Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The #1 Key to Happiness

Want to know a simple secret to happiness?  It's the same whether you are young or old, rich or poor.


Yes, it really is that simple.

I have found that it is very productive and beneficial to write down the things in your life that you are grateful for on a regular basis.  It can be as simple as a beautiful flower you saw on a walk or as profound as the love you have for your family.  Having gratitude can instantly put you in a new state of happiness and awareness of all of your blessings.  When you practice this on a day that is particularly trying, it actually has the power to change the direction of your entire day!

Be Grateful.

There is nothing more powerful to change your perspective than to be grateful.  Life is always presenting challenges, ups and downs, and the like.  We are constantly living with a challenge, getting past a challenge, or starting a new challenge.  Our character and strength have continuous opportunities to grow.

Sometimes it is difficult to understand why we have these challenges.  Some examples might be:

  • Why does my friend have cancer?
  • Why do small children become sick and suffer?
  • Why is this customer being so difficult?

Regardless of the scope or size of the challenge, there is always one thing challenges have in common:  the ability to grow.  No matter how bad things are in our lives, there is ALWAYS a reason to be grateful.  By focusing on our purpose and on our blessings, we are able to put negativity in its place.  When the negative becomes our sole focus, that is all we will find.  That is all we attract.  We will become self-involved and swallowed up by our problems.  

By focusing on what is good and what is right in our lives, the bad things recede and become smaller, and we are able to experience an opportunity for growth.  

A Prayer of Gratitude:

Be Thankful.
Be Thankful that you don't already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult time.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and your character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful for when you're tired and weary
Because it means you've made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for all of the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are 
Also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
And they can become your blessings.
- Author Unknown

How has gratitude shifted a negative or bad day for you?

Be well,


Interested in learning more?  Please visit my website.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

5 Things You Can Do Now To Naturally Prepare For Cold & Flu Season

The only thing that feels more miserable than having the flu is watching your child suffer with the flu.  It's inevitable that children get sick.  The cold and flu season of 2009 was the worse for me and for my then two year old daughter.  She had just entered day care and every other week she brought something home to me. Luckily my younger daughter, who was just a baby at the time, never caught it but I also noticed that neither did my husband.

Hmnnn....what was going on here?  Why were my daughter and I getting sick left and right and my husband always escaped unscathed?  WHAT WAS IT THAT WE WERE DOING WRONG?

I realized that my immune system was down big time from being over-run and not taking proper care of myself nutritionally, but also that my eldest inherited my less than stellar immune system.  I vowed to start building this up for both of us realizing that, as with all good habits, it will take time.

My belief system is in holistic medicine, but that being said, it is NOT an alternative to conventional medicine. You don't have to make a choice of either or.  Rather, they complement one another.  That is my philosophy and what I practice with my family.

Holistic is a complete form of health that does not reject conventional medicine, but simply incorporates a natural approach as the first line of defense.

Since that cold and flu season of 2009, here are 5 things I have done to increase our immune systems:

  1. Optimize Vitamin D Levels.  It has been proven that the reason cold and flu season is in the winter is because of the lack of Vitamin D in our bloodstream, which we naturally receive from the sun.  As a precautionary,  we take more Vitamin D in the Fall and Winter months to boost our immunity.  To learn more about how Vitamin D plays a role in cold and flu prevention,  please reference Dr. Mercola's article here.
  2. Take a Whole Food Supplement.  For myself I take a women's whole-food based supplement (not a synthetic vitamin - there is a BIG difference) and for my children a whole-food based child's supplement.  I look for one that has Vitamin D3 already in there at the optimized levels.
  3. Invest in Elderberry.  Elderberry has strong antioxidant properties.  It was actually used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.  Bioflavanoids in the juice and extract destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell.  My girls and I take a high quality elderberry extract as a precautionary all throughout cold and flu season.  
  4. Make Sure Your Digestive Track has Enough "Good Bugs".  I'm sure by now you have heard of the benefits of probiotics, as 80% of our immunity lies in our digestive tracts.  Our digestive tracts are our "second brain".  Maintaining a good balance of bacteria is key to good health.  There are more ways to get probiotics than just in supplement form.  Fermented foods are probably the best source, even olives and pickles! Kefir, Lassi (an Indian yogurt drink), and yogurt are excellent sources, but you need to make sure that they are plain and without the added sugar, as that would be counterproductive.  Probiotic drinks such as Kombucha or Kevita works wonders.  (I've tried most of the Kevita drinks and they are soooooo good!)
  5. Have a Consistent Sleep Schedule and Get Plenty of Rest.  Our cells repair during our deepest sleep, and our bodies are meant to follow a circadian rhythm, where we follow the same sleeping patterns every day of the week.  It's important not to "sleep in" for much longer than you would get up on a normal day to keep the rhythm in balance.  Make sure you get plenty of rest as that will boost your immune system.

Of course we still get sick and have had our share of colds/flu since 2009, but I have noticed that we bounce back quicker and don't feel so drained.  For me, it's night and day between how I used to feel when I got sick and now how my body responds.  When you or your child do get sick, remember that a fever is actually a good thing.  It is heating up your body to kill the virus.  I've learned to "loosen up" on the tylenol or ibuprofen for low-grade fevers and let the body work naturally to fight off the sickness.  (of course, anything over 100 gets a dose of Tylenol for pain management and never, ever let it go above 104 without a call to your doctor!).

There's lots of natural remedies to try if you do get sick, but let's be positive and STAY HEALTHY!!

What are ways you keep your immune system strong?

Be well,


Interested in learning more?  Please visit my website.

Monday, September 9, 2013

17 Top Superfoods to Add to Smoothies, Baking, and More!

As more and more of us shop at whole food and health markets and have become aware of the importance of eating clean and organic foods, we are naturally moving towards foods that have the potential to make us incredibly healthy!  Super foods are not new, in fact, they have been around since ancient times.  We are just rediscovering what our ancestors already knew instinctively.

Super foods are natural food sources with a highly concentrated, complex supply of high quality nutrients with the least negative properties.  Marketing is pushing them as diet aids in magazines, billboards and TV. The truth is, however, they are not always low in calories, but for the number of calories present, they are always high in nutrients.  They are an EXCELLENT addition to ANY healthy diet!

Super foods, of course, should NOT be the only part of your diet.  Simply, they can enhance already healthy practices.  Super foods can help nourish the brain, muscles, bones, organs, immune system, hair, skin and nails.  They also correct imbalances in the diet.  The ultimate goal would be to be able to quit taking vitamin and mineral supplements altogether and actually get all of the nutrients that you need from your food.

Super foods include:

  • Acai
  • Algae
  • Aloe Vera
  • Bee Products
  • Cacao (my favorite, as I'm sure all know by now!)
  • Camu Camu Berry
  • Chlorella
  • Coconut (a close second)
  • Goji Berries
  • Hempseed
  • Incan Berries
  • Kelp
  • Maca (adds a nice, nutty flavor to smoothies)
  • Marine Phytoplankton
  • Noni
  • Spirulina
  • Yacon

Do you use any of these regularly?  If so, which ones?  I'd love to hear.  I use cacao in baking and in smoothies as well as coconut oil in just about everything.  Other favorites in our kitchen include raw local honey and bee pollen, spirulina, and chlorella.  How do you take your favorite super food?

Be well,


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Monday, September 2, 2013

Why Soy is NOT a Health Food

Soy milk has enjoyed an undeserved health label in recent years.  Sadly, I too bought into it hook, line, and sinker in the late 90's and early 2,000's prior to doing my research, and suffered some health consequences because of it.  According to Dr. Mercola, the Chinese have enjoyed the health benefits of soy for centuries.  The difference between the healthy soy that they eat and the soy that we get here in the United States comes down to fermentation.  Fermented soy is good and healthy, unfermented soy is downright dangerous.  

Our soy is genetically modified to stand up to poisonous pesticides.  The studies are showing that the damage is even manifesting in 2nd and 3rd generations instead of those who are originally exposed.  Even if you have organic soy, (only about 5% in USA, by the way), it is dangerous.  Soy has estrogen components and phytic acid.


  • Natto
  • Tempeh 
  • Miso 
  • Soy Sauce 
These are all fermented.



Over 90% of the soy in the US is not fermented. Shocking to think that soy gets such a good reputation without ever thinking or considering the facts behind the good and the bad! Tofu is not fermented.  There are a lot of foods that vegetarians eat, like tofu, edamame, soy yogurt, soy cheese, soy oil, soy burgers, etc.  These are NOT HEALTHY.

Now to the part that just makes me sick to my stomach.  The most troubling soy food to me is something that a lot of people feed their kids on the advice of their doctors.  What is it? Soy formula.  Research finds that the amount of manganese found in soy formula for infants causes brain damage in infants and behavior problems in adolescents.  The manganese found in soy milk is 200 times the amount found in mother’s breast milk.

From Dr. Mercola’s site….

“The best-selling brand is Isomil (Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories), followed by Enfamil ProSobee (Mead Johnson), Nursoy (Wyeth-Ayerst) and Alsoy (Carnation).
According to Crinella and Tran, the discovery of potential harm from such products began in 1980 when a federal agency then called the Food and Nutrition Board established safe and acceptable values for manganese in adults, toddlers and infants.”  See  Dr. Mercola’s Site for further reading.

Some of the illnesses associated with soy are cancer (specifically, prostrate and breast), brain damage, infertility, thyroid disorders, infant abnormalities, immune dysfunction and severe allergy.  Soy is an endocrine disruptor and it disturbs regular cell formation.

Silk bought Chinese soybeans for years, building a commanding share of the soy milk market, before substantially decreasing its support of organic agriculture altogether. Few Silk products are certified organic anymore, and some are processed with hexane, a neurotoxin. While the green “USDA Organic” seal is gone, hexane-processed soy milk can still be labeled “natural,” and if it contains organic ingredients, the label “made with organic ingredients” is still used.

You just have to wonder how these things can be sold to us.

Please eat whole foods that are not genetically modified.  Do not eat processed foods, not even those that have been pushed as health foods.  Anything that has been altered in a factory should not be on our plates or in our baby’s bottles.

Because of the way we have “learned” to eat, healthy eating sounds difficult.  It is not.  All you have to do is break out of the old paradigm of box, can or bag, and go back to the older values of whole foods.  It isn’t hard, it is just different for many of us.  Once you do the changeover, you will find, it is worth it and you will be so glad that you did.

Thanks for “listening” to me! If you feel inclined, please share your thoughts on soy…

(ps.......I used to drink Silk soy milk for 5 years thinking it was a health food.  It caused hormone imbalances in me that made it difficult to get pregnant.  Once I got rid of ALL unfermented soy and processed foods, my hormones got back to where they should be.)  I've never felt better. 

Be well,


Interested in learning more?  Please visit my website.