Archives for April 2013

Nigella Lawson Embraces Her Beautiful Body

Nigella Lawson Book

I know I always tell people to love their bodies, so I am always excited when someone knows how beautiful he/she is and is ready to share it with the world. Recently, Nigella Lawson, one of the chefs on ABC’s The Taste, told ABC that they were not allowed to airbrush her tummy in new promotional posters for her show. I am so proud of her for embracing her gorgeous curves and for reminding men and women that we do not need to be retouched to match an unrealistic expectation of beauty that society has drilled into our heads. Being curvy is just as beautiful as being thin; the important part is that we are healthy and that we take care of ourselves. There is no sense in beating ourselves up for our natural bodies, rather, we should follow in Nigella’s lead and be proud of what we have!

If you are having trouble loving your body, think of everything that it does for you. Stand in front of the mirror and say this affirmation daily, “I am beautiful.” Thank every part of your body for the role it plays in keeping you healthy and for allowing you to do all the things you love. If there is a part of your body that you are trying to change, be kind; love yourself  – all of yourself. Touch the parts of your body that you try to hide and say, “I love you.” Practice being your biggest supporter. In time you will see that you are beautiful.

Are you feeling down about yourself? Do you wish you had more confidence? Work with me and I will help you discover how radiant and gorgeous you already are!

Top 12 Foods to Buy Organic

Blueberries

I try to eat as much organic food as possible, but I don’t buy everything organic. Each year I wait for the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to release the “dirty dozen” – the top 12 foods to buy organic. The list for this year is here so I want to share it with everyone! Hopefully this will help you make some changes when you’re at the grocery store, and you won’t feel at all overwhelmed when it comes to whether or not you should go organic.

Dirty Dozen:

1. Apples

Apples are often #1 on the dirty dozen list, so there is no surprise here. Go organic!

2. Strawberries

I would say that all berries should be bought organic; they’re sweet, get sprayed with several pesticides, and do not have a protective layer of skin on them. Te be on the safe side, go for organic berries, even when they’re frozen.

3. Grapes

I love grapes! I wait for them to be in season so that an organic option is more likely to be available.

4. Celery

This is a staple in my house since I add celery to salads and smoothies and I always go for the organic option – you should too!

5. Peaches

Peaches are so sweet and so delicious, it’s tempting to buy them whether they’re organic or not. But, they’re #5 on this year’s list of most contaminated food, so skip the commercial ones and pick up organic peaches.

6. Spinach

Be on the safe side and make sure that your spinach, kale, and lettuce are all organic.

7. Sweet Bell Pepper

Organic sweet bell peppers are usually easy to find, so get those whenever you can.

8. Nectarines (imported)

Every single sample of imported nectarines that was tested by the EWG tested positive for pesticides. Go organic!

9. Cucumbers

Almost everyone I know adds cucumbers to salads and sandwiches, so remember to buy organic to avoid exposure to pesticides. Also, people are tempted to peel the skin off of cucumbers, but I’d advise against this since this is where most of the nutritional value is, including fiber and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and silica.

10. Potatoes

Ever since I have been following the EWG’s list of top 12 dirty foods, potatoes are always on this list. I know that people love potatoes (I do too!), but we have to remember to buy organic potatoes whenever possible – commercial ones are filled with many pesticides.

11. Cherry Tomatoes

These little tomatoes are sweet and delicious! I buy organic ones from Trader Joe’s; they’re fairly priced and readily available.

12. Hot Peppers

I haven’t seen this one on the list yet, but apparently we should buy organic hot peppers!

Other things to keep in mind…

I’m not much of a coffee drinker myself, but if I were, I’d be sure to seek out organic, fair-trade coffee – and the same goes for chocolate (which I do love!). Whenever I want some dark chocolate, I get organic, fair-trade dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. I also keep a bag of organic raw cacao powder handy.

I hope this list helps. If you still feel overwhelmed, rest easy! I will post a list of the top 15 clean foods – foods that you don’t have to buy organic.

Are you trying to lead a healthier lifestyle but aren’t sure where to start? Is a trip to the grocery store confusing? Do you need someone who can help you reach your goals? Work with a Health Coach! Schedule a free initial consultation with me and I will create a program that is right for you!

Pledge to Go Veg 2013!

VegetablesandFruits

This coming Monday is Earth Day, and fittingly enough, this will be the start of US VegWeek2013! Politicians such as California State Senator Ted Lieu and Assemblymember Das Williams have both pledged to adopt a meatless diet for at least seven days. This is the fifth year for the amazing US VegWeek and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about a meatless diet; by going vegetarian, even for a short while, you’ll be doing yourself, animals, and the environment a huge favor. In fact, according to the Environmental Defense Fund, “if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads” – wow!

Give yourself a break from heavy, meat-based foods and instead switch to plant-based diet! Celebrities such as Alicia Silverstone, Natalie Portman, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Tobey Maguire, and more have been praising a meat-free diet for years. Join politicians such as Bill Clinton (who famously lost weight and improved his health by adopting a vegan diet) and discover a range of health benefits for yourself.

Not sure where to start? There are many helpful resources that are available to us; visit Peta.org or Alicia Silverstone’s TheKindLife.com to learn more about a vegetarian diet. If you need recipes, be sure to browse the recipe section on my site, as well as on Peta.org, TheKindlife.com, and chefchloe.com. To learn more about the benefits of a meatless diet, including how you can lose weight, get clear skin, prevent or reverse chronic disease, visit the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine at pcrm.org and Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s site at tcolincampbell.org. If you haven’t already read The China Study, I highly recommend checking it out!

If you have any questions or want guidance from a professional as you transition into a plant-based diet, or if you want to learn how to make small, lasting changes in a healthy way – without diets or starving yourself, be sure to schedule your free initial consultation with me and I’ll take the time to create a program that is designed just for you and your needs!

What is Light Touch Release?

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When I moved back to Los Angeles a few years ago, I was looking forward to deepening my yoga practice. I tried several studios and worked with different instructors, but it wasn’t until I took Nikita Gupta’s class that I was convinced I’d found the perfect teacher for me. Nikita understands the connection between mind, body, and soul; yoga with her is not just about movement, it’s about a true understanding of your body – it’s about connecting with yourself and learning how to love and take care of your body. Nikita often reminds us that yoga is a great way to manage stress, curb cravings, increase flexibility, and more. So when Nikita told me that she was offering light touch release, I knew I’d give it a try.

I’ll admit that I didn’t know much about light touch release, but my trust in Nikita is so great, that I didn’t do too much research. According to Nikita’s website, “Light touch neuro-muscular release is a remarkable modality that directly accesses the nervous system, to elicit healing through body, breath and energy responses.” I tried this for the first time a few weeks ago and I was astounded with the results that I experienced.

Nikita took time to sit with me and go over a few things before our session; she asked me if I had any tension or soreness in my body. She explained to me that during our session she would lightly touch a few areas on my body – just for a split second each time – and then she would release. This practice “addresses acute situations as well as chronic patterns of tension” so that “clients can have a range of experiences post-session, including healing of physical pain, relaxation, more breath, emotional release, clarity, expansion, and greater aliveness.” Indeed, as I lay face down on her table, she lightly touched a few places on my back and neck; she pulled on my feet a couple of times and asked me to turn to the left and to the right. When we were done, she gently reminded me to take my time getting off of the table. Since she had barely touched me, I didn’t think I really needed to be careful. I turned around to get up and realized that I felt entirely different; my body was lighter and I felt as though I’d just received a 2 hour long massage – I was completely relaxed and I understood why she said to take my time getting off of the table – if I moved too quickly I’m sure I would have fallen! I was amazed. I actually burst into laughter and I didn’t open my eyes for at least a couple of minutes. The amount of release that I felt was beautiful. I did not know that a few light touches would create such a response, but I already can’t wait to try it again.

If you are in Los Angeles and are experiencing any soreness, tension, or pain or are in need of some self-care, I highly encourage you to work with Nikita and try light touch release. She is an amazing healer and I am so thankful to her that she offered her incredible service to me. If you are not in Los Angeles, check to see if there is a wellness provider in your area who can provide this service to you.

Are you tired of being stressed out? Is your day-to-day routine wearing you out? Join me for a free initial consultation so we can talk about how to destress and bring joy back into your life – you deserve it!

LightTouch

The 90/10 Rule

BabyCakesNYCDonuts

People have been asking me if I ever splurge on tasty treats and the answer is, yes – of course I do! I believe that the 90/10 rule is perfect for adults and children alike. And it’s simple to follow: 90% of the time (maybe a little more) I eat fresh, healthy, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and 10% of the time I allow myself to indulge in some of my favorite treats, including donuts from Babycakes NYC, a handful of Kettle Brand chips, or some of my mom’s delicious cooking. When special occasions start to roll around (and I feel like they are always around!), I enjoy foods I love, but I don’t overindulge.

An easy way to follow the 90/10 rule is to let yourself have one treat a day (this sounds like a lot, but when your treat is not the worst thing in the world, it’s ok). Let’s say you have two parties to attend on a Saturday; if you indulge in a brownie at the first party, skip the cake at the second party. Make sure your plate is full of vegetables and fruit, and go for the healthiest food possible at both events of the day. The same is true for children: if kids have two parties to attend in one day and their favorite cupcakes will be at one event, but they know there will be cookies and ice cream at the second, they should pick one event to enjoy a special treat. If you are doing this occasionally (enjoying a decadent treat every once in a while, and not every day) that’s fantastic. I have gotten in the habit of making fresh smoothies at night and I’ve also gotten my friends and family to treat this fruit smoothie like a mini splurge – even though it only has fruits, some vegetables (spinach and/or kale), and I don’t add dairy – amazing! I like to think of my smoothie as my dessert at the end of the day – it’s a fabulous, tasty, treat.

Note: I am vegan 100% of the time. In case you haven’t tried goodies from Babycakes NYC, they are vegan, gluten-free, and made with all-natural, organic, ingredients and are sweetened with agave (see what I mean about having a treat that’s not so bad?!). As for the Kettle Brand chips that I love, I try to grab ones that don’t have too many ingredients, but again, I still splurge every once in a while. For Easter this year I made a vegan quiche, and even though I used yummy ingredients, I still considered it a splurge.

I also love chips and salsa. Whole Foods sells delicious, fresh salsa and I’ll have that with vegetables such as carrots and celery when I am on track with 90% of my diet, but when I am splurging, I enjoy this salsa with veggie scoops. Instead of a cheat treat once in a while, you could have a cheat meal once a week. Let’s say you absolutely love burgers from the Veggie Grill; you can decide on a day that you’d like to eat there, and that can be your cheat meal for the week. Try not to overindulge in foods you love all in one day. It’s difficult to have a cheat day; instead, make it a special meal, or special treats that aren’t too bad for you. If you love ice cream, for example, I would encourage you to look for better alternatives, such as ice cream made with coconut milk instead of cow’s milk. It’s best to skip things like Snickers, Twix, and Doritos – these foods are packed with artificial colors and flavors and should not be a regular part of your diet. If you love chocolate, try switching to a delicious, dark chocolate (a cocoa content of 70% or more is ideal).

Additionally, I follow Dr. John Douillard’s advice and I have a big breakfast, a big lunch, and a small dinner (I’ll write more about this in another post, I promise!). On days that I want to splurge on something special, I usually enjoy it with breakfast or lunch. The idea is to be able to eat 3 meals a day without snacking; this works well for me and I feel that I have stabilized my blood sugar levels and that’s why I’m able to just have three meals, with dinner being the smallest of them all. I usually work out after lunch, so getting most of my calories before my workout is perfect for me.

I hope this helps to answer some questions about what I eat and whether or not I enjoy an occasional treat – I do – and you should, too!

Are you struggling to lose weight? Do you want to eat healthier foods, but aren’t sure where to start? A health coach is an amazing resource that will help you reach your health goals. Contact me for a free initial consultation and we will get you started on living the life you have always dreamed of!

Should We Thank Healthy School Lunches for Better Behavior?

SaladWrap

When I was younger, I used to wonder how my mom could wake up early every morning to make my entire family breakfast, pack us all homemade lunches, and work a full-time job. I always thought, “I could never do this. I’d rather sleep.” Now that I am older, I thank my mom for taking care of us and I know that I will do the same thing – I just can’t risk my family eating artificial, processed foods several times a day (there’s the health coach in me!).

I remember the number of kids who didn’t have breakfast when I was in school; I wondered how they functioned. I was hungry a little while after I grudgingly woke up for school – weren’t they? The difference between the food that my mom made for me and the food offered at my elementary, junior high, and high schools was vast. My lunches weren’t perfect, but at least I had fresh fruits and vegetables every day; I remember having sandwiches, salads, and fruits for lunch while many other kids had pizza, burgers, fries, soda, and other fat-laden, sugary, processed foods. In high school my teachers always dreaded teaching class right after lunch – everyone was half asleep!

When I talked to my parents about school lunches, they told me that even though my mom made me breakfast and packed a lunch for me, I once requested that I be allowed to eat the school lunch. I saw the other kids chowing down on junk food and I wanted to be allowed to eat the same thing as my classmates (gasp!). My parents agreed and I tried out the school lunch. I was about 8 years old. Apparently I came home on the first night that I ate this school lunch and told my mom that I never wanted to eat it again because the meat was grey and gross! Sadly, I also got sick and my parents do think it’s because of the bad meat that I ate. My mom continued to make my lunch and my parents didnt mind that they had already paid for an entire quarter’s worth of food. I am eternally thankful for this particular thing that they did for me and I want to make sure that children and young adults who are eating school lunches have healthy options.

1. We Think Better When We Eat Healthy Food

It’s true that if we eat fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains we will be able to focus better. Why? These foods are blood sugar stabilizers and we will not have sugar highs and then come crashing down, which is what happens when we eat refined sugars, flours, and artificial, processed junk food. No wonder my classmates were falling asleep after lunch – they had just had a feast fit for Superbowl Sunday – how could they focus? It’s best to load up on fresh, healthy food and skip fatty burgers, fries, and shakes. This is especially true when you want to focus and think better – and who doesn’t want these things?

2. Violence and Misconduct Decreases When People Are Fed Better

Barbara Stitt is the Co-owner of Natural Ovens Bakery; she was a probation officer for over 20 years in Ohio and she says that, “correcting the food corrected the behavior” of people she worked with from the courts. She took this knowledge and worked with Appleton Central High School, which is located an hour from her bakery in Wisconsin. With her help, the high school eliminated trans fats, refined sugars, refined flours, and foods with artificial colors and flavors. She replaced the fast food that students were having for lunch on a regular basis and she got rid of vending machines. Instead, students are now enjoying a salad bar, real juice with concentrated omega-3 fatty acids, fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. What’s shocking is that Appleton High hadn’t had a kitchen in 7 years! Thankfully, this has changed and students continue to enjoy the benefits of a healthier diet. Tom Almendarez, a former student says, “For me, it makes me feel like I have a better attention span. I don’t feel like I’m tired all day.” In the first two years of these amazing changes, Appleton High was able to cut $5 million out of its operational budget because there was significantly less vandalism, litter, and violence. Barbara explains that the food they brought in to the school was the food that was mandated by the U.S. government in 1946; this consists largely of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and Barbara Stitt made sure to also include legumes, nuts, seeds, and water.

In the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s 2004 national school lunch report card it states, “Schools such as Central High…have noticed tremendous, health, behavioral, and learning benefits.” Indeed, Appleton’s drop out rate went from 10% to less than 1% after they switched to this healthier menu.

3. The Benefits of Healthier School Lunches Gives Hopes to Other Schools

Other schools have followed Appleton’s lead; in Olympia, Washington, schools have real juice, organic salad bars, and students enjoy local produce. In Des Moines, Iowa, schools now have fresh fruits and vegetables and students have access to an unlimited supply of these foods – most of which are gone before the end of the day. In Los Angeles, Monroe High School has shifted to healthier school lunches and saw a 74% decrease in violence within the 1st year of its program. Students asked for a salad bar and their wish was granted!

If you are packing a lunch for your kids, that’s wonderful; be sure to include water, fresh fruits, vegetables, and some whole grains. If your children are eating school lunches, check to make sure that they are offered a healthy selection of food. If not, get involved and see how you can make a change. Need encouragement? Check out these resources:

Want to learn how you can transform your diet and lifestyle so you can focus more, weigh less, and look your best? Do you want to make sure your kids are on the right track to staying healthy and fit? Join me for a free initial consultation so we can get started on your wellness journey!

Gwyneth Paltrow’s New Diet

GwynPaltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow is no stranger to public scrutiny, especially when it comes to her diet and lifestyle, and she’s done it again: she’s sharing her latest diet with the world and it’s detailed in, It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great. In this cookbook, which was ranked the No. 1 cookbook on Amazon two weeks before its release date, Gwyneth credits her new way of eating for making her look and feel great.

Critics were quick to knock Gwyneth’s new diet (she refrains from eating gluten, coffee, dairy, eggs, sugar, shellfish, deep-water fish, meat, soy, alcohol, and anything processed) and Gwyneth once again has to defend herself. She states that her hectic schedule and tendency to overindulge in heavy foods caused her to feel stressed out and exhausted. As a way to detox, her doctor recommended this cleaner diet for her – and Gwyneth made sure her family was on board, too. Even though this may seem extreme, I actually love that she finally took the time to listen to her body. While I wish that she would discover a diet and lifestyle that is more balanced, I can’t blame her for being more cautious with what she and her family eat. Of course I wish she would come up with a cookbook that includes recipes for how she eats all the time and not just when she wants to cleanse (every time we eat we have an opportunity to cleanse; we should not load up on junk food and then detox – it’s all about balance – not jumping from one extreme to the next), I applaud her for sharing her journey with others.

We all have our own experience with life and food; the more that we create a safe space for sharing our thoughts and experiences with others, the more that we can all learn and heal.

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Do you want to discover a way of eating that’s right for you so that you don’t have to yo-yo diet anymore? Schedule a free initial consultation with me so we can get you started. Your life is waiting.