Celebrate Earth Day, Go Vegan!

 

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I’ve been hearing lots of people talking about Earth Day, and the truth is, I honestly feel as though my diet and lifestyle celebrate the Earth and all of her beauty every day. Since I have a plant-based diet, I know I am making healthier choices for myself and leaving kinder footsteps on the Earth. Plus, I’m pretty sure that animals are very happy that I love to play with them and not eat them :).

I believe that one of the best ways that we can take care of ourselves and our planet is to cut down on our meat consumption. In fact, the Environmental Defense Fund states that, “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! Imagine what participating in Meatless Monday might do. Or, better yet, going meat-free for an entire week. Or forever! There is no denying that a vegetarian diet would save countless lives and help save the environment.

If you are interested in knowing how a vegan diet may benefit your health, read about Loma Linda University’s Adventist Health Study-2. The study started in 2002 and followed 69,120 Seventh-day Adventists; what’s special about this study is that people were divided into several categories (non-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and vegan) based on their responses to a questionnaire that asked them how often they eat over 200 different kinds of food, so researchers were really able to determine how certain foods affect our health. In the end, researchers concluded that vegans have an overall reduced cancer risk – yay! Vegetarians had less gastrointestinal cancer, especially among lacto-ovo-vegetarians (those who do not consume any meat products, but eat dairy and eggs); and there were less cases of female specific cancers in the vegan group. I would also encourage everyone to read T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health. I could go on and on about the health benefits of veganism, but I want to share more on how eating meat is hurting us and our planet.

We are currently using too many of our resources to feed livestock that are being bred for the sole purpose of consumption. These animals are confined to tiny cages and are forced to “live” in miserable, filthy, inhumane conditions. The majority of meat sold in stores comes from factory farms, so if you eat chicken, eggs, beef, turkey, and/or pork, you are contributing to the suffering of animals and to the increase in greenhouse-gas emissions that we have been experiencing for years. In fact, PETA reports that, “a German study conducted in 2008 concluded that a meat-eater’s diet is responsible for more than seven times as much greenhouse-gas emissions as a vegan’s diet is” – that’s crazy!

If you’ve been thinking about reducing your meat and dairy consumption, consider making a delicious, vegan smoothie for breakfast. Enjoy a yummy veggie burger or scrumptious tempeh bowl or even a chickpea salad for lunch, and a vegan quiche, shepherd’s pie, sushi, sautéed Brussels sprouts, green beans, tortilla soup, or roasted sweet potatoes for dinner. If you think you’ll miss all of your favorite foods, enjoy these vegan nachos with friends and/or family members for a delicious appetizer. Last night I made vegan chocolate covered strawberries and they were amazing! I meant to make them for Easter, but I felt that we had so much food already, so I waited to have more treats later and they were worth it! I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips and the organic strawberries that I bought from the farmers’ market on Sunday. I wish that I would have taken a picture, but they were gone so quickly after my boyfriend and I made them! I used to have such a sweet tooth, but after switching to a cleaner, plant-based diet that’s filled with fresh, healthy foods, I indulge in sweets on special occasions, instead of constantly reaching for chocolate like I used to.

I have lots of people in my life who love ice cream, so I set out on a hunt to find a vegan ice treat that’s not filled with GMOs, artificial colors/flavors, and other junk. I discovered Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss and it’s amazing! I know that some people think that vegan foods are bland, but that’s just not true. I want people to explore more plant-based options, and it’s important to me that people enjoy what they’re eating.

Since I am a Health Coach and I believe in the healing power of food, remember to fill your plate with lots of greens, such as organic kale, organic spinach, broccoli, collard greens, turnip greens, swiss chard, and more. Explore new whole grains such as organic quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, organic brown Jasmine rice, and much more. Make smoothies, eat lots of fruit when it’s in season, and indulge in your favorite veganized treats every once in a while. You will feel so much lighter, healthier, refreshed, and at peace knowing that you are doing what’s best for yourself and the environment. Start slowly. Skip the eggs and bacon for breakfast and have a smoothie, oatmeal, beans and rice, miso soup, or something else that you would enjoy. Instead of getting a beef burrito from Chipotle, try a vegan bowl filled with brown rice, beans, vegetables, guacamole, and salsa. Have a bbq with tons of veggies and skip the meat. It’s easier than you think. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Happy Earth Day!

Meditate with Oprah and Deepak Chopra!

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Oprah and Deepak Chopra are offering another FREE 21-day meditation! I have absolutely loved all of their 21-day meditations so far, and I am so excited that I can participate in another one. The theme for this meditation is, “Finding Your Flow.” We are on day 4, and so far, the meditation topics have been:

Day 1: Finding Security

Day 2: Finding Happiness

Day 3: Finding Power

Day 4: Finding Love

Oprah starts each meditation with some words of wisdom, and then Deepak Chopra leads us into the meditation. I wish I could meditate with these two amazing people every day! I cannot emphasize enough how much this experience is truly healing. Whether you want to calm your mind, learn how to meditate, unwind, relax, restore your faith in yourself, the world, your body’s natural healing process, this is the way to do it.

Join me on this incredible journey and share your experience with me in the comments below.

P.S.

I met Deepak Chopra at Lyfe Kitchen in Culver City and can’t wait to share that experience with you all soon. Xo

P.P.S.

The gorgeous lily pictured above is from the Motor Avenue Farmers’ Market that I go to on Sundays. I have a table there that is packed with helpful handouts, recipes, and special offers for my Health Coaching services. I picked up the lilies on Sunday and they are so beautiful! Stop by and talk to me, get some flowers, enjoy a relaxing, healthy, peaceful Sunday, and share your meditation stories with me!

Join Me for a FREE Healthy Living Lecture at Whole Foods

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I am looking forward to giving another workshop at Whole Foods! This one will take place on 3/25/2014 at 6:00PM at the Whole Foods in Northridge. I will be talking about how to make healthier food choices so that you will feel energized, look amazing, reach your ideal weight, and become healthier and happier than you’ve ever been!

Join me for this workshop and you’ll be able to sample three delicious smoothies! You will learn all about the vitamins and minerals that make certain foods so healthy and good for us to eat; you’ll also learn about how to prepare these foods, shop for them on a budget, and make them in as little time as possible! Now that spring is here, fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables are in season. These seasonal fruits and vegetables are exactly what we should be cleansing our bodies with on a daily basis. Learn how to crowd out processed foods and replace them with whole foods instead – it’s easier than you think! Get rid of extra weight, sugar cravings, and fatigue and replace it with lots of energy, health, whole foods, and happiness!

I have so much fun each time I give a workshop at Whole Foods; everyone is always so warm and welcoming and the last time I gave a workshop at the Whole Foods in Pasadena, Jay, the marketing manager said that he’d, “never seen the crowd so engaged during a presentation at Whole Foods.” He went on to say that he was happy that everyone was so interested in what I was saying and he genuinely felt like they were excited to be learning new health information and inspired to make simple changes in their diet and lifestyle – wow! I am so happy to keep hearing positive feedback, so please join me for another fun and informative workshop! Please RSVP – I’ll see you there soon!

Whole Foods Northridge
19340 Rinaldi Street
Northridge, California 91326
(818) 363-3933

Discover Your Deepest Desire

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I recently signed up for Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s 21 day meditation challenge. I did a 21 day meditation challenge with them not too long ago, so when I saw that they were offering a new one so soon, I was really excited. As you know, I have been meditating more lately and it has worked wonders for me. Wherever you are in your life, even if you are already calm, peaceful, and happy, I encourage you to meditate. I feel that I have discovered more about myself and that I now have a tool that grounds me and quiets the chatter in my mind. I am confident you will uncover amazing things that meditation can do for you, too.

Here is a great quote from day 1 that I wanted to share with you all: “Our deepest, most heartfelt desires are like stars in a constellation…brilliant, twinkling lights that show us the way and create pathways to our true destinies. It is our soul’s mission to connect with, cherish, and realize our desires in order to live our lives to the fullest and make our greatest contributions to the world. In fulfilling our heart-held dreams we flourish, serving ourselves and others from a place of bliss, generosity, and love. Our journey starts at the beginning, in the center, as we go within to listen to our deepest truth.”

Each day, there is a new centering thought for our meditation. Our centering thought for day 1 is: “I am my deepest desire.” We meditated on this thought and you can, too. Find a quiet place where you can be alone and try meditating for 10 minutes today. Share your experience with me and others on this blog and I hope that you will achieve your deepest desire. Namaste.

*Update: Oprah and Deepak Chopra are having another free 21-day meditation challenge! This challenge will start on 4/14/2014. Sign up now – you’ll love it!*

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

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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!

Is it Time to Take Care of Yourself?

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I once saw a hypnotherapist who did a writing analysis for me. She was incredibly shocked to see that I leave virtually no margin on the left side of the paper, but leave a wide margin on the right side of the paper. She explained to me the significance of this: I leave no room for myself, but give others plenty of my time and space. She told me that by indenting a little when I write (on the left side) I will give a message to my subconscious to create boundaries with others.

It’s been years since I saw her and I wish I could say that I’m much better at taking care of myself, but the truth is, I have a hard time saying, “no” to people – especially my loved ones. I cook for my family, offer emotional support, and give so much of my time and energy that I forget that I need to also give that love and attention to myself. If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you know that I am working on my “me time” – that precious, positive time that I am trying to carve out for myself each and every day.

One of the things that has helped me tremendously these days is meditating. I cannot sing enough praises for how powerful, relaxing, and amazing meditating has been for me. I signed up for Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s 21-day meditation challenge and it was absolutely amazing! I am hoping that they will offer this challenge again, because it’s such a beautiful way for us to learn more about meditation and turning inward so we can reflect, heal, and relax.

I promised myself that I would get more massages, so it’s on my list of things to do. As much as I would love to say that I am 100% better at creating boundaries with others, I am not there yet. But I am learning to put myself first so that I can recharge and be kinder to myself. Not only will I be more loving to myself, but I will also be an even better friend, sister, lover, daughter, Health Coach, etc. And speaking of being a Health Coach, I always tell my clients to take care of themselves; I talk to my clients about the importance of self-care and taking time to rest and relax so we can fully heal. So, I have been making sure that I work on this for myself as well. I have seen tremendous improvements in my clients who are learning to meditate, breathe deeply, and make that extra effort to take care of themselves. The amount of energy that they have after they do this is truly inspiring and is a testament to the power of doing simple things like taking a bath, reading a book, going for a walk, biking, laughing, etc.

I am honored to be their Health Coach and will continue to spread my message of the importance of quality self-care so that I can hopefully help more people to take care of themselves for a change. If you are one of those people who needs an extra push to put yourself first, I promise I will do my best to help. Your first consultation is free, so what do you have to lose – except say, a few pounds, unwanted stress, headaches, and much more unhealthy stuff that is preventing you from being your best self?

I took the picture above when I was with my friend Jess in Marina del Rey; it was a beautiful night and we had lots of fun. If you work with me, I will help  you tap into free and affordable ways that you can relax, de-stress, and be the best, happiest version of yourself. If nothing else, I will help you do at least one kind thing for yourself every day, starting now. As soon as you read this, contact me so we can schedule your first session. Tell me what’s going on in your life. Are you struggling to lose weight? Is your work stressing you out? Do you feel lonely because you’re not in a relationship? Are you in a relationship that you’re not sure is right for you? All of these things impact our health and well-being and we’ll get to everything you have to say. In the meantime, take a deep breath, relax, and create an intention to heal. Promise yourself that you will do more to put yourself first so that you can relax and recharge. Namaste.

My Quest for Self-Care

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I don’t know about you, but life has been pretty busy for me lately. Throughout all of the commitments, studying, and work that I’ve had, I’ve also tried to keep my promise to myself that I will make time to take care of myself. I’ve learned that I have trouble putting myself first and that it’s not helping me to stay healthy. In fact, I was taught to put others first – which is great – and I’m sure you have all been taught the same thing, but to constantly put everyone’s needs before our own can take a serious toll on our health and well-being. Recently, I’ve been reminded of the importance of “me time” – more specifically, carving out time to rest and relax. I’ve promised myself that I will get more massages, stop working earlier in the night, and take at least one day off a week so that I can enjoy myself and my loved ones. While I haven’t gotten around to that massage just yet, I have been doing other simple things to help me keep my promise to myself.

I also decided that in my quest to take better care of myself, I would spend quality time with people who lift me up, support me, and share my goals, passions, and desires. So when my amazing friend Jess (pictured with me above) asked me to attend  an event with her on a yacht in Marina del Rey, I said, “yes!” It was a beautiful event hosted by Yelp, and we had fun talking and admiring the gorgeous ocean, sky, and the rest of our surroundings. There won’t always be events on yachts to attend, but the beach is close to my house and I’ve made it a point to invite others to go with me for a little while after work so we can enjoy the sunset and a relaxing walk.

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I took this picture last week when I went to the beach in Santa Monica with my boyfriend. We were there for a short while, but we got to see a beautiful sunset and we enjoyed a short walk while we were there. The weather is cooling down fast these days, so I’m trying to soak up as much of the beach as I can (although something tells me I will bundle up and convince my love to keep coming with me even when it’s much cooler – he is from New York, so I know he can handle the colder weather, but I might need to take a blanket or two!).

I feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such beauty; I believe this is one of the ways that I create time and space to enjoy myself and nature. After my time on the yacht in the Marina with my friend Jess, I went home, made some tea, and got ready for bed. I’m learning how to set boundaries with others and explain that I need time, both to myself, and to enjoy nature. My hope is that by sharing my experience, I will help you to take care of yourself more – to put yourself first for a change so that your mind and body can heal, relax, and take care of you.

Are you tired of putting yourself last? Do you want to work with a Health Coach who understands how taxing it can be to put everyone’s needs before your own? Start creating ways for you to rest and heal by contacting me for your free initial consultation! Tell me about your days: Are you tired? Overworked? Stressed out? Is it time to take care of you? Work with an experienced Health Coach who will share tips and tools for taking care of your mind, body, and soul. I look forward to speaking with you soon and being a part of  your wellness journey. Namaste.