Is routine ruining how you eat? When we start eating healthier, we also have a tendency to stick with what we know works for us. But what about switching up your food routine? Why not have some more fun with it?!
Naturally, changing your diet drastically might not be right for you as each person’s case is different and it depends on a number of factors. The first important step is to pay attention to how you feel. If you have cancer or your body is still weak and trying to heal, then it might be important for you to stick to a regular routine. However, for a lot of us, it won’t hurt to switch up our eating habits and add different things that are still giving us the same nutritional value.
How about playing around with how you prepare your food? Maybe your body can only tolerate raw food or cooked food or only certain vegetables. That’s where juicing comes in! Some of those foods you can only eat a certain way or can’t tolerate at all, you may be able to still enjoy in juice form. Interestingly, when foods are juiced, we don’t have the same issues with them as when our body is trying to break them down through eating. So go ahead and give it a try! Juicing might be just the start you need to add more food variety to your diet.
One of the easiest things to vary each day is your morning smoothie. For starters, try a different protein powder. Alternate so you don’t just get too used to the same one everyday. Or maybe you use unsweetened almond milk in your shake. Then, start trying unsweetened coconut milk every other day. It’s something different but you’ll still be getting the essential fats that your body needs. Oh and be sure to go easy on the fruit. Many people base their smoothies on fruit instead of vegetables and the smoothie ends up loaded with sugar. Yes, even the good kind of sugar is harmful. Cancer doesn’t know the difference between good and bad sugar, it’s still sugar.
The important thing about switching up your food routine is that it will bring more flexibility to your meals and give you back the freedom to eat with more variety when you are out. You can’t always carry around your shakes, juices and snacks. What do you do if you are going out to dinner with friends?
You’re going to have to eat something at the restaurant. Okay, they might not have gluten-free pasta at an Italian restaurant. So fill up on a salad and vegetables instead. Ask for dressing on the side or for them to hold the cheese. Be picky, speak up! Just don’t let your food limitations prevent you from enjoying your night out.
You don’t want to get to the point where your very survival depends on you having the same foods with you everywhere you go. That’s no fun! I remember when I first changed the way I was eating. I would take a ton of specific foods with me wherever I went. And that’s natural for the first six months or so, especially when your body has gone through something as severe as cancer. But if you’re still sticking to these habits after six months, then you might simply have a control issue with food and you may even be addicted to the foods you’re eating. Just remember to have fun, change it up and don’t let food dictate how you spend your time.
Try introducing some new foods to your routine this week and see how you feel. Be bold and try something you haven’t tried before. Browse the produce section at the health food store and see what you can come up with. Go ahead, get out of that rut!
Julienne the following:
• 3 zucchini
• 3 yellow squash
• 1 clove of garlic
• 1 inch ginger
• 2 red peppers
• 2 yellow peppers
• ½ of a large bok choy
• 2 carrots
• 3 scallions
• 2 Tbsp Braggs or Coconut Aminos
• 1 tsp Mirin
Put this mixture in a frying pan with a tablespoon of coconut or avocado oil. Add 1 clove of chopped garlic and an inch of smashed ginger. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring every minute. The veggies should be tender.
Add 2 tablespoons of Braggs or Coconut Aminos.
Add a teaspoon of Mirin and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
You know those times in your life when you’ve been able to just say, “I’ve got this!” And I’m not talking about picking up the check at a restaurant! I mean those moments where you have complete confidence in how you’re going to handle the situation. Whether it’s as a mom, gardner, surgeon, holistic healer, friendly shoulder for someone to lean on or you’re healing cancer.
It’s hard not to feel amazing about yourself when you’re able to step in and just say, “You know what, I’ve got this!” It not only shows others how much you believe in yourself, but it also allows you a moment to be loving to yourself. And it brings such a positive outcome to the situation. It’s about you feeling good about yourself and opening up and allowing the positive energy to flow towards you.
Now, how do we get to our “I’ve Got This” moment? Remember, there’s a difference between being arrogant and being confident about who you are and what you can do. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin and with what you are able to do. That’s all there is to it! Once you are at that comfortable spot full of positive energy, you will simply be able to say “I’ve got this!” And who knows, you might only be saying it to “yourself” given the situation, but at least you’ll still know!
All roads lead to loving yourself. So why hide your strengths or be embarrassed about acknowledging them! We’re tough enough on ourselves. Have gratitude for your life and all that it gives you and remember to tell yourself, “Nice Job!” Look how far you’ve come already! Think about when you are around other people with low or high energy. Would you rather hang out with someone who is loving toward themselves and is full of high energy or would you rather hang around someone who is always beating themselves up with low energy? Which one of the two is likely to step up and say “I’ve got this!”.
Just remember to look at what your blessing is, what you can do and all that positive energy you can bring to things. Now, what are you waiting for? You’ve got this!
How many things do you do every day that you think are hard? Maybe it’s that long commute to work, cooking a healthy meal for your family, or just getting up in the morning. But are any of those things really that hard? No, of course not! It’s what we tell ourselves. If you say to yourself that something is “hard”, it will be!
How do we stop telling ourselves this? It’s actually quite “easy” to change the way we send messages from our brain to our body. It’s all about turning those messages from passive to active so we can take action in a way that ultimately has us feeling better too! Maybe you have been telling yourself, “I have to cook something healthy.” How about saying instead, “I am going to cook something healthy and it’s going to be delicious!” Or substitute, “I need to get up now and work out,” with “I will get up now and work out.” By using more active language, we are already moving what we need to do from a passive state to one more active which is much more empowering. Don’t you think?
Imagine a cold winter night when all you want to do is get home but you still have a long walk ahead of you. Would you say to yourself, “Oh, I have to walk all that way. It’s far and I’m so cold.” Not very motivating, is it? Now what if you tell yourself, “Look at me, I’m doing it. There’s another step, and, oh I just took another and another. I’m almost there now!” It’s important to be in action using empowering language instead of disempowering language with everything you do, no matter how simple the task seems. Taking a passive, or disempowered, approach will only use up more of your physical and mental energy. Being passive is good for things like relaxing, but not for when you need to do things. If you stay in a passive mindset on a daily basis, you’ll only feel less motivated, you’ll be more resistant, and you’ll get more frustrated more easily.
If you want to do something, then tell yourself you “will” do it, not that you “have to” or “need to”. Once you switch to an active mindset, there will be no stopping you! You’ll be more energized, inside and out, and be amazed at how much more you can get done and how you feel about doing those things. Next time you’re doing a simple everyday task that you tend to drag your feet on, be more active in how you approach it. Even if it’s just brushing your teeth or taking out the garbage. Do you want to just get through it and get it done? Or do you want to see the benefits from getting it done? Put it to the test and you’ll notice a difference. Or, rather, an active difference!
2 medium-sized halibut or salmon fillets
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
1 small jar of sun-dried tomatoes, in olive oil (about ½ cup)
2 lemons, juiced
2 teaspoons capers
1/4 cup pinoli nuts soaked in water for 4 hours
1 tablespoons chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Season the halibut fillets with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil in the pan and melt the 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the fillets and cook until browned on both sides. Place the skillet in the oven for 10 minutes, or until cooked.
Remove the fish from the skillet and place on serving dish. Place the skillet back on the stove and add 1 tablespoon olive oil, remaining butter, white wine, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice and capers in the pan and cook over medium heat. Boil until reduced. Pour directly on fish and garnish with parsley.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
As I flew down to North Carolina last week while a hurricane was about to hit, I was thinking back to when I was traveling from Long Island to North Carolina on a beautiful summer day a month ago. No, it was not a vacation. Normally I love traveling. As Kevin says, there’s never been a plane that I haven’t wanted to be on. That trip was different than most. On that trip I released my baby girl, Kelsey, to begin her journey into adulthood. She entered college and it was twelve hours away from home.
Some of you have been on this journey with us all these years. Especially if you read my book Choose to Live, you’ve gotten to know her; the adorable, funny, loving, compassionate, nurturing, caring, beautiful, old soul that she is.
She struggled with leaving because we have such a close relationship and she (and we as a family) had had an amazing high school experience. She said she felt so blessed and so loved. She felt she was able to be her authentic self and what a gift that is. She created something really special with friends and family because of the way she is. She gave back and was in contribution through her many “pay it forward” volunteer clubs, and she even changed some lives too. Prior to her leaving for college, we had 8 days of celebrations with different groups of people coming to say goodbye and wish her blessings on her journey. Most nights, the goodbyes lasted until 2 am. I had a good supply of toothpicks to keep my eyes open and a Costco size supply of tissues (for myself).
Leaving my baby girl a month ago was close to unbearable. I really had no idea whatsoever how difficult this college separation and transition thing from our home to her new 4-year home was going to be.
I’ve just recently recovered. There were multiple ways that I dealt with the transition. I can and may write several newsletters about all that I learned and experienced. Or maybe it will just be a couple of chapters in my next book J.
I will begin with the easiest first–gratitude. I have “chosen” to come out of grief and loss and into gratitude. As the President of her University, Nido Qubein, said at the convocation (induction) ceremony, “You cannot whine and be in Thanksgiving at the same time”. I just love that.
As I do with most life challenges, I look to see the good in every situation. I began the list…I’m in gratitude for all the years I’ve had with her in my home and care, for doing the best job I could as a parent to prepare her for this phase of her journey (as I’ve been told), for the beautiful young woman, friend and leader she has become, for the love she has given to so many, for her ability to make others feel special, for the way in which she is able to help others to open their hearts and connect with their loving side. For the excitement about all the expansion, fun and adventures she will create in this next phase of her journey. The list goes on.
Yes, I may be crazy. But for all this amazingness encompassed in my beautiful girl, I will fly into a hurricane to celebrate with her on Family Weekend so that she knows how loved she is and how we appreciate how hard she has worked to “BE” who she is. I feel blessed to be her mom.
So, to all the Moms (and dads) out there who have gone through this before me, my hat is off to you. I could not have imagined or prepared for how difficult this would really be. You seemed to go through it with such grace. How? How did I not know what you were really going through? Well now I can say that I understand your pain. I have a whole new understanding and appreciation for the strength you’ve exhibited.
As with anything, we get to choose our view. It’s all about perspective.
8 Roasted peppers
1 lg. white onion chopped and sauteed in oil til opaque and light brown
Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp oil
1 c. veggie broth
1/2 lime juice
Blend in food processor. Serve.
One thing that comes up again and again for my clients when they begin their transformation is the fear of change. This is a natural response. But try looking at it this way. You’ve only begun to shift your way of being. Every day you are doing something more to start healing.
If, at this point, you only focus on the fear, than you are not going to take all the actions you can to get better results. The fear becomes a mountain, or more like a monster, and it can consume you. The fear is the chain that binds you. It keeps you in place and prevents you from moving to where you want to be. Now what’s scarier than that?!
Instead, try letting the tiny steps you take each day to start healing yourself or creating a better life, propel you forward into a positive feeling. It’s only by getting to the other side of that fear that you find freedom. And that’s a pretty awesome place to be!
In my book, Choose to Live, I have a favorite passage that I often read at a speaking event, “When you make one change to your health, you may add a second to your life. Then another change will add another five seconds, then a day, then a week. Before you know it, you’ve shifted your whole biological structure.” You are doing the best you can right now and you are whole and complete for right now. There’s nothing more you need to do than love yourself. As a human being you are a divine being. You are a complete package.
Here is an affirmation you can say to yourself: “I allow my mind to relax and be at peace. Clarity and harmony are in me and around me. All is well.”
The importance of taking care of yourself, nurturing yourself is right in front of you because you feel good about doing it. Which means you feel bad about yourself when you aren’t nurturing yourself. Your body is crying out for you to take care of it. If you have faith that you are going in the right direction and keep reminding yourself of that, the fear will go away. You will move forward with action and say, “I did it, I’m proud of myself. Change IS GOOD!”
Now where is that fear? It doesn’t even stand a chance anymore!
Collard leaves or Romaine leaves for wraps
If you are using collard leaves, take stem off and devein the thick part
2 cups raw sunflower seeds, washed and soaked for 2-4 hours
2/3 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
¼ bunch parsley
juice of 2 lemons (more to taste)
1-2 tsp. sea salt to taste
2 stalks of celery
sliced or cubed tomatoes (approximately 2) or grape tomatoes cut in half
1. In food processor, blend up sunflower seeds, garlic, sea salt, lemon and olive oil – leave a little chunky or if desired, can make creamier.
2. Chop up remaining ingredients into small pieces (except lettuce leaves).
3. Mix well with sunflower seeds.
4. Place a large tablespoon in leaf and add extra tomato if desired.
Note: You can also add sprouts and avocado slices.
What do you think you are here for? Not the big life purpose question (I’ll talk about that in another article), but your overall ‘what am I here to experience’ question. I believe we are here to live, to love, and to experience joy. And when I say to live, I don’t mean just to exist, but to have the most incredible human experience we can have. We only get one shot at this life! Now, once you consider that, think about how much more of that life you want to spend focusing on your health problems, a bad relationship or being negative. Are you here for that or to live?
We all go through life lessons all the time as it’s part of our spiritual journey. But it’s up to you to decide how much time you want to spend on one lesson before you can move on to the next one. So if you are having trouble losing weight or you’ve been resisting taking action on that new career, for example, how much time do you want to spend on that lesson before you are ready to take action and move on to the next lesson? It’s as simple as making a choice.
Now what is that choice? It’s self love. First accept yourself and your situation so you can then release it. Being able to like yourself, regardless of the situation, so that you can then love yourself is an important lesson we all must go through. Living with human experiences means that there is an incredible opportunity to experience all these emotions and to have all this fun. Enjoy life while you’re here! Why spend it resisting how you look or feel, being bitter or miserable in your job? Think of all the fun you can be having with your life instead simply by loving it and letting go of what’s not serving you.
Unconditional self love doesn’t come automatically, we’re human after all, and most of us have to be conscious of it and remind ourselves every day. And like with most things, if you are not consistent with it, it won’t become a natural part of your being. Loving yourself unconditionally and reaching that point is truly like the holy grail of why we are here. I work on that myself. Feeling that love…there is nothing like it! And you know what? Given how far away from self love I was for most of my life, if I can do it, so can anyone.
We can choose to let go of what is not serving us, or not. We can look at whatever happens as just another life lesson, or not. We can choose to blame ourselves for how we are feeling or experiencing things, or not. We can choose to accept joy into our lives, or not. We can live with self love everyday and experience all the joy it has to offer us, or not. We just have to choose to do it and then make it a habit!
What are you going to choose to let go of today?
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk
2/3 cup chia seeds
½ to 1 tsp alcohol free vanilla extract (to taste)
1 packet stevia (if desired and your health is balanced)
unsweetened shredded coconut to garnish
Combine milk, chia seeds, vanilla extract in bowl, stir 2-3 times over 10 minutes and put in covered bowl and refrigerate overnight.
Put in serving dish and sprinkle with coconut flakes
One thing that was always really helpful to me when I was changing my lifestyle and eating habits is that I never said, “I can never have that again!” Instead, I always said, “I just really choose not to have that right now.” Before I knew about all the things I know now and changed my mindset for good, I would just say, “Maybe I’ll have that 6 months from now or a year from now.” So whenever there was something in front of me that would make me say, “Oh, that looks amazing!” (And it could’ve been something like a chicken cutlet parmesan hero!), I would tell myself that I could have it right then and there if I chose.
By not saying I can NEVER have this again, it really helped tremendously. And the other thing I would tell myself is “If somebody else is going to eat it, is it worth it?” I would ask that to someone if they had a bite of something that looked like the most amazing thing in the world. I’d say, “Is it worth it?” More often than not they would say, “Not really. It’s good but not really.” So then I would tell myself, “Okay. I don’t need something that’s just good. It’s got to be incredible, right?”
You see, by never saying never, I gave up control. I didn’t try to control what I ate. I let other things control it. So if the moment came when I wanted something, I could choose to have it. But more often than not I didn’t even want it that bad anymore because the overwhelming need to be in control and NOT have it was no longer there.
So I say that about a lot of stuff now, from clothes to stuff for the house. Whatever you’re gonna do, do you love it? And if you love it, great. If you don’t love it, is there something else you could do instead that you would love more? It could be the same with food. You might not necessarily love it in the moment you eat it for the first time. But you know that you’re going to love the way you feel from it or you’re going to love the end result or you know that you’re going to love the fact that you’ve gotten so much healthier.
It’s all about moving forward. And the universe can only course correct us if we’re moving. If we’re standing still, the universe can’t course correct. And of course, we have to be open to it. But how does it steer the car if the car is in park? Once we give up control, we can let the things we really want take control show us the right way.
But of course you might be thinking, “Somebody else is in control and I’ve given up my control”. It’s almost like being subservient, where you’ve given your power and your control to somebody else. And in a way, it’s kind of like that. So once you get out of that mindset and you start shifting into the mode of “I’m taking control by giving up control”, you become proactive. And by being proactive, you become empowered.
And it’s because you’ve made a choice (to give up control), you’ve made a choice to really take responsibility and actually do it. It’s one thing to take responsibility but you could still stay in inaction. However, you’re staying in action. And by doing that, you get rewarded because things will align to give you what it is that you most desire when you do that.
½ tsp salt
¾ bunch cilantro (1 cup loosely packed)
1 large ripe avocado (flesh scooped out)
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lemon
¾ cup extra virgin olive, grapeseed or avocado oil
1 clove garlic minced
1/16 cup of coconut vinegar (if desired)
Blend. Add more oil, vinegar or citrus juices to desired consistency.
It’s the end of a long day and you’re thinking back about all that happened. Do you start thinking about all the things you missed out on or should have done? Or do you focus on the things you accomplished and are satisfied with whatever the outcome was? More often then not, we find ourselves stuck in this first way of thinking. However, thinking this way can keep us stuck on that day, causing us to miss out on what the next day and the day after might have in store for us.
Constantly keeping count of what we are missing out on isn’t going to make each passing day any easier. Instead, we’re carrying that regret, that missed opportunity around with us. Then what we really miss out on is moving forward and allowing each new day to create new opportunities. We get moody, upset or complain because something didn’t go our way. But how are you going to let something new happen if you keep focusing on what didn’t happen on that one day?
A while back I had a day like that. I started thinking to myself about two opportunities I didn’t take simply because I wasn’t feeling like I should take charge of the situation and I didn’t want to bother anyone. Then I had to stop myself. You know why? Because I actually had a fantastic day! I may have missed out on those two things, but if they were meant to happen, they would have happened. See what a difference that makes? It’s a matter of recognizing the gift that comes out of that opportunity vs. beating yourself up about a missed one.
When thinking about what you missed out on, instead look at why it turned out the way it did. Were the circumstances right? Were you in the right place? Was it really the right time? Once you start approaching each missed opportunity from this perspective, you’ll realize that if something didn’t happen, maybe it’s because it wasn’t the right moment for it. It’s now out of your control so you can just let it go.
Once you start seeing those missed moments in a new light, you’ll start tuning in to an opportunity for it to happen again. It might not be exactly the same opportunity, but then again you won’t be exactly the same person you were the first time it happened. Stop worrying about what you missed out on! Just think about all the new exciting opportunities to come because you are now more aware and ready for them….
…and ask yourself: What kind of day did you really have today?
Blend the following:
- 4 Avocados
- Juice from 1 orange (optional)
- Juice from 1 lime
- Teaspoon of cumin powder
- 4 cups of organic veggie broth
- 1 cucumber- peeled
- 2 cucumbers- not peeled
- ¼ cup of fresh organic mint
- ¼ cup organic cilantro
- 1 tablespoon of safflower oil
Blend until smooth and add salt/pepper to taste.
When you have a gut feeling about something, you usually know it’s right. But we don’t always go with what feels right, do we? After all, we have other demands that take over and tend to lead us into deciding with our head rather than what actually feels right. We may even ignore our intuition completely because something happened in our life to make us feel like we can no longer trust it. Then, even the smallest decisions we have to make become a challenge.
There’s a good way to figure out if you’re giving your intuition the attention it deserves. Next time you have a choice to make try picturing different outcomes, the one that feels right and the other one that you may think is right. Which outcome really feels best to you, in your gut? No matter what your head is trying to tell you, you already know which choice to make just by paying attention to how it feels. It’s easy enough to get wrapped up in making decisions based on what other people want or what other people say you should do. However, if you’re not following your own gut feeling, is it really going to be helping anyone in the end?
Our intuition is just another reminder that we are here to enjoy life, to learn from it and to fill our soul. So why wouldn’t it guide us towards doing that? If you don’t follow what feels right to you, do you think the alternative will really be better for you in the long run? It can seem like a tough choice when we are programmed with that inner voice opposing every thing we desire to do. You know the one: “Work later, work harder, be a better parent, make more money, don’t say the wrong thing, try to eat less, don’t be selfish…” That voice isn’t doing anyone any favors.
Just be more aware of what you really want by seeing how you feel. Sit with that feeling for a while and learn to trust that gut instinct. Then act on it! You could feel some relief from having made “the decision” and even enjoy what comes as a result of making a decision from intuition, not regretting them. As long as you follow your intuition, you will be doing something that will be filling your soul and not be giving in to demands that won’t serve you. And won’t that also benefit everyone around you in the end?
So listen up and see what your intuition is trying to tell you.
If we pursue what we want to achieve every single day, we are doing something important for ourselves. Sounds simple enough, right? So then why aren’t you doing everything you can to pursue what you want to achieve each and every single day?
Many of us get stuck, we’re doing good and then all of a sudden we hit that wall. We find ourselves having a bad day, a bad week, a bad month and the first thing we lose site of is what we have been working so hard to achieve. Then we start using the excuse that we have to get ourselves out of our bad situation before we can get back to what we were trying to achieve. We end up relenting at the first road block. Once that happens, there’s no telling how long it will take for us to get back on track with our achievements.
What if instead of seeing a situation that doesn’t go as planned as being bad, we embrace it as a new opportunity to see things differently. You can still achieve everything you want to do and keep up with your daily pursuits, just maybe you need to approach it from a new perspective. The important thing is to keep going with it, day in and day out, be relentless, no matter how many more obstacles or walls are now in your way.
Knowing what I know now as my future self, I can look back at where I was 15 years ago—where some of you might very well be at this moment—and know that, at that time, I did everything I possibly could to be here now. There was nothing I wouldn’t learn about and try to improve my health. I not only did everything, but I then followed up with everything, and I was flexible with how I allowed myself to heal. I was relentless! Being here now, as that future self that I envisioned, I can now tell my old self, my then-self, “Wow, that was some ride! I’ve made lots of “mis-takes” along the way–mistakes that cost me a lot of time and money. And I wouldn’t change a thing. Because now I get to use those mistakes to keep others from making the same ones, therefore saving them time and money.” When you can get to this point where I’m at now and realize that every step had a lesson to be learned and you learned it, it’s an awesome place to be.
I trusted that no matter what it took for me to do it, I would be there to learn all those lessons. When your energy shifts to that realization of being there through all of it, the journey itself becomes that much easier and better for you. Now put yourself in that same place: as the future you: Each step you achieve and each lesson along the way is still going to take a lot of work, but you’ll soon realize that it will all be worth it. And the sooner you realize that, the faster the whole process will go. And it gets easier and easier. You’ll be relentless as you move forward to a more positive place in life and to better health.
I could never have imagined that my life would be so unimaginably better now than it seemed back then before I got cancer. But it is, so much better in so many ways. But those came with lessons, hard work, commitment, belief in possibilities and being relentless at learning those lessons! So work at achieving that better life for yourself everyday, even when you feel at your lowest, and trust what the end result will be: Your future self smiling at you in amazement, knowing how far you have come.