Holistic Haven


Date: 6/8/2017 10:33 AM EDT

My college girls are home for the summer...Am I happy or sad?

For the last nine months, it's just been me and 'the boys' - my husband, my son, and two male dogs - all of whom are obedient and respectful of the matriarch of the family (that would be me!). Life is orderly and, for the most part, quiet. 
I love how my home takes on a certain energy when all three of my children are home. It brings me a sense of relief to know they are safe each night sleeping under the same roof as me. I look into my eldest daughter’s big brown eyes and I’m reminded that she’s the one who taught me about true, unconditional love in the first few days of her life. She's the most petite of us all but is full of spunk and quick to draw her sword when feeling confronted. My middle daughter is wise beyond her age, and I find myself envious with her thought processes. Her body is slender and wistful and full of confidence. Her tongue can be sharp with sarcasm in a joking way but aloof when it comes to confrontation.  My son is the youngest, and I know that he will grow into a fine young man full of respect for women - his sisters wouldn’t have it any other way.  Three totally different personalities, all closely related to me – yet I find myself in awe of who they’re becoming.
It warms my heart to hear their voices upstairs, listening to their faint laughter from a TV show and their familiar little arguments that only parents with multiple children can appreciate.  I take pleasure in asking if I can do their laundry and fix them something to eat. But, as I'm laundering and folding twice as many clothes than I'm used to, I realize that making piles for each girl has become a little more difficult as I'm now unfamiliar with their cute little panties, shorts, and tank tops. They no longer need me to pick out what type of clothes they wear, the shampoo that washes their beautiful hair, and even the food they eat. It dawns on me that they have been living a life totally separate than the one underneath my roof for the last nine months.
I came home yesterday to a fully prepared, beautiful dinner from my eldest who now loves to cook on her own. Although it was a huge treat for me to be served a home-cooked meal, I had a tinge of regret that I was not the main source provider.
Is this what it feels like to have adult children? That sounds like such an oxymoron to me, yet they will always be my children no matter how old they are.  As the tides turn from child to adult, my kids come tuck me into bed and kiss me goodnight as I'm more worried about my bedtime than theirs. They at least still say, “G'night and love you, mommy!” Wasn't it just two years ago that I was the one sitting at their bedside turning on a nightlight and reading a bedtime story?!  
This nostalgic bliss will most likely fade away slowly as we get used to each other's presence and the need to find our own personal space grows stronger each week closer to a new school year. Until then, I will look forward to finding my house full of conversation, the need to know everyone's comings and goings, and my bedtime kisses from my “little ones” grown tall. 
LOVE who you’re with.
APPRECIATE every moment, no matter how mundane.
  LIVE in the moment.

Posted by Melanie Butz | Post a Comment

Date: 6/5/2017 10:31 AM EDT

Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals
We all do it.  Sometimes the amazing aroma and delicious flavor gets the best of us.  Especially if we're a bit on the hungry (or hangry) side....
I'm talking about overeating at meals. 
Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing. And it's not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance.  It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.  But it doesn't always stop there.

Sometimes we overeat on regular days.  Or at regular meals.  Or All. The. Time.
Don't think there's a solution?  If you can make these three things a regular habit and part of your daily routine, you've got one up on the overeating cravings.  SERIOUSLY!

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.  (Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

Tip #1: Start with some water
When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it's too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.
But, did you know that it's possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger?  Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.
Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten.  And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss.
Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast, but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.

Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”
You've heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?
This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.
Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment, being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.
Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savoring every mouthful.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.
This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less. 
When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.
So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.
Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.

Tip #3: Start with the salad
You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.
But don't start there.
(Don't worry, you can have some...just after you've eaten your salad).
Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they're full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals, but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.
Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.  They're “satiating”.
And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you're about to indulge in a large meal.

Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.  EASY!!


Posted by Melanie Butz | Post a Comment

Date: 2/22/2017 2:11 PM EST

As a yoga instructor, I am constantly promoting to “breathe in the positive and breathe out the tension”, yet I find myself stepping out of the yoga studio and into a world that feels like a mess.  I have to admit, I do NOT watch the news (no TV, actually) because the focus seems to be on what’s WRONG in our society!  Not that I choose to turn my back to the challenges our country is facing,  but to choose to intake information at my own pace, instead of allowing media outlets to control what I see and hear.

So how in the world do we keep a balance in these tumultuous times?  It’s really, really hard, and perhaps it feels like ‘why should we even bother?’

But here’s the deal….

Every time we choose to be in touch with the peace and love within ourselves, we change the vibration surrounding us.  We have to start with ourselves!  Give these suggestions a try:

KEEP BREATHING!  I will continue to promote breathing. (Because let’s face it, it happens whether we like it or not!)  Take a few minutes to close your eyes and envision a warm peaceful light coming into your body with each breath and sending it out to the world with the exhale.

ONE NEGATIVE THOUGHT = TWO POSITIVES.  For every negative thought in your head, whether it be a self-loathing thought or a feeling about the events of the world,
  • “Catch” the negative feeling and acknowledge it…”Hello there, nasty thought.”
  • Acknowledge TWO positive thoughts - maybe one for you and one for the world. “I am strong and confident despite the challenges in my life.  The changes that we are seeing will lead to positive growth and change.”  And say it whether you believe it or not!  Thoughts Become Things!!
LOVENOTES.  I recently signed up for a challenge on Valentine’s Day that asked me to write a love note to myself! ( I have to admit, I ripped up five post-it notes before I found the words of love to myself.  We are all a work-in-progress.) The exercise prompted me to start writing ‘lil love notes to others – beginning with my family.  Of course, my husband acknowledged my post-it on the mirror with a swift kiss on the cheek and my 17-year old son thinks I’m losin’ it…but that’s OK!  What I’m finding more fun is to write a few words of encouragement and stick it on a random window shield of a parked car!  Try it and see what you think!  I bet you can’t help but smile when you stick it on the window.

GRATITUDE.   When we come from a place of gratefulness, it’s hard to slip into the veils of negativity.  Upon awakening, take a few minutes with your eyes closed to be grateful for at least three things.  Make it simple….even if its to acknowledge another day that will allow ourselves to hug our loved ones or another opportunity to walk the dog.

Let’s take our part to rise up the vibration of love and peace.
Love will ALWAYS win.
Here's my love note to myself.  :-)
Are you feeling so overwhelmed about your health issues that you don't know where to begin??  It is never too late to make small positive changes in your life to make a big difference in your health and vitality.  As your personal health coach and yoga instructor, I am your educator, motivator and confidante as we explore together the lifestyle and behavior adjustments needed to attain a lifetime of balance.  I'll be your biggest supporter and, together, we can make a huge difference!  Email: melaniebutz@me.com to set up a complimentary consultation. Learn more about me and what I can provide for you @ melaniebutz.com.

Posted by Melanie Butz | Post a Comment

Date: 2/17/2017 2:08 PM EST

I love this wishlist that was passed along to me from Robin Sharma, a writer and leadership speaker, well-known across the globe.  His words resonated with me so strongly, I had to share it with you:

#1. I wish for a world where everyone understands that discomfort is the price of legendary. And fear is just growth coming to get you.

#2. I wish for a world where people understand that life is short. So today's the time to do big things.

#3. I wish for a world where success is measured not by what we take nor by what we get. Just by what we give. And who we become.

#4. I wish for a world that gets that your "I Can" is exponentially more important than your IQ.

#5. I wish for a world that understands that leadership is less about a title and the size of your position. And so much more about your mindset. And one's devotion to work like Picasso painted.

#6. I wish for a world with less ego, more humility. Less being busy, more productivity. Less entertainment, more education. Less selfies, more selfless. [There, I said it!].

#7. I wish for a world that sees each day as a life in miniature. And every moment as a platform for personal heroism.

#8. I wish for a world where every single citizen has no idea how to quit. Just factory installed relentlessness.

#9. I wish for a world that has learned that we grow fearless by walking into our fears.

#10. I wish for a world of victors versus victims, encouragers versus deniers and dreamers versus destroyers. Because how high you fly is derived from how big you think. And how iconic you become is caused by how deeply you love.

What is your wish for today?

If you would like to learn more about Robin Sharma, visit his website: www.RobinSharma.com

Posted by Melanie Butz | Post a Comment

Date: 9/10/2016 3:47 PM EDT

Have you ever heard of the word, Faff?  You may not find it in Webster’s dictionary, but the Urban dictionary defines faffing as a “means to aimlessly waste time doing useless tasks.”  Could you be guilty of faffing?  I know I am guilty.  I look back on the last few months and, although I could blame it on the ‘dog days of summer’, I realized that I had lost my focus and wondered why.

In today’s world, with Pokémon Go and all of the social media outlets, it’s easy for these types of distractions to become part of our daily routines, unknowingly stealing minutes, perhaps hours, away from actually achieving our goals.   We may find that our daily habitual routine of checking and keeping up to date on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snap chat and email accounts allow us to live with a false sense of accomplishment throughout the day instead of actually digging deeper and focusing on the work and goals that will make a real difference in our lives.

So, are you a faffer?  Take this quick quiz:
  • Do you constantly check social media outlets to see how many hearts or likes your latest posts have received? 
  • Do you feel panicked if your phone isn’t in arms reach away?
  • Do you check email constantly?
  • Do you pick up your phone to look at social media at stop lights?
  • Do you find smaller/easier tasks to accomplish instead of taking on the bigger projects?
  • Do you snack aimlessly without even noticing if you’re hungry?
  • Are you hooked to the latest reality TV show hoping it will entertain you instead of opening up the book you bought last month?

This post was inspired by life coach, Mastin Kipp.  He writes, “And I suppose at the root of all this faff is fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of change.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of life getting worse instead of better. Fear of fear.  And fear of fearing fear.” 

What if we are missing out on life in a way that would bring greater joy, adventure and connection?

Don’t allow faffing to be the norm in your life so that the tasks that are most important in your life seem unreachable.

Re-evaluate how you spend your time. Use some of the time that you faff to re-connect with things that matter most to you!  Your life will take on a new vitality and energy and an overall feeling of fulfillment.

Posted by Melanie Butz | Post a Comment

Date: 9/6/2016 3:46 PM EDT

Snack Attack?  No Problem...!

Have you ever started out on a trip and your kids shout out, "What's to eat?!"

Road trippin' and eating seem to go hand-in-hand, but unfortunately, available choices on pit stops are less than desirable.  The best way to stay healthy on a road trip, whether it’s for business or pleasure, is to stay out of the convenience stores and fast-food stops.

The last thing you want to feel are the highs and lows of your sugar blood level as you’re driving long distances!  Here are some of my favorite snacks to pack while travelling in a car, assuming you have a cooler:

Hummus and Veggies:  The high-protein content of the hummus and the low sugar content of fresh vegetables are a sure winner to keep your energy level on the move.  Plus, the crunchy vegetables will satisfy the craving to munch on processed crackers and chips.

Fresh Fruit:  Especially when travelling during the summer months, in-season berries are a sure winner with their low sugar content, high anti-oxidants and easy to eat.  Try a mixture of strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.  Dried fruit is an alternative, but know the sugar content will quadruple.

Homemade Trail Mix:  Opt to make your own trail mix to avoid unneeded salt.  A great combination are (unsalted)  walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and unsweetened coconut flakes.

Hard-Boiled Eggs:  Peel the eggs and stick them in ziplock bags for an easy protein-packed snack.

Popcorn:  Make a big batch of organic popcorn popped in coconut-oil and infused with any type of fun flavors such as cayenne pepper, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper.  Store in ziplock bags and you’re good to go!

I know, you’re thinking, “But what if I just need something sweet?!”  Here are my two go-to sweets:

Dark Chocolate:  Choose a chocolate with 70-85% cocoa.  For each ounce of chocolate, there are only 7 grams of sugar and 168 calories.  Plus, it has fiber as well as other nutrients such as manganese, copper and magnesium.  Of course, it’s all about portion control – so savor the chocolate bar, making it last for a few days.

YumEarth Organic Pops:  If you need a hard-candy fix, YumEarth make lollipops that are sweetened with brown-rice syrup and are colored with fruits, vegetables and roots – so, no artificial dyes!

And don't forget, it's not about  the destination but the journey to get there.  Stop and take breaks to enjoy the scenery around you!

Safe travels to you!

Posted by Melanie Butz | Post a Comment

Date: 9/3/2016 3:44 PM EDT

"Listen to your gut."  It's there for a reason - and it's usually right!

Gut issues can wreak havoc on one's health.  Here are a few simple suggestions to lead you on your way to a healthier gut:

Water & Hydration.  Two things we absolutely cannot live without:  Air and water.  In particular, the digestive system needs a lot of water to really allow things to move through our system for proper hydration as well as elimination.  The oxygen molecule from water actually provides the lining of the gut with heaps of minerals that is needed to heal.  Not a water drinker?  Set an alarm on  your phone to go off at least 3 to 4 times a day to remind you to drink water – a minimum of two liters, and even more in the summer or if you exercise.

Eat Real Food.  Choose foods that do not come in a box or package – which all go through some type of processing.  Eat foods that come directly from Mother Nature.  A good general rule is to “eat like your grandmother did”.

Be Aware of the Way You Eat.  Where do you have your meals?  What are you doing while you’re eating your meal? How fast do you eat your meal?  All of these things actually affect the digestion of the food.  Two essential rules – smell and taste your food!  Why smell?  It’s the first stage of digestion.  The actual scent of the food triggers a hormone in the brain to prepare the body to consume food.  It triggers HCI acid in the stomach as well as other enzymes and acids that aid in digestion.  Taste your food by chewing your food well.  The more you chew, the easier it is to digest the food.

Listen to Your Body.  Any signs or symptoms are your body’s way to tell you there is something going on.  Have you experienced brain fog, headaches, rashes, constipation/diarrhea, stomach cramps after eating?  A great way to begin to make the correlation of what food may be the cause of such symptoms is to keep a food diary.  Write down what you ate as well as how you felt afterwards.  Remember, “Eat for how you will feel later, not what you’re feeling in the moment.”

De-STRESS!  All stress, no matter where it comes from, will elevate a hormone called, cortisol.  When cortisol is elevated, all hormones that help the body digest food decreases.  Knowing processes to balance out stress levels can have a profound effect on gut health.  So, NEVER eat when you are totally stressed-out.  Simple ways to de-stress could be 10 minutes of any movement, such as yoga, stretching or walking in nature – without electronic devices.   If you’re not in a place to move, breathe deeply in and out for several minutes.

Live on Purpose.  Have you ever said, “I should have followed my gut”?  Our gut governs so much of what’s going on in our life.  The solar plexus is where our inner power resides.  It’s our self-worth and who we are and what we are representing to the world.  Healing the gut synergistically requires, not only to look at the foods we eat, but also knowing that we are much more than the bones, muscles and skin that make up our physical body.  The decisions we make throughout our life should be truly aligned to who we really are.  Quite often, the decisions we make are to please others or keeping other people happy.  How would it feel like to do things that we reallywant to do instead of things we think we should do?  Embrace things that make you feel Joyful and Alive and you will find a balance between mind, body and spirit – including your gut.  If you’re following your bliss, chances are you will be able to heal your gut.

Supplement & Herbs.  The primary function of the gut is to absorb and assimilate nutrients in order for the body to function at an optimal level.  Healing the gut is all about building up good bacteria.  Taking a good probiotic daily will help as well as eating fermented foods such as kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi and miso soup.  Also, drinking aloe vera reduces inflammation and is very soothing to the gut lining.  (Watch out for sugar content in aloe vera…it should taste bitter – so add it to your smoothie or other drinks.)  

Posted by Melanie Butz | Post a Comment

Date: 8/30/2016 3:42 PM EDT

We are all familiar with routines.  Some of us are better at keeping them than others.  Some are forced into a routine due to the time constraints of a job or school schedule.

It would be a fantastic world if we could live our lives on a whim and do whatever our hearts desire, but unfortunately, in reality, that’s what leads to a life of disarray. It’s all about finding the perfect balance, right?

I have found that having a daily morning routine is the first step in setting my day up to be as productive as possible, especially when it comes to keeping a sane mind and maintaining good health.

I’ve come to realize that rising 15 minutes earlier has allowed me to benefit from quiet “me” time as my family is still in deep slumber.  It’s brought me clarity and sets a certain tone for my day.

What you do in your routine is not as important as sticking to one.  Pick habits that will have a soothing effect on your mind and body.  And pick only those that will be easy enough for you to do every day.

If you can’t do them routinely, the benefit will be lost.  Thus, less is truly more when it comes to setting up a successful routine.

Don’t know where to begin? I find there is a cosmic peace and serenity that is easily accessible in the hours before sunrise, a certain stillness that no other part of the day provides.  Here are some quick ideas for a morning routine to take advantage of that time: 

  • When your alarm goes off, simply allow yourself to lie still and take three deep inhales and exhales. On the next several breaths, add stretches that feel good.  I’m talking the big reach from fingertips to toes kind of stretch and add a gentle twist from side-to-side. 

  • Take care of dental hygiene such as scraping your tongue and brushing your teeth.  Scraping your tongue first thing in the morning removes bacteria and toxins.  Dental research has concluded that scraping your tongue is more effective than a toothbrush. If you don’t have a tongue scraper, just use a metal edge of a spoon. 

  • Enjoy a warm mug of water with freshly squeezed juice from a lemon.  This concoction revs up your digestive juices and is very alkalizing to the body. 

  • Sit upright in your favorite chair and take a few minutes to meditate.  There are all sorts of free guided meditations on iTunes and Spotify; these are great tools to learn how to meditate.

  • Do some type of movement.   Going for a walk or yoga are perfect examples.  Just 10 to 15 minutes of movement proves to increase your energy and gets your day off to a great start!

  • Before engaging in TV, email, or social media, write a few passages in a personal journal before your mind gets tethered by the day’s to-do list and schedule. 

  • Eat a well-balanced breakfast consistently at the same time each morning to break the previous night’s fast and start the day out well nourished.  Try to include some type of protein (eggs, greek yogurt, almond butter), healthy fats (coconut oil, avocados) and fiber (oatmeal, brown rice cereal, fruit).

Remember, just pick a few habits that you’ll enjoy.  As you get used to your new “me” time, you may end up adding one or two more habits to extend this special time of day!

Posted by Melanie Butz | Post a Comment

Date: 5/23/2016 3:56 PM EDT

Have you ever pondered the question, "What is my Purpose?"

In Sanskrit terms, we call purpose our Dharma.  What does that mean exactly?  According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of dharma is “the basic principles of cosmic or individual existence: divine law.”   Whoa…now that’s some heavy shit…

I remember going through yoga teacher training and was confronted by this subject.  In the grand scheme of things, yeah, I had some idea why and what I was doing on this earth.  But to really hone in on the actual purpose of my life?!  Geesh….I had no clue!  As I pondered this subject, my mind was busily searching every nook and cranny of my being trying to find this damn dharma - ”I gotta find it, because otherwise, what’s the use?!”  But what was I really searching for?  It’s like having one of those dreams where you continually search for something but never find anything.  STOP THE MADNESS!!

Glinda (the good witch) said to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, ”What you’ve been searching for has been with you all along.” I realized, Glinda has a good point.  Instead of searching for the physicalexistence of one’s purpose through a successful career, a big bank account, or being an outrageously popular blogger, perhaps this “purpose/dharma” has actually existed within us all along!

“Whaa?!  Within us all along?! “  Yep!  The process still requires us to “search and reveal,” but it is more about being present and allowing us to delve into some inner work without playing the “blame game.”  It’s called taking responsibility for what you wish to be different in your life and in the world.  Your calling begins with the act of love and healing.  It is that simple, people!

What if I told you that by leading your life from this center of LOVE, you are living your purpose?  That’s all it takes.  If you are a stay-at-home mom, your purpose is just as important as one who leads a nonprofit organization to end hunger in the world.  The unconditional love that you constantly give to your children or loved ones – without even thinking about it – just may be the one thing that makes the biggest difference in their lives in order to go out and do phenomenal things for the world.  What if you offer up your forgiveness to one who has violated you, and your forgiveness melts their heart, enlightens their soul to go out and do charity work for a third world country?  You, loving just one person, may affect the world in ways you can’t even fathom.  It’s like throwing a small pebble in a pond and watching the ripple effect.

“Hello?  This is your Purpose calling.  Your instructions for today are to love unconditionally and make random acts of kindness each chance you get.  That’s all for now.  Carry on.”

Posted by Melanie Butz | Post a Comment

Date: 5/20/2016 3:54 PM EDT

The change of season from winter to spring is a perfect opportunity to change up your diet.  In today’s modern world, any type of food is easily available.  There’s a concept, however, that the human body will work most efficiently when we eat the foods that are in season.

Have you begun to experience your appetite beginning to lessen?  As the season of spring brings warmer weather and sprouting flowers, trees, berries and sprouts, you may find your body craving more vegetables and fruits rather than heavier meats on the menu.

Eating seasonally will also save you money at the grocer’s as produce in season is generally less costly, not to mention seasonal produce always taste better!

Let spring be your guide on your next trip to the grocer's.  Here are some springtime suggestions:

Go for the Greens!  Pile up your plate with swiss chard, spinach, green-leafy lettuce, arugula, parsley and basil.

Boost Your Immunity with root veggies coming into season.  Ginger, turmeric, budock and dandelion (to just name a few) act as a natural detoxifer in the intestinal track, scraping away the accumulated mucus and toxins.  Try them in soups or your next cup of tea.

Give up the Gluten.  As nature would have it, grains are traditionally not harvested until fall, so spring is a great time to lighten up the diet and forgo breads and pastas and replace with extra vegetables.

Here is a recipe for one of my favorite salads:

Quick and Easy Spring Time Green Salad

A handful of arugula
A handful of mixed greens
3 oranges – sectioned
2/3 C toasted waluntes
¼ C finely sliced fennel

Whisk together for the dressing:
Juice and zest from 1 orange
1 tsp honey
½ C olive oil

Recipe adapted from the Food Network Magazine

Posted by Melanie Butz | Post a Comment

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