Monday, December 27, 2010

Update! Inspirational Book Contest - Date extended to 12/31/2010 11:59PM

I'm extending my "Inspirational Book Contest" to Friday, December 31st 11:59 P.M. E.S.T.  Just comment on what your favorite inspirational book is and why, and you're entered. Prize is a  $20 gift certificate!  Bonne chance!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Holiday Quinoa Breakfast

 Holiday Quinoa Breakfast

Holiday Quinoa Breakfast

Here's a quick and healthy Holiday breakfast in less than 5 minutes. 

Step 1.  Microwave Quinoa. 
Step 2.  Add organic honey, whole ground flaxseed meal, sunflower seeds, natural raw almonds.
             Accent with a  homemade gingerbread man. Enjoy!

Health Benefits:

  • Gluten Free Organic Quinoa - Best source of complete protein. Provides all the neccessary building blocks for age-defying skin, bone and brain regeneration.
  • Raw Honey- Contains propolis, which helps reduce inflammation and premature againg. Good quality honey has probiotic beneficial bacteria to improve your immune system.  
  • Gluten Free Whole Ground Flaxseed meal - Rich in fiber, lignans and anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats.
  • Sunflower Seeds- Heart smart fats, high Vitamin E content.
  • Natural raw almonds- Perfect anti-aging food. Regulates blood sugar levels and metabolism, lowers "bad" LDL cholesterol. Has high protein, fiber and Omega -6 fatty acids that keep the body young.
  • Gingerbread Man cookie - Ginger calms your digestive system (and cookies make you smile.)
**** NOTE: This recipe can be adapted to be gluten-free. Foe this recipe, I used "Ancient Harvest" gluten free quinoa and "Bob's Red Mill" gluten-free whole ground flaxseed meal.  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Contest: What's Your Favorite Inspirational Book? The Prize: $20 Gift Certificate!

Since I'm in the Holiday spirit, and to celebrate my blog,  I've decided to have a contest: "What's Your Favorite Inspirational/Personal Growth  Book (and Why)?" Just put your answer in the comments and you're officially entered. I'll randomly pick one of entries and that person will win a $20 gift certificate.

Contest will last for 3 days only. Begins now and ENDS Tuesday, December 28th at 12:01 AM. E.S.T.  Good Luck! :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Treat Colds Just Like Unexpected Guests

A loud thunderous knock on your front door resonates through your home. Who's there? An unexpected visitor? No, it's not It's not your nosy neighbor, but TFCOTS (The First Cold Of The Season).  You've been expecting this and you're prepared - with homemade chicken soup ready to sooth your achy, sniffly, self. 

Dont wait until you're sick to make homemade chicken soup - do it ahead of time. Freeze an extra batch - the next time you're coming down with a cold, just defrost and enjoy. Your busy self will thank you. 


++ (Use organic ingredients if possible)

  • 2 quarts  chicken broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 store-bought  roast chicken
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large  onions, cut into medium dice
  • 2 large  carrots, peeled and cut into rounds or half rounds, depending on size
  • 2 large stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring broth and water to a simmer over medium-high heat in a large soup kettle. Meanwhile, separate chicken meat from skin and bones; reserve meat. Add skin and bones to the simmering broth. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer until bones release their flavor, 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Strain broth through a colander into a large container; reserve broth and discard skin and bones. Return kettle to burner set on medium-high.
  3. Add oil, then onions, carrots and celery. Saute until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add chicken, broth and thyme. Bring to a simmer. Before adding the extras of your choice, bring to a simmer. (Yields 3 1/2 quarts). Can be refrigerated up to 3 days in advance. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Multiple Benefits of a Himalayan Salt Bath

 Himalayan salts are known to be the purest and cleanest salts on the planet. They are usually off-white, pinkish, red or transparent. The rock salt is from Pakistan, and is mined in the world's second largest salt mine, the Khewra Salt Mines. It contains many elements that naturally occur in our bodies, and are easily absorbed and utilized by our cells when used as an ingredient in food or when added to warm bath water.  These elements include Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Iron.

 Benefits Of The 5 Minerals in Himalayan Salts

Calcium is crucial for the formation of strong bones and teeth, and the benefits are particularly marked in women and children. As we get older, our bones become brittle, as do our nails and our hair. Calcium helps us build bone strength and mass, warding off common conditions such as osteoporosis, the weakening of the skeletal system. Bones and ligaments become stronger and less prone to fractures and sprains that often occur when our calcium levels decrease.

Magnesium is essential to the healthy functioning of all living cells and is the 11th most abundant element in the human body. Magnesium has been used in anesthetics, sports medicine for relief of tired muscles, and antacids for the soothing of the stomach.

Potassium is crucial to heart function and has been used to treat hypertension and heart conditions. During physical activity, our body utilizes and then loses large amounts of potassium, which must be replenished to avoid soreness and tightness in the muscles. Potassium is found in foods such as bananas, broccoli, and many other fruits and vegetables. It is a powerful diuretic as well.

Copper and Iron both aide in the formation of red blood cells, and support the nervous system, improve immune system response, and promote healthy bone structure and blood vessel function.

Promotes Healthy Skin and Dental Health  

Himalayan salts are highly beneficial for combating skin allergies. Skin allergies are caused by a many  factors, from stress and chemicals to age and illness. Himalayan salts have high bromine and magnesium levels, both of which are great for fighting allergies due to their detoxification and cleansing of the skin. It also can make the skin smoother and soothe rough skin as well. These salts are also known to help with skin conditions like psoriasis, dry skin, acne, insect bites and blisters.

Undiluted Himalayan salt brine is excellent for promoting dental hygiene. You can brush your teeth with the brine, and you can even use it as a mouthwash. The brine solution stops halitosis (bad breath) as well as bleeding of the gums.

Low Cost Alternative for Healthy Skin

 Bathing in natural Himalayan sea salt is a low-cost skin care alternative that is not only pleasant, it’s also quite effective. The salt is readily absorbed into your skin, cleaning and purifying your pores from the inside out, leaving you with a healthy, youthful glow. Bathing in sea salt also plumps up the skin, filling out fine lines and wrinkles. The powerful detoxification properties of natural sea salt breaks down harmful deposits and toxins that lead to a dull, lifeless complexion and uneven coloration. After bathing in Himalayan salt water, you will emerge with skin that is soft, smooth, and supple to the touch

Where Can You Buy Himalayan Bath Salts?

I'm a bargain shopper, so I look for the best product at the best price. I've had success with these 2 companies: San Francisco Bath Salt Company or SaltWorks

Here's to a blissful, soothing bath!
Feel free to e-mail me your comments, suggestions or complaints.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

When To Buy Organic vs. Conventional Fruits & Vegetables

Wondering if organic produce is really worth the extra cost? It depends, because fruits and vegetables contain varying amounts of pesticide. The Environmental Working Group The Environmental Working Group recently updated it's guide as to when it's healthier to choose organic produce.

 Buy Organic When You Can (since these are more likely to contain pesticides):

1.  Celery
2.  Peaches
3.  Strawberries
4.  Apples
5.  Blueberries (domestic)
6.  Nectarines
7.  Sweet bell peppers
8.  Spinach
9.  Cherries
10. Kale/Collard Greens
11. Potatoes
12. Grapes (imported)

Go Conventional With These Low In Pesticides Fruits and Veggies:

1.   Onions
2.   Avocado
3.   Sweet corn (frozen)
4.   Pineapple
5.   Mangoes
6.   Peas (frozen)
7.   Asparagus
8.   Kiwi
9    Cabbage
10. Eggplant
11. Cantaloupe (domestic)
12. Watermelon
13. Grapefruit
14. Sweet Potatoes
15. Honeydew Melon

Although organic produce is more expensive than conventional,  it's a smart investment towards preventative health. Be proactive in your food choices to achieve a healthy body!  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Aioli: A Yummy Healthy Dipping Sauce

Aioli is an emulsion of garlic and olive oil, hails from the provence region of France. It's name is a composite of the word for "garlic" (ail) and "oil" (oli). This is a great to use as a dippping sauce for fresh vegetables,  as a spread for sandwiches, in chicken or potato sald in place of mayonnaise, or a sauce for fish.

             3 pasteurized shell egg yolks
             1 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
             3 garlic cloves
             1 tsp Dijon mustard
             1 tsp lemon juice
             1/2 tsp salt
             Coarsely ground pepper
             2 lbs fresh raw vegetables (asparagus, carrots, broccoli)
Place egg yolks in a blender; process until smooth. Gradually add olive oil, processing until thick and smooth. Add garlic, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper; pulse until well blended. Chill and serve with vegetables. Serves 16. Enjoy!


Friday, November 26, 2010

3 Simple Natural Remedies For Post Thanksgiving Bloat

Here are 3 easy, natural remedies that will help your belly bloat go far, far away:

1. Sip on warm tea! Try *fresh* lemon, ginger, caraway seeds or peppermint tea aids digestion.

2.  Eat postassium rich foods. Bananas, cantaloupe, mangoes, spinach, tomatoes, asparagus and      fresh chopped parsley regulate the fluid balance in your body and stop bloating.

3. Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily. (Yes, it can be done! Drink 2 glasses before breakfast, lunch and dinner and 2 glasses during the day.) Water flushes out your system and aids digestion.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Your Words Become Your Actions

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. - Lao Tze

Keeping a positive attitude has a "snowball effect" on our lives.  If we have a positive attitude, it grows larger and larger, like a snowball pummeling  down a mountain. Our attitudes have a greater impact on our lives than we realize. As Lao Tze said, your thoughts eventually become your destiny. Even in tough times, we have to "keep on, keeping on" and realize that situations are temporary, and better days are ahead. Otherwise, you will end up under the avalanche, where it's nearly impossible to escape.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Radical Leek Soup Recipe

I found this easy recipe from "French Women Don't Get Fat" by Mireille Guiliano. According to Mireille, leeks are mild diuretic, and 48 hours or so of leek soup would provide immediate results to jump-start your diet. I'm going to try it this weekend and get back to you with my results.

Radical Leek Soup Recipe

2 lbs. leeks
Water to cover in a large pot

1. Clean leeks and rinse well to get rid of sand and soil. Cut end of green parts leaving all the white parts plus a suggestion of green. (Reserve the extra greens for soup stock.)
2. Put leeks in large pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer with no lid for 20-30 minutes. Pour off the liquid and reserve. Place the leeks in a bowl.

The juice is to be drunk (reheated or room temperature to taste) every 2-3 hours, a cup at a time.
For meals or whenever hungry, have some of the leeks themselves, ½ cup at a time. Drizzle with a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Season sparingly with salt and pepper. Add chopped parsley if you wish.
NOTE: Although Mireille recommends using leek soup solely as your nourishment for 2 days, I do not recommend it. Eating like this slows your metabolism, thus decreases your chance at losing weight. I would incorporate this recipe as part of your well balanced diet. Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Watercress Coulis

Here is a quick and easy recipe for Watercress Coulis. Watercress contains plenty of water and is a natural diuretic. Great for getting rid of water retention!

 Watercress Coulis


2 bunches watercress
4 tablespoons crème fraîche, sour cream, or yogurt
2 egg yolks
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Yield: 4 Servings


Rinse the watercress well, and steam for 5 minutes.

Toss with the crème fraîche (or equivalent).

Toss with the egg yolks and nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Top 10 Fat Burning Foods

Along with getting exercise 4 times per week, for 20 minutes daily, adding these foods to your diet can help speed up your metabolic rate. You will be dropping pounds in no time!

1.   broccoli
2.   onions

3.   low fat cottage cheese

4.   broccoli

5.   salmon (wild Alaskan salmon is the best choice)

6.    tomatoes

7.    avocados

8.    blueberries

9.    walnuts
10.  Eggs

Sunday, September 12, 2010

5 Ways To Lose Weight Cheaply, Safely and Easily!

     After being a Nurse for over twenty years, between personal and professional experience, I've heard of every diet on the planet. Diets don't work. Although diets do  have their place to "jump start" a weight loss plan, the only way to stay at healthy weight is to change your outlook on your eating preferences. Replace unhealthy food with healthy foods.
     I've had personal experience struggling with weight. I gained 30 lbs during my divorce and I became so disgusted with myself.  While living on the West Coast, I was inspired by the healthy food choices that most people were following. I have been all over the world, and I've never seen so many people with such a "food awareness".  I started becoming aware of my food choices and took baby steps towards changing my diet. It takes approximately 21 days to change a bad habit, so be gentle with yourself yourself if you "slip" back into unhealthy eating habits.

     Here are 5 Ways To Lose Weight Cheaply, Safely and Easily:

     1. Avoid Processed Foods
         Eating a clean and healthy diet- one that is loaded with antioxidant rich foods activates the genes that   
reduce appetite by at least 20%. It also stabilizes blood sugar and insulin production, builds toned muscle and rapidly converts food and body fat into cellular energy. By limiting the intake of processed foods that are loaded with salt, fat and sugar, this eating plan shuts down the vicious cycle of dopamine and opioid surges that stimulates diet sabotaging eating jags.  

2.    Start Every Morning with Lemon Water
       Every day within one hour of awakening, sip an 8 oz. glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon. The     combination of warm water and lemon's  natural fruit acids promotes peristalsis - contractions of the intestinal muscles that speed the elimination of "toxins". Lemon's biologically active ingredient d-limonene  enhances the liver's ability to break down and flush cellulite-triggering food additives and trapped fat by as much as 30%.

3.     Sip Ice Water
        People often confuse symptoms of dehydration with those of hunger -especially cravings for sweets. That's why drinking 8 oz. of cold water before each "small" meal immediately reduces  appetite and caloric intake. Staying hydrated also improves the function of the three key weight regulating glands: the thyroid, the liver and adrenals. Sipping ice water has been shown to raise  metabolic rate by as much as 3% for 30 minutes.This is due to the fact that cold water must be heated by the body to match its internal temperature before the water can be used by cells.

4 .   Cut Back On Your Refined Sugar Intake and White Flour
       It is a smart decision to slowly reduce your sugar intake over the course of  several weeks. Any       products containing white flour should be avoided. Replace white bread with whole wheat or Ezekiel
bread. In regards to sugar, don't go "cold turkey" since sugar itself is addicting, and you will have "sugar
withdrawals such as shakes, mood swings, irritability and fatigue. According to a Princeton University
sugar is addictive. Many studies indicate that sugar has neurochemical effects on our brain. This means
sugar affects opioid and dopamine in our brain. These pleasure receptors in our brain keep us going
back for more sugar to keep us feeling "good".Several ways to help curb sugar cravings:
meal planning to avoid impulse eating, eat a piece of fruit or high protein snack, and give yourself time

to adjust to not having sugar. Sugar addiction can take several weeks to months to overcome. Hang
in there, the sugar craving will go away!      

5.    Sneak in 10-20 minutes of daily exercise   .
        Just 10-20 minutes of strength training keeps metabolism elevated and fat burn at its peak
rate for up to three hours. Try walking, following an exercise video, or bicycling. Choose 
an exercise that is enjoyable for you, so it doesn't feel like "work" to do it.  
It's nearly impossible in modern "convenience" shopping to cut out all sugars or whole flour. (I will give you tips on  sample meals and shopping healthy in my next blog post). It's more about breaking habits or what we believe is "normal" to eat for meals. Eating 6 small meals instead of the standard "3 meals per day" increases our metabolism and is a more effective way to eat.  It is mind over matter. If you can change your way of thinking, and eat healthy, it will work and you will have more energy, along with dropping those extra pounds.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What Is Mantra, Anyway?

     The word Mantra is a composition of two Sanskrit root words: the first root being  "man",  means "continual or contant thinking". The second root "tra",  means "free" or "to be free". Mantra is a process by which you free yourself from worries or doubts, but not from consciousness.  Mantra is a means of transcending thought, and bringing consciousness to a much higher level of spiritual being. The root "tri" also means "to protect".  In India,  many mantras  are called protective mantras. 
     A true mantra is one which frees you from constrictive limitations of mind thought. The whole meaning of practicing  mantra is to find some degree of peace. When my thoughts are distracted during meditation, I begin chanting one of my favorite mantras, Om Nama Shiva Ya.  Shiva is the divinity principle that dissolves away all imbalances.  This mantra means "Oh Lord of Auspiciousness, to You my salutations again and yet again." It is a powerful mantra utilizied to experience God-consciousness.
    Chanting a mantra calms down the mental chatter and allows me to connect more deeply to the spiritual experience, and myself. Although every mantra does have a word meaning, it is the feeling evoked within you,  through the repetition of the mantra, that is meaningful. Mantra creates a stirring within your soul. It produces a spark.  It acts as a catalyst to bring forth a stream of positive creative feelings, which will produce constructive thinking. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

In the beginning..

Welcome to my blog, Meditate This, where I will take you along my journey of meditation, yoga and Buddhism. Meditation, Buddhism and yoga have helped to change my outlook on the world.  I am new to Buddhism. I am learning as much as I can, day by day. I have always had an interest in Buddhism since my teenager years, but I've just started to study it and incorporate it into to my life over the past 2 years.  
One of the best parts about meditation that it is free, acccesible anywhere, and I don't have to change into special clothes to do it.  Once I've reached a level of focus, which I like to call "the zone", I have such a sense of calm that is unachieveable anywhere else. Meditation calms and focuses my mind and allows me to think and act in a focused, unhurried manner.
After meditating this morning, I recalled a passage from the pali canon. It was best described by Andrew Cooper, in Tricycle magazine, who wrote about it, in a lecture given by Thich Nhat Hanh. "A well known passage from the Pali canon:
     When this is, that is
     This arising, that arises
     When this is not,that is not
     This ceasing.that ceases.

This is the most succinct formulation of the Buddhist teaching  of paticcasamuppada or "dependent origination",  one of  Buddhism's core ideas. All beings support and are in turn supported by all other beings. This elaboration of paticcasamuppada encompassed the foundation, the practice and the fulfillment of spiritual life.' 
I'm looking forward to sharing my journey with you.  ~Namaste.~