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Filtering by Tag: diet

Spring Cleaning for Home and Health

Jennifer Oechsner

As the days become longer and the first cherry blossoms show themselves in Portland, I notice myself having the desire to clean house. Its time to eliminate clutter. Clutter in my closets, and clutter in my body. During the colder, wetter winter months it is easy to become stagnant. We spend more time indoors, less time being active and heavy comfort foods seem so much more appealing. Not only that, but those New Year's resolutions we were so sure about just 2 short months ago may have fallen to the wayside. Now is the time to turn things around.  

  1. Let go of clutter. Fill (at least) one garbage bag with things you no longer use. Those t-shirts that stay scrunched in the bottom of the drawer. The old, ratty tennis shoes you keep saving "just in case". The sweaters that you think you just might wear again but have stayed on the closet shelf for another winter. Maybe you have a drawer full of mismatched discolored socks you could toss. I recommend donating your lightly used items to your favorite organization. Your discarded items might help someone in need.
  2. Clean up your diet. Can you really commit making change? Try a 3 day juice fast, or give up dairy and sugar for a month. How about a week without coffee to give your adrenal glands a break? Try going vegan and/or gluten free for a 2-4 weeks. Challenge yourself to get 8 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Even something as simple as increasing your water intake to 8 glasses of water every day can help flush out your body. If you do have a health issue you are working on, adjusting your diet can have a strong impact. Digestive upset, low energy, sleep disruption, skin issues and sore joints due to inflammation can all be traced back to the gut which is directly effected by the foods we eat. But you have to be patient. Food is medicine but it doesn't work quickly like pharmaceuticals. Give your body time to adapt to adjustments. If you are unsure about what you need, it can be beneficial to enlist the help of a nutrition professional to guide you down the right path. I can help!
  3. Get your fitness back on track. Are you keeping up with regular workouts but finding that you have hit a plateau? It could be time to change things up. To get the most out of your workouts its important to alter your routine every 4-6 weeks. The body is an efficient machine and it wants to save energy where possible. If you keep doing the same workout, your body will figure out how to make those movements more efficiently, thereby utilizing less energy. To continue to see and feel results we need to continue to challenge the body. A simple way to change up your workout is to add weight and or repetitions to an existing routine. Giving your body new exercises is ideal in order to work your joints at different angles through different ranges of motion.
  4. Clear your mind. Implementing a regular meditation practice is a wonderful practice to start your day with. Clear your mind of clutter and set positive intentions for your day. How about slowing down and riding your bike instead of driving once a week? Connect to your body and to the natural world by experiencing the natural elements. Slowing down physically can clear stress from mind and body.

As a health professional I have a plethora of tools to draw from in order to help my clients improve their health and wellness. And I can help you too! Contact me today at to set up a FREE health consult and learn more about how I can help you reach and surpass your goals. I am available in person in Portland and on line for out of town clients. I look forward to hearing from you! You can learn more about me on my website

See you in class! 

Make Friends with Fat

Jennifer Oechsner

As a wellness professional, I am passionate about helping people navigate their way to better health.  Naturally, part of this process is developing new patterns of eating. I don't believe that a "one size fits all" approach is the way to go and I work with each individual on a case by case basis. Recommendations vary based on age, gender, activity level, dietary preferences and level of health.  Within these broader parameters there are several constants that hold true across the board. One of these is that dietary fat plays an integral role in health.

Even if you are only mildly paying attention to nutrition buzz words, Im sure you are all familiar with the term "healthy fats". Healthy fats include nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, coconut and oils derived from these foods. I recommend you include these items in your diet on a daily basis. Focusing on the whole food (avocados versus avocado oil) is the healthiest way to go. Even though you may be familiar with the term "healthy fat" , do you still find yourself shying away from these items when trying to be healthier? If so, there are numerous reasons to adjust your mindset around dietary fat. Here are just a few of the reasons you should be including sufficient fat in your diet.

  • Nutrient Absorption. Fat is essential for your body to absorb fat soluble vitamins A,E, D and K. These essential nutrients are important for all of the body's systems.
  • Skin Health. Without sufficient dietary fat our skin can become dry and irritated. It also helps produce collagen which helps keep skin supple and smooth.
  • Hormone production. Dietary fat plays an integral role in producing all of our hormones. Our hormones are responsible for metabolism, blood sugar control, energy levels, quality of sleep and sexual vitality. 
  • Fat increases satiety.  Meals that include fat better satisfy hunger and help us feel full longer. Fat contains more energy per gram and is broken down more slowly in the digestive system so it stays with us longer. 
  • Fat burns fat: For anyone trying to burn through stored fat, dietary fat is also your friend. To put it simply, the liver is stimulated by dietary fat. This organ is integral to burning stored fat.

When looking for ways to integrate more fat into your diet, it is important to keep in mind that not all fat is created equal. There is a lot of debate around this topic, but I do believe that  saturated fat has its place in a healthy diet. Healthy saturated fat includes butter from grass fed cows, coconut oil and animal fat (including eggs) from hormone free/free range/grass fed animals. Steer clear of deep fried foods. 

There is a sea of nutrition information out there and it can be overwhelming to try to navigate through it. We need to find balance. Finding the right balance for you is key. If you need help finding the right path, let me know. I am passionate about helping people become healthy and vital, to become the best version of themselves they can be. Contact me at to set up a free health consultation.

Fighting Winter Fatigue

Jennifer Oechsner

This cold and flu season seems to have hit especially hard. I feel like everyone I know has succumb to some sort of illness the winter. Just when I thought I was invincible, I too am nursing myself back to health after a run in with the flu.  It was no small feat for me to stay put at home for 4 days sleeping, sipping tea and watching old movies. But I knew that rest was imperative so I settled in and did my best to embrace the downtime.

When I felt illness coming on my first thought was to wonder where I went wrong with my self care.  I'm pretty sure the answer to that is insufficient rest. Sleep deprivation aside, I do make a concerted effort to eat my greens at every meal, drink plenty of water, and stay active. Yet, I still had to remind myself that it's natural for the body to fall ill now and again. When you are getting sick 2 or more times per year, thats when really you have to take a closer look at how your diet and lifestyle may not be properly nourishing your immune system. 

Whether your body is trying to repel this season's virus or fighting an illness that has taken hold, your immune system is hard at work and needs some extra TLC. Avoiding illness all together is part luck. How fast you can kick it out is up to your immune system. 

As you know, it is the job of the immune system to fight off foreign invaders and keep systems running free from interference. But did you know that 80% of the immune system resides in the digestive system? The food we eat has a direct impact on our ability to fight disease and stay healthy. Here are some of the best ways to nourish your immune system simply using your diet:

  • Munch on fermented veggies. Fermented foods including unpasteurized kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and miso are rich in probiotics that help nourish your digestive system.
  • Avoid sugar. Excess sugar encourages growth of unhealthy bacteria in the gut and disrupts its natural balance.
  • Eat beta-carotene. Carotenes are found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables including carrots, sweet potatoes and leafy greens. Foods in this category help activate the thymus gland, an important source of immune protection.
  • Pile on the cabbage. Cruciferous vegetables (including cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts & kale) help boost the liver's ability to flush out toxins.
  • Serve up some Japanese mushrooms. Enoki, maitake and shitake mushrooms are great sources of antioxidants and boost white blood cell production which help you fight off infection. Add some to a pot of soup or your favorite stir fry.
  • Add avocado. Avocados are rich in antioxidants, amino acids and healthy fats. All essential to keeping the immune system healthy.
  • Spice it up with ginger. Ginger is used in Indian traditional medicine to clear toxins from the lungs and sinuses. Make your own ginger tea by simmering a few slices for 10 minutes. Add lemon, honey and echinacea for a tasty immune boosting treat.
  • Stir in some garlic. Eating garlic helps fight infection and bacteria. Garlic is most potent raw but adding crushed garlic to cooked dishes will also give your immune system a boost.

Keeping all of your body's system running strong means eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, getting 7-9 hours of sleep and drinking half your body weight in ounces of water (150 lb=75 oz)per day. Including each of these elements in your life on a daily basis will help you stay healthy and strong this cold and flu season. For more ideas on how to eat for immune health contact me.