Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pain Relief and Food

 Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. . . .
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, to be gorgeous, talented, and fabulous. Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won't feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory of God within us. And as we let our light shine, we consciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
by Marianne Williamson

 Anyone who lives with Celiac Disease knows that chronic pain is a part of life. I, like the rest of you, live with migraines, arthritic pain, inflammation, blisters, rashes, muscular cramps and severe digestive pain on a regular basis. Here is a quick comprehensive list of foods that decrease or increase levels of pain. May we honor our journey. Namaste.

* Please note: if you have gluten issues you must refrain from all forms of wheat, rye and barley


Foods That Decrease Pain

The following foods help cool the body's inflammatory response, act as analgesics on pain nerves and work within the brain to reduce sensitivity.
sweet potatoes

Foods That Increase Pain

Some foods may Increase pain (avoid or limit them). The worst include:
alcohol coffee chocolate  citrusfruits

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Top 10 List for Mental Health

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony. Thomas Merton

     Finding balance in life is challenging to say the least. I find that it is a daily process of intentional practices that brings harmony, beauty and peace to life. Here are my "Top 10" essentials of mental health.

1. Believe as if you can attain your goals. Our thoughts manifest into actions which create change in our lives.

2. Gain clarity and reduce negative cognitions. Many times we are often our own worst enemy. Stop negating yourself and limiting your potential.

3. Let go of self-sabotaging habits. Replace them with ones that embrace your current goals.

4. Start using positive affirmations on a daily basis.

5. Tap into your sense of spirituality and surrender to God what you feel you cannot control.

6. Do not let guilt overshadow your successes. Also, beware of "energy vampires" that try to step in the way of your journey.

7. Understand that there is no such thing as failure. Each step in our lives is a chance to learn, grow and reach a new level.

8. Start to truly accept and love yourself. Only allow positive, loving thoughts to rule your head.

9. Practice daily gratitude. Mantra: "You are too blessed to be stressed".

10. Let go of anger and resentments. When we hold onto such negative emotions we are the one who gets burned.

Love and peace. Namaste.

Monday, February 27, 2012

March Pampering Tips

That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty."
- William Shakespeare 

     When I think of the month of March, the themes of clarification and renewal come to mind. Preparing ourselves for the promise of Spring can be relaxing and uplifting. Here are some ideas to pamper yourself and do some self-care for the mind, body and soul. I wish you month full of hope, love and peace. Namaste.

1. Get a salon blowout to feel beautiful and pampered.

2. Be "selfish": once a day do something just for you.

3. Be generous: once a day do something for someone else.

4. Buy a bouquet of Spring flowers.

5. Clarify your pores by steaming your face over a large bowl of hot chamomile tea. Steam for 5 minutes.

6. Get your brows professionally shaped.

7. Watch less TV and spend some time reading a book.

8. Dry brush your skin and take a cooler shower. Then, towel off with a warmed, fluffy towel and apply a favorite body lotion.

9. Dry clean your winter sweaters so they will be ready for next season.

10. Rotate the clothes in your closet to incorporate Spring colors.

11. Iron your shirts and pants to look "pulled together".

12. Be less judgmental of others.

13. Increase the amount of meditation that you do.

14. Try a new form of yoga.

15. Buy fresh asparagus and cook one of your favorite recipes with it.

16. Buy a bare top in a bright, Spring color.

17. Overdress versus underdress for occasions.

18. Do a sea-salt body scrub followed by a seaweed bath to detoxify skin.

19. Buy a sturdy umbrella.

20. Go to the dentist for a teeth cleaning.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

6 Ways to Catch Spring Fever

It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  ~Mark Twain

This time of year many of us are craving Spring and feeling restless for flowers and warm weather. Spring is on it's way and here are six ways to start creating the feeling. Hope, love and peace, Namaste.

1- Romp! Surrender to spontaneous bursts of energy to boost your well-being. Take a walk outside, buy yourself a bouquet of Spring flowers, take a shower with a "rain" scented shower gel.

2- Spring clean something unexpected- reduce sources of negativity in your life.

3- Pick a Spring color and implement it into your home and wardrobe.

4- Plant a seed- Start working now toward a Summer goal- toned arms, a window box herb garden, a better relationship.

5- Make a reading list of ten books you would like to read.

6- Think pink- paint your nails in a bright pink color to bring in Spring.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Breakfast in Bed Menu

"Life, within doors, has few pleasanter prospects than a neatly arranged and well-provisioned breakfast table."

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

Breakfast for two can be made into a special occasion with some simple touches. Serve food that is easy to prop up in bed with freshly squeezed orange juice and/ or Champagne. A fresh rose in a bud vase on the tray says "good morning" and "I love you" at the same time. I hope you feel inspired to create romance and lasting memories. Love and peace. Namaste.

The menu:
1. Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon (or ham) and fresh herbs: The key is to cook scrambled eggs over low heat and not to season them until after they are cooked. For the fresh herbs, parsley, chives and tarragon are delicious.

2. A fruit bowl with papaya, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. Top the fruit with some honey and a splash of Champagne, (or sparkling pear juice), and a sprig of fresh mint.

3. A toasted gluten-free bagel with cream cheese.

4. Freshly brewed coffee or tea.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Romantic Dinner Menus

"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all." -Harriet Van Horne

I personally think that there is nothing more romantic than cooking at home. It adds a level of intimacy and allows you to bring in your own personality to create lasting memories. For the atmosphere, add some candles, fresh flowers, soft music and elegant dinnerware. Here are couple menu ideas that I hope inspires the chef in you. Love and peace. Namaste.

1. "A Romantic Valentine's Day Dinner"
-The Starter: Shrimp and Mango Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette:

For the salad simply arrange fresh baby greens, sliced fresh mango, fresh shrimp and a bit of minced fresh cilantro. Top with a ginger vinaigrette, (Annie's Naturals makes a gluten free version).

-The Main Course: Savory Cornish Hens with Roasted Garlic: I wrote a recipe post on this 8/29/2011

- The Side: Saute some fresh green beans and red peppers in some olive oil and top with a splash of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

-The Dessert: : To make the menu easier simply go to an upscale grocer and buy some chocolate mousse, (often times gluten free but check with the store).

2. "A Candlelight Dinner for the Meat and Potatoes Lover"
-The Starter: Green Salad with Gorgonzola Toasts:

For the salad: Toss Boston lettuce with a red wine vinaigrette and top with slices of gluten free bread, (cut elegantly) topped with gluten-free Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese that has been toasted under the broiler. I have found gluten free blue cheese from specialty grocers.

-The Main Course: Grilled Ribeyes with a Horseradish Crust: I wrote a recipe post on this on 6/16/2011.

-The Side: Pesto Twice Baked Potatoes: Bake a few potatoes for an hour and cool slightly. Cut the potatoes in half and remove some of the potato flesh. Add sour cream and pesto to the flesh and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the potato shells, place on a baking sheet. Next, top the potatoes with some Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

-The Dessert: Vanilla Ice Cream, with Chocolate-Cognac Sauce:

To make the sauce: In a small saucepan bring 2 Tbs. water, 2 Tbs.  heavy cream, 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, 1 Tbs. light corn syrup to a simmer over low heat, (stirring to melt the butter). Remove from heat. Add 4 oz. of gluten-free semi-sweet chocolate, 1 Tbs. of cognac or brandy. Let stand for 3 minutes and whisk until smooth and melted. Top with ice cream and chocolate sauce with fresh raspberries.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Winter Skincare

                               Photo by Erik Mattson

I have received requests for a list of my favorite Winter skincare products. I personally find that adapting my routine on a regular basis is most helpful. I hope you enjoy reading this..wishing you hope, love and peace. Namaste.

1. A good cleansing milk: I have used Weleda Cleansing Milk, Clarins Cleansing Milk with Alpine Herbs, and Boots Original Formula Cleansing Milk with Geranium..all of them are wonderful.

2. A good herbal toner without alcohol: Some lovely ones to try are Dr. Hauschka Facial Toner, Amanda Lacey Persian Rosewater, and Lush Eau Roma Water.

3. A gentle exfoliant: Erno Laszlo Sea Mud soap, Lush "Angels On Bare Skin", and Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream are all gentle yet effective.

5. A protective day moisturizer: Dr.Hauschka Rose Day Cream is my all time favorite in the Winter.

6. A hydrating under eye cream: Bobbi Brown under eye cream is wonderful and makes a good base for concealer.

7. A restorative night oil: Amanda Lacey Camellia Oil is one of the best facial oils I have ever used. It gives the skin a glow overnight and naturally exfoliates as well.

8. A reparative facial masque: Dr. Hauschka Rejuvenating Masque is "must have" for me. It calms down break-outs, hydrates and repairs skin from environmental elements.

9. A foundation that also benefits the skin: Jane Iredale Pure Pressed Mineral Foundation is wonderful.

10. A really good lip balm: Dr. Hauschka lip balm, Amanda Lacey lip balm and Nars Sabrina lip balm are all fantastic.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Celiac Socializing Tips

One of the challenges of living with Celiac disease is attending social events and knowing what to eat or not. I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of tips to make socializing easier..and hopefully more fun. I wish you love, laughter and happiness. Namaste.

1. Eat something ahead of time, (a protein and a complex carb like mutli-grain gluten free crackers), to reduce impulse eating.

2. Veggies are safe but watch out for dips that often contain gluten.

3. Let your host of hostess know ahead of time about your dietary restrictions.

4. Stay away from beer, (unless it is "gluten free" beer).

5. Be aware of marinades and salad dressings which also contain gluten.

6. Bring along some gluten free crackers in to have with cheese. Stay away from sausages which often contain gluten.

7. Be aware of grocers in the area if you need to get some gluten-free food.

8. Also be aware of places that do gluten free take-out.

9. Offer to bring along some dishes that are gluten free so there is something you know is safe to eat.

10. Be open and honest about your condition. It is more common that people realize and I have found that hosts and hostesses go out of there way to accommodate their guests.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February Pampering Tips

"I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.

There was no other creature
That saw what I could see--
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me."
-  Sara Teasdale, February Twilight  

I thought it would be fun to compile a list of activities for February for pampering and self-care. February is a time to celebrate love and one cannot give to others what we do not give to ourselves. I wish you a month of peace, love and blessings. Namaste.

1. Treat yourself to a paraffin manicure to soften your hands.

2. Buy a stylish new hat to perk up your wardrobe.

3. Add Vitamin E to your moisturizer to protect your skin.

4. Buy some new sheets, (or change your bedding) with colors that remind you of Spring.

5. Moisturize your feet with a soothing balm, (I like Davies Gate Cucumber foot balm), and sleep with cotton socks and wake up with soft skin.

6. Wrap yourself in a pashmina or cashmere scarf to ward off Winter chill.

7. Compliment a friend.

8. Do something artistic: paint, sketch, take some photos etc.

9. Hold the door for someone.

10. Try a new form of exercise.

11. Sort through your make-up and discard colors that do not suit you.

12. Make handmade Valentines.

13. Put lavender sachets in your pillows and drawers for a Spring scent.

14. Perfect a "signature dish" for dinner.

15. Listen to some new music in your car.

16. Exfoliate your body with a sugar scrub followed up by a hydrating body butter,

17. Soak cold feet in a Sage or Rosemary foot bath.

18. Organize your closet.

19. Visit an art museum.

20. Take a mental vacation and try meditation or yoga.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Art of De-Stressing

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.  ~William James

Stress: We cannot live with or without it. One of the challenges of life is balancing insufficient stress, (boredom), with too much pressure. I thought it would be helpful to write a post about some of the most helpful ways that I have found to manage stress. I hope reading this brings you a sense of calm, peace and serenity. Namaste.

1. Comedy: On average adults laugh 15 times a day, compared to children that laugh 400 times a day. Find something funny..just find a reason to laugh.

2. Set realistic expectations for yourself. If you are having a rough day, outline the accomplishments that you achieved on a good day, recognize your strengths and give yourself grace.

3. Forgive others and carry less grudges. When we choose to hold on to anger and resentment we punish ourselves the most.

4. Set a schedule and optimize your time. The routine and order will bring a sense of regulation.

5. Don't dwell on the past or anticipate tomorrow's "what might happen". Live in the present moment and focus on the day at hand.

6. Take a time out each day to relax: Take a warm bath, go for a walk, read a book, or listen to some music.

7. Do something for another person that can never repay you. It is proven that giving increases happiness.

8. Talk about your worries with another. Reach out and ask for support.

9. Do your best and let go of the facade of perfectionism.

10. Get a good night's sleep.

11. Eat healthy, nutritious meals and get some exercise.

12. Clean and organize your living environment. Chaos and disorganization leads to higher stress levels.

13. Get a massage or relax in a jacuzzi to unwind muscles.

14. Drink enough water and water and stay hydrated.

15. Practice meditation and yoga or Tai Chi.

16. Practice progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing exercises.

17. Incorporate aromatherapy: it only takes 2 seconds for aroma to enter the brain and reduce physical and emotional stressors.

18. Drink some soothing herbal tea.

19. Eat chocolate: it contains theobromine and phenylethlamine antidepressants that are believed to trigger the release of neurochemicals that give us a natural high.

20. Take herbal supplements like St. John's Wort and Kava Kava.

21 Lastly, visualize places of peace and serenity..choose positive thoughts and conversations. Allow yourself to pace the stimuli that you take in.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Activities for Small Children

" The time has come,"
The Walrus said,
"to talk of many things: Of shoes-
and ships- and
sealing wax- Of
cabbages- and
- Lewis Carroll

I thought it would be fun to compile a list of some of my favorite activities for small children. I hope it inspires creativity and imagination to your day. Hope, love and peace. Namaste.

1. Read some classic poetry to your child..I love "There Was a Child Went Forth" by Walt Whitman.

2. Watch a classic movie like "Charlotte's Web".

3. Make homemade rice pudding with tea for an evening treat.

4. Bake some homemade cookies.

5. Listen to some classical music and have your child paint or draw while listening to it.

6. Blow some bubbles.

7. Bake homemade banana bread.

8. Make homemade play-dough and play with cookie cutters.

9. Get some music instruments for kids, put on some music and play "band".

10. Make paper airplanes.

11. Make some soothing homemade soup.

12. Have an indoor picnic on a blanket and toast marshmallows over a candle.

13. Plant some grass seed indoors and watch it grow for a reminder of Spring.

14. Make homemade pizza.

15. Have a puppet show.

16. Look at pictures with your child of when they were younger.

17. Make homemade cupcakes and let your child frost and decorate them.

18. Play "dress up" with vintage clothes.

19. Make "potato stamps" for an art project.

20. Have  a dance party..put on some music and "jam".

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ways to Warm up the Winter

"You'd be so lean, that blast of January
Would blow you through and through.  Now, my fair'st friend,
I would I had some flowers o' the spring that might
Become your time of day."
-  William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, Act IV Scene 4 

By the end of January, "Winter doldrums" set in for many people. I thought it would be fun to compile a list of fun activities to do at home that can brighten up a cold day. Wishing you all warmth, happiness, peace and love. Namaste.

1. Buy a beautiful journal and take some time to record your inner thoughts.

2. Schedule a facial or do a home facial, (I like to do Dr. Hauschka facials at home).

3. Make hot chocolate the French way: Break some Swiss chocolate into pieces and melt it in a saucepan over low heat. Slowly add milk, while stirring and simmer gently for 5 minutes before serving.

4. Bake some homemade bread.

5. Renew friendships: schedule lunch with someone or call someone you have not connected with in awhile.

6. Get a manicure/ pedicure.

7. Plan a pajama party for one: Rent a great classic movie. Put on some warm flannel pajamas and settle into bed with a tray table of yummy snacks.

8. Get a make-up lesson at a department store.

9. Go to an art museum.

10. Go the Zoo and enjoy the indoor exhibits.

11. Add a healthy new vegetable to your repertoire.

12. Go for an outdoor hike.

13. Take a day off and spend it with a new book, a cashmere throw, herbal tea, and a fire or candles.

14. Exercise for at least an matter how you feel.

15. Edit your wardrobe.

16. Drink homemade lemonade with honey.

17. Buy some indoor plants to bring nature into the home.

18. Read some inspiring poetry.

19. Take a dance lesson.

20. Try a hot-stone massage with warm oil.

21. Take a decadent bubble bath.

22. Eat some food with a little spice.

23. Make a dinner with food that reminds you of Summer, (i.e. grilled seasoned fish).

24. Write a letter to someone on beautiful stationary.

25. Re-read a favorite book from childhood.