My Five Favorite Foods For Spring

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in Food and Nutrition, Health Tips | 0 comments

My Five Favorite Foods For Spring

I can’t believe another month has passed and April is here!  I don’t know about you, but I am ready for Spring!  After this cold and dreary winter Spring can’t get here fast enough.  As I mentioned last month now is a great time to cleanse our bodies, minds and spirits.  Think greens, raw fruits and vegetables and minimal processed foods.

For this month’s Blog I have decided to keep it simple and focus on the food.  Here are my Five Favorite Foods to incorporate into your diet for Spring and Why…

Asparagus

There are two main colors of asparagus – white and green. White asparagus is not a separate variety; it is white because it is grown completely underground so that no chlorophyll develops. Green asparagus, which is either purely green or has green stalks with purple tinged leaves is sold in a range of sizes from very thin pencil asparagus to thick and juicy jumbo size. From a nutritional standpoint asparagus has a lot to offer. It is a good source of vitamin C, thiamin and riboflavin and an excellent source of folate. It also provides protein and fiber. Perhaps most importantly asparagus is high in cancer fighting antioxidants. Try them grilled or roasted.

Peas

Peas are an excellent source of Vitamin K, folic acid, and Vitamin B6, important for combating osteoporosis and atherosclerosis by reducing the buildup of homocysteine molecules. Peas are a good source of other B Vitamins as well, such as thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), and niacin (vitamin B3). These help regulate lipid, carbohydrate and protein levels. Peas contain a fair amount of Vitamin C, which is our body’s main antioxidant protection against viruses and diseases, and perhaps even some cancers.  When Spring peas are fresh I like to throw them in my salad for extra crunch and sweetness.

Spinach

Spring is the best time of year to eat spinach, a crop that loves warm days and cold, nearly frosty nights, which bring out its natural sugars. In addition to being a great source of vitamin C and folate, two nutrients that strengthen your immune system and ward off allergies, spinach is also rich in a compound called betaine, which has been found to boost exercise performance. And if you think only carrots can keep your eyesight healthy, think again. Spinach contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that may help prevent age-related macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of blindness.

Sprouts

Sprouts of all varieties contain the building blocks of life in the form of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids and simple sugars. In their early growth state, sprouts are very easy to digest, allowing our bodies to access many wonderful nutrients. Recent research by the American Cancer Society has backed what holistic nutrition has known for years: that sprouts contain anti-cancer properties, high levels of active antioxidants, concentrated amounts of phytochemicals and significant amounts of vitamins A, C and D.

Radishes

Radishes are extremely nutritious! As members of the cruciferous family of vegetables; radishes help our bodies fight cancer and aging. Along with anti-oxidants, radishes contain nearly a third of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C. They are low in fat and calories, and contain small amounts of fiber, iron and even calcium. Don’t forget about the leaves! Radish leaves contain more vitamin C, calcium and protein than radishes themselves. Toss the leaves into a pesto, stir-fry, or your next smoothie.

So there you have it, my five favorite foods for spring. When we eat foods that are local, fresh and in season, we help our bodies achieve balance. We help reduce our cravings and strengthen our immune systems. We help nourish the body with what it really wants and needs. Eating foods that are in season helps us get closer to achieving that optimum state of wellness and after all, isn’t that what we all want to achieve?

 

Read More

How To Drop That Winter Weight

Posted by on Mar 3, 2014 in Featured | 0 comments

How To Drop That Winter Weight

Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind, & spirit.  When one is free of physical disabilities and mental distractions, the Gates of the soul open”- B.K.S Iyengar

March is upon us, which means spring is right around the corner, thank goodness. This past winter has been particularly harsh on our bodies (and if you like the sunshine and warmth maybe your spirit too). During winter our bodies tend to crave warm comforting foods and it is natural for us to store fat.

As the end of winter approaches we might be feeling a bit “heavier” then usual and our bodies may be depleted in energy. Well, I’m here to tell you that this is part of our bodies natural way of being. Instead of criticizing ourselves for putting on those extra winter pounds, let’s set a goal for ourselves to enter spring feeling replenished and restored.

So, how can we do that? Here are some simple ways to release that extra winter weight and feel better about our bodies.

Cleanse Your Body

To cleanse your body, give it a break from rich and complicated foods by either cleansing or fasting for a short period of time. Cleansing means paring down your food to just simple fruits and vegetables, lots of water and perhaps whole grains. Fasting means limiting most foods and drinking lots of water, fresh vegetable and fruit juices, teas and soups. Cleansing and fasting can sharpen your concentration, help you gain insight and promote spiritual awareness. It can also bring improved immune function and better digestion.

Move Your Body

We all know how important exercise is in order to achieve a healthy lifestyle, but movement is also a great way to cultivate more energy. Exercise stimulates adrenaline in our body. This leads to major shift in our energy.  If you’re looking to increase your energy and shed extra pounds start moving your body NOW!

Drink More Water

During winter we tend to get more dehydrated. This can manifest in many ways, but most often it can lead to a decrease in energy or even mild hunger. Making sure you drink enough water is essential for nourishing yourself and balancing the body.

Get More Sleep

Most of us are sleep deprived.  When our bodies are tired and in need of rest we experience more stress and our blood sugar levels fluctuate very easily.  This causes our body to be depleted of energy.  Many of us feel guilty for taking the time we need to rest and restore, however it essential for our health.  Most of us need at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night to help balance our energy levels throughout the day.

Cleanse Your Mind

As you know I believe that we cannot have a healthy body without having a positive mindset. Use this opportunity to throw away negative thoughts and habits you’ve been harboring that no longer serve you. A clean, open heart will allow you to receive all the good that awaits you each and every day. If your heart and mind are cluttered, there is no room for life’s gifts and surprises to enter.

While we transition between seasons our bodies naturally want to become more balanced.  Cleansing our bodies and minds, even for a short period of time, can have a tremendous impact on our overall well-being.  This can be overwhelming or seem scary if you are unsure what to do. If you are in need of support or simply curious how you can cleanse the body then contact me for more info!

 

Read More

My Biggest Secret For Weight Loss!

Posted by on Feb 4, 2014 in Health Tips, Mindfulness, Nourishing Yourself | 0 comments

My Biggest Secret For Weight Loss!

Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
- Rumi

For some reason February always reminds me of love. It’s probably because Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, or maybe it’s because winter has been so cold that I need something warm to focus on. Lately I have been reminded of how important it is to truly love myself, and I’m not just talking about my self-care practice (that is also an essential part of being healthy). When I talk about love, I mean whole-hearted, unconditional love.

You’re probably saying to yourself; but Erica, what does love have to do with food and weight loss? And I would say EVERYTHING!

What I have learned from my personal experience, and in working with my clients, is that LOVE needs to be the focus of our work as we learn to let go of our “un-wanted” eating habits and cultivate a nourishing relationship between our mind, body and spirit. No matter how much we try to improve our relationship with food or constantly obsess about what to eat and what NOT to eat, one thing I know for certain, food is secondary. If we don’t learn to LOVE and ACCEPT ourselves exactly as we are, then we will never be truly nourished.

The bottom line :: The more you love yourself, the more weight you will lose.

All you need to do is ask yourself; how do I love myself? If I truly love myself would I ________________ (eat that, say that, do that).

Feeling stuck? Here are some ways to help you cultivate a more loving relationship with yourself.

Fall In Love With Yourself

Love yourself and every part of you. Love your strengths and let them shine. Look in the mirror everyday and say to yourself “I love you unconditionally”

Eliminate Self Criticism

Are you a perfectionist, always saying “I am not good enough”? Having a negative opinion about ourselves can have a huge impact on who we are and what we do. Next time you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself ask, would I speak to a child like that?

Be Truthful With Yourself

Be aware of what you are feeling. When you are JOYFUL feel it. When you are DEPRESSED feel it. When you are AFRAID ask why? Don’t try to cover up or blur emotions. Ask yourself how you feel often. Share your thoughts and feelings with others.

Be Patient With Yourself

Practice generosity and patience with yourself. Change can be scary. We can’t expect to change our negative habits and life long patterns overnight. Everything is a practice. Once you let go of the outcome your expectations become limitless.

Forgive Yourself

Learn to forgive yourself when you make a mistake. Everyone is a work in progress. With every mistake made comes an opportunity for growth and learning.

Let Go Of  Worry

Practice the art of letting go. Practice meditation to release you of your anxieties. Quiet the mind and clean it out of all toxic thoughts. Focus your mind on “I am” instead of “I’m not enough”.

Express Gratitude

Express gratitude for the person that you are. Cultivate an appreciation for your strengths and gifts. Feel a sense of gratitude that you are alive and well, and fully capable of making a difference in your life. Practicing gratitude allows us to feel better. When we practice gratitude we focus on the positive.

 Nurture Your Dreams

Dream BIG and make it happen. When we focus our minds on what we really want and fill ourselves with positive affirmations and thoughts our dreams will be achieved. Every moment that you live is a joy because you are expressing yourself fully.

Spoil Yourself

Do things just because you want to. Have fun and cultivate JOY. What brings you pleasure? Make a list of all the things you want to do and start doing them.

Take Care Of Your Body

Nourish yourself with healthy food, water, and regular exercise. Give yourself enough down time to rest and restore. Set an intention to start loving and respecting your body and follow through with it everyday.

Be Present

Learn to see the beauty in everyday. Be present and observe what is around you. Flowers blooming, trees growing, children playing, laughter. When you can appreciate the beauty in the everyday you will begin to see it within yourself.

Even if you just choose one of these and focus on making that your new goal for the month, I promise you will start to feel better. When you start to feel better about yourself you will be able to ask yourself; How am I loving myself today?

Read More

How To Keep Those Resolutions

Posted by on Jan 2, 2014 in Body image, Health Tips, Mindfulness | 0 comments

How To Keep Those Resolutions

True life is lived when tiny changes occur” -Leo Tolstoy

Many of us start the New Year making resolutions. We vow to eat healthier, go to the gym, quit smoking, spend less money, get organized… etc. So why is it, that only 8% of us are able to stick with these resolutions? We start the year with great intentions, but then we quickly relapse into old habits. Why is it so hard to keep those New Year’s resolutions?

First of all you need to understand that you are not a failure. 

Mistakes, issues and challenges are just opportunities to begin again more intelligently.

Don’t beat yourself up or tell yourself that you are no good. In order to truly be successful at anything we want to achieve we must get rid of the “I’m not good enough” and “you never do anything right” talk.

Here are some ways you can make your intentions a reality this year:

Set Your Intention

Ask yourself what you want to change and how you want to feel.  Then write down your positive intentions and keep them in a visible place, like taped to your bedroom mirror, the bathroom mirror or refrigerator.

Find The Source Of Your Resistance

Get to the source of whatever is keeping you in a rut. Are you in a stressful relationship that causes you to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every night? Are you stressed at your job and feel too tired to exercise after work?  If you don’t tackle the root of the behavior, it will be much harder to accomplish your goal.

Visualize Your Goal

Be clear about what your life would look like once you achieve your goal. If you resolve to go to the gym more, how will this benefit you? Visualize yourself feeling better, looking better and having more confidence. Get connected to the result of your action, and you will be more likely to stick with your plan.

Get Support

Share your resolutions with friends and family. Hold each other accountable for achieving your goals. If you want to go to the gym more, have a friend call you two or three times a week to check on you or invite them to join you.

Reward Yourself

Reward yourself with every little accomplishment. If your intention is to lose weight and you lose 1 pound a week, pamper yourself with a massage or a healthy treat.

Forgive Yourself

Practice a loving and forgiving relationship with yourself. If you are unable to reach your goal forgive yourself and try again. Encourage yourself, the way you would a child. If after trying another time you are unable to succeed maybe you need to set a more realistic and attainable goal.

I really encourage you to think about what it is that you WANT. If you find yourself getting discouraged and thinking “it’s never going to change, so why bother” that is exactly what will happen. Positive thoughts lead to positive actions. Take a moment and ask yourself, “What can I be doing right now to feel better?”

 

Read More

How To Lose Weight This Holiday Season

Posted by on Dec 5, 2013 in Featured, Health Tips, Mindfulness, Nourishing Yourself | 0 comments

How To Lose Weight This Holiday Season

Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.” - Thich Nhat Hanh

The holiday season can often cause us to feel stressed and overwhelmed.  According to some recent statistics:

  • 69% of people are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time”
  • 69% are stressed by perceiving a “lack of money”
  • 51% feel stressed out over the “pressure to give or get gifts”

Feeling stressed or overwhelmed can sometimes lead us to make unhealthy decisions around our food and neglect our self-care practices.  While I know all too well how easy those habits are, my goal for you this month is to reduce your stress and focus on the excitement of holiday time, so that you are able to take better care of yourself.

Here are some simple ways to help you reduce stress and prevent weight gain around the holidays.

Slow Down

When we are in a high stress mode our body shuts down the digestive process, not too mention the disruption it causes to our emotional and spiritual state.  Slowing down is the key to healthy eating and reducing our stress. It helps our body digest better and burn more fat! Some ways to help yourself get slow are practicing yoga, being out in nature or simply focusing on your breathing.

Eat Mindfully

Eating mindfully means we are paying attention to what we are eating. We are aware of all our sensations and what is happening in our body. It also includes eating without distractions and enjoying our food! Begin by taking a breath before you eat, say a word of thanks, smell your food and really experience the textures and sensations in your mouth.

Plan & Prepare

Being prepared helps to reduce our stress and anxiety. When we are prepared we worry less about running out of time and are able to focus on staying present. Some ways to help prepare for the holidays are to do your shopping early, never go to a party on an empty stomach, bring a healthy dish with you and don’t over extended yourself and be afraid to say no.

Practice Gratitude

As you know from last months blog, “Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, higher long-term satisfaction with life, less anxiety and depression, and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.” The holidays are a great time to begin a daily gratitude practice. It will not only improve your health, but enhance your life.  Begin with a gratitude journal and write 3-5 things you are grateful for everyday!

Move Your Body

We all know that exercise is a key ingredient to any health and wellness plan. It can help you lose weight, reduce your stress, enhance your immune system and make you feel better about yourself. I encourage you to find a movement that you enjoy such as; dance, yoga, walking, running, spin class, boxing, martial arts etc. If you don’t have an exercise routine start one NOW!

Nourish Yourself

All you need is LOVE. In order to lose weight and reduce your stress the answer is always love. You need to making loving yourself your #1 priority. For many of us self-care is considered taboo. We think we are being selfish when we spend time spoiling ourselves. Well I am here to tell you that nourishment is the best holiday gift you can give yourself.

OK, so there they are, some simple ways to help you have a relaxing and enjoyable holiday season.  Remember that stress and anxiety often cause us to over think and stay “stuck in our minds”.  In order to help us feel more peaceful and at ease we must slow down, practice gratitude and try to nourish ourselves everyday.

 

Read More

Cultivating Gratitude

Posted by on Nov 8, 2013 in Featured, Mindfulness | 0 comments

Cultivating Gratitude

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”-Eckhart Tolle

I can’t believe it is already November. Why is it that as soon as Halloween is over it’s time for the holiday season to begin? Christmas decorations are out, holiday shopping catalogs are delivered, and sales are everywhere.  I don’t know about you, but just thinking about the holidays gives me stress. Last month I wrote about how to reduce our anxiety during this time of year by slowing down. This month I’d like to focus on cultivating an attitude of gratitude.

I know I have mentioned gratitude before and how important it is for any healthy eating plan, but I thought in honor of Thanksgiving  this month, it couldn’t hurt to focus on how we can add more gratitude into our lives. We live in such a busy, hustle and bustle society these days.  Most of us get so wrapped up in our normal day-to-day activities, that we start to take for granted all that we have and all that we are. It is important to practice gratitude everyday and use it as an opportunity to reflect on all the abundance that we already have in our everyday lives.

According the New York Times: “Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, higher long-term satisfaction with life, less anxiety and depression, and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.”  Sounds good to me!

Here Are Some Simple Ways of How You Can Add More Gratitude Into Your Life

Gratitude Journal

Start a daily gratitude journal. All you need is a notebook or a journal. Write down 3-5 things in the journal everyday that you are grateful for. I like to do this at the end of the day so that I can reflect on all my positive accomplishments, rather then focusing on what I didn’t do that day or what went “wrong”.

Focus On The Positive

Daily practices of gratitude are a proven method to achieving more happiness. Accessing our mind and consciousness is a powerful tool in cultivating happiness. When we can change our negative thoughts and belief patterns into positive intentions they begin to disappear. Focusing on the positive makes more room for abundance and equals more happiness.

Send Secret Blessings

This can be a fun and really simple way to express gratitude. Send secret blessings to strangers or even people you know.  All you have to do is say a quiet blessing of whatever you choose for someone else, inside your own head. This can be quite powerful for people who may even be angry and lash out towards others. When we send secret gratitude blessings to others we automatically start to feel better.

Random Acts Of Kindness

When we are kind to others without their being something in it for us, then we automatically get rewarded. When we are generous with others the reward comes back to us in the form of love. I like to buy food for homeless people, or perhaps help a blind person cross the street.  It can even be as simple as holding the door open for someone. I challenge you to try a random act of kindness and see what happens.

Volunteer

When you give of your time and energy you are expressing your gratitude and saying thank you! Chose a charity or volunteer organization that you like or want to learn more about and volunteer your time. Many organizations count on the generosity and donations of others. You can have a huge impact on the world for doing something so small. The reward you get will be so powerful that you will want to volunteer again and again and again.

Practicing gratitude can have an extreme impact on our path to living a mindful life, free of negative self-talk and impossibilities. It can help us feel more positive and therefore be more happy.  It can help relieve our stress and improve our self-esteem. It can help improve our life and the relationships that we have. These are all key components in achieving optimum health and wellness. What are you grateful for? Where can you practice more gratitude?

 

Be grateful

Read More

How To Create A Healthy Weight Loss Plan… That Works!

Posted by on Sep 26, 2013 in Food and Nutrition, Health Tips | 0 comments

How To Create A Healthy Weight Loss Plan… That Works!

Fall is my favorite season. There is something about the air that I love to breathe. I love being outside this time of year. The weather is perfect (at least so far…in NY). I love that I don’t need a jacket and the sun makes me feel warm without making me sweat. Of course, with every season comes change. A change in nature, a change in our bodies, a change in our eating habits and usually a change in our routines.

Fall is a great time of year for you to take a look at your intentions for the year. Yes you read that right. Use this time of year to decide how you want 2014 to go. Now don’t go into a panic New Year’s is still a few months away, but how great would you feel if you established your game plan now?

Are you feeling stuck? Perhaps you indulged a little more then you wanted to this summer season and are feeling guilty. Maybe you can’t seem to take off those stubborn 10 lbs or its possible you find yourself feeling frustrated because you can’t seem to stick with a weight loss plan that has lasting results.

Don’t worry! Here are some simple steps to help you get started:

Set A Goal

Get clear on what you want to achieve. Think about how you want to feel and be specific. Declaring that you want to lose weight is not specific enough. Perhaps you want to feel better about your body or fit into a pair of jeans better. The more specific you are, the better. Once your intention is clear write it down and post it somewhere you will see it everyday. For example: “By the end of December I want to feel more physically fit and be able to fit into my size 8 jeans”

Take Positive Action

What are you going to do to achieve your goal? Now you’ll want to create a positive action step in achieving this goal. If you want to feel more physically fit, then it would make sense to take action in the form of movement. For example: “Starting on Sept. 9th I will perform cardio activity 4 times per week for at least 30 minutes and practice yoga 2 times per week” (Obviously you’ll want to pick a form of movement you enjoy!)

Get Rid Of The Excuses

We all have excuses. The most common ones being, I don’t have time, it’s never going to work so why bother. I am too fat anyway. It’s really hard for me to lose weight. The list goes on and on. I encourage you to think of all your most common excuses. Write them down and make a list. Then call yourself out on them. Excuses are just our own way of self-sabotage and they hold us back. If we keep using excuses to hold us back we will continue to stay stuck.

Use An Accountability Partner

Share your intentions with friends and family. Hold each other accountable for achieving your goals. If you want to go to the gym more or take up yoga, have a friend call you two or three times a week to check on you or invite them to join you. If you don’t have anyone who you feel comfortable in this role then reach out to me to set up a FREE Break Through Session. I am a great accountability tool.

Reward Yourself

Set up a reward system for yourself (and your accountability partner). Once you have achieved your goal for the week, schedule a massage or go out for a healthy & delicious meal that someone else has prepared. Once you hit a big milestone, like fitting in to those jeans; perhaps your reward is even bigger. What makes you feel good?

So there you have it. 5 Simple Steps to creating a healthy weight loss plan that works…I promise. These are some the tools I teach my clients. If you are interested in learning more about how I can help you transition out of summer and into fall then contact me here.

weight loss inspiration

Read More