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Full Moon Liquid Fast

27 February
Full Moon Liquid Fast

Full Moon in Sedona Arizona - 2007

About four months ago, Denis and I decided to challenge our diets and take it one step further. We decided to fast and only eat, or drink in this case, liquids once a month on the full moon.

We noticed that around the full moon it was hard to deal with everyone’s energy. At work, on the road, online, on TV, at the beach, everyone is more stressed than usual.

A liquid fast entails only consuming liquids such as soups, smoothies, juices, water, puddings; basically anything that doesn’t require chewing.

I am a huge fan of soups and smoothies… always been! And preparing only liquid foods was very easy for me.  I also had great help from several books with not only great raw vegan soup recipes but smoothies and juices.

We start our liquid fast about three days before the full moon and so far it has helped us deal with the “Full Moon” energy around us. I have set reminders in my calendars to let me know when the full moon starts so that we can start our fast.

Here are some of the recipes that I make during the liquid fast:

Miso Soup

Green Soup

Borsch

Green Juice Delight

Juices

Thank God, Orange Juice, & Grapefruit Juice

Happy Full Moon 2010!

5 Hard-Core Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day

08 February

Plus Where to get Dinner, Chocolates, and Flowers

heart

Valentine’s Day is a romantic holiday but who said you had to stick to the usual gifts that may not go with your green lifestyle? Here are five gifts ideas for your green significant other:

“No-one-died” Jewelry

Jewelry is the most common gift to give to your loved one on Valentine’s Day. So why not make it something eco-friendly that didn’t cause people’s lives? Here are gifts from recycled, reused, and/or natural materials that will go excellent with your “green” Valentine’s Day.

“Good-Cause” Accessories

There are many companies that make accessories that help a good cause. I’m choosing Hemp Sisters (Earth Divas) this time because they have a great variety of green gifts for your significant other.

Romantic Evening – Do a Home Spa

Gaiam is a great site with wonderful gifts for any occasion. I picked this “Healing Home Spa” set because it a great way to show your loved one that you care for their health and the earth.

When you are Ready to Commit

Compost buckets! Not your typical romantic gift, but it will make a statement that you both are ready to take the next step in your “green” path and commit to it.

Compost Bucket

Compost Bucket

Something Practical for All

This is a great gift if you know you significant other has everything and doesn’t need another necklace, ring, earrings, etc., or your family doesn’t exchange gifts. I picked Tonic, formerly Green Dimes, for this occasion because it’s a great way to stay green by eliminating unnecessary junk mailings that are cause trash. Not a typical romantic gift, but a very original idea!

So now that you picked the gift, all that is left are the card, the flowers, the chocolates, and dinner.

The Card

Picking a card that is green is easy. Most places sell now cards made or recycle paper etc. However, if you want to take one green step further, check out these cards that have wild flower seeds that can be planted to grow. Very original and will impress your “green” significant other.

The Flowers

Organic flower shop

If your honey is like me, they won’t want flowers and may prefer plants. However, if they do like flowers, here is an organic shop that has a great variety for this special occasion.

The Chocolates

Take this opportunity to try raw vegan chocolate. I have many raw favorites, but for Valentine’s Day I’m recommending Gnosis Chocolates.

The Dinner

If you are truly green, you will want to go to a vegetarian or vegan restaurant. To locate a local place to take your significant other for dinner, use Happy Cow. And if you are in South Florida and want an impressive restaurant, try Sublime.

Happy Green Valentine’s Day! Remember that the most important part of this holiday is LOVE!

Heart Photo by: qthomasbower

Blue Zones: Communities that Live a Longer and Blissful Life

12 January

I love Ted Talks and this video summarizes what I believe we all are capable of doing to live a healthier and joyful life.

I strongly believe that there are several areas in one’s existence to live a happy life, and they all connect and interact with each other. It’s not just about the food and/or exercise. Or if we are wealthy and have no financial worries, we are going to be happier. I think we all fall into a trap of thinking that if we change our eating habits, work out more, and have money all of the sudden our lives are much more contented.

Dan Buettner shows in this video what it’s been proven to work in these “Blue Zones” or communities around the world. A “Blue Zone” is an area where the population lives pass 100 years old. Dan and his team summarize 9 lifestyle tips that these communities practice to live a longer and blissful life.

I hope this video inspires you to find the path to your higher self.

Enjoy!

Blue Moon – Set Your Intentions

30 December
Cathedral Rock - Sedona, AZ

Cathedral Rock - Sedona, AZ

Last Blue Moon we had, I was in Sedona, AZ on the top of Cathedral Rock at a drum circle I was invited to celebrate the blue moon. Earlier that day I was told that it was a good idea to set your intentions or goals for your life on the night of the blue moon. So I grabbed a writing pad with the hotel stationary and wrote my intentions at the top of Cathedral Rock while the drums played.

I came home and put the list in my night stand drawer. Months later I looked at my list and found I had accomplished many items from it. A year later I found the list while I was cleaning my drawer and read it again this time crossing every item I had accomplished. When I was done, all of the items had been crossed. So without pressuring myself or recalling the list everyday, I was able to accomplish all the things I had set that night at the drumming circle on the Blue Moon.

This year, the Blue Moon falls New Years Eve and therefore making it more interesting as many people use this time to set their intensions, goals, or resolutions for the New Year.

I invite you to take this opportunity to sit down and write a list of the things you want to accomplish in your life. I’ve created a template here to help you putting down your thoughts.

I would also recommend being honest with yourself as you set your intentions on the Blue Moon. I know I can be honest with others but lie to myself when it comes to knowing my limitations. For example, deadlines; I can tell someone if I can complete a task in certain time, but I lie when I tell myself “Oh! I can write this blog in 20 minutes!” when I know it really takes me 2 hours or more. So, know your limitations and don’t stress about what your goals are. When I wrote my first list, one of the items was to clean my garage and un-clutter my entire house. I started with one closet at a time, one box in the garage, a couple of drawers here and there, and three months later I had completed that item.

Have a Happy Blue Moon, the next one is 2012!

Download Template

Download Template

5 Tips to Become a Vegetarian

22 August
Tuna Fish Salad w/ Organic Dressing and Vegetarian Taquitos

Tuna Fish Salad w/ Organic Dressing and Vegetarian Taquitos

When we began our transition to health, we started taking small steps. I strongly believe in transitioning slowly is the best way to achieve being a vegetarian because it eases the body into your new lifestyle. I’m not a believer in changes overnight… or cold turkey! At least, it didn’t work for us! So here are five easy ways to begin the transition to a healthy vegetarian lifestyle.

Start fading red meat and pork from your diet

One easy way to accomplish this is to find how many times do you eat red meat and pork and fade both gradually. For example, if you eat red meats 2 times a day 5 days a week, start by eating it once a day for three weeks. After three weeks, eat red meat 3 times a week only and so forth. Calculate how many times a week you eat pork and apply the same principle. In addition, after the first two months, stop buying pork and red meat at restaurants. Only eat it if you buy it to prepare at home. If you go out very often, order poultry only, chicken and turkey. After six months, eat meat and pork only once a week, and after that every other week. Very soon your body won’t even remember what flesh tastes like! After a year, say goodbye to flesh!

Increase amount of vegetables and whole grains

As you eliminate the amount of red meat and pork you eat, begin to increase the amount of vegetables and whole grains in your meals. For example, if you eat two hamburgers a day, eat one and replace the rest with your favorite vegetable or whole grains such beans, chick peas, lentils, quinoa, or buckwheat to name a few. I suggest experimenting with frozen vegetables because they are less expensive and that way you can begin to identify what you like. Vegetable and wjole grains have lots of protein and vitamins that your body will need to begin the transition. Once you know what your favorite vegetable and grains are, buy them fresh and experiment with different seasoning, etc.

Decrease the amount of dairy and eggs you consume

I became allergic to dairy at 21, so it was very easy for me to give up dairy. You may find that you may be allergic to dairy too. The problem became learning to read labels. A lot of “vegan” and “vegetarian” products such mock cheeses and even crackers have dairy in them, so I had to learn to read labels when shopping.  I was also allergic to eggs since I was 14, every time I ate more than one egg a week, I would get chest pains.

Apply the same rule as in eliminating meats, find how many times you consume dairy and eggs, and begin decreasing the amount slowly. Eggs have high amount of cholesterol. One easy way to start is by buying a carton of 6 eggs as supposed to 12 and make them last for two weeks. After a few months, make them last for three weeks until you reach a point in which you can eat one egg a week. In addition, start buying less milk, cheese, butter, and other dairy products. If you are able, replace milk with soy or almond milk. Start with small amounts, for example instead of buying a gallon of milk, buy a small jug, a smaller pack of cheese, and replace your butter with a vegetarian option that doesn’t contain hydrogenated oil.

Fish, your new best transitional choice!

I loved fish! This was the hardest thing to give up when I became a vegan especially because I loved sushi (don’t worry; we won’t go there in this list). But we didn’t always like fish until we started giving up meat, pork, and chicken. I come from a country where is very hard to buy fresh fish and what you get smells very bad… which as we all know, if the fish smells, it’s not good to eat anymore! So as we began eliminating meat, we began ordering fish at restaurants and buying to make at home. We started with salmon which was our favorite and later incorporated trout as well which is a great source of omega 3. I don’t recommend canned fish, but if that’s what it takes to begin eating fish, I’d say do it for the first two or three months until your body learns to like fish. Anything canned has tons of sodium and preservatives that the body doesn’t need.

Go to a vegetarian restaurant

This is a very easy step towards health. Going to vegetarian restaurants or even preparing vegetarian dishes is the best way to begin. Apply the same rule as eliminating meat, calculate how many times a week you eat out and begin replacing one restaurant with a vegetarian choice. For example, if you eat out 5 times a week, 1 time a week choose a vegetarian or vegan restaurant. Lots of restaurants have vegetarian meals nowadays, if you think you can resist from choosing the steak over the vegetarian meal of the day, then go ahead. But it may be hard to watch everyone else eat the steak while you eat a plate of grains and vegetables. In addition, vegetarian restaurants are more creative with their meals and they tend to taste much better than the “veggie” plate at the local steak house that usually serves canned veggies with only salt and pepper.

To find a vegetarian restaurant near you, visit Happy Cow, a directory of vegetarian restaurants in the country and even outside the U.S.

Fish Paella w/ Brown Rice and Romaine Lettuce and Tomatoes

Fish Paella w/ Brown Rice and Romaine Lettuce and Tomatoes

Any transition takes time and consistency. After the first year we stop eating meat and pork completely, we lost between 20 to 25 lbs each without doing anything else. That was the most “visible” change we had in our lifestyle, but there were other changes as well. I also recommend visiting a doctor and get your blood tested before making any changes to your lifestyle. Some people may want to add vitamins and even a B-complex vitamin as they eliminate red meat and dairy. After you fade out red meat and pork, get your blood tested again and compare it with the previous test. Most likely, your health will have improved!

Recommended reading

  • Vegetarian Times Vegetarian Beginner’s Guide by the Editors of Vegetarians Times
  • Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman
  • Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples by John Robbins
  • The Newman’s Own Organics Guide to a Good Life: Simple Measures That benefit You and the Place You Live by Nell Newman
  • The Great American Detox Diet: Feel Better, Look Better, and Lose Weight by Cleaning Up Your Diet by Alex Jamieson
  • The Healthy Kitchen by Andrew Weil (Andrew T. Weil, Rosie Daley)
  • The Chopra Center Cookbook: A Nutritional Guide to Renewal / Nourishing Body and Soul by Deepak Chopra M.D. (Deepak Chopra, David Simon, Leanne Backer)
  • If the Buddha Came to Dinner: How to Nourish Your Body to Awaken Your Spirit by Hale Sofia Schatz (Halé Sofia Schatz, Shira Shaiman)

10 Tips to Begin Transitioning to a Healthier Lifestyle

16 August
Fruits

Fruits

I believe health has many meanings and we all have a different definition of what being healthy is. At every stage of my journey I felt I was healthier than before. I believe that being healthy is a cycle of different parts of one’s lifestyle. I believe it’s not just about food and exercise, but also about state of mind and the environment we live in. However, food and exercise have a huge impact on the other elements of one’s lifestyle.

Therefore, I will start with answering one of the most common questions I get asked, what are some of the things a person can begin to do to change their lifestyle to a healthier one? I’ve summarized what I believe are the top 10 first steps to start transitioning.

Eliminate

I read and did tons of research when I started my journey. I began by eliminating the following from my diet and lifestyle.

High Fructose corn Syrup

It’s almost in everything! Reading labels is very important and you will find that high fructose corn syrup is in everything you are used to eating and drinking. Why is it bad for you? Well I will need almost another page to write about that, but instead, I would suggest to read Dr. Andrew Weil’s explanation

Trans Fats and Hydrogenated Oils

Once again, reading labels is very important. Even though some packaged foods may say “No Trans Fats,” they may have hydrogenated oils. They are not the same, and I will let Dr. Weil explain that in his article.

Coffee

I loved coffee! It took me two weeks to quit. I replaced it with black tea, green tea, and white tea. These teas have caffeine but lack the toxins that coffee has and will help you begin the transition from coffee. How is that something so tasty can be bad for you? Well the studies conducted recently contradict each other leaving us with only the side effects to judge. Side effects according to Dr. Weil may include “anxiety, insomnia, tremor, irregular heartbeat, irritate the digestive system, bladder and prostate.”

Junk and Fast Food

Have you ever wondered why fast food is so inexpensive? Why junk food is so addicting? Well if you read the labels you can see the answers to those questions. Most contain trans fats, hydrogenated oil, and high fructose corn syrup. If you eat it everyday, start small by cutting any fast and junk food two days a week the first week, three days the next week and so forth.

TV

Why is TV bad for you? Well not all shows are bad, but the more time we spend on the couch watching TV, the more time we loose on other activities that can contribute to a healthier lifestyle. I would suggest cutting down the amount of time spent on the couch watching TV and playing games to 30 to 45 minutes a day and begin replacing that with other activities. This is one addiction I’m still battling.

Add to your Lifestyle

So we remove bad things and replace them with good things. Here is a list of things one can begin to add to help the transition.

Whole Grains and Foods

Replace white rice, white bread, white pasta, with whole grains and foods such as brown rice, whole wheat breads and pasta. I developed a love for Soba noodles, rice noodles and past as well as long brown rice and whole grains.  Most grocery stores carry these nowadays and have reasonable prices.

Vegetables and Fruits

Organic Vegetables

Organic Vegetables

Probably one of the most important things to add to one’s new healthier lifestyle. At the beginning I would recommend to start with frozen vegetables that way you can experiment and find what you like and then replace them with fresh vegetables. Many times, if one is not used to eating certain veggies, buying fresh and not using them in time can be discouraging. Replace the afternoon snack-machine-candy-bar for a fruit or the morning on-the-go frozen-breakfast for a fresh fruit smoothie. You will be adding tons of vitamins to your diet without having to spend money on additional vitamins.

Water

Drinking Delicious Ionized Water from Reusable Bottle

Drinking Delicious Ionized Water from Reusable Bottle

Drinking water is very important to help the body eliminate toxins. Start small if you are not used to drinking water. Replace two of your preferred drinks with a bottle of water everyday until you are able to drink water without thinking. I prefer Essentia water because it has the highest pH available in bottled water, but I also rather carry my reusable bottle and fill it up with water from my own filtered kitchen sink. I later bought a water Ionizer which I prefer.

Spending Time with Nature and Doing Outdoor Activities

So even though I’m a TV addict and can spend up to 6 hours straight in front of the TV without even blinking, I feel much better when I go outside and spend time with nature. I don’t pay for being outdoors; I find activities or recreational sites that are free. For example, going to the beach, taking a walk in a park, hiking in local parks, going for a car ride, riding a bicycle around the block, or simply sitting in my backyard reading. Even if you live in a city, there are parks and sites. If not, use your balcony or roof to spend time outside your living area away from the TV.

Exercise for 30 minutes three times a week

I know… I know… this is the hardest thing to do! I love and hate exercise. I love it when I’m doing it, and I hate it before I begin. I can come up with all sorts of excuses to getting out of exercising. So I’ve decided now that as creative as I get with the excuses, I can be creative on how I get my 30 minutes of exercise a week. I recently started going to the beach and swimming in the ocean three times a week after work and swimming for 30 to 45 minutes a day. I also have a rebounder that I moved near my computer and started to jump for 15 minutes before I begin to check my email or go on Facebook, etc. While Denis works on the computer I may do some yoga poses while I wait for the computer or lift some weights. I belonged to a gym and loved it, but we had to cut out our budget for the gym to save money. Now, I look for ways to exercise for free.

Walk on the Beach

Walk on the Beach

Every person is different and I suggest beginning very small. Pick one thing from each list to begin with and see how it works for you. It also helps to have the support of others or people who can do it with you. I’ve read many books and done research before I started. I also do a general check up every year and get my blood work done too.

It’s important to have the help of a doctor before making any changes to your lifestyle.

Here are some of the books I would recommend reading before getting started:

8 Weeks to Optimum Health: A Proven Program for Taking Full Advantage of Your Body’s Natural Healing Power by Dr. Andrew Weil

Eating Well For Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Bringing Health and Pleasure Back to Eating By Dr. Andrew Weil

The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health by Robert O. Young
The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins
Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples by John Robbins
The Newman’s Own Organics Guide to a Good Life: Simple Measures That benefit You and the Place You Live by Nell Newman

Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman

For more books on health, food, and exercise, visit the Books Tab.

Healthy Life Style – Tips and Tricks!

08 February

Welcome to my website for healthy living!

I believe that life is a full circle… being healthy, eco-friendly, vegan, fun, caring, loving, and happy. Living fully is all a circle of life changing actions. I also believe that one has to have a complete circle of these elements to achieve our best life ever! I believe that one can’t be a environmentalist and eat animals, one can’t be healthy and not be green, one can’t live fully and not be healthy… it’s all a complete circle.  Love the time we have on earth and take care of it by living a full circle.

Enjoy this site!