Category Archives: Compassion

Mindfulness

You hear a lot about mindfulness but that can mean anything really.

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From our Hong Kong Honeymoon in 2007

Yes for some it can include a meditation practice, however mindfulness can come from other places as well. I think of mindfulness as an awareness, and having an awareness of what happens around you, what others feel around and what you project to the world.

I prefer to think of mindfulness as a sort of awareness. It makes understanding the basics a bit easier in my opinion. And the beauty of awareness boils down to the fact that we can have an awareness of so many things. Things happening around the world, injustices to people (and animals) and injustices we see right in our own backyards.

But before you have expanded your awareness to the rest of the world, I ask you to focus the awareness on yourself.

What happens when you lose your mojo

Every once in a while I get a deep sense of mojo loss. The best way to describe mojo loss is a feeling of what you are doing, or not doing, is not that important and you would much rather watch a marathon of episodes of Angel on Netflix.

As much as I would love to watch Angel all day – and I have! It’s important to get back in the swing of things. Here are few tips to help you get your mojo back:

1. Talk to friends, colleagues, peers, anyone that knows what you want to do and are about. Chatting can help you articulate any fears that may be lurking that is subconsciously trying to squash your mojo.

2. Have a heart to heart with yourself. We are often the harshest to ourselves, would you say the same things to another person that you say to yourself? If not, then stop it – be nice.

3. Do something that pertains to your mojo, sometimes we forget why we do what we do and getting back to the roots can help center you.

4. Take it easy, it’s possible that you are feeling burnout, if that’s the case then take a vacation, if you can’t go away then take a mini-vacation, even an afternoon off spent with family and friends or alone at a great spa can help re-energize you.

Reflect, reawaken and remember, you won’t be happy if your mojo is out of whack.

What are you grateful for?

Plenty of times we lose sight of the important things in life. Sometimes I like to joke about first world problems, let’s face it, most of us are lucky to have those kinds of problems. You know, that difficult decision about what drink to get or what outfit to wear…

Grateful for my flowers

Grateful for my flowers

Every once in a while I like to focus on what is important to me and what I am grateful for, here’s my list:

I am grateful for the wonderful friends and family I have
I am grateful for the opportunity to do something different
I am grateful for the fur babies in my life
I am grateful to be able to live a life of compassion
I am grateful to live in a time that women can do so much
I am grateful for the rain we get since it will give me a beautiful garden
I am grateful for spell check

What are you grateful for?

Finding your natural beauty

Everyone wants to have that natural beauty, the glowing skin, the great hair and the unbreakable nails. Who doesn’t want to leave the house without any foundation – maybe just a dash of gloss and a swipe of mascara… photo (3)

That’s what I do – I often get comments on my skin, I like to think that it looks pretty good for a 40-something. The funny thing is that I used to think that I couldn’t take any credit for my skin because I have great genes.

I don’t think that way anymore, yes genes have a lot to do with it but so does lifestyle. I try my darnest to get a full night’s sleep, I drink tons of water, I eat plenty of healthy fats, fruits and vegetables – no factory farmed animals for me! And I even get in exercise when I can. I’ve also started to make my own moisturizing oil that seems to feel pretty good.

That’s all well and good, we know that all helps to make nice skin wonderful but what about the glow from within? You know those people who may not have flawless skin but they have something even more beautiful about them. That’s the natural beauty that I aim for. The beauty that comes from living a life of compassion, giving, helping others and just trying to make this world a better place for those less fortunate.

This post is for all those natural beauties, please keep doing what you do. If you have a natural beauty in your life please let us know about them.

How will you celebrate Earth Day this year?

On April 22nd we will be celebrating Earth Day. This is the day when everyone goes out and cleans up a park or plants a tree and thus proclaims they love the earth… yeah whatevs!

"Eco Concept - Earth In Hands " by jannoon028 | via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Eco Concept – Earth In Hands ” by jannoon028 | via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What about the other 364 days of the year? If you really love the earth then do a little more, lord knows it needs it. Some of the easy things to do include recycling, not idling your car, walking, biking. The not so easy things include reducing your consumption to reduce waste, reusing items before getting rid of them, not replacing items that aren’t broken… you get the idea.

So now that we’ve healed the earth, how are you doing? Spring is the time for renewal, shedding layers (YES IT WILL GET WARM AGAIN) and a time for new growth. It’s also a good time to review what you have been doing with yourself for the last four months and re-evaluating. Do you need to fix your eating habits? Do you need to add more activity into your life? Do you have enough love and friendship in your life – all those little things that add up to make you that wonderful you that you are.

So while you’re helping to clean up litter on Earth Day don’t forget that there are 364 other opportunities to clean up the earth and yourself.

PS if you haven’t seen it I have launched a YouTube easy cooking series. Tell me what you think and what you want to see more of! April’s episode should be coming soon.

It’s National Nutrition Month!

It’s National Nutrition Month! Now what?

"Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

“Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

I bet a lot of you had no idea that there is a  National Nutrition Month and that it’s in March. I know I didn’t until I started  my dietetics program. Isn’t that a shame. We get an entire month to celebrate beautiful dishes and healthy eating and hardly anyone knows about it.

How am I celebrating NNM? Well I like to think that I celebrate nutrition and healthy living all year round so I will keep doing what I am doing plus a few other things including trying new foods and new recipes. I have a NNM challenge for all of you. Try four new recipes and four new foods. So far I have made vegan tofu cream cheese and vegan chocolate chip cookies, I have also made mung beans which, believe it or not, I have never prepared.

mung beans

You may be wondering what to try, I think a trip to an ethnic grocery store could be a lot of fun. We have tons of Asian grocery stores and there’s always something interesting to try. I’ve been hooked on cassava, also known as yuca. I’m used to seeing it frozen in the bag but lately I have been buying the root and preparing it in the steamer. Something as simple as that will count for the challenge.

I saw and tasted a ton of great products at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival, I don’t have any photos because I was too busy eating everything! Yay me! I have two more recipes to try and thanks to vegfest two new foods to taste.  Yikes and we only have a few weeks left, I have to think of what else I want to make and try, so do you! I would love to hear what you tried and made for my  NNM challenge. Please feel free to share in the comments section. And yes, the recipe and the new food can be part of the same dish.

PS I’ve launched my cooking show on YouTube here’s the latest episode!

Love yourself & Happy Veganniversary to me!

February always brings out the lovey dovey in me. Even though we have a good foot of snow in the front yard and another coming over the weekend I can’t help to feel the love.

San Francisco 3.2008 007

This marks the 4-year anniversary of my going vegan, the 4-year birthday of this blog and the 3-year anniversary of when we adopted our beloved Luke. So with all of the crap out there I have something good to hold on to.

Surrounding yourself with great things and appreciating what you have I think begins the journey to loving yourself. We all focus that Valentine’s Day love on so many others that some of you forget to focus on the one that needs the most love –  YOU!

So go ahead and love yourself a little harder this month, and find those things that make you happy and keep you going because you will project those good vibes on to others and I promise you that the lovefests will ensue.

PS: Stay tuned for monthly recipes shows on my YouTube channel. I am excited to launch the January (yes a little late) Episode this weekend!

A Nice Fall Recipe

With fall here in full force, maybe a little too full force, I realize I haven’t given you guys a recipe in a while and thought that a nice recipe would make the season a little brighter.

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Autumn Japanese Maple by porbital

I love squashes, now I have to admit that I have not had the opportunity to try a lot of the vast variety out there, the old standbys have worked well for me.

So using an old standby, I wanted to make something easy with only a few ingredients, and came up with this amazing dish.

White Bean and Escarole with Spaghetti Squash and Roasted Garlic

Ingredients
1 Spaghetti Squash
1 Bulb of Garlic
1 Head of Escarole
4 Cups Cannellini Beans
Olive Oil as Needed
Salt To Taste
Fresh Ground Pepper To Taste

Preheat oven to 425. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Cut the edge off the garlic bulb – the one that doesn’t have root. Drizzle oil all over the squash and the garlic (keep bulb intact with peel). Bake for 30 minutes or until soft.

In a large saucepan sauté escarole, use the whole head since it will cook down a lot. Squeeze the garlic out of peels and add to the escarole. Add beans and more oil, white wine or homemade vegetable broth to sauce it up. In a separate dish take the squash and run a fork through it to get the spaghetti like strands.

Serve the beans over the squash and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Serves 4 to 6

Fitness

Some of you may have noticed that I have started posting my fitness regimen on my social media. I usually get like this a few weeks before a birthday – you know, gotta look good… But fitness has so many more benefits than just looking good.

"Dumbbell With Water And Towel" by Naypong

“Dumbbell With Water And Towel” by Naypong

According to the Mayo Clinic there are at least 7 benefits to being physically active and they include:

Weight control
Improving health to fight disease
Improving mood
Boosting energy
Better sleep
Better sex life
Fun

Exercise also helps raise HDL, the good cholesterol and it can help strengthen your body. I’ve noticed my knees and back don’t hurt as much as they used to.

I really enjoy doing interval workouts – I use the Interval Timer free app to help me keep time (check out my review of it here). The fact that I can control the workout keeps it fresh for me since I am always switching up the exercises. Another tip: great music can make or break a good workout – make sure you have tunes that will get your butt moving.

Here’s the workout I am doing today:

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Everyone needs me time, make your workout or physical activity time non-negotiable. What do you do to keep yourself fit?

My thoughts on the Food Industry

The development and marketing methods of the food industry have drastically changed over the last seventy-five years. The spokes that make up the wheel that is the food industry works together to keep it a billion dollar business and like any business there is pressure for growth and making the bottom line is its main goal. Unfortunately, what suffers is public health.

Source: Guardian UK

With advances in food science companies have the means to pinpoint the exact formulation at which the food product has reached maximum satiety of the general population. It would be a foolish food company that would not create foods to taste as pleasing as possible. By formulating foods this way they are intentionally created to make it easier to overeat (Moss 2013).

While on the GMO front the industry has been pouring millions of dollars to block labeling efforts, the momentum of public awareness is putting pressure on local and state governments to begin labeling initiatives. With increased consumer demand labeling will most likely be required in the next five to ten years. Maine is the most recent state to tackle GMO labeling legislation with it passing in their house. Although it is a small victory since the bill will also have to pass in their senate and a final vote in the house (Stone 2013).

The states that have instituted ag gag laws are doing so under pressure of the businesses that supply food, by prosecuting whistleblowers there will effectively be no regulation changes in animal agriculture processes. Since the animal agriculture industry is largely self-regulated they are not likely to report cases of animal abuse and improper handling that can lead to foodborne illnesses (“PBIS Non Compliance Reports for Plants requested in FOIA 2011B00258 for 03J01 and 04C04 1st Shift Procedures from 3/1/11 B 8/31/11”. Table). One of the largest recalls of beef in U.S. history was the result of an undercover investigation done by an animal welfare group (Martin 2008). The ag gag laws are specifically intended to prohibit these kinds of investigations.

Marketing to children has been an issue since the 1970s. With a government that will support the industry it has been difficult to make sufficient change. While the industry has made some improvements in marketing to children on television there is less incentive to restrict online and mobile marketing to children (Nestle 2007).

Works Cited
Martin, Andrew. “Largest Recall of Ground Beef Is Ordered.” The New York Times [New York] 18 Feb. 2008: n. pag. Web. 12 June 2013.

Moss, Michael. Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. New York, NY: Random House, 2013. Print.

Nestle, Marion. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. 2007 ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. Print.

“PBIS NonCompliance Reports for Plants requested in FOIA 2011B00258 for 03J01 and 04C04 1st Shift Procedures from 3/1/11 B 8/31/11”. Table. Foodandwaterwatch.org. Foodandwaterwatch.org, n.d. Web. 12 June 2013. <http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/doc/PBISResponseRecords.pdf&gt;.

Stone, Matthew. “Maine House overwhelmingly supports GMO labeling requirement.” Bangor Daily News 11 June 2013: n. pag. Web. 12 June 2013. <http://bangordailynews.com/2013/06/11/politics/maine-house-overwhelmingly-supports-gmo-labeling-requirement/&gt;.