Bring All Your Senses to the Table

Tempting sweets

Have you ever walked past a glorious display of irresistible desserts in a restaurant window and been compelled to go inside and order one? I have. What about salivating at the aromas coming from a nearby bakery or pizzeria? Or can you recall the feeling of dipping your fingers into a bucket of buttery popcorn and hearing the satisfying crunch as you chomp it down?

When it comes to food, you might think that taste is the most important sense to consider. And while it definitely is important, it is by no means the only one that counts toward our satisfaction.

Close your eyes and think back to the kitchen of your childhood. What were your favorite kitchen aromas when you were growing up? You might say homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies, or banana bread. Maybe it was beef stew or spaghetti sauce, or really anything with onions or garlic. I would guess the smell of pizza is appreciated nearly universally.

And when it comes to scents, who can resist the smell of coffee beans or fresh basil? Interestingly, Italian women would tuck a sprig of basil into their bodice as an aphrodisiac. And in ancient cultures, basil was regarded as a food of enlightenment. Mmmm. Maybe why I love it – but I digress.

The family cook – usually our mothers or grandmothers – would use food as a way to express their love. The tastes, smells, and textures of our childhood kitchen left indelible imprints on what we find soul-satisfying. Even if we have long ago left those preferences behind, we can be instantly transported back to those experiences when we catch a whiff of certain scents.

Yet scent is, again, just one sense that comes into play when we interact with our food.

In order for food to be fully nutritive, it should nourish all of our senses: taste, texture, visual appeal, mind, body, and soul – in addition to smell. It sounds like a tall order, but it’s something that we will want to pay attention to.

There are at least three ways that our senses serve our spiritual and physical health in regard to food.

  1. During food preparation.
  2. In the digestive process.
  3. In fulfillment of pleasure.

Food preparation is intimidating for many folks. Yes, it definitely helps to have basic cooking skills such as proper use of a knife, executing common techniques, and menu planning. When you bring all your senses to the effort, it can be immensely creative and joyful.

It’s important to notice freshness, color, aroma, and so on when you’re selecting your ingredients. Be familiar with taste profiles and how to combine the various flavors of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and savory or umami, to create a satisfying meal.

While chopping, be present with the task at hand instead of rushing through or letting your mind wander. Use your eyes and sense of touch to determine the size of the pieces you need. You can slow down and notice the textures and colors, imbuing the elements of the final dish with love.

As the dish is cooking, you’ll want to use all your senses to evaluate as you go – feeling, looking, smelling, tasting, and sometimes even listening. This is how you will know when the food is done cooking and ready to eat. Besides, it increases your reward in the process.

Feel the texture of the kale leaves as you massage them for your salad. Listen for the pop and sizzle of the mustard seeds as you prepare the curry. Observe the bubbles on top of the pancake when it’s ready to turn. And don’t forget to taste the soup or the stew or the spaghetti sauce as you go. Sometimes it’s acceptable to even sample the cookie dough…. 😉

The digestive process occurs in physiological phases, beginning with what’s called the cephalic phase. That means the sight, sound, smell, and thought of food serve to arouse the digestion and prepare the stomach for the breakdown of proteins.

Along with the five senses, it’s also important to pay attention to our sense of safety and calm. It’s why many traditions prescribe saying a prayer before a meal – to focus, calm, and bring in an emotion of gratitude. These, too, are all-important to the effectiveness of our digestive tract.

Neglecting this important phase makes it much more difficult for your body to do its proper job of assimilating the nutrients from the food you eat. Once again, our senses serve us in delightful and pragmatic ways.

Lastly, for the purposes of this article, our senses are the stars in the category of satisfaction, pleasure, and joy of eating. Eating mindfully is the best way to find true pleasure in our food.

Slowing down as we eat to truly savor the feast before us with our eyes, nose, and taste buds will reward us with true pleasure and joy. We’ll get more nourishment from the food we consume. We’ll be satisfied with less and will assimilate the maximum amount of nutrients from what we eat.


In celebration of all our senses, may I present an eye-pleasing dish rich in flavor, aroma, and enjoyment, inspired by the traditional dishes of India.

Chana Masala

Chana Masala

Chickpeas in spicy tomato sauce….


2 Tb. ghee

1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)

1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1” fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 t. salt

1 t. garam masala

¾ t. coriander

¾ t. cumin                                                                  

¼ t. turmeric

¼ t. cayenne or to taste

Pinch of cardamom seeds (optional)

1 Tb. tomato paste

1 c. diced canned or fresh tomatoes

1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained

½ c water


fresh squeezed lemon

chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaf)


Heat a large, non-reactive skillet over medium heat. Add ghee and allow to melt, Add onions and cook a few minutes to soften. Add serrano, garlic, and salt, and cook another minute.

Push the onion mixture toward the edges of the pan, and add all the spices to the center along with a small amount of water to create a paste. Sautée the paste for another minute or two until fragrant, then mix the spices in thoroughly with the vegetables. Add tomato paste and chopped tomatoes and allow to cook for about 10 minutes.

Purée sauce in a blender or food processor. Add spicy tomato sauce back to the skillet and add the drained garbanzos and half cup of water. Continue cooking, allowing flavors to blend, about another 10 minutes.

 Serve over rice with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and garnish with chopped cilantro. Approximately 4 servings

The Perfect Diet

Photo by Total Shape on Unsplash

I don’t know about you personally, but I do know that much of the talk around the New Year involves resolutions for losing weight.

Normally I don’t think much about that subject personally, as I’ve always had a pretty good metabolism (hate me, go ahead). However, this year after experiencing several years of intense chronic pain and a bout of the infamous virus in August, my metabolism seems to have gone off the rails.

So the topic of diet seems like a good one to start the year off with.

First of all, let’s get clear. There is no “best” diet out there! You will always find an expert who is more than willing to vilify carbs, fats, too much or too little protein, or to recommend fasting for this or that amount of time or instead to eat every 2-3 hours. It can be crazy-making.

The fact is everyone is unique, everything in your personal history is connected, and all the things that make up your environment, habits, mindset, and spiritual life matter very much.

How do you begin to unravel all this?

There are some principles I want to highlight that I’ve learned in my functional nutrition training. When it comes to food and nutrition, you need to focus on quantity, quality, diversity, and timing. I would add to that: attention, attitude, and intent.

Here’s what I mean.

Most diets assume you must restrict calories – or quantity – to achieve any weight loss goal. In functional nutrition the goal is to consume the right mix of calories at the right pace in order to feel satisfied and to furnish the nutrition the body needs. Not overindulgence, but not denial either.

What is meant by “quality”? This must be the very best quality of foodstuffs you can afford (or grow). These are preferably organic, pasture-raised, wild-caught, unprocessed, and fresh or frozen. It’s also preferable if the resulting meals are home-cooked and prepared with love.

By “diversity” I’m referring to the microbiome-supportive choice to include as many different types of foods, especially plant foods, in all the colors of the rainbow. These include not only vegetables and fruits, but nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, and animal protein. It’s important to also make sure to include fat, fiber, and protein at every meal and snack. And let’s not forget prebiotic and probiotic foods.

“Timing” refers to the timing that suits your own situation. Intermittent fasting of varying windows of time is often recommended these days, which works fine if you are already healthy, not struggling with trying to heal your body, not pregnant, nursing, or otherwise hormonally compromised. For general digestive health, it is recommended to have an overnight fast of about 12 hours and to leave 4-6 hours between meals. This allows time for the body to send in the “janitors” (aka the Migrating Motor Complex) to sweep out the digestive tract and make way for the next round.

There’s also the situation, however, when blood sugar has been unstable for some time, that eating smaller meals closer together might be advantageous. Everybody is different!

To those four bedrock principles – quantity, quality, diversity, and timing – I add attention, attitude, and intent.

Most people are surprised to learn that digestion actually begins in the brain. It’s a physiological process called the cephalic phase, where the sight, sound, smell, and thought of food begins to prepare the body for digestion. The smells and sounds of cooking begin to turn our attention to the meal to come and are some of the great benefits of preparing food at home.

You can also devote some extra attention to your meal by being seated at a table and pausing, perhaps with your hands held over the food itself, taking it in with your eyes and blessing it with your energy.

By “attitude” I mean having an attitude of gratitude and appreciation for the meal before you. Thinking about all the fellow humans who had a hand in bringing that food to your table, to the earth itself for her bounty, and to the great designer of the whole delightful idea of eating for sustenance and pleasure.

I also include “intent” in this lineup of ideal diet tips. It’s important to chew with intent – intent to savor, to slow down enough to allow the food to break down and make it easier on the digestive system, and to release growth hormone into the saliva.

The Perfect Diet, then, factors in not only the quality, quantity, diversity, and timing of meals, but also the attitude, attention, and intention you bring to them.

Of course, there’s so much more to this subject than just nutrition and the when, what, and how. There’s personal non-negotiables, mindset, habits, relaxation, sleep, elimination, body image, cravings – in other words, it’s a lot to unravel.

If you would like to learn more, schedule a complimentary 30-minute Feel Younger Now Discovery Session, so I can understand your particular health challenges and suggest a customized plan to help you reach your goals.

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 (

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 

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.

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.