December 31, 2010

10 Tips to 2011---DAY 2: LEARN

 Wow. It’s almost 2011. Today’s the last day of 2010; what are your intentions for a year of possibility and promise? What valuable lessons and experiences are you taking with you as you begin a blank page for the next chapter of your life?

As I mentioned on Day 10 of the 10 Tips to 2011 countdown, 2010 was both a blessed and difficult year for me. I had to come to terms with a lot of painful memories, experiences and realizations. I made some poor decisions and I had to reconcile with the consequences. In many instances, I chose poorly when it came to food, relationships and finances. I reflected on fear-based decisions and their effects in my life.

Having spent a few months realizing and thusly forgiving (myself and others), I am ready to move forward. To do that, I have been investing time and energy into learning several new ways of living and loving for this new year (and the rest of my life).

Many people aspire to make changes in their lives but feel limited by degrees from institutions they do or don’t have, access to finances to acquire those degrees, gatekeepers who block their progress and/or the clarity for the next best step in life.

The best way to heal and make changes for the better is to learn new skills to change the habits, conditioning and thought processes that got you where you are. A quote often attributed to Albert Einstein goes something like this: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.”

In other words, make small changes to actually see changes in your life. Keep doing what you’re doing to expect more of the same, for better or for worse.

Something to remember is that you don’t need a degree or a certificate to legitimize you, nor do you need to spend a lot of money to learn and grow as an adult. Public libraries, the World Wide Web and your friends, colleagues and peers all serve as wonderful resources for unlimited means of learning and growth.

I desire more maturity, positivity and abundance in my life and I intend to meet those goals by expanding my understanding of:

1)   Buddhism. I continue to study the origins, philosophies and practices of what is a truly healing and centering part of my life.

2)   Non-violent communication. It isn’t perfect and it is the product of the mind of an educated, straight white man, the most privileged identity in our society. I use my experience with anti-racism and anti-oppression to filter and then apply his ideas  and I am seeing profound changes in my life.

3)   Integrative nutrition. The more I practice this with my clients, the more I need to learn and practice it in my own life. The more I embody what I preach, the more I encourage and inspire others to heal themselves from the inside out.

4)   Anger and forgiveness. Poignant revelations for 2010. I aspire to move forward to have less of the former and more of the latter in 2011.

5)   GBLTQ health statistics and projections. In order to effect change in the lives of more members of my beloved community, I want and need more data to support my work. As a marginalized community, that data is difficult to find. I may need to buy a magnifying glass and a bloodhound.

What are 5 things you are currently learning about (or intend to) in order to live a more evolved existence? How are you going to seek out resources in your community to actualize this goal?

December 30, 2010

10 Tips to 2011--DAY 3: MEDITATE/PRAY

Increasingly I am finding that my clients are really resonating with my meditation practice. I was raised Catholic, but ironically, I know more about Buddhism than 12 years of Catholic school actualized.

I do believe, with each passing day, that a spiritual grounding is essential for optimal health. As I nurture this aspect of life with my clients, I see a profound change come over them during our time together.

As we head into the home stretch of 2010, I encourage you to stretch your spirituality muscle a bit. What would 2011 bring to you if you felt more connected to something beyond the tangible and physical world?

What roles do spirituality and meditation and/or prayer play in your life, currently? What do you get from it? What do you stand to gain from expanding it and/or building upon it?

My own spiritual practice transcends to each interaction, relationship and experience. I am humbly grateful to mentors along my path who nurtured my search for truth and meaning because it grounds everything I do, everything I say and puts all the "small stuff" into such a grand perspective. It helps me breathe more deeply. It relieves stress. It allows me to focus at work and it brings more love into my relationships.

Despite being raised Catholic, meditation and Buddhist philosophies have provided me more mental, physical and emotional stability and health so they have been my primary focus for the past 8 years. I worked for a spiritual community/organization for several years and have a deep understanding and respect for each religion (and curiosity about the ones which I have yet to know more intimately). I find many people in my life don't talk about religion or spirituality---and it comes as no surprise. It is safer and "more polite" to not speak of it. Just like politics, right?

But at what cost?

As a health coach, I experience the beauty of being open and honest about my own vital spiritual practice. My clients repeat back phrases and words I use, namely identifying instances where they witness "the Universe" at work in their lives. Let me tell you, there is nothing more rewarding. More than the greens they ate, more than the relationship they negotiated, more than the minutes logged on the treadmill---when my clients share a connection they made to something outside themselves as a result of our work together...I feel truly satisfied. I have helped someone connect to something upon which to rely when life feels unmanageable, unreasonable or really fucking confusing.

As I head into 2011, I resolve to deepen spiritual exploration with each of my clients and challenge my peers to expand this area of their lives.

What changes, if any, will you make to your own spiritual life?

December 29, 2010


Spend the next two hours listening before speaking. Let someone speak and complete their sentence/story/etc. before interrupting.

This is your assignment.


So how did you do?

What was it like to listen and be silent? What went through your head? Did you listen to what people were saying or were you judging and thinking about what you were going to say next the whole time?

Years ago, I learned that there were many different ways to be a listener--some of them better than others. I try not to judge things as good or bad, when I am with my clients we have a rule that we don't label their food choices or behaviors as "being good" or "being bad". There are nutritious and non-nutritious choices, in every aspect of life. Not good and bad ones. Those words evoke shame and blame. When we say something is somewhere on a spectrum of the myriad of choices available, it feels empowering because we know we can chose better for ourselves each time to bring more happiness and abundance into our lives.

Such is the case with listening.

I'm hosting a teleclass on Being a Good Listener in the near future so I won't give away all the goodies right now, but there are definitely ways of listening and being present that enrich our lives and the lives of others--and ways that do not. I am currently studying a technique of communication that I am finding exceedingly powerful, and alot of it entails improving my listening skills. It isn't just about being quiet. It's about being aware of the person speaking as well as your own internal voice. You are bound to have responses to whatever you are hearing--how are you able to balance the need to respond (or react) with your role listener?

How are your current skills as a listener affecting your personal and professional lives?

What would you change, if anything?

If you don't know, keep your ears peeled for my teleclass coming in the new year...


Did you notice I didn't write yesterday? Well, good. That means you are interested in your health. That's good news. Maybe you like what I'm sharing. Maybe you were keeping tabs to make sure I stuck to my word.

Maybe you didn't even notice that I didn't write at all!!

Well, I didn't post yesterday. It's true. I missed a day of posting my 10 Tips to 2011. It's been my goal for some time to share some nuggets of joy and insight with the larger public--it's the rad work I do with my clients. Not everyone has a health coach. But everyone can benefit from more health and happiness in life. And so, here are my 10 Tips for your health.

(take a break and read the others-----come back and read this when you're finished. It's like me trying to watch Glee recently. Who is Finn dating now?!!!)

We have a few more days left before the end of 2010 and the opening of 2011 and you know what? I am really really excited. This day alone has been stellar both personally and professionally. I anticipate many amazing things headed my way in the coming weeks and months.

So my tip for Day 5 is: TAKE A DAY OFF

It's really ok. You might have noticed that the world didn't stop spinning and hell didn't freeze over just because I didn't post an entry to my blog. I guarantee, with a stamp, that the same goes for your life. Were you one of the lucky people who had to go to work on Monday despite the Snowpocalypse? I was. And you know what? It was fun. It was cool to be working on a day that felt like zombies had taken over.

It was sooooo quiet outside...

But I know many people who had the day off and they were completely paralyzed. Staying home was so unfamiliar, it took a couple hours for them to acclimate and adjust to having "free time" that wasn't planned.

I remember being that person--I remember feeling like that. When I took a sick or personal day, it felt like I had lost my wallet or my keys. That "what's about to fall?" feeling was gross.

Glad I got over that!

I'm not suggesting you become a complete irresponsible jerk and call out and screw over the people depending on you (bosses, coworkers, customers, clients, etc.), but really--take a break once in a while. Don't do the thing you do everyday. Use personal time or sick time from work if you've earned it. Take a break and party with new friends instead of sitting at your desk and studying for endless hours/days. Find the balance of work and play and rest. You can't find it if you don't exercise that muscle--so try it!

The simple act of doing something outside your routine and taking time for yourself in the process will do wonders to reveal the ways you're limiting yourself. What lines have you drawn around your time and your health as a result of the choices you make? Shake it up by allowing yourself a day, an hour, a weekend to step away from pressure, stress and expectations.

What happens? What comes up? What doesn't happen that you feared might? What did you gain access to as a result?

Go ahead and try it. 2011 is your year. Go out and play.

Don't eat the yellow snow.

December 27, 2010

10 Tips to 2011: DAY 6--FIBER

This isn't for your grandma. It's for you.

Today's tip to 2011 is about an essential part of the human diet, but one that is in short supply in the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.)

Are you a S.A.D. person?

Here's how you know:

  • you shop at a typical "supermarket" and your cart is filled with anything and/or everything canned, frozen or boxed from the center aisles
  • you rarely shop the perimeter of the store, and whole fruits and veggies don't make their way into your cart in large amounts
  • your plate is regularly filled with animal meat/fat
  • you eat alot of highly processed carbs (bagels, pasta, cereal, bread, pizza)
  • your food contains alot of unhealthy fats (saturated, hydrogenated)

Is this you? Don't know? Take 5 minutes away from this post, open your cabinets and do a quick nutritional info check of 5+ things on the shelves. Scan the ingredients list found under the Nutritional Information box on the panel of the boxes, jars, cans, etc in your cabinets. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Basically, if it's in a box, in a can or a jar--it's processed. If it doesn't die, wilt or rot in a few days, it's not a whole food. This is ok in moderation. But what percentage of your daily, weekly, monthly and YEARLY diet is like this? 

read FOOD RULES by Michael Pollan to learn more...   

The Standard American diet is linked to the staggering rates of high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease, diabetes and any other number of health-related issues. Think you're just unlucky enough to be sick all the time? Have an aunt or uncle, or spouse who just can't catch a break and is in and out of doctors' offices all the time? What is their diet telling you?

I'm focusing on fiber today because it is one of the biggest black holes in the average American's diet. People snicker and laugh at Metamucil commercials, but those old folks know their shit. Literally.

They know how important it is to have a bowel movement each day, and how crappy you feel (I'm pulling out every poop pun possible) if it doesn't happen. Have you ever stopped to notice yourself? You should be eliminating every day. If you're not, you are not eating enough fiber. 

There are two kinds of fiber that you want to know more about. Quite simply, from the Mayo clinic staff:

Fiber is commonly classified into two categories: those that don't dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber).
  • Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts and many vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber.
  • Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.

Continue reading more about the benefits of fiber from that article by clicking here.

Read up on fiber, do an inventory of your shelves and cabinets, and rethink the choices you're making regarding the nutritional content and delivery of food into and through your system. Are you spending your money on whole foods with plenty of fiber or processed versions of less nutritional products?

Make a few changes and take notes about how your digestion, elimination and moods change in the next two weeks.

Your colon will thank me.

December 26, 2010

10 Tips to 2011--EXERCISE



After weeks of hearing peeps down in NYC and NJ talking about the pretty white stuff, we finally get some ourselves. Sheesh! And a White Christmas it shall be after all. Sweet.

Ok, great. I'm snowed in. So what's the tip for today, you ask?

Well, the rad snowfall is a good opportunity to talk about something we all need to do and should--but I, for one, struggle to find time to make it happen. Exercise. Yes, today's Tip to 2011 is EXERCISE.


Here's how I see it: we all need to do it. Some of us love it. Some of us hate it. Some of us hardly have the time to make it happen. But you can't escape the fact that exercise is an essential part of a healthy, balanced life. We need the muscle tone to make our bodies move correctly, look good and fit and to prevent any number of injuries and/or other related issues. We need the cardio health and the bone density/strength. We need the endorphins to keep our mood up and our spirits afloat, especially for those of you joining me in the Great Dark Northeast.

So what is my recommendation to make exercise a part of your life?

Just do it.

Just get out and do something. I don't care what it is. Yoga. Pilates. Running. Dance classes. Snowball fights! Just get up and move your body, especially if you are susceptible to depression or anxiety, if you gain weight easily or if you're noticing more aches and pains of late. A little exercise goes a long way to remedy some of those symptoms. Go for a balance of cardio, stretching and strength training. There is so much technology available, you can do this in a 10x10 space. Make it simple, make it consistent, make the time to do it.

Check in with a personal trainer or other exercise specialist to learn the latest recommended times, heartrates, peak levels, etc. It's a new science, always changing. I'm not certified in that area, but I do know people who are. If you don't have anyone who can help you, contact me. I'll direct you to someone who can. Once you know what you're aiming for, try to make it happen the best you can each day because the goal of moving your bod is to keep it healthy and strong. If you're in it for another reason, check in with that reason. How is it working for you? If you're dreading going to the gym or the yoga studio, you're probably not doing the right exercise for your needs. It should be fun and intentional--as with anything in life. If it's neither of those things, stop doing it.

I had one client who hated eating broccoli. I said, "fine. Don't eat it. But tell me what you're eating instead that is just as healthy."

That's my philosophy and it's what my clients learn to love about their new way of living life. Don't do what you hate, do more of what you love until it becomes a new lifestyle habit that you can't stop raving about.

It's snowing. We wanted pizza. Instead of having the poor delivery person come out in this mess, we walked the .5 mile to go get it ourselves. We walked back in the blustery headwind and laughed when we almost fell over in the drifts. Simple, practical, intentional, fun.

Now get out there and throw a few snowballs, will you?!!

December 25, 2010

10 Tips to 2011--SLEEP


Christmas dinner is over and it was a veritable feast. It was the first time I've ever had goose. And sweet potatoes mashed with roasted bananas and covered with a nut/cinnamon crumb topping. The asparagus with Hollandaise was lovely.

And as I sat there and placed my napkin beside my plate I felt a warm feeling of gratitude throughout my body. This Christmas I am grateful for many things, but one of them I count above all others.

I am really looking forward to bedtime tonight. I have enjoyed tremendously healing, deep sleep almost every night for many consecutive months in a row---and after having suffered through acute insomnia a couple of years ago (and again last winter) I am really enjoying the many healing benefits of good, hearty sleep.

Some simple research on sleep reveals startling and sometimes dismal statistics. If you've landed on this page, I trust you to Google whatever information you need to convince you that sleep, like water, isn't optional if you want good health and more happiness in your life. The biological effects of good sleep are many. I can testify to the improvement in my own quality of life since I made a few simple but very important changes to my sleep habits.

I enjoy these changes from last year:

1) less feelings of depression and anxiety
2) better sleep quality; I sleep like a rock and wake up refreshed
3) awakening without an alarm clock
4) more energy and stamina to make it through very long days

A couple of years ago, I paid no attention to the correlation between my bedtime, my sleep and my life. When I lived on a very busy street, I slept with ear plugs in each ear to drown out the noise. With increased mindfulness and intentionality during my training as a health coach, I eventually had to move because the noise was just too much for me. My next apartment will be far from the nearest busy street. I sleep very lightly and the quieter my environment, the better. I was also grappling with an unhealthy relationship and a job that wasn't a right fit. It became increasingly difficult to sort through these complex situations with a sleep deprivation cloud hovering over everything. Where did one thing begin and another end?

That wasn't working. Now things are very different.

I've worked hard to develop a habit of getting into bed and settled down at the same time each night. When I don't do this, my sleep quality suffers. When I go to bed stressed from my day, my sleep suffers. When I try to extend my workday beyond my personal limits, my sleep suffers. As the winter sets in and decreased daylight begins to affect my hormones and circadian rhythms, my sleep suffers.

Besides a consistent bedtime, several other key changes I've made (none of which involved spending even $1) have resulted in many nights of deep restful sleep and now:

My mood is better.
I haven't been sick in over 4 months.
My weight is stabilized.
My skin is clearer.
My memory retention has increased and my response time is faster.

I am really looking forward to bedtime tonight. It will set me up for a good productive day tomorrow. It will keep me on a schedule to maintain balance emotionally, mentally and physically.

And after a long day of eating warming, hearty foods---it is exactly what my body needs. What better present is there?

December 24, 2010

10 Tips to 2011-- Breathe.

It's late evening on Christmas eve, but I'm keeping to my promise.

1 Tip each day until 2011.


Today's tip is quite perfect because this is literally the first chance I've had all day to relax.

It's late. I'm tired from a long day, a long week and a loooooong year.

I work retail and run my own business. I have wonderfully rich and challenging relationships. I am a Gemini and I am blessed with an active imagination and I am in touch with my emotions.

All of these combined make for many wonderful opportunities to breathe deeply in order to relax, slow down and/or get perspective. Oh and it's the holiday season. And winter is upon us. And it's cold...

Not all breathing is the same, and from what I have learned--it's important to do it right. And you'll know when you're not. A client recently asked me during a meditation session: "what is this actually doing for me?"

While involuntary most of the time, we can (and should) make breathing an intentional act as often as possible, particularly when we feel stressed, tired, challenged or as a way to practice when we aren't feeling any of those things. Physiologically, breathing correctly brings much-needed oxygen into our lungs, blood and brain. Next time you feel stressed and have a headache, try to stop and notice your breath. Have you taken in enough oxygen in the past 2 minutes? 15 minutes? 30 minutes? Hmm...

How about interpersonal experiences? How many times have you taken a deep breath before responding to "that person" who always has a way of triggering you? A work associate? A parent? A sibling?

This is what I do with my clients. See how it works for you:

Belly Breathing 101
  • lie flat on your back or sit up really tall in a chair
  • place your hand on your lower belly
  • take a deep breath in and instead of raising your shoulders when you pull air into your lungs, instead push out your gut so your hand moves an inch or more. I know. It feels weird. Do it anyway.
  • as you exhale, pull your belly back in toward your spine.
  • REPEAT the inhale.
  • REPEAT the exhale.
  • REPEAT the inhale.
  • REPEAT the exhale.
  • Teach this to someone else and practice it as often as possible.

Breathing correctly and intentionally can positively impact your mental and physical health in many ways. Notice how you are or aren't breathing from minute to minute, day to day. Make small changes when and where you can. 

See what happens.

Good night and Merry Christmas.  

December 23, 2010

10 Tips to 2011!!

Ok friends!!!

It's about that time.

We have 10 days until 2010 is officially behind us and, I don't know about you, but I am REALLY jazzed about it. 2010 was challenging and rewarding for me in many ways--and I am really excited to implement all the valuable lessons, skills and brilliant insights I gained from the past 12 months.

In celebration of "waving good-bye to the old" and "Welcoming the New", I am posting 10 Tips to 2011 each day until January 1st, 2011.

Each day, I'll share one way you can improve your life for the better. If you strive to coordinate each tip into your daily life--you will see improvements in:
  • quality of sleep
  • energy levels
  • interpersonal relations
  • general outlook and attitude
These are just a few of the benefits you should experience as a result of living a life of more intention and balance. These next 10 days are a snippet (love this word) of what my clients experience in our work together. I am so glad to welcome 2011, I am now sharing a slice of what makes my life so good with you.


from the U.S. Geological Survey:

Water is of major importance to all living things; in some organisms, up to 90% of their body weight comes from water. Up to 60% of the human body is water, the brain is composed of 70% water, and the lungs are nearly 90% water. Lean muscle tissue contains about 75% water by weight, as is the brain; body fat contains 10% water and bone has 22% water. About 83% of our blood is water, which helps digest our food, transport waste, and control body temperature. Each day humans must replace 2.4 litres of water, some through drinking and the rest taken by the body from the foods eaten.

From what I can find, 2.4 litres is about the same as 2.5 quarts.

Are you drinking 2.5 quarts of water each day? That's an 8-ounce glass of water, 10 times.

Water is absolutely essential but many people seem to think it's optional. I run into so many people who casually comment on their water intake like it's a game they are playing---you know how people do that with plants? They will let the leaves droop and get dried up and then water it and watch it become green and spring back to life?

No?  Only me?


Seems people are doing this to themselves and don't really understand the many ways it is negatively affecting their health. On a basic level, we need water to hydrate our hard-working brains to think clearly and execute simple and complex motor functions (think school, work, relationships, etc.)

Water is physiologically necessary to transport minerals, vitamins and nutrients to our organs and through our intestines. This isn't something we can opt-out of without experiencing some painful and uncomfortable results.

Want to look younger? More awake and healthy? Drink water. It hydrates your skin from the inside out in a way no over-priced face cream can.

Want to feel less aches and pains? Drink water. It lubricates your joints, tissues and helps pass toxins on through.

Want to have a better outlook on life? Less headaches? More energy? Drink water.

This holiday season, do yourself a favor. Drink about 16 ounces before leaving the house for any holiday party or gathering and notice how it affects your experience. Note how you feel and send me a message and I'll send you a free bottle of HINT water just for taking on my challenge.

More H2O for 2011!!

December 15, 2010

Three Parties + Two Days = Hearty Primary Food

So this past weekend, I headed out to not 1, not 2---BUT THREE holiday parties.

In 2 days.

Well, 24 hours to be exact. Right? Check my math.

The first one kicked off at 8 pm on Saturday. The second was noon the next day and the THIRD and final was 6 pm that night.


Crazy, right? "Dillan, (you're saying) how is a health coach modeling self-care and balance with that sort of schedule?!" Well, that was nothing compared to my week. But that's ok. Post for another day.

This weekend worked so well because we paced ourselves, ate well, knew our limits and took good care to practice balance.

Here are three things we (my partner and I) did to make it through those 24 hours:

1) EAT BEFORE YOU GO. I can't stress this enough. I sat down and ate veggies by the mouthful before heading out because I knew these hosts of ours had delicious, wonderful rich food prepared and I wanted to make sure I had my fiber and vitamins in to wash down the fat, salt and sugar. You with me?

2) GO WHERE YOU ARE LOVED. I can't tell you enough good things about our friends. They are fun, FUNNY and very very nice to us. And they invite people who are nice too. I don't think my stamina would have held out had I dealt with oppressive people who make racist jokes, comment on our identities and give my woman the once-over before glaring at me. Trust me, it's happened. This year, we chose to go where the love was. Go us.

3) BRING POSITIVITY WITH YOU. We learned two new fun games this weekend. One was super special because we brought positivity, love and the spirit of abundance with us. What was the result? My partner won $27!! Seriously. She turned to me and said, "one of us is going to win". And she was right! Wherever you go, bring the idea of good intentions, wealth and abundance for you and for everyone. Stop with the cattiness, judgments and complaining. I see the benefits of being positive to my mental, spiritual and financial health. Money isn't everything. In this instance it was a reminder of how we can bring good or bad into our lives with an intention.

Think about it.

Here's a pic from one party where we played a game called...actually I don't know the name of it. Did it have a name? Who knows. It was fun.

GAME ONE: Left, Right, Center

Three die with black dots and the letters L, R and C.
Each player has 3 single dollar bills.
You roll those dice and depending on what rolls up, you divvy up your dolla dolla bills.
Last person with $1 wins the POT!

GAME TWO: the "AND" game

Each person brings a gift valued at $5 or so.
Each time the word AND is spoken, each player passes the gift on his/her lap to the LEFT.
The gift you're holding at the end is YOURS!

Happy Holiday SEASON!

COMING UP: 10 Tips to 2011

December 6, 2010

The Diffuse 5 Interview

Diffuse 5 is awesome. What a fun interview!

Click here to go CHECK IT OUT!

Check out all the great work they're doing to spread info and build community (when you're finished reading my interview).


November 30, 2010

Ayurvedic Breakfast--Warm and Wonderful for Chilly Mornings

From the Chopra Center website:

Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India. Although suppressed during years of foreign occupation, Ayurveda has been enjoying a major resurgence in both its native land and throughout the world. Tibetan medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine both have their roots in Ayurveda. Early Greek medicine also embraced many concepts originally described in the classical ayurvedic medical texts dating back thousands of years.

More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge). It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vital while realizing their full human potential. Providing guidelines on ideal daily and seasonal routines, diet, behavior and the proper use of our senses, Ayurveda reminds us that health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.

Recognizing that human beings are part of nature, Ayurveda describes three fundamental energies that govern our inner and outer environments: movement, transformation, and structure. Known in Sanskrit as Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth), these primary forces are responsible for the characteristics of our mind and body. Each of us has a unique proportion of these three forces that shapes our nature. If Vata is dominant in our system, we tend to be thin, light, enthusiastic, energetic, and changeable. If Pitta predominates in our nature, we tend to be intense, intelligent, and goal-oriented and we have a strong appetite for life. When Kapha prevails, we tend to be easy-going, methodical, and nurturing. Although each of us has all three forces, most people have one or two elements that predominate.

For each element, there is a balanced and imbalance expression. When Vata is balanced, a person is lively and creative, but when there is too much movement in the system, a person tends to experience anxiety, insomnia, dry skin, constipation, and difficulty focusing. When Pitta is functioning in a balanced manner, a person is warm, friendly, disciplined, a good leader, and a good speaker. When Pitta is out of balance, a person tends to be compulsive and irritable and may suffer from indigestion or an inflammatory condition. When Kapha is balanced, a person is sweet, supportive, and stable but when Kapha is out of balance, a person may experience sluggishness, weight gain, and sinus congestion.
An important goal of Ayurveda is to identify a person’s ideal state of balance, determine where they are out of balance, and offer interventions using diet, herbs, aromatherapy, massage treatments, music, and meditation to reestablish balance.

This system is on my mind these days, particularly as my body adjusts to the winter months. Seasonal affective disorder has always been a problem for me (at least since moving to Boston) and this winter I'm determined to eat and live in harmony and balance (as much as possible) to prevent disagreeable symptoms.

So far, so good.

In addition to my private practice, I also work at Cambridge Naturals--a locally owned natural products and health store in Porter Square Shopping Center in Cambridge, MA. We have some wonderful customers from a wide range of fields, backgrounds and interests. One day a particularly nice person offered me this recipe for a delicious AND SIMPLE Ayurvedic breakfast.

Give it a try and pay attention to the following right after eating and throughout your day:

-any physical sensations
-any mental or emotional changes

Feel free to post comments here! Share the wealth for health!

You will need:

-1 Tb ghee*
-1 Tb raw honey or coconut oil
-1 tsp of powdered (or grated) ginger root, cinnamon and turmeric
-sprouted wheat bread (or cooked whole grain of your choice)

-a plate and knife


1) mix ghee, honey and spices together with a knife in a small bowl

2) toast bread**, add the spread---AND WOW!

This is easy, fast and really delicious. No more excuses for leaving the house without anything in your stomach AND it's a huge improvement from your daily bagel and cream cheese. Why?

Here are the benefits of what you're eating:

Ghee: Ghee, also known as clarified butter in anglophone countries, is made by simmering unsalted butter in a cooking vessel until all water has boiled off and the milk solids, or protein, have settled to the bottom and a scum has floated on top. After removing the scum the cooked and clarified butter is then spooned off or tipped out carefully to avoid disturbing the milk solids on the bottom of the pan.[2] Ghee can be stored for extended periods without refrigeration, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation and remains moisture-free. The texture, colour or taste of ghee depends on the source of the milk from which the butter was made and the extent of boiling/simmering.-Wiki

To be honest, I have run into some dead-ends when it comes to ghee. Ayurveda contends its health benefits, but Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., doesn't recommend it highly. Do your research and make a decision that feels right for you.

Raw honey: when it hasn't been pasteurized or heated, many of the original enzymes and nutrients remain intact. Raw honey is a very medicinal food--not just a convenient sweetener. Not all honey is the same so make sure you're getting raw honey which is the most nutritional--not the stuff in that container of a little bear with a hat. I'll write another blog post about this in the future.

Turmeric: a spice that has proven to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation can take many forms, not just aches and pains. It can show up as IBS, acne and depression.

Cinnamon: a spice that may regulate your blood-sugar levels. In this recipe, I noticed I didn't crash mid-morning.

Ginger: A warming and healing spice. Good for digestion and may have anti-bacterial properties, among many others.

Coconut Oil: I haven't had much personal experience with this other than another quick recipe I'll post in the future. I intend to cook with it using heat soon, and I'll let you know what I discover. In short, though, many people believe in the health benefits of coconut oil which are many, so read this article:

I enjoy this breakfast immensely and look forward to discovering and sharing more solutions for battling SAD naturally in the coming months!

November 16, 2010

A Little Goes a Long Way

I ran 1.6 miles about 3 hours ago, and right now I feel like I could run through a wall.

I'm serious.

I have been on the procrastination tip with exercise for a little too long (about two months) and today was the day I decided to get off it and run a little. I biked a lot during the summer, using my beloved two-wheeled fixed gear as a means of both transportation and exercise. The 5 mile ride wasn't really making me work too hard, after a while, so I decided I'd switch things up and walk a bit. Now I walk the 2+ miles back and forth to "work" everyday (ever since finding the right jobs for me, work is such a relative term)--but have been taking the bus more lately.

I wondered why I was doing that...

1) it's gotten colder
2) I feel less fit from no strenuous exercise

Don't get me wrong; walking is rad and I highly encourage it as everyone's primary means of exercise. It's low-impact, easy and you can work it into your day like I have, leaving extra time to get to work, your date, the gym...

Here's another short-cut to fitness: when you go grocery/clothes/anything shopping---park far away from the store. Get in .2 miles just getting to the door and back. ;)

Today's post is a reminder that, while there are no shortcuts to real, life-long health and wellness, you can take small steps to get there. It doesn't have to (and it won't) happen overnight. In fact, your chances at success are exponentially higher if you make changes slowly and intentionally.

Small steps add up over time and a little goes a long way. After months of walking and biking, jogging wasn't easy. My lungs were a little clogged and breathing was tough but I just slowed down and took my time and made really great time for 1.6 miles! I was really impressed and can't wait to do it again.

The small steps that got me there?

1) stopped SAYING "I need to buy new sneaks" ---and I just GOT them this past weekend
2) stopped SAYING "I need to make time to run" ---and just did it when I hardly had any time at all!
3) stopped thinking it had to be 45 minutes or an hour or 5 or 6 miles to count as a workout. No. I jogged for 20 minutes. And it was awesome.

Doing it again tomorrow.

0^0 (high-five)

September 29, 2010


This coming weekend, SATURDAY OCTOBER 2nd to be exact, I am going to be standing at a table talking to people all day long about health coaching.

Yes, that's right. I get to stand and talk about myself all day!

Well, that's not entirely true. I am going to be spending most of that time LISTENING to people, particularly about their attendance at an event entirely about ALL THINGS LOCAL in Boston (and some surrounding areas, ;))

COME and check it out! It's FREE!

My table/booth is C35 and I am super-dupa excited to be a part of this event. I firmly believe the more we can invest our money in local food and local business, things in our immediate community will improve on a daily basis. I also believe in local because most often it yields better quality per hard-earned dolla bill I spend.

Here's an example...

yesterday I needed groceries to make some simple meals, but I was on foot and pretty darn exhausted. On my way home, I cruised by Dave's Fresh Pasta in Davis SQ in Somerville and bought some cut meats and cheese, a few squashes and zucchinis from local farms as well as some broccoli. OH! and a great loaf of bread (unsliced) from a local bakery.

This yielded: an AMAZING sandwich yesterday and now several more this week, fresh veggies for sauteeing for dinner a few nights AND it was fast, convenient and extremely FRESH! I got about 6 meals worth of food (for $29.00) when I could have dropped those dollars on something far less nutritious and maybe would have made it to ONE batch of leftovers.

Not convinced?

Another example?

I had three bunches of bok choy from the Davis Sq farmer's market ($3.00 for 3 big bunches) sitting in my Crisper drawer and it was almost 7:30 and I was starved and tired. Yes, I capitalized Crisper.

What to do? Well, my lovely partner took a quick walk down the street to a local Thai restaurant (Thailand Cafe in Arlington, MA) and grabbed a big 'ol batch of their delicious pad thai for about $6. We put some toasted sesame oil in a pan, wilted down the bok choy and put that right alongside the pad thai. Ideally, we would have meal-planned a bit better to make our own pad thai to join those delicious, nutritious greens but----we are busy and imperfect people! lol. Because we have been eating more slowly and intentionally, our appetites are smaller and we even had leftovers for the next day. Awesome.

Thailand Cafe saved the day AND we matched it with some local greens that we prepared ourselves. Not every meal can be handmade when you're on the go and working long hours but you don't have to live on sandwiches, oatmeal and hard-boiled eggs.

Local means fresh.

Local means fast.

Can you use more fresh FAST food in your life?

Start investigating the healthy options in your community and mixing and matching when time is short.

September 7, 2010

The Time-Out Chair

Last month I was given an incredible opportunity: to live my ideal life. It had been awhile since that I was that happy and fulfilled so I decided to give myself a chance to adjust to it. I took a Time Out in a self-imposed Time-Out Chair. Parents do this to calm a child, to help the child relax, be quiet, be with him/herself, have less distraction, and soothe the mind and spirit.

As adults, who does this for us, if not ourselves?

My Time-Out Chair experience was a long time coming and desperately needed. As a health coach, I educate and support my clients around better nutrition: for their minds AND bodies. When it occurred to me that I wasn't being a very good example, I decided it was time for a Time-Out. This is my experience about walking the walk toward better health.

For the past several years I moved from job to job, location to location, partner to partner failing to find inner peace or fulfillment. Recently, things came into more focus. I had kept myself running for a reason, and I was ready to stop. But before I was able to transition from a life of chaos and insecurity, I knew I needed to create intentional time to transition into a life I had once only dreamed to be possible.

When I was offered an opportunity to become part of a community that was aligned with my core beliefs about health for oneself and a community, I CHOSE to take this new opportunity and disappoint my employer; choosing my own happiness in itself a milestone for me.

I found myself marking a successful amount of months in a committed relationship with the woman of my dreams. While challenging, it was only of the best kind: the type that makes each person stronger, more mindful and more compassionate and patient.

My health was improving each day as I nurtured my body with fresh, locally-grown whole foods.

All that remained was the time and work necessary to heal my spirit and mind, from all the chaos and DRAMA that had been my reality for many years. I knew that without that intentional time to grieve, heal and process, I would bring all of that "storyline" into my present and future.

I chose to take a retreat at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, MA. I took that TIME OUT intentionally to create space to heal, center and renew. I am extremely grateful to the Scholarship Committee who provided me a generous scholarship to join their community. I added this gift of abundance to the long list of many gifts I have received since starting to intentionally expect and be grateful for abundance and wealth (often money, but often not) in my life. Make a list and see what happens to you!

While at Kripalu, I enjoyed the time I had created to heal the past and make room for a new happy and bountiful life. It wasn't hard to find the time because I made it. That was my intention, to not live by a clock or calendar dates but instead to set a pace for my life that included all the necessary components to be happier and healthier. Running the rat race wasn't winning me points. It was making me sick and tired, of being sick and tired.

It is definitely worth sharing that, like an upset, overstimulated child in a Time-Out Chair, my first 24-36 hours on retreat were spent in emotional discomfort as I adjusted to the serenity, peace and regulated pace/schedule that was lacking from my own life. A tantrum or two may have occurred. But soon I settled down, as a sobbing child does, and my sobs quieted to whimpers and eventually to serenity. I noticed this. I sat with it. I smiled about it. I embraced it. And then I enjoyed my time on retreat, a gift-wrapped few days of invaluable serenity.

Since returning from Kripalu, I enjoy a daily pace that feels much more manageable and appropriate. I can be more present for myself, my partner and my clients. I eat better, I sleep better and I have more patience. My entire life has changed for the better, all because I stopped, took a time-out and reset my priorities in order to fully appreciate and enjoy the new life that I had created for myself. I mean, that's the point, right?


What is one thing you can do to stop the hamster wheel from spinning?

What have you created to keep yourself sick, tired and unhappy?

What would your life be like if you put yourself in the Time-Out Chair?

July 27, 2010

Today's Lunch

I am working from home today. Which is like every day: I do it when I want. Where I want. And HOW I want.

This time last year, I was begging and pleading for the chance to work from home more often (this was a "privilege" that was given out arbitrarily and often to the bewilderment of many colleagues) because I had grown to know it suited my working style best. I wanted to perform better and an office didn't work best for me to concentrate and produce. Despite the many people who were afforded this privilege, they denied my request.

A recent acquaintance said, "when it's time to move/change, the Universe sends a letter, then a package, and then you get hit by a bus"...or something like that.

It took that many clear messages from the Universe that this was not the proper work environment for me. It was time to move along. I welcomed the chance when it came this past December.

Now---I am sitting on my porch, enjoying a wonderful breeze and checking in with my student clients from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

I was so inspired by the progress three of them have made that I sat here and said, "wow, I have NOT been eating enough fresh greens lately. I can't go on like this."

I got up from my chair, rode my bike 1 mile to DAVE'S FRESH PASTA in Somerville, MA and picked up:

1) 1 bag of fresh arugula picked on a nearby farm
2) 1 bag of fresh spinach "
3) a pint of fresh blueberries "
4) a container of DAVE'S homemade honey poppyseed dressing
5) a container of their fresh crumbled goat cheese
6) two homemade chocolate chip cookies

This is my lunch.

This is my life.


April 4, 2010

My Food Hangover

From time to time, I decide to self-sabotage.

I eat really healthy food.

I live a REALLY healthy lifestyle.

Yet sometimes, I feel like eating crap. It happens. The cravings come (for good reason, which I'll explain) and I succumb. Before you gasp in astonishment, I want to explain.

Because I have worked for many years to eat an extremely clean and intentional diet, I forget what it feels like to have the common symptoms associated with the "average American diet". You need not be a native citizen to join in this joyless dietary experience, you just need to be eating what is commonly available in our pharmacies, restaurants, grocery stores and thusly our homes. Race, ethnicity and culture certainly affect each person's experience, but if you're walking around the streets of this country and purchasing the "food" in the pharmacies, conventional supermarkets and fast food/chain restaurants and ingesting it---you are eating the "typical American diet".

If you're eating outside of that, I applaud you. You should be my friend if you aren't already.

Knowing all this, I still decide to succumb to the little devil on my shoulder who says, "you want to eat that" when passing a donut store or a box of Junior Mints on sale at CVS. Why do I succumb?

For two very good reasons:


Cravings, contrary to popular belief, are our friends. People associate them with "being bad" or "that time of the month" but really, cravings get a bad reputation. They are nature's built-in alarm system for when something is amiss in our wee bods. When we are deficient in a particular vitamin or mineral, or low on fiber, complex carbs or fat--our bodies turn on the alarm system to let us know. It shows up as a craving. The problem is the wiring. We often misinterpret the signal and reach for the wrong foods. I talk to my clients about this extensively as part of my health coaching program so I won't reveal too many details in this post, but suffice it to say that we can and SHOULD be reaching for the right foods when cravings strike. With the right education, we can deconstruct each craving to know what we need, when we need it and why. Like any normal person, I don't always eat a perfectly balanced diet and get cravings for this reason. And that is one reason why I eat crap.


You might be asking yourself, "if she's so smart, why does she eat crap instead of the right foods?" That is a really good question. The answer is even better.

I eat overly processed and heavily sugared food to keep reminding myself of how horrible it feels. When you begi to eat clean, healthy and adequate nutrition in the form of whole foods (fruits, veggies, farm-raised meat and whole grains) you very quickly forget how unsatisfying the other food can be and horrible you may feel after eating it. Rather like when you're healthy you forget the horrors of the sinus infection, and when you have a sinus infection, you forget what it's like to breathe.

It's a lot like that.

So, from time to time, I decide to participate in a social experiment to reacquaint myself with the symptoms of eating total and complete garbage food. Food that is way too high in sugar, salt and has been processed into oblivion, which is most of what is available to the average person living and eating in America. I was raised on this food, so it's quite familiar to me, and some of this stuff still has a special place in my heart--even though it may contribute to higher cholesterol or weight gain. Headaches. Aches. Pains. Acne. Dizziness. The list goes on and on.

Occasionally I eat those foods again to remind myself of how my present and future clients feel daily so they believe me when I tell them that I "feel their pain".

Long story short, I did this on Friday. I decided to go all out and eat some "foods" (I put that word in quotes because there was nothing really nutritious about the things I ate) that I knew to be the opposite of my daily choices. By 9:42 pm that night I literally crashed in my bed only to wake up at 4:00 am with a gut-wrenching ache, unable to sleep for another hour. When I did awake around 7:30 am, I had a food hangover the rest of the day. Much like a hangover from alcohol, the effects were a foggy head, aches and pains in my muscles and joints, sensitivity to light and noise and I could not drink water fast enough. I felt like a camel just in from the desert after a month.

Great experiment. Great data.

Won't be doing that again for another month or more.

Why are so many people doing it every day of their lives?

If you're interested in learning more about anything I wrote, or how to stop eating food that may be causing symptoms you aren't digging, contact me this moment.

Namaste, pals.

January 13, 2010

The Hips Don't Lie

I went to my first NIA class last night, taught at the Yoga and Nia for Life Studio in Concord, MA by my beautiful friend, Allison Wright.

Let me tell you, this is some pretty powerful stuff.

The title of today's post was inspired by two big revelations that came from participating in this class last night.

Since this blog is by a GBLTQ person for GBLTQ and queer-friendly heteros, I am going to spell it out clearly and simply.

1) my hips don't move like those of a girl---why? because I don't identify as one. Next thought: wow, what does that even mean?
2) my hips were stiff and tight. why? because I haven't been exercising and stretching enough.

SOLUTION to 1: Rethink and redefine pretty.

Nia is a practice of dance and martial arts movements. I felt that a lot of the dancing of Nia looks "pretty"--sweeping, swirling, graceful movements that I associate (with my gender binary socialized-mind) with femininity and womanhood. This class revealed to me that I have some work to do to open these hips of mine, embrace them and move freely in and with them---but it doesn't have to be "pretty" to be good or "right". Moreover, it seems I have some work to do in redefining what "pretty" means--particularly for me. Maybe we all do.

Everything about Allison's words and actions during the class affirm every body shape and every individual's movement style and pace. She went on to tell me about the creator of the routine we danced to, and how that man (who identifies as heterosexual) taught her something about gender norms and how we perceive and define them. If ever a person was meant to teach a class for those struggling with inner beauty and strength, Allison is that person. For those living in or near Boston, MA---please experience Allison for yourself--the studio is accessible on the Commuter rail.

SOLUTION to 2: Start a stretching routine each day.

I have a DVD that I don't use enough. It lasts about 30 minutes and I am not using it enough to open the hips and live more gracefully and fully. I can feel the tension. I can feel how "tight" my energy is around that area of my body. I can open and expand this area (and the areas of mind associated with it) with good, regular and gentle stretching exercises. That is my small but attainable goal for the next two weeks.

Namaste to you all and blessings sent to my beautiful friend, Allison, for her gentle encouragement and generous invitation to join her class one chilly Tuesday evening.

It was a brilliant use of my time and a profound learning experience. My hips told me precious truths I needed to hear.

Gentle changes make a profound difference.

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