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How to look like you can cook (well) if you don’t know how, don’t want to, or don’t have time (or all three)

June 3, 2015 in Healthy Eating Inspiration Physical Health Published & Press

This post also appears in the Huffington Post.

Last week a client came over for dinner with her family. She is a law firm partner, a graduate student, a mother and totally clueless in the kitchen. This post is for her and for those of you who also want some kitchen literacy, if only to be able to use it in a pinch. I promise this is all easier than you think, takes less time, and like everything else from Curated Wellness, is cherry-picked to give you maximum impact with minimal effort.

The day of the dinner had been a hectic one for us, topped off with a teething toddler who didn’t sleep much during the previous night. Work was busy, the house was a mess and I didn’t think twice about putting a gorgeous dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. I’m not Martha Stewart, but I know how to make dining a nearly effortless pleasure. In about five minutes from now, you will too.

There are no recipes here but my top 10 tips for being able to make a healthy beautiful meal easily and without going for a big shop, because who needs to add that to a busy day…

  1. Fresh herbs. Always buy them, or plant them in your garden if you have one. Anything except rosemary is easy to add to most dishes. Rosemary can taste like spicy twigs, so unless you have a specific plan for them, chose something else. With a little salt and olive oil, you can add instant flavor, colour and phytonutrients to anything from plain pasta to a sprinkling over any dish. You don’t have to fuss about which one — tarragon, basil, mint, chives — no idea which they are when you see them? Assume that the trend of combining unusual flavors applies in your home as it does in a fine restaurant and go to town. Instant upgrade.
  2. Fish filets. You can choose whatever kind of fish you like, but high quality organic salmon and rainbow trout freeze well because of their high fat content and cook under the broiler in less than eight minutes (once thawed). An easy sprinkling of herbs mixed with butter or oil and salt and you have a restaurant quality dish in under 10 minutes. Add pressed garlic and you’re in the Mediterranean.
  3. Condiments. Pick them wisely and use them freely. I always have three key condiments in the fridge that make everything tastier. A good pesto or tapenade, like the ones from Sunflower Kitchen in Toronto. Put this on fish or pasta and it looks like you can cook. A good mustard, like the ones from Kozlik’s. Spread this on meat or fish with some fresh dill or other unidentifiable herb, or mix it with olive oil and balsamic for an easy delicious homemade dressing. I always have a wild card preserved food on hand — preserved lemons or caper berries are current favorites. They keep forever in the fridge and can be added to cooked grains, salads, or even an appetizer plate (imagine if you had time to make an appetizer plate…).
  4. Pre-cut veggies. We live in a time and place where beautiful organic produce is available washed and prepped for you. No need to let that squash sit on the counter until it’s time to throw it out! Have whatever veggies you like on hand in the fridge and freezer so you can grab them and steam them or roast them with any of the above for instant plant-based perfection.
  5. The oven! I have a secret. You don’t have to cook anything; the oven does it for you. You just need a wee bit of planning because it takes some time. Fish takes under 10 minutes, root veggies take about an hour and all other veggies are ready for you in 30 minutes. Add five more minutes to preheat the oven, and always make the oven thing the first thing you start when making a meal. This means that if you’re making a meal with roasted root veggies, you can put them in the oven, make a salad in about five minutes, prepare fish to broil in another five and have 40 minutes to do something else while your “assistant” makes the rest of dinner.
  6. Salad. I’m a staunch salad liberal, a wild woman, really. You can put anything on salad and it can be your main course or a great way to fill up half of a plate. As a basic, always have greens you like that you don’t have to do anything to — no cutting, no washing — on your shopping list. Then see above — add herbs, your wild card preserved food and one other fresh fruit or vegetable or cheese. You are now a gourmet salad maven.
  7. Home-made dressing. Bottled dressing is full of preservatives and tastes like it. It is the one condiment that is out of bounds. For a versatile basic dressing, mix equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a spoonful of honey and a spoonful of Dijon mustard. Shake it up in a little jar and keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks. It makes your roasted veggies, salads and even cooked grains into “dishes.”
  8. One exotic seasoning. Eating should be a pleasure. Trying one new spice from time to time keeps your meals creative and, if you’re a foodie (in which case you’re likely not reading this anymore) — exciting. I love Middle Eastern food and currently have sumac and zatar in the cupboard. They go on salads, grains, meat and cooked vegetables. You can sprinkle some on store bought hummus and transform it into a different, and much better, snack. They are readily available in the “ethnic” aisle of many mainstream grocery stores.
  9. Nice olive oil and salt. You don’t need to break the bank, but having good quality extra virgin olive oil and sea salt or Himalayan salt adds wonderful depth and flavor (and some great fats) to everything.
  10. The found object meal. This is better than it sounds. This is what happens when there is “nothing to eat” in your fridge or cupboards — that grain you have never tried cooking, half a block of feta, an endive, a can of beans. If you have those herbs, condiments and olive oil listed above — you have potential. Before opting for toast or take-out, consider yourself on a private episode of Top Chef and put the unexpected together. Some of our favorite staples have been born this way. As with everything, confidence will take you a very long way.

You’ve got this. Bon appetit!

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Let it be easy.

November 26, 2014 in Healthy Eating Inspiration Physical Health Special Offers Wellness for Lawyers

Around this time of year, there is a race to that December 31 finish line. Projects to complete, targets to meet, people to see, cards to write, presents to get, holidays to organize, summer clothes to put away, winter clothes to find…the list goes on. It’s only November and already my to-do list and wine consumption have both doubled.  At the same time, there is less daylight each day, and around us, hibernation abounds.  We knew this when the leaves transformed into fall splendour, and yet we kept going at full pace.

Other than summer, which is rightly a religion in Canada, we pretend that we don’t have seasons.  Somehow, we think, heated seats and other modern conveniences, like lightbulbs, will allow us to continue as if nothing is happening.  Then the first flurry comes, and it’s undeniable.  We trudge on through winter in our parkas, and try to get to Florida, or farther south.  Some of us even delight in the crisp air and silvery snow, getting out into the cold to ski or take the kids out sledding.  You winter people – you really live in the right place!

Our needs are different at this time of year than they were just a few short months ago, and paying attention to them can make the difference between a cozy winter and a marathon of colds and overwhelm.  Vitamin D levels dip as sunshine hours are a distant memory, hydration plummets as heating use increases, and we start to really feel the weight of things in our lives that we don’t love.  Targeted self-care that supports the seasonal transition is a great way to ease into winter, with grace.

This list of practices to support yourself is meant to be read like a menu; in the spirit of letting it be easy, I invite you to choose from it what you like, instead of trying to do it all.

  • Get that sunshine vitamin.  In summer we get 20,000 international units of vitamin D from only 20 minutes of sunbathing.  The 400 international units found in your multivitamin is a relic of the days when the only goal was to prevent rickets.  While the science of optimal levels of vitamin D is still inconclusive, there is consensus that optimal levels of this vitamin contribute to a broad range of health benefits, from lower rates of cancers to decreased joint and muscle stiffness. The dose deemed safe for unsupervised consumption is 4000 international units daily, provided you are over 9 years old.  Depending on your vitamin D levels, which you can find out with a simple blood test, you may want to take more (with medical supervision).
  • Give yourself a water drinking challenge.  Dehydration is a shockingly common cause of fatigue and fogginess.  The simple challenge of pouring yourself two litres of water in the morning and finishing it by 8pm provides much needed hydration, and also information about your habitual water consumption.  Please note that water is water.  Juice is not water.  Tea is not water, and coffee is basically the opposite of water, because it is dehydrating.
  • Exercise differently (formerly known as cross-training).  On this matter, forget the winter slump.  Give yourself the energetic opposite of your usual exercise style, and enjoy the physical cross training and mental shift that result.  If you are a regular yogi, try a team sport or something that cultivates and directs aggress energy, like squash or kickboxing.  If you’re a cardio junkie, experiment with a long walk or a restorative yoga class.
  • Go to bed 30 minutes earlier.  In lieu of hibernating, give yourself some extra rest.  This one is likely the toughest on the list, because it requires that you break what you will soon discover are serious habits, habits that probably involve a computer, television, or smartphone.  None of these things is contributing to a good night’s sleep.  Take the opportunity to cultivate a bedtime ritual that supports healthy sleep, such as a bath, reading, or taking a few minutes to count the things that you are grateful for.
  • Go on a technology vacation.  Decide on an amount of time – an hour when you are awake, a weekend – and release yourself from the habitual connection to technology.
  • Try Aryuvedic self-massage.  This practice, called Abhyanga, is a winter favourite.  It is inherently warming, and offers an incredible range of benefits including increased circulation, lymph drainage, lubricated joints and skin, and relaxation.  First, choose your oil: almond, olive, Aryuvedic-grade sesame or a dosha-specific oil.  Before showering, warm about 1/4 cup of the oil by putting a jar or cup of it in hot water.  Gently massage the oil into your skin from the soles of your feet up to your scalp.  In the shower, soap only your groin and underarms, rinsing the superficial oil residue from your body and leaving the bulk of it to nourish your skin throughout the day.

YogaBeCPD

There are a few spaces left in the YogaBe + CPD Skinny on burnout workshop happening next Wednesday!  This December 3, 11am-1:30pm at YogaBe, the first yoga studio on Toronto’s PATH, located at MetroCentre, 200 Wellington Street W, PATH level.  $185+HST secures your place, and includes a 45-minute yoga class led by studio director Laura Baron, a delicious vegan and gluten free lunch from Kupfert & Kim, and a 90-minute CPD-accredited workshop with yours truly about the Skinny on Burnout (1.5 Professionalism Hours for Ontario Lawyers).   You can reserve your spot online right herePlease join us, and pass this information on to a lawyer in need – he or she will thank you.

Notice anything different?  The updated look and feel of curatedwellness.ca is thanks to the creativity and tech savvy of development and communications expert Elyse Power.  In the spirit of letting it be easy, have her create or recreate your website, a.k.a. portal to the world.  For a taster (literally) of her unique brand of user-friendly what-you-didn’t-know-you-needed, try this robotic meal designer that finds recipes for the three random things in your fridge.

Enjoy! May the best of the season shine in your life.

RS

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Gluten-free dairy-free breakfast-of-the-gods in a rush

January 16, 2014 in Healthy Eating

I’ve noticed a lot of food-related New Year’s resolutions take a hit lately, as we trudge along into winter and things like toast and tea look much better than the early morning workout and cleanse we had envisioned just a couple of short weeks ago.  Fear not!  These quinoa-based muffins have become a staple in our home, mostly because they are so delicious.  They also pack a lot of nutrition into a very convenient package, and are easy to make.  I often find that gluten-free and dairy-free baked goods are disappointing, so when these just kept getting better with every batch, I had to share them with you.

While you do have to actually bake them for them to become a quick and easy breakfast, once you’ve made a batch (or a double-batch) they freeze beatifully and you can take one out the night before to pack in your bag (for those lunch en route types) or enjoy as part of your morning routine.  The quinoa-base means that they are considerably lower on the glycemic index than wheat-based baked goods, and offer a protein-rich breakfast that couldn’t be more convenient.  This recipe evolved to include things like walnuts for more protein and omega-3s, molasses for iron, coconut oil instead of butter so they are moist and dairy-free, and honey to minimize processed sugar, and chocolate for fun.

This recipe makes 12 muffins and takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 25 to bake.

You will need:

  • a muffin tin with 12 spots
  • parchment muffin cups
  • 2 cups of quinoa flour (you can buy this ready-made or put the same amount of quinoa in your high speed blender to make it yourself)
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil (or butter)
  • 1 c coconut or almond milk
  • 2 very ripe mashed bananas
  • 1/4 c molasses
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1/3 c walnut pieces
  • 1/3 c dairy-free chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F
  • Line muffin tin with parchment muffin cups
  • Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl: quinoa flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda
  • Melt coconut oil until just liquified, but not too hot
  • Mix wet ingredients together in large bowl: eggs, bananas, molasses, honey, coconut oil
  • Add dry mixture to wet mixture and stir until just combined
  • Add walnut pieces and chocolate chips to the mixture and stir just until they are folded into the batter
  • Split the batter between 12 muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes
  • Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before eating or freezing

For another variety that contributes to your daily 10-12 servings of vegetables, replace 1 banana with a grated zucchini, swap out the walnut pieces for magnesium-rich pumpkin seeds, and swap out the cinnamon for warming ground nutmeg.

Wishing you many good mornings.

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The Bay Street Healthy Eats Cheat Sheet (deals included)

December 2, 2013 in Healthy Eating

Vendors featured here are offering a holiday special to customers who show a screenshot of this article on their smartphone at the time of purchase, for a limited time.  Scroll through for details, and enjoy!

One of the most common concerns I hear about is how to eat well when you’re busy. Rushing out the door before getting a chance to eat breakfast, skipping lunch or finding a healthy dinner when you’re at the office are all common challenges.  So too is having low blood sugar by noon, which triggers cravings for sugar and simple carbohydrates.  Then comes that dreaded January day when you realize your clothes are snugger than they used to be, and you have a chocolate hangover (at least).

As we launch into the holidays, rife with parties, too little sleep, year-end deadlines and even some of the negative nutritional side-effects of vacation – help is just outside the door.  Or in this case, just under the door, in the PATH that connects so much of Toronto’s financial district.

Here you’ll find easy ways to nourish yourself on Bay Street, and holiday deals to make doing so even sweeter.  The vendors selected here offer a terrific range of healthy options to suit any diet, whether you’re doing a raw vegan-style detox, looking for warming omnivorous options, or just want to try something new.  One of my favorite things about these vendors is that so many of them were started by corporate types who were inspired to make available food that they personally wanted to enjoy where they worked.  All dishes come with a hearty dose of entrepreneurial spirit and vision.

Boost your immunity

Did you know that your gut is a key player in immunity?  Making sure your digestive tract is populated with good bacteria is an easy way to boost immunity, maintain energy, avoid winter colds, and stay away from digestive upset that can accompany the mountain of chocolates, wine and cheese you may indulge indeKEFIR in the Bay Adelaide Centre offers a delicious way to enjoy these good bacteria, offering a pure form of Eastern European health food made with just two ingredients: cow’s milk and kefir culture.  Many lactose intolerant people are able to consume fermented dairy products because the bacterial culture has already broken down the lactose for them, so it’s ok that they don’t have the enzyme to do the work.  deKefir also offers some creative ways to dress up this simple food.  Toppings for this breakfast or afternoon snack include home-made granola, figs, pomegranate, wild Ontario currants, lychee, pomelo, persimmon – and any number of fresh seasonal ingredients.  Enjoy free additional toppings for any Kefir Parfait or Frozen Kefir purchase through December 6.

Relax your muscles, sleep better, and de-stress

So there is just about zero chance that you are eating enough vegetables.  Try counting 10-12 servings a day, and see how far you get!  Plant-based diets have incredible health benefits, and while they’re not for everyone, eating more vegetables will do your body good.  Dark leafy greens in particular are rich in magnesium, a nutrient that 65% of Canadians show deficiency in.  Getting enough magnesium contributes to decreased muscle tension, lower stress and better sleep.  When it comes to making vegetable consumption easy and delicious, there are some excellent options on the Street.

Wheatless, meatless First Canadian Place newcomer Kupfert & Kim offers unique combinations of plant-based (100% vegan) and mostly organic foods that draw inspiration from an impressive range of culinary traditions with spectacular resultsFlavours like cashew cream and almond chili kefir lime sauce remind me of the very best in NYC gourmet foodtrucks, and their green smoothie will convert even the most skeptical taster.  You may forget this is a healthy meal, unless you’ve already figured out that those are the best kind.  Enjoy a meal and smoothie combo for $15 after 2pm through December 6.

Many credit Freshii with changing the game when it comes to healthy food options in Toronto.  Started by Winnipeg-born entrepreneur Matthew Corrin, Freshii offers a creative range of pre-designed or do-it-yourself wraps, salads, bowls and soups that feature fresh produce, great protein options, and superfoods – as featured in their new superfood dressings like zesty avocado and miso sesame.  Their popular Thai Green Wrap is wrapped in a collard green, offering a delicious option if you want to cut out processed carbs and add another vegetable serving to your nutrient-packed day.  Enjoy 15% off at the Exchange and TD locations through December 6.

In addition to offering creative combinations of healthy grains (brown rice, quinoa), lean proteins (roasted chicken, harissa-rubbed chick peas) and fresh vegetables (daikon, avocado, and fresh herbs like cilantro and mint) iQ Food Coin the TD Centre and at Brookfield Place had me at breakfast.  Toast-eaters can enjoy it topped with avocado or a smoked trout combination called “tartine”, and those looking for an omega-rich, vegan protein breakfast that is terrific for digestion will find it with chia seed pudding.  Enjoy a free energy ball – not even on the menu yet! – through December 6 with any purchase.

Get that “home-cooked” meal

Remember those days when you could go home for lunch?  A family owned Canadian company since 1956, Longos prides itself on prepared food at its downtown locations that rivals the best home-cooked food.  Or better, depending on your cooking skills.  Options include a popular kale salad, a wide selection of lean proteins like fish and chicken (always made from fresh, not frozen ingredients), and cooked vegetables.  They also offer hearty warm breakfast options and a full salad bar.  Enjoy a free apple with any purchase until December 6 at the Bay Street and Brookfield place locations.

Popular since the late 1990’s Seinfeld import of New York’s fictional International Soup Kitchen, the Soup Nutsy is a favorite place to find gourmet, hearty soups downtown.  The approximately fifteen varieties made fresh daily include heartier classics like chunky chicken noodle, and vegan options like vegetable miracle diet.  Soup meals include fresh baked bread, fresh fruit or vegetables, and can also be combined with sandwiches or salads.  TD and Richmond-Adelaide Centre locations are offering a free bottle or water or an extra piece of fruit with purchase of any soup meal until December 6.  Not joking, though Elaine would.

Please remember to have the screen shot of this article handy at time of purchase, and enjoy a healthy holiday season.  The offers have no cash value, and no substitutions are allowed.

Need more support this holiday season?  We can help with that too. 


A version of this article also appears in the Canadian Bar Association’s online magazine.

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Why is my smoothie brown? (How to eat breakfast)

February 4, 2013 in Healthy Eating

brown smoothie

The smoothie fad has taken off, and with good reason.  Drinking a smoothie custom-made for what your body needs is an easy way to get a hearty dose of vitamins, nutrients – and ultimately energy – that will help you feel great.  Eating whole foods, and mostly plants (a la Michael Pollan) feels good and is great for your health.  It would take me the better part of an hour to eat all of the fruits and vegetables that go into my morning concoction, and I’d never eat the superfoods I throw in there alone.  Ever munched on chia or hemp?  Not fun.  Blending them into a smoothie is a practical and delicious way to get ahead of my 10-12 servings of veggies a day, plus protein and whatever special ingredients I need to support myself that day.  Count your vegetable servings for one day, and you’ll see what I mean!

Now, not all smoothies are created equal.  Many of the ones most readily available are packed with sugar in the form of fruit and fruit concentrates, and not much else.  Popular juice bars like Booster Juice use frozen non-organic fruit, sugary frozen yogurt, highly-processed whey protein, and fruit drink (yes, something like Tang).  Pre-packaged brands generally have a lot of fruit, and while fruit is great, it’s high in sugars and has lost a lot of the nutrients that make it good for you while it sits on the shelf in a bottle waiting for you to buy it.  Even making an all-fruit smoothie at home isn’t great.  Even natural sugar picks you up and drops you.  Do not sugar alone.  That is not how you want to start your day.  Come 11 am, you will be hungry, hangry, unfocused, or reaching for a caffeinated beverage in an effort to increase your energy.  This is all because your blood sugar isn’t stable, which can lead to a whole host of things like weight gain, low energy, and even diabetes.

So back to why my smoothie is brown.  Remember painting as a kid?  Mix enough colours together, and you get…brown!  Every time.  My multi-coloured ingredients do the same thing, and it goes like this:

Insert the following into your blender…

Basics:

  • Organic fruit for a taste that I like, or one with nutritional value I want, like blueberries for antioxidants, or bananas for potassium.  Or mango because I dream of the jungle.
  • An organic green vegetable (or two), like kale, chard or spinach.  Lately I am getting a lot of microgreens in my Fresh City box, so I put those in.  Greens are the food most commonly missing in modern diets. They are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are loaded with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals.  
  • Nuts or nut mylk for that creaminess that reminds me of a milkshake, and for the oils and protein they provide.  Unless you are allergic to nuts, obviously (avocado is a great substitute).
  • More protein.  I go for the simplest stuff I can find, like hemp protein or brown rice protein.  These are great options if you already eat a lot of soy, or if you don’t eat dairy (whey protein is a highly processed dairy product).
  • Some filtered water to get the consistency I like.

Options:

  • An inch of fresh ginger, peeled.  This root has so many healing properties, like improving digestion and circulation.
  • A teaspoon of chia seeds.  Rich in Omega-3, antioxidants, fibre, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin and zinc (thank you Dr. Weil).  These are like a gentle massage for your digestive system.
  • A teaspoon of flax seeds.  The Omega-3 rich Metamucil of our time. Need I say more?
  • Half an avocado, for smoothness and good fats.
  • Any other superfood you like, such as maca, goji berries, cacao nibs.
  • Natural sweetener to taste.  Agave, while a processed food, is a better option than other sweeteners because it has a lower glycemic index.  My favorite sweetener is local honey, which ml for ml, has less sugar than agave.  You can also put in some maple syrup, or a couple of dates (pits out).
  • More vegetables.  I like cucumber and fresh mint, or even cilantro.  Re-inventing vegetables from their place as a lowly side-dish or garnish is a lot more delicious than you might think, and a lot easier.

Blend and enjoy!  I like using a Vitamix because I can put anything in there and it comes out perfectly smooth with maximum nutrient bio-availability, but any blender will do.  Stock smoothie ingredients in your kitchen, and put them in the blender the night before if you’re rushed in the morning.  Your breakfast will be convenient and nourishing, and that 11am slump will be a memory.

For more on protein and good fats, and why I recommend eating both of them, stay tuned.  

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Your well-oiled machine (how to cleanse without doing a “cleanse”, and why to bother)

January 30, 2013 in Healthy Eating

There’s a lot of hype about cleansing, and for good reason. It’s sparked real optimism about our ability to heal ourselves with something as nourishing as real food.  It’s fed the notion that “wellness” has become trendy and full of quackery.  It’s also ignited fierce debates about eating disorders disguised as healthy or “detoxifying” practices. 

I’ve done both the home-made cleanses and the “expert” delivery versions for the last ten years.  Some have felt terrific, others really depleting.  One I did in university involved large green pills that made me smell like a jungle.  That one ended quite quickly.  Live and learn!  I even started a group cleanse routine at the office of a large bank I worked at in New York.  Yes, I would like a high five for that last one.  There is nothing like a committed group of skeptics on a juice cleanse!

Three to five day juice-only “feasts” are intended to help you release toxins built up in your system from poor diet and environmental pollutants, to give your digestive system a bit of a breather, and to kick-start a healthier diet.  Many find that a good cleanse improves digestion, increases energy, improves mood, mental focus, and sleep issues, and eliminates cravings for things like caffeine and sugar (which overstimulate your adrenals and cause inflammation, respectively).  Not to mention producing the dewy youthful glow raw food enthusiasts are famous for. 

Like anything else, the only way to know if something is going to work for you is to try it and pay attention to how you feel.

These practices are perfect if you don’t want to do a full cleanse right now, but want to support your body to do what it does best – heal itself.

  1. Start each day with hot water with a big wedge of lemon. 
  2. This is so easy and you get a lot of mileage for very little time or money.  It stimulates digestion gently – kind of like waking up to a nice gong alarm clock or a gentle sunrise, instead of a slap in the face (a.k.a. coffee, cereal, or nothing).  Your skin will thank you, and so will your liver.  Consider it a very cheap facial.

  3. Double your intake of vegetables.  If you don’t already, make them organic.  An easy way to do this is to add things like spinach, sprouts or kale into a smoothie.  Combined with lemon, banana or pineapple, it’ll still taste like a fruit smoothie.  This will save you hours and hours of chewing vegetables, which you will never do anyway.  Another option is to have a Mediterranean breakfast that includes chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and parsley.  
  4. Cut out processed carbohydrates and sugars.  If it comes in a package, is pasta, or bread, it’s probably in this category.  With this one you really have to bite the bullet (or not bite it), because it can be tough.  It’s also rewarding in the very short term, and the long term. This stuff is clogging up your system, yielding two-hour cycles of fatigue and hunger, increasing inflammation in your entire body, impeding digestion, increasing your risk for diabetes, and making you fat.  This is a slippery slope – it’s hard to eat just one.
  5. Drink more water, and drink it earlier in the day than you usually do.  This will keep you from that evening thirst that inevitably leads to a 3 am, mid-sleep trip to the loo.  Flush your system, manage cravings, and sleep soundly through the night.
  6. Swap out at least some of your coffee for green tea.  I know you’ve heard this one before.  This is not exactly moving to a monastery, so calm down before rejecting this one.  It’s just an experiment to see how things go exchanging adrenal overstimulation for some tasty anti-oxidants, and you still get your caffeine.
  7. Enjoy organic green juice once or twice a day.  This is not the same as #2.  This is actually in addition to eating all those vegetables.  Green juice has no fiber, and if it’s fresh (which it should be), the bioavailability of the potent nutrients created by mother nature is the best you can ingest.  In my book this is the liquid gold of the food world. Note that green smoothies (like Odwalla and Naked) are often made weeks ago, and have a lot of sugars.  You want the fresh organic stuff from a juice bar, or your own juicer.  If you’ve never tried it, what are you waiting for?  
  8. Sweat or scrub once a day, any way you like.  This can mean a run, a yoga class, dancing in your living room (or with your office door closed), playing squash, a body scrub or a quick addition to your shower protocol.  Help your lymph system along, and stimulate endorphins while you’re at it.
  9. Let go of what doesn’t serve you.  Something probably came to mind as soon as you read this, and it’s not a coincidence.  However small it may seem, release thoughts, relationships or habits that are out of alignment with your authentic self.  This can be as simple as a long exhale.  It can also be much more complicated.  Start small and see what happens.

If you find it hard to start or maintain any of these practices, ask yourself why.  What are you doing instead?  What would it mean if you cared for yourself this well?  What might you release if your body wasn’t weighed down with suboptimal nutrition?

Your body is the one you have for life.  It’s smarter than “you” are, and if it’s clogged with environmental toxins and addicted to caffeine, processed foods and sugar, you’re not going to be able to tune into the wisdom you’re embodying right now.  You are so wise.  Choose a few or all of these practices, and give yourself the support you deserve.

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