Three Critical Steps for Massive Change

Hi Friends!

In order to get massive change in your life, there are three critical steps you must diligently pursue. Here they are: 


Raise your standards

. You can set a million and one detailed goals for yourself but if you don’t have the belief in yourself that you can achieve them – you 


. Raise your standards from the little vision to the BIG vision. Dream bigger and


 yourself winning. Start acting and thinking like the person you want to become RIGHT NOW!  Repeat daily mantras that feed and affirm your positive beliefs. When old patterns of negative thinking pop up – kick that stinkin’ thinkin’ in the rear end and move on. These actions alone will begin to retrain your brain so that you only focus on thoughts that contribute and 


take away from your life.


Set clear, visible, measurable goals

. You have positioned yourself for a win once you’ve begun operating from a higher set of standards. Now is the time to set your goal!  I recommend starting off by setting a clear but simple goal.

You can always come back and make tweaks to it as you are making progress towards attainment! The key is to make the goal


. Clarity of goal means that you can visualize yourself achieving it; can speak clearly to others about it; can measure the achievements towards your goal and duplicate the results.  


Be willing to do what others will not do.

 This means you have to be willing to run when you’re tired; stretch when you’re aching and push forward when you’re not sure there is anything left inside of you. I’m not just speaking on a physiological level either: we’re talking spiritually, mentally, and emotionally as well. Whether you feel resistance towards your work out or the job you’re in- take steps to improve your deficiency.  If you want better than what you have- you have to do what it takes to get it.                                


oing what others are not willing to do means that you have to push harder most of the time. You have to go all the way to your edge - dip your toe over that edge and see how much further you could go. Only you can test the limits to see what you’re made of  - so be bold and test it! The realization of your full potential will begin to show itself as you continuously move past your resistance and the fear of the unknown. Every time, every day without hesitation. Yoda said it best when he said “Try, there is no try. Do or do not.” Do or do not my friends. There is no room for excuses.  

With love,


Check out Veronica’s interview on HPLN!


Exotic Holiday Oatmeal with cardamom and clove

Exotic Holiday Oatmeal with cardamom and clove
Bring a hint of the exotic to this warm and hearty breakfast treat…

Serves 5

3 1/2 cups of water
2 cups rice milk
1 cup steel cut oats 
1/2 cups quinoa
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup tart cherries
1 medium sized apple chopped
1 cup toasted pecans chopped
1 pint blueberries
3 tbs raw honey (add more for sweetness)
1 ½ Tablespoons of ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1 teaspoon of ground clove
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

** Set aside 1/8 cup apple, blueberries, tart cherries, and pecans. Combine gently and use for topping your cereal

Combine oats, quinoa, rice milk/water, cloves, cardamom, and vanilla in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 20 minutes stirring frequently. Slowly stir in apples, blueberries, tart cherries and pecans; not the parts you set aside. Continue to simmer for another 5 minutes then remove from heat.
Divide into bowls and then top with your mix of fruits and nuts!

Notes: Dried tart cherries contain only 7 grams of sugar compared to the commonly used cranberry which host approximately 20 grams but if these are too expensive or you can’t find them, use cranberries.
I'm a cinnamon freak so use less if you're really not that into it. Remember that all of these ingredients can be modified to your own preferences.

You can use any alternative milk you like… I just love rice dream but I’m sure coconut, almond or soy would be just as tasty.  

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Many Paths...One Potluck


It’s vegan potluck night!  A night I had been simultaneously looking forward to and dreading.  Looking forward to because it is a great opportunity to expose myself to others on the same nutritional path, as well as  being an interesting opportunity to be inspired by new meal ideas and recipes.  Dreading because this vegan potluck is sponsored by a Meet-Up group, and I do not know a soul.  Unable to find a veg- friendly pal who is free to join me, I will have to go it alone. But duty calls!  I have a blog to write after all!

Before departing with my impressive bowl of sweet and spicy Asian broccoli slaw, my contribution for the evening, I wish that driverless cars were already a commonality.  Guess who would be having a glass of wine en route to the 

As circumstance have it, I head off to the horse property and home of Patricia, our very gracious host, alone and without a glass of merlot.  This somewhat reminds me of a blind date, but I put the nerves aside and suck it up.  As I arrive to the beautiful venue in East Mesa, Patricia has the majority of early-arriving guests on a tour of her horse property, so I head into the kitchen to drop of my salad.  I round the corner to the kitchen and see an extremely long table already loaded down with culinary delights.  There is an array of beautiful and colorful salads, vegetable dishes, fancy rice and pasta options, hummus, sweet potato fritters, lentil “meatballs”, mashed potatoes, raw chocolate cake, vegan chocolate cake, and a few other desserts I can’t discern.  The counter top has similar dishes, plus a large pot of veggie chili on the stove, accompanied by some type of mushroom soup.  It is very lovely!  I am impressed. This group of vegans don’t take their food lightly!  It appears everyone spent the afternoon chopping up green, orange, red, and yellow gifts of nature.  The only store-bought item is a bag of pita chips.  Well done, vegan potluck group.  Well done!

Now for the bad news.  Once the party starts and the line forms for the buffet, a very unhappy realization strikes.  I am not hungry.  I am not hungry, and there is the most magnificent food before my eyes!  Grrrrr....I think back to the numerous tastings I had to do while throwing together my spicy and sweet Asian slaw and curse the fact it had taken numerous attempts to get it just right.  Numerous attempts meant numerous spoonfuls in my tummy.  Now what?  Clearly the purpose here is to eat, yet the thought of force feeding myself is not appealing.

I decide the least I can do is act like I am eating.  I don't want to waste a plateful of food, so I grab a bowl and fill it with the delicious smelling chili on the stove.  There.  Now I can fit in.  Absent the wine I would have had while riding in my driverless car, I am certainly not as charming.  But I didn’t come here to talk stand around holding chili by myself.  I make a beeline to the friendliest face I can find.  Here I met Janine.

Janine and her husband Tom are new and aspiring vegans.  They have been married for 27 years, and  a year ago made the shift to plant based eating.  I hear Tom agreeing with a fellow potluck goer that the body changes when you turn 50, and I surmise this may have been a driving force in their decision to leave animal products in the dust.  He says making the shift towards vegan eating is one of he best things they have done.  Although they still dabble with dairy here and there- they are progressing quite well with their diet.  Janine can’t quite give up the cream for her morning coffee, and the couple has had a tradition of Friday pizza for the last several years, so they indulge here and there.  They are at the potluck to meet others on this journey.  Tom says besides his wife, he has no one else to talk to about this lifestyle choice.  I can sense his passion for the topic and his need to share his ideals with others of the same mindset. As I learn Tom's parents are angry with them for not eating animal flesh,  and Janine's sister thinks they joined a cult (say what?!), I give a prayer of silent thanks that my family is not made up of close-minded, defensive people.   
Anyway, Tom and Janine are cool and fun, and definitely committed. 

From there we meet Steve.  Steve is a tall and athletic-looking man, middle-aged, and he is the leader of the vegan meet-up group.  He is also a member of a raw food group in Phoenix.  No kidding, this guy eats raw – all the time!  Steve has arrived with a giant red bowl filled with what looks like quinoa.  Hmmm...I wonder, why is he bringing quinoa – a cooked grain?  It turns out it was not quinoa, but cauliflower “rice”.  He approaches us with mountain of of it on his plate, and I am intrigued.  Cauliflower rice?  I somehow had finished the chili, and I really could not imagine not giving this vegetable dish a shot!  Okay, I decide I can make room for cauliflower.  New bowl. This time loaded with this strange new food.  It has chopped peppers, tomatoes, cilantro – and there is a tinge of green...and it tastes....FABULOUS!  Holy cow, this may be one of the best bites of food I have had in a long time.  Who needs rice or quinoa when you can have cauliflower rice?!  Maybe these raw food people are on to something.  I just need some recipes and a food processor and I may be on my way!

I don't have the opportunity to ask Steve, but later I read about him on the meet-up sight.  He has been vegan since 1985 – long before vegan was even remotely a trend.  He writes that he read the book Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Nutrition, but Were Afraid to Ask- and the next day he was vegan. It was an overnight change and it has stuck. some of us take years to transition and others just make the choice and BAM! It's done.

 Also in the lineup of attendees are Anot and Michael. Anot has been a non-meat eater since she was four, as her father was vegetarian.  Not quite a full-fledged vegan, she admits shyly she eats eggs.  Her husband, Michael, is on a plant-based, but sometimes eats fish.  Patricia, our darling host, became a vegetarian when she was 14 years old, after her unsavory (my adjective) uncle decided it would be entertaining to film the slaughter of the cow he planned on serving for their Christmas meal.  Her stomach flipped halfway through the video he showed the family that evening, and she was done with meat for life. (Oh, the stories!)  She does, however, drink milk. Thomas, her friend and co-host, was not vegan at all – but he did make one heck of a pot of chili!  There are approximately 40 people at this dinner, varying in ages from one to over 60.  It is a diverse mix – not only in age, but in race and social circles.  It is noisy and lively, and I wish I had the pleasure of meeting everyone in attendance.

All in all, it is an engaging evening.  As I make the long drive home from the East valley,  it seems eating plant-based, vegan, vegetarian, raw, pescatarian, etc  is an individual choice and an individual transition.  Everyone has their own motivations and they pursue the diet that works for them.  This is not a one-size-fits all scenario and no one appears to be “perfect”.  But it is clear these people care about their health, care about compassionate eating, and are doing what works for them; now.  Now is the optimum word.  Nothing stays the same.  There was a time I thought I couldn't live without cheese, and it wasn't all that long ago. We are growing, evolving, and learning.  As Byron Katie, one of my favorite spiritual teachers says, “When the mind is open, the heart is open.” If we loosen our grasp on shoulds and shouldn'ts and embrace the opportunity to explore new ideas and new concepts- not only in our diet but in our lives as a whole...well, imagine the possibilities.

Cheers to Your Health!


“Help! I have an autoimmune disease and movement is supposedly helpful yet painful.”

“Help! I have an autoimmune disease and movement is supposedly helpful yet painful.”

Two years ago I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and experienced severe pain throughout my body. If you live with chronic pain, you know how debilitating the constant discomfort can be on your body, energy level, and feelings of overall happiness. I experienced an endless cycle of pain followed by feelings of frustration and loss of hope when nothing seemed to relieve the pain. My physician recommended low impact movement such as swimming and gentle yoga. I experienced minor relief from swimming, but it was not enough. I turned to yoga as a means to get out and to get moving. With persistence in my yoga practice and diet, I eventually became pain and medicine free. While the journey was not always easy, I HIGHLY recommend yoga for anybody and especially those in pain.

Yoga for Pain Relief
Millions of people struggle with chronic pain. The number of those suffering with an autoimmune disease has significantly increased over the last decade, especially those diagnosed with arthritis and fibromyalgia. As a result, these people are turning to yoga therapy as an alternative therapy to relieve pain. Yoga therapy integrates breathing techniques and slow supported movements to help individuals facing health challenges manage their condition. Studies have supported a positive correlation with the physical and emotional effects of yoga and the overall increase in a feeling of well-being. The general long-term goals of yoga therapy include:
   Reducing the symptoms of suffering that can be reduced
   Managing the symptoms that cannot be reduced
   Rooting out causes wherever possible
   Improving life function, and
   Shifting attitude and perspective in relationship to life's challenges

Various studies have demonstrated the positive effects of yoga on the quality of life for those suffering with autoimmune diseases. James Carson, Ph.D. is a lead researcher and psychologist at the Oregon Health and Science University who published a study regarding yoga for pain relief in the Pain Journal. He concluded that a weekly yoga practice reduced symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and stiffness by 30% in patients suffering from chronic pain.

Reducing the Vicious Stress Cycle
Living in pain can be extremely stressful and stress exacerbates pain. This vicious cycle can begin to infiltrate your overall well being when stress begins to lower pain tolerance: Physical pain -> stress -> increased physical pain -> increased stress. When you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, your pain tolerance may be lower. The practice of yoga can shift the nervous system out of stress response and into the relaxation response. This is critical to people whose central nervous systems are sensitive and naturally elevated as a way to respond to pain.

Yoga for the Physical Body
Indeed a routine yoga practice can reduce stress levels, while the physical postures of yoga (i.e., asana) can help relieve pain in a number of ways. The practice of asana can be an effective way to relieve muscle tightness. In contrast to many other forms of exercise, yoga promotes both flexibility and strength in muscles. According to Timothy McCall M.D., “Asana can be very helpful in conditions such as back pain and degenerative arthritis, where poor anatomical alignment and dysfunctional movement patterns are usually contributing to the problem.” As you begin to engage muscles that aren't working properly, and relax ones that don't let go when they should, you can help bring bones into better alignment, relieving compression of joints and soft tissues.

Patients that are seeking yoga as an alternative therapy should consult their physician and then seek a gentle form such as restorative, yoga therapy, or yoga nidra. It is especially helpful to find a teacher who has worked with students in pain. There is a common misconception that one must bend and fold like a pretzel to participate. Indeed you could expect to find more challenging poses in advanced yoga classes; however, there are forms of yoga available to everyBODY. It is critical to establish a weekly practice, with an ultimate goal of attending three classes per week to experience optimal benefits. You may start with one class and then continue to build upon your practice as your body adjusts to the movement. It takes time and perseverance to maintain a commitment to movement, but you can do this. Showing up will become easier as you begin to experience the benefits.

Make it a healthy habit!



Hendrick, Bill. "Yoga Eases Fibromyalgia Pain." WebMD - Better Information. Better Health. N.p., 14 Oct. 2010. Web. 13 Nov. 2013.

McCall, Timothy. Yoga as Medicine : The Yogic Prescription for  Health and Healing. New York: Bantam, 2007.

"Yoga for Arthritis - How Can Yoga Help You Deal with Arthritis." Yoga Info, News, Pictures, Forum, Shop, Travel and Community. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2013.


The Drive to Plant Based Eating- Are You Joining Us for the Ride?

It was that time of year again: woman exam time. Generally not something that is awaited with bated breath; as I am sure all you fabulous women out there can agree with! During my visit, my doctor (I will call her Dr. Maye) asked the usual questions one would expect their physician to ask—but then caught me a bit off guard. She asked, “Are you eating fresh fruit and vegetables every day?” This seems like a question a doctor should be asking, but I am fairly certain this was the first time a physician had actually brought up diet. I was intrigued. If I had not been eating my veggies, I may have felt the urge to tell a little white lie… but alas, my response was a resounding, “Yeah, baby!”

Well, maybe that was not exactly what I said. “Actually, I have been eating an almost entirely plant- based diet,” I told her. “About 95 percent!”  I found myself waiting with anticipation for her response. Would she approve? Would she tell me I wasn’t getting enough nutrients? Not enough protein?  I was anxious to hear what her thoughts were.

Her answer was a pleasant surprise. “Oh, so am I!” she exclaimed. Immediate bonding. When plant- based eaters find one another, we love it! There’s a sense of familiarity. It’s an “I get you” moment. And it is especially heartwarming when it happens with a physician. Oh happy day—let’s discuss!

She went on to tell me she has been adhering to a fully plant based for the past year and she is loving it.  Her husband and teenage sons onboard as well, and are hovering at around 80 percent in their diets. I asked how she managed to convince teenage boys to get 80 percent of their calories from plants and she told me they sat down with her one day and watched the documentary Forks Over Knives. This film convinced them to make a major change in their eating habits. For those of you who have not heard of it, Forks Over Knives is a documentary outlining the immense health dangers associated with consumption of animal products and the benefits of dumping the Standard American Diet (SAD) in lieu of a diet based on plants, legumes, and whole grains. It’s a life-changing film, so definitely check it out if you haven’t! Visit:

I applauded her efforts and said, “Being a doctor, you have the ability to use your opinion to get the word out!” She sighed and told me that she has tried, but unfortunately people can be very defensive and closed-minded when it comes to their food.  Nevertheless, she is so passionate about getting the word out, Dr. Maye ordered twelve copies of Forks Over Knives and regularly lends them to her patients. She advised me that by replacing just two meals a week with legumes (that is doctor talk for beans) instead of meat, she was able to drop her cholesterol significantly. Although slim and outwardly healthy, she told me high cholesterol runs in her family. But that slight change in her diet sent the helpless attitude of the “but it runs in the family” excuse right out the window.  And I suspect this was her catalyst in making the change to her new diet.

Later that day, I attended a lecture with Rip Esselstyn at the new Whole Foods in central Phoenix. Rip is a former professional tri-athlete and firefighter who is behind the “Engine 2 Diet,” a plant-based eating plan that took over his fire station in Austin, Texas and now has spread nationwide.
 (See His book is a New York Times best seller and he now spends his days promoting this lifestyle and his plant-based product line with Whole Foods. It was at this lecture I learned some surprising news: Kaiser Permanente, a top provider of medical insurance in California, has instructed their physicians to recommend a plant-based diet to their patients. Why? It finally occurred to someone that prevention saves them a whole lotta money! You can read about this recommendation here:

Rip Esselstyn expressed the opinion that within the next twenty years, one in four people will be eating a plant-based diet. Not only is it better for us, it is better for the environment due to the large amount of greenhouse gas produced by the meat industry. In fact, this industry alone accounts for up to 25% of the total green house gas emissions, according to the United Nations Environment Program findings last year. (We will be discussing more on the environmental effects of the meat industry in future blogs.)

So, what exactly does a plant-based diet entail?  A plant-based diet is a nutritious eating regimen made up of fresh fruit and vegetables, cooked veggies, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds. The goal is to eliminate processed foods, sugar, and white flour entirely. No animal products. This includes meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, and dairy products of any kind. Is your head spinning? Good! It’s time to wake up, party people. Will you need help getting started? Probably. There is a mega selection of books out there, but for personal guidance, contact Veronica!   

We can bring the information to the table, but we can’t make you eat your veggies. Maybe it’s time to make some changes, small as they may be. Take the car for a test spin and see how you enjoy the ride.  Dr. Maye would be proud!   

Wishing radiance, health, and happiness!


7 Steps to Avoid Overeating During the Holidays

7 Steps to Avoid Overeating During the Holidays

‘Tis that time of year when the scent of baked pie fills the air, friends and family are abound, and the common thread of celebration is often tied to a huge plate slathered with delicious goodness. But the holiday season should not be mistaken for a free pass to eat like we have never had a meal before. Instead, try these simple tips to avoid access eating during the holidays:

Make conscious food choices
Eating consciously means that you intentionally choose the foods you eat and put conscious thought into how the food will affect your body, mood, and attitude. Whether you choose to munch on an apple or a chow down on a candy bar, make a commitment to be completely aware of what you’re putting in your mouth and how much of it you’re eating.  
Eat less, more often
Waiting too long to eat between meals can lead to overeating. There is no perfect plan for how often you should eat because every “body” is different. A good rule of thumb is to focus on eating a diet rich in raw, colorful fruits and vegetables in as large of portions and as often as you like. Enjoy pseudo and non-gluten grains like quinoa, brown rice, and buckwheat as well as lean cuts of poultry in small portions.

Pack your refrigerator with smoothies, vegetables, and fruits
Get rid of the “crack” in your kitchen also known as: white sugar, white flour, white potatoes, white rice, and white salt. Take that a step further and toss out any food products that contain these elements including: pastas, breads, crackers, pastries, cereals, granola bars, and other snack foods that lack nutritional value. Replace these foods with mason jars filled with yummy green smoothies prepared by you and mounds full of fruits and vegetables that can be used to make healthy meal plans.

Bring your own healthy foods

It never fails. Every time I visit my mom, her kitchen is filled with all the cakes and treats that remind me of my childhood. I have learned to bring my own smoothies or other yummy vegetable variations with me so that I can still partake in family meals in a way that supports my eating habits. People who know and love you will not be offended by your choice to bring your own food to the party. They may even be inspired to start looking at their nutrition in a new way!  

Get sensual with your food
Make it a point to engage your senses when you eat. It takes your body approximately 20 minutes to realize it’s full and since interacting sensually with your food requires you to slow down; you will naturally eat less and improve your digestion. Vision: Take an appreciative look at your food and be interested in its shape and quality. Be thankful for the time that it took to prepare your meal and savor every bite.
Touch and Taste: notice the texture of your food and the way it feels when it’s in your mouth.  Chew your food slowly and thoughtfully; appreciating the nourishment the food is about to provide. Scent: Be it savory or sweet; take the time to really smell your food. Notice what emotions or memories the scents stimulate in you. If it’s a positive memory, hold the thought in your mind and allow yourself to relive the moment. Hearing: Take note of the sound your chewing makes. Notice if you’re chewing in a noisy and rapid way or slowly and methodically. The sounds of your chewing may be a good reminder to eat your food more mindfully.         

Refrain from the idea that it is ok to overeat
“It’s ok if I overeat this one time” or any other variation of that statement should not be in your lexicon. The desire to overeat is usually a need to fill a hole in another part of your life. So you’re only subjecting yourself to poor digestion, toxic build up, obesity/overweight, addictive behavior patterns and are never dealing with the issue that caused you to overeat in the first place. Notice what times of the day, what emotions you are experiencing, and the activities you are partaking in when the desire to overeat arises. Jot these occurrences down in a journal and see if a pattern appears.

Handle with compassion
If, in spite of all my advice, you take it upon yourself to eat to your heart’s content, remember not to judge yourself too harshly afterwards. Focus on having compassion for yourself and make a conscious decision to change one thing in your eating pattern the next time you reach for a snack or sit down for a meal. Feelings of guilt, frustration, and fear of weight gain are common emotions experienced after overeating that only perpetuate the process of overeating.  

Go nuts for your health!

A Powerful Concoction to Kick Start Your Day: Lemon, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Water

A Powerful Concoction to Kick Start Your Day: Lemon, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Water

The first liquid consumed in the morning is extremely advantageous to your health, as the body has been fasting during sleep. Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar (i.e., ACV), and water are used as a tonic for many health conditions, as it is quickly absorbed after your evening fast. Combine 1 liter of water with 1-2 tsp. of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar and the juice of 1 lemon 30 minutes before eating if possible.


Lemons are high in antioxidant vitamin c, vitamin b, phosphorous, proteins, and carbohydrates. Lemon is a fruit that contains flavonoids, which produce cancer fighting properties, protects against immune system deficiencies, heart disease, and can even decrease wrinkles (yes and it is much cheaper than a fancy cream!). A lemon can kick start our digestion and clear the body of toxins settling in the digestive track, as it cuts mucous and detoxifies the liver. Despite the acidic taste, lemons are highly alkaline, which helps your body maintain and produce a healthy pH balance. A high alkaline diet strengthens the body systems and promotes healing.

Apple cider vinegar is made from apple juice and is fermented to hard apple cider. It is then fermented again to become apple cider vinegar. ACV is packed with antibiotic properties and provides many nutrients to the body including calcium, pectin (reduces bad cholesterol and regulates blood pressure), malic acid (gives anti-viral properties), and acetic acid (significantly lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels). The amino acids contained in ACV can act as an antidote to beat exhaustion, as the potassium and enzymes can provide relief from feelings of fatigue.

The average human body is 50-65% water and we have heard time and time again the benefits of water. Drinking water on an empty stomach increases the production of muscle cells/new blood and also balances your lymph system. It purifies the colon making it easier to absorb nutrients. Water purges toxins from the blood promoting a healthy glow and can even boost your metabolism by 24% to aid with weight loss.


I recommend Bragg ACV ( and a hand held lemon squeezer for convenience. If the flavor of this morning drink is not quite as appealing as a pumpkin spice latte, add a packet of stevia. It still won’t compete with the taste of your latte, but the health benefits are well worth it. You can still have your latte and also experience the healing effects of this simple drink. 

Make it a healthy habit because you are worth it!

Balch, Phyllis A., and Phyllis A. Balch. Prescription for Nutritional Healing: The A to Z Guide to Supplements. New York: Avery, 2002.


Day 2 Weight Loss Juice: Agni Power

Day 2 Weight Loss Juice: Agni Power 

Agni Power
8-10 whole turmeric roots
2 ½  inch ginger root
1 medium apple
½ lemon

In yoga, the word “agni” refers to fire within the body in the form of digestive juices.

Ginger and turmeric contain medicinal compounds that have been used for healing throughout time. Agni Power creates heat in the digestive track that stimulates bowel movements and detoxification. You will hear me talk a lot about digestion because I am a firm believer that digestive disorders are at the root of many chronic illnesses. Proper digestion is essential to ridding the body of impurities and poisonous substances that can keep us from optimal health.

Benefits of Agni Power:
Supports digestion
Improves fat metabolism
Anti-cancer properties
Antiseptic compounds
Promotes healing

Side Notes:
·        Agni Power is best consumed when prepared with a JUICER and not a blender.  I use the Omega Vert
·        For maximum nutrient intake, juice is best consumed in the morning on an empty stomach
·        Consume approximately ½ to 1 liter of room temperature water prior to drinking Agni Power and wait about 30 minutes after consuming to eat.
·        After juicing, immediately clean turmeric juice from any kitchen appliances or from your hands as turmeric can cause temporary to permanent staining

Cheers to your Health!


Rich and Hearty Lentil Soup

Rich and Hearty Lentil Soup 

Winter is near and now is the perfect time to start tuning up your culinary soup skills. For me, the perfect soup includes substantive ingredients that I can actually get full from eating; is relatively fast and easy to prepare because I am super busy; and consists of staple ingredients that I will more than likely have on hand. My sweetheart made this soup for dinner last night and it was so wonderful I thought it was a must that I share it with you all. Enjoy:   

Rich and Hearty Lentil Soup

2 cups of green lentils
7 cups of vegetable broth (add less cups for a thicker broth)
1 cup of dry red wine
2 medium size potatoes washed, quartered and cut into bite-sized pieces
6-8 mushrooms diced
2 ribs celery chopped
2 carrots chopped
1 onion, diced
2  cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup dill
1 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp ground sage
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tea spoon brown sugar

Sauté the onions on medium for approximately 5 minutes until they are brown and aromatic. Add the rest of the veggies and sauté them until they have a very slight glaze to them. Add the spices and mix.  Next add in the broth and the potatoes.  Bring to a high heat and let boil for 5-8 minutes. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer on the stove until potatoes are soft.  Taste the broth to ensure the flavor is to your liking and add extra spices as needed.  Have some water on stand by as the ingredients will soak up the broth.  You want the consistency of a thick soup not stew.  Remove bay leaves and add the dill right before serving. Enjoy!

Why I eat soup:
Some of you may or may not know my story but to recap, in 2005, I wore a size 12 dress and weighed 205 pounds. It wasn't until someone asked me if I was pregnant that I decided it was time I better make some changes in my life because you guessed it, I wasn't pregnant. I was living life eating the typical high calorie-high fat-mostly meat-American diet. By shifting to a plant based lifestyle, which included smoothies, juices, and a variety of soups, I was able to lose weight and keep it off.
2013 is coming to an end and I have been able to maintain a healthy weight of 137 pounds and sexy dress size of 4. You can do it too by simply making modifications to your current diet! Contact me at and I can help you get started.  

How can eating soup support weight loss?

·        Great way to get more vegetables into your diet
·        Soup eaters consume less calories than non-soup eaters
·        The high fiber content and warm broth supports regular bowel movements
·        Soups are typically eaten more slowly than other meals thus allowing the sense of fullness to occur

Go Nuts for Your Health!


6 Steps to Mindful Eating for Weight Loss and Digestion

6 Steps to Mindful Eating for Weight Loss and Digestion
Do you find yourself scarfing down meals while completing at least one if not many tasks at a time? As a little girl, I recall eating cereal as I mindlessly read the back of the Captain Crunch box. As an adult, eating is often combined with driving, typing, texting, talking, reading, watching television, or aimlessly daydreaming.

Mindful eating involves paying attention to the process of eating in the present moment, on purpose, and without judgment. This involves eliminating all distractions and then directing your attention to the process of eating by noticing food colors, texture, and chewing with awareness. For many, binge eating is a routine tendency or an emotional response to dealing with unpleasant feelings. Mindful eating can train the mind and body to sit in discomfort and become an observer of those feelings. It also supports digestion, which is critical to the overall wellbeing of the body, since 70% of the body’s immune system dwells in the digestive track. It takes approximately 20 minutes for the body to experience satiety or fullness, as digestion encompasses a complex series of hormonal signals between the nervous system and the gut.

A growing body of research suggests that mindful eating can lead to weight loss and healthier food choices, such as choosing to eat food in a natural rather than processed state. Researchers at Indiana State and Duke University conducted a study of mindful eating techniques to treat binge eating. The results showed a decline in depression, binging, and the need to control eating.

6 Steps to Mindful Eating

Eating mindfully can be as challenging as motivating the mind and body to engage in physical activity after sitting dormant on the sofa for years. It requires persistence and a willingness to embrace the belief that the “pain” of sitting quietly for 20 minutes is worth the gain. Half of the battle involves educating yourself about the benefits and you are doing this now!

 Follow these tips to get started:
  1. Embrace Mindfulness – Believe mindfulness is a component to forming healthy eating habits. We generally consume 3 meals per day and committing to bringing awareness to just 1 may seem overwhelming. You must remember your motivation for making this a habit when the days are long and busy. Most days already appear limited in time.
  2. Set Timer - Set your phone or kitchen timer to 20 minutes to eat a normal sized meal. Start with 10 minutes and work up to 20, if needed.
  3. Get Centered - Sit quietly for a few minutes to center yourself as you notice the natural flow of your breath. Begin lengthening and deepening the breath so that your inhale and exhale are of equal length. I recommend counting to ten. One on the inhale, two on the exhale, three on the inhale, and so on. Return to one and start again without judgment if the mind wanders.
  4. Engage Senses - With your full plate take a moment to notice the color, texture, and scent of the food as if you are viewing it for the first time.
  5. Acknowledge Food Prep Process - Practice gratitude or say a prayer thanking those who prepared the food. Acknowledge what it took to produce the food, from the sunshine to the farmer to the trucker to the grocer and the cook.
  6. Slow Down – When you feel you are eating too slow, eat slower! Take small bites, chew well, and resist the urge to swallow immediately. Try eating with the opposite hand or chopsticks.

Be Patient
The idea for living a more mindful life seems simple enough: Return your awareness again and again without judgment to whatever is going on. While it may seem simple, it can be extremely challenging to remove the mind chatter. You WILL have thoughts, so release any expectations and be patient and kind with yourself. By practicing just a few minutes of awareness with today’s meal, you are a step ahead from where you were yesterday. It’s easy to return to multitasking and rushing through a meal feeling that your time could be efficiently spent elsewhere. Nothing, I say NOTHING, is more important than taking care of the divine vessel known as your body. By devoting just 20 minutes a meal even once per day to practicing mindfulness, you are taking optimal care of yourself. Those you love will also benefit, as you are able to take better care of their needs. 

Honor your small victories and make mindfulness eating a healthy habit!


Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.

Mindfulness? With 70,000 Thoughts Per Day?

Mindfulness? With 70,000 Thoughts Per Day?

Have you ever spent your time driving somewhere and barely remembering the journey or exactly how you arrived to your destination? This happens frequently and I find it VERY challenging to drive in silence. For many, driving is often consumed with other activities ranging from daydreaming, listening to music, entertaining children, talking, texting, flossing, Facebook status updating, applying makeup, reading directions, and so on. Even when the illusion of silence appears present, the mind is drifting away into the past or future. Researchers at UCLA’s Nuero Imaging Lab suggest we have approximately 70,000 thoughts per day. How do we calm the mind and focus in a fast-faced world with all of the demands, expectations, and advances in technology? Many behavioral therapists and post-traumatic stress counselors recommend practicing mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment fully without judgment or criticism. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere at anytime, whether you are performing a daunting task or observing your breath. Through continued practice, mindfulness can aid in weight loss, reducing stress, enhancing emotional intelligence, lowering blood pressure/cholesterol, and has been proven to increase overall levels of happiness.

3 Steps to Mindfulness
Mindfulness involves paying attention in a particular way:
  1. On purpose –When you are actively cultivating awareness on purpose, the mind will appear overly active or feelings of boredom may arise. Sit through the feelings and notice as an observer. Set a phone timer for three minutes and an intention to stay present to your breath or surroundings.
  2. Paying attention to the moment – This is a state of active awareness where the senses are engaged to fully experience the present moment. The mind may consistently dwell in the past or future without your attention anchored to the present moment. While practicing mindfulness, allow thoughts to repel away before a stream of thoughts creates a story; thus pulling you away from your practice.
  3. Without judgment – Judgments are opinions we have learned and many are often formed from our childhood where we assign a meaning or label to everything as we learn a language. Paying attention without judgment is the tricky part as our thought patterns revert to auto programming. As you begin to refine this skillset, you will become less judgmental with your self and others.

Into Practice
Mindfulness is like a muscle in that it must be constantly exercised in order to expand. You may practice mindfulness at any time of the day and it can become especially helpful when completing routine tasks such as laundry, dishes, driving, or being present to what you may label as a boring moment. As you bring awareness to the present moment, tasks become more enjoyable and easier to complete with acceptance.

Stay tuned for mindfulness techniques, including an exercise on mindful eating, as more thoughtful eating can support healthier eating habits!

Go nuts for your health!

Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.

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5 Common Yoga Mistakes


5 Common Yoga Mistakes

My yoga practice has to come to mean different things to me over the years. Initially I started practicing yoga for the work “out” and now I practice for the work “in”. Here are some things that I have learned along the way:

Unconsciously Holding Your Breath
Your breath helps to control and maintain the life force moving throughout your body. It is through deep and continuous breathing that fresh oxygen travels into  your body cleansing the blood and oxygenating your muscles. The breath also works as a powerful connector to your asana; helping to keep you feel strong throughout your practice as toxins are being chiseled out of the hidden crevices in your body.

Comparing Yourself to Others
Your yoga practice is all about you. This is your time to take care of yourself, discover new amazing things about yourself and to be down right selfish. Don’t waste your time comparing your practice to someone else's because if you are really practicing yoga, you know that your practice is not a competition. Join the swim team or run a marathon if that’s what you’re looking for.  Improve your own strength and flexibility by practicing asana everyday.

Ok, I’m going to let you in on another little secret... no one, on this entire planet, is like you.  You are totally and completely unique; right down to the structure of your bones which meeeaaaansss that sometimes flexibility has nothing to with whether or not you can do a posture like the person practicing next to you or the woman featured on the cover of Yoga Journal. My hip structure is such that I will not ever be able to samakonasana (better known as the same angle splits) and I've made peace with that.  So, bone structure not withstanding, the moral of the story is don’t steal from yourself by placing your precious energy on someone else's practice. Focus on you and only you.

Zoning Out
It is easy to zone out and start thinking about everything from feeding the dog to paying the bills when you’re not staying present during your asana practice. But we have to remember that yoga is a moving meditation. In fact, yoga postures were incorporated thousands of years ago  because the monks and gurus were tired of having stiff joints and muscles. How in the world could they be expected to meditate for hours upon hours with an aching body?! So if you think about it,  yoga is intended to be more of an “inner” work out than it is an “outter”work out. 
Learning how to stay present in your practice is cultivated over time. I am an avid Bikram Yoga practitioner and I admit that it was (and, depending on the day, sometimes still is) difficult to contend with the sweating, itching, and heat of the room while holding a one minute posture. I had to train my mind to stay focused by gazing deep into my own eyes in the mirror and focusing on my breath. This helped to tame the wild horses in my brain and now I can enjoy my practice at a deeper level.

If you don’t have a mirror to peer into as you’re practicing, find a focal point or “drishti” directly in front of you, hold a soft gaze, and try not to avert your eyes or blink while in the posture. Next, focus on your breathing by repeating this mantra silently: “Breathing in,  I know that I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out.” Your breath should be in rhythm with the words.  Integrate these simple tips into your daily asana and see how much more present and balanced your practice becomes. The really great thing is that you can use these tips just as easily off the mat to enjoy a more present and balanced life!

Letting Your Belly Hang Out
Letting your belly hang out during your practice can wreak havoc on your lower back. Set an intention to keep your belly sucked in and your tail bone tucked under to maintain a strong core throughout your practice. There are some postures, such as back bends, in which you don’t have to hold in the belly. In most cases, it is best to remember that a strong core requires a sucked in belly.

Short Changing Your Savasana
I used to short change my savasana  all the time. I felt like I was ready to conquer the world  after an amazing asana practice and the last thing I wanted to do was lay on my mat in stillness for ten minutes. I have learned so much since my early days of yoga. I smile when I think of my old ways: laying in savasana impatiently; a hundred things running through my head. Now I feel powerful when I’m laying on my mat. This is a time of restoration and reintegration. The heart rate slows, the breath is rhythmic as it  flows in and out of the body. Our lives are often so full of wonderful chaos and laundry lists of things to do; it is okay to give yourself a moment to just lay on your mat and enjoy the fact that at that moment you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

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Can Gratitude Really Contribute to My Health?

Can Gratitude Really Contribute to My Health?

A few days ago, I started my morning in a very perturbed mindset. I was frantically running out the door late for an appointment and spilled my entire smoothie onto my freshly ironed clothes, the car door, and the garage floor. I soon noticed that the car tire was flat, and within minutes, my carefully planned day had changed. I had four important appointments scheduled and all had canceled for valid reasons. Granted, nothing tragic  happened and for that I was grateful. I knew I needed to hit the “reset” button on my Tuesday morning.
I had just read about the power and healing in practicing gratitude. I certainly was not in the mindset of being thankful; in fact, I wanted to slug someone. I knew my perspective needed to shift before the day declined further. I started to mentally list everything I was grateful for starting with the very basics of food, shelter, and comfort of loved ones. As I continued this throughout the day, I replaced negativity and complaining with positive statements. Initially, this was not easy, but I slowly became aware of the self-defeating thoughts, challenged them, and everything shifted! I began to relax around the shoulders and felt a sense of calm. The day suddenly became more manageable.
Research shows that practicing gratitude makes people more resilient, strengthens relationships, improves health, reduces stress, and actually makes people happier. Emmons says that those who practice grateful thinking "reap emotional, physical and interpersonal benefits." People who regularly keep a gratitude journal report fewer illness symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole, and are more optimistic about the future. He concludes that gratitude is a choice, one possible response to our life experiences. *
I invite you to bring gratitude into your week by taking a moment to mentally acknowledge something you are thankful for in your day. Maybe you do this right now or practice gratefulness during a designated time like right before eating or before going to bed. We are likely not happy with more, until we are happy with what we have. Gratitude shifts our focus from what life lacks to the gifts that are already present knowing we are always provided with everything we need. Find a gratitude accountability partner and make it a healthy habit.

 “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” Willie Nelson

With Love,

 How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier (Emmons, 2007).

Light on B-12: What It Is and Why You Need It

Light on B-12 Vitamins: What is B-12 and why do you need it?

The fear of not consuming enough B12 is a common concern for people who are thinking about making the switch to a plant-based diet.  The collective misconception is that B12 can only be obtained by consuming animal-based products, which, needless to say, puts vegetarians and vegans at a disadvantage. Alas, that is only a misconception and you will be happy to know that both carnivores and herbivores can enjoy an adequate supply of B12 from their food.
Here’s the scoop: neither plants nor animals are capable of producing B12. Bacteria, yup that’s right, microorganisms are responsible for the production of B12. Plants are only a source of B12 if they are inhabited by these microorganisms or are grown in soil that is fortified with vitamin B12.  Alternately, when animals ingest plants contaminated by microorganisms, the bacterium spreads and then grows freely in the guts of the animal thus making their bodies a source of B12.

What is B-12 and why do you need it?
B12 is essential for optimal health as it aids in cell division, blood formation, DNA synthesis, neurological communication and proper nervous system functionality. It also plays a vital role in the   growth and development of children.
On the flip side, all kinds of things can go awry when the body experiences a deficiency of B12. Symptoms of deficiency include: numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, poor muscular coordination, nerve damage, mental slowness, loss of menstruation, impotence and mild depression. There are a slew of other symptoms, but I think you get the point.  

A Little B12 Goes a Long Way
The human body is capable of storing between 2 and 5 milligrams of vitamin B12 as it excretes very little each day. So in essence, stores of B12 can last for several years in the liver.  Even still, deficiency can occur if B12 is not replenished.  If you are not concerned about a deficiency, doctors recommend a sublingual, chewable, or liquid B12 methylcobalamin supplement with at least 2,500 mcg once or twice per week to maintain required levels in the body. You don’t have to worry about taking too much because, like other vitamins, you will simply excrete any extra amounts. If you are concerned about vitamin B12 deficiency it’s best to make an appointment with your physician.

Sources of B12
As previously stated, minimal quantities of B12 is needed to avoid deficiency. While meat, fish eggs, and dairy products are sources of B12, one need not be a carnivore to enjoy the benefits of B12. Nutritional yeast is yellow in color and has a flavor reminiscent of cheese. The best part is that it contains 7.8 mcg per serving; that’s 136% of the recommended daily value. As a side note, nutritional yeast also contains 9.6 mg of B6, 240 mcg of Foliate, and 56.0 mcg of Niacin! Nutritional yeast is grown on a molasses solution and differs from brewer’s yeast and torula yeast- both of which I have intolerances to. I am happy to report that I have noted no reaction to nutritional yeast and enjoy sprinkling this cheesy flavored goodness on salads and anything else I deem worthy. So if you are not currently using it, I recommend purchasing some pronto. You can find nutritional yeast at stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods.  Onto plant power. There is evidence to support that organically grown plants contain higher levels of B12 than plants grown in non-organic soil. That’s not all; the roots of plants can absorb the vitamins produced by microorganisms in the soil making the leaves of the plants rich in B12 as well as other nutritious vitamins. Other options for including this important B vitamin in your diet are fortified non-dairy milks and cereals containing B12. 

Tempeh, miso, and sea vegetables have also been shown to contain small amounts of B12.  Last but not least a B12 vitamin supplement is an easy way to put deficiency worries to rest.
Increasing your awareness about your health and the foods, vitamins, and minerals that promote health is the beginning of a new lease on life. Meeting your daily nutrient needs can be easy and more importantly, tasty. Stay tuned for more insights and recipes as you embark on your journey to vitality. 

Go Nuts for your Health!



Improve Digestion in 5 Easy Steps

5 Steps to Better Digestion 

Since making yoga and nutrition a fundamental part of my life, I have become privy to “insider secrets” like how seldom some folks are actually able to enjoy a proper bowel movement. I hear more and more people coming out of the closet and murmuring about their digestive issues and inability to poop. The word “poop” is usually said in a lower tone than the rest of the sentence as if a bad word were being said. What’s interesting though, is that most people I speak to about this matter seem unusually grateful to have someone to talk to about their bowel movements.

The truth is that people want help with their stinky little secret. They don’t want to feel like they are carrying around a two pound baby in their belly that they can never give birth to. People want to sit down to eat a meal and not have to worry about being backed up from it. Bottom line: everyone wants to poop…unfortunately not everyone is willing to make the necessary changes in their diet to make that happen as often as they would like.  Read on for tips to help you jump start your engine!

Start your morning off with a cup of warm water and lemon. While you don’t want the water to scald your tongue, a little steam coming off the top is good.  The warmth of the water will help to stimulate the flow of digestive fluids in your body. The lemon alkalizes the body, provides you with a dose of vitamin C and promotes absorption of nutrients by 5%. Follow the warm cup of water with at least 1 liter of room temperature water over the next 45 minutes to prepare for your morning cup of juice.  Strive to drink at least 128 ounces, or one gallon, of water throughout the rest of the day.

A “Not Yo Mama’s Green Juice” or an “Agni Power” juice are great for breaking your fast in the morning.
Both juicing and blending your veggies help aid in digestion and also helps the body to assimilate the nutrients it needs for other important bodily functions. Blending will help you to stay full longer while juicing will allow you to consume larger quantities of fruits and veggies for optimal vitamin uptake! For best results: all juices should be drunk on an empty stomach to maximize nutrient assimilation.

You have heard it said before but the truth is that adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet will help you move the caboose along the track. Plant foods offer two forms of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Put simply, soluble gives you that “full feeling” while insoluble aids in digestion and keeps the bowel movements regular. Legumes, fruits, and oats are examples of soluble fiber while insoluble fiber can be found in whole grains and vegetables. Adding ground flax seeds to your smoothies each morning or kidney beans to your salad in the afternoon is a great way to get that train choo-chooing again!    

Food combination has to do with the body’s chemistry and the digestive enzymes needed to breakdown the various foods we eat. I’m going to try not to get too technical but this is important stuff to know; especially if you want to optimize your digestion. An acidic environment is needed for proteins to digest while starches like rice and pasta require an alkaline environment. When these two foods are eaten together the stomach releases enzymes to accommodate digestion but guess what happens?  The digestive enzymes are neutralized when combined and no digestion occurs. The food just sits there in your stomach, fermenting and putrefying resulting in that awesome smell we love so much: gas.
I realize that not eating beans and rice or spaghetti and meatballs may seem contrary to your eating habits but when we are honest with ourselves we can see that poor digestion is directly connected with the foods we eat and the way in which we eat it. Don’t be afraid to let go of old habits even if they are rooted in cultural traditions or because it’s the way you have eaten so long. You wouldn't be reading this article if you were not ready for a change; so just go for it!

Animal protein takes a longer time to digest and if you are not actively following step four and combining your food properly, the meat you eat can putrefy in your belly. Point to consider: research shows that animal protein can also contribute to smellier bowel movements. That’s not as important in the bigger scheme of things but I thought I would share that tidbit.   

It is important to follow all of these steps if you want to promote healthy digestion. If, for example, you chose to just juice but decided not to combine your food and ate a diet heavy in animal protein, you may potentially cause more damage to your body than if you had not juiced at all. This is because juicing helps to cleanse the blood and the body by dislodging toxins. If those toxins are not removed via defecation because the colon is clogged up, the toxins are released back into the body further polluting the environment; making it ripe for disease. So you can see why this is such an important issue. This leads us to the next frequently asked question: How often should I poop?

There are many different views about how often a person should have a bowel movement. Some doctors say once or twice time a day is healthy, others say three to four times a week. In Ayurveda, an ancient system of healing, it is believed that having at least one well-endowed poop a day is indicative of a healthy digestive system. I tend to agree with that latter and believe that daily bowl movements can be achieved when you combine a well-balanced plant based diet with plentiful amounts of water each day.   

Thanks for reading and remember:

Go NUTS for your health because you are worth it!