Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ponderances Along the Bike Ride

It has been a remarkable few days with bits and pieces of ah-ha moments along the way.  The highlight was "choosing" to ride my bike early this morning, before a full day of clients.  The sun was shining and I just really knew that being out in nature was where I wanted to be.

To step back a bit, as I have been approaching July, my awareness has been drawn to coming up on a year anniversary of my hospitalization, surgery and chemo.  It all started on July 5 with a migraine, July 6 with a pain in my left hamstring and July 12 with the admission to the "Newton Wellesley Hotel", as I renamed the hospital!

Wow - what a year it has been and I am so aware of my healing journey, how far I have come and how much more there is.  Truly, this is a work in progress on so many levels.  Just last week I was at a 3 day conference about being a leader and a change agent in the world - a lofty, but tangible goal.  What I also realized is that while I have been traveling more these past few months, I also require recuperation time.  I became very aware of that last night when I needed to give into a nap and to go to bed early.  I began to think of the past and how I could just "blow through" anything like a whirling dervish, but quickly realized that I am creating the "new norm" for myself as well as for my clients.

I gave in, nourished myself with needed rest and again nourished myself with a bike ride before work today, giving thanks for living in such a beautiful town.  I used to come here on days off to enjoy this town as recreation or vacation and now, I can "recreate" anytime I want.  The lesson here is to do just that, starting with today's experience.

Along the way, I thought of a few phrases and songs that my Dad used to mention - "One Day At A Time" and " Don't Worry Be Happy".  My Dad has always used humor to get through life and I now see how it has helped to keep him active and involved.

This day and this moment is all we really do have, and so cherish it and live it as you wish!

With gratitude,

Friday, June 19, 2015

"You Got Mail" - So Connected Yet So Out Of Touch

I often find myself grumbling over the lack of courtesy, recalling the days when Dear Abby and Ask Beth were read weekly to ensure that manners mattered!

Well, I have this conversation with my family - the different age groups pondering what is right and wrong with the current state of affairs and then had "an awakening" earlier this week.  It's not about right and wrong, but about how much input the human brain can handle at any one time.

While having my hair trimmed for the biweekly television taping, I asked my hairdresser if he had received my email/flyer invitation to an event that I was running and he laughed saying, "wait a minute and let me show you my phone."  He went on to say that he was new to the iphone, but that he does not use email because it is overwhelming.  As he pulled up his emails, there were 27,000 unread messages!  Yes, you got it - 27,000.

All of a sudden, the right/wrong, good/bad was swept away.  I realized that while technology is an amazing asset, it can be overwhelming and different modes are more comfortable for different people.  Just as I have gotten comfortable with email and some texting, I am now told that I need to be doing twitter and instagram - OMG, I can hardly keep up.

In my own life, the area that brings me much distress is keeping up with incoming data as well.  Do I read all the medical literature, do I answer everyone who reaches out, how do I prioritize this never-ending sea of mail?

While I do not have all the answers, I can offer this - set aside time to manage your emails, letting people know if you even do respond; get off lists that you do not want to be on and most importantly, set a time limit to be seated at the computer.  We are meant to be out in nature to balance this over-stimulation with the calm that only nature can bring.

Heading out on that bike for a little balance myself!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Pondering Sweets and Treats and Taste Buds!

Since I published Feel Great Look Great - Balanced Eating for a Balanced Life, I have been asked when my dessert book would be ready.

I have been adjusting recipes for years now, latest changes being in the gluten-free and paleo departments.  Of course, I use my family as guinea pigs - a job they do not mind at all!  What's great about having them as taste-testers is that each one has differing preferences when it comes to desserts and snacks.

My older daughter, Lindsay, inherited my love for sugar and fat together - the peanut butter and chocolate type person - while Ashley has always been a more savory, salty person, preferring chips and even bacon as a snack!  Scott, Lindsay's boyfriend, does not prefer intense sweet except on occasion and his birthday request for this year is in fact, baklava - surely no low sugar dessert!  He also tends to have oral allergy symptoms, so I must think about cooking fruits, avoiding certain nuts etc.

Last evening, I finally sat down to compile my initial list of recipes that I have either already perfected or ones that I want to adjust in order to fit into my acceptable range for sugar, fiber and calories.  Of course, all ingredients are now organic and nonGMO, even down to the sugar that is used.

I also realize how much my own taste buds have changed over the years - going from a sugar-addicted junkie to someone who does not prefer sweet, but a bit more sour and bitter.  In fact, I have only met one other individual who loves 100% dark chocolate over sweetened varieties!  I have my square every day and the polyphenols and antioxidants are great for heart and brain health.

In fact, dark chocolate is a good source of fiber, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, potassium, selenium and more.  These benefits are in about 100 grams dark chocolate, not more!

I'm looking forward to this next creative venture and will keep you posted for Sweets n' Treats that not only satisfy the palate, but also provide nutrition for the body and soul!


Friday, June 5, 2015

Creativity in the Kitchen: A Spiritual Moment

As I gathered my ingredients for my concoction this morning, I felt such gratitude and excitement for what I was going to not only taste, but also for the nourishment that my body was about to receive.

The colors and textures are beautiful - orange, fuscia, green, varying shades of warm browns and rustic red - colors that also have significance with regard to the chakras and energy frequency, that helps one to attune the body for receiving and giving.

While this sounds a little like something from a sci-fi movie, it is the world that I have embraced even more deeply over this past year - connecting what we can see, touch and explain with the divine and unexplainable.

Back to reality.  I now shift to the humorous statement that my best friend has said jokingly over the years - "You have no taste buds!"  While my taste buds have gone from being addicted to the overly processed junk foods of America to the pure, untouched taste of real food, I also know that in this process, my taste buds now seek all flavors - sweet, salty, bitter and pungent.  I try to satisfy these in my meals and concoctions, as I call them!

One example of faking the body's energy conservation mechanism, or shall we just call it weight gain, is the use of artificial sweeteners.  Humans love sweet and part of this is about survival.  "Mother's milk" is sweet and all animals are drawn to feeding in order to survive.  When one imbibes sugar or a non-caloric sweetener, the pancreas prepares to secrete insulin - even without the calorie intake - because sweet tells the brain that carbohydrate is coming.  The net effect of insulin production is calorie conservation or weight gain, especially in the stomach region!

So what does this have to do with my breakfast?  The balance of tastes - sweet, salty, bitter and pungent - helps the body to self-regulate.  This self-regulation, in turn, allows one to be balanced, aligned, connected on all levels - physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Enjoying a feast with all of our senses is the most powerful way to remain centered and balanced.

Consider trying my delicious combo and adjust components based on where your taste buds may be.  I grew up sugar addicted and only in the past 10 years, no longer desire sugar, so I prefer bitter and pungent, BUT, if you are starting where I was, be gentle or you may not stick with it.  As I told one of my new clients yesterday, it may taste like corrugated cardboard, but you'll learn to love it!


In a bowl:
1 Tbl good quality organic protein powder
1/4-1 tsp Maca
1/2-1 tsp cocoa powder
cinnamon - I like a lot!
stevia if just starting out
stir together and mix in 1-3 tbl coconut milk or I now make coconut milk kefir
chopped carrot and/or apple
chopped avocado
1 tbl of your favorite nut or seed butter
1 tbl nuts
sprinkle of goji berries
more cinnamon!