Taking Nutrition to an Unhealthy Extreme?


Have you read my blog post drawing comparisons between sugar-filled foods and narcotic drugs yet? Today I’ll be talking more about the comparison of food to other addictive substances. I don’t think there’s a question for most people that certain foods, for example, especially those that are high in sugar and excess salt and fat, can have addictive properties in our lives.

There is a lot of research that is done on addiction in and of itself. The substance or behavior that is in question is a huge part of the question. However, there is information that indicates the role that relationships and society play regarding addiction, and I think this relates a lot to the way that we interact with food in our lives.

Healthy Life and Healthy Food
Lifestyle and what is on our plate needs to have Balance


I’m going to talk about the 5 ways that socio-cultural factors affect addiction, according to www.rehabs.com, and draw comparisons to how I think and feel about food (1).

  • The bonding experience. This references the way that people use certain substances to ease social situations. I couldn’t agree more about this one!
  • Relief from stress. This one is pretty self-explanatory, and again, I’m sure most of us agree. When I come home from a long day at work or class, if something comes up that I’d just rather avoid, or if I wake up in the middle of the night while my brain is racing, I reach for comfort foods, and usually the ones that contain unnatural amounts of salt and sugar.
  • Sense of community. I think that often the culture and community of those nearest to us has a lot of influence over our eating patterns. Food is a part of every culture, and every family unit or community has its own culture, so it therefore each has its own unique way of relating to food. What ways have your personal culture contributed to the way you eat and think about food?
  • The allure of rebelling. This one is a little bit more of a stretch for me, but I can still definitely see the comparisons! When we start to exercise our own independence as young people, that can mean breaking rules that we grew up with regarding what we were allowed to eat and when. Now that we are unsupervised, we can eat whatever, whenever, and those habits can be hard to break, even once we decide we want to get healthy someday when we’re older.
  • Lifestyle appeal. This one might seem a little counter-intuitive, but I think it’s important to address the negative effects of over-eating healthy foods. We put a lot of emphasis on foods that are good for us, but the reality is that food and everyone’s genetic makeup is complicated. Sometimes we see people who appear to have a really healthy lifestyle, and in an effort to be like them, we try to simply change our food. This is a sign of putting a lot of emphasis on what we eat and the power it has over our lives, sometimes to an unhealthy extent. For example, my doctor who delivered my baby told me I was undernourished several months ago. I had to turn around and see if he was really talking to me. I trust his knowledge and I was faced with the facts of having to change. I was taking my nutrition to the extreme and it was affecting my health. I’ll talk more about this later, but some of it had to do with my over-exercising and under-eating, in addition to a distorted body image.


My doctor is one person that has had a really positive effect on my relationship with food. He does a great job of keeping me accountable. He recently quoted Hippocrates to me: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” This is a great piece of advice that helps me stay on track no matter how the relationships around me influence the way I relate to food.

This week, I encourage you to look at each of these five effects in your own life in particular. You can tell me whether you agree or disagree with my thoughts on each one! I welcome your conversation so that I can learn from you.

Relationship with Food
Featured post

“Free in Our Souls: A Sound Healing Session with Lauren Gale”



I wanted to share my experience with Sound Healing and how profound this therapy can be for many people. In Integrative Nutrition, the balance of Primary Food is essential. Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. When primary food is in balance, your life feeds you, making what you eat secondary. I hope you find this blog on sound healing informative and find a opportunity to search out this healing tool.

Have you ever heard of the four agreements? They are found in a book written by Don Ruiz, based on ancient Toltec (a native people group from what is now Mexico) wisdom. The four agreements are: Be impeccable with your word, Don’t take anything personally, Don”t make assumptions, and Do your best. I read this book quickly one day while my son was napping—it’s a powerful but short read!—and I have gleaned so much wisdom from it to use on my journey back to myself. I encourage you to check it out! It’s a formula for finding Emotional Personal Freedom, and I think all of them are relevant in our day and age, especially as our world seems smaller but feels bigger and we all seek to connect better with one another from day to day.

Don’t Take Anything Personally, “Nothing
others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” -Don Miguel Ruiz

The reason I picked up the book at all was because it was recommended to me by a new friend, Lauren Gale. I met Lauren recently when she visited my hometown to do some teachings on sound healing. Lauren is a sound healer with her very own business, Heart Nectar Healing. Lauren does a lot of great work with people to help them open up their chakras and keep the energy flowing freely between them, to maintain emotional and physical health. For those of you who are new to knowing about chakras (like me!) here’s a little breakdown of where they all are and what is associated primarily with each of them:

Root: Located at the base of the spine, near the tailbone, it represents the feeling of being grounded and emotions around survival issues.

Sacral: This one is two inches below your belly button and two inches in, and it has to do with our sense of wellbeing, pleasure, and connection to others and experiences.

Solar Plexus: Right around your stomach, this chakra represents confidence, control, and self-worth/self-esteem.

Heart: Just like it sounds, the heart chakra is found in the middle of your chest, right above your heart, and is associated with love, joy, and peace.

Throat: As you might expect, the throat chakra is tied to ways we express ourselves, our feelings, and the truth.

Third Eye: This one is found right between the eyes. The third eye has to do with vision, but more than just seeing with our eyes, our ability to see the bigger picture.

Crown: Located at the very top of the head, this one is symbolic of our spiritual connection and development.

In our personal session, surprise surprise, the most energy that was released out of me came from my solar plexus and heart chakras. This is probably because of my great interpersonal and self image blockages that I’ve been working on slowly but surely over the years. 

Lauren’s work takes a look at all of the chakras. I want to invite you to watch this unique interview that I did with her, via YouTube blog, in which she answers some of my questions regarding her own journey with sound healing, its history from the ancient past, and what it has to offer for the future. Here are the questions I asked her to answer. Feel free to read along!


1. Where does Sound Healing Originate?

2. What was Sound Healing used for in ancient times and how are benefiting from it during Modern Times?

3. What is the type of client you normally work with?

4. Can you talk about the different Chakra’s and where people may have blockage of energy and why?

5. Where did you receive your training to be a Sound Healer?

6. What are some stories you can tell from peoples experiences after the Sound Healing Session?

7. What instruments do you use in your practice and what are each of their significances?

8. Which method do you use? I noticed when looking up Sound Healing that there is a lot in Colorado. Why do you think this is? It’s something new I haven’t experienced until your session.

9. How many sessions should one person receive for therapy?

10. What do you think Sound Healing is most affective, as far as different imbalances? What is the most common imbalance and why do you think this is?

11. I found your website at heartnectarhealing.com. How can people get in touch with you and do you travel to other states for therapy sessions?

I hope you enjoyed learning about sound medicine as much as I did. For this week, I’d love to hear from you: in which of the four agreements do you have the most room for personal growth? In what area are you the most proud of yourself?

Thank you to Lauren Gale with HeartNectarHealing.com She is doing great work and I really appreciated the time. The practice of Sound Healing is a life changing experience. I encourage you to reach out to Lauren and find our for yourself. Her website contains some great tools for meditation and further knowledge on this topic! You can her at lauren@heartnectarhealing.com
Please also enjoy this beautiful song performed by Lauren herself:

Featured post

A Health and Wellness Journey Back to Me

pexels-photo-426893 (1)Hello,

My name used to be Mickii, but you can call me Michelle. I don’t go by that name anymore. I’m telling you this because my goal here is to create an honest blog about my experiences and past, so I don’t want to hold anything back from you. I also want to write and share with you about the girl I used to be, and the inner child who stil lives inside of me. Her name is Mickii.

I was raised in a family where it was a mortal sin to reveal your honest thoughts. This blog is meant to be the opposite of that. I want to not only share with you my truest and deepest thoughts, but also to give you a place where it is safe to do the same. In my journey back to me, I have found that one of the biggest steps to healing has been the ability to share my innermost thoughts and feelings without the concern of shameful repercussions or negative punishment after doing so.

Here’s a little more about me: when I was a young woman, I spent long periods of time exploring the most beautiful corners of the United States and discovering all they had to offer. During these periods of travel amid the beauty of nature and across wide open spaces, I would often stare into the distance, wondering what kind of a life I was going to lead and dreaming about all the opportunities of growing older. It was a glorious time of possibility, self discovery, questioning, critical thinking, and meeting interesting people along the way. As I got older, I followed all of the steps of a successful life. I attended and graduated from a fine university, got a business degree, and became a corporate banker for 17 years—all like the good daughter I was.

Since growing older, though, I’ve started asking myself the question, at what age do we stop learning? For me, I hope the answer is never. When I see my own loved ones aging and holding tightly to their beliefs, I remember that I always want to continue to be critical, aware, and curious, so that I can continue to live my best life for as long as I’m on Earth. This is my wish for you who are joining me, too.

So, here are the basics: I’m in my 40s. I’ve been divorced and have since remarried. I have three kids, ages 14, 10, and 14 months. You might be wondering what a woman over 40 was thinking, getting pregnant and having a baby after she already had two kids in her early 30s. All of that is part of my story that I’m excited to share more about with you. But the most important thing is that having a child at this point in my life gave me the chance to find a way back to me, and to rediscover my identity as a woman, wife, mother, and the human I want to be.

Along this journey, we will talk about some of life’s most important questions. No topic is off limits! I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned about body and self image, careers, and holistic wellbeing and health. What do you want to share with me?

I’ll be here every week with a reflection on what I’m currently learning and a practical application that you can try yourself, whether it be an activity, a recipe, or something else that’s meaningful and easy to incorporate into your daily life, in order to find your way back to yourself.   fb-post







Featured post

What is Healthy? The Journey of Balance!

Happy Earth Day
Finding Nutrients on our Beautiful Planet!

My previous blog was somewhat of a confessional. I think its important to know food can be a struggle for anyone. If we wake up in the morning, lets all appreciate the gift of being alive. I would like to live the happiest and healthiest while on this beautiful planet! Happy Earth Day Weekend! One suggestion for today is get outside and appreciate some form of nature. Since it is Earth Day Weekend, lets revisit some healthy gifts our earth provides and how we can live a more balanced life.

Everyone has heard that if you want to be healthy, you need to eat your fruits and vegetables. You can even check out my blog post about their powerful cancer-fighting benefits and some delicious and easy ways to work them into your weekly menu. But have you ever heard that you need to make sure to eat your mushrooms and minerals? Let’s talk more about the bounty of healthful treasures, particularly concerning the prevention of cancer, that can be discovered in three everyday foods. Dr. Joel Fuhrman is an expert in this field of study. Today I’ll talk about three specific foods that he outlines and what exactly about them has so many health benefits.

Mushrooms: Here’s some good news for my ladies: mushrooms are reported by Dr. Fuhrman to reduce breast cancer. This has to do with their anti-aromatase properties. Different types of mushrooms have different levels of this activity, so the good news is that you should be getting adventurous and trying a lot of different kinds. White button, cremini, portobello, and reishi are high anti-aromatase, and kinds such as shiitake, chanterelle, and baby button have mild anti-aromatase activity. This gives you lots of room to experiment in the kitchen while also helping your body prevent cancer down the road.

Tomatoes: Have you ever heard of lycopene? It’s a nutrient that tomatoes are rich in that has been shown to contain several powerful health benefits, including the prevention of different kinds of cancer such as pancreatic, colorectal, breast, lung, and prostate. Lycopene has been linked to positive insulin-like growth factor-1 and binding protein-3 (1). What does that mean? According to Dr. Fuhrman, this could mean decreased inflammation, oxidative damage, and brain aging, and increased resistance to stress and sensitivity to insulin—all good things! Plus, the great thing about tomatoes is that cooking them actually increases the concentration of this nutrient! Generally, with fresh fruits and vegetables, the more they are processed, including being cooked, the less effective their health benefits are. This is not the case with tomatoes, so cook away!

Onions don’t just cause bad breath. They also have minerals and compounds that reportedly have the ability to lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol, as well as growing healthy bacteria and protect against heart disease! In people who eat lots of onions, Dr. Fuhrman reports a reduction in colon, ovarian, esophageal, prostate, and stomach cancers. Eat up!

To help you incorporate these into your week in a simple and concrete way, I have included a recipe for you to cook up a thick, rich tomato sauce that you can serve over meat, over pasta, or even as a base for a soup. I want to help you take the information about which foods are good for you and why and incorporate them into your daily life!

1 medium onion

2 T. avocado oil

2-3 cloves garlic

1 c. mild-flavored mushrooms

1 lb. tomatoes: canned and crushed or fresh and blanched

  • Finely chop the onion
  • Heat oil in a pan until it shimmers
  • Add the onion over medium-high heat, stirring constantly and sauteing for 5 minutes
  • Reduce the  heat and continue to cook the onions for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, without letting them brown
  • Meanwhile, chop mushrooms
  • Add garlic and mushrooms to the onions, cook 5-10 minutes over low heat
  • Chop tomatoes and add them
  • Add your choice of herbs and spices, such as oregano, basil, thyme, etc.
  • Increase heat and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes
  • Eat over your choice of side and enjoy!


In my journey to health and wellness I have wondered what is the best diet or food to eat? In my Integrative Nutrition class, we cover over 100 different diet theories. I have mentioned the philosophy for what diet to choose is Bio-Individuality, or we don’t have a one size fits all diet.

No one size fits all

My previous post I confessed my struggle of when you can take nutrition to an extreme. Remember, I am on a Journey of good health and healing as well. I had a in-depth conversation with my doctor recently about his views on balanced nutrition. I have been reading a lot about what is the best diet for disease or cancer. I have written previously about my dads cancer returning. I am learning in my class about the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. This is a very easy to follow diet for someone who wants to help stop the progression of disease or cancer.

If you want to read more information about the Anti-Inflammatory Diet, I am adding this link below.


Let me know what you think?

Nature is Healing
Happy Earth Day

YAY, I passed my 1st Integrative Nutrition Test, and Don’t Eat Macaroni Sitting on the Dining Room Table!

My Journey to Health and Wellness started on January 19th of this year. I am taking a course to certify me in Integrative Nutrition Coaching with additional Life Coaching requirements.

I left my corporate job a little over a year ago. I am so excited to start this new chapter in my life. Integrative Nutrition is all about creating a ripple effect through Awareness, Education, and Inspiration.

I just took my first test and I only missed two questions! YAY!! I am documenting the importance of the two items I missed because of the merit behind them.
1.In order to reach goals, Mastin Kipp’s suggestion is to choose steps that are ___________ because ___________.

a| scary; they push you to a place where the stakes are higher
If you are unfamiliar with Mastin Kipp, I highly recommend listening to one of his talks or going to his website here, http://mastinkipp.com/
He is all about living your purpose and stepping out of your comfort zone. I think we all do this too often!

2. If you prioritize your organic purchases, which produce is best to make sure it is organic?
a| strawberries, apples, and peaches
This is all based on Pesticide risks. One interesting study is Pesticides are linked to Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s, Cancer(Prostate, Ovarian, Breast, Testicular, and Kidney) and also increases respiratory issues, depression, and developmental problems in children. The U.S. carries more risk than most countries. Make sure you are buying organic and especially the 3 fruits I listed above! Check out more information about this at http://www.courant.com/consumer/bottom-line/hc-bottom-line-pesticides-produce-20150430-column.html

3. Don’t Eat Macaroni while sitting on top of the table! Yes, this was my Organic Macaroni and it was microwaved….Shhhhh I was in a hurry! Carbohydrates are very essential but please pick from this list.
Brown Rice, Buckwheat, Bulgur, Millet , Wild Rice, Whole grain Barley, and Steel Cut Oatmeal. Oh, and try Yuca Root which you normally can find by the garlic and onions. It is a very interesting looking root. Read about the difference in the Yucas vs Potatoes and where they are from at http://healthyeating.sfgate.com./
Or, even better, try this fellow WordPress blogger about the yuca root, https://foodrefashionista.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/yuca/

This is short and sweet! It is Spring Break for my 3 Kids! Have a great rest of the week!

Health and HAppiness

Bad day


Have you ever told someone that you’re having a bad day? I recently started a strength training class because of lack of muscle. I had my baby 16 months ago and wanting to put on a few pounds. I found this really great physical trainer to help with my goal. She accessed weight, my body fat, and made me log what I was eating each day. She used this assessment to determine the best strength training routine.

I meet her in person on Tuesday and Thursday and the other days she printed out a guided routine I could follow from home. She demonstrated each exercise and had me try it as well to check my form and make corrections as needed. All I have to do is show up from 11 to 12 on Tuesday and Thursday.  I showed up this Tuesday, had a great session with her she practiced on my form and what I needed to do to improve and we had a great session. On Thursday,  she sent me a text. The text was a normal, “Hey just making sure you Are coming to class today at 11am. I can’t believe I sent her this text Hey M—, I hate to do this but I am not going to make it, I am just having A BAD DAY. Yes, I actually sent this to her.

Today I decided to see what the Wizard Internet has to say about, A BAD DAY.  The urban dictionary actually states, A BAD DAY is when you wake up and hit your head on numerous objects, trip on several steps, and coincidentally spill mustard on your totally white clothing, and it usually happens on a Monday. Here are a few synonyms for A BAD DAY.

The Journey of Health and Wellness
Bad Day
  • Bad Hair Day
  • Unlucky Day
  • Awful Day
  • Not So Perfect Day
  • Ghastly Day
  • Monday

One of the presenters in my Integrative Nutrition Class says, put your hand over your heart. Can you feel it beating? Isn’t it amazing even when we are sleeping your heart is still working for you. Every breath we take is a miracle, and feel gratitude for waking up to another beautiful day of being alive.

“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.”
― Germany Kent

If I am honest, I really don’t enjoy lifting weights. I always feel awkward. I have these little itty-bitty muscles and never took the time over the years to learn proper form. I feel out of place. All this being said is more reason for me to choose to gain more muscle and learn proper form. I could come up with a hundred reasons on not being present or showing up fully to my strength training class. I need to own my lack of knowledge and take responsibility of learning something new. This is necessary if I want to reach my goal. Otherwise it was just an idea and nothing is gained with out hard work.

Improving our physical health with a busy work routine or commitments we can neglect our own personal health. If we have positive thinking this will help illuminate lack of motivation.

My strength trainer is great in her role and I was actually acting out the way many potential clients do in Health, Life and Physical Wellness.  I wanted to write a blog describing how it must be for client and how we can easily lack responsibility and ownership of our goals and perceived destinations.

Journey of Health and Wellness
Bad Day

One very interesting phenomena in coaching is called Mind Mirrors. In my class of integrative nutrition, we are learning how often times the client asking for help, is dealing with the same issues we may be experiencing. The magic of Mirroring can be almost bizarre when the client starts talking about themselves. Often times, the Coach can wonder,  how am I going to help this person with the same issues the coach is experiencing? We all live very busy lives and often times, the coach doesn’t make time to nurture themselves.  In our heads we think, time is limited, when we are ready to receive the message than the mirror has done her job.

We need to embrace the mirror and step up to it. In Health Coaching we have the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focused on. By using the same power of the mind, we can translate our thoughts and materialize it into reality. If you want to read more about mirroring check here.

There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the end of the strings that somebody else pulls- Howard Thurman

The Law of Attraction is the belief that my focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative into their life. This is why the universe is such a infinitely awesome place. It is thought Buddha believed, What you have become is what you have thought.” Obviously Mirroring and The Law of Attraction are very similar. If  you want to read about the Law of Attraction read here

I am looking at this list, it says, Michelle double your calories for the time being. You need to eat at least 1600 cal per day, protein, healthy fat, and complex carbohydrate at every meal. Stay hydrated. Stay on your training schedule below. No excuses.

  • Monday cardio power upper focus body weights only
  • Tuesday total body strength with my awesome strength training coach
  • Wednesday cardio power lower focus
  • Thursday total body strength with my awesome teacher(I let myself down)
  • Friday cardio of your choice
  • Saturday at the gym lifting weights upper and lower
  • Sunday rest
The Journey of Health and Wellness
Mind Mirroring or Law of Attraction

This is my blog of confession. I was the text book case of not taking responsibility for my goals. No ones going to lift weights for you MICHELLE! I’m not beating myself up but it was a good way for me to see what its like on the other side for a client.

Journey to Health and Wellness
Mind Mirror or Law of Attraction

Oh, I have a lot more to tell you along my journey. Body image and all that jazz has always been a struggle for me. Remember nothing is off limits. I promise I will get to all this in future blogs!


A Health and Wellness Journey, When Cancer Comes Back…





This blog is dedicated to the most creative, funny, critical thinker, and supporter to my many crazy endeavors. MY DAD. He is very much with us and going strong! He doesn’t know it but has always been my hero. We definitely can have our differences of opinion, but I know he loves me.


Dad, Thank You for being my first client or being open to some changes in your diet and listening to my endless chatter on nutrition. Thanks for being my inspiration for Health and Wellness and I know with(HOPE) more people will become AWARE, EDUCATED, and INSPIRED around what they eat.


I had the chance to interview my dad the other day. His cancer recently came back, although we also learned that it has not spread! So we are teetering on the border between relief for today and worry for tomorrow. Here is what he had to tell me about his diet over the years.

1. What did you enjoy most growing up around food preparation, and as a family, what was the normal ritual around preparing a meal? What was your favorite food your mom or dad cooked and why?

Sunday meals were special, with the smell of cooking fried chicken permeating throughout the house in the early morning. I would wonder into the kitchen, and a whole chicken would have been cut up and floured the night before and placed into a deep cast iron skillet full of lard! This grease and chicken fat would be made into gravy. Before church, Mom would prepare homemade biscuits to be put into the oven after church. Vegetables varied depending on the time of year, but butter beans, corn collards, squash and tomatoes were always available and cooked in butter or grease with an added tablespoon of sugar! Iced tea was the beverage of choice, always with sugar and lemon, of course. Dessert was consistent—either pie or cake—and when guests were over, it  always included ice cream!

2. Do you think society has changed in the way we eat? What additions to our nutrition, good or bad, have we added? How do you think it impacted families in the 70’s and 80’s and why?

Our society’s eating habits have changed most with breakfast. I usually ate a full breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon or a slice of country ham, and toast with butter and homemade jam. Now our younger people eat no breakfast, or they consume an energy drink or a Starbucks latte! I did many physical chores every morning before school, like feeding cattle and chickens! This time of my life versus during the transition from the 70’s to 80’s is different as far as the physical is concerned. However, I did consume many regular Cokes, and when I was about 6 years old, I drank my first Pepsi! I didn’t have a diet drink or any artificial sweeteners until in my late 20’s!

3. What foods did you add to your diet in the last 50 years that are different than what you grew up eating? Which foods would you eliminate from your diet and why? What have you changed about your diet since you found out your cancer has returned? How does this make you feel? What emotions does cancer bring up for you? Remember, Dad, I love you, and I am wanting to make a difference in a small kind of way through awareness, education, and inspiration.

My number number one diet change in the last 50 years is added artificial sweeteners and GMOs! Since my second bout with cancer, I stay aware of my diet by eating less meat, more fish and vegetables, and reading more nutrition labels to learn about the contents of my food! With my cancer returning, I approach everyday with a cloud over my head, but I remain optimistic in making the right choices in my diet and researching a complete cure. I’m sure my children will live to see a complete cure for cancer, and I believe diet and life styles are apart of the preventable solution.

I know that this topic isn’t one that I need to spend a lot of time explaining to my readers. Almost everyone has had a close and personal encounter with the disease called cancer, whether it has happened to themselves, a member of their immediate family, or a friend and loved one. Sometimes these stories end in tragedy, sometimes in a brief respite, and sometimes in a hard-earned lesson about the value of life and the gratitude to be carried through it every day.


When Cancer comes back
Life is a Journey of Health and Wellness

In my case, my dad has experienced two episodes of cancer. It’s always difficult to face this again, already knowing the hardship that it can bring ahead of time and dreading its return. When this terrifying and life-threatening disease rears its ugly head, I think many of us agree that there’s not much we wouldn’t try to insure that it either goes away once and for all or never shows up in the first place.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful seminar put on by David “Avocado” Wolfe. If you don’t know who he is, you can read more about him at his website here. He is a leader in the holistic health world, a best-selling author, spokesperson for Nutribullet, entrepreneur, and lots more. He is a big advocate of doing things like growing your own food, being outside, and making everyday as good as it can be—all things that I can completely get behind!

At this event, he also happened to be talking about different herbs and antioxidants that might help battle cancer. You can read his blog post here about all of the different foods that he says will strengthen your immune system and reduce inflammation, which, according to the Cancer Institute, can lead to cancer and other diseases. These foods are: goji berries, wild blueberries, dark chocolate (yum!), pecans, artichokes (a personal fave), elderberries, kidney beans, cranberries, blackberries, and cilantro.

Here’s a little meal plan that I cooked up for you that combines all 10—that’s right!—of these super-delicious, super-cancer-fighting foods.

Entree: Red beans and rice. If you use brown rice for an alternative that’s higher in fiber and lower on the glycemic index, you’ll want to just soak the rice for an hour before cooking. Try this delicious recipe from the Food Network that includes cilantro, as well!

Side: Boiled artichokes are such a simple and satisfactory part of a hearty dinner. If you whip up some aioli to dip them in, made with a heart-healthy olive oil mayo, you can totally elevate your game!

Dessert: berry crumble. Using goji berries, wild blueberries, elderberries, cranberries, and blackberries, you can make this delicious gluten-free crumble (with the pecans!) from the Minimalist Baker.

I hope that, if your family or loved ones are dealing with this particularly difficult part of life, that you can at least hit pause and take some time to sit down and enjoy one another’s presence over a delicious meal, especially one that includes some antioxidant-rich foods.

when cancer comes back
my dads journey to health and wellness

What is one of your favorite recipes with antioxidant-rich ingredients?


What is one of your favorite recipes with antioxidant-rich ingredients?

*(HOPE) This blog is guided by HOPE. Everyone needs hope! This is also in dedication to my Aunt Cathy who is and will always be my Hope!



A Health and Wellness Journey, Why Don’t We Throw Out The Bad Food?


My week started off at Yoga early one morning. My weekend was busy with plans for my husbandʼs 40th birthday. The time change made it extremely difficult to get up to exercise, and the night before I did not sleep well. One of my habits I have not kicked is waking up and doing the classic 2 a.m. in the morning staring into the refrigerator like it’s filled with all the answers to my thoughts routine. I am behind in my studies, and I have been spending more time trying to learn some new technology and not concentrating on what really matters: the great material from my Integrative Nutrition class. You know the old Ross Dam book, Be Here Now? I was way ahead of myself. My husband loves meditation and yoga. His degree was in psychology, and he loves different philosophers. I actually created a Yoga/Beach/Hippie theme for his birthday weekend. He is much better at being in the moment than I am.

As I peered into the refrigerator, four different kinds of plant-based protein bars waited patiently for me to sample them. I ate two of these precious bars at 2 a.m. and the other two at 6 a.m. when I left for my morning yoga class. I stretched out my yoga mat in preparation for the class. My yoga teacher has become a friend of my husband and me. He actually is a musician/singer and he played music at my husband’s party this past weekend. He had a very popular song in the 90ʼs. He contributed some funds after our party to a great local organization that supplies first responders with tools to save people who may have overdosed from drugs. The reason I am talking about this will all make sense later on in this post, so keep reading.

My yoga teacher always emphasizes proper posture. I had a baby 15 months ago, and if you remember, I am in my 40s. My favorite exercise has always been running. I realized after having Baby Ainge that I really needed to get back in touch with my body. I found sitting at a desk for 17 years in a corporate job was not the best for my shoulders and hips. I am sure many hours of running was not helping my posture, either. My yoga teacher asked a very simple question: “How does your core feel today?” My wonderfully thought-out response was, “I donʼt feel anything but the four protein bars I ate in the last eight hours.” Did those words just fall out of my mouth? Where was my refrigerator when I needed her? My yoga teacher then replied, “Not all plant-based protein bars are created equal.” Wait, what? I thought we were just talking about my digestion. Have you ever heard the saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear?” Siddhartha, or the Buddha, was allegedly the one who said this great phrase. It’s a perfect saying for when we are talking about individual change. 

After I finished my yoga class, I went back home and dove deep into my nutrition topics for the week. This week’s theme was about a study done by Neal Barnard, M.D. If you have a chance, please read some of his studies, especially the ones in which he discusses genes. The brief comment that my yoga teacher had made made sense when I started reading more about the extreme effects that different ingredients found in our food can have on our bodies.

In one study, Dr. Barnard discusses taking 64 women and putting them all on a low-fat, vegan diet. All these women are post menopausal and experience an overall feeling of being stuck. They are told to follow this certain diet, with no exercise, eating as much as they want within these guidelines, and do this for 14 weeks. When the 14 weeks were over, the average weight loss was 13 pounds from these 64 women, and they continued to keep it off or lose more each year following. The weight did not come back, which is atypical after following a very restrictive diet. One of the women was able to loose 40 pounds and stop all of her diabetes medication. She even had less discomfort from arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is linked to foreign protein in the body.

How does Dr. Barnardʼs low-fat, vegan diet work? One word: fiber. Plant roughage makes you feel like you have eaten a huge amount. It switches off our appetite and makes us feel full. On this diet plan, you are eating no animal fat and less vegetable oil. In his studies, he found that people’s metabolism was ramped up by an average of 16%. Typically when a person has a slower metabolism, it’s because fat builds up in the cells. Diabetes II happens when insulin canʼt get into these cells because fat is blocking the way.


Now, let’s talk about car insurance—or rather, about a study Dr. Barnard did with 2,500 Geico employees. He put them all on this same diet. His low-fat, vegan diet had similar results to the one with 64 women, although it was a learning process. He joked that the first week of this program, the cafeteria advertised a quarter pounder vegan burger with bacon for $5.99. Through some awareness, education, and inspiration, the Geico employees started getting the same amazing results as the women from the study before.

This brings me to the main question on everyone’s minds. If there is a healthier way to live, why don’t we all just throw out all the bad foods? It seems simple enough! Well, Dr. Barnard talks about another study that has to do with that. At the University of Michigan, doctors administered naloxone, an opiate blocker, to patients. Afterwards, foods with chocolate in them seemed less appealing, if at all. Not to mention, there are chemical compounds found in cheese that are very similar to morphine. What’s essentially going on in our bodies is that when we eat sugar or cheese or meat, there is an opiate release (like a runner’s high) in the brain, which then releases dopamine. The dopamine tells us, do whatever you just did again; I like it! People are addicted to food. It can be just as difficult to give up as a drug.

This is where I come full circle back to my yoga teacher and friend who supports a local program for drug addiction. The first responders in our area are given a supply of this miracle drug to help people who overdose. It actually happens to be the same drug that was administered to patients in the University of Michigan study on chocolate and cheese. Although the results are not as immediately devastating, not only are we dealing with drug addiction, food addiction is real as well. So I wanted to tie this in to help us understand why, if there are real solutions to food-related disease and illness, it is still so difficult for many of us to break free of the tight grip that life-threatening food has on our lives.

What I want to say is: I am on this Journey with all of you, too, and I am ready for my Teachers! Who are they? Could they be you?

If you would like an easy way to get started on a diet like this one to help you combat the spread of diseases such as diabetes and fight addiction, check out this free 21-day meal plan from Dr. Barnard himself! http://www.pcrm.org/kickstartHome/mealplan/week-1

(Cheese and chocolate study article: http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/barnard_food_seduction.htm)pexels-photo-892677.jpeg

A Health and Wellness Journey, Career Congruency! Never to late to make a change!

If you’re like me, you’ve probably had some experience working as a successful professional in a certain career field. In our society, it serves us well to stay in a certain job for a long period of time. We get the chance to move up, get promoted, learn a lot about the profession, get bonuses and raises, and invest into our retirement accounts so that we can provide for ourselves and our loved ones and enjoy a pleasant retirement and quality time in our golden years. I’m very grateful for the opportunity that I had to get a degree from a good university and then use my knowledge and skills in a job for 17 years.


Working hard and providing for our families, ourselves, and our future are honorable goals, and they’re necessities if we’re going to both survive and thrive. However, I have found in my own life, and from others that I’ve talked to, that having success in the professional sphere doesn’t necessarily seem to have any bearing on the happiness or fulfillment we experience in our life, either during or outside of our time at work.

As I’ve said before, I’m currently pursuing certification to become a life and health coach. In the last few years, I have left my job, had another child, and am now embarking on a new career path. I don’t think that everyone needs to do actions this extreme to bring congruence to their professional life. I do, however, think it takes an extreme shift in perspective to realize that you bring unique value to the world, and that the way that you share it is in your daily life.

Finding the right career is hard, as anyone who has ever had to guide a child through the process can surely tell you! There are so many options and so many possibilities. This can be incredibly exciting, but the volume of choice can also feel paralyzing. Plus, once you start in one direction ,it can be terrifying or demoralizing to feel like you’ve made the wrong decision and wasted your time and efforts. Everyone also has a unique set of personality traits and learned skills from the course of their life that contributes to a potentially “perfect” job match.

Two people working in the exact same job might have two entirely different experiences. One person might be there because of financial security and the provision of all of those things I talked about earlier, while another may get value from the alignment of their belief system and core values in putting those things towards their work. We may feel like we’re never going to find exactly the right job for us, or that we’ve tried many things and not gotten anywhere. I hope to encourage you that even if you’re in the wrong job temporarily, or even if you feel trapped, you can always spark a shift in perspective that will make your working experience a more positive one and will bring a feeling of congruence to your life so that you don’t feel like you have to check your passions, personality, and perspective at the door when you clock in.

Start the process of this shift by asking these simple questions.

1. Do you feel you bring value to the world?

2. How do you define that value?

3. Is what you do meaningful to you?

4. Is what you do meaningful to anyone around you?

This week, I’d like to encourage you to start keeping a “feel-good folder.” Of course, this doesn’t have to be a folder. It could be a jar, or a digital file on your desktop, or any other place that you can tangibly write down things from your career that remind you that what you do and who you are has meaning. Even people who spend their entire lives running hugely important organizations or giving back to their communities need to be reminded that what they do has value, and so do you! Write down any small encouragements you receive and store them here so that the next time you’re having a rough day, questioning what you’re even doing in this job, you can pull them out and be reassured that you have value and you’re sharing it with others.

A Health and Wellness Journey, Epigenetics is Nerdy but Cool!!!


Epigenetics – Our genes may not define us!

It’s difficult nowadays to miss the buzz regarding Epigenetics, a word used by many researchers to describe inherited patterns of gene expression which do not reflect directly in the DNA sequence. Research has brought up more evidence that our DNA patterns can and do shift according to the inner uterine environment. It is believed that all our sensory experiences, thought patterns and experience are encoded in the DNA. But most people refuse to believe that DNA can and does change and shift.

Our thoughts, perceptions and attitudes about life is imprinted on our child’s psyche as a groundwork for the world he/she will be coming into.  The more peaceful, calm, supported and relaxed a women feels during her conception/pregnancy, the more peaceful, calm, supported and relaxed her newborn will be.

Michel Odent believes that the more calm and relaxed we keep a mother during her pregnancy, that shift or change in epigenetics you will also witness in the child.  This is very logical and practical thought yet so difficult for most of us to understand.

The DNA code is inadequate, even if essential, to explain how genes give rise to the dynamics of life. The most oft-cited example is how so many cells in our body have identical DNA, yet they look and act differently as skin and bones. Many scientists have shifted their focus to chromatin studies to provide some of these answers.

HYPERLINK “http://genetics.mgh.harvard.edu/kingstonweb/default.html” \t “_blank” Robert Kingston said, “Epigenetics is central to the fact that we have fingers and toes in the right place and that our skin and liver are functioning, and it is fundamental to what goes wrong in development and cancer”.

If described in simple words Epigenetics is the study of biological mechanisms that will switch genes on and off. Certain situations in life can make our genes to be silenced or expressed over time. Meaning genes can be turned off (becoming dormant) or turned on (becoming active) as per circumstances.

What we eat, where we live, when we  HYPERLINK “https://www.whatisepigenetics.com/the-epigenetics-of-sleep-3-reasons-to-catch-more-zzzs/” \t “_blank” sleep, our exercise pattern, whom we interact and meet with– all of these habits and lifestyle can ultimately cause chemical modifications around the genes which in turn will turn those genes on or off over time. Moreover, in certain diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s, a number of genes will be changed into the opposite state, away from the normal state.

We need to understand that even though we all are humans, why do we all have different skin or different hair color? Why do some of us hate a specific vegetable and someone relishes the same vegetable? Why are some people  HYPERLINK “https://www.whatisepigenetics.com/epigenetic-gift-of-gab-could-chemical-tags-on-dna-influence-a-persons-social-skills/” \t “_blank” more sociable and extrovert than others? The reason is that the different combinations of genes which are turned on or off in us. These genes determine our uniqueness. With over 20000 genes, we can have innumerable combinations of genes being turned on or off? The possible options are enormous! But if we are able to find out the single cause and effect of these different combinations, and if we are able to reverse the gene’s state in order to keep the good and eliminate the bad. Then theoretically speaking we will be able to cure cancer, slow aging, stop obesity, and so much more.

The growing importance of Epigenetics in gene regulation has started to bring in a paradigm shift in healthcare and nutrition. Integrative Nutrition specialists believe that genetics are not fixed, and by choosing a correct healthy nutrition we can turn on the healthy genes in our body and at the same time overpower the genetic expression of disease. MIND BLOWING!pexels-photo-612914.jpeg

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