Saturday, December 27, 2008

Quick and Easy Weight is Normal

Recently I had a friend of mine get more interested in what I teach. Her husband was out of town for a month. (It is common in Hollywood to be working on a film out of town for many was the case here.) She had added in some whole grain for breakfast and found some quick and easy weight loss. Her husband spoke with her on the phone many times a day and he was teasing her that she was being drawn in. He said something about "We'll have normal food when I get home though right." My mother has similarly called my whole foods diet "not what we eat.", "Your kind of cuisine" and other derogatory comments to eating brown rice instead of white or having hot cereal instead of something processed, sweetened and badly in need of liquid coming straight out of a box with a shelf life of many years.

When did real food become different? How is it that instant is more important than health? An apple is pretty instant but it isn't as revered as a bar loaded with sweeteners, fat and less energy? Salad is about as far as whole anything that many people ever get. It is limited to not only a small side but usually the options of salad for many are a little lettuce, maybe a carrot or tomato and a whole lot of dressing.

All I'm really doing is expanding the amounts of vegetables, whole grains, beans etc. that we have to enjoy for most people. Finding inexhaustible new twists to make it all more fun. My mom likes to have her same dozen or so meals that she knows how to do over and over and over. A new twist ought to be more than finding the latest item in the frozen or instant section of a supermarket.

It's sad to me now that I find so much health, freedom and fun from eating what is considered a new way. (Really it's about as old as it gets for humans with higher thinking.) The sad part being that it can be so threatening to some people. That what they eat is so tightly wound up with their identity of who they are that they are not open to trying a cabbage salad other than Cole slaw or that there are more greens besides lettuce. They don't give quinoa a try until their favorite restaurant serves it up and think healthy breakfast means grape nuts or granola instead of the myriad possibilities with the many whole grains.

It used to be common to take the polenta from dinner and fry it up for breakfast and add a fruit syrup on top. Millet works wonderfully the same way with even more health benefits. Putting on a pot of beans or rice or both was no big deal a hundred years ago or so. It can be even more simple today. You don't need to start the fire. The time it took to cook can easily be used to do other things as it doesn't need babysitting.

With so many people not only being overweight, but wrecking their health getting diabetes, that leads to blindness or kidney failure or dropping dead from heart disease or even just the need for anti-depressants from failure to nourish ones self on every level, there is definitely a need to get back to "My kind of food". It works. It's simple. And best of all, it tastes great.

Get a new idea about how much time things take or what you are willing to make, eat, order or buy. Eating better is worth being a little different for now. It's soon going to be back in vogue anyway. It's cheaper than Botox or surgery. You can kiss your prescriptions good bye. And remember my friend. She only dabbles and gets to be the size she was in high school or even skinnier.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's Okay to Change Your Mind

Yesterday I was determined to go back and return a purchase that I bought. I had been to the store once already that morning. Frustrated with the salesman's lack of human emotion as he couldn't seem to see that with Internet pricing these days there has to be some more service in customer service. He said he would see what he could do about waving the fee and returning my money as it was policy to only give store credit on returns, when I spoke to him for about the 3rd time on the phone that day. I was angry at this inane store policy and ready to fight. Then I realized that perhaps I might want to keep the purchase after all, but I wasn't sure. I texted a friend who knows far more about camera equipment than I do. Hey it was still a brand new lens with box, packing materials and all. I marched up to the bus stop, got on the bus and headed East for the second time that day. She texted back. It wasn't enough information. I texted again. I was halfway or more to my Hollywood destination and in Beverly Hills when I knew I was keeping the lens, even before I got her answer. I got off the bus. Walked a few feet, and got on another bus to go back home.

How this relates to food is that so often when we make a decision we think we have to stick to it. I know I have had the experience of taking more food than I really needed and eating it anyway. Or making something and not really wanting it after all. (That doesn't happen often.) The point is okay to change your mind. It's okay to say, oh I thought I wanted all of this but I really don't. Or to have just a little and leave the rest. Or to put what you just made away and make something else and look forward to the first creation tomorrow. Everything is adjustable but many have learned to make a choice and stick with it even when it is hurtful. Meals go by one by one fairly quickly and there are always more. What habits have you been creating that you might want to change now? Where have you been eating too much or too little? Where does junk or chocolate substitute for a meal? It's okay to change your mind. Change in the middle of the eating. Just put it down and let it go. This might seem really odd at first. Hey, getting off the bus and letting go of my mission yesterday felt odd. It also felt exhilarating, liberating and free. I really don't know where my new camera interest is leading me. It doesn't matter. I'm having fun and learning and growing every step of the way. Using our lives to become more of who we want to be has that effect. Plus it's okay to change your mind and go in a new direction anytime.

Friday, December 19, 2008

What is Enough?

What is enough? People often ask me how much to eat. They want specifics. 1/2 cup of this, 1 ounce of that, be sure to eat broccoli on Tuesdays and have your burdock chopped on the diagonal while facing north. I am not big on specifics. I really don't care if you eat your broccoli or if you ever enjoy fresh burdock. I am interested that you know how incredibly strengthening burdock is for us. How it can cleanse the blood and is added to just about every Chinese remedy for its enhancement to our well being. How broccoli can give you more calcium than milk and all the fun ways to enjoy it from being simmered in a sweet and savory white sauce or quickly sauteed with garlic and tossed with pasta, in a casserole or how about broccoli bisque with red pepper cream?

It seems to me that when we are having fun and enjoying our lives than the questions of how much become much more simple. Eat until you are lightly full. Watch for the sigh that comes from your stomach filling up with food. Your own body will gladly tell you when to stop stuffing in more. Are you listening is a whole other thing.

The art of listening to yourself and allowing the trust to develop, that you do know best, can be something like a tangled ball of string that needs a little unraveling. It takes practice. It takes letting go of the anger that might come up as you find out what hunger is. Hunger is not an enemy. So often I see people misinterpret being tired, bored, unhappy or all kinds of things for hunger. They look for something to grab and soothe themselves.

That is where you get to make your own rules. Do you eat three meals a day? Do you have snacks that you feel good about? If you know there is the next meal coming can you wait? What are the rules you set up for yourself and are they in line with what you would like? Thin people acknowledge their hunger. A little hunger doesn't scare them and they either get a snack if it will be a long time before the next meal or just wait. When you are busy and happy a little hunger usually goes unnoticed. While waiting too long sets us up to over eat, it is that listening and learning what level your hunger is and if it is true hunger at all. How much can your stomach comfortably hold and are you willing to maybe allow yourself a little less to feel better, look better and have more energy?

Then come the specific foods too. Animal foods will be more filling and more acid forming so how often you eat them will be one of those things you get to learn what is right for you. Only you can really decide what is enough of anything. I can lead you to make choices that support you. I can offer guidelines to play with. Ultimately what is enough is completely in your control. Play with that at every opportunity to consume food and see what occurs.

Monday, December 15, 2008

2 parts Rye Flakes 1 part Teff

I've been enjoying rye flakes cooked into cereal for the last few mornings. I was down to just the last bit of rye and I had a tiny amount of teff left. Teff is the smallest grain in the world. I just love the ivory teff cooked up to be somewhat like cream of wheat. I tossed the two of them into a pot with a couple cups of boiling water. I had maybe 1/2 C. of grain. It simmered up to be absolutely delightful. Of course a little flax oil always makes me happy. A little Apple compote never even touched the bowl. I ate it first. The flavor, texture and level of being full was far superior to either grain by themselves.

Now was it this new combo of grains first thing in the morning or something else that made the day great? I will never know. I had an incredible day of being calm, focused and satiated throughout the hours. I read recently that eating whole grains consistently does far more than simply nourish the body. They act on the psyche and spirit as well. Perhaps that is true. Perhaps it was just a magical day. Try some yourself and see.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Heart Healthy Waffles

I'm very full. I just enjoyed a fun, quick, Saturday morning waffle breakfast. I thought I might want a muffin. I took the package of wild organic frozen blueberries I had in my freezer from Trader Joes and put it in the fridge last night to defrost. I thought of making the muffins, perhaps giving some to my neighbors or freezing the leftovers that would be made. Waffles though kept coming to mind. Waffles sounded more like what I really wanted. Not a cake texture that muffins are. I wanted a crisp on the outside, soft and light on the inside, waffle. I lacked the right ingredients for traditional waffles but luckily I had come up with a flax seed batter years ago. I had been dating a man who was extremely encouraging of my experiments. He had a bad case of Candida along with other ailments so he was limited in what he felt safe eating. These waffles were a welcome treat for him. They were today for me. So simple to make, and exactly fit my mood. I put some blueberries in half but I still like plain the best. See what you think and let me know....
Heart Healthy Waffles
Without the eggs or baking powder traditionally used in waffles, these are simply good for everybody. Use what ever flour or combination that you like. We used brown Teff flour and Oat flour for a very hearty and almost chocolate like flavor. Spelt flour creates a lighter more traditional waffle. Add cinnamon, fruits, nuts or any of your other favourite waffle additions.

2 Cups flour
2 Cups Vanilla soy or rice milk
3+ Tablespoons flax seeds (we used the golden flax seeds)
1/4 Cup safflower oil
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
Optional add 2 T. brown rice syrup and 2tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the milk, flax seeds and oil in a blender. Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the flax and milk mixture to the flour and stir with a whisk. The batter will be thick. Pour some of the batter onto the waffle iron and cook for about five minutes. (The steam usually lets up when waffles are ready.)

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Friday, December 12, 2008

How often do our thoughts trick us into thinking things that are simply not true? This morning I woke up ready for breakfast. I am usually hungry in the morning. I had some rye flakes for cereal and I cooked up and apple with cinnamon. It didn't look like much. I kept thinking I need more food, this isn't enough and similar untrue ideas. It was cold in my apartment so the hot food felt great. I sat with my little bowl enjoying the flavors and textures and warmth. After a few bites I realized I had plenty of food. The old "eyes bigger than stomach" routine that used to get me to overeat at many a meal was trying to fool me.

The vast majority of people that populate much of the western world seem to be overeating. Granted they are eating foods that are not conducive to health, vitality or being slender, often as well. It's easy to eat to capacity or beyond for a lot of folks. I do also know people who absolutely hate that full feeling. They are thin. They hardly ever eat too much. They don't mind being hungry. Plus they do know that there will be food available when they need or want it.

Many clients who come to me want to be given the "right" amounts to be eating but since that is impossible to really know for any individual I like to give them guides as to how the food works, what to recognize as true hunger and true full signals and such. I was laughing at myself this morning though realizing that there is an element I teach that even I can easily push away. The listening to old tapes in my head.

We all have them. The tricksters that keep us safely who we believe ourselves to be. Is it true? If you decide it is than sure, but only you can decide for yourself who you will be. In every moment you have the opportunity to shift and be who you would like to be being. Sometimes it is not so easy. The hunger seems so real. My own hunger this morning had more to do with trying to cover up other feelings I wanted to ignore than needed any more food. Our core fears lurking somewhere in the depths of our minds come up with fantastically intricate ways to keep themselves alive. They are very fun to discover and dissolve as I did in an instant of a thought and bing! I was comfortably satisfied and on with my day. Hurray for insights, tools and the gifts of coaching.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why Weight?

So often people with some weight they want to shed simply wait this time of year. They wait to gain more weight and wait to shed it after the Holidays because there is some insidious idea that waiting is the way to go, only usually that ends in weighing more and waiting more.

The collective problem seems to ensure a gradual but never ending desire for a change that never happens. If you want to finally let go of those pounds. Do it right now, while you enjoy the Holidays and after. You know you get to create some new habits so those pounds don't multiply again. You know that a few changes are in order for the transformation of you to occur. One of the best gifts you can give yourself and everyone you love is to start the journey to who you really want to be RIGHT NOW. Not later. Not when it's safe, okay and everything else has worked itself out. Everything will never be alllllllllllll worked out. If you eat for your emotions, there will always be emotions to feel. If you eat because there is food in front of you then the Holidays are a good time to start learning new habits and enjoy the people and places more than the foods. Let yourself create a new relationship with food instead of a love/hate feeling bad about how tight those Holiday clothes feel or what shirt/skirt/top/dress or jacket will cover up and hide the body part you are most embarrassed to show.

The fantastic thing about eating quality whole foods is that you really can eat more and still lose weight. It works even better and faster if you allow your thinking to shift right along with your tastebuds. The dynamic duel I have cultivated for my own coaching practice packs a powerful push towards having the life you thought you could only dream about. So what's your dream? You can have that for yourself right now. Just begin. What would it be like to spend Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanza... feeling lighter, happier, more slender with more energy and better health than you had at Thanksgiving? Take a step and see.
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Organic is Not Enough

Organic is wonderful. I'll just start by saying that. I'm all for it and love that more restaurants are opening up featuring all organic food. The food tastes better and has more nutrients when it is organic, but that doesn't mean anything and everything organic is healthy! Organic coffee is still coffee to over stimulate you and wear out your adrenals making you even more tired and toxic than ever. Organic dairy is still dairy to clog your intestinal tract making it more and more difficult for you to ever absorb any nutrients. You'll get way more calcium eating dark greens. Have broccoli with dinner instead or a marinated salad with kale. And with all the various names of organic can sugar, they try to tell you see it is a healthy candy, cookie, bar or cake when that sugar is still from the cane, concentrated and packs a whopping punch to your system. Impairing your immune function for up to 6 hours, draining your energy and messing with your blood sugar that can lead to future breakdown like diabetes or heart disease....

What I would so love to see are more restaurants brave enough to serve not just organic but truly healthier fare. M cafe had people lined up out the door when they opened because the food was not just good but people felt better and found they could eat more, stay feeling good and even stay slender eating sweets and treats. M is macrobiotic in the best sense. It's not the clunky, granola type of brown rice serving establishments. It's modern and lovely food. I do wish they had another restaurant with a nicer setting and table service with the same standards to the food.

It's the standards that you choose that will create your well being and aliveness. Organic is a great distinction because it is choosing to say stop putting chemicals in my food with every dollar you spend on organic instead of pesticide/hormone laden crops or chops. Taking that one step further and understanding that each item you take in will have an effect and do you want that effect or not. All food used to be organic. Go even further back and it was fairly unprocessed. It's time to blend modern living with eating that supports us instead of destroys our well being. Organic is not enough, it's just the beginning.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Last of the Jujubes

I was eating jujubes to my hearts content this morning. The fruit, not the candy that comes in a box. Jujubes are a Chinese date. They are good for the liver amongst other things, and I just love them fresh, crunchy and sweet. They are a mild sweetness with a touch of sour too. But it is the end of their short season and many are not so crunchy but still good. There is just something about jujubes at the start of the six weeks that they are around for, I just can not get enough. Picking them out one by one at the farmers market from a bin. Everyone I've stood near, while we select our fruit, talks of how addictive they can be. Today it was an older Chinese woman with a cute tinge of an accent. She seemed to know jujubes like a cousin that comes to visit year after year. We don't buy the dried ones that are always available at this particular stand. We look forward to September or October when the first batch of little brown oval jujubes appear. Thinking of recipes I could use them in, she too said, those ideas never get realized. The fruits barley ever seeing the cool dark cavern of the refrigerator because they get eaten so quickly. It's very hard not to eat them right there while picking out the ones for our individual bags. She agreed, and laughing in the common theme of jujube eaters. When the end of their visit is here though, I've usually eaten plenty. I feel satiated instead of sad seeing them go. I do not miss them when they are gone because there are so many other fruits to move on to here. Next I'll be sampling sapotes or ripening persimmons to freeze and eat like ice cream treats. I also have apples, oranges, strawberries, oh California bursts with beautiful fruits all year long. When I finally leave this little Santa Monica oasis I may need to fly back once a year and pick up some jujubes or relish the memory of today, where I am enjoying the delicate taste and crunch. I'm sure where ever I will go there will some local fun odd fruits to discover. I'm ever amazed at what grows....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Remembering the Mint

I realize it was just Monday I was eating that cod, and here it is only Wednesday and I just enjoyed another incredible fast and simple sea food supper. Ahh well it was wonderful. I had scallops from a little Japanese grocery store that were sashimi grade but I did pan fry them. They were just about the sweetest more delectable scallops I've ever had and they were less money than the sea food store. I had bought some Japanese eggplant at the farmers market this morning so I wanted to do something with them. I decided to make a Japanese meal of it and simmer the sliced eggplants in a sweet soy sauce mixture. I tasted one when the liquid had simmered away and I was not so happy with my improvised creation. Then I remembered I had bought some fresh mint. I tore off some leaves and sprinkled them into the eggplant mixture. It was just what was needed. All of a sudden the dish had more sweetness and depth and tasted terrific. It was lovely sitting next the bright white scallops that had a hint of lemon on them and I had a side of collards I enjoyed as well. Now I'm going to see how mint leaves pair up with bilberries as an after dinner tea.....
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Easy Savings - Gourmet food at home

My dinner tonight consisted of poached black cod with carrot/apple slaw on top, collard greens in a maple mustard dressing and sweet potato fries. It took exactly 1/2hr to cook from start to finish. I had shared the carrot apple slaw in my last free newsletter, only this time I added a touch of turmeric to the mixture that added something nice especially with the white fish.

In a restaurant this meal could easily have cost over $20 not including drinks and dessert. Currently I'm sipping some rooibos and bilberry tea. and had a little jar of homemade yogurt with strawberry jam mixed in. I probably spent about 1/3 the cost of eating something similar out and was satisfied and can feel great about every ingredient. No hidden costs of then needing something to combat "natural flavorings" that get added in seasonings or most packaged foods. It's a horrible way to sneak some MSG into unsuspecting mouths and causes me to react very poorly even when the amount is small. No ant-acids needed or anti anything because the meal was satisfying, balanced and nourishing. Even all organic.

In fact the amount I have saved from using food for health instead of doctors, prescriptions or over the counter pills is many thousands easily. The cost of learning all I've learned over the years included. Knowing how to quickly and easily create satisfying, delectable, meal after meal that keeps me youthful, slender and well has been invaluable.

Now if you were dining with me, I probably would have also make a quick cornbread or amaranth bread and maybe a different dessert to suit your tastes. Company always inspires me to do a little extra. It's worth it to see the smiles and hear the umms and ahhhhs of satisfaction.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

I was recently in a Bed Bath and Beyond. For being such a giant store I expected it to have a few more choices of brooms. There was only one choice. A lot of brooms. There were brooms from floor to ceiling hanging in groups up a very tall wall. Just one kind of broom, all the same. Then I saw little slippers or flip flops with sort of a sweeper bottom. What fun to slip slide around my floor to clean them. I didn't buy the sweeper bottomed slippers though. I realized, getting in the corners or under the bed would be difficult. I needed the kind of help I trusted. An old fashioned, angular broom that would help me get all the difficult spots.

That is what I like about food and life coaching tools. Getting into those tight spots where it is difficult to go into alone. It can be hard to really see ourselves or use the exact right tool on our own. I find that when I seek help, I often know what the answer is but it takes asking someone outside of myself to either see it or finally hear it.

I love what happens in coaching. There is the client asking for something and there is all of the information and tools I have collected and a third party that we can call Spirit that seems to come through us as well as we collaborate on this persons behalf. Something shifts. Ideas form. Energy emerges. Pretty much all of my clients say they feel better at the end of the session than they did at the beginning and some are 6,000 miles away in some other country talking to me on the phone. In fact, I find working on the phone to often be more powerful since there are less distractions and we can really sink into those corners and dark spots.

I've see clients who allowed for a layer to be lifted off to have absolute miracles occur. One woman was happy to understand more about food and in her first session we cleared a long time knee problem. Then she started to lose the unwanted pounds she had been carrying for years. The miracles started to really happen though when she asked me to help her clear her fears around not having enough money. The first session we did this, she got an unexpected check for $600 from someone she had not heard from in 10 years. The next time we worked with the same obstacle she had $300,000 show up that she would not have gotten but just after the session a lawyer who was taking care of her Aunts estate found some legality that make the difference of her getting the money or it being gone forever and only if they acted within a 2 day time frame. It would have easily been missed according to him, it was just "a fluke" that he caught it. And subsequent sessions that I worked with this woman have brought her even bigger sums than that from unexpected and unconventional sources. It's been amazing to witness what happens when we are willing to not skip those corners and really clean out the limitations.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pleasure and Pain

I think we are supposed to enjoy pleasure and find ways to eliminate pain. It seems only natural. If you are experiencing pain it is telling you there is something to fix. The longer you ignore it, the louder it usually gets.

Let's say you have a pain in your knee. You might first go get a pain reliever like ibuprofen. You take a pill, the pain goes away. Then it comes back. Day after day it starts to get worse. Then you might decide to take more action because it is painful to be in pain. You might recognize that knees are often related to kidneys and you do a kidney cleanse or take herbs and eat foods especially for kidneys like a nice black bean stew, aduki rice and sea vegetable salad. After several days, the pain goes away. Once the pain is gone, you most likely don't think about it much at all. Once it is gone. It is just gone.

I think that is how one woman can have many children. She forgets the pain of the births and remembers instead all of the glorious pleasure of having a new baby. Both men and women are wired to seek out pleasure for the survival of the species. When survival is no longer an issue. The indulgence of pleasure can sometimes bring us back to pain.

Sugar seems one of these (is there a word for this phenomenon?). Sugarcane is sweet. Fruits are generally sweet. Chewing grains and beans more thrall brings out their sweetness and many vegetables too give us a sweet flavor. That is, they have a nice sweetness when our taste buds are acclimated to these sorts of foods.

Industrious man then created processing. Quick, convenient and concentrated with flavors. Flavors that you couldn't even get with traditional cooking because with processing one, could have flavor enhancers or concentrations. It takes approximately three feet of sugar cane to make one teaspoon of sugar. The teaspoon of sugar is very sweet. As we get used to such concentrations, the original cane can taste bland and boring. Fresh fruits become far less enticing as cakes, pies and candies satisfy the desire for this kind of pleasure.

Then eating more processed foods creates more and more acidity, mineral imbalance and disease in the body, creating more and more pains once again. When I ask people to initially start eating simple whole foods they get disgruntled. The food tastes bland to them as they are so used to strong tastes. Then, the more they eat simple foods, the better they become and the health can recover once again. Why wait for the pain? How about starting to reconnect with simple pleasures in each day and the sweetness in life that is freely given.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lift Yourself out of the Ordinary

Have you ever wanted to go to a spa or experience another culture but you didn't want to spend the time or the money? Having a new experience can be uplifting and inspiring. It just doesn't always need to involve a journey to get there. You can have it right in your home too.

Just lifting yourself out of the ordinary can be invigorating. I recently got to join in a 3 day workshop that was just a couple of miles from where I live. I met new people and had an experience. I ate in a restaurant I normally eat at anyway but I experienced it anew as I was having my own little mini 3 day vacation.

This can happen right in your own home. You can create a spa night with friends, taking turns giving treatments or if you feel like indulging further, hire someone to come and give everyone treatments. With food and atmosphere you can go to many places and have some fun experiences that cost little and can be done anytime. It adds a lot to include others so invite some friends or even create a monthly dinner club where you take turns as host.

Get simple things to create atmosphere. If there isn't a party store to go easily, look up how to order things on the Internet. A Caribbean night be as simple as candles, jerk steak or seitan or tofu with an island inspired salad and maybe coconut lime squares for dessert with a game of mankala. Take a Mexican vacation buying or making your own tamales, fajitas, tacos or burritos with salsa, guacamole and chips. Get a CD of Mexican music that you can play in the background and maybe have some steamers around for fun.

Gathering the family around the living room on pillows can make for a fun Japanese sushi night. Place the food on a coffee table and serve small bowls of miso soup and a variety of easy rolls. You could buy frozen appetizers to go along with the sushi rolls so that you need not fry anything yourself or if you feel inclined, make some tempura. I like simple rolls like avocado with shredded carrot and cucumber or broiled salmon with cucumber, stir fry fillings with avocado. Invent your own or make fillings and let everyone take turns rolling up the rolls. Cut them all into bite sized pieces and place on plates for all to share.

The more elements you use to create a new atmosphere, such as using a different room to eat in, music, decor, along with the food, the more it will feel like a satisfying experience. Remember to let others share in the work too. Don't feel that you must be clean-up crew if you just cooked. Allow others to pitch in so that you all feel like you contributed and got something too.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Extraordinary Ume

I love when things can used for more than one purpose or just having the right tool for the job. Things that work well. That's what Ume is in the kitchen or medicine chest. These ancient Japanese wonders work surprisingly well for many things. Upset tummy. Use Ume. Hangover. Ume to the rescue. Skin rashes - ume often helps. Indigestion, colds, flu, or just feeling run down - ume, ume ume can make you feel better.

I find them to taste horrible because I'm not such a fan of the sourness and salty is hardly what I was raised with. My medicines were sugar coated. Ume plums are picked green and then pickled with a red beefsteak leaf that turns them a strong dark pink color. Be sure you are getting the real deal and not something dyed.

Outside of the U.S. pickled foods are much more common because they help us digest our food. (think sauerkraut with bratwurst....) Somehow we forgot this traditional wisdom and have created shelves of digestive aids from tums to tagament and every antacid in between. What would be even better than synthetic sips from an Rx bottle is the simple traditionally made Ume in all it's various forms.

Umeboshi pickled plums go farther than any pickle has gone before. They are antibacterial but seem to be able to destroy the bad bacteria while keeping the good. You can also get Ume concentrate that doesn't have any salt. It works well as a tea with all the same medicinal gifts. There are little portable Ume plum balls in packs for the pocket or purse and then the brine leftover from making the plums is sold as Ume Vinegar. This is wonderful to use in cooking. Not as strong medicinally but it is alkaline and not acid like other vinegars you've tried.

In fact, using Umeboshi in cooking adds great flavor, strength and prevents troubles before they start. I like the flavor much better when melded in with other things. It's strong by itself. Keep them on hand all the time so when you feel out of sorts you can quickly right yourself right from your own kitchen!!!

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Monday, October 13, 2008

I've been listening to Dr. Hu Len this weekend. He is fun to listen to and a great reminder of how we see what we are being. If it is in our experience than it is really coming from inside of us. Some of my first teachers of behavior taught this. The part they did not explain well was how to do anything about it.

Now in my own coaching I hear students lament about their diets, their ailments, their weight and just about everything else in their lives. When I ask them to make a list of things that make them happy or things they enjoy or even good things about themselves, they can not do it. They want to keep looking outside of themselves for entertainment, love, and fulfillment. I was like them.

Hey I grew up in this culture that continually sends us messages to look outside of ourselves. Go get a pill. Go find the answer. Go go go go go. I did go. I continue to search. It seems to come back though to going inside rather than out.

Of course, with food, I need to go and get my food from the outside. What I choose and where I choose though will be dictated by what is going inside of myself. I mentally try on the food before I choose. I check in with my body and what it might need or desire. I think about possible consequences of the food options and I choose what feels best for me at the time. This might sound lengthy but it isn't. How the foods settles will also be influenced by my thoughts. Those unconscious thoughts.

That really is the stuff showing us who we are being. Does someone you know experience people being snooty often? Do you know anyone who seems to always get the short end of the stick? What about someone who seems to have a lot of accidents? You might never experience these things because they are not where your thinking is taking you.

Dr. Len's message is simple. Take responsibility for everything that you see/experience and clean up that inside of yourself that needs the re-wiring. Some is conscious but most is beyond our mind. His tools for cleaning are 4 simple phrases. "I love you. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. and Thank you." This comes from the Hawaiian Ho'o pono pono. While I do not know much about this tradition, I see the value in what he teaches.

I also have the American cultural ideas of - this just sounds too simple to do much. I want to get in and work on the problem. That however could just get me more stuck in the problem like being in mud and spinning my tires to try and get out. If I'm feeling like I get the short end of the stick then working hard will only give me limited results. If I work on loving myself more and apologizing for my wrong thinking that keeps me stuck and then forgiving myself, well, then my efforts can go much farther. I'm playing with it. It's fun and it's easy to do. Try it yourself and let me know your results!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ageless Living

I had heard about aging. I just didn't really consider it happening to me. At least not this soon. Am I really 43? I forget here in the land of youth culture that seems to be the Los Angeles I see. We dress young and if nature is knocking things down, we find various means to keep them up just as long as we can.

For now, I'm grateful that what I learned to save my life, as also saved me from aging. At least not as rapidly as I might have. While I don't necessarily believe those stories about the colonel in Peter Kelder's books as being true, there sure is something to healthy living that puts more spring in ones step and keeps the wrinkles at bay!

Not all whole foods are created equal. If you have been following my teaching at all, you know that I don't mean the chain of grocery stores. Not everything in them is all that healthy. Well, not every vegetable, fruit or whole grain will serve you the same either.

Tomatoes are being touted heavily for their heart enhancing licopene but too much of these high acid spheres and you'll be looking for some botox. While beans and leafy greens just might smooth out the lines that are already forming.

Apples are not just re-hydrating, (lack of hydration can certainly prune you up!) they help to take heavy metals out of the body. When the body is less polluted of course if looks more youthful. Think of how beautiful a brand new babies skin is before toxins start to accumulate.

Whole grains are also great at sweeping out toxins. Hato Mugi barley is a Japanese wonder. Even just adding a small amount in with other grains and your skin will soon be more clear and glowy.

Good quality oils like using some flax oil in your dressings and rice bran oil on the stove will also keep you looking fresh while keeping slender.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Design Your Life

I was just on facebook and saw that one of my friends just quit coffee. While I commend her efforts and perhaps she really has quit - this time. You see, over the many years that I have known her, the quitting doesn't last. I'm not sure it really should last. She loves her coffee. Perhaps the addiction to the coffee is what she might quit. Be in control of the intake. Having coffee now and again as a treat instead of an everyday habit. Limiting it and being the one in charge instead of the coffee overtaking her. Luring her into an everyday affair or even many times a day sipping it down adding to inflamation that is the beginning of all disease...

But how many of us justify our actions until they become too painful and we decide to make a switch because we know that that pain is now too great for what we have justified, instead of creating a life that we can live with and enjoy daily??? I know the consequences of what I eat. Sometimes I eat things that make me feel bad inadvertently, but predominately I know what I'm doing. Coffee doesn't work for me at all. First I made it a once a week treat. Then I missed a couple of weeks. Then my cleaned out body could no longer tolerate the caffeine or even the decaf. I felt sick and toxic no matter what kind I tried. So that was that. No more coffee for me. Brownies unfortunately too have left my repertoire of options. Many things I've switched out ingredients or just have them far less often than I did before. My nightly dessert habit turned into about once a week and with only sweeteners that I can feel good from like fruits, agave, rice syrup, etc....Eating refined grain products like bread went from 3 times a day to less than once a day. Needing popcorn or candy with a movie diminished to almost never.

This applies to much more than food though. Do you justify, video games or too much of anything like email, watching TV, spa treatments, shopping? If you have ever watched a soap opera, they can pretty much justify anything on those shows. Characters come back from the dead only to die again or be reborn. People lose their spouses, get them back, have all sorts of things happen, like ship wrecks, and everything gets explained in some way to keep the drama going year after year. What kind of life are you writing for yourself?

Are you being pushed and pulled by what you think you should do or what you think you want to do but maybe neither are really making you happy. I invite you to design your life. Literally write it out, how you would like it to be. Use every area of life. Design your friends. Design your diet. Design your body. Design your relationships. Design your work. Design your vacations, your hobbies, your pets, your passions. Write it all out and realistically write a plan of action to have it. Then begin making adjustments with what you have now to be more of what you feel would make your life even happier - right away and in the future.

By realistic you might cut the coffee cold turkey but if you have done that and failed umpteen times before, you could also say, I'm limiting coffee to once a week and stick to it.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

How Do You Eat Just One?

I am making breakfast for myself as I type this. Quinoa with apples and cinnamon. I had a pretty big apple. A Honey Crisp that is exactly that. Sweet and crisp. I cut up about one quarter of the apple to put into my small amount of cereal. I ate one slice raw before putting the rest back into the fridge for later. It reminded me of a client that just could not understand how I could do that without just eating the entire apple. I've had other teachers of food who on those email posts to groups have said they can't resist the candy or the cookie or what ever it is sitting out being offered and when I said that I always have a cute bowl of candy sitting in my living room that guest enjoy a mint or taffy or what ever I have in the bowl, but that it never seems to call me to eat any of it....they too thought that was impossible.

How do you eat just one or none of a treat? First get yourself into balance. Those teachers with "no resistance" are just not using food to create balance as they could. Willpower is not required when your pancreas is happy and your body or mind isn't looking for something to medicate with. I've had circumstances in my life that probably taught me how to do this more than anything else. I had to clear a Candida overgrowth for example and I abstained from all sweets even fruits for an entire year. It was not the easiest thing for me as I love love love sweets. But after going through that, sweets no longer hold the pull they once had. Even before that year though I had learned how to create better balance with both my food and my mind and the longer I practice, the easier an easier everything in my life becomes.

The mind is particularly important to our health, well being, weight and everything else. If you feel deprived or enjoy being "sneaky" then you might be compelled to take the candy, eat the whole apple, etc. and then what might you tell yourself after to justify your action and even do it again? If you practice being who you desire to be then the eating falls in line as well. What once might have been full of effort for you to resist becomes part of the scene as a whole and is not longer calling to you. Or you might have a desire for that food and eat a bite for the flavor, the fun, etc. and then really not want any more. That was how I viewed the slice of apple before my cooked breakfast was ready this morning. Ahhh. and now the quinoa is ready and I get to enjoy my high protien, sweet and creamy cereal with some tea and that is what I really wanted. The satisfaction will carry me through to lunch...

So take a look at how you might create more balance for yourself and where you are pulled and pushed and have "no willpower" you might find that you too can ease yourself into being someone who never asks again, "How do you eat just one.".....

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In Search of You!

I was searching the Internet for an old friend today. I use the term friend probably too loosely here. He was always more of an acquaintance then an actual friend. In fact I wonder what he might think of me since he knew me in my tragic dancer phase many years ago. I was a little younger than his crowd that I joined for some weekly dinners and events. We had a mutual friend from Paris that I had kept in contact with and he practically grew up with. My search ended when I found a profile on facebook and I was surprised with a new person in common. I didn't know this knew person yet somehow we were facebook friends and I had someone else in common with this new person too. I was curious and started up an email conversation that continued throughout the day. It was fun. I also loved who I was being all day inside of the conversation. Sort of charming, witty and then regular 'ol me.

Thinking about it I looked back on my many transformations, smiling in how happy I am now with who I am. Especially happy since I am not all those other incarnations of myself that I have known in this lifetime. The overweight me who struggled. The tormented teen me that lasted oh far far beyond being a teen. The ugly scratched up me. Many versions of my parents stuff.... ahhhhh, I love the tools that I teach because right now, today, I'm different. Even when circumstances look similar to some of my past, I'm reacting differently because I'm different. I'm someone who I like being and I am consequently meeting friends old and new who I like being with.

As I pondered all of this today I wonder what version of yourself are you being today? Do you like being this you? What would you change? What would you keep? If there are things that you would like to change, what are you willing to do to have them be the way you would like them to be?

Thankfully people often have loose memories and as long as you didn't do anything too offensive, they often only remember small amounts of who you used to be. When enough time has passed, like a year or more, then you can show up and be somewhat new and you will illicit a new response from them. This works especially well with business contacts and probably old loves as well.

It also really pertains to every area of life since if you would like to lose weight for example. You can begin right now to be being someone thinner. Eat like someone thinner. Exercise like someone thinner. Maybe hang out with thinner folk and do what they do. Or get a coaching session and map out a plan for yourself.

I invite you to play with this little tool and let me know how it goes. Use the contact Susan button over at

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Scones are Easy

It's Saturday morning and I got up and baked scones. Scones are easy. My neighbor and I had been purchasing water in a pastry shop near the 3rd street promenade one day. We biked down to the promenade to do a little shopping. When she saw the scones behind the clear glass displaying the baked goods for sale in the shop, she exclaimed how much she loved scones. "Scones are easy." I told her. "Let's make some." So a few weeks later and here I am making some simple scones for us to share. She'll be over when she wakes up and after she makes her coffee. I don't drink coffee. I do have grain coffee but she likes hers strong and black and full throttle with caffeine. Every time I try to drink coffee I feel like someone is poisoning me. I drink tea.

The scones are in the oven baking and I realize that to my neighbor, these might not be what she is expecting. I used the rest of the yummy fresh ground spelt flour that I get from Surfas. It has a light earthy flavor in baked goods and is much easier to digest than wheat. My recipe also calls for a little bit of oats. So instead of the stark white flecked with currants that she might be used to, these scones are more brown. They also are not flecked but bursting with dried strawberries and dried cherries. But that part she is expecting. I asked what sort of organic dried fruits I ought to get for our scones. I did half with the cherries and half with the strawberries. Compared to currents the fruit looks enormous. I have not made scones in a long time. They really have very few ingredients and are especially quick. They are already done now. I pulled them out of the oven to cool.

Perhaps she will smell them since my windows are all open on this sunny fall morning in L.A. I took the rest of the apple juice left over from what I needed for my scones to make a little kanten. Kanten being a Japanese fruit jel usually for dessert, I thought would be nice with the scones and some yogurt. The agar in the Kanten will also assist all of that dry hard baked flour from the scones to move through my digestion tract.

Sometimes I wish I knew less about food and could just sit down and enjoy the scones without knowing all of the possible consequences from each ingredient I consume. I miss the ignorance of just worrying about weight or being full and not all of the ills I work so hard to keep at bay. Now though that the meal is set to be served I can relax and go on to other things. Enjoy my friend when she arrives and the pleasures far outweigh anything else. Besides - scones are easy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Time Wise

I am sometimes astonished at how quickly time can seem to be zooming along in my life. I can hardly believe that it has been a whole week since I flew back from New Hampshire as it feels like I am just getting myself back into the grove of everyday life. Laundry, watering plants, sweeping floors, answering email, catching up with friends, not to mention work. Yes, so many things that I would like to be doing with my work and how to fit it all in when the time somehow evaporates before I've checked off much on the list of items I've set out for myself.

How do you handle time? How do you fit in more without feeling exhausted or pressed? I find that it is a bit different for each person but several things work pretty well for most.

The first being intention. I can get a lot more into my day with a clear intention to do so. Along with intention comes the pre-paving. For me, I visualize what it is that I would like to happen in the day. I visualize fitting it all in and I see myself going to where I need to go and doing what I need to do. I fit in the moments of meditation or fun as well as the errands and exercise. I see myself going smoothly from one thing to the next. Sometimes in this mental movie I'm creating, I might rewind and re-structure how it all fits in. I have things that sometimes rearrange themselves like a meeting that cancels at the last minute or phone call that I would like to take, etc. Then I just adjust. Being flexible is always a good to tool to employ. The imagery only takes a couple of minutes and can often save me a lot of wasted time later as I see things fitting together and plan blocks of time for what is most important for me.

Ahhh, there sure is a great key to using time well. Knowing what is most important. I learned a great prioritizing method once where you list everything that needs doing and then break the list in half and putting each item in one of two sides the more important and the less important. Then each of those halves gets broken in half until you clearly see the order of what needs to get done. Things will shift, since if you keep making laundry unimportant for example, when you run out of things to wear it will suddenly become much more important.

Planning food is important for me but only takes a few minutes so it's easily checked off. That part of my life is so simple for me now that I don't even remember to put food on my list until I need to purchase groceries. For other people it needs to go on the list because otherwise they find themselves famished and without food so they allow their standards to lower and grab what they can quickly. Those kinds of foods choices often do not support us and then create fatigue or cloudy thinking that then wastes more time!!! Being clear, focused, healthy and full of energy gives you what you need to actually have more time in the day!

Need a little coaching to maximize what you are eating and your time?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I got back to L.A. Wednesday night and an old friend picked me up from the airport. He had been flown out to speak at a conference and the timing worked out perfectly as he wanted to stay in town for a couple of days more. I love getting to see that sort of synchonicity as I did when he had the desire to stay. Because he lives in Florida, changing his ticket was no charge, because of the hurricanes currently sweeping by that state. My couch was offered up since his hotel had been paid until the morning that I arrived. It all had a nice flow to it that we did not pre-plan or think through.

A couple of days later as I was serving us a meal with the few groceries I had, I was a little concerned that it could have been so much better with a few more ingredients. A cold tempeh salad that lacked celery but I did add herbs, shredded carrot, a little raw onion, mustard and mayo. Parsley would have given an extra spark as well as potent mineral but it looked nice on some water fried baby bok choy. We both were delighted that it was paired with the most simple, yet divine tasting onion soup. I was quite pleased at how just sauted onions with sage, rosemarry and barley miso could meld into a sweet and savory soup that was just right. Croutons might have been the only additional element to go from nice to superb.

I employed what we had as I was using my time to get back into the swing of my life, taking care of other things than just being concerned about food. My friend told me as he enjoyed this lunch that "What you lack in forethought you make up for with skill." He is right. I do not often plan far in advance but I am terrific at taking just a few ingredients and coming up with a delicious meal. It's part talent and part that I have played with food now for years and know it can come together in endless variety. Like a musician with notes or a painter having only a few tubes of paint to create a picture. The art of cooking comes not so much from learning from books but just the consistant doing of any skill. Anyone can do it and while good tools do help, even they are not absolutely necessary.

What is needed though is a certain element of faith that it will all work out. I get ideas for the creations and then just start putting it together but one never knows exactly how it will come together really. Often there is that same sort of harmony of synchronisitic events that works when we jump into anything and see how it falls. Things do come together more often than not.

Risk playing to see where your life can go instead of staying safe yet discontent. I'm glad for the unexpected couple of days with a friend and I'm excited to see what will unfold today.

What ever you want to do, take a step for that to happen right now!
If you need some help, want to let go of what is in the way, I suggest getting some coaching.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Making Changes

It's almost September 1st where many people start thinking back to school or back to work or maybe just a new something that you might have been thinking of doing for a while like re-decorating, putting new fabric on the sofa or finally shedding those unwanted pounds you may have been wanting to let go of for a very long time. Think back over the last year or the last ten years. How much has changed in your life? What things do you keep anticipating to change only year after year the familiarity of them still being around, has sort of dropped them into the background of your life, like a noise that you have never liked, but are used to? Do you have anything that you've been meaning to do and haven't?

Often the act of paying me for a session will help someone leap into doing the things they might know how to do but have not gotten themselves to step in yet. Sometimes it is hearing things again or hearing things anew that spikes the impulse to create the life that they want. I do know that when students work with me, their lives change because they tell me all the time.

What I often ask of people is to just take steps. Not huge steps. Just steps. Anything that has lasted in your life you took steps to get there. From a long lasting relationship that had a slow start to learning a language. Most people do not become fluent in one week. They learn words slowly and start being able to put them together. The more they know, the more they can build on those words to make more complex sentences and soon they will be fluent and it won't seem like all that much effort. (Thank you Rosetta Stone!) Changing your diet is like that. For quite a few people, when they diet and try to change what they eat too rapidly, they will only be able to sustain that amount of newness for a short amount of time. To transform eating habits, a good way to go can be to start adding in more whole foods and cutting portion sizes down by just a small amount. If you then cut it down a little more in a couple of weeks then pretty soon you might be eating only 1/2 as many calories only it won't seem like it at all. Just give yourself the gift of continually stepping in the directions that you want to go. Getting a coach can improve the odds of that happening for you enormously!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Magically Delicious

My dinner tonight was magical and it was not lucky charms. I would have never thought this up in my mind, I don't think, nor will it ever wind up in one of my cookbooks. It's too weird, but oddly delicious. The weird part starts with a piece of jinenjo. A Japanese mountain potato. I like the hit of energy I get when I eat it, so if I'm gathering goods from an Asian shop, I'll usually pick up a little jinenjo to add to soups. I've had it in restaurants where they serve it peeled and grated to use as a condiment with soy sauce and ginger or placed in the bottom of a soup bowl. That is how I use it the most. When it is grated it turns into something like sticky sea foam. I like it best when dispersed in a watery soup. Once in a while I will peel it and use as a potato but it's sticky nature doesn't entice me to use it that way often.

Tonight I was in a bit of a rush to make dinner as I was later than usual getting in the kitchen and I was pretty hungry. Pasta is simple and I have some rice noodles so I was boiling up some with a thick broccoli soup and that was the quick and easy plan for tonight. Then I saw the lonely left over piece of jinenjo in my fridge. If I didn't eat it soon, it was going to turn pink and need to be tossed out. I decided to fry it up with some onions. I knew it wouldn't be like hash browns but maybe with some arrowroot added I might get a little jinenjo pancake? No such luck. I got a sticky mass with a mild flavor from the onions and a little soy sauce. Being hungry I decided to just put my cooked noodles in a bowl and toss the jinenjo on top. It needed some more flavor so a sprinkled in some ume vinegar and a little flax oil and it became magically delicious. Mixed with the noodles it gave me the impression I was eating macaroni and cheese - a very healthy version. I was amazed at what these simple ingredients became actually. I will eat this again - by myself. Not sure I want to ever serve it to anyone else really. But maybe. Then when I tell them what it's made of and the great energy they will have from eating it - they might love it too? Food really can be magical.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Adventures on the 720

I will admit selling my car might have been a tad rash. It was time though. The thought of buying a brand new car to sit on the street outside my apartment and get banged up and wait for the one day a week that I would use it, seemed silly. Renting a car once a week is actually cheaper than insurance and gas and car payments. So now I am carless in Los Angeles.

I do think about other places I might like to live. Places where having a car is not directly related to your status as a human. Places where the doors to venues are not all linked to the parking lots and the ones to that lead to the sidewalks are locked at all times. Where life takes place outside of cell phones and there are more personal interactions other than looking to your left or right at a red light.

So yesterday on a sunny Sunday afternoon I decided to walk up to Wilshire blvd. a few blocks from my home and hop on the 720 rapid bus to go and see the Broad exhibit at LACMA. It was my first time on the rapid bus system and I was pleasantly surprised. As soon as I found the bus stop, the bus pulled up. I got on, sat down and in a very short time and few stops reached my destination. The museum was surprisingly light on visitors but up the road I walked to "The Grove", a Disney like version of main street where chain stores and restaurants are linked up in an outdoor mall. That was packed with people browsing and eating. At around 3:30 or 4pm on a Sunday afternoon it seemed like everyone was eating. Everything from full plates of omlettes, crepes, burgers, burritos, or Chinese food to pies and frozen yogurt and cake. I suppose it seems reasonable that instead of spending their dollars on the bigger ticket items they were seeing in the stores they treated themselves to a Sunday splurge? Maybe it's a weekly tradition to eat a big meal or a pastry at that time of day. When I was in Germany once visiting a friend and her relatives, they had "coffee time" in the late afternoon that always included cookies or cake. They didn't eat a big dessert after dinner though. Perhaps I ought to do some investigation and interview people at places like this on Sunday afternoons?

I'd had my fill of viewing and walked back down to Wilshire to find a 720 back to Santa Monica. The bus stop was simple to spot and there were many people waiting. This bus runs every 7 minutes so I didn't bother to look up a scheduled time. I figured with all of those people waiting it must be coming any minute. Perhaps a bus was missing that day? We waited for about a quarter of an hour before the bus arrived at Fairfax and Wilshire. Standing room only and English a second language for many. I helped an Italian girl pay her fare and squished in rather easily. Somehow there was plenty of space and people found their spots. Shortly after I got on, many got off and I took a seat.

I have driven up and down this length of Wilshire many times but the view from the bus is quite different. L.A. looked like a different city. A prettier city. Where race and status matter little and we are all wanting similar things of good food, nice clothes and shelter and have some pleasure in the day. I watched some girls with a little boy who got on the bus and probably never had a thought that they were supposed to have a car by this age. It was not about rights but about getting to where they needed to go. There were excited tourists seeing the city for the first time. They were probably having it easier than trying to navigate with an automobile. No parking, no gas to buy or other drivers to watch out for. It was a simple and different experience on the 720 on a Sunday afternoon.

Friday, August 15, 2008

What are those things that you think that you can not live without? I'm pretty happy for some things we have in our modern life, like toilet paper or my contact lenses.

With food, our bodies are adaptable beyond what our minds might conceive. We really can live without many of the foods we are attached to and some would improve the quality of our life to live without them, even though it's hard to see that when we are addicted.

I once didn't eat anything sweet for an entire year. Not even fruit. I was clearing Candida overgrowth and I was determined to finally be free of it. I love sweets and now that I eat them again, I still think they are enchanting, but they do not hold the same power over me they once did. I realize they are pleasurable, just not really any more than broccoli cooked nicely (and preferably in my favorite elegant sweet and salty creamy sauce...) or that bowl of millet hot cereal that is waiting for me to have for my breakfast when I'm finished writing this. It's just wired up differently in my mind because from the time I was very small, I was taught that the dessert was the part of the meal we were waiting for. That going to get an ice cream cone was special. Candies and cookies were wonderful gifts that came in fancy boxes and homemade ones were the best. After a year of not one bit of anything I used to consider a treat, other foods took on a new delight all their own. Cooling, detoxifying turnips became new friends. The nuances in greens became more charming than just eating them for the minerals I would absorb. I learned to love what I had instead of hurrying up to get to the "good" part.

It has been interesting to me to see that as I let go of the need for any particular food, the more possibilities I see instead. A paradox of the limiting diet was that I now feel much more free in that I know it's all temporary. Enjoying what I have has made me feel less desire for more more more. That endless struggle to attain and feel satiated. It goes beyond food as the addictive patterns fall away. I still enjoy shopping but I am also happy with what I do have and grateful to have it. Before I was a lot more apt to find fault with the old and looking at how the new and improved would be so much better. Once you find that point of balance inside, it seems to shine out in all directions. Do you feel like you are more by having more or would you feel the same to own less? How does this play out on your plate?

Let me know at

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Breaking Bread

Social eating is fun. For some maybe a little too much too often. Could there be healthier ways to break bread and keep the good relations flowing?

Of course. For everything there are probably multiple solutions and I don't claim to know them all. I do find that good eating tends to elude people when they are busy, pushed or just don't know how it all works together.

For many of us eating out was not a daily ritual growing up. In my own family it was a special treat to go out and that meant special foods, bigger portions and a lot more oil and sugar. These once in a while pleasures didn't effect our waistlines and if they effected health, it was temporary because it was so out of the normal realm of what we consumed. Big thick milk shakes, huge slices of pies, cakes or concoctions, giant pancakes, fried sandwiches, or rich sauces were not something we ever saw at home. Restaurants want you to be happy and come back again. They use strong flavors and oil helps to bring out those flavors as well as fill you up. You can ask for what you want though, even if you don't see it on the menu. Ask for less or no oil in the preparation of your order. Have tea for dessert or maybe some fruit if your digestion can handle it. Remember if you ate beans in the meal to steer clear of dessert for a couple of hours or you might be in for some pretty heavy wind. While fruit after a big meal may seem refreshing, it will putrefy in the intestine waiting for the meat and potatoes (or anything else you ate.) to move through the tract. That also translates into bloating, gas and being uncomfortable after the initial pleasure. I wonder if the aristocratic eaters we see portrayed in films often found themselves needing ant-acids from the rich food followed by sweet treats? Certainly by just looking at the array and large shelves filled with bottles and pills to alleviate such conditions now would suggest that many people find themselves with poor eating choices often.

If I am eating dessert, I will plan for it. What that means for me is very little bread perhaps if any with that meal. I might eat lighter on purpose. I call it saving room for dessert. Instead of gobbling my food I try to enjoy the company, eat slowly and chew well. No one notices really if I'm not eating all that much, especially if it is some place like an Indian restaurant where we are all sharing the food. It's the quality of the time I'm having and I'll be much happier if I walk away from the experience feeling good. Sometimes I will make two starters my main meal. The small tastes make me happy and are quite often lighter than the main courses with sides. I've been known to re-invent menus as well. I'll see what they have and create a plate from the offered sides or have a sandwich that wasn't on the menu before if it's a noon time spot.

These are just a few creative ideas to have more healthy options while eating out. What are some of yours? Share your answers here or at

Friday, August 8, 2008

What's your game?

I woke up this morning contemplating my life and the obstacles to having what I desire. I mean, I'm great at seeing other peoples but it's so easy to gloss over my own and continue on as I do. I have loads of projects I want to be working on and yet, where to focus my attention can sometimes be a dilemma. I get things moving and yet not at the level I would like. So I sat down with myself and thought a few things through. Guess what? I decided it was just another game of procrastination. The Scarlett O'Hara "I'll think about that tomorrow" kind of action that isn't going to shift things at all. Have you ever said I want to lose weight and yet do what you do, day after day, that isn't going to create new habits. You say things like oh, I'll start later. I'll skip X later and just do this now. I'll exercise tomorrow when it isn't raining. Anything to justify staying the same. If you are lucky enough to have something to push you, you can finally create those new habits or push your business, your ideas or what ever you would like see come to fruition past the point of not enough. Coaches are great at cheering things on and eliminating the blocks and I know you can do it for yourself too! Just getting a guide makes it easier. We're trained in the go to the doctor and get a prescription and do what he tells you because he knows more than you do, kind of mentality. We can bust ourselves though if we really want to. We can look at the game we are playing and play another game. I'm excited by my own self coaching because the energy that was stuck feels somewhat released and I have a whole lot of juice for creating more of what I want and not letting my old thinking get in the way. See what new game you can play today. Care to share?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Drop the Guilt and Shame

Guilt and fear. Not the most pretty of emotions that we carry in us and often they come up around food. Okay, especially around me since I teach about food. I notice it in the way someone might act as they eat when I’m present. Feelings of the eater become apparent in the angry tension that is visible beneath the surface. The glance my way, and an almost hiding of the food, or the drop of the eyes, as I stand unaware. I become aware though, as the feeling of something wrong wafts my way. I’m usually curiously eyeing the buffet or what is on people’s plates simply assessing if there is something that I might like to eat for myself. I really am not thinking thoughts of shame or blame or anything about what others choose to consume. If they ask my opinion though, a switch will click in my thinking, so watch out. Then all bets are off and I will have some strong ideas about benefits or destructiveness of so called foods. Thankfully there are friends or acquaintances who do not have noise in their minds about what they eat. They eat what they like and enjoy it guilt free. That’s the healthy way to be. They don’t feel judged because I’m there. They don’t feel any sense of shame. They know I do what I do because I need to for my own health and that doesn’t predicate anyone else choosing the path that I am weaving. I love those people. They also can go to any restaurant with me and not ask me to order for them. Those that are constantly guilty or feeling shame for their food choices are getting more harm in my opinion from the shame and the guilt than the actual food itself. We all need to take personal responsibility and give ourselves what serves us best. My choices usually stem from what would I like coupled with what would be the most supportive for me right now. I have my never’s, as in, I never eat cane sugar and my friends know that if they do it doesn’t make them bad in my eyes. I usually tell clients, if you do, make some kudzu tea sometime after that like the next morning to bring you back and forget about it. Yet, still there are those who feel badly or try to hide the cupcake from site, I’ve even had one girl invite me to a party and ask me to bring cake. I declined as I barely know her and I don’t do cooking for hire. So drop the guilt, the fear, the shame and let’s eat well together!

Want to really let go and be who you desire to be? Get some coaching -

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Colorize Your Plate

I'm reading a book that is so disappointing. It talks about getting all sorts of color in your diet to protect your DNA. Maybe it was the work that made anti-oxidants a household word? I don't know. It's one of the oddest food books I've ever read, because page after page it looks like it should be offering great information. Even distinct paragraphs on foods for example offer so little real information it's fluff. Because it is written by a distinguished doctor, I guess it's doctor fluff. Seems more of an idea that wasn't flushed out enough though. They had a little science and wanted a cool scheme to sell perhaps. He talks repeatedly about being careful of calories. Doesn't he know if he were REALLY touting a whole foods diet with beautiful colors, you wouldn't need to ever worry about calories or fat grams or counting, ever again. He offers that ancient man would have gotten a lot more colors than we get now. Sure, and I'm sure the people foraging for their food didn't compare waistlines except when they got too skinny.

He also doesn't seem to understand basic differences between fruits and vegetables either. Just because they have similar colors doesn't mean they do the same things in our systems, although this book seems to say all purple foods give you this and green foods give you that. Well, sorry, no way. Eat blueberries and the sweet succulent bites have sugar and water as major components. A carrot and a peach are just not the same in your system just because they both are orange. Fruit is quite different than vegetable. Fruits tend to make you more relaxed and in excess, tired and spaced out. Vegetables tend to strengthen us and give us more vitality.

Where oh where are the whole grains? He thinks that bread falls in that category. I wonder if he has a bread tree growing then at UCLA? Bread is a grain product and no matter how high a high fiber cereal is, it's still a refined, dry hard, difficult to digest as compared to whole grain, product. I wish someone with that many resources would study the effects of a real whole food diet and see why most of us that practice this type of eating have fewer ailments, are naturally slender and usually look about 10 years younger. I want to see the science on that!

Send me your questions for my next mailbag that goes to all of my free newsletter subscribers at

Monday, August 4, 2008

Order, Weight and Mind

There is this little thing called the order of the Universe. Books have been written on it and people attempt to explain it with religion or "the Secret", etc. Getting how stuff works is essential for living a free life, and yet there seems to be more to know than we can possibly assimilate. What are the rules to live by to be healthy, slender and happy?

Michael Pollen attempts to give us some tools as he opens his latest book with a simple formula. "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Good formula. This doesn't account though for how someone is holding ones energy, thoughts and emotions. Or how an internal disturbance might be effecting it all. Food can correct quite a bit but our minds are much more powerful and yet this seems to be one of the biggest challenges for us all. Okay, mostly all. I'm sure there are some who don't find harnessing thoughts to be a challenge but I have not met one of those people yet personally who could tell me how to get into the flow more efficiently.

For now, it seems to me that what we get to do is practice. Practice doesn't mean perfect it means to keep doing things that give us more. I practice eating a predominately whole foods diet. Sometimes I experiment with what that entails. I practice meditation and sometimes I don't. I find that it's all a great experiment and I do feel better when I'm practicing the meditation than when I don't. I practice being happier.

When I practice, I do not need to think about my weight. It naturally takes care of itself and I stay slender. The more I practice the less I need to try and make things happen that I desire. They just happen. But I have been very practiced in trying to control my world. I want to control the outcomes to be what I want instead of allowing it to occur. Not always though and each day I practice a little more to trust. Do what I know works and see the order of it all.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Candida free cooking and the ideal diet

It's early on a Sunday morning and I'm venturing out to the farmers market again today in search of a ripe avocado for my Candida Free Cooking Class this afternoon. 3 hours of laughs, learning and tastes. There were no ripe avocados yesterday and even though the translucent quinoa wraps would be just as tasty with a little dressing instead of a green slice or two of California's good fat fruit, I would rather have them then not...

I will also get to see what other fun things I might bring home for my own week of experimental cooking. I go through phases of doing what I know I like and then I flip into all experiments all the time for a few days. I'm still searching for what might be the ideal diet as well.

Currently reading more and more science to see if any of the extreme diets have the scientific backing they claim that they do. Unfortunately even the scientists seem to find conflicting evidence as it can be difficult to measure exactly what people eat. What they say they eat might be only partially of what they really eat. Then there are heredity factors, amounts of exercise and the least control of all is what the people are thinking about their life, their weight, foods, etc. The thought factor plays another enormous role as all of this is influenced by all different energies. How we hold our own energy daily makes a difference in how the foods land.

Luckily though, there are some common grounds and so far; the macrobiotic way of eating whole foods predominately, and finding balance seems the most supportive. Raw being a cooking style and meats being a small portion of the diet, I'm finding thriving to happen more frequently as long as it doesn't become a healing diet for a person who doesn't need a healing diet. Rigidity in any one of the systems out there seems to be a big pitfall. I notice people cling to their diet of choice like a religion that must be protected. Somehow I think as long as it's actually food and not man made reconstructed food stuff, it's most likely better than not. Each of our bodies will also need different things at different times so knowing how it all works should be basic stuff we learn in grade school. Only since the foodstuff business is big money, there is more weight on you not knowing how to feed yourself well and create balance, slenderness, vitality and aliveness. I can only wonder though that if we all got more well and happy what we might create then?

Well, first the lucky cooking class participants for today, I'm going in search of those avocados.
visit where I've posted a couple new recipes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Who do you go to?

There seems to be some confusion over using food and herbs as medicine vs. going to a doctor and getting meds. There are so many wonderful natural healing tools. Tonight I am excited to be a part of a wellness event that Step Up Women's network is hosting at UCLA. I hope that the women attending will walk away with a few new ideas of things they can do right in their own kitchen to be ever beautiful and well at every age. We have a lot more control over our own health then we might realize. That doesn't negate the need for doctors and perhaps some pharmasuitical assistance now and again though too. I recently found a wonderful doctor who embraces both nutrition and holistic medicine as well as his M.D. training. He's my go to person now for when I can not fix myself with what I know. Who knows, he might be asking me some food questions too. I think the intermingling of all we have to create with can give us more than what we had before. I have found that people think food must not work for health then if it doesn't work for everything. Recently I caught a bug that I just couldn't shake. I tried everything and even my doctor prescribed more herbs than what I had been taking. Still, I couldn't get myself completely well so we opted for a pharmsuitical to get me well and move on. That doesn't mean we failed. Being well is the goal not suffering because of ideals. We tried the more natural route first and now I will continue my natural wellness but I sure am grateful to have options! I have learned a lot over the years and I continue to learn in all sorts of wonderful places how we can create more of what we really want. That's why I'm a go to person for a lot of people who want to know how to clear pms in a meal or which sea weed can stop a cut from bleeding instantly or how to create clear skin in as little as a week from what we eat. Who do you go to and what are you embracing? Let's all see if we can live one step better right now.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Free to Eat News

Once upon a time, I was not well. I had weight issues as well as health issues. My life was more than these things but they were dominant. So dominant that when I learned to become healthy and slender naturally using food as my cure all, everyone around me wanted to know the secret since I obviously was also enjoying a good deal of gourmet looking food that they saw me eating. It's been quite a ride. One of the biggest gifts for me has been the stabilization of my blood sugar from eating predominately whole foods. It's fantastic to watch cravings just vanish - poof! Just like that. When my pancreas got happy so did I. No more mood swings and the constant up and down that I didn't realize I had complete control over. Free to Eat is going to be an upcoming book of my whole journey. It hasn't been easy at times using food as a cure but the lessons have been astounding. One whole year I was clearing Candida from my system and didn't eat anything sweet. No bites of fruit even much less a cookie or anything with maple sprinkles, etc. I could have never thought up the way to do it or that I could do it. The year went by surprisingly fast though as I kept promising myself that if I just did what I was doing for another couple of months, then I would be free. Then I would re-commit to another few months when I still wasn't clear - that is until finally I did get clear and I am very happy to be free to eat sweets once again. Now though, they are just fun but not better than other foods in my mind. I keep exploring more and more ways to find more fun and freedom with our food, our bodies and minds................