Monday, April 28, 2008

Wayne Dyer on Generosity

Giving more and expecting nothing in return is not the easiest thing to do. I used to believe that kindness was something to be tallied up. I thought that if someone did something nice for me that I was indebted to them and vice versa. I thought that every act of kindness needed to be recognized and "paid back". It is freeing to understand that kindness and love are not scarce and there is no limit to how much you can give and receive.

I try each day to incorporate this principle into my daily life. The more I give, the more I receive and the more people I meet who are filled with love and kindness. Wayne Dyer has helped me understand generosity. He writes about it in Manifest Your Destiny:

"Practice giving just a bit more than you think you can, and a bit more than your comfort level allows. Increase your patience with a child, hold your spouse in a passionate embrace for just a bit longer than a superficial squeeze, give an extra dollar or two to the maid who took care of you during a hotel visit...Whatever you have convinced yourself is the limit of your generosity, try going beyond it, knowing full well that it is not going to cause any great hardship in your life. Know too, that it will give you that sense of spiritual fulfillment..."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Randy Pausch: A message on living

I just watched this 11 minute video on Raw Model's website and I wanted to share it here. Randy Pausch is living with pancreatic cancer and has been told by doctor's that he has only a few months to live. He shines with more light and life than most people I know and he has blessed us by sharing his wisdom and courage. I highly recommend taking the time to watch this short clip of his talk on Oprah.

Friday, April 25, 2008

NYC Vegan Restaurants and Raw Vegan Chocolate

I had the pleasure of visiting two raw vegan restaurants earlier this week in NYC. The first was Bonobos at 18 E. 23rd Street. Bonobos is named after the Great Ape that lives in Africa. We share 99% of this ape's DNA. Bonobos website explains:

"Wild bonobos are happy pleasure loving creatures whose lifestyle is dictated by instinct and Mother Nature. They are very healthy and live long lives, dying from old age, accidents or predators. There is no evidence of degenerative disease like there is with their human relatives. Instinct is responsible for their diets instead of social custom and food manufacturers. Their diet is predominantly raw, wild and plant based: fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Since there is so much discussion about the correct diet for humans, bonobos can give us tremendous insight into what we are meant to eat and what kind of lifestyle we should have."

The food was fantastic! I enjoyed coconut water with my meal of a big green salad, lots of raw veggies and a yummy nut meat pattie:) I felt wonderful after my meal. There are so many tasty options for raw vegans that are packed with the good stuff we need to be healthy and vibrant. Check out Bonobos' menu here. If you live in NYC, be sure to stop in! I'll be back at Bonobos for the first Crazy Sexy Posse Meetup on May 3. Check out the Crazy Sexy Life forum here, you may want to join us!

The second restaurant I visited was Pure Food and Wine at54 Irving Place. This restaurant is the creation of Sarma Melngailis who wrote Raw Food Real World (a raw cookbook that I've mentioned in previous posts). The restaurant was a cozy and inviting place to settle in for a 3 hour meal! We enjoyed: Spicy Thai Lettuce Wraps with Tamarind Chile Sauce, Marinated Shitake and Avocado Sushi Rolls, and Rawviolis for starters. For the main dish, I ordered the Zucchini and Roma Tomato Lasagna with Basil-Pistachio Pesto, Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce, and Pignoli Ricotta (picture from Last, but NOT least, I savored a raw mint ice cream sundae, topped with unbelievably rich cacao truffles. To die for. I also enjoyed coconut water with my meal:) Its a good thing that I do not live in NYC, because I would want to eat there every night!

I had a wonderful conversation with a new friend that evening about raw vegan food. I've struggled with following a mostly raw, vegan diet in social situations, especially with family. My wise new friend helped me regain my confidence in my choice to follow this path. She helped me turn my insecurity into pride! Next time I feel like compromising my diet to "fit in", I am going to bring a delicious raw food dish to share with friends and family.

Lastly, I was just at Whole Foods picking up some greens for the weekend, when I got a hankering for chocolate. I'm not someone who can have a bar of chocolate hanging out in my cupboard without devouring it in one sitting, so I was looking for a single serving, organic dark chocolate treat. I was pleasantly surprised to find 100% Organic Vegan Raw (single serving) Chocolate bar! The chocolate (70% cacoa) is made by Love Street Living Foods. You can read an article about this company here. The article explains:

"The chocolate, made with a low-temperature (melted below 108 degrees) process, contains no processed sugar or hydrogenated fats or chemicals. The ingredients list starts with organic raw cacao (70 percent), which they source from Ecuador (cacao typically is roasted for chocolate). The rest: Organic raw cacao butter, organic raw coconut oil, organic raw agave nectar (the sweetener), organic raw whole vanilla bean, organic raw maca (powdered South American root vegetable), organic raw cayenne (a subtle touch of it) and Himalayan crystal salt."

The texture is more gritty than traditional chocolate, but it is still delicious, rich, and flavorful. Not to mention very satisfying:)

I am more and more motivated each day to continue on a (mostly) raw vegan path...people keep telling me I'm getting "the glow". Its not just the food, its part of a lifestyle, which I discovered through Crazy Sexy Life (CSL), Sivananda Yoga, and numerous spiritual teachers. Since returning from NYC, three friends have approached me on how to start on the CSL path and I love sharing my knowledge and resources. Thanks CSL!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead

p.s.-I picked up Alba's Body Sunscreen (30 S.P.F) today at Whole Foods! I'm ready to enjoy the sun (safely).


Thursday, April 24, 2008


Good Morning Sunshine:)

Its official, sunscreen has become a part of my morning routine. I could beat myself up about not integrating it into my regimen sooner, but whats the use in that? I've spent a lot of time in the sun lately, walking around NYC, DC, and Baltimore and I've picked up more color than I would like. Although I am fair skinned and it is obvious that I need to wear sunscreen because I turn into a lobster at the beach, EVERYONE needs to wear sunscreen. It doesn't matter if your skin turns a lovely brown or already is a lovely brown, the sun is not our friend UNLESS we protect ourselves from harmful rays.

I picked up Alba's Botanica's SUN Facial Sunscreen at Whole Foods yesterday. I don't put makeup, lotion, or anything else on my face other than a couple sprays of Burt Bee's Carrot Seed Oil Complexion Mist, so I was reluctant to use the sunscreen, but it is not an option to ignore this necessity! I am happy to report that I can barely tell that it is on my face:) My skin doesn't feel oily or look greasy. My skin feels and looks the same as it would any other day, except now I am protected and I can enjoy the sun. Within the next couple days, I will be purchasing Alba's Sunscreen for the whole body and adding it to my morning routine!

And now its time to make some Green Juice!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thanks Allie's Answers!

Thanks Allie's Answers for honoring Baltimore Bliss with the Blog of Distinction Award! I would like to share the love by honoring my favorite blogs (Allie's Answers would be one of my honorees, if she hadn't already received it!):

Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Cancer blog is filled with information on caring for your mind, body, and the planet! Her writing is fun and inspiring to read and she has interesting guest bloggers!

Debbie Does Raw gives readers a first hand look at the raw food experience. Debbie writes about her journey with raw foods, organic products, current issues effecting our food, recipes, and more!

Radical Radiance is filled with information on juice feasting and raw foods. Courtney also talks about positive thinking and spirituality. She lives at the Tree of Life and writes about the latest happenings at this phenomenal place!

We Like It Raw is chock full of support and resources for raw food living. If you are interested in the leaders of the raw food world, many of them blog here and share their experiences and tips!

Here is my menu so far today:
6:30am-Water, lemon, stevia
Fasting Yogi Tea
10:00am-Green Juice (same as yesterday afternoon's juice:))

Last night's meditation:
Jon Kabat-Zinn's Body Scan Meditation
This morning's meditation:
Wayne Dyer's Morning Meditation

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Today's Menu

7am-Water, lemon, stevia
11:00am-Green Juice:
1/2 cucumber
3 handfuls of baby greens
celery stalks
2:00pm-Veggie "Soup":
The following were blended in a food processor and warmed slightly on the stove:
2 tomatoes
2 carrots
1 head of broccoli
cayenne pepper
celtic sea salt
1 clove of ginger
fresh dill
olive oil
3:00pm- Green Juice:
1/2 cucumber
3 handfuls of baby greens
broccoli stems
9:00pm-Veggie "Soup":
The following were blended in a food processor and warmed slightly on the stove:
2 tomatoes
2 carrots
1 head of broccoli
cayenne pepper
celtic sea salt
1 clove of ginger
1 juiced lemon
olive oil

Lots of herbal tea and filtered water too!

I taught two yoga classes this evening. I felt clear headed, calm, and energetic. Its amazing how much easier it is to feel peaceful when your body is at peace. Its not so fun teaching yoga when you feel bloated and full. I'm very happy that I have integrated this practice into my weekly regimen. Time for my nightly meditation. I've been downloading different guided meditations onto my iPod. Tonight's selection: TBA:)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Time for the weekly fast

Today, I will be joining the CSL crew for a 1-2 day juice fast (feast). Last week's fast was incredible. I felt like I had wiped the slate clean. My cravings were drastically reduced, I even resisted dessert on my husband's birthday (I watched everyone eat hot fudge sundaes)! Friends and family were in Baltimore this past weekend and it was tough sticking to a healthy diet while eating at restaurants for almost every meal. I wasn't perfect, but I managed to eat vegan the entire weekend and properly combine foods most of the time.

Sometimes the only vegetarian option on a menu includes cheese. In the past, I would have probably just eaten the cheese so that I didn't seem fussy. This weekend I realized that its silly to compromise the diet that works best for me just because I think others will judge me. Surprise! The world doesn't revolve around me and it was no big deal to ask for what I wanted! Glad I'm over that now:)

Last week, I was focused on fasting as a "reset" for my body and mind. This week, I feel like its more of a "tweaking" that needs to be done to get me back on track:) I hope that with each week, my fast will be less and less of a major overhaul and more of a time to just give my body and mind a rest.

I've integrated wheat grass powder into my daily regimen and its taking me a little while to get used to the taste. The powder is much more palatable than the real deal, but I think its going to take a few days (or weeks) to love my wheat grass. Adding lemon juice helps! I order it from Debbie at CSL. Its very affordable and Debbie can answer any of your questions about wheat grass (and much more!). I've mentioned her blog in the past-Debbie Does Raw. You can contact her through CSL or her blog.

My husband and I recently renovated a room in our basement that walks out to the backyard. I've designated a little nook in the room as my sacred space:) I have a small table with pictures of Swami Vishnu and Swami Sivananda, a picture of Durga, a candle, incense, and a few other items that symbolize people that I love and things I am thankful for. This morning, I meditated for thirty minutes (listening to Jon Kabat-Zinn's Sitting Meditation on my iPod).

I will always have this safe haven to retreat to when I need clarity and peace. I have made the commitment to meditate for 30 minutes in the morning and evening in my new sacred space. It only took a few minutes to arrange and it is so powerful! I'll be checking in to let you know how this new space has effected my meditation practice and my everyday life. Reading Deepak Chopra's Seven Spritual Laws of Success, Wayne Dyer's Manifest Your Destiny, and being involved with the Manifesting and Yoga groups at CSL has given me the support and encouragement to make these steps. I am happy and grateful that these things have come into my life.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Fasting, Day 2

Good Morning!

I feel fantastic today:) Last night was pretty sweaty, but I assume that this is a sign that my body is detoxing. I had a cup of tea before bed and I fell asleep easily (no hunger). I had very vivid dreams last night, which weren't pleasant, but I'm not going to analyze it. This morning I got up at 6am to teach yoga. I went through my regular morning routine and had a big glass of water with lemon juice. I took a cup of Fasting Yogi Tea with me to the studio. I was pretty hungry when I got back home, but I went on a walk with my husband before juicing:)

This morning's juice included:
6 stalks celery
1 lemon
1 lime
3 big handfuls of greens
1/2 cucumber
1 inch ginger
Coconut water

I just finished my juice and I feel content, alert, and positive. Terri (crazy sexy life coach) was a guest blogger at Kris Carr's blog this morning. She wrote about the power and benefits of meditation. The post is packed with tips, motivation, and wisdom. It has inspired me to kick my meditation practice up a notch. I am going to buy a timer today so that I can meditate peacefully without looking up every few minutes at the clock!

I am thinking about breaking my fast today, but we shall see!


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fasting Part III

After my last post, I had another cup of tea and took some coconut water mixed with fresh lime juice on the road. It wasn't until 6 o'clock that I became hungry and drinking water helped to calm my stomach until I got home at 9. I taught two yoga classes and felt high in energy and had a clear mind the whole time. Right now, I'm sipping 20 oz. of juice:)

My Second Juice of the Day:

3 Carrots
2 big handfuls of Baby Greens
3 Broccoli Stalks
1 Lemon
1 Lime
1 inch of Ginger

I didn't have to add Stevia because the carrots and broccoli add sweetness:) The ginger makes the juice nice and spicy! I am very pleased with this juice and I'm glad that I used some different veggies. Its nice to branch out! I feel very calm. I don't know if I will break the fast tomorrow, I'll just see how I feel.


Fasting Part II: Blended Soup!

I got hungry mid-afternoon and decided to try my first Blended Soup. Zero cooking involved because heating food over 118 degrees destroys enzymes. Here is what I threw into the food processor (my substitute for a Vita Mix):

1 Avocado
3 stalks celery
1/2 Cucumber
1 Carrot
2 handfuls of Baby Greens
A few shakes of Celtic Sea Salt
1 Squeezed Lemon

The lemon and salt helps to make the soup much more appetizing. I did heat the soup minimally to take the chill out, but I made sure that it was only luke warm:) Next time, I am going to add garlic and cayenne. It's three o'clock and I feel great!

Adventures in Fasting, Coconut Water, and Stevia

There has been a lot of discussion about fasting at the CSL forum and Kris Carr's Blog. These resources have come at the perfect time (as they always do). As I've integrated more healthy eating habits into my life, the unhealthy ones have naturally become more apparent. My mind and body are more connected, which makes me more sensitive to foods that are energy depleting and toxic.

During the weekends, I often fall off the bandwagon and eat refined sugars and grains. The following day I feel down in the dumps and tired. In addition, I crave these foods more, which makes me feel worse and encourages this unhealthy cycle. These foods also make me feel bloated and uncomfortable. There are many excuses that I could make for choosing these foods, but the bottom line is that I am responsible for my health and happiness.

I'm hitting the reset button today, in hopes that I can reduce my cravings and boost my energy. So far, I've had a big glass of water with lemon, a cup of tea, and green juice. I've eliminated apples from my green juice because of the sugar content and as Kris Carr wrote in the comment section of her blog, "fruit cleanses faster than veggies so you may experience more detox effects with fruit".

Today's Green Juice:
2 large handfuls of Baby Greens
6 Stalks of Celery
1/2 Cucumber
1/4 inch Ginger
1 Lemon
1 Lime
Coconut Water (O.N.E. brand)
1 packet of Stevia (an herb-very sweet!)

I was afraid that I would dislike the juice without the apple, but I can't tell the difference:) I feel great so far today. If you haven't tried Stevia as a sugar substitute, I highly recommend it! Also, O.N.E. Coconut Water can be found at Whole Foods, in case you don't feel like cutting open a coconut yourself. Here is some info on the benefits of Coconut Water. Here is some information on Stevia in case your are curious.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Taking it Easy

I've noticed a pattern in my thinking during the weekends. I wake up and immediately a "things I should do today" list begins to grow out of control. I should...juice, do yoga, dry brush, neti, take a walk, clean the house, garden, finish some home improvements, read a book, get a head start on work due this week, meditate, grocery shop, and the list goes on. At least I am concious about the fact that I do this, but its difficult at times to fight feelings of guilt and disappointment that crop up because I can't get all of these things done in one day. Plus, when do you fit in spending time with friends and family or "relaxing" with all these things to do?

I hope that eventually, I will break this cycle, but in the meantime here are a few things that help me come back to earth. I try to shift my focus from my to-do list, to my "I am happy and grateful" list. Debbie, from Debbie Does Raw, mentioned this practice and I've integrated it into my daily life. Every morning and before I got to bed, I list the reasons I am happy and grateful. I also use this opportunity to manifest my desire for the future.

Staying present! This is the ultimate tool for beating the blues. It helps to ask these simple questions when trying to be more present: "At this moment, what do I see, feel, smell, hear, and taste?" Answering these questions automatically shifts my consciousness to the present moment and give me a sense of peace.

Pushing my pride to the side. Often, I get on a high horse about all these things I have to do. In other words, I take myself too seriously. My husband helps me laugh, let go, and chill out, but only if I let my guard down. He is pretty persistent, so usually it works.

The shower can be a place of peace or chaos inside my head. When I feel like the events of the day are like gray clouds over my head, I remind myself that if I change my perspective, these things could be fun. I can make them enjoyable if I let go of my preconceived notions.

I am still reading Wayne Dyer's book, Manifesting Your Destiny, and I've already seen the benefits of this different way of thinking. I'm still working on my vision board and it continues to be a source of motivation and clarity. I'm off to visit CSL and check out the Crazy Sexy Manifesting Maniacs group. Its filled with support and knowledge, so if you are interested (or curious), check it out!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Kris Carr's Advice On Fasting...

I've wanted to begin fasting once per week since I learned that it was a beneficial break for your digestive system and the rest of your body. Kris Carr wrote a fantastic post at her blog today that outlines her approach to fasting. There are many different fasting practices, but this is the one that I recommend:) I will be fasting on Friday and I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Manifesting Your Destiny

Last night, I began reading Manifest Your Destiny by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. I underlined the following passage because it brought such clarity:

Whenever you are about to act, ask yourself this question: "Is what I am about to say or do going to bring me peace?" If the answer is yes, then go with it and you will be allowing yourself the wisdom of your highest self. If the answer is no, then remind yourself that it is your ego at work.

I've been asking myself that question today and it has reminded me to live consciously. By respecting my own inner peace, I automatically respect others, and the earth. Its such a simple concept, but it is so powerful. What if everyone asked themselves this question before acting and speaking?

This book is a continuation of my exploration of manifestation, which began with reading Abraham-Hicks' book Ask And It Is Given (Law of Attraction) about a year ago (you can read the post here). The vision board has taken me a step further. I picked up Dyer's book because of a recommendation at CSL. I have already experienced life unfolding in more positive and natural ways since shifting my way of thinking and creating the board. I am amazed at how quickly things that I put on the board, which at the time seemed like a long-shot, are becoming a reality. I am learning to trust that things will work out rather than constantly being on the defensive and trying to be prepared for every possible way the sky could fall. The words: surrender, allow, and let go, all come to mind.

More on this later!