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.

Dragon Fruit Smoothie

I've been making smoothies without bananas or dates lately to decrease my sugar and carb intake especially earlier in the morning. Using coconut meat or avocados instead of bananas emphasizes on eating more healthy fats, which are still filling and low-glycemic. 

Avoiding sweet and high carb foods in the morning will help decrease sugar cravings throughout the day. This smoothie does contain fruit but not a lot of high carb fruits and the dragon fruit packets are unsweetened. 

The best part about this smoothie is that it's naturally bright pink! Dragon fruit is naturally bright fuschia pink. It's also filled with iron, fiber, and magnesium, which should be incorporated into our daily diet. 

The cocao powder makes this smoothie taste like a chocolate milkshake, for all you chocolate lovers out there. Hope you enjoy it!



Ingredients:

2 packets of Pitaya Plus

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup mango

1/2 cup almond or coconut milk

1 Tbsp. Cocao powder

1/2 Tbsp. Maca powder


Instructions:

1. Blend together all ingredients until smooth. Add more almond milk if it needs to be less thick. Enjoy! 

Infused Water

This recipe is part of Dig Inn's Wellness Series. Dig Inn is a farm-to-counter restaurant serving up real, good food here in NYC with a focus on seasonal, vegetable-friendly cooking.



Not only are these waters pretty to look at, but they are also flavorful and detoxifying. I recommend drinking plenty of water throughout the day, about 9 glasses, and infusing your water adds a fun twist to an everyday routine. Getting bored of drinking plain old water every day?  Using fresh organic ingredients guarantees flavor and beneficial nutrients.

I decided to make 4 different recipes, although I wanted to make way more! The combinations are unlimited!

I used large 800 ML mason jars for this recipe. For more flavor allow these to infuse overnight. You can stir and drink them right away, but they will have more flavor the longer they sit. I also continue to refill them with water once I’ve finished drinking them, until the fruit doesn’t have any more juice to ad to the water. You can get about 2-3 servings per jar.


Pineapple Ginger Infused Water

My favorite flavor was the pineapple and ginger infused water. The pineapple adds a nice tart sweetness and the ginger adds a little spice. Pineapple is extremely rich in vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants. Did you know that pineapple contains half of the daily-recommended value of vitamin C? Fresh pineapple is not only sweet and delicious, but it also aids in detoxing your body, thanks to the presence of bromelian, a powerful digestive enzyme. This enzyme has been proven to aid in digesting protein, breaking down fats, and reducing inflammation. Pineapple is also packed with manganese, which has been recommended by nutritionists as a way to boost your mood if you’re experiencing symptoms of PMS.  Ginger helps to alleviate pain and inflammation, stimulates circulation, and also settles your stomach if feeling nauseous.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 2 inch piece of ginger (thinly sliced)
  • Water

Strawberry, Cucumber, and Mint Infused Water

The second recipe is infused with cucumber, strawberries, and fresh mint. Cucumbers are known to reduce your risk of cancer, fight inflammation, and the B vitamins found in cucumbers help to manage stress. Strawberries are an immunity booster because they are an excellent source of vitamin C. They also promote eye health, fight bad cholesterol, and aid in weight management. Mint calms indigestion, is a natural stimulant and fights against fatigue and depression. It also contains an antioxidant, which is known to relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies. This mixture is super powerful!

Ingredients:

  •  ¼ cucumber thinly sliced
  • 5 strawberries
  • 3 sprigs of mint leaves
  • Water

Orange, Kiwi, and Blueberry Infused Water

The orange, kiwi, and blueberry infused water is citrusy and delicious! Oranges are full of vitamin C and great for immunity, and are full of beta-carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from being damaged. Kiwi’s are rich is vitamin C and this helps to improve skin texture, prevent damage caused by the sun, and smooth wrinkles. The blueberries are rich in antioxidants, which are also great for your skin.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small orange
  • 1 kiwi
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • Water 

Melon Infused Water

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The melon water is infused with watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon. This is rich in vitamin C and Vitamin A, and Vitamin A is important for healthy teeth, skin, bone and mucous membranes. It helps the vision system by promoting retinal health.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 chunks watermelon
  • 4-5 chunks cantaloupe
  • 4-5 chunks honeydew melon
  • Water 


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Sweet and Savory Crostini's

This recipe is part of Dig Inn's Wellness Series. Dig Inn is a farm-to-counter restaurant serving up real, good food here in NYC with a focus on seasonal, vegetable-friendly cooking.



Here is my sweet and savory crostini recipe! These can be made for breakfast, a quick snack, or even as appetizers.

The best part about crostini’s are how versatile they are. You can combine so many different toppings together.

I wanted to celebrate seasonal ingredients, like Heirloom tomato’s and figs. You can buy these locally grown foods now in grocery stores, so take advantage of it while you can!

When you buy local seasonal products, you’re not only supporting local farmers and businesses, but you’re also eating food that is fresh and hasn’t been shipped. You also receive more nutrients from locally grown foods, because of them being picked when they have ripened on the branch. It’s really a win-win situation.

The savory mashed avocado, heirloom tomato, and tahini recipe is creamy and refreshing, and the tahini adds a nice nutty flavor. I mean who doesn’t love mashed avocado?!

The sweet almond butter, fig, and honey recipe is the perfect combination! If you love figs like me, you won’t be able to stop eating these. This has a hint of sweetness, and the texture of the fig on top of the gooey almond butter melts in your mouth. 



Savory Crostini Ingredients: 

  • Six 1/4 inch thick pieces of baguette
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 small lemon juiced
  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. Tahini
  • Salt and pepper 

Instructions:

1. To make crostini: Slice baguette in to 1/4 inch thick pieces and brush olive oil on top of both sides. Place in 350'F oven for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown on each side. 

2. Meanwhile, mash avocado with juice of 1/2 of a lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. 

3. Assemble by spreading a good amount of the mashed avocado on top of the crostini, thinly sliced heirloom tomato, and a drizzle of the tahini of top. 

4. Enjoy!



Sweet Crostini Ingredients: 

  • Six 1/4 inch thick pieces of baguette
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3-4 fresh figs
  • Almond butter 
  • 3 Tbsp. Raw Organic honey


Instructions:

1. To make crostini: Slice baguette in to 1/4 inch thick pieces and brush olive oil on top of both sides. Place in 350'F oven for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown on each side. 

2. To assemble: spread almond butter on top of crostini, sliced fig, and drizzle honey on top. 

3. Eat, and enjoy! 


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. 

Detoxifying Green Smoothie Bowl

This recipe is part of Dig Inn's Wellness Series. Dig Inn is a farm-to-counter restaurant serving up real, good food here in NYC with a focus on seasonal, vegetable-friendly cooking.


Spring has sprung! Well at least that’s what it says on my calendar, but it just snowed here in upstate New York! This is the perfect season to cleanse, and reboot.  After a long, lingering winter, I think we all can agree that stepping out of our hibernation mode is necessary.

I’ve begun my training for the sprint marathon I’m participating in this summer, and on days when the sun is shining I even go running in central park! This is the perfect time to begin a new workout regimen, start eating healthier, or even do a juice cleanse. 

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Spring and Fall seasons are the best times to deeply detoxify and cleanse the body of harmful impurities that have collected in our organs and tissues over the past months and years. Energies which manifest as seasonal changes in our external environment are also reflected in the body, and spring is the transitional period of time when internal energies rise and expand, providing movement and growth to carry us away from the conservation of the energies from the cold winter months prior.

This green smoothie bowl is deliciously detoxifying. Spinach has been proven to decrease sugar cravings throughout the day. Spinach also contains a powerful antioxidant, glutathione, which is one of the primary antioxidants your liver relies on to detoxify your body. Avocado is a great detox food as well. Avocados are rich in fatty acids and these healthy fats are essential during a detox diet, because it promotes the release of bile from the gallbladder, allowing for the elimination of toxins from the body and fat-soluble vitamins.

I love to eat this for breakfast when it gets warmer out because it’s cooling and refreshing. This smoothie bowl is creamy, naturally sweet, filled with vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Have fun with your toppings and add as much color and superfoods as you’d like!


Serves 1 person

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 date
  •  1 small handful of spinach
  • ¼ of an avocado
  •  3-4 Tbsp. almond milk

Toppings:

  • Sliced banana
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Mulberries
  • Coconut chips

Instructions:

1.    Slice up a ripe banana and freeze it overnight.

2. Blend together in a high speed blender or food processor the frozen banana, spinach, date, avocado and almond milk. You want the consistency to be thick and creamy, so you may need to add a little bit more almond milk.

3. Serve in bowl and place all of your toppings on top! Enjoy!