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Paris Latka has an undeniable positive energy. She’s practicing what she preaches as a Nutritional Health Coach and Food Quality Educator working for Natural Grocers. Her social media is rife with loving suggestions on healthy eating, helpful life practices and ways to incorporate gratitude throughout one’s day to grasp the manifold treasures in life that are realistic and easy. We wanted to feature her in Ladybud because this kind of energy is ever-needed as an inspiration in every aspect of living. –Diane Fornbacher, Ladybud Publisher
LADYBUD: You are such a radiant person — to what and with whom do you attribute some of your sunny and reflective disposition?
PARIS LATKA: Gosh! So much! My mom taught me at a very young age that the Chinese character for crisis is the same as opportunity. It is from this perch that I live my life. Trusting that when I experience challenge, all I must do is shift my perspective and there is a gift inside of it. I practice A Course In Miracles, a spiritual practice that helps people train their minds to see and feel the miracle inside of the moment.
I am feeling my emotions fully, eating really great food, moving my body in fun ways. I like to skip, dance, run, and practice the Bowspring. The Bowspring is a movement practice that teaches one how to awaken and use all of the muscle groups in the body with specific alignment and poses. It is sort of an evolution of the modern postural yoga that we know. This practice has helped my body heal as well as feel much more grounded and lighter in my day-to-day.
When I am in the sun, I soak up the wisdom and light from this star and I know this impacts my neurotransmitters and how I see life. I do a lot of things to support my decision to see this world and each experience as a gift. One thing that I want to make clear is that it is a practice! I don’t always see everything as a blessing or a gift. I don’t always feel radiant or optimist. However, I am to learning and each day becoming stronger in this awareness. Life is one big opportunity to learn again and again and again.
LB: The world seems chaotic pretty much throughout time immemorial, but now there seems to be much more of it especially these days — how are you staying aware of the world while maintaining a healthy and positive outlook?
PL: It is my spiritual practice that helps me trust that everything is on time and it is up to me to see as a blessing or a curse. It is my choice. So, I choose wisely. Again, my spiritual practice is how I ensure that I am choosing from a place of love. I don’t always do this, but my willingness and intention are located here.
This is a little glimpse into how I navigate the chaos:
Each morning while I am in the ‘in-between’ place of sleep and waking, I rest my hands on my body and ask to feel my higher self, God, the Universe (whatever you want to call it). In this space, I do some visualizations while also choosing to feel the grand and beautiful spirit that is inhabiting my body. While breathing deeply, I lean into this wisdom energy and allow it to envelope me.
This ‘meditation’ allows for me to not only be able to be aware of world events, but it also opens up a day of living intentionally and feeling connected to myself and others. Don’t get me wrong, I learned the importance of this practice by not doing it and trying to engage in a world that is full of fear. And engaging with a world that is continually thinking that something needs to change in order for love and peace to be felt is exhausting. If we operate from that premise, we are always chasing the peace and love because from this perspective, it lives outside of the moment. We gotta work with what we got and what we got is right now.
When I wake up without grounding or consciously embodying my Spirit and I turn on the news, I spiral into fear. All the ‘what-ifs’ and overwhelming sadness of world events swallow me and my day. Therefore I am not giving to the world, nor myself, the love that I know is available. Basically, I am robbing myself and the world if I choose not to engage in this practice. Plus, it just feels like shit. This feels like my responsibility to myself and the world.
LB: You have mentioned in conversation that gut health is one of the primary ways our mind and body health are affected. How have you seen improving one’s health in gut change people’s lives?
PL: Wow, great question! So many ways. In a healthy person, we make about 90% of the neurotransmitter in our gut. Serotonin is the calming, ‘everything is cool’, ‘I am feeling content and happy’ neurotransmitter. When we have dysbiosis in the gut (an imbalance of beneficial and pathogenic bacteria) than we are not manufacturing serotonin efficiently. This reflects in our health in many ways, one of them being our mood. Our gut is also known as our second brain and plays a huge role in attention/focus and mood. The microbiota is a like a control center and impacts most of the systems of our bodies.
We have trillions of bacteria located in our gut. Most of them are located in the large intestine. They all work in a very synergistic way with each other. So the presence of specific strains of bacteria will manufacture vitamin K … or serotonin. So if you have spent your life on antibiotics or medications (bacteria is very sensitive to meds) then it is very likely your microbiome is out of balance and this can reflect in mood health. But these factors aren’t the only thing that is impacting the health of our microbiome — refined sugars, environmental toxins, chlorine from our water, stress, dehydration — just to name a few!
Science is recognizing the health of our gut to impact the health of most of our body systems. I have had the honor of supporting many people in improving the health of their gut and as a result, their mood enhances along with their immune system, outlook on life changes, they feel more connected to their intuition (inner guidance), people feel more empowered and confident.
Our digestive system is so amazing. If we think about it this is where we take in food, break it down, assimilate what we need, and secrete what we don’t need. This mechanical system is complex and fascinating.
LB: You play the baritone ukulele — where did you learn the instrument and what are some of your favorite songs to perform?
PL: I have always loved to sing and realized a couple of years ago that I needed to learn an instrument as an excuse to sing more. My cousin was playing the baritone ukulele at the time and inspired me. She had an extra one that she gave me as a gift and it is the one I have in my hands.
Music is so incredible at evoking emotions. So depending on my mood I’ll listen to what I am wanting to experience like more of Ayla Nereo’s ‘Little Beckon’ and Sea Stars ‘Bittersweet’ and ‘The Devil and the Man’.
LB: What are some other ways in which you ground yourself?
PL: I like to pause for a couple of minutes throughout my day, close my eyes, and breath. I do a simple visualization that surrounds me in white, yellow, effervescent light. I pause with this imagery, while repeating A Course in Miracles mantra. Right now it is: “I abide in a perfectly loving universe.” That is just so soothing to me.
I don’t always do this, but when I do it makes a big difference in my day.
LB: What are some books, poems and quotes you have found inspirational and transformative?
PL: “I want to BE the being that I came to BE.” –Abraham Hicks
This is another quote that I find greatly inspiring:
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” –MLK
Sometimes ‘moving forward’ means staying in bed or not working out OR it could me getting out of bed and working out~ to me, what ‘moving forward’ implies is nurturing what genuinely serves us.
CHECK OUT: Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts
LB: What do you believe humanity can improve upon?
PL: Loving ourselves more. I like to elaborate upon the Golden Rule but I call it the Rainbow Rule: Treat ourselves the ways we want others to treat us. When we operate from this premise I think it is easier to demonstrate love and compassion to others.
LB: What are your favorite and healthiest meals to prepare?
PL: OH MY GOODNESS!! Let me tell you about my morning porridge! Honestly, I am one lazy, healthy cook so anything that I can throw in a blender is awesome for me! This breakfast is delicious, full of healthy fat and protein and therefore keeps me energized for a long time. It may sound strange, but hear me out:
I put chia seeds, hemp seeds, blueberries, fresh turmeric, ginger, protein powder, spirulina, cinnamon into a blender with hot water … blend it up and garnish it with bee pollen and black sesame seeds. It is warming and delicious breakfast. Basically it is a hot smoothie but that sounds too gross! During the winter I don’t like to eat too many ‘cooling’ or raw foods and because of the weather, this is perfect!
LB: Who are you inspirations in progressive movements, self-awareness and physical health?
PL: ‘A Course in Miracles’ has been a life changing spiritual practice for me. Marc David and the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, Chris Kresser and Alan Watts.