Archive of ‘The Daring Diva’ category

What happens when you have to wait? Lessons from Cuba.

I just returned from taking a group to Cuba for a Yoga + Cultural Adventure.  And what an adventure it was!!  In order to share the immensity of what I learned, saw, felt, experienced… I decided to start at the beginning and send you a bit each week.

I hope you enjoy this peek into the magical, musical, mesmerizing island of Cuba!

Lesson #1:  You must wait.

Our group of 15 adventurous yogis and yoginis arrived ensemble on a flight from Cancun to Havana.  We excitedly awaited our bags.  After an hour, when the carousel began to move, our bags didn’t appear.  The folks who had arrived from Madrid gathered their bags and left.  We waited.  Then the folks who arrived from Paris gathered their bags and left.  We waited.  Then the folks who arrived from Berlin gathered their bags and left.  We waited.  Our group leader, a spunky American married to a Cuban, inquired about our bags.  She was told:  “You must wait.”  

This is when the true practice of yoga happens.    It’s the choice to be present to ourselves and not escape with distractions or substances.  Just be present.  Breath and mind.  Body and soul.

It reminds me of this quote from Sue Monk Kidd’s “When the Heart Waits”

“What has happened to our ability to dwell in the unknowing, to live inside a question and coexist with the tensions of uncertainty? Where is our willingness to incubate pain and let it birth something new? What has happened to patient unfolding, to endurance? These things are what form the ground of waiting.”

And so we began our Cuban Yoga Adventure.   Our patient group stretched, meditated, chatted and endured FIVE HOURS waiting for bags and then celebrated with gusto when they arrived.

 

Cuba_Airport

 

On our first morning we had the great pleasure and honor to take a yoga class with the Godfather of Yoga in Cuba, Eduardo Pimentel (I’ll tell you more about him in another installment.)  He opened class by saying “I hear you already began your yoga practice in baggage claim last night.  That is yoga.  Learning to find compassion in every situation.”

 

Cuba_Dance

 

On our last 2 days we headed to the beach.  Enthusiastically, we loaded ourselves into 2 small buses.  In less than a block, one of the buses broke down – a situation that in our former, fast-paced lives would have irritated and frustrated us.  But by this point, our yogic practice of waiting had transformed us.  Irritation and frustration were replaced with laughter and dance.  (It didn’t hurt that the bus driver had been trained in yoga while in the military. He told us dance and yoga are both good for increasing prana and opening chakras!)

There it was.  The fruit of our yoga practice:  an automatic response of laughter and dance in the face of being inconvenienced.

It may seem like a small thing, but think about it.  How much better would your life be if your automatic response to inconveniences was to laugh and dance? (Tweet it)

My wish for all of us is to be able to do just that.

Cuba_Travel

 

 

Here’s to more laughter and dance in your life,

Deb

It takes a lot to get me riled up.

Last night I got all riled up when my friend Dr. Christiane Northrup sent me a message saying:  

Have you seen this?  (she included this link to a PBS Special)  This is exactly why we work with USANA!

Video - Supplements

 

So I clicked on the link and watched.  At first I was furious!  Then I felt not only relieved, but proud of the company we’ve partnered with for over a decade.


Let me explain.

The PBS documentary highlights the fact that the FDA in the U.S. does not regulate the quality or accuracy of nutritional supplements.  (You don’t have to watch the whole episode – but at least watch for a few minutes beginning at 13:00)

This is scary!  Can you imagine giving your child a vitamin every morning thinking you are supporting their health only to find out you’ve been harming them?!

This is why Dr. Northrup and I have been using USANA supplements for ourselves, our families and our clients.  (Dr. Northrup for over 20 years and I for over 10.)  USANA voluntarily follows the more stringent GMP for pharmaceuticals, which regulates virtually every aspect of manufacturing, and recently was named an  FDA-registered facility.

USANA also voluntarily tests its supplements to make sure they meet trusted U.S Pharmocopeia (USP) standards and specifications for potency, uniformity, and disintegration. Furthermore, internationally USANA is regularly inspected and audited by Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to ensure its GMP standards are met.

As you will see in the PBS documentary, overseeing every aspect of production is critical. That’s why USANA believes strongly in the value of manufacturing its supplements in house at its Salt Lake City facility. Doing this allows them to keep a close eye on every step of the production process, from extensive vetting of raw ingredients to conducting tests at various points in the production process to submitting our products for tests by third-party organizations. Plus, they’re able to use the best equipment available from start to finish.

Bottom line:  Unless the producer of your supplements voluntarily adheres to pharmaceutical-grade standards like USANA does, there is no guarantee that what’s on the label is what’s in the bottle.   (TWEET IT) 

 

What to Consider

When you’re looking for a supplements company, it’s important to know how the products are being manufactured. I encourage you to do your own research as well. What you put into your body should be the most rigorously tested supplements you can find. Consider the following:

  • Does the company care enough to spend the money necessary to manufacture products in house?
  • Does the company adhere to pharmaceutical level GMPs?
  • Can the company ensure its customers will see no contamination, that the potency of each pill is guaranteed, and that the ingredients are mixed properly so that each time you take that supplement, you can be positive that what’s on the label is in each pill?

I’ve you’re curious which supplements I take, you can see here.
Whatever you do, please do your homework before taking nutritional supplements!!!

To your great health,

Deb

Diet advice you won’t hear from your mother

A few years ago I spent 7 weeks living and studying Ayurveda and Yoga in the jungles of Bali. Our meals consisted of kitchari and greens.  Occasionally we also ate fruit.  You would think this kind of diet would get tiring and that I would have been plagued by cravings. But the opposite is true.  Not only was I supremely satisfied after eating, but I looked forward to and thoroughly enjoyed each meal.

Deb with kitchari

 

Recently I decided to cook kitchari and greens and create a mini-Bali experience for a week.  But after one day of eating this way I was bored.  Upon finishing a bowl of kitchari, I found myself craving something sweet.  The recipes were the same.  So why was my experience different?

 

 

today's special

That evening I watched “Today’s Special” – a feel-good foodie comedy about a young chef who reconnects with his heritage and passion for life.

At one point in the movie, the young chef is being reintroduced to a real Indian meal in which everyone is eating with fingers instead of forks and knives.  He is visibly bothered by what he considers uncouth manners – at which point his wise teacher says:  Eating with utensils is like making love through an interpreter.


BOOM!  That’s it!!  That’s the missing piece to my kitchari-eating experience.

Suddenly I flashed back to the dinner table in Bali.  We always ate with our fingers! In fact, our teacher told us that the fingers communicate what kind of food is getting ready to enter the mouth – which is a preparatory step in healthy digestion.  I used to experiment by closing my eyes and watching my body’s reaction to the food I would touch.  When I touched the ginger turmeric condiment that was in my kitchari, for example, my mouth would instantly begin to water!

If you’ve read any of the research on mindfulness or pleasure this all makes sense. So there you have it.   The missing link that improves digestion and decreases cravings: ignore what your mother told you and play with your food. (TWEET IT) 

I’d love to hear from you.  Do you ever eat with your fingers?  What sensations does it bring up for you?  Let’s chat about it in the comments below!

PS:  My schedule is now open for 2016 Private Guidance Sessions.  Click here to book yours.

Permission to Pause + My Fave Kale Salad Recipe

Happy New Year!!

Have you chosen a theme word, set your intentions, named your core desired feelings, and plotted everything in your 2016 planner?

If so, fabulous!

If not, don’t fret!

Maybe it’s time for you to take a cue from Mother Nature who is hibernating this time of year in the northern hemisphere.

I don’t know how your 2015 was, but mine was a 4G year:  grief, grit, grace and gratitude.

When you’ve had an intense year like that, it just doesn’t feel right to hop up on January 1st and declare a bunch of resolutions.  In fact, maybe, like me, you feel more like Mary Oliver’s poem, Today:

Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

If you’re feeling more like flying low than rocketing into 2016, I herby give you permission to pause. {Tweet It} 

Once you’ve given yourself permission to rest, reflect, release and re-think things, you may be ready when the Chinese New Year rolls around on February 8th to declare your intentions and fly high with energy, enthusiasm and confidence.  I’ll check back with you then 🙂

 

Kale_Salad

 

As promised!  If you follow me on Instagram or FB I promised I’d send you this recipe for  my favorite Kale Salad.  I took it to a New Year’s Eve potluck and it got rave reviews.   

 

 

 

Deb’s Kale Salad with Orange-Sesame Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of Kale
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ toasted slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger, minced


Preparation:

Combine orange juice, vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce and honey in large bowl.  Whisk until smooth.
Wash and pat dry the kale.  Strip kale leaves from stems and chop into bite-sized pieces. Pour the dressing over it and massage for 3 minutes.
Add nuts, cranberries and ginger to the kale and toss.  Let stand in fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving, longer if possible.

Whether you are rocketing forward or taking a pause, may you feel the wonder and excitement of a new year filled with possibilities.

Love,
Deb

 

2 of My Favorite (Simple Yet Valuable) Gifts to Make and Give

Holiday GiftsI used to love holiday baking.  But as a recovering sugar addict who recently discovered she cannot eat gluten, baking has lost its allure.

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that my son is a swimmer. Years ago I researched ways to help him combat chlorine damage to his hair and skin and found a swim spray that worked wonders.  The problem was that it was expensive – and he was using a bottle every week.   After ordering several bottles I finally took a close look at the ingredients and was shocked to find 2 simple items:  water and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).

So I did a little more research and discovered I could make my own après swim spray for pennies!

If you have swimmers in your life, this is a great gift to make them!

Après Swim Spray:  12 ounces of water + 1 tsp ascorbic acid powder

The chemical structure of Vitamin C neutralizes chlorine, so after swimming, spray both hair and skin with the swim spray, rub in, and rinse in the shower (preferably one without chlorinated water).

The other gift I enjoyed making this year was a sensual salt scrub.  Healthy skin is covered in a very thin, slightly acidic film called the “acid mantle” that is secreted from the skin’s sebaceous glands.  The pH of bacteria, viruses, and other chemicals are primarily alkaline in nature, so the acid mantle acts as both a physical and chemical barrier to bacteria, viruses, and other potential contaminants from penetrating the skin.

Bathing or swimming in chlorinated water dries the skin and strips the acid mantle. By exfoliating with the salt and then rubbing in coconut, almond, sesame, macadamia nut or jojoba oil (my faves), your skin will not only feel super smooth, but also have an extra layer of protection – and smell delicious!

Sensual Salt Scrub:  2 cups sea salt + 1 cup organic almond oil + your favorite essential oils  (I used lavender, orange and jasmine)

The best part about making these gifts is that you can chant and pray as you make them, so the person who uses them will receive all your good intentions for them every time they use the spray or scrub.

These simple, inexpensive gifts are proof that price does not determine the value of a gift. 

And while you’re at it, make a jar of salt scrub for yourself.  It’s sort of like licking the batter when you’re making cookies – except it’s actually good for you

Bright blessings,

Deb

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