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Pumpkin Oat Pancakes

 

Photo by Dan Torres

1 c. pumpkin puree
2 T. ground flaxseeds mixed in 6 T. filtered water
1/2 c. plant based milk
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. pure maple syrup
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. coconut or olive oil
1 1/2 c. gluten free oat flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. Celtic salt
1/2 t. each cinnamon and ground ginger
1/4 t. each nutmeg and cloves or allspice
1 serving plant protein powder (optional)
In a food processor, grind old fashioned gluten-free oats to make flour. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl or in food processor.
Combine wet ingredients (pumpkin through oil) in a large bowl.
Fold dry mixture into wet mixture and mix well.
Heat skillet over medium heat. When hot, spray with avocado oil spray and spoon about a third cup batter per pancake into pan.
Cook several minutes or until golden brown on bottom and edges are dry. Flip and brown other side.
Remove to a warm plate. Makes 8-9
Serve with blueberries, nut butter, and maple syrup. Or banana slices and toasted pecans. Or sautéed spiced apple slices.

Agelessness: It’s a Matter of Trust

The definition of “aging” from the medical dictionary is sort of grim. It says it’s “[t]he gradual deterioration of a mature organism resulting from time-dependent, irreversible changes in structure that are intrinsic to the particular species, and eventually lead to decreased ability to cope with the stresses of the environment, thereby increasing the probability of death.”

Really!? Is there any hope for those of us who want to stay energetic, fit, and attractive as the birthdays pile up?

I’m here to say that I believe you can feel great, full of youthful energy, and confident in your appearance for the rest of your life. And that it’s not a matter of having great genes. 

Science tells us that genes can do only so much. They can be involved in cases of extreme longevity, but they are only somewhat involved in the typical aging process. That means…

How you take care of yourself is what makes the most difference.

And it’s not just about how you eat, sleep, and exercise. There’s a very important component that I want to point out—and this is a theme that runs through all of my offerings. We are spirit beings having a human, material existence. There is a consciousness, a Universal Intelligence, at work in every cell of your body. 

Your physical vessel is a beautiful temple of the Divine, an absolute sacred space. It deserves to be treated with the utmost love, respect, and care. In the words of Wayne Dyer, “If you don’t take care of your body, you don’t have anyplace else to live.”

It was Albert Einstein who said, “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” What if you trusted that the Source of energy, the Intelligence that made and sustains your body, is friendly? 

If you believe that the Universe is friendly, then whatever shows up in your experience is asking for your attention and will ultimately benefit you.

What if you believe that your body wants you to be a vibrant, sexy goddess with the energy to make an impact on whatever you touch? That your body is a vessel for the ultimate expansion of human consciousness? And that caring for it is a sacred responsibility?

If it doesn’t feel that way for you right now, I invite you to consider that learning to trust the Intelligence of the body holds the keys to health, vibrancy, and beauty.

Trust (dictionary.com)

n. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc. of a person or thing; confidence; confident expectation of something; hope.

When it comes to your body—or your mind or thoughts or emotions—you might have found your confidence slipping, especially if you’re gong through menopause or even beyond it. Is there a way to develop enough trust to be able to rely on your physical vessel, to have an expectation that you really can age very, very well?

Here’s a helpful framework I have found to cultivate more trust. I call it—well—T.R.U.S.T., which stands for…

        • Tune In
        • Release It
        • Upgrade
        • Slow Down
        • Transform

So how does it work?

Let’s look at the first step, which is Tune In. What do I mean by that? 

Tuning in is a way to honor yourself and your body’s intelligence and gain valuable insight. It’s presence. It’s awareness. It’s learning to listen.

It’s about being conscious of the sensations occurring in your physical body and being willing to feel them. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions about what you eat, how you exercise, how you handle your emotions, how you interact in relationships, and what you choose to do when you have a health challenge. 

How to tune in?

You can start by doing a simple body scan, noticing what’s there without analyzing or judging. Where in your body is something feeling out of whack? What about locating positive sensations like love, appreciation, or kindness, and taking some time to simply be with the energies that are present?

Do you have a meditation practice? It doesn’t have to take a lot of time in a day, but a regular meditation practice can be life-changing. I once heard Eckhart Tolle say that meditation is simply becoming aware of the inner energy field of the body. It’s a simple way to touch the sacred every day.

Another very accessible meditation style is known as HeartMath. It’s basically about breathing into the heart space and activating a positive, renewing feeling to bring about coherence in the system. There is a free course available at https://experience.heartmath.com. 

Some people prefer to use journaling to access their inner being. Journaling is very beneficial for the mind and spirit. There are many different ways to incorporate this practice into everyday life, but one of the most accessible is called stream of consciousness writing. This is where you just start writing and let it flow for a set amount of time. It’s a great way to uncover useful insights.

Many people have found that prayer is particularly supportive in getting in touch with their values, their reason for being, and their vision for their future. Prayer is a way to be in direct spiritual communion with Source energy.

And the last one I’ll mention—this one is a favorite—is bodywork. Biodynamic cranial therapy is particularly useful for tuning in to what is going on inside of you. All traumas, big and small, lodge in the tissues of your body and affect the natural rhythms of the body. The human body strives for health, and the presence of a good therapist brings presence and safety that helps your body’s intelligence emerge to balance those natural rhythms.

In the next post, I’ll explore what I mean by the “R” step: Release It. For now, remember…

By tuning into your body’s messages, you can begin to trust in your body and its Intelligence. That can help you make healthy living a habit, and that will make the ageless future you want to create a reality for you.

And I can help you with this! To book a free 30-minute consultation click here.

Too Much Stick. Not Enough Carrots!

 

It doesn’t happen all the time, but the other morning I woke up after hearing this distinct pronouncement:

“Once God has given you the sovereignty of your dreams, his greatest delight is that you should express it.”

I thought it was so profound that I immediately wrote it down before I could forget it.

What is meant by “sovereignty”? The dictionary says it is “freedom from external control; controlling influence.” Some synonyms are autonomy, freedom, and self-determination.

The “sovereignty of my dreams” must be then that I have the controlling influence over whether or not those dreams are expressed. Not only that, though. It has to do with how those dreams are expressed. 

Are my dreams a burden to me? Something I have to do, requiring discipline and grit? For instance, if I dream of aging with SASS – Spiritually connected, Agile, Strong, and Self-reliant – I have sovereignty or control over how I go about creating that result.

Not even considering alternative methods, I could trust that conventional medicine has all the answers to managing the common discomforts of aging with pharmaceuticals and with procedures to replace worn-out parts. That doesn’t sound like fun to me, but to each his own.

“I discovered there are deep, hidden costs to seeing doctors and the medical system, as an oligarchy over your body. The price of relying on the outside world? Your self-trust. Specifically, your intuition.” —Ali Shapiro, health coach

Or I COULD hold a stick over my own head and force myself to eat a certain way that I don’t enjoy, move in ways that are hard and don’t make me feel good, take so many pills that I barely choke them down, and/or force myself to meditate every day frustrated that I can’t settle my mind.  

Maybe you’ve tried some of those methods?

As my coach said, “Too much stick. Not enough carrots!”

How about this instead?

Following my TRUST formula, which stands for Tune in, Release, Upgrade, Slow down, and Transform, you find that aging with SASS can actually be – dare I say it? – FUN.

Your Sovereign Self, Your Higher Self, Your True Self – whatever term you like to use – wants you to find delight in expressing your dream of a healthy, happy life. Your spirit self wants you to take care of your vessel in a joyful way. To be in your body, embodied, appreciating the moment-to-moment unfolding of your life and dreams. There’s another hefty carrot too:

“Happy and healthy people have a better chance to live with confidence and contribute value to the world than anyone else.” – James Clear

I’m here to help you create a path to a happy, healthy and a delightful, SASSier YOU. Contact me to schedule a discovery session to learn how.

How I Prioritize Caring for Me

Women in general have a hard time with it….
How dare you think of prioritizing yourself when you have ALL THE THINGS to look after?
Is that how you see yourself? Are you someone who tends to put everyone else’s needs first? Are you feeling drained or stressed or less well than you’d like?

You do realize, don’t you, how ridiculous it is to pour from an empty pitcher? It’s the same with your own energy and reserves.

How can you possibly give your best if you’re not looking after your own health and well being first?

Are you wanting to learn how to get good at creating rituals that support your best self?

If you are, you’re going to want to begin by making very small changes that will slowly but surely change how you view yourself.

Here’s how I go about it.

In order to make anything into a habit, I have the what, where, and when already figured out.

One of the first things I do after I wake up is to drink two full glasses of water, one of which contains a bit of raw apple cider vinegar. This serves to hydrate my body (it gets dehydrated during the night) and helps alkalize the system.

I have room-temperature water ready and waiting on the counter from the night before. I have the ACV nearby. I know I’ll do it as soon as I step into the kitchen. Voila! An easy, no-thinking-required health-supporting habit.

I am a person who hydrates and alkalizes first thing!

My next what-where-when is to gather my phone with the meditation app “Insight Timer,” walk to my designated meditation space and sit for whatever time I have that day. This follows right after the water ritual. Meditation is fabulous for managing stress and not difficult if you start with only a few minutes and lower your expectations about quieting your mind!

I am a person who meditates every day!

No self-care plan would be complete without including some movement each day. Of course, your choice of workout or other movement depends on what lights you up. Forcing yourself to do something you detest will not be helpful.

For me, my what-where-when looks like deciding what my body wants that day – will it be yoga, core exercises, a few vigorous intervals, or maybe some resistance work (sometimes all of the above!)? Whatever I do, I change it up a little each day. It takes place in the same room and right after my meditation practice.

If you’re not already committed to a movement practice of some kind, I recommend starting with just five minutes of an activity you think you might like. It could be walking, dancing around the kitchen, or playing something silly with the kids or the dog. It definitely doesn’t have to involve a gym membership – unless that’s your thing.

I am a person who exercises regularly!

Of course, the same principles apply to any new behavior you want to make your own.

  1. Figure out why you want to make the change.
  2. Decide how you’ll incorporate it into your existing routine with the what, where, and when.
  3. Start doing the thing – but for just a few minutes. Keep at it.
  4. Shift in belief happens.

You see how a few minutes of anything practiced frequently will change how you see yourself? It’s sneaky!

And that, my friends, is how you and I prioritize caring for ourselves.

If you want my help shifting beliefs and habits related to your health, please fill out the contact form here.

The Power of Hope

We’ve all felt some measure of overwhelm, exhaustion, and fear of the future this year. Would you agree?

There’s a lot going on. Especially with the pandemic, there’s a tendency for many of us to feel hopeless.

Yet, when everything seems hopeless, we miss out on precious moments of our lives.

I want to tell you the story of my son Brandon, who never lost hope.

From the time he learned to walk, Brandon was prone to getting bumps and bruises and cuts on his head. As he got older, his accidents became increasingly serious. When he was a teenager, he fell off a roof and was struck in the head by a 300 lb. piece of equipment.

He later totaled his dad’s car when it hit a tree head-on and narrowly missed jamming the engine through the dashboard. Around this time, he went from being an honor-roll student to failing most of his classes.

Unbeknownst to us, he began using drugs to self-medicate the distress he felt in his brain. I believe he had an undiagnosed traumatic brain injury that later manifested as schizophrenia.

There were many years when we lived the nightmare of his addiction to meth and other hard drugs. When Brandon was 32 years old, his father died. His stepdad and I took him in, because he seemed shaken enough to want to get free of the drugs.

That lasted only a short while before he couldn’t resist hanging with his drug buddies, flaunting our agreements and becoming surly. We were forced to kick him out.

I didn’t know for well over a year whether he was alive or dead.

One day I received a call from him. He had been accepted into a group mental health facility. He was clean and on medication for his schizophrenia-like symptoms. I was thrilled that he was getting help.

We set up an arrangement for him to come to my bodywork office once a week to receive craniosacral treatments and enjoy a Mom-made lunch I’d bring from home. Although it was a long journey by light-rail, he would faithfully keep his appointments.

We’d also have him come to our house for dinner sometimes and for holidays and other outings. We built a close, loving relationship during that time.

Whenever one of my other clients would see him in passing, they would always remark about what a loving heart he had. He was a bright light in a very distressed body.

The antipsychotic medications he was on caused tremendous weight gain so that he became morbidly obese. Those same medications caused unbearable side effects that he was then prescribed other medications to control.

None of it worked very well. He still was persecuted by voices in his head. He couldn’t tolerate noise and chaos without becoming panicked.

Yet he faithfully showed up every week for his appointment. Of course I was his biggest cheerleader. He would ask for advice on things that could help his condition, but given his lack of funds and living situation, there wasn’t a lot he could do.

He never gave up hope, though.

One day in February 2016, he came in and was very excited that his counselor had arranged for him to get acupuncture treatments, a gym membership, and he had applied to the local community college to take a class.

It looked like his life was really going to turn around.

As he was leaving that day, he turned to me and said, “You know, Mom, I still believe I can have the life of my dreams.”

I responded, “I know you can, honey! I love you.”

Those were the last words we ever spoke to each other. Late the next evening, police came to our door to inform us that my son was deceased.

Through my shock and heartbreak, stories came forward of how everyone in the group home had special regard for my son. His counselor especially told me how three of his clinicians used the word “Sunshine” to describe him. One said, “If only I could have that much ambition in my own life….” She, of course, meant hope and determination.

The counselor also told me that he had moments of relief and genuine happiness toward the end. He made the most of the opportunities for fun, learning, and healing that he had.

Despite the labels, despite the discomfort he endured, despite all his challenges, he left the world believing that he could still have the life of his dreams.

None of us is promised tomorrow. With hope, we can be strong for what we want. We can notice what is beautiful and nourishing right now. And we can find moments of relief and genuine happiness in our day-to-day life. That is the power of hope!

 

How Do You Eat?

Have you ever tried your hand at making a mandala? I hadn’t, until a friend of mine invited me to an online workshop to learn how.

What I came up with was a handful of contrasting emotions that I attempted to portray in the design.

Come to think of it, these are all feelings I’ve been ping-ponging through my whole life. But at least some of them, I think, have been heightened since we’ve been hunkered down with the pandemic.

Have you thought about what happens in your body when you feel unsafe or alarmed?

Usually when I’ve talked with women entrepreneurs about their health questions, most of them tell me they just want to know what to eat.

Should they be keto? Paleo? Vegan? Low FODMAP? Low fat raw? What about nightshades and grains?

Maybe you’ve tried one or more of the above or some other that I didn’t mention. There’s certainly no shortage of opinions, recommendations, and scientific data available to consider.

However, it strikes me that almost everyone I know is in a state of high-alert right now. With fear of Covid-19, physical isolation, having to wear masks, work schedules disrupted, school schedules disrupted, and so many other activities curtailed, most of us are affected in one way or another. Not to mention all the other things going on in our world.

Whenever there’s a constant aggravation of our nervous system, the body gets stuck in a fight-flight-or-freeze state.

In that case, you can be eating all the right foods, taking all the right supplements, and doing all the things – and your body won’t make good use of them. You may not absorb the nutrients from your food or you may develop sensitivities you didn’t have before.

In the sympathetic fight-or-flight state, your body prioritizes survival above all else. Because of what occurs with the energy generators in the cells – the mitochondria – your energy is sapped, and your cells don’t repair themselves as well.

The body must be in a calm, healing state in order to make proper use of the carefully-chosen foods you put into it.

To access your healing parasympathetic state before you put anything into your mouth, put my TRUST formula into place:

  • Tune in to your body’s sensations and simply notice what you feel.
  • Release any tension that you detect with some gentle breaths and a calming mental suggestion such as, “Shoulders, relax. Belly, relax.”
  • Uplevel your stress-handling repertoire by exploring tools and techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and tapping.
  • Slow down and really pay attention to your food, savoring each bite as you chew slowly and thoroughly. The adage, “Liquefy your solids and chew your liquids,” points to the fact that digestion benefits when foods are in contact with the saliva and digestive enzymes in the mouth for an extended time.
  • Thankfulness is a great antidote to stress. When sitting down to eat, pause in gratitude for the plants, animals, farmers, grocery stores, and all else that made your meal possible.

The more you can calm your nervous system, the more your energy will increase, the better your digestion will function, and the more likely you’ll be to make the exact right dietary choices for your body.

As for me, I need to focus on the “delighted, peaceful, confident” feelings of my mandala as I sit down to my made-with-love healthful meal. That’s the best way to get all the benefits.

 

5 Good Reasons I Don’t Do Keto

 

Why Balanced Nutrition Wins Out Every Time

 

It may be all the rage right now, but it turns out the ketogenic diet is quite controversial. While its adherents claim great benefits in terms of weight loss and it’s sometimes recommended for neurological disorders and insulin-related conditions, apparently the research is far from settled.

 

In case you aren’t familiar with the diet though, it’s basically a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that puts the body in a metabolic state called ketosis. It changes the way the body uses fuel and is something that exists in people during starvation.

 

Instead of the usual fuel sources – glycogen and triglycerides, which are stored in the liver – the body is forced to burn ketones. Ketones don’t cause weight loss, though. They are signs that the body is unable to burn its triglycerides. If that sounds like it’s messing with Mother Nature, well, it is.

 

Here are five reasons why I don’t do keto and why I find it questionable.

 

  1. It eliminates an entire macronutrient.

    Our cells are made up of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Mostly eliminating carbohydrates means limiting fruits, legumes, grains, and even herbs. In the typical keto formula, carbs must make up no more than 5-10% of the total food consumed. Yet, even dried herbs can add 1-2 grams of carbs – yikes!

  2. It has unpleasant side effects.

While keto enthusiasts tout health benefits such as fewer cravings, improved digestion and gut health, and reduced inflammation, other experts suggest otherwise. A European study showed that folks on the lowest-carb diets had the highest risks of death from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and early death from all other causes.

The keto diet can cause low blood pressure, kidney stones, nutrient deficiencies, constipation and an actual increase in incidence of heart disease. It’s not safe for people with pancreas, liver, thyroid, or gallbladder issues. It can also contribute to disordered eating or worsen an existing unhealthy relationship with food because of its strict requirements.

  1. It’s unsustainable.

Because it restricts fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, it’s missing many vital plant compounds. Diversity in the diet is important for getting the fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants we need for a healthy gut and metabolism.

  1. It messes with your metabolic rate.

When you go off the diet, you gain the weight back but with less lean muscle mass to burn calories. That means you could have a diminished metabolism and more weight woes long-term. Oftentimes, any weight lost comes back with a little extra besides.

  1. It takes the enjoyment out of food.

    For one thing, it makes cooking really difficult. Even protein has to be limited to no more than 20-25% of total calories. This involves too much measuring and calculating in order to truly maintain a state of ketosis.And eliminating all grains, legumes, and most fruits just doesn’t work for me. I strongly advocate for the Mediterranean Diet, which is consistently ranked No. 1 for helping to improve longevity and ward off chronic disease. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein along with very tasty herbs and spices, making it delicious and enjoyable.

 

When the U.S. News panel of experts rank various diets, they look at how following the diet can influence longevity, ward off chronic disease, and how easy it is to follow. The Mediterranean Diet is top-ranked year after year. In contrast, the Keto Diet is ultimately not realistic or sustainable. In restricting almost all of an essential macronutrient, it doesn’t measure up on any of those criteria.

 

For clients of mine who want to eat clean and follow a diet that’s tailored to their needs, I’ll recommend a balanced, nutritious diet with as much variety and diversity as they can handle. It turns out to be the best diet for overall health that there is.

 

I’d love to know what your experience with the Keto Diet has been. You can let me know here.

 

If you like this article, be sure to sign up here for my free ebook: Feed Me Healthy Right Now: My Top Tips for Eating Healthy When You’re in a Hurry. You’ll also receive my newsletter for notifications when there’s a new blog post up.

 

 

 

 

Pasta With Fresh Raw Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 pint cherry tomatoes or chopped Roma tomatoes
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion*
1 clove finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup slivered fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
Celtic salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces fusilli or other pasta, whole grain, gluten-free or sourdough

 

Preparation

Cut cherry tomatoes in half or quarters, depending on their size. You want the pieces to be relatively the same size. Combine in a bowl with red onion, garlic, basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Allow to stand while pasta cooks.

Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and place in a serving bowl and top with raw tomato sauce. Garnish with Pecorino Romano cheese and crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.

4 servings

*Note: to take some of the bite out of raw onion, first chop it then place in a strainer and rinse under cold water. Proceed with the recipe.

Nectarines and Blackberries in Red Wine Sauce

Ingredients

3 large ripe nectarines
1 cup blackberries or marionberries
3/4 cup full-bodied red wine such as Barolo or Cabernet Sauvignon
2 tbsp. raw honey
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Dairy or non-dairy yogurt, plain or unsweetened vanilla, to serve

 

Preparation

Blanch the nectarines for 30-60 seconds in boiling water. Plunge into ice water and peel.

In a small saucepan, bring red wine to a simmer. Remove from heat and add honey, cinnamon, and vanilla. Pour mixture into a serving bowl and slice the nectarines into the bowl. Add the berries (frozen work fine if you don’t have fresh) and mix gently.

Chill for several hours in refrigerator. Serve with probiotic-rich yogurt.

Italian Tuna Bean Salad

Ingredients
1/4 cup red onion, chopped small
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup cooked or canned white beans, drained
5 ounces canned tuna, drained
1/2 red bell pepper, roasted and cut into thin strips
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley (or basil)
1 teaspoon fresh sage, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon capers, drained
Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper, to taste (optional)
Fresh tomatoes, sliced in wedges, to garnish
Sliced romaine or mixed baby greens to serve
Preparation
Chop the red onion and rinse under cold water in a colander. Place onion in a serving bowl and add 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar. Allow to marinate while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Add the rest of the ingredients, except the tomatoes and greens. Mix gently. Taste for seasoning. You can add the extra vinegar and adjust other seasonings to taste. It’s also good with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Serve over a bed of romaine or baby greens.
Serves about 3.