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.

If you’d like to receive information on my upcoming programs, please sign up here.

A course in weight loss: a confession and an invitation

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weight lossI recently started to read some of Marianne Williamson’s books, an author that I had seen several times as a public speaker, but whom I had not read. I have to say that her words are making a deep impact in my life right now in many different ways, mainly, by keeping me honest about my dark sides and how used I am to cover them up by focusing on “serving” others.

One of her books that called my attention is A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever. When I ordered it, it seemed like a great guide for my clients in their weight loss process, as most of them come to me for support as a health coach to accompany them in that journey. (Yes, I know: our clients will always mirror our own issues). I thought it would be so cool to offer a phone group coaching program using that text and having my clients work on the exercises included as a way to become reacquainted with the emotional and spiritual issues underlying excess weight. We would then share in the group setting and process together, as I coached each participant on ways to overcome the issues.

When the book arrived, I started reading it and doing the exercises myself. And suddenly it dawned on me: the volume was screaming at me loud and clear: “This book is first and foremost for YOU!”

Dah! Why didn’t I think about this before? I am the one with weight issues, I am the one who has survived eating disorders, I am the one who is still dealing with accepting her body as it is. “Hmmm…” I said to myself. “Now I get it! I became a health coach because I went through all this already, and I’m still working on it. But I tend to focus on other people and support THEM overcome THEIR issues.” “Come on, now,” said my Not Thin Me (la “gordita”)—a character I have been having extensive conversations with lately.  “Who are you trying to deceive? You have been hiding behind your ‘expertise and authority’ as a coach, when you can’t even release those last 15 pounds that need to melt away by the end of September, for your daughter Violeta’s wedding, so that you can fit into that lovely dress you bought two sizes smaller, as it was the last one they had in stock!”

Although that hurt, I had to agree with la Gordita. I bought this dress more than a month ago in the absolute certainty that if I decided to, I would release the extra weight by the wedding. But I was wrong: although I have been eating a quite “impeccable” plant-based diet, no sugar, no gluten, no animal products, no alcohol nor coffee, and I have been exercising six days a week, I haven’t lost a gram. “What’s wrong with my body?” I keep asking myself in despair. “I should be able to do this. I COACH people on how to eat better and lose weight, for crying out loud!”

Angered, I go back to Marianne’s book, and she reminds me that there’s still work to be done. I have not dealt with my “pain body”–as Eckart Tolle calls it: the stored repressed feelings that we carry around our body as a “padding,” (as Shirley likes to call it), as excess weight. And I humbly embark in a journey of introspection to get in touch with those unprocessed feelings that become the “burden” that I have not let go of yet.

So, early every morning, I dedicate my practice of journaling to really delving deep into those repressed  feelings that are hindering my ability to move forward. What is coming up is really amazing as it allows me to see clearly so many patterns in myself that I have hidden behind my outward behaviors: my alleged givingness to others as I support them in solving THEIR problems. What a wonderful and acceptable way of masking that core that is keeping me stuck in my old ways and is not allowing me to express fully, as it’s holding the “secrets” unsolved and stored in my mid-section!

The identification of these repressed feelings is not a shaming exercise. It’s a way of highlighting them to later press the “delete” key with the power of forgiveness. It’s quite a process that includes pain, sorrow and shame, and I know it’s helping me to grow in so many ways.

A necessary part of this growth process is to become honest in public.  This is very new to me. It’s my coming out as la Gordita. I usually don’t talk about myself, as I’m generally the one who is lending her ear to those who need to talk. But opening up is part of my own healing process. As I acknowledge publicly my own journey, I become a mirror for those who travel similar paths, reflecting back to them the face of a fellow traveler.

If this resonates with you, come walk with me. I will be offering an 8 session phone group coaching program using these principles and personalized attention starting Wednesday August 21, and ending November 27, right before Thanksgiving. I envision it to be quite a ride, and I will be there to support you and learn together. Please save the dates. For more info, please go here

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

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.

Dandelions: let food be your medicine

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photoLlegó la primavera y el amor!

I love spring time! I love the weather and to be able to witness nature yawning back to life. How beautiful!

When I walk in the mornings or when I go out and feed the pack of (former) stray cats in my backyard, I am welcomed by a flourish of colorful and aromatic aliveness. Bouganvillia and morning glory blooming, jasmines of all types sharing their equisite aroma… And my favorite: yes, the loyal dandelions. Most people want to kill them, because they feel they are “weeds,” but I love to forage them because they are locally and seasonally grown and they are FREE!!!! And, of course, they have amazing medicinal properties.

According to a post by David Metz, Certified Clinical Herbalist, “Dandelions: from weed to medicine,” these herbs have “been known for perhaps thousands of years as a springtime cleanser and rejuvenator. The young leaves are perfect in the spring to cleanse your liver, kick-start your kidneys and release the winter stagnancy out of your muscles and bones.”  He adds that they are also “a premier digestive aid,” easing ” indigestion, gas and bloating.” Moreover, the bitterness of the herb helps the liver to release built-up bile,  “making dandelion good for gallstones, gout, jaundice, constipation, acne and eczema.”

Dandelions are also used as diuretics and a “potent anti-inflammatory, a cholesterol reducer, a type 2 diabetes balancer, and a reducer of muscular pain and swelling.  These qualities are due to its cooling nature. “

So, I invite you to try these amazing plants. How can we eat them? Well, I make the most delicious salad; simple, tasty and stimulating. Enjoy!SAM_0345

Dandelion Greens Salad

1 bunch of thinly sliced dandelion greens

½ cup chopped mushrooms

3 chopped garlic cloves.

a handfull of cranberries

Dressing: olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar and 1 tbsp. amino acids (Braggs) made with fermented soy beans.

Equipment: bowl, knife, chopping board

Gluten* and sugar- free fruit and nut cookies-Galletas de frutas secas y nueces sin gluten* ni azúcar

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-DSC_1113smThis is a deliciously  healthy snack that can be dehydrated or baked

Ingredients

2 cups of assorted dry fruits (soaked 4-6 hours)
1 cup of pitted dates (soaked 4-6 hours)
1 cup of pecan nuts
1 cup of shredded/grated coconut
1 cup of flax seeds
1 cup of oat groats
2 tablespoons of raw agave nectar
Coconut oil to cover the cookie sheet

Preparation
Filter the water used to soak the dry fruits and dates and keep it.  Process the fruit and dates in the Cuisinart and place in a bowl. Frind the flax seeds and the oat groats and add to the bowl. Mix well, using the water used for soaking the fruits. Add chopped nuts, shredded coconut and the agave. Continue to blend and add the water as needed. The consistency should be firm, in order to shape the cookies. You can bake them in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or dehydrate for 24 hours. Enjoy!

* thank you, Lorena, for your comment. Oats don’t have gluten naturally, but many times they are packed in facilities that handle other grains with gluten. Make sure to use uncontaminated oats to prepare this recipe.

 
Estas galletas son muy saludables, y se pueden hornear o deshidratar

Ingredientes
2 tazas de frutas secas variadas remojadas en agua filtrada por 4-6 horas.
1 taza de dátiles sin carozo remojadas en agua filtrada por 4-6 horas.
1 taza de nueces pecan (se pueden remojar también)
1 taza de coco rallado
1 taza de semillas de linaza
1 taza de granos de avena
2 cucharadas de nectar de agave
Aceite de coco para aceitar la asadera

Preparación
Filtre el agua que se usó para remojar las frutas secas y los dátiles y guárdela. Ponga las frutas y los dátiles en una procesadora y procese bien y pase a un bol. Muela las semillas de linaza y los granos de avena y agregue al bol. Mezcle bien usando el agua del remojo. Agregue las nueces picadas, el coco rallado y el agave. Siga mezclando y agregue agua cuando la necesite. La consistencia debe ser firme, para formar copos en la asadera. Aceite la asadera y ponga la masa en copos para hacer las galletas. Cocine en horno de 400 grados por 45 minutos.

* Gracias, Lorena, por tu comentario. Si bien la avena no tiene gluten naturalmente, muchas veces se empaqueta en establecimientos con otros granos que sí lo tienen. Para asegurarse de que la receta no tiene gluten, por favor, asegúrense de que la avena no ha sido contaminada.

You are not alone: we’re doing this together

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I began a recent teleclass by sharing the health issues that many of my health coaching clients have in their quest for vibrant health. At the end of the call, when I asked what had been something of value that my audience had heard, one of the listeners said that it was to realize that she was not alone in feeling some of the issues that I shared my own clients were feeling.

It is so reassuring that we are not alone, that we are all doing this Life thing together. It helps us reduce the anxiety, the guilt and the shame of not knowing really how to go about making changes and choosing higher. The power of community is really very helpful, not to commiserate with each other, but to realize that it is not necessary to isolate to lick our wounds when things seem not to be going the way our egos decide they should.

That is why I am starting a series of posts with this list of issues, and some recommendations on how to find solutions to them. My first post will just be the list, so you, my readers, realize that you too, are not alone. In upcoming posts, I will be focusing on each one of these topics and expanding on them.

For now, please comment below if you also are experiencing some of these issues:

  1. Emotional eating as a coping mechanism
  2. Disconnection from the body and hunger signals
  3. Food cravings and addictions
  4. Choosing “convenient food” over “healthy home-cooked food”
  5.  Mindless eating
  6. Poor elimination
  7. Lack of exercise
  8. Lack of self-care and alone time
  9. Low energy
  10. Low self esteem
  11. Fear and guilt
  12. Overwhelm
  13. A feeling of powerlessness
  14. Boredom, frustration, depression, confusion
  15. Difficulty in catching the vision of a purposeful life

Catch you in the next one!

To sign up for upcoming events and updates, please go here

Raw lunch: hors d’oeuvres, entrées, dessert

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Hors d’oeuvres

SAM_0345

Dehydrated Onion bread

1 cup of fermented rye (left over from the preparation of Rejuvelac)

1 cup of left-over veggie pulp from juicing

1 cup of ground flax seeds

1 cup of ground sunflower seeds

3 sliced large yellow onions

½ cup of Nama Shoyu

½ cup of olive oil

Thinly slice or chop the onions. Grind the flax and sunflower seeds and put them in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the onions. Mix well with your hands, massaging the mixture. Allow the mix to settle for 30 minutes. You will need a dehydrator for this. (Or you could put the batter in a crock-pot or the oven at a very low temperature). Spread the mix on the Teflex sheets of the dehydrator and dehydrate for 24 hours at 105 degrees, then take out the Teflex sheets and flip over the bread and dehydrate for another 12 hours.

Nut/seed cheese with dill, parsely and seaweed

1 cup raw almonds/cashews or sun flower/pumpkin seeds– soaked overnight with filtered water.

Add ½ cup rejuvelac (or less) to promote the fermentation of the “cheese” and blend.

Add the rest of the ingredients, and mix well:

¼ cup Chopped scallions

2 chopped celery sticks

¼ cup Italian parsley

2 tbsp. kelp

Dulse flakes

1 ½ tbsp. dried dill

Allow the cheese to ferment for several hours in the oven with the pilot on

Equipment: Blendtec, bowl, knife, chopping board

 

Entrées

Dandelion Greens Salad

1 bunch of dandelions greens

½ cup chopped mushrooms

3 chopped garlic cloves.

1 tbsp. amino acids (Braggs) made with fermented soy beans, raw apple cider vinegar.

Equipment: bowl, knife, chopping board

Zucchini Noodles with pesto

2 green zucchini

For the pesto, blend:

4 cloves garlic

2 bunches cilantro or basil

1 tbsp. amino acid

1/3 cup olive oil

A handful of pine nuts

Mix zucchini noodles with pesto

Add nutritional yeast or rice parmegian

Equipment: Spirooli, Blendtec, bowl

Dessert

Hemp Seed Crusted Raw Chili Fudge

Crust

8 soaked dates or raisins

¾ cup of raw hemp seeds

Process dates and mix with hemp seeds and cover a 8×8 glass plate, spread evenly. Refrigerate.

Fudge

1 cup liquefied raw coconut oil

1 or 2 chiles

¾ cup of raw honey or maple syrup or agave

1 cup raw cacao powder

Process or blend liquefied coconut oil and chiles. Add the raw honey and mix. Slowly add the cacao powder and mix until smooth. Pour fudge into glass mix on top of the hemp crust. Chill for 30 minutes.

Equipment: Cuisinart, Vitamix, bowl, glass container

Two recipes for fermenting and culturing veggies: raw sauerkraut and ceviche de coliflor

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cropped pic event page 9-11 - CopyFermenting: fermented foods help restore the good bacteria in our digestive system. They are natural pro-biotics, and all cultures do have some kind of fermented or cultured foods (curtido, sauerkraut, ceviche, tepache).

Fermented cabbage (sauerkraut)

One small cabbage  (red or white or combined) grated

One carrot, one beet (for flavor)

one red onion

A pinch of salt

Lemon juice of 4 lemons/ limes

A big mason jar

Grate all the ingredients and put in a bowl. Add lemon juice and salt and mix well. Place ingredients in a glass mason jar. Push until tight and cover with a cabbage leaf and then a kitchen towel. Leave at room temperature to ferment overnight. For a deeper fermentation, leave outside the fridge for one/two days, depending on temperature. After that, regifregerate. It will keep for a couple of weeks. Great to add to a salad, or to accompany any plate.

Ceviche de coliflor

1 medium cauliflower, grated

1 or 2 beets grated

1 red onion (or less) finely sliced

1 o 2 garlic cloves finely choppedraw ceviche

1 bunch of cilantro chopped

1 slice of ginger finely chopped

1 mango sliced (optional)

Juice of  2 or 3 limes

Mix everything well. Make sure to start with the grated coliflor and put the lemon juice right away, so it starts to “cook”.  You can serve it with tostadas with guacamole made with ripe tomatoes and chipotle veganaise.

La comida fermentada  es importantísima para activar nuestro sistema digestivo: como con la fermentación se han cultivado bacterias que ayudan la digestión, todo lo fermentado trae compuestos encimáticos que son muy útiles para nuestro cuerpo.

Col (repollo) fermentada

1 col pequeña, rallada (morada o blanca)

1 zanahoria or betabel

Sal a gusto

El jugo de dos limones/ limas

Un recipient de vidrio

Ceviche de coliflor

1 coliflor mediano, rallado

1 o 2 betabel o zanahoria, ralladas

1 cebolla morada en rodajas finas

1 o 2 dientes de ajo, picados

1 ramito de cilantro, picado

1 rodaja de jengibre, picada

1 mango, en rodajes pequeñas

El jugo de 2 o 3 limones/ limas

Mezclar todo y asegurarse de que la coliflor sea lo primero que se ralle, y reciba el jugo del limón inmediatamente, así comienza a “cocinarse.” Se puede servir con tostada untadas con guacamole hecho con tomates y Veganaise de Chipotle.