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Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year to Blossom...

It is finally time to say goodbye to the year 2012! I think we can all agree that 2012 was a year filled with lots of change, and unfortunately, sorrow. I don't need to recount the amount of sorrow, us as a nation, as beings, has experienced this year, but I do need to note that through it all, we had each other.  

I thought the "change" of the year was over for me-- from a new home, new job, new disease, the loss of my favorite town, loss of my woods, until two days ago, when we put my dog, who I had since I was 11-years-old, to rest.

The worst thing about sorrow, is that, as humans, we have a brilliant tool, the brain. This tool can vividly replay images,  putting the rest of your body, particularly your heart, through the same emotional turmoil that you felt when the experience initially occurred. You have a battle in your head, about what should have been done/said, between the rational side that is trying to make things better: This was meant to be. It had to be done. She is in a better place now...

For anyone who has ever lost a pet, you understand the unspeakable bond you and your furry friend have. An unspeakable bond that no human can replace. As humans, we can learn a thing or two from animals. They become our best friends, just simply by being there and comforting us-- without a single word. Our souls communicate on a level that we cannot even begin to wrap our brilliant mind around. On a level, that forever leaves a mark. They don't obsess over work, how they look, what others think, but rather all they really care about is spending time with you.

As 2012 comes to a close, and the year of my wedding approaches, I have one important promise to make to myself-- to be more like my dog. If 2012 has taught me anything, it is that life is unexpected, and too short. We go day by day with our rigid routines, obsessing and perfecting things that, perhaps don't really matter. I watched a video today and it asked a good question, which sparked my desire to begin writing this blog: If you could do anything, and money wasn't an issue, what would it be? To travel? Help children? Protect animals? Or perhaps spend time with the people you love?  Being there for the ones you love? Making memories. Enjoying this life that we have...

This year, I resolve to be more like my furry best friend, and spend less time obsessing and perfecting my work, my body, my food-- and sitting back, relaxing, and being present and grateful for what really matters most in my world.

So as we say goodbye to 2012,  I leave you with this thought for the new year: 

With change
comes growth.

It is time to blossom.

Be love, be grateful, and just be.
Here's to a better year for us all <3

Monday, October 1, 2012

Primary Foods: Career and Health

For the past two years I was stuck in a rut. I was working from 8-3 (not bad!) as a preschool teacher in a public school. How bad could things really  be? At the time, I did not realize that my unhappiness with my job position, regardless of the pay and benefits, was causing me serious health issues.

Within my first 6 months as a preschool teacher, I gained about 10lbs, for the first time in my life I had acne, and my period vanished.  There was no real obvious cause for all of these issues, I was a vegan, I exercised 5-6 days a week, I meditated, and my home life was perfect... Except the fact that I was under constant stress during my 7 hour work day.

Don't get me wrong, preschool aged children are wonderful!! I miss my class every day. But being in charge of fifteen 3-year-olds, is a game of constant behavior management. I give tremendous credit to anyone who teaches younger children!

Fast forward to today, October 1st. It was two years ago, this week, that I was officially hired as a full time teacher under the state of New Jersey. Today, I am no longer teaching preschool...

For two years I thought I had made a bad decision going into teaching... I was angry at myself for not going with my gut and studying psychology.  Today, I no longer feel this regret.

In September, I was asked to return to the same building I had been working in, but this time as a 3rd grade teacher. As nervous as I was, I knew that this may be my cure.  It has been a month of teaching 3rd grade, and I don't remember the last time I was this happy.

My days are longer (7am to at least 5pm), and I bring work home at night, and spend Sundays planning... but I am not complaining. I absolutely love what I do!  My students are 8 and 9-years-old.  They are amazing, eagerly learning new things everyday.

At this age I know I can really be impressionable, and make a difference in the lives of my favorite type of people-- the little ones. In between math and reading, while drinking my green smoothie (which they are all so curious about), I like to throw in a few facts about healthy habits-- and they listen and understand! Last week, the music teacher asked the students to share something about themselves.  I almost cried when about 15 of my 21 students stated that their favorite food was some type of vegetable!
This was me, during their music lesson :)

With all of this happiness, I have lost most of that weight gain, my skin has cleared up, I am full of energy-- running more than ever, and I cannot stop smiling. In this case, I am proof that diet and exercise, alone, will not make you healthy and happy.  There is a BIG thing I like to call our "primary foods", our relationships, spirituality, our career.  Food is secondary....
I am finally in balance.

With something to think about :)

<3, Amanda

Looking forward:
Next blog post-- Welcome to Pumpkin season!! Oh the recipes I will be sharing ;)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

You can do whatever you set your mind to!

Hello Spartans,

It has been a wild month, where I have been dancing with change! This past month I not only accepted an offer to teach 3rd grade (after three years teaching pre-k), but I also challenged my body in a way I have NEVER before. So, Thursday I excitedly completed my first day as a 3rd grade teacher (and LOVED it), and Saturday I completed an 11 mile, 30 obstacle, Super Spartan Race at Moutain Creek, New Jersey.

These two challenges, were possibly the hardest things I have ever accomplished.  For those of you who are teachers, or parents, you know that teaching is no joke. With 35+ hours on classroom preparation, and then 12 hour work days preparing lessons... Whew! I applaud ALL of the teachers out there, and certainly have a much higher respect for the teachers I had growing up.

The Super Spartan Race challenged every cell of my body.  We climbed up the mountain at 1,000ft vertical climb THREE times... and that does not even count the obstacles. I, Miss Afraid of Heights, jumped off a CLIFF! Wow was that invigorating! Oh, and then climbed another 1,000 ft vertically...

Although these two challenges are very different, they are equally the same... and with change and challenges comes emotions....

Friday, after working 12.5 hr (yep you read that right), I was beginning to come down from my endorphin high (which we often experience in change). I was ready to quit, and give up all of the training I had done for the Spartan Race (which was the next morning).  I had run 4 times a week, 6+ miles on hills in the woods, and did P90x2 videos 3x a week.  This training gave me the STRENGTH and CONFIDENCE to get my foot in the door and be a 3rd grade teacher... So, thankfully my wonderful teammate, my fiance, John, made sure I did not give up (and let his money go to waste ;) He gave me the boost, literally, that I needed to complete the race.

Team work :)
And we finished!!
During the Super Spartan Race, I fought with my ego and my fear.  Having a bit fear of heights made me want to run home, and avoid the cliff jump, and the 1,000ft vertical climb up the mountain (did I mention we did that 3 times?) But, a little voice in my head kept me going: "I can do this, I can do anything I sent my mind on, I am a woman, I am powerful, I am strong, I got this." And so, I got through the 11 miles, 3,000ft vertical climb, cliff jump, and 29 other obstacles including crawling through mud under barbwire, in a rather unimpressive time-- BUT I did it!

In the end, my body was sore from head to toe... I cried while waiting for my delicious dinner from Good Karma Cafe (Prefect vegan recovery meal: Live Kale Salad, Love Bowl with Tempeh, and Live Lemonade), and then, had the giggles harder than I have had in a LONG time. Strange experience, however, I think that it is proof that I pushed my body unbelievably hard, and survived. I did it!
Footwear: Vibrams
Pre-workout smoothie: Sunwarrior, 1 banana, coconut water, 1tsp. wheatgrass, 1 tbs. chia seeds, 1tbs. flaxseed, 1tsp. bee pollen, 1 tsp. maca powder

BTW, I attribute my vegan diet for my quick recovery: Out of everyone I raced with, I was the only one who was not sore the next day, and even ran 7mi the day after that! Vegan IS power!

Until next time you crazy challengers <3

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Yummm, Ommm, and Ekkk!!! My top 6 ways to relieve stress....

Hello Fellow Warriors!

Since I last posted, I have been so busy enjoying this sweet life! My motto these days is, "forget about it", and this carefree way of thinking is really having an effect! Positive vibes all around.... Here's my top six ways to relieve stress:
*Note: I tried to do "top 5", but there is just so much to share!

6.) Cooking! 
Nothing makes me feel better than preparing my own healthy meals. 
This dish is vegan and gluten free.
 Gluten has been linked to exasperating PCOS (poly cystic ovary syndrome) symptoms, 
as well as decrease your serotonin levels (the "feel good" hormone in your brain), 
and runs down your adrenal glands leading to stress, fatigue, mood swings, depression, Fertility issues, to name a few....
 so I am completely cutting it out of my diet, where before I was much more lenient... 
and with tasty food like this, gluten who?
Quinoa and corn salad with roasted peppers:

  • 1 ½ cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 tsp. salt (or less)
  • 2 cups fresh (about 4 ears) or frozen corn
  • 1 cup tightly packed basil leaves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup diced jarred roasted red peppers, or home made (*see how below)
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 to 5 Tbs. fresh lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons) 
  •  1.In medium saucepan, combine quinoa, salt and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 12 minutes.
  • 2. Add corn, cover and cook until quinoa is tender but still a little crunchy, about 3 minutes. 
  • 3. Drain quinoa mixture and transfer to large serving bowl. Toss well with fork, fluffing quinoa. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • 4. Add basil, peppers and onion. Stir in oil and enough lemon juice to give salad a distinct lemony edge. 
  • Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.
  • *Make the roasted peppers fresh if you have time-- it's so easy, delicious, and your house will smell amazing! All you do is broil who peppers, turning every few minutes to blacken all sides. Then place in a brown paper bag for about 15 minutes.  Wipe off skin and slice the roasted pepper.

My Mom's Bean Salad:
1 cup steamed (or can) green beans 
*If using canned do use Organic to avoid BPA and other chemicals and additives, and always rinse to get rid of that extra, unnecessary sodium! I use Eden Organic which are boiled with Kombu, Kombu makes the beans (or you) less "musical".
1 cup (or can) Garbanzo Beans
1 cup (or can) Kidney Beans
1 small red onion chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup of chopped celery
Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 c. sugar OR ten drops of Liquid Stevia
Marinate over night, toss, and enjoy!
Fortunately for me, my sister (who is also a GF Vegan) made this delicious raw pie for our 3rd of July Party...
Unfortunately I do not have the recipe (sorry guys!) check out her blog here for the recipe and more of what she made.

5.) The number one supplement for happiness and stress relief? 
Some Vitamin L (ove).  
Being around people who make you happy does wonders for your health!
Here I am spending time with my little love bug of a niece, Audriana, at our Annual 3rd of July Party.

4.) Running in the direction of my dreams....

My Fiance, John and I purchased Vibrams and they are awesome! I LOVE them! 
I run in the woods, so there is a bit of caution needed-- Do run on your toes (takes a bit getting used to), 
do NOT land on your foot, in which case you may land on a sharp rock that bruises your foot..Ouch!
Aside from that, these shoes rock! I have been running with Nike Frees (Nike's version of Vibram) for over a year now, so I am used to running on my toes.  However, I have now discovered new muscles in my feet and legs. Best part, these shoes WILL make you feel and look like a rock-star-runner ;)

NOTHING helps me to relieve stress like running in the peace and quiet of the beautiful woods near my house.

3.)Yoga. My runs are always proceeded by an hour of yoga. 
Great for my recovery, and does wonders for my mind!
Lately I have been doing p90x2 yoga outside, with Avery, my Veggie Lovin' Maltese :) 
Max. outside time=great mood booster and stress relief, 
puppy time=even MORE (more Vitamin L!)
In Savasana with Avery
2.) Always challenge yourself, and have FUN doing it! 
I  ran my first race, and it was a MUD race! The Warrior Dash! 
3.5 mile, 15 obstacle race in the MUD
Here is a shot of us Warriors after-- 
David, My Brother-in-law Thomas, My sister Lauren, Me, and My fiance John
Warrior Sisters :)
Muddy Smooches for my Warrior <3

1.) My number 1 way to relieve stress? Meditation! And just in the nic-of-time (as always, You funny Universe!) the Chopra Center is hosting another FREE 21-Day Meditation Challenge!! Whose with me?? I have done all of the Chopra Center Challenges, and they just get better and better every time! Click here to join! Did I mention it was FREE!? Seriously try it, whether you are new to meditation or have been practicing for years... It starts Monday!

Well, that's that my little Warriors!
Take care of yourself and
Have a wonderful, stress-free day <3

Sunday, July 1, 2012

PCOS, my reason to proclaim Independence from STRESS

Hello Sunshine!

I must apologize for my extended absence. Things happen in life which we cannot control, and sometimes we just have to go with the flow and accept everything as a lesson in this journey of life.  These past few months I have had a lot going on (lessons!), and unfortunately I lost touch with my passion of writing and coaching others towards better heath. It wasn't until last week, when I was given a diagnosis that I was reminded of my passion and my meaning for life...

I am going to share a story with you, it is a true story, and one that takes a lot of courage for me to share.... Here it goes.

Nearly two years ago I was a healthy, vibrant, vegan, young girl who was placed in a classroom for the first time.  I always knew I wanted to work with children, and teaching just seemed like the perfect thing to do for the rest of my life. Little did I know or comprehend the stress and anxiety that would accompany this new, great salary, amazing benefits, big-girl job kind of job. The trending attitude in my home state of New Jersey these days, is that teachers have it so good. What an easy job, working 9-3 and for only 10 months of the year with a week off for Christmas and Easter... Well let me tell you, it is NOT easy.

My first year of teaching, I worked 7:30am to 9:00pm, preparing, creating, and crying. I know I am not alone on this first-year-teacher hell. My first year was so traumatic that even me, a healthy vegan who exercises 5+ days a week, juices daily, meditates and does yoga, literally made myself sick.

Last week I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). What is the cause of PCOS? Well stress, of course, along with hereditary. Who knew, stress could rival healthy habits? I thought I was invincible.

I am sharing this story because it is important for you to listen to your body, to take care of yourself, and to do everything in your power (or nothing at all) to ease stress.  Stress is that little nag within each of us that often times we cannot suppress. Stress is responsible for so many ailments and illnesses from acne to bowel issues, to cancer, to heart disease.

What I have learned in this week is that PCOS is very prevalent, affecting up to 10% of women of child bearing age. I have also learned (from experience) that PCOS symptoms are often over looked by doctors, for example: in April (of my first year teaching, over a year ago) while on birth control, my period vanished. I suddenly gained a fair amount of weight (while eating a plant based diet), and my skin looked like that of a 15-year-old. So, I went off of my birth control in October that same year, and still no period, no weight loss, and only slight relief of acne. After expressing my concern to my OBGYN, and getting blood work, then being told to go back for more blood work, I finally seeked a second opinion. My unnecessary weight gain, acne for the first time in  my life, and lack of period are all common signs of PCOS that were over looked by my doctor for the past year.

An internal ultrasound was all I needed for my new doctor (an IVF doctor) to give me a diagnosis.  My ovaries were "fully loaded" with cysts. I have been infertile since last April. Infertile? But I am the catalogue-picture-perfect child bearing shaped girl, who loves children and has always dreamt of having a family of two girls, one boy, with blonde hair like their father and green eyes and freckles like me...

To be told that my reason of being does not work properly, just a few months short of my wedding.... Realizing that no matter how clean I eat, and how much I exercise, I am not invincible.  Stress over powered all of my efforts. Some things, you just cannot control.

Well, I am declaring myself Independent (in leu of the 4th of July) from Stress!

The more research I do, the more I realize that if it was not for my clean way of eating and exercising, my symptoms could be so much worst (see below)... and I am confident that with my doctor's help, my continued health eating and exercising, along with a few extra yoga classes, more mediating, and certainly more relaxation, I will be okay, and I will have children some day.

Everything that occurs in life is for a reason, and is a lesson which we must learn in order to move on to the next phase of our lives.  As difficult as it has been for me to accept my diagnosis, I believe that there is a reason I have this so called "syndrome".  Perhaps this reason is so that I can successfully fulfill my dream of helping women with fertility issues get healthy and bring healthy bundles of joy into the world... and perchance, my lesson is in using my own body to learn how to do this.

I will continue to blog about my journey with PCOS, and in a few years I promise that my blonde hair babies will be living proof that we have power over our bodies, we just have to be willing to make changes and kick stress to the curb.

Much love and health to you <3

For more information on PCOS check out this article on WebMD. If you have some of these symptoms be proactive and demand an internal ultrasound so that you can begin healing your body.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Oh Allergies...

As a child, I was notorious for being the one in the family, among my friends, and in my class who gave the first true signs of Spring: Sneezing, sniffling, and red itchy eyes. A victim of allergies for two of my favorite things in the world: Nature and animals.

Lo and behold, I was medicated in middle school, starting with Allegra.  Once I built a tolerance, I had to switch to Zertec, and alternate between the two yearly.  Then, in high school my doctor prescribed me Singulair for a double whammy for my allergies and asthma.

Today, I am allergy free, asthma free, AND medication free.

As I sit outside on this BEAUTIFUL day on the East Coast, breathing freely through my nose, savoring the smell of the air, the flowers, freshly cut grass, I think to myself, "how did I ever live without enjoying this?"

So, this is what I do, and I recommend for all of my allergy prone counterparts, do try out my recommendations.  If they worked for me, a.k.a. the sneezing mess, they could work for you:

1.) Every morning I make a smoothie (see recipe below).  Inside that smoothie a key ingredient to triumphing allergies is Bee Pollen.  Yes, Bee Pollen is not vegan, and I do eat a Vegan diet, however I still consume bee products-- they have served their purpose and more.  By eating LOCAL Bee Pollen (which you can get at your local health food store), your body builds a tolerance to Bee Pollen, which is one of many triggers for seasonal allergies.  I have been using 1 tsp. of Bee Pollen for about two years now, and although it takes time to build up a tolerance, it does work.

Green Smoothie:1-2 c. Coconut Water
1/2 Frozen banana
handful of Kale
1 tsp. Bee Pollen
1 tsp. Maca Powder
1 tsp. Spirulina
1 tbs. Chia seeds
1 tbs. Ground Flax Seed
1 soup of Sun Warrior Protein Powder
Blend in a blender

2.) A few times a day I clean my sinuses. I whole heartedly believe in the power of a Neti Pot, however I am a busy chick who will come up with any excuse not to flush my sinuses daily.  So, I found a convenient alternative that works like a charm and does not shoot snot all over my sink:
Xlear is a friggen Rock Star which I do not leave home without!

3.) A huge fan of Homeopathy, every day 2-3 times a day (or more if feeling sniffly), I take three pellets of Natrum Muriaticum 200 ck.  If you are not familiar with these little miracle pellets I suggest you do some googling, speak to a homeopath, and ditch pharmaceutical drugs for these natural miracle pills. I use them for every ailment I have from a morning after a fun night (commonly called a hangover) to a cold to digestive issues.  Homeopathy is a super star in my book, and I never resort to pharmaceutical medication. Homeopathy is safe, and natural, and can be given to pets and babies (speak with a homeopath first!).

4.) My last allergy-ass-kicker is Quercetin. Quercetin is found in many fruits and vegetables, some of my favorites which I eat daily are green tea, apples, red onions, tomatoes, broccoli, and leafy greens like my beloved kale.  I also take Quercetin as a supplement when I know the allergy scale will be high...
With Butterbur Extract,Perilla Oil, Rosemarinic Acid, and 200 mg of Quercetin, this product has  become one of my new favorites.

 5.)Oh yeah, and there's an App for that! Check out for the Allergy Alert to see which days the pollen is high, in which you should use extra precaution (as in make sure to clean your sinuses, and use my recommendations).

Having a healthy diet is essential to a healthy immune system.  Remember to eat lots of vegetables, try to incorporate some (or all) of my suggestions, and then, roll down those windows and enjoy breathing freely the fresh scents of spring <3

Happy Healing!

Monday, April 9, 2012

If you could do anything with your life, what would it be?

If you could do anything with your life, what would it be?

When asked this question at Easter dinner with my soon-to-be in-laws, I knew right away what I would do with my life... and I know that I can do whatever I want to do, and be whatever I want to be.  I just have to do it.  On April 15th, I turn 25.  Considered a milestone to many, to me it is more of a reminder to take inventory of my life so far, make goals for the next five years, journal about it, think about it, manifest it.

I think back on who I was 5 years ago, as a 20-year-old Sophomore in college, still in the early and insecure years of my relationship with my now fiance, John.  I guess everything at the age was insecure and unaware.  I was going through the motions of doing my best in college, but not sure what I really wanted to do when I got out, unaware of the responsibilities the future holds, and how quickly they will come. I was at the point in my life, and education when I lost all faith. Faith in my parents, faith in religion, faith in myself. I was an insecure, young girl on this journey of finding myself, luckily I had a great guy to support and love me along the way. The best part of that year? John and I unofficially adopted Avery, our little vegan fur child (who is a survivor!)
Our first picture as a little family, April 2007
Five years later, I am secure. Confident. Happy.  I am proud of my accomplishments and my responsibilities.  I accept everything I have been through, and done, to get to this point. I have taken charge of my health, become a vegan who loves green juice and smoothies, who loves to exercise to feel good and strong, to be healthy, rather than to be skinny. I now know what I want to do with my life (what I need to do), and I accept that my current situation is the avenue to get there. And, at 25-years of age, after having a pretty rough year when I have lost a lot of near and dear people in the past year, too many friends and family have been plagued with disease and other misfortunes, my faith, against all odds, is being restored.

April, 2012

Faith. Well, how can I not have faith? I was raised Roman Catholic, dragged to church every Sunday, and every week I reluctantly attended CCD classes (with my reluctant BFF, Erica :). I went to college, took my first psychology course, and everything the church had taught me, was questioned, or better put: A good fairy tale. I became a non believer, and with that, I became a pessimist.... Until recently.

I am so blessed. I know that I manifested my life today, I manifested my fiance, John.  Our life together, my job, my relationships with family and friends.  I have all that I ever dreamed.  And call me crazy, but I believe there is a higher power, whatever you want to call it, but there is a power bigger than us.  There are angels protecting us, everyday.  Those lost, are not gone. This faith, does not mean I have to go to church and ask for forgiveness of my minor sins (like not going to church for the last 5 years). This faith is something sacred inside of me, when my body is my temple on so many levels. I accept everything I have been given, and I am so grateful. There are no coincidences, everything happens for a reason, and I believe that we all really do have a true purpose in this life.

Now, with that belief, soon-to-be 25 year old me, could not be more content. My goal for the next five years is to take a leap of faith, and just do it.... I know if I could do anything with my life, what it would be, and I am going to do it.

Wishing everyone of you the happiest and most powerful year yet.
Happy Easter <3

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Battling cravings with a new find!

I have been mostly vegan for nearly three years (mostly because, as I have said before, I will eat fresh fish once in a while). One food which I gave up, and often crave is eggs.  I believe that I crave eggs because my body is telling me I am in need of some nutrients. I know that my body does not really want eggs, being that eggs in the form of egg salad, scrambled, or deviled were a childhood favorite which always resulted in a dreaded stomach attack.

So, I ripped out the Candle 79 Cookbook that my sister, Lauren gave to me as a Christmas gift, and found a tofu scramble recipe. Unfortunately, like many of you, soy products, like tofu, lead to a stomach attack almost as bad as when I used to eat eggs. So, I ventured to whole foods and found sprouted tofu, which according to the package, is easier to digest-- and with uncertainly, I made a delicious tofu scramble this afternoon, and did not get sick! Whew!

As a vegan, it is such a relief to have found a substitute that I can actually enjoy with out regretting it. So, why is "sprouted" tofu easier to digest?  Most forms of soy that we are subjected to in so many of our food products, is from the whole soybean. The sprouted tofu is from sprouted soybeans which are easier to digest and on top of that, contain more calcium, iron, and protein-- just what my body was is in need of!

Here is the recipe which was slightly adjusted to my preference: 1 serving

  • 1/3 package of firm sprouted organic tofu
  • 1/4 each of chopped pepper, onion, mushroom, and spinach
  • Approx. 2 tbs. vegetable broth
  • Clove garlic
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • Lots of tumeric (to your preference-- as you can see from how yellow my scramble is, I love turmeric-- see below!)
  • 1 tbs. + Nutritional yeast
  • Gluten Free Millet Bread
  • Earth Balance, Vegan butter
How: Heat skillet on medium heat.  Saute onion, garlic, and pepper.  Add mushroom, tofu, and broth and cover and cook for four minutes.  Add spinach and seasonings, saute for 2 more minutes.  Adjust seasonings, and serve with Gluten Free Bread and Vegan butter.

What makes my tofu scramble yellow like eggs? Turmeric, the spice we should all start consuming on a daily basis! Long used by both Chinese medicine and Indian medicine as a potent yet safe anti-inflammatory, used to ease many ailments ranging from flatulence to menstrual difficulties to treatment for Inflammatory Bowl Diseases like Crones disease. Add Turmeric to your tea, smoothies, juice, soup, pasta dishes... a few dashes won't change the taste of the food, but will make a big difference in your body!

I gobbled down this delicious meal, and powered through a great workout.  I guess my body was trying to tell me that with all of the exercise I have been doing lately (to battle recent stressors), my body needed some nourishment.  Peace out egg craving!

With love, encouragement, and nourishment <3

Monday, February 20, 2012

Transforming Your Life: 21-Day Cleanse and Meditation Challenge

One year ago I began a journey towards wellness.  Not that I was not "well" before then, in fact by many standards I was really healthy. However, there was so much more I intuitively knew I needed to do.  Before this day, one year ago, I was a vegan who exercised regularly... however, despite all my healthy efforts I was a stressed out, weight gaining, acne prone teacher by day, and sleepless, exhausted, grouch by night.

My big sister who has always been the driving force in my journey of wellness, gave me Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet as a Christmas gift.... and my life changed.  At the same time, I joined the Chopra Center's 21 Day Meditation Challenge, which just so happens, to begin today! In this past year, I have given up gluten, traded in coffee for green juice, and now meditate, and journal on a regular basis.  I am so much more relaxed, less stressed, more confident, and happier than I was a year ago. I cannot even begin to explain how this has benefitted all aspects of my life!

Today in honor of my year of growth, I am beginning the 21-Day Cleanse and the 21-Day Meditation Challenge.  I want YOU to join me! For information on each, check out the links.

Some of you might be thinking, why do I need to cleanse?  I eat a very clean diet 90% of the time.  But, being a 20-something-year-old, I do have some not so healthy habits (like drinking on the weekends).  I also live in New Jersey, where there are many environmental pollutants that I have very little control over, and prefer not to walk around wearing an oxygen mask (new fashion statement, anybody?).  Doing a cleanse is my way of putting my body on a vacation.  Doing something great for my body. We all need to give our bodies a break from time to time, no matter how healthy you are.

I encourage you to challenge your body and mind with me.  You will be so grateful you did, and in 21 days your life will have changed dramatically.  Who knows, like me, you may go off of the cleanse and decide that THAT is how you want to live.

So, as I sit here with green juice in my hand, and preparing for day one of my meditation, I send you my unconditional love, support, and motivation. You are an amazing human being who deserves this, you can change your life. <3

Peek at My Day:

  • Wake up after 7 1/2 hours of sleep giving gratitude
  • Drink a glass of water with 1/2 lemon and dash of cayenne pepper
  • Drink green tea
  • Sit comfortably to complete the days meditation challenge
  • Exercise (if enough time, or else do after work) 
  • Prepare green juice, smoothie, and decaf green tea
  • Dry brush followed by a warm shower followed by a cold rinse
  • Breathe while getting ready for work and driving there
  • Sip on juice followed by smoothie followed by vitamins (probiotics, multi, vitamin D, B12, vitamin C)
  • Eat a large kale salad with various colored veggies and sip on decaf green tea
  • If still hungry eat snack of fruit or almonds or other raw nuts/seeds
  • After work go for a run and stretch to calm music (if not accomplished in the morning)
  • Prepare and eat a salad with a light vegan meal of choice
  • Prepare tomorrow's lunch and pick out clothing
  • Dim the lights and sip decaf tea before bed
  • Brush and floss teeth, wash face, rinse with cold water
  • Give gratitude before bed (at least 3 things that happened today)
  • Sleep tight <3

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Exercise is the drug to become addicted to.

When the temps are dropping, the snow is falling, the days are shorter, all you want to do is snuggle up on the couch.  What do you do to stay positive? Motivated? Energized?  

I get my butt moving, I release those pleasurable endorphins, I make time for a good workout.  I sit here with so much positivity flowing through my body, drinking my green juice, and so grateful that I woke up on this Sunday morning to brave the cold and power through an intense 90 minute Bikram Hot Yoga Class.  It was so worth it!  I feel so amazing, that I knew this was the topic I needed to write about today.

It is so easy, on a day like today where in Jersey it is just below freezing, cloudy, and gray... and there is snow on the ground for the first time this winter.... to snuggle up on the couch, sporting your silk pajamas and cashmere robe, with a huge mug of vegan hot chocolate.  I know, I did that yesterday! And, you need to do just that once in a while. You just can't do that everyday

I know from experience how horrible you can feel. I have tasted depression and anxiety.  And, I know I can taste it again. Exercise is my drug.  My drug has no side effects as do medications... have you ever heard one of those commercials for depression medications? "Side effects may include: dry mouth. constipation. blurred vision. sleep disruption. weigh gain. diarrhea. inability to get an erection. inability to have an orgasm. loss of libido. agitation. anxiety. heart failure. suicide. death".... to name a few! 
Exercise has NO negative side effects!
and in fact increases such side effects! So, if doctors where to bottle up exercise and prescribe it to patience as often as they do with other medication, I would imagine the add would sound something like this: "Do you desire an increased libido (and better sex)?  Undisturbed, restorative sleep? Normal bowl movements? More energy? Greater confidence? Less anxiety? A better outlook on life? Weigh loss? Better overall all health? A tighter tush ;) Well, get your ass moving!"

I so strongly believe that exercise can cure so many ailments, which is why it is one of the number one things I encourage my clients to do.  Bundle up and get outside, connect with nature- go for a walk, a hike, a run.  Whatever level you are at, just get your ass moving.  

My exercise routine changes often, I am an Aries who seeks adventure, and gets bored easily.  My routine this month includes:

  1.  Running once a week in the woods. An experience where there is no words to describe... if you are curious, I dare you to try running in the woods.  There is no exercise quite like it. Imagine what it feels like to fly...
  2. Bikram hot yoga once a week, which helps me to release toxins, increase my flexibility, feel warmth, and give my body gratitude. 
  3. Circuit training workout videos, which I alternate betweem about 3 days a week to increase my strength. My current favorites are:

Michelle Dozois was the first workout video trainer I ever had.  Every time she comes out with a new video, I have to have it-- and always love it! This video alternates between free weights and cardio. 

Last summer I did P90x, and enjoyed competing with my fiance.  Although I cannot bring myself to do the entire series again, I do like to incorporate the Plyometrics followed by the Ab video.  This is such a fun workout! Plyometrics (jump training) is my favorite way to get an intense cardio burn while building muscle.  I feel like a kid doing this video-- Jumping around my living room like a nut :)

Similar to Michelle Dozois, Amy Dixon has quite a few interval training videos that I love! This one incorporates the step, and your alternate between weights and cardio blasts.  My body is always sore (in a good way) after this one!

Just three days without exercise, and I feel myself falling into a sad, unmotivated, lack of confidence, and lack of energy slump. I need exercise.  And so do you.

With love, warmth, and motivation <3