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The health risk of mold in nuts, corn, and grains

Would you love to know that the food bringing home and feeding to your family is free from mold, yeast, and fungus?  Me too! That’s why I’ve been doing some digging and found out that not all foods are safe!

knowledge-is-powerI know that most people don’t want to hear this. In fact,  I have had people physically cover their ears when I talk about this subject because according to
some, “ignorance is bliss!” According to me “Knowledge is Power!” You need to know what is causing your auto-immune, candida, respiratory problems, Epstein bar virus, MS, asthma, allergies, hormone imbalances, blurry vision, brain fog, and weight gain so you can easily and painlessly remedy the situation while watching your health improve daily!

The answer to a lot of your health problems could be mold, and knowing where it lives! moldy peanuts.jpgMost of us know that mold can hide under the floorboards or in the walls of a house or office. This is a big problem and takes some serious work to clean up. Did you know that a seemingly harmless nut, seed, or grain can also be at the root of your health issues? If you are not properly soaking and cleaning them, you are swallowing toxins! These food toxins are also known as mycotoxins.

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Mycotoxins are toxic chemical products that are produced from molds which grow on agricultural crops. In general, high moisture content, high relative humidity, and warm temperatures enhance mold growth and toxin production. Mycotoxins are natural and inevitable. No bean or crop is without some percentage of them but finding the companies that actively test for mycotoxin content is best. Mycotoxins are relatively harmless to the body on a micro level. It is only when we consume them on a daily basis that they become a problem. That means daily ingestion of poor ‘Starbucks’ quality coffee could have long-term effects on your brain health and increase free radicals which leads to radical premature aging!

How are mycotoxins harmful? 

When you consume foods with mycotoxins, they make their way to the digestive system & sit there for your entire lifetime! Once they’re ingested, they can leach through the intestinal wall and can be absorbed into the bloodstream.  Once your system has incorporated the mycotoxin, they can cause systemic yeast or mold. This can lead to inflammation and disease.

Where are they found? 

Mycotoxins are found in nuts, seeds, beans, and grains. They are dormant and live on whole and especially broken nuts, seeds, and grains. They can cause harm to your immune system when they are swallowed, but since they are dormant, they can easily be cleaned and killed without much effort. Here’s the lowdown:

Top nuts and grains containing the most fungus and mycotoxins:

  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Stored grains like wheat, rye, barley, and oats
  • Nut and seed butter (store bought):

What to avoid (unfixable)

  • Corn-Give it your very best effort to stop eating all forms of corn. I know that it is a staple food in America, especially for the gluten-free crowd. But corn is a stored grain and is very high in molds. It is more often than not, a GMO! How about the well-known fact that corn is used to fatten cattle before they are slaughtered. Need another reason to quit? Corn is acid forming and overconsumption leads to illness, weight gain, and disease.
  • Peanuts-These are the moldiest legumes on the planet! Do you wonder why so many people are allergic? It’s the mold and fungus hiding in every crevice. Peanut butter is even worse. What do you think they do with all the ugly broken bits not suitable for bags? That’s right! It gets ground into butter. Same goes for every nut butter on the market. The safe bet? Make your own!
  • Gluten grains-Includes all stored grains.

What to clean and consume at your own risk:

  • Cashews-never eat these if you have not soaked them for at least 20 minutes in 3% hydrogen peroxide. Rinse well after soaking. Pay attention to how you feel after consuming them for a few days. Do you have mucus, stuffy nose, scratchy throat? These are all symptoms of cashew toxicity. Never, ever eat them straight from the bag (especially from the bulk bin)! I personally eschew cashews and will never eat them again. It’s up to you, but with so many choices of non-mycotoxin foods (like macadamia nuts and so many others), why take the risk?
  • Pistachios– can have higher mycotoxins so just be sure to soak & rinse them well.
  • Oats  Groats (not rolled)- can be an exception for a lot of people because they can be gluten free, but most of the time, people feel better when they stop eating grains altogether! I know…crazy right?  Rolled oats are not clean and are higher in dust mites, mold and bacteria than the groats which you can soak and rinse easily. Beware of bulk bin granolas which are high in contaminants, sugar, heated oils and salt.It’s better to make your own at home or try our toasted (mycotoxin free) coconut chips!
  • Store bought nut butter: What kinds of nuts become butter? The nasty, dirty broken pieces at the bottom of the barrel which cannot be sold in a nice little package. That’s right! That awesome almond butter you love to spread on your apple could be harboring some serious bad guys! The answer…make your own easily at home.

What to clean, sprout, dehydrate and consume as desired:

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  • Almonds- soak for 8 hours in a big bowl of water, then rinse well. Add a capful of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide to the bowl with clean water for 20 minutes. Then drain, rinse and eat, or dehydrate for 24 hours at 115 degrees F or until crunchy and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • Brazil nuts- these only need a quick 20-minute soak in a bowl of water with a capful of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide. They don’t contain much bacteria or phytates.
  • Hazelnuts (filberts)- see almonds for how to clean.
  • Macadamia nuts-Depending on where you source your macadamia nuts, these nuts usually don’t need to be soaked very long or at all because they don’t contain enzyme inhibitors. They also lose a lot of fat and flavor if they are soaked too long. I do recommend soaking them at least 20 minutes with a capful of 3% food grade H2O2 and then rinsing well if you are getting them from a non-organic source, or from the bulk bin.  If you are not sure about your source, get them from us! We source premium organic Hawaiian Macadam Nuts which makes the best nut cheese, vegan cheesecakes and nut butter fillings for chocolates and more.
  • Sesame seeds- soak for 2 hours in a big bowl of water, then rinse well. Add a capful of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide to the bowl with clean water for 20 minutes. Then drain, rinse and blend into a hummus or sauce, or dehydrate for 12 hours at 115 degrees F or until crunchy and store them in the freezer (preferably for up to 6 months.
  • Sunflower seeds- Soak for 4 hours in a big bowl of water, then rinse well. Add a capful of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide to the bowl with clean water for 20 minutes. Then drain, rinse and eat, or dehydrate for 12 hours at 115 degrees F or until crunchy and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • Pumpkin seeds– soak for 2-4 hours in a big bowl of water, then rinse well. Add a capful of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide to the bowl with clean water for 20 minutes. Then drain, rinse and eat, or dehydrate for 12 hours at 115 degrees F or until crunchy and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • Walnuts-soak for 24 hours in a big bowl of water, rinsing every 8 hours. Add a capful of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide to the bowl with clean water for 20 minutes. Then drain, rinse and eat, or dehydrate for 12 hours at 115 degrees F or until crunchy and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • Quinoa and brown rice-when properly soaked these can be a great alternative to the gluten grains. Soak for just 20 minutes and rinse well before cooking. If you want to actually sprout the quinoa, you can do this by letting the quinoa sit in a colander and rinse it every 8 hours until tails grow. If the holes in your colander are too large, try sprouting in The Amazing Nut Milk Bag
  • Beans- black, pinto, red, adzuki, etc.- I don’t even recommend eating beans as they are high in lectins which can exacerbate autoimmune and leaky gut symptoms, and beans can be hard to digest, so be sure to sprout them until they get a 1/4 inch tail before cooking. Always cook them! Never eat them raw, even if they are sprouted as you need to cook them to make them digestible.
  • Smaller legumessprouts(such as mung beans and lentils)- Soak, sprout and eat. They are usually better if cooked to greatly reduce the lectins. A lot of people who cannot tolerate nuts and beans can digest sprouted lentils more easily. I enjoy sprouted lentils and mung beans on rare occasions eaten raw with some avocado, lemon and cumin. Or cooked into a dahl or curry.

Some other things to take note of:

I am one of those “canaries in a coal mine” so if something is moldy, I’m the first to react. The usual reactions for me are itchy eyes, an itchy nose, itchy arms, or an irritating tingle up my spine. If I don’t stop eating after the initial signal, then the skin around my eyes and on my fingers will start to break out in an itchy rash which can take days to go away. Coffee and cacao are two products that are also known to be high in mold and mycotoxins. Batches can vary so you cannot always be sure if they are moldy are not. Now there are many companies selling certified mold-free coffee such as Kicking Horse. As for cacao beans, again, each batch is different. I have found Big Tree Farms to be safe for me to eat.

The takeaway here is to be aware, stay informed and stick with me! I’ll continue to expose the truth, on this blog, no matter how painful it may seem at the time. If you start following my program of avoiding mycotoxins, yeast, and mold, your attitude and mood and health will greatly improve in a very short amount of time.

Want to learn more? Join our next 4-week mycotoxin-free Love Camp with lessons and recipes for a month!

Watch this video to learn how to soak walnuts and other nuts, seeds and grains.


10 Ways to Become Super Human

How would you feel if you knew you never have to take prescription medication again? Or that you would never get the dreaded seasonal flu every year? Is it possible?

Yes, it is! I have discovered some simple lifestyle habits that are easy to do and can completely transform your health. Since I started eating a high raw food, vegan diet, I have learned many things about how not to get sick. I have not been hospitalized for illnesses since adopting these lifestyle habits. I  have not taken any form of medication or prescription drugs, nor have I been down with the flu for years! My blood tests show that I am fully mineralized am in great health.

Do our genes decide whether or not we are prone to dis-ease or illness? Was I born with ‘good genes’? Quite the opposite actually. I was born with thrush (systemic candida), yeast overgrowth, and severe digestive problems. I struggled throughout my teens and early twenties with arthritis before I discovered the power of plant-based foods, cleansing, and fasting. I have completely healed and overcome these is ailments through a swift change in my diet and lifestyle habits.

Below, I share things that have worked well for me and how I outsmart sicknesses, disease, or even a cold or flu:

  1. Morning water: Keep a 32 oz. glass jar of water next to your bed and drink it as soon as you wake up. Try adding 1 tsp. of lemon juice and a pinch of salt for optimal absorption and extra alkalizing boost. Drink as much of it as you can before leaving your bedroom. This will help flush out any toxins your liver accumulated during sleep and the day before. It will also dramatically help get your bowels moving for the day and decrease sluggishness.
  2. Daily Juice: IMG_2641Yes, it’s as simple as drinking a 16 oz. green juice every day (or most days) Make 2 or 3 days worth of celery or green juice at one time in your juicer (I like the Greenstar juicer) and store it in 16 oz. glass jars in your refrigerator. That way you can just grab one first thing in the morning before consuming food or beverages (other than water).
  3. Sleep! At least 7-8 hours a night: Elaina Sleeping.jpgYou’ve already heard this over and over, but it bears repeating. A good nights sleep is more important than any supplement you can take. Sleeping is when the most healing and reconstruction occurs. It’s the time when your body balances hormones, detoxes your liver,  and re-energizes your entire system. It is a time of rejuvenation which cannot be achieved any other way. Getting enough sleep also keeps your appetite in check. Appetite is stimulated by a certain hormone and when that hormone is out of balance because of lack of sleep, your appetite can be firing on overdrive. This leads to false hunger cues, over-eating and sugar cravings!
  4. Regular Cleansing: Every change of season (4 times a year) do a 3-day juice fast, a liver flush or an elimination diet to help your body flush and dump extra heavy metals, toxins and accumulated hormones, undigested proteins and more. This is the fastest way to gain more energy, clarity, and happiness in your life, guaranteed! Do you think you are addicted to coffee or stimulants? Try a 3 days juice cleanse and discover just how much energy you can have just from green juice!
  5. Avoid grains, especially gluten and corn: Grains like wheat, rice, barley, and rye can be highly acidic to the body. The more acidic foods we eat, the more energy is being drained from the body as the body try to reverse the acidity in the food you eat.   The more alkalizing foods you eat in the form of greens, fruits and veggies, the more fiber and alkaline minerals you have to nourish your body and keep the toxins moving out. Fact: Disease cannot live in an alkaline environment, so if you eat a highly alkalizing diet, you will be on the fast track to health. Watch my video on GMO corn and the dangers here.
  6. Avoid meat and dairy: Meat and dairy (red meat, chicken, pork, milk, yogurt, and cheese) are also very acid forming. When you consume meat and dairy, your body accumulates uric acid and excess proteins which can lead to bacteria growth and disease. Despite popular belief, science has proved over and over that consuming over 5% animal protein leads to cancer, osteoporosis, liver degeneration and more.
  7. Eat a High Alkaline Diet: Tahini Salad HERO 2.jpgEat lots of leafy green vegetables by adding them into raw salads, smoothies or other cooked dishes. A high raw diet is beneficial for most people because raw foods are full of life-enhancing enzymes, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats which your body requires to function efficiently. It’s easy to get enough raw food daily in the form of green juices, salads, dehydrated bread, wraps and crackers and sprouted nuts and seeds. Make your diet 90% raw in the warm months and at least 75% raw in the cold months. It’s easy to warm your food without cooking it by placing it in your dehydrator at 118 degrees F, gently warm raw soups and sauces in a pot or put hot water in your blender with your green smoothies or raw soups.  By eating mostly raw, you will be avoiding all processed and packaged foods and your health will improve exponentially. You will also drastically reverse aging! How? Raw foods contain all their natural enzymes which mean your body does not have to use it’s own enzymes to digestive the food. Enzymes=life. When your enzymes banks are used up by eating a SAD cooked, processed food diet, your life span drastically reduces.
  8. Add in Superfoods: IMG_3344.JPGChaga Mushroom, Reishi Mushroom, tinctures and herbs like astragalus, ashwagandha, and powders like spirulina will offer you the most immune boosting support for your health.  Other adaptogenic herbs such as licorice, ginseng and he shou wu can greatly increase your nutrition while balancing your adrenals and hormones. Take some time to research all of these natural medicines and incorporate some of them into your daily routine. I like Wild Harvest tinctures for all of their adaptogenic formulas (you can find one that is right for you). My favorite at the moment is Count to Zen to keep myself feeling grounded and harmonious in my daily interactions.
  9. Acupuncture: Doing regular acupuncture helps to keep your hormones balanced. It can do wonders for keeping all of your channels open, keeping you healthy. It has worked wonders for me with hormone balancing, menopause and keeping my immune system firing during high-stress periods.
  10. Meditation: Diet is so important when it comes to maintaining good health but it is only half the piece to staying juicy. Believe it or not, our minds and emotions play just as big of a role in keeping us from getting sick. A happy heart and soul make a healthy and energized body. That’s why I love meditating. Meditating for 20 minutes a day can greatly improve your peace of mind and actually boost your immunity by lowering your cortisol levels. I use an app called Meditator or Insight Timer right on my phone. It’s as easy as committing to 1-5 minutes per day, especially in high-stress times during the day. Even just taking 5-10 deep breathes throughout the day will bring down stress hormones and keep you feeling balanced!I choose love

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How to choose the best blender

As a professional raw food chef and teacher for 20 years,  I have used many types of blenders over the years. I have had some blenders that I have really liked using and some that I would not recommend purchasing. In a nutshell, you get what you pay for. Here is what I have found through extensive hands-on research:

  1. Single or a traveler: Are you making food for just yourself and are mostly interested in smoothies and salad dressings?
    • Magic Bullet– Price $40. Super easy to make single servings to take on the go. Not the most powerful and just good for quick smoothies and simple dressings. You can use the blending canister as a travel mug.  Easy to travel with. I own a Magic bullet, but honestly, I don’t use it too much. It’s good for grinding flax seeds or coffee beans but even that can be done in a larger blender.  I would use it if I was traveling and didn’t have space for a large blender, but usually, since I am preparing food for others or teaching I pack my Vitamix in my luggage.magic-bullet
    • Nutribullet Pro or beyond- Prices $80-$160. More powerful than the magic bullet and has a larger canister capacity (up to 48 oz) which is great not only for soups and smoothies but for grinding nuts and seeds into a flour, making nut and seed cheeses and blending thicker items. It’s also easy to throw in your luggage or car. I do not own one, but know many people who do, and love it.nutribullet
  2.  Family or multiple people:
    • Vitamix- After more than 20 years or more of blender experimentation, the Vitamix is my favorite blender ever. It has a large blending capacity (up to 8 cups) and the variable speed lets me control how fast or slow my food gets blended. When making thick things like cheeses and pates, I like that I can put it on low and easily add more water through the top until it gets to the desired consistency. I also don’t have to worry about it changing speeds suddenly or the lid popping off. I use it most days for just blending smoothies, juices and hot drinks at home, but when it comes to doing raw food recipes, it is irreplaceable. Price range: $300-$700. The 5500 (variable speed with the tall 8 cup canister) is still my favorite one and is around $500. I also love the power of the Vitamix. One more note is that although the shorter canister has just as much capacity as the taller canister (6500 vs. 5500) it doesn’t vortex as well. So when in doubt, buy the taller canister and you won’t be disappointed. You may also wish to spend the extra $100 to buy the 32 or 48 oz. sized canister for when you are making small batches of things such as sauces or syrups. What I love about the Vitamix: Easy to use, easy to blend and I can use the tamper to push down the produce onto the blade when making smoothies or juices.
    • Blendtec- I just used this for 2 1/2 weeks when catering a retreat in Ecuador, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the new model. They have finally made variable speed for this and it was super easy to use. What do I like about this blender? It’s easy to clean the wide canister and easy to clean the base of the blender. What don’t I like? I can never walk away and I always have to hold my hand on the lid or it may pop off creating a huge mess of green all over the walls (yes it even happened to us 2-3 times in Ecuador). So this would be my second choice for blenders as it’s just as powerful as the Vitamix, but doesn’t have the tamper and I don’t like the lid.Blendtec.jpg
  3. Chef- Vitamix. Get multiple canisters for different uses. I recommend at least 3 canisters: 32 oz., 64 oz. wide size and 64 oz. narrow size.
  4. Raw Food- Vitamix (see Chef). Don’t waste your money on the dry canister as it’s only for grinding grains to make bread, etc.
  5. Don’t be fooled by Vitamix knockoffs such as the Kriss or the Omni blender. I’ve used them in other countries such as Indonesia and they are a poor substitute for the power of the Vitamix or Blendtec.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR STUFF: Most of all, enjoy whatever equipment you have! Wipe it and clean it daily with a white vinegar and water combination (1 to 10) and take good care of it. Don’t use the scratchy scrubber to clean it or you will scratch it up and it’ won’t be clear anymore. You can buy non-scratch sponges. My favorite tool to clean my blender by far is this: https://www.drbrownsbaby.com/bottle-feeding/cleaning-accessories/bottle-brushes blender sponge.jpg


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7 ways to say YES to raw food this month

With all of the colds, flu, viruses, stress-induced sleep disorders, hormone imbalance and low energy that people experience this time of year, our nutrition really matters! If you want to stay healthy, you need to be eating organic, plant-based, enzyme rich, alkalizing foods now more than ever!kale-salad

It’s cold outside as I’m typing this, and I’m sitting here eating a big marinated kale salad packed with spirulina, tiny wild blueberries and cilantro leaves. It’s absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious! We all need what these healing superfoods have to offer. These ingredients help balance our emotions and a give us a heightened sense of well-being. While kale salad is served cold, it’s okay because I have some tricks to keep you warm. Here is what I do: Make raw/cooked combos.

Sounds so simple right? If you start eating only hot, cooked foods, you will be crowding out the healing, alkalizing raw vegetables, and you are going to miss out on some of the most amazing foods the planet is growing just for you, right now! It’s important to keep getting the leafy greens in your body. I paired my raw kale salad with a bowl of hot pumpkin soup topped with a raw green pesto sauce. I am alternating bites, and it’s making my belly feel so warm inside.  I have found a perfect, harmonious balance.

There are lots of ways you can eat more raw foods this winter so you can stay healthy and get all of your nutrition and emotional needs met. Right now, I can’t seem to get enough apples, winter kale, seaweed, fresh turmeric and ginger. I’m drinking wellness shots every day. It’s a raw, fresh beverage, and it’s very warming because it’s loaded with digestive firing ginger and anti-inflammatory turmeric. I’m also eating big seasonal salads which are packed with superfoods, and I’m making sure I make hearty, warm dishes in the evening to keep my body feeling warm and balanced.

. Here are some ideas on how to eat raw and stay warm:

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Wellness Shots

  1. Warm green juice: Drink a big celery, ginger, green apple and  lemon juice in the morning on an empty stomach. Make sure you add plenty of ginger and sprinkle it with a little cayenne to warm you to your toes. You can make your juice the night before so it’s waiting for you when you get up. If you want it to be warm out of the fridge, add some hot water to it so that it’s warm enough to feel good going down. Follow your green juice with a hot beverage like coffee, tea or a healthy hot chocolate elixir.
  2. Steamed Veggies with Kale, Chard or Collard Salads: Winter greens can seem cooked if you marinate and squeeze them with some lemon and salt then mix in some tahini, olive oil or coconut butter for creaminess. I like to sprinkle wild blueberries, sprouted pumpkin seeds, coconut chips and dulse flakes on top for added texture and nutrition. On the bottom of the bowl, add hot, steamed cubes of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts or beets.  They will warm up the entire dish.
  3. Creamy Raw Sauces: My favorite warming dish is a coconut-curry sauce over steamed veggies. But you can make any kind of raw sauce you want and use it in your hot soups, over steamed veggies, and on cooked quinoa. Ideas for sauces: Pick a nut or seed butter such as coconut, pumpkin seed, tahini or almond butter. Then add one or two of your favorite spices like cumin, curry, Italian, onion powder, fresh herbs, garlic, ginger and/or lemon. I like the addition of a chopped tomato or bell pepper to the sauce to sweeten it up a bit. Salt to taste after blending, then pour this over your hot veggies or quinoa. Keep the rest of the sauce in the fridge for up to 1 week.sauce
  4. Hot Bowls: A hot bowl is a base of something hot and steamed like quinoa or brown rice with sauteed onions and winter greens. Pour some raw sauce over the top and finish if off with some radish sprouts, arugula and crunchy raw toppings (see #5)
  5. Crunchy Raw Toppings: Chopped crunchy veggies like carrots,  bell peppers, cucumbers and Romaine. Sprouted and dehydrated pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds or walnuts, dehydrated, seasoned coconut chips and dehydrated crackers all make flavorful, crunchy additions to the top of your meals.  They are both warming and nutritionally dense.coconut-chips-2
  6. Seasonal Fruits: orange-pomegranate-fruit-saladOranges, apples, pomegranates, and pears are wonderful foods to add to your daily routine during the colder months. They can be eaten as snacks to keep you from eating too many sweets. In fact, I find that eating a couple pieces of fruit a day such as apples and oranges during the holidays keeps my cravings for sweets and chocolate at bay.
  7. Superfoods to the rescue: Superfoods are nutritionally dense foods that are small in size but make a big impact on our health. Green powders, ginger, garlic, hemp seeds, sun-dried olives, spirulina, seaweed (dulse, nori, and kelp), Ho Shou Wu,  bee pollen, chia seeds, goji berries, astragalus, and coconut oil or butter to name just a few are easy to put into your morning breakfast porridge, in your smoothie and on top of your salads and soups. These foods will keep your energy flying high during the cold months and are super immune boosting power houses.post-workout-smoothie

We need our friends, the raw, enzyme rich, freshly grown fruits and veggies and their seeds to be with us all year round. They help us balance our emotions, keep our nervous systems calm, invite good, friendly bacteria into our guts and help fight off all the bad guys. Don’t leave them out in the cold, they are the best friends you’ve got this season!


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Holiday Healing

The holidays can be the best time to connect with family and friends you haven’t seen all year and to celebrate life and each other. With all the family time and connection we must also remember to re-connect with ourselves and our own needs. The holidays should be about celebrating, not stressing.  Often times we focus on the long list of “to-do’s” such as shopping for food, gift shopping, cooking and making the house perfect. Or maybe you have a mix of emotions around the holidays? Anything ranging from grief over a death or breakup, loneliness, or not feeling understood or accepted?  At times the feelings of overwhelm can be enough to make us want to give up the holidays altogether.  But I’ve noticed a few things along my journey and I’m learning that it does not have to be an all or nothing choice to participate.

Here are some ideas on how to have stay present with your emotions and still enjoy the holidays:

  1. Your happiness and well-being matter- Sometimes we forget that we need to make an extra effort for self-care during the holidays and when spending time with family. Make some foods for yourself that will act as your support system when the dinner rolls get passed around. Never underestimate the power of a healthy treat in your bag when the temptations are everywhere. Things I’ve brought to past family dinners: Green Juice (it’s a lifesaver at breakfast time), herbal tea bags, kale salad with juicy pomegranates (make enough to share), gluten-free almond bread, honey butter, gluten free scones and chocolate chip cookies.  By making healthy food choices, you will come out the other side still feeling good about yourself. Take some time out for walking or hiking (with or without your family). I like to go to the beach and spend at least an hour walking on the sand or riding my bike along the beach path when I visit my family in California. It grounds me, and nourishes my soul to the core!kale salad hero.jpg
  2. Non-Judgement-The worst thing you can do is to try and convince your family that your way of eating or living is better than theirs. The way it usually goes is that they feel made wrong and that their way of life is somehow not up to your standards. That just sets them up for defensiveness and a loss of affinity for you. I love the words by Byron Katie: “Defensiveness is the first act of war.”   Another way to practice non-judgement (and it really begins here) is to practice self-acceptance. You already are thin enough, good enough and loveable enough to be included in everything that matters in life.
  3. Family matters! If I’ve learned anything as I get older, is that family members die, age, get cranky, get married, get divorced and have babies. There is nothing we can do to change it!  Even if we don’t see eye to eye on religion, food choices or politics, it’s just a distraction from what is important.  On our death beds, most of us will wish we had been more loving, allowing, spontaneous, or giving.  Our family is always there for us, even when we get a little crazy from time to time. Just love them for who they are and don’t expect them to “get” you. When I made the choice to not try to change anyone in my family, and to not feel that they needed to understand me or even know what I believe in, my love for my family grew much deeper. Do I still work on it? Yes, it’s an ongoing practice.
  4. Eat, Drink and be Merry! While it’s important to focus on staying healthy and eating well over the holidays, sometimes being too strict can get in the way of deeper connections. Make an effort to  share in something together. Perhaps you can find a recipe that you can make with your family members. Or try just a couple bites of mom’s food made with love. Maybe it’s not food, but a game that you all can play together. Here is a link to some ideas.  Sitting down and watching a football game with your brother or dad may be a nice moment for bonding and connecting. Suggest going on a walk together after the meal. You will feel better after moving in the fresh air.superfood-cookies

I hope that you enjoy your time as you navigate the holidays, and remember, every day is a good day to make new choices that serve you and your future self’s well being!


How to make lasting changes to get and stay fit once and for all!

 

good-health-signHave you ever wondered how you can actually have long-term success at changing your diet and fitness routine? The answer is:

Make it a way of life, not just a diet or quick fix to solve a problem. It’s great to do a one-week fitness camp that’s really hard and kicks your butt, but as great as it is in the moment, it will not create lasting success. Success in anything lies in persistence. I started my plant-based healing and cleansing journey 20 years ago, and I had my ups and downs over the years. Even with the few small set backs of eating food that didn’t serve me or getting lazy about exercise, I persisted in keeping it alive in my life by surrounding myself with like minded people and continuing to read and research things that support health and longevity. I’ve noticed that the people who stay healthy and succeed long term have made health and fitness the thing they do every day. Sure there are days for splurging and “going off the wagon” but the biggest key is to stick to your plan 95% of the time. Humans need to fully immerse themselves into a new habit for at least 30 days to make a lasting change. In fact, that is just the beginning. After that, having ongoing SMART goals is the way to keep and stay motivated, fit and healhty.

Where do you start with getting healthy and feeling  great? Here is a list of things you can start with. If you’ve already succeeded at all of these, congratulations! See list 2 below that.

sugar drug

List #1 For beginners: 

  • Go off sugar: This includes white sugar, brown sugar, agave and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
  • Give up the gluten: No, it’s not a trend…it’s real! Breads, tortillas, waffles, muffins, soy sauce, licorice and so many more things contain gluten. After 1 week off gluten your mind will be clearer and you will have more energy! Not convinced? Read or listen to Grain Brain.
  • Go 95-100% Plant-Based: You don’t necessarily need to go all or nothing, but by significantly lowering the amount of animal products you consume, you will notice better skin, better liver function, and improved heart related conditions to name a few. An article published in Food Technology in October 2012 explained that plant-based diets either minimize or completely eliminate people’s genetic propensity to developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes type 2, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
  • Make your own food: Who knows what is actually going into the food at restaurants? Is the chef and he or she’s assitants happy? Is there any love in that food? Most places use the cheapest ingredients and oils in order to turn a profit. When you make food at home, you know exactly what you are getting plus, you can fill both you and your families bellies with loving goodness.
  • Eat the right oils, if at all: Oils have their place in moderation, but it’s better to use whole fats from nuts, seeds, olives and avocados. If you need oil from time to time, use extra-virgin organic olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil and cold-pressed hemp seed oils. Also, never heat your oils! Avoid corn, vegetable, cottonseed, safflower or any oil that is not cold pressed and in a dark bottle, as these oils are usually rancid and contain GMO’s.
  • Stock your pantry with good stuff and get rid of the bad stuff: Go through and throw out old grains, packaged crackers and cookies and anything that may sabotage your health. This includes soy sauce! Replace it with gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos, healthy flax crackers and home made healthy treats. Throw out all the halloween candy too!Coconut-Wraps-2Pack
  • Have a grateful attitude: What can you be grateful for every day? List 3 things every day that make you grateful for your life. It could be as small as a warm bed or the ability to drive to work. Every small thank you makes you happier and healthier.
  • Do it Now! When you diverge from your plan, get back on track immediately (don’t procrastinate!): The major pitfall I’ve seen people fall into is the “Oh Well” trap. “I already had one cookie, I may as well eat some crackers, more cookies and toast too!” What? Where is the logic in that? If you lost $10 in a bet would you then give them another $100 and say “oh well?’ No! Get back in your body, be smart and get back on track ASAP.

List #2: Advanced:

  • Excersise for 30 minutes 5-6 days a week. Weights, walking, running, biking, rebounding, yoga, etc. It doesn’t matter, just move! Weight lifting is for everyone! Studies show that weight lifting is extremely good for bone health and having a strong, lean body.
  • Drink 2-3 liters/quarts of water a day. Start your day with warm lemon water to cleanse your liver.

    lemon water

    Mineral water with lemon

  • Go low glycemic! In addition to processed sugars, start looking at lowering your consumption of dates, coconut sugar, maple syrup, most grains and anything that has a medium to high glycemic index. Low glycemic foods include all nuts, seeds and vegetables, plus berries, stevia and Lakanto sweetener.
  • Do a 20 minute mindfulness practice daily. Studies show that meditation lowers stress, creates less reactiveness, reduces food cravings, and can ease depression.

Make SMART GOALS

smartgoals

In his 2003 book, “Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond.” Paul J. Meyer explains how to make something acheivable.  Below is a synopsis:

1. Be Specific

Pick one or two things you want to change and be clear about it . Examples: What exact weight do you want to acheive? Do you have a fitness goal?  How about your skin? Is it as clear or ageless as you want it to be? Do you have a personal growth goal such as meditating 20 minutes a day or being more grateful?

Example- Visualize your ideal body and how you want it to look and feel. How do you want to feel every day? Lots of energy, good sleep, clothes fit perfectly? What about your fitness levels?  Perhaps being able to do a hard  3-mile hike/climb in 40 minutes? How much water do you drink everyday? Do you need to increase it? Is there something you want  to eliminate from your diet such as sugar, wheat or gluten? Maybe if you have been eating well for a while it can be a new goal such as not complaining or gossiping for a whole week or month.

2. Measurable

It’s important to have measurable goals, so that you can stay motivated. Writing down and tracking your progress helps you to stay focused and on on track, meet your deadlines, and get excited about achieving your goal.

A measurable goal should address questions such as:

  • How much or many?
  • How will I know when it is accomplished?

Example: I will be at my ideal weight (fill in the blank) and fitness level  (_____ miles, _____push ups, ____ minutes of planks)  by this date _________.

3. Attainable

Your health goals need to be realistic and do-able. Be willing to stretch yourself, but still remain within the attainable realm.

Example- You might need to ask yourself if going off of gluten, sugar, alcohol and losing 20 pounds in 3 months is realistic.   For example, did you give yourself enough time to complete the required training effectively? Are there too many things all at once? Are there any obstacles that might be seen or unseen that could discourage you such as a spouse,  other family members or friends? If so you will want to get everyone on board before you start or find a friend who is supportive. 

4. Relevant

This step is about ensuring that your goal matters to you, and that it is in alignment with your other goals. You may need support and assistance in achieving your goals, and it’s also important to retain control over them. So, make sure that if you are asking for help and support from others, that you are still ultimately responsible for achieving your own goals (dont’ give your power away or blame someone else for not getting things done). Don’t let anyone else tell you it’s not possible either.

Example: Does this goal fit into my lifes right now? Is this something doable now? If you are going on vacation, it might not be the best time to start a cleanse, but it’s a great time to add more water and get more exercise. 

5. Time-bound

Set a specific date to be at your goal. Once you have achieved that goal at the set date, celebrate, then create a weekly or monthly check in to make sure you continue to stay fit and healthy.

A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions:

  • When?
  • What can I do six months from now?
  • What can I do six weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?
  • How can I keep my new healthy body once I acheive my goal?

Example: Set your weight and fitness goal for 1-month from now with something that is achievable and realistic. Once you have reached that goal, celebrate, then create a new date with the continued goal of staying fit and healthy.

Journaling-the-truth-about-you.jpg

Now get out your journal or calendar and start writing down your new, acheivable goals!

P.S. The holidays are coming, so instead of waiting until they are over, make the goal of losing instead of gaining weight this season. That way in January you will be ahead of the game and feeling great about yourself! 

Join our Plant-based and fitness Bootcamp this November (and 4 times a year in 2017 and beyond) to get yourself in the best shape ever!

 


Are you ready for a big change?

As the season changes, we also go through a physical change as our bodies adapt to new temperatures. But what about our minds? Have you changed your mind lately? When you look back on your life, how many times have you thought something was a certain way, only to realize the exact opposite was true. Did you do a flip-flop? Is there anything in your life where you are now doing the opposite of what you used to do? If not, maybe it’s time to take a look at some of  your habits and beliefs…

I just got back from David Wolfe‘s Longevity Now Conference in Anaheim CA. It was a 3-day weekend adventure and road trip which I took with Kate and Nicole. We did the weekend right by bringing all of our own premade salad dressings, salad greens and sprouts, our delicious homemade granolacrackers, wraps, and dips. We even brought a  vitamix to use in the hotel room for smoothies and longevity coffee. It was super easy to pack for the trip and didn’t take much effort because we do this a lot (practice makes it easy). We even made late night hot medicinal elixirs in our room during a dance party with our good friend, Ben from Seeds of Life Cafe in Bali.

I love hanging out with Kate and Nicole and finding new ways to make every moment a celebration no matter what we are doing. We even stopped on the 7 -hour drive from Tucson to Anaheim to do 4 minutes of plank pose at a rest stop. Every moment counts, and every moment can be the best ever!

Over the Longevity Weekend, we heard excellent speakers who are experts in their fields. That is where I learned more, new and exciting ways of looking at things. Here are some of my top takeaways:

  1. David Wolfe spoke about activated charcoal and how taking it can extend your lifespan.  Making every day the best day ever is do-able by claiming it out loud. Saying “This is the best day ever” can give it up to a power beyond ourselves and we don’t need to try and make it happen, it just does. Goal setting and dream work is a key to success. Medicinal mushrooms such as Chaga and Reishi in large amounts are super immune boosters. Vitamin B3 (niacin) can work to heal depression and schizophrenia.  My takeaway: Detoxification is more important than nutrition. For longevity, make a morning elixir of 1 quart (liter) of water, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (such as Celtic), and between 500-1500 mg of activated charcoal (start with 500 and work up) for a 43% increase in lifespan. That’s the difference between living to be 100 and living to be 143!
  2. Jim Qwik spoke about speed reading and the art of remembering names. How often do you get introduced to someone only to forget their name a few minutes later? I know for me, I choose to be present and take the time to remember everyone I am interacting with. That starts with remembering their name. For speed reading, if you use a  visual pacer such as a finger or pen under the words while you read, it will increase your reading speed by 25-50% (try it without for a minute and then with your finger for 1 minute and see the difference in speed). Jim said journaling is the routine to genius. Read more biographies to learn how great people lived. He read a book a day for a year! Your mind is always eavesdropping on your self-talk so make sure you are being positive in your mind. Get rid of ANTS- automatic negative talk. Self-awareness is a super power! Have a to-do list and keep your brain active through lifelong learning and longevity practices. My takeaways: Read 1 book a week and use a visual pacer. Remember people’s names with  MOM: be Motivated to remember by asking yourself, why it’s important to remember, be Observant by paying attention at the moment and use Mechanics such as picturing Jim working out in a Gym.  
  3. Dr. Joel Fuhrman spoke about lowering our IGF1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) through eating low glycemic food, eating more greens, eliminating ALL grains (this includes corn and sugar cane) and heavy animal protein. He said that a study of people aged 50-65 for 18 years showed that people who ate less than 10% animal protein by weight had a 75% decrease in death. Too much protein is actually more harmful to the body than too much fat. Protein increases inflammation and oxidative stress. People who ate more than 10% animal protein had a 4-fold increase in cancer.  My takeaway: Remember to supplement with DHA and EPA by taking 200 mg. a day for optimal lifespan and brain function. 
  4. Dr. Mercola spoke about peak fasting (also known as intermittent fasting). Stop eating 3 hours before bed , do not eat for 13-18 hours 3 days a week (that means a 6-8 hour eating window), fast 1 day a week for optimal longevity and to create more ketosis which extends lifespan. He said to avoid high amounts of protein, although he does advocate eating some fish.  He mentioned that the Cronometer has the most accurate data for people who want to track their food intake. He talked about cycling. That means interchanging both fasting and eating. If you fast too much you go into low metabolism, and if you eat too much….well we all know what happens. The body needs cycles as it did before we were domesticated. Best vegetable fats for fuel: Avocados (he eats 3 a day), real olive oil (watch out for food fraud), coconut oil, MCT oil (especially the octane 8 which increases ketosis), raw cacao butter, macadamia nuts, pecans and seeds. DHA is the most important fat and it’s better from seafood. Avoid at all costs if you still eat seafood: Shrimp because it’s loaded with chemicals and antibiotics. My takeaway: Get at least 1-hour in the sun with your feet planted on the earth (earthing) for optimal vitamin B production and overall health. 
  5. John Gray talked about the different hormones of men and women. High testosterone is characterized by our flight or fight response, the feelings of achievement and independence. This is why men lower stress by not thinking. Going into overwhelm, as so many women do, actually takes us out of our feminine and into our masculine. Small doses of Lithium Orotate can balance moods and hormones. My takeaway: If a woman is overwhelmed, she is not in her feminine side, so I will remember to dance or move my body when I feel overwhelmed. wim-hofWim Hof- I love this guy! He is the master of cold. He’s set world records for withstanding cold temperatures, swimming in ice water and climbing Mt. Everest in shorts. His message is that deep breathing coupled with holding the breath out for as long as possible (up to 2 minutes) and following up with an ice bath can give you huge amounts of energy and
    • Increases Alertness
    • Refines Hair and Skin
    • Improves Immunity and Circulation
    • Stimulates Weight Loss
    • Speeds Up Muscle Soreness and Recovery
    • Eases Stress
    • Relieves Depression.  I for one am a believer because I’ve been practicing his breathing techniques for the last 10 weeks. It’s a bit hard to take a cold shower in Tucson but I am looking into getting a big freezer to make my own ice baths. My takeaway: “Just breathe man and embrace the cold!”

Getting a dose of Community.  One reason I continue to go to festivals, expos, conferences and retreats is to experience the feeling of connection and community with my fellow health seekers. It’s so satisfying to be a part of something bigger than my everyday life. I love meeting people who are choosing to upgrade and expand their current understanding of their bodies, minds, and spirits. I want to keep that feeling going all the time. I know it’s not possible for most of us (including me) to attend something like this every weekend. This is why Pure Joy Planet will continue to grown our Pure Joy Family so we can connect, learn, grow and evolve together in whatever capacity our students can show up for.

As a way of continuing this feeling, I invite you to join our Pure Joy Family by being part of our 1-month Plant-Based Bootcamp coming up in November 2016. It’s not just about the food. We will be incorporating a lot of what I spoke about in this blog too. You will get daily video calls with me and our Team, daily recipe demonstrations and lessons, meditation tools and life techniques to get you feeling your best. Plus, the connections and interactions you get with everyone else in the group can be transformational.

At the end of our 4 weeks together we plan to create an immersion weekend for all of our inspired participants who would like to attend a retreat setting and connect even deeper. Our goal is to eventually host educational weekends like the Longevity Conference so everyone can have access to transformational information about upgrading their life and their health.  Sign up for our Bootcamp today and get ready to transform your own life!