Author Archives: kizelle

Greens – the Beverage of Goddesses 🌿🥬🍏🥑🥒

 

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.”

—Doug Larson, journalist

 

Greens – the Beverage of Goddesses 🌿🥬🍏🥑🥒

Everyone knows we should eat more greens and vegetables. But as much as you may love a salad or steamed veggies now and then, that may not be your favorite thing to eat. That’s okay. You can easily drink your vegetables.

Smoothies are a quick solution that can increase your daily intake of greens.

Green smoothie to the rescue!

There are plenty of ways to liquify your greens and juicing is one of them. But not everyone has a juicer and they can be pretty messy to clean up after. To make a smoothie, on the other hand, all you need is a high speed blender and a few key ingredients.

Not all smoothies are equal, though. It pays to learn how to make them so that they are both delicious and nutritious. Use dark leafy greens, berries, and nuts to pack your smoothie with tons of micronutrients. You can make a double batch at breakfast so you’ll have a smoothie for your afternoon snack, too. This will put you well on your way to getting plenty of vitamins and minerals — without chewing a single leaf!

Organic is best

No one wants to drink harmful chemicals and pesticides. It’s always best to buy organic produce if at all possible. Choose kale, spinach, chard, celery, cucumbers, beet or dandelion greens, and any of the other fresh veggies that you love, or ones you just want to try out. Spinach is the easiest for smoothie beginners. Be forewarned that dandelion has a strong bite to it, so you may need to experiment a little to find which greens you prefer. Ideally, use two or three different greens in your smoothie, but you can always start with just one. Many stores sell pre-washed organic blends of greens that you can pop in the freezer so they are always ready for your next green drink.

Green smoothies can taste delicious

A green smoothie without fruit is an acquired taste, so add enough fruit to make your taste buds happy. A good rule is to use 1/2 to 1 cup of either fresh or frozen organic fruit per 2 to 3 cups of greens, depending on your palette. If blood sugar is an issue, then you should avoid the sweeter varieties of fruit like bananas and pineapple or skip the fruit all together. Berries have the most polyphenols and antioxidants and are lowest in sugar. Stock up on frozen organic berries, and use fresh when in season. You may want to add a little stevia to sweeten your smoothie.

And don’t forget to make the liquid part of your smoothie count, too. Plain filtered water is fine as a base for your drink, but you can also use coconut water, nut milks, or even herbal teas.

Throw in some superfoods

A smoothie is a great way to get added nutrition in your day. If the smoothie is going to be a meal replacement, then you will want to add some protein and fat besides just greens. Consider throwing in some fresh herbs and spices, like mint, basil, thyme, turmeric, ginger, or cinnamon. How about a tablespoon of healthy flax, hemp, or coconut oil? Power up your smoothie with cacao, maca, or vegetable protein powder, spirulina, ground flaxseeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, almonds, or cashews. (It’s best to first soak nuts overnight in water.) And did you know yummy nut butters are a good source of healthy fat and protein? Be careful of peanuts and peanut butter (technically a legume) because this is commonly tainted with heavy pesticides, added sugars, and questionable oils.

Do you need a fancy blender?

A high speed blender will do fine, but a Vitamix or something similar is your best friend when it comes to the perfect smoothie. Every kitchen needs one. Sure, they can be pricey. But we want our smoothies smooth, and effortless besides. Once you discover how great you feel after drinking your greens, you’ll know it’s worth the investment.

Here is a simple smoothie recipe to get you started on the Goddess path to health. I encourage you to experiment, get creative, and make smoothies that wake up your taste buds!

Simple Smoothie

1½ – 2 c almond milk or other liquid

2 – 3 c mixed greens

Blend until well mixed

½ – 1 c mixed berries (or mango, cherries, peaches, etc.)

½ banana (optional)

1 T ground flaxseed

1 T hemp seeds

1 T coconut oil

1 large sprig of mint or other fresh herb

Blend until completely smooth

Enjoy!

The Health Benefits of Water

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.  But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

~ Mother Teresa

Water’s Health Benefits

Water. Its health benefits cannot be overstated. We humans are made up of at least 60% water, and our brains are over 70%. Clean, pure hydration is essential for optimal health.

It’s easy to think you are getting enough water. After all, if you were dehydrated you’d be thirsty, right? Unfortunately, no. By the time you feel thirsty, it’s too late.

How much water is enough?

Despite what you read, there is no agreed-upon right amount of water we should drink. How much a person needs depends on activity, climate, weight, age, and myriad other factors. Some people suggest your daily intake should equal half your weight in ounces. Thus, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water each day. Whoa! That’s way more than the eight glasses a day rule we’ve been told.

One thing I think is a good idea — and many experts agree — is to start your morning off with at least 16 ounces of clean, filtered water on an empty stomach. This gives you a good start to a day of healthy hydration, and the benefits are astonishing.

Drink in the benefits of water

    • The digestive system depends on water to make minerals and nutrients more accessible to the body.
    • Blood is 90% water, and water carries needed oxygen throughout the body.
    • Water helps flush body waste (detoxification) that helps keep us regular and is essential to healthy kidney function.
    • Water lubricates joints and keeps skin more youthful and healthy looking and less likely to develop skin problems.
    • Our brains need water to think, focus, concentrate, and stay alert. One of the main causes of headaches is dehydration.
    • Water improves the metabolism, helps to maintain a healthy weight, and staves off hunger. In fact, sometimes when we think we are hungry we are actually in need of water!

Is all water created equal?

Unfortunately, there is a lot of not so great stuff in our water these days. Chlorine for starters. Also, fluoride is still added to water in some areas. And, contrary to what we have been told, fluoride is not helping our teeth. There are other unsavory things in our tap water, like PCBs, pharmaceuticals, bacteria that is pathogenic, and did I mention lead and cadmium? This is the short list. So what can you do to ensure your water is safe?

Run, don’t walk, to the nearest store for a water filter

If you haven’t already, invest in your health with a good water filter. Get the best you can afford, and ideally one for the whole house. There are many types of filtration systems — for every budget. Not only do filters ensure you are getting all the wonderful benefits of drinking more water, they’ll make your water taste delicious!

I recommend you put one under your kitchen sink. But don’t forget the bathroom. Add a filter on your shower head too because bathing in tainted water can add to your health woes. Your skin absorbs what we put on it within a matter of seconds and we breathe in the vapor of chemicals as they are coming out of the tap along with the water. Clean filtered water is better for your skin and less likely to dry it out.

Just say NO to bottled water

Research has shown that water stored in plastic is not safe, especially soft plastic. The plastic actually leaches into the water. You’ve heard about hormone disrupters in plastic? Don’t drink that stuff!  Sometimes that so-called pure bottled water is no better than tap anyway.

Instead, get a glass water bottle (or at the very least, a safe, BPA-free plastic one) that you can use again and again, refilling it with your pure, filtered water. You will save yourself money, save yourself from chemicals, and save the planet from all that plastic that is ending up in the landfills and oceans.

You can make a big difference to your health through this one simple act! Drinking clean, pure water — and enough of it — can improve your life and health. Let’s all have another glass of water and stay gorgeously healthy!

Beauty’s Real Beast

 

Beauty’s Real Beast

          

   Inhale sky.

            Exhale Stars.

                        ~ unknown

 

 

You understand that buying organic fruits and vegetables is important. Isn’t that good enough for healthy living?

No, it isn’t. You need to change your makeup and skincare products too. You may be surprised to learn how dangerous they really are.

I love cosmetics. I’ve loved to play with makeup since I was a seven-year-old girl experimenting with my mom’s supply.

Don’t assume beauty products are good for you

Unfortunately, what I didn’t know until recently was that all my beloved creams and lotions, sparkle and magic, were full of harmful chemicals! Ingredients cloaked as beautifying agents to transform my skin and body into the goddess I want to be turn out to include heavy metals, hormone and thyroid disrupters, neurotoxins, carcinogens, obesogens, liver and kidney toxins, respiratory damaging agents, and the list goes on.

The skin is one of our largest detoxifying pathways, but it also absorbs what we put on it and sends it right into our bloodstream. Even if you aren’t a body beauty junkie like me, chances are the sunscreen, deodorant, and toothpaste you’re using deserves a second look.

Fragrance stinks

One of the clever ways manufacturers get away with putting so many chemicals into our products is through the catch-all term fragrance. Since fragrances are trademarked, it’s easy to slip in phthalates (a group of chemical plasticizers) — as well as other very harmful substances — all under the guise of smelling nice. Studies show that phthalates not only cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs but they weaken the immune, reproductive, and endocrine systems and negatively affect the brain and nervous system. They resemble estrogen in the body, which may result in breast and reproductive cancers, and they are linked to autism and ADHD. And fragrance is just one ingredient!

How many toxins are we talking about?

Not that manufacturers don’t just boldly throw in additional chemicals, fragrance or no. They can do this because our government has so little regulation to protect the consumer. Europe is ahead of us in this regard as they have banned 1,400 out of some 85,000 possible ingredients (of which only a fraction have been tested for toxicity). The USA has banned 30. Yep, a big whopping 30!

A bill put before congress recently failed, and although more legislation will most likely continue to try and get the attention of our government, we cannot wait to act responsibly for ourselves or our families. Think about this: babies today are born with a toxic chemical load inherited from their parents. We are starting to see more thyroid and hormone imbalances, auto-immune diseases, and younger people with cancer — all because of our exposure to these chemicals.

Read before use

We all have to start learning how to read labels. Avoid polyethylene glycol or PEG, polyoxyethylene, any ingredient with “eth” in the name such as ceteareth or oleth. Avoid MEA, DEA, TEA and methyl, ethyl, propyl, and butyl parabens. Avoid triclosans (microban, Irgasan DP-300, Lexol 300, Ster-Zac, Cloxifenolum, biofresh), sodium hydroxymethylglycinate (suttocide), imidazolidinyl urea (germall 115), diazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin (glydant), 2-bromo—2nitropropane-1, and 3diol (bronopol). And avoid fragrance (parfum), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), and sodium laureate sulphate. Essentially, if you cannot pronounce it, think twice about whether you should put that on — which translates to in — your body.

Be brave. You can do this!

I know this can seem overwhelming, not to mention that some of us have spent a small fortune on our personal care products. Believe me, I feel your pain. I have personally had to dump thousands of dollars worth of high-end cosmetics from my professional makeup kit because I cannot justify putting these products on anyone knowing what I now know.

Start with the easy stuff first. Go through your makeup bag and toss what’s old, replacing those items first. Little by little, replace all your cosmetics with toxin-free brands. Mascara, deodorant, and sunscreen should go at the top of your list. Skin care is next. Try out some of those natural ingredients that live in your kitchen. Olive and coconut oil can remove makeup with the help of a warm washcloth. And they’re great moisturizers for your face and body as well.

There is good news

Today we have many more skincare and makeup brands that are safe and lovely to use. Most of you know I am a Beautycounter girl. I recommend their toxin-free products. You go to the Environmental Working Group to learn what’s in your cosmetics and which products are safe. Remember, just because you buy it at the health food store doesn’t mean it’s safe. The word organic is not enough. Read the label and look for yourself.

If you want more information, read the book Toxin Toxout: Getting Harmful Chemicals Out of Our Bodies and Our World, by Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith.

The things we use everyday can either contribute to our health or hurt us, so when it comes to our beauty routines, be smart about it!

Beauty Is in the Kitchen

 

“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful — that will be my life.”

— Elsie de Wolfe, interior designer

 

 

Spring is here and it’s time to reorganize the kitchen! What is in your pantry?

Is there a place for everything and everything in its place?

Stock up on healthy foods

One of the best ways to stick to cleaner, safer eating habits is to get rid of anything that is not on your “good for me” list. Go through your pantry and toss out any processed foods, bad fats like vegetable or corn oil (or oils that have been sitting around more than a year), anything made with GMOs or that includes corn syrup, MSG, or aspartame and other chemical additives. Don’t forget to make sure your canned goods are BPA-free.

And it’s easier to stick to healthy eating when you have on hand a selection of healthier “cheat” snacks, like organic dried fruits, raw organic nuts and seeds, kale chips, or other crackers that are free of GMO wheat and other grains. Not everyone needs to avoid gluten, but commercial wheat is loaded with glyphosate (an herbicide,) so read your labels carefully. And watch out for sodium and sugar additives. Fresh is always best. If it comes in a box or bag, beware!

Make your kitchen a happy and pretty place to be

Your ingredients should be easy to see and find. I like to use pretty containers to put my everyday items in. You can even “dress up” the inside of your fridge. I love opening up the refrigerator and seeing a beautiful, ceramic bowl heaping with fresh veggies for my morning juice. You can pre-wash fruit and store it on pretty dishcloths in the crisper drawers. Invite yourself to cook by organizing your spices and herbs so they are within easy reach. And always have a beautiful bowl full of avocados and fresh, colorful fruit on your countertop.

Plan your week

A winning strategy for healthy eating is to take the time to do a meal plan at the start of each week. And even if you don’t stick to it exactly, you will be much more likely to eat well — and save money. Pull out your favorite recipe books for inspiration.

Consider keeping a master shopping list that you can put on the refrigerator and check off “need to get” items as they come up so when it is time to go shopping you can grab your bags and go. Make cooking healthy meals fast and easy! And remember, the time to think about what to eat is NOT when you are tired or hungry.

Prepare in advance for easy meals

Another winning strategy is to have a designated day of the week when you do some batch cooking. Make a pot of chili or soup, wash your veggies, and prepare easy-to-grab snacks and other staples like salad lettuces, quinoa, rice, bean hummus, pre-baked sweet potatoes, etc. Then store your prepared food in easy-to-see glass or safe plastic containers. Throw pre-washed kale, chard, and spinach in the freezer along with berries and other fruit like bananas so they never go bad and are always at the ready for a quick smoothie.

Keep some superfood add-ons like spirulina, maca, chia or hemp seeds, cacao powder, and goji berries on hand to throw into your smoothies too. You might even try making your own nut milk. It’s so easy to do, and the best part is you know there is no added sugar or harmful ingredients like carrageenan. Just soak a cup of your favorite raw organic nuts in water for 4 to 8 hours. Rinse, drain, and put in the blender with 3 cups of fresh water and blend it up with a little vanilla, cinnamon, or stevia if you like. You can strain or not depending on the nut and your preference. Delicious!

So here’s to a happy spring and your beautifully organized kitchen! Enjoy abundance and gorgeously good health.

Trees are budding out. Daffodils are in bloom. The exciting new growth of spring  surrounds us. It inspires us to clean out the old and renew ourselves. Spring cleaning is calling!

Clear out your stuff

Like she does for so many people, Marie Kondo has reinvigorated me to clean out my closets. I read her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” a couple of years ago and began the clearing-out process, but seeing her Netflix special really tipped the scale. She so adorably invites us all to reflect on what all the stuff we accumulate means to us and whether we want to bring it into our future. Her approach is truly infectious!

When it comes to de-cluttering I struggle with papers. I seem to sail through getting rid of clothes and books, but sorting through papers — and emails — is so much harder for me. Creating a special place for everything is helpful, but it still comes down to prioritizing based on actual “now” goals. Our stuff should support our dreams and goals and not just hang out to gather dust. If we’re not using something, or it serves no real purpose for us now or in the future, we can archive it, throw it away, or gift it to someone else.

Let go of the past

But cleaning up isn’t just about things. I recently came across a quote in a magazine that really struck a chord with me: “I finally gave up the hope of a better past.” So often I look back on my past with a feeling of dissatisfaction, wishing I would have done this or said that, and then perhaps the outcome would have been different. But when we keep playing the old tapes of the past, it interferes with how well we can move toward a better future. I’m not saying that we can’t examine our past and learn from it. But change it? Nope. Maybe it’s time for a little spring cleaning and let go of a painful past story.

Clean up your mind

Spring cleaning often makes us think of “detoxification,” a way to purify our bodies. But what about the mind? Keeping an ear out for our self-talk, inner critics, and internal saboteurs isn’t always easy, but cleaning out your negative thoughts can really be a game changer. Create a new habit. Replace those pesky thoughts with affirmative language that supports and soothes you. Write little love notes to yourself, and put them where you can see them everyday. Sweep out the negative with loving thoughts.

Detox your body

In addition to blowing off the mental dust, it is essential to detox the body! Toxins are a part of life these days, so you’ll do yourself a big favor by following some kind of detox program or cleanse at least once a year (but twice would be better!). Spring is an excellent time to give your body a break from caffeine, alcohol, sugar, animal products (meat, eggs, dairy), most grains, and salt and pepper. Just for two to four weeks, try giving yourself lots of fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens, sweet and regular potatoes, salads, healthy oils (extra virgin olive, hemp, flax, coconut), green smoothies, and fresh herbs and spices. Shoot for an essentially alkaline diet with plenty of water and herbal tea.

Note: Some people can experience uncomfortable symptoms when the body purges the toxins. If you want to know how to detox safely, contact me!

Refresh your daily habits

Daily habits, especially morning routines, can really help or hinder your progress toward your goals and living the life you want. As you clean clutter — external and internal — build in new, healthy habits to support you!

It’s worth the time to design a daily ritual that truly serves you and moves you forward. Want to know how? Join me on April 3 at Connections. I will be giving a talk on this very subject.

 

Make It a Habit!—designing healthy morning routines

Connections Evening Meeting

Wednesday, April 3, 5:30–7:30 pm

Flamingo Hotel, Santa Rosa

Register here: https://connectionsca.com/Events

 

I would love to see you there!

In the meantime … Happy cleaning.

Get More Vitamin L ❤️ you’ll LOVE it!

 

 

 

“Love is never outside ourselves; love is within us.”

—Louise Hay

 

 

 

February brings us Valentine’s Day, making it the ideal month to focus on what we love. Think about what you love about yourself. What do you love about your life? Your work? Your habits?

As you build on your newly established goals for the new year, now is a good time to adjust your plans if necessary. Do you still want what you thought you did when you identified your 2019 goals? Have you been following up on your plans? If not, why?

In my own life, I’ve noticed some of my well-intentioned plans aren’t panning out. So I am giving myself permission to change my mind based on whether I can connect my goal in some way to love.

The practice of self-care is an expression of love. Women sometimes find it easier to love and care for others but then struggle with giving that same level of care to themselves. But what happens when we put our needs aside, sacrificing self-care for others? Love works like gratitude. The more we give, the more we get. It’s just we forget to give to ourselves first. It’s important to remember: “Place the mask over your nose and mouth first, before assisting others.”

Sometimes it helps us take care of ourselves when we think in terms of needs rather than wants. Identifying needs can be revealing and can inform you about why you want what you want. You may find it’s easier to meet a need, and it allows you the chance to see things differently. If you have a need to exercise, for example, but can’t seem to get going, think about pairing it up with another need. You might pair it with, say, the need for more connection or community, and then find a group with whom you can enjoy hiking, dancing, walking, or some other form of exercise. This way, you fill two needs — exercising and connecting with people — which is twice as motivating!

Next, ask yourself how you can put a little love into it. More nature, beauty, laughter, nourishment, fun? These are the spices of life that feed the soul, and we need to sprinkle them generously around ourselves — and others.

Love is the magic ingredient that makes everything more worthwhile. Vitamin L — it can be evoked through thought or deed, received and delivered. Identify what you love and commit to having more of it.

 

You Can Change Your Direction

 

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.”   —Jim Rohn

 

 

Happy new year! I always love the new year because, well … it’s new. This signals a time to review what’s happened the previous year and to formulate a new vision of what you want and what’s possible for the upcoming year.

Lot’s of people decide they want to lose weight, start exercising, get their finances in order, and clean up_________ (fill in the blank). This is not a bad idea. But resolutions rarely work. Why is that?

For one thing, those kind of goals can make us feel like we’re only okay if we change ourselves. Resolutions build on the notion that we are somehow flawed and imperfect as we are. But, hey, we are flawed and imperfect — because we are human! And there’s nothing wrong with that. Instead of changing what’s “wrong,” how about moving toward something that’s “right”?

Having a vision requires us to see it in our mind’s eye. We need to BELIEVE not only that it is possible but that it is on its way to us. Envision what you want rather than what you don’t have.

It is important to understand WHY we want something. If you want to wear a skinny black dress for your niece’s engagement party, for example, and you can see yourself in that dress having a lovely time dancing and laughing with friends, that vision of self-confidence and fun may be a big enough why.

Seeing what we want is one thing, but we also need to have a PLAN. Your plan could include creating new habits, finding support, or practicing daily affirmations. Try breaking things down so you always know the next step. It may be a small one, like getting a passport if you are planning a trip. The point is to create forward movement in the direction of your goal.

I don’t think its helpful to have too many big goals at once. Some people like to set a few goals for many areas of life, like personal growth, health, and family. But if you are already crazy busy or in overwhelm, it might be better to zero in on the one or two things that would really make the biggest difference in your life, something that you are totally committed to doing.

Start out by taking stock of all the things you have accomplished this past year. Write them down. Have you acknowledged yourself for these accomplishments? Most of us (myself included) don’t spend enough time celebrating our wins. When you write down your accomplishments, you’ll likely see that you did more than you thought. Take time to reflect on your successes, be grateful for what you’ve done, and honor yourself.

It is the things we do on a daily basis over time that help or hinder our progress, so having a visual reminder can go a long way in helping us get to where we want to go.

Create a dream board or simply tape up words and pictures where you can see them everyday. Get out the scissors, magazines, pens, and other crafts. Make a date with yourself to DO it.

Envision what you want. See yourself achieving it. Create reminders and habits to support your forward movement toward your dream. Have fun! Until next time … See. Plan. Do.

Wishing you all a happy and gorgeously healthy new year!

🎁 You Are The Gift 🎁

December can be a tricky month. It involves the holidays, which means more company than usual, parties, house cleaning and decorating, extra expenses, and usually gift giving. But all this extra giving does not feel good unless we’re giving from the heart.

Self-care is critically important, especially during the holiday season, to avoid stress, burnout, resentment, exhaustion, and overindulging in sugar and alcohol. We must fill up our own cup first before serving others. We all know this, but it’s not always so easy to do during the holiday season.

Remember, “No” is a complete sentence! It requires no further explanation. And there are many ways to say it: “Oh, no no no, but thanks anyway” or “Thank you so much, but no.” If this feels too uncomfortable, you can always say, “I will have to think about it and get back to you. If you need an answer now, it would have to be no.”

The reason to say NO is so you can say YES to something else! Here are some ways you might want to practice saying YES to self-care:

  • Carve out “me” time (block it out in your calendar!)
  • Take time for quiet reflection
  • Prepare nourishing meals to share with people you love
  • Take a luxurious bath
  • Make time for daily stretching or yoga
  • Snuggle up by the fire and ready a book
  • Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a dear friend
  • Walk in the healing beauty of nature
  • Have fun playing with your dog or cat
  • Do a new craft project (to give as gifts?)

When we take care of ourselves, we create the opportunity to think of what we actually want to give others, and it feels so much better. And it’s important to keep in mind that gifts don’t have to be things or cost much money.

WE ARE A GIFT. Our time is one of the most precious gifts we can give others. It could be something we have spent time making with our own hands. Sometimes designing fun experiences to share can be the best gifts of all. A gift does not always have to come in a box, although an idea could be written down and placed in a box for added surprise (or sprinkle clues inside several boxes for extra excitement).

Our creativity will begin to emerge, but only if we have taken time for ourselves first.

The greatest gift we can give is to take really good care of ourselves so others won’t have to. Self-care sets an example for others to follow as well.

Honor the gift of who you are.

Blessings for a warm, cozy, and healthy holiday season!

The Grateful Heart ❤️❤️❤️

“If the only prayer you say in your whole life is ‘thank you’ that would suffice.”
Meister Eckhart

Everyone has heard how important gratitude is for overcoming fear, bringing more joy into our lives, reducing stress, healing, and so much more. Dr. Emmons of UC Davis and Joanna Hill, authors of “Words of Gratitude,” have concluded from their scientific research that “grateful people elicit more support from others, cope better, have better health, and are more socially adaptable.” As humans we are conditioned to focus on the negative for self-preserving reasons, but we can also recondition our thinking to a more positive outlook, and gratitude is one way to begin.

So why don’t we practice gratitude more often? Life’s fast pace and multiple distractions are certainly reasons. Writer Alexis de Tocqueville describes gratitude as “a habit of the heart.” We must take the time to listen to our heart and act upon it. If you don’t have a gratitude practice in place, you can begin one now, knowing that regularly and deliberately expressing appreciation and genuine thankfulness will improve your health and well-being.

Starting new habits can be fun and easier than you may think. Here are a few ideas to maintain a sense of gratitude in your everyday life.

  1. Start a gratitude journal and write in it first thing in the morning and/or at night before bed. Write down at least 5 things you are grateful for.
  2. Choose a consistent activity, like drinking water, and think of something you are grateful for every time you take a sip.
  3. Take a gratitude walk. Notice the beauty around you.
  4. Send a thank you/appreciation note to someone you’ve been thinking about. Do this once a week — or even once a day!
  5. Talk to your loved ones and pets and tell them how much they mean to you.
  6. Practice gratitude while cooking a meal. This adds lots of essential Vitamin L (love) to the food.
  7. Everyday write down something you are grateful for on a small piece of paper and place in a jar. Include other family members in this practice and take turns pulling a note out and reading it aloud before dinner or breakfast.

Last Thanksgiving my family did an activity where each of us told all the other members at the dinner table what we were grateful for about them. It was surprising what was said, and it made everyone feel so special and loved.These kind of exercises can bring everyone closer and provide positive and lasting memories.Start your own gratitude Thanksgiving tradition!

Gratitude is a feeling that comes from within — however, it is also a choice we make. While gratitude is a feeling and an also an attitude, we can express it by words or deeds, extending our time, gifts, and so many other ways. Our expression of gratitude creates an opening that invites other positive experiences into our lives.

May you find your grateful heart and be the light that leads others to wellness.

🎃 🎃 Pumpkins Everywhere! 🎃 🎃

 

“The best time to set up a new discipline is when the idea is strong”

-Jim John

 

 

 

Tell Cinderella that turning into a pumpkin may not be so bad.

October always makes me think of pumpkins. Those bright orange spheres of cheeriness. Whether you like carving them at Halloween or making soup they are a source loaded with nutrition and beauty support.

Pumpkin flesh contains enzymes that are useful in a skin care mask or for improving digestion.

As a mask ingredient pumpkin is useful to exfoliate dead skin cells, diminish scarring and age spots, stimulate circulation, improve skin texture, and promote healing. Pumpkin is a good choice for sensitive or acne-prone skin instead of more intrusive peels like glycolic acid.

Pumpkin enzymes break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats into smaller components. This is a great help for digestion and overall gut health.

Recipe for Pumpkin Face mask
2 T fresh pumpkin puree (organic from the can is ok)
1 T raw honey
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp pumpkin seed oil (organic, cold pressed)
1T plain yogurt (cow or goat) or 1 T mashed avocado (optional but good for dry skin)
Mix all ingredients well and apply to clean face. Leave on 15-20 minutes. Rinse, blot dry and follow up with moisturizer or facial oil.

Raw Pumpkin seeds are a power house of nutrition: protein, unsaturated fats including oleic fatty acid along with omega 6 and trace amounts of omega 3, iron, calcium, B and C vitamins, beta-carotene (which converts to Vitamin A). Pumpkin seeds biggest claim to fame is high levels of magnesium and zinc. They enhance memory and thinking skills and contain stress fighting tryptophan: a precursor to good mood serotonin. Raw seeds contain methionine recognized for its power to remove heavy metals from the body as well as support libido and sexual function. What a great snack or addition to salad!

Pumpkin seed oil (cold pressed and organic) is beneficial both nutritionally and to the skin. It has all the above properties as well as phytonutrients. This is a great oil to add to your salad dressing or use as a scalp treatment (warmed) and is known to support new hair growth. Oiling the scalp is also a wonderful way to reduce anxiety and calm the nervous system. You can add it to almond or olive oil if you prefer.

Gay’s Recipe for Pumpkin and Chard with Cashew/coconut sauce

Prep-
Soak 1/2 cup raw organic cashews in fresh water for 2-4 hours. Rinse and drain
Peel and cube 1 medium baking pumpkin (sometimes called pie pumpkins or sugar pumpkins. They are smaller than jack-o-lantern pumpkins)
Clean and rinse 2 bunches fresh chard; chop into 2 inch strips and set aside

Steam pumpkin cubes-
1.5 Cups Vegetable broth for steaming Pumpkin 
Sea salt/ pepper to taste
Place pumpkin pieces in steamer with broth and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer for approximately 20 minutes until tender (don’t over cook)

Make Sauce:
Place into blender or vitamix;
1/2 C pre-soaked raw cashews
2 inches fresh ginger peeled and chopped
1 tsp tumeric
1/2-1 cup coconut milk
leftover vegetable broth
sea salt
dash of Bragg’s liquid aminos (optional)

Blend on high until creamy add more broth/coconut milk as needed to get a creamy pourable consistency.
fresh parsley chopped for garnish

Prepare Chard
1 red onion chopped coarsely
2 cloves garlic minced
2 T Olive Oil
Juice of one lemon
Sea salt and pepper

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil in a large enough pan to hold the chard. 
Add chard and lemon juice, salt and pepper and allow to steam/cook with the lid on for 10 min or until tender.

Divide pumpkin amongst individual bowls. When chard is ready spoon over pumpkin and finish with sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!

Resources:
The beauty diet by David Wolfe.
The Nutrition Almanac by Lavon J. Dunne
and the Institute for Integrative nutrition.