Viewing entries in
Personal Evolution

The Food Industry is Messing with You

Comment

The Food Industry is Messing with You

I ate the reheated boxed Mac and Cheese. If we were talking about first-time-around boxed mac and cheese, this might be a different story. But I ate the microwave reheated kind—you know, without any flavor, the cheese just a whisper of it’s former self.

But I don’t take full blame. Sure, I got myself to the grocery store and ultimately purchased the damn stuff, but let’s look at what we are up against all day, every day.

1. I saw numerous Mac and Cheese advertisements on the Subway this past month. Ever get a random craving for something you’re otherwise unattached to? If your subconscious mind is told a message enough times, it’s hard to decipher whether you’ve created the thought yourself or if it’s been planted.  

2. I get to the grocery story and they’re strategically pumping out smells to tantalize customers into thinking theyre hungry. You’ve done it before, you know how drastically different a grocery shopping experience is when you’re hungry. For me, by the time I reach the register, I’ve already eaten numerous snacks from my cart and racked up a bill far larger than the two cans of chickpeas I intended to buy.

Using smells to sell  isn’t a novel idea, either. In a 1947 pamplet, Monstanto (which used to be Monsanto Chemicals and Plastics, yum!), states, “The principle of chemical attraction also defines the path to hidden sales…Used for years to contribute sales appeal to foods, candies, perfumes and cosmetics… Yes – Smells Sell!  If you wish to know more about this proved sales strategy in your business, a contact with Monsanto may reward you with the right chemical answers”.  

3. The store is set up in a way that in order to reach the ‘healthy’ items, I have to first walk through the junk. In this particular store, I was in search of organic chickpeas and had to go through the noodles on the way. When I saw the boxes of mac and cheese, strategically at my eye level, I suddenly recalled I had quite a hankering for the stuff. PS. My organic chickpeas were impossible to find and ultimately behind some processed, canned soup. I got a good look at the whole store in the searching process.

4.    Chemists create the perfect ratio of Fat:Salt:Sugar to produce the most ‘rewarding’ foods. Food manufacturers’ main concern is that you eat their food. How they ensure you invest your money into their brand, and return often to do it again, is by making sure their food also gives off the ‘THIS FOOD IS AWESOME’ brain signals to those eating it. This is what is called a ‘rewarding’ food, it creates a feeling of emotional and mental happiness. They know our taste buds are inclined to want sweet, salty and fatty foods. When we had to hunt and fight for our food, these qualities were indicators that certain foods were energy and nutrient dense. Not only did our ancestors like the taste, the but the brain sent ‘THIS FOOD IS AWESOME’ signals to encourage the behavior. Since our ancestors didn’t know when the next time they’d get to eat would be, it made sense for their bodies to encourage them to like the food and eat plenty of it.  Now, this just contributes to the growing obesity epidemic. 

5.    High reward foods cause emotional associationFor many, the first thing they do when they are bored, sad, upset or just generally discontent is reach for food. This is because highly rewarding foods (typically those with white sugar and processed grains) create a chemical response in the form of serotonin levels, essentially giving the eater a ‘happy high.’ The more you activate this serotonin response, the more you’re going to rely on it for a mood boost. 

Compounding these influences, mixed with a moment of discontent, and you’re suddenly devouring junk.  While we are up against billions of dollars spent on marketing, the first step is being aware enough to notice when you’re being manipulated.

Lesson learned, don’t save the leftovers from the Mac and Cheese. (Kidding, so many bigger, better lessons learned). 

Comment

Stinkin' Thinkin'

1 Comment

Stinkin' Thinkin'

Yesterday I was walking down 5th Ave and I couldn't help but notice a woman in tears, screaming into her cellphone (for simplicity, let's say her boyfriend was on the other end). These weren't little tears, she was freaking hysterical. "You made us leave the window open, wouldn't let me keep the light on, and stole all of the blankets!" she yelled.

POP QUIZ! Why is she really upset?

ANSWER:

First off, she is accusing the person on the other line of only tending to their own needs. Therefore, she is insinuating that her needs were neglected. She's angry because he was being selfish.

But. People are selfish all the time. Who cares? Is it really worth the public spectacle? No. 

Her pain comes from the belief that she is 'not enough.' Let me explain her thought process.

  • He was selfish and only considered his own needs.
  • He doesn't think my needs are important.
  • If my needs aren't important to him, I am not important enough to him.
  • I am not enough. 

Unfortunately, at the heart of MOST arguments is this stinky little idea that I am not enough. What's even more unfortunate is that if you haven't identified your stinkin' thinkin', it's hard to spot and it's incredibly painful. NO WONDER SHE WAS GOING CRA'YZILLA ON THE SIDEWALK. That's some heavy baggage to carry around all day, everyday. 

By not voicing her true needs, she was essentially expecting her partner to read her mind.

A simple alternative could have been:

1. Take a moment to reduce the *thing* that's bothering you to its simplest terms. If the answer doesn't reflect *you* in the equation (like, her answer is 'I am not enough'), then it hasn't been reduced far enough. 

2. Realize no one has the power to make you feel a certain way. You decide what affects you. You're own self esteem is the only thing that makes you feel a certain way. If it's not making you feel like you're a significant, beautiful, amazing, complex individual then there's some work to be done and you cannot be blaming others :). 

3. Take control and ask for what you want. Unless this clownbag is truly selfish, he probably would have easily compromised. Hint, if you voice your needs in a clear, concise way and the person still can't find it in themselves to make a compromise- perhaps you should reevaluate why there is a relationship in the first place. 

As we head into the holiday season, I invite you to not breakup with your partner (or family) because they ate the last piece of pumpkin pie and they should have known that pumpkin pie is your absolute favorite kind of pie and you've been saving calories all week to have a piece and now the year is ruined.

Communicate! Until there's an app for reading minds, we will have to continue the old fashion way. Live through love, it's so much more fulfilling than living through angry phone calls.  

Happy Thanksgiving! 

1 Comment

The Fear Epidemic

Comment

The Fear Epidemic

I am guilty of perpetuating this sickness. In fact, I have even done it in the last couple of posts. I have used fear to make a point, to encourage you to change your habits. I used statistics and evidence to scare you into health. I apologize. I've contributed to an epidemic, the Fear Epidemic.

Today I had an immense 'ah ha' moment. (I admit it was greatly influenced by Anita MoorjaniLouise Hay, and Eckhart Tolle, but an evolution nonetheless!)

It is not only important to shift our perceptions towards abundance and LOVE, it is absolutely essential to the survival of humanity.

We are ruled by our fears, our 'should's and our inability to stay in the present. Let me explain. 

We are constantly ambushed with fear from our government, the news, marketing and our perceptions. This negative energy is toxic and contagious. Have you ever been around someone in a bad mood and it brought you down? That's a transfer of negative energy. Scientifically, energy is information traveling in vibrations. This information is constantly interacting with your body, whether it's from an outside source or is created by you. The fear, the toxicity, eventually has to manifest. The information has to eventually have a physical affect on what it is interacting with- and usually, it is our bodies.  As Anita Moorjani explains in the linked video, her greatest fear was cancer. She obsessed, researched and obsessed.. and guess what. She gave herself cancer. YOUR THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS, choose the good ones! Fear manifests in other ways too. When we act out of fear, we aren't our best selves. (Have you ever been dumped and turned into insecurity-induced godzilla? Yeah, me neither...) When we are operating in our not-so-best selves, we definitely aren't giving off the impression that we are a source of love and support. This, consequently, makes people fear us-- and then we have a big fear party on our hands (i.e.: war) and a whole buncha people acting like fools. We are either going to kill ourselves with our fear of disease, our fear of war, or our fears of what 'might' happen. To rephrase this, without any fear within the statement and idea, unconditional love is only answer for our salvation... and immense health, wealth and happiness. 

Moving on- let's just obliterate the would 'should' from our vocabulary. The next miserable misuse of energy is criticism. Criticism of others and criticism of ourselves is a big ol', detrimental energy suck. All too often I hear people say, 'I should lose weight. I should workout more. I should spend 200k on school, be forever in debt and become something my parents think I should be.' Should insinuates that you've done something wrong. Guess what. You're damn perfect just how you are. Every success is a lesson. Every failure is a lesson. Embrace the flipping lesson and turn every 'should' into a 'could.' There are many outside influences trying to convince you that you are not the creator of your reality, do NOT let your brain be one of them. Examine your 'should's. If you can answer, 'why?' to your list of 'should's without including 'because (               ) thinks so,' you can keep that 'should' belief. (Hint, there won't be any). YOUR THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS, CHOOSE THE GOOD ONES. If your thoughts are, "I am not good enough," you're never going to be. Can you imagine a world without criticism or the fear of criticism? Everybody would be their best self. I can promise you our best selves have nothing to do with sickness, lack, fear, or war. Or godzillas. 

Lastly, stress is being HERE and wanting to be THERE. Want to be happy doing exactly what you've been doing all along? Stop worrying about what you're missing out on. Engage all of your senses in the right now. I don't care if you're washing dishes- water feels good, soap bubbles can be cool. Find gratitude in the simple fact that the billions of cells that make up your body are communicating without your guidance and keeping you alive. If you're having trouble cultivating this gratitude, ask for it. I mean it, literally think or say aloud, 'I could use some gratitude right now.' I will bet you $1000 zillion it'll come. It's just quantum physics!

(Steps off soapbox).

PS. I vow to no longer use fear to make a point. Lots of lovin', ONLY, from here on out ;-) 

Comment

Saying NO to GMO.

Comment

Saying NO to GMO.

A GMO, or a genetically modified organism, is an organism whose genetical makeup has been altered- such as mutating, deleting, or adding genetic material. 

This means that GMOs are plants, animals or microorganisms whose genetic code has been altered to give it characteristics it does not naturally possess. 

So.. what’s the problem? Although there have been attempts to modify organisms to enhance nutritional benefits, the majority of our food is modified to increase tolerance to herbicides and to insects. When plants are grown with herbicide-tolerant genes injected, farmers can spray large amounts of weed killer directly on the plants without the risk of also killing the crop. This means that the farmer can spray massive amounts of chemicals directly onto the fruits and vegetables you eat. Also, Insect-resistant GMO crops produce pesticides within the plant, killing or deterring insects from eating the plant. Although the farmer no longer has to spray pesticides on the plants, the crop itself is toxic with the pesticides residing within. This means you’re eating pesticides.

The biggest issue with genetically modifying anything is that the long term effects are completely unpredictable. Mother nature has constructed the organisms on our Earth in a precise and delicate way, and we are all interconnected in very complex and interdependent way. We know we can change one gene to reflect a desired trait- but we have no idea how this can spiral out of control, creating a domino effect on not only the crop- but the specimens that ingest the crop, and every organism tied to that crop through nature. 

There has never been a complete and conclusive study on the effects of GMOs on humans. We DO know that these mutated foods are alien to our insides, as our bodies have not evolved to understand and utilize them. We don’t even know if the Frankenstein genes in the GMO crops can end up mutating our own genes in the long run! 

We also know the long term effects on animals tested with GMO products, and the results aren’t pretty.

-  Severely damaged villi, finger-like projections of the intestinal lining that absorb nutrients. This means we cannot extract the nutrients from food that we need to LIVE.

- Skin problems

- Fertility complications (infertility, miscarriage, premature births, low birth weight.)

- The ‘pesticides’ formed within GM crops are designed to kill insects from the inside out, so it’s probably killing our gut bacteria. Gut bacteria is needed for ALL of our systems, including digestion and the immune system. 

- The bacteria and virus resistant genes in GMOs mix with our gut bacteria genes, creating antibiotics resistant gut bacteria. This not only can make us resistant to antibiotics, but we may become more susceptible to viral and bacterial infections, or even cancer. 

And this is just the beginning, sadly. Even if a farmer doesn’t intend to grow GM crops, wind carries the toxins to new crops. The effects of GM crops will outlast global warming and nuclear waste.

So, how do can we change this? Stop buying GMO products. If even 5% of of consumers stop buying GMOs, food producers and suppliers will be forced to change! Also, be wary of eating out. It can be exhausting, but ask your waiter to cook your food in butter, olive oil or ghee instead of GMO soy oil and canola oil. This market shift occurred quickly and successfully in Europe, we can do it!!

Here are the biggest GMO culprits, STEER CLEAR!:

  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Canola
  • Cotton
  • Beet sugar
  • Zucchini and crookneck squash

For a full list, visit here. Want to learn more? (There’s SO MUCH MORE TO LEARN!) Check out the movies Food Inc.The Future of Food and King Corn.  

Comment

Liver Lovin' for Weight Release

Comment

Liver Lovin' for Weight Release

Contrary to popular belief, the simple formula of calories in vs. calories burned is not complete in itself for weight loss. The process of breaking down fat is very much dependent on what you’re consuming. (Duh, Tory. But do you know how many people count calories and think a 100 calorie apple is equivalent to a 100 calorie pack of artificially sweetened mini brownies?!)

The process begins with your liver. You know how people pack on the ‘freshman fifteen’ when they suddenly start drinking obscene amounts in college? This isn’t only due to caloric intake, it also is a consequence of taxing the organ that is responsible for flushing fat! 

Everyday your liver produces about a quart of a yellowish liquid called bile.  Bile acts as an emulsifier, breaking down fats and oils so they can better mix with water for metabolizing. If fats and oils were left intact, they’d get stuck in the liver part way through the flushing process. After bile mixes with the fats, oils and water you’ve ingested, this lovely concoction is pumped into the small intestine. If you’re eating enough fiber, this unwanted fatty mixture will stick to the fiber and be easily released through the bowels. Goodbye fat!

As you see, the quality and quantity of bile is essential to the fat-removal. It is the liver’s job to produce said abundant, high-quality bile. The liver can be impeded in numerous ways:

1. Bile is made up of water, electrolytes, lecithin, cholesterol, and bile salts. If the liver is not provided with the all of these nutrients, bile cannot be produced.

2. If the body is dehydrated due to lack of filtered water, the liver will produce thick, sticky bile that cannot flush fat.

3. If the liver becomes clogged with excessive toxins (think processed food additives, cigarette smoke, pollution, non-organic/non-natural body lotion), it cannot produce enough bile. 

Unhealthy liver = no bile = no fat-flushing. 

If you cannot flush fat, it will begin to store around your liver. Surprise— your liver is located in your abdomen, hence you will start gaining a roll of chub around that area… and then everywhere else. 

Here are ways to IMPROVE LIVER FUNCTION, WOOOOO:

1. DARK LEAFY GREENS: This comes up often. I think you might have noticed by now that I LOVE DARK LEAFY GREENS. Eat them up! They help with breaking down toxins and purifying the blood.

2. Cruciferous vegetables: Cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, kale, and brussel sprouts contain sulfur. Sulfur attaches to certain unneeded chemicals in the body and turns them into water-soluble non-toxins. Get that shit out of there!

3. Other sulfur-y things: Eggs, garlic, onions, red peppers. WE LOVE SULFUR. Also, eggs, garlic and onions encourage additional bile secretion. 

4. Asparagus, avocados and walnuts: These superheroes contain a compound called gluthathione that seeks out ugly toxins, attaches itself to them, and escorts them out the pooper. 

5. Citrus fruits: Oranges, lemons and limes contain Vitamin C which stimulates the production of our pal, gluthathione ^. 

6. SOLUBLE FIBER: We also love fiber! Remember, fiber attaches to fats in the small intestine and, ah hem, gets things moving. Pears, apples, oat bran, and legumes are great sources of soluble fiber. 

7. Beets: Beets contain betaine, which thins bile and makes it more productive.

8. Artichoke hearts: Artichoke hearts contain antioxidants called flavonoids that protect your precious liver cells. 

9. Brown rice: Think of brown rice as the custodian. It cleans, buffs and makes those intestines shine. 

10. TUMERIC: Feeling spicy? Don’t answer that. This spice is the highest known source of beta-carotene (an antioxidant), and it protects your little liver from stupid toxins. 

11. Dandelion: You can use this herb in teas, take it as a supplement, juice the greens, or as a tincture mixed with water. Dandelion stimulates bile production, as well as assists in the breaking down of fat. 

12. I’m out of breath. MILK THISTLE: This herb has been used for 2,000 years for liver-healing. it contains an ingredient, silymarin, that can protect the liver from alcohol and other dangerous toxins. Silymarin boosts gluthathione levels in the liver by over 33%! (Milk thistle tea will not work, the silymarin is not water soluble. Get your milk thistle fix through capsules or tincture). 

Fear not if you’ve encountered the freshman 15! Or the 26-year-old 15! Take care of your liver, and it will take care of your chunky thighs.

If you would like LOADS more info of this sort, check out The Science of Skinny. It is NOT a book about dieting, it is a LIFE CHANGER. 

Comment

Root to Rise.

Comment

Root to Rise.

So, I am sitting in yoga this morning, looking around at a packed studio, wondering why we do this to ourselves. It’s early, it is all the same faces. Not many people practice yoga solely for the exercise- there are many other means of activity that burn more calories, give quicker results, and allow socialization. And the same goes for meditating- no one sits in silence, intentionally struggling through and sorting- at the same time not sorting and not struggling, with their thoughts. And food- Anyone who eats only nourishing and living foods solely for the sake of weight loss most likely cannot sustain it (and definitely not enjoyably) without a bigger reason for doing so.

So, why? Ignorance could be SUCH BLISS, right? But the thing about consciousness and learning is you can never unlearn what you’ve discovered. In yoga, you are not only building, stretching, breathing- but also spending time with your real self. Same with meditation… and believe it or not, with eating REAL food. (Did you know processed foods ALL contain additives that mess with hormones, emotions, your skin, your mental clarity- not to mention all of the excess sludge they deposit on your stomach and fat butt).

  When you strip the sludge, you meet YOU. And yes, it’s hard, tedious work.

And once you had a small glimpse of YOU, you want more. 

Imagine a tumbleweed. The life is a tumbleweed is exciting and free and liberating! You fly, you fall, you flip! …But the journey is never ending, there is no destination, no sense of ‘home.’ You smash into rocks, you get stuck in the mud, you fly off cliffs- and you have no choice but to experience the intense ups and the intense downs, because they are at the core of your existence. You solely live to move, to depend on ebbs and flows of external forces. You see only one level- knees and feet. To me, this is ignorance.

Now a tree… the deeper the tree roots, the stronger it rises. As roots reach more into the ground, the earth nourishes and provides with materials that have always been available, and will forever be available for the taking. Because you don’t have to concern yourself with restlessness- the world moves around you, as you enjoy the wind on your leaves, the rain on branches, the sun on your tree-tops. Harsh weather comes and goes, but you’ve rooted to the spot, you remain YOU no matter your surroundings. Your fruit provides nourishment for the hungry. Your shade provides sanctuary for the overheated. The taller and stronger you grow- you can look above the chaos of the world, and see the whole. You can see how the available pieces can fit together to find solutions, how all livings things depend on one another to keep the world moving- how working together will always be the answer… how YOU and me are essential parts in the machine. To me, this is consciousness.

It takes time, hard, intentional work, patience- and most importantly spending genuine time with yourself…. to get to know YOU and start rooting. After all, emotions are just your ego- and fear is just a feeling about an assumed outcome. Once you grow taller than the fog, the emotions, the fear, the conversations about your arm fat, worries about wearing the right clothes (this list could go on for days…), only then can you really enjoy the wind on your face, the rain on your leaves and the sun on your treetops.

Comment

Channel Your Inner Kindergartner for World Peace

Comment

Channel Your Inner Kindergartner for World Peace

In addition to hotchickpea, I run a children's kindness revolution called Lovely Thank You. I just released our second children's book about the power of kindness, and while writing the materials for the new site, I was reminded yet again how simple the guiding principles of universal happiness can be. As we are ambushed with media about ISIS, Ebola, the terrifying dangers of global warming, police brutalities, etc., it's easy to let fear set in. People are desperate for reprieve, but instead of continuing to love our fellow Earthly neighbors in a communal effort to make improvements, we are quick to start blaming in attempts to find a 'solution' to our fear. We have two ways to view the world, and ultimately act on those views.

“The most important decision we make is whether

we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”

-Albert Einstein.

We can live through love, or we can live through fear. Fear is every negative emotion-- it's judgement, it's criticism, violence, greed. But fear itself is not real. It's a PERCEPTION, it's False Evidence Appearing Real. And when we fear, we bring out the worst in ourselves, which makes others fear us... which creates a cyclical, miserable fear party. (Ex: war.) Love is to Light, as Fear is to Darkness. Darkness is not *real*, it's just the absence of light. How do you rid of darkness? You flood it with light. How do you rid of fear? You flood it with love. When you're living through fear, you're derailing the human potential for UNIVERSAL HAPPINESS. That is, a quality of life that's not only satisfying basic needs, but ... actually positive and enjoyable. Let's make it simple, channel your inner kindergartener:

In every act, thought or idea- if every person considered,

'Am I being kind to myself? Am I being kind to others?

Am I being kind to the Earth?' the creation of fear 

(perceived negativity) would cease. 

Kindness to oneself is having integrity. It is staying present and maintaining the mind, body, spirit trifecta. It's eating to nourish rather than clog, partaking in enjoyable physical movement, and practicing positivity. To a child I would say, 'Treat yourself the way you'd want others to treat you.' 

Kindness to others is having integrity. It is staying present and acknowledging the inherent greatness in others and in ourselves. Through this acknowledgement, we see how similar we really are and consequently want happiness for all of humanity.  To a child I would say, 'Treat others the way you want to be treated.' 

Kindness to the planet is HAVING INTEGRITY. (I'm noticing a theme here...) It is treading lightly. It is loving all living beings. It is being honest with our needs vs. our wants and acting accordingly. To a child I would say, 'Treat the planet as if it's this gorgeous, miraculous neighborhood that provides us with the basic elements we need to survive-- while also knocking our dang socks off on the reg. with sunsets, sunrises, and rainbows.'

So back to how you can contribute, or even stay sane, in the midst of the worldly chaos. Keep it simple and spectacular- live through love and kindness. As Marie Forleo says, 'You can't give away what you don't have.' 

         To ensure universal happiness, we must first cultivate

 happiness in ourselves.

Happiness occurs by living through kindness. 

 

 

 

 

Comment