Author Archive for Monika

Be a Sloth

When I turned my calendar to the month of March I saw an adorable sweet baby sloth. I love sloths not only because they have such sweet, sweet faces but also because they remind me of a very important concept near and dear

Although you have had to slow down quite a bit over the last year it’s always a good idea to be reminded of how important it is. Not only will you feel calmer, but your brain, and all your organ systems, will get the rest they so desperately need.

March is my birthday month!

The last time I actually went “out to dinner” was on my birthday last year. Although I didn’t think it would be my last time, I have fond memories of dining at my favorite restaurant on my neighborhood lake. I’m sure I’ll do it again soon… I hope.  

I don’t really go out very much mostly because I want to protect my severely ill husband. Even though he’s had his first vaccination shot, I still want to be safe and, quite frankly, I don’t have a lot of need to go out. I take my daily 30 to 40 minutes walks in the beautiful sunshine. I get to go to my Indian spice shop every once in a while to buy some wonderful food, spices and herbs. And I am lucky to have a great team and group of volunteers to go shopping for us on a regular basis. 

Over the years I’ve strongly come to believe that it absolutely “takes a village”. This has become my daily mantra. When everything seems to fall apart in your life reaching out for help is a necessity. 

So back to the sloth – how can you live like a sloth with grace and wisdom? Learning lessons from the sloth is what todays’ article is all about. 

Let’s call this the first edition of “Slothful Times”.

Six tips on how to live happily like a sloth:

  1. Take it easy. Saving your body and mind from relentless stimulation is necessary for good health. Figure out what helps you relax and do more of that. Feeling stressed all the time takes its toll. You can’t always avoid the stressors in life but you can add things to counterbalance them.

  2. Don’t fill up your days, your mind and your life just to fill them up. Take things off your calendar rather than adding things. Give yourself at least 2 hours a day for self-care. Did she say 2 hours? Yup, that’s what I said! Take a walk, have a talk or take a bath – these are small and simple remedies to help you feel grounded and have a sense of balance in your life. 

  3. Appreciate your surroundings. I was busy at my computer this afternoon when I became distracted by a bird outside my window. This beautiful black bird called a Grackle would not stop its rather unusual song – it had so many tunes in its repertoire. I stopped what I was doing just to enjoy its melodic sounds. I even brought my cat to the window so she, too, could enjoy this opera as well. What a great way to let nature versus technology, guide you throughout your day.

  4. Take your time and slow down. Maybe a lot of these points sound repetitive, but they are slightly different. Slowing down helps you enjoy yourself more and enjoy those you are with. And you will even look cuter and more lovable doing so – guaranteed.

  5. Be at peace. Not having to frantically try to get things accomplished gives you a sense of calm and peace. Letting things fall as they may helps you  stop endless doing and instead easily surrender to the rhythm and cycles of your day and your life. 

  6. Appreciate your slothfulness. Being slow, sluggish and inactive don’t sound like admirable qualities but – hold on – don’t we all need a little bit of inactivity?  In our culture we are obsessed by always doing. What’s really wrong with being a little lazy sometimes? How about joyful relaxing to help reduce your stress level? Sound good – yup it is!

    Have fun in your Sloth – Full – Ness!


Home Cooking Just Got Easier

Let’s face it we’re at home more these days which means either you’re eating more processed/convenience foods, ordering more take-out or, and I hope this is the case, you’re cooking up a storm in your very own kitchen. 

Cooking your own home cooked meals is quite easy, all you have to do is: Plan, Shop, Cook and Enjoy!

Let’s explore these tips on how to make your home cooking easier a little more:

  1. Plan. I can’t overemphasize how important planning is. If you look ahead you will not fall prey to eating whatever happens to be available – healthy or not – when you are hungry. To help you get into the planning mood you can start by looking at recipes in books or online. You can also get recipe ideas from friends, family, cooking shows or food blogs. Doing this will help you start creating your shopping list for the week.    

  2. Shop. Planning helps you create a solid shopping list which helps you manage your budget better. Buy foods on special that way you’ll be eating seasonally as often these food items are more readily available at that particular time of the year. It may be different where you live but here in my neck of the woods – asparagus seems to be plentiful this time of year causing prices to be lower than in the height of the summer.

    Also, having a shopping list helps you from under-buying causing you to make too many trips back and forth to the grocery store – wasting time and energy. And then there’s over-purchasing where you often end up throwing food away – that’s such a waste on so many levels. When you were growing up I’m sure you heard your mother say: “finish your plate, there are people starving.” Unfortunately, that is a reality in many parts of the world, but eating because others are starving really doesn’t make sense. But thinking of it on a deeper level – by not wasting food you are respecting and giving thanks for what you are lucky to have.

  3. Cook. Make your cooking environment pleasant and not chaotic. Of course, having all necessary ingredients and supplies at hand is key but also having a peaceful atmosphere is essential. Play music when preparing your meals. Having tools accessible and easy to find is half the battle. Make sure you are using the best ingredients available from spices, herbs, oils to your proteins, vegetables and grains.

    Just as over-purchasing is not the best strategy, so too is cooking too much food. Leftovers are good to a certain extent but if food sits around for more than 2 days it starts to lose much of its nutritional value and quality. Decide from the get go to eat as fresh as possible.   

  4. Enjoy. Enjoy your meals with the warmth and caring of a lovely conversation.  Whether you’re having dinner with your family at home or finding yourself going solo you can always make it even more special. Over the last week I found myself picking up the phone when my delicious dinner stood before me. It was a spontaneous impulse and an enjoyable experience – it felt as though I was having friends over for dinner. Of course, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea to engage in “distance dining”, but it sure can be fun. Instead of the phone you can always use Zoom, Facetime, Whatsapp. In these times, we need to reach out and feel connected in whatever we can.

Are You Overdoing It?

Sure it might be the time of Covid and you may feel that you’re doing a lot less than you used to do pre-Covid – but are you? I know for me last year I was very busy learning new skills and bringing most of my business online. This transition required an immense amount of downloading information and developing technical know-how rather quickly. I got much busier, and in different ways, than I used to be. 

Even as I write this, as we wrap up the first month of the year, life has been quite overwhelming. I am wondering if you’re feeling the same way. If you find yourself doing way too much right, I’d like to share some signs and hopefully some solutions to help you get into a more doable and manageable state. 

So are you overdoing it? Or maybe you feel you may be underdoing it. But what’s the truth?

5 signs that indicate that you might be overdoing it:

  • You can’t think straight
  • You can’t sleep
  • You are always feeling agitated, irritated and/or annoyed
  • You think of yourself last
  • Your environment is out of order

Sound familiar? 

If you suffer from any of these telltale signs here’s what to do about it:

1.) Can’t think straight. You are used to being rational and organized in thought and suddenly you’ve been thrown a curveball in your already stress-filled life and feel confused and unable to make clear decisions. 

Solution: Take things off your plate. Believe it or not, things will get done without your constant need to manage or control everything every minute of your day. Take a break, go for a walk, call a friend, or here’s a revolutionary idea – why not take a nap. If you are unable to have clarity about an issue or concern, it’s best to step away for a short time

You may find answers when and where you least expect them. I get great ideas in the shower – how about you?    

2.) Can’t sleep. It’s 4 a.m. again and here you are wide awake. No matter how many soothing sounds float around your head – whether it be white noise, soundscapes, and ocean waves – for the life of you the repetitive thoughts in your head just won’t disappear. You suddenly notice you are not only awake but your eyes are wide open. 

Solution: My great solution to that dilemma is to turn the light on, pick up a piece of paper and start writing whatever comes into your head. This is called a brain dump and it’s very effective. It helps you get all those nagging thoughts out onto the page. You can leave them all behind as you head back to bed. Ideally, this practice is best done just before bedtime to help prevent potential sleep disturbances. But if you find yourself wide awake – try it. 

3.) Always feeling agitated, irritated, and/or annoyed. No matter what – things can always make you feel on edge especially when you are doing way too much. Ok so you already have a full plate and then someone asks you to do just one more thing and you lose it. 

Solution: Plan and schedule your day. I have been advising clients for years to only have 3 things on their To-Do List for the day. This is your goal even if it is sometimes hard to attain – let “Only 3” be your mantra. Remember there’s always tomorrow. And there will always be something to add to your list. With only 3 you will feel more in control and less overwhelmed.   

4.) Thinking of yourself last. Everyone comes first – you eat your dinner last after you’ve served everyone else, you get to have the last morsels of whatever’s left, you get other’s doctor’s visits scheduled but you never get around to getting your own telehealth check-up session on your calendar. Doing for others is noble and kind but not at the cost of your own health and peace of mind. 

Solution: make yourself a priority. This is another mandate of mine which I regularly remind my clients of. Carve out time for you. And… here’s a big one… let others do things for you, allow them to help you, too. I find this particular “overdoing sign” to be a big one for women. Just remember being a superwoman is a myth – know that you are super just because you are you and running yourself ragged is not part of the equation. 

5.) Environment is out of order. Do you find your office, desk, or car or fill in the blank is messier than normal or not the way you normally like it. Are you having difficulty finding things? When once you were so on top of things now your office looks like a ski resort – full of mountains of white paper scattered everywhere. 

Solution: Decide to tackle only one area at a time. Give yourself a time period even if it’s only 5 minutes. Make sure you have your wastebasket nearby and begin. Start sorting. Even if you only get a few things organized after your first attempt consider it a victory and vow to continue the next day and the next. You will feel like you are getting somewhere, and less overwhelmed the more you stick with it. 

If you can relate to any of these most common signs you’ve come to the right place. So my advice is: take a hiatus and try some of these solutions to help break the cycle. 

Happy Underdoing!

What’s It Going to Take?

What’s it going to take to make your health a priority this year? I don’t mean just avoiding getting sick but how to achieve good health. With all the present fear surrounding the virus, perhaps it’s better to focus on the basics of good health and how to keep it, maintain it, and treasure it.

So what can you do? 

Here are three tips to help you focus on what’s important:

Tip #1 Keep It Simple. Trying to do too many things at once may cause all your best intentions to backfire.

At the beginning of a new year there’s a mad rush to get out and start breaking in your new sneakers, or peddling around the park on your new bike, or how about that great home exercise equipment – Peloton anyone? 

Or maybe you found a bright new shiny Vitamix under your Christmas tree. You might want to jump in and start everything at once. I encourage you, however, to choose just one thing to start. Pick that one thing and stick with it for a period of time. Once you’ve mastered it you can then move onto the next.

Tip #2 Give Yourself Credit. Making changes is not an easy feat. It takes courage, focus, and determination. Sure you often have to make changes throughout your day – requiring you to pivot or feeling like you have no control. But what about changes you really want to have in  your life? Consider the changes that will make a difference in your life.

What change will help you achieve the health goals you desire? To start making a plan is essential. Without a plan you won’t have any clear and won’t know where you’re headed. Regardless of the occasional derailment, give yourself credit for creating a plan and moving forward with it. Feel good knowing you have a path that’s your very own and one that can always be refined and adjusted at any time. Create it and keep going.

Tip #3 Learn how to make it stick. If you decided to give up junk food or processed food this January, to help you in this effort, make sure you don’t have it around your house. It will be easier if it’s out of sight and out of mind. With everyone ordering online these days it’s easy to just press “add to cart” when you have a craving. But here again you want to plan – even your purchasing

Try doing your food shopping at the beginning of the day after you’ve eaten a nourishing breakfast. You’ll be more satisfied and less vulnerable to the sugar and carb (snacks) craving cycle which often occurs in the late afternoon and early evening. These cravings are often caused by low Serotonin, an important calming brain chemical. Stock your home with healthy foods so you will be prepared for those daily biochemical fluctuations. 

Plant the seeds for a healthy and nourishing new year this month. 


Want more Meaning in Your Life?

I just listened to a TED talk where the presenter said the following: “we would rather chase meaning than avoid discomfort.” Is that true for you? Are you interested in having more meaning in your life? 

This time of year always marks a time of re-evaluation of how far you’ve come during the past year. Although this was a year that our way of life upside down. What were you able to accomplish? There must have been some things that you did get around to. What were they? For me I started actively writing blog posts again and developed an online course called “The New Normal Diet”, I created new programs and partnered with my good friend Dr. Christopher Vogelmann where we collaborated and brought you weekly Total Health Live Facebook broadcast (we did a total of 44 in 2020). I was able to take better care of myself and did an intense 6 week Cleansing Program this past November and December. My cleansing program required a lot of cooking. I ate mostly vegetarian and felt incredible by the time the holidays rolled around. No more Quarantine 15 for me. 

How about you – there must have been something you accomplished that you feel proud of. With all the downside 2020 brought it also brought with it some great learning. Slowing down can do that. You begin to realize what is truly important in your life. So when you started 2020 – what did you hope for? Did you get more done or did you fall short? 

Like a wish list a yearly goals list can merely be a hoped for outcome. Whether it’s realistic or not – it sets you up and gives you a roadmap to hopefully follow for a 12 month period. 

Of course, we know that what occurred this past year was definitely not on yours or anyone’s list. I’ve always said you know what kind of year you’re having usually by the time the last month of that year rolls around – it’s just, too difficult to predict otherwise – again witness 2020. 

So instead of making New Year’s Resolutions how about making goals aligned with your soul or a Soul Goal, a term once coined by author Danielle LaPorte. A soul goal is one that comes from a deeper place within you. It’s more about feeling good rather than checking things off your list based on the outside world’s view of what should be important and what success should look like.

I’m sure you, just like me, get caught in a cycle of trying to be something that isn’t quite you and isn’t quite right for you. Striving for goals that neither fill you up or give you what you need and are rather meaningless in the end.  As I mentioned, this is time of year is a time to re- evaluate what’s most important. Give yourself time to go inside and truly be with yourself.  

When I look at accomplishments of past years I am happy to say that some of my life-long dreams have been fulfilled – completing my first book “Skinny Jeans Lifestyle, for example. There were many times when I wasn’t sure if it would happen. I set up some unrealistic goals for my book’s completion especially when it came to the time I had available to write it. I thought since I was a seasoned article writer surely a book would be a similar experience and would take me very little time to complete. Wrong! Writing a book is a very different thing altogether. It’s more like building a house versus painting a bedroom. It takes a lot longer, you need a lot more help getting it done and it requires many, many hours and days of review, rewrites and re-edits.

You, too may have some life-long goals or “soul goals” that may need some edits or rewrites as well. Whether you have relationships, career or healthy living goals – an ongoing assessment of them is always recommended. Once you embark on a path know that you’re never done – especially when it comes to healthy eating, weight maintenance or exercise. Sometimes you just need to take a break and sit with your goal and/or your accomplishments for a while. For example – say you’ve been successful at losing the 20 or 40 lbs. you wanted to lose. Getting comfortable at that weight for a period of time may be a good idea. For whatever reason you may not want to completely focus on portion control or eliminating processed foods or sugar from your diet. For now staying at your 20lbs. loss is good enough.  You can always return and lose more weight later on if you’d like.  That’s what I did with my book – I wrote, I took a break, wrote some more and forgave myself when others things took my focus away from writing. But I never gave up and nor should you.

January is here which may trigger a mad race to lose weight and get into shape. I recommend you not view the beginning of the year as being the only time weight loss and healthy eating is important. It’s best to consider a long-term approach that may actually take a year or two to be fully cemented into your life. By making a commitment to your well-being you will feel a deeper sense of accomplishment and meaning in your life as well.

Here are 5 Ways to Bring More Meaning into Your Life Today: 

  1. Ask Yourself First. When creating a yearly plan it’s a good idea to do a year-end review as well – ask yourself what you learned in 2020. Think of all the challenges, and there were many for everyone and the successes you had in the last 365 days. Did you fall behind and feel like a failure because of it? Let go of any judgment you might have – just note what comes up. And ask yourself a 2nd question: What did you miss out on this last year and how can you include it next year?

  2. Three Goals Only. Don’t pile on a bunch of stuff into your projections for the New Year. Only three that’s it!  Impossible well just try it. If it helps pick 3 categories if that’s easier to do. For example, why not try choosing health, relationships, and career as possible categories to start.

  3. Feel Your Way Through it. Slowly evaluate the “goals and/or categories of goals” you’ve written down so far. Close your eyes for each one of your goals and imagine it coming to be. How are you feeling? Do you feel light and joyful or feel full of dread and anxiety? How you feel will give you a good clue as to whether it’s a “soul goal” or a “should goal”. 

  4.  Let Your Heart Sing. Your meaningful goal should make you feel light and make your heart sing. Does imagining looking and feeling great in your clothes make you happy? Does staying in your sweat pants all winter long make you feel happy? I know it’s not as simple as all that – is it? After all you may find that looking great in your clothes may cause some initial anxiety because you wonder how you can possibly make that happen. Well, stay with it – go beyond your doubts and suspend reality a little bit more. Close your eyes again and envision yourself being at your best. At your best weight, level of health, or what have you. Somewhere in the recesses of your mind answers about the HOW will come to you. They really will!

  5. Practice Kindness. Always practice being kind towards yourself. Moving forward on your meaningful “soul goals” requires patience. Go ahead practice. Remember it’s not about getting the weight off and eating nutritiously until (you fill in the blank) …It’s about making a commitment to your health for life. Take it one year at a time or one day at time. Maintaining good health and a weight you feel emotionally, physically and mentally comfortable with is not a race but a well-lit path you can certainly choose to take.

In these colder, darker days of winter it’s a perfect time to go inside and discover what’s right for you. What are the right goals for you, the right things you want to put your focus, energy and love into?

Stay Healthy & Hopeful! © 2021  

A Holiday Season Like No Other

As we face lockdowns during this most festive time of year, something we’ve never had to experience in lifetimes, it becomes clear that self-reflection is key to making it a positive time for you. The impact is worldwide, as we know. Actually I have to rephrase that because I have friends in Australia and New Zealand and things are pretty much back to normal over there. What we can hope for is that we get back to something similar to our friends down under or even better, soon. As my 99-year-old mother always says “Hope is all we really have”. And she also says: “Treasure your health because it’s tough when that goes”. Wise words that I cherish.

So here are FIVE WAYS to add hope and appreciation to your celebration this year:

  1. Make Love Matter. Love is the best ingredient for wellness that I know of. Sharing in any way you can this year with friends and family will strengthen you and help you feel lighter and connected. If you are able to help the less fortunate, by dropping off food or gifts, would be a gesture of love and compassion for your fellow travelers. I’m sure there are ways to deliver goods in your local area that will be safe for all involved. Call your neighborhood charitable organizations and check to see how you can help. Love is never about giving gifts, Love itself is the REAL GIFT. Open your heart and be present this holiday season. Share with those dearest and nearest how much they mean to you.

  2. Make New Traditions. Try and take some of the more traditional holiday foods like sweets, alcohol, and snacks off the table this year or at least limit them. With COVID you’ve had an opportunity to either get healthier or go in the other direction. You always have a choice. Since you won’t be inundated with a myriad of parties and gatherings this year it could be the best opportunity for you to cut back on some of your unhealthy consumption patterns. Why not give yourself a week of cleansing instead? Wouldn’t it be great to end your year feeling refreshed rather than desperately trying tackle your bad habits in the New Year? Without all the normal holiday activities this is a perfect time to slow down regroup and recharge.

  3. Take Your Immune Enhancing Supplements. Yes you do need to take care of your immune system and yes there are supplements that can help you do just that. Vitamin D is a nutrient everyone is talking about right now. Have your Vitamin D levels checked by your Dr. to see if you could benefit. Vitamin C if our regular immune booster and should be taken daily for insurance.  Adding a Zinc supplement will help keep your immune system strong during what could be a very challenging winter. Use food as your first line of defense and add some of these therapeutic nutrition supplements to your daily routine as well.

    4. Be Present. It’s really easy to distract yourself with online shopping, Netflix, home renovations, or what have you. This time, as I’ve mentioned, is a great time to go inside and reflect on just what you’ve learned this past year. Even though I would suspect most of the goals you had at the beginning of the year have been altered drastically, ask yourself what are some of valuable things you’ve learned this year? Whether it’s having more time to rest, an opportunity to study something you have always been interested in or learning a new technology whether you wanted to or not – it’s still a new skill you were able to pick up. I hope this crisis has helped you discover your inner strength. Or maybe now you have developed a greater appreciation of nature. This great Reset may have helped you review what’s most important in your life.

    5. Make New Friends. Since we haven’t been able to go out much you’ve mostly likely spent more time online meeting people on Zoom. I know for me doing a five week cleanse in November was not only really great for my health but I also met so many people from all over the world committed to improving their health as well. Building these types of connections is becoming the new norm. Have you met any new people this year? Have you met people you would never have met if you were going about your “regular” life. Again this is a great time to reflect and appreciate all the new people, experiences and discoveries you’ve made this year.

    Wishing you a Blessed Season.

Are Healthy & Happy Holidays Possible This Year?

Things have changed dramatically this year and certainly, drastically, since the original Thanksgiving. Today we are inundated with “too much”. Too much to do, too much news, too much food, too much technology, and so on. We can, however, be thankful that most of us have survived such a crazy year.  

So how can you honestly have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving during this strange year? Here are 5 tips to help you manage that very thing.

Here are Your 5 Happy & Healthy Holiday Tips:

  1. Make Sure Your Gut is Happy. Take your probiotics, digestive enzymes, and HCL (Betaine Hydrochloride) to help manage your digestive tract. A note of caution: if you experience an inflammatory digestive condition like heartburn, ulcer, or other upper digestive issues to be safe avoid these supplements until your condition is healed.  Did you know that your digestive tract is also comprised 70-80% of your immune system? So if you make healthy dietary choices especially during this feasting time of year you will be less likely to have a compromised immune system. Don’t overeat, mix too many types of foods at one sitting or dilute your naturally occurring digestive enzymes by drinking too much liquid with your meals.

  2. Holiday Rest. This is a must or else your body will eventually breakdown. In normal times the holidays are synonymous with hectic days and increased stress so it’s important to take whatever time you can to shut the door and stop the world for a few minutes or hours. Believe me, you want to do this. I say this all the time: if you want to be more effective and productive, you must learn how to rest and relax your mind and your body. I’m not just saying to have a good night’s but also try some meditation, breathing exercises, or a timed visualization session. It doesn’t have be for a long period, could be as little as 5 minutes all the way to 30 minutes. Rest and relaxation is a must for overall health and self-preservation.

  3. Forego the Holiday Desserts. Savor your holiday sweets but indulge only sparingly or if you can make a commitment to get it out of your diet altogether that would be even better. When you consume sugar the brain produces huge surges of dopamine, the feel-good brain chemical, which is one of the main reasons it is so hard to give up sugar and sweets once you start eating them. Sugar makes you feel good initially but that feeling doesn’t last and soon you’re looking for your next fix. Sugar also depletes your immune system – something you definitely do not want to compromise at this time. 

  4. Use Pre-biotics. Adding sauerkraut, not a typical Thanksgiving food, can prepare your digestive tract nicely for good digestion. I know, I know sauerkraut – maybe not everyone’s cup of tea. I grew up in a German household where my mother lovingly made a barrel of it on a regular basis, but it was never one of my favorite foods. If you, too are not a friend to this traditional food of Germany, there are many other cultured or fermented foods that will provide the same health benefits such as yogurt, pickles, kimchi, and olives for example. 

  5. Choose Mostly Vegetables.  Vegetables ought to be your best dietary friend by far. This Thanksgiving choose more of the Brussel sprouts, green beans, carrots, salads, sweet potatoes (without the marshmallows), squash whatever is colorful, and from the garden. 

    If you load up on these high powered gems you won’t have as much room for the desert table. You need your daily fiber and vegetables are packed full of it. These garden treasures are also loaded with the essential minerals and vitamins you need for your body to feel good and work well. If you want to be healthy and not sick; think of vegetables as always being your very best friends.  

    Enjoy the wonderful bounty of the Season!

Are You Feeling Hug Deprived?

Since Covid began many of us have been hug deprived. There are great benefits to hugging and touching. Touch is one of our five human senses so without it we will definitely feel out of whack. The other senses are, of course, smell, sight, sound, and taste. If we lose one of our senses we feel something is missing. Touch increases oxytocin which creates a powerful feeling of love and connection.

So what are some of the remedies when hugs can’t be found?

Here are 5 Simple Remedies for Hug Replacement:

1.) Your pets: There’s nothing like stroking your beautiful cat or hugging your dog after playing catch with him in the backyard. Pets bring such great comfort and joy especially now when we’re craving more tactile connection. 

2.) Self-massage: I just purchased silk massage gloves. And they are divine. Self-massage using these types of gloves before your morning shower is a very ancient practice from Ayurveda. It increases circulation, improves cellulite, and it feels really nurturing. If you don’t have silk gloves (easily found online for under $15.00) you can also use a dry brush. By ridding your body of surface dead skin, these techniques will leave your skin healthy and glowing.

3.) Silk pillowcases: Maybe you think I’ve gone mad for silk … well, maybe I have. Silk pillowcases are a luxurious addition to your slumber they add beauty, coolness and richness to your bed chamber. They are also known to be really good for skin, face and hair. And they feel really good, too. Go ahead pamper yourself – you deserve it. 

4.) Taking a bath: Speaking of pampering. Take advantage of this very nurturing and nourishing activity. You will feel relaxed, clean, and comforted. Add some oils, bubble bath or Epsom salts and your body will love it. This wonderful and simple activity with soothe your skin and your soul. Anyone say relax?

5.) Skin care: Whether it’s a mask, a great cleanser, or moisturizer it’s good to find products that work for your skin type. Lubricating oils and moisturizers are not only for your face but for your whole body. Your skin will feel hydrated and nourished. You will also feel the touch and massage effect when you apply your lotions and potions.

Hope that helped you get some ideas about how to bring the benefits of “hug therapy” back into your life in ways you may not have thought of. 

Sending you Big Hugs.

Have You Gut This?

Funny I was looking for images of the stomach symbolizing digestion and all I could find were of people holding their stomachs in discomfort and misery – like this one to the left. It got me wondering – what are we thinking when we think of our gut?

So in today’s article, I wanted to focus on having a healthy gut and not being in misery.

I saw a great ad for a digestive supplement today and it said:
You Gut This” Cute – right?

Even though it is taken from my least favorite, overused expression “you’ve got this” I couldn’t help notice how clever it was. So when it comes to your digestion Have You Really Gut This” or is your digestion gutted and in bad shape?

So what is your gut anyway? Your gut represents everything you consume, digest, process, and eliminate. And it isn’t exclusively just about the food you eat. Everything you consume whether its food, fluids, ideas, thoughts, needs to be digested and needs to be digested well in order to maintain good health.

Certainly, many herbs and foods help your digestion.

Rule of thumb: if the food is hard to digest it’s going to take longer to break down and it’s going to sit in your digestive tract longer, too causing disruption. Best to choose foods that are fresh, whole and come from the garden. Avoid processed foods that come in bags, boxes or containers with ingredient lists a mile long. These “foods” are most likely synthetic and something your body will not breakdown very well, if at all.

So how can you heal your gut and make it happy and make it say
“I’ve GUT this!”

Always look to nature for healing.

Five Herbs That Help:

1) Ginger: is a remarkable food/herb and has been used in cooking and healing for centuries. It is said that ginger has over 100 healing attributes; one of them being digestion. If you ever enjoy sushi you will always see pickled ginger offered as a condiment helping you digest the fish. It is used in many cooking traditions throughout the world. It is a pungent and healing herb, so you will want to avoid it if you have any burning caused by gastritis or acid reflux until those conditions are healed. Ginger also is excellent for nausea.

2) Cumin: This herb is often used in many dishes especially in Indian and Mediterranean cooking. Its flavor has been described as earthy, nutty, spicy, and warm. Cumin has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Cumin aids in good digestion and reduces food-borne infections. Also, new research indicates benefits in promoting weight loss and improving blood sugar and cholesterol. This herb improves indigestion and any inflammation in your gut. It is helpful to eat or even make a tea with it for excess acidity as it has a marvelous cooling effect.

3) Coriander: Coriander or cilantro has multiple health benefits and is a wonderful source of dietary fiber, manganese, iron, and magnesium. It can also be an appetite enhancer as well. It is a digestive aid, diuretic and promotes healthy elimination. Although the leaves are cooling the seeds are slightly warming. Coriander not only aids in digestion but it also boosts metabolism – both are important when you want to lose weight.

4) Fennel: is very soothing to your digestive tract. It can help with bloating, gas, heartburn, and acid indigestion. By adding fennel seed to your cooking you will be assured better digestion. It’s cooling and sweet properties strengthen your ability to digest. Chew a handful of fennel seeds when you are experiencing digestive issues and in no time you will have relief.  Fennel also combines well with cumin and coriander – all three are cooling digestive herbs. Use it as a spice or as a vegetable – steam, cook or bake or add it to soups. It has a bit of licorice type flavor and it’s yummy.

5) Turmeric: A very popular herb/spice found everywhere these days. This herb is well known to help reduce any kind of inflammation in the body. It has many medicinal benefits such as increasing your overall energy, reducing gas, improving digestion, dissolving gallstones, and even reducing the inflammation associated with arthritis. Again, this herb is used in many South Asian dishes – namely curries. Avoid using Turmeric if you have acid reflux or other burning in your digestive tract.

And remember Your Kitchen is Your Pharmacy!

Wishing You and Your Gut happy days ahead.

Maintaining Equilibrium

It has been quite challenging to maintain equilibrium in these times. We are inundated with unhealthy media reports, viral load, erratic weather patterns, you name it – this is not an easy time. We hear one report one day and then the very opposite the next day or even on the same day. It’s confusing, and it’s unsettling and it’s downright stressful. So how can we maintain equilibrium? 

Here are a few ideas I have for you to do just that:

#1 Find good news sources. And sources of good news. The “regular” news gets to be too much, too often with very little reprieve. This is why I recommend you take timeouts often throughout the day and throughout your week to center and take a time out.

#2 Eat well. No matter what – it’s important to choose your diet carefully with good nutrition in mind. Sure when life is stressful you may want to reach for unhealthy snacks. In order to manage stress it’s best to choose healthy foods. When you do you’ll be creating a more natural way to calm your system, balance your hormones and have a good night sleep.

#3 Time out to de-stress, meditate, pray or incorporate some art. We all know about the benefits of meditation and quieting the mind but how about picking up a paint brush or making pottery. My Mother used to dry flowers and arrange them into picture frames and create a work of art which decked her walls and still do – bringing her joy and a sense of accomplishment every time she looks at them. Whatever you have had an inkling to create – why not start now when you are spending more time at home.

#4 Zoom. Yes we are now in a Zoom world. Other than business calls they have become a mainstay keeping us connected to friends and family. Nothing like being able to visit at a distance when we are unable to physically be with loved ones. Share a meal together or simply a chat. My husband and I were just invited to a Zoom Wedding.

We are all reinventing. In challenging times remember the simple phrase “This too shall pass”. Stay calm and calm.