Category Archives: Los Angeles

YES EQUALS YES!

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Paloma and I getting ready for the New Year's cleanse orientation at Goldensol yoga studio, Los Feliz.

Paloma and I getting ready for the New Year’s cleanse orientation at Goldensol yoga studio, Los Feliz.

Yesterday I offered a one week cleanse orientation at Goldensol, a new yoga studio in Los Feliz. As my daughter Paloma and I were unloading the car in the parking lot, we were welcomed by a mysterious sign that said YES EQUALS YES. Interesting! I kept thinking about this affirmation as I prepared the table with the food and the equipment I would use to prepare the green veggie juices and smoothie recipes I would demo during the workshop. YES EQUALS YES. What a way to affirm a desire!

During the class, this affirmation kept dancing in my consciousness as I witnessed the ganas, the excitement of the participants, who were looking for natural ways to reverse some health conditions as I shared how easy it is to use food as medicine in a simple and effective way. Their enthusiasm pushed me forward and I knew they were doubly affirming their celebration of life as they discovered effective tools to improve their health in the delicious drinks.

YES EQUALS YES when we are ready to make a major shift in our lives, step into our power and arrive at decisions out of the wisdom of our hearts. YES MEANS YES when we let go of negativity to dive full-on into what we know is going to be supportive of our growth and unfoldment. YES EQUALS YES when we take that leap of faith and embark in enterprises that seem scary and hard at the beginning. YES MEANS YES when we affirm life over fear, insecurities, hesitations, no matter what the challenges are, no matter what others say, no matter if it’s going to work or not.

What are YOU saying YES to today?

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Release, Activate and Transform: A Four Week Intensive Health Group Coaching Program

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What:    A four session intensive group coaching program series to learn how to deal with weight gain, cravings, food allergies, digestive issues and low energy.

Why:     To receive personalized professional attention, support, guidance and acommunity of peers during the process.

When:   Tuesdays February 4, 11, 18, 25, 6:00pm to 7:15pm

 Where: From the convenience of your home, call in and join the interactive teleconference.

During the course of this four session program, you will

  • Set and accomplish health goals
  • Reconnect with your body and feelings
  • Develop a personalized diet according to your body type that sustains and pleases you
  • Explore new foods
  • Identify and by-pass emotional areas that trigger emotional eating.
  • Find mastery over food cravings through healthy alternatives and mindful eating
  • Increase energy and vitality
  • Feel better in your body, mind and spirit
  • Improve personal relationships with yourself, others and nature
  • Receive the support of an experienced professional and a community of peers

Bonus:  preliminary individual health phone consultation, a closed Facebook group for daily check-ins, recordings of the sessions, hand-outs, individual recommendations, support from a buddy system.

Cost for the 4 sessions:                                         250$    

Payment by February 2:                                       225$

PayPal payment at: http://www.vivamivida.com

For more info: sirena@vivamivida.com

Sirena Pellarolo, Ph.D. believes in autonomous and vibrantly healthy individuals and communities. As a holistic healer, she models for her clients how to courageously step center-stage in their lives by unleashing their unique personal power, creative self-expression and overall wellbeing. Her bilingual programs inspire individuals to reconnect with their bodies, minds and spirits by going back to the basics of a healthy lifestyle: a personalized nutrient-rich diet, energizing physical movement and a meaningful spiritual practice. The seasonal community cleanses and raw food preparation classes that she has been hosting for several years offer a Do It Yourself hands-on approach to healing through nutrient-dense, plant-based choices. Sirena specializes in weight management for women in their menopause years. She is currently working on a manuscript that captures this experience titled “Detoxing Our Communities: Using Food As Medicine for a Quantum Grassroots Transformation.”

www.vivamivida.com

http://livefoods4life.com/

https://soundcloud.com/sirena-pellarolo

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A Hearty Quinoa and Vegetable Dish For the Cooler Season

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I know that quinoa–that incredible protein-rich/ gluten-free ancient seed from the Andes–, has become so popular among health observing eaters around the world, that it has increased its status in the global market as a priced commodity. So much so, that the ancestral consumers of the seed have a hard time affording to pay for it in their own country. I am aware of this, and hope that the cultivation of quinoa will become as widespread as its consumption, so that the original peoples from the Andean Altiplano are able to go back to their ancestral diet in a sustainable way. In fact, when I visited the Learning Garden in Venice Beach, CA some weeks ago, I was very happy to see that David King,  its Master Gardener, had some seeds of quinoa that he was planning to plant in the land. Hopefully, they will yield enough food to sustain the garden community.

For now, and aware of this controversy, I would like to share with you the delicious quinoa and veggie recipe I use for these cold nights.

quinoa plate

Ingredients

2 cups of white quinoa (could be other colors) soaked for at least 6 hours

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 white onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 cup of diced white mushrooms

1 red bell pepper

1 cup diced eggplant (in season)

½ cup chopped cilantro

Dulse flakes

Two tablespoons of miso paste

Braggs aminoacids

A dash of turmeric

1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast

Instructions

As any other seed, grain, bean or nut, I soak quinoa before I cook it. Soaking it in water helps unleash its life force as it neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors that are hard on our digestion. It makes it easier and quicker to cook.

Put the oil in a wok and stir fry the onions, garlic, mushrooms, bell peppers, eggplant. Add water if you need to make some juice and cover until the veggies are almost cooked. Pour the soaked quinoa and mix in with the veggies. Add the dulse flakes, the miso paste and the chopped cilantro, the turmeric, nutritional yeast and sprinkle it with Braggs. You will notice that the soaked quinoa cooks very quickly and, as soon as the water is consumed, turn off the stove and cover the wok. Enjoy with some vegan parmesan. Yummie!

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The insidious power of cravings

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stinking thinking at work

stinking thinking at work

“One of the reasons people consume anything too much is because they don’t consume other things enough.” (Marianne Williamson, A Course In Weight Loss, 74).

When people ask me what they can do about their sugar cravings, I usually suggest that maybe they could look at where in their lives “sweetness” is missing. Some of them nod in recognition of a truth they had been avoiding, others become defensive and sometimes angry. Either way, I know I hit a nerve.

Although sometimes fighting cravings seems an unwinnable battle, these desires are actually not good nor bad. Cravings are instead wonderful indicators that something inside of us is out of balance. As emotional eaters, we have used food to numb out our feelings, so when they suddenly start calling our attention, we become scared and we fall into the automatic response that we have learnt to comfort ourselves in these cases: we go to food. We will invent one thousand excuses and justifications of why it is good to go ahead and use food to calm us down.

Whenever you are having cravings for those “comfort” foods you tend to go to when there’s some emotional stuff happening, take a deep breath and some time to think about what is triggering those cravings. Even if you do indulge in them, don’t miss the opportunity to understand yourself and identify what’s beneath them. Deconstructing cravings is a magical way to develop mastery over them. When you experience a craving, ask yourself, what does my body really want and why?

Some causes of cravings are:

1. Lack of “primary” food, that is to say, nurturance beyond food. For example, relationship issues, an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little or the wrong type), boredom, stress, an uninspiring job, or a lack of a spiritual practice may all cause emotional eating. Food can be used as a substitute for entertainment or to fill a void.

2. Water. Lack of water can send the message that you are thirsty and on the verge of dehydration. Dehydration can manifest as a mild hunger, so the first thing to do when you get a craving is drink a full glass of water. Excess water can also cause cravings, so be sure that your water intake is well balanced. For more tips on this topic, please go to my previous blogs “Our Bodies Many Cries for Water,” and “Please Stay Hydrated.”

3. Yin/yang imbalance. Certain foods have more expansive qualities (yin) while other foods have more contractive qualities (yang). Eating foods that are either extremely yin or extremely yang causes cravings in order to maintain balance. For example, eating a diet too rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat (yang).

4. Inside coming out. Often times, cravings come from foods that we have recently eaten, foods eaten by our ancestors, or foods from our childhood. A clever way to satisfy these cravings is to eat a healthier version of one’s ancestral or childhood foods.

5. Seasons. Often the body craves foods that balance the elements of the season. In the spring, people crave detoxifying foods like leafy greens or citrus foods. In the summer, people crave cooling foods like raw fruit and veggies, and in the fall people crave grounding foods like squash, onions and nuts. During winter, many crave hot and heat-producing foods like meat, oil and fat. Cravings can also be associated with the holidays, for foods like turkey, eggnog or sweets.

6. Lack of nutrients. If the body has inadequate nutrients, it will produce odd cravings. For example, inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings, and overall inadequate nutrition produces cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, like caffeine and sugar.

7. Hormones. When women experience menstruation, pregnancy or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings.

8. De-evolution. When things are going extremely well, sometimes a self-sabotage syndrome happens. We crave foods that throw us off, thus creating more cravings to balance ourselves. This often happens from low blood-sugar and may result in strong mood swings.

As we become more aware of the underlying emotions below the cravings–stuff repressed for so long–, that crystallized energy starts to melt down and bubble up to be released. Exactly the same as when we detox. Addressing our stored emotions IS a way of detoxing! Thus we de-program ourselves from years of automatic behaviors around emotional eating. That is why staying conscious and paying attention to the indicators that something’s out of kelter is so crucial. Stay aware and enjoy the journey!

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Please stay hydrated!

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Front image_drinking-waterIt’s been HOT! The end of the summer in Los Angeles usually tends to gift us with the high temperatures we missed earlier in the season. I hear people can’t sleep, are irritable, and can’t even do mental work in this heat. This extreme weather takes a toll on our bodies, and we need to be aware of that. The most important thing is to stay cool and hydrated.

I have already talked about the importance of keeping our bodies hydrated in a recent post “Our bodies’ many cries for water.” . In it I mentioned how F. Batmanghelidj, M.D. considers that water is the cure to many of our ailments caused by modern life, as most of us are chronically dehydrated.

Personally, when it’s so hot I scale down my Bikram Yoga practice and swim every day. There is something very cooling and refreshing about soaking in water and splashing in that fluid, all-embracing motherly element. But even then, it’s important to rehydrate after swimming, as the chemicals used to keep the water clean, the sun and the sweating (yes, we sweat when we swim!), dehydrate us. I replenish the lost electrolytes with coconut water. It’s also good to add electrolytes to our drinking water, if we exercise and sweat a lot.

In addition to drinking lots of filtered water, raw fruits and veggies are very hydrating foods. During this warm weather we usually feel less hungry, so go ahead and substitute some meals with delicious veggie juices and smoothies. You can find some easy recipes here and here.

If your diet is composed mainly of processed and mostly cooked foods, you will need more water to hydrate. Also keep in mind that coffee, teas, alcohol, sugary sodas, cigarettes and other irritants are dehydrating and you’ll need to drink more water to counter their effect.

These simple tips will help you stay healthy and at your best even during this torrid season. So, enjoy the end of the summer and stay cool!

 

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Are you “inflamed”?

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Clean-CoveI know that this question might elicit different responses at this moment. Today we could feel “inflamed” due to another example of how the justice system in this country has shown one more time that we are really not all equal under the law. And I would say that is a very justified way of feeling, and at some point, I promise I’ll write a post about this.

But what I really mean when I ask this question is if you have stopped to think whether your body has created an inflamed environment that is prone to disease, which eventually could become chronic. Some of my clients complain about digestive issues, for example, and this condition is a result of inflammation.

I am reading an excellent book that explains the relation of inflammation and the need for detoxification, Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself. Author and fellow rioplatense Alejandro Junger, M.D. explains this condition

…inflammation is a survival mechanism of great complexity. [It] occurs when a set of chemicals in the blood are activated by something foreign or broken. These chemicals attract defense cells that protect tissues against whatever is injuring them, from a thorn to a disease-causing microbe. The repair system is also activated by calling in different cells to fix the damage. Normally, inflammation is self-regulated, which means that as soon as it is triggered, it will start reactions that will stop further inflammation. However, if the body is constantly exposed to irritants, the inflammation response is switched on all the time—not just at small specific sites, but systemically all over the body and throughout the blood. This is what happens when exposure to toxins is high: modern humans are chronically inflamed. Inflammation (from the Latin word inflatio, “to set on fire”) becomes to the body’s environment what wildfires are to the planet’s” (92).

Only now modern medicine has recognized that inflammation is the common condition underlying chronic ailments like cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disorders. So, how can we prevent inflammation? We need to consider that, in addition to environmental toxins and stress, the ingestion of certain foods promote inflammation. For example:

  • Packaged and processed foods and drinks that contain additives, preservatives and other chemicals
  • Acid producing foods: red meat, refined grains (mostly gluten)
  • Dairy
  • Sugars
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Trans-fats: hydrogenated oils
  • Foods that can cause irritation and allergies:
  • nightshade family: tomatoes, sweet peppers, eggplant, potatoes
  • Strawberries, chocolate, shellfish
  • Peanuts

If we reduce the intake of these foods, and add anti-inflammatory nutrients to our diet, like Omega 3 fatty acids (hemp, flax and chia seeds, walnuts, algae, fish and krill oil), curcumin (turmeric), plants that contain polyphenols, like all types of berries, raw plants that cool down our system and dark leafy greens that support liver detoxification (my favorite are dandelions), we limit our stressors and we cleanse our system regularly, we will keep inflammation in check. Dr Junger asserts that the root of inflammation is the “the toxicity of modern life, and our bodies’ weakness in dealing with it. Only when we start a treatment there, targeting the seed of the problem, can we truly begin to ward off disease” (11).

This is why I am so insistent on periodic detoxifications of our bodies. It’s not that I’m a broken record, it’s that periodic cleanses are the most effective and empowering practices to keep our bodies clean and healthy.

If reading this post has convinced you that it’s time for a tune-up, please check my upcoming DIY Mid-Summer Community Cleanse and Raw Food Preparation Class starting July 27. Your body and the planet will thank you for it.

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Our body’s many cries for water

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imagesAs we move through these interesting times, mostly in the recent weeks, with a cosmic alignment of three eclipses in a row, ending with a powerful full moon eclipse on May 24-25, our energies shift, we feel tired, overwhelmed, stressed out, sad, etc. Some of the authors writing about how to deal with these emotions suggest we go back to the element of water as medicine. I can relate to that as a Sirena!

Lena Stevens suggests that we “take care of the body in some way as the body struggles with new energies it does not understand. You may be experiencing aches and pains you never had before. Work with water, drink lots of it, immerse yourself in it and make sure you are getting enough minerals.” And Pat Liles mentions that in this alignment there is “such effortless, easeful energy available, especially from the water signs–our emotional, receptive, fluid nature where we just tap in and intuitively understand what is going on from our deep knowingness. This water energy is part of our learning as well at this time – how to be fluid, receive, use our feminine powers of cooperation…”

So, in this time of deep transformation and renewal, the astrological experts invite us to go back to the most simple and essential of elements. Why?

From a scientific point of view, F. Batmanghelidj, M.D. in his famous book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water assures us “you are not sick, you’re thirsty,” and recommends to use water as a cure for an infinite array of diseases: from rheumatoid arthritis, low back pain, headaches, depression and stress, to high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

I always remind my clients to drink their good, fresh, clean water constantly. How much? The rule of thumb is 2-3 ½ quarts of high quality water per day, or half our weight in ounces. Drink more if you sweat a lot, like I do when I practice Bikram yoga. If we eat raw veggies and fruits, those will hydrate us and we won’t need that much water. Remember, though, that if you are eating a lot of dehydrated food, you will need more water to rehydrate it.

When should we drink it? At least one hour before and one hour after the meals, so that the water doesn’t dilute the acids necessary for digestion.

I have a reverse osmosis filter in my kitchen that I use to refill a metal bottle, so to avoid the waste of plastic bottles that also leach carcinogens. Spring water is the best!

Warm baths with Epsom Salts are great too, they relax our muscles when we exercise, help us calm down after a stressful day and provide the soothing environment to dream and simply chill.

We’ll be talking about this and many other seasonal tips in my next phone group coaching program Are you ready to benefit from the healing power of the summer season?

I have to go now. My mermaid’s tail is getting dry, it needs to dip into the oceanic womb of Iemanja.

Helpful tips to practice mindful eating and promote weight loss

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One of the first recommendations I give my clients who want to lose weight and adopt a healthier diet is to be mindful during their meals. To just sit in front of their meal, give thanks for it, bless it and savor each bite in mindfulness: chewing thoroughly, paying attention to the flavor and the texture of their food. No multitasking, no TV, no phone, no computer. Just eat. A simple act, that when done mindfully, recovers its original sacred nature. When we eat mindfully we eat less and our digestion improves.

I have been enjoying reading a book by one of my favorite authors, Thich Nhat Hanh, in collaboration with Dr. Lilian Cheung: Savor, Mindful Eating, Mindful Life. In their book they recommend these simple tips to practice mindful eating:

  1. Breathe before eatingsavor
  2. Honor the food
  3. Engage all six senses
  4. Serve in modest portions
  5. Savor small bites and chew thoroughly
  6. Eat slowly to avoid overeating
  7. Don’t skip meals
  8. Eat a plant-based diet, for your health and for the planet

I would add: enjoy the process! Bon appétit.

 

 

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Top Seven Reasons to Join A Group Coaching Program

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Hello all!

I am launching an eight session intensive phone group coaching program in weight loss. From the convenience of your home, I will be coaching you on how to release the weight issues forever. As I know that many times we need someone to hold us accountable to make permanent changes to support our health, I designed this easy-to-follow program. I hope you join me. And, if you know of someone who might benefit from a program like this one (who wouldn’t?), please forward the information to them. For more info and to register, go here.

Group coaching programs are very beneficial, as the next seven reasons will show.

1.  Find a  Personal Support System

Group coaching gives you the opportunity to share your feelings with others and develop deeper connections, making your sessions more meaningful. Knowing you are not alone in your journey will help you develop the confidence to address your challenges and the motivation to succeed.

2. Higher Likelihood of Achieving Goals

When individuals are part of a group, they procrastinate less, accomplish more, and reach their goals faster.

3. Benefit from Collective Wisdom

You’ll brainstorm solutions, open creativity channels, and uncover opportunities you may not have discovered working alone.

4. Gain a New Perspective

When you work in a group, you’re exposed to a variety of insights that offer you multiple angles and motivate you to develop new solutions.

5. A Great Value

Get the same quality coaching, but at a fraction of what individual coaching costs. Group coaching is a smart and affordable way to receive top-notch guidance.

6. A Team Invested in Your Success

When you work in a group, the whole team supports you and celebrates your success.

7. Turn Work into Play

Working with a group is a social event that participants look forward to. You will join a close-knit group that is energizing, motivating and most of all – fun! Group members often become lifelong friends.

Please sign up to receive information on my upcoming programs here.