A Visual Pep Talk

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Sometimes I need a little extra encouragement when life feels harder, heavier, and lonelier than I’d like it to feel. On those days I am extra grateful for my altar: a collection of meaningful objects, charged with light and positivity, arranged beautifully and creating a sweet space for me.

 

When I sit in front of it, or just glance over at it, it is like I am receiving a visual pep talk. It’s as if my statues, family pictures, hot pink lotus candle, and inspiring quotes are all silently cheering me on.

 

I visit this space first thing in the morning to meditate and get grounded for the day. It feels so good to have a little space available to connect with myself. Even if you aren’t in to the whole meditation thing, a place just for you that you walk by or pause next to that evokes peace and ease will do your soul lots of good.

 

You can make an altar anywhere. There is always room where a few of your treasured objects can live together. Take a look around your home and see if there is a windowsill, a shelf, a dresser, on your desk, or a corner on the floor calling out to be something more.

 

Don’t wait! Go ahead and…

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I cant wait to see all the spaces you find! Instagram a photo using the hashtag #myaltarspace or tell me about it in the comments below.

I will share some ideas of what you can place on your altar soon!

For all that is to come,

Leah

 

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10 Ways to Lighten Up: Body + Mind + Soul

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A mini guide to welcome spring:

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1.  Eat bitter greens: They help your winter body transition into spring.

2.  Spring cleaning: Whether it is a food cleanse or a juice cleanse – cleaning up your diet helps reset patterns.

3.  Read a book in the sun: I’m currently loving The Group right now…Sex in the City a la 1933. (Thank you Valerie!)

4.  Sprout:  Add sprouts to your salads, sandwiches, and smoothies – they are nutritional powerhouses and you can even make your own!

5.  Window box: Plant some fresh herbs and enjoy with meals.

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6. Purify: Put lemons in water and drink up.

7.  Connect: Walk barefoot in the grass.

8.  Journal: Fill it with words, lines, doodles, pictures, photos… the options are endless!

9.  Beautify: Keep fresh flowers in your home.

10.  Snail Mail:  Make someone’s day with a letter.

 

Would love to hear what you do to welcome spring.  Leave a comment below!

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A Present for You: Presence

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“Be present.  Stay in the moment.  Experience the now.”

How many times have you heard this message?  It is shared frequently, and as easy as it is to understand, it can be quite difficult to practice.

With this new move to Germany, I have been spending a lot of time looking both backwards and forwards, sometimes at the same time (my brain is so talented!).  But this way of being causes a whole lot of stress and anxiety.  I have to remind myself to slow down and tune into what is happening right now, since it is the only moment I have.

Ex: “Oh look how beautiful that magnolia tree is,” rather than, “Am I going to make any friends?  How will I meet people in this new city?”

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Here is what I have found to help me stay present: First, I catch myself when my mind is rattling in all different directions.  Then, pause and breathe and celebrate that I caught my mile-a-minute mind, even if only for a moment, since it is a very challenging feat.  Then: practice, practice, practice, because it is a continuous evolution.

The payoff is huge because when you are in the moment you can experience a whole lot of JOY and EASE.

I’m super excited to offer some guidance to nurture this practice, and since a brief moment of conscious breathing can have an incredible impact on your day I’ve made a mini meditation for you!

Click here for the soundbite, and let the presence you create infuse and inform your day.

*  *  *  *  *

Looking forward to sharing more mindful moments together, and I hope you enjoy this first soundbite.

Love and inhales & exhales,

Leah

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Clear out the Cupboards

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We are moving to Germany for 6 months (!), and this relocation has prompted an early cupboard spring cleaning.  I rarely clean out the cupboards, and to my delightful surprise, I had so many healthy gems hiding in the backs of the shelves that I completely forgot about.  Luckily, I was able to rescue some before their expiration date.

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Here is what I rediscovered:

  •  Yerba Mate Tea: Great alternative if you want caffeine without the coffee.
  •  Amaranth, Teff, Buckwheat, Barley: Grains were a staple in ancient civilizations’ diets for a good reason.  They are easy to prepare and highly nutritious, complete with protein and fiber.
  • Quinoa Flakes:  Can be used in baked goods to add a nutty flavor and a bit of protein.
  • Hazelnut Butter: My, oh my – this stuff is so divine, I can’t believe I forgot it was in the cabinet.  Use like you would any other nut butter, or add a bit of cacao powder to make homemade Nutella.

So as spring emerges and you tackle your closets, give your cabinets a sweep, and let me know what you find.  You may find it oddly satisfying as you are motivated to get creative with your discoveries.

We are all way more likely to eat healthy if we have healthy options available and on hand.  Just make sure that they can be seen when you open your cabinet doors!  I packed the essentials: my cacao powder, cacao nibs, and Vitamix will get prime real estate in their new cabinets.

Even though our little family is trading in Brooklyn for Frankfurt for these next 6 months, business will be as usual.  I even have some fresh new programs ready for you, so take a look!  Don’t hesitate to reach out if you feel like your health and wellness could use an upgrade.  I’m here for you – that’s what I do.

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Does Sugar Have a Hold on You?

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One Valentine’s Day long ago, I ate an entire box of Hershey’s Kisses in one afternoon – and there must have been 50 of those little guys in the heart-shaped box. It was disgraceful.  As I stared at the pile of crumpled tinfoil wrappers, I vowed to never eat chocolate again.  Then, later that night, I continued to shove more Valentine’s chocolates into my mouth.  Those sugary kisses were so addictive that I became a slave to their sweetness, and once I started, I couldn’t stop.

marriage of milk & dark chocolate

Sugar, that devilish little white powder that appears in so many places, can have a very tight grip on the consumer.  It has the ability to draw us in and keep us close.

Chances are that your relationship to sugar can vary depending on what’s going on in your life.  There are plenty of reasons that lead us to use sugar as a crutch, rather than as a special treat.  So it is worth taking a closer look to identify what triggers mindless consumption.

When we crave sweets, that craving is often an indicator that something more substantial is missing from our lives. When we use sugar to fill a gap, the space never actually gets filled, and the sugar roller coaster continues.  So listen in to yourself, pay attention, and nurture what it is you are really craving.  See if there is a part of your life that needs some extra love and attention, and give it.

Identify your trigger and then be proactive.

I’ve found these things to be very effective in loosening sugar’s grip:

  • Drink water: Staying hydrated is KEY!
  • Sleep: As hard as it may be, try to get 7-9 hours per night.
  • Natural sweetness:  Crowd out the processed sugar with natural sugar to help curb the cravings right away.  Enjoy fruit or roasted sweet potatoes, add cacao powder to oatmeal or smoothies. etc.   Plus do things that you love – as often as you can.
  • Protein: When your body’s nutritional needs are being met, protein has the power to curb cravings.
  • Be prepared: Stock up on healthy and satisfying sweet treat options.  Here is what I have had on hand lately: oatmeal balls & black bean brownie bites.

I am by no means saying to stop eating anything with sugar (anyone who knows me would know how much of a hypocrite that would make me).  But I will say: Make sure it is the good stuff.  Avoid the processed junk.  No Hershey’s.  Check the ingredients.  If sugar is the first ingredient, then move on, because that white stuff is supremely addictive, and our body just ends up craving more and more to sustain the ups and downs that sugar puts us through.

Invest in good quality.  Your body will thank you.

Hugs & dark chocolate kisses,

Leah

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