What is Your Intention?

intention

Have you ever noticed that you are too busy taking care of everybody else to make time for self-care? Do you wait until you’re actually sick and then finally make time? By then are you too sick to even care for others? How can you when you can’t even take care of yourself, right?  Oh boy, this was a big one for me.  I actually had to get sick before I would give myself permission to take really good care of me.  I find many people do the same.  We don’t value ourselves enough to take care of ourselves until we’re forced to.

Or here’s another example, let’s say you miss an appointment. You didn’t mean to miss it, right? Or maybe you did. Maybe there was an underlying reason why you would have wanted to miss the appointment. This is where we can start to see that based on the outcome, you actually did mean to miss that appointment. Why? Intention is behind all of our actions, good or bad. It may have been that you had some nagging intuition about something that would come up during the appointment or maybe you wanted to be somewhere else.  Or maybe it might not be that specific appointment that you wanted to miss, but it could be that being late is an issue for you and it is a recurring theme in your life. If so, then you needed to miss just one more appointment because the underlying cause and reason for missing the appointment is to have you learn the lessons that something has to change.  Then you can look at the real reasons why you are late.  This was also a big one for me.  One year I was an hour and a half late for Christmas dinner.  Yup.  I had my reasons of course, but it was awful to have everyone waiting for me. Yet I got a powerful lesson from it and something within me shifted.  Now I don’t like being even 10 minutes late. I’m not perfect, but I’m waaaay better than I was.  Once we get clear about our intention, we can begin taking responsibility for what we create in our lives and can create what we want!

Are you ready? Are you fully prepared to take responsibility for what you are creating? What is it that you are intending to create? Whether in your life or healing journey, the invitation to take responsibility for what you create in your life is present when you choose to be aware of it. The good news is once you start seeing where in your life your intention is creating certain outcomes, you can set and create more desirable powerful outcomes.


 

Chia Seed Pudding
                
 
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk
2/3 cup chia seeds
½ to 1 tsp alcohol free vanilla extract (to taste)
1 packet stevia (if desired/balanced)
Unsweetened shredded coconut to garnish

Combine milk, chia seeds, vanilla extract in bowl, stir 2-3 times over 10 minutes and put in covered bowl and refrigerate overnight.
Put in serving dish and sprinkle with coconut flakes.

My Worst Nightmare

The doctor told me that I would not be able to get pregnant again. Well, I could get pregnant, but it is what may have contributed to the breast cancer to begin with. She was doing her job by warning me of the risks, but my dreams were crushed. I would not be able to have another child.

I had always dreamt of having a big family.  I had a little girl, yes, but… I could not have more kids. My life was in jeopardy AND my dreams of having more children were crushed.

Earlier I mentioned, a step I took to get through this inconceivably challenging time. It is one of the steps I took to deal with the devastating news of the breast cancer diagnosis, the doctor’s telling me while I was pregnant that they thought my unborn child may have spina bifida, and after my healthy child was born I should not have any more kids.

I know it sounds like a made up notion, but the first move I made was the 1st step to wellness. It was not all rose colored glasses, trust me. In fact, I could only do one thing during this time.

The only thing I could do was…get through each moment. I just prayed to get through this moment. I could not even think an hour ahead, let alone a week or a month.

Getting through each moment can be difficult.  “Getting through each moment” felt particularly hard when I was told the devastating news about someone I love.

I’ll tell you more next time.

With the warmest admiration for you and all that is within you,

Joyce

P.S. I write in my book about the very physically painful journey I was on and the unexpected incident that happened while I was undergoing surgery. It was the kind of physical pain that prior to it, I could not imagine feeling, but this journey provided me not only with hope but with confirmation that when we start making changes to our life that are more positive and supportive than those we made before, we do have an incredible ability to heal.

 

Want Your Kids to Eat Healthier?

dashashakesHave you already made the switch to eating a healthier diet? Fantastic! Now, what about getting your kids on board as well? Not only can that be challenging, it can seem like an outright battle at times. It’s our gluten-free, no-dairy breakfast vs. their cherished bowl of sugar puffs! So what’s the best way to face that challenge?

There are plenty of ways to gently assimilate your kids into healthy eating habits. The main problem is getting it past their taste buds! That’s why a slow and easy approach might be better than just replacing everything they are used to—no matter how tempting that is for you! An all or nothing approach might work for you, but you can’t expect your kids to handle it in the same way.

One way to introduce your kids to healthier habits is by educating them. Let them know that you would like to enlist their support for eating healthier. Once they understand that you need to make this change in your life and that it’s important for you, they may be more supportive and try to help in whatever way they can. Of course, they can help you best by not having in the house any of those foods that would tempt you. Let them know how much it would mean to you to have healthier alternatives in the house. Obviously, it won’t be exactly the same foods they love but explain to them that you’ll find good replacements that they’ll like too.  It will take some getting used to, but the important thing is that you can face that challenge together.

You can also remind them that these changes will make them feel better. It’s important that they know what your body is going through and why you need to make these changes, whether it’s because of cancer or another illness or a health scare. You don’t need to overwhelm them with information or scare them about what the food they are eating is doing to them. Simply try educating them about what they are putting into their body and what changes they will be able to see. Have them make a list of anything at all that might be bothering them, whether it’s colds, headaches, congestion, fatigue, anxiety or acne.  They may start to notice that they feel better as well with some of the changes.  If they can start making the connection now between the foods they are eating and how it is making them feel, they’ll be more likely to want to stick with those changes.

Another gentle approach is to slowly start substituting their regular foods. A good place to start might be with milk. Try blending coconut or almond milk into their regular milk. Maybe at first you replace 15% of the milk, then 30% and then 60%. Before you know it, they’ve already become used to the new taste! Then there are all those breakfast foods they love so much. Most of those things— like cereals, bagels and waffles—can also be found gluten-free. And what kid doesn’t love pasta! Well, try giving them gluten free pasta or quinoa with their old favorite toppings, just to get them used to it.

The other big thing in our house is smoothies.  It’s a great way to get lots of nutrients into them and they taste great.  My girls drink smoothies for breakfast.  They love them.  Kelsey didn’t at first, now she asks for it if I wind up having to skip a day or two.  They feel better when they have them.  Their energy is more balanced, they’re calmer and think more clearly during the day. That’s especially huge for a teenager. I didn’t even tell them at first what was in them.  You can start with a more fruit based smoothie with coconut milk, cucumber, vegan protein powder and fruit.  After they are used to it, keep adding in more of the veggies and even a greens powder then start reducing the fruit. Fruit has a lot of sugar in it, which can raise their blood sugar and then they’ll crash later.  You can swap out beef meatballs with organic turkey meatballs, do a stir-fry with organic free-range chicken or even try a quinoa recipe.  There are many options to do it in a way that they can still enjoy.  These are just a couple of ways to have them start eating healthier.

The key is to make it fun for them, get them involved and let your kids know that they can still have their favorite foods. Most important is that they still have their familiar meals. Little by little, your kids will be getting healthier without feeling like they’ve been ambushed into it. And you can feel good that you and your family are being healthy together!

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda…

should-would-could-didWow, we are already knee deep into February! It seems as if just yesterday we were celebrating New Year’s Day! I wanted to check in with you to see how your New Year’s resolutions are going? Did you make any?  If so, what was the promise you made?

“I’ll give up sugar this year.”

“I’ll do yoga every day.”

“I want to start making more time for me.”

They all sound great, right? Now that we are six weeks into 2014, do you find yourself saying…

“I haven’t been eating sugar but I did have some cake this week.”

“IF I worked out more, I would feel even better.”

“I CAN’T find enough time for myself since I started this promotion.”

Notice something important? Is it the resolution that isn’t working for you or is it simply how you are looking at it?

It’s amazing how easy it is to tell ourselves what we did wrong, what we failed to do. Yet, how many of us remember what we DID do. You started a new goal, right? Instead of throwing in the towel after your first slip-up, why not tell yourself: “Wow! Two whole weeks without sugar! That felt great! Let’s see how long I can go this time and see if I can avoid that birthday cake next time.” Now having told yourself that, I think the odds of you continuing with that goal rather than just giving up are pretty good, don’t you?

It’s as simple as acknowledging what we DID do rather than just what we didn’t do. These are what I call our WINS. Your wins are all the positive things you are doing to change your habits and lifestyle. And it all starts with the way you are thinking and feeling about them.

So often we end up phrasing things with: “I did accomplish X,Y,Z, BUT didn’t…” It’s so important in those moments for us to, instead, just make the statement and leave out all the could have, would have, should have’s.

“I exercised yesterday, BUT I didn’t today.”  can become:

“I exercised yesterday and I WILL exercise again this week.”

Do you hear the difference? Which one of those sentences actually makes you most likely to work out again? Which one is more empowering?

So…no buts. Period!

Be encouraged by the accomplishments you are making. And most importantly, pay attention to the words you are using when talking about them. The words themselves, even when you are trying to use them positively, can have negative energy. Think about the way you’re saying things from an energetic standpoint. Stick with the positive statement and be aware of the If and But statements – just leave them out of it!

When we beat ourselves up, we drain our energy, lower our immune system and deplete the feel good hormones.  That’s when resolutions can be detrimental to your health.

Focus on what you’re actually accomplishing without bringing in the words that will trip you up and prevent you from feeling good about it. So just rate how your self-talk sounds on a scale of 1-10.  Say each phrase, first the way you would normally say it and then from a more empowered standpoint.  How does it feel?  Does it pull your energy down or up?  Is it healing or hurting you?

Here’s the other thing, I don’t believe in waiting until January to make “resolutions” or changes.  Just decide and set the ball in motion.  Decide on one step and do it consistently. If you dropped off from your commitment, recommit.  It’s that simple.

Believe me, just as important as acting on that new year’s goal is the way you think about it. So why not make today the first day of the rest of your life?

So what are you doing to accomplish your goals?  What language will you use to support yourself?  Oh and we’d love to hear from you so don’t forget to share your comments below!

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Healthy Holiday Tips on Eating & Entertaining

So you’re on vacation and eating out at restaurants every night. Or your family is in town for the holidays and you have to cook for them. Or maybe you were asked to a dinner party. These scenarios can seem like bigger obstacles than they really are. Do you resign yourself to giving up your healthy eating habits to eat “normal people’s” food or do you force those normal people to eat like you?

You want to be healthy, but you can’t stop living your life, right? It’s all about making the best choices for you in that situation.  So if it means saying “No” to certain foods when those are the only choices available, then say “No” and see what happens. See how good you feel about yourself the next day.  I’m all about making good choices and not beating yourself up.  If you do eat something that you know is not a good choice for you, then be in gratitude for that experience and forget about it.  DO NOT beat yourself up about it.

So what if you are the odd one out and choose to say “No”? If the majority is eating “normal food”, it can seem like a hard choice to decide what to eat.  Below are some tips to help you get past all that.

My first main tip for entertaining is to always make sure that you’re taken care of first and that you have everything that’s healthy and a good choice for you to eat.  Please do not make the mistake of eating something that’s going to harm you because you feel badly about telling someone.  You can explain that you have a health issue that you are working to resolve and you need to avoid it.  If you’re just beginning on this journey, you might want to opt-out of having the actual holiday at your home to take some of the pressure off.

Some examples of things you can try are appetizers like guacamole or hummus with vegetables, maybe even some gluten-free/grain-free crab cakes as a real treat.  Then for dinner make a huge beautiful salad and tons of veggies as the main part and center of the meal. You can add a piece of fish or quinoa to go with them.  You could even make gluten free pasta if you ‘re not in the health crisis phase.

Second, you can take care of what everybody else will eat. You can order their dishes from a restaurant or deli, someplace that’s not tempting for you.  Also don’t order things you love!  That will help to make your temptations less tempting.   Or you can make more of what you’ll be eating – maybe your company will be open to eating it.  I’ve discovered that our families are more and more open to our way of eating.  Some are even dealing with different diets as well, including gluten free.

In time, you can get back to creating dishes for others.  A perfect example of this was this past Easter when some of Kevin’s family and my family came and stayed for the weekend—16 people!  Kevin and I made a whole meal that was gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar free.  It included crab cakes, sweat potato burgers, fish, organic Turkey, quinoa, tons of veggies and salads. Once again I made sure to have things that we eat.  They all raved about the meal.  We announced at the end of the meal that it was gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar free.  They never missed it and were amazed.  Most people can’t tell the difference!

Third is to eat a lot before the company arrives or before you leave to visit someone else.  Having a huge veggie based, vegan, protein smoothie before the doorbell rings is a great way to fill yourself and squash those cravings before they happen.

Fourth, if you’re really tempted, ask yourself, “Is it really worth it?”  Is it something that you can have at another time?  Another tip is to ask someone else, who is fully supportive of you eating healthy to help you out.  Ask them if it’s so fantastic and amazing, a “once in a lifetime”, just can’t miss it treat that you absolutely have to try.  It’s very rare that I get a resounding yes.  This way you won’t feel like you’re missing out on something, you could always have it at another time. I think you’ll find quickly that there’s not much that you’ll miss.  It’s harder in the beginning but I assure you that it gets easier and easier over time.  Now, it doesn’t even phase me and I don’t feel the cravings to eat what others are eating!

Fifth, if I’m bringing food to someone else’s house, I still make what I can eat. For example, I’ll always ask if I can bring a salad.  Sometimes we make gluten free/grain-free crab cakes or a fish dish (see delicious recipe below).

Sixth, for a quick and even unexpected visitor, you can make gluten free/grain free pasta with homemade sauce that you keep in the freezer with a large salad.  Always have lots of salad staples on hand. If you are able to eat meat, you can keep organic, grass fed turkey meatballs in the freezer too. And you know what? Coconut flour and almond flour are great replacements for flour, just adjust quantities as necessary. Coconut sugar can be used sparingly instead of most sugars, providing you are not in a health crisis.

So you see, I no longer have any concerns about entertaining or eating differently from everyone else and I hope these tips help you to do the same.

Remember, we need to make our care the highest priority if we’re going to be healthy enough to take good care of everyone else!  Once we do, we can concentrate our energy on entertaining others or being a good guest without feeling lousy or deprived and instead feeling great and fulfilled in the process.  Then you can party on and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!


We’d love to hear from you and connect, so please leave your comments below 🙂

Are You Putting Yourself Last?

Can you remember the last time you had a day all to yourself? Between our kids, families, work obligations and now with the holidays, this may be harder than it seems. But think about it. What would you do if you had a day to treat yourself in the best possible way? That’s right, a ME day.

I bet if you gave yourself a ME day, you would make more of an effort to take care of yourself. You would have the time and focus to just concentrate on what you need and treat yourself in the best possible way. When you look at it that way, ME days are more essential than you think! Our bodies, brains and souls need time to rejuvenate and recharge.

What’s stopping you from having one? Is it because you put everyone else first and neglect yourself? Think about how little time it would take if you could catch up on some sleep, cook a good healthy meal for yourself, go for a massage and just relax. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?!

Okay, but there’s no one to watch the kids or you have that deadline at work or your in-laws are visiting. We can get real cranky and even sick if we don’t take that time for ourselves, and that serves no one. One thing I hear again and again from people with health issues and especially cancer is that they are exhausted and most often have been taking care of everyone else and putting themselves last. A million BUTS can come up when instead of saying “I Can’t”, we can simply say “HOW can I”? How can I make time for myself with all these things going on? How much do I deserve a ME day or even a few ME hours? Think of how much more energy and love you will have to give if your tank is full instead of running on empty. Try answering those questions and see how amazed you are with what you CAN come up with!
 
YOU are just as important as all those other things going on in your life. In fact, you’re health is more important because if you’re sick, NOTHING will get done. One of the most important things I tell my clients is to think about the emergency instructions we receive when we are flying on a commercial airline. “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first”. If you don’t, you may pass out before you have a chance to put it on your child. We have so much more to give, when we have a full tank.
 
So how would you spend a ME day or even a few ME hours? And how soon can you create that for yourself? Let these questions take priority, because the results are just as essential for everyone’s well-being as taking care of everyone else first.

Being in Gratitude

Have you ever said to yourself, “I’m grateful for…”? There’s so much about that phrase that can be so powerful. What’s interesting is that you can’t be in gratitude and have other emotions at the same time. So for example, if you’re in gratitude, then it pushes away fear.  Or if you’re grateful, you can’t be angry at the same time. Amazing how that works, isn’t it?

By being in that place of gratitude, it also raises your energetic vibration and improves your health. And by now, if you know me, I’m always talking about how it’s all about those ‘good vibrations’!  Now remember, the important thing to know about gratitude is that it’s not just about saying it, you want to feel the positive feelings of it.  So focus on the things you really are grateful for. You don’t want it to be something that brings you a negative feeling.

 

Often before going to sleep, I write down every ridiculous thing I’m grateful for. I’ve been grateful for toenails because it’s really painful to have someone step on your toe when you don’t have a toenail. Ouch! I’m grateful for emory boards, soap, towels, spoons — you get the picture.  It’s important to remember all those little things that we can be grateful for, no matter how silly they may seem at the time. At least it’s raising your vibrations and helping you stay away from negative emotions. Here’s an extra added benefit.  When you write down all you’re grateful for before you go to sleep, you’ll have better dreams and wake up feeling better! Worth a try, right?

 

Since we can all get too busy or tired at the end of a long day to write down all that we’re grateful for, it’s important to have other ways to bring gratefulness into your day. When you do, you’ll start to see really cool things coming into your life.  You can do it while driving, when you get frustrated, while grocery shopping, etc. Just paying attention to all the things that we are blessed enough to have at our convenience, things we’re able to experience and the people we have in our lives is a great place start.

 

In my house, we’ll go around the dinner table and ask each other five questions. First, “What was your favorite part of the day?” Next is, “What are you most grateful for today?” Sometimes just answering these two can go on for 10 minutes with each of us, especially with my girls, my chatterboxes, because they had interesting days. Then we ask, “What is something you love about yourself?” And also, “What is something that you love about someone else?”  We then move on to “What’s a good deed or something nice you did for someone else today?”  We even do it if my daughters’ friends are eating with us.  It always makes for interesting conversations and opens up communication about how we’re feeling.

 

It’s pretty awesome when you’re the recipient of hearing what someone else loves about you — a gift worth giving and receiving.  It will feel good both in your own heart and also make someone else feel good.

 

That’s just one aspect of gratitude that winds up having a big impact when you do it consistently. The more and more you focus on gratitude, the more wonderful things you attract into your life.  So now it’s your turn:

What are you grateful for today?

Changing Your Relationship with Food

Are you eating to satisfy more than just your appetite? God knows it’s hard to resist those cravings! But what about when you start letting your emotions take charge over what and how you eat? Like when you grab for chocolate every time you are stressed at work. Or when you are feeling blue and turn to a pint of ice cream to feel better. It’s very easy to do. But is it really comfortable? Maybe it’s time to start rethinking your relationship with food. Here’s the funny thing about comforting yourself with food: It quickly becomes uncomfortable. And it’s not only physical discomforts like weight gain or low energy, but that emotion that triggered the craving will hardly be any more satisfied. 

Okay, so what do we do if most, if not all, of our days are so busy that we barely have time to eat, let alone think about how to eat better?! Then add on the emotions we are likely to encounter—anxiety, sadness, anger. It’s no wonder food becomes our escape and a way to feel better about ourselves! It’s easy to think that the real challenge is in changing those habits. But guess what? The real challenge is staying in that all too familiar comfortable relationship with food. Soon you realize what that sense of “comfort” is costing you. 

So how can we let go of that emotional need for food? It’s as simple as a choice. We choose to stay where we are. Do you really feel more comfortable once you’ve satisfied that craving? If you have ever done a cleanse, then you already know how incredible it feels to get out of your comfort zone with food. Your physical and emotional energy become completely different once you become unstuck from your food cravings. When we stay in a challenging relationship with food, like with other things, we make it so much bigger and harder than it needs to be. But by simply changing your eating habits, you could benefit from feeding yourself with the foods you really need and find that those emotions that triggered your cravings in the first place are not as demanding as you thought. 

It sounds simple, but, believe me, I know how hard it can really seem at times. So let’s take it one step at a time. What about finding a good healthy substitute, like a smoothie when all you want to do is eat a pint of ice cream or maybe kale chips when you’re craving something salty and crunchy instead of a whole bag of potato chips to unwind from work? Maybe find a physical activity to do in order to avoid the craving all together. Once you stop emotionally needing that food in that situation every time, you’ll be surprised how far you can go after that.  When you choose those healthy alternatives, you’re going to feel better about yourself and you’ve just taken one more step towards a healthier, more vibrant you.  The key is to make that change and see how comfortable it really can be!  Like Nike says…Just do it!

What You and Steve Jobs May Have in Common

Today is the one year anniversary of Steve Jobs’ passing. His death effected me in so many ways. It brought up a lot of emotions about my own mortality, my survival, how I wish I could have helped him with his illness, about living each moment to the fullest and how much time I’ve spent in my life on so many things that, in reality, are not that important.  It also had me reflecting on the gifts Steve had to share, his blessing and the impact he’s had on this world.  I believe he may be looked upon as the equivalent to Einstein and Mozart because of his genius and the way his gifts impact each and every one of our lives on a daily basis, even after his passing.  Apple had a wonderful tribute to Steve on their site today which you can see here.

Because of his passion, Steve never quit even when he was stripped of his most precious creation, Apple. One of the things Steve Jobs exemplified the most is how important it is to focus on our blessings and our passion and in doing so we can change the world.

It reminds me of what I saw yesterday on TV.  The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin’s, daughter, Bindi, was being interviewed. She is carrying on his legacy with such grace and beauty.   She said that her dad had such passion that he made a difference in the lives of millions.  She went on to say that if one man could do that, you can too.

When we discover our life’s purpose and use our passion to fulfill it, our lives are fulfilled and the unimaginable can be achieved.  Today, as I think of Steve Jobs, I see the impact that one person can have when they follow their passion and live their life’s purpose.  My wish for you today and every day is that you live your life to the fullest and fulfill your purpose and passion.  Imagine if we all did.

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