Thursday, October 24, 2013

The GMO Debate

Is GE Genetically Engineered, or Genetically Modified Organism GMO food safe for humans?  Has the US been guinea pigs the last few decades?  Could this be why obesity has risen across the country?   Or do we really believe that so many of us have “just lost all of our willpower”?  Could this be affecting the increase in chronic disease too? Could what we don’t know really be harming us?

I often hear the argument that there are no tests proving GMO’s are bad. Below are two excerpts from news reports that came across my desk this month:

GMO News found on Food Integrity Now:

“Pigs fed a GMO diet exhibited heavier uteri and a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation than pigs fed a comparable non-GMO diet. Given the widespread use of GMO feed for livestock as well as humans this is a cause for concern…   The results indicate that it would be prudent for GM crops that are destined for human food and animal feed, including stacked GM crops, to undergo long-term animal feeding studies preferably before commercial planting, particularly for toxicological and reproductive effects. Humans have a similar gastrointestinal tract to pigs, and these GM crops are widely consumed by people, particularly in the USA, so it would be be prudent to determine if the findings of this study are applicable to humans.” 

The second study was Published on ScienceNordic (

“Since genetically modified (GM) food started to appear in shops in the early nineties, large quantities have been sold for human consumption – without any harmful effects, as far as we know. But is there a risk of along-term impact? An international research project is exploring the effects of GM food, studying the impact on rats, mice, pig and salmon. The wide-ranging study includes researchers from Hungary, Austria, Ireland, Turkey, Australia and Norway.

Rats fattening up
As part of the project, a group of rats were fed corn which had been genetically modified for pest resistance. Over a period of 90 days they became slightly fatter than the control group of rats fed non-GM corn. The same effect occurred where rats were fed fish which, in turn, had eaten GM corn.

“But the ones who had fed on GM corn were slightly larger, they ate slightly more, their intestines had a different microstructure, they were less able to digest proteins, and there were some changes to their immune system. Blood samples also showed some change in the blood.” These subtle changes were observed in a wide range of organs, including the digestive organs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, adrenal glands and reproductive organs.”

GM genes transferring into tissue
However, one important pro-GM argument has been disproved by the research.
“A frequent claim has been that new genes introduced in GM food are harmless since all genes are broken up in the intestines. But our findings show that genes can be transferred through the intestinal wall into the blood; they have been found in blood, muscle tissue and liver in sufficiently large segments to be identified,” Krogdahl explains.  “The biological impact of this gene transfer is unknown.”

When I hear that there is no clinical data proving that GMO foods are bad, my first reaction is this.  Why has the United States taken the stance “innocent until proven guilty” with our food, health and wellbeing?

Please see the chart below of companies that are fighting for and against labeling of GMO that is up for vote in Washington State.  We can vote too, everyday with our pocketbooks.  Please support labeling initiatives. We have a right to know.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Importance of Work, Play, and Passion

One thing I’ve learned in my coaching and life experience is the importance of work, play and passion, and in order to lead a full and satisfying life, we need all three. We need work so that we can sustain ourselves, pay for healthy food and afford time for rest and relaxation. Play is so essential to mental health and wellbeing as well as to productivity. This is a focus in my cultivating joy group as well as in my yoga dance classes. Passion is an essential component in cultivating more energy. When we are passionate about our work, when we are in our groove, we can work long hours and feel like we are hardly working.

Today is a good day to reassess how we are doing in each of these categories. Does your work provide adequate income? Do you have scheduled time for self, renewal and play? Do you have vacation time planned and scheduled and budgeted for? Are you fueling a passion?

If we are lucky we have found something that delivers all three that best utilizes our God-Given talents. Finding the right balance between what our ego and our subconscious needs is important. If we have health challenges related to our parasympathetic nervous system (such as insomnia, heart disease or GI issues like irritable bowel) then we may be suffering from an incongruence that health coaching may help uncover.

According to my Strength Finders test - one of the tools that I use in my practice - I am a natural networker, with a love for learning and who is also high achieving, competitive and strategic. This is why I excel in sales and business development. I love people and business and I am energized by the hunt for new business opportunities and the close of a sale. This has paid my bills, put my children through private schools and college and afforded my husband and I to buy our home in Great Falls, VA

What I realized in my sales career is that this drive and ambition also fueled my high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high stress.  During this time, Yoga, nutrition, meditation and coaching have become my anchors and also my passion. Yoga dance is my playtime. For years I relied on cds and tapes to practice my yoga in my bedroom or hotel rooms before and after hours. Because of this experience, I hope to produce a quality yoga dance  video so that I can share this experience with my fellow workaholics who need to find their own reprieve; a physical and emotional sanctuary. This practice allows us time to get out of our head and into our bodies.

Do you, like me, often suffer from sore neck, back, shoulder, wrists and arm from too much typing and sitting?  Where does your stress show up in your body?

Today, lets be grateful for our work and also take time for our play and passions. Where do you feel most creative? This is often where our passions lie. 

I love so many things and often struggle with finding the balance and focus required to accomplish my goals while not burning out. Work for me offers focus, discipline and structure as well as a livelihood. Play is my time with family, friends and yoga dance. My passion is inspiring wellness and I can do that through just being the best version of myself as possible, which means using my innate talents and skills to serve others.

What are your passions and what is your mission in life? Do you know your passions and do you have a plan for work and play balance?  Does your work support your passions or does it provide financial freedom to allow you to follow your passions? Do you allow yourself permission and time for exploration and self-discovery? Contact me if you would like support and guidance to do so.

I have struggled to find this balance in work, play and the pursuit of my many passions, which is not uncommon if you are a natural caregiver.  Personally, I am working on multiple revenue streams so that I can continue to inspire wellness in multiple ways, by promoting green solutions, sharing my online nutritional resources through my soon-to-be-new website, speaking engagements, weekend classes, retreats and workshops as well as a limited exclusive coaching practice. 

How do you balance between your work, play and passions?

Carpe Diem,

Friday, June 14, 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Just One Thing

I wrote this blog post last week in the middle of finalizing my daughter's wedding. Ironically (but not surprising), I ran out of time to post it (or was too busy multitasking!), but think the message is an important one for us all to remember: Just One Thing.

I have this persistent myth that I need to be multitasking. That in order to get things done, I can't waste anytime. I can't cook without simultaneously recording a blog. Without making phone calls for the deliveries that are expected today. Here I am, three days before Margo's wedding, trying to clean out the pantry, make Kombucha, make breakfast for the guests that are here, coordinate making sure we have peonies for the bridal flowers in stock at the wholesale dealer that we're going to tomorrow, the list goes on and on.

I have clients calling me, friends asking me to do favors, and trying to do it all at once. Oh, and while cleaning out my refrigerator at the same time - because I have house guests coming - I spilled olive oil all over one of my upholstered chairs in the kitchen. Then my daughter comes down and wonders what smells like it's burning, which is of course the breakfast I'm trying to make. She ends up telling me that I need to learn to do one thing at a time. Which is exactly what the workshop I attended this fall told me as well: One thing at a time.

But how often do we start on one thing and we get stuck and then we don't know what to do and we get frustrated and give it up, which is where a coach or even a friend can help you to finish that one little task. Help so you can check it off your list and feel better.

I started hiring all kinds of coaches - a business coach, a finance coach, someone to come help me clean out the garage and the basement. It's not that I can't do it, it's that I won't do it. I hate to do it. It's painful. How do we make things joyful?

Just One Thing.

Every day we have an opportunity for lessons learned. Yesterday I made a commitment to be joyful and today, I find good advice from my daughter: just one thing.

Carpe Diem.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Choosing Joy Today

Someone in my Cultivating Joy class this morning said, “You seem so calm considering you are about to host your daughters wedding here.”  Yes, it is true that this will be the “Biggest Party that I have ever hosted” and it is easy to worry about all the things that are not perfect in my quarter of a century old home.

My dear friend Peggy Hillman gave me great advice after our Yoga Dance Class on Sunday.  She said every great event has three parts, the ANTICIPATION, the PARTICIPATION and The REFLECTION.  We have a choice on how we view and experience each one.  

I could very easily worry about the weather, the impending cicadas, the once beautiful pink roses that the deer have eaten, and all of these things that I have little to no control over.  But today I choose to anticipate this joyful occasion with great excitement and joy instead of fear and worry. 

How often do we let fear and anxiety get in the way of a joyful experience?  My daughters often remind me how high strung I can get when I get into perfectionism and overload before entertaining.   I’m sad to think how many opportunities to enjoy the process and the planning have been wasted.  How the pursuit of perfection creates an unattainable ideal and with it, associated stress and anxiety.

Just Four Days left and my son and daughter came in yesterday!!  I know that Saturday will come and go so fast so I want to acknowledge how grateful I am to have my family home and a few friends to witness the beautiful union of Margo & Thomas as well as our great big newly extended family.  My only wish is that every one of my family friends and neighbors could be here, but please know that you are so in my heart.

Today, I choose joy and excitement.

Carpe Diem.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Today's TGIF

Today’s TGIF (Trusting, Grateful, Inspires & Faith)  An exercise from our “Cultivating Joy” Group and Dr Brene Brown’s book on The Gifts of Imperfection.

I'm Trusting what I am Grateful for, what Inspires me, and how I'm practicing my Faith.

I am trusting that if I pause to acknowledge my fears, (particularly my fear around scarcity) that I can choose to treat myself as I would a good friend and say to myself, “Are these fears really valid?  Is this really the truth?  Is this true 100% of the time?  Is it possible that it could be untrue?  

Today I choose to trust that I am enough and worthy enough to create the life of my dreams.

I am Grateful for the challenges that afford me the opportunity for growth and how these challenges give me opportunities to make different choices everyday.  I am grateful for the acknowledgement that if I choose to take the same action and think the same thoughts that I will create the same outcome and that I can begin to shape a new outcome with my new thoughts and intentions for today.   

Today I choose to think in terms of possibilities instead of limitations.

I am so Inspired by everyone in my classes on Cultivating Joy and the fact that we can share our stories, our challenges and our successes!  You inspire me so much!

I am practicing my Faith by writing this blog and beginning to share my own story with you. 

Too often we go through life letting our primitive brain and fear run our lives.  We can fall into the trap of “What’s wrong with me?” instead of acknowledging all that is “Right with me”.  This has been my default mode causing me so much anxiety and fear , keeping me stuck and totally interfering with my ability to experience joy.  

Today I choose to work on possibilities without fear or an expectation of the outcome.  

What would you do if you could not fail and had nothing to lose?

Will you please share with me your TGIF?

Carpe Diem,


Friday, April 26, 2013


Why I like the AEIOUY: an exercise we are practicing in our Cultivating Joy Group.

A – Abstinent. What is it that I need to let go of? For me, it’s the automatic negative thoughts. The beating myself up for not being perfect!

E- Have I exercised today? Oh my God, I have to exercise! That’s the one thing I have to do for me, and it has to be joyful, fun exercise.   It cannot be another chore, to do list or trigger my “no pain, no gain” mentality.  This is a joyful gift I give to myself.

I- What have I done for myself today? That’s often the hardest thing for all of us, and certainly what we are practicing in our cultivating joy group.

O- What have I done for others. This also can be hard and I’m going to explain why.

We are seeking the balance between caring for ourselves and caring for others.  If we are a “caregiver”, or more likely have been a “caretaker”, this can be unsettling.

Change can be challenging, even positive change, and learning self-care is no different. When we are practicing the new skill of self-care or putting ourselves first, this may be threatening to others and scary for us too.  Relationships are like a seesaw.  When we try and make a change whether it is our eating habits or speaking up about our needs, this may cause the seesaw to shake or become unstable. How do we make changes without threatening our family and friends?  Incrementally, with patience, love and compassion and support of a coach, mentor, or group.

Dieting is a good example of this, of being off center and out of balance.  We recognize the pain our weight gain has caused and so we often starve ourselves on these crazy diets; low fat, low carb, high-protein whatever diets, often depriving ourselves of essential and healthy fats, carbohydrates or proteins.  So we find ourselves on one side of the pendulum for a while until we say, “screw this! I deserve that jelly doughnut!” and BAM we are on the other side of that pendulum again. So we are actually seesawing our weight instead of having a practice, and taking small daily baby steps towards our goal.   Worse, yet is when we beat ourselves up for “falling off the wagon” and enlisting the fear that we simply cannot change.   Instead we need to recognize that the pendulum will sway back and forth but with a practice, smaller swings with less force until it reaches equilibrium.  As my daughter reminds me, “practice not perfection”.  This of course, is where a coach can help as well as daily journaling and daily reminders to practice self- compassion.

So I am going to make small incremental changes so that I’m not swinging the pendulum. So it is not unsustainable for me or for my loved ones that I live, work, and associate with.

U- Am I holding onto Unexpressed emotions today.  Am I being true to myself, authentic or am I in my default “people pleasing” mode? Are the intentions of my actions from fear or insecurity or from a place of love?

Y- Yeah! Practicing gratitude for something good that has happened today. How can we pat ourselves on the back?  This is such a great way to end each day, with a gratitude journal. What was right today? What should I feel good about today? Maybe, I finally got this monkey off my back. It all comes back to baby steps. Really don’t forget to pat yourself on the back!

It takes five positives to undo a negative, and we need to give ourselves five positive affirmations for every time we beat ourselves up over something.  This can be counter-intuitive. We are hard wired to see the negative.  The most primal part of our brain is the amygdala in the back of the brain and it stimulates our sympathetic nervous system or our “fight or flight” reflex and as I explain in my talk on adrenal fatigue, you cannot relax, heal or lose weight when you are in this mode.   So we have to make a conscious choice, to recognize our fears, the negative self talk and CHOOSE to sit with it and ask ourselves is this really true?  Is our internal conversation initiating our self -limiting fears, or is that who we truly are?  Then we need to decide if we are going to allow our thoughts to control us or use our frontal brain, our executive functioning part of brain responsible for choice to control our thoughts, feelings and actions.  This is the part of the brain that is stimulated in meditation and in deep breathing exercises and what activates our parasympathetic nervous system, the heal and repair section of our brain.  

So the practice of positive affirmations, and the practice of gratitude is an essential antidote to stress and to creating a life of joy.  To say that most of us do not practice this is an understatement, but it is a practice we can cultivate.  So the task for this week is to continue to journal, every night at a minimum, think about what we are grateful for, relax, smile and begin to create your dream life.

What is it that inspires you and keeps you going when you are flooded with negative thoughts, anxiety or depression?   Do you seek support or do you isolate?  Does this help or hinder you? What kind of practice works best for you?  Will you share with us?

Thank you for joining me in this journey. Thank you for being here to practice this, and to help spread more joy and gratitude.

Carpe Diem!