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427 South Marengo Avenue #5
Pasadena, CA, 91101

(323) 558-2055

Natalie Moore is a holistic psychotherapist in Pasadena, CA who helps young adults decrease anxiety naturally through somatic (mind/body) practices.

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Holistic Health Blog | Pasadena, CA

This blog is for anyone interested in integrative health or functional medicine. Topics will include Eastern philosophies of healing (such as acupuncture and Chinese Medicine,) nutrition and exercise. Stay posted to learn more about a mind/body/spirit approach to health and wellness.

11 Best Tips for a Healthy-Eating Lifestyle

Natalie Moore

If you're anything like me, you may find it challenging to maintain a healthy diet consistently. For me, it took years of trial and error to finally get to a point where I eat healthfully the vast majority of the time. I'm on a mission to help other people find this balance in their lives so that they, too, can enjoy the many benefits of healthy eating, such as sustained energy, increased longevity, improved overall health of mind, body and spirit. Listed below are what I've learned over the years and am happy to now share with you:

 
Healthy Eating Lifestyle Holistic Psychotherapy for Young Adults Pasadena CA
 

1 | Don’t Skip Breakfast

It really is the most important meal of the day! Not just because it revs up your metabolism and keeps you energized in the morning hours, but also because eating a healthy breakfast sets the tone and intention for the rest of the day. If you show up to work on an empty stomach, of course you’re going to be tempted to spike your energy with the coffee and donuts someone brought it. But if you filled up with a hearty breakfast and stayed hydrated, none of that would even look good to you.

2 | Bring Your Lunch to Work

This is one of the most important (and IMHO easiest!) ways to radically improve your diet. It’s as simple as preparing a quick salad or packing your leftovers from dinner the night before into some containers and bringing them to work. Getting into this daily habit will not only transform your diet, but will also save you lots of time and money! Remember to cook lots of fun, delicious healthy meals so you don’t feel like your bag lunch is a drag, but something to look forward to. Your coworkers might even get jealous!

3 | Batch Cook Your Dinners

I’m such an advocate for batch cooking! If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s when you shop for, prepare and cook an entire week’s worth of meals ahead of time (usually on the weekend) so that you don’t have to think twice about what’s for dinner. My favorite thing to batch cook is soup, as it’s so easy to get your protein and veggies in there and very easy to store. I usually take the leftovers and freeze them so if there’s a weekend I don’t have time to batch cook, I thaw out the frozen meals and have a week of dinners. Easy!

4 | Want Sweets? Make them Yourself!

I don’t know about you, but I have a huge sweet tooth. But from all that I’ve learned about the health disadvantages of sugar, I avoid it as much as possible. But that doesn’t mean I need to feel deprived! My favorite way to appease my sweet tooth without the negative health effects is to bake my own treats. I use recipes like this amazing gluten-free zucchini bread to satisfy the sweets craving, without the refined sugar, gluten or dairy.

5 | Find Recipes You're Excited About

If you see healthy eating as something you “have to do” instead of something you “want to do,” you’ll dread the process and most likely not achieve the results you desire. Switch it up! Start looking for inspiration on Pinterest, cooking blogs or in cookbooks for healthy recipes that look fun to make and delicious to eat. No need to eat that same boring old salad day after day! I personally love the food blogs Cookie & Kate and Minimalist Baker. Both sites have awesome, healthy recipes that can be modified for vegans, vegetarians, Paleo-eaters and those with gluten, dairy or other food allergies.

6 | Restaurants Don’t Need to be a Landmine

Some may say that it’s impossible to eat healthfully at restaurants. There is a grain of truth to the statement, in that it’s difficult to know exactly what you’re eating if you didn’t prepare the food yourself. However, there are some hacks you can put in place. For breakfast, order the omelet and ask if you can customize your own fixings, opting for the veggies. For lunch, find a salad with lots of veggies and leave out the cheese. For dinner, look for a meal with plenty of protein with a side of veggies and leave off any creamy sauces. For all meals, opt for water instead of sweet, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.

7 | Vacation? No Problem!

You might think that going on vacation will make it impossible to eat healthy foods causing you to give up on the idea entirely. This is simply not true and unnecessary! What I do when I go out of town is I decide with my partner one meal we’d like to eat out each day (whether that be a breakfast, lunch or dinner) and the other two meals we eat at the hotel. We bring big containers of cooked meat, mixed veggies and quinoa in a cooler and keep them in the mini-fridge. When we’re ready to eat, we pop some food in the microwave and presto! Not only do we ensure that most of our meals are up to our health standards, but we also save a lot of money! For fresh fruits, we find a market in town and grab a variety every few days.

8 | Schedule in your Splurges

No man can live off bread alone! Sometimes we need to let our guard down and just enjoy the sensory pleasures of food and the joy that food can bring us in the moment. Moreover, finding a healthy balance with your diet will help you maintain consistency with it, whereas strict, rigid diets tend to fall by the wayside. For those special occasions coming up, schedule in a “splurge” day where you go all out. Remember to savor the experience and be mindful of the fact that you’re splurging. Let it be a conscious, enjoyable experience.

9 | Focus on What You'll Gain, Not on What You'll Lose

When we think about the word “diet,” we automatically feel constricted and there’s a rebel inside us that wants to revolt! That’s because the word conjures up limited portions, bland foods and deprivation. What if we instead thought of dietary modifications as a lifestyle change that will give us increase vitality and make us feel really good all the time? And to take this a little further, what if I said you could eat delicious food to satisfaction? Well, guess what? You can! Simply cook whole, organic foods (that means nothing from a box!) and eat slowly and mindfully, paying attention to your body’s signals that you’re not hungry anymore. You’ll never have to worry about portions again.

10 | Keep it From a Good Place

When thinking about the dietary changes you’d like to make, ensure you keep it from a place of self-love as opposed to self-loathing. If you resolve to change your eating habits because you want to alter the way you look, you’ll most likely be resentful about the changes you’re enacting, making it more challenging to maintain the new habits. Conversely, if you create change from a place of self-appreciation and improved health, you’ll be much more apt to keep the healthy habits for life.

11 | Be Kind to Yourself

Making nutritional changes is hard work! You may come up against some really uncomfortable feelings such as craving, desire, deprivation, anger, frustration, guilt and shame. This is normal. Food and eating are highly emotionally-charged phenomena. It can provide a sense of comfort in times of need. It can be linked to happy or unpleasant memories from childhood. Remember to be kind to yourself during this process of self-discovery.

I hope these tips have been helpful and inspiring to you. Please keep in mind that making the shift to eating healthy as a lifestyle is a huge commitment and is a process. That means it takes time (sometimes years!) and that there is a ton of self-correcting along the way. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to do this. It’s your journey. Now I’d love to hear from you! Where are you on your healthy eating path? Have you been doing this forever and looking for ways to fine tune? Are you just getting started and trying to figure out how to do this? Please share your experience in the comments below. If you have any great tips that I haven’t written here, please add those to the conversation, too! Thank you for reading and be well.


about the author

Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping people live more peaceful, meaningful lives. Through holistic therapy in Pasadena and here on the blog, my mission is to provide people with the support and tools they need to live their best life.

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8 Pillars of Optimal Health and Well-being

Natalie Moore

Whether you are just getting started with healthy living, or you've been at this a long time, I hope you get something out of today's post. I felt compelled to share here what I believe to be the 8 pillars of optimal health and well-being because this information could be potentially transformative. It has taken me many years to get to a place where I feel comfortable telling others how I've created a healthy lifestyle for myself (although I'm far from having reached my health goals!) There are many links here for those who would like to do further research and reading into the information provided in this post. I encourage you to be the advocate of your own health and continue to educate yourself! Enjoy:

 
 

1 | Nutrition

At this point, most everyone knows that eating a healthy diet is vital for optimal well-being. But it can still be incredibly challenging to do so, with all the tempting foods that we encounter daily at restaurants, at work and at the grocery store. I find that the easiest way for me to stay on top of healthy eating is to do batch cooking! (AKA planning, shopping for, preparing, cooking and packing up an entire week's meals on Sunday.) For meal planning, I get inspiration on my favorite recipe sites like Cookie and Kate and Minimalist Baker and after cooking/preparing the meals I package everything into containers for the week. Whatever is leftover gets frozen for a lazy day. This way, I know I won't have to execute any willpower at all. It's also a great way to save money and time. I will tell you that for years I "tried" to eat healthy and always seemed to fail until starting this routine. Meal prep is a total game-changer! But don't forget the water. Staying adequately hydrated is arguably the most important (and simplest!) way we can improve our health. I like to prep my water bottle the night before so it's ready to go in the morning.

2 | Sleep

People underestimate the importance of sleep for health and well-being! There are so many processes that occur while we are sleeping that become undermined if we don’t get the proper amount of sleep. So why is it that people have such a hard time getting the amount of shut-eye they need? IMHO the two biggest culprits are caffeine and electronics:

  • Caffeine: Because caffeine gets in the way of proper sleep (caffeine stays in your system 8-14 hours!), I highly recommend looking into completely cutting out or at least reducing your intake. Want a hint? Chicory root herbal coffee replacement is a delicious way to ween yourself off the hard stuff and can be purchased at your local health food store. 
  • Electronics: It’s common knowledge now that our beloved electronic devices emit blue light that can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm, resulting in lower levels of melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep. Research from Harvard now suggests that frequent exposure to blue light could be much more harmful to our health, potentially causing diabetes, cancer, heart disease and obesity. The solution? Set an electronics curfew so that you turn bright screens off a few hours before bed (or at least dim the screens) to signal to your body it’s time to get sleepy.

3 | Movement

We know how important physical activity is for tiptop health, however there is a huge misconception today that exercise must be extremely rigorous to get the benefits from it. This couldn't be further from the truth! Evidence suggests that moderate exercise is as good – or even better! – than intense exercise. This is good news for all of us, especially those with chronic conditions that preclude hardcore physical activity. Even yin yoga and tai chi, very slow-moving forms of exercise, have big health benefits.

I'll admit that I used to fall into the "if I'm not dripping sweat, blistered and sore, I didn't get a workout" category until a slew of overuse injuries interrupted my exercise routine to the point of losing momentum and stopping for a period of time altogether. I now have finally realized that long-term consistency beats out short-term intensity. (I believe that's a Bruce Lee quote!) That means that it's more important for me to run a couple miles a few days a week than to attempt that killer 15-mile hike once a week. For my best tips on this, check out "10 Keys to Making Exercise Consistent."

4 | (Low) Stress

Stress is the number one contributor to illness. It inhibits the immune system's function which makes it difficult to prevent and heal disease. (Here’s an interesting study about how long it takes the body to heal a wound under high-stress or low-stress conditions.) Therefore, one of the best ways to improve your health is to reduce your levels of stress. How does one do this? There are many ways! Read “8 Ways to Reduce Anxiety Naturally” for some ideas.

5 | (Low) Toxicity

Especially for those of us who live in a big city (like Los Angeles,) we need to be mindful of the effect that environmental toxins have on our health and how to reduce our intake as much as possible. We are exposed to as many as 84,000 chemicals a day (of which only 1% have been tested for safety) which puts extra stress on our organs that are in charge of filtering those toxins out.

Lastly, I'll include cigarettes and alcohol here as toxic substances to avoid.

6 | Connection

We need satisfying emotional connections with other people (and animals can be a great source of this, too!) to have optimal health. When we feel loved and bonded to others, oxytocin is released by the pituitary which reduces stress and increases feelings of happiness and peace. Connection to others also provides us with a sense of safety, support and common humanity. Life's troubles don't seem as challenging when we have people who want to help us or can at least share that they know what you're going through. A (wo)man is not an island and we can't do this alone!

7 | Purpose

Without a sense of purpose, life feels empty and unfulfilling. Many will seek distraction to avoid the discomfort of feeling purposeless – looking to unhealthy addictive behaviors to soothe them. When people don't know what their calling is, they can get their priorities out of whack and focus too much on feeding the ego, which will often manifest as greed, narcissism, selfishness and pettiness. This can also cause fear, a sense of scarcity and feeling alone. Conversely, when someone is aware of their unique purpose in life, they feel connected to others, they understand that there is plenty to go around, they are generous and willing to help others while expecting nothing in return. To learn more, read "5 Ways to Discover your Life Purpose."

8 | Enjoyment

You gotta have fun! When we engage in enjoyable activities that give us a sense of satisfaction, we are setting ourselves up for optimal health. The more time we spend doing things we enjoy, the more serotonin and dopamine (these are the happy hormones!) we release in our brains and ultimately improve our mental health and our mood. How can you squeeze and little more fun into your schedule, you ask? Check out my post, "17 Ways to Make Time for Yourself" for ideas.

Now, as always, I'd love to hear from you! Is there an important aspect of health that you believe was missed here? Let me know! Is there an area of health that you would like to see written about here on the blog? I'd love to hear your thoughts. What has worked for you in improving healthy habits? What hasn't? Please share in the comments below. Thank you for reading and be well.


about the author

Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping people live more peaceful, meaningful lives. Through holistic therapy in Pasadena and here on the blog, my mission is to provide people with the support and tools they need to live their best life.

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Affordable Local Acupuncture Treatment

Natalie Moore

You may have heard of the amazing benefits of acupuncture and have been curious about trying it. I know when I first heard my boyfriend talking about his experience with it, I was dying to check it out myself. However, there was so much ambiguity around the whole idea. I didn’t know how much it would cost, who I should go to for treatment and if it could help me with the issues I was facing.

Luckily, I had my eyes and ears open at the time and happened to stumble upon community acupuncture (basically acupuncture done in a room with other people, which makes it more cost-effective) at a yoga studio I had been frequenting. I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to test the acupuncture waters since services were offered on a sliding scale of $20-45 (an individual acupuncture session typically costs between $80-150) and were being offered in a setting that I was already familiar with.

It ended up being a great experience! I’ve since been a regular recipient of acupuncture for a couple of years now and have found its effects to be truly transformative for total health – mind, body and spirit. If you’ve been curious about acupuncture, but are interested in trying community acupuncture to ensure affordability, I’ve compiled a list of organizations that provide reduced fee services to the community in a group setting. Enjoy!

 
 

1 | Yogala Studios, Echo Park

Yogala is my all-time favorite yoga studio in Los Angeles (and I’ve been to many!) The vibe there is so low-key and healing to me. This is where I first tried community acupuncture and really enjoyed it. The acupuncturist at the time was Kathy Comstock, L.Ac., who no longer practices there. Now Amalia Gardner, L.Ac. has taken up providing low-cost acupuncture ($20-45 for 45 minutes) to the Yogala community. You can learn more about the schedule and about Amalia here.

2 | Slo Poke Acupuncture, South Pasadena

Slo Poke is located in the Fremont Center Theatre building and offers community acupuncture at a reduced rate. An initial consultation costs $55 and ongoing treatment costs $45. Slo Poke also offers package deals of 5 sessions for $210 or 10 sessions for $400. Services are provided by Emily Huffman, L.Ac. and sessions are by appointment only, so make sure you call ahead of time. You can learn more about Emily and get in touch with her here.

3 | Eagle Rock Community Acupuncture

ERCA provides community acupuncture 6 days a week and offers online scheduling for the client’s ease. Their fees are $45 for an initial visit and $35 for follow-ups. Services are provided by three licensed acupuncturists, Valerie Brown, Jae Kim and Benita Safaryans. ERCA also gives discounts for 5, 10 and 20 treatment packages (costing $160, $300 and $560, respectively.) Lastly, ERCA has a private room option for those who prefer privacy for their treatment at an additional $15 cost. Click here to learn more and to schedule an appointment.

4 | Center Point Community Acupuncture, North Hollywood

Center Point’s owner and founder Mike Gonzalez, L.Ac. is passionate about providing low-cost acupuncture to his community. Through utilizing a group setting, he’s able to offer services at the low cost of $20-40 per session. To learn more, visit his website.

5 | Echo Park Community Acupuncture

EPCA is home to a small group of acupuncturists who are committed to providing affordable acupuncture to the Echo Park community. The clinic charges $40 minimum for a first treatment and $25 minimum for follow-up treatments. They have wonderful testimonials on their Yelp profile, which you can view here.

6 | Village Community Acupuncture, Sherman Oaks

Owner Steven K. is a licensed acupuncturist who believes that acupuncture should be affordable to all. His clinic consists of a small group of acupuncturists who provide services at an affordable $35 per session rate. Steven’s belief about community acupuncture is that individuals should be able to afford to receive treatments multiple times a week to address the root cause of the issue, as opposed to covering up the symptoms. You can read testimonials on the Yelp profile here.

When I first was looking into acupuncture treatment, I was certainly worried about whether the needles would hurt or not. I found that my apprehension around the needles was the only unpleasant part of the experience. If your acupuncturist is gentle, the needles don’t feel like much of anything except a tiny pinch.

I hope these resources are helpful to you in your search for health and well-being. If you want to learn more about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, my favorite blog on the subject is Chinese Medicine Living.

Now I’d love to hear from you! Have you received acupuncture before? If so, what has your experience with acupuncture been like? If not, are you curious about trying it out? Do you have any fears around it? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. Be well.


about the author

Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping people live more peaceful, meaningful lives. Through holistic therapy in Pasadena and here on the blog, my mission is to provide people with the support and tools they need to live their best life.

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10 Keys to Making Exercise Consistent

Natalie Moore

We know that exercise is healthy for mind, body and spirit, yet it can be so tough to stick to a routine at times. I know that personally, even though I consider myself a fitness nut and love many forms of exercise, it can be easy to fall out of the habit. An illness, an injury or even a particularly busy month at work can often be all it takes to bring us from consistent exercise to total stagnation. Here are my 10 keys to keeping exercise consistent:

 
 

1 | Bring a buddy

For me, the easiest way to ensure that I get in my workout is to invite a friend. You’re less likely to flake out on exercise if you’ve involved a friend or family member into the plan. The trick is to make sure it’s someone who’s not going to cancel on you! Once you’ve established that your friend is into the idea and shown that they’re accountable, make it a regular occurrence, so you don’t have to think to schedule it. Monday nights you meet with your bestie and walk the Silverlake Reservoir. BOOM!

2 | Join a group

There are tons of fitness groups on Meetup – any type of workout you can imagine is on there. And these activities are often free. A convenient aspect of going this route is that you don’t have to plan the event or work around a friend’s schedule – just find a group that meets at a convenient time and location and there you go!

3 | Make it fun

If you’re dreading your workout, you’re likely to find a reason not to do it! In other words, the workout that’s fun is the workout that gets done. Hate running? Try a brisk walk instead. Enjoy nature? Go for a hike. Love dancing? Take a Zumba class. With so many different workout options (especially here in Los Angeles) the world is your oyster.

4 | Find a deal

Gym and studio memberships can get pretty pricey, making it hard for some people to get a consistent workout routine going. Luckily, there are lots of free or donation options such as yoga in the park, running groups, hiking crews, etc. Find them online or ask around. You’ll feel great about getting in shape on a budget as well as making friends in the process!

5 | Get it done early

We’ve all been there…you had grand plans to exercise after work, but you get home and you’re exhausted! You barely have enough energy to watch a movie, much less sweat it out on a run. Instead, get your workout done in the morning before work! That way, you have plenty of energy for the day and you don’t have to summon the willpower to work out at the end of a long day.

6 | Plan ahead

It’s hard to get folks out on a hike the night before. Instead of trying to squeeze in your workout last minute, plan out your workouts ahead of time. This will help keep you in the mindset of prioritizing exercise, as well as give you time to invite friends along.

7 | Use an app

MindBody is an awesome scheduling and class purchasing tool that can be found in any app store. The user interface is easy to use and well-organized. Find a class, book and get ready to sweat! ClassPass is a membership program and app that allows one to workout at a number of studios for a low monthly price. Couch to 5k is an amazing app that coaches you all the way from couch potato to being prepared to run a 5k race.

8 | Set a goal

In order to start running consistently, it helps to sign up for a running event – say a 5k – to have something to work towards. Or to start hiking regularly, maybe there’s a particular mountain – like Mt. Baldy – that you’d like to summit. Setting these kinds of goals keeps our eyes on the big picture, helping us stay focused on the process.

9 | Track your progress

Track your progress! Journal about your workouts by simply writing down what you did (i.e. hiked 7 miles; 60-minute yoga class, etc.), how you felt before during and after the workout. Not only will this give you an opportunity to reflect on how the exercise made you feel, but you also get to see how much improvement you’ve made towards your exercise goals.

10 | Keep it realistic

Remember that our fitness goals need to be realistic in order to remain consistent with the action. If we expect ourselves to go from zero exercise to running a marathon in a month, not only can we damage our bodies, but we can become discouraged and give up entirely. Set goals that you believe are achievable and adjust as necessary – ramping it up or slowing it down depending on your body’s response.

I hope these tips have been helpful to you. They’ve certainly helped be develop an active lifestyle and jump back on the horse each time I’ve fallen off. Now I’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite techniques to make sure you stay on top of your physical activity? Thanks in advance!


about the author

Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping people live more peaceful, meaningful lives. Through holistic therapy in Pasadena and here on the blog, my mission is to provide people with the support and tools they need to live their best life.

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