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Filtering by Tag: health

Hard Work Pays Off!

Jennifer Oechsner


Over the years I have had the pleasure of helping people become stronger and healthier. I love what I do and take great pride in guiding people to realize their full potential. I believe that a big part of connecting to internal and external strength is the ability to connect to the physical self. Just as we are a product of our thoughts and mental habits, we are a product of our physicality as well. To be healthy inside and out we must move our bodies. To know ourselves is to know all aspects of the self. Know the life you want to live and take steps to get there. Know the way you want to feel in your body and give yourself the appropriate food and exercise habits to get there.

We are so unique. What gets me up in the morning might be very different from what motivates you. Some people thrive on short and intense physical activity, while some prefer slow and steady. Some prefer the heat, and some thrive when it is damp and cool. Some people thrive on a vegetarian diet and others do better including animal products in a plant based diet.

Part of the beauty of being a health and wellness professional is that I have the opportunity to work with so many different kinds of people. One client I have had the great pleasure of working with since the beginning of 2017 is Kara Hockersmith. She came to me because she needed guidance in her workouts and motivation to stay on track. It has been a great journey so far. 

When Kara and I started working together she balked when I handed her 8 or 10 lb dumbbells. One day I handed her a kettle bell and she said with a laugh "this is the heaviest thing I have ever lifted". She didn't believe me that she could hold 2 of them and do squats. But she did. When she was able to do push-ups she was genuinely surprised by her own strength (but I wasn't). She comes into each session committed to working hard and gives it her all. As with all of us, some days are harder than others but she's always willing to try what I put before her and is sometimes surprised by her abilities to squat heavy loads and do my crazy push ups.

It has been such a pleasure to be a part of the gains she has made in her strength, agility and balance. But she gets all the credit. She's the one who does the hard work. I nudge her to her edge and she takes the steps to growth. Kara's most recent development is adding miles and speed to her runs. Now SHE is inspiring ME to work hard. Sometimes the teacher becomes the student. Get it Kara! It takes commitment and perseverance when we want to improve and nobody said this was easy. But it sure is rewarding.

Want to get in on personal training in 2018? I have a few openings in my schedule and I am now available for personal training in 2 locations. Me Fitness Studios (Alberta and MLK) and Body Balance Techniques (121 SW Morrison). Contact me for available times and to discuss your wellness goals for 2018.

The Joy Within Discipline

Jennifer Oechsner


On September 5th I embarked on a 30 day plan to clean up my diet, change some unhealthy habits I had adopted over the summer and prepare for my fist olympic distance triathlon. I eliminated inflammatory foods, focused on getting more sleep, decreased my social time to turn my attention inward and up-leveled my training which included more rest days. All of these things required concerted effort and non of them were easy (yes, even taking more rest days). Making change, even when we know the change is positive, is not easy. It takes discipline, but discipline doesn't have to be a dirty word. Over the past month this discipline has helped me cultivate a sense of peace and an unexpected undercurrent of joy.

In the Shambhala tradition the snow lion represents joy, unconditional cheerfulness and a mind free from doubt. Over the past month I have noticed a shift in my general sense of well being, beginning to feel the embodiment of the snow lion. Skipping the wine with dinner improved mental clarity in the morning. Eliminating coffee took away a crutch I realized I didn't need. Implementing more rest days helped me push myself to greater improvements on my training days. Although there were moments of joy when I felt my muscles getting stronger riding hills and on my training swims in the Columbia. Even more importantly I felt a greater sense of peace.  Life's struggles are still there but there has been lighter feel to obstacles. Even training through a hip injury felt more navigable than it might have been

I was certainly not perfect on my 30 days to healthy living plan but that was also part of the process for me. Faltering didn't derail me as it would have in the past. Taking extra time off of training to nurture an injury was hard but worth it in the long run. I left room for self compassion when I wasn't perfect and recognized this as a growth point rather than telling myself I failed. 

When the day of the triathlon came after so much anticipation, pain and excitement I felt ready to dive in full force and accept what happened in my body. I might not be able to run, I might have to take breaks but I committed to doing the best I could. And it turned out, my mental an physical training paid off. I soared through the mile swim, climbed the hills with a vengeance on the 25 mile ride and found my stride on the last half of the 6 mile run. As I sprinted toward the finish line on my runners high there were tears of joy in my eyes. Joy for completing the challenge, the amazing backdrop of the endeavor, and gratitude for my blessed life. My heart is full.

Want to know how you can up-level your life with 30 days to healthy living? Contact me at

The mental push ups of mindfullness

Jennifer Oechsner

Movement is a big part of my life and on most days I engage in some type of physical activity. This helps to keep me grounded and connect to my strength (both physical and otherwise). When I am in times of struggle, the ways I move my body tend to get more intense. I run faster, I lift heavier, I stretch deeper. Moving my body helps me to heal my mind. 

However, I tend to miss and important part of the healing process. My meditation practice takes a back burner, subconsciously avoiding sitting with the difficult emotions. Its so much easier to sit when positivity dominates my mental landscape. However, its during times of struggle that I need it the most. Recently, I have been exploring sitting with sadness when it arises. My pattern is to fight it, beat it into submission. With an open and tender heart, I am learning that all of my emotions are ok and that they key is not to let them carry me away. This is not easy work and I'm not saying I will stop going for a hard run during times of struggle but I am making more of an effort to sit in the space I am in. Running is easy, sitting is hard. 

In the Shambhala tradition it is taught that opening to sadness with a tender heart is a source of genuine bravery. This warrior's path teaches us to live courageously, meeting the challenges of our lives with compassion, allowing us to care for ourselves and others. Life's circumstances and corresponding emotions fluctuate day to day and sometimes minute to minute. It is only through mindfulllness practices that we can learn to navigate these fluctuations with grace. I wouldn't expect to be able to do any push ups without conscious work. Likewise, I can't expect to become skilled at taming my mind without regular practice. 

Do you have a regular meditation practice? Are you looking to start one? I would love to help. Contact me and let's put a plan into action!

Warrior for Change

Jennifer Oechsner

To Change is to Grow.....

Do you find yourself plodding through your work days? Are you continually telling yourself you really need to eat better, exercise more, sleep more.....wishing you just felt better about your life? It's easy to get caught in ruts. We perpetuate our circumstances through repeated thought patterns. These patterns are a part of the brain and are a very real part of your brain chemistry. But don't worry, we can all create new patterns of thought and behavior. However, it's not easy and it generally involves stepping out of your comfort zone.

When I moved to Portland 6 years ago to start a new career I was terrified. What if I wasn't good at it? What if I couldn't find work? What if I wasn't "successful"? While my business has grown a lot since I arrived in Portland, those old patterns of fear based self talk still creep into my internal dialogue. How do I fight it? 

By continuing to step out of my comfort zone through new endeavors and being more open about my challenges with those close to me. My inner warrior tells me to be strong and that I can deal with things on my own. But as I allow myself to be just a little but more vulnerable and lean on others just a little but more, I realize how helpful this is for me. The internal fear based dialogue becomes a little easier to let go of.  2016 has brought big change, grand adventure and now, new endeavors. Each of these has brought excitement as well as fear. But I know I can move right through that fear. With a few kind souls to hold my hand when I need it.

I challenge you to consider changes YOU can make. What internal dialogue is holding you back? How can you change your story? How can you grow? We're in this together! I would love to hear from you!

Finding solace in stillness...

Jennifer Oechsner

I spent part of my weekend at a meditation training at the Shambhala Center, it was wonderful. It was eye opening, challenging, emotional and at times tough to get through. I was forced to face some demons I didn't want to face. I looked my self judgement in the face and wanted to turn away, but I sat and I breathed. I felt my fears bubble to the surface and wanted to push them down and run, but I sat and I breathed. I told myself I was doing it all wrong, then I sat and I breathed. I'm not saying I found all the answers on how to stop the wandering mind and the patterns of self judgement that arise, but I found glimmers of peace and self compassion. As I sat and breathed and we shared our experiences as a group, the window to another way of living opened a crack. In stillness I was able to catch glimpses of how I can follow a new path; one that casts aside self judgement. I know how important it is to practice self compassion yet no matter how many times I tell this to friends and students, in truth, I have a hard time living this. I am ready to let the light in. I am ready to live this truth. I know I will falter. And I know that is ok. The monkey mind will keep swinging with fervor if I do not learn to train it. What is most important is that I keep trying, keep breathing, keep coming back to the practice. Can you strive to find solace in stillness?

If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

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! 

What can YOU resolve to release?

Jennifer Oechsner

"Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own" - Bruce Lee

It's that time of year again, time for resolutions. The time to begin healthy habits, to let go of unhealthy ones, to start fresh. I know Im not alone in the desire to make this year my best. I know I'm not the only one who wants to be the best version of themselves that they possibly can. The question is, what does this mean? We often make resolutions for things like exercising more, eating less sugar, eating more vegetabes, reading more books, maybe watching less TV. These are all great. But this year I need to go big. This year I have a couple resolutions, but my big one is letting go of fear.

Fear can definitely be tricky to let go of. Fear has the power to create so much unnecessary suffering. Fear takes hold of the mind and has the power to keep us in a seemingly endless cycle of self-pity and sadness. The first step to changing fear based behavior is to stare it right in the face. What is the fear? What story do we allow it to give us? How can we change that story? Buddhist teachings stress the importance of mindfullness practice to become more aware when thoughts or fears arise. This helps us recognize that we are responsible for the thoughts our mind produces. 

When fear based thoughts arise breathe deeply and ground yourself in the present moment. You can do this by observing the world around you. Listen to the rain or the birds. Feel the sun, rain or wind on your skin. Let this ground you in the present moment. Fears are often rooted in past experiences or future expectations. Over time, practicing being in the here and now can be an effective antidote to fear based behavior.

In my life, fear rears its ugly head and limits my growth. I feel effecting different parts of my life and it is difficult to break free. As many of you know, I have been studying martial arts for a number of years. It is the first thing I was ever truly passionate about. When I followed my new passion and became a yoga instructor I had the idea to somehow combine these two practices into one class I could share with the community. When I first started teaching yoga I held a couple of classes at a small gym. To my great disappointment, it didn't work out. Maybe it was the wrong time, maybe it was the wrong place, maybe I didn't give it enough time. Whatever the reason,  I felt like a huge failure. Over the past 5 years I have kept thinking about it, trying to figure out how I can make it better. I kept telling myself I would get around to it when I figured that out. But the real roadblock has been fear. And damn is it a big one. The question is, do I have the courage to let it go? What if I try again and it doesn't work out? Well, I've decided there is only one way to find out. 

I have resolved to step beyond this fear. I am at the point in my career, in my life, that I need to take a leap. All leaps are scary but I certainly can't grow if I keep quietly wishing for things. My wish, my goal, is to create my own Warrior-Flow. My own class that combines my passions of martial arts and yoga. So that's exactly what I have done. And it's going to be GREAT!

Each class will consist of a unique blend of yoga and martial arts, drawing from various disciplines I have studied over the years. AND I'm sharing my knowledge as a nutritionist by giving students a weekly nutrition focus and weekly recipe. And do you know how I know it's exactly the right thing to do? My gut tells me. The butterflies in my stomach just can't be wrong.

Here's the class info. Please email me for more information. Classes are scheduled to begin at the end of January.

NE PDX @ Whole Foods Market NE 15th and Freemont: Sundays 11:30-12:30
SE PDX @ 5514 SE Foster Rd.: Tuesdays 5:45-6:45pm

What can YOU let go of? How can you enrich your life experience and grow to become a better version of YOURself?

I would love to hear from you!

Eating with the Seasons

Jennifer Oechsner

Even before the solstice marks the official start of winter, the change of season is definitely here. The air is brisk, the mornings are dark and the heavy rain is upon us. It's time to nest, snuggle under a blanket and take time to prepare warming, nourishing meals for you and your loved ones. 

Eating with the seasons is optimal to be at your best and keep your body in tune with nature. As the temperature drops, I recommend leaning toward more warming foods. These foods include winter squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, and garlic. Check out for a list of seasonal foods in Oregon. It's a great resource to help you eat seasonally. Eating seasonally nourishes you and our environment. Here are some great reasons to look to mother nature when making your weekly shopping list.

  • Seasonal foods can be locally sourced. Eating locally sourced fruits and vegetables means they have been harvested more recently and at a ripened state. Produce that is picked when it's ripe is more nutrient dense. When we eat produce shipped from thousands of miles away it has to be harvested long before it is at its peak. 
  • Seasonal foods provide our bodies with what we need at that time of year. For example, in winter we need more vitamin C and A to keep out  immune system strong. Winter squash and carrots are great sources of both of these nutrients. These vitamin C rich foods are also warming for the body. Cooling foods such as melon, berries and peppers are at their peak in the summer months, when we need them most.
  • Eating seasonal produce is good economics. Provide financial support for our local farmers rather than buying produce shipped from southern states and countries. And seasonal produce can save money on your grocery bill too.
  •  Seasonal eating also helps to protect the environment. Locally harvested food travels less to get to you, therefore using less fossil fuels. Produce like tomatoes and strawberries are often shipped from Central and South America to fill the shelves in Oregon during the winter months.  Help to reduce your carbon footprint by choosing seasonal items and freezing your summer fruits to enjoy in the winter.

Staying healthy all year round is about giving your body the nutrients it needs. But do you want to merely stay healthy or do you want to thrive and live with vitality? I believe that to being at our best means putting effort into nourishing our bodies. Filling your plate with seasonal vegetables all year round is the foundation of good health. From this foundation, a strong body and spirit can grow.

Allergy Relief at Arm's Reach

Jennifer Oechsner

"Food is thy medicine and medicine is thy food."-Hippocrates

We all have heard about how to eat when you are sick. Many families have their own traditions of what to eat when we are under the weather; eat oranges to get plenty of vitamin C, fiil up on home made chicken soup, get plenty of liquids. But did you know that the right nutrition can also help you if you suffer from seasonal allergies? Does the sight of this field filled with pollen make your eyes start to itch?  I have some tips for you that can help keep you comfortable during allergy season. 

For some of us, pollen from various types of plants triggers an allergic response in the body. Exposure to these elements causes a histamine response, triggering runny nose, itchy throat and itchy watery eyes. For those of you who dont suffer from this, count your blessings! For some it is a minor annoyance but for others it means staying indoors until the pollen storm passes. No matter what your degree of suffering, there are steps you can take to minimize this histamine response in the body. Here are my top 10:

  • Use a Nettie pot daily. Rinsing the nasal passages with clean water helps to rinse allergens from the sinuses and with regular use, can provide relief for even the worst symptoms.
  • Eat organic produce. Pesticides on fruits and vegetables can worsen histamine response.
  • Eat wild salmon. Due to its Omega-3 content, wild salmon is a great anti-inflammatory food
  • Enjoy nettle tea or tincture. Nettle is a natural anti-histamine that can be taken throughout the day for allergy relief.
  • Try celery juice for an acute reaction. If you are having an acute allergic reaction juice some fresh celery (enough for about 6 oz of juice). Its flavor is strong but so are its medicinal properties. 
  • Avoid inflammatory foods. Dairy, gluten, corn, soy and processed sugar all fall into this category. Avoiding these foods during allergy season can help alleviate your symptoms.
  • Eat local honey. Bees that make honey from local plants provide the body with a sort of vaccination against allergens. For best results, start consuming honey several weeks before allergy season begins. 
  • Avoid wine during allergy season. Wine contains sulfites, which has been shown to increase histamine response in allergy sufferers.
  • Eat Indian curry. Dishes such as Indian curry that include ginger, garlic, onions, as well as tumeric and black pepper are great anti-inflammatory dishes.
  • Take probiotics daily. 80% of the immune system resides in the gut and ensuring healthy gut bacteria is an effective way to strengthen the immune system.

All of these recommendations will support overall health and wellness too. Sticking with these practices all year round will help the body fight whatever comes its way. Good nutrition truly is nature's best medicine.

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.