Posts in Wellness
Does Binge Eating differ from emotional eating and over eating?

I GET Asked this question quite often, so i wanted to answer it for you Here on my blog. As we navigate our relationship with food and heal any disordered eating tendencies, it’s easy to get caught up in what is “right” versus “wrong.” Truth is there is no black and white answer, or perfect relationship with food. But learning how to differentiate between normal and disordered eating will help you along the way. Because we all should be enjoying our food and creating a safe space for ourselves to have a loving relationship with what and how we eat.


The answer to this question is simple. YES. There is a difference between the following:


1)    Binge eating

2)    Emotional eating

3)    Eating when you are not hungry/past the point of being full.


It is important to know the difference and separate them. They can also go together, so it is important to know that too.


Binge eating, as many of you know, is damaging to both your physical and mental health. Binge eating is tied directly to the urge (not the emotions) to binge. Bingeing feels out of your control and usually is "emotionless" and results in you "blacking out" and eating to the point of not being able to stop so that you feel sick and physically ill afterwards, often until the next day. Binge eating is often followed by feelings of guilt, shame and sadness which can often continue the cycle of binge eating.


Emotional eating can be categorized as normal eating behavior. But it is important to note only if this is separated from and does not lead to a binge. We eat when we are sad, lonely and also when we are happy and feeling joy. It is ok to eat when you are emotional if you are AWARE in the moment and is consistent with present thoughts that might say something like "yes I am aware I am eating because I am emotional, and I can stop when I want to." It is also important to be aware that binge eating is emotionless. When you binge eat, the urge is strong and present but your emotions then fall way during a binge and you are not aware or present. 


Eating when you are not hungry or eating past being full can also be categorized as normal eating behaviors. The difference is that you have control over the urge and you can stop if you wanted to. These can also be defined simply as "mindless eating" and not binge eating. We often eat when we are not hungry because we are bored or to fill the time. We can become mindful of this by mentally checking in with ourselves when we are bored, and ask ourselves "Am I hungry, or just bored? What else can I do to fill this space?"


Eating past being full can also be categorized as normal eating. When this takes place we are able to identify that we over ate and also listen to and trust our body that it will balance itself out. We aren't able to intuitively listen to our bodies all the time because of well, life and all it's wonderful distractions, and therefore we normally overeat or under eat. When eating past the point of being full or eating when you are not hungry leads to a binge (as explained above), this is when it is categorized as ED behavior.


I work with clients on separating these three behaviors and overcoming the binge/restrict cycle. It is important to note that the journey to full recovery is difficult and working with a health coach like me to form new habits with food will be beneficial for your mental, emotional and physical health in the long run.

You can book a consult call with me here. 

Pricing for all my programs is found here.


My 6 Tips To Stay Regular And Avoid Constipation When Traveling

We have all been there. Day 4 into vacation and you haven’t been able to go to the bathroom. It’s uncomfortable, embarrassing and just plain awful. When we travel or go on vacation, our natural rhythms are thrown off by air travel, time zones and being out of routine. Many off us struggle with digestion and regularity when we travel, but it doesn’t have to always be a thing! Staying on our normal routine can be helpful, but I have 6 of my top tips to “keep things moving” below so that you can relax and enjoy yourself.


1. HYDRATE! Probably the most important but one we often forget about. Drinking enough water starts the day that we go to the airport and get on our flight, not just on the airplane (although that is very important)! Be conscious of how much water you drink the day of your flight. My rule of thumb is drinking enough water on a travel day so that I am using the restroom every two hours beforehand. I bring a bottle of water with me to the airport and drink half on the drive there and the other half while checking in/in the security line. I bring a stainless steel SWELL BOTTLE with me so I can immediately refill again before boarding my flight.

Don’t be shy to ask for as much water as you want on the flight, select an aisle seat and maintain every two hour bathroom breaks (except if overnight flight so you can catch some Zzzz’s). I always ask flight attendants to refill my stainless steel water bottle and I also ask for hot water for tea. This is my go to GINGER TEA to drink on flights and also while traveling to help with digestion.

2. Magnesium. My go-to supplement for traveling because it helps to reduce water retention (with the help of compression socks too), is a natural sleep aid and also relaxes your intestines to keep you regular. Triple threat! I like to take Magnesium nightly (400-500mg) and will start this ritual 1-2 days before my travel in the time zone I am traveling to. For example, if I am traveling to New York from San Francisco and my usual bed time is 11pm, I will take magnesium at 7pmPST (11pmEST). This help to get me on schedule so my natural biorhythm catches up quickly. Here is the magnesium supplement I take which is the best for regularity and constipation relief, in my opinion.

3. Digestive Enzymes. When we travel we tend to try new foods that we don’t typically eat at home and also eat our a lot more than usual. Add this on to any time changes, plus eating outside of your normal routine, and this can cause digestive upset and backed up pipes. Here are the digestive enzymes I take when I travel. I keep a few in my purse and take two right before each meal with a glass of water. I notice such a big difference.

4. SLEEP. Getting proper rest and good sleep while you travel is important. Start the night before you depart with at least 8 hours of restful sleep. When you are traveling across time zones on long flights, time your sleep on the plane for the place you are going to. This will help you adjust better when you get there. I always use a sleep mask to block out any light. This is the sleep mask I have used for years and love for travel and using at home too.

Using magnesium for sleep on the plane as well as melatonin can be helpful. For melatonin I recommend no more than 3mg to 5mg as your body naturally doesn’t promote more than this on it’s own. Here’s a good quality melatonin I use.

5. Move! Sitting on an airplane for more than 5 hours at a time will slow down any “movement” on the inside. Take breaks to walk up and down the aisles. On larger trans-atlantic planes I have always found a little nook by the doors of the plane where I can do simple squats or jumps to get my blood flow going without the whole plane seeing me! Upon arriving in your destination, rather than going straight to the beach or to sleep, I suggest going on a 15-20 minute walk to get things moving. It’s also a great way to explore the new city you are in and check out what is near your hotel or Airbnb!

6. Drink a Smoothie. Yup, if you know be by now you know I love smoothies. They work wonders for digestion as well as constipation. Check out my tips on How To Make A Perfect Smoothie. I suggest having one the morning of your flight using a tbsp. of chia seeds or ground flax for added fiber. You can also bring a blender bottle with you to make your own smoothie. When you get to the airport, order a steamed cup of almond or coconut milk from a Peet’s or Starbucks. Add this to your blender bottle with an individual packet or prepacked scoop of chocolate protein and an individual packet of coconut oil. This will melt right into the steamed milk and lubricate your intestines for regularity. Plus it tastes like hot chocolate! I love these two chocolate protein powders: collagen protein and vegan protein.

Last but not least, remember to enjoy yourself on your vacation and to not stress about the small things. It’s not always about choosing the healthiest thing on the menu, but rather enjoying yourself and trying a few new things! Balance this out with one veggie heavy dish daily, or find a local smoothie bar and grab a green smoothie for breakfast!

Colonics: The Good, The Bad and The Poopy

Alright, you asked and I deliver. I am talking everything there is to know about colonics, the benefits, how to prep and why I do them. If you have never done one before and are suffering from digestive issues, constipation, IBS, food allergies, candida, bloat or energy slumps you may want to consider a few colonics sessions after checking in with your naturopathic or functional medicine doctor.

Colonic Room at Body Harmony in SF

Colonic Room at Body Harmony in SF

But wait, hold up… someone puts a tube into my butt emitting warm water into my colon to release any blockages… SAY WHAT?! Does it hurt? Is it safe? Is it uncomfortable? What does it feel like? How do I prep? What should I expect afterwards? How often should I do them?

I am answering all of your questions and why colonics play a very important part in Gut Health and a balanced Microbiome.

The most important thing we can do for our health is foster a healthy gut environment where healthy bacteria can grow and thrive. GUT HEALTH = GOOD HEALTH. If we don’t take care of our gut - everything from our colon (large intestine) to our small intestines to our stomach- our physical and mental health suffers as a consequence.

There are two sides of gut dysfunction – 1) Leaky Gut Syndrome and 2) Dysbiosis. In the first, when our gut’s mucosal lining in our small intestine starts to break down and the tight junctions between the cells become permeable, this allows nasty things (partially digested food, bacteria, fungus, etc.) to leak into our blood stream.  The medical community refers to this as Intestinal Barrier Hyper-Permeability and can cause all sorts of immune system responses such as food intolerances, allergies, autoimmune disorders, malabsorption, etc. The second side refers to an imbalance in the gut’s natural flora (our microbiome), which is known as Dysbiosis.

Dysbiosis can lead to chronic infections and once you learn what dysbiotic infections eat, you can start thinking about defeating them. Step one, remove items from your diet that feed any bad bacteria including processed sugars, processed flours and carbohydrates that convert to sugar.

Step two, properly flush your system. Our colon, or large intestine, is 5 to 6 feet in length and is responsible for absorbing water to form stools and eliminate from our body. If we suffer from Dysbiosis it is likely that this will lead to difficulties in proper elimination as studies now show. The intestinal microbiota helps to breakdown food into absorbable nutrients and prevents pathogenic bacteria from growing. When we have an imbalance of bad vs. good bacteria, this doesn’t happen, waste will literally become “stuck” and toxins will continue to build in our colon. 

For anyone who has read Love In The Time Of Cholera, (book nerd over here) then you know that enemas have been used for centuries to help with conditions such as constipation and chronic pain. Clean bowels helped patients heal better and faster. These days, we have upgraded to colonics.

Colon Hydrotherapy (aka, colonics) is a safe, effective method of removing waste from the large intestine. Filtered and temperature regulated water is infused into the colon, where waste is softened and loosened, resulting in evacuation through natural peristalsis. The inflow of a small amount of water and the release of waste is repeated several times in the process.

The removal of waste encourages better colon function and elimination. Colonic practitioners use specialized equipment that ensures an easy, odorless, and safe way of eliminating. Colon hydrotherapy is one of the most effective ways of cleansing the lower intestinal tract (colon) and detoxifying the overall system. 

There are both open-system colonics (where you are in the room on your own) as well as closed-system colonics (where the practitioner is in the room and helps to administer abdominal massage to help with release). Personally, I prefer the closed-system approach where the practitioner help to “fill and release.” I promise you it’s not weird, it’s very professional and if you want, you can look at all your waste being released!

Also, nope, colonics do not hurt. When the water is filling your colon you might feel a little pressure in your lower abdomen, and when you are releasing it just feels like you have to go to the bathroom really bad.

In order to have a successful and comfortable colonic session, prep is important. For at least 2-3 days before your session it is important to:

·      DRINK WATER! Your body needs water to digest your food and to get rid of waste. Drinking half your weight in ounces daily will help to soften you stool. Coffee, soda or flavored drinks do not count.

·      DO A CLEANSE. I recommend colonics to all of my clients who are doing the 10-day Balance Cleanse. By taking daily fiber elimination drinks with psyllium husk on my cleanse, this further helps if you are particularly constipated.

·      EAT WHOLE FOODS. Make fruits and vegetables 50% of your diet and avoid any gas-producing foods (cruciferous vegetables, beans) and congesting foods (sugar, wheat and dairy). Also, it is very important to not eat or drink anything 2 hours prior to your colonic appointment so food is digested and you are comfortable

I recommend going 1 to 3 times for your first round of colonics. When I first started doing colonics I hadn’t even started my wellness journey, and actually, doing my first round of colonics was the catalyst for me choose my path towards better health.  I was 23 when I went to a colonics practitioner for the first time in Huntington Beach. I had just had my gallbladder removed six months earlier and also polyps that were removed from my colon. I had gained weight, had no energy, my skin was having terrible breakouts and I was constipated – only going to the bathroom a few times a week.  My first colonics I did not prepare properly and was only able to eliminate gas bubbles. No waste. I remember feeling defeated, but then I went back for a second and third session within the next 10 days and SUCCESS! I never felt so amazing before. My energy was through the roof, my belly was flat and I was getting the most restful sleep.

Fast forward to today.  Combined with a diet of whole foods and eliminating the abundance of processed foods I ate years ago, I do colonics every six months to a year to keep things clean. I usually do colonics once for up keep (but I recommend 1-3 if this is your first time) and combine it with my cleanse.

For me, colonics are a key piece for maintaining my health.  I notice that if I wait more than a year to go back for a session, I start to feel sluggish, my candida overgrowth starts to creep back in and my BM’s aren’t as fabulous and regular as they usually are. After improving my diet and by integrating cleansing and colonics, I haven’t been on any medications or had any recurring health or gut issues.

If you are reading this (... it's not too late. Thanks Drake) and you are constipated, feel sluggish, struggle with break outs, have bloat, gas or any recurring digestive issues talk to your Naturopathic Doctor or Functional Medicine Doctor about integrating colonics into your health routine.

How to Avoid Airport and Travel Anxiety - PACK LIGHT!

Anxiety and travel is one of the topics I talk about most with my clients. A lot of this is centered around food while traveling, and how to make the right choices. But the other side of anxiety comes with airport travel in general. Getting to the airport on time, getting through security quickly and that awful anxious feeling of whether or not there will be overhead bin space left for your bag. In this post, I am talking how to travel and pack light for any weekend trip to help ease some of your travel anxieties.


What you see in the picture aboce is my usual go-to luggage for a weekend trip (3 days, 2 nights). It has saved me from the crushing anxiety of finding overhead bin space and also saves me mula on crazy carry on and bag check fees. 

The bag on my shoulder is a regular Long Champ bag, but I have used other large purses as well measuring 12-14 inches by 18-20 inches. For a recent weekend in LA I brought with me: 2 pairs of pants, one jacket, tennis shoes, slides, 1 pair of yoga pants, 2 sports bras, 1 long sleeve shirt, 3 short sleeve shirts, 1 dressy shirt, 1 tank top, sunglasses, sandals, 1 small purse, toiletries, underwear and socks. On the agenda for the weekend was hiking, yoga, one fancy dinner, casual lunches, walking around and chilling. 

I’ve done weekends in Seattle, Vegas, Portland and even Thailand for 10 days with the same bag (I know, I’m insane but bathing suits and shorts don’t take up too much space!).

So here are my tips. 

1.    Pick a jacket that will go with every outfit that is a neutral color. I packed this Aritzia jacket for my LA trip and wore it on the plane. 

2.    Pants - bring one pair of jeans and one dressier pair or a jumpsuit. I wear my jeans on the plane. I love traveling with a black jumpsuit for its versatility from day to evening.

3.    Activewear - I’m usually fitting in hikes and yoga sessions in my weekend trips. For this I always pack my black yoga pants and two sports bras. I roll these and tuck into any gaps in my shoulder bag. 

4.    Shoes - if you are packing tennis shoes these will take up the majority of your bag without being able to fit other bulky shoes. In this instance, you can wear an easy pair of slides like I have pictured here from madewell (great for day to night with cropped black pants or jumpsuit). Or you can wear your leggings and tennis shoes on the plane and pack your slides plus a pair of heels as well! Sandals are easy to tuck flat in your bag. 

5.    Toiletries - this is key. I bring a small bag that fits deodorant, face moisturizer, toothpaste, toothbrush, mascara, tinted moisturizer, concealer, blush and lipstick. I don’t pack shampoo, conditioner, lotion or body wash. For these items I rely on hotels to provide or friends who I’m staying with.

6.    Buy a cute laptop case (mine is from Society 6) and slide your wallet, phone, headphones and book in there too as your “carry-on” purse. 

There you have it! I get a lot of versatility with the mix of items I have listed above. Also, for going up and down escalators to get to terminals in a hurry, you don't have to stand with your luggage, you can walk past every one and up the escalator quickly to get to any connecting flights. Bonus! I will also note that any cold weather travel is much harder with only a large shoulder bag and for these weekend trips I pack more or wear one big jacket onto the plane, layering is key! ;)  Happy traveling for all your fun summer trips!

10 Holistic Cold and Flu Remedies for Immunity this Winter

We all know the telltale signs - a tickle in the back of your throat, the dull headache and the body aches.  This is how a bad cold or flu usually starts but the good news is that there always time to nip it in the bud before it completely sets in.  Here are my tried and true remedies for staying healthy through the winter and kicking sickness in the booty. 


I wrote up this protocol recently for a few of my clients who had been asking me how to stay healthy and to not get sick this winter. These are remedies that I follow myself to build up my immune system during cold and flu season by eating nutrient dense foods and sticking to these steps below I am usually able to keep myself from getting sick or shorten the duration of whatever bug I can't help but catch. P.S. if you are doing air travel for the holidays, this is a great protocol to follow as well, even if you aren't feeling sick.  

1) Drink Green Juices (without fruit), I like ones with celery and cucumber base plus any other greens, kale, spinach, romaine, dandelion greens, parsley, lemon or lime. Best on an empty stomach. The one pictured above has a healthy dose of ginger.  Ginger (and garlic too) have strong anti-bacterial properties, and if you can stomach it, a ginger shot works wonders too. 

2) Eliminate sugar, processed white flour and dairy.  The first two will lower your immune system response and dairy can add to mucus production and also cause sinus infections. 

3) Up your dose of Vitamin C and use vitamin C powder (absorbic acid) at onset take 1/2 teaspoon in water every 30 minutes until symptoms subside. 

4) Bone Broth.  Buy from a local butcher if you can, or I like bonafide in the freezer section of whole foods, beef or chicken.  Sip this in the AM first thing waking up (8 oz.) and before you go to bed (8 oz.) This helps build immunity and gelatin coats your intestines to help with absorption of nutrients from those green juices ;) The more nutrient rich your diet is, the less likely you are to get the cold or flu. 

5) Book an acupuncture appointment. I always recommend this right when you feel like you are getting sick. Adam Wiscomb in the financial district is amazing and works wonders.  I always see him when I am coming down with something and it works like a charm every time.  Tell him that I sent you :) You can book through his website. 

6) SLEEP! Get 8-10 hours of sleep and go to bed early.  Sleep is necessary for repair, recovery and fighting off infections. 

7) Frankincense essential oil. Two drops on your tongue at the first sign of a cold can be enough to nip in the bud.

8) FOOD! Ginger, garlic, onions, radishes, (all have anti-bacterial properties) turmeric (anti-inflammatory), chicken and lamb (contain selenium and zinc needed for immune function).

9) Sinus Rinse. Grab a Neil-Med or a Netti-pot and get to flushing! Most colds start with the build up of mucus and infection in your nose and throat. Flushing in the morning with warm water and salt is so helpful in keeping infections away. 

10) WATER! While following my anti-cold and flu remedies above, what is most important is to drink tons of water. I am talking enough to make you go to the bathroom every one to two hours. Water will help flush the system and being hydrated is major in fighting the flu virus or infections. 

10 Daily Detox Rituals to Incorporate into Your Life

The most common question I get from those who have completed my 10-Day Balance Cleanse is how can they continue to feel great? What are some daily detox rituals that can be incorporated into their daily life? Good news - I am here to answer both of these questions with my list of 10 Daily Detox Rituals that are easy to add into your routine. 


Although I practice detoxification every six months by doing my cleanse, I also incorporate these every day practices.  Maintaining a healthy weight, clear skin, good digestion, increased energy, mental focus and a balanced and happy mood can be managed through diet and taking care of your body every day.  There is no quick fix to health, it is a practice of daily rituals and habits for improved health to last a lifetime. Your kidneys and liver are doing the work eveyr day to detoxify your body, and these daily rituals will help to get the job done right. You don't have to incorporate all ten, but just start with one or two of the rituals below and see how these makes you feel. 


1. Drink warm lemon water
Drinking a glass of hot or warm lemon water first thing in the morning upon waking will help to flush the digestive system and rehydrate your body. 
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Adding this wonder tonic to your water prior to eating meals (just 1-2 teaspoons) will help with digestion and the breakdown of food.  ACV also alkalizes your body, helps to break up mucus and cleanses the lymph nodes. 
3. Drink Cleansing Teas
Dandelion, licorice, slippery elm, chamomile and ginger teas all aid in detoxification. 
4. Eat More Fiber
Eating foods that are high in fiber - vegetables, flax seeds, oatmeal, berries, beans and nuts for example - help to keep you regular. 
5. Sweat, Sauna + Hot Yoga
Sweating is one of the best ways to release toxins.  If you have never tried an infrared sauna, I highly recommend them! Infrared saunas assist in removing heavy metal toxins stored in fat tissues.
6. Dry Skin Brushing
You can buy a dry skin brush (sounds weird I know, but it's actually awesome) on Amazon or at Whole Foods.  Dry skin brushing activates the lymphatic system, stimulates blood circulation, and enhances toxin elimination through our body’s largest organ — the skin! The act of dry skin brushing is really great for beating dry skin during winter month's too.
7. Tongue Scraping
Cleans the tongue of accumulated bacteria and debris from the night before.  This is an Ayurvedic practice that is excellent for everyday detoxing. 
8. Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy is the practice of alternating between hot and cold water in the shower - 2 minutes warm and then 30 seconds cold. This decreases inflammation, removes wastes from tissues, and stimulates circulation.
9. Epsom Salt Bath
Draws out toxins, eases stress, improves sleep.  Feels amazing after working out when your muscles are sore.
10. Eat Vegetables with every meal. 
Incorporating vegetables with every meal is the most efficient way to keep energy up, digestion working, weight off and glowing skin.  For example, sneak vegetables into your breakfast in a smoothie or with spinach in your eggs. 

WellnessMolly Alliman

Let’s talk about unwinding. Many of us have a hard time relaxing from the go-go-go mentality that’s ingrained in us. If you have ever read Eat, Pray, Love you may remember the term that Elizabeth Gilbert picked up in Italy – Il Far Niente, which is English translates to The Art of Doing Nothing. To me this is the true definition of unwinding and relaxing.  Shutting your brain off, shutting your phone off and just doing nothing. Trust me, it’s harder than it sounds. I can say personally that the chatter in my head is a hard one to turn off.  I self-confess that I am horrible at meditation. And lately my idea of a good book hasn’t been a feat of fiction, but instead a heavy and thick one on nutrition theories and how plants cure ailments. Yup, nerd alert.

To unwind, we all have our own routines. Sometimes it takes more than a routine, instead a necessary plane ticket to a faraway destination where you talk about how you wish you could unwind, and then on your last day in paradise you finally do.

So how can we focus the mind and body more on relaxation?  Here are seven of my tips and tricks:

1)    Relax your mind by doing your favorite work out.  For me this is running or pilates (insert photo above of me being semi-awesome on the reformer), and for many it is yoga. Whatever it may be, working out can act as its own form of meditation to help calm your mind.

2)    A warm bath any time (oh yes I have been known to take a bath during the day and it is righteous). Make it your time with your own mix of salts or bubbles to calm and relax you.

3)    Use a meditation app like Headspace. For meditation novices like myself, this one is beginner friendly. Meditation is an amazing way to unwind.

4)    Play your favorite album.  You know, so Sade or Maxwell will always bring out the mellow vibes.  But if you’re not a self-confessed slow jam addict like me, have some fun on Spotify or iTunes and make your own relaxing mix.  Mellow music always does wonders to bring things down a notch.  

5)    Cook or bake something. Now I know this one is not for everyone.  I mean, my hairdresser told me yesterday that he hates cooking but doing dishes helps him unwind.  Imagine that!

6)    A cup of warm herbal tea before bed to help your brain unwind. I like a combination of chamomile, lavender and valerian (check out ALOHA's sleep tea) which help induce relaxation and trigger a calming effect on your body and mind.

7)    Breathe! The practice of mindful breathing can do wonders for stress, especially when trying to calm yourself in a stressful moment. If you are stressed in the moment, it might help to start by taking an exaggerated breath: 

-       a deep inhale through your nostrils (7 seconds)

-       hold your breath (4 seconds)

-       and a long exhale through your mouth (8 seconds). 

Simply observe each breath without trying to adjust it; it may help to focus on the rise and fall of your chest or the sensation through your nostrils. As you do so, you may find that your mind wanders, distracted by thoughts or bodily sensations. That’s okay. Just notice that this is happening and gently bring your attention back to your breath.

Mindful breathing can start with a daily practice of just a few minutes at your desk each morning, increasing to 10-15 minutes of focused meditation.  A regular practice of mindful breathing and/or daily meditation will do wonders to combat stress!

NOW GO AND RELAX! Your body and mind deserve it.

WellnessMolly Alliman