How Food Affects Your Mood

In the 1600s, René Descartes wanted to dissect cadavers for his scientific studies. At the time, human dissection was not allowed because the prevailing religion of the time believed that damaging the body would also damage the soul. Descartes used science, philosophy, and religion to change this belief and gained access to cadavers. His ideas eventually led people to the philosophy of Mind-Body Dualism, which says that emotional, mental, and physical health (mind-body) are completely separate (dualism). 

Today, we know that our emotional, mental, and physical health are inseparable. This blog series will explore the ways our emotional, mental, and physical health are connected, and how we can use this to our advantage as we strive for better health.

Food affects the way we feel. We know that. We’ve all experienced food comas after Thanksgiving, or “highs” after sugary foods. But how does the quality of the food we eat affect our emotions? What if we eat fast food? What if we eat vegetables? 

Penn State University recently conducted a study involving 44 college students who ate meals heavy in calories, sodium, and saturated fat, and they reported more negative moods two days later. Additional research also shows that after people eat typical fast food, like greasy burgers and fries, they feel more depressed. Other foods did the same, including doughnuts, muffins, croissants, and other commercially baked foods. 

On the positive side, research also shows that after people eat a healthy, Mediterranean-style meal, like fish, vegetables and fruit, they have more energy.

While researching for this blog, we learned a surprising fact: personality can affect what you eat. To quote an article by Dr. Deanna Minich,an internationally-recognized teacher, author, scientist, speaker, and artist:

“An interesting publication in the journal Appetite brought to light many findings about one’s personality and eating: (1) Individuals who are open minded to new experiences consumed more fruit, vegetables and salad, and less meat and soft drinks; (2) Those who consider themselves easygoing and agreeable tended to eat less meat; (3) Conscientious people were more likely to consume greater amounts of fruit, and less meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened soft drinks. (4) People with neurotic tendencies were more prone to consuming sweet and savory foods.

“This food-mood connection likely comes from the effects of certain nutrients and foods on neurotransmitters, including consuming the neurotransmitters themselves. There are also important precursors to neurotransmitters you must ensure you have in sufficient amounts for a healthy brain and communication throughout your body.”

There are many ways that food affects how we feel:

  • Fast food increases our risk for depression
  • Just two days of eating unhealthy meals can give us more negative moods
  • Boredom and poor emotional coping skills can cause us to eat even if we’re not hungry
  • Personality can affect what we eat
  • Being in a good mood can make us overeat
  • How we feel emotionally can alter the way food tastes to us
  • Nutritious foods help us improve our emotional health
  • Good sleep can help us avoid binge eating and depression

How can you use this knowledge to change your life?

Notice your mood, and notice what you’re eating. Avoid processed foods in favor of fruits, vegetables, a variety of nuts, wild-caught fish, and lean meats. 

Eat only if you’re hungry. Notice if you’re bored, and don’t to eat out of boredom. Instead, spend time doing things you love with people you care about.

Be aware of how your personality affects your eating habits. If you’re a stress eater, do some breathing exercises throughout the day to stay relaxed.

Notice your emotions. If you tend to use good things and a good mood as a reason to celebrate with food, or if you use bad days as an excuse to binge eat, notice your extremes and try to avoid overeating.

Eat like you’re Mediterranean. Mediterranean-style foods, rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, fish, and legumes can help to protect us against depression and negative moods. This applies to meals and snacks!

Sleep well. When we’re exhausted, we tend to eat sugar and caffeine. As much as you can, have a healthy sleep routine to improve your health, emotions, and eating habits. 

Learn more about how food affects your mood!


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How Music Affects Your Health

In the 1600s, René Descartes wanted to dissect cadavers for his scientific studies. At the time, human dissection was not allowed because the prevailing religion of the time believed that damaging the body would also damage the soul. Descartes used science, philosophy, and religion to change this belief and gained access to cadavers. His ideas eventually led people to the philosophy of Mind-Body Dualism, which says that emotional, mental, and physical health (mind-body) are completely separate (dualism). 

Today, we know that our emotional, mental, and physical health are inseparable. This blog series will explore the ways our emotional, mental, and physical health are connected, and how we can use this to our advantage as we strive for better health.

Have you noticed that hearing an upbeat song can make you feel happy? Or that fast-paced music will help us push harder when we exercise? Or that a specific song brings to mind a memory, no matter how long ago that memory was?

The human mind has the innate ability to distinguish between noise and music. Almost all of the human brain shows a response to music, making scientists believe that there is much more to music and its effects than we realize. 

Research is ongoing, but most experts agree on the following ways that music improves our healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally. As said by Peter Terry and Costas Karageorghis, sports researchers, “Music has the capacity to capture attention, lift spirits, generate emotion, change or regulate mood, evoke memories, increase work output, reduce inhibitions, and encourage rhythmic movement – all of which have potential applications in sport and exercise,” and, we would argue, in life overall.

Better Mood – When we hear music that we like, our brains release dopamine, a neurochemical that makes us feel good. 

Less Stress – Relaxing music — low pitch, slow tempo, no lyrics — decreases anxiety and stress. In studies, researchers have turned on relaxing music during medical procedures (dental, surgery, colonoscopy, etc.) and seen positive results.

Enhanced Comfort – Music therapy is good for coping, communication, and expressing feelings like loneliness, anger, and fear among patients with serious illnesses or needing end-of-life care.

Less Anxiety – Research shows that cancer patients who listen to music, along with their usual care, had less anxiety than cancer patients who only received the usual care.

Better Exercise – Music can improve our aerobic exercise, heightening our physical stimulation and mental awareness. These changes improve overall exercise performance during studies.

Heightened Cognition – Music improves recall and metal abilities for patients with Alzheimer’s.

Less Pain – Research demonstrates that patients who listen to music before, during, or after surgical operations experienced less pain and were more satisfied with the results of their procedure.

Better Memory – Repetitive melodies and rhythms allow our brains to form specific patterns that improve our memories. In one study, stroke survivors listened to music during their therapy sessions and had better verbal memory and focus and less confusion.

Relaxes Premature Babies – Researchers believe that lullabies and live music could improve vital signs, sucking patterns, and feeding behaviors in premature babies. 

Less Autism Spectrum Disorder – Many children with autism spectrum disorder have better communication responses, attention skills, and social responses when they receive music therapy.

Improved Immune Response – Music helps us produce more immunoglobulin A (an antibody in the mucous system’s immunity) and natural killer cell counts, which attack and kill germs and bacteria. 

Clearly, listening to music improves our health mentally, emotionally, and physically. When do you listen to music? Never underestimate the power of what you put in your ears! 


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Health Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

In the 1600s, René Descartes wanted to dissect cadavers for his scientific studies. At the time, human dissection was not allowed because the prevailing religion of the time believed that damaging the body would also damage the soul. Descartes used science, philosophy, and religion to change this belief and gained access to cadavers. His ideas eventually led people to the philosophy of Mind-Body Dualism, which says that emotional, mental, and physical health (mind-body) are completely separate (dualism). 

Today, we know that our emotional, mental, and physical health are inseparable. This blog series will explore the ways our emotional, mental, and physical health are connected, and how we can use this to our advantage as we strive for better health.

We’ve heard it all before: exercise is good for you. And it’s true. But what if one simple change could dramatically improve the benefits you already get from exercise? What about the health benefits of exercising outdoors?

Exercising outside, called “green exercise,” joins physical fitness with the mental- and emotional-boosting effects of being outside. Exactly how does this work? 

Better Mood

Green exercise improves mental health more than indoor exercise does. Outdoor exercise decreases depression and anger and improves mood. Experts attribute this to sunshine’s vitamin D and cleaner air. Another factor is the varied terrain in nature, forcing us to exercise harder than we otherwise would, giving us more endorphins. Regardless of whether you’re in your backyard for HIIT, yoga, or a 10-minute walk, try it out! 

Better Self-Esteem

Just five minutes of green exercise boost self-esteem. The effects were most profound nearby water or greenery, but any place outside works well. For the best gains, use low- or moderate-intensity activity instead of high-intensity. Try cycling, walking, gardening, hiking, or camping outside. Because the outdoors have a variety of terrain, we feel more challenged, and therefore more accomplished. When we walk to the top of a hill (instead of an inclined treadmill), we feel like conquerors, and we take that accomplished feeling with us.

Better Brain Training

Exercising outdoors forces us to pay attention to our surroundings. Whether it’s the changing terrain, walking along a beach, running up a hill, our minds need to be more aware than when we’re at the gym. This added training helps our brains stay young and alert.

Better Financially

Gyms are expensive, and nature is free. Outdoor spaces, like neighborhood streets, sidewalks, or local parks, are free to the public, and they’re great places to exercise. Exercising outdoors will save money, and since money is one of the biggest stresses in adult life, it will save some mental and emotional heartache, too.

Better Access

No more stress of driving through traffic, maneuvering through crowded locker rooms, or trying to park in dark parking garages. Local areas typically have many tracks, hills, or venues for residents to take advantage of. Some towns even have outdoor exercise equipment free to users.

Better with Nature

Many of us have office jobs that keep us indoors for eight or more hours every day. Then we come home, and depending on our lifestyles, stay inside our homes. We are disconnected from nature. Green exercise gives us the opportunity to reconnect with the world around us, whether we notice some wildlife, smile at a stranger, greet a neighbor, or set up a specific time to meet friends. Exercising outdoors connects us to nature, makes us more appreciative of our world’s natural beauty, and helps us feel grounded.

Better with Others

When we exercise outdoors in our local communities, we meet people we otherwise wouldn’t know. These greater social connects allow us to develop positive relationships, and positive relationships are a huge indicator of overall health. Schedule a time to meet with friends, or take a moment to greet a fellow exerciser at the park. You just might make a new friend! If you’re a family person, take your loved ones outside with you. Listen to their stories. Develop better relationships. Get to know them. You’ll be surprised how much fun it is to put down your phone and go for a walk.


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The Words We Use: How They Make or Break

How often do you think about your words and how they affect you and the world around you? If you’re like us, probably not very often. Thankfully, there are academics who can do the research for us!

Think About Framework and Language

According to linguistics academics, the framing of our words can make all the difference. If we use words with negative connotations, images, experiences, or associations, then we’ll see the entire phrase or conversation negatively, whether or not the context was negative.

If you’re trying to get your point across, don’t use language from the opposing side. It’s like us telling you “Don’t think of a purple giraffe!” Of course the only thing you can think of is a purple giraffe! Using language opposite from your purpose will only cancel out what you’re trying to say. Instead, create your own perspectives and figure out what language you want to use to express your ideas.

What This Means for Your Health and Wellness

Framework and opposing language can shape everything we say and do, even when it comes to our health. When you face a stressful situation, do you instantly see all the ways it could go wrong? What about the ways it could go right? Depending on your mindset, you can make stress much more stressful than it actually is.

Take time to evaluate your framework, and how that view might be bringing you down. How much of your framework is your own? How much have you adopted from others? Think about the kind of person you want to be, and work backward from there: what steps do you need to take today to because that person in the future?

As for language, When you talk about exercising, do you say “I have to work out today”? There’s a lot of research (see here and here) that proves saying “have to” about something — anything! — makes us feel negatively. So let’s change it. If we say “I get to work out today,” we instantly change the outlook to an opportunity instead of an obligation. Do you “have to” take your vitamin C? No, you “get” to!

Language applies to more than our words. If you’re trying to make a new habit of exercising every day, and you set a reminder on your phone, what ringtone do you use for the reminder? Does it sound upbeat and positive, or is it a melody from a sad love song? What does that reminder say to you about exercising?

None of this is deceitful. It’s just a different framework and language than what you’re used to. Selling an item with a “95% effective rate” will certainly be more successful than selling an item with a “5% failure rate.” Don’t manipulate to gain your way — just use your own language to express your unique beliefs, and use your own framework to do it.

Changes Start Now

So how can you begin changing your words today? Let’s start small — “I get to go to work today,” “I get to make dinner for my family tonight” — and see what even a little change can do for our lives.

For more information about making positive changes to your life through health and wellness, make an appointment with our naturopathic doctor and therapeutic massage therapist. We can’t wait to meet you!

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Forearm Massage

In November 2018, Dan Rupp, our therapeutic massage therapist at Natures Trail Wellness Center, attended a class about forearm massage. Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the class lasted for 16 hours over two full days, but the benefits have been long-lasting for Dan and his clients.

Forearm massage is exactly what it sounds like — practitioners use their forearms to massage and help their clients heal better and faster. Large, strong, or tight muscles can be difficult to release using just fingers, thumbs, and hands. The hips (where the body has some of its strongest and largest muscles), the shoulders (which hold a lot of tension in our modern, desk-job society), and the back and lower back are all ideal for forearm massage.

Specifically, “I have found this to be very beneficial with reducing sciatic issues, lower back pain, thoracic and shoulder pain,” Dan said.

Dan wasted no time in implementing his new knowledge about forearm massage, using the new technique on clients the first week of December 2018. Both Dan and his clients saw the benefits almost instantly!

Because forearm massage has more power, Dan can use leverage inside of muscle force to massage tight muscles. Whereas the smaller muscles in the hands can grow weary over time, the stronger forearms can continuously hold steady pressure.

“I can now incorporate the new technique to have steady pressure for a longer period of time,” Dan said, “which is resulting in greater muscle relaxation.”

Dan can also use this technique to massage a larger surface area, releasing muscles in less time. This allows the muscles to relax even further and helps deep-tissue work to become more efficient and less painful for the client.

“One client mentioned the procedure to be less painful while she’s on the table, plus more effective long-term,” Dan said.

Are you curious about how forearm massage can help you reach the next level in your health? Schedule an appointment with Dan Rupp to experience the benefits for yourself!


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The Truth Behind Your Bloodwork

Have you ever looked at your bloodwork and thought, “What does all of this even mean?” Now there’s a way to use your bloodwork to find the best approach to balancing your health.

Understand How Your Body Works

With just a normal blood test, you can see how all the systems in your body are operating, and you can see how to prevent illnesses before they become serious. You can learn the best way to achieve vitality! With blood tests, your body tells you about its

  •         Hormone regulation
  •         Blood production
  •         Organ health
  •         Glandular system

When you understand how your systems work, you can find the best way to success in your health.


Have Confidence in Building Good Health

With blood tests, you’ll have new confidence understanding which supplements work best for your body and your lifestyle. You’ll be able to learn which foods are ideal for your system and which foods to avoid so your body can work more efficiently. In fact, you’ll be able to build a customized plan for your supplements and nutrition to fit your lifestyle, personality, and body like never before.


Go Beyond “Normal” Bloodwork

Looking at your bloodwork in term of normal ranges isn’t enough. To truly build good health for today and for many years to come, see beyond the normal numbers to look at blood chemistry, hormone balance, potential cleansing programs, and nutrition. With this approach, you can support your body’s functions and stop symptoms from disrupting your life. You’ll learn to listen to what your biochemistry is saying!

We can use physiological approaches to understand the ways your organs and glands create what your body needs for normal functioning. Your bloodwork will reveal the quality of your organs, glands, nutrition, physical and chemical stress, and more. We look at multiple biochemical assessments to see what will help your body balance the best. And then we make you’re a personalized, customized plan just for you!

All it takes is understanding what your body is saying through your bloodwork! Schedule an appointment with our naturopathic doctor and bloodwork specialist today, and build better health for years to come!

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How Emotions Are Connected to Your Mind and Health

We can all feel when stress affects our health, but what about other emotions? How do other negative emotions (like grief or fear) and positive emotions (like joy and hope) change our health?

More and more scientific evidence points to connections between emotions and physical illnesses. The intersection of mind, body, and emotion reach beyond blushing when we’re embarrassed. Think of stage fright, which causes muscle tension, stomach aches, sweating, nausea, parched mouths, shaking hands and knees, and more. If public speaking has this affect on our bodies, imagine how much grief or joy can change us!

Because we’ve already completed a series about how stress affects our health, for this blog post we will focus on how positive emotions affect our health.



How Does Positivity Produce Vitality?

Positive emotions, like excitement, happiness, hopefulness, joy, appreciation, love, and respect, causes our bodies to produce oxytocin and endorphins. These cuddly and happy hormones help us feel good about ourselves, others, situations, and our place in the world.

These good feelings make us want to feel more of these good feelings, almost like an addiction. This is a good thing! As opposed to negative emotions, which can be trapped inside our bodies and cause a wide variety of physical, mental, and emotional health problems, positive emotions flow. Positive emotions remain fluid, creating cellular changes that optimize the way our bodies typically function.

In contrast to fear, sadness, and anger, which cut off our thoughts and actions to fight or flight, positive emotions actually widen our thoughts and actions. With this better perspective comes improved personal resources and endurance. Additionally, this broadened perspective can help to undo negative emotions within us; positive emotions can loosen the control that negative emotions have over our minds and bodies because we see new options for the circumstances in our lives. In fact, research demonstrates that joy and contentment help people improve more quickly from the cardiovascular side effects of negative emotions.


What Does This Mean for You?

It is important to remember that we do have a form of control over our emotions: we determine how we interpret situations and feelings. For example, rather than seeing a bad review at work as embarrassing and hurtful, we can do our best to think of it as an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and grow. Choosing how we feel about emotions is crucial to connecting our minds, bodies, and feelings in a healthy way that won’t hurt us in the long run.

There are ways to overcome negative emotions on our own — eating healthy, getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness and self awareness — but the significant roadblocks that negative emotions can place in front of us may need an extra kick to move them out of our way. This is where the Emotion Code can help! Contact us for an appointment with Dan Rupp, certified Emotion Code practitioner and therapeutic massage therapist.


Below are two positive reviews about the Emotion Code from some of our clients. Their names have been changed to respect their privacy and confidentiality.

I have dealt with a physical issue for 17 years. Several years ago, I talked to a medical professional that told me my issue was a result of emotions and was not medical. She explained how we hold our emotions and it can cause physical issues. I’ve just learned to deal with it over the years not knowing what else to do. When I heard of what Dan is doing with emotional release, I was definitely interested although skeptical. During the session, he asked me about time frames for events in my life that left unresolved emotions. In some cases, I knew what he was asking about but in some cases, I couldn’t think of anything. He had explained that he was looking at my subconscious and not my conscious. I believe this is why I couldn’t recall some of the things he asked about until days later. I had a couple of rough days with my physical issue as my body processed the emotional release Dan performed. Since then, I am happy to report my physical issue has greatly improved!! I have seen a positive result and would recommend that you give it a try also – there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain!” -Andrea

“First of all, Dan is very calming. I wasn’t nervous after I started talking to him. It is amazing what can be done over the phone! I really wasn’t sure if it could work since we were not meeting in person…. Something that astounded me was he could tell I had some grief in my stomach from an event at about age 2 or 25. He was absolutely correct. I almost dropped the phone!!!!  Also, he found another event at about age 4 or 5. Again, absolutely correct!!! This is a fascinating field of study, I wish I could say more . I don’t know if my getting sick messed things up for more results. But I would definitely recommend this to anyone with an open mind.” -Jennifer

“I am doing MUCH better! I had trouble with gag reflex for 2 days following our session but I am not having any trouble brushing my teeth in the mornings now.  It is absolutely amazing!” -William

Schedule an appointment to learn how emotions are connected to your mind and health and continue your healing journey today!

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CMT Dan Rupp Featured in Massage & Bodywork Magazine

We’re pleased to announce that Dan Rupp, Certified Massage Therapist, has been featured in Massage & Bodywork magazine. This bimonthly journal is distributed to national massage, bodywork and somatic experts who have ABMP memberships; each publication discusses subjects like professional trends, research, techniques, and more. Writers at Massage & Bodywork interviewed Dan Rupp about his business experience as a massage therapist. The next time you’re at Nature’s Trail Wellness Center for an appointment, pick up this copy of Massage & Bodywork to read the interview!




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Fast Metabolism Diet: Achieving in Weight Loss

Do you struggle with a slow metabolism? Many diets seem like they don’t work – we’re always hungry, we plateau before we reach our weight loss goal, or our cravings are too intense to withstand. For a new weight loss solution, try The Fast Metabolism Diet by Haylie Pomroy.

Pomroy’s experience includes over 22 years of education and entrepreneurship in the health and wellness world. She approaches diet through her “food is medicine” mindset, making eating a positive experience by transforming food from enemy to ally. She has worked with many celebrities, include Robert Downy Jr., Jennifer Lopez, LL Cool J, Raquel Welch, Reese Witherspoon, Cher, and even more Olympic and professional athletes as well as Fortune 500 corporate executives.

With Pomroy’s program, we lose weight without feeling hungry. No calorie counting, no measuring fat grams – just rotate through phases for what you eat every week. The simply plan uses food to naturally increase metabolism.

Pomroy makes her program easily available online. She outlines each phase, recipes, and food prep ideas on her website.

  • Phase 1: Carbs and fruits
  • Phase 2: Proteins and vegetables
  • Phase 3: Carbs, fruits, proteins, and vegetables in addition to healthy oils and fats.
  • Repeat Phases 1-3 for four weeks.

Eating in food cycles means our metabolisms are always kept on their toes, making it faster.

By rotating through different foods in different cycles, we can soothe our adrenals, decrease stress from our livers, and nourish our thyroids to work in sync, adding up to a fast metabolism. With all these health benefits and the decreased stress, there is less cortisol in our systems and so we remove belly fat.

Pomroy has developed her own app to help make the program easy to use. She has also published a cookbook with recipes specifically designed for the Fast Metabolism Diet. There is even a grocery list to follow for the diet, making it easier than ever.

The Fast Metabolism Diet At Nature’s Trail Wellness Center

To learn more about how to stay healthy while achieving weight loss, make an appointment with us today!


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Use Emotional Freedom Technique Tapping to Take Your Health to the Next Level

In our latest series, our goal is to highlight some of our favorite books that have changed our lifestyles for the better. These writers have encouraged us to put forward our best selves to improve our health, whether emotionally, mentally, or physically.

The second book in our series is The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner. In this book, Ortner discusses the basics of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). By tapping on specific points in our bodies, we can reduce stress, face our fears, boost our self-esteem, release trauma, and improve relationships. The simplest way to explain EFT is to compare it to acupuncture – minus the needles; when we release energy trapped in our bodies by tapping on key meridian points (or energy channels), we can take our wellness to the next level.


Reduce Stress And Increase Joy

Many people use EFT for a variety of reasons.

  • Mental Health: With tapping, we can release emotions that are trapped from traumas and stressors, like abuse, phobias, and more.
  • Emotional Health: All of us have experienced hurtful or empty relationships, but when we can put these feelings behind us to open ourselves to new, positive experiences, we can truly live.
  • Physical Health: Studies have shown that our mental and emotional health affects our physical health. By reducing stress, we can give our physical bodies the positive energy they need to heal.

When negative energy is trapped in our minds and emotions, we stand in our own way of healing our bodies. By letting go of the past and leaving it behind us, we can move into the future wholeheartedly.


There is a cycle between our emotions and our physical bodies. When our emotions are stressed, our bodies respond to that stress; when our bodies are worn down, our emotions respond to the pain. This makes it crucial for us to take a whole-body approach to our wellness for thorough, complete healing.

Emotional Freedom Technique Tapping And Nature’s Trail Wellness Center

To learn more about EFT, we recommend reading The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner. To learn more about improving your overall health through other natural, holistic techniques, make an appointment with our naturopathic doctor and therapeutic massage therapist at Nature’s Trail Wellness Center.

problem solving

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