Wednesday, October 20, 2010

As The Seasons Change, We Change!

Fall is here, and that means Winter is right around the corner. This is the time of year when our bodies start to change and prepare for the "cold days' ahead. We are in tune with nature and our natural rhythmic cycles are preparing us for hibernation in a sense..just like the bears! Are bodies are no fools, even though we often treat them that way by feeding them junk and processed food. But, if you are in tune with your body and how it feels, it will usually tell you when it needs some TLC in the form of exercise, yoga, healthy food, or whatever. This is the time of year, to especially nurture your body and eat healthy!

Most of us eat on the run and don't tune in to what our bodies really need. This time of year is especially hard as the holidays approach and we get even busier. AND, there's all those dreaded temptations lurking around every corner which starts from the beloved Halloween holiday until straight after the New Year rolls around. By then we are feeling horrible and most of us are 6-10 lbs heavier than where we started in October. And that's not 6-10 lbs of muscle my friends, it's PURE FAT!!!

Yes, we need to slow down at this time of year, or at least our bodies do to prepare for the change in weather. When we feed our bodies processed, junky food full of sugar and fat, most of the time our bodies will revolt will illness. Did you ever notice that most people catch the "flu" or get really ill during or immediately after the holidays? And why does the media always blame it on some new flu strain from some other country that is taking over the USA?? To sell more pharmaceuticals?? Why don't we blame it on what it really is...OVEREATING, OVERINDULGING AND HOLIDAY GLUTTONY!!

Our bodies cannot handle the overload of sugar, fat and salt that we give it during the h0liday season and it will literally revolt by getting sick. That's the bodies way of saying, "STOP..feed me something good..take care of me." Yes, we all like to indulge a bit over the holidays, as it's festive and it brings our families together over the dinner table, but did you notice that every holiday in the US is centered around EATING crappy food and ingesting large amounts of alcohol? Valentine's Day = chocolate, Easter = more chocolate & processed marshmallow peeps, St. Pat's day = beer, 4th of July = BBQ's with greasy food and loads of booze, Labor Day = more alcohol and greasy food. When does it end, because then we move into the holidays and we all know what kind of food we eat then! What has happened to our society which is now riddled with people dying every day of diabetes and heart disease???

It's not just about the changing of the seasons, it's about taking care of yourself, slowing down and making the right choices with your food to keep you healthy as the weather changes, and we move into our shorter days and colder months.

Make sure you are still exercising, but also allow time for relaxing, getting more sleep and enjoying time to yourself so that you can nurture your body and soul at the time when it's most vulnerable to illness and disease. Honor the changing of the seasons and HONOR YOUR BODY!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Vegan Movement is Hot, Hot, Hot..Jump on board!

It seems everywhere I turn these days that Veganism is being touted by celebs, firefighters, triathletes, scientists and more. There are books flying off the shelves about how to eat more of a plant-based diet and how to live longer, lower you cholesterol, get off drugs and be the healthiest you can be by doing so. You know what I say??? Halleluah! It's about time...And this is not only because I am a Vegan chef and believe in eating clean, but because of the amazing opportunity for America and many other countries to live longer, healthier and happier lives, not to mention saving our dear animal friends.

This is truly a very important time in history where we can turn our obese, fat-ridden, cholesterol ridden, heart-disease ridden society around and really make a difference with our health and the planet. And, I'm sure it's no secret anymore that the animal/meat/dairy industry is responsible for the most pollution on the earth right now, not to mention the unethical treatment that happens to our fellow animal friends. If you haven't read the chapter on meat in Rory Freedman's, "Skinny Bitch" book, I highly recommend it. I don't have to give you all the statistics. You can pretty much look anywhere on the internet and find that grim and sobering information.

So on a lighter note, I want to share a glimpse of my day today and how this all ties in together.
I had such a synergistic and life-changing experience. I went to meet a dear friend and fellow vegan (BTW, we were friends before I knew she was a vegan) at a tea house today in Hollywood, called T Salon. I rolled up upon this amazing new tea house when I was on my way to an event and trepsing through Hollywood looking for a parking spot, which all of us So-Cal residents know is not easy to do. I was so ecstatic when I saw that this beautifully painted tea house with it's smart and simple stainless sign, had opened up right next to one of my favorite Veg restaurants, M Cafe. I had visited this same tea house in NYC many years back and LOVED IT! And now, here it is right in my very own town!

Anyway, to get back to the synergistic part of the story, I recommended to my friend that we meet at this funky, cool, new spot because they have vegan food, desserts and amazing tea. 250 different types of tea to be exact. I arrived a bit early and ordered my tea while I talked to the lovely woman at the register who took my order. This woman is so friendly and lively and shows interest in other people's lives, and I mean GENUINE interest. Not the usual half-assed, laxadasical customer service you get here in LA, but true and heartfelt. The reason I know this is because I told with her that I was a Vegan chef, after she asked and then she proceeded to ask me many more questions about my business and what I do. I talked to her about the many vegan desserts they offer there at the tea house, that all look amazing, but in my book, are not the healthiest because even though they are vegan, they are still made with white flour and white sugar. Yes, you can be vegan and still be somewhat unhealthy, but I'll save that for another blog post. After our conversation, she prompted that I should meet the owner of the tea house and drop off some of my very own gluten free, refined sugar free goodies for the Salon to try and possibly sell. I told her I would be honored and I went about my business of catching up with my friend and sipping some delicious Dark Roast Yerba Mate tea with almond milk and a bit of Agave nectar.

Ten minutes later, the friendly T salon lady introduced me to another fellow vegan customer in the Salon who happened to be a writer for the Huffington Post. We shared our stories about becoming Vegans and how it has changed our lives and how amazing we feel. Ms. Huffington post told me she has only been Vegan for 5 months after partaking in a cleanse and decided she felt better off the meat, than on it. She also expressed that she hasn't told her father and that in her culture, it's taboo NOT to eat meat and she was fearful of her father's reaction, even though she is doing something good for herself and the planet. Kind of ironic isn't it??

Shortly after that, Ms T Salon came back to our table and handed me the phone saying she was talking to the owner of the Tea house and she wanted to talk to me about making Vegan desserts and soups for their lovely tea house. I was ecstatic. I set up a time to bring in some samples of my healthy fare and felt blessed for being in the "right" place at the "right" time.

Afterward, again, my dear friend and I went about our business talking about how ecstatic we are to live in LA, own our own businesses and are able to spend a Friday morning sipping tea and meeting fellow vegans, randomly.

Another 10 minutes passes and Ms T Salon brings a gentleman over to meet us, who is, guess what? a fellow vegan. I know at this point you might think I was getting annoyed, but to me it was a sign that we all attract who we are, what we do and how we act, so I went with the flow and knew that these people were in front of me out of divine guidance. We chatted up with the gentleman and I asked him if he knew some of the other vegans in our circle and he did. He looked familiar to me and I realized that I had seen his photo on Facebook, as he is a friend of one of my friends, who is an amazing Macrobiotic Chef here in LA as well, Christy Morgan, The Blissful Chef.

The point of this story is that, not only is Veganism becoming more recognized in the public eye, I mean even Oprah recently had book author, Michael Pollan on her show (Ominvore's Dilemma & In Defense of Food) along with Vegan Celeb, Alicia Silverstone, whose new book "the Kind Diet" is all the rage these days, but there is a whole community available to us in this day and age to change the way we eat, get healthier and change the state of the planet.

Will Tuttle, former monk and long-time Vegan's book, The World Peace Diet touts that we have been disconnected from our food since we were children and we never really understood how the meat we eat got from farm to our plate and what happens in between. As children, we weren't really given the choice, we just had hot dogs cut up and thrown on our high-chair trays without even KNOWING what we were eating. Again, I don't need to share all the gory details, and unless you have your head buried in the sand, I'm sure you have heard faint whisperings of the unethical treatment of animals and how the meat industry pollutes our earth and the consumption of meat and dairy can cause all kinds of dis-ease in the body.

Yes, I know, you think I am preaching...well, maybe I am. But the bottom line is that now is the time for us to wake up! Now is the time to take charge of our health. Things are changing, but WE - YOU need to be a part of that change. It's not enough to sit back anymore and pretend we don't know what's happening to these animals and the damage that is being done to the earth, on top of what damage we do to ourselves and our health.

If we continue to go the way we are going, our life span is going to get shorter, not longer. Studies are now showing that with the obesity epidemic rising the way it is, that we are going to die much sooner than we think, not to mention what is happening to the planet with all the pollution from the meat industry.

Who really thinks that all this natural disaster is just Mother Nature doing her thing? Or does anyone think that the HUMAN RACE has anything to do with it??? Hmm...I wonder.

So, what will you do to make a difference? Give up meat 1 day a week..or maybe two? Check out Meatless Mondays. Fill your plate with 80% veggies instead of 80% meat ad 20% veggies?? What will you do? Or will you just sit back and hope it gets better??? And if you are one of those people who think you need Animal protein to build muscle, get energy and stay alive, I highly suggest you read T. Colin Campbell's latest book, The China Study or Vegan Triathlete, Brendan Brazier's book, Thrive. You might just change the way you think..and that's a start!

Monday, February 1, 2010


A few people have asked me to write about my experience with Missy Costello's 30 day cleanse and even though I am not technically done with the cleanse until Feb 2nd, I thought I would share my thoughts now. I am pretty much on autopilot and short of someone tackling me and shoving a Snickers bar in my mouth, I will finish the next 5 days with no cheats. (Brian don't get any ideas, I am pretty sure I can out run you since doing Insanity).

One of the first questions people asked me is why? Why would I subject myself to 30 days with no alcohol, sugar, caffeine, animal products (including, fish, eggs, dairy) and gluten. Well contrary to what some believe, I didn't do it to lose weight. Actually, I remained very cognizant of my daily food intake to prevent weight loss since I am on the lean side right now. There were however, others in our group, which consisted of about 20 people, who wanted to and have lost weight. I chose to do this for a few reasons. First of all, I have wanted to get off coffee for a while. I have been been a two, sometimes three cupper a day for the past 20 years and have tried to eliminate it before. With the exception of my 3 pregnancies, I have been unsuccessful. Second of all, I also was getting a little too attached to my Clif bars. Since I spend a lot of time taxiing my kids around town, I had gotten into this rut of grabbing a bar (or two) on my way out the door. Add a protein shake in there, and I realized that I was eating 2 bars and a shake a day and not enough whole foods. When I did eat "real food", I made good choices (or so I thought) but I was getting lazy and turning to more convenience foods that weren't the best choices.

So when my good friend Kit told me she was doing this cleanse, I figured this was my chance to try to be successful. I had someone to suffer through this process with. I spend a lot of time working on the outside of my body, it was time to take care of the inside. Oh, another big reason I decided to do this was really to see if I could - I love a good challenge!!

I won't lie to you, the first 5-6 days were HORRIBLE! Because I also used Splenda in my coffee, when I gave up both cold turkey, I had a splitting headache for 6 days and was very lethargic. Around 4 pm every day I would start counting the hours until I could go to bed. In the past, that would have been enough for me to throw in the towel but I approached it like I approached my first round of P90X - one day at a time. One day turned into two, then three and FINALLY by day seven, I started to feel like myself again. Not only that, I was starting to get more energy in the morning. I was waking up before my alarm and by the time I put my feet on the floor, I was wide awake and ready to hit the ground running. No more standing in front of the coffee maker, patiently drumming my fingers saying......"hurry up already".

As for the food, this was a challenge mainly because I am a remedial cook at best. I don't really enjoy cooking either but I knew I had to cook because otherwise I would not eat. We weren't allowed ANY processed food with the exception of an occasional Larabar but they had 18 grams of sugar (from dates) and we were trying to keep the sugar intake below 5 grams. I saved them for my big big cravings and when I traveled to Philly.

So once again, I approached it like I approach my fitness. I planned out all my meals for the entire week and made big batches of food that I could easily heat up or grab and eat in the car. After about 10 days, any cravings for sugar completely disappeared and for me, getting off of sugar was much easier than coffee. I made and tried a lot of foods I had only heard about before and spent time in aisles at Whole Foods I had never ventured into. It was quite an experience watching me shop there. Sometimes, I wasn't even sure I was pronouncing the food correctly and a couple of times, when the very helpful associates pointed me in the right direction, I actually looked at the food and said "really?". I think the big test for me was day 11 when my daughter asked if I would make her chocolate chip cookies, which are my biggest downfall. In the past, I would easily pop a few spoonfuls of cookie dough in my mouth while baking but I wasn't even remotely tempted.

The key to my success here was support. I got it from many angles. My husband and children fully supported my efforts. There were also 19 others doing this with me. We had an email thread and everyone was sharing successes, struggles and recipes galore. I always tell people the reason I was so successful with P90X was due to the message boards. This felt very much the same. I especially am thankful for the support of my friend Kit Horton Caldicott. There were days at the beginning where we were emailing each other 5 times a day and I know that a few times both of us may have slipped had it not been for a two sentence encouraging text or email from each other.

I feel amazing on this cleanse. I have more energy, sleep better, I have less bloating (and all things relating to that), clearer sinuses and skin. I usually get bad eczema on my arms in the winter but so far nothing. Someone in my spin class told me my eyes seemed brighter. Not sure what that means, but heck I'll take it!!!

One of the best lessons I have learned is that when you are out to eat and want your food cooked a certain way, you simply need to ask. When we were in Philly, I was with 4 of the healthiest eaters I know and we hardly ever ordered something directly off the menu (and it only took California Pizza Kitchen two tries to get Mark Brigg's lunch correct - lol!). Sunday night I went to a 40th birthday dinner at a Country Club and I knew they had a pre-ordered meal so I called the host and asked if they could just give me a salad loaded with grilled veggies. The chef got on the phone with my friend and he was so accommodating. I won't be "afraid" to ask for what I want again.

Another question I often get is what about your family. Even though, my family didn't eat what I was eating, they definitely ate more veggies and fruits over the last month. I tried to incorporate my diet with theirs as much as I could. My daughter actually said my cooking has gotten better which isn't saying much but it's a start. I am hoping to incorporate more of the many awesome recipes we got into the family meals. I will not force it on them but plan on taking baby steps to get them to eat more whole foods as well.

So what happens on day 31. Well I know I will not go back to coffee, except maybe an occasional decaf. I just don't need it anymore and don't want to go through that detox ever again. I also will not go back to dairy. I now use Almond milk in my shakes and oatmeal and really love the taste. Add a little Agave Nectar and you don't even realize what your missing. I will probably add back fish and chicken as I do miss them but probably not red meat. I am not a drinker so alcohol is not really an issue but I will probably have an occasional drink when the need arises - ;) That leaves gluten and sugar. I am going to do my best to keep those to a minimum. My cravings have all but disappeared and I feel so much better having not eaten them for the past month.

Is this or any cleanse for you? Well that's a decision only you can make. I liked it because there were no pills or potions - just good clean food. I can't tell you how many people say to me "I COULD NEVER EVER DO THAT". I initially thought that as welll but once I committed to doing this, I surrounded myself with like-minded people, made a plan, used a journal to write down my food and just took it one day at a time. If you are struggling with your nutrition or feel like you need a jump start, I highly recommend cutting out some or all of the aforementioned foods and see how you feel.

I wasn't striving for perfection, just progress. I walk away from this mentally stronger. I am really proud of myself for succeeding here. It wasn't easy but it was so worth it. I am so glad I have created new eating habits and have gotten a great education on what eating healthy REALLY means. Thanks so much Missy! Your guidance through this month has kept us all motivated and focused. You ROCK!!

February 1st is in a few days - I can't think of a better time to take on a new challenge. I teach a boot camp and am starting a 30 day nutritional and fitness challenge with them on that date. I know that this was a radical change in my diet but I needed that kind of shakeup, again sort of like starting P90X. I do think that even making some of these changes will drastically improve how you feel. If you want to make real change, you got to get into that uncomfortable zone. These past 30 days have definitely been that. My adviceis to find a buddy, make a plan, and get started. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Check out Missy's website at

For me, my next challenge will be to put on 10 lbs of muscle. I have the fitness programs and now the nutritional knowledge to make that happen. Game on people!!

In health and happiness,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Makeup & Wrinkle Cream or Eating Right?? Hmmm...

As a vegetarian personal chef, wellness coach and nutrition educator I get to witness many different levels of commitment from my clients and would-be clients, or just people in general. I hear all sorts of excuses and reasons why people can't eat healthy or don't want to change their lifestyle to feel better & live longer.

Here's the thing: nutrition, wellness, eating right, being all takes work, commitment and dedication. Some of us don't have the dedication or WANT to commit to being healthy. We say we do, but when it comes down to it, we'd rather spend money on perfume or makeup or some new gadget then on good, nutritious, healthy whole food.

I cannot tell you how many times I hear the following complaint, "Eating healthy is too expensive". To me, this phrase shows the level of commitment in another person. Eating healthy may be expensive, but that isn't necessarily the case and it isn't entirely true. It's just an excuse.

Think about the money you spend on things that you think you need, that you really don't that end up sitting on a shelf or spending their "life" stuffed away in a closet. If you are a woman, think about the endless buckets of cosmetics you buy that you never use because the color was wrong, or the consistency made you break out..or whatever. Or the shoes you buy, that you wear twice a year because they kill your feet. If you're a man, think about the "fun, new" gadget that you HAD TO HAVE and thought you would use everyday, but sits in a corner collecting dust because you got bored with it or the next & better version came along.

Well, guess what??? All that money that goes toward the material things that we think we need or our ego wants, could all be used as an INVESTMENT in your health & your life! Why is it that we need to buy lipstick, makeup, perfume, gadgets to feel better, when all we have to do is eat right & exercise and then we will REALLY feel better...from the inside out!

Yes, I've heard the term "Whole Paycheck" when people refer the specialty market, Whole Foods, yet I really believe that people are not educated in ways to shop healthfully and inexpensively. I agree that when you get into the processed "healthier" foods that are offered at these specialty stores, that YES, it can get expensive. But if you have a PLAN and stick whole foods of grains, veggies, fruits, nuts & legumes, I guarantee you'll spend less than $150 a week, depending on the size of your family and have a full weeks worth of meals to boot!

Learning how and where to shop for healthy foods is where it starts. Buying seasonal, local produce is another factor. Visiting your neighborhood farmer's markets or joining a CSA and having locally grown produce delivered to your doorstep can save you buckets of money.

Being healthy is about being creative. It is a learned process like anything else in life. Do you think being unhealthy comes natural? NO! We learned it! It started at a very young age when we would belly up to the kitchen table before school and eat our LARGE bowl of Cocoa puffs or Lucky Charms with the big gallon of white paint (my favorite description of whole milk) next to us. I used to love those darned marshmallows. I think back to those days and I wonder how I ever made it to where I am now; a vegan, whole foods chef. I also remember always feeling like crap and being sick constantly. Falling asleep on my desk at school during 3rd period. Why? Because my body didn't have the fuel it needed. I was living on processed sugars and simple carbs. I constantly had colds, strep throat, digestive issues and simply NO energy.

If this is how you want to live, then keep eating the processed, non-nutritive foods that are "cheap" so you can save a little bit of cash now, just to spend it down the line when your body is riddled with disease & discomfort from years of a processed, junky diet. Or keep buying that new shade of lipstick, or latest wrinkle cream to feel better, when all you have to do is EAT RIGHT! I promise that the better you eat, the YOUNGER you will look and you won't need to adorn yourself with all the latest creams, colors and gadgets!

I know, we all work hard and deserve to treat ourselves to nice things. Trust me, I love to buy my favorite Rose Body Oil by Weleda, but the difference is that I make sure I spend my money wisely on my nutrition FIRST and foremost before anything else. I know that when I do that, I am making an INVESTMENT in my life to live longer, feel better and have more vitality. The end result? I rarely ever get sick, my digestion is in optimum working order, I have energy, my skin is clear, I am at my natural body weight and I don't have to struggle with losing those extra pounds.

So, you get to make the decision? What will it be Aphrodite's Pink Nightie Nail Polish by OPI, the latest and greatest $80 bottle of wrinkle cream or a healthy delicious meal like my Sweet Potato Tempeh Stew loaded with complex carbs, protein & fat all in one dish for a fraction of the cost?

Take charge of your health today. You are the ONLY ONE who can do it! Know your purpose and MAKE A PLAN!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Benefits of a Vegan Diet

Veganism is a word that often scares people and why wouldn't it? Most people think a vegan diet is bland, lacking flavor, variety and most importantly, PROTEIN!
But these thoughts couldn't be further from the truth.

Being a vegetarian myself for many, many years, and a vegan off and on, my diet consists of a multitude of foods. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds & healthy fats. If you think about it, meat is one type of food, all the other food out there is vegetarian in a sense, as long as it's in it's whole state. So you ask, where do I get my protein from on a vegetarian/vegan diet?

And I answer, plenty of places. One, whole grains, especially quinoa, amaranth and millet are high in protein, perfect protein in fact, as well as loads of vitamins and minerals. They are a nutrient-dense food and easy to digest. Secondly, veggies are a great source of protein. Protein is made up of amino-acids and when you ingest amino acids, they turn to protein in the body and there are tons of aminos in veggies. Legumes, nuts and seeds are all sources of high levels of protein.

Numerous studies have shown that animal protein & products, in fact, are a large contributor to cancer, more specifically, liver cancer. T. Colin Campbell's book, The China Study proves this enormous and sobering fact through 20 years of food and nutritional studies conducted using people and rats. Campbell also proved that active cancer cells can be made dormant by changing from a diet consisting of animal products to a plant-based diet.

Brendan Brazier, Professional Ironman Triathelete and author of Thrive, The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports & Life, touts a vegan diet for highest & quickest recovery rate after long and grueling workouts. Brendan ate every kind of diet under the sun, but after 20 years of experimenting with food, he concluded that eating a diet free of animal products resulted in a phenomeonal boost in energy, reduction in stress, quickest recovery after workouts and unending vitality.

Yes it is true that we need protein to survive, but Americans especially, have taken protein to an unhealthy level. We are eating above and beyond what our bodies need to survive, grow and heal, which can lead to an acidic environment, arthritis, digestive problems and a whole slew of other ailments. Studies have proven that plant protein allows for the slow-yet-steady synthesis of new proteins in the body, which is the healthiest way to acquire protein. To read another article on the vegetarian diet and protein, check out Veg News.

This is not meant to make meat eaters feel badly. This is to an bring awareness that anyone can get sufficient amounts of protein by following a vegan/vegetarian diet. It does take some planning and level of commitment, but it's worth it and I promise you will feel healthier, look better and maybe even live longer!! Remember your body is like a bank account, you are making an investment in your health! SO give it a try, give up meat maybe once or twice a week. How about on Mondays? Check out Meatless Monday's for some amazing Veg recipes!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stepping into the Unknown - Day 13

Yesterday Daniel and I went to see the Time Traveler's Wife. It's one of my favorite books, so I knew I had to see the movie. Daniel so kindly obliged me. We really enjoyed the movie and it sparked a lot of emotion in us. If you don't know the plot, the movie is based on a man who travels through time and how his time travel causes challenges in the day to day life of him & his wife. It was all about the unknown, but also the known, since he gets to go forward and see things in the future.

After the movie Daniel asked me if I could go back in time to my younger self and tell myself some really important things that I should know today, what would they be? It took me a while to come up with an answer, as I don't feel that I have many regrets in my life and I didn't want to change anything that would make me a different person today. I feel that regrets are a waste of energy and mind space, but the one strong thought that came to me was to tell myself not to be so afraid of the "Unknown".

For so many years as I was growing into an adult I had so many fears about what lay ahead and NOT KNOWING what lay ahead. These fears stopped me from doing many things like traveling, visiting new places, seeing friends across the country, moving, quitting a job, etc, etc. I'm sure you get the picture. Over the years, I have learned to let go more and more and even though I still fear the unknown, I KNOW that I have to step into it every day. And when I do step into it, so many beautiful and wonderful events happen. I grow and change, I become a better person and I get to experience life instead of hiding from it! That's how I came to move to California from good old Lawrenceville, New Jersey over 12 years ago. I was scared to death, but I knew from the tender age of 12 that I would one day live in California and enjoy the lifestyle that so many healthy Californians live.

This cleanse has brought up a lot of "unknown" for me. Especially since I have suffered from an eating disorder off and on, which will always be looming in the lurches. It's been laying dormant now for a while, but I know it's there at any moment to bare it's teeth whenever I am feeling low, lonely or stressed. Not being able to eat all the fresh fruit I want is challenging. Not being able to eat my staple Greens + bars is challenging. Not knowing how I am going to come off the cleanse is challenging. Will I overeat? Will I go crazy? All of these things are making me dig deep every day to find that place of safety know I will be ok. I am stepping into the unknown every day, yet I also realize that we are ALL stepping into the Unknown every moment. We can make a plan and set goals, yes, but every moment is still unknown until you are in it. I love that Woody Allen saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans". Yet I also realize that I am the one creating my destiny and I get to choose. I get to choose the fear, the happiness, the pain, the love...all of it. I get to step into the unknown and create new moments for myself. I get to experience whatever happens in that moment, and if it's hard or uncomfortable I get to stand front and center with ME and make a positive choice for myself.

So, what I am trying to say is I think that most of us are afraid of the unknown, but we can't stop living because of this. We need to move forward and to have experiences that are rich and that make a difference. We need to take care of ourselves by eating healthy and exercising. We need to have a spiritual practice of some sort that will keep us grounded when we are floating. We need to have good friends, lots of love in our life and people who show up and support us!

Do you have those things? If not, are you willing to step into the unknown to find them???

Pensively yours,
The Ambivalent Cleanser!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 10 and Going Strong..well, Maybe!

Today is day 10 and I am feeling really good, albeit very tired. I haven't been doing much exercise on this cleanse, and I know that's not totally good, but my body is whooped. I get so tired just walking up a flight of stairs or cruising on the strand with Miss Sadie (my darling pit bull). There are a lot of toxins being released and a lots of little guys sweeping up inside, so I need to be gentle with myself. I know that I need to just take it easy and take it day by day. Maybe one day I will wake up with a boat-load of energy and go for a run!! wow, that would be a miracle!

It's been a very mellow week for me work-wise, which has been quite a blessing. Summer is a little slow for Karma Chow due to so many of my clients traveling with their families. I am gearing up for September to kick in and to head back to Colorado for a Healthy Table "ITALIAN FOOD" Event on the 26th! I will post the information for this class on Facebook if you are in the CO/Denver area! I am also going to be hosting a Candida Cooking Class on September 10th in LA, so check out the event page on my site to get updates!

Anyway, I am at a loss as to what to cook lately. I am feeling bored with what we are eating. I asked Daniel if he felt bored with the food, and he said "no", so I guess it's alright. It's just that my options are SO limited and I am searching my cookbooks for new ideas and ways I can substitute certain foods for the recipes I find with "Candida Friendly" foods. It proves to be a bit challenging. I am ready to give up and say....well, you know.

I did this cleanse before and I am having all those memories flood back in when I eat the food and taste the same tastes that I did a few years back. Honestly, it's making me not want to eat at all!!! Did you ever smell something or taste something that took you right back to a time in your childhood and you can feel and see that memory so vividly? I think they are called Associative memories?? Well anyway, that's what's happening with me. I am not liking it, but I know that I am doing this for my health and I need to push through. I tell you what, if Daniel wasn't by my side doing this with me, I would've given up after 1 week. I want my Peanut Butter High Protein Greens + bar. Yes, I'm still craving those darn things! Can you believe it? It's more of a texture thing now. There is nothing gooey, creamy, dreamy and delectably sweet on this cleanse, it's straight veggies, grains and protein from animal sources. I have a hard time eating anything with a face, as I mentioned in a previous blog! But, I can handle the eggs from time to time, so I am going to stick to what works. And although I am still craving something sweet and gooey, I know that will pass over time, so I just have to hang in there. Even just one bite of my Raw Vegan "Cheeze"cake!! PLEASE!!!

Anyway, back to cooking. I have a spaghetti squash in the oven right now baking and it's smells so good! When it's done I am going to scrape it out and saute it in a pan with coconut oil, shallots, cinnamon and cardamom. I think it will be like having dessert! I am so excited. I am also going to make some green beans and am hoping to spice them up Indian style, but since I can't use coconut milk or coconut, I'm not sure if just cumin or curry will cut it. I guess I will have to play around and experiment.

If you haven't already noticed, I am addicted to shallots. These little garlic/onion hybrids are oh so sweet when you saute them up! I also put them in salad dressing and they give off such an amazing flavor that isn't as biting as garlic and a little sweeter than onion. I must put them in everything; scrambled eggs, green bean salad, lemon vinaigrette, cole slaw. You name it, they are in there. I think it's a bit of an addiction, but not the type of Greens + Bar addiction, it's a much healthier one!

Today I really wanted to taste coffee, again! What is it with me and the flavor of coffee? My mouth is watering as I write this. I even went into Whole foods and picked up a jar of water processed, organic DECAF, fairtrade coffee and thought..hmmmm...could I do it? And then I thought, NO WAY! I would just set myself back and not because of the caffeine, but because of the flavor... Just tasting it and swirling it's earthy goodness in my mouth would leave me wanting MORE and would put me on that slippery slope!!! And, Daniel and I really need to stay off it for a while....maybe not forever, but we are committed to staying caffeine clean for hopefully a long time.

We have both realized how depleted our Adrenal glands are and that is the reason why we have are lacking the natural energy right now. We have been on the caffeine kick for so long, we've worked our adrenals to the bone and now we need to rebuild them to get back our natural vitality that is our birthright!! I know it will come, but sometimes it's hard to fathom that I will ever have energy without my morning cup. Daniel went for a run yesterday totally caffeine-free and he said he struggled immensely. It was a huge wake up call for him and he got to feel how depleted he has become. I think it even scared him a bit to not have his good old buddy Red Bull to pull him through! He had to rely completely on himself and who he was in the present, even though the guy running with him had just had a redbull and vodka..go figure! But I asked him, "Don't you want to live a lot longer and be healthier than that guy???" I think he got it.

Ok, well I think my squash is almost done. I can smell the sweetness. I am going to go give it the fork prick to test it's tenderness. I hope it doesn't get mad at me! All in all, I am feeling really good and happy I am doing this. There are times I am not so happy, but I can't imagine going back to my old ways, even though I did open the kitchen drawer and saw a menu for Pizza Fusion, which is a NEW organic pizzeria that just opened here in LA. They offer gluten free crust and dairy free cheese on their pizzas...TORTURE!!! Maybe someday...I will dream about it but until then....

As promised, here is the recipe for the Almond Mayo compliments of Donna Gates and The Body Ecology Diet Book

1/2 cup Raw Almonds
1/2 c to 3/4 c filtered water
1/4 tsp. garlic or onion powder (or 1 raw clove garlic, minced)
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 c. organic, unrefined flax or pumpkin seed oil
3 Tbsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 tsp. raw, organic apple cider vinegar

Cover almonds with boiling water. Allow to cool slightly and then slip off skins.
Place almonds in a blender or food processor and grind to a fine powder. Add half the water along with garlic/onion powder and sea salt. Blend well, then add remaining water to form a smooth cream.
With blender running on low, drizzle in the oil in a thin stream from the top until mixture is thick. Keep blender running and add lemon juice & vinegar. Blend on low 1 minute longer to allow mixture to thicken.
Scrape into a jar with a screw top or tightly fitting lid and refrigerate.
This mixture will keep for 10 days to 2 weeks.

Enjoy! This is great to mix into Cole Slaw or Red Bliss Potato salad, or just use as a dip!

Yours in health,
The Ambivalent Cleanser