Archives for October 2013

Meditation to Heal Yourself

WaterfallDr. Andrew Weil was one of my favorite teachers when I was in nutrition school and he is still such an inspiration to me. I love how much he knows and teaches about breath techniques, meditation, and living a healthy life. I came across this meditation to heal yourself and thought I would share it with all of you. Remember that your body does have the ability to heal itself. I want you to believe that whatever you are going through, your body wants you to heal. Repeat this affirmation: “My body can and will heal itself.” Enjoy this meditation and I wish you all lots of health and happiness. Namaste.

Are You Struggling to Eat Healthy Foods on a Budget?

Pumpkins

For some reason, most people I know think that in order to eat healthy foods, they have to spend way more money on their groceries. When I work with my clients, I take a look at their receipts and see where they can make some improvements when they are shopping, so that they can buy foods that are good for them, but not spend a fortune in the process. Here’s what I’ve noticed: most people spend a lot of money on packaged goods that are marketed as being healthy. When you are trying to save money, the best foods are whole and natural. Below is a list of foods that you should stock up on and some that you should avoid.

1. Beans, Lentils, Rice, Oats, and Whole Grains

These foods will be your best friend. Things like canned beans are inexpensive and when you purchase dried beans in bulk, they’re even more inexpensive. Stock up on lentils, oats, and a variety of rice (try brown rice, brown Jasmine rice, etc.). Not only are these foods affordable, they are also packed with protein, fiber, and lots of vitamins. These foods will keep you full and are a great addition to every meal you make. Try having oatmeal for breakfast, adding beans and rice to your lunch, and enjoying a lentil soup for dinner – yum! Consider becoming a member of Thrive Market’s community, where you’ll be able to purchase healthy foods at wholesale prices. Here you’ll find beans, rice, pasta, lentils, and much more. Thrive Market believes in bringing healthy, affordable food to everyone. In fact, for every person who purchases a membership, a low-income family will also receive a membership. For more information, please contact Thrive Market’s team.

2. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

The easiest way to save on produce is to buy as much food that does not need to be organic as possible. Broccoli, cauliflower, onion, garlic, bok choy, cabbage, and mushrooms are all powerhouse foods that are packed with nutrients and they don’t need to be organic! Eggplants, sweet potatoes, sweet peas, and asparagus are all also really good for you and don’t need to be organic. There are several fruits that are affordable and healthy, too: pineapple, kiwi, persimmon, and pumpkin don’t need to be organic. Apples, imported grapes, and berries should be organic so splurge on these when you can. From my experience, shopping at farmers’ markets is much more affordable than most other places. And farmers’ markets are great because you know that what you are purchasing is local and in season! I often buy organic kale from the farmers’ market for just $1.00 – it doesn’t get much better than that! Use lots of delicious vegetables to make a yummy stir fry. Enjoy it with a salad, rice, and soup and you’ll have plenty of healthy food to keep you happy and satisfied.

3. Eat What’s in Season

If you’re looking for berries in winter and persimmon in the summer, you’re making things harder on yourself! Find out what foods are in season, and eat those ones. This will help you be in harmony with nature and believe it or not, it will also keep your grocery bill down. Foods that are in season are abundant and often go on sale, so keep a list of what’s in season handy and go from there.

4. Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

These are not my ideal choices, but they’re actually really helpful when you’re trying to save money and time. Stock up on frozen vegetables such as sweet peas, okra, and even broccoli. I like to buy frozen, organic berries and keep them handy for when I’m making smoothies.

5. Skip the Alcohol, Sweet Drinks, and Starbucks

Things like beer, wine, soda, lemonade, and your morning latte will cost you a pretty penny in the long run. They’re not friendly on your wallet or your waistline, so do yourself a favor and easily transition out of drinking these unnecessary calories. Try swapping your morning latte for a homemade smoothie, or if you must have coffee, make it at home. Why spend your hard earned money at Starbucks and Coffee Bean when you can make the same drink at home? Plan in advance and watch those savings increase.

6. Limit or Avoid Processed and Packaged Foods

Even though many food companies are working hard to make you believe that their packaged foods are healthy, don’t believe them! Just because a box of cereal has the words, “natural” and “healthy” on it, it usually doesn’t mean anything. Chips, cereal, and other processed foods are often expensive, especially when they’re trying to be promoted as being good for you. Kale chips in particular are way too expensive, especially when you can buy kale, season it, put it in the oven, and make chips yourself. Stick to whole foods, and leave your favorite packaged goods for a time when you can splurge. And when you’re ready to splurge, buy your favorite items from Thrive Market at a reduced price! Enjoy free shipping on orders of $49 or more and be sure to search their vegan products for delicious treats to enjoy.

7. Limit Dairy, Meat, and Sugar

I don’t purchase dairy and meat, and I’ve limited sugar intake, so I feel that these are great places where I save money. I also don’t buy eggs, so that keeps my grocery bills down a bit, too. By the way, if you do eat these foods, this is not a place to skimp on quality. Processed cheese and ground beef are not the way to go when you are trying to save money and eat healthy foods! Think of all the chemicals, additives, and preservatives you’re eating and hop right over to the produce section of your store instead. If you’re looking to replace meat, try organic tofu and tempeh instead. I buy tempeh from Trader Joe’s and it’s only $1.99 a block! Tempeh is filling and I enjoy making things like tempeh tacos and even tempeh sandwiches – yum!

8. Cook at Home

Eating out gets expensive, fast. Try to plan your meals in advance so that you have food at home. I like to make a huge batch of lentil soup on Sunday, so that I have it for the rest of the week. I also make brown Jasmine rice and keep it in the fridge for a few days, so that I don’t have to make a new pot every day. Make sandwiches, wraps, and salads and fill up on things like beans, broccoli, and oats. Splurge on a meal at your favorite healthy restaurant every once in a while, instead of eating out every day for lunch because you forgot to prep in advance.

In conclusion: load up on beans, oats, lentils, legumes, whole grains, and drink water. Purchase as many fruits and vegetables as you can that don’t need to be organic and try as much as you can to cook at home and not eat out. I hope this helps!

If you’re struggling to eat healthier and lose weight, a Health Coach is an amazing resource to have. Learn how to eat foods that are good for you, without spending a fortune. Get the time and attention you deserve to talk about your health and wellness goals with someone who will listen and help you live the life of your dreams and get the body you deserve. Contact me for your free initial consultation and we’ll get you started on looking and feeling your best, now!

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

Sunshine

I wish I could say that now that it’s fall, we should all check our vitamin D levels and make sure that we have enough in our bodies. However, the truth is, for most people, getting vitamin D is becoming harder and harder – no matter what time of the year it is. Most of this is due to the fact that the best source of vitamin D  is the sun, but the sun has been blamed for a variety of health problems, so people are doing everything they can to avoid it. This in turn has led to a global vitamin D deficiency. The good news is this: you can still get some vitamin D from the sun and not put yourself at risk for getting sunburned or getting skin cancer.

Why do I need vitamin D?

Vitamin D serves many purposes, and does everything from helping your body absorb calcium (which is necessary for good bone health) to helping strengthen your immune system; vitamin D may even offer protection against a variety of diseases including psoriasis, some autoimmune disorders, and even cancer. (Click here for more information.)

What is the best source of vitamin D?

Most doctors recommend getting some sunshine every day, but the exact amount of time that you need to be outside differs from person to person. If you’re fair-skinned, I wouldn’t recommend being in the sun without sunscreen for more than 10-15 minutes. If you’re tan, 15-20 minutes should be fine. The darker your skin, the more exposure to the sun you need to make vitamin D. If you’re concerned about being in the sun, apply sunscreen after about 10 minutes to be on the safe side. I like to put some sunscreen on my face and hands, but wear a tank top and shorts – that way I can protect sensitive areas of my body, but expose some lesser sensitive areas. It’s also important to mention that the closer you live to the equator, the easier it is to get enough vitamin D from the sun. The middle of the day is when you should try to get some vitamin D from the sun. Check with your doctor to make sure you’re staying safe and protecting yourself while trying to get enough vitamin D – we don’t want any overexposure or sunburns!

What if I want to supplement?

Dr. Andrew Weil recommends 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day(based on research and the growing number of people with a vitamin D deficiency). Also, it’s important to note that there are several forms of vitamin D, including D2 and D3. Vitamin D3 is recommended when supplementing. If you want to know if you are vitamin D deficient, ask your doctor for a blood test; if you are deficient, ask your doctor how much you should supplement so that you know what is best for you (we are all different!). There are some vegan vitamin D3 supplements, such as Nature’s Plus Source of Life Garden Vitamin D3, which you can purchase here. (Be sure to check with your doctor before you start taking supplements!).

Vitamin D is important so I encourage you to get a blood test and make sure that you have enough; if  you are deficient, talk to your doctor about supplementing and repeat your blood test in a few months to make sure that you are doing everything correctly and safely. Best of luck! And if you can find some sun out there, go get some vitamin D!

Fall is Here!

Persimmon

                                 {I took this picture at the farmers’ market yesterday!}

Though it might be hard to tell (especially in Los Angeles), fall is finally here! This weekend it was 90 degrees and it felt more like an August day than an autumn day, but I tried to appreciate the warmth while it was here. It’s finally a bit cooler, but I’m still waiting for consistently cool temperatures – I want the weather to feel like it’s fall! I live in Los Angeles, so I don’t get to experience seasons the way that other people around the country and the rest of the world do, but I still love fall. I look forward to the leaves changing colors, my favorite TV shows returning, and switching from flip flops and tank tops to boots, sweaters, and scarves. There’s something about fall that makes me feel more focused; it makes me feel like it’s time to reflect, turn inwards, and truly examine what is going on in my life. Am I happy? Am I fulfilled? Is my career turning out the way that I had hoped? These are just some of the questions that I have been pondering lately.

I recently created a vision board. I have it in my room and it’s brought me lots of happiness. If you’ve never made a vision board, try it. It’s a great way to put images and words that represent what you would like to have happen in your life. Now that we’re changing seasons, we can set new intentions and watch them unfold. If you’re looking for romance, for example, perhaps some images of your favorite fictional characters will make their way onto your board (Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, anyone?). Or, if you’re trying to attract wealth, you can include images of hundred dollar bills or famous entrepreneurs. For me, the colder weather, the shorter days, and longer nights mean that there’s more time to write, read, and work and that’s okay by me.

This fall I want to really reach for the stars. I have so many goals in mind, so I’m breaking them down and taking each one step by step. If you’re like me, you need that extra reminder to breathe, slow down, and relax. Join me in setting new intentions for the season: Will you finally switch jobs? Are you trying to lose weight? Will you cook more? Spend less? Now is the time to try!