When the World Grows Dark – Laugh!

I had an startling exchange with a friend the other day….when I opened our conversation with a Facebook funny to mark the upcoming World Laughter Day (May 5), she interrupted me with a heartfelt cry of “How can you make jokes at a time like this!”

Wow. The passion of her response stopped me in my tracks: who hasn’t asked that question as the headlines grow darker? But the truth is, as Robin Williams once said, “Comedy can be a cathartic way to deal with…trauma.”

I mean, just think about a world without humor…where Robin Williams’ wild wit never left us breathless with laughter, or Tina Fey never took the wind out of Sarah Palin’s political sails. Where Stephen Colbert, John Anderson, and D.L. Hughey never pointed up the absurdities of the political scene, or Swami Beyondananda never made life lessons divinely funny.

A world where you could never laugh until you cried, or where a well-timed quip never turned a crying jag into a choke and a watery giggle.

Because, you see, all the best comedians know that laughter truly is the other side of tears. To be human, we need both, and both are healing.

In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine famously tells the story of Saturday Review editor-in-chief Norman Cousins, who responded to a terminal diagnosis by locking himself in a hotel room with films of Candid Camera, the Marx Brothers, and stacks of funny books….and slowly laughed his way back to health.

That was the start of a whole new field of medicine called psychoneuroimmunology, which studies the way our thoughts and feelings affect the chemicals in our brain which affect our bodies’ chemical responses to bacteria and viruses. According to the mental health nonprofit site HelpGuide.org, laughter…

  • relaxes the whole body for up to 45 minutes
  • boosts the immune system by decreasing stress hormones such as cortisol  and increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies
  • triggers the release of endorphins – hormones which promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain
  • protects the heart by improving the function of blood vessels and increasing blood flow

These benefits are  essential for everyone, but especially for us On The Go, High Performing, High Achieving Women, who need something to help decrease our feelings of stress and overwhelm and bring more ease into our lives.

Indigenous peoples understand the healing properties of laughter, even in the midst of grief. Many Native traditions celebrate the role of the Trickster – the blundering “backwards teacher” who keeps the People laughing and demonstrates to the children how not to act. Interestingly, the Trickster shows up over and over again as a creator or savior figure – which shows the cosmic power of humor!

And then there’s the transformational Trickster: I remember the story of a memorial sweatlodge for a beloved elder, where the participants shared memories and groaned and sobbed their grief, until the ceremonial leader solemnly tricked them into tears of laughter with an obscene practical joke. Irreverent? Definitely! But it gave them the energy they needed to pick up and move on.

So for you On The Go Woman,  how can you tap into the laughter on World Laughter Day? Here are some ideas…and remember, all of them are even more fun when you’re trying them with friends!

  • Load up on comedy DVDs and laugh the night away. Whether you’re a fan of the Looney Tunes, Three Stooges and Marx Brothers, Robin Williams, Seinfeld, Garfunkel & Oates, or Chris Rock, binge to your heart’s content. You’ll be surprised how good you feel in the morning!
  • Try Laughter Yoga  – the healing practice of learning to laugh for no reason, without jokes or comedy setups. Your body responds the same way to real and fake laughter – and most times, the fake chortles soon turn into genuine guffaws!
  • Get together with friends for Game Night – whether you’re playing Charades, Pictionary, Taboo, Cranium or Scattergories, add some extra-silly twists to get the group giggling.  Or my favorite, to balance my doing with being, is Backwards Talent night, where everybody competes with tone-deaf singing, over-the-top acting, or klutzy dancing – the silliest act wins! (Watch out,  cause if you are playing with me I can be pretty silly)

The ancients had a saying: the devil cannot abide laughter. When we find and affirm Joy even when things are dark, we’re choosing wellness, light, and life… helping others to do the same….and making a positive difference in our world.

In the comment section below please share how you will tap into laughter today.

Awakening Your Sixth Chakra: The Seat of the Soul

Over the past few months we’ve been moving steadily through the first five chakras – from the issues of survival and tribal connection associated with the root, all the way to the issues of personal truth and authentic communication associated with the throat chakra.

And at last we’ve reached the most famous of the body’s seven energy centers – the Third Eye, or Brow Chakra, known in Sanskrit as Ajna. Famed in ancient traditions around the world as a source of wisdom, dreams, perception and insight regarding both the outer world and your inward world, the sixth chakra is the place of your wise inner observer and guide. The French philosopher Rene Descartes, in fact, called the third eye the seat of the soul.

The Chakra Anatomy site  states:

The energy of Ajna allows us to access our inner guidance that comes from the depths of our being. It allows us to cut through illusion and to access deeper truths – to see beyond the mind, beyond the words. The “way of the third eye” is seeing everything as it is from a point of “witness” or “observer”, or from simply being mindful – moment by moment. It means examining self-limiting ideas and developing wisdom that comes from a perspective that transcends the duality of good or bad, black or white. It means seeing and helping others to see the deeper meanings of the situations in their lives. Sixth chakra is holistic in nature. When this chakra is fully activated, both hemispheres of the brain function in synchrony. The right hemisphere’s creativity and synthetic thinking is integrated and balanced with left hemisphere’s logical and analytical thinking”. 

For centuries mystics associated the sixth chakra with the pineal gland, which reaches its peak of activity in the adolescent years when a child goes through a sexual maturation. At that time, in some traditional indigenous cultures, children undergo a spiritual initiation designed to awaken and enhance the functioning of the third eye.

In many adults, however, this gland calcifies. Perhaps for this reason, many people feel as they age that their third eye is dormant or suppressed – and that their ability to tap into its intuitive wisdom is also suppressed.

If this is the case for you, you may feel out of touch with your creativity and intuition, unable to trust your perceptions and inner wisdom. You may struggle with a sense of being disconnected from both the physical and spiritual worlds and from other people at a profound, energetic level.

What can you do to awaken your sixth chakra and reconnect with your intuitive wisdom?

Harmonize your outer environment with this chakra by wearing or decorating with the colors of crystalline white and cobalt blue. Crystals such as diamond, sapphire and emerald support this chakra on a deep energetic level, as do the fragrances of frankincense, holy basil,  and sandalwood.

On the body level, stimulating spices for the third eye include basil, cardamom, chili powder, curry, dill, ginger, mint, nutmeg, turmeric, and wasabi. Chocolate awakens this chakra, as do purple-red fruits such as grapes, blueberries, blackberries boysenberries, figs, raisins and plums; and vegetables such as eggplant, purple kale, and purple cabbage. Vitamins and supplements further help to nourish and stimulate the third eye.

You can help to awaken the third eye through your yoga practice:

  • Downward facing dog – as you hold this pose, concentrate on the third eye and/or visualize a deep-blue light.
  • Plough pose – this pose is known to tone all the chakras at the same time. It is also known as one of the most relaxing poses and will give you time to focus your energy on the third eye.

On the spiritual level, practices such as meditation, visualization, and chanting help to support the activity of the third eye. The Eclectic Energies site offers this practice:

Put your hands before the lower part of your breast. The middle fingers are straight and touch at the tops, pointing forward. The other fingers are bended and touch at the upper two phalanges. The thumbs point towards you and touch at the tops.
Concentrate on the Third Eye chakra slightly above the point between the eyebrows.
Chant the sound OM or AUM.

Finally, you can post affirmations in places where they will catch your eye, and repeat them to yourself through the day:

  • I create clarity of mind and unlimited vision for myself.
  • I trust that my highest good and greatest joy are unfolding.
  • I am wise, intuitive, and aligned with my highest good.

Love Your Food, Love Your Body in Nutrition Month!

Happy Nutrition Month! I must confess, loving healthy food and wellness  as I do, this is one of my favorite awareness months.  For  you busy, overwhelmed women who might be looking at the many ways to achieve healthy nutrition, or savoring the results, it’s a topic to “bite into,” as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics puts it.usda-food-guide-pyramid-1992-300x232

“But what can you possibly say that’s new?” you might be wondering. “We’ve all been taught the Food Pyramid for years.” Yes, we have indeed…and the familiar old USDA metaphor is getting some competitors (and high time, too, I’d say!). For example, the Harvard School of Public Health is re-visioning the pyramid as a plate, cutting out sweets and limiting fats, and putting the emphasis on vegetables, with equal amounts of healthy proteins and whole grains, and a smaller proportion of fruit.


But if you ask me, this version is still missing important elements, and misrepresenting others! For example, where are the healthy fats – avocados, coconut oil, Omega-3s, nuts, seeds, and so forth? Simply not present. Neither are superfoods like, coconut, mushrooms and goji berries, or healing spices like garlic and turmeric. And worst of all, there is an assumption that all food is created equal – there is no recognition of the risks in GMOs, or the extent to which they are present in the U.S. food industry.

So I cast my vote for the brilliant new Healing Foods Pyramid developed by the University of Michigan school of Integrative Medicine. This new design includes new sectors for seasonings, healthy fats, and legumes, and the foundation of the whole thing is – imagine! – water. The developers specifically emphasize:

  • Healing foods: Consume foods known to contribute to your health.
  • Plant-based choices: Choose minimally processed plant foods that are known for their health benefits.
  • Variety and balance: Fill your plate with whole grains, healthy fats, and a colorful array of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Support of a healthful environment: Select foods that have been produced without harming our planet.
  • Mindful eating: Truly savor, enjoy, and focus on what you eat.

These people are speaking more of my language! They’re up front about the benefits of organic, non-GMO foods, eating local, and so much more. They offer food – as I do – as a source of healing and wellness, and warn against the ways in which it’s being misused today.

So what can I add to this excellent information? Most important, I’d urge you to include more alkaline foods in your diet – the American diet is very acidic, leading to indigestion, inflammation, and ultimately major diseases such as cancer. You can find information on the acid-alkaline balance, and a food list, here: http://www.energiseforlife.com/acid-alkaline-food-chart.pdf.

What are the worst culprits in causing inflammation and other health issues? Corn and soy (two of the top GMO crops – surprised?), as well as eggs, gluten, sugar and peanuts.

Generally, your best bet is to limit processed sweets and grains and include more plant-based proteins in your diet. A large amount of grains such as wheat, rice, and oats can cause a fluctuation in blood sugar even if you’re not diabetic, leading to sleepiness, nervous tension and irritability, and other symptoms. If you’ve ever had a case of the 2:00 p.m. slump,  after eating a grain-heavy lunch, this is a prime example!

And while we’re talking about plant-based proteins — ! If you consume a moderate to high quantity of beans, grains, seeds and nuts, it’s best to soak and sprout them, or buy them this way. According to Tess Masters in Veg Daily Blog . These seeds are protected from early germination by natural enzymes that can cause stomach upset, bloating, and flatulence. She says, “Soaking and sprouting replicates germination, which activates and multiplies nutrients (particularly Vitamins A, B, and C), neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, and promotes the growth of vital digestive enzymes.”

Your best course is simply to watch your own body’s responses: how does a food or food combination affect your energy level and mood? By paying attention to the impact of different foods, you can determine which are healthiest – or unhealthiest – for you, and build a meal plan that truly supports you in mind, body and spirit.

Finally for you women on the go -slow down, eat mindfully, chew thoroughly, drink plenty of water, and most of all, give thanks before eating! Whether you’re thanking Spirit for providing the food, or thanking the farmers who are growing it, the energy of gratitude is a powerful medicine to improve your digestion and health overall.


Pomegranate Love Smoothie


  • 1 cup of organic (not from concentrate) Pomegranate Juice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of organic spinach
  • 1 avocado (peeled and cored)
  • 1 TBS of chia seeds
  • 1 TBS of Maca powderr
  • 2 TBS of Goji Berries

Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour in your favorite glass and enjoy.

This smoothie is in honor of February love month. The ingredients in this smoothie are beneficial for your heart health as well as your sexual mojo.

Pomegrant Juice

– Compounds found only in pomegranates called punicalagins are shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels. Punicalagins are the major component responsible for pomegranate’s antioxidant and health benefits.

Studies have shown Pomegranate juice may help improve sexual performance and fertility.


– contains lutein an antioxidant carotenoid which prevents or reduces atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Spinach also contains nitrate which lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health. Leafy vegetables such as spinach contain vitamin E and iron, which helps produce more oestrogen the hormone that increases the sex drive in women. And it increases levels of testosterone in men.


– has a number of essential minerals, monounsaturated fats (the good kind that protect the heart and lower cholesterol), and vitamin B6—all of which help keep your energy and sex drive up.

They’re also a top source of omega 3 fatty acids, which naturally boost your mood, making you more likely to want to get you mojo on.

Chia Seeds

– are considered an energy tonic that moistens the yin (fluids) of the body enhancing joint activity and sexual health. They also are high in Omega 3


– is widely used to promote sexual function of both men and women. It serves as a boost to your libido and increases endurance. At the same time it balances your hormones and increases fertility.

Goji Berries

– “In Asia, goji berries are known as a strong sexual tonic. They increase testosterone levels, which stimulates libido in both men and women. Furthermore, they improve overall stamina, mood and wellbeing, all of which are vital for an optimum sex life”. (Natural News)

I would love to hear if your taste buds were dancing and your mojo was alive after drinking this smoothie.


Nourish Limitless Love and Change the World by Healing the Heart Chakra

Over the past year we’ve looked at the chakras as they relate to your wellness in body, mind and spirit – from the grounding of the root chakra in our most basic survival instincts; to the emotions of the sacral chakra, balancing point of individuality and relationship; to the inner fire of the solar plexus chakra, driving our will and identity.

And as we celebrate National Heart Month as well as Valentine’s Day, what better time to look at the heart chakra.

It’s the heart chakra that helps us to see the world as a warm and friendly place…that helps us to reach out and connect with others in friendship, compassion, and altruistic love…that makes it possible for us to meld our awareness with Divine Awareness to achieve inner peace.

The Sanskrit name for the heart chakra is Anahata, meaning “unbeaten” or “unhurt” – and this is its gift. No matter how much pain and sorrow your heart may be carrying, the heart chakra carries an unbreakable connection to a limitless, infinite Love, overflowing with compassion for all beings, including yourself.

But if your heart chakra is wounded and out of balance, whether through early childhood suffering or generational or past-life trauma, you may try to reduce your pain by resorting to coping mechanisms such as co-dependency, envy, or possessiveness over things or people. You may numb out through food, narcotics or other substances, shopping or other addictions; you may be unable to access or express your emotions easily; and you may hold grudges for injuries that you’ve suffered.

All of this is on the psychological/spiritual side. On the physical side, imbalance in the heart chakra may show up as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, chest pain. Imbalance may also surface as weakness in the immune system or a susceptibility to auto-immune disorders, because the heart chakra is also linked to the thymus gland, which regulates the immune system..

With heart disease the #1 cause of death in the U.S., is it any wonder that our nation also shows the social impact of heart-chakra imbalance? Violence in the streets and homes, sexual abuse, child abuse, massive depression, addictions and co-dependency, acting out rather than sharing emotions…this is taking the individual symptoms to a cultural level.

And if each of us takes the step to balance and heal our heart chakras, we can help to shift this imbalance.

How can we do this? Here are just a few…

Colors and Stones

The colors associated with the heart chakra are soft pink (as you’d see in a rose quartz crystal) and soft green (as you’d see in the semiprecious stones of jade, green aventurine, emerald, and green tourmaline). Imagine these colors glowing gently around your heart, cradling it in warm light and pure love. You may want to invest in one of these stones, if it calls you, and hang it as a pendant over your heart.

Essential oils

The aromas of Rose, Neroli (orange blossom) and Melissa (lemon balm) are particularly healing to the heart chakra. You may want to use one of these in a diffuser or a candle while you work or meditate, or in a bath in the evening. Intentionally use them to make your space warm, nurturing, and safe for your heart to open and blossom.

Heart-Healing Foods

The very foods that can help our hearts nutritionally also help them from the energetic side. For example, dark green leafies such as kale, spinach, chard, collards, and turnip and mustard greens contain Vitamin K, which prevents hardening of the arteries and supports blood flow. Other greens, such as parsley, dill, basil, and thyme, contain nitrates which help to protect the heart. Finally, studies show that green teas can significantly lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Dr. Deanna Minich in Nature And Health.com states that the “very organization” of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli , cauliflower and brussels sprouts – all very beneficial to the physical heart – “mirrors that of the unfolding spirals of the roselike heart chakra.”

Yoga Poses

As Barbara Kaplan Herring writes in Yoga Journal , the Cobra and Fish poses open up the chest and heart. On a psychological/spiritual level, she adds, backbends help you to develop the trust and surrender that are necessary for you to open your heart.

Invoking Divine Love

You can also help to balance and heal your heart chakra by intentionally invoking the energy of Divine Love in everything you do:

  • Making meals with love, and saying a prayer of gratitude before you eat
  • Going out walking in nature, or lying in the grass and connecting with the Earth through your heart
  • Opening your heart in sharing with others
  • Forgiving – Letting go of past hurts, regrets and resentments
  • Loving yourself
  • Saying affirmations such as “I am Love,” or “I allow love to flow to me and through me”

Meditate to activate the Heart Chakra
Finaly, the HeartMath Institute has released a wealth of information on the heart and its role in the mind-body-spirit levels of our being. I recommend the entire site, and doing the Quick Coherence Meditation can bring remarkable results in rebalancing the heart chakra.

Finally, be sure to connect with a health advisor who honors your full being on all levels, not only the physical symptoms but the causes underlying. Healing most often proceeds from the deepest spiritual levels and moves outwards, and may involve resolving uncomfortable emotions.  You can also schedule a complimentary wellness discovery session to explore what individualized needs you might have on nourishing your heart chakra. Click here to schedule a discovery session.

“The distinguished scientists at the Institute of HeartMath (IHM) and Global Coherence Initiative (GCI) have conducted extensive research on the power of heart intelligence, intuition and the energetic connection between all things. IHM and GCI have explored the intricacies of heart-brain messaging, how emotions affect human biology and the influences of geomagnetic fields and solar activity on our health and daily activities. We invite you to examine the following research”.
Check out this video to learn more about the power of the heart

Please share below how you nourish your heart chakra.

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry Syrup is a great elixir you can use to prevent upper respiratory infections or to shorten the duration of a cold or flu. Elderberries have the following benefits

  • are high in vitamin C
  • are very high in vitamin A
  • are very high in quercetin (an antioxidant)
  • are anti-inflammatory
  • possess antiviral properties that have been shown to treat colds and flu


  • 1 cup of fresh dried elderberries
  • 2 cups of water
  • ½ cup raw honey or 1/2 cup tart cherry juice concentrate


  1. Place water and elderberries in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. If using tart cherry juice add at this time.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes
  2. Remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
  3. Discard the elderberries (or compost them!) and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add honey and stir well.
  4. When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a pint sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind

 Variations: Add ginger, cinnamon and cardamom to the simmering mixture.


The syrup will keep well in the fridge.


To use elderberry syrup

Adults take 1-3 tablespoons each day to prevent colds and the flu.

To shorten the duration of an illness take liberally at the first sign of a cold or flu.


Have you ever used elderberry syrup? If so, I would love for you to share your experience. If you want more information or support with staying well this winter join the next Zest and Harmony Rejuvenation Cleanse

Let Go and Be in the Wintertime Sleep

So the last leaves have drifted off the trees, and the cold winds are blowing…the snowbirds are off to the Southern sunshine and the snowbunnies are off to their slopes and rinks. And you may be wondering – in this season of cold and flu, frenetic holidays and this business of the season how can you and your family stay healthy?

You’ve probably heard all the basics that mainstream Western doctors recommend – dressing appropriately for the weather, washing hands frequently, etc., etc. – so let’s move on to the deeper issues that most winter wellness articles don’t even touch.

In Chinese medicine, winter is associated with the element of Water, and the colors of deep blue and black. Surprising, no? You might have expected the crystalline white of snow or the frosted green of water under ice…but in Five Element tradition this time of year represents the deepest Yin qualities, and these are as dark as the longest night.

And while popular wisdom prescribes bright, shiny, active practices to counter the lengthening nights, Five Element practitioners recommend quieting down. Of course this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go off for an occasional jaunt to enjoy skiing or skating or snowshoeing – but with the harvests of the spring, summer and fall activities gathered in, winter is the time to rest, clear and cleanse your system, conserve your energies, nurture yourself and your loved ones, and gather strength for the next cycle of growth.

According to the Five Elements path of traditional Chinese medicine, winter is the time to pay attention to the root chakras. The Kidneys and Bladder, Storehouses of the Vital Essence, are particularly associated with this time, signifying flow, purification and adaptability. Are you drinking enough pure water to flush toxins out? Are you taking in healthy, organic whole foods and getting enough vitamins and minerals? Remember that the food you eat nourishes not only your body, but also your mind and soul…so choose your foods with care, and bless them in the preparation and the eating.

Fluids generally lie in the domain of Winter…and this is also the season of dry, chapped hands, feet, face, and lips. When you’re indoors for long periods of time, breathing recycled air and staring at computer screens, you’re also liable to experience dry nose and mouth, and dry eyes. Again, by drinking enough water, you can reduce all of these problems. If you need additional moisture, however, be sure that it’s from organic, plant-based sources; stay away from petroleum-based moisturizers, which close your pores, thus drying your skin and preventing it from breathing naturally.

 On a deeper level, most people are aware of the “winter blues” as Seasonal Affective Disorder…and the winter holidays are a notoriously difficult time if you’re dealing with SAD plus challenging family situations, career challenges, or other difficulties. Depression, grieving, loss and tears (fluids again) are a common experience at this time, even though popular mythology claims it’s “the most wonderful time of the year.”

But traditional Chinese medicine recognizes a deeper emotion associated with Winter: fear. From humanity’s earliest days, we have feared the encroaching dark and the dangers it held: the shorter days, the dying vegetation, the hungry bellies and hungrier predators, the cold winds and the bitter cold of death. Today, while we know that the days will lengthen, we are still, subconsciously, sharing an experience similar to that of our early ancestors: as the planet’s species and food sources are collapsing, we unconsciously feel an underlying loss and fear as we enter the winter darkness, not knowing if lush, healthy life will return.

But just as popular culture insists that we should remain Yang – bright, happy, outward-looking, and active – throughout the year, we’re expected not to show either our sadness or our anxiety, whatever its cause. This is where traditional Chinese medicine can help: by recognizing the Yin of this season, naming and allowing rather than suppressing our feelings of loss and fear, we can free ourselves from their paralysis.

What does that look like? Let’s look at Five Elements tradition again. The bones and bone marrow are associated with the element of Water and the season of Winter. That speaks of structure as well as flow: the flow of chi and kundalini as we sit upright in meditation, hearing our innermost thoughts and the silent voice of Spirit; the flow of movement as we stretch and bend in yoga or other mindful movement practices, connecting with our body awareness and the Earth.

These practices may arouse emotions…the trembling of pent-up tension…even tears. Let these healing waters flow! They’re flushing out both physical and energetic toxins, and opening the doors to healing, wisdom and clarity.

 Even more important, they are opening the door to the spiritual resource of Winter: Power and Ambition, the strength to pursue your vision. Once you have allowed yourself to experience your deepest loss and fear, touched the pain that lies beneath it, and released the tears holding that pain, you unveil the strength, passion and power at your core. This is the new hope that you can nurture into bloom next spring! Do you want your mind, body and spirit to be nourished doing this yin time of year, if so join me on Jan 7 and 7:30 p.m. EST for Winterize Your Wellness and Blossom Into Spring Webinar. Click here to register.

In this webinar you will learn the following:

1. The importance of allowing time for stillness
2. How to nourish your kidney, bladder and root chakra
3. Tips to prevent cold and flu
4. The importance of a holistic cleanse

You will also learn how to make elderberry syrup and fire cider.




Green Plantain Stuffing

This dish is a great alternative for those of you looking for a gluten free vegan stuffing. I adapted this recipe from Cuban Fufu and made it for Thanksgiving. Everyone at dinner was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it tasted and how similar it was to traditional stuffing.  Make it as a side dish for  your holiday dinner and share your thoughts below.


  • 4 green plantains
  • Coconut oil for sauteing
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)



  1. Peel the green plantains and then cut them into 3/4 inch slices.
  2. Place coconut oil in frying pan along with plantain slices
  3. Cook the slices in the hot oil for 3 -4 minutes. They should be a light golden color and semi-soft.
  4. Remove the plantain slices with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  5. When the plantain slices are cool enough to handle (about 1 minute) put them in a food process and pulse for about 30 seconds. (I blended the plantain in a nutri-bullet with vegetable broth. )
  6. In a saucepan sauté onions and garlic with coconut oil on medium hear until soft
  7. Add plantain, seasoning, and vegetable broth a little at a time until everything is incorporated.
  8. If the stuffing is not moist enough, add more broth until you get the consistency you prefer.
  9. Serve warm as a side and enjoy.


Can You Enjoy the Holidays without “Without?” Yes – with Mindfulness and Skillful Means…

Ah, the holidays! Time to eat, drink, and feel guilty…or to turn away virtuously, talking about your diet, and then feel haunted by the hors d’oeuvres not tasted, the nogg not sipped, the desserts not nibbled, and dare I mention the chocolate —!!!

You know, it’s a funny thing: as I was drafting this post I created a placeholder on the importance of being mindful with out eating during the holidays. I looked and looked again – was it just a silly typo, or was it a Freudian slip?

So often without is exactly the default we embrace in our approach to the holidays and their culinary delights: eating without anything deliciously sinful. We should (we think) be eating salads without dressing, proteins and veges without sauces or carbs, and of course dinner without appetizers or dessert. Like Puritans engaging in sex only for procreation, and heaven forbid they enjoy it!

So am I urging you to go wild – mindfully – at the table, the bar, the buffet? Of course not!

How, you might ask? Through another aspect of mindfulness: a Buddhist value called skillful means. That is, creative thinking to achieve enlightenment, with harm to none and compassion to all. On/off, black/white, yes/no, zero tolerance thinking, have no part in skillful means.

So for this year I’d like to offer tips that provide skillful means toward eating healthily, taking pleasure in your meals, without overeating, gaining unwanted weight, or feeling guilty. And after the holidays, you’ll be charged with a feeling of accomplishment and the energy to continue the new habits you’ve achieved.

Here they are…

  1. Set your eating intentions for the holiday. Are you eating to maintain your current weight or to release weight…or perhaps to treat a food allergy or system imbalance? Does this affect your feelings about food? How can you work around those feelings, if necessary? Stating your intent, recognizing your feelings and potential obstacles, setting a goal and creating a clear plan of action will help you to stick to your food choices.
  2. Before you begin to eat or drink, drink a tall glass of water (8-16 oz). This will help you to begin your meal feeling full.
  3. Rather than avoiding holiday goodies entirely and feeling deprived, Neghar Fonooni (http://www.negharfonooni.com/ ) advises choosing your indulgences wisely through this series of questions:
  • Is this (food, drink, etc) in line with my intentions?
  • If it isn’t in line with my intentions, will it really make a huge difference (physically) in the long run if I consume it?
  • If I consume it, will I feel guilty? (If not, commit to guiltless consumption.)
  • If I don’t consume it, will it detract from my experience in any way?
  • And then proceed accordingly…
  1. If you are going to someone’s house bring a delicious/nutritious dish to share with others. Make it with your own dietary needs and goals in mind – this way, no matter what you may choose not to eat, you always have a fallback.
  2. At the party, pause and take a breath before fixing your plate. This keeps you in the present moment. Notice the beauty of the table, the variety and abundance of dishes, the creativity and care they represent. Make a point of sharing your appreciation with others. Celebrate the moment!
  3. Take small servings; you can always come back for seconds. By slowing down the process of eating and making it more conscious, you are allowing your sense of satisfaction to be based on the entire sensory experience rather than just the food.
  4. Before you begin to eat, pause again and think of how each dish was made (the seed, the water and sun that helped the seed to grow, the farmer, the person who made the dish, etc). Take a moment to say “thank you” or a blessing.
  5. Involve all your senses when eating:
  • Smell the aromas of the foods. See if you can identify seasonings they contain
  • Observe all the different colors
  • Feel the texture of foods in your hands or on your tongue
  • Listen to how the foods sound as you chew them
  • Savor the flavors in every bite. Allow your taste buds to dance!
  1. Put down your eating utensils between bites and chew your food thoroughly, until it is liquefied. Research shows that eating slowly can help you to eat less. Chewing your food also breaks it down and helps with digestion, which aids in absorbing more of the nutrients.
  2. Eat until you are satisfied. If you have already eaten a healthy portion and you are still wanting more, check in with your higher wisdom: are you looking for something other than food? What is it that you really need, and how can that need be answered? So often we use food to replace other deeply felt needs.
  3. If food or other issues are causing you stress over the holidays, don’t try to go it alone. Reach out to a, therapist, nutritionist or wellness coach or schedule a nutritional wellness discovery session with me.  Just having this support can make all the difference.

Most of all, focus on being fully present with yourself and your loved ones while you enjoy the festivities!


Turmeric/Ginger Latte

Turmeric/Ginger Latte


1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk

½ cup water

1 Tbs coconut oil

1 tsp powdered turmeric

1 tsp powdered ginger

2 tsp of cacao (optional)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Raw Local honey to taste or Stevia

1 dash of cinnamon

1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut milk


Directions: Place first seven ingredients in a small pot. Warm on medium heat until hot. Put in blender or nutribullet (my favorite type of blender). Add honey and 1/4 cup of cold coconut milk. Blend for about 20 secs. Pour in your favorite cup and add a dash of cinnamon. Enjoy!

The above recipe was adapted from Mary Shenouda’s Anti-inflammatory Turmeric Tea recipe, which was a part of the Thyroid Session. Mary did a video demonstration on how to make this tea. I was very impressed and decided to try something similar. The one thing she said was key was blending all of the ingredients in a blender. This gives the drink a creamy, frothy like consistency. All I can say is delicious! I can’t seem to get enough. I have been drinking one almost everyday.

Here are the benefits of this tea :

Coconut milk – contains minerals like, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and zinc. It also contains lauric acid, which has been found to exhibit antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties

Coconut Oil –contains healthy antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial saturated fats. Contains lauric acid. Has immune system –enhancing properties. Is a antioxidant. Helps regulate blood sugar

Turmeric – anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and is liver detoxifier

Ginger – anti-inflammatory, improves immune system. It also improves the absorption and stimulation of essential nutrients in the body, by stimulating gastric and pancreatic enzyme secretion.

Cacao – contains minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese .Essential vitamins such as: A, B1, B2, B3, C, E and Pantothenic acid. Is a antioxidant. Cacao can also increase the levels of serotonin, which help improve your mood.

Cinnamon – contains mineral like manganese, iron and calcium. Has anti-bacterial and antimicrobial properties. Is a antioxidant and also helps regulate blood sugar.

Do you want more recipes that support your health and wellness during the autumn season? Join the Zest and Harmony Autumn Cleanse