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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Still feeling the energy from the BIGGEST Health Conference in the world...

Hello Sunshines!

Have you ever been in a room filled with so many people, whom you feed off of their powerful energy?  One that makes you feel so high, that regardless of how sleepy you may be, you have this twinge of excitement? I felt this for this first time last weekend when I attended the largest Health Conference in the world, hosted by the school I am studying at, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I have never been surrounded by so many like-minded people (3,500 of them!!). I felt so motivated, inspired, and energized! I found my purpose here...The best part is... a week later, I am still feeling it!

This past month has not been the easiest...  As a teacher, September never is.  So, I will admit that I began loosing motivation and confidence in my career as a Health Counselor.  The Universe works in particular ways... I know when things are meant to happen, they will. The Universe will assure that everything works out as planned.  So, the conference happened to occur when I needed it the most.  I was so exhausted that I even debated going!  I am so grateful.

In essence my favorite speakers, Dr. Joel Furman, Dr. David Katz, and Dr. Mark Hyman, sent a similar message: EAT MORE VEGETABLES... and less animal products and processed food. Such a simple idea, but in America we are constantly bombarded with advertisement for processed food, and the ease of eating such foods, that we often fail to make the right food choices.  Our country is fat and sick... We need to spread the message: Eat Kale Chips, not corn chips ;)

Dr. Joel Furman is the author is Eat, Drink, to Live, and Supper Immunity (which I bought as soon as I got home). He spoke about how our bodies are self-healing... think about that.  He used a similar metaphor-- a bear out in the wild doesn't go to the doctor, and then to the pharmacy and pops a pill every time he gets ill.  He rests... and naturally his body heals. No antibiotics necessary.

Why are we fat and sick? Well, 62% of the food consumed in America is that of processed CRAP (pardon my language, but there is no other word that can describe what we eat). We are lacking in micronutrients that are vital for fighting off and resisting infection. Here is a scary thought: CHILDHOOD diets are a major cause of ADULT CANCERS... so, we should blame our parents? Not really, but as parents ourselves we need to make the right food choices for your babies.  As teachers, we can make the right choices for our students when they are under our care.

So according to Furman, the best thing you can do for yourself is eat more green cruciferous vegetables.  When we do not eat such vegetables the most important natural defence systems in the cells does not function... Wow!  Eat cabbage, bok choy, and turnips to decrease breast cancer. Eat mushrooms, drink green tea, onions... be what he called a "Naturaltarian".  When you eat more vegetables and less CRAP, you naturally eat less calories... nix the animal products (I can help with you that :), and avoid soy products.

I (and 3,000 other women at the conference) am officially in love with a married man... Dr. David Katz.  His poetic voice was like (vegan) butter... His call to action influenced me greatly.

"Diseases are not causes, the diseases are effects..."

Did you know that there are 10 behaviors that cause premature death?  Tabaco used to be the leader by far... but today the gap between tobacco and diet is narrowing.  So, eating processed crap is nearly as bad for you as smoking cigarets.

What inspired me most about Dr. Katz's lecture is children.  As a preschool teacher I see it all the time.... children do not know how to eat.  Their pallets are so weak, that they prefer to eat a processed cereal bar (with a million ingredients, half being various forms of sugar) over a fresh juicy apple... As 3-year-olds they are already growing bellies, by the time they are 4, they are already overweight and on the brink of diabetes. In my classroom I provide rewards for children when they eat fruit and vegetables at snack and lunch.  What can you do in your classroom or homes to motivate children to want to eat better? 

Exercise enhances academics for children.  "Recess not Ridalin".... we must teach our children how to move, and to love doing it.  Today children are stuck inside, watching TV, playing video games... what ever happened to going on an outside adventure and running around until dusk? At 24-years-old I still LOVE and need to go outside on a daily basis, and run around... It is what I did as a kid, which is why I love it so much as an adult.

As adults we must take initiative and teach our children how to be healthy... like Dr. Joel Furman said, "Childhood diets are a major cause of adult cancers..."

Three and a half TRILLION dollars is spent in the country on what Dr. Mark Hyman calls, "Diabesity". Fifty million servings of soda A DAY is purchased with food stamps... Hm, and we are wondering how to cut spending! Well in America there is a PILL for that, and it will help your diabetes....while promoting other diseases and various ailments... Maybe we should just eat better...

According to Hyman, disease goes away as a side effect of EATING HEALTHY. Food is what he calls, "Farma-cology" It is what you put on your fork that has the ability to hurt or heal.

Hymans 10+ rules:
  1. Avoid food with labels
  2. If eating food with labels, make sure it has less than 5 ingredients, and that you recognize what those five are
  3. Avoid the WHITE powders (white sugar, white flour...)
  4. High Fructose Corn Syrup puts holes in our guts and has high levels of mercury- AVOID
  5. Avoid shortening and oils
  6. Avoid food additives
  7. Artificial sweeteners alter your brain and your hormones causing you to GAIN WEIGHT regardless of it being 0 calories...
  8. If it is plant, eat it, if it is grown IN a plant, avoid it.
  9. Don't drink your calories
  10. Begin your day with protein, this increases your metabolic burn (my green protein smoothie is a great nutritious start!)
  11. Don't eat 3 hours before bed (have a cup of decaf tea with stevia to satisfy that sweet tooth)
This a lot of fantastic, lifesaving information, so I will leave you with this: Your body is a temple, and you only have ONE.  Be grateful for what you have been given, and nourish it.  There is no miracle pill that will save you from getting sick or cure your illness.  There is no miracle pill to make you skinny. The miracle lies in eating a whole natural diet. Once you start eating this way, your body will crave more of the goodness and less of the processed.  You will be healthier, happier, and energized... cut out the crap and go eat your veggies, your body and mind (and family) will thank you<3

I am saving my next blog to talk about my 4th most inspirational speaker-- you may have heard of him, you may have read his many best-seller books, may have done his 21-Day meditation challenges, and if you don't know him yet, I suggest you check him out: Dr. Deepak Chopra.  I will share with you what I learned from this spiritual guru, and my struggle with meditation :)

With Love and Veggies,
Namaste <3

Monday, September 12, 2011

Boulder, Blackouts, and Great Old Friends

Hello Everybody!

I must apologize for my long absence.  My last post was right before I went to Boulder, Colorado to visit a dear friend of mine.  Unfortunately I came home to days of no power, and then jumped into the hectic first days of school.  With that said, I would like to dedicate this post to old friends.  Just last week my friends and I lost a dear friend.  It was a terrible week, one that none of us would have gotten through without each other... 

As we grow up, friendship often gets put on the back burner for other things.  We become these stressful adults who only have time for our career and our family.  Some of us are trying to enjoy our time off while taking care of ourselves through exercise and eating healthy.  What we forget is that friendship is so important for our integral health, and should be focused on as much as if not more than the food we put into our mouth.  With friends, we can catch the curve balls life throws our way...  In addition, with the tenth year anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11/2001,  I think we can all agree that life is too short... If you do one thing today, call a friend and tell them you love them.

From the beautiful words of Adele: 

‎"You know how the time flies

Only yesterday

It was the time of our lives

We were born and raised

In a summer haze

Bound by the surprise
Of our glory days..."

I was fortunate to have spent the previous week with one of my dearest friends in her current home, Boulder Colorado. Jacq and I have been friends since we worked together in the town's pizzeria.  We were about 15... making deli sandwiches together (ekk!). Now, at 25, we are both vegans (no wonder!) and Bikram hot yoga buddies.

Jacq and I in Breckenridge, after a gondola ride to the top where we enjoy delicious homemade salads :)

Now traveling is not always easy, and even though I was going to Boulder and visiting a friend who had a juicer and a blender (that was my gift to her!), I still needed to pack appropriately.... 

Smoothie and vitamins all packed for the suitcase. Each in individual bags, labeled. I always pack like this, and it never fails!

The snacks that saved my life during my 2-hour delay on the plane ride there, and my almost-stuck-in-Kansas City (my dinner that terrible emotional night...)  I LOVE Whole Food's Waste Friendly mix (on the far left), Gogi Berries- perfect!, and out of the three bars, the Yogi Raw Banana and Nuts tasted like fresh banana bread... easily my favorite!

 and with my garden spitting out too many cucumbers to stuff an army, I had to bring some along for the ride....

Being in Boulder made me understand my purpose for being a born and raised, and never leaving- Jersey Girl.  I LOVED Boulder, but I understand that I need to do my part to make Jersey more Boulder-ish...  in other words, a healthy haven! Here is a sneak peak at this terribly healthy-green vacation:

Jacque makes her very own Komucha!! I will be starting my own soon :)

Striking a pose at a beautiful spot outside of Breckenridge

One of my many delicious salads from Whole Foods (we really, really, like that place)

Dessert at the Tonic Oxygen Bar... Raw Vegan Cake, and a delicious, refreshing Kombucha

And of course, our daily green smoothies :)

When I came home to a dark house (THANK YOU IRENE... I am sure many of you feel my pain) I needed to improvise.  The thought of not having my juice and smoothie in the morning, especially before my first week of work, was devastating.  So, this is what I did....
These "Shake and Go" Smoothies are so delicious! They are packed with nutrients and made up for the mornings that I did not have electricity to run my beloved bullet blender but needed the energy to plow through a day of a teacher.  In addition, I bought some Kombucha-- New addiction, thanks to Jacque and her homemade one :)

Blackouts and Colorado are just a mere memory now... the latter, being one that I will cherish forever.  A perfect weekend with a great old friend.  

I hope you all have enjoyed your end of the summer, back to school, work, what have you, and are ready for a delicious, harvest filled season (I LOVE the Fall!).  Just before that harvest begins... this was the last of our summer pickings (btw, the deer indulged in our garden right before the storm... they knew I was in Boulder... or that Irene was coming! Nooo more broccoli :(

43 HUGE cucumbers, about 2 1/2 dozen cherry tomatoes (which are still growing!), a few peppers, jalopenos, and eggplant... Whew!

If you do one thing today, send an old friend some love <3

Peace, Love, and Happiness, Xox