Monday, May 22, 2017

Resilience vs Breaking Down



So much of how we think and what we think we know is based upon our culture, how we fit in and perceive the world immediately surrounding us.   
EACH OF US IS DNA but we are also programmed from the time we are born, by well-meaning but sometimes misguided family members, parents who perhaps think they are protecting us or we are learning and programming ourselves simply by watching what they do. 
SLOWLY ENDING - Breakdown and age do in fact happen, but the process is significantly slower than I believe most people think.  For example, how long does your typical well made car last?  And I mean both mechanically and aesthetically.  How long should paint last on a vehicle in Texas, for example?  The car above is a 1995 Turbo MR2.  I bought it new and the photo is recent.  The paint is original and the interior looks perhaps a few months old.   We are like this car.  80% of our health comes from our diet.  Take another 20% and label that the environmental factors such as smog, smoking, stressful conditions, polluted water.
MOST OF US ARE MADE WELL - what we need to do is capitalize on as many ways to help our bodies detox, de-stress and heal, as we can and on a daily and weekly basis.  This should include fresh made green drinks, limiting sugars and processed foods and eating as much organic raw food as possible rather than cooking everything to death.  The cooking process destroys the naturally occurring enzymes that help your body process the food.  Living fast doesn't help our body last.  Slow things down and listen to what you need. You are the director and take full ownership of your overall health. Nobody else is going to do it for you and, nobody else can do it better, really, if you are in tune with yourself.
LIVING THE LIFE! - The best way to live a resilient energetic life is to put some work into that.  Take up yoga, even one day a week.  What I discovered through yoga for myself is all the little ways I am imbalanced.  For example, my left-hand holds the pot and my right washes.  How do you take your pants on and off, what fingers are involved?  Which is your stronger and weaker side?  When you learn these things, bring your awareness to them, that is when healing and transformation can begin.  To help with that, I have put together some tools with links for you, along with a bit of information about them.
DO YOGA -  First I recommend going to a class if you can because instructors can adjust you and you get the energy from the room.  You also meet like-minded people, it's all fabulousness!  But you will want to also do some yoga work at home too.  For this, I adore this set Yoga For Beginners and Beyond.  Not only can you customize a workout, but you can choose some very healing slow yoga and target areas you need to strengthen and stretch. Other than poses and postures, the first and most important tool is your mat.  I am a big girl, and there is a lot of weight pressing down on my feet and hands during various poses so  I highly recommend the Manduka Pro Yoga Mat.  And it comes with the eQua Yoga Towel.   Even if you are the weight of a feather, this mat will last you a lifetime and provide the joint cushioning required to do the fancy stuff like flying into plank. IF you go to a class, which I also highly recommend, you will want a bag to keep your mat in.  I am not a polyester fan (petroleum industry and not natural fiber) so I recommend the  Joyne Large Yoga Bag  that is cotton canvas or the Bean Products Yoga Bag which is hemp.  Both are roomy nice bags that will hold other personal items along with your mat.  I personally have a manduka bag, but it was back when they were cotton canvas.  These two bags are as nice and come in some groovy colours too.  
FEET FIRST - I want to talk about Yamuna Foot Wakers and YogaToes.  And, I'll be honest, I love things, props, that I can use while just cold chilling in front of the TV or reading perhaps.  It takes you from trying to be patient through the process of using the tool for x many minutes to really enjoying an extended session with the tool as you occupy your mind.  So the foot wakers come in spiky and rounded.  I have the gold spiky ones.  As we age, our feet, which take a beating for us every day, can have issues with shortened tendons. Sometimes we lose the spaces between our toes and the ability to stretch our toes out. Yoga toes help with aligning our toes so there is space created between them, as well as a gentle therapeutic stretch.  Always, of course, wear comfortable shoes!  You want to protect the health of your feet because if they aren't happy, neither are you.  
Foam Rolling for physical therapy!   This is two rollers in one, a great value.  Smooth to just relax and stretch and the textured roller provides deep tissue massage.  If, like me, you sit all dern day long at a computer, then you probably have shoulder and neck work and lower back work...how did I do?  Am I right?  :)  If you are a lumberjack, that's ok, (for the Python fans) you and everybody else in all lines of work, can benefit from this.  Use it daily.  I typically do it prior to bed.  Nothing screams old more than aches, pains and not being able to move around quickly with ease.  You will see results.
Using the Dharma Wheel - Sukhamat Yoga Wheel - This little gem is an intense stretch and comes with a booklet of great poses you can use this tool with to help you go deeper into the pose and body healing and stretching.  
For the ladies, Intimate Rose, Kegel Exercisers.  Yoga class also teaches bandhas (Check out The Master Key for both men and women) that help tighten up muscles down there, but this is a great tool for after pregnancy, labor recovery, bladder control and the overall tone of the pelvic floor.  When my mother reached her 70's, she could not make it from the bedroom to the bathroom, one room away, without going all over the place.  This is important.
LOVE YOU! -  The most important thing you can do to live the longest most resilient life is to love who you are.  There is nobody exactly like you on the planet.  Whatever work you do, you bring you to it, which is a quality that cannot be exactly duplicated.  I had to unlearn a lot of bad programming.  I was always told there were people better at x than me.  While this may be true, none of us should ever toss in the towel on our ability to learn and grow and bring ourselves to the task at hand.  What if Prince said Michael Jackson is the best so why bother?  Who do you think is better?  Both men were exceptional musicians and artists who brought their own personal stamp into everything they created.  So whether it is Project Management behind a desk most of the day or on center stage, what always matters is you and how you can do it.  Embrace this life because what comes next is a mystery!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Filled Up, Fed Up!

EMBRACING SPACE.
Part of what attracted me to Mid-Century Modern design (See my other blog mcmhomeanddecor.com/) is the simplicity and openness of the architecture, the wedding of outdoor and indoor spaces, thus creating a delightful blur between us and the rest of nature with window walls and sliding glass doors that invite us to explore beyond the four walls.  While you can still fill it all up, this type of architecture begs for simplicity and looks its' very best sparse. Sparing in both landscape and furnishings works to showcase the design and create expansiveness. Most MCM homes were not large sprawls but under 2500 sq feet. Mine is 2105 and I had to significantly pare down and squeeze into it.  2 years in, I have given up a leather lounge set and other furnishings too substantial, too heavy and large to fit comfortably.  Our home looks fairly spacious and I am continuing to reduce things.  
LET IT GO.
A few years ago, my husband and I agreed to let go of anything we either didn't really love or didn't use at least annually.  Being fully mindful of what is used and what continues to sit year after year is eye opening.  Sure, the thing may be nice or be a lovely gift but if you are not actively using it or it is not a delight to the eye, such as a piece of art, then let it go to a new home where it can live out the life intended for it and thereby create space for something you truly want or need in its place.
THINGS DON'T ALWAYS STORE WELL.
I have a neighbor who collects stuff.  He wants it all for free.  He will admit it weighs him down, he has boxes and boxes of stuff and has even built a new garage and rented a storage unit to contain it all.  Things don't always store well.  Fabric, rubber,  materials get dry rot. Hoses, seals and belts dry out, wiring can get ruined as well.   I had an opportunity to buy someone's 1 year used high-end washer dryer set but they had been in storage for a few years.  I just pictured the potential hot mess I was buying and said no.  Things are made to be used and few things remain pristine and perfect for long periods unused.  Buy and hold onto what you need and let the rest go.
LAND OF PLENTY.
We tend to think in terms of great deals and opportunities that come only once, sales and getting stocked up.  The truth is that the universe is infinite.  When we act with right action, with good intentions, the universe conspires to provide us what we need and want in our lives.  There is no need for jealousy or clawing at what we want, it will happen when it's time, when we are ready, as we plan in faith.
MY STORY.
I will share just two.  Story 1) I spent 3 years searching for a Mid-Century Modern house, they are suddenly all the rage and I completely get why, however, it made finding mine a bit of a living hell.  I had notebooks filled with zip codes, prices, addresses and comments. It was a second job for me, finding out Middy.  I looked so long and hard that the same houses came back on the market.  You know you've been looking a while when that happens.  As it turns out, a home I lost the first time around, came back 1.5 years later when the couple that bought it realised they would never ever move back to Dallas and sold it to me.  I lucked into a pocket listing where this house had not yet gone officially back on the market, back on MLS, but the current owner called my realtor who said 'I have your buyer'.  Planning, patience, preparedness and a little kismet!  Sometimes I wanted to give up, perhaps it was not meant to be.  A year into the search, some friends asked me how long I was going to pursue it but my realtor said looking this length of time was not unheard of and to stay the course.  So I did.
Story 2) I was laid off at work and had several deaths in the family.  Coming out of a time famine where I worked exceedingly long hours most of the time at no additional compensation, which had left me losing out on a lot of personal time with family, I created a wishlist of what I wanted next.  My focus was on what I wanted not what I did not want.  I believe you have to think in terms of positives, of affirmations and make it so.  My wishlist was 1) Not to work so hard to earn.  I wanted to apply myself, but not to the point of health affecting overwork. So my goal was hourly employment if possible or a contract that limited my exposure. 2) I wanted to work from home because I get a tax write off with my office and have been working from home for 20 years.  I wanted to maintain this environment if possible. 3) I wanted to better or at least maintain my current salary.
I meditated on my wishlist but was also open to the possibility that I would not get everything I wanted as I was re-inventing my work self.  In the end and amazingly, an ex-coworker set me up in an amazing opportunity that provided me exactly everything on my wishlist.  I was laid off a full year.  During this time, I did not actively pursue employment.  Instead, I focused on myself, my health and wholeness.  I spent the entire year studying with Hippocrates Health Institute, which has nothing to do with Project Management or Telecommunications, but everything to do with my life and creating balance and longevity, both key to both my happiness and my future employer.  I worked at being a leaf upon the wind, letting my inner voice guide me to the right decisions as I ended up with several offers.
CREATING ROOM.
When we stop, breath, listen to what brings us closer to peace or farther away from it, we get clear on what makes us happiest.  Life is not meant to be a drudge but overall, a joy.  Work should be, while at times we all get a bad day, something that brings you fulfilment.  Someone job searching posted on LinkedIn all her struggles to locate work.  She was making a full-time job of it and for months on end.  I could hear the stress in the spaces between her words.  My comment back was a suggestion she perhaps just stop.  Just stop.  Just relax.  What brings you peace?  Would you like to learn a new language or take a psychology course or go on a working trip abroad or any such something you normally would not do in a typical time famine between work and home requirements?  Go, do those things and let the answers and the opportunities come to you.  When we are not bruising our shins on too much dross in our lives, even grand, luxurious, nice dross, we find the space we need to co-create change in our lives.  Stuff weighs down our mind.  Everything we own is catalogued there, something to track and care for.  Too much stuff can be overstimulating to the eye and nervous system.  Less to dust is not a bad thing.  Find your own comfort level with stuff, with space and here's to co-creating your best life!
A book to help you get there: It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Petfood Rant

As a few of you know, Rhett, our resident Doberman, has battled Kidney Failure since 2011, since he was just a year old. This is due to Nestle-Purina Canyon Creek Ranch chicken jerky treats, which were Rhett's favorite.  That and duck.  Rhett is a German Dobie with a few 16 year olds in his line.  His great-grand-dad, Buddy, passed away last year at 12 1/2.  Nobody in his line has kidney issues.  I will never get un angry over this injustice, this unkindness, this inhumanity over money, this refusal to remove crap from the shelves of stores that is killing our pets.  I remember when I finally found the culprit, after feeding these treats to my boy, not realizing it was slowly killing off his kidneys.  I took 2 bags of this shite back to PetSmart where I bought them.  I used to spend $300-$500/mo at PetSmart between toys and treats for Rhett and my kitties.  But that day I took the misbegotten bags of Canyon Creek Ranch treats back, with their American Flag emblazoned on the packaging, I asked to see the manager.  I explained the situation and it became clear he knew already.  The answer I wanted to hear did not come, that they had already removed or would remove the products from this company off the shelves immediately.  No, instead I was told they were going to 'Phase them out over a 2 year period.'  That was in 2014 and I have not spent one dime in that store since.
Logic No?
If I owned a corporation, sure I would want to save as much money as possible, but NOT to the detriment of my client.  No, I want to please them, make the highest level of quality product for them, retain them and hope their health holds up so that they can buy more from me!
Since exactly when did killing off the client base make sense to anybody?  I see it in both human and pet foods but am completely mystified as to why.  It makes no sense.  Even if there is a wee bit of savings initially, you are killing your customer.  Who's to say you are not sued?  Who's to say, your secret will not go public and make your products and your company an embarrassing outcast? Many of these corporations also make human food so if you are poisoning our pets, are you poisoning us too?  So many questions arise with questionable ethics displayed.
Several Shades of JADED - I read labels, I was educated on pet foods and biologically appropriate foods etc.  I just had no idea that the high dollar treats I was feeding my boy would be tainted with anything other than pure goodness like the bags promised.  After this happened I went totally off the rails of typical pet foods and went alternative.
Here is a great info book, Buyer Beware, about the pet food industry crimes.
Here is a great link and you can sign up for recall notices too. http://truthaboutpetfood.com/
I encourage you to read labels and vote with your wallet


PurePet Dental Treats and Products That Work



Brushing your pets teeth is important, but how many folks actually bother on a regular basis?  With some pets the job is easier and others completely impossible.  Firstly, just like us, we need to be mindful of the food we feed them, avoiding sugars that harm teeth. 
Raw meaty bones help clean the teeth and give your pet something to occupy their time with too.  Raw because cooked bones are brittle.  Yes, you can feed your dog or kitty a raw organic meaty chicken bone, just never any cooked!  Just as you should for yourself, buying clean, fresh organic meat from a reputable place assures you don't have to worry about bad pathogens.  And remember, your dog or cat is a carnivore, with a system built to eat meat.  We do not possess that system.  When we ingest meat, we are not eating as our maker intended.  Therefore, we are more susceptible to illness from partaking.
Avoid bad mojo ingredients - There are a plethora of products out there and it still amazes me how Propylene Glycol (antifreeze) is in so much stuff, from cosmetics to pet products. Proof we are insane.  Read your labels and shun anything with chemicals, sugars, by products.
Rhett turned 7 this April.  He has never had a formal tooth cleaning at the vet and one is not needed.  I attribute this primarily to Ark Naturals Breath-Less Chewable Brushless Toothpaste and Ark Naturals Plaque Zapper, which is a powder treatment you add to the drinking water.  Cats and dogs typically don't mind, it is flavorless.  This is exceedingly important for picky kitties!  The product contains naturally available enzymes which are activated by mouth saliva. As your pets drink from their water bowl, Ark's PlaqueZapper zaps harmful mouth bacteria and the enzymes stop plaque from sticking to teeth.  The vet said Rhett's teeth and gums looked fabulous and was shocked when I told him we had never had them cleaned. 
I highly recommend using both the chews twice a day, after breakfast and dinner, and in the morning, add your water treatment because the zapper powder lasts up to 8 hours once mixed with water.  
Feel free to comment, I love reading what folks have to say and kindly share out my blog to help others.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

PurePet - Pet Food Review - Dr. Harveys



This is Rhett (Full name Hieronymus Rhett Thomas O'Brien Puppy).  He turned 7 this April.  See my separate Pet Food Rant.  I am passionate about creating a tipping point in the food industry where we hold companies accountable, with our awareness and wallets, to producing good quality foods for us and our pets.  I spent a year studying with Hippocrates Health Institute and want to share what I know to help anyone who wants to listen.  :)
Go Organic - This is the very best way to avoid GMOs, pesticides and questionable meats and other ingredients that will otherwise be present in the pet food you buy.  The label should tell you it is certified organic and many times will also tell you it is GMO free.  The best of both worlds is seeing both statements on the label.
GOOD FOOD - You can make foods at home, and it is really easy once you get the hang of it.  I use Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide To Natural Health For Dogs & Cats.  It is a great resource to look up  health questions, natural remedies,  as well as some great recipes.   I make up my Healthy Powder and am ready for home made yumminess on the week-ends.  Rhett is used to eating a varied diet, much like how we eat, so I like to change up his flavor profile so he doesn't get bored.
Another terrific reference book is Martin Goldstein's he Nature Of Animal Healing. There are some great natural ways to mitigate heartworm (Black Walnut) amongst other remedies. This is one of my 'go to' books when I want to look up a problem and how to resolve it.
Dr. Harveys Canine Health and the entire line is just fantastic!  First you have dehydrated dog food, that comes complete, you just add hot water to re-hydrate, like Oracle. Next, you have mix-ins, like  eg-to-Bowl, Oracle, Paradigm, and, Canine Health which has grains that I use predominately.  Mix-ins are great to add in your protein of choice and particularly good for situations like mine, where you have to limit your protein.    What is great about it is that it's organic, healthy wholesome ingredients created by a man that truly cares about your dog, cat or bird.  I know the ingredients are organic, non GMO and all I have to do is add water, high quality oil and meat for the mix-ins and let it sit and hydrate a few minutes into a delicious meal for my boy.
I have used Dr. Harveys since Rhett was a puppy but recently, after my holistic alternative vet retired, I was left floundering with how to continue to treat Rhett's kidney issues.  The vet we use for his regular blood work, just tossed a bag of Science Diet KD at me and that, I already knew, was the wrong path.  Their eyes glazed right over as I ranted about GMOs, corn in the KD, pesticides if the food is not organic etc.  My chart at the vet just says I am refusing 'standard treatment due to lifestyle choices' which sounded vaguely judge-y. I find the stance very interesting because they are IN the health care business.  Your vet should be primarily concerned with making your pet live the longest, highest quality life possible.  Sadly, they seem mostly to understand how to prescribe more shots and prescriptions that make the pharmaceutical companies rich and provide sub par foods that kill your companion far faster.  Ah...I am using my brain, what I know, and attempting to make the right choices here.  So, no, I am NOT buying the crap.
COMPLETELY FLOORED
So as I mentioned, our alternative vet retired and I know enough to be dangerous so I have kept him going, however, I really wanted some guidance. The vet we use for Rhett's bloodwork suggested Dr. Pam who is the only other alternative vet in my area now that Trisha Ballard has retired.  I have tried for 2 full years to see her.  She has refused both years, claiming to be just too busy.   Frustrated, I wrote to Dr. Harvey one day when ordering a sample of the new Paradigm food.  Lo and behold, Dr. Harvey called me back.  He has been checking up on Rhett ever since, offering help which is very appreciated.
Sickness and death happen to us all.  None of us gets out of here alive.  That stated, we can all let food be thy medicine and do our best to support companies that truly care, do our research and make the better choices that improve our quality of life.  The first thing people always say when they meet Rhett, is 'What a handsome and healthy dog!'  Rhett looks like the Arnold Schwarzenegger of Dobermans.  I believe it is the food that is helping him achieve that appearance.
TOXINS - RAW VS COOKED ETC
When you cook anything, particularly at high temps, you ruin the natural enzymes and you create toxins that the body has to rid itself of in the digestion of the product.  Raw or low cooked foods are best, for us and for them.  I go for fresh organic meats for my boy so that his body doesn't have to work so hard at digesting it.   Then I add in greens, like wheatgrass, Chinese Chlorella, Klammath Lake blue-green algae, Rehmannia along with walks and massage.
Some other sites I go to frequently are:  Onlynaturalpets.com, Petwellbeing.com, pawhealer.com and fiveleafpharmacy.com.

Hope that this information helps you and I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Work And Life Balance

There's been a lot of buzz about work and life balance.  My former company (and that of my husbands) mention it routinely.  But talking about it doesn't make it so.  I am going to address what is and what is not balance as well as why all corporations, hospitals, every single entity that employs staff, must honestly strive for it.

TIME - Other than learned skills, the primary commodity an employer buys, is your time, which is finite and a different quantity for each individual.  Stress shortens life.  It's ok to work hard at something and preferably something that brings you satisfaction, but it is equally important that you balance time spent at work with personal pursuits which should take up a large percentage of your day/week and allow the feeling of abundance and joy. Essentially, this time spent in personal ways provides the moments of pause necessary to truly appreciate that paycheck because you are feeling, directly, the reward.  When you spend too much of your day/week on work rather than personal things, you are just a hamster in a wheel. And this would be sucky job satisfaction.

 We all want job satisfaction because we want high quality output.  We also want balanced and friendly people.  I have seen some strange come from folks who routinely skip their PTO and overwork too much.  When you are too tired, things take longer and flat are not done at the best level because you are no longer at your best.
WHEN YOU TAKE CARE OF YOU, YOU ARE ALSO TAKING CARE OF THE COMPANY.  Taking care of you works in three ways.  Firstly, you want quality of life and quantity.  Ultimately, you want to live a long and healthy happy life.  When you are healthy, due to more free time and less stress, you gain more productive to society years. Next, your company directly benefits from you taking the very best care of you.  There is less spent on sickness and shoring up when you are absent from work.  There are also fewer mistakes.  Lastly, if you do get the ax, you are not a spent shell of a person out there hoofing the pavement looking like leftovers.  
BALANCE - Balance can be that you always work an 8 (or fewer) hour day.  Balance can also mean you work for a set period of time,  kama kazi mode 10-12 hour days on a project with a finite scope, where, at the end of it, you get comp time and a fat bonus. Yes, both.   Think about your most favourite thing to do in the world.  It could be rock climbing, horseback riding, jogging, yoga, reading, watching TV or downing a tub of popcorn.  For ANY of the favorite things which spring to mind, would you in complete honesty want to do that one thing for a solid 8 hours straight?  How about 10 or 12 hours?  How about long hours, at least 5 days straight, for months on end?  Put this way, we can then understand that 8 hours of anything isn't balance either, but it does provide for 8 hours of sleeping and another 8 to get personal pursuits tended to. We need to stop thinking of an 8 hour day as a short day or that people who work only 8 hours are somehow not as worthy as those of us who put in twice that. For those who drive into the office, some of those hours will be spent in that space of working as we're driving into work.  I count that as work time because I spend that time thinking about and planning my day out, and sometimes taking a few conference calls.  Don't discount this time, those treks in are also working for your company.  If you were not driving into the office, those hours would be spent at your home office.  And on that note, we move into working from home. 
WORKING FROM HOME - Some jobs are perfect for this planet saving, emission reducing tax write off.  For over a decade I've had a full-blown home office and LOVE it!  The tax break each year means the difference in getting money back or paying in.  Not every job can accommodate this of course. If you are a surgeon, a contractor or Starbucks Barista, working from home is not possible.  But many jobs are and this is a great way to increase productivity, reduce corporate costs and provide a space, typically 2 extra hours that would otherwise be spent driving, to get extra work done.
It takes the right mindset, someone who can work autonomously, putting the needs of their company at the forefront without direct supervision and be the role model that allows this opportunity to thrive within your company.  I worked on my director for years before he finally relented.  For me, it got creepy working late in the office when the lights dimmed and the vacuum cleaners started humming as the cleaning crew went to work.  Then someone was robbed in the parking garage.  Then someone was murdered at their desk located inside a secured, badge required building.  I did not like driving home alone at night in the dark, either. But when I was on a hot project, I really hated to waste any of my time that could be better spent.
The downside to working from home is that you can easily just work around the clock and center your entire life around work with your personal needs, all of them, taking a back burner.  I had to set timers to get myself free of the computer, to set relaxation hours and work hours so that I created a separation of church and state.  I only crossed those lines when necessary, such as when I had scheduled late night business to attend to.
An old manager used to tell our entire team how lucky we were to work from home.  All of us were pulling 12+ hour days.  I did not feel lucky, I felt spent and under respected.    There must be balance in the way both the employee and the corporation thinks about both a workers time and work from home opportunities to create that win-win.  In short, someone working from their home office should be working every bit as hard as someone driving into someplace.  The only difference is the drive time and the fact that they can also toss in a load of laundry in between conference calls.
When strong employees are enabled to work from home,  the company is lucky, spending less on office space and upkeep, as well as supplies. In the event of an urgent issue or in a situation of flex time, workers with laptops are able to step into work from their home office on a moment's notice.  Working from home can mean the very difference between being able to put in extra time and leaving their employment due to personal life and work conflicts.
For anyone seeking a true work-life balance, I recommend Thank God It's Wednesday, by Mark Langford.
For those of us who hike into the office daily, there are electric cars to help the planet and ways to work smarter and take control of your over hours.   At the end of it all, nobody says they didn't spend enough time in the office when reviewing their joys in life.
Here's to being joyful, productive and balanced!

The Truth About Beef

Below is a link on an article, The Truth About Beef.  This is a lengthy but very well rounded article surrounding the eating of beef.  I love it because it is one of the most complete picture of the current state of affairs on this planet that I have read.  I recently went to a party, old friends of ours, and got into a discussion (as I am predominately vegan, I sneak cheese in once in a while) and so people tend to talk to me about why eating meat, dairy etc is ok.   Because transition is hard on the brain, I've included a link to a great book, Going Vegan,  to ease your transition. 
Most of us work for a living and are busy people.  I was one of those people too, up until the Sprint layoffs.  I chose to invest this great gift of time into studying the state of our health in America (The SAD diet) and the state of this planet, our cruelty to animals and become an activist toward global change.  I studied with Hippocrates Health Institute a full year. During this full year of studies, I partnered with other organizations on the same mission, watched documentaries and while some may consider me having gone down a rabbit hole, I know my topic well.  I also know that, contrary to what friends have said 'It's not that bad' that, yes, it truly is very bad.  Just understanding that 2000 gallons of water is required for 1 lb of beef is a sobering fact, as we run short on water. Without water, there is no life.  And with that, I leave you to this article.

https://foodrevolution.org/blog/the-truth-about-grassfed-beef/
https://foodrevolution.org/blog/the-truth-about-grassfed-beef/?utm_campaign=frn17&utm_medium=email&utm_source=email-automated&utm_content=2394&utm_term=existing-email-list&email=suzkarmah%40aol.com&firstname=Suzanne&lastname=

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Glass of Chianti, Sprout Salad and Fava Beans; When Hanibal Goes Vegan.

Who hasn't seen the film?  It left me wondering, for decades, one thing; what do Fava Beans taste like?  And yet I could never find them.  Flash forward, I did, and they are delicious in many recipes.
Mmmmm Fava Beans! I bought cans of them, and dried beans for planting too.  Recently,  when tending my garden, a couple leaves broke off, well, I had to try them while brief thoughts of ' are the poisonous' crossed my mind. These thoughts were quickly allayed by the tender buttery taste of these delightful top leaves. Yes, I'll be back for more. And here's a recipe using the leaves, as I found myself still alive and feeling strong enough to google search.  I plan to use the leaves in salad primarily because cooking (above 118)  removes nutrients and active enzymes from the food.
Fava Beans can be a real challenge to find. so below in the coloured ink is an amazon link for the Fava's.
I am very excited to finally be growing them and enjoying them in many dishes.  I'm doing a hummus next!



http://www.sfgate.com/food/article/Easy-growing-fava-leaves-heartier-than-spinach-2754939.php

Monday, March 20, 2017

PurePet - The Humane Dilemma



Most of us have an affinity for our fellow earthlings, we are curious, fascinated, protective but not all of us have cultivated compassion or respect and how we treat our fellow animals dovetails into how we also treat each other.
Pet.  The word seems to demean but really, it doesn't, or shouldn't.  A pet is something treasured, held upon a pedestal, something adored, loved, something set apart which brings joy to life.  I realise they can also pee on the carpet, wreck the potted plants and chew through a sofa (untrained and unsupervised) but the point is that this word,  when created, was meant as a description and meant in the most positive of ways.  
Humane comes from human.  Anything inhumane is something considered barbaric, subhuman, a treatment beneath us, shocking and atrocious, what one wouldn't ever do.  And yet barbarism, as well as amazing grace and altruism is within our scope, how we are all wired, even the meekest of us.
I have studied the animal condition at great length, read books, watched films and seen what cannot be unseen on the atrocities of farm animals, both dairy and the meat industry.  Perhaps it is simply that social media is now a thing which brings it all to light, but there seems to be far more violence perpetrated upon our fellow animals these days, from kicking a cat to tricking a dog into picking up a firecracker.  It makes my heart ill to see these innocents mistreated because I know now, how they tick, how they think.
As a kid I was not as patient with a bird as I should have been and once over punished a cat I adored.  Both forgave me but the pain of my actions, both immediately afterwards and later have served to remind me that I, too, have the capability of evil, of unkindness,  a set of expectations that, when not met, harbour such impatience within me.  I have evolved, grown in my awareness and understanding, however these two childhood episodes confirmed for me that I am not exempt from and must ever be mindful of my ill-actions, to take power over them, so that I walk the planet ever mindful to cause less harm.
I often wonder about God.  I was brought up that we were created in his image and we are to have dominion, guardianship, over all the animals, land and sea.  I know how we treat them., and I often wonder, what happened because we have fallen so far.  How did we travel such distance in our nature from a creator who made all of them and us in his image?  Or perhaps our creator just has far more control over himself than most of us do. 
Animals continue to amaze and inspire me.  They generally have a lot of self-control and patience, such as with their young and with us too.  They are clear in their messages, in their communication of their needs and wants and can be exceedingly loyal and loving, and forgiving.  I like the way that they tend to live life in the present, and with hope for goodness.  Now, I typically wake up in a good mood, but my mind may be on various things, my daily morning chores, for example. I have timelines in my head.  And I used to have a corporate job to go to.  Now that I don't need to pad down to my office and check the laptop by 7 am, I have really enjoyed observing my bed mates in the morning.  Our Doberman, Rhett, likes his belly rubs and rolls over (generally ONLY in the morning after waking) for a belly rub.  I brush his fur, clean his ears, brush his teeth, tell him how handsome he is and he totally gets everything I am doing.
If the kitties have already gotten up, they run over to me when they hear me stir.   It's time to share the joy of a new day with me.  I am honored by their sweet greeting.  I am glad for the time not to rush all this, as I had done for countless years.  None of us knows the hours or the days we have left so treasuring now is what they have taught me. 
Once Rhett's feet hit the floor, he grabs a toy and this lets me know his mood.  I also like that his first thought for the day is fun.  What is our first thought for the day?  How often is our first thought on fun?
When I leave the house and return, there again, I get the marvellous greeting home.  They bring such dimension to our lives, each one in their own special way.   We are rushing around, driven by work, chores, finances, keeping house and socializing.  Our fur companions are focused on joy, on play, on being with us, living in the present, getting some yummy food, excercise and relaxation.  When you watch and learn about farm animals or all the exotics in the wild, if you spend enough time with them, you see all these amazing and unique personalities come into play and learn from each experience. And, like any relationship, time adds layers of complexity, of grace and trust and adds to the sweetness of life.
When it is said that the meek shall inherit the earth, I often wonder who that will be.  PS That's Loki inside the planter and Hydra next to it.
Recommended Reading:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

LOVE, GOD, SEX, RESPONSIBILITY and RESPECT

What is love?  Where is God?  The body is a temple. I believe when we clean and green what we put into our bodies, we gain spiritual benefits which change our scope and capacity for love, empathy, being fully present, better able to take responsibility and grow boundless kindness.
Conversely, when we over pollute our bodies, with alcohol, sugars, processed foods, animal fats, we are completely disrespecting ourselves.  How can we come from a place of peace and be empowered to help others when we are not yet willing to put kindness first with ourselves?  When we disempower ourselves from the responsibility we all have to nurture and maintain our own health and happiness, how are we then able to truly give to another being in a balanced holistic way?
While sex is utilized for procreation, it can also bring us closer or, if used incorrectly, alienate us, use us up and make us feel disrespected.  Used to bring a couple together, it strengthens the bond, uplifts both parties and makes both feel wanted, needed, adored.  There are people who are confused about who they love, who they want or that they want to go orgy style and mix it up.  You can call that hedonism but you cannot really call that love.  Love needs nurturing and attention and to be made special.  When you are with different people with no faithfulness held you cannot be loving and nurturing, you are hedonistic, just out for yourself.  But being hedonistic also disempowers you along the way.  In sex, there is a spiritual oneness. And this is where God comes in.  Don't believe in God?  Have no spiritual affinity whatsoever?  Perhaps you are on the wrong blog, but stay with me a moment.  What about the order in the chaos when you look at how this world works?  I am not talking about what men have done to the planet, but actually how the world works, how the animals, the fish, the seas, the seasons, how everything beautifully ties together.  How could all this become, with such diversity, majesty and beauty out of complete and utter chaos?  I believe that it couldn't any other way but to have been created by someone who wanted to make all this happen.  Love is many nuances, vibe and responsibility.  Responsibility is feeding the cat because he's hungry and I do love him but I may not really feel like getting up and opening a tin for him.  I do it for love.  I clean the house, wash the dog, fix dinner, earn a living, all for love.  I stay faithful to my husband because I love him and not for any other reason.
Love is many nuances, vibe and responsibility.  Responsibility is feeding the cat because he's hungry and I do love him but I may not really feel like getting up and opening a tin for him.  I do it for love.  I clean the house, wash the dog, fix dinner, earn a living, all for love.  I stay faithful to my husband because I love him and not for any other reason.
Straying is the highest of insults anyone could ever do to another. The second highest is lying about it.  Some people say they are in an open relationship etc, but the fact is when someone won't be faithful to you, it really means they don't care enough about you, they are merely using you for their own gain.  Plain, simple.  They don't have enough of a jot of care about you that extends beyond themselves and their own needs.  It's a disorder, an emotional imbalance, a lack of control due to failure to exercise power over one's own faculties.    There are always excuses.  And that dovetails into respect.  If you don't respect yourself, who will?  Someone may, but it really begins with you.  If you are in a situation which is usury, just sex,  not truly love, not balanced, not working, then get out of it.  There will always be complications.  Usually when I hear ' Well, there are complications' it means money or lack of self-respect.  Someone is staying for the monetary support or someone is a doormat.  Neither are truly good and loving reasons to remain in something that is a failure.
Sometimes life takes us in weird directions, places we thought we'd never go and robs us of peace.  When you think about your partner, does he or she bring you closer or farther away from peace?  We are all imperfect beings.  We are here, primarily to learn how to responsibly, truly and more perfectly love each other.  This is not easy, but it absolutely is doable.
And if you are single and searching, take your time.  There is no need to rush into the unknown before at least some modicum of time has been spent so that you have a better idea of what you are getting into.
We are responsible for our own life and are also our brothers keeper, whether we like the idea of that or not. Clint Eastwood said 'A man has got to know his limitations' and I adore that line.  We need to understand ourselves enough to have a full grasp of our limitations so that we minimize causing upset in others lives due to our intentions being less than honest, less than pure.  When we know ourselves, we can speak our truth, whatever that is.  Truth changes just as our limitations do, provided we do our own self-work and grow, keep moving forward as we age rather than degenerate into toddlers.    We are always moving, therefore, we are always, each day, going the one way or the other.  Which way do you want to go?  Which way brings you closer to peace and causes least harm?
Whatever you have done and wherever you have failed, know that we all fail to some degree and that each day brings with it an opportunity to go and do better.  Be blessed with actions that
Be blessed with actions that honor your temple today.
Check out this book to help you on your journey: My Body Is A Temple by Christina Sell

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Walnut Tacos

Most of us were not taught the importance of enzymes in our food and how cooking  destroys them.  Whenever you cook anything above 118, you lose the enzymes and much of the vitamins too.  Combine this with the general sadness of our air, water and soil and you have a tsunami of dietary deficiencies.   We no longer rotate our crops, let the soil rest nor do we generally replenish our soils with all the minerals truly needed.  This causes us to be hungry and consumer empty calories in search of the needs of our body.  So my suggestion here for this recipe is to dehydrate your walnuts on low temp for  day until they are nice and crunchy.  You can still stick them in a 400 oven for 10 minutes or so too.  But I hope I have inspired you to take the slow way.
Walnut Tacos - I love these for the texture, the flavor and colour as it does indeed resemble the typical ground meat you would locate inside your taco shell.
Take a couple of cups of dehydrated walnuts and process them in a food processor until they resemble ground meat.  Set them aside.  Now take a skillet and saute your (on low heat) everything else you normally like in your taco, such as onion, garlic, mushrooms, tomato or salsa.  Add in your walnuts at the last minute to mix it all together and just warm them a bit and serve.
You can add some vegan cheese on top if you like but they are tasty just with some chopped onion and lettuce over the taco mixture.

ENJOY!

Hiring a Vegan Lifestyle Consultant

Most of us learned how to eat from our parents.  They may have been well meaning but if you were raised on the Standard American Diet (SAD) then their best intentions boiled down to poor dietary choices.  The body takes whatever 'food/fuel' you provide it and does its level best.  But most Americans are calorie dense and nutrient bereft, leaving the body always hungry and chronically dehydrated.
If you want to lose unnecessary weight (or gain healthy weight such as body building) you want to minimize your risks of heart disease and diabetes or reverse these issues, then a PBL (Plant Based Lifestyle) is for you!
Now comes the freak out, if you are like me.  I had been vegetarian years ago but I sort of panicked.  Now what do I do for food, what do I fix and how do I get creative with it (because I am married to an executive chef)?  I had the great benefit of training at Hippocrates Health Institute who stepped me through everything from enemas to juicing to the importance of organic clothing.  I had been a project manager with long hours before my Hipp training.  I knew that most Americans were over worked and short on time.  And this creates a very negative cycle.  Rather than fix our own food, even growing a lot of it, as our grandparents did, we have allowed ourselves to become dependent upon big business to provide fast foods.
Not one thing you buy fast, a pre-made and bottled green juice, or a mas produced sandwich, is ever going to be as quality controlled and fresh as it would be if YOU shopped all ingredients and put it together yourself. Sometimes, we want to just buy a pre-made vegan mayonnaise rather than making it from scratch and I totally get that and yes, I sometimes do that too.  But what I am calling you to take note of here, is when you make that choice, you are trading convenience for some nutrition loss and loss of ingredient and freshness control.  This may be ok if you are very familiar with the brand you are buying or are temporarily out of time.
Straight up, this lifestyle takes planning and it may make sense for you to hire someone like me to help you get started and stay the course.
With busy-ness in mind, during this year long study, I took a lot of time to ramp up on researching the best tools, from juicers to cook books to best ways to sprout, in order to offer help to others going down my same path who are short on time but really want to take control of their health, weight and happiness.
I either physically or virtually take folks down the shopping aisles at grocery stores, helping them with re-learning how to shop, what to look for, how to read labels.  I help folks get started growing their own sprouts!  Sunflower sprouts are delightful!  And, if you are lucky enough to have them where you live, I am jealous because until I grew my own, I had never ever even heard of them!
This lifestyle is about planning ahead a bit, soaking your seeds over night, and planning ahead for meals so that you are truly taking care of you and not putting yourself in a compromising position of being hungry and not having something nutritious on hand.
From growing your own garden or mini garden to natural home cleaners to organic skincare and air purification, I can help with my knowledge share and support.

Hippocrates Health Institute Online Life Transformation Program - Get Your Free Syllabus Here!

I want to share the Hippocrates Health Institute's Online Program with you, but below is my personal story.
I worked at Sprint 28 years.  Last year, they did a massive reduction of their  Implementation Project Managers and I found myself with the gift of time.  I called it gainfully unemployed as I had a severance to live off of which has sadly expired now.
I spent the entire year of 2016 on Hippocrates and alternative studies.  I watched documentaries like Earthlings, Eating You Alive, Genetic Roulette and spent countless hours involved in various petitions to save various animals and people from cruelty.   I had considered myself fairly enlightened prior to this significant knowledge download.  I shunned pesticides, did all organic gardening, ate primarily organic food, ate meat not more than 2x week, read my labels, shunned sugar, particularly high fructose corn syrup, did yoga, walked the dog and thought I was doing alright.
My hip-flexors were in near constant pain between all the sitting (12+ hour days at Sprint) and the yoga and walks  I squeezed in between work.  Anytime I did any heavy lifting with my hands, I ended up with pain in my hands for a few days afterwards.  My blood pressure was higher than it should be and I was heavier than I should be too.  was mostly vegetarian, taking the Hipp
With my gift of time, I took the Hippocrates Life Transformation course because finally it was offered online.  For decades, I had wanted to visit the location for a 3 week detox stay, in gorgeous West Palm Beach.  Well, now I had the time even if I really couldn't justify the cost of actually staying there.  was mostly vegetarian, taking the Hipp
Taking this self-paced course was brilliant and it changed my life.  I look younger, dropped unnecessary weight and no longer have the joint/tendon pain I once did.  People comment all the time about my skin tone and weight loss.
Anyone can lose weight, I think we all know how to diet and drop a few pounds, which typically find us again when we go back to eating again.  This course is about a lifestyle, a way of vibrant health, a way of knowing how to shop at the grocery store, what to eat, a full on education on vitamins, minerals, the state of our food supply, the planet and how to live your most resilient and healthy life and become the change necessary.
When I say this course changed my life, I think the only other thing I have ever said that about is when I met my husband.  I encourage you to respect and love yourself enough to check out the free syllabus.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Plant Based Diet - Dipping a Toe In (and saving our planet one toe at a time)

How many of you woke up today and poured sugar in your gas tank? I think of your body like you do your car where to get the best life and performance out of
Think of your body like you do your car, where to get the best life and performance out of it,  you have to feed it with clean fuel at the right octane levels,  and perform ongoing maintenance.
Few folks are going to do a 180 in their diet, but I am here to help if you are.  Most folks will want to dip a toe in, test the waters and, over time, incorporate a healthier lifestyle, from home and skincare products to vitamins and food.  I am here for those people too!  We can work together to assess your goals and how best to reduce toxic exposures and add nutrition to your life.
Living a plant-based lifestyle becomes like peeling the layers of an onion.   When you begin to care deeply about your health, you end up carving out time to learn about it.  Then you begin to care more about your family's health and your friends, your pets and finally the state of our planet.
Learning this lifestyle may very well take you down the rabbit hole, as it did me.  But the truth is always far more refreshing than living a lie, particularly when it is quietly killing you or making you chronically sick.
Whether you eat meat today with every meal as many of my friends do, or you have already reduced dairy and meat consumption, or have gone completely vegan, there are so many surprising things to learn that can shift your health even further to the best that it can be.
The body is an amazing healer, but whatever you feel in the moments, know that it takes the body a full 7 years to completely regenerate.  This means that if you go clean with your diet, your  household cleaners, eschew garden chemicals and put only food grade organic products in your bath and on your skin, you will have a long period of detoxing that takes place in waves, as you become healthier and made brand new again.  The outcome is worth the effort.  :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Tipping Point - Creating Global Change; It Just Requires You

    In one of the final lectures at Hippocrates, we discussed the Tipping Point (http://thetippingpointnetwork.com/) where awareness is created, in this case, about GMOs and Organics, allowing consumers the opportunity to learn the dangers. Jeffrey Smith lead the lecture.  He also has an engaging movie out, Genetic Roulette, very worth watching and sharing.


    When a mother is concerned about what she is feeding her child, when there are health concerns or there are folks who simply want to know what is in their food and make better choices, that becomes the tipping point, where the game changes; The Tipping Point is created when more of us realize there are serious problems with our food and we begin asking questions and boycotting the food with bad or questionable ingredients. In short, we vote with our dollars. When enough of us do this, in mass, we create global change. Already there are many companies that have now pulled ingredients containing Genetically Modified Organisms out of their product. Companies like Nestle, Cheerios, Ben & Jerry's. The reasons are not always altruistic. While a wise corporation at the very least pretends to care about its' consumers, the one thing all of them, without exception care about, is profits. When we band together for change, when we vote with our wallet, our voice overshadows everything else.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Vegan Junk Food? Learning How To Eat In A Polluted World

The bible talks quite a bit about what to eat.  In Genesis, (1:29) we learn about the garden of Eden and are advised to eat the plants and herbs, nd the fruit of the trees and bushes;  "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be your food.  And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground - everything that hs the breath of life in it - I give every green plant for food." Then the fall happened and there were thorns, thistles, chaos and meat eating.

People have all different faiths, but the common threads are kindness, compassion and our maker pointing us to a plant-based diet, to live kindly and in harmony.

The very first thing I want to do is turn you on to this book by Dr Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, who has lectured throughout my latest Hippocrates Health Institute training.  The book is Conscious Eating, by Gabriel Cousens.   For ease, I have included a link, so just click on the coloured ink to get more info or purchase.  Hearing his lectures has been one of the things I greatly look forward to in my Hipp studies.  I find him engaging, charming, approachable, enlightening, coming from a place of great kindness and so educational.  I was vegetarian for several years in my youth and began 2015 getting back to that and now being primarily vegan.

You can eat junk food and still be vegan.  The point of eating this way, other than being kind to animals and the planet that is far over-taxed, is to get the nutritional, the vitamin, enzyme and mineral deficit most of us have mitigated. We want to be filled up with things that bring us abundant health and resilience.  

In my studies this week, it suddenly hit me how deep this goes and it was right after another lecture from Gabriel noting Genesis as a baseline for how we are directed to eat.  Today we live in a very polluted world.  Back when the bible was writ, everything had just been newly formed, pristine.  We Humans hadn't had any time yet to screw it all up with greed, corruption, factory farming, with Monsanto and Big Farma and Big Business controlling the Government that We The People voted in to take care of US.  Go back in your mind to the beginning, envision everything pure, newly minted.  Think just how powerful a statement this is, to be told by our maker to eat a plant-based diet!

This week I had someone exclaim 'I am NOT subsisting on twigs and berries!  I must have nutrition and protein!'   So I want to talk about this.  Other than the fact Gods original plan was that we dine in this manner (and who else would know better than God?)  the fact is that today's food supply is treacherous.  Wheat is vastly weakened, no longer the 'Staff of Life'.  Our farm animals are over-crowded and living miserable lives in miserable conditions.  What do you think that does to the milk, the cheese, the meat?  Who wants to eat unhappiness?  I don't.  And I learned recently that many processed snack foods contain opiates to further addict us to the product!

Ownership to take control of your lifestyle, your menu, falls upon you.  The way the world runs today, the focus is on profit above all else.  The FDA, the USDA, do not care one jot about the public at large.  The government doesn't care if you live or die, just please pay your taxes first. ☺

We are continuously being controlled and conditioned to live fast, eat fast, look for the quick fix and over-work ourselves to an earlier grave and be just too busy to think about all of this too much. I got laid off last February as a Project Manager where I was in a great time famine. Suddenly I have time to think about things more.  And so I share.

 In creating juices for a small seminar on juicing, someone asked 'Are you going to create a juice and bottle it?  This could be a great product and business opportunity for you!'  I explained that, while there are bottled juices out there and that, yes, they are convenient, the issue is that 1) product that sits for anything longer than 15 minutes oxidises and loses vast nutrition.  2) Unless you have another access point, the grocery store shelves are stocked with product that has been pasteurised, which uses high heat to neuter all natural enzymes and vitamins.  This is why so many products are labeled with 'Added Vitamins'.

If you are just starting out, start small.  Read my blog posts, because I have done the research on best practices for sprouting, making nut milks, there are some recipes and, after my latest school work is completed, I will be adding a lot more content!  What helped me is books like this one.  I have several vegan books (and you can find some groovy recipes online too) that helped me figure out what to make now that I am not eating meat and what do I use to replace such things as milk or cheese or butter.

Begin by taking baby steps.  And I am here if you need help with this, it's what I do as a consultant.  In a pinch, of course you can buy the already prepared stuff at the store, but let me tell you, the difference between making your own nut milk (almond, Brazil) are lightyears tastier and healthier than anything you buy pre-made.

Because we've been conditioned to 'fast' food, fast ways, know that there is a process of re-learning and acceptance of some pre-planning as well as time consumption needed for this lifestyle.  For example, I grow my own greens in the spring/summer.  It takes me extra time to work my garden.

If you forgo a garden, but want to sprout, the products I recommend will absolutely save you time, but there will still be a bit of time and preparation involved to soak your seeds the night before, to check water levels and harvest.  I find all this calming and meditative now.  And I am now in a groove with all of it.  At first, like anything you are new too, it took extra time as I tried to figure all of it out.  This is exactly what hit me on the idea to be a Plant-Based Lifestyle Consultant.  I believe a lot of folks need a 2 hour session with me to not only perhaps learn about why sprouts are vital to this diet, but how to set up their kitchens for success and time savings.

It's a new year.  Your body has carried you all this way.  Give yourself the gift of love, respect, abundant health and resilience!

Peace.