About two years ago I started the process of cleaning up what I was putting on my body, not just in it. Your skin is your largest organ; everything that goes on it ends up in you; so anything that was going on my skin was subjected to intense scrutiny. Sixteen months ago I finally ditched my face wash, and started using the Oil Cleanse Method.
Imagine yourself standing on the top of a mountain. The sun is shining. Your hair is blowing in the wind. Your skin is warm and bronzed. You feel fit and lean, strong and powerful. You feel as healthy and alive as you’ve ever felt!
Anyone who’s completed a “successful” detox knows that’s exactly how it is to be standing at the supposed destination you’ve set for yourself. You relish a new-found radiance and are buzzing with pride from the compliments about your healthy glow and flat tummy.
It’s inevitable. You stand there at the top of this metaphorical mountain, with so much accomplishment behind you, feeling vibrant and energized, and you say to yourself, “I’m going to eat this way for the rest of my life.” And from the depths of your soul, you mean it.
And then … life happens.
Recently, my husband Andy and I were jolted out of deep sleep at 5 am by a huge CRASH. We jumped out of bed to investigate (with me grabbing slippers and a flashlight). I assumed a bear had climbed onto the front porch table to get at the bird suet (not the first time).
As the only humans living on a two-thousand-acre estate, we are surrounded by wildlife and are accustomed to myriad nature sounds. Many nights we listen to the primal howls of coyotes, which I love. (Sometimes I even howl along with them!) We know our seasonal birds by their calls and occasionally hear an owl in the night whoo-whoo-whooing.
As an auditory person and lifelong environmentalist, this is heaven for me. It was just a short time ago I needed a sound machine (of nature!) to help me sleep in New York City, with all of its jarring, man-made sounds. (I swear the garbage trucks have amplifier speakers.)
It’s no wonder the number-one complaint of city dwellers is noise. Chronic, debilitating noise is more than just an annoyance — it plays a huge factor in our quality of life. Studies confirm that noise and stress are closely related to our health, and I am always surprised that more people don’t plug their ears (like I do) when a subway car rambles by.
What we hear transforms our brains and our lives. That’s why it’s critical to take control over your ‘personal soundscape.’ Customize your home environment as you would a beautiful soundtrack to create a haven of soothing sounds (and sights and smells). Here are a few tips to do that:
The holiday season is upon us, with many of our thoughts turning to food. The popular adage “you are what you eat” is literally true, according to new research that claims a person’s diet has a profound influence on their brain function and overall health.
Just as our eating style reflects and affects who we are, I believe how and where we live reflect ‘us’ even more. Our homes are intimate expressions of ourselves. Similar to the correlation between poor diet and disease, living in a toxic environment — in any sense, physical or emotional — also impacts our health in a negative way. Luckily, the opposite is also true. By creating an environment that supports our well-being, health and happiness, our bodies and minds will respond in positive ways.
The holiday season inundates us with recipes galore (as well as stress and temptations to overindulge). To balance that, choose an ingredient (or two, or three!) from my “healthy-self’ holiday recipe below, and treat yourself to a generous helping of grounding — whatever that means to you.
It’s one of those things in life that just isn’t fair. You slave all day in the kitchen, but spend just an hour or so enjoying it. Then just when the tryptophan or tofu buzz is kicking in and you really just want to chill out, it’s time to head back into the kitchen to wash the dishes.
I’m sure you can feel it — the change that’s in the air all around us.
It’s been a spectacular autumn so far, and I’ve been spending as much time as possible going on long hikes. Perhaps I should feel guilty about the chores I’m neglecting, but I cannot resist the spectacular display beckoning outside my window. The smell of cool, crisp air and sound of rustling leaves instantly put me in a good mood.
I have always felt the healing energy of nature, and lately I have connected even more deeply with the cycles of each beautiful and fleeting season. I used to dread the end of summer, but with age (and lots of yoga), I am now grateful to live in a place that has four distinct seasons. I embrace change — after all, it is inevitable.
Being in balance with our outer world brings more harmony to our inner world, both psychically and physically. As the colder weather sets in, we transform our habits as well as wardrobes and, hopefully, our home environment.
Here are a few easy ways to welcome the fall season in your home:
What should I buy organic if I’m on a limited budget?
As a kitchen coach, I probably get asked that question more than any others. If I’m in an expansive mood, my answer can quickly veer into eye-glazing territory. I’m pretty passionate about organic food and tend to get long-winded when discussing things like the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15, the reasons why we want to avoid GMOs, the potential health risks of chemical pesticides, and, finally, how to clarify priorities since organic can be expensive.
But if I’m ever pressed to pick one single food to buy organic, the answer is quick and easy: apples.
With only a couple days to go until Earth Day, prepare to get inundated with a billion things we can do — should do — to save our planet. Although there will likely be plenty of events to attend and planet-themed parties to enjoy, one of the best places you can celebrate Earth Day is in your own home!
If our homes are a reflection and expression of our lifestyles and values, then it makes sense that we start making conscious (i.e. green) choices at home. The issues affecting the Earth — from the oil crisis to water shortages to disappearing species — are complex, and can seem distant and insurmountable, but it is essential to understand the correlation between our everyday environments and our larger ecosystem. Everything and everyone is interconnected, and even the simplest act, such as turning the water off when we brush our teeth, creates positive change.
My latest spring bedroom update: A breath of fresh air!
Hurray, we made it! With the vernal equinox today, spring is finally here — and I’m in my element! I adore a big spring clean in every sense of the word … breathing fresh new life into everything from my bedroom to my outlook.
People have recognized the vernal equinox for thousands of years with cultural rituals and traditions surrounding the coming of spring. The early Egyptians oriented the Sphinx so that it points directly toward the rising sun on the day of the vernal equinox. While I can’t top that, I am quite happy to bid farewell to winter; I feel like one of the little buds on the trees aching for the sun! So I usher it in very consciously with my own spring equinox rituals …
Recently I spoke in front of a hall full of pregnant women. What a joy to see all those round bellies, and even more of a pleasure — given that this was a meeting of the Holistic Moms Network — to know how well-intentioned this group is towards their families’ health and the environment.
I gave them all sorts of tips to detox their homes, hoping to ease their minds about how easy it is to accomplish the task. I also gave them my mainstay list for non-toxic cleaning, the five kitchen cupboard ingredients I believe will clean everything in the home, and I’d like to share it with you as well: