Happy Monday Mornin’!
I’m absolutely delighted to invite you to sit down at a virtual table with a virtual cup of…whatever you drink in the morning (I’m a water gal, myself)…with me and Lisa Byrne of the Well Grounded Life and Designed for Wellness. I’m acquainted with Lisa through our work with Simple Living Media and Simple Mom, and I must say, it’s such a treat to bump into another real food blogger with whom I haven’t previously been acquainted.
Sometimes it’s easy to believe that there are just twenty or so people blogging about whole, traditional foods who don’t trust the low-fat food pyramid. In the wide world of the Internet, certainly there are always more fish in the sea! I’m very pleased to introduce you to Lisa. Make yourself comfortable; stay a while; let’s get to know each other.
I asked Lisa some interview questions, and she took time out of preparing for her upcoming eCourse, Designed for Wellness, to have a chat with me.
Kitchen Stewardship: You released a free eBook about breaking the sugar habit, which may or may not have made me feel a little guilty for the love of sweets I may or may not be admitting to here. What’s your personal “sweets” history? Did you have a turning point when you decided to break the sugar habit, or was it a gradual shift?
Lisa Byrne: Oh, Katie! We totally do NO guilt here!
So my personal sweets history– well, really isn’t “history” because I still enjoy some sweets in my life.
That being said, I used to have much more intense sugar cravings than I ever do now. I can remember a time when a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream was a single serving– and that would often be many days in a row 🙂 Or when I’d have candy daily or some kind of high refined sugary thing almost every day– sometimes many times a day.
The true shift for me happened gradually. I say true shift because, I also used to go on stretches where I would ban anything sweet to eat– and then, predictably the will power would fail and I’d come intensely back into the over-consumption mode. It really is just basic psychology of saying no to something for too long generating a whole lot of interest and energy toward that thing.
Somehow, organically, I began to simply get reacquainted with my body. I began to really listen and pay attention. I began to actually taste what I was eating. This was probably the first step in even realizing that I had an unhealthy relationship with sugar.
The next step was to not make sugar forbidden. And instead I started simply focusing way more on bringing foods that made me feel great and energized and clean into my diet. Later when I trained as a health coach this concept was termed “crowding out”, but I had done it for many years, and I knew how powerful it was and how much it really worked.
Focus on bringing good in. Pay attention to how things actually make you feel without judgment. Identify if you are using food as a replacement for something– and then fill that thing with something more appropriate.
I know this seems to simplify the issue. I also know that sugar issues have deep physiological strongholds on our body as well– and that there are many things we can do nutritionally to help break those physical addictions. But if we don’t tend to the psychological reasons as well, the issues are never truly resolved.
KS: I had no time to take your amazing free stress eCourse, because, of course, I’m not stressed out at all. Ahem. Actually, I’d love the cliff’s notes! Do you have a “3 best tips” for moms to reduce their stress throughout the day?
Lisa: Great question, and yet, I’ll have to answer a slightly different one. 🙂 I can share with you what I’ve come to learn about myself and how to reduce my stress.
One of the things the course did was take you through a process that allows you to create the toolbox that works for you in terms of reducing your stress and preventing it from the get go. So while I could list out 3 really good tips “in general”, what is truly life changing is when you take the time to determine what YOUR three best tips are — and how to make sure you can use them effectively in the life you are living.
When it comes to stress and getting into a stress spiral, there are a couple things I tend to do. I almost always make sure I’m simply not hungry. It’s a big one for me, when I let myself get famished or poorly fed for too long, stress is one of the first things that take over. So I’ll grab some kind of substantial food– for me I’ve found that tends to be something that has healthy fats and some protein in it.
The next thing I do is check in with what thoughts are running through my mind. I often need to disarm negative thoughts patterns and replace them with more true and helpful thoughts.
Finally, if my stress issue seems to be feeding off of my kid’s and their actions or reactions to me– then I purposefully get down to their level, quiet my voice, soften my eyes when I speak to them and let them know I want our day to go differently. I may simply add some lightness to the situation with a tickle or a silly face– or I may need to ask them for a hug and apologize for how I’ve acted.
I have other things too– but those three I tend to use most often!
KS: What are your qualifications/certifications for teaching the eCourse? Can you explain a little about your professional training?
Lisa: Well, I have a background full of science. My undergrad degree is from Cal Poly State University in Biochemistry with a minor in Nutrition and Metabolism.
In college I was on the pre-med track and volunteered in Kenya, Tanzania and Guatemala doing work in the area of health and nutrition with communities of women and farmers. These experiences led me to pursue public health instead of medicine and I earned my MPH in Social and Behavioral Studies from Boston University.
But those experiences also were the foundations of my deep beliefs in traditional, cultural wisdom as well as knowing that true health stems not from managing our disease, but from increasing our wellness through taking excellent care of ourselves.
Too many people today are scattered, exhausted and on the brink of serious illness because their lifestyles are not in balance– and when I see other Moms like this my heart literally aches, because I know how difficult it is to raise children and keep yourself cared for as well.
This passion led me to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC where I became certified as a holistic health counselor. I’m doing the work I love and that has tremendous meaning and value to me. It allows me to stay at home with my children and still grow and contribute in the world…and teach eCourses like Designed for Wellness.
KS: I’m very curious about your professional practice outside the Internet. Can you tell us about what your job entails as an holistic health counselor?
Lisa: Well, I only began my blog (and so the internet part of my business) about a year and a half ago– and that’s because I landed the health columnist position at Simple Mom!
I began holistic health coaching solely in person. I would lead individuals through coaching programs – either face to face or via phone consulting, teach classes in the community, lead workshops and host a community TV show on healthy living.
Once we began having lots of little ones (I had three kids in four years), I knew that raising my family and staying home was a top priority and that it was going to take the lion’s share of my time and energy.
What I didn’t expect, though, was the early struggle I felt toward finding a way to keep my own passions and interests alive and growing while devoting so much of my time and life to raising my children.
What I learned about myself is that I needed to keep creating and contributing to the world the gifts and passions I had in some way or I was simply not being the best person I could be, which directly related to the mother and wife I was being.
So I intentionally chose to shift my career path in a way that connected me to other mothers, had tremendous flexibility, and focused on the things I enjoy most in life, which was holistic nutrition and wellness. After starting the blog, it seemed clear that developing online courses and coaching opportunities was a perfect fit.
In so many ways keeping this part of me alive is helping me live balanced, healthier and inspired. And these are all the things I want for my children…things I want to be modeling for my children.
KS: Let’s talk food. I know you have a whole eBook on using Real Food to cleanse your system of toxins and get it whipped into shape, and I’d love to hear about your food journey. How did you get introduced to/trained in the real food philosophy? What’s your basic balance of foods that you want to make sure you get every day?
Lisa: I would have to say that I first got convicted to the philosophy of real food through my faith.
Way back before I had ever heard of the term Real Food or traditional wisdom, I became convicted (in awe) of the wonders of our body. We really are brilliant beyond imagination. The functions inside every cell of our body are like a whole universe happening in order to keep us alive and remove danger from our systems. It’s incredible. And the more I studied our body the clearer it was that nature provides foods perfectly suited to meet all our needs, heal our imbalances, and keep us resilient and strong.
Because I believe the same Creator created us and created what we needed to stay well, the concept of real foods and our ability to determine how best to prepare those foods by knowing our bodies and collectively gaining wisdom passed down traditionally, was a simple extension of my faith. And it’s actually where I got the name for the course Designed for Wellness!
Katie, thank you so much for having me here at your wonderful blog home. It is such an honor to be interviewed by you! I love the work you do and the consistently incredible quality of information you provide!
I just love this gal more and more every time I read something she’s written. I’ll share more with you in coming weeks about the new eCourse, but for now…thanks for getting to know Lisa Byrne with me. It’s been a delight!
Lisa Byrne and I were talking about interviewing each other even before I knew she had an eCourse coming…but I’m absolutely thrilled to help her promote her work. It’s exciting to have a trained holistic health counselor working with moms online!