Sunday, August 12, 2012

French Women Don't Get Fat

If there is one "diet" book you should read, it's "French Women Don't Get Fat" by Mareille Guiliano.  As an obsessor of healthy food and well being, I tend to overdo it sometimes... okay most of the time.  The hardest part of maintaining any healthy lifestyle, is balance.  Guiliano does an amazing job of reminding the reader that she has absolute control over her relationship with food.  Rather than being enslaved by diets, gyms, and unwanted pounds, she unveils several tricks up the sleeves of every slender French woman.  

This was a life changer, and falls wonderfully in line with what I've learned and implemented from Eckhart Tolle's teachings in The Power of Now and A New Earth.

If we become more aware of not only WHAT we are eating, but more importantly, HOW we are eating, and WHY, we will start to enjoy food in a whole new light.  We will no longer need large portions to fulfill our hunger and fill our stomachs.  

Needless to say, I have started to implement her ideas into my life, and I am really enjoying the results.  Not only have I found times to just go for a walk and drink more water, I'm savoring every bite of my food!  Oh and my jeans are baggier than ever!

Life is so much more pleasurable when you stop to smell the roses, and taste the chocolate as it melts on your tongue.  

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My Total Money Makeover

I've been in debt ever since I started working.  My first job, selling high-end western wear, was the summer in-between my freshman and sophomore years of college.  I babysat here and there in high school, but always pissed the money away.  When I started earning real cash, I had already spent it, on mainly an expensive computer that I couldn't wait to have.  I naturally lack patience.  I want everything to happen this instant.  I've been getting better over the past several months, due to my own spiritual growth, but when it came to buying things, I didn't have much will power.  I easily spent money I didn't have on trips to see friends, concerts, technology, food, clothing and other "essentials".  I am now 28 years old with $16,000 in debt.  I have the job of my dreams, but it's entry-level, so I only take home about $26,000 per year.  I've never lived on a budget. EVER. A budget for me was making sure I had enough money to pay my credit card bills, but still used credit cards elsewhere.  It was a classic situation, and a vicious cycle.  My debt has forced me to live in a home with 3 other young women, all trying to make ends meet.  At times I get very frustrated and impatient, upset with myself over getting into this situation.

If I were debt-free, I'd be able to live on my own comfortably.  I dream of owning my own ranch and film studio.  It's a far cry from what I have now, but I have to dream to stay motivated.  My first goal once I'm debt-free is to buy a two-bedroom condo.  I love the idea of having guests come and stay with me, but living in a "sorority" house isn't cutting it.  My other goals for being debt-free are spending money on healthy, organic produce and cooking.  I'm somewhat obsessed with living a healthy lifestyle, and that's usually where I spend what little money I have.  Someday, I'd even like to have enough space where I can grow fruits and vegetables in my own garden.

The whole money thing has stressed me out for quite a long time.  I've been paying myself back ever since I started working.  I've never lived debt-free. Well, when I was 18 and didn't have a credit card, I was debt-free, and boy, I felt so free.  I felt like I could accomplish anything!  Recently, I was out on a walk and there was a voice that spoke inside my head, and it told me that I should get a finance book.  I had heard of Dave Ramsey's books, but I never got around to getting one.  The next day at work, I bumped in to a couple of coworkers who were switching offices and had to box up all their stuff.  One of them had come across Dave's book Total Money Makeover.  She had remembered that I was struggling with money and interested in reading more about it, so she gave me the book.  I knew in that moment that it was a blessing from the divine, and immediately went home and started reading.

Not many books have changed my life.  A few have helped me awaken to my life's purpose and live more in the present, and receiving this book came because I was spiritually ready.  I accepted it with open arms, and while reading, it brought me to tears several times.  It not only changed the way I thought about money, but it has encouraged me to sell some stuff I no longer needed to help build my initial emergency fund.  Something I had never attempted before.  Another thing I had never attempted before was living on a budget.  It was really freeing to go through what I had coming in and actually designate an amount to different necessities.  I literally felt lighter, knowing that I had a plan to get to step one, and as soon as that was done, I could start attacking my debt once and for all.

I also cut up ALL my credit cards.  I don't even know how many there were, but it was more than anyone should have.  I put the pieces in a ziplock bag and pinned it to my bulletin board.  My parents were concerned that I didn't have a back-up for emergencies.  But honestly, it feels good to know that I don't have a choice.  I HAVE to have the money in order to pay for ANYTHING.  I now have $500 in my emergency fund, and I am living on a budget. I'll be able to get to $1000 within the next couple weeks.  And then it's on to the debt snowball.

If I can live on a budget and pay off my debt while only bringing home $26,000 a year, I  can only imagine what I'll be able to accomplish when I start earning more.  My personal mantra is "Debt-Free by Thirty!"  It's going to take a lot of work, but it will also require a lot of patience.  I can wait to buy things until I have the cash.  Oh and cash is so much fun to pay with.  I use my debit card only to withdrawl cash from the atm.

Dave has taught me that if I am willing to live like no one else.  I'm talking no more new gadgets, no matter how cool they are, I'll someday (soon) be able to live like no one else.  The most important thing is to dream about what I will do with that money.  Where would I live?  Where would I travel?  Who will I share it with?  How would I invest it?  How will I enjoy it?  How will I honor it?

Thank you Dave, for writing a life-changing book!  And thanks to my co-worker who found it useless, and then handed it over to me.

I'm on my way!!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Morning Fresh Smoothie!

Since it's been over two months since my last posting, I might was well share with you a smoothie recipe I tried this morning.

I've been reading more and more about how celery and cucumbers are good for your complexion.  So I figured I'd through them in the blender to see what happens.

Here's what I added:

2 celery sticks
1 banana
1 kiwi
1/2 cucumber (peeled)
1/2 cup coconut water (more or less based on your desired consistency)
handful of blueberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 oz vegan protein powder

Blend it baby!

Yields roughly two servings.



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stroke of Insight

I first heard of Jill Bolte Taylor on Oprah's Spirit Channel podcast when she interviewed her for her Soul Series Radio Show.  Jill Bolte Taylor, author of "Stroke of Insight", was brain scientist and Doctor who suffered a major stroke and lost her ability to use the left hemisphere of her brain.  In this video, she explains what happened to her that fateful day.  She spent years of recovery to be able to re-use her damaged left-hemisphere, but this time she's using it to help encourage everyone to start using the "right" one.

Watch and enjoy!

Food Matters

I saw this film for the first time about a year and a half ago.  To say it changed my life is an understatement.  While I've always been skeptical of "modern" medicine, this film resonated with my heart, reminding it just how important raw, organic, "super"foods are for overall health and well-being.  It'll make you want to throw everything in your pantry/fridge away and start from scratch.

Challenging the status quo, the documentary "Food Matters" should be a requirement for anyone looking to change their own health, as well as the health of the planet. 

You can check out the film on their website here:

I refer to their list of superfoods before heading to the grocery store:


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Superfood Smoothie!

My Superfood Smoothie Recipe (serves 2):

1 medium-sized banana
4-5 Strawberries
handful of blueberries
handful of raspberries (or blackberries)
1/2 of a kiwi
8 oz Coconut Water (or more for desired consistency)
1 Tablespoon Raw Cacao Powder
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Greenfoods Protein
1 Teaspoon Maca Extract (for stress-adrenal health)
*May add raw kale and/or spinach to taste and consistency

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Food for Thought

I recently stumbled upon an fascinating post on the blog that featured a concept in the way of food preservation.  Eliminating the "necessary" refrigerator seems a bit obscure and extreme, however, this insightful and learned "preserver" is on to something...

Jihyun Ryou - a Korean artist about her storage solution for vegetables:

Makes perfect sense to me!  Besides, refrigerators are also noisy and costly!  Who's with me?!

Check out Jihyun Ryou's blog here:

The Power of Now

I was lost in my own mind.  Struggling to find an inner balance and peace.  I could only think about what I didn't have.  Where I wanted to be.  How my current life situation wasn't good enough.  I had an emotional breakdown.  I couldn't handle the pressures anymore.  Yet I was living my dream.  Why wasn't I happy?  Out of sheer necessity, I asked a friend at work, whom I go to frequently to get my emotions in check, to go out for a bite to eat.  She willingly accepted.  I figitted as we sat waiting for our food.  "Okay", she said, "When you eat this, close your eyes.  Remember the scene in Ratatouille when Remy was describing the flavors he was experiencing, and how they seemed like fireworks?  I wan't you to experience your food in that way.  Recognize every flavor.  Trust me, you'll love it!".  So I did.  We had ordered a special Thai lettuce wrap that included the most unusual flavors and textures.  With my eyes closed, I stopped thinking about everything else, my attention solely on the flavors; identifying each and every flavor.  It was sweet, spicy, citrusy, red-peppery, shrimpy, vibrant, alive!  It was the most amazing experience I had had in quite a while.  Suddenly I was a bit more aware.  I was settled.  I was ready.

The sun just burst through my window and into my room as I finished that last sentence.

As we continued our conversation, she quickly recognized that I was longing for something more.  On the surface, it was a longing for the ability to be creative.  To be an artist.  But was that truly what I wanted?  Looking back, I just wanted to be happy.  At peace.  At a place where creativity flows easily, not forced.  Deep down she must have realized that, too, and proceeded to share with me one of the greatest tips I have ever received.  "Go to this podcast", she said.  "I used to talk to my mom back in Italy every morning as I was driving to wok.  It was evening in Italy, and she was tired and stressed from the day, and I would soak up that stress and anxiety, even before I started my own day.  It was very unhealthy for me.  When I realized that, I decided to make a change.  I found this podcast, and every morning as I drive to work, I listen to it.  It has completely changed the course of my day, and I think it will help you tremendously."

Here is the link to the Oprah Winfrey Spirit Channel Podcast on iTunes:

I started with "The Shadow Effect" series, as I had read the book last year, and got a lot out of it.  Most of it resonated with me, but there was still something lacking.  I was still living from the level of the mind.  A prisoner to my insecurities and fears.  I decided to approach the podcast series from the very beginning.  It started with Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey discussing his book "A New Earth".  I remember seeing his books on sale at the book store in the mall I used to work in.  At the time I spent whatever energy I could reading books from Deepak Chopra, which I highly respect and recommend, but I thought that was all I needed to know.  I was not as open to new ideas back then.  I wasn't ready.  But now I was.  As I watched the video of Eckhart and Oprah, a new realization hit me like a freight train.  He stressed how important it is to stop thinking.  To allow the mind to rest.  I had been so caught up and exhausted by my own mind that the concept of allowing it to shut up was incredibly reassuring and relieving.  But I wasn't ready yet.  I still fussed about my room, frustrated with how little space I had, how messy it was, how I couldn't find that damn sock!  Why did I have to kneel down!  This was such a pain!!!

I was in so much pain that I couldn't even sit up straight as I plopped myself on my floor.  I couldn't take it anymore.  I would let my mind rest.  I sat in silence as I let all the tumbling thoughts come into my mind, but patiently waited until they left.  A few minutes later, I was able to breath more deeply, and suddenly, I was sitting upright.  The frigidness in my mind and body had subsided, and I was free.  When I opened my eyes, my mind was clear.  My room was bright blue.  I was seeing things in a whole new way.  I laughed at how ridiculous it was that I was upset about a missing sock.  I rediscovered my true self.  The rest of the weekend I spent in the moment.  It was magical.  It was vibrant.  It was new.

The next day, my friend loaned me her audiobook "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle.  I'm just about finished listening to it, and I have to say it was completely changed my perspective on life.  This author, this book, this podcast, this friend revealed my inner self and saved me from the shackles of my mind.

I am fully alive, no longer identifying with my ego.  I am the awareness I experience in the present moment.