Tag: stress

Chef V Warns: Don’t Drink Coffee First Thing In The AM On An Empty Stomach!

coffee t-shirts

Are you a first-thing-in-the-morning coffee drinker? After reading the advice of certified nutritional therapist and ChefV.com founder, Veronica Wheat, you may want to wait a little bit before having your first cup. 

“But first…COFFEE!”

“A day without coffee is like … just kidding I have no idea.”

“Coffee spelled backwards is EEFFOC. Just know that I don’t give EEFFOC until I’ve had my coffee.”

“Eat. Sleep. Coffee. Repeat.” 

Even though I don’t drink coffee, I can’t help but laugh at ironic coffee t-shirts. 

But let’s take a closer look at the “Eat. Sleep. Coffee. Repeat” slogan. 

A more accurate ironic slogan for many people would be, “Wake up. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.” That’s because most people race out the door on their way to work with a cup or two or three of coffee well before they eat anything. 

And I’m not talking about functional coffee drinks that contain coconut oil and mushroom powder. 

Nope, I’m referring to the straight black stuff some people wish they could inject directly into their veins in order to feel alive in the morning. 

If nothing can resurrect you in the morning except for coffee, I’m not going to try and convince you to give it up. (Unless you’re about to do a CLEANSE, which requires a coffee-free pre-cleanse phase.)

I am, however, going to ask you to reconsider drinking coffee on an empty stomach. 

woman with coffee in bed

But First…Cortisol!

You’re probably familiar with the term “cortisol.” But just in case you need a refresher, in plain English, cortisol is known as the body’s major stress hormone. 

Cortisol helps our body physically deal with stress, sending us into fight or flight or freeze mode. It’s a good thing that we have cortisol because it regulates our body’s stress response.

So when a distracted A-hole driver swerves into your lane and is heading right towards you, you can thank cortisol for giving you the superpower to be alert and steer your way to safety. 

But just like 10 cups of coffee or glasses of wine a day, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. And when we’re constantly stressed out, we can have too much cortisol coursing through our system. 

Having excess cortisol is no bueno! It can cause elevated blood sugar levels, even contributing to type 2 diabetes. It can also wreak havoc on your immune system. And ladies: too much cortisol can screw up your cycle and may cause an imbalance of other hormones. 

And if that’s not bad enough, having too much cortisol may lead to an increase of the most dangerous kind of fat: visceral fat. Visceral fat is the deep belly fat that surrounds the organs in your abdomen. 

Now, normally, levels of cortisol are naturally high in the morning. Why then do we need coffee if our body should be more alert? Why do we feel dead to the world without coffee if cortisol is supposed to be our natural alarm clock? 

—-> 3 Ways To Feel Unstoppable In The Morning Without Coffee 

It could be because you’re not getting enough sleep. Or maybe you’re drinking too much coffee, which can screw up normal cortisol fluctuations during the day. 

coffee mug in bed

How Drinking Coffee First Thing In The AM Affects Cortisol 

The important thing to understand is that drinking coffee first thing in the morning on an empty stomach might be harmful to your health for a couple reasons. 

First, drinking lots of coffee can itself cause excess cortisol, which can lead to having high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. 

And secondly, if you have GI problems like acid reflux, drinking coffee first thing in the morning can increase acid production, making your GI issues worse. 

Drinking Coffee & Brain Function

There’s actually plenty of research that supports moderate coffee consumption. To reiterate: my point of emphasis here is not that drinking coffee is bad … it’s that drinking it on an empty stomach may be for some people. 

People drink coffee to fire up their neurons so they can function at work. But what are the effects of having early-morning excess cortisol and brain function? Well, a  study published in Neurology that was summarized in Scientific American looked at the effects of early-morning high cortisol on brain performance in more than 2,000 people. 

Most of the participants were in their 40s. The study found that those with the highest levels of cortisol performed worse on tests of memory, organization, visual perception and attention.

To make matters worse, the brains of people with the highest levels of cortisol showed precursors to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. 

I’m not trying to scare the bejeezus out of you. I’m not suggesting that if you drink coffee first thing in the morning, your brain will deteriorate. Just think twice about drinking it on an empty stomach—especially black coffee. (Sorry, a splash of cream and a packet of sugar won’t help prevent a cortisol spike.)

Fonio grain

Here’s What To Do In The Morning Before Drinking Coffee

If you can’t wait to have coffee until noon or early afternoon, when cortisol levels are naturally lower, then I have a simple solution for you. It’s something I’ve been preaching for years but it works. 

Step 1: After you wake up, drink a tall glass of water with lemon juice. This will help you naturally detox your body before introducing any stimulants into your system. 

Step 2: Wait 20 minutes after drinking water and then have 8 ounces of Organic Green Drink

No, this is not just some promotional plug for my nationwide Green Drink delivery plan. My recommendation, I’ll have you know, is science-based. Minerals such as magnesium in green leafy veggies help regulate and lower cortisol, research (like this) shows. 

Step 3: About half an hour after having CHEF V GREEN DRINK, if you must, have your coffee. I also recommend doing some parasympathetic (relaxing) exercise like yoga in the morning to regulate your cortisol levels. 

Step 4 (optional): wear your ironic coffee t-shirt.

We’ve Got The Beet! Why Beets Are Having Their Moment

boy with beets

Chef V is seeing red for Valentine’s Day in a good way with beets. If you’re not on the beet bandwagon then hop on board. Never tried beets? With Chef V’s beet recipes, you’ll eventually fall in love with them and you’ll be healthier for it…

“Beets are sexy.”
—Said nobody.

But maybe I should be the first to coin that phrase. That’s right, you heard it here first. I think beets are the perfect Valentine’s Day food and not just because of the bright red color. Although for sure that’s a part of their attractiveness. 

What makes beets the perfect food to eat around Valentine’s Day? Because it can get the blood flowing to parts of the body that need to operate in tip-top shape on Valentine’s Day. If you know what I’m sayin’…

And it’s not just men who benefit from beets. Ladies, eat some beets because this unsung root veggie boosts production of nitric oxide in the body. Every single cell in your body has nitric oxide, which is a gas. (Not to be confused with smelly toot gas.) 

hands peeling beets

Check out my Beet Based Recipes

Beets For Better Sex?

When you have sufficient nitric oxide, blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles is improved. For men, nitrous oxide means better blood flow to the penis. Millions of men take sexual performance supplements that are designed to boost nitric oxide in the body.

So for men, beets may improve erectile dysfunction. For the ladies, enhanced nitrous oxide production also means that blood vessels dilate, allowing for better circulation and blood flow. When erogenous zones get more blood flow you can get more aroused. 

Who would have ever thought that a beet smoothie could spark sexual arousal! 

Veronica, Brandon, and Coco drinking beet smoothies

Other Reasons To Just Beet It

Because beets improve nitric oxide levels in the body, they may enhance your athletic performance. So if you’re a competitive athlete looking for that extra edge, give one of my beet recipes a try. 

Check out my Beet Based Recipes

Here’s why else you should go bananas for beets…

Beet Benefits At A Glance:

  • High in minerals
  • Low in calories
  • High in fiber
  • Low in carbs
  • Lowers blood pressure and inflammation
  • Supports digestion and gut health
  • Supports cognitive health

Taking a deeper dive into beet nutrition facts here, so like most veggies, they’re a great source of minerals, especially potassium. This is yet another reason why athletes and active people should incorporate beets in their diet. You see, strenuous exercise depletes the body of minerals. If you don’t refuel your body with enough minerals, post-exercise, you’ll be lethargic and wear down your immune system. 

Beets are also great for people who have high blood pressure and inflammation. 

And remember how beets may kick your sex drive into high gear? Well, it turns out that nitric oxide also benefits brain health. In fact, a 2017 study showed that older adults who exercised and drank beet juice had brains that resembled much younger people. 

seniors playing golf

Making Beets Yummy Again

Now I’m not suggesting that you eat raw beets. That would be just as unappetizing as eating raw potatoes, unless you’re adding raw beet chunks to a smoothie. 

The key to cooking with beets is to learn how to balance the bitterness of the veggie. And you do that by adding a pinch of Himalayan sea salt, red-wine vinegar, ginger, garlic or other herbs and spices. 

Actually, before you even start cooking with beets, there’s a rookie mistake I have to warn you about!

Beets are like the permanent magic marker of the veggie world. They will leave stains that look like a horrible crime scene. I’m usually not a big fan of using anything plastic. But when it comes to cutting beets (for a salad or smoothie), a plastic cutting board is your best bet because it can be easily washed.  I still use my wooden cutting board but I make sure to wash it right away.

And don’t toss out the green part that’s attached to the beets! They are highly nutritious and you can easily add them to a veggie stir fry or a smoothie. Oh, and one more tip when it comes to cooking beets…

You don’t have to remove the skins. The skin will add bulk to your stool, helping you more easily poop if you need help in that department. But if you don’t want to eat the skin, wait until after you’ve cooked the veggie to do it. It’ll be much easier. 

Check out my Beet Based Recipes

beets on a counter

Beets: The Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift?

It’ll be a long time before a box of beets will be on equal par with a box of chocolates as the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. So my gift to you this Feb. 14 is leaving you with these beet recipes. May they help enhance the love you feel on this special day. 

beets

Sleep, Fatigue, Stress & Weight Loss Success

sleep and weight loss

Trying to lose weight? Obviously, diet plays a huge role, along with exercise. But did you know that how much you sleep and the quality of your sleep also plays a crucial part in weight management?

And as stress effects your sleep and messes with your cortisol levels, you can spiral into a cycle of poor sleep, fatigue, and excess eating.

sleep facts

The Link Between Obesity & Insomnia

But first, let me briefly explain why I think the link between diet and sleep quality is fascinating. Mostly, it’s because few people think of the connection between weight management and sleep. For the millions of Americans who suffer from insomnia, the most pressing concern is the stress and anxiety caused by chronic lack of sleep.

While habit-forming sleeping pills are the most common solution, perhaps the easiest and most overlooked sleep remedy is eating a healthier diet. After all, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the obesity epidemic has been paralleled by a trend of reduced sleep duration and quality.

Calcium In Leafy Greens

When most people think of the bone-building mineral, calcium, they think of milk and other dairy products. But dairy can promote inflammation in the body. A much better source of calcium is green leafy veggies, like the two kinds of kale in my Green Drink recipe.

Research suggests that if you don’t get enough calcium, you may have a more difficult time falling asleep. But there’s far more sleep benefits in green leafy veggies, according to research. These plants also contain micronutrients which may also influence sleep, such as tryptophan, potassium, magnesium, fiber, iron, calcium, vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin, choline, complex carbs, and beta carotene.

And when you drink cold-blended Green Drink, the fiber is preserved. Fiber has been shown to be associated with deeper and more restorative sleep.

Green veggies (and yellow ones) also contain the eye-health promoting antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin. Not only do these antioxidants help you see better in the dark, they also help you sleep better. That’s because lutein and zeaxanthin filter out blue light.

Blue light, which is emitted from your smart phone, TV and other devices interferes with production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.

In addition, green leafy veggies contain lycopene (another great source: tomato paste)  and beta carotene, which have also been associated with less difficulty falling asleep.

chef v and green drink

Selenium For Sleep

The trace mineral, selenium has also been linked to sleep quality. If you eat sustainable sources of seafood along with nuts, you’re getting enough selenium. Brazil nuts are one of the best sources. They are high in calories so make sure you limit the serving size to just one handful.

Besides its effect on sleep, this macronutrient is also linked to immune function and inflammation response.

Vitamin C

Less Vitamin C intake was associated with non-restorative sleep. Red and yellow peppers contain mega C. Brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli, strawberries and cauliflower are other healthy sources rich in C.

Vitamin B6

I don’t eat that much animal protein. But one reason I include wild salmon in my diet (along with the occasional tuna when I’m at a sushi restaurant) is because it contains a good amount of vitamin B6. Among the many benefits of this water-soluble vitamin (also called pyridoxine), one of them is melatonin production.

Magnesium

Magnesium is important for sleep because not getting enough of this mineral in your diet is linked to problems staying asleep. A great source of magnesium is grains. Not all grains are good for you, however, especially ones that don’t have a lot of nutrients and get digested too quickly. Barley, wild rice, amaranth, and triticale are a few examples of magnesium-rich grains that your body takes a long time to digest. (The longer it takes to digest, the less cravings you’ll have.

eat this not that

Don’t Eat This And That If You Want A Good Night’s Sleep

If you want to fall asleep fast, limit your intake of dairy and meat. Palmitic acid is a saturated fat. It’s found in butter, cheese, milk, and meat. One study shows that diets high in palmitic acid led to an increased difficulty in falling asleep. Another study reported rats fed a diet rich in palmitic acid, were unable to regulate their food intake.

The bottom line is that if you want to sleep better, it’s yet another reason you should get lots of green leafy veggies in your diet. I created the Organic Green Drink to make it very easy to get your daily dose of them. So Drink Up!

And if you need more guidance on what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat, when you sign up for a Green Drink Plan, or one of my Cleanse & Detox programs, you’ll receive all my healthy eating guidelines for long-term weight loss success!

To your health,
Veronica — Founder, Chef V

References:

Sleep Symptoms Associated with Intake of Specific Dietary Nutrients

Influence of Dietary Intake on Sleeping Patterns of Medical Students

Sleep and obesity

Chef V and kale

Best Foods For Great S-E-X

Best Foods For Great S-E-X

Best foods for great S-E-X – Ladies: don’t feel like getting it on lately? Got no mojo, gentlemen? Here’s how certain foods and holistic health can improve your sex life.

A curious thing happened in the initial weeks of the pandemic. Couples who for the most part functioned as roommates prior to the pandemic suddenly rediscovered their intimate side. 

Despite the stress and fear in the early days of the pandemic, stay-at-home orders led to an initial increase in sex. After all, what else is there to do besides watch TV when you’re stuck at home all day and night? 

However, as stay-at-home orders eased (at least in the U.S.) and life’s other chronic stressors returned to the fold, our collective libido plummeted to pre-pandemic levels.

So if your libido is shot because of Covid-anxiety and life’s general grinding assault, I’ve got some tips for you about foods for great S-E-X…

Root Causes Of Low Libido

But before I share my tips for restoring your libido, including the best foods for great S-E-X, let’s explore some of the factors responsible for lowering sex drive.

Obviously, stress is a huge factor. But how exactly does stress affect libido? Chronic stress places a huge demand on two glands that rest on top of the kidneys called the suprarenal glands. You probably know these glands by their more familiar name, the adrenal glands.  

Your adrenal glands produce stress hormones such as cortisol. Cortisol plays several critical roles in the body, including normalizing inflammation levels; regulating blood pressure, and increasing blood sugar in order to deal with an emergency situation. 

The problem with chronic stress is that your body acts as if it’s always an emergency situation. And after a while, elevated or insufficient cortisol levels cause an imbalance of sex hormones. 

Imbalanced sex hormones can make sex torturous for women. For example, poor sex hormone balance can lead to vaginal dryness. 

Women who suffer from vaginal dryness often experience anxiety before intimacy because of the dilemma caused by the lack of enjoyment and the desire to please their partner. This pre-intimacy anxiety leads to a vicious cycle of more stress. And it’s not just women going through menopause that experience this. 

For men, excess cortisol results in poor sexual performance or a lack of desire to engage in sexual activity. 

Ancient Secrets To Enjoying Sex

Ancient Secrets To Enjoying Sex

No, I’m not going to rehash steamy scenes from the Kama Sutra here. But what I do want to share is the simple yet profound logic of traditional Chinese medicine that rules all aspects of life including getting it on between the sheets. 

You’ve probably heard of Yin and Yang. But can you define them? No, it’s not as simple as opposites. Rather, Yin and Yang are two halves of the same whole, constantly transforming but always striving to maintain harmony. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, every organ system strives for Yin/Yang balance, or as we would say in the West, homeostasis. 

When homeostasis is achieved, that is every single bodily system is running efficiently, a healthy libido will naturally arise (no pun intended). 

When your body is mostly humming perfectly along with Yin-Yang balance, blood vessels widen, circulation improves, the synapses that activate sensory organs fire more effectively and sex organs and sensual areas of the body receive enhanced blood flow. 

Ladies: don’t feel like getting it on lately? Got no mojo, gentlemen? Here’s how certain foods and holistic health can improve your sex life. A curious thing happened in the initial weeks of the pandemic. Couples who for the most part functioned as roommates prior to the pandemic suddenly rediscovered their intimate side. Despite the stress and fear in the early days of the pandemic, stay-at-home orders led to an initial increase in sex. After all, what else is there to do besides watch TV when you’re stuck at home all day and night? However, as stay-at-home orders eased (at least in the U.S.) and life’s other chronic stressors returned to the fold, our collective libido plummeted to pre-pandemic levels. So if your libido is shot because of Covid-anxiety and life’s general grinding assault, I’ve got some tips for you… Root Causes Of Low Libido But before I share my tips for restoring your libido, including the best foods to eat for a healthy sex life, let’s explore some of the factors responsible for lowering sex drive. Obviously, stress is a huge factor. But how exactly does stress affect libido? Chronic stress places a huge demand on two glands that rest on top of the kidneys called the suprarenal glands. You probably know these glands by their more familiar name, the adrenal glands. Your adrenal glands produce stress hormones such as cortisol. Cortisol plays several critical roles in the body, including normalizing inflammation levels; regulating blood pressure, and increasing blood sugar in order to deal with an emergency situation. The problem with chronic stress is that your body acts as if it’s always an emergency situation. And after a while, elevated or insufficient cortisol levels cause an imbalance of sex hormones. Imbalanced sex hormones can make sex torturous for women. For example, poor sex hormone balance can lead to vaginal dryness. Women who suffer from vaginal dryness often experience anxiety before intimacy because of the dilemma caused by the lack of enjoyment and the desire to please their partner. This pre-intimacy anxiety leads to a vicious cycle of more stress. And it’s not just women going through menopause that experience this. For men, excess cortisol results in poor sexual performance or a lack of desire to engage in sexual activity. Air Fryer Ancient Secrets To Enjoying Sex No, I’m not going to rehash steamy scenes from the Kama Sutra here. But what I do want to share is the simple yet profound logic of traditional Chinese medicine that rules all aspects of life including getting it on between the sheets. You’ve probably heard of Yin and Yang. But can you define them? No, it’s not as simple as opposites. Rather, Yin and Yang are two halves of the same whole, constantly transforming but always striving to maintain harmony. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, every organ system strives for Yin/Yang balance, or as we would say in the West, homeostasis. When homeostasis is achieved, that is every single bodily system is running efficiently, a healthy libido will naturally arise (no pun intended). When your body is mostly humming perfectly along with Yin-Yang balance, blood vessels widen, circulation improves, the synapses that activate sensory organs fire more effectively and sex organs and sensual areas of the body receive enhanced blood flow. air fryer and avocado oil How To Achieve Yin-Yang Balance For Great Sex

How To Achieve Yin-Yang Balance For Great Sex

The question then becomes, if you clearly lack Yin/Yang balance, how can you achieve it?

Well, diet of course is a huge factor and I’ll share my top foods for a great sex life below as well as a few supplements. But diet is only one piece of the holistic puzzle. Another critical lifestyle habit that will help you achieve homeostasis, and thus, a healthy sexual appetite is stress management.

If you’re waking up checking your news or social media feed and doing the same right before bed, you need a lifestyle change, stat! Replace staring at a screen in the morning and late at night with a healthy stress management technique such as yoga, meditation, a walk in the woods or neighborhood, etc.

Instead of confirming your biases or satisfying your gossipy nature, focus on getting your body back to a state of balance—if you want to have great sex!

Getting enough exercise is also important but some people actually deplete their adrenal glands even more by exercising too much. If you ask me, lowering your stress levels via meditation or going for a long walk is more important than doing high-intensity exercise. And of course, eating the best foods for great S-E-X.

Best Foods For Healthy Libido

Best foods for great S-E-X

As I mentioned, eating specific foods can help bring your body back into balance. Physiologically, certain nutrients are known to be effective vasodilators. This means that they open the blood vessels, which can help reignite libido. 

Here are my favorite foods to eat to support a healthy sex life: 

  • Dark leafy greens, like the seven different kinds in Organic Green Drink
  • Dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa)
  • Beets
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Citrus 
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chickpeas/hummus
  • Avocados

These foods are great for a healthy libido because they contain nutrients that stimulate nitric oxide. Not to be confused with laughing gas (nitrous oxide), nitric oxide, or NO, relaxes the blood vessels. Every single cell in your body produces NO. But if you eat lots of processed food, your cells will do a poor job manufacturing NO. No NO means no sexy time!

As a vasodilator, NO increases blood flow by widening blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. While these benefits may be associated mainly with just men, the libido-stimulating effects apply to women as well. When women have increased levels of NO, it’s as if the nitric oxide itself acts as a signaling molecule to become sexually aroused, this study from Stanford University explains. 

Best Supplements For Sexual Arousal

In addition to eating plenty of foods on my best-for-sex list above, you may also benefit from taking a nutritional supplement. One that’s discussed in the Stanford study is L-arginine, an essential amino acid that increases NO in the cells. 

Zinc and B vitamins are also important nutrients that are often missing from the Standard American Diet. It’s best to get these nutrients from a whole-food plant-based diet. However, if your libido is running on empty, you may want to give your body the extra supplementation it needs to rediscover that magic spark. 

Here’s to your healthy sex life,

Chef V

Chef V

The New Normal: How I Keep My Sh*! Together When I’m Stressed Out

cleansing juices and soups

Covid is still is stressful, let’s face it. The Covid crisis has eased, and Brandon and I were fortunate to have our Chef V business to keep us busy during it. We are back to seeing our friends, going out to dinner, and especially the gym (!!).  But there’s still  the stress factor of “can I get Covid” in the back of my mind when I go into a crowded store or class or bus,Reducing stress can be challenging anytime, and right now it is harder – and more important – than ever.

How do I keep my cool during these times? I treat myself – and you should treat yourself too, because it keeps you healthier, and that is super important right now.

Here’s how I keep my sh*! together…. 

To keep my stress levels down in this scary time, I’m focusing on the good things in my life:  a thriving business, a handsome and devoted husband, a fit physique, cooking skills, the ability to turn any cocktail into a healthy mocktail, and, I have another love on the side–Coconut (my canine kid).

And we alive in one of the most beautiful places on the planet: sunny, temperate San Diego, where I can go to the beach. Some people go their whole lifetime without ever seeing the ocean. But I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve taken an early-morning beach walk, watching the dolphins surf the waves (while sipping Green Drink, natch).

But no matter what my stress level, I know I need three things to keep myself sane and centered.  Meditation, yoga, and Green Drink.

Meditation, Yoga & Green Drink: The Holy Trinity of Stress Management

No matter what’s going in my life, three things are a constant every morning: meditation, yoga and Green Drink. Even now, when we are forced to stay at home, you can follow my stress management steps.

As soon as I get up (and use the potty), I sit cross-legged and do some pranayama breathing. Pranayam is the foundation of any yoga practice. Even if I know that I’m going to have to face lots of frustration later in the day, these breathing exercises are so important. They’re like the equivalent of recharging your cell phone, only for your mind.

And no matter how exhausting the previous day was, I always find that practicing pranayama breathing is like a natural cup of coffee. Within a couple minutes, I notice a dramatic boost in my energy level, even if I didn’t sleep well. I feel the stress melting away. Even if my stress level will rise later in the day, this is the ultimate stress-management technique to do first thing in the morning.

There are a ton of YouTube videos you can follow along to. (Maybe I’ll create my own video after the new store is up and running on autopilot.)

Pranayama breathing warms your body and mind up for the asanas, (physical postures) of my yoga practice.

Despite 14-16 hour long days keeping the Chef V kitchen and delivery services running, I make sure I do a minimum of 10-15 minutes of yoga. It’s so easy to let stress get the best of you and say, “I’ve got no time today for yoga, I’ve got so much work to do….”

But I’m telling you the more stressful your day, the more you need to start your day off with yoga to manage your stress.

To those who know me, I might seem centered but without meditation and yoga, I might be a mess. And with the additional stress of the coronavirus, I’m upping the time I spend on both.

apple cider vinegar

Keeping Your (Third) Eye on the Prize

Speaking of meditation, I finish my yoga practice with 5-10 minutes of silent meditation. If you don’t think you can sit in silence for even a minute, no worries. There are free guided meditation apps you can follow along to.

While I meditate I try to think of nothing other than my breathing. Then, after that, I take a few minutes and visualize what I want to achieve for the day. Although dealing with the extra safety precautions involved in safely getting Green Drink to my customers makes me want to pull my hair out, I am so happy to be able to continue to deliver it to you.  I think it’s really important to keep your eye on the prize and not let annoying impediments get in the way of achieving your goals. I’m trying to focus on the good things in my life and in the ways I can make the lives of my employees and customers better.

Immediately after I’m done with my yoga and meditation practice, I nourish my body and keep my immune system healthy with 16 oz of Green Drink. I need the extra boost of fresh Green Drink energy and health more than ever right now.

Treating Yourself When You’re Stressed Out

When you feel like crap, try to resist eating that pint of Ben ‘N’ Jerry’s, no matter how strong a temptation that Chunky Monkey is.

Going for sugar snacks is a misfiring of the reward mechanism of the brain. It’s no different than alcoholism.

Your brain tells you that you’ll feel better about things if you allow yourself to indulge by eating a bunch of ice cream.

But in the long run, you feel lousier. The sugar from the ice cream, along with the highly inflammatory dairy, causes foggy brain and sluggish energy. You might feel blissed-out eating the ice cream for maybe 10 minutes or so. But an hour later, you’re going to feel like you’re dragging. Try my healthier alternative, my vanilla “Milk” shake and indulge yourself without bloating and weight gain.

So what can you do when your back is to the wall and you just feel like curling up in a ball? And you can’t leave the house?

Book yourself a do-it-yourself mani-pedi.

Treat yourself to that ten step facial you never had time for.

Go through all your old makeup, throw out the old stuff and organize the rest.

Try out the recipes on my blog.

Buy gift cards from your favorite businesses to help them stay in business.

Stretch – see how much you can increase your flexibility.

For the guys – grow a coronavirus beard. No, not you, honey.

It’s critical that when you’re feeling stressed out, you need to do things to revitalize your health.

We are Figuring this out Together

Times are tough and scary but you are not in this alone. You, my customers and friends, are a blessing in my life and I am so grateful to you. Your health and safety are constantly in my thoughts and I thank you for your patronage and friendship. Know that you are not alone, we are all figuring this out together. – Veronica

Chef V’s Yoga for Stress Relief in Tough Times

yoga for stress

Tough times now. More than ever I depend on my yoga practice to settle my mind, re-energize, and reduce unhealthy stress.

When it all gets to be just too much, I use these two poses to find a calm, relaxed center – and I try to carry that feeling through the entire day.

TREE POSE (VRKSASANA)

Start by focusing the balance on the left foot. Lifting the right foot to the ankle, calf, above the knee or in lotus position (inside the hip joint), bring your arms to prayer position in front of your heart center. Straighten the back, tuck in the pelvis and breathe.

On an inhale, extend your arms over head into any hand mudra you desire; pinky to thumb, thumb to index finger or thumb to middle finger. Hold here for 5-10 inhale and exhale breaths.

Slowly bring your hands back to prayer in front of your chest and slowly release your right foot down. Refocus your attention to the right foot balance and bring your left leg up to the same place you did on your right.

Rebalance and bring your arms to heart center. Extend your arms overhead to a different hand mudra. Breathe 5-10 breaths and slowly release.

Benefits of tree pose: Improves balance and stability in the legs, works and strengthens the core, strengthens the tendons and ligaments in the feet, opens the pelvis and hip bones, also builds self-confidence and self esteem.

collard greens

FLOOR BOW POSE (DHANURASANA)

Another pose that helps me center is Floor Bow Pose. My ribs open and allows deeper cleansing breath.

Start by laying flat with your stomach on the ground. Bend your knees and reach around grabbing your right ankle with your right hand and left ankle with left hand. Start to kick your feet so your arms are being pulled. You can begin to rock back and forth, breathing deeply. Make sure your knees are as close together as possible, hold and breathe for 5-10 inhale and exhale breaths and slowly release.

Benefits of bow pose: Opens the heart, hips, chest, and abdominal muscles. Improves balance, digestion, fatigue, anxiety, and menstrual discomfort.

However you decide to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, do it with Cheer! Namaste!

Chef V, Coco and kale

Lost Your Mojo, Dude? Best Ways To Boost Male Libido

Veronica and Brandon in bed

Is your man having an affair? Or does he just need to get his mojo back? Chef V shares some tips on the best ways to boost libido in men. 

Is your man feeling less manly lately? Tell him not to worry. Considering the stressful times of the last 18 months he’s certainly not alone. As I mentioned in the intro to my recent post, “Best Foods for Great S-E-X” lots of couples were getting it on more than normal in the first weeks of the pandemic because of the lockdown. 

But gradually over the last several months, many a manly man’s libido has plummeted. And it’s no fault of their own. And just like any normal year, there’s a one-word answer to blame for the loss of mojo: STRESS. 

Throw in a pandemic and many men may be tempted to solve the loss of desire by taking the little blue pill. But taking a little blue pill is the equivalent of going into battle without ammunition. Erectile dysfunction (ED) pills help raise the roof but don’t solve the problem of wanting to raise it in the first place. 

Now, before I reveal what I believe are the best tips for boosting your guy’s desire, let’s explore the main reasons why he doesn’t feel like getting it on in the first place. Remember, it’s not his fault and he needs to know that. 

men's libido and stress

Root Causes of Low Libido In Men

And it’s not just COVID anxiety that’s to blame for stress and a decrease in male libido. Other lifestyle factors such as drinking too much alcohol, taking recreational drugs, not getting enough antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet … these can all contribute to a loss of desire. 

—> Not getting enough antioxidants in your diet but don’t have time to cook healthy or don’t like the taste of leafy green veggies? Drink ‘em up

If we’re to believe the TV commercials, however, low libido in men is caused by the simple root cause of “low testosterone” or low T. 

But having low T is merely a symptom of chronic stress. And when your body is frequently in fight or flight mode the normal hormonal pathways are interrupted. You can think of hormonal pathways as a superhighway matrix. But if there’s an accident, on this superhighway, things get backed up and testosterone production plummets.

If your guy is frequently suffering from low libido, I recommend that he get a sex hormone panel test. A healthy level of testosterone is at least 300 ng/dl. 

Supposing that testosterone levels are indeed low, your guy’s doctor probably won’t educate him about how chronic stress zaps the body of a hormone that’s a precursor to testosterone. This hormone is called pregnenolone. When pregnenolone is “shifted” from its usual metabolic highway, less testosterone is produced. 

Chef V mens libido good

Reversing Chronic Stress To Increase Libido

Hey, no news flash here but it’s important to go over the fact that stress management techniques are a must for normalizing hormones and increasing male libido. Spending at least 45 minutes a day walking in a beautiful natural setting like the beach or the woods. Power off your phone while you’re out in nature. 

Yoga, meditation, tai-chi and qigong are also excellent ways to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the opposite of your body’s overstimulated ‘fight or flight’ sympathetic nervous system.  

Added sugars also cause stress to the body. And when it comes to sexy time, the extra sweet stuff can impair blood flow to the sexual organs. If your guy likes to have a few beers, it’s important he knows that alcohol, at least in my book, is the same as added sugar. 

Eating a clean, low-sugar, low-simple-carb diet, getting daily exercise and practicing stress-management techniques is a great way to kick start male libido. 

ginseng twigs

Best Supplements For Male Sexual Desire & Performance

But sometimes we all need a helping hand. And who better to turn to for help in the bedroom than Mother Nature herself? She’s held the wisdom and secrets of great love making throughout the ages…

Here, then, are some of the best research-backed botanicals and nutrients for supporting male libido:

  • Yohimbe bark: From the bark of the African yohimbe tree, this botanical is legendary for supporting virility. It stimulates the nervous system without raising heartbeat rate or blood pressure.
  • Tongkat Ali root: Research shows it leads to free-testosterone concentrations in men.
  • Tribulus: Known as a longevity herb in Chinese medicine.
  • Zinc: It’s not just for immune support. Turns out this mineral, to quote Healthline, “has a positive effect on arousal and maintaining an erection.” SHWING!
  • Vitamin B12: Supports energy levels and stamina. As men (and women) age, vitamin B12 levels tend to decline.
  • Fenugreek seed: “Researchers found that men taking fenugreek can boost their sex drive by at least a quarter,” says an article in WashingtonPost.com.
  • Rhodiola root: An adaptogenic herb, this stress-neutralizing plant influences mood-regulating neurotransmitters, dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin, all of which are key to sexual function and libido.
  • Other adaptogens: Adaptogenic herbs are known as adaptogens because they help the body adapt to stress and normalize bodily functions. This includes restoring balance to sex hormones. Other examples include ginseng, maca and astragalus. 

mens libido high

Conclusion: Give Him Time To Get It On

Before you rush out to your local pharmacy or shop online for these herbs and nutrients for your man, keep in mind that you don’t have to purchase every single one. Taking one or two at a time can yield impressive, noticeable results. But because these are not pharmaceutical drugs, these results may take much longer than a little blue pill to take effect. 

But all good things come to those who wait!

Chef V, Veronica Wheat and husband Brandon Kress

CBD and Anxiety: What Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You

cbd oil

Don’t get me wrong, I love being an entrepreneur and helping coach aspiring lady business leaders….

But as I’ve mentioned before, owning a business isn’t all Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous.

In fact, despite all the yoga I do to manage stress, anxiety can still get the best of me; I’m only human.

So … I’ve been thinking about using CBD to chill out when work pressure starts bubbling up to the surface.

Recently, I wrote about the promising results of CBD on lowering inflammation.

I’ve also been reading lots of reports online about people using CBD to calm the nerves.

Being a certified nutrition therapist and research geek, I wanted to see if there were any studies that support claims that CBD for anxiety is legit.

Here’s what I found out….

cbd candy

How Do You Use CBD For Anxiety?

But before I go over some of the research, I wanted to share a few common questions people have about using CBD for anxiety.

“Will I get high if I use it? ”

The answer: maybe.

You see, CBD is just one of about 100 identified compounds in marijuana. But CBD is non-psychoactive. That means that unlike THC, the infamous compound in weed that gets you high, CBD doesn’t make you feel high. In fact, CBD counteracts the effects of THC.

Now the reason I answered ‘maybe’ to the question is that some tinctures (a therapeutic liquid made by dissolving a drug in alcohol) contain a mix of THC and CBD. As I said, CBD works in opposition to THC. But if you have a high ratio of THC in the tincture, it can make you feel loopy.

But you don’t need any THC in order to get the anxiety-relieving effects. Instead, just buy pure CBD oil.

Just make sure that you get CBD oil that comes from hemp, which contains almost no THC (no more than 0.3%; not nearly enough THC to get you stoned).

CBD oil is extracted from industrial hemp.

Although it’s a natural product, CBD has the same problem as pharmaceuticals when it comes to dosage: everybody is different. In other words, the standard serving size of 25 mg of CBD twice a day may affect people differently.

I’ll give you an example: while on vacation, I talked to someone who took the full recommended dosage of 5 drops to help him fall asleep. But the guy ended up getting insomnia.

So here’s the important lesson if you’re new to using CBD for anxiety: start small. If the recommended dose is 5 drops, start off by taking 2. If you don’t feel anything, increase to 3 drops the next day and so on.

There are several other ways to use CBD for anxiety: there’s vape pens; edibles and more. If and when I try CBD for the first time, I’m going to try a few drops of a pure CBD oil tincture. I think it’s much easier to experiment with a small dose with a tincture than, say, a gummy bear (which I may be tempted to eat several).

CBD and aanxiety

Does CBD For Anxiety Work?

Judging by the immense amount of people posting reviews and stories on the Internet, yes.

But I’ll only take that at face value.

Until I see some research showing some promise on it, I’ll remain skeptical.

That being said, however, keep a couple things in mind about the medicinal uses of CBD.

First, your doctor won’t prescribe it for you. At least not yet in most states. Doctors can only recommend it; they can’t write you a ‘scrip.

And second, unless your doctor is doing some reading on his/her own, he/she didn’t learn about CBD in med school. The endocannibidoid system (fatty chemicals that help cells communicate with each other), of which CBD helps activate, plays a huge effect on the body’s response to pain, inflammation, and, yes, anxiety. But the FDA doesn’t regulate dosage of CBD; instead, it’s treated like a dietary supplement.

I don’t need large research studies to convince me that something works. As long as there is at least some preliminary research offering proof, I’m down to give it a try.

And the research shows that CBD  does indeed have a calming effect on the central nervous system.

For instance, this retrospective study of 72 adults showed that anxiety scores decreased within the first month for 57 patients (79.2%). The anxiety remained lower during the study duration. The cherry on top is that the test subjects also slept better. Only 3 of the patients did not tolerate CBD well. All in all, CBD “may hold benefit for anxiety-related disorders,” conclude the researchers.

Preliminary studies (like this one) also show that CBD may be an excellent remedy for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

And this research from way back in 2014 (seems like ancient times, right?) says:

“Evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and PTSD….”

That’s a promising endorsement. I’m convinced CBD for anxiety can work. But….

cbd oil

Not All CBD is Equal

As is the case with all supplements not created equal–and Green Drinks, too–so it goes with CBD products.

I don’t feel comfortable recommending a particular brand of pure CBD oil because I’m not experienced with taking CBD for anxiety.

But I do know there are some things to consider before buying a product. If you don’t do your due diligence and research reputable brands, you may end up buying a product that contains very little CBD. So make sure the product you buy has 3rd-party, independent testing verification. If you live in a state in which pot is legal, you can visit a dispensary, where they will most likely carry a high-quality brand of pure CBD, instead of a snake oil.

Keep in mind some people believe a full-spectrum product is best. In other words, medical marijuana. Remember, CBD is just one of 100 compounds in cannabis. Similar to how getting antioxidants from whole foods is better for your health than merely relying on supplements, it might be better if you take something that has a rich portfolio of cannabis compounds, but one that is very low in THC.

CBD For Anxiety: Chef V’s Conclusion

I still think that to be on the safe side, pure CBD oil tincture is the way to go. Pure CBD is 100% legal in every state.

And if you’re taking any medication, please talk to your doctor to make sure there won’t be any drug interactions if you use CBD for anxiety.

Remember, this post is not intended as medical advice. While it’s doubtful your doctor would tell you to take CBD, I do think it’s better to be safe than sorry to at least ask your doctor if taking CBD is recommended, especially if your anxiety is serious.

If you’re going to try CBD, choose a product that’s GMO-free; pesticide-free; and extracted using CO2 technology.

To your health,

Chef V

Chef V and meditation

Let’s get Outdoors!

Veronica and Coco hiking

Stress. It impacts everything we do these days. And it has never been more important to de-stress, to find ways to relax and enjoy the good things in life.

How do I keep my cool during these times? I treat myself – and you should treat yourself too. And the treat that makes me happiest this time of year is to get outside. Whether hiking in the Arizona desert or doing yoga on the beaches here in San Diego, getting outdoors is just about the best stress reliever we have in these turbulent times.

We recently moved from the east coast back to one of the most beautiful places on the planet: sunny, temperate San Diego, where I can go to the beach. Taking an early-morning beach walk, watching the dolphins surf the waves (while sipping Green Drink, natch) takes me from stressed to blissful. Brandon and I de-stress regularly with long walks.

Veronica at the beach

What the Experts Say

The New York Times recently interviewed Julia L. Marcus, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. She says: “I think going outside is important for health… We know that being outdoors is lower risk for infection than being indoors. On a sunny, beautiful weekend, I think going outside is indicated, but I also think there are things to do to reduce our risk.”

We all know by now to socially distance and wear a mask.  Just this week, the CDC has published guidelines for going to parks and recreation areas, greatly expanding the options for going mask free.

cdc new mask guidelines

Outdoors safer than indoors

It is now well established that COVID viruses are much more likely to spread indoors than outdoors.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s health officer says that “the risk that somebody who is sick spreads this virus from coughing or sneezing outside and you walk by them very quickly, even when it is within six feet, that risk is negligible…. We always say ‘never say never’ in medicine, but the risk would be infinitesimally small.”

She emphasizes an important part of our daily routines in these difficult times. She says “going for walks and spending time in parks is important for mental health.” I agree – stress is bad for your health. We need to stay sane and calm to stay well.

veronica and coco at the pool

We’ll get through this together

Times are tough and scary but you are not in this alone. You, my customers and friends, are a blessing in my life and I am so grateful to you. Your health and safety are constantly in my thoughts and I thank you for your patronage and friendship. Know that you are not alone, we are all figuring this out together. – Veronica

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.