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The Golden Rules of Healthy Living  

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There are tons of theories out there when it comes to being healthy. While everyone is different and certain lifestyles work better for some than others, the following tips are important for everyone to incorporate.

1. Cut out sugar

…or at least work towards it. Studies have shown that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Sugar is the underpinning of so much illness, both physical and mental, and is in almost everything. The one best thing you can do for your health is to reduce and cut out sugar. This includes sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup, aspratame, and sucralose. Read your labels, opt for natural, raw sweeteners, and look forward to a vibrant and dis-ease free existence.

2. Be present when you eat

Ever wolf down a meal without even tasting it? Breathe. Chew. Relax. The way you eat says a lot about the way you live your life. Are you slowing down to enjoy it, or rushing through it to get to your next task? 

3. Drink lots of water

As simple as it is, most people aren’t adequately hydrated. Drinking water is the basis for a clear mind, healthy organ functioning, and beautiful skin. Do the best you can to drink water throughout the day, and brighten it up with lemon, orange, cucumber, or strawberries.

4. Eat the colors of the rainbow

The most amazing thing you can do to honor your body is to nourish it with vibrant foods from the earth. Eating lots of bright fruits and vegetables will provide you with all the minerals and nutrients you need for glowing skin, great sleep, tons of energy, and a strong immune system.

5. Live every moment with gratitude and love in your heart

Don’t hold grudges. Recognize your blessings. Release relationships that don’t serve your higher purpose. Our lives are the blink of an eye, work towards making your life an expression of love and you’ll align with your personal joy and true nature.

Photo By SCHICKA

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Cultivating Simplicity

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Certain people, it seems, are blessed with an ease of living. Life is gentle on them, and they are gentle towards life. The ability to go with the flow, to take things in stride, and to accept life as it is, is ingrained in some, but for others it is something that must be cultivated. Everyone is different, but when we transfer our resistance to acceptance, and turn fear into faith, we have an opportunity to recalibrate the direction of our existence.

The way is through simplicity.

By simplifying, we minimize our need to control and place great faith in the universal power that holds planets and stars in place, and supports all life on earth. Of course, this isn’t the easiest thing to do, but we can beginn to cultivate simplicity through our everyday actions and beliefs.

1. Practice forgiveness

Forgiveness is the ability to let go of emotions that do not serve us to make space for thoughts and experiences that do. When we hold on to negative emotions about the past we prevent exceptional things from happening in the present. Commit to letting go of hurtful things in the past. It takes time, but once you free yourself from the grip of the past you will be able to flourish in the present.

2. Simplify your foods

Reading nutrition labels, counting calories, and trying to interpret ingredient lists takes away from the true purpose of eating. Food is there to nourish our bodies, minds and souls. We receive the properties of that which we put in our bodies. Thus, when we eat food that is alive and thriving, our entire being thrives. Make the majority of what you eat come straight from the ground. It’s as simple as that. A plant based diet means eating things that will nurture your body and your life, and nourishing your being with the vibrance of the earth.

3. Let go of that which does not serve you

Bad TV. Gossip magazines. People who make you doubt yourself. Food that makes you feel guilty. All of these things create negative energy in your life and complicate your existence. Everything you do, read, see and interact with should have an essence of love. That is not to say that difficult circumstances should be avoided, or that life should be peachy at all times, but anything you choose to make part of your life should serve your higher purpose of peace and wellbeing.

4. Give what you wish to receive

That which you do not give you will not receive. Where are you holding back in life? What are you wanting that’s not coming to you? Try showing it to everyone, to loved ones, friends, grocery store attendants and the postman. Once you share the love and generosity you desire, without exception it will come flooding into your life.

It’s a journey to practice these principles at all times, but by holding them in our mind’s eye we can work towards a more peaceful, meaningful and happier existence.


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Have More Energy and Vitality in Your Daily Life

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It would seem that many of us are becoming old and tired very quickly. I’ve begun to notice that most people, when asked how they’re doing, respond with a sigh, ‘I’m ok, pretty tired.’ This normally begins in the early twenties and carries on into adulthood – unless we do something about it.

Most of us were born into perfect, healthy bodies. It is what we do to them over time that causes us to be tired, weak, and exhausted. Restless nights, cranky mornings, and afternoon crashes tend to be results of our own doing.

Here are some small changes you can make to brighten your days and get your energy flowing once again.

1. Start your day of with hot water and lemon, and three minutes of meditation

When you wake up in the mornings you’ve been fasting for the last five to eight hours. This is the perfect opportunity for a mini-cleanse to flush toxins from your body and hydrate your system.

Lemons are high in vitamin C which helps boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals associated with aging and disease, wrinkles and acne. Drinking hot water with lemon hydrates the lymph system responsible for secreting necessary hormones that regulate energy levels, hunger, metabolism, sleep and much more. It’s easy to do and will brighten up your body immediately!

I know, I know, meditation is for people who eat raw food and play hacky sack, BUT, many studies show that even a few minutes of meditation can generate happiness, improve concentration, maintain optimum blood pressure and benefits many other functions of the body. Starting in the morning, take three minutes to sit and calm the mind. For some simple tips on meditation: http://ow.ly/hEq8y. Beginning your day with meditation will activate your brain and flush obtrusive thoughts that obstruct clear thinking.

2. Confine snacking to nuts, fruit and other whole foods; AVOID refined sugars and carbohydrates

When you eat refined carbs and sugars your body works overtime trying to process the food you’ve just eaten. The body digests and converts food into sugar, and the more refined the food is the faster the conversion. The pancreas then begins to rapidly pump insulin to move sugar into the cells and store them as fat. This process is what creates the sugar highs and sugar crashes that most of us feel throughout the day when snacking on overly processed, overly refined products.

Not only do refined sugars and carbohydrates widen your waistline, they harm your brain by reducing production of chemicals that aid our memory, keep us alert, fight depression and anxiety, and improve our sleep. By switching your snacks to whole foods; walnuts, cranberries, grapes, hummus, and carrots provide an enormous benefit. Whole foods with a low glycemic load slow the conversion process, and the food is used as fuel instead of acting as an enemy.

Do yourself a favor and have small, tasty snacks with you at all times – at work, after the gym, out and about running errands. Changing your snacking style will absolutely increase your energy and reduce the unnecessary consumption of extra sugar helping prevent weight gain, bad moods, and poor concentration.

3. Cut down on meat

People tend to think that meat is a complete meal. While meat does contain a lot of protein, it lacks many essential vitamins and fats at the same time putting a huge strain on your digestive system.

Human being have long digestive tracts, as do all herbivores. Meat takes a very long time to pass through our systems. Converting meat takes a huge toll on our systems. Digestion is the most energy intensive process in our bodies, so eating meat once or twice or even three times a day takes a huge amount of energy  that could be used elsewhere.

I understand that meat is a big part of a lot of peoples’ diets, so I suggest gently reducing your intake. Begin by eliminating meat on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If that feels good, take it out of another day, and so on.

Although meat does provide us with a good amount of protein, we tend to overestimate how much protein we really need. If you are eating a well-rounded plant based diet (this doesn’t necessarily mean vegetarian, just that your meals begin with plants) including hemp seeds, nuts, legumes, lentils, mushrooms and green veggies, you’ll surely get plenty of protein. Since plant foods are so quickly and easily digested, you’ll have significantly more energy. They also provide you with vitamin D, magnesium, iron, antioxidants, vitamin C and tons of other nutrients that are great for your energy, skin, hormones, mental clarity, metabolism and more.

4. Make sure every meal includes a protein, fat and a carb

A lot of times when we end a meal we don’t feel satisfied, so our focus turns to finishing with something sweet or just continually eating throughout the day. This feeling of dissatisfaction is largely due to not eating a complete meal. Doing your best to eat a carb, a protein and a fat at each meal will help ensure that you feel satisfied and energized afterwards, and won’t crave food until your actually hungry again.

When many of us hear the word ‘fat’ we get concerned about weight gain, but healthy fats are extremely important for heart health, brain function, metabolism, healthy skin, and the absorption of important vitamins like A, C, K, and D.

Trans fats or hydrogenated oils MUST be avoided. This fat is used to extend the shelf life of processed foods foods. is one molecule away from being plastic. It harms your body the moment you ingest it. It thickens your blood and scars your arteries. Be sure to read labels and avoid hydrogenated oils and trans fats at all costs!

Protein can be derived from seeds, nuts, legumes, and green veggies. Fats from animals tensd to be high in saturated fat so good options are fish, nuts, coconut oil, avocadoes, and olive oil. Quinoa, rice, buckwheat, barley, or oatmeal are excellent examples of low-glycemic carbohydrates.

Examples (P = protein, F = fat, C = carb):

Breakfast – Two eggs (p), an avocado (p & f) and a slice of rye or whole wheat bread (c)

Lunch – Green bean salad (c) with goat cheese crumbles (f & p), pine nuts (f) and a palm-size piece of chicken breast (p),

Dinner – Sautéed zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, and kale (p) with olive oil (f) and rice (c)

5. Know your sensitivities and allergies

A lot of people know that they have sensitivities to dairy and gluten, but continue to consume them. I understand that it can be tough to get off things that are staples of our diets, but continually eating foods that don’t agree with us sap our energy as our bodies work overtime trying to break down and digest the foods that they don’t have the enzymes to aid digestion of that particular food.

To become more aware of your sensitivities, pay attention to any foods that gives you a headache, stomachache, acid or indigestion. If you can’t cut them out altogether, do it slowly and mindfully, If you’re allergic to dairy, replace your cow milk with almond, rice, hemp, coconut, or soy milk (be careful with soy however as that can actually be very hard on the stomach). If gluten bothers you make your cereal with nuts and seeds in the mornings, switch to rice pasta (I love Tinkyada), and try a gluten free tortilla for a wrap at lunchtime.

Try some of the suggestions above to realize your full potential. You’ll have so much more energy and mental clarity to wake up early, get your work done efficiently, play with your kids, go out with friends, try new exercise programs, and have an all around better quality of life.


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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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Seaweed: It’s Amazing!

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Yes, it’s green, chewy and slimy, but seaweed is one of the most nutrient dense whole foods available to us. With its high levels of calcium, iron and protein, it has incredible healing properties that include detoxifying heavy metals, anti-aging benefits, immune defense and support in weight loss.

Two good ways to incorporate seaweed into your diet:

Miso soup – Miso is a quick and delicious way to add seaweed into your diet. Boil some water and throw in some seaweed, sliced carrots and shiitake mushrooms. Once the water is almost boiling and the veggies have softened, turn off the heat and add a teaspoon of miso paste, stir, sip and enjoy!

Spirulina – A blue-green algae that comes in powder form, spirulina is a fantastic supplement to keep on hand to add to smoothies. Here’s a delicious and light smoothie recipe packed with nutrients for an energy and immunity boost! Superfood Smoothie

Your local co-op will be sure to have a few good options. I like Earthrise Spirulina and the freshest kind of seaweed available. Try some out and see how you feel, and be sure to let us know any good recipes of your own!

Juice Cleanse Basics

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My dear friend Meryl and I discuss juicing and some of the common questions and concerns when it comes to doing a cleanse.