Meditation Takes Practice


Have you been hearing a lot about meditation? Do you think its just some hippie way of living, and don't understand the benefits or why people are raving about it? I was one of those people. I heard all about meditation for a while, and just thought it was another fad.

The deeper I got into wellness and emotional healing the more and more consciously aware I became and I just wanted to learn more. I decided to finally tested out the meditation waters, and you know what? It wasn’t so bad. Painless actually. 

My first meditation experience was at a beautiful resort I stayed in with my family in upstate New York, and I went to a guided meditation class. After that experience I was completely hooked. If you have a wild imagination like me, you’ll have some great imagery come to mind. I had the most memorable and mesmerizing visuals. Throughout the hour-guided meditation I was in pure bliss, no worries or thoughts consumed my mind. I was in my element, literally. I felt calm and found the portal where my breath and mind were connected. I was silent, still, and my soul was powerless and taken on a serene journey. 

Guided meditation is a great starting point for beginners because it verbally guides your thoughts, and provides you with positive reinforcement throughout the experience. This helps you let go and relax. However, if you do become consumed with mental vomit, its ok, we all do, even in meditation! Awareness is key. Accept these thoughts. Don't force yourself to stop thinking, just redirect your train of thought to clarity. It's almost like the sunlight coming through your window in the morning, reawakening your mind. Allow the sunshine to come through. 

It's funny because many people that I suggest meditation to tell me, "I've tried it, but I don't think I’m doing it right." There are no tricks with meditation. There are different approaches and styles, but at the end of the day meditation is all about shutting off your mind, allowing yourself to relax, and being present in the now. We sometimes get used to being so hard on ourselves that ironically even in a time when we are supposed to be doing something good for ourselves we tend to think that it's still not good enough. We figure because we can’t do it “right” there’s no point trying again. Am I right? Don't rush the process. This is something that takes time and your investment in the time.

How did you learn to ride your bike? How did you learn to play baseball or an instrument? How do you learn anything in life? PRACTICE. Any habit or skill we have formed, we've developed through consistent practice. So keep meditating. Keep trying. Stay on the tidal wave, because you’ll stand up and be taken to shore, I promise. Sometimes you'll be able to clear your thoughts and feel at ease, and other times you may overthink and have to bring yourself back to the moment, and just breathe. This is completely normal and it doesn't mean you aren't meditating right, this just means you can practice more. Eventually meditation will become second nature, a habit.

Remember to focus on the good. Envision the energy you want to surround yourself with, the light that radiates from within. Take this energy with you throughout the day, this is your souvenir, this is your reward. You will notice a change in how you react to stress, the people you surround yourself with, what is important to you. You will gain so much clarity, and feel present, really present. You won’t be as consumed with the past or worried about the future, and you will feel more content with all that you have now and who you are in this moment in time. Does this sound terrible to you? I didn’t think so.

So what are you waiting for? A good way to integrate meditation everyday is making time to meditate for 5 minutes every day the first week then 10 minutes your second week and see if you can get up to 30 minutes. Attend a meditation class and try a different approach, just find what style works for you. I love going to classes as well because you are in a space where everyone is there to detach from their hectic lives together. This forces you to sit down and breathe with other likeminded people.

It takes 21 days to form a habit, so by the end of meditating every day for 3 weeks this should become second nature and a part of you. I hope you try it out, and please share your experience with meditation in the comments below; I’d love to hear how it has impacted your life. I know mine has completely changed, and its crazy to look back on how I stress ate, had so much anxiety and used to respond to stressors in my life compared to how I do now has significantly improved. When I was in college I would be so stressed that I would eat just about anything I could get my hands on because I just had so much to write and complete. I felt terrible afterwards but it was a habit I formed and I realized I needed to redirect that energy into a positive more beneficial habit not one that would make me feel terrible and breed negatively in my life.

I’m now fully in control of my reactions and I handle situations as they come. I’ve learned there’s no point worrying about if it’s going to rain or not. I’m not going to walk around in fear with an umbrella every day! The rain isn’t so bad anyway; it reminds me that I’m alive. This analogy just goes to show that its all about changing your perspective and learning how to adapt and handle what comes to you when it does. Meditation will help, I promise. 


I've included a simple meditation calendar to keep you on track. Print it out and check off each day you meditate. Set a goal for yourself. Every week you've meditated, treat yourself. Whether thats going to a yoga class, taking a day trip with a friend, or getting a massage. When you have a reward in mind it helps to motivate you.

This is My Story.

Why do I want to work as a healer? Why do I see food as preventative medicine? Why do I feel so passionately about spreading health and knowledge?

This is my story.

I never had a poor body image growing up. I was a child and lived like a child, care-free. I didn’t compare myself to other people and celebrity news and media scrutiny wasn’t what it is today. I played in my backyard all the time. Played with friends after school, and participated in sports. My parents only let me have soda from time to time, and we never kept it in the house. No candy or products with artifical colorings were allowed in the house either, unless it was a special occasion like a birthday.

Any chance I got to break those rules I did. Why? Because my friends got to eat all those foods, like Fruity Pebbles, Fruit Loops, candy bars, Dunkaroos, and that yogurt that changed colors! I so wanted in on that..I mean “food” that changes colors when you mix it, what kid wouldn’t want that!?

I never associated food with health. I didn’t see food as nourishment either really, I just ate it. Why? Because it tasted good, and if it tasted really good, I ate as much as I could. I was lucky  that my scrawny body wasn’t affected by the amount of sugar and calories I consumed. 

I rememeber in middle school I would have $2.50 to spend on lunch. You know what I would get? Two bags of chips, and a zebra cake, which is a sugary processed pastry. I would switch it up sometimes, and would eat  “real food” like a bagel and cream cheese, or chicken nuggets and french fries. Do any of these options sound nourishing? Or like they have any nutritional value whatsoever? No. This is the reason for the lack of health in this country, its because we aren’t taught properly or fed properly during our most formative years.

My mom and family cooked nourishing home-cooked meals, and would make sure there was always a vegetable on the table. Not like I enjoyed the three pieces of brocolli I was forced to eat before leaving the table, but I ate them.

Whenever I got home from school my best friend Rachel and I would head to the kitchen. We would make microwavable mac and cheese or Ragu, Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup (I have no idea if that was actually chicken!) and gorge ourselves with sweets like cookies and brownies. We didn’t gain weight from this, but I’m sure it had some kind of affect on my health, and I’m almost positive it contributed to my acne.

Looking back on my eating habits, I was eating was purely to enjoy food and overeat, not to nourish my body. But I also didn’t know any better. The food pyrimid we were shown in school, displayed carbs, like cereal, pasta, and bread as being the food group you should eat the most of during the day. Now, we are seeing the reprocussions of this. Diabetes, weight gain, inflammatory diseases, gluten-intolerances and allergies, and so much more.  Because we created these habits, and we were told for so long “eating carbs is good for you.” Not knowing it was moreso just great for the companies selling these processed foods.

We are constantly bombared with new food recommendations, new diets, and “right” way of eating cliams. It becomes overwhelming, and the easiet thing for people to do is stick to their current way of eating. Why? Because it has become a habit, a daily routine, a security blanket, and people feel comfortable with what is familiar to them.

I shook up my world, and ended my unhealthy habits, because I just got to the point where I was feeling so unhealthy. I was in college, overeating, stress eating, and feeling tired all the time. When I look back now, It amazes me how 21 year old me felt so unhealthy. Even though I thought I was eating a balanced diet, and I would go to the gym, my health wasn’t balanced. I wasn’t eating many vegatables, I was eating way too big of portions, I wasn’t sleeping enough at night, and when finals came around stress eating took over. It wasn’t healthy or helping me feel better. That’s when I realized I wanted to feel good, and damn it, I deserved to feel good!

I firstly began to research different diets and ways of eating. I noticed that many diets gave people perimiters and guidelines to follow, that’s why they worked so well. Not because of how many calories you ate, but the quality of the food you ate nourished your body.  I ate greek yogurt in the morning with blueberries and granola, I would go to the gym or for a run, and then have sweet potato, eggs, veggies, and avocado for lunch. At night I would have a big salad and maybe some pasta, or chicken and potatoes. In the beginning of my journey I still ate meat, and dairy.

Then as I began to workout more often and eat differently I noticed that I felt the best eating a plant-based diet, rich in whole foods. I didn’t eat animal foods for a while and felt great. I noticed that I had more energy throughout the day, I lost weight, I could see definition in my body from working out, and I felt happier.

During my studies to become a health coach I learned a lot about the dairy industry, and how animals were treated and quality of the food compromised for profit. That’s when I gave up animal products for a while. My skin also benefitted from not eating dairy, and I still avoid it.

My health journey and self discovery will never end. I will keep learning and changing, and that’s a beautiful thing. I think when we can accept ourselves and listen to our bodies and really understand what they need to function and what our bodies crave that’s when we can achieve health.

I feel like a health warrior, fighting for people to open their eyes. Fighting to give other people stregnth, and fighting against corporations that poison our food and people. This is my truth. My story. I hope this inspires yours. 

Peach Pistachio Pancakes- GLUTEN-FREE and VEGAN

IMG_7360 These fuzzy fruits are in season and all over the place! Super sweet and delicious! I've been adding peaches to just about any recipe I can lately, and let me tell you, you can't go wrong.

These peach pancakes are super fluffy, gluten-free, and vegan. I made a pistachio milk earlier this week and added it to this pancake mixture which turned out to be a great combination! Not only will you save tons of money making your own nut milk, but you will also be able to control what goes in to it. There are so many chemical additives in store-brand nut milks, that its not as healthy as you may think.

Peaches have super healing properties! They are beneficial to your skin and eye health. Peaches are filled with antioxidants, and vitamins A and C. Peaches also aid in weight loss, they are full of fiber and keep you feeling fuller longer, and only contain 35-50 calories in one peach! They are also known to detoxify your body. Peaches are a diuretic, and help flush out any toxins in your body. Peaches are also known to reduce stress and anxiety.

Pistachios are filled with protein, fiber, and potassium. One serving of pistachios has the same amount of potassium as half a large banana! These nuts also contain more than 10% of the dietary value of fiber, minerals and vitamins like B6, thiamin, phosphorus, and copper. A serving is one ounce, which is 49 pistachios! So eat away at these nuts, you get to eat more nuts per serving than any other nut!

The sweetness of the fresh peaches, creaminess of the pistachio milk, and crunch from the whole pistachios will have you thinking you're eating dessert for breakfast. These are the fluffiest most satisfying pancakes out there! Be creative, you can substitute different fruits, and nut milks depending on whats in season!

Yields 4 large pancakes

Ingredients:

1. Mix together in bowl the gluten free pancake mix, pistachio milk, pistachio nuts, coconut oil,  and cinnamon.

2. Thinly slice peaches. Add to mix or add to pancake batter after pouring onto skillet.

3. Heat about 1 TBSP more of coconut oil in pan. Pour a little more than 1/4 cup of pancake batter, and place about 4 thin slices of peach into pancake. Cook on one side for about 4 minutes, until pancake batter begins to bubble in the center, and is brown.

4. Flip pancake over and cook on other side until pancake is cooke through and golden brown. About another 3-4 minutes.

5. Repeat steps 3-4 until all your pancakes are made. Top pancakes off with fresh peaches and maple syrup, and enjoy!

Nut Milk Recipe

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You may be thinking to yourself, why didn't I think of this sooner? Thats what I thought when I made my first batch of nut milk. Its super easy and simple to make, and you really don't need that many ingredients. So why do we keep buying store-brand nut milks?! Because its right there when you shop for your groceries? Okay I get it. Its "easier." But let me break it down for you. How much are you spending on nut milk? My boyfriend and I were going through 1-2 half gallons of nut milk a week, and in New York City it costs $5 per half gallon. Equalling $5-$10 of nut milk a week. A half gallon equals 8 cups.

Heres an example of what is costs to make almond milk. 1 pound of raw almonds from trader Joe's cost me $6.99. 1 pound of almonds yields 4 cups. With 1 cup of raw almonds I can make 4 cups of almond milk, so with 4 cups of almonds I can make 16 cups of almond milk! Thats twice the amount of almond milk that I would get for a half a gallon of store brand almond milk that used to cost me $5. Lets compareStore brand almond milk filled with harmful chemicals and additives cost me $5 for 8 cups. My homemade, pure, all-natural almond milk costs me $3.50 for 8 cups. WIN! Yes, different nuts vary in price, but I'm sure you will make almond milk the most, because it's super versatile. However, I tried experimented with making pistachio milk! I know right?! Sounds amazing, and it was! Super creamy, with a hint of pistachio flavor, and it came out a beautiful creamy pastel green. Many almond milks contain a harmful ingredient that you should look out for called carrageenan. Carrageenan, which has no nutritional value, has been used as a thickener and emulsifier to improve the texture of ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, soy milk and other processed foods.  

Research has shown that exposure to carrageenan causes inflammation and that when we consume processed foods containing it, we ingest enough to cause inflammation in our bodies. All forms of carrageenan are capable of causing inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a root cause of many serious diseases including heart disease, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's diseases, and cancer. When laboratory mice were exposed to low concentrations of carrageenan for 18 days, they developed a "profound" glucose intolerance and impaired insulin action, both of which can lead to diabetes.

This is extremely scary to learn, when carrageenan is being added to so many processed products on the market and it being consumed unknowingly. We think almond milk, a great milk alternative, yes. But companies still find a way to sneak in harmful ingredients into our products and body's. Would you consume something that could potentially cancer or diabetes? I didn't think so. If you do have to buy store brand almond milk, I recommend buying Silk's Unsweetened Original Almond Milk, because this does not contain carrageenan. But if you have the time, make it yourself! It tastes so much better, is better for you, and cheaper! Really can't go wrong!

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Yields 4 cups

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts,  or hazelnuts)
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or 1 large date  (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
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1. Soak 1 cup of nuts for at least 12 hours in water.

2. Drain water that the nuts were soaked in.

3. Boil 4 cups of water.

4. Add the soaked nuts and 4 cups of boiling water to blender with salt, and sweetener (maple syrup or date), and vanilla extract if you like.

5. Blend until nuts have been liquified.

6. Strain mixture in a bowl with a fine strainer or cheese cloth to separate milk from the nut meat.

7. Store nut milk in mason jar, and use within 3-4 days.  

Peach Pie Oatmeal

10426218_10154654498450085_7200371421128801903_n Peaches are all over lately! Take advantage while you can! I'll be posting a few scrumptious recipes with these  fuzzy fruits!

Peaches not only are naturally sweet and delicious, but are also great fro skin health and eye health. Peaches are filled with vitamins A and C make which help regenerate skin tissue.

Peaches also cleanse toxins from the body. They have a diuretic effect which helps cleanse your kidneys and bladder. They are also a healthy stress reliever! Peaches help to reduce anxiety and are even referred to as the ‘Fruit of Calmness’ in Hungary.

Peaches also help you lose weight! They are rich in fiber which keeps you feeling full longer. One peach contains about 35-50 calories. They even help to fight obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Peaches are rich in phytochemicals called phenols that act as antioxidants.

All these health benefits from a delicious fruit!? I'll take it!

This recipe is perfect for any peach lovers out there. The gooey peaches mixed with maple syrup and oatmeal makes this recipe taste like peach pie for breakfast! I highly recommend you try it for yourself!

Serves 2 people

Ingredients: 

  • 4 small or 2 large peaches
  • 1 mashed banana (optional)
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Toppings:

  • Shredded coconut
  • Raw Almonds
  • Freshly sliced peach

1. Over medium heat, simmer sliced peaches in maple syrup and cinnamon. Add in mashed banana. Cook until peaches have softened.

2. Add in almond milk, water, and oatmeal. Cook on low heat and stir frequently until oatmeal is gooey and fully cooked. About 10-15 minutes.

3. Top off with shredded coconut, almonds, and fresh peach! Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Cinnamon Oatmeal

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Oh cinnamon..a beautiful fragrant spice that is reminiscent of the Fall, apple picking, and halloween. Cinnamon not only smells good, but has a plentitude of health benefits. In Chinese medicine  and Ayurveda, cinnamon is recognized as a superpower spice used to treat colds, indigestion, and cramps. It’s also believed to improve circulation and increase your energy! Here are some other benefits:

  1. Honey and cinnamon combined have been shown to relieve arthritis pain.
  2. When cinnamon is added to food it acts as a natural preservative, preventing food spoilage.
  3. Cinnamon is a natural and effective remedy for healing migraines and headaches.
  4. Cinnamon helps to stabilize your blood sugar, which is great for if you’re wanting to lose weight!
  5. Cinnamon is anti fungal and fights candida infections and makes your immune system stronger.
  6. Smelling cinnamon alone, improves memory and cognitive function.
  7. Cinnamon kills cancer cells by stabilizing blood sugars, and has been shown to help stop the production of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells. It also is a promising treatment for tumors, gastric cancers, and melanomas.
  8. Just a 1/2 teaspoon a day of cinnamon can lower your bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lower your blood sugar levels to help treat Type 2 Diabetes.
  9. Cinnamon is a natural E-coli disinfectant. You can mix cinnamon oil with hydrogen peroxide and spray your cutting board and kitchen sink especially after you have cut meats. Spray it in your refrigerator. It’s safe and natural.
  10. When you begin to feel that cold coming on, add some cinnamon to your tea and stop the cold in its tracks. Cinnamon’s anti-bacterial properties will kill off anything causing your sore throat, cough, or cold.

Now you can see why other cultures revere cinnamon as having super healing powers. But don’t overdo it on the cinnamon, eating too much of this spice can be toxic. It’s only recommended to ingest in small amounts. So add it to your smoothies, oatmeals, teas, or any other warming dishes. Include more cinnamon into your diet this season if not for its undeniable health benefits, than for its irresistible smell and taste!

Yields 2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 TBSP cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP cocao powder
  • 1 TBSO honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Toppings:

  • Almonds
  • Chia seeds
  • Shredded coconut
  • Cocao nibs
  • 1 TBSP Peanut Butter
  1. Mash the banana, and cook on low heat with cinnamon, cocao powder, honey or maple syrup, vanilla extract, almond milk, and oatmeal.
  2. Cook on low heat stirring frequently until oatmeal is fully cooked and creamy, about 20 minutes.
  3. Serve in bowl with an assortment of toppings! Enjoy!