Monday, December 19, 2011

Holistic Health Coaching

...tap, tap, tap... this thing on...?

Its been quite a while now since my last post on this blog. As it often has a way of doing, life continues to evolve. For me, that evolution involves creating a business out of a passion. 

The idea behind Cultivating Consciousness- the intention of integrating all aspects of wellness and creating a source for inspiration, information, and consciousness living- has evolved. We are all endless possibilities. We are all capable of being sources of light for those around us. We are all capable of being strong, of reaching our full potential..... a potential that is greater and more brilliant than we ever knew ourselves capable of being. Is now the time for you to reclaim your right to be who you have always wanted to be? 

As any blogger (or reader) knows, it is the readers who make the entire experience worth while. The support, the comments, and the excitement that is shared over an idea or a recipe is what creates the sense of community that we all love. I have met some truly inspiring people through this blog and it is with tremendous honor that I'm sharing with you the next step in my evolution. I look forward to cultivating relationships with readers who are interested in reaching their ultimate health potential. Whether you want to feel better in your skin, increase your energy level, improve relationships, or just overall improve your health, lets work together to identify and reach your goals. Check out my website and schedule a COMPLIMENTARY Health Consultation. This is your life, you deserve to be living the most amazing version possible! 

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” -Karen Lamb

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Banana Bread Pancakes

Growing up, I was involved in lots of after-school activities, dance, sports, etc. Many a meal was eaten in the car on the way to whatever class or practice or game I was going to next. Sure, there was plenty of down-time for foraging new trails in the woods behind our house, racing my sister and the neighbor kids down our dirt road to see who could hit the most puddles, and late night games of kick-the-can. If there was fun and adventure to be had, I was there to have it.

But never at the sacrifice of a good breakfast.

All throughout my school years, my mom woke up extra early to cook us breakfast. Pancakes were always my first request. I think this started when I began revolting against cereal. You see, my family is a waste-not, finish your plate kind of family (translation: many long nights at the dinner table). When my dad established the "finish the milk in your cereal bowl" rule (to which he now denies any responsibility), my strong anti-cereal stance began. (Cereal-flavored milk.. GROSS!) And it continues still to this day. I dont like cereal. Period. (Homemade granola is a different story).

Luckily, my mom makes a serious pancake... full of love, and often full of blueberries or chocolate chips... or both! And occasionally shaped into hearts or Micky Mouse faces. Every morning, during the mad rush to make it to the bus stop (which was a good half mile away, and often resulted in another half-mile walk back home after missing the bus.... hmm, maybe these early morning exercises are where my power hour originated), my mom would have a warm breakfast ready for me. Sometimes breakfast was the only "quality" time of the day, and I never took it for granted.

As an adult, I didn't really see the nutritional value of a pancake and often opted for eggs with veggies instead. Even slathered with peanut butter and maple syrup (my favorite combo for pancake toppings), the glutenous sogginess of pancakes just didn't appeal to me anymore. 

Until today. 

Today I made banana bread pancakes that were so good that I didn't hesitate to eat the leftovers- cold and without any toppings. Imagine banana bread in pancake form. Imagine banana bread in pancake form and packed full of mono-saturated (health-promoting) fats, magnesium, antioxidants, vitamin E, and potassium (1). These pancakes are some of the best pancakes I've ever had (sorry mom), even compared to gluten-pancakes!

Step aside Bisquick, there's a new flour in town. 
Topped with a blueberry almond-butter spread

Banana Bread Pancakes
Grain-Free * Gluten-Free * Dairy-Free

Inspired by Roost

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 overripe bananas (mine were frozen, and thawed slightly)
  • 2 eggs
  • ghee for greasing the pan (or coconut oil, butter, or other oil)
Combine all ingredients in blender; putting the eggs and bananas in first makes for easier blending. Heat oil or butter in a pan. Pour batter into 4-inch rounds, using the back of a spoon to help spread out the batter. I found using a 1/4 measuring cup for scooping out the batter was helpful. Cook and flip until each side is a golden brown (about 2-3 minutes on medium heat). Drizzle with fruit, nut-butter, maple syrup, or your favorite topping! 

Michigan maple syrup is the best!

Pancakes are back!

*I used a Vita-Mix blender, if you are having problems combining the ingredients in your blender, a food processor might work. If you try it that way, let me know how it goes!


What was your favorite breakfast as a kid? Have you found a way to make it healthier?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm back!

Hi conscious cultivators.... anybody still there? 

I can't believe its been two weeks since my last post. While I'm feeling a little bad for neglecting my blog and blog readers, I've very much enjoyed living life in the real world for awhile. 

One of my goals this summer was to spend less time on the computer and more time experiencing life. I've been camping, traveling to visit family, learning to play the guitar, and spending countless hours exploring the shores of Lake Superior. Plus, my husband and I are in the process of opening a new business. Needless to say, real life has been quite the adventure lately!

 I've still been keeping up with my power hour... although a toned-down, modified version that involves more trail runs and mountain bike rides and no actual time at the gym.

Results of a muddy trail-run. Power hour dedication, rain or shine?
Still eating LOTS of salads to keep up with the mass amount of greens that come each week in our CSA...

Leanne's Sunflower Cream Salad

Mollie Katzen's Lentil salad over a bed of greens, topped with hummus and tahini-miso sauce. Gourmet camping food!

 Mixed greens topped with veggies, hard-boiled eggs and TJ's spicy peanut dressing (new love)

And grilling lots of food for dinner (way too hot to cook indoors!)

And LOTS of home-made kombucha, made my the greatest kombucha brewer (and brother-in-law) in the world! This stuff knocks the socks off GT Dave's! 

I just started my own batch! Can hardly wait.

How have you been spending your summer? What do you do to detach from the blogosphere and experience what life is all about?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Link Love

Its Friday again, time for another edition of Link Love. On Fridays I like to share with you a few of the blog posts, articles, or links I came across throughout the week. Mostly, these links are resources for living a healthier, happier, more inspired life. Hope you enjoy! 

A hike on the North Country trail with my dog
1) This article, titled Can Eating Wheat Cause Psychiatric Problems is one of the best articles on health that I've read in a long time. For a long time I've been a proponent of limiting, or eliminating, wheat and other grains... and not just for people with celiac disease or food allergies. Wheat causes a huge cascade of problems in the body. Plus, grains are our primary source for the fatty acid omega-6. While omega-6 is an essential fatty acid, the average American diet is heavy on grains. To be healthy, we need a ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 close to 1:1... the AVERAGE American has a ratio of 1:25 (to put that in perspective, the average person with schizophrenia has an average of 1:75). This ratio is crucial and more and more researchers are finding that it is one of the most important predictors of health.... and is a huge reason why I recommend taking a good quality fish oil (omega-3).

2. If you know me, you know that I'm a huge proponent of digestive enzymes. I love them. As I talk to more and more people about my love for digestive enzymes (and probiotics, and well... all things that support gut health), I realize that I need to share my story on this blog. Its coming, I promise. Needless to say, digestive enzymes are pretty crucial. If you want to know more, this article is a great source of information on the benefits of enzymes.

3. As the aunt of two beautiful nieces, and the pseudo-aunt to many other little girls born to friends that I think of as sisters, I was super happy to stumble across this article on How to Talk to Little Girls. It's a quick read and a reminder to be more mindful in your conversations with little girls. Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice sets them up for grief down the road as our "cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal."

3. I love this quote from GMO expert Jeffrey Smith's in the June 2011 issue of Pathways To Family Wellness Magazine: "I tell parents to remember we all do the best we can, and if we don’t know, we don’t know. But worrying and fear are toxic. We don’t want to deal with two toxins, GMOs and worry. Once we know, we can get armed with a shopping guide and do much better. We do the best we can and move forward."
4. I love this post on the power of positive thinking. Check out this quote... it'll make you want to read more! Such a great post!  
''Most people enter into relationships with an eye toward what they can get out of them, rather than what they can put into them.  The purpose of a relationship is to decide what part of yourself you'd like to see "show up," not what part of another you can capture and hold.  The purpose of a relationship is not to have another who might complete you; but to have another with whom you might share your completeness.   ''     -Neale Donald Walsch

Smile today. Make today a great day!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Illuminating Your Shadow

I came across this post recently over at Crazy, Sexy, Life and knew right away that I wanted to share it with you. The post was written by Erin Selkis, a health blogger and nutritional coach.

I'm a big fan of Debbie Ford who, along with Deepak Chopra and others, does a lot of work with the Shadow and The Shadow Effect. I recently started reading The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self by Debbie Ford, Deepak Chopra, and Marianne Williamson. If you like what you read here, I definitely recommend checking out the book. 

Illuminating Your Shadow

Along the path of spirituality and personal growth, and as you awaken to who you truly are, there may come a point where you hit a wall on your journey. Maybe it’s that even though you have come to a high level of self-love, you just can’t seem to embrace yourself unconditionally. Or, maybe there is a dream or goal that you feel is so true to you, but it’s just not happening. Or, maybe your relationships don’t seem to be working out, and aren’t as deep and loving as you want them to be. Whatever your challenge may be, oftentimes it is the unexamined “shadow” parts of us that are holding us back. Owning our shadows is an incredibly transformative process that allows us to fully love ourselves for all that we are, and to step into the beauty, light and love that is who we are.

Just what is the shadow that I am referring to? First introduced by Carl Jung, and taught by Deepak Chopra and Debbie Ford, among others, the shadow is simply all of the “dark” parts of your ego. It’s all the crap that you don’t like, that you don’t want others to see, and you don’t even want to see in yourself. It’s all the qualities of your personality that you judge as ugly, disgusting, gritty or embarrassing. It’s all of the things that you hide from, judge and think are nasty. Now, the first thing that may be coming to your mind is “If I don’t like these parts of myself, why on earth would I want to own them? If I just pretend they don’t exist, or just don’t acknowledge them, they will go away.” Well, not exactly. Debbie Ford has this great comparison to a beach ball: What happens when you try to push and keep a beach ball under water? It keeps popping up to the surface! You spend a ton of energy trying to keep it from floating up to the surface; but no matter what you do, it will eventually pop on up. It’s the same with your shadow. These repressed qualities and emotions of the personality, often even hidden from you, will rear their heads and show up in self-sabotaging ways. You probably don’t even know it is happening. Luckily, though it is not easy work, there are ways to identify your shadows and then own and eventually come to love them.

Before I share these techniques, I want to explain a few things regarding shadow work. First, we are all both “all of it” and “none of it.”


What I mean by this is that we are all everything in this universe. We are all light and dark, rich and poor, virtuous and evil, extroverted and shy. We are all one, and we all express the same qualities or have the ability to express the same qualities simply because if I am it and you are too. We are not separate. Remember this when embarking on this work to help you not to judge yourself-
you are a human being, and what is in you is also in everyone else. And, at the other end of it, at the heart of it all, we are none of it, because as our true authentic and enlightened selves, we are pure love, compassion and beauty. These qualities and emotions that we see as dark or evil are just parts of our egos, they are not who we are. But, it is important to embrace them and love them to become our authentic selves and clear away the darkness that gets in the way of our light.

Second, the goal of shadow work isn’t to “get rid” of these parts of you; it is to see them, accept them, embrace them, and find the gifts in them so that you can use them to your advantage and not have them popping up at inopportune times. By loving them, you release their hold on you and allow yourself to love yourself more fully.

Identifying Your Shadow Parts

If you pay a little attention, it is very easy to see when a shadow is shouting at you. Most often it shows up in people around you as something that you judge, don’t like or annoys you. Are you often surrounded by people you judge as angry? Or as pushovers? Or as overtly sexual? Anytime you see something in someone else that you don’t particularly like, you have a great opportunity to identify one of your shadows. Another way to notice a shadow is to identify things about yourself that you try to hide from yourself and others. Are you messy but keep a spotless house for when you have company? Do you deep down think you are a bitch, so you act as nice as possible to others in hopes that they don’t see what you see? Other ways to identify shadows are: write out every word that you would be upset if someone called you, notice if a certain emotion seems to take control of you suddenly and uncontrollably and notice if people often tell you that you are a certain way but you don’t see it.
OK, now that you have most likely identified quite a few shadows, how do you work on accepting and integrating them? When you have some time, in a safe and comforting space:

1. Identify a time when you embodied that quality or aspect in your past. What happened? How did you feel when this occurred? What did you believe at the time? (Often this situation occurred in childhood.) If you can’t identify a time when you embodied the quality, think of a situation in which you could.
Allow yourself to experience compassion for yourself and for the situation. Forgive yourself for judging yourself as whatever your quality was. Really feel this and give yourself the love that you deserve. If you need help expressing compassion toward yourself, picture yourself as a young child or picture someone you love very much.

2. Identify what this aspect of yourself is here to teach you and what its gifts are. You can even name this part if you want! For example, one of my shadows is Mean Melissa. She came about in middle school when I thought the only way to be liked was to be super nice and that if I was “mean,” no one would be my friend. She ruled my life for a very long time; whenever the fear of not being liked or accepted popped up, I would do whatever I deemed as “nice” in that moment, no matter if I wanted to do it or not. I was terrified that people would think I was mean. But, because I stuffed her away, Mean Melissa would pop up every so often in ways that were detrimental to me (especially in my relationship with myself). When I asked Mean Melissa what she was here to teach me, I learned that she was teaching me that it is better to be whole and true to myself than nice, that what others think of me doesn’t matter to me, and that I am loveable just the way I am. Her gifts are power, determination, acceptance and passion (which got stuffed away for a long time along with Mean Melissa!).

3. Ask this aspect what it wants from you. Maybe it wants recognition, or love, or for you to slow down, or for you to have more fun in your life, or for you to take better care of yourself. Listen to what this quality wants from you and give it to it! Mean Melissa told me to stand up for myself more and be true to my opinions.

4. When you feel you have completed integrating this quality, acknowledge yourself for the work you just did! You are amazing. Really hear that.
Often you will notice things in your life starting to shift as you accept more and more of your shadows. You won’t need to use precious energy hiding these parts of yourself, and you have freed up the authentic qualities that are truly who you are.

Erinn Selkis has been studying holistic nutrition, psychology and alternative medicine for over three years, and loves helping others live healthy and happy lives. She is a health counselor and compassionately supports her clients to improve all aspects of their lives through nutrition and personal growth.

Photo credit: rustman

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WIAW- Back On Track

Crowd gathering in Marquette, MI to see the fireworks over Lake Superior. Photo courtesy of PhotoYoop.
Hope you all had a great Independence or Canada Day weekend! Ours was spent full of sunshine, beach time, spontaneous BBQs with friends, visiting on front porches, and mountain biking. It turned out to be the best weekend of the summer, so far! 

This long holiday weekend was on the heels of a week long camping trip with my family on Lake Michigan. Needless to say, I've been enjoying my summer break from work. As the celebrations continued, I noticed more and more that my eating habits had changed.... more pizza, more bread, cheese, desserts, and drinks. I'm not an all-or-nothing kind of person and occasionally make allowances for "unhealthy" food choices, but when they all started adding up I realized that I wasn't feeling the energy, vibrancy, and overall sense of well-being that I have when I'm eating the way my body wants me to. Talking to my husband about this the other day, I realized that this feeling- sluggish, upset guts, itchy skin- was NORMAL to me in college. I didn't know then how dramatically different my life could be with a healthy diet. When you're feeling the effects of healthy eating, its easy to forget what it was like before. These last couple weeks have been a wonderful reminder of why I nourish my body with food that makes my cells happy and a cue to get back on track.

So, this week I'm focusing on getting back on track. I even convinced a couple friends to try it for a while too. I've heard this diet called the Paleo diet, or the Innate diet.... but in reality, its not a "diet" at all. Its about eating food that your body was intended to eat, and not eating food that it wasn't intended to eat. Its about lots of veggies, fruit, some sustainably raised meat, some nuts, some seeds. Its not about processed foods, dairy, grains, or refined sugar. Its about feeling amazing, a life of vibrancy, energy, clear skin, and a dramatically improved sense of well-being. Try it for a week or two, see what happens! If you try it, let me know how it goes for you!

That leads me to this week's What I Ate Wednesday, hosted by Jenn at Peas and Crayons.

There was tea, and a beautiful reminder to love myself today...

Breakfast was a veggie and egg scramble: greens from our CSA, broccoli from our CSA, bell peppers, artichokes, and homemade pesto, with a side of cantaloupe.  

We try to eat outside as much as possible in the summer. Everything tastes better in the sunshine!

Lunch was homemade chicken salad (grilled chicken, organic mayo, almond slices, red onion, celery, lots of fresh dill, celery seed, salt, and pepper) on a bed of fresh greens. 

A little later I had a snack: an apple dipped in almond butter with cinnamon and vanilla.

(Do you see my tomato plants back there?! My cilantro bolted, but I think I'm so-far-so-good on the tomatoes. Still keeping my fingers crossed for the rest of the veggies!
We still had quite a lot of veggies left from our CSA and a few of them looked liked they had a short shelf life. I threw everything into a pan and made Thai red curry, served over quinoa. 

 Braising greens, broccoli, bok choy, and hemp seeds in a Thai red curry broth with quinoa.

What are you doing to get back on track after the long weekend?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Link Love...

Happy Friday! I hope you are all getting ready for a beautiful, sunshine filled Independence Day weekend! We FINALLY got a decent summer forecast, so I'm expecting lots of beach time and playing outside!

On Fridays, I like to share with you some blogs/articles/videos I've come across throughout the week. Usually these focus on Cultivating Consciousness, increasing awareness and mindfulness. I hope you'll have a chance to check them out!

1. This is blog post from The Spunky Coconut, its a review of a cookbook written in the 1960's, and based off the teachings of Ellen G. White from the 1800s. Its reassuring, but not surprising, that many of the food philosophies shared by myself and many other holistic health seekers are echoed in the wisdom of previous centuries. I also love Kelly's interpretation... very witty! Plus she has some hilarious and enlightening quotes from the book. Check it out. Has anyone ever heard of this book, or Ellen G. White before?

2. This blog post from Crazy Sexy Life that reviews the pros and cons of coconut oil. Coconut oil... menace or miracle? What do you think? Personally, I love the stuff!

3. You might have already gathered that I'm a huge proponent of chiropractic. Most people associate chiropractic with back and neck pain, but its really SOOO much more than that. Chiropractic is about removing stress from your nervous system, which is the primary control system of the body. There are so many reasons that healthy people go to the chiropractor, especially kids. I love this article from Well Adjusted Babies that talks about 10 reasons parents take healthy kids to the chiropractor. And there are way more than just 10 reasons!! Does your family see a chiropractor?

4. Ever get PMS? My friend Dr. Christie looks at PMS from a holistic perspective in this post. How do you handle PMS?

5. This article called Is Diet Soda Making You Fat? on Yahoo looks at the misconception that diet soda is a healthier option. If you're still drinking soda, this article is for you.

6. And to make you smile..... Playing For Change: Songs Around The World. Stand By Me.