscle relaxers, for over six years! I am thrilled to teach others these ancient and effective healing techniques through my books, blog and media. I hope you’ll join me – and really start seeing the difference in your own life!

This piece was originally shared on Wicked Spatula
5 Tips To Get A Sexy Summer Body in 2 Weeks or Less:

5 Tips To Get A Sexy Summer Body in 2 Weeks or Less:

Summer is beckoning and fast approaching. With summer comes swimsuits, shorts, dresses and the reminder that you’ve likely forgotten to tone up for the last 9 months. You’re not alone.

I’ve rounded up everything you need to greet the season with a body built for your teeniest bikini…

THE EARLY BIRD GETS THE SEXY BODY…

Experts say that if you’re trying to get in ideal shape before your beach days, start eating your biggest meals in the morning. That’s right: start loving breakfast.

If you’re on my instagram stories, you know that some version of the above brekky covered in this seasoning is my jam in the summer. If you’re vegan, replace any meat products with beans or a fresh fruit salad in the morning for energy and stamina. 

I am a huge fan of smoothies, which are packed with nutrition and allow you to get so many fruits, milks, veggies and nuts in at one time. I just love to blend Moon Juice’s Power Dust, Spirit Dust and Beauty Dust into each one (this sampler pack contains all the flavors they make and has been my lifesaver lately!)

This affordable little blender (which also happens to look adorable and save space in my kitchen) is the best investment I’ve made all year. I’ve made thousands of smoothies already – first thing in the morning and right before bed at night.. I need something to tide me over while I make breakfast, and this is perfect. It’s single serve, so you just blend, replace the spinning part with a to-go top, grab a glass straw – and you’re out!


BOOST YOUR BUST...

I used to dread summer. Not because I don’t love sunshine (I do), or because I don’t love swimming (I do), surfing (I do) and warm days (love ‘um.) I used to be embarrassed about my body.

For a long time, I didn’t quite fit into any swimsuits. There was always this extra room at the top of each one. Room that stared me down, defiantly asking, “Where are the boobs that are supposed to fill me?”

I am really not a self-conscious person, but literally every suit I’ve ever tried on expected me to have more cleavage. I felt deflated and defeated. Swimsuits, no matter how small, are all pretty much designed for you to be busting out of. The problem was, I had nothing to bust.

Until now. This summer I am super proud of my figure and can’t wait to go shopping for new swimsuits. It’s the first year I’ve finally felt like ME and I can thank a totally organic product, made by women – for women!

This organic oil is a top choice for doctors, patients, bloggers, moms, students, influencers and women worldwide. For a good reason: it’s is seriously the easiest, safest and healthiest way to boost your cup size.

It’s a must-have for anyone looking to achieve their ideal summer body.

Genetix is a power-packed serum that pairs regenerating, indulgent herbal enzymes with hydrating oils to naturally firm, tone and enhance your curves. These thoughtful and natural ingredients penetrate and activate quickly to stimulate blood flow, encourage estrogen-like activity and promote the growth of new cells wherever it’s applied.

Handcrafted in micro-batches for potency and concentration, Genetix is a small, woman owned business who’s main mission is to help you be your most beautiful self.

If Organic Life readers use code “STAYWEIRD” this week, you get FREE SHIPPING + A 25% discount 🙂

Genetix states, “We wanted women of all shapes and sizes to have a healthy, natural choice in the crusade for a bigger bust. For a fraction of the cost of surgery, our Organic Enhancement Oil is developed to give women the shape they desire – without any harmful side effects.”

I simply do a healing breast massage with the oil every night and am so impressed that I have gone up full cup sizes with this practice!

First, surpassing my expectations, I started filling out many old bras and bikinis within just a few weeks time. Then, truly surprising me, I had to start shopping for larger top sizes (with a proud smile plastered on my face, of course!) Other people have definitely noticed and my doctor uses the product now too!

I LOVE it! A simple massage every night and you’re on your way to having the body you always knew you deserved, plus protecting your feminine health!  Oh, and PS – it works on your BUTT, too!!!!

Looking for more info on safely and naturally increasing your bust size? Read my full review of how I did it. 🙂


GET MOVING…

Wouldn’t it be terrific to peel off your beach cover-up this summer and feel more toned, stronger, and more confident than ever? A little movement every day is the guaranteed way to do it! Once weekly: Pick a cardio activity that really works up a sweat for a solid 45 minutes to an hour. Tired of the treadmill? This plan is designed to have you in shape in two weeks or less!

Here are some of my favorite easy moves for sculpting your summer body:

Good For: Butt tightening toning. Chest building. Breast toning firming.
How Many: 5 sets of 10 1-2 times a day
 
1. Begin with your legs shoulder length apart, weights in hand and on your ankles.
2. Activate your core.
3. Squat as though you are going to sit on a chair.
4. Hold your arms with the weights out at your sides and hold for 5-10 seconds.
5. Repeat
Good For: Core Tightening, arm toning, chest and butt sculpting, toning firming.
How Many: 2 sets of 10, 1-2 times a day
1. Stand straight, feet shoulder length apart, arm weights in hand resistance bands on your ankles.
2. Activate your core.
3. Stand on your tip toes while raising your weights.
4. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
5. Release and repeat.
Good For: Arm tightening toning. Chest and belly toning firming
How Many: 2 sets of 10, 1-2 times a day
 
1. Start with your legs crossed, weight ball in hand
2. Activate your core
3. Lift your arms above your head and hold for 5-10 seconds
4. Bring your arms behind your head and hold for 5-10 seconds
5. Repeat
Want more body building exercises that are easy to do at home? You’re gonna wanna check this out!

HYDRATION NATION…

Although diet soda offers a “zero” calorie alternative to regular soda, it still interferes with weight loss. If you’re serious about getting that body looking in tip-top shape, don’t drink anything but water. Substituting water for every other drink will drastically lower your caloric intake.

You sweat more when the temperature’s hot, especially if you’re working or exercising in the heat. Drinking water helps replenish the fluids lost by excessive sweating. If you don’t get enough water, you may become dehydrated, and the combination of hot temperatures and dehydration can lead to serious heat-related illnesses.

The best way to stay hydrated is to always have a water bottle with you. I recommend this one, since it’s portable, stainless steel, BPA free and holds both hot and cold beverages. There’s lots of different colors and prints – so have fun with it! Get one you’ll love to carry everywhere.

Be sure to hydrate before, during and after every workout.  It’s easier to maintain your fluid balance if you start out in a well-hydrated state.


START SMALL…

If you do nothing else, get yourself to walk at least 15 minutes a day. Walking is a great way to exercise, and studies show that even 15 minutes can increase your lifespan by three years. Find an excuse to be outside! Even if it’s just for ten minutes, it can boost your mood and your metabolism. Tag me at #CuredbyNature and lets talk about how the outdoors works to help you through the day-to-day in life 🙂

TONE UP + CHANGE YOUR LIFE WITH THIS SIMPLE MOVE:

TONE UP + CHANGE YOUR LIFE WITH THIS SIMPLE MOVE:

Five years ago, the word “exercise” seemed like the most daunting word on the planet. I saw no value in it and (possibly more importantly), I had absolutely zero motivation to do it. At the time, I certainly saw no way that it could possibly help me as a person.

There was only one problem: I was always in massive amount of pain. Yes, five years ago I was in excruciating pain – each and every day. The kind of pain that will drive you nuts. The kind of pain that’s unexplainable to anyone who hasn’t experienced it before. Blessed with juvenile arthritis on top of a bad spinal curve, I thought I was doomed to be in persistent pain forever.

Little did I know that just a few tweaks in my daily regiment were the keys I had been missing to rid myself of pain for good. Moving needed to be an essential part of my wellness – or I was never going to feel well!

What if I told you that just one simple move could activate your metabolism (speeding up weight loss), strengthen your core (hello six pack!), improve your posture (HEY job promotion!) and help you feel pain free?

Along with supplements, food and the right exercises, I have near completely rid myself of pain. And I’ve done this – not through painkillers – but through exercise!

Exercise should be easy and fun. That’s why I am so excited that Kohl’s has recently launched with epic brand Under Armour.

With Under Armour at Kohl’s, your favorite store will now be able to provide you with the gear you need to get going. You can easily access the extra-push you need to give it your all with every start – every day!

Not only was moving an essential part of my cure – without it, the other proactive steps I take for wellness (food, supplements, hiking, mind-strengthening) just would not work! Not only do certain exercises give me a competitive healthy edge, they’re damn fun to do!

For instance, if crawling isn’t a part of your daily exercise routine – it should be!

My new favorite exercise to incorporate into my routine is The Bear Crawl. This simple set of moves tones your core and improves your ability to strengthen your spine. Your deep core stability muscles (also known as “the corset muscles”) all become activated. The body contracts because it is on high alert to guard the spinal joints, ligaments, discs and nerves.

Not only does The Bear Crawl make you feel like a kid again, it fires up your metabolism, aiding in weight loss and the ability of your body to process fats. In addition to stabilizing your spine, your chest, arms, abdomen, shoulders and upper back will tingle after you finish your reps!

Mastering The Bear Crawl also helps your posture! Studies on posture are striking. You may think of this as an exercise, but you should start thinking of it as a brand new life!

Posture is so important on many different levels. In one study, students were asked to rate themselves on their job performance while holding one of two postures: confident and shrunken. The results were telling: how the students rated themselves as future professionals depended on which posture they held as they wrote the positive or negative traits.

Students who held the upright, confident posture were much more likely to rate themselves in line with the positive or negative traits they wrote down. Their confident, upright posture gave them more confidence in their own thoughts, whether they were positive or negative.

The Bear Crawl can definitely help you get there!

HOW TO BEAR CRAWL:

  • Get down on all fours
  • Keep your hands underneath shoulders
  • Keep your knees underneath hips
  • Lift knees off the ground
  • Allow the posture of your body to be natural
  • Move forward 10-20 yards
  • Move back 10-20 yards
  • Move sideways 10-20 yards
  • Move in the other direction 10-20 yards

That’s it! Super simple – and SO many great benefits!

Feel free to laugh at yourself – but this workout is SUPER serious! You’ll feel like a kid again – but get adult results!

HEAD OVER TO INSTAGRAM OR TWITTER:

Take on the bear crawl challenge! Post a photo or video of yourself doing the bear crawl and tag @Kohls, #GetYourStart, and #BearCrawlChallengeSweepstakes to enter to win a $1,000 Kohl’s gift card!

10 runner-up winners will each receive a $100 gift card from Kohl’s.

Bra Shirt Shoes | Capris 

Thank you to Kohl’s and POPSUGAR for sponsoring this post.

 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 or older. Ends 11:59 pm CT on 3/31/17.

See Official Rules for full details including eligibility, prize descriptions & limitations. Void where prohibited.

How To Stay Inspired To Be Healthy + A Giveaway with Larabar!

How To Stay Inspired To Be Healthy + A Giveaway with Larabar!

Many people treat their body’s a lot like they do their car: they don’t bother to understand the inner working, don’t fill the tank, don’t change the oil, drive it into the ground, take it to the mechanic and say, “Fix it.”  Hardly a way to treat the vessel of your soul!

Everything you do counts. Unhealthy habits sneak up on us: from hard water to our movements to eating junk food, indulging in something that may seem harmless one day often leads to engaging in it all the time. This all adds up in our body’s until we are sick, tired, fatigued or looking at someone we barely recognize at all.

Your body and mind are meant to be a whole, and to make sure that they are, your whole existence is based on feedback loops. Body listens to mind and your mind listens to your body. Awareness is the key: every cell in your body knows when you are nourished, hungry, or imbalanced.

When I was first detoxing from my pharmies five years ago, I wanted desperately to listen to my body, which was begging for real, delicious food. However, because I couldn’t keep any solid food down, I had two options: I could make a smoothie and occasionally, I could have bars.

I came to appreciate Real Food in a way I never had before. And soon, I was able to discern the difference between real food and food that claims to be healthy.

Eating real foods can change your life. It can help your self-esteem. It can clear your skin. Eating real food not only help you with personal goals, it can cure you of chronic disease. In fact, I believe firmly that this method is the only way to long-term healing.

Larabar has been a staple in my nutritional plan for many years. It also has fond memories attached to it, as Todd used to fuel up on them constantly when we first met one another (they’re gluten free and dairy free, so he loves them!)

Larabar is truly what got me through my road trip from New York to California (I probably ate one an hour!) Now, we pack them on every single hike (which, if you follow my instastories, you know is every single morning.) They’re a MUST in my bag during day trips. Back in the day, I would scour the nearest Whole Foods in LA for them during my down time on set.

I honestly feel like these bars are truly unlike any other. I am so grateful that I found them, and am so stoked on their new flavors!

First of all, they’re delightful as well as nutritional, so you don’t have to sacrifice (or even feel like you’re eating a bar!) Larabar Fruits + Greens have a quarter cup of greens in each bar, and you taste the delicious and bright ingredients. This is a great way to stay inspired to eat healthy. It’s a convenient and delicious way to add fruits and greens to your diet that are made from real food!

Here’s some reasons why I absolutely adore them:

  • LÄRABAR Organic with Superfoods bars are 100% USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project verified, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, soy-free and kosher.
  • All of their core bars have just 2-9 simple ingredients.
  • Everything Larabar makes is gluten-free, Kosher and non-GMO, with many vegan, dairy-free and soy-free options.
  • LÄRABAR Organic with Superfoods are available in three varieties, including Hazelnut, Hemp & Cacao, Coconut, Kale & Cacao and Turmeric, Ginger & Beet.
  • The new re-sealable pouch is perfect for repeat snacking.
  • Found in the nutrition and snack bar aisles in four indulgent flavors, LÄRABAR Bites are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, dairy-free, kosher and have fair trade certified chocolate chips.
  • Larabar recently introduced its first organic line that combines superfood ingredients like turmeric, hemp, ginger, kale and cacao.

Today, we’re letting one Organic Life reader experience Larabar for themselves!

To win a prize pack filled with Larabar samples, simply visit Larabar.com and comment below the ingredients of your favorite LÄRABAR for your chance to win a Real Food Prize Pack:

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

Compensation was provided by LÄRABAR. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of LÄRABAR. 

Photos by Carie Cruz.

A Total Body Workout That You Can Do Anywhere

A Total Body Workout That You Can Do Anywhere

With the new year, comes a new beginning, and for a lot of us new goals and resolutions. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to cleanse post-holidays and strive to be a little healthier? This week I shared a total body workout with lifestyle hub Inspired by This. These moves can be done anywhere with minimal equipment. It’s an easy way to kick start an exercise regimen!
 
These moves are amazing for toning, firming and sculpting your body. They’re wonderful if you have back pain or trouble exercising because they are simple and can be done at your own pace. They can also be done with or without weights and resistance, so you can accelerate your workout over time without having to modify it, just by adding weight. Best of all, they can be done in any order, because each exercise builds and focuses on a different body part (legs, chest, glutes, arms, back). Find out what feels comfortable for you and go for it!
 
These moves and more can be found in the bestselling 14 Day Fitness Plan, which San Diego Living on The CW called “the best way to become your own personal trainer!’ (You can watch that interview here).
Good For: Butt toning building. Waist shaping. Leg shaping toning
How Many: 10 sets of 10, 2-3 times a day (you can even do this exercise while walking!)
 
 
1. Stand up straight, head hight, hands on your hips. Breathe in some confidence.
2. Hips shoulder length apart, head straight, eyes ahead.
3. Raise your leg straight, focusing on your ankle. Add ankle resistance bands for a strength boost.
4. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
5. Back to starting position
6. Repeat 10 times and switch sides.
 
 
Good For: Butt tightening toning. Chest building. Breast toning firming.
How Many: 5 sets of 10 1-2 times a day
 
1. Begin with your legs shoulder length apart, weights in hand and on your ankles.
2. Activate your core.
3. Squat as though you are going to sit on a chair.
4. Hold your arms with the weights out at your sides and hold for 5-10 seconds.
5. Repeat
 
Good For: Core Tightening, arm toning, chest and butt sculpting, toning firming.
How Many: 2 sets of 10, 1-2 times a day
 
1. Stand straight, feet shoulder length apart, arm weights in hand resistance bands on your ankles.
2. Activate your core.
3. Stand on your tip toes while raising your weights.
4. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
5. Release and repeat.
 
 
Good For: Arm tightening toning. Chest and belly toning firming
How Many: 2 sets of 10, 1-2 times a day
 
 
 
1. Start with your legs crossed, weight ball in hand
2. Activate your core
3. Lift your arms above your head and hold for 5-10 seconds
4. Bring your arms behind your head and hold for 5-10 seconds
5. Repeat
 
 
Good For: Booty toning, shaping and sculpting
How Many: 3 Sets of 10, 1-2 times a day
 
 
1. Begin in a standing position, ankle weights on. Activate your core.
2. Hold one weight in each hand at your side and extend your left leg.
3. Bend at the right knee. Rise and Repeat.
4. Switch legs and repeat.
 
Good For: Core Tightening. Arm & Let Toning. Butt Chest Toning and Firming
How Many: 3 sets of 10, 1-2 times a day
 
1. Engage your core on all fours with your knees bent, weight bands on your ankles
2. Activate your core and keep your back straight
3. Kick back with your left leg, keeping your back straight
4. Hold your leg straight for 5-10 seconds. Don’t forget to keep your core activated
5. Repeat on your right side
 
How To Stay Active In The New Year

How To Stay Active In The New Year

   
 
January is the best time of year for a fresh start. Perhaps you’d like to be more thoughtful, more gentle or more kind. Maybe, like many of us, your mission is to get healthier or more fit. Whatever your goals, there are a few key elements to success that all of us can build on. These steps (no matter how small) can make any goal much easier to accomplish in the new year.
 
One of the big issues a lot of people face when sticking to their goals is the pressure they put on themselves. They focus on the resolution they’re setting, instead of the steps it will take to accomplish that goal.
 
Our goals should always be focused on self-love. This sets the stage for success, no matter what our ultimate objective is. Want to get in shape? I’ve partnered with Maurices this year to show you how to start!