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Featuring: Natalia Kern 

A deeper look into wellness, mindfulness, self esteem & more!  
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Featuring: Natalia Kern 

Q: Can you introduce yourself and tell our readers a bit about yourself? 

A: I am Natalia Kern, a woman on a mission, an entrepreneur who generates ideas and builds businesses that serve consumers and help industries. I’m all about beauty and self-care, from modeling to skincare lines, fitness and nutrition products, everything that supports one’s healthy and happy lifestyle. But my daily life is filled with children, and we are raising four of them, motherhood responsibilities and joy, marriage to my awesome husband, and growing a new skincare business.

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Q:As a woman passionate about wellness, do you agree with the concept of holistic wellness, which correlates our overall wellbeing to the quality of our physical, mental, and emotional health?

A: Yes, there is no doubt that everything in our bodies, inside and out is connected; and contributes to overall well being. We cannot focus on just one thing and hope to have an optimally healthy system.

 

Q: Let’s discuss our mental health and its relationship to our thoughts in particular. How important are the quality of our thoughts? For instance, does negative self talk really influence our mental health?

A: Our thoughts are just like highway traffic. You can watch it from a distance, or you can take a ride in one of those vehicles. 

The thoughts are always there, good and bad, negative and positive, draining and uplifting; we can’t control their continuous “traffic.” However, which thought we choose to focus on enough to create an emotional anchor is up to us. Maybe, not when we are very young, but when we are mature enough to comprehend that specific thoughts affect us negatively and start training our brain to respond to us and not external triggers. It’s just a discipline, like physical training, a healthy diet - uncomfortable during a re-adjustment to a healthier way. Still, if you do it long enough, it becomes your second nature.

Q: What are some ways we can combat negative thinking and boost our self- esteem?

A: First, we need to start paying attention to our thoughts and listen to our internal dialogue. We don’t have to analyze it yet, critique, or justify it; we just need to start listening to what we are telling ourselves daily. Then, I would try a little exercise of throwing it all on paper and see if you can recognize any common threads or patterns. For example, I would tell myself that “I can’t take care of myself because I am too busy.” I would excuse that I put everything and everyone first before attending to my physical and mental health because “I am too busy.” That excuse would become a reason, an excuse, a justification of health issues that happened when you don’t take care of yourself, and then a trigger or an agitator because being unhealthy is not fun. So who or what do we blame? A busy schedule, disobeying children, school schedules and demands, an unsupportive husband, the list can go on… BUT all of it is created by me, so the fact that I am too busy for myself is my responsibility, right? So how do we change the busy behavior of sacrificing your health in the name of family, motherhood, career…? We rephrase it to a new word - productive. We no longer glorify the busy and focus on how we can be effective. Ironically, we get more productive when we start taking care of our health first. That’s when we gain strength and clarity to see what works in our lives and what doesn’t, what thoughts create positive emotions in our minds, and what thoughts lead to unhealthy habits. It’s like a healthy diet for the mind; we can’t go straight to starving it; we need to replace negative thoughts with good ones and get used to the new taste, new outlook on life, and feelings in our body. When you practice it for a while, you start noticing harmful intruders right away!

 

Q: We are hearing a lot about the power of mindfulness and meditation to improve our wellbeing? Do you agree?

A: Yes, I meditate every morning and often during the day. Especially before I create content, before a business meeting, or need to make an important decision. It took me years to realize that meditation isn’t about controlling our thoughts but detaching from them and just being with our thoughts without judgment or ego. It takes practice, just a few minutes a day to start with, but the improvement it creates in our wellbeing is priceless. 

Q: Will you share the ways in which you practice mindfulness and/or meditation and can you offer any resources for those looking to begin?

A: I started with guided meditations, and some people recommend focusing on an object, candle flame, with your eyes open first to start practicing stillness of the body first and mind later. There are many valuable and accessible sources people can find guided meditations, starting with apple music. I like Joe Dispenza’s meditations, but it’s more about what works for you.

Q:In your opinion, given your educational background in neuroscience, what are the effects of exercise on our mental and emotional health?

A: “Consciousness is only possible through change; change is only possible through movement.” We activate our happy hormones when we exercise. We discipline the mental willpower and physical and mental endurance when we challenge our bodies and stick to a training routine. It oxygenates our blood and allows our brain to stay clear and healthy. For many people, it’s the best way to start improving the thought process and habitual behavior that influence our life.

 

Q: Now onto stress. How important is it to manage stress given its implications on our physical, emotional, and mental health?

A: Stress can be a warning sign of something that needs a change or an improvement, or it can be a neglected wound that sits deep inside and disrupts our entire health system, head to toe. Stress management is an essential part of self-discipline, including healthy boundaries, meditation, healthy nutrition, fitness training, and breathing exercises. Stress has an incredible ability to get our attention; it’s how we use our attention that makes all the difference in our lives and the lives we influence around us.

 

Q: Do you believe in the power of nature and sunlight to balance our mood and de-stress?

A:Absolutely! The research shows how sunlight activates the vitamin D in our body, affecting the health of our skin, bones, and so much more. We are one with nature, so, of course, when we ground ourselves, walk barefoot on the grass, beach, or swim in the ocean, it envelopes us in its nature’s magic, healing and balancing our minds and bodies. There’s nothing more thought organizing for me than a long run outdoors or more igniting my creativity than a date with nature.

 

Q:The connection between nutrition and our wasteline is obvious. Do you believe that our nutrition affects how we feel and how we think too? That we are, in fact, what we eat? 

A: Everything we eat and drink becomes building blocks for our cells and hormones, internally and externally, skin and brain, gut and hair, organ lining and membranes, bones and nails, all of it. We can get in agreement with ourselves to help our bodies support its intelligent organic system, or we can justify a poor diet linked to cultural traditions, economic status, emotions, addictions that ultimately rot our bodies. Once again, it’s our choice. What we decide to put in our bodies or purchase and cook for our children is up to us.

Q:Ladybug Potions loves wellness tips. Will you share any tips or tricks that have helped you lead a balanced, healthy lifestyle?

 

A: And I love Ladybug Potions :-) What helped me lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle are education and consistency. We need to know what works for us, what we made off and how we can support ourselves first, and then take one day at a time for the rest of our life. Life is a journey and not a performance. Nobody knows what you ate and how it makes you feel every time you do it. Nobody will travel the life journey for you, do it for yourself. Treat yourself with love and kindness because everything responds to love.

Follow Natalia for more inspiring information: @nataliakern 

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A deeper look into wellness, mindfulness, self esteem & more!  

Featuring: Lytal Pichon 

Lytal Pichon, Psy.D is a licensed psychologist in private practice. Her focus is on incorporating both the mind and the body in treatment through cognitive behavioral therapy and nutritional psychology. Connect with her on IG @thehealthypsych.

Q: As a clinical psychologist, what made you interested in the connection between nutrition and psychology? Were you noticing that common ailments, such as anxiety and mood changes were linked to a poor diet and/or stressful lifestyle?

A: I actually unintentionally became interested in nutritional psychology through my own personal health journey. My sleep was always problematic, and I always felt fatigued, so I started exploring natural solutions because I did not want to take sleeping pills that my doctors tried to get me to start. As I started learning about diet and lifestyle changes, I kept coming across topics related to mental health and diet. Because I’m a psychologist, the topic captured my attention and I started digging and found the world of nutritional psychology. I also started learning about the way our bodies can be the root cause of mental health symptoms. I then started realizing that almost every single one of my clients had some sort of chronic medical issue; IBS, chronic fatigue, head injury, or a very poor diet.

Q: We keep hearing about the gut-brain axis/connection. Can you give us a simple, layman's explanation?

A: The gut-brain axis is the link between our GI tract (really the enteric nervous system) and our brain. This communication is bidirectional and can impact our mood and our GI symptoms. We now understand that our gut significantly impacts our brain health and therefore, our mood. For example, the neurotransmitter serotonin, which contributes to feeling happy, is also produced in the gut. So, if there’s an imbalance in our gut, we can potentially feel it psychologically.

Q: In your experience, what are the worst gut health offenders? And what are some types of foods we can eat to nourish and heal the gut?

 

A: There are some basic well-known gut health offenders, but it’s important to remember that people can have various underlying imbalances that can lead to sensitivities to specific foods that others may not be sensitive to. Sugar is a known gut health disruptor, along with processed foods. We want to eat as clean as possible in order to feel as good as possible. So, think- natural, real food that was living at some point- plants and animals. Dr. Uma Naidoo, a well known nutritional psychiatrist, recommends testing out eliminating gluten and dairy to see if it helps ease our symptoms of anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, most of the food grown in the US, even organic, is suboptimal in its nutrient density, mainly due to depleted soil and long transportation times between producer and consumer. For this reason, even if we eat a healthy, wholesome diet, we do not actually receive the full benefits of the food. Nutritional supplementation works to correct these nutritional deficiencies (that can in turn help heal the gut-brain connection)

 

Q: How important do you think it is to eat a balanced diet and take proper supplementation?

A: Yes, for many of us, eating a healthy diet may not be enough for the reasons you mentioned. I definitely believe diet comes first, especially when it comes to avoiding certain foods that can make us feel bad, but also as far as providing our bodies with the proper nutrition. I think high quality supplements are important for so many of us in order to “supplement” a healthy diet which might be lacking in certain nutrients that can help us feel much better.

Q: How important is movement, mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude to reducing stress and improving overall well being? Why should people implement these self-care practices into their lives?

A: SO important! Exercise has been shown to be basically just as effective in treating depression as antidepressants, so I recommend movement to almost every client of mine. Mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude are so useful in changing our perception which also changes the way our bodies function. When we focus on the here and now, and not on the past or future as much, we can avoid the rumination and worry that comes along with feelings of depression and anxiety.

Q: Ladybug Potions believes in the power of your thoughts and their influence on your health. Can you explain how thoughts have a direct effect on our mental health, and therefore, overall health?

A:Just as our bodies impact our mental health, our mental health impacts our bodies. It’s a two-way street. Our bodies change in response to our emotions and our thoughts. Simply changing our thoughts leads to physiological changes in our bodies. That means that it’s extremely important to look at our inner dialogue and what we are telling ourselves that might be leading to mental health symptoms. Our emotions are based on our thoughts- our inner voice that is constantly running in our heads. The problem is that sometimes our thoughts are slightly inaccurate and we then based our emotions on these inaccurate thoughts.  

Q: Ladybug Potions believes in the importance of holistic wellness and in the alignment and balance between physical, emotional, and mental health. Do you agree that focusing on just one aspect of health will diminish your ability to achieve overall wellness?

A: Definitely! Health is health- our bodies need to be healthy in order to prevent illness- including mental illness. We need to focus on both our physical and emotional health. As far as our mental health goes, we need to evaluate our thoughts that may or may not be rational and what beliefs/experiences led to these thoughts as well as our brain health to ensure we are functioning at an optimal level. 

Q: What are the key takeaways that people should know to improve their overall health and wellbeing? For instance, what can people begin to do in order to optimize their wellness?

A: The good thing is there’s a lot we can do. I focus on movement, diet, sleep, and relaxation with all of my clients. I believe this is the foundation to health. Start small and just stick to one thing for a few weeks and then slowly build on that.

Q: Ladybug Potions loves wellness tips. Will you share any tips or tricks that have helped you lead a more balanced lifestyle?

A: I love getting more sunlight! I think getting sun in the morning is an easy and effective way to improve our mood and sleep. Getting some sun in the morning (about 15-30 minutes) can increase serotonin levels throughout the day which can then increase melatonin at night at the appropriate time we need to sleep.

Q: Ladybug Potions believes in the importance of holistic wellness and in the alignment and balance between physical, emotional, and mental health. Do you agree that focusing on just one aspect of health will diminish your ability to achieve overall wellness?

A: Definitely! Health is health- our bodies need to be healthy in order to prevent illness- including mental illness. We need to focus on both our physical and emotional health. As far as our mental health goes, we need to evaluate our thoughts that may or may not be rational and what beliefs/experiences led to these thoughts as well as our brain health to ensure we are functioning at an optimal level. 

An exploration into holistic wellness and the relationship between nutrition and mental health. 
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Discussing the role of proper nutrition in our overall health with a real dietitian. 

Featuring: Lorena Nava 

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Q: As a registered dietician and certified nutritionist, in your professional opinion, what role does a healthy diet have in overall wellness? 

A: A healthy diet helps so much to prevent or delay chronic diseases. We cannot control our genes but we can control what we eat, as well as being active, exercise and to have at least seven hours of sleep. I work in a clinical setting where specific diets are part of patients' treatment plans. So, in my experience, food does play a part in health!

Q: We now know that a diet in excess of sugar and processed foods leads to a host of health problems. Are there any other foods we should also limit?

A: Avoiding or limiting processed foods is the best way to follow a diet low in added sugars, high sodium and excess calories. For instance, a high sodium diet can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Q: Despite our efforts to eat a healthy, balanced diet, many people still experience nutritional deficiencies. How does nutritional supplementation help to correct these nutritional gaps and deficiencies?

A: Supplements should not replace a healthy diet or food. But, they are very helpful for people who are lacking nutrients. I always recommend checking with a physician before taking any supplement. 

Q: Ladybug Potions believes in the importance of holistic wellness and in the un-stressing of our physical, emotional, and mental health. Do you agree that quality nutritional supplementation helps to “un-stress” the physical body?

A: Chronic stress can be damaging in ways similar to a poor diet or lack of sleep. There are many natural ways to help with stress like exercise, meditation, acupuncture, eating a nutrient dense diet and consuming natural oils. Supplements can always be helpful too, under the guidance of a health professional.

 

Q: How important is it to take your nutritional supplements regularly?

A: If a supplement is recommended, it is very important to follow the correct dose for the supplement to work properly.

 

Q: Does your nutritional supplement protocol change as you age or experience life changes such as puberty, perimenopause, or menopause?

A: Nutritional needs change as we age. For example, levels of estrogen decrease in postmenopausal women and that promotes belly fat storage which increases the risk of chronic diseases. It is very individualized, but supplements can be helpful to ensure you have enough of several important nutrients.

Q: What are the key takeaways that people should know about how to improve their overall diet for optimal nutrition?

At any age it is important to follow a nutrient dense diet that focuses on foods primarily from plants. It’s important to avoid processed foods, to add more fruits, vegetables and legumes. It is recommended to eat at least thirty different types of plants to have an optimal gut microbiome. 

 

Q: Ladybug Potions loves wellness tips. Will you share any tips or tricks that have helped you lead a balanced, healthy lifestyle ?

A:To eat the rainbow by eating fruits and vegetables of different colors every day.

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