Be beautiful, inside and out

raw-fruits-and-vegetables

 

We all want beauty.  I am not talking about that “cover girl”  ideal of beauty.  I am talking about kindness, love, synergy, balance and health.  Creating beauty in ourselves is the result or our day-to-day actions.  Beauty is an achievement.  So mind your behavior and earn it, step by step.  Of course becoming a loving generous soul is a big part of the path to beauty.  But  today I would like to talk about food and how it creates beauty in us.

If you could eat yourself beautiful, would you?  Good news, you can.  Healthy skin, hair and weight are waiting for you at your kitchen.

If you want to eat for beauty you have to understand the importance of balance in your body.  Ideally our eating habits would help us maintain an acid/alkaline balance in our body.  Unfortunately in our fast food nation our diets tend to lean towards the acid.  According to the book Eating for Beauty: “Acidity is the underlying cause of all the aliments that mar beauty.  Acidity creates inflammation, puffiness, asymmetry, and construction of the tissues.”

You can check your ph levels with testing strips.  It’s an easy and inexpensive way to see where you stand in a very basic level.  The ph balance goes from extremely acid at 0.0 to too alkaline at 14.00.  So 7.0 would be the right balance.  Also you could notice the following symptoms:

Too Acidic

Muscle tension

Stress headaches

Anger/short temper

Coffee or cigarette addiction

Itchy skin

Acne

 

Too Alkaline

Laziness

Lack of drive

Lack of focus

Feeling too cold

Weakness

 

For most of us in order to regain a balanced PH we would need to consume more alkaline foods such as leafy greens and less acidic ones like meats and sugars.  You can find an extensive list of the types of food that are alkaline and acidic here.

Once you restore balance in your body you are likely to see improvement in your “beauty” and health.

Then you can begin to focus on including more beautifying foods to your diet.  These foods can be described as either alkaline, high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory  and/or  have high amounts of minerals like sulfur, silicon, zinc, iron and manganese. Here are a few of the ones that raw food expert, David Wolfe, recommends :

Aloe Vera

Arugula

Coconut Oil

Cucumber

Figs

Olives

Onion

Papaya

Pumpkin Seeds

For a complete list and how to use them you might want to check out the book “Eating for Beauty”.

 

Well, I guess I’ll be heading to the grocery store soon to stock up on some of these health and beauty foods. Hope next time I see you, we are more beautiful. 🙂

 

 

 

The blissful challenge

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What is bliss?  According to the  Vimuttimagga (ancient Buddhist meditation manual, also known as the path of freedom), bliss is contact with the lovable and ease-giving.  It is brought on upon tranquility.  Tranquility of the mind is bliss.  When I look at my kids sometimes I can feel bliss.  And if I allow myself to be part of their world, then I can certainly experience bliss.  Just another one of the perks of being a mom :).  Experiencing bliss is like an instant vacation with all the perks and non of the stress.  And who doesn’t want a vacation?!

Unfortunately being in bliss is not a daily occurrence for most of us. 

I recognize it is easy to get carried away with the mundane on a regular basis.  Too many chores, too much noise, too many expectations, too many words.  Our environment can be, well , just too much.  We are so tangled in our own web of “too much” we can’t even see what is what.  I encourage you to stop for a second and ask yourself when was the last time you experienced bliss.  If the answer is more than a day, then it is too long.  A life without bliss is an absent one.

It is possible that if we allowed ourselves the kindness of practicing mindfulness we would be able to live in bliss more often.  It is possible  that by loving ourselves with the intention of sharing that love with others we could live a mindful life.  For most of us that is an active effort, but one worth making.    

Today I invite you to examine your day-to-day.  I invite you sit in silence and just breathe for five minutes.  Don’t expect anything, don’t analyze.  Don’t make to-do lists in your head and don’t reprimand yourself for making a to-do list in your head :).  Just do nothing for five minutes today.   If you don’t have five minutes then you should do ten 🙂 .   You deserve five minutes of blissful silence that might lead you to bliss.

I challenge you to do this every day for a week.  Hopefully by then you will feel worthy of such pampering and treat yourself to bliss on a regular basis.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

As I dropped Lucas for his last day of school today (this is his first school year)  I heard David Bowie in my head.

Still don’t know what I was waitin’ for
And my time was runnin’ wild
A million dead end streets and
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me…”

Before becoming a mom I was lost most the time.  Then I became a mom and got even more lost!  Then one magic day, not long ago, I found myself.  I found myself surrounded with love and unprecedented joy.  I found myself staring at my children and my heart fell into place.

For those of you that do not know me, I have been struggling with being a mom.  Something I’m sure most go through.  The struggle, I mean, wether you are a parent or not.  Life was becoming so hard.  What’s with the constant struggle?!  What gives?!  Well I realized I was holding on to a person I no longer was.  I thought being a mom was driving me crazy when it was me behind the wheel the whole time.  I kept thinking at some point I could go back to the past!  When there is nothing but NOW and  hope for the future.  And what a wonderful NOW I was missing out on.   I had an AHA! moment and motherhood became me :).  I let go of the struggle and welcomed the challenge of every moment.

So much suffering could be avoided if we just got out of our heads and into our lives.  I understand the challenges that can come with change.  I know it is not always easy to let go.  Moving in synchronicity with the moment can feel like an impossible task.  But NOTHING is impossible.  And sometimes achieving the impossible dream is just a matter of changing our minds.

Today I invite you to change your mind.  Change your mind about anything and everything.  Live NOW because, not only is it all we got, it can be the best time of your life, every time :).

Lucas is moving on to his next big adventure, Pre-K.  And as he moves with ease an detachment from one stage to the next he reminds me to loosen my grip.

Last day at Mrs. Hamilton's classroom!

Last day at Mrs. Hamilton’s classroom!

 

Marcos first close encounter with an older and wiser lady :)

Marcos first close encounter with an older and wiser lady 🙂

Today I look back and honor all the changes that have led me here.  I celebrate all the love, joy and tears that have brought me home.  And sing along Bowie…

“Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time.”

 

Hurray for Mondays :)

 

Make a splash every day!

Make a splash every day!

 

I know starting the week can be hard.  But let’s change our minds and make it great.  So instead of being a sour puss like Garfield, lets embrace every new start.  Let’s look at monday as an opportunity for an amazing week!  Monday is the beginning, not the end.  Monday is the day we proclaim with our chins up, life is a blessing!  Today the magic begins!

Here are 3 tips to start your week right:

Drink lots of water.  Its getting warmer and its easier to get dehydrated.  Dehydration even in small doses can make your day uncomfortable and cumbersome.

Smile!  It costs nothing, its easy and it makes you look more beautiful and young.  A sincere smile is like the fountain of youth!

Shorten your screen time.  Put the phone away for at least an hour today.  Enjoy the simple things that don’t require technology.  Smell an orange, enjoy your meal, share face to face with those you love.  Make an effort to talk to somebody in person today.  Give someone a hug!  (Your child is a good candidate for both this things.)Human contact can elevate your spirits.

 

Enjoy  your week and celebrate monday!  Don’t waste your time being miserable, no good can come from it.  There is good all around you, savor every last bit :).

 

Save your child from sugar addiction

Image by Julien Bizat

Image by Julien Bizat

 

Yesterday I was talking with my mother in law about sugars in our diet. Being the mother of two, this is a topic i am constantly researching.  And while I am not an expert on the subject, I am very passionate about it. The conversation inspired me to dig a little more.

It is no secret that excessive sugar consumption is extremely detrimental to our health.  But exactly how much is too much is not common knowledge.  This is unfortunate since everyone is affected in one way or another by the adverse effects of sugar.  The World Health Organization recently lowered the daily sugar allowance from 10% (of your daily calorie intake) to 5%!  That is a significant reduction, that should show you how big the problem is.  For an average adult (in fairly good shape) that translates to 25 grams a day or 6 teaspoons.  Just so you know, a can of soda contains about 40 grams of sugar.  For children the American Heart Association recommends no more than 3 teaspoons  that is 12 grams.  Keep in mind if your child is over weight or very sedentary the amount should be a lot less.    

You might not see it this way but sugar is very similar to drugs.  It is highly addictive , considered toxic by health experts and can have catastrophic consequences for you and your family.  But unlike most  illegal substances it is readily available in almost everything we put in our mouth.  And it is distributed to our children indiscriminately.  Sometimes by ourselves.  This leads me to my next point.  We have trained ourselves and our children to become sugar addicts.

I will not go into how excessive sugar intake can lead  to weight gain, chronic disease, hormonal problems, depression, liver damage, neurological decay etc, etc, etc. (Research it, Im not making these things up this is one useful link)  But I do want to raise a very important point that is often overlooked.  Consuming sugar indiscriminately destroys your palate.  And this starts at infancy.  So while it might be an uphill battle for you to rid yourself or a nasty sugar addiction, you can spare your child.  It is up to you.

It is not your child’s fault if he cringes when you offer him a glass of water or a carrot.  If your child will refuse to have pancakes that are not soaked in syrup.  If she will only drink  milk that is chocolate.  You have to know, this is your doing.  I know how hard it is to be a parent, but enough with the excuses.  You are the adult, so lets start taking responsibility for our choices.

You might think a serving of all natural, organic fruit juice a day is not only harmless but healthy, it really isn’t. And let me briefly explain why.

A child’s (4-8 years) daily added sugar allowance  is about  12 grams a day.  Here is the sugar content on a few juice brands:

Apple and Eve 100% juice, no sugar added      6.75 oz (a juice box)  21 grams

Honest Kids organic grape juice, no sugar added     6.75 oz                  9 grams

Capri Sun with 25% less sugar that other brands (as marketed by Capri Sun)    6 0z  16 grams

Motts Original 100% apple juice              8oz                29grams!!!!!!!

Now add a cookie, some ketchup or some flavored yogurt or milk.  Do you see the problem?   Keep in mind that most kids have at least one serving of this or any type of juice a day. According to the American Heart Association after a child is 1 year and a half fruit consumption declines to the point where one-third of 19- to 24-month-old children consume no fruit, whereas 60% consume baked desserts, 20% candy, and 44% sweetened beverages on a given day.  Which means most children in America consume high levels of sugar on a regular basis. What makes my blood boil is that these products are marketed as wholesome and healthy.  I mean with two servings of fruit per serving, it has to be good for them, NOT!

I know you would never purposely hurt your child, and there is so much information out there it can be very confusing.  But doing something as simple as reading the sugar content on the label of products you are feeding your child might save your child from an array of health issues and a spoiled palate.

Now, I’m not a sourpuss I promise :), so let me offer you some alternatives or ideas to start detoxing your child from sugar overload.

1. Substitute juices with fruit flavored water.  Add some fruit slices to a pitcher of water and refrigerate.

2.  Try to substitute packaged snacks for sweet veggies like carrots, snap peas, cherry tomatoes or peppers you can pre-cut and pack in advance so they are available.

3.  Offer snacks that are high in protein and healthy fats, avocado, celery with peanut butter (the kind that only contains peanuts not sugar), a hard-boiled egg, plain whole fat yogurt with berries and a touch of honey, organic cheese, a handful of nuts.  These types of snack will keep them full for longer and provide them with the energy they need.

4.  Read the sugar content on the nutrition label, and stick to the recommended daily allowance for your child or lower.  Keep in mind some  children are not very active and spend most of the day in front of the tv, in these cases their sugar allowance should be a lot lower than 12 grams a day.

5. Don’t buy treats that are high in sugar, if they are not available it is easier to refuse.  But make sure to stack up in healthier alternatives like berries, watermelon or other fruits your kid likes.

6.  If you have some time bake your own treats, do it :).  Make it a once in a while event so they understand it is a special treat and not a daily occurrence. There are so many helpful sites, with great recipes that are low in sugar and delicious.  Do a little digging.  I really enjoy wellnessmama.com

7.  Introduce your child to new vegetables or fruits on a regular basis.  Encourage them to try new things, if they don’t want to the first time, try again at some other time.  It can take multiple tries, especially if your child is already hooked on sugar or not used to eating this way.

8.  Try not to feed your child on the car.  I know its hard but if they get used to eating at the table, or designated location :), you can present foods in a special way that might strike their fancy.  Like making faces out of vegetables for example.

9. Talk to your children about why you are making these changes.  We constantly underestimate our kids, they are smarter than you think.

10.  Be the change you want to see in them!  Work on your sugar addiction (if you have one) and be open to trying new things.  Incorporate more whole foods into your routine, and reduce the fast foods and heavily processed foods.

I know making changes can be daunting, children are creatures of habit after all.  So make new habits.  Make better choices and inform yourself.

Don’t be discouraged.  Remember, parenting is not a burden, it’s a challenge!  Visualize yourself as a super hero, chances are YOU ARE!

 

Here are some great links with useful information:

Sugar in children’s cereal 

 Your recommended sugar intake

USDA National Nutrient Database