Laurie Zacco
Theresa Pierce

empoweryourself4health

Are we Addicted to Food??

Hello to all health seekers and beyond,

I say beyond to those who are so confused and sick of the whole “try to get healthy” scene. I “tried” for over thirty five years to find an answer to the state of my health. I can’t count the number of times I threw my hands in the air and said “I just can’t do it”. And I really meant it. I had tried so many things so many times, I literally thought it was impossible.
Well, after years of “never giving up” and to my shear amazement, I learned that it wasn’t impossible. I have lost 100 pounds and have reversed a number of ailments. Sleep apnea being a huge one. I have been on a long journey to figure all of this stuff out. Even though my diet was far from desirable, most of the time, I never stop thinking about this question. “Why can’t I lose weight”? Even though I thought it was impossible I never quit trying.
So, after slaying the dragon I have learned this. The question isn’t “what should I be eating?” as much as “what I shouldn’t be eating”. I learned that I can NEVER eat junk food. And I mean never. I know that sounds harsh. But it only sounds harsh because we have been so ingrained to eat the very thing that is making it “impossible”. Yes, eating ANY junk food is the culprit.
Let me put it to you this way. Say your loved one, whether it be your husband, father, wife, brother or sister, was a heroin addict. And they were trying to not be a heroin addict anymore. Would you tell them that it would be alright if they had a little heroine here and there? Of course not because you know that they would never be anything but a heroin addict. And that was my missing piece.
We tend to think of food a little differently than heroin. But it isn’t. In fact, getting off of junk food can be harder to “kick”. A heroin addict can get off the street, go to mama’s house and never see, smell or hear the word heroine again. Compare that to what it is like to quit eating junk food. I don’t have to tell you how we are bombarded with junk food every day. And I could and will write another blog on how society sabotages us at every turn. It just might be one of the biggest challenges of your life. But, you can do it. If I can do it, anyone can.
I was your typical food addict. I weighed 250 pounds and ate whatever I felt like. A 22 ounce steak with all the fixin’s, a pint of ice cream and at least four times up to the buffet. For over two years I haven’t had one crumb of junk food. And yes I am still alive. And what’s even more amazing is that my desire for junk food is GONE!!! I was freed little by little. It didn’t happen all at once. But what an awesome phenomenon it is. I am no longer a prisoner of food!!!!! Totally free after 40 years!!
Two main things helped me and continue to help me. One, the best partner in the world and two my own conviction. My pain got so great, I changed.
I have been tested many times in the past two years but I pass every time. And for me, that is unheard of. Throughout the years, mainly out of frustration, I said to myself “if I ever figure out how to achieve what I am trying to achieve, I would shout it from the roof tops”. And so, how ironic it is. At fifty two, I have made it my life’s work to help others achieve their health and wellness goals.
If you are seeking a fresh start and another set of eyes to help, I am here. Please check out our website at www.empoweryourself4health.com. You can see our before and after’s and check out some of the recipes and dishes, that Theresa, my partner who has lost 85 pounds, and has an amazing health journey also, makes. She is a certified raw food educator and loves to create a really easy way to stay healthy and eat well at the same time. I am a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as a certified Heath Coach. Together we bring a unique approach and understanding to our clients. We welcome couples and groups as well.
Together we will walk you through the maze of confusion and help you navigate the lifestyle that is right for you.
Thank you,
Laurie and Theresa

“All” year resolutions

Ok, everyone is writing about New Year’s resolution so I figured I would get my two cents in. I think it is way over used. Most of the time it is used to sell us something.
I would always resolute to eat better and lose weight on January 1st of any given year. So that meant that most, if not all, of the year I was not eating better and not losing weight. That was a vicious cycle I am so glad to be out of. And how did I get out of that constant battle, you might ask? I made up my mind that I was going to eat better the entire year. Imagine that. A big time food addict, over eater, emotional eater, come to find out. Who, me? an emotional eater? I don’t think so.
Well, some things we come to terms with and realize about ourselves. Maybe that’s what it takes to get out of the viscous cycle. When there was no other explanation as to why food was kicking my butt, light dawned on my “marble head”.
So that is what I started focusing on and I’ll be a son of a gun. I started looking even deeper and reading more and thinking more and sitting quiet and really looking at why, when I had been able to accomplish so many good things in my life, “why can’t I lose weight”?
It was a questioned that had me eluted for over 35 years. So now, understanding myself and looking at “why” I would never “stick” to eating better, doesn’t elute me. I know exactly why I was making those same New Year’s resolutions year, after year, after year…. This year I was able to at least make some different resolutions. I am happy and proud to say that after much to do I have lost the weight that I set out to lose.
If you find yourself making the same one year after year maybe this year your resolution could be to figure out “why do I keep making the same resolution?” Enjoy this year no matter what. We are here and it is ours to enjoy.
Laurie

Empowering yourself this holiday season

Happy Holidays to everyone,

I wanted to talk about following a food plan while time spending time with family and friends. It can be very challenging. A lot of love goes into preparing a big meal. Not to mention time, money and energy. Some people may take offense to you making the decision not to partake in the food that they have so graciously prepared.
Most of the time we eat holiday dinners with people who know us well. They understand where we are coming from. For me, my family knows that I have spent a lifetime trying to rein in my relationship with food and that I have finally succeeded in my life’s mission.. They know it took me a very long time to do so and they also know that I wouldn’t eat anything that may jeopardize that.
That alone can bring up a lot of issues for them and they very well may make it very trying. But instinctively I know what is right for me now and I also understand why they may feel a need to bring up all sorts of defensive questions.
I have, over time, learned how to share with them, be myself, and at the same time not engage in arguments. I have heard it all. Bottom line is I have to do what is right for me and they have to do what is right for them. Making sure that they know that my words are only my opinion and that the changes that I continue to make are based on my opinion on what is right for me, not them.
On the other hand, what if you are spending time with folks that you don’t know very well. In some ways that can be easier. In most cases we are under the supervision of our doctor who has us on a specific diet or who has at least curbed our way of eating. In that case I would tell them that I am under the care of a doctor who has me on a strict regime that has to be adhered to. Or another way of handling it is to explain what you are “trying” to do and that you are committed not deviate from it. Between what I may bring and something that they may be serving there is usually plenty for me to eat.
We really bit the bullet for ThanksLiving this year. Theresa and I made a raw lasagna and caesar salad for everyone. We made a killer raw strawberry cheesecake for dessert. My family insisted we make it and we told them if they would rather have a traditional meal that would be fine. But they still wanted us to make lasagna, so we did. Actually we fed seven people a raw breakfast, lunch and dinner for six days.
But, here is the kicker. One of my family members went to Williams and Sonoma before we left and bought all of the gadgets he needs to start making raw dishes! So, the moral of this story is to do your thing, be yourself and most of all believe in yourself and at the same time be respectful of other people’s way of thinking and doing things. You never who you may effect with the example you are setting.

Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy and joyous holiday season,

Laurie Zacco/ Theresa Pierce
www.empoweryourself4health.com

The Raw Food Lifestyle vs Anxiety/Depression

I have been in the raw food “world” for going on 2 years now. I have been completely raw/vegan (with the exception of raw honey) for 1 1⁄2 years. I have heard from many people, personally, and read many more stories on the computer of people overcoming and even reversing many serious, sometimes chronic, life-threatening diseases by changing their diet and lifestyle to include ALL or MOSTLY raw food. I, personally, have reversed many health challenges including pre-diabetes, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, high cholesterol and excess weight. While I cherish the good health that I feel and see in my blood test results, as well as the image that looks back at me in the mirror each morning, there is one thing that stands out above all the others on my journey to a healthier me.

I thought I was like everyone else. I just get hormonal at that time of the month. I snap at you because you frustrated me. That’s normal, right???? I would sometimes feel a gray cloud following me around all day long. I called it my “Eeyore” cloud. I know now that it is called depression. When a gazelle on the Serengeti is alerted to a lion in the distance, the cortisol level rises and he takes off running. The adrenaline coursing through his veins helps him get out of danger. When the lion is out of sight, his cortisol level returns to normal and he begins grazing once more. Most of us experience high cortisol levels on a more constant basis, unlike the gazelle, because of how our lives are structured. We sit in bumper to bumper traffic to get to work after we just heard about the child who was abducted on his way to school on the news. Therefore, we don’t return to the normal level like the grazing gazelle; instead we stay at a much more heightened state of stress.

In the past, my personal anxiety level was very high. For example, if a flat tire was to occur, I would fly into panic mode…. How will the rest of the day go??? Will I have to reschedule all of my customers???? If I do, where on earth will I reschedule them to????

I have been involved in a serious motorcycle accident, where I was pinned underneath a SUV and having to be airlifted to a trauma center. This experience left me with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). In addition I suffered three separate incidences that brought me to a hospital, one was atrial fibrillation and the other two were called “syncope”. A syncope is when you pass out for no apparent reason. All were quite scary. After having every cardiac test known to mankind performed for the a-fib and the syncopies, the results were inconclusive. It was suggested to me by a very wise nurse at my cardiologist’s office that it may be stress-related or possibly related to my thoughts and that maybe I should learn some relaxation techniques. I was furious at her for suggesting that it was “all in my head”; after all, I had concrete symptoms. I should also mention, I actually believed I might need medication to deal with the after-effects of the accident.

I have done a lot of things in the last few years to improve my life and health. I definitely believe that my transition to a 100% raw/vegan diet was a huge catalyst in getting me to a more emotionally centered and balanced place. My spiritual, MENTAL and physical health are all heading in a transformational direction. I can see the sun and clouds in the sky and hear the birds sing. I have gratitude for life now, not dread of what might happen tomorrow. I can say with confidence that raw and living foods, one bite at a time, have nourished my mind to a healthier place. I believe I have reversed my potentially most serious and possibly life-threatening conditions — DEPRESSION and ANXIETY.

Theresa Pierce

I REVERSED MY SLEEP APNEA!!!

Hello my fellow health seekers,

I wanted to write and let you all in on the GREAT news!!!
This healthy eating stuff REALLY works. I am LIVING PROOF!! When “they” say that you can reverse disease (or “dis”-ease) by eating a healthy diet, along with making other health & lifestyle changes, IT’S TRUE!! My ears were filled with joy, when my Pulmonologist, after my recent sleep study, told me that I DON’T HAVE SLEEP APNEA ANYMORE!!!!!
This medical disorder can be life threatening. Over 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, and many are not receiving treatment. If you are waking up unrefreshed, gasp for breath while you are sleeping (your bedmate may have better knowledge of that) or feel sleepy during the day, chances are good that you have sleep apnea. Another symptom is loud snoring. Symptoms that come from lack of quality sleep are sometimes mistaken for a nutrient deficiency, but the lack of a good nights sleep can produce a variety of symptoms. I would say that if you are gasping for air during the night & don’t feel refreshed upon waking or get tired during the day, than you should be tested for sleep apnea. I know that it is a hard one to swallow. I denied that I had it too. A simple sleep study will determine if you have the condition and/or how severe it is.
Sleep apnea occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat collapse and blocks the airway, reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to all of your organs, including the heart & brain. This lack of oxygen that occurs many times during the night is what is so detrimental to your health. It can cause memory loss, morning headaches, irritability, depression, decreased sex drive & impaired concentration. One of the most important things that I want to stress is that if sleep apnea is left undiagnosed and/or untreated for a long period of time, it can lead to irreversible dementia. Another important point I want to make is that if you are having a hard time losing weight, sleep apnea could be one of the culprits. By having sleep apnea & putting your body under constant stress, your cortisol is elevated, which makes it impossible for your cells to do their job correctly. This stress will also make you crave junk food, YIKES!! What a vicious cycle!!
Bottom line is DON”T ignore the signs of sleep apnea. It is a slow KILLER! Did I mention that it raise your risk of HEART ATTACK, STROKES & HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE????
So PLEASE, if you think you may have sleep apnea, get it checked out!! If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
I REVERSED my sleep apnea, by making diet & lifestyle changes & you can too. I was diagnosed in 2004 with SEVERE sleep apnea!!! Acknowledgement is the 1st step!
Our belief is that this & MOST ALL diseases can be reversed with a slow but deliberate lifestyle change!!

“To Smoothie or to Juice? THAT is the Question!”

Hello Everyone,
A subject that seems to come up, time & time again, with people that we talk to regarding eating a healthier diet, should I make smoothies or should I juice? Isn’t is bad to remove the fiber?
So, we have decided to see if we can remove some of the confusion about smoothies vs. juicing. Here are the differences & benefits of each.
Smoothies are a wonderful, quick & easy way to begin your day (or end your day) with a healthy, nutritious meal. They are a delicious, concoction of raw, living, and rejuvenating foods. There are quite literally ENDLESS combinations that you can use. Bananas are usually a staple; I like half of them to be frozen (peeled when ripe & frozen flat, so that you can get them broken apart easily) & half to be ripe, fresh. The rest of your ingredients may be fresh or frozen or a combination. One of my favorites is: 2 frozen bananas, 2 fresh bananas, 1 ripe mango (or frozen about 2 cups), about 2 cups of pineapple, 3-4 cups of spinach or kale (or any other green you may have around), 1/2 of a cucumber, & water, coconut water or almond milk to desired consistency. Blend all ingredients in your Vitamix (or blender) until smooth & creamy, YUMMY! Use your imagination, add coconut oil, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, honey, pitted dates, cinnamon, etc. So, in less than 5 minutes I can be on my way, with my quart bottle in hand, with a meal in a jar. Benefits of the smoothie include, quick & easy, great energy food, increases amount of raw food in your diet, includes fiber.
Now, juicing is a method of extracting the only the liquid & vitamins/minerals & life force out of the fruits/vegetables, leaving the pulp as a by-product. Juicers come in a wide variety of styles & price ranges. Each machine has it’s benefits & drawbacks. Some will juice wheatgrass, some do not have that capability. Generally, the larger the feeding hole, the faster it juices (& heats up, a drawback) & the smaller the feeding chute, the slower (& cooler, which protects all elements of the living food) the process. The first juicer that we got was the Omega Vert, which you can buy at Best Buy or online at Amazon for about $330.00. We now have the “Cadillac” juicer the Super Angel juicer, at a cost of $1100 it better be!!! We do get higher yield out of our produce.
But, why would you juice and not get all the fiber, right?? Well, the great thing about juicing is really two fold: 1. It allows the body to absorb way more produce (AND vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes, etc.) than a person could possible eat in a meal. 2. It allows all of that great nutrition to enter into the body almost instantaneously, being able to bypass the digestion process as it goes directly to our cells for energy. Also, the added bonus is that the body does not need to expel the fuel needed for digestion, so that it may “spend” its energy doing other “repair” work in the body.
I definitely believe in juicing, especially for sick or tired bodies. Some people have issues digesting fiber, because of health issues, ie leaky gut syndrome, this eliminates that problem. And with juicing I get much more of the greens, with a lemon and maybe a green apple thrown in, the flavor is great. I love starting the day with a green juice, or beet/carrot/green apple juice. I then have essential fasted from 6PM the night before until whenever I eat my late morning snack or my big salad for lunch. Also, juice fasting is great but that will be a topic for another day!!
So, there you have it! Hope this post answers a few questions you may have had!!

Spreading the message!!

Hello All,

For those of you who joined us at our June 10th, 2014, presentation @ the monthly “Eating in the Raw” meeting in the Villages, FL, we would like to offer our sincere appreciation for your time in coming out to join us, as well as all of your input and questions.

Our mission is to spread the word on this VERY important topic of living a more healthful & fulfilling life, by limiting the number of toxins that we expose ourselves to.  That being said, we are happy to speak to any of your groups, clubs, churches, neighborhood parties or even your book club!! As those of you who attended our presentation know, we also offer Individual & Group Health and Lifestyle Coaching Programs, as well as Raw Food Preparation Classes. We want to work with you, step by step to make your transition toward better health, as fun & stress free as possible. The individual program includes a “home visit”, to assess your kitchen. We will show you what could use improvement, as well as help you set up your area to make it more conducive to healthy living. We will help couples work together, towards a common goal.

In closing, we have been on the journey; we have walked the walk. We have LOST a combined 185 pounds, & GAINED more energy, mental clarity & increased health and happiness, as well as a overall better outlook on life. We are eager to offer you the tools you need to get to the place you desire & attain the goals you have for yourself.

We are available in person locally or by Skype or phone for long distance coaching.

So, check out our website @ www.empoweryourself4health.com. Sign up to receive our Newsletter. Register for one of our programs or contact us if you would like us to do a presentation for your group or club. Don’t wait…. Do it today!

In Health,

Laurie & Theresa

 

Hello Health Seekers

Hello health seekers,

We are very excited as we embark on this long awaited endeavor. Theresa and I have spent years on this journey in preparation for this moment. Our journey has been an amazing one. It has lead us up to this point. I will be graduating from the Institute of Institute Nutrition as a Certified Holistic Health Coach. I will also be Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP) and Theresa is now a Certified Raw Food Educator. As with all of the ways we educate and inform ourselves, (books, seminars, groups, retreats etc), these courses have broadened the scope of our knowledge in this field.

As many of you know, Theresa and I have lost an accumulative 185 pounds. For me, it has been a lifelong quest to lose weight. I had tried so many different diets but never a LIFESTYLE CHANGE. After exhausting all other avenues, I finally figured out the answer to my lifelong question; “Why can’t I lose weight?” I look forward to sharing my story with you and Theresa is so thrilled to show you how to prepare the food that is going to make transiting to a living food lifestyle fun, easy and last but not least, very tasty.

If you haven’t already, you can visit our  website at empoweryourself4health.com. You can sign up for our monthly newsletters. We have so much information we want to share with you. We are so filled with gratitude, that our experiences and knowledge will be able to benefit others. With a little motivation, encouragement and knowledge YOU will finally be on your way to a more happy and healthy you.  With both our unique individual approaches and experiences, we have much to offer anyone on a health and wellness journey. We offer individual and group counseling along with food prep classes. Visit our website to learn more.

Many Blessings,

Laurie & Theresa

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