Wednesday, February 25, 2015

5 Habits that Will Change Your Life For Good

Most people don't associate having a daily spiritual practice with having excellent physical health, but caring for our bodies is one of the most spiritual things we will ever do. In my book,  "Habits That Heal: A Spiritual Journey to Physical Wellness", I describe 5 daily spiritual habits that lead to emotional as well as physical healing. Below is a short synopsis of some of those healing habits.

1.  Practice gratitude daily.  As soon as you open your eyes in the morning, use that as your cue to list 10 things you are grateful for.  Be sure to include at least 2 or 3 things about your body that you are thankful for.  Being grateful for your body and everything it does for you will automatically lead to taking better care of it.  Studies show that people who practice gratitude daily are more optimistic, feel better about life, exercise more, and go to the doctor less often than people who don't.  They also get more sleep, fall asleep faster, and awake feeling more refreshed.  

Practicing gratitude changes your perception about your body, and transforms it into being healthy, vibrant, and beautiful.  When you love your body instead of hating it or wishing it could be different, healing can begin.

2.  Learn what truly "feeds" you.  Make a list of the things you love to do -- activities that truly feed your soul and don't come on a plate -- then schedule time each day or each week to participate in those activities.  Whether it be going for a walk in nature, dancing, or preparing a delicious homemade meal, making time for your soul feeders eases stress and anxiety levels, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and promotes general health and wellness. 

3.  Find time for stillness.  Being still, quieting the inner voice that never stops talking, allows us to access our inner wisdom.  In stillness, we are more open to our higher power and can receive answers as to how to better care for our bodies.  Each evening before turning out the lights, do Dr. Andrew Weil's deep breathing technique:  Inhale through the nose for 4 counts, hold breath for 7 counts, and exhale through the mouth for 8 counts.  Repeat this cycle 4 times.  

Breathing deeply brings your attention back to your body and out of the thinking and stress mode.  Making relaxation breathing a nightly ritual will help lower blood pressure and heart rate and greatly reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, asthma, depression, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and gastrointestinal problems.

4.  Do a good deed.  Seeing beyond ourselves and noticing the needs of others will contribute to our own health and well-being.  Regularly serving and helping others has been linked to increased immunity, tolerance for pain, social trust, tranquility, confidence, and self-esteem.  It is also associated with decreased depression and mortality rates.

5.  Let go of perfectionism.  It can be addicting trying to look perfect on the outside.  But since perfection is not humanly possible, it can leave us feeling anxious, frustrated, and inadequate.  Perfectionism has been linked to poor overall health, migraines, chronic pain, asthma, high anxiety and stress levels, depression, and increased risk of death.

The Greek origin of the word perfect means to be whole or complete.  We should strive to be whole -- not perfect.  Being willing to laugh at our mistakes, to love and accept ourselves just as we are while striving to make better choices, and letting others see our authentic selves are all ways we can embrace the beautiful imperfection of life.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

5 Things You Can Turn To For Comfort Instead of Food

We all have our favorite comfort foods that we turn to when we are feeling sad, stressed out, or anxious.  For some it may be chocolate chip cookies.  For others it might be mac & cheese or ice cream.  Usually these comfort foods are high in fat and sugar, because those ingredients rush into our bloodstreams and give us an immediate "high" .  Hello!  That's why they're called comfort foods -- they fill us up and temporarily make us feel safe and happy.  But here are some alternatives that you might want to try that won't add any bulk to your waistline or send your blood sugars soaring.  



When you feel anxious, fearful or stressed, try focusing on your breathing.  This brings you back to the present moment and gets you out of the thinking mind.  Do Dr. Andrew Weil's 4-7-8 breathing technique.  Breathe in through your nose for  4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, and breathe out through your nose for 8 counts.  Repeat this cycle 4 times.  Click here to see a demonstration by Dr. Weil himself.


I'm not talking about soothing, relaxing music here, although that does have its time and place.  But when the stress really hits, you need to let it out!  Play your favorite song as loud as you can and get crazy with it!  Dance around, sing your head off, and release that pent up energy.  Your mood will improve, your body will relax, and all that pent up stress will disappear!  Try dancing around to this song the next time your troubles are weighing you down.


If your belly just really needs something, try sipping on a cup of hot tea.  Even if you add a small amount of sweetener such as raw sugar or agave, this is a very low fat and low calorie way to curb your hunger and feel satisfied.  Try sipping chamomile for relaxation or lemon for a quick pick-me-up.  Peppermint tea will soothe an upset stomach and ginger tea will knock out a stress headache.  Click here to see my favorite brand and flavor of tea.


Making a mental list of 10 things you are grateful for can take you from a state of distress and unease to a much more calm and positive place.  Instead of reaching for that candy bar, list at least 10 things, people, or blessings that you have to be thankful for right now.  As you do, you will be filled with love and gratitude, which are far sweeter than any candy or treat.  Then go find someone to hug and fill your life with even more sweetness!  Visit this site for tips on starting a gratitude journal.


Noticing the needs of someone else may be just what we need when we are stressed, sad, or lonely.  Serving another person helps take us out of our own thoughts about ourselves, our problems, and our fears.  Giving regular service to others has been linked to increased immunity, tranquility, social trust, confidence, and self-esteem.  Focusing outward instead of always turning inward will help us be more at peace with ourselves and with life.  Click on this link to see the inspiring story of a woman who is helping others.

Monday, July 21, 2014


It's been quite a while since I posted anything on my wellness blog, so I wanted to share one of my new favorite recipes with you!  It is so easy to make, incredibly tasty, and extremely good for you!

Grab your favorite tortillas, your favorite hummus, and some fresh veggies.  Spread a layer of hummus over the tortilla, then fill with whatever veggies you like or have on hand.  For this wrap, I used red peppers, carrots, black olives, romaine lettuce, and a little grated cheddar cheese.  You can also use red cabbage, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados, or just about any other vegetable you have in the fridge!  The veggies work best if they are julienned or diced.  Then just tuck in the ends, roll up, and you have a perfect lunch.  

This is a quick and easy meal or snack that is super healthy and fresh -- perfect for the hot summer days we've been having!  Serve with organic tortilla chips and your favorite salsa.  

Monday, October 21, 2013


A while back I ran into a friend of my sister's from high school.  She was with an older looking lady that I assumed was her mother.  (You should never assume.)  In the course of the conversation, I asked, "Is this your mom?"  Her faced dropped and the lady replied, "No, I'm her sister."

I was mortified.  I felt terrible and hoped that I had not offended her too much, but what could I do?  Afterwards, I thought about what I could have said or done differently, and vowed to never again ask someone a question like that so casually.  I also thought about how it must have made her feel to be thought so much older than her sister.  Nobody wants to look older than they really are, and I have made it my mission to find out what steps we can all take to not only look younger, but feel younger than we are.

We all probably know someone who just seems to never age and we would love to know what their secret is.  Here are a few secrets that will help you feel, look and act like a kid again!


You really are what you eat, so avoid processed, packaged foods that have been sitting on a grocery store shelf for months on end and reach for fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and herbs.   Fresh foods contain more vitamins, nutrients, oxygen, fiber, and water than processed foods.   Try to get a variety of colors and textures as well.  Adding in just 1 fresh fruit or vegetable a day to your diet will make a huge difference in how you look and feel.


Staying hydrated allows all of the systems in your body to function properly. Water flushes out toxins, lowers blood pressure, promotes weight loss, and prevents premature aging of the skin.  Dehydration causes dry, wrinkled looking skin, headaches, pain, lethargy, decreased coordination and impaired judgement.   If you drink soda or coffee, drink an equal amount of water to counteract the effects.


It is almost impossible to eat enough of the right foods to get all the nutrients and vitamins your body needs, so I recommend taking a daily multi-vitamin, fish oil supplement, and an anti-oxidant. Protandim is a supplement that combats the oxidative stress that occurs in the body and fights free-radical damage. Contact me if you would like to know more about how to get Protandim.


15-20 minutes of moderate exercise three to four times a week is all you need to stay looking a feeling young.   The most important thing is to stay active and flexible.  You need at least 7 hours of sleep every night in order for your body and brain to function properly, so make sure to get your beauty rest.  You also need to take time to relax, de-stress, and connect with friends and family.  Make time in your schedule for things you love that are relaxing, such as reading a book, getting a massage, or taking a long bath.


Dry, brittle, damaged hair makes you look older than you are.  Invest in a high-quality product that will nourish and protect your locks.  I love Wen Hair Care products, especially the cleansing conditioner.  Avoid using super hot styling tools on a daily basis, and try washing your hair  every 2 or 3 days instead of every day.  Dry hair can look healthier and younger by running a little bit of Macadamia healing oil treatment through the ends every day.  Get ends trimmed regularly.


Too much sun exposure can damage skin, so protect it by wearing sunscreen every day.  A good one to try is this one by Josie Maran or this one by Yes to Carrots.  The sensitive skin around your eyes tends to wrinkle easily if not protected (or if you squint a lot), so be sure to wear sunglasses when you are outside.  Use a gentle cleanser to remove makeup, dirt, and built up oils before bed, and use a moisturizer with retinol while you sleep.


Nothing shows age faster than yellow looking teeth.  Brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day will keep your teeth looking young and healthy.  Flossing daily has also been shown to add at least one year to your life because it prevents a build up of plaque in the arteries.  Avoid foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, and get regular check-ups and cleanings.  You can buy whitening products from your dentist, or the ones from the drugstore work just as well.  


The people who look and act the youngest are the ones who love life.  They have fun no matter what they are doing, they enjoy being around other people, and they always seem to have a smile on their face.  Some people are just born that way, but I think there are some who really do work at it.  It is possible to learn how to be a positive, happy, young-at-heart lover of life.  Spend time observing the way these people live and interact with others, or just go up and ask them what their secret is.  They will most likely be more than happy to share their wisdom with you!  :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013


I was going to do a blog post/ newsletter about how to look and feel younger.  And I will still do that one, probably next month.  But I have felt the urge to talk about something even more important than looking and feeling young.  I feel like I need to tell you how wonderful you are.

I want to tell you that I love you.  And  I want you to be able to love yourself.  It sounds a little silly, but I feel this is so important, it just couldn't wait until next month or even next week.  Feeling good, being healthy, living a great life, they all start with one thing:  LOVE.

I don't care how much other stuff you have, in the form of physical things.  If you don't feel loved, you don't feel happy.  You don't feel healthy.  No matter how many vegetables you eat, if your heart is empty and cold and dark, if there is no love in there for yourself and others, you are not well.  

How do we learn to love ourselves when all we see in the mirror is all of our own imperfections, all of our faults, all of the pain?  It's not easy.  It will take an entire lifetime of trying to accomplish it, but if we don't try, we will never really feel whole and complete.  I'm not very good at explaining things without making a list, so here is a list of ways to bring more love to your life -- for yourself and for others.


None of us is perfect.  Nor will we ever be, in this life anyway.  So why do we demand perfection of ourselves when we know it is impossible?  The best we can do is never going to be enough.  There will always be someone we didn't make happy, someone who disagrees with our view, or, even someone who doesn't like us. 

 Perfection is a lie.  And a lie can only exist if you believe it.  So stop believing in the lie of perfection, and embrace the imperfect.  Embrace yourself and all of your faults and weaknesses.  Know that you are an incredible child of God, and believe that He loves you just as you are.  You ARE beautiful.  You ARE smart.  You ARE amazing.  If you can't possibly believe those things about yourself, then ask God to help you believe them.  Ask Him to show you how much He loves you.  And He will.  He shows us a thousand times a day how loved we are.  We just have to pay attention.

Assignment:  Look in the mirror and say out loud at least once a day:  "I totally and completely love and accept myself as I am right now."


It is never okay to judge anyone.  For anything.  For any reason.  Ever.  That includes yourself.  So many of us are so good at accepting others just as they are, and loving them totally and completely.  But when it comes to ourselves, we are not so giving. 

 Do you look in the mirror and frown at what you see?  Do you say negative things about yourself?  Do you even hate certain parts of your body?  You actually have no right to judge yourself so harshly.  You certainly would not let someone say bad things about your family or your friends.  Then how can you allow those thoughts in your head to tell you that you are not good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough?  

That voice is not the real you.  The critical, judgmental part of us is not who we really are.  It is the part of our brain that is trying to make sense of everything, trying to make everything and everyone fit into neat little boxes.  So stop listening to it.  Just realize that it is trying to help, but you don't need that kind of help, and then let it go.  The real you is the part that is aware of the voice.  The part of you that senses all that is good and true and right within yourself and with the world.  That's what is real. 

Assignment:  No more judging yourself for any reason.  When a negative thought comes up, about yourself or anyone else, say thanks but no thanks.  Then get on with your day.


My dad always taught me that if I wanted to have a friend, I needed to be a friend.  I believe the same things applies to love.  If you want to receive love, you have to give love away.  It makes sense then, that in order to love yourself, you need to give love to others.  And giving love begins with gratitude.  
When we feel grateful for what we have, we naturally want to share what we have with those around us.  When we share with those around us, they in turn, share with us.  When we give love and service to others, we receive more love and service in return.  It's an amazing cycle, and it keeps on giving and intensifying and growing.  

I have noticed that when I am having a bad day, it's usually because I have forgotten to practice gratitude.  I am focusing so much on the bad things happening that I forget about all of the good in my life.  And when I am feeling down on myself, it is most often because I have failed to recognize all of the gifts and blessings and positive qualities I have been given.  

Assignment:  Each morning, as soon as you open your eyes, make a mental list of everything you have to be grateful for.  Spend a few minutes feeling thankful, then decide how you will show your gratitude to someone else.

Visit this website to learn more about how to practice self love.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I realized recently that almost all of my focus lately has been on how to stay well. But I also have many friends and family members who are battling long-term or chronic illnesses, and so I wanted to address some of their concerns this month. 

We are not always starting from a place of good health when we begin our journey to wellness.  I hope some of the following tips will be helpful to those who are either living with an illness or know someone who is.  

My hope and fondest desire is for all the people I know and love to enjoy abundant health and happiness every single day.  Please know that my prayers and thoughts are with you on those days when that is not possible.

Be Well Even When You're Sick

I remember a time in my life when I was very, very sick. I was a young mother with small children, and I came down with a horrible flu virus.  For 10 days, I couldn't do much of anything but lay in bed.  I hated the feeling of not being able to care for my children or do my own laundry.  I could not wait until I was well again.

Thankfully, I have been blessed with extremely good health for most of my life.  But the times when I do get sick, I usually try to push through it and go about my life as if nothing was wrong. Not a good plan.  When you are ill, your body is sending you a message:  STOP!Respect your body enough to give it the rest it needs in order to heal.  Even though it can be very frustrating to let others do your work, you will get better that much faster if you do.  

When you don't feel well, water is your friend!  Drink as much as you possibly can, because water will help the toxins that are making you sick leave your body faster.  For nausea, try ginger tea or ginger ale.  For upset stomach drink peppermint tea.  For colds drink hot cider or lemon water.  For loss of appetite, try sipping clear broth.  No matter what, stay hydrated. Take frequent showers or baths, as many as 3 or 4 a day, to keep those germs and toxins moving out!  Dry body brushing and sitting in a sauna will also aid in ridding your body of unwanted visitors.  Click here to read more about water benefits.
Your body needs help rebuilding and repairing cells and muscles after an illness, so increase your protein intake to speed up the recovery process.  Lean cuts of beef, chicken, pork and fish are great sources of animal protein.  Look for organic, locally raised meat whenever possible.  High quality dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and eggs are another good source, as are beans, soy and protein drinks.  
Sometimes a severe or prolonged illness can cause weight loss.  Being sick is not a great diet plan, so if you begin dropping pounds, increase your calorie intake.  Switch to full-fat dairy, eat more creamy soups, or just eat more often to keep your body at a healthy weight.  If you don't have an appetite, eat whatever sounds good, even if it doesn't seem like the healthiest choice.  When you are back to full health, you can go back to eating healthier choices.  
If you are taking medications, they can cause digestive issues like constipation, nausea, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.  Make sure you are getting plenty of fiberin the form of whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, and seeds.  You can also add a tablespoon of a fiber supplement like this one to one glass of water per day.

During an illness, the body gets depleted of many essential vitamins and minerals, so it may help to take a multi-vitamin.  I also encourage everyone, sick or not, to take a fish oil supplement every day.  Check with your doctor before taking any vitamins you don't normally take, as some can interfere with medications. I take this multi-vitamin (I can't take anything with calcium because I make kidney stones) and this is one of the fish oils I recommend.

Whether you are fighting off a summer cold, bogged down by a stomach bug, or battling a long-term illness,practice extreme self-care during this time and invest in the highest quality foods that you possibly can. You will recover faster, and your body will thank you!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Drink Your Carrots!

This morning I was flipping through my smoothie recipes and found one that was for carrot juice.  It sounded kinda different, so I decided to try it.  Surprisingly, it was really good!  So good in fact, I decided to make a second batch, tweaked the recipe just a bit, and it was even better!  Here is my version of the carrot apple smoothie:


1 cup organic apple juice

1 1/2 cups baby carrots
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup ice cubes

Add ingredients to blender in order listed.  Start on low and gradually increase to highest setting.  Process for 1 minute.  Refrigerate any extra juice and drink within 24 hours.

So why do you want to drink your carrots?  Here are just a few of the healing properties:

  1. Protects your vision (Yes, your mom WAS right!)
  2. Anti-inflammatory for mucus membranes
  3. Strengthens spleen and pancreas
  4. Improves liver function
  5. Stimulates elimination of toxins
  6. Reduces excess stomach acid
  7. Destroys intestinal bacteria and parasites
  8. Helps control blood sugar levels
  9. Strengthens the immune system
  10. Helps balance acidity in the body
  11. Nourishes and builds blood
  12. Lowers cholesterol
  13. Eases constipation
  14. Increases fertility
  15. Helps elimination of excess fluids in the body