Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Reflection & Resolutions

The last day of the year is a great day for reflecting on and making peace with the year that has passed. It's also a great time to set intentions for the following year.

My major accomplishments and milestones of 2013 are:
  • I joined Soka Gakki International and started practicing Nichiren Buddhism.
  • I enrolled in the health coach training program at Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
  • I stopped taking birth control (after having some really awful side effects) and learned I can have (mostly) clear, acne-free skin and feel happy and balanced all month without it.
  • I finally wrote an eBook on green cleaning.
  • I co-hosted my first food swap ever with RI Food Swap and co-hosted a vegan book swap in Boston with Jamie Hagen (our first for New England, but the fourth of all). 
  • I got love from an additional 330 Facebook page fans. I was hoping to reach a total of 1K in 2013. Doesn't look like it will happen, but I'm so happy and encouraged by the community that is happening there. At one point, I think 87 people were "talking about" my page. Wow!
  • I recovered from my addiction to doughnuts, and sugar in general. Doesn't sound huge, but it's a big deal for me. It's nice to not be controlled by food cravings.
The biggest milestone of 2013 was an internal shift. I stopped wishing I was different than I am- to be faster, less sensitive, less detail obsessed, and more independent.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Meatless Monday: 5 Resources for a Vegan Diet in 2014

Whether you're interested in going whole (soy) hog and adopting a vegan diet in 2014 or just wanna incorporate more plant-based meals in your weekly menu, it's good to have some support. Here are five resources that can help.

Cooking with CSA
Sarah and Peter have created a fun community centered around their seasonal, gluten-free, kid-friendly recipe subscriptions. Join their club and not only will you get five wholesome, totally do-able vegan recipes and a shopping list sent to your inbox each week, but you'll also get weekly cooking demo videos and access to a private Facebook group where you can get more support. All that for as low as $8/month! Get more info and learn how to join here.

Kris Carr
If you like a little glitter and magic blended into your green smoothies, Kris Carr is your gal! 10 years ago, Kris healed herself from cancer using a plant-based diet and an unapologetically positive regimen of self-love and has been on a mission to heal the rest of the world since. I love her book, Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It!. It includes a "21 Day Adventure Cleanse" that goes well beyond just recipes, but is an experiment in living large. Check out KrisCarr.com to join the Crazy Sexy Wellness Revolution.

The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia
Shopping for ingredients to make wholesome recipes can be overwhelming at first-  ("What's Qwin-O-Wah?"), especially if you've been eating a standard American diet your entire life. Rebecca Wood's  The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia makes it easy to learn how to select, prepare, store, and use more than 1,000 familiar and unusual foods. There's also info on how to use the foods to maintain and improve health. I think it's pretty handy for when you've gotta explain to a skeptical spouse why you're serving a particular food.

Friday, December 27, 2013

I'm Hosting The Artist's Way Group Online

Feeling blocked? Yearning for more creativity in 2014? Join health coach Melissa Danielle and I for a free virtual Creative Cluster of The Artist's Way beginning Sunday, January 5th.

The Artist's Way is Julia Cameron's spiritual workshop aimed at freeing people's creativity. She describes it as "for anyone interested in living more creatively through practicing an art; even more broadly, anyone interested in practicing the art of creative living." Through her best-selling book, she's empowered millions of people to cultivate their creative selves.

It takes about an hour a day to do the activities in the book, which are spread out over a 12 week period. Each week, you"ll begin by reading a chapter which focuses on an aspect of creative recovery. During the course, you'll begin each day with morning pages, three pages of flow-of-conscious writing to clear your mind. You'll also treat yourself to a weekly Artist's Date, a fun solo outing nurturing your creative, sensual self. There are eight other tasks to complete each week. While you needn't do all of the tasks, Julia Cameron recommends doing at least half. At the end of the week, there is a quick check in.

Read why I'm doing The Artist's Way.
Read why Melissa is doing The Artist's Way.

Beginning January 5th, Melissa, I, and fellow creatives will meet live via Google Hangout for twelve Sundays 7pm-9pm, sharing our experience with the activities and supporting each other to nurture and embrace our creativity. In between, we’ll connect with each other in our private Facebook community.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas! Check out my book for free!

I hope you have a lovely day today and tomorrow, whether or not Christmas is your thang.

I'd love to gift you a sample of a few pages of my eBook, Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning. The 10 page preview includes information about how conventional cleaning products affect your health and three awesome, easy recipes to get you started cleaning green.

My Approach to Health and Wellness

©2013 Integrative Nutrition Inc.

I practice a holistic approach to health and wellness, which means that I look at how all areas of your life are connected. Does stress at your job or in your relationship cause you to overeat? Does lack of sleep or low energy prevent you from exercising? As we work together, we will look at how all parts of your life affect your health as a whole.

My approach is not to dwell on calories, carbs, fats, and proteins. It is not to create lists of restrictions or good and bad foods. Instead, I work with my clients to create a happy, healthy life in a way that is flexible, fun and rewarding.

Together we’ll work to reach your health goals in areas such as achieving optimal weight, reducing food cravings, increasing sleep, and maximizing energy. As we work together, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the food and lifestyle choices that work best for you and implement lasting changes that will improve your energy, balance and health.

Here are some concepts that we will explore during our work together:

What Do Health Coaches Learn at IIN?

I'm receiving my training as a Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition's cutting-edge Health Coach Training Program.

A few people I'm learning from at Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Clockwise from top left: Joshua Rosenthal, founder and director of IIN; David Wolfe, raw food evangelist; Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD and plant-based diet advocate; and Deepak Chopra, holistic health/New Age guru.

I am studying over 100 dietary theories, practical lifestyle management techniques, and innovative coaching methods with some of the world’s top health and wellness experts. My teachers included Dr. Andrew Weil, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine; Dr. Deepak Chopra, leader in the field of mind-body medicine; Dr. David Katz, Director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center; Dr. Walter Willett, Chair of Nutrition at Harvard University; Geneen Roth, bestselling author and expert on emotional eating; and many other leading researchers and nutrition authorities.

Monday, December 23, 2013

What is Health Coaching?

Have you ever received good advice that you were unable to follow? Has your doctor ever recommended a lifestyle change that you found to be unsustainable? Have you ever wanted something in your life, but found you couldn’t achieve it alone?

Health Coaches are knowledgeable advisers who provide ongoing support and guidance as you set goals and make sustainable changes that improve your health and happiness. As your Health Coach, I will listen carefully and help you to navigate the world of contradictory nutrition advice to determine what changes are necessary for you.

Your personalized program will radically improve your health and happiness. Together, we will explore concerns specific to you and your body and discover the tools you need for a lifetime of balance.

Meatless Monday: 7 Healthy Car Snacks

The best thing about the long drive in a Zipcar to my boyfriend's mom place is the snacks.

My favorite car snacks used to be Tias, Newman-O's cookies, nuts, and bananas. Not terrible, but sometimes I'd have a sugar crash and feel lethargic by the time we reached our destination. Also, while nuts and fruit is good, corn chips and cookies are pretty high calorie/ low nutrient, which is not really a good thing when you're eating for recreation.

Now that I'm studying to become a health coach, I find myself yearning to eat a little bit better while we travel this holiday. Here are seven healthier snacks I plan on packing into our feed bag. They're easily portable, tasty at car temperature, and easy to pop into your face.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

How to Disinfect Without Chemicals

You don't need dangerous chemicals to kill germs. Here's how to disinfect bathroom, kitchen, and other surfaces naturally:
  1. Cleaning and disinfecting are two different processes. Some products both clean and disinfect, but they must be done separately.
  2. Not everything needs to be disinfected, but good spots to pay attention to are toilet seats and flushes, the floor near the toilet, handles to anything, door knobs, cabinet and drawer pulls, light switches, and other things that are touched often. Also disinfect counter tops and cutting boards after preparing meat and seafood.
  3. Do not disinfect marble or stone surfaces. Germs can’t grow on those surfaces and the disinfectant is likely to damage the natural stone.
  4. Always clean before disinfecting. Remove debris and scrub/wipe surface with a cleaner. Rinse if necessary.
  5. Spray surface with a disinfectant. DIY options include the “It’s tea time sucka” cleaner (the recipe is in my book), undiluted vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide. If you prefer store bought cleaners, Seventh Generation makes a wonderful line of botanically-powered disinfecting cleaners, including Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner in Lemongrass Citrus.
  6. Leave on the surface for 10 minutes.
  7. Wipe clean and dry with a different cloth.
What's one area of your home you always make sure to disinfect?

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Wanna keep nerding out about creative green living? Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
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Consider supporting this blog by shopping via my Amazon shop or buying my green cleaning eBook. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

WIWW: Dressing for The Artist's Way

I'm co-hosting a virtual creative cluster for The Artist's Way with my dear friend, health coach Melissa Danielle (aka The Bad-Ass Blender Woman) starting Sunday, January 5. Would you like to join us?

What is The Artist's Way

In case you've never heard of it, The Artist's Way is a best-selling book written by Julia Cameron. It's a guide to living a full, happy life as a creative person. I think this review by Amazon explains it best:
With the basic principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Julia Cameron leads you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity.
This book links creativity to spirituality by showing how to connect with the creative energies of the universe, and has, in the four years since its publication, spawned a remarkable number of support groups for artists dedicated to practicing the exercises it contains.
Having done the The Artist's Way twice, I can say it is intense, if nothing else. It asks questions and requires activities that dig into the soul. Doing so, I pulled out the beautiful parts (Universal Truths I'd learned to deny to fit in) that made me cry. I also discovered some grubby, twisted roots (limiting beliefs) that were scary to look at but required examination too.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Best Hand Soap for Cold Season

Germs, germ, everywhere germs. Well, not really. Still, we should probably do our best to keep our hands clean so we don't pick up the latest cold or flu bug going around.

This means reaching for the best bottle of antibacterial hand wash, right? Wrong! There's no evidence that washing with antibacterial soaps decreases our risk of catching the cold or flu. Also triclosan is a pesticide that is the active ingredient in most antibacterial soaps.

Here's what the FDA says about triclosan:
Animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation. However, data showing effects in animals don’t always predict effects in humans. Other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
So the FDA is still studying whether triclosan is safe or not. Good news is you, me, and the kids who are our future get to be test subjects. Hooray!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How to Make an eBook for Free

Last week I self-published my first eBook, Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning. Since then, a few people have asked me how I did it. Making an eBook isn't complicated and it can be totally free.

I got great guidance on how to do it from Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. He wrote an amazingly helpful and FREE eBook called, eBooks: The Smart Way. I highly recommend you check it out and subscribe/follow Pat Flynn everywhere on social media. In addition to being brilliant, he's also one of the most pleasant internet personalities sharing this kind of information.

Here's an overview of what's involved in making your own eBook:

Pick a topic. 
  1. Choose something you either know a lot about or something you'd love to research. Your book should solve a question or problem for others. Alternatively, it could also fill a need or desire, especially if you're an artist or poet.
  2. Identify your audience. Who are you writing the book for? Get a clear picture. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How Much Oil is in Your Food?- VIDEO

Watch (Fo)odometer to learn about the petroleum needed for conventional food processing, production, and packaging.

Some interesting things I learned from the video:
  • 10% of the energy used in the U.S. (100 billion gallons of oil) is used to grow food.
  • Add the energy used to process, market, and refrigerate this food and it shoots up to 17%.
  • Conventional tomatoes are picked when hard & green so that they can survive the average 1569 mile trip to storage warehouse. They are gased with hormones (synthetic, petroleum-based ethylene) to "ripen." (More on that here.)
  • Supermarket foods cost 50% more than those purchased via CSA.
  • 21% of the money goes to farmers when we purchase conventional foods. 100% of money spent on a CSA farm box subscription goes to the farmer.
This video reminded me of why eating locally-grown, unprocessed foods is so important,  just as important as choosing organic foods.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Simplest DIY Brown Sugar Body Scrub

This natural bath product goes from kitchen cabinet to Christmas tree in 10 minutes!

Buy one crappy tube of exfoliating "sugar scrub" at the drug store and it'll be something like $5. A jar of the real stuff can cost you $15 and up, especially if it's marketed as "natural", even if it's still got unhealthy synthetic fragrances in it.

I was inspired by this recipe for DIY Lavender Vanilla Sugar Scrub at Livin' the Crunchy Life to make a dozen 4oz jars for myself and my co-workers with mostly organic and fair trade ingredients for less than one jar of fancy stuff costs. I quadrupled the recipe for maximum gifting. 10 minutes from start to finish and I had gifts for everyone. Tis the season!

I'm not big on bath products, especially food ones, cuz I don't like taking the extra time to clean up the mess in the shower and oil makes me paranoid about slipping and falling to meet my early demise by DIY. Still, I enjoy using this every so often because it leaves my skin feeling moisturized and nourished right out of the shower.

You'll need:
  • 2 to 2.5c fair trade white sugar
  • 2 to 2.5c fair trade brown sugar or more white sugar
  • 1c your favorite plant-based oil. Olive oil is great if you have friends with nut allergies (and if you're just deciding to whip this up last minute like I did). That's what I used. Coconut oil isn't a good choice this time of year since it's cooling.
  • 40 drops (or less) of 1 to 3 kinds of your favorite combo of essential oils. I used lavender and found the molasses in the brown sugar took over the show in a mostly yummy way but there was a little riff between it and the lavender. Maybe next time I'll use something more complimentary like clove or cinnamon essential oils. If you stick with only white sugar it should surely smell more like the essential oils you use.
  • 2 to 3 handfuls of lavender flowers. A classy (optional) touch! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Meatless Monday: Epic Vegan Breakfast Sandwich, Pumpkin Smoothie & More

I've eaten a lot of good food lately and drooled over even more good food via the Internets. Here's a compilation of a few of the tastiest tasties I've oogled and gobbled today.

Baby eggplant.

Roasted Eggplant
I love eggplant and the simplest and healthiest way to enjoy it is roasted with a little olive oil. (Okay, steamed is healthier, but who really steams eggplant?) My grandma used to always fry it. I followed these instructions from Tori of The Shiska Kitchen. I then covered my eggplant with salt, black pepper, mild Spanish paprika, and lotsa lemon juice. Yummy cold, room temperature, and right outta the oven. It was just as good as fried eggplant.

Raw CraKaCa Salad
I basically followed the recipe for Lacinato Kale Salad with dried cranberries, cashews, apples, and curried dressing from Vegan Miam. I first made this on Thanksgiving. (I even included it in my Thanksgivukkah recipe roundup.) Yesterday I made it again and tweaked it a little. I changed it up by soaking raw cashews in water for a two hours before adding them to the salad. (I find nuts tastier and easier to chew that way.) I also remembered to buy cabbage this time around (such a great crunchy addition) and left out the curry because my guy hates curry. I think I like the flavor better without curry too! This made the most amazing bestover power lunch over quinoa.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Green Cleaning eBook is Here!

I'm proud to finally present to the world my first book! Meet Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning.

My house is dirty (ironically), my hair is BANANAS, and I ate veggie dogs with months-old frozen onion rings for dinner last night, but the book is done. It's out there and it feels great! I'm a PJs-by-9pm kinda gal but I uploaded the book to E-junkie at 3am last night and I was doing a happy dance.

It is amazing how energizing it is to complete a project or meet a goal! I feel free. I feel like I can do anything now.

Not meeting goals is the exact opposite feeling. My original deadline for the book was in October. I didn't prioritize completing it so- surprise- it didn't get done. I'd been feeling a slight drain on my energy and self-esteem since then. I have a dozen other things I'd like to accomplish this year (and we've only a few weeks to go), but a little voice in my head whispered "But you didn't even finish your book yet." It was a cross between an excuse to postpone those other projects and a nasty dig on my potential. Not completing this one project was endangering my ability to grow. I had to take action.


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