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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vermont Mulled Cider

One of my favorite treats during the winter months is warm apple cider. I am so excited to head home for the holiday and curl up on the couch in front of our cast iron stove with a mug of hot mulled cider and a good book. This year I am going to put a new twist on my favorite standard with a very New England ingredient, Vermont maple syrup! This recipe is from “The Official Vermont Maple Cookbook,” published by theVermont Maple Foundation.

Ingredients
  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1 cup Pure Vermont Maple Syrup
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • A few whole cloves
  • Lemon slices, cut in half, for garnish
Preparation:
Combine cider, syrup, cinnamon and cloves and heat thoroughly, but do not boil. Remove cloves and serve hot, garnished with a half lemon slice.
If you want to give this a bit of a kick you can a little whiskey or rum for your adult enjoyment. I might just do that tomorrow night! ;-)

Keep it Fresh!
3HC

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Set Your Intentions for the New Year

In just a few days we will embark on a new year. As we begin anew, it is important to remember that the world is indeed our oyster. Our best, health, career, wealth and relationships are each within our grasp. It's simply up to us to reach out and take it.

Please join Lauren and Terra at OnSen for All on Thursday, January 7, 2010 for an evening of meditation, inspiration and crafting your own Vision Board. Journey through the Law of Attraction creating a vision board to manifest your best life! In this workshop you will learn the basic tools to implement the Law of Attraction, enjoy a guided meditation visualizing your future and create your own vision board reflecting that future to take home with you. This workshop will assist you in getting clear on your intentions to manifest your best life in 2010! Space is limited. You can register online at OnSen For All.

Please note the date on the OnSen site is incorrectly listed as 1/6. The workshop is on 1/7.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Use Yoga to Control Holiday Eating

patanjali
Food and the holiday season go hand in hand. Use the lessons from among the "Ten Commandments" of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras to control your eating habits this year. Patanjali, a great sage of ancient India, is the compiler of the Yoga Sutras, the guidebook of classical yoga. Written at least 1,700 years ago, it's made up of 195 aphorisms (sutras), or words of wisdom.

The Yamas and Niyamas, the first two branches of Patanjali's Eightfold Path from the Yoga Sutras, are very useful this time of year. Of particular interest are Ahimsa and Aparigraha from among the Yamas, and Santosha and Swadhyaya from the Niyamas.

Ahimsa - Non-Harming
Whether you are vegetarian or not, there is one being you can seek to refrain from harming all of the time: Yourself.
This applies to the choices you make about what you put into your body. Remember, most things are not going to harm you in moderation. The danger of this time of year is the quantity of food, alcohol, and sweets available - not to mention the additional social engagements involving eating. Plus, with less time to get everything done, more people skip their workouts - when this is the time we should be working out even more! Commit to keeping yourself healthy this entire holiday season and you will feel less stressed and have more energy to spread the joy.
Ahimsa also applies to negative self-talk. So don't beat yourself up if you can't do it all this season!

Aparigraha - When Enough's Enough
Sometimes, the toughest part of eating during the holidays is simply pushing away from the table. Aparigraha reminds us to listen carefully to our bodies and stop eating when we have eaten enough. Try to put your fork down between each bite of food and focus on chewing your food while you eat. If you are afraid of wasting food, or feel obliged to make excuses, ask for a doggy bag for leftovers to take home. Many home cooked or restaurant meals can be dinner and lunch the next day. Hostesses will be flattered if you say you're full, but perhaps could pack a few leftovers to take home? As long as you will eat them later, it isn't greedy to ask for doggy bags to save food from going to waste.

Santosha - Contentment
What's more important about the Holidays: the food or the company? Okay, so the truth is most people think it's a little bit of both. But just because you love holiday food, that doesn't mean you have to heap your plate to overflowing. If you practice contentment with the present moment, living in the "Now", you will be able to eat mindfully. Taste the smaller portions to their fullest, and truly savor each bite. Enjoy the sights, smells, sounds and the company that create the Holiday atmosphere as much as or perhaps even more than the food.

Swadhyaya - Save Room for Dessert
You know what your favorite holiday foods are. If you are certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will have a slice of Auntie Darlene's Black Forest Cake at the end of a meal, be aware of that throughout the meal. Eat only a bite of stuffing to appreciate the flavors, perhaps skip the mashed potatoes and gravy entirely. We all know how to make good decisions about eating, but we forget our sense of moderation in the melee of Holiday hubbub. Even if you choose to celebrate with merry abandon, please remember to be kind to yourself above all else.

Keep it fresh!
- Lauren

Monday, December 21, 2009

Folic Acid and Prenatal Health

A new Study by University of Adelaide's Robinson Institute in Australia found that synthetic and non-natural folic acid supplements taken by mid-to-late-term pregnant mothers may lead to a much higher risk of asthma in the child. LINK Researchers are urging pregnant mothers to continue supplementing with folic acid, however during late stages of pregnancy mothers should switch to natural sources of folate. Folate levels in preconception and prenatal women influence the child's nervous system development. Low levels of folate can lead to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children aged 7 to 9.

Folic acid (folate) is a B-vitamin essential for proper cellular division because it is necessary in DNA synthesis. Without folic acid, the fetus' nervous system cells do not divide properly. Vitamin B is most often found in dark leafy green vegetables. Despite folic acid's wide occurrence in food (it's name comes from the Latin word folium, meaning "foliage," because it's found in green leafy vegetables), folic acid deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world. Foods with high levels of folate include:

Spinach: spinach offers 25% of the daily value of folate per ½ cup cooked serving. A serving of raw spinach still gives you 15% of the daily value of folate. Try adding fresh spinach leaves to your salad or your favorite fruit smoothie. Add cooked spinach to your lasagna, stir fry meals and soups.

Black-eyed Peas: A half cup serving of black-eyed peas contains 25% of your daily value of folate. Toss them on top of your salad, into stir-fry meals, taco fillings, or as a stand-alone side dish.

White Beans: White beans pack 20% of your daily value into a 1/2 cup serving. They are great added to soups and chilis, or tossed with vinaigrette and spinach for a white bean salad.

Asparagus: Just 4 asparagus spears give you 20% of you daily folate value. Rub them with garlic and put them on the grill or chop them into smaller pieces and toss them with your favorite pasta dish.

Broccoli: A 1/2 cup of frozen, fresh or steamed broccoli offers 15% of your daily folate value! Roast it with garlic as a side dish, toss fresh florettes into your salad or your favorite pasta dish.

Brussel Sprouts: A cup of Brussels sprouts supplies 93.6 mg of folic acid and they're probably my favorite vegetable! These lovely minature looking cabbage heads are delicious sauteed with olive oil and garlic. Simply cut them in half sautee and then top with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

As with everything health related, natural is what matters. Whole, natural, unprocessed, food free from additives, preservatives and packaging will trump any synthetic, processed supplement.

Keep it Fresh!
3HC

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Peaceful Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies

I love to make the bulk of my Christmas gifts each year. Last year I made (with the sewing help of my sister) eye pillows filled with dried herbs, the year before some pieces of my handmade jewelry, the year before that I crafted ornaments out of natural cinnamon sticks, etc. I love getting crafty and thinking of what I will make for everyone each year. I enjoy taking the time on each gift and thinking about the person it's going to. It makes it so much more special than going out and buying something and really helps me connect to what the holiday is all about.

This year I got creative in the kitchen and baked my vegan peanut butter oatmeal cookies for everyone. Unfortunately, because of the snow today, 'Christmakuh' has been rescheduled! No worries though, I have the cookies safely stowed in the freezer until we meet to celebrate.

Here is my yummy, cruelty-free recipe. Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday!

Lauren's Peaceful Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 canola oil (non-GMO of course!)
3/4 cup chunky all-natural peanut butter (my favorite is Smart Balance!)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup grain sweetened chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two cookie sheets.
Toss together the flour, oats, baking powder, nuts, chocolate chips, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl mix together the oil, peanut butter, sugars, soy milk, and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix. The dough will be very firm and moist.
Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough and round with hand, then place onto cookie sheet. Gently flatten each cookie to a 1/2-inch thickness. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Allow to cool at least 10 minutes for firm up before moving off the cookie sheet.
Enjoy!!!

Keep it fresh!
- Lauren

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Delicious Clementines

Clementines are one of my favorite fruits this time of the year. They're effortless to peel, usually seedless and so juicy and delicious!

Health Benefits

Clementines are a sweet citrus fruit available throughout the wintertime, mid-November through March. One clementine is only about fifty calories. They are packed with fiber, vitamin C, folate, and potassium. They are also very rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene as well as ascorbic acid, nutrients which when consumed on a daily basis reduces age-related vision loss.


History & Trivia

The history of the clementine is unclear in many ways. Some believe it was an Algerian monk that first discovered the natural hybrid fruit. (Clementines are a hybrid between a sweet orange and a Chinese mandarin.) Others believe that the clementine originated in China much earlier. Either way, in 1909, the fruit came to the USA, and is now enjoyed as a winter favorite by Americans everywhere. The majority of clementines are imported from Spain, Morocco and North Africa. Although its always better to eat locally grown produce, we can make an acceptation for these!


Selection & Storage Tips

Clementines should be bright orange and slightly glossy. Purchase those that are firm, yet give a slight indentation when you squeeze them. Make sure they have no blemishes, and especially no shriveled skin. They can be stored up to a week in a bowl at room temperature. They will last two weeks in the refrigerator. Clementines make a great snack anytime, and are also a nice addition to salads, both fruit salads and green, leafy salads. The juice of clementines can be added to salad dressings for a sweet, refreshing tang! However you prefer your clementines, enjoy them all through the winter while they are at their best!

Keep it Fresh!

- Lauren

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Rwandan Journey... An Introduction

Inspired by my own blog entry a while back, and a cloudy, rainy morning in Kigali, I woke up and decided to attempt to make a batch of gluten-free, vegan pancakes. I must say they came out delicious!! I have limited ingredients here, of course, so i needed to make a few substitutions here and there, but there is certainly not a lack of whole foods in this country. Believe it or not, finding non-wheat flours here is super easy. They do not grow wheat here so most of the flours are made from cassava, millet, rice or sorghum. I used a mix of cassava and millet flour, substituted the sugar for some agave (that one was brought from home) and substituted the soy or dairy milk for coconut milk. Sprinkled in some cinnamon and voila!

It is mornings like these that I realize the simplicity of things, especially cooking. Using fresh, local ingredients makes it so easy and healthy. It is so satisfying to wake up and be able to indulge in such a breakfast. But it is also makes me feel a bit guilty. It makes me wonder how so many people can be hungry here when there is such an abundance of healthy whole foods.

I had the opportunity to find out the answer to that question over the last two weeks as I helped Gardens For Health International (GHI) conduct surveys of households all over the city, to whom they provide assistance. I got to see a lot of Kigali, and meet some amazing people in the process. An experience that certainly was a reminder of how much we take for granted.

GHI partners with 10 different co-ops throughout Kigali, all of which provide land for households with at least one member suffering from HIV. The land is used to grow crops in order to provide food security and nourishment to support their treatment. Throughout the course of the week I was paired up with a young Rwandan temp named Alfred, to conduct surveys in these households to help get a better idea of what foods they eat, what foods they grow, and if the gardens supplied by GHI are aiding in their adherence to treatment.

I knew that life here in Kigali was simple and that its people didn’t have much, but I don’t think you can ever really be prepared to witness the reality of life in an underdeveloped African nation. Nor do I think I could ever do it justice in writing, but I feel the need to try. However, in an effort to keep these blog posts short(er), I will describe my experience in a series of entries over the next week. An experience that has made me appreciate what I have, and realize how life here can be so difficult and so simple at the same time. So stay tuned!

Introducing....The Healthy Chick Club!

Believe it or not, new years is just around the corner.

Each year countless individuals make all sorts of resolutions and commitments to improve their body, mind and health. More often than not, the resolutions are broken within the first few weeks of the new year. This can leave you disappointed and discouraged. This year, 3 Healthy Chicks have decided to elevate, inspire and support our clients by offering New Years Resolution support.

If you want to learn how to cook healthy food, gain energy, lose weight or just stay motivated to live a healthy chick life, you're found the right counseling group. We’ve created the Healthy Chick Club for you – it’s an opportunity to benefit from health counseling in a small group environment.

Working with 3 Healthy Chicks has changed my life! I highly recommend Lauren, Terra and Jill. They have consistently motivated and challenged me to lead a healthier lifestyle. The benefits of diet and lifestyle changes over the past 6 months are numerous. I feel healthier and as a result also think and act healthier! Not only do I feel better, I know my energy level is much higher and I’m getting lots of attention from co-workers who want to know what I did to look better. They too want to look and feel better and assume I am on some fad diet. I simply tell them the truth…. I eat whole foods and have made positive choices with the assistance of 3 Healthy Chicks! !

~ Suzanne, Long Branch, NJ

It’s time to take a step beyond the computer screen, people. Reading is cool, but doing is even cooler. Join us in 2010 as a member of Healthy Chick Club!

How does The Healthy Chick Club work?

The Healthy Chick Club meets twice per month via conference call. You don’t have to drive anywhere, just dial in by phone or Skype from the comfort of you own home!

We’ll discuss topics ranging from nutrition to exercise, to stress relief to relationships. Paying special attention to individual goals, and create a step-by-step plan of action to get everyone moving forward. You’ll receive the support of the group, as well as personal attention and coaching from 3 Healthy Chicks, holistic health counselors certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.

That's so Fresh! What else do I get?
You’ll stay connected to the group 24/7 through an online forum on The Healthy Chick Message Boards. You can share stories, ask for advice, and get support from a community of like minded people. You’ll also receive handouts and recipes each time we meet.

How do I sign up?
The easiest way to register is to email 3healthychicks@gmail.com. We will contact you about your registration. Payments can be made by cash, check or credit card via paypal. There are a few Healthy Chick Club Options:

3-month membership for just $275

6-month membership for only $475

Spaces for the 2010 Healthy Chick Club are limited to the first 10 people registered. So don't delay, make 2010 your healthiest year ever!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Friends Shout Out - Real Mama, Inc.


This week's Friday Friends Shout Out goes to Real Mama, Inc. based in Middletown, NJ. Real Mama, Inc. is an environmental and kids health non-profit organization comprised of a group of truly amazing women, including Cornelia Mazzan, Kirstin McPolin, Kari Martin and Camille Lofaro Sowinski who have made it their mission to inform and educate mothers and families about how to integrate environmental stewardship into everyday life. Their ultimate goes is to increase the health of families as well as the awareness and conservation of the natural environment through the most important resources we have, our children!

Real Mama publishes a quarterly web-based eNewsletter that provides information specifically tailored to meet the needs of busy mothers and caregivers. Their articles present a summarized, balanced view of issues that are easily digestible so you can actually act on the information provided.

On December 17, Real Mama is hosting a Wine Tasting & Food Pairing at Whole Foods Market in Middletown, NJ; Affordable Wines and Green Minds for Holiday Celebrating. The tasting will include wine and food pairings throughout the store featuring sustainable, affordable wines and tastey bites for the upcoming holiday season. You can register for the tasting here.

3 Healthy Chicks want to thank Real Mamas for making our community and kids a happier and healthier place. Keep doing what you're doing. We think you're fabulous!!!

Keep it Fresh
3HC

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

3 Healthy Chicks on NJ News 12!!

Lauren and I just finished taping our first 3 Healthy Chicks spot on News 12 NJ's 12 to Your Health series on natural ways to boost your immune system during the cold and flu season. Wow! Talk about an adrenaline rush!!

We got to the News 12 studios in Edison, NJ at 10am for our 10:45 taping. Just enough time to sit, go over our talking points and get good and nervous.

Mike walked us into the Studio, we set up the table filled with all of our healthy goodies (Fresh seasonal vegetables, natural sugar alternatives, water, Netti Pot, teas and multi-vitamins) and then met Dr. DeSilva. Dr. DeSilva definitely put us at ease and made the whole taping feel like a nice conversation rather than being on camera. I personally think it was slightly terrifying, but we made it through and I think we did a great job.

Please tune in on December 12 and 13th at 9:30am, 1:30pm or 4:30pm to see us!! We will try to get a youtube video up on line as soon as possible so our non-local fans and clients can check it out.

I will say that it felt just a little lopsided talking about 3 Healthy Chicks without our 3rd Chick. We know you're doing great things in Rwanda for Gardens of Health, Jill....but we miss you terribly and are eagerly awaiting your return!!!

Keep it Fresh!
~Terra

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Super Chick Bars!!


After a whole lot of trial and error, we finally came up with the perfect recipe for a raw, superfoods bar. It took a lot of trial and error but we finally came up with a great product.

It's pretty amazing what you can do with a blendtech, some whole, healthy, raw ingredients and a dream.

The Super Chick Bar is 100% vegan, gluten free, raw and organic. It's packed with things like dates, cacao, goji berries, fax seeds, almonds and raw agave. It's super packed with nutrition!

We are still in the process of developing the packaging to market the Super Chick Bar. We should have all the kinks ironed out by February 2010 and will be able to fill orders by March 2010.

Stay tuned!

Keep it Fresh!
~ Terra

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What Foods to Avoid When You're Sick

At some point every winter, despite taking our supplements and eating all the rights foods, most of us get sick. Once you’re already sick—what to do? Below are three foods to avoid eating once you’re sick.

  • Dairy, including milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream… anything milk-based. Dairy promotes the formation and secretion of mucus, so if you’re already congested, this should be the first thing to go.
  • Sugar. Refined sugar, including fruit juice, promotes inflammation in the body and lowers your immunes system’s ability to be effective. Your body is already trying to heal—don’t make it harder for it to do its job.
  • Anything you know you’re allergic or sensitive to. Most of us are sensitive to at least one food (e.g., wheat, gluten, dairy). Food allergens cause inflammation in the body, so do your best to avoid known allergens while trying to heal.

You also might notice that you’re not particularly hungry when in the midst of a bad cold or the flu. Don’t force yourself to eat a lot—you’re body is using its energy to heal, not digest. Make sure you stay hydrated with lots of water , tea, and broth-based soups, but stay away from rich, heavy meals. Towards the end of the illness, you should get your appetite back, which means you’re on the road to recovery!

Keep it fresh!
- Lauren

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Friend Shout Out - Bring Balance 2U


This week's shout out is to my wonderful friend and mentor, Andrea Tortorella of Bring Balance 2U Holistic Health Counseling. Andrea and I met well over a year ago when she first started giving nutrition seminars at my job in Westchester, NY. We instantly connected and have remained friends ever since. She is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is a Holistic Health Counselor and Nourishment Coach.


I admire Andrea's ability to connect with people. She formulated the S.E.L.F. Nourishment Program, which stands for:
S - Silence
E - Exercise
L - Laughter & a 'Lighter' attitude
F - Food!

Through her Health Counseling, Andrea creates fun and easy ways to incorporate simple and effective lifestyle changes that last. For example, she always says how time has the word "me" in in it, and explains how important it is to make time in your schedule to take care of you. Andrea also offers cooking classes where she exhibits how easy it is to prepare a whole, natural foods meal. I've learned so much about cooking just from the few cooking classes that I've attended with her. She continues to be such an inspiration as well as a wealth of information to me. She supported me 100% through my year at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and she makes it a point to still be there for me for whatever I need.

Due to my new position at my job as Wellness Manager, I now have the pleasure of working with Andrea! I couldn't be happier and feel so privileged to have her as a friend.

Please check out her website for more information on Bring Balance 2U!

Thank you, Andrea, for everything!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Breathing Your Worries Away

Check out 3 Healthy Chicks article on Breathing Your Worries Away in this month's on line edition of the Healthy Hippie Magazine!

And see the fabulous picture of Lauren in Tree Pose on the Streets of Georgetown outside of Washington, DC.

Keep it Fresh!
~ Terra

Monday, November 30, 2009

Nutrition-a-go-go!!

So many people today are overloaded with work, family and personal demands, often rushing to adhere to a stressful "24/7" schedule. When our lives are packed to the max with busyness, one of the first things that goes out the window along with self care, is our nutrition. Oftentimes, in a busy frenzy we end up choosing meals that are fast, easy and neatly packaged. The thing about fast and easy is...well, you can’t be fast and easy forever and still keep it together. The reality is, your everyday meal solutions don't need to come from drive-through windows or Styrofoam take-out boxes. Even with a busy lifestyle, you can incorporate nutritious choices for every meal with ease. Being time-starved doesn't mean you have to sacrifice nutrition. A few small changes in your meal and snack strategies can yield positive results.


Shop Smart

Supermarkets today offer an array of partially prepared while not overly processed products and other kitchen "shortcuts." When you're busy, you can still put good nutrition on your table without doing all the time-consuming preparation yourself and cutting your self short with additives and preservatives.

  • Always keep fresh greens in the fridge and then add nutrient-rich extras: add nuts and seeds for protein; chopped fresh vegetables; sliced apples, pears, or berries. If you top your greens with flavorful fresh choices, you won't want to drowned your salad with fatty, creamy dressing. Just a splash of olive oil and a dash of vinegar will zest it up.
  • Stock up on seasonal, quality snack foods including fruits, nuts and seeds. Instead of reaching for that bag of chips to satisfy your craving opt for carrot sticks and your favorite flavor of hummus. I happen to love red pepper....and lentil spread is totally growing on me! Try Oasis Classic Cuisine Lentil Dip with some gluten free Mary’s Crackers (flax and onion are the best!).
  • To boost the nutritional quality of your favorite pasta dish, always add additional vegetables. Brown rice pasta tossed with garlic, tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms is a staple in my house. The pasta, vegetable variations are truly endless.


Do It Ahead

When you're doing it all yourself, it's best to do it ahead. Spend some kitchen time on nights or weekends for easy meal prep during the week. And always prepare and try to stick to a weekly meal plan. This will help limit your snacking and you will save money on eating out last minute.

  • Plan - Keep an ongoing shopping list so you always have nutritious, easy-to-prepare ingredients on hand.
  • Pre-prep when you can. Put breakfast cereal and bowls on the table or put together a packed lunch the night before. Assemble tomorrow's casserole while you clean up from tonight's dinner. Wash and slice raw veggies ahead so they're ready for snacking, salads, or a stir-fry.
  • Make double or triple batches. With soup, stew, salads (i.e., pasta salad or bean salad), sauce, or whole grains, such as brown rice, you can make enough at a time for several meals. Or prepare two casseroles at a time - one for now, one to freeze for later.
  • Cook once for two different dishes/meals. For example, each Sunday evening I (try to) make a large batch of brown rice that will last for 3-4 meals. Sunday night dinner is grilled salmon with brown rice, Monday breakfast is a brown rice porridge with almonds, So Delicious coconut milk and dried cherries and Monday night it’s stir fry! Cook once and eat many times. You can also prepare hearty vegetable soup on Sunday; add chicken or beans and rice for variation on Tuesday. Cook plenty of brown rice or whole wheat pasta - some for tonight's primavera, some for tomorrow's pasta salad. The options really are endless.


Simply because life is busy doesn’t mean we can let our nourishment fall short. Besides if you don’t fuel that machine called your body with the proper nutrition, one day it will break down.


Keep it Fresh!

~ Terra

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Friend Shout Out: Citizens for a GMO Free World

Today's Friday Friend Shout Out is dedicated to Citizens for a GMO Free World. Founded by 15 graduates from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, including our friend and Co-Leader of the Holistic Moms Network of Monmouth County, NJ, Dawne Vrabel. Citizens is an organization dedicated to removing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) from our natural food sources. They work tirelessly advocating for the labeling and/or removal of GMOs from our food supply.

According to one estimate, GM foods are present in approximately 80% of dpackaged food products in America. As many of you know, Americans increasingly rely on packaged products for the majority of their meals. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) had called for an immediate moratorium on GMO foods because doctors believe they pose a serious health risk. GM products also cross-polinate with neighboring crops, unintentionally modifying much of our food system and deeply impacting farmers. Unlike pharmaceuticals, GM crops cannot simply be removed from the system, the continued cultivation of GM crops is altering beyond viability the very foundation of our health and society: our food.

Unfortunately, American consumers and farmers continue to be denied the simple, inalienable right to choose what we produce and what we eat because labeling of GM foods is not currently required. In fact, in the US, foods may legally contain up to 10% GMO material and still be considered organic (in the EU, it's 0.9%). In three separate federal cases, US courts ruled that the USDA, specifically the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, violated the National Environmental Policy act by not providing and Environmental Impact Study on the impact to an ecosystem or farmers due to cross contamination. The USDA has admitted that they do not have policy or screening measure to identify, or weed out, a shipment of unapproved GMOs unknown to the regulatory system.

Citizens for a GMO Free World are at the forefront of activism towards the labeling of GMOs and removing GMOs from our food sources. This summer, they reached out to First Lady, Michelle Obama, sending a letter to request her assistance and created a petition to place an immediate moratorium on all GM crops, among other requests.

Citizens for a GMO Free World, you've taken on Goliath and we commend and support you! Keep up the fabulous work!

To learn more about GMOs please click here.

Keep it Fresh!
~ Terra

Monday, November 23, 2009

Slow Down, Be Thankful, Enjoy the Moment....

Who doesn’t feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the day? I regularly try to pack 36 into 24. Often we rush through the day, running here and there, and end up exhausted. I have definitely been guilty of this in the past few weeks. Somehow these days full of duties, obligations and busyness have begun to build up and become our lives. We’ve come to believe that being productive and crossing things off our to-do list is the ultimate goal.

The truth is, life on Earth is a brief gift, and our time is too precious to be used like this. The ultimate goal isn't to cross things off our to-do list, but to savor every moment of life. If we want our lives to be balanced and healthy, we need to lessen our load and increase our down time. This means planning less in a day, prioritizing those things that make our hearts sing and de-prioritizing those things that are not imperative.

If we must accomplish many things each day, we can still change the quality with which we do things. How can we transmute that sprint to the train into something delicious instead of the usual gripping and tightening experience? Today, instead of waiting in frustration at Staples for my print job, I treated myself to a sushi dinner. I found ease and enjoyment in the midst of stress. Taking time to enjoy my dinner was one way today I attempted to cultivate the art of going slowly.

Take a few moments before you climb out of bed in the morning to remember your dreams and to think about what you want from the day. Give thanks for all that you have. Leave your watch on the bedside table. Take the scenic route. Sit for a moment with your eyes closed when you start your computer. Check email only twice a day. Don’t pack your schedule so tightly that there’s no time for a short walk. Light candles before you start to cook dinner. Enjoy a glass of wine. Add one moment here and there for slowness; it can be done simply and will have a profound effect on your well-being.

Keep it Fresh!
~ Terra

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Friend Shout Out: Gardens For Health International


This friday I would like to give a big shout out to a small organization in Kigali, Rwanda called Gardens For Health.

When I decided to move to Rwanda I knew that I wanted to use my health counseling training to do work here that involved nutritional counseling, but I wasn’t sure what opportunities I would find. So I began searching the internet for organizations that might have opportunities for me, that I could also feel good about working with.

When I came across Gardens for Health I was both impressed and excited, as it seemed a perfect fit for me. To date, GHI (Gardens for Health International) works with 10 different co-operatives in the Gasabo district of Kigali, an area on the outskirts of the urban center of the city. They have teamed up with these co-ops in order to supply land for planting gardens that not only feed households who have members living with HIV/AIDS, but also teach members of those households how to plant, sustain and harvest the crops. With this, they can maintain a level of food security, all while introducing them to healthy foods to support their immune systems, which is essential while being treated with antiretroviral therapy. Most of the crops that are grown on the co-operative land are used directly to feed the households, but they are also starting to grow maize (corn), a main component used in food aid in impoverished countries, that can be sold and used to support the families’ incomes.

GHI also supports 150 individual households by supplying them with seeds and tools to start their own home garden. I will be helping GHI conduct surveys with these households to see how well they are sustaining their gardens and how well they benefit from them.

All pretty amazing right? Even more impressive is that the organization is run in Kigali by country director Julie Carney, a 23 year old fellow New Jersian! Julie leads a team consisting of two agronomists, a nutritionist, and a project coordinator, to make sure that the communities and cooperatives are working together seamlessly, providing security to those in need.

The first time that I met Julie, she was showing me GHI’s demo garden when a beautiful young girl named Francoise came to visit. I took the photo above of Francoise picking dodo, a local green in the demo garden that day. When I inquired about the girl, Julie told me that her mother, a former prostitute who suffers from AIDS, is one of the members that participates in their program. She also told me of 14 year old Francoise’s battle with cancer. She had lived with a massive tumor for many many years that was recently removed and she is now receiving chemotherapy at a local hospital. I was further impressed by Julie’s compassion for helping people when I asked how Francoise's family can afford the medical bills and she admitted that she has paid for Francoise’s operation and chemo treatments herself.

I am so happy to be able to help out Julie and Gardens for Health as much as I can while I stay here in Rwanda. I can not wait to visit the homes of their members and see first hand what they have done to help them!

You, too can help GHI receive funding by voting for GHI as a favorite hunger-related charity. Vote by visiting the following website, clicking on the yellow “give here” button, scroll to the Hunger Charity Poll and vote for Gardens for Health! You will help out Julie and her team and feed the hungry in the process!

http://thehungersite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=1&link=ctg_ths_home_from_ths_takeaction_sitenav

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Food Safety Modernization Act: Take Action to Protect Fresh Growers


Wednesday, November 18th the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions approved the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to move forward for full vote. FSMA grants the FDA more power to regulate and oversee the nation's food supply is gaining popular support. Generally, FSMA requires the FDA to step up on inspections and promulgate new rules to improve food quality and prevent contamination in fresh produce. In its call to action, the bill intends to "protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination." The bill was introduced to the House (and passed) last year after the flurry of ecol i scares that ripped spinach, peanut butter and pistachios off supermarket shelves from Maine to California. While government always seems well intentioned, the results of the legislation may inevitably cause more harm to Jersey growers and organic consumers than good.

While it is not my intention to get on an FDA soapbox and their modernization approach to pharmaceutical-health care. I call it Pharmaceutical Health Care because our health care system today is actually a drug care system. FDA's modernization contributes to thousands of drug-related deaths and leads to the fast track approval of many unsafe drugs that are inevitably recalled. Additionally, the FDA is increasingly dependent upon the financial support it receives in the form of registration fees from big pharma. Do we really want corporate farming in the back-pocket along with the pharmaceutical industry? I am quite sure Monsanto does, but that's another blog post entirely.

Modernization is a green light to corporate everything... specifically factory farming. This approach to the age old practice of farming and food supply simply isn't working. Developing an arsenic spray for beef to eliminate e coli isn't the answer. Factory farming is making us sicker. Corporate farming has been the source of the most egregious threats to our food so far. If passed, FSMA will give powerful incentives to large, concentrated food manufacturers. These incentives coupled with imposing burdensome record-keeping requirements on farmers, would contribute to the eventual closing of the already struggling smaller, safer, local, Jersey Fresh farmer. Modernization and corporate farming and further regulation is not the answer. It's bad for the environment and it's bad for our health.

One of the main reasons we Healthy Chicks do what we do and blog about is is to urge our readers and clients to practice healthy, sustainable living by eating locally grown produce. We're very lucky to live in the Garden State and have access to such an abundance of fresh produce. From May through October we are blessed with the opportunity to shop for produce grown by Jersey Farmers at more than 130 farmer's markets and farm stands state wide. Local foods produced by small farms and small-scale food producers benefit both the local economy and consumers.



As with most blessings, you have to work hard to ensure you continue to receive them. Now more than ever we need our readers to reach out to their representatives and let them know that FMSA as written is bad for local growers! TAKE ACTION: Call your U.S. Representative and Senators. If you do not know who represents you, you can find out at www.congress.org or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask to speak to the staffer who handles food safety issues.

Talk with the staffer about why you support local foods. Tell them you oppose S510 Ask that they support a food safety bill that focuses on the real threats to food safety, such as lack of inspections of massive slaughterhouses and other factory processing.

Tell them you want any food safety bill to explicitly exempt small farmers. Explain that this issue cannot be left to the agencies' discretion, and you want new regulations expressly applicable to the large factory farms and processing facilities, not small and local producers.

New Jersey State Senators:
Contact Frank Lautenberg (D)
Contact Robert Menendez (D)

hmmm this post got me all fired up! I am ready to take on the world....one step at a time. You should be to! ;-)

Keep it Fresh!
~Terra

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Keep it FRESH! Oh yeah!!


Hello all to all of the beautiful followers out there in blog land!! I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude for all of you that faithfully follow and read our blog. Your comments and encouragement have helped 3 Healthy Chicks keep loving what we do. AND WE LOVE IT!!!

We have a lot of really amazing things coming up in the next few months that we wanted to let you know about. Our first newsletter will be published and sent out very shortly. If you aren't already on our email list, please join! You can sign up on the safe subscribe button below!

Second, get your Tivo and DVR ready, because 3 Healthy Chicks are going to be on News 12 NJ!!! Well, actually it will be just Lauren and I as Jill is busy being a do-gooder in Rwanda. For those of you that didn't know, Jill is currently volunteering for Gardens of Health in Kigali, Rwanda where she is working with HIV/AIDS clients helping them to make better nutritional choices. So proud of her! But anyway- back to the NEWS!! Tune in on Saturday, December 12th at 9:30am and 1:30pm and Sunday, December 13th at 9:30am and 1:30pm. You'll have 4 opportunities to see us!

We have a multitude of workshops and offerings coming up in the next two months, so please sign up for the Newsletter and find out more!

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for the 3HC Keep it Fresh Newsletter
For Email Newsletters you can trust

Keep it Fresh!!
~Terra


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Friday Friend Shout Out: Onsen For All

This week's Friday Friend Shout out is to Onsen For All in historic Village of Kingston, just outside of Princeton, NJ. Onsen is a Japanese term for hot springs. While there aren't any natural hot springs in New Jersey, Onsen For All offers beautiful outside Japanese-style spa gardens, four large wooden soaking hot tubs and a wood burning suna.

The hot tubs at Onsen for All use bromine salt technology to sanitize the water. No chlorine or other chemicals are needed and the water meets all health department requirements for sanitation. The garden features a private Women's soaking tub, a private Men's soaking tub, a Communal soaking tub, and a private soaking tub for rental by individuals or private groups Onsen for All offers the opportunity to enjoy the life enhancing practice of hot tub soaking at an affordable price in Central New Jersey.

In addition to the soaking tubs, Onsen offers a full spectrum of healing and self-care modalities through their Full Circle Wellness. This concept offers support for individuals from all walks of life who are seeking an affordable, positive, pro-active approach to a healthy and balanced life. Offerings include: massage and body work, spa treatments, yoga and special events and workshops.

Please join us for 2 workshops at Onsen in December and January:

December 10, 2009 6:30pm -8:30pm
Relaxation and Rejuvenation: Creating a Nourishment Menu to Feed Your Soul
: As the holiday season comes into full swing, take some time out to relax and find your own personal soul food. In this workshop you will learn breathwork for relaxation and rejuvenation, create a nourishment menu that will provide perspective, clarity and creativity to nourish your soul and make and take home your own Fizzy Green Bath Bomb. Nourish your body and soul before you embark on 2010! $45 per person. Click here to register.

January 7, 2010 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Vision Board Workshop: A Visual Guide to Manifesting Your Best Life: Please join us for an evening of meditation, inspiration and crafting your own Vision Board. Journey through the Law of Attraction creating a vision board to manifest your best life! In this workshop you will learn the basic tool to implement the Law of Attraction, enjoy a guided meditation visualizing your future and create a vision board reflecting that future to take home with you. This workshop will assist you in getting clear on your intentions to manifest your best life! $35 per person. Click here to register.

Congratulations on your Grand Opening, Onsen! You are swiftly moving to become a true gem in New Jersey!

Keep it Fresh!
3HC

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Eating On the Road

So I've been reading Green Fork: Good Food Feed blog for quite some time. I love it. I almost always read blogs from either my blogger dashboard or my google feed. Very rarely to I venture over to the blog's home page. Today I did. Oh man was that a great twist of fate or what?!!

I found out that Green Fork has this amazing tool....The Eat Well Guide: Travel Map. It's like mapquest for local, sustainable, organic foods. You can even narrow down the results by restaurants, bakers, CSAs, Farm Stands, Butchers, Caterers, etc. I knew they had regular city and state guides, but I had no idea they had travel guides. I will never have to worry about road trips again. Horray!!

So awesome. I just had to share! :)

Keep it Fresh!
~Terra

Monday, November 9, 2009

Grande Soy Chai Latte, please!

Over the past 3 months I have been struggling with kicking the coffee habit. I will admit that I haven't gone cold turkey and I still enjoy a 1/2 cup on cold mornings when a hot shower just isn't enough. While tempering my coffee addiction, I started supplementing with soy chai lattes. I always loved the taste of chai, but since I was a coffee girl I rarely ordered them from my local barista, and never made them at home. Oh how the times have changed....

Here's a super easy chai tea recipe from my virtual friend, Lola... This is a great recipe to make at home because the simmering pan fills your home with the delightful smell of spicy chai!

Lola's Awesome Chai Tea
-----------------------------
1.5 cups of water
1.5 inch cinnamon stick
10 cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
6 oz milk of choice (vanilla soy or almond milk works well if you are avoiding dairy!)
2 tea bags of unflavoured black tea (Darjeeling is a good choice)
Sugar/Honey/Agave -Sweetner-of-choice to taste

Put water in a pan and add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and cloves. Bring water and spices to a simmer and then cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add soy milk and sweetner (omit milk here if you intend to freeze the chai for later or make a latte - see note below) and bring to a simmer once again. Add tea bags, cover pan, turn off the heat and let sit for 2 minutes. Pour into cups and enjoy! If you have a cappuccino maker you can foam the milk instead of adding it to the pan.

This recipe will make 2 servings. You can easily double/triple/whatever these proportions, make the whole thing without the milk and then refrigerate or freeze the tea and spice mixture for easy chai-on-demand.

Keep it Fresh!
~ Terra

Keep it Fresh!
3HC

Green and Clean Living.... Part II of Pests Aside

Before finding my passion for health, yoga and wellness I was an attorney. You can close your mouth now, I know it's shocking...but true!! In my previous career life, I studied and practiced environmental and natural resource law and then earned a LL.M. (Masters of Law) in Environmental and Heath Law. I published articles on corporate environmentalism and was even cited by the United Nations Environmental Law Programme's Training Manual on International Environmental Law. You might think that this doesn't really have much to do with health, wellness, yoga or holistic health counseling...but I beg to differ. It's actually beautifully interconnected.

Because of my traditional career background, I have turned bit of a green-toxics junkie and greening your life is a significant aspect of how I counsel my clients. I am obsessed with greening my home, removing toxins from my living space and generally reducing toxic exposure as much as possible for my health. I am actually so obsessed with this that my go-to gift for all of my newly wed friends is Shaklee's Get Clean Starter Kit. Let's just say that the jury is out on how well this present is received. I personally think that it's one of the most heart-felt gifts someone can give. Some friends get that but unfortunately, some don't.

Every day I receive news updates on Environmental Health News published by Environmental Health Sciences. I will be honest, each day I struggle over whether or not I should repost what's in the environmental news in the 3 Healthy Chicks blog or my own Vibrant Health, Green Living blog. Most often I don't because I worry that news stories will be come pervasive in the blog, and we're/I'm not a news service, we're here to simply offer advice on healthy living. Then I wonder if people are even interested, certainly not everyone in this world is such an environmental health geek!

Today I am caving as variations of the same news article from different sources has made its way to my in-box over the past few days. If that many organizations (Environmental Health Science, Environmental Working Group, Dr. Mercola and the Health Ranger!) are talking about a topic, it's meant for me to inform my clients, readers and friends. To quell my environmental health geek worries, I will label this blog post as Part II of Jill's Pests Aside article that ran on September 6th.

On November 6th, Environmental Health Sciences reported that "good house-keeping is more even more at controlling pests than hiring an exterminator to spray powerful, toxic pesticides." Research conducted by Columbia University found that an integrated approach to pest management (IPM) eliminated more cockroaches and mice than repeated applications of toxic, chemical pesticides! IPM is simple: make the home an unattractive place for insects and other pests by fixing leaky pipes, filling cracks in walls and gaps under baseboards and thoroughly cleaning kitchens and bathroom.

Now the virgos and OCDs of the world will promptly respond to this by saying "duh!" but the solution isn't always so obvious to the masses. So, to ensure you don't have unwanted pests as well as eliminate household chemical toxins stick to the following rules:

1. Keep it Clean: Dirty, sticky counters are breeding grounds for pests, germs and infections. Make sure you keep your counter space clean and free of food and drink remains. This means wiping it down after each use. To some, this may tedious and time consuming but it takes little effort and working it into your cooking routine will become second nature.

2. Keep it Fresh. Eating fresh produce is a must for healthy living. But you keep your produce in a bowl on the counter or kitchen table, make sure you eat it in a timely manner! Allowing produce to go past ripeness will draw fruit flies. If you accidentally let produce spoil, make sure to toss it out immediately and then clean its container thoroughly before adding more produce!

3. Keep it Non-Toxic: Regular exposure to the toxic chemicals in most household cleaners can lead to "Multiple Chemical Sensitivities" or MCS. Cumulative exposure to these toxins can eventually overwhelm the body's ability to eliminate them causing low-level chemical build up. This is applicable to both humans and our pet friends. Chemical build up in the body can cause fatigue, weakness, poor memory, migraines, insomnia and anxiety. Reduce the risk of chemical build up in the body by choosing all natural, non-toxic household cleaners such. Many companies now offer green alternatives to cleaners. My favorite green cleaners are Shaklee and Mrs. Meyers.

4. Keep it Natural: An alternative to buying non-toxic, organic cleaners is to clean with natural products such as, lemon juice, baking powder and vinegar. Lemon will dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits and will shine brass and copper. Baking soda can be used just like a commercial abrasive and deodorizer. Vinegar is an all purpose disinfectant and deodorizer, it must be diluted to be used on grout and never use it on marble. Don't worry about any lingering scents, the smell disappears when it dries!!

Many chemical companies and sellers of commercial products will insist that toxic chemicals are not harmful in the quantities used. This is WRONG. Toxic chemicals are labeled as such because of their inherent harm and toxicity.

Keep it Fresh (and Green!)
~ Terra

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall Foods: Root Vegetables


The fall season is officially upon us. This time of year is marked by crisp, cool days, preparation and celebration, and an abundance of warming, harvest foods. As the temperature drops, our bodies require more concentrated, energy-rich foods like root vegetables, squashes, seeds and nuts. The fall is a great time to experiment with cooking and baking in your kitchen. While we have access to a variety of fresh produce in the spring and summer seasons, we have to plan accordingly for fall and winter. Look around. Appreciate your surroundings. Let the season's rich color palette inspire you and try adding some fall flavors, spices and seasonings into your next meal.

Eating locally grown food in accordance with the seasons helps to keep our bodies in balance and provides a deep connection to Mother Earth.

About Root Vegetables
The roots of any plant are its anchor and foundation; they are the essential parts that support and nourish the plant. Root vegetables lend these properties to us when we eat them, making us feel physically and mentally grounded and rooted, increasing our stability, stamina and endurance. Roots are a rich source of nutritious complex carbohydrates, providing a steady source of necessary sugars to the body. Instead of upsetting blood sugar levels like refined sweet foods, they regulate them. Since they absorb, assimilate and supply plants with vital nutrients, roots likewise increase absorption and assimilation in our digestive tracts.

Long roots, like burdock, carrots, parsnips and daikon radish, are excellent blood purifiers and can help improve circulation in the body and increase mental clarity. Round roots, like turnips, radishes, beets and rutabagas, are nourishing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas and reproductive organs and can help regulate blood sugar and moods, and alleviate cravings.

Sweet Potato Wedges Recipe
Speaking of root vegetables, this is one of my favorite recipes and you will see after you make, they are SO easy! Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamins A & C, iron, carotenoid antioxidants and contain calcium. Among root vegetables, sweet potatoes offer the lowest glycemic index rating, because the sweet potato digests slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar so you feel satisfied longer. It's time to move sweet potatoes to the GOOD carbohydrate list!

Ingredients:
4 small sweet potatoes
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly oil a half sheet pan. Peel and cut potatoes into 8 wedges. Combine the oil, cumin, allspice, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Add the potatoes and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on the pan. Place pan on the lower third rack and roast for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are well browned and crisp, turning once. Serve hot and enjoy!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Friend Shout Out: The Yoga and Healing Center

Today's Friday Friend Shout Out is the Yoga and Healing Center in Scotch Plains, NJ. The Yoga and Healing Center was recently voted the BEST Yoga Studio in New Jersey by New Jersey Life Magazine. YHC offers a yoga sanctuary where you can create a life and body you are thrilled to wake up in. They work with all walks of people who want to have more energy, lose weight and feel over all amazing in their bodies through yoga, nutrition and lifestyle design.
The studio was chosen by its loyal followers in Union County, NJ. The Studio was founded by Wendy Gross-Pinto, former head yoga therapist for Deepak Chopra's Center for Mind-Body Medicine in San Diego, CA.

Wendy has a unique and inspirational teaching style and is the creatrix of Soul Sweat Yoga. Soul Sweat Asana is an amazing blend of vinyasa flow and dance. It's designed for all bodies at all levels to maximally challenge where ever the yogi student is while maintaining a sense of ease, joy, fun and freedom in the body. The goal of Soul Sweat Yoga is to help students to learn to love living in their body.
The YHC offers a 2o0 hour Yoga Alliance accredited Teacher Training class in Soul Sweat Asana. It's an amazing course and I am so very honored to be a part of this years class as the Teacher Training Coordinator. One of the things I LOVE about Soul Sweat classes is the music. Wendy's play lists are filled with heart pumping, happy tunes guaranteed to get your body moving and put a smile on your face!!

YHC is one of the most generous studios around. A portion of all proceeds at YHC goes to support charitable organizations. Additionally, as a thank you to the many Yogis and Yoginis that helped to vote YHC as the best studio in NJ, Wendy is offering a donation based Soul Sweat Class on Saturday mornings. Join 3 Healthy Chicks (or at least 1!) every Saturday for this amazing class offering!!

Yoga and Healing Center, you are doing amazing things! Making waves and setting the bar high for yoga studios in New Jersey. Thank you! You are fabulous!!!

Keep it Fresh!
~ Terra

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Relationships

Relationships. Something us health counselors like to call "primary food". An aspect of our lives that nourishes us, even more so than ingesting plants and animals. We have romantic, platonic, sexual and professional relationships. Close, intimate and casual relationships, and of course and maybe most importantly, even relationships with ourselves. They are the things that feed our soul. When we are loved and cared for we feel happy and safe. But naturally, relationships can also make us feel vulnerable and insecure, making it difficult to decipher between the healthy ones and the ones that throw us off balance.

How do we decipher between them? How do we decide where the line is drawn? How do we know when a relationship is right or when to accept that it is not working? Is loving somebody enough to make it work?

I have struggled with this for some time. And, admittedly, I still don't know the answer. I am struggling now with these very questions. What if two people love each other but have irreconcilable differences? Do they make it work despite those differences, or do they sever ties and move on? On one hand, the love I feel for this person and feel in return is feeding my desires and nourishing me on so many levels. But on the other hand, knowing that their love for me comes with a price that I am not ready to deal with, tears me apart. Which hand wins out in the end? If I maintain this relationship, will the struggles make it unhealthy and therefore me unhealthy? Or will losing someone I care so deeply about be harder on the soul?

For me, I think the difficulty lies with understanding why I can not accept the love that is being given to me as it is. My own insecurities force me to believe that it is not enough. My fears and doubts force me to think that if its not the way I want it, then it can't be real. Am I creating boundaries for myself that are just fencing me in, and making it difficult for others to enter?

How do I reconcile these thoughts and this relationship so that I can be a happy, healthy person from the inside out? I still don't know, but I do know that it has to start with me. I know that I can not let someone else love me, no matter how little or how much, no matter what the price, if I don't love myself. Doubt can be a powerful thing, and when we doubt another person, we are most likely doubting ourselves. The only way we can nourish relationships with others, is if we nourish the one we have with ourselves first.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Friend Shout Out - Sarah

This week's Friday Friend Shout Out is dedicated to Sarah Forney. Even though she is my sister, she is still is one of my best friends! And besides, she is friends with Terra and Jill anyway!

Everyone who knows Sarah is familiar with her hilarious sense of humor. When you are hanging out with her, you can be sure that you are going to have a great time!

Sarah has been such an inspiration to me this past year. She has taken on a successful new job working as a freelance director for News 12 NJ (the TV station!) and has enrolled back at school to study history and medieval studies at Rutgers University. She has been completely devoted to work and school. Going to and from classes, the library, study groups, then off to work all weekend long. When she's lucky and can come across some down time, she plays some of her instruments and work on her music.

During this busy time of her life, she's realized how important her health is. She began seeing a holistic health counselor early this Fall, and has been incorporating wonderful lifestyle changes into her daily life. She has been cooking in the kitchen, experimenting with new, fresh foods all while taking notice of how these foods are effecting her body. Sarah has incorporated more whole grains and greens into her diet because she now understands the benefits of these healthy foods. Her health counselor is helping her learn how to balance all the areas of her life (diet, career, lifestyle, etc.) in order to be healthy. Sarah has been positively responsive to all of it!

I admire her studious personality with her schoolwork. She's completely enveloped in her studies because she adores what she is learning. Her excellent grades have shown just how much all of her reading, homework and studying has paid off!

I am very proud of my hard working sister and all of her efforts to improve her health and life goals. Even though we haven't hung out in a while due to her schedule, it makes me happy to know that she is taking good care of herself while she's got so much going on. I am looking forward to her Winter and Spring break so that we can spend some quality time together.

Since Halloween is tomorrow, I included this picture of Sarah when she was a 'whoopie cushion!' Haha!!

Keep up all of your hard work, Sarah!! I love you!