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How to Get Everything You Want: 5 Metaphysical Truths to Live By

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1. ‘Nobody’s story about you is ever about you.’

We are who we believe ourselves to be. Worrying about what other people think of us distracts us from this essential truth. Anything that people come up with about us is either based upon information we give them, or information they make up on their own.

So, it’s up to you. Do you want people to perceive you as callous, neurotic and self-serving? Or do you want to be seen as intuitive, loving, and sincere? Nurture the qualities you want others to see in you. When you genuinely act in a way that you’re aligned with, those who are real will recognize that, and those who are judgmental and insecure will make up their own story. Those people aren’t worth keeping around anyway. When you know who you are, that’s all you need to know.

2. “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”

It’s always easy to look at how good others have it, but how about looking at how good we have it in our own lives. Fear of the unknown and desire for things we don’t have (ie a house, a partner, a dream job) pull us away from the beauty of now. While fear leans into the last safe moment, desire leans forward to the next possibility of satisfaction. These both distract us from what we have now.

How can you develop more presence? One of the best ways to reduce fear and desire is to consider what you have in this moment that’s really good, and to recognize all the beauty that already exists. Remember that things like your education and access to clean water are not a given in everyone’s life, and that your path is your own to make the most of. By developing this mindset, you experience more happiness, wisdom, and love every day.

3. It is not up to us what we learn, but only whether we learn through joy or through pain.’

Do you move through conflict with stress and anxiety, or do you seek to resolve difficult situations quickly and with grace?

There is no way to predict what will happen in life, all we can do is develop a grounded mindset to process experiences from a calm and balanced place. This way when we’re faced with challenges, we can tap into our best selves to consciously and proactively address the situation at hand. It is up to you what qualities and state of mind you’re nurturing.

4. ‘When we feel like something is being taken away from us, we are merely being forced to see its lack of value.’

Surrender. Accept. Have confidence that there is a plan for you. Do your best on a daily basis, and know that there are certain things you can’t control. When things are tough, breathe, know that nothing lasts forever, and move forward.

5. ‘The universe is intending that you self-actualize, that you be free. As the flower bends towards the sun we bend toward our better selves.’

No matter how hard life may seem, know that the world is not against you. You have the capacity to choose what reality you live in. Do you sink into the pain of your circumstances, or do you see challenges as lessons to grow and learn from? There is a higher intelligence at work at all times, and its up to us to remember that we were put on this planet to be the best versions of ourselves. Tap into that knowledge and go for it.

All quotes by Marianne Williamson and A Course in Miracles

‘Look at your life. Can you call it a blessing? Can you call it a gift, a present of existence? Would you like this life to be given to you again and again?’

– Osho

Photo By Fré Sonneveld

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Why Yoga Heals Everything

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A yoga class is basically just one big fat metaphor for life. It’s not only a physical practice, but the act of using breath and movement to tap into your subconscious to rewire the way you process relationships, situations, and emotions.

Holding challenging, physically active positions is a way of hacking your brain and recalibrating the body’s reaction to stress. While the way we respond to challenges is deeply ingrained in us, yoga is the opportunity to examine our natural reactions and actively change them. When we do this on the mat, we raise our consciousness and naturally begin to reexamine other areas of our life.

We all know that negative emotions and stress can make us emotionally and even physically sick. Yoga helps us retrain the way we cope with challenges and provides us with tools to control our emotions and stress levels in a healthy and mindful way.

Continue reading… 


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5 Beliefs That Lead Us to Gain Weight

I talk to people all the time who are so confused as to why they’re gaining weight. They tell me they don’t eat much and when they do it’s low fat, or they pay so much attention to calories and carbs that this should be thinner. They’ve tried so many ways of slimming down to no avail, all of which ended in frustration and usually a carb-fest. Why is it so hard for us to be thin?

Let’s look at the broad picture…

Americans are fatter than ever before and we’re getting larger by the generation. From the outside this would seem unlikely: everywhere we go we see new ways to lose weight, fat free foods, and gyms on every corner. We have access to the highest quality food and information about nutrition, but we continue to get heavier and sicker every single year. Of our $2 trillion healthcare budget $1.5 trillion is spent treating preventable diseases. If we are supposedly more educated, more active and more aware than ever before, why are we still gaining weight?

As food has become more of a hot topic it’s become much more complicated. The healthiest foods for us have one ingredient, are grown in the ground and have an expiration date. These foods are making up smaller fractions of our diets as they’re being replaced with complex, more elaborate versions of food.

What’s making things even more difficult are the multitudes of diets that are out there now: gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, fruitarian, Paleo, non-fat, low-fat, low-carb, GMO-free, blah blah blah. How are we supposed to eat anything when everything is bad for us??!

These diets lead people to eat all kinds of things that really aren’t good for them, and on top of that, dieting, as it turns out, is the biggest pre-cursor for weight gain.

Many things affect the way we do (or don’t) gain weight- genetics, environmental factors, our inner ecology, and our body types. The nice thing to know is that there are healthy ways to control our weight and give our bodies what they need, while still enjoying what we eat. For many people it’s the beliefs around food that lead to the development of sickness and weight gain in certain people. Here are some beliefs we hold as a society that lead us to unsuspectingly gain weight, and why it’s so important to change these beliefs.

1. All calories are created equal

A lot of people seem to believe that it doesn’t matter what you eat as long as you watch your calories. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. What’s much more powerful than how many calories we consume is what certain foods cause our hormones to do.

Our hormones govern everything in our bodies. Hormones such as insulin, thyroid hormone, cortisol and estrogen regulate our weight, energy levels, concentration, immune response and more. The food we eat has an enormous influence on our hormones and has the power to disrupt their delicate balance, which can lead to lots of problems, one of which is weight gain. If your hormone balance is off this can increase cravings for sugar and carbs, encourage you to eat more in a sitting and more often, feel less satiated after a meal, and cause your body to store more food as fat. This imbalance will do much more harm to your waistline than an extra 100 calories from an avocado or olive oil will

For instance, something may be very low in calories, but still contain high-fructose corn syrup. What you’re eating may be low fat, but when it enters your body and you digest it, high fructose corn syrup causes a huge spike in insulin levels, which instructs your body to store fat. This accelerates insulin resistance and obesity, and causes resistance to leptin, the hormone that signals to your brain that you are full. The same effects happen from foods with artificial sweeteners, pesticides, hydrogenated oils, and refined flours and sugars.

Ingesting less calories will not prevent you gaining weight, especially if the foods you are eating are loaded with ingredients made in a lab. When the body detects a toxin it extracts it from the blood stream and puts it in a fat cell to protect the organs from the toxin. People who have very toxic systems tend to gain weight quickly because their body is doing it’s best to protect the vital organs from the toxins.

There needs to be a shift in thinking that values quality of calories over quantity.

Although there is no perfect combination for the right hormone balance, the right foods, consistent exercise, good sleep, and stress management will certainly help. High fiber, whole foods (leafy greens, mushrooms, ginger, flax, quinoa, and water, to name a few) help stabilize your metabolism, improve the efficacy of your kidneys and liver, strengthen your digestion, and reduce inflammation. These are the things your body needs to be thin and energetic, not fewer calories.

2. Fat free foods will help us lose weight

With so many items out there to choose from, food companies have devised clever ways to market their products. Unfortunately these labeling tactics can be deceptive and misleading. Because of our country’s obsession with dieting and being thin, a lot of foods are marked as low fat or fat free. What we fail to consider is how something with supposedly zero calories can still taste good. The way the food industry makes things taste good while having no calories or fat is to artificially enhance the flavor through processed additives such as high fructose corn syrup or aspartame. Things like yogurt, cereal, bagels, lean cuisines and sodas usually have these chemical additives in them.

Artificial sweeteners not only fail to satisfy your hunger the way real sugar would and leads to overeating, but they have an extremely high glycemic load resulting in insulin production and increased fat storage. They also inhibit the hormone leptin that increases your metabolic rate and signals to your brain that you’re full.

There are numerous other risks associated with consuming artificial sweeteners such as depression, anxiety, headaches and brain tumors, but for those most concerned with vanity they will most definitely lead to weight gain.

If you are eating something that comes in a package, flip it over and read the ingredients. If there are artificial sweeteners and chemical additives, there is a 99% chance that those ingredients will encourage your body to put on weight.

The lowest calorie foods are not advertised as such because they come naked, as they are, in the fruit and vegetable section. If fruit and vegetables are organic they are our best bet to reduce our chances of unsuspectingly consuming chemicals and additives that contribute to weight gain.

3. Dairy is good for us

I’m sorry to say this, but dairy has the nutritional content of cardboard.

There is a school of thought that full fat, whole milk and cheese provides enzymes and probiotics important for a healthy system. This may have been true when people raised their own cows but with commercial dairy this is typically not the case. There are many reasons not to eat dairy, so I’ll just make it straightforward:

· Dairy products are so highly pasteurized and processed that any nutritional value the might hold is completely gone by the time it hits grocery shelves.

· Dairy cows are injected with a genetically engineered hormone called rbGH to produce dairy year round instead of only when they are pregnant. This can lead to extreme weight gain in humans and also can be a precursor to diabetes and lead to heart disease or cancer.

· Milk from cows is perfectly suited to turn a 65-pound calf into a 400-pound cow within a year because of its high protein and mineral content. Unless you’re seriously trying to bulk up, you don’t need milk.

· If you are eating dairy from a cow that has been fed grain for some or most of it’s life, chances are that cow has spent its life very ill. Evolutionarily speaking, a cow’s stomach is designed to digest grass, not grain, so the grain creates an acidic environment in the stomach and cannot be properly digested. In order to prevent cows from becoming sick they are fed a steady flow of antibiotics. This is not a nutritious source of food.

Everything noted above will lead you to gain weight. If you are concerned about getting enough calcium, make sure to eat lots of leafy greens and you will be fine. If you can’t give up dairy entirely, as I know many people can’t, treat it as an indulgence, not a nutritious part of your diet, and enjoy it in moderation.

4. Eating well is too expensive

Yes, eating whole organic foods does cost more and take more time than packaged low-fat foods and diet drinks. However, what’s far more expensive is being sick. There are no excuses for this one. Cheap food high in calories and low in nutrition will cause you to gain weight, and often leads to many more serious health problems. Much of your health is in your own hands, and you have the power to protect yourself from sickness and disease with high quality, whole foods.

5. Portions should be large, we must eat quickly

Thousands of years ago when we were cavemen food was sparse. When it was available it was eaten in abundance, and the excess was stored as fat because it was unclear when the next full meal would be.

For some reason we still eat this way.

Eating should be a slow, luxurious experience, but most people act as though someone is going to rip the fork out of their hands any minute so it’s best to eat as much and as quickly as possible. When we eat at such a pace we fail to recognize when we’re full and eat much more than we need.

Portion size has grown drastically over the last hundred years. One Canadian study found that people overestimate the size of an appropriate portion and underestimate the amount they actually eat. The result is huge portions that lead people to overeat.

Another issue is that people don’t eat regularly enough. Skipping meals or substituting coffee for food means that when we actually sit down to a meal we eat way more than we need. Prepare for the day with some healthy snacks like nuts, fruit and chopped veggies so that when you feel hungry you’re prepared. This will prevent you from eating way too much later on.

Avoid overeating by using smaller plates, actually measure things when you cook, and share meals with a friend when out at a restaurant.

There are many reasons why we as a country are over-fed and under-nourished. A large part of this is due to the fact that we’re consuming more things created in a lab than ever before. These come as additives in our packaged foods, pesticides on our fruits and vegetables, and hormones in our animal products. Protect yourself by being mindful, reading labels and considering the source of your food before you buy it. When it comes to nutrition keep it simple, buy things with less than five ingredients, and make the majority of what you eat fresh vegetables.


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Who needs protein anyway?

When many of us think of protein a hamburger or muscle-bound weight lifter come to mind. Typically most people associate protein with animals, however there are tons of plant based sources of protein that allow you to build muscle, eat well and enjoy your life. Reducing animal sources of protein can actually be very good for you in a number of ways such as heart health, mental clarity, improving your metabolism, immune system strength, and better energy.

While we all know that protein is important, I wante to look at the the specifics of why it’s such an integral part of a balanced diet and thriving life.

Protein is very important for muscle reparation and cell growth, and plays a critical role in many other functions within the body. Apart from water, protein is the most abundant compound in the human body. It keeps your skin looking good, is a critical source of energy and weight control, provides the structure for organs and muscles to build and function upon, and regulates hormones, enzymes and antibodies. It also helps maintain blood sugar levels which impact mood and mental clarity.

Protein makes up the incredibly important neurotransmitters in our brain. These neurotransmitters – serotonin, dopamine, gaba, and catecholamines – help us sleep well, cope with stress, feel happy, and protect us against depression and anxiety. If we don’t have adequate, quality sources of protein these neurotransmitters reduce in number and quality, and fail to regenerate themselves. (Our brains also need quality sources of fat, too. The lack of high quality protein and fat in our diets has lead to scores of mental illnesses that are now developing people earlier on in life than ever before, but I’ll save those details for another post.)

Clearly without protein our bodies are unable to function at optimal levels. While this list of benefits of protein is extensive, it does not mean that over indulging in protein is good for us either. For people who believe that protein should be the largest part of every meal and that the source should be animal products, lots of discomforts can accrue. Having too much animal protein can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and kidney issues.

Making sure you have a quality source of protein is the best way to ensure you get all the benefits without becoming susceptible to the risks. Many people feel that they just can’t fill up without eating meat (much of this comes from the belief that if you’re not totally full you’re still hungry). Protein is very filling however no matter what source it comes from, and is an important part of feeling satiated after a meal. Because protein is a source of energy, eating it with a complete carbohydrate ensures that the energy you receive from it will be distributed into the bloodstream over time instead of all at once. The fantastic thing is that there are some plant sources of protein, quinoa and beans for instance, that are both carbohydrate and protein.

Hemp seeds and spirulina are both complete proteins. Hemp seeds are an amazing source of omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants, and spirulina has tons of iron and chlorophyll to help oxygenate the blood stream. Both are great in a morning smoothie, and I like to sprinkle hemp seeds into soups and salads, and even on top of my almond butter and toast. Dark green veggies like spinach and kale have high amounts of protein too.

The great thing about eating plant sources of protein is that you get so much more than just protein out of them, things like calcium, iron, and antioxidants. By eating whole grains and plants your body can digest and distribute the nutrients very quickly and efficiently, without much strain on your system at all.

Next time you’re looking for a protein packed meal without meat and are not sure what to go for, fear not, veggies and whole grains will more than take care of all your needs. Plus, you’ll have tons more energy and any extra weight lingering as ‘winter storage’ will quickly shed itself. Start slowly if you need to also, beginning with cutting out meat Monday through Wednesdays. You’ll instantly notice a different and will feel less of those cravings you might feel for meat.

For those who do make animal protein their primary source of protein, please, please be mindful when you shop. Get free-range, grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone free meat, eggs and other animal products. Not only is it better for the animals but it’s much better for you. The antibiotics and hormones that are used on animals in the US today are extremely detrimental to our health and negate the benefits that the protein we eat should be giving to us. Additionally, the amount of antibiotics we eat through animal consumption is leading to resistance of antibiotics that would otherwise help us get over a sickness. When it comes to animal protein be thoughtful, take your time, and know that a piece of meat is not a complete meal. Start with veggies, salad, bean etc, and use a palm sized piece of meat to fill out your plate and satiate your appetite

And if you’re looking for a protein packed, meat-free meal, try this one!

Protein salad

I’m always on the go, so I like to have something fast and nourishing ready when I need something quick. I always recommend having something ready to go in the fridge so that I don’t make any poor choices based on lack of time, only to find myself hungry thirty minutes later because I didn’t eat any nutrients. The following is a great recipe for a salad that stays fresh for several days and is packed full of protein and antioxidants.

1 cup pinto beans
1 cup black beans
1 cup corn
3 stalks celery, chopped
one whole red bell pepper, chopped
Half a red onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1-2 tablespoon hemp seeds
1-2 tablespoon chia seeds

Mix all ingredients together and season with olive oil, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar when ready to enjoy. If your stomach is sensitive to beans try soaking them with a kombu leaf (a seaweed leaf). This has the enzyme that breaks down the complex sugar that leads to gassiness and discomfort. This salad is fast, filling and extremely nourishing, good for lunch or a mid-afternoon snack.


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Five Ways To Make Lasting Change in 2013

I love how inspiring a new year can be. We leave behind last year’s worries, bad relationships and work frustrations with the intention to start fresh and make the most of the year to come. It’s a chance to take up cycling, travel to a new destination, or simply slow down a little more. As excited as we may feel working towards our resolutions in mid-January, many of these ambitious goals fall by the way-side by March. Before we know it we’re back watching Friends re-runs and drinking one too many martinis on a Tuesday night – so much for that early morning pottery class.

Why does this happen? Why do most people make the same resolutions year after year without ever accomplishing anything? The difference between people who make things happen versus those who simply give up is habits. We are products of our habits.

Being able to recognize, isolate, and change these habits is the only way to accomplish lasting change.

When we are out of our comfort zones we make the most progress in any area of life- business, spirituality, fitness, relationships– staying in the same cozy routine doesn’t get anyone anywhere. Risks reap rewards.

Here are some tips to reach your goals and make healthy habits stick. Whether it’s losing ten pounds, getting a promotion or simply learning to be on time, remembering these tips will make a difference in your journey for real change.

1. Pick one thing at a time and do it now

There’s nothing more impossible than trying to overhaul our routine, habits and personality all at the same time. There are very few people who can effectively get in shape, change careers, volunteer with the elderly, and start a knitting club all at once. We are products of years of doing the same things, the same way, over and over again. We do not change quickly.

Pick one thing and stick to it. That way you can focus on it and after thirty days of consistency, whatever you’ve chosen to change, learn or exclude will feel very natural. For added inspiration watch this video http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_cutts_try_something_new_for_30_days.html

2. Offload your power onto your environment

Schedule your time, don’t tempt yourself with bad food, develop self-control, prepare for success. Look at the fillers in your life – what is your tendency to do in between meetings, meals or phone calls? Do you scroll around Instagram or do you write a thank you card to someone, read an inspiring article or take some deep breaths?

If you know that when you go home you’ll sit down in front of the computer searching for the end of the internet every night, take your exercise clothes to work and go straight to the gym afterwards. You may feel tired after a long day but a few minutes into lifting weights or running will be energizing and refreshing.

If you always get a pastry with your morning coffee, invest in a coffee machine for your house and brew it at home. This will save you money, reduce paper cup use, and protect you from some seriously unnecessary calories and butter.

Discover where your weakness is and plan to avoid it. Develop an opposite, healthy action that will help you realize your goal.

3. Seek good company

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Think about that. Who are your closest relationships with? Do those people inspire and motivate you, or do they enable bad habits and detract from your growth?

Find people you admire and spend time with them. Get coffee, play tennis or make a dinner together. Positive, inspiring people are extremely energizing and can make challenges seem a lot more manageable. Don’t know where to meet these people? Find a meet-up group, go to a Chamber of Commerce Event or attend Toastmasters. There are exciting, interesting people everywhere who love to connect. Find them and develop genuine relationships. It will change your world.

4. Think of others

If you want to be miserable think about yourself. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own troubles and worries that we feel we can never change or accomplish goals. Sometimes you have to forget about fighting habits head on and go and help someone else. By being of service to those less fortunate we increase our capacity for love and find more gratitude in our own lives. We must learn to be happy and consider others’ happiness as our own joy. Find children to tutor or volunteer at an animal shelter once a month. It’s worth the effort.

5. Be cheerful

Make up your mind to be happy. Have confidence in yourself and in your life. Surprise people with light heartedness and be kind to strangers. Be grateful for everything and consider obstacles to be tests of your character. If you’re reading this article you have access to a computer, which means you probably have a bed and a home and an education. These are big blessings that we must be thankful for every day.

Take this opportunity to choose one thing you want to change and start today. Be resolute, write it down and make a brief plan. Good luck and happy new year!