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10 Steps to Eliminate Sugar

Sugar is a hidden ingredient in many foods you may never have known even contained sugar.

sugar drug

Did you know sugar is in many seasonings and condiments you use daily? From ketchup to pickles, even savory foods are not exempt. Now more than ever, we are being bombarded by sugar in almost everything we consume. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is even worse than sugar and is being used in cereals and many products on the grocery shelves. I actually just saw HFCS in a jar of salsa! What’s so bad about HFCS? Dr. Mark Hyman, an advocate of limiting sugar intake says in a recent blog:

  • We are consuming HFCS and sugar in pharmacologic quantities never before experienced in human history–140 pounds a year versus 20 teaspoons a year 10,000 years ago.
  • High fructose corn syrup is always found in very poor-quality foods that are nutritionally vacuous and filled with all sorts of other disease promoting compounds, fats, salt, chemicals, and even mercury.

A recent study on rats showed that sugar can be more addicting than concaine and heroin! Isn’t it time to start taking a look at this super villain and finding ways to either cut way back or completely eliminate it from your diet?

Here are 10 steps to help you and your family reduce or eliminate processed and refined sugars for good:

  1. Eat whole foods
    • Go Fresh by buying eating delicious and colorful fruits, berries, sweet tomatoes, sweet peppers and mineral rich greens
    • Avoid produce that has been picked unripe and trucked across the world by shopping for your produce at your local farmers market. Eating ripe and local gets your body in harmony with the area of the planet you are living on. This helps keep your core temperature and immune system stay more balanced.
    • Avoid the middle of the grocery store where all the packaged foods live. Most cookies, chips, and other snacks are packed with hidden sugars and other harmful chemicals, even organic and natural snacks are often very high in sugar.
    • Order online to avoid temptation. I get my dry items, spices, coconut aminos, oils, nuts, and seeds from Thrive Market which offers discounts on organic, non-GMO, whole foods.
  2. Use low glycemic natural sweeteners in place of sugar
    • Stevia is a natural plant  which is 100x sweeter than sugar, and is 100% sugar-free. It doesn’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels. It can be bitter if you use too much, but in moderation, it adds a beautiful sweetness to coffee, tea, desserts, and chocolate. If your goal is to lead a sugar-free life, definitely try stevia. Start with 1 or 2 drops in water or tea to try it out.
    • Use Monk Fruit in desserts: Monk fruit sweetener, also known as Lakanto, has a 1:1 ratio to sugar.It is ultra low glycemic and does not spike insulin levels in diabetics. You can use this as a substitute in your baking and in raw dishes that call for honey, agave or maple syrup. I’m not against honey and maple syrup in small amounts, however, they can be unsafe for diabetics or cancer  patients who are determined to heal once and for all.
    • Avoid at all costs: Nutrasweet and Sweet and Low, aspartame, sorbitol and malitol as these  products are damaging to the body and brain even though they are touted as sugar alternatives.
  3. Use fruit as dessertberries
    • Low glycemic fruits like green apples, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries make a great snack. They can be topped with  coconut yogurt or nut cream and enjoyed as a dessert.
  4. Make food at home
    • Let your creativity loose in the kitchen! The best ways to avoid added sugars and fake ingredients are to make food from scratch. It can be fun and easy once you get the hang of it! Come to one of our courses to learn more or check out some of my low glycemic ebooks. and free recipes
  5. If you do go to a restaurant, ask questions
    • Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter or the vendor what is in the food you are ordering. Say something like: “Can you tell me which items are gluten free…dairy free…have olive oil…are sugar-free?” If they don’t know they will usually go ask. Avoid anything fried or breaded. Sauces can contain large amounts of sugar too, so be careful with marinara, Thai sauces and Chinese foods, and even Caesar dressing.
  6. Read your labels
    • Even if you think you already know what is in a product, sometimes ingredients can change depending on the company (they may start adding sugar or agave to make more money).
    • Added sugar is in 74% of packaged items. Even non-sweet items. If sugar is listed as one of  the first 3 ingredients, put it down.
    • I aim for items (if I am buying a drink or chocolate) that have between 0 and 5 grams of sugar per serving. Also remember that the serving size is important. If the package says it has 4 servings, you need to multiply the amount of sugar listed by 4.
    • Be aware of the many names for sugar:Vanilla Cupcake-2
  7. Just say no!
    • It might take 2-4 weeks but if you make a choice not to eat sugar or high glycemic foods, your palate will adjust. Take the sweets out and wait. It won’t take that long for foods to start tasting too sweet once you’ve eliminated sugar from your diet.
  8. Lower sweet cravings naturally
    • Believe it or not, fermented foods like sauerkraut and coconut kefir can stop your sugar cravings in their tracks!
  9. Drink a green juice
    • Even though it’s usually the last thing you would think of having when you are craving a sweet snack, green juice works! It makes your body more alkaline and has electrolytes, so it satisfies your body on a cellular level.
    • Make 4 bottles of green juice with added lemon juice and store it the fridge. This way, you can always have a cold one right out of the fridge when sweet cravings sneak up on you.
  10. Get more sleep!
    • Getting enough sleep is a popular topic right now and for a good reason. One of the biggest reasons we tend to overeat and crave sugar is due to lack of sleep. Most of us turn to caffeine or crave something sweet as the body attempts to look for energy. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night drastically helps with controlling sugar cravings.

Have faith! Once you decide once and for all to eliminate sugar, you are on your way to a healthier, happier you. Your mood, skin, weight and feelings of well-being will begin to improve. If you slip up, just get right back on track at the next meal. Before you know it, sugar will become a thing of the past.

 

 


How to Eat a Healthy Plant-Based Diet

organic zone

Eating foods that are organic, locally grown, plant-based and 80% raw, can increase your lifespan and your quality of living. People who eat high raw, plant-based diets experience stronger bone density, age less quickly (reduce wrinkles, hair loss and even eye health), get sick less often, and are able to reduce the risk of getting a long list of common ailments such as diabetes, depression, overweight, lethargy, fatigue, arthritis and even cancer. So let me help you get healthy!

  • Write down 3 things you are currently proud of. Start by looking at what you eat each day. What healthy choices are you  already making? Make a list. Maybe you are already drinking a quart of water a day, having a green smoothie or eating salads or organic veggies with your meals. Super!
  • What can you change?  Most of us can find something in our diet that is unhealthy.  Maybe it’s eating hormone-laden meats and dairy or eating too many glutinous grains (white flour, tortillas, whole wheat bread, bagels, muffins, scones, etc.). By eliminating even one of these foods,  your body can become more vibrant.
  • Start adding in 1 healthy upgrade a week. That’s it. You don’t have to cut out everything. Most people do better going slowly to accomplish their goals. This will reduce the possibility of binge eating or yo-yo dieting. Some suggestions are:
    1. Try a new healthy recipe: There are plenty of easy, tasty recipes on my website to help you start on plant-based eating. Try one to two new recipes a week.
    2. Drink 64 oz. or more of water – I can’t emphasize this enough. Water flushes toxins and plumps up your skin. Already drinking? Upgrade your water by adding 1/8 tsp of Himalayan salt and 1 tsp. lemon juice. It sounds strange but mineral salt actually helps you hydrate and helps with mineral imbalances and autoimmune conditions.

      lemon water

      Mineral water with lemon

    3. Bring your lunch instead of going out to eat. Use your Sunday afternoon to prep your lunches for the week. Get my recipe books for inspiration. This will help you to feel satisfied at work and less tempted to go out.
    4. Cut out 1 habit that you feel is most harmful. Suggestions:
      • Red meat – especially farm raised meats and meat cuts
      • Dairy – including milk, cream, cheese and ice cream
      • Flour products – white flour, cornmeal and even whole wheat flour can be harmful and inflammatory
      • Processed and packaged food – these can be loaded with processed sugar, chemicals, and other harmful chemicals.
      • Alcohol – cut down to just one or two drinks a week. This is a quick way to drop a few pounds and reduce your sugar and yeast consumption. If you have already eliminated alcohol, good job! You are well on your way to thriving!
      • Eating out – restaurants are known to skimp on ingredients for cheaper alternatives. Highly processed and rancid oils as well as added cream, flour and sugar are most common when eating out. Who needs that?
      • Add in new recipes. There are plenty of easy, tasty recipes on my website to help you start on plant-based eating. Try one to two new recipes a week.

 

  • Breakfast. If you are currently eating meat, eggs and dairy every morning, or even veggie sausage, pick one of these to eliminate. These foods are hard to digest and can make you acidic. They produce an acid ash in the body, making you more susceptible to inflammation, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and chronic neck and back pain. If you are already eating a high plant based diet, you might start to give up other acid forming food like bread, bagels, cereal, oats and pastries. Replace these foods with steamed veggies and quinoa topped with MCT oil, or some chia porridge. For extra points, go raw and sugar-free by having a green smoothie with vegan protein powder. It’s filling and an easy meal replacement, especially when topped with crunchy things like coconut flakes and cacao nibs.
  • Lunch. Are you eating sandwiches every day with gluten, processed meat, and mayo? If so, replace them with a big salad. It’s way more exciting than you might imagine. I add lots of yummy toppings to make it extra satisfying (see list below). You can even roll  your salad in a paleo wrap or nori sheet for variety.
  • Dinner is where you can add more comforting, cooked meals. One simple thing you can do is sauté up an onion in a large skillet (I like the Green Pan). Don’t use oil, just a bit of coconut aminos or water to cook in. After the onion gets tender, add a head of chopped kale, collards, spinach or chard with a chopped tomato. Season with a little Himalayan salt and cumin or curry powder and cover until well steamed. Now you’ve got a great side dish or meal. For added flavor and richness, try coconut curry sauce and zucchini noodles to mix in after your veggies are cooked.
  • Why I don’t cook my oil and sauces- My coconut curry sauce contains coconut butter and sesame oil so I don’t cook it. Cooked fats are harmful to the body . Scientists have discovered that heating up vegetable oils leads to the release of high concentrations of chemicals called aldehydes, which have been linked to illnesses including cancer, heart disease, and dementia. Fats are good for you as long as they are healthy and raw. Here is my recommended list, look for extra virgin and virgin or unrefined as these usually mean they are unheated. Another word used on labels is cold pressed:

100coldpressed

  • almonds, almond butter, almond oil
  • avocado meat or oil
  • coconut meat, coconut butter, coconut oil, (virgin) or MCT oil
  • olives or olive oil (extra virgin)
  • pumpkin seeds and their oil
  • Sunflower seeds
  • tahini or sesame seeds and their oil (make sure it’s unrefined)
  • walnut butter or walnut oil

Your homework this week: Watch these informative movies:

  • Forks over Knives
  • Cowspiracy
  • Fed Up
  • Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
  • Read my  blog posts to get and sfat sicktay motivated and inspired. Congratulations, you are on your way to a more healthy, vibrant you!

 


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How to De-Junk your kitchen

Are you ready to upgrade your health but don’t know where to start?

The best place to start is in your kitchen. Let’s go on a little tour together. Start by opening your kitchen cupboards. What’s the first thing you see? Half-eaten chip bags, cereal boxes, and stacks of canned goods? Don’t worry, you are not alone and I have some super easy solutions for you. Let’s do this together!

What you will need:

  1. 2 to 3 hours of free time.
  2. A label maker with a large amount of ribbon or a roll of masking tape and a black sharpie (permanent marker).
  3. 24 quart (liter) sized mason jars or glass jars with lids.
  4. 24 pint (2-cup) sized mason jars with lids.
  5. 24 cup sized mason jars with lids.
  6. 20 clear glass sized spice jars.  Here is a search link  for a variety of jars.
  7. A great attitude with lots of enthusiasm for getting organized. I’m getting excited just thinking about your pantry makeover.

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What to do:

  1. Start by taking everything out of your cupboards or pantry where you store your food and spices.
  2. Throw away anything that is more than 6 months old or that you don’t recognize or won’t eat. This includes oils as they go rancid easily (especially olive oils). If you feel like you are wasting food, think about the waste you are putting in your body. Which do you choose? A landfill or a sluggish body?
  3. Wipe down the shelves with some hot water and cleaning spray. (I use 1 capful of white vinegar or a squirt of natural dish soap in a bowl of hot water).
  4. Separate everything into categories:
    1. spices, sweeteners, and flours
    2. grains and cereals
    3. snacks: crackers, olives, cookies, granolas, bread, seaweeds, teas, etc.
    4. nuts and seeds
    5. oils and nut/seed butters
    6. condiments: unopened mustard, coconut aminos, tamari, apple cider vinegar, etc.
    7. superfoods: green powders, goji berries, cacao, protein powders, etc.
  5. Put any of the foods you are keeping that don’t already have a glass jar or nice container into one of the mason jars you purchased. Label each one. (it is best to use a label maker but evenly cut pieces of masking tape are fine too). Be sure to put the date you purchased the item on the bottom of the jar (spices lose much of their freshness after 6 months).
  6. Organize your jars into your cupboards or pantry in a way that makes the most sense to you. You can alphabetize the spices and put them in a separate drawer or cupboard near the blender or stove. Put the superfoods and things for smoothies in a cupboard or on a shelf above where your blender sits.
  7. Take a break and pat yourself on the back! (maybe snack on a few of your newly organized healthy snacks).
  8. Next, it’s time to tackle the refrigerator. Take everything out. That’s right, you heard me! Now get all the goop off the shelves and in the produce drawers. A clean fridge = the start to a  clean, healthy body.
  9. Throw out anything questionable. Even 1-day old leftovers start to grow bad bacteria and are not worth eating and can lead to a weakened immune system and poor gut health. Remember: Your body is not a garbage disposal!
  10. Now it’s time to put it all back in an organized manner (see photo)Fridge photo
  11. Do the same with the door of the fridge (see photo)Fridge door
  12. Save the freezer for another day, but make sure you get to it. You will feel so much better about your health, your kitchen and your life once you get this done. Now, remember to keep it this way and enjoy being able to find your healthy foods easily.

Thanks for reading and be sure to follow my blog to make sure you get my next 3 upcoming blogs on:

  1. How to get started on a plant-based (vegetarian) diet
  2. 10 easy steps to go processed sugar-free
  3. How to go 80% raw (even if it’s just for a week)

Do you need to go gluten-free?

Have you wondered what all the hype is about gluten-free foods? Is it just for people with Celiac disease, a way to sell books or just trendy? Turns out, there is science behind this food craze and people are getting amazing results from quitting their daily habit of bread, pasta, and muffins.

Newly surfaced medical evidence is showing that glutenous grains can be destroying your brain! Even whole grain bread is not the healthy alternative we once thought it was. Eating gluten can be tied to dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, depression, and much more. If you are not sure if gluten is causing you problems, try a 1-week experiment and stop eating it. The real proof is when you add gluten back in and find that you feel tired, foggy, lack of energy or digestive distress. More symptoms of gluten intolerance are rashes (especially in kids) headaches, weight loss, weight gain, intolerance to dairy, heavy PMS symptoms, malabsorption and more.

Be aware that it may take years to see the effects of gluten on your body. Some people feel fine eating bread and have no desire to give it up until fasting from it.

What has gluten in it?

Gluten is everywhere! Besides the more well-known foods like pizza, pasta, bagels, bread, baked goods, cakes, etc there are many items that have hidden gluten in them. Items like licorice and soy sauce contain gluten. Even shampoo, toothpaste, fruit juices or a simple communion wafer can contain gluten.

Here are some of the grains and additives that contain gluten:

  • Atta (chapatti flour)
  • Barley (flakes, flour, pearl)
  • Beer, ale, lager
  • Breading and bread stuffing
  • Brewers yeast
  • Bulgur
  • Communion wafers
  • Couscous
  • Croutons
  • Spelt
  • Farro or Faro (also known as spelt)*
  • Graham flour
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Kamut
  • Malt, malt extract, malt syrup and malt
  • Flavouring
  • Malt vinegar
  • Malted milk
  • Matzoh, matzoh meal
  • Modified wheat starch
  • Oatmeal, oat bran, oat flour and whole oats
  • Pastas
  • Rye bread and flour
  • Seitan
  • Soy Sauce
  • Wheat bran
  • Wheat flour
  • Wheat germ
  • Wheat starch

Have no fear! There are tons of gluten-free alternatives that are satisfying and taste delicious. But be aware, many ‘gluten-free’ products on the market are loaded with sugar GMO corn, potato starch and other additives. Stay away from the boxed cookies and crackers. I encourage you to start making your own gluten-free bread and treats so you know exactly what is in them.

Here are some ingredients that are gluten-free:

  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot flour
  • Baking soda
  • Bean flour (can be hard on digestion and high in carbs)
  • Buckwheat
  • Cassava
  • Chick pea flour (can be hard on digestion)
  • Chia, black and white
  • Coconut and Coconut flour (my favorite for cookies, etc.)
  • Corn flour (not recommended)
  • Cornmeal (not recommended)
  • Cornstarch (Masa farina)
  • Dal or Dahl (Legume from India)
  • Flax (ground), gold and brown
  • Irish Moss Paste (creates a gummy texture in gluten-free recipes)
  • Lecithin (use NonGMO such as Quantum)
  • Legumes (whole, cooked beans)
  • Millet
  • Oats* (pure uncontaminated)
  • Psyllium Husk Powder (I use for a glutenous texture in my bread)
  • Quinoa
  • Teff
  • Xanthum gum (not recommended)

All of these ingredients can be used to start making your own gluten alternatives. Here are some more ways to give up gluten without feeling deprived:

  1. Try Paleo Wraps which are made from coconut or try this tortilla recipe. You can also try Nori Sheets. They can be used anywhere you need a wrap or tortilla.
  2. Make your own gluten-free scones from almonds, carrots, and apples or my gluten-free almond bread or cookies. You can also check out gluten-free bagels, bread, and wraps in the freezer section of your health food store.
  3. Buy organic, buckwheat granolas or learn to make your own at Pure Joy Culinary Academy.
  4. Keep experimenting with recipes but remember that most of the gluten-free flours contain GMO corn, potato starch, tapioca, garbanzo bean flour  and other questionable ingredients which may leave you feeling more lethargic than ever. Garbanzo bean flour makes me feel like I swallowed a brick.
  5. Make your own food as much as possible and get creative with gluten-free pasta, zoodles (zucchini noodles) and brown rice noodles. Remember that restaurants are famous for adding flour to soups and sauces as a thickener and even veggie burgers can contain gluten. A friend of mine was bed-ridden after having french fries. After checking back with the restaurant, she found that they were coated in white flour before frying to make them crispier. Keep asking questions, be sure to request gluten free alternatives and after a while, you won’t even miss the wheat and gluten.

What can you do today if you want to try going gluten-free?

The best thing to do to find out what is going on in your body is to start a food journal. Write down everything you ate and how you feel after eating it. This is a good practice for everyone, even if you’ve already given up gluten. Maybe there is another trigger food that you don’t know about. Remember that manufacturers are not looking out for your health, that’s your job. You may discover that what you thought was not causing you problems might be standing in the way of more vibrant health.

Books to read:

 

 

 


How green juice can take you from 0 to 60 in seconds

One thing I hear over and over again from friends, co-workers, and students is that once they started drinking green juice, their lives changed for the better.  I hear things like, “I just don’t feel right if I don’t have my green juice every day.” Or “I can get away with not eating super healthy as long as I drink a green juice most days.” Or “It’s the best hangover cure I’ve found!” Personally, drinking 1 to 2 pints of green juice in the morning keeps me feeling nourished, hydrated and mentally sharp. Yes, it’s that amazing!

What’s the difference between drinking green juice and a smoothie? Green juice doesn’t have fiber, so the liquid is able to immediately penetrate your cells through your bloodstream without having to be digested. This means a more quick transit time and quicker absorption. What does that mean for your body? Immediate hydration, increased enzyme activity, higher alkalinity, and mineral absorption. No middle man (the digestive tract) needed. Another benefit of drinking green juice vs. smoothies (not that smoothies are bad, they are just needed at a different time of day such as after a workout) is that green juice is uber-low glycemic. When we drink juices that don’t have fruit, we are getting all the vitamins and minerals from the veggies without the insulin spike and the subsequent hit to the pancreas. It’s been well documented that increased insulin spikes lead to premature aging and death. Not sexy!

So, the next time you really want to feel amazing (perhaps after a night of drinking or a weekend BBQ) take 15 minutes (yep, that’s all the time you need) to make a quick and easy green juice (no juicer necessary). Here’s how to do it:

GREEN JUICE LEMONADE

  • 2 large organic cucumbers (the fatter the better)
  • 2 bunches of organic celery 
  • 1 bunch of parsley, dandelion greens, kale, cilantro or spinach
  • Juice of 2 lemons or limes

Directions:

  1. Chop all the vegetables into 1-inch chunks.
  2. Put into a Vitamix or Blendtec Blender
  3. Blend for only 10 seconds using a plunger to make sure all the veggies get blended but stop before they get too oxidized.
  4. Pour into The Amazing Nut Milk Bag and squeeze the liquid into a pitcher or bowl.
  5. Add the lemon juice and store in 2 pint sized jars (I like to save my leftover kombucha bottles)

Shopping Tip: for 2 days worth of juice, buy twice as much produce and wash it all at the same time. Wrap 1/2 of the veggies in a towel and place in a plastic bag in the fridge for easy juicing the next day.

Tip #2: Buy a large bag of lemons or limes and Juice them all at once. Store in your fridge for up to 2 weeks in a glass jar.

Tip #3: For an even tastier juice that picky eaters and kids will love, try my Green Juice Cappucino. It’s green juice to the max!

 


Why live in a bubble when you can dance?

How I stay healthy without living in a bubble

Introduction

I have been in the wellness industry for almost 20 years, and the most the most dangerous thing I have seen is the “all or nothing” mindset. Sometimes, when you start an extreme diet with the intention of doing it forever, you can’t help but swing to the opposite extreme. One week you are eating 50 bananas a day and restricting your fat intake,  and the next week you wind up binging on ice cream and french fries. Sound familiar? The popularity of extreme fad diets over the last decade has strengthened that mindset, even making it acceptable. Extremes can lead to self-sabotage or worse, orthorexia, which leads to isolation. There is another way to be healthy without living in a ‘bubble’.

What is Orthorexia

Orthorexia is a term and medical condition that has been created in the last 10 years. It is now considered an eating disorder, in the same category of bulimia and anorexia. Orthorexia is defined as

  • an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy.
  • a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods in the belief that they are harmful.

The key word  here is obsession. I love eating healthy food and I will continue to eat a high raw, plant-based diet as long as it serves my body, mind, and spirit. The key is that when we are focusing only on food, instead of all the factors around us, we get lost in a dogma or food ‘religion’.

My Experience with Orthorexia 

I can identify with being Orthorexic. In the past,  I spent a lot of time obsessing about healthy food choices and even judged people who weren’t eating as “good” as me. What a joke! Funny enough, when I could finally pop my head out of the bubble long enough to see what was really going on, it was me who was unhealthy. Maybe not in my body, but definitely in my mind and spirit. I would either mentally praise or bash myself for the choices I made. On most days, I got a 100% as I was doing all the right things according to the raw, vegan ‘rules’. Then there were other days when I would have sugary, gluten-filled cookies. The problem was I wouldn’t have just one, but a  whole bag! I would wake up the next day feeling so terrible in my body and mostly  my mind. I would vow, “never again!” I have since learned that I have an awesome roadmap for a healthy balanced diet (for me), but there is no such thing as a perfect diet for everyone. The best thing that I can do every day is to make the best possible decisions with the options that are available to me.

There are days or weeks when I drink coffee, and I really, really enjoy it! Some days I have a glass of wine with my friends, though not as enjoyable, so I do it less often. It’s okay. I don’t feel guilty about it. I live a balanced lifestyle now, and it allows for that.

My Balanced Lifestyle

Today I am much more relaxed, joyful and more accepting of myself and others. 

What I do for my body: I eat organic, fresh, plant-based foods every day. I start my day with a green juice and a cup of organic, mold free coffee, sweetened with stevia. If I get hungry before lunch (especially when I’m exercising a lot) I’ll have a green smoothie which includes lots of spinach, frozen berries, some hemp seeds and Vitamineral Green powder. Lunch time is almost always a giant green salad with a variety of sprouts and greens, seasonal, raw veggies, avocado and one of my favorite homemade salad dressings or a drizzle of MCT oil and lemon juice. I love topping my salads with dehydrated almonds or pumpkin seeds, freeze-dried peas, olives, and dulse (dried seaweed). Maybe I’ll have another snack before dinner, such as a grapefruit or some strawberries. At night, I like to have something heartier like another big salad with some steamed pumpkin, broccoli or sauteed greens and onions. Occasionally I’ll have some wild caught salmon or some eggs from Farmers Market (I know the farmer and the chickens are treated well).

What I do for my mind:  I love listening to podcasts and books on tape. I find lots of variety and usually end up listening to something about health, meditation, or business. I read books when I need a break from technology and these often involve some type of self-improvement or business education.

What I do for my spirit: I meditate every day for at least 20 minutes. Go out dancing with friends. I laugh and play a lot! Take time out as needed to lay on the couch and enjoy some peace and quiet. Read angel cards regularly to get insights and inspiration. Seek out deep, heart-opening conversations whenever possible. Continue to witness my own journey and become an observer to my habits and patterns so that I can call myself out on my “stuff” to make sure I don’t get too serious.

What I do for my body, mind, and spirit: I exercise 6 days a week. I run, practice yoga or dance. It’s the perfect way to sweat, remove toxins, have fun and improve my brain function.

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Tips for you to live outside the bubble

  1. Dance. Crank up the music and start moving your booty. Wear comfortable clothing and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. You are doing you. Before you know it you’ll be sweating and having a blast. The best part is that you will be detoxing your cells while you are having fun. Research shows that dancing actually improves your brain function! According to an article in Psychology today, both cognitive thought processes and muscle memory are improved if you dance at least once a week.
  2. Exercise. Through regular aerobic training that incorporates some type of dance at least once a week anyone can maximize his or her brain function. Dancing is proven to make you smarter, reduce stress and lower your risk of dementia. As you dance, blood is pumping to your brain, increasing its oxygen supply. As you think about the next step you will take, you create new neural pathways. All of this moving and flowing can be the perfect solution to clear out the junk and get your dose of mood enhancing endorphins.
  3. Eat Organic. Reducing your pesticide intake will help you feel better without restricting yourself from the rest of the world.
  4. Cleanse regularly. Don’t underestimate the power of cleansing and fasting. I take time out at least 4 times a year to do a liver cleanse, a dry fast or a juice fast in order to keep my body, mind and spirit feeling clean, clear and balanced. The key is to do it because you enjoy the results, not to punish or deprive yourself because you were “bad”. It will also allow you to enjoy the other parts of the year feeling more balanced, energized and healthy. 

It’s a Journey

The goal  over time is to build a balanced and healthy lifestyle that maintains itself. Making balanced choices every day is a better long term strategy than going on crash diets and experiencing the yo-yo effect. We want to feel exhilarated not defeated at the end of the day or week. Remember, as the fictional school teacher Miss Frizzle always says, “Get messy! Make mistakes!”

 

bubble girl

Feed your inspiration, not your isolation

 


I ran 4 miles in the evening, right as the sun was setting.

Running is melting my fat

After running a marathon six years ago when my son Dom got leukemia, I always thought I would train for another one at some point. Time passed, and after a year or two, I didn’t run anymore.  I let myself off the hook telling myself that I didn’t need to run. I felt that yoga and lifting weights at the gym were enough. And they were, for a while. But then I turned 49 and I started to gain a bit of weight. Not enough for most people to see, but my tummy got a little more fat on it and my butt didn’t fit into my jeans anymore. I tried a lot of things to slim back down like fasting and eating less, but alas, the fat didn’t budge!

Nicole and Kate

Nicole and Kate

Recently, Nicole and Kate, two of the beautiful young women who work for Pure Joy Planet, started training for a marathon. They encouraged me to join them but I sweetly declined, telling them  I didn’t want to mess up my hormones, I’m too slow, blah, blah, blah. I enviously watched them train for a couple weeks, as they would often train together and come back happy and sweaty. I started to think about running again. Then, ever the enthusiast, Nicole said, “Why don’t you just train for a 10-mile race? There is one coming up in September in Oracle.” My ears perked up and I said, “10 miles? I can do that.”

My 3-mile run

So now, it’s been 2 weeks and I’ve been running 3 times per week. I started by just running 1 1/2 miles. Now I’m up to 4 miles. The funny thing is, I am absolutely loving it! I love how strong I feel. I’ve already noticed a lot more muscle tone in my entire body, and even though the scale hasn’t changed much, I’m replacing fat with muscle.

Today, I went out shopping for clothes, and the sales girl kept saying, “No, that’s going to be too big on you!”  She was right, the smaller sizes fit! I came home with a new summer wardrobe and a new affinity for my body.

Not only am I stronger, more toned, and in a better mood daily, my body is slimming down, and my muscles (especially on my arms and abs) are visible.

If you want to get started, I recommend a couple apps. The first one is free and it’s called Run Keeper. The second costs a couple bucks and it’s called  5K-from couch potato to 5K

I think that I’m going to end up going more than that 10-mile distance. I now have the ambition to run a 1/2 marathon in Moab, Utah in November.

See you on the trails!

 

Cactus photo credit: Mark Short

tucson cactus