Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stressed Out??? .Part One

 A few years ago, I landed the PERFECT job..... in the city. It was a dream job, a dream location, a dream salary! The office was located right smack in the middle of mid-town.  Macys was a two- minute walk away.  Victoria's Secret was down the block. Sephora around the corner.  Madison Square Garden right across the street.  A great job, incredible shopping, amazing restaurants, concerts, The Knicks, The Rangers, and more than enough money to enjoy it all! Who could ask for anything more? I dove right in- head first.

If you have never been to New York City, you need to come here.  There is no city in the world that can compare.  The smells, the tastes, the sights,  the sounds, the energy. It's exhausting and invigorating at the same time.  It's a rush! A high!  To exist in New York is a different thing all together.  You are always on over-drive.  You are always rushing.  There is no such thing as leisurely stroll down the street.  Everyone is moving quickly and you must move with them to avoid being trampled to death.  All your senses come to life at the same time. This is the city that never sleeps!

Combine all the great things a city like New York has to offer, a very stressful job, and a completely unbalanced life.  You have a recipe for disaster.  I was commuting back and forth from Long Island, working 10+ hours a day at my job, and then after work, taking advantage of the night life.  Sometimes I went home, other times I crashed at a friend's apartment uptown.  I would sleep for 2 hours, get up, shower, and begin my day all over again.

The food here is incredible! Anything your heart desires you can order and have it delivered. I ate breakfast lunch and dinner out every single day. I joined co-workers for drinks after work and noshed on unhealthy appetizers to soak up the alcohol.  Did someone mention a 2AM concert at some dive down the street? Count me in.  I don't have to go home! I can play all night and still put in a full day of work tomorrow!  Everyone else would call it night and I would still be out. Sometimes, all by myself.  You are never really alone in a city like New York.  There is always someone to talk to and always some place else to go. I  would call my friend if it was really too late to go all the way back home and I would crash at her place. I kept a change of clothes, a toothbrush and assorted toiletries there just in case.

Weekends I came home but didn't rest.  I never had time during the week for local friends so Friday nights I would hook up with them straight from the train.  We would dance all night until the sun came up. Saturday was the day to take care of errands, laundry and house work so there was no rest for the weary. Saturday night was the same thing--back out with friends until the the light of day.  Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest but there was always something on the agenda and I just couldn't say no.  Sunday nights I tried to force myself to get to bed around midnight.  That didn't always work, however, especially if I was out and having fun.  Next morning, back to the madness. 

I kept this up for the longest time.  I had the perfect life and the energy of a teenager.  I never stopped.  I had more money than I knew what to do with and gave it away. A round of drinks for everyone! Let's go out to dinner. No money? That's ok...... my treat!! I had the greatest clothes, the latest hairstyle, the trendiest handbags, the best shoes!! What a life! I was like a kid in an amusement park riding the roller coaster over and over and loving every minute of it.

Then one day it hit me.  It was a hot, humid Friday night in August and I was trying to get home.  The trains were running late. I felt ill. My heart was pounding out of my chest, my head ached, and I was out of breath. Oh dear God, please don't let me have a heart attack right here in the middle of Penn Station! I will fall down and people will just step right over me. Just get me home! Get me home! I did make it home that night but I ignored all the signs my poor exhausted body was trying to send me. I had places to go. People to see.  I showered quickly and ran out to meet my friends. I packed everything I possibly could into one weekend just like I always did.  When that Monday morning rolled around,  I couldn't lift my head off the pillow.  Oh, God, I am dying. My head hurt so bad that the pain made me physically ill.  I was throwing my guts up over and over until there was nothing left.  For the first time in years I actually called in sick.  I never took sick days EVER. 

My dad rushed me to the hospital.  My heart was racing, my blood pressure was dangerously high.  Ordinarily my blood pressure was low, so low my doctor would joke that I was dead!  Not today.  They insisted on admitting me.  I refused.  I had to get back to work.  I had a job to do. I signed a waiver to not hold the hospital responsible when I dropped dead and went home.

A nice hot soak in the tub would cure me.  I was just tired. I needed a rest and tomorrow I would get back to the office and I would be just fine.  After my bath I took a good look at myself in the mirror. It was as if I was seeing myself for the first time and it was not a pretty sight.  I looked awful.  Dead man walking.  My face was pale, my eyes sunken into my head.  The circles under my eyes were actually black.  I stepped on the scale. I had gained thirty pounds! How could I not have noticed that? I was always thin.  I had a great figure for my age. Not anymore! What happened to me?

Tomorrow I will share what did happen to me and the steps I took to restore my health and sanity. Stay tuned.

And this is my Daily Cyn........

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Find Your Own Path

To discover who you really are and where you want to be, you must find your own path and walk in it.....You might stumble over things you didn't know were there.  If you fall, get up, brush yourself off and keep walking.  You will see things you never saw before, hear sounds you never heard before, and eventually find a place you never knew existed....a place you didn't realize you wanted to be until you stumbled upon it.  This is a path you must travel alone. Take the journey, anyway.  It is worth the risk..........

And this is my Daily Cyn.........

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Every Little Thing is Magic..........

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. - William James

A song by The Police has been echoing in my head all day. 
"Every little thing she does is magic.  Every little thing just turns me on......"
What a beautiful love song by a man so captivated with his woman that every single thing she does is wonderful.  New love..... there's nothing in the world like it.  Everything we say and do is magical when we are in love......

The lyrics to this song got me thinking about every little thing we do.  Every little thing I do.  Does it really make a difference? To anyone? I came across this quote by William James a little while ago:  "Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does."

I am a Holistic Health and Nutritional Counselor.  I help others to eat right, lose weight, overcome food addictions, and live full, happy, healthy lives.  I don't have as many clients as I would like, but eventually I will.  When you keep putting good things out there, eventually it comes back to you.  This is a spiritual principle that never fails, regardless of your religion or faith.  I act as if every little thing I do makes a difference to somebody somewhere.  It can be an uplifting quote posted on Facebook, a smile at the person sitting next to me on the train, holding the door open for an elderly gentleman, or sending a recipe for healthy mac and cheese to a friend.  I am committed to so many different things right now.  I write for three companies.  Three different companies--three different articles.  I work for a Mortgage Broker 3 days a week.  I see clients in my office at the Wellness Center the other 3 days.  On Sundays I rest.  Actually I  research and work on rough drafts of articles every Sunday but I do it in my pajamas in the comfort of my own home.  I also maintain a Facebook page where I am constantly posting helpful tips, recipes, advice, and the latest and greatest health, healing, and weight-loss news.  I also write a daily blog. Some of the demands, deadlines and responsiblities are from employers; others are self-imposed.  Regardless, I am 100% commited to all these things. 

There are times I do ask myself if all this really makes a difference.  My commitments are demanding, time consuming, and sometimes I am simply not in the mood.  I have my own struggles, my own disappointments, my own battles. Then I receive a beautiful email from a young girl battling with anorexia who tells me how much my posts help her or learn that someone has just tried yoga for the first time after reading an article I wrote. makes a difference...........

It doesn't matter who you are or what you do.  You don't have to be a counselor, a writer, a doctor, or a teacher to touch the lives of others.  The stay-at-home mom performs magic every day.  The customer service rep who soothes an angry consumer, the designated driver, the garbage collector who always puts the pails back in the yard makes a difference to those on the recieving end.  A smile, a touch, a helping hand. Magic.  Live your life as if every little thing you do makes a difference.  It does. It's magic.  

And this is my Daily Cyn.............

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cats Do It, Dogs Do It.............

I am an early riser.  Most mornings, I am wide awake around 4:30AM.  I am  one of those types who doesn't require much sleep.  I have plenty of energy regardless of how late I got to bed the night before. I love the quiet stillness of the morning, sipping my coffee in silence, taking time to organize my day.   I also get a few good yoga stretches in before I pour that first cup of coffee and go through my emails.

I am not the only one in the house who stretches in the morning.  My cat, Sambo, who sleep curled up beside me each night, opens his eyes the moment I do.  As he lies there, he stretches his entire body.  Then he raises himself from his nice warm spot and stretches again.  As he walks to his food dish, he manages to squeeze in one more really good stretch. 

My mom's dog does the same thing every morning.  Paws in front, he extends his body and sticks his little backside up in the air. Doggie Yoga!  It's adorable. As I watched him do this today I had an epiphany of sorts.  Animals instinctively know they need to stretch it out. Get the blood flowing.  Get rid of that of stiff, achy feeling from being in cramped up, curled up positions all night.  Hmmm. How many of us humans actually do this? 

Most of us open our eyes each morning and immediately hit the ground running.  There are showers to take, breakfasts to serve, lunches to pack, trains to catch.  Our minds are still foggy from sleep, our bodies are stiff.  Our bones and joints ache as we stumble to the bathroom hoping a hot shower will do the trick. 

It only takes five minutes to get a few good stretches in.  Stretching clears the mind, gets the body moving, opens our lungs to breathe fresh air, and eliminates the stale air we've been collecting all night. Those aches and pains you feel every day could miraculously disappear just by taking a few moments in the morning to move. 

Here is a link to some great morning yoga stretches.

Try these tomorrow morning.  You can even do them at night after a stressful day at work.  Anytime you want. You can never do too many good stretches and your body, mind and spirit will thank you.......

And this is my Daily Cyn........

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How to Make a Decision about Anything..........

Are you the type who deliberates for days, weeks, months, even years over decisions?  You can call it procrastination, hesitation, fear of the unknown.  Whatever you wish to call it, it's preventing you from accomplishing what you need to do, want to do, affecting your life in a big or small way, and always hanging over you. You inability to make a decision could be holding someone else back from making one of their own. 

I am guilty of this at times.  Years ago I had the most incredible job offer.  It came out of nowhere and it was too good to refuse. Or was it? I was very comfortable in my current office. It was close to home, I got along well with all my co-workers, the salary was good, I had the freedom to come and go as I pleased.  On the flip-side, I had basically reached the top and there was no higher position or income I could strive for.  I scheduled an interview at the other location and was hired on the spot.  All I needed to do was accept the position and report to work.  I loved the job, I loved the office, I was crazy about the location (right in the heart of mid-town), the salary, bonuses, and the health and retirement benefits were more than I could ever dream of.  It was the perfect offer and I was thrilled, honored, and terrified.  It took me an entire month to make a decision! When I finally accepted the offer, I still needed to give my current employer two week's notice.  I am very fortunate the new company wanted me so badly and  was willing to wait.

I am in a similar situation now but it's not a job issue this time.  It's more of a "should I stay or should I go" type of thing.  I have a friend, a close friend.  We have our ups and downs.  Right now, it's mostly downs, as down as it can get sometimes.  It wasn't always like this. It used to be great.  The perfect give and take relationship.  There are certain obstacles and situations making it difficult right now.  I am hoping those situations will change and everything can go back to the way it was.  There are no guarantees that it ever will.  I am afraid it might get even worse! I am waiting for things to improve but in the meantime I am empty, stressed, frustrated, discouraged, and disappointed.  Not all the time--but MOST of the time.

I see a therapist and the subject of my troubled friendship always comes up in our sessions.  I told him yesterday that I am tired of whining and complaining about the same thing over and over.  I am sick of the sound of my own words as they come out of my mouth.  I need to make a decision and I can't waste anymore time. I don't have that much time to waste. I am 48 years old, for God's sake! By some strange miracle, we shifted the conversation to another topic-an even more difficult one but at least I wasn't whining about the other thing! I know what it is I need to do and I am not doing it. I need to make a list.  This is what I have always done when it comes to decision-making in my life.  I write a good old Pros and Cons List!

Do you have a decision you need to make and you keep going back and forth on it?  It can be about anything--from leaving your job, to purchasing a home, staying in a marriage,  buying a new washer and dryer, going out on a blind-date, to ending a friendship.  Write a list.

Take a sheet of paper and draw a line right down the center.  At the top of one column write PROS. Here you will write down everything that is good or will be good. The other column will be your list of CONS--things that are bad, will be bad or could be bad.  Take some time to think and keep adding to your list until you're finished. Don't ask for any help with this list.  These things must come from your heart and you don't want anyone else to influence you.  It has to be your decision or you will never be happy with it.  Add up each column. Then make your decision based on the amount pros or cons on your list. 

I find this to be a very effective way to get a clear and honest picture of things in my life.  I hope it helps you, as well. And now.....I have a list to make............

And this is my Daily Cyn..........

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kale--the Perfect Leafy Green...........

Kale is my favorite vegetable! It's a gorgeous, leafy green and chock full of vitamins and minerals. In fact, it is so good looking that many restaurants and buffets use kale for decorative purposes. A few years ago I went on a cruise and big serving bowls of food rested on beds of kale! I asked the chef to reserve a portion every evening and lightly steam it for me at dinner. He reluctantly did as I asked but couldn't believe I wanted to eat a "decoration"! Why wouldn't I? Kale is delicious and one of the healthiest foods around. It's full of vitamins A, C and K, and it is a great source of manganese, calcium and iron. It has no cholesterol and offers a nice serving of fiber and protein.

If you have never tried kale, here are two of my favorite recipes to try. The kale in these recipes is roasted....a great way to bring out the flavor in this tasty veggie. Enjoy!!

Roasted Kale with Sea Salt

•4 cups firmly-packed kale

•1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

•1 tsp. good-quality sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wash and trim the kale: Peel off the tough stems by folding the kale leaves in half like a book and stripping the stems off. Toss with extra virgin olive oil. Roast for five minutes. Turn kale over. Roast another 7 to 10 minutes until kale turns brown and becomes paper thin and brittle. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 186 calories, 14 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 13 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein, 412% vitamin A, 268% vitamin C, 18% calcium, 13% iron

Beet-Kale Salad Recipe (serves 4 as a main dish, or 6 as a side)

•6 large beets, chopped into bite-size pieces

•6 kale leaves, roughly chopped

•I garlic bulb

•1/2 cup olive oil

•1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

•feta cheese

•1/2 cup walnuts

•course salt


Assemble The Salad

•Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

•Toss beets with olive oil, pepper and coarse salt in a baking dish

•Cut tips off garlic bulb and lay it flat in the midst of the beets

•Cook for 45 minutes

•Add walnuts and kale

•Cook for another five minutes

•Let cook for 10 minutes

•Move salad to a bowl and toss with vinegar and crumbled feta

•Enjoy at room temperature, or cold

Mix it Up

Every recipe is made to be messed with. Try replacing the kale with different green vegetable, like green beans, broccoli or spinach. Replace the walnuts with pecans or pine nuts. Use goat's cheese instead of feta, or try lemon juice instead of vinegar. Cooking the nuts with the vegetable does a fairly good job of toasting them, but If you want them even tastier, try toasting them in a frying pan or in the oven, alone, before adding them to the salad.

And this is my Daily Cyn......

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I am Afraid:

You say that you love rain,

but you open your umbrella when it rains...

You say that you love the sun,

but you find a shadow spot when the sun shines...

You say that you love the wind,

But you close your windows when wind blows...

This is why I am afraid;

You say that you love me too...

- William Shakespeare

Actions always speak louder than words............
My dad always said, "Watch and learn."
You can tell an awful lot about a person by merely observing their actions. 
Words can be beautiful.  When we hear the words " I love you" from another person-- life is wonderful.  But words are just words without action.  If they hurt you, mistreat you and do not have your best interests at heart, they do not love you.  Watch and learn...........

And this is my Daily Cyn............

Saturday, September 18, 2010


When someone you care about has their hopes and dreams shattered, what do you do? You might even think they are to blame for their problems.  Perhaps they self-sabotaged something great that came their way.  They failed to plan or prepare and told you they had it all under control.   They refused to listen to your advice and your suggestions and now, even though you hoped and wished for the best despite everything, they failed again. 

It's so easy to say, " I told you so."  You know they should have listened to you.  They know they should have listened to you.  There is no need to remind them of this--EVER.  They fact that they already KNOW you were right makes it worse. 

So what do you do? They are now hopeless, distraught, they want to give up.  Do you write them off and walk away? They might even tell you to go, leave, get away.  Don't listen. Stay. 

We all make mistakes.  We all fail.  We all have hopes and dreams and anticipate good things.  We hear of a great offer and we are excited, we get our hopes up, we begin making plans.  Then something happens--something bad.  Beyond our control or not; the plan fails.  Even when we have no one else to blame but ourselves, there is nothing worse than being alone when we already feel we have lost everything. 

Stay.  Remain close and within reach.  Give them space and allow them to sulk, lick their wounds, or rant and rave  As long as they are not abusing or hurting you--stay.  They will come around  eventually and realize things are never hopeless.  No matter how angry and disappointed you are--Stay.  When they are ready, hold them close and reassure them that you are with them, fighting with them and for them.  Sometimes all we need is to hear that someone believes in us no matter how awful things appear.  When you are torn between going or staying..... Stay. 

And this is my Daily Cyn...........

Friday, September 17, 2010

Take a Walk...........

I spent a few hours today on an unfamiliar site writing an article.  A new company saw some of my previous work and invited me to come and write for them.  It's so exciting to know there are those out there not only reading what I write but actually enjoying it and find my little tid-bits of advice worthy of compensation. It makes all those late-night hours hunched over my computer, the time spent researching, and the sacrifices I make in order to get my writing done so worthwhile. 

I packed up my laptop and went to the new office where I knew I could get some work done in peace and quiet.  There would be no ringing telephones, no interuptions, and no cat continuously walking across my keyboard hoping for attention.  I put on a pot of coffee and began typing away. 

The words began to flow immediately.  I finished the article, uploaded a beautiful image, attached some links to my own personal wholesome food recipes, and decided to preview my handiwork.  I read it and re-read it and decided this was my best writing yet.  I closed the preview section of the new site and when I did, my article disappeared.  In a flash it was lost.  I couldn't believe it! My magnificent writing--GONE!  I tried to relocate it, called tech support for assistance, cried, begged and pleaded but nothing could be done.  I never hit the SAVE DRAFT button and my masterpiece was lost forever.  I cannot even begin to explain my level of frustration.  All that work--down the drain--literally!

I could start again but I didn't know how.  Could I actually remember every word I had just written and make it just as good?  I never keep rough drafts of anything (perhaps I should from now on) so it was basically straight from my heart onto my computer screen.  I sat there for the longest time but the words just would not come.  I was too upset to write. I needed to clear my head, get rid of this anger, and just step back for awhile.  I decided to take a walk.

It's a bit overcast outside today but the temperature is still warm.  I took a mile walk down the street to a little group of stores.  I bought a salad and a bottle of  the most delicious Organic Sparkling Pomegranate Water I have ever tasted.  As I walked I saw leaves already beginning to change color.  It made me excited for fall to arrive so I could make plans to pick apples, bake pies, carve pumpkins and go hiking through the nature preserve with friends. I also noticed that directly across from my office is a big patch of empty grass.  I never notice it before! How nice it would be to get a group of people there to do some yoga or some other kind of outside activity. They could come back to my office to enjoy some homemade soup while I teach a seminar or lead them in a journaling session. I could even light a fire in the fireplace to enhance the atmosphere.  This is such a peaceful place of healing.  Once people know about this place, they will want to be here all the time.

I am back from my walk and sitting in front of the laptop again.  I am full of new ideas, possibilities, and hope for the future of my business.  My business is helping others and in doing so, I am helping myself. As they heal and become whole, I heal and become whole.  It's beautiful how life works that way.

I am thankful I lost my article.  I was forced to step away for awhile to clear my mind. I got to take a walk.  I explored my surroundings.  I saw things I never saw before.  I have new ideas to help others and to help my business grow.  As I sit here sipping my Sparkling Pomegranate Water, the words are beginning to flow again.  I am filled to overflowing.  If I am empty again, I will just take another walk............

And this is my Daily Cyn............

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sweet Potato Soup with Curried Apples

Nothing is better for the soul than a good bowl of soup..... here is a recipe that is hearty, healthy and unique! Enjoy!

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 or 4)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, halved and sliced

Coarse salt and ground black pepper

1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced

2 jalapeno peppers, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup dry sherry (optional)

4 cups vegetable broth, homemade or canned

2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon curry powder

1 small tart apple (4 ounce) peeled, cored, and diced

1/4 cup plain yogurt

2 tablespoons chopped mint, for garnish


1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour, turning once, or until potatoes are very soft. When cool enough to handle, scoop cooked potato out of the skins. Discard skins.

2.Meanwhile, in a 5-quart Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add bell pepper, jalapenos, and garlic; cook for 5 minutes. Add sherry (if using), sweet potato, and broth; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, until flavors have blended.

3.Working in batches, puree soup in a blender. Combine batches in a clean pot. The soup should be thick. (If you prefer a thinner soup, add water or a little more broth.) Taste and adjust seasoning.

4.In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, honey, and curry powder to a boil. Add apple; stir for 1 minute and remove from heat. To serve, ladle the soup into warm bowls, add a spoonful of apples, a spoonful of yogurt, and a sprinkle of mint.

Serves 4 (makes 6 cups)

And this is my Daily Cyn........

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Two Wholesome Autumn Foods

With fall just around the corner, why not try these two great recipes?  They are healthy, warming, and guilt-free. 

Soup is perfect to warm your soul after a day of raking leaves or pumpkin picking or to have just when want something soothing and satisfying.  The ginger in this soup provides instant heat! Serve this soup with a large tossed salad and hot crusty whole-grain bread and you have the perfect lunch or light supper.  Sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds on top before serving to make it more interesting.....

Carrot and Ginger Soup

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
3 1/2 cups peeled and diced organic carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 2/2 teaspoon fresh mince ginger
4 cups water
1 cup orange juice

1.  Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil.
2.  Saute carrots, onions, garlic, and ginger in oil for five minutes of until vegetables just begin to turn brown
3.  Add water and orange juice
4.  Bring to a biol and simmer for 30 minutes or until veggies are soft
5.  Puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender
6.  Add the spices and maple syrup.  Add a bit of water if soup is too thick but do not make it too thin.
7.  Serve hot

Stuffed, Baked Acorn Squash

This is my absolute favorite recipe for the fall.  It's simple, easy, yet impressive enough to serve to guests. Acorn squash is beautiful orange and green on the outside and orange on the inside.  Think of all the beta-carotene you are getting when you eat this squash.  Look for medium size squash that is more orange than green.  Too green means it is not ripe enough and will take longer to cook.  This recipe serves 2 people (one half each).  The rice and bean stuffing makes this meal a complete protein.  This means you do not need to serve meat along with it.  If you really feel like something is missing from your plate, include grilled or baked boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Serve with steamed green vegetables like spinach, kale, or broccoli.

1 medium acorn squash, scrubbed well
1 cup of cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons cooked black beans
1 tablespoon of raisins
1 tablespoon of chopped walnuts
good quality organic maple syrup

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.  Acorn squash in half and scoop out seeds.  If squash is difficult to cut, microwave it for about 3 minutes to soften slightly.
3.  Mix raisins and walnuts with the brown rice and stuff each acorn half with 1/2 cup of the mixture.
4.   Sprinkle acorn flesh lightly with the cinnamon.
5.   Place squash in a baking dish (stuffed side up)
5.  Add a bit water to the bottom of the baking dish so the squash does not burn. Check water level occasionally as squash bakes and add more if necessary.
6.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until squash is tender. 
7.  Drizzle lightly with maple syrup and return to oven for another five minutes.
8.  Serve hot


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What does THIS have to do with THAT?

If you have been following my blogs, reading the comments, articles and quotes I post on Facebook, and paying attention in any way, you might be a bit confused.  It seems like I am scattered all over the place.  Consider our weekly challenge "Stop the Negative Self-Talk".  We all have that little voice in our head that whispers hurtful, discouraging words to us all the time.  It tells us we can't do something, have something, be something, or go where we want to go.  This negative self-talk can affect our day, our attitude, our relationship with ourselves and with others and can keep us from achieving our dreams and goals.  I am, by trade, a Nutritional Consultant, however. What does all this have to do with nutrition? EVERYTHING!

 Last night for dinner, I had a piece of eggplant parmigana pizza.  Now pizza is fine to have once in awhile.  The slice I ate not only had the traditional crust, the cheese, the sauce and the oil but it was topped with tender slices of fried, breaded eggplant.  I started out by eating only half but by the time the night was over, I consumed the whole thing.  It was delicious! I don't even want to think about all the fat and calories in that one piece of pizza and I am not going to punish myself for eating it.  Punishing myself will only make me feel bad.  It's ok to indulge occasionally. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that.  Some people, however, eat like that every single day!

After eating that slice of pizza, I could have listened to the negative chatter in my head. 
"You fat slob! You are a nutritionist and you are eating this? How can you possibly tell anyone else about eating well when you just ate an entire slice of eggplant pizza? You're a failure, a poor example and now that you feel really bad about yourself, how about a big bowl of icecream to make you feel better? You already went way over your fat and calorie allotment for the day so why not?"

Listening to that voice could catapult me into an unhealthy, non-stop eating frenzy.  Ice cream before bedtime, an unhealthy breakfast the next morning, a burger and fries for lunch, a mid-afternoon candy bar from the office vending machine, several drinks and fried finger foods at happy hour followed by another fat and calorie-laden dinner. This vicious cycle could go on for weeks and before long my clothes won't fit.  I will begin to feel really bad about myself, indulge in more self-destructive behavior and as a result my health will suffer, my relationships will begin to fall apart, and my whole life will be one big mess. Sound familiar?

You might want to lose weight, heal your unhealthy relationships with food, prevent heart disease or diabetes, or just want to live a long and healthy life.  You will never achieve these goals permanently without a true and sincere love for yourself.  When you love someone, you respect them.  You never want to hurt them on purpose.  You won't abuse them, harm them, or point them in the wrong direction.  There are times that we unintentionally hurt our loved ones but we apologize and make things right again. 

  This doesn't mean you will never again enjoy a slice of eggplant parmigana pizza. What it does mean is that every day you will  want to nurture yourself with good things and pizza, burgers and fries, chocolate cake or a whole package of oreos before bedtime will be the exception and NOT the rule.  When you love and respect yourself you will want feed your body, mind and spirit with good things- REAL food, encouraging books, healthy relationships, a satisfying spiritual practice. It's all about balance. I am a Holistic Nutritional Consultant.  Holistic means "whole". This is not some "New Age" mumbo-jumbo.  I believe and teach others how to nourish themselves on every level.  When the body, mind and spirit are being fed good food... you will become healthy and whole.  All that excess weight will melt away, your health will improve, and you will be living the life you always dreamed of.

And this is my Daily Cyn..........

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Autumn- A Time of Gathering and Preparation

Ahhhh.....Autumn.  You can feel it in the air.  The evenings are cooler, the sun casts a different shadow upon the earth, all the summer clothes and play-things are reluctantly stored away for next year.  There is a certain sadness as summer draws to an end....gone are the care-free days at the beach, barbeques with family and friends, hot summer nights out on the east end, ice-cold Coronas.

Autumn is a season of true beauty. The landscape becomes the canvas of the Master Painter as leaves turn to gorgeous shades of burnt orange and brillant yellow.  We open windows to breathe in the cool, crisp air and our evenings are spent around firepits or indoors beside a roaring fire.  We hear the crunch of fallen leaves beneath our feet as we hike through the woods. We instinctly crave warming, healing food and beverages.  This is nature's way of gradually preparing us for a colder climate.  We simmer soups, casseroles and spicy chili on the stove for hours.  We roll out pastry shells and fill them with cinnamon-laced apples and savor the homey aroma as they bake. We burn vanilla scented candles, sip full-bodied red wines like Merlot or Shiraz, and decorate our homes with leaves and pumpkins and brightly colored gourds.  This is the season of harvest when the earth seems to explode with abundance. This is her last "hoorah" before she settles down for a long winter's rest. 

I am always amazed at how this season gently ushers us into the colder, harsher weather.  Autumn offers beautiful gifts to help make the transition to winter a little easier.  The cold weather is coming so this is the time of preparing and gathering.  How are you preparing and gathering?

As the seasons change; so do the seasons of our lives. You might freeze or can fruits and vegetables in the fall, but what steps are you taking to prepare and nourish your body, mind and spirit for the inevitable cold ahead?  Winter is a time of reflection and hard work behind the scenes--work no one really sees until spring arrives.  There is alot going on beneath the frozen should it be in the soil of our souls.  If you want to burst into spring fully alive, you must do the work during the winter.  In order to do the work, you must  prepare and gather everything you need during this season of transition.  Embrace this time and use it wisely...........

And this is my Daily Cyn............

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Piece of Cake.........

 Cookies, cakes, pies, chocolate, and ice cream just don't tempt me.  I do indulge on special occasions such as holidays and birthdays but very rarely. I never have anything sweet to eat in my home.  The sweetest foods you will find are fresh fruits, raisins, dried apricots, and a bottle of organic maple syrup.  It's not because I am so against sweets.  Everyone should have a treat now and then.  I just don't have sugar cravings and would prefer to eat something else.

I was cleaning out my fridge yesterday and found a  nice slice of left-over birthday cake from my son's party. It was a really good cake--red velvet with cream cheese frosting.  I took a taste of it and to my surprise, it was still pretty fresh. Ordinarily, I would just throw it away but instead I tried a little experiment.  I was curious to see how I would feel if I ate this slice of cake for breakfast instead of my usual healthy fare.  I grabbed a fork and ate the whole thing!

It didn't take very long to feel the effects of this sugar-loaded meal.  It hit me quickly because the last meal I ate was a light dinner the night before.  Within an hour I began to feel tired, sluggish, and light-headed.  There was no reason for me to be tired.  I slept well the night before.  It had to be that piece of cake. 

I tried to ignore the effects for awhile.  I had some writing and other work to do but I was having trouble focusing.  I forced myself to keep going until I felt such a drop in my blood-sugar that I had to stop and eat something.  My body needed protein and needed it fast! I cut up some cheese and shoved it in my mouth, hoping this would hold me over for awhile.

The cheese really didn't help all that much.  I had a headache.  I never get headaches.  I sat down on the couch and within minutes I was out cold.  I slept for 2 hours. In the early afternoon! I have never done that in my life! When I woke up I was in such a fog.  I really wanted to sleep more but I refused to do that.  I got up and fixed myself a healthy meal and felt a bit better after that, but still tired.  At 11PM on a friday night I was in bed and slept through until morning.

The reason why I wanted to try this experiment is because so many people I know start their days with donuts, muffins, danish, sugar-loaded cereal and other sweets.  We serve our kids POP TARTS and call it breakfast.  A good friend of mine (a grown man) eats FUNNY BONES for breakfast.  He is never NOT tired.  He sleeps more than a newborn baby.  I don't think he has any idea what it's like to feel well-rested. Perhaps this is you, too.  You are always tired.   Maybe you don't even realize how bad you feel because you don't know what it's like to actually feel good.

It's not necessarily a bad thing to be tired. Stay out late one night and you will be dragging the next day. That's normal. If you feel tired all the time--that's NOT normal.   There could be reasons--poor sleeping habits, illness, and stress are all contributing factors.  You need to identify the reason why you are tired all the time and fix it.  Could it be the food you are eating?  Pay attention to what you are nourishing your body with and think of ways you can improve. If you are not sure where to begin, send me an email at or message me on FACEBOOK.

As for me--no more cake for breakfast.  I learned my lesson!

And this is my Daily Cyn.......

Friday, September 10, 2010

What's in an Apology?

I have been under a tremendous amount of stress lately.  There have been some serious life-changes I  needed make and it has been a bit of an adjustment. I have been trying keep my optimistic attitude through it all but it hasn't been easy.  There are times I get discouraged. 

When we are faced with situations like this, we need the people around us to be supportive.  It doesn't help when loved ones contribute unwelcomed advice and opinions or express their frustrations about YOUR situation.  We need them to extend a helping hand and support us-- not add additional stress to our lives. 

Over the past several weeks, the person who is closest to me has been making me miserable.  I don't need the drama or the aggravation.  I need peace and someone strong enough to understand I need peace. The fire is already burning--I don't need help pouring on additional fuel to make it burn longer or stronger.  I need someone to assist me in extinguishing the flames with a pail of cool water!

Yesterday I received an apology.  I did not ask for it, I did not expect it, I did nothing to prompt it. It was probably the most genuine and heart-felt apology I have ever heard.  It made everything ok and bearable. 

I recently read this little story about apologies and I want to share it with you.  It is from the book:
Things Will Get as Good as You Can Stand by Laura Doyle, a self-help expert.

Admitting a mistake requires courage and humility.  Being defensive about it isolates you and prevents you from receiving forgiveness because defensiveness and forgiveness cannot coexist.  So be proactive about acknowledging your errors, even if you feel that there is more to lose than to gain in the short term; in the long term you will receive more forgiveness, acceptance, and grace.

Start by apologizing the next time you are wrong--when you've done something to someone else that would have upset you.  That can be anything from interrupting someone to forgetting a birthday to initiating a breakup.

When you deliver an apology, take 100 percent accountability by leaving out the words "but" and "if".  Saying, "I am sorry I hurt your feelings," is being accountable.  Saying, "I am sorry if I hurt your feelings," is not.

Something to think about......

And this is my Daily Cyn............

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fried Chicken- Reloaded

I am well-aware that a good majority of you are not vegetarians and it is not my job to convert you.  I will always encourage you to eat less meat and sincerely hope that you are choosing the best and the healthiest cuts of meat available.  Occasionally, I will come across a healthy recipe for chicken, beef or fish and I will pass it on to my readers.  Here is one such recipe.......

Fried chicken seems to be a popular favorite at picnics, tail-gates and back-yard gatherings.  Most recipes I come across are so unhealthy and loaded with fat and calories you don't need.  Here is a delicious (so I am told), guilt-free recipe to try.  Serve it at your next get-together and let me know how it turns out!

Giving the chicken a double coat of flour mixture creates a golden crust (without the skin) when pan-fried. We use lemon rind instead of the lemon extract called for in the original. Carefully pour in the broth so you don't wet the crispy brown coating on the chicken. The broth mixture turns into a glazey sauce that can be served with the chicken.


* 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

* 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

* 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger

* 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

* 2 bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned

* 2 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned

* 2 chicken drumsticks, skinned

* 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)

* 2 teaspoons ground ginger

* 1 teaspoon paprika

* 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

* 1 teaspoon kosher salt

*1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

* 1/4 cup peanut oil

* 1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

* 2 tablespoons brown sugar

* 1 lemon, thinly sliced


1. Place rind, juice, and next five ingredients (through drumsticks) in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and shake to coat. Marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning bag occasionally.

2. Sift together flour and next three ingredients (through red pepper). Place flour mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag.

3. Remove chicken from marinade bag, reserving marinade. Sprinkle salt and black pepper evenly over chicken. Add chicken, one piece at a time, to flour mixture; seal bag and shake to coat chicken.

4. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess flour mixture. Reserve remaining flour mixture.

5. Place chicken on a wire rack; place rack in a jelly-roll pan. Cover and refrigerate 1 1/2 hours. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 350°.

7. Return chicken, one piece at a time, to flour mixture; seal bag and shake to coat chicken. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess flour mixture. Discard remaining flour mixture.

8. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes or until golden, turning once.

9. Arrange chicken in single layer in a shallow roasting pan. Combine broth and reserved marinade in a small bowl; carefully pour broth mixture into pan. Sprinkle chicken evenly with sugar, and top with lemon slices.

10. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until golden and a thermometer registers 165°.

Nutritional information

4 servings

Serving size: 1 breast half, or 1 thigh plus 1 drumstick

Calories: 375

Fat: 15.5g (sat 3.3g, mono 6.6g, poly 4.7g)

Protein: 30.8g

Carbohydrate: 30.5g

Fiber: 2.4g

Cholesterol: 85mg

Iron: 2.6mg

Sodium: 578mg

Calcium: 48mg

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Is SNAPPLE Really All Natural?

My boyfriend drove me to an appointment I had after work today.  He had a SNAPPLE Iced Tea with him.  I forgot to bring a book with me so I read the product label on his bottle of tea.

All Natural Snapple Lemon Tea.  Made from Green and Black Tea Leaves.  Made from the Best Stuff on Earth.

The Best Stuff on Earth? Wow! That sounds healthy!

Well....... just how healthy is it??

 The first thing I notice is a 16oz bottle of this tea is meant to quench the thirst of two people.   I have never known anyone to drink only half a SNAPPLE.  I could drain this entire bottle dry in a matter of minutes if I was really thirsty but if I do, I am consuming 42 grams of sugar. That sounds like an awful lot of sugar, don't you think?

Let's take a look at what REALLY is in this bottle of tea.......

The finest tea leaves...........
I never really thought about tea leaves. I always thought tea leaves were tea leaves, but evidently the tea-leaf police have determined that the ones in this bottle are the finest.  In my humble opinion, the finest tea leaves would be ORGANICALLY grown.  SNAPPLE is actually owned by Dr. Pepper, a soft-drink company.  They make soda--one of the most unhealthy thirst-quenchers you could ever drink! There is no mention of where the tea leaves are actually from. I don't know if they are from China, or if the leaves are lovingly watered and cared for by a gentle farmer in North Carolina, or if they are grown in a lab under artificial sunlight.  The label just says, "The finest tea leaves". This sounds really nice so I will just take their word for it.

Filtered Water.............
This is a good thing and I am happy to know they are not just filling these bottles with ordinary tap water from some rusty old kitchen faucet. 

Ok... you definitely needs some kind of sweetner in here.  No one wants to drink plain old tea.  There is ALOT of sugar in this drink--42 grams!  Do you realize how much 42 grams of sugar is?   Let me break it down for you:
1 gram of sugar is equivalent to 1/4 teaspoon. Therefore, 4 grams of sugar is equivalent to 1 teaspoon. Divide 42 grams by 4=10.5.
There are 10.5 teaspoons of sugar in this bottle of tea!

Citric Acid......
I see this additive ALL the time. Citric Acid is a colorless translucent crystalline acid, C6H8O7, principally derived by fermentation of carbohydrates or from lemon, lime, and pineapple juices and used in preparing citrates and in flavorings and metal polishes. Well, I suppose that is what they consider the ALL NATURAL lemon in this tea.  Citric Acid (fermented rotten, old lemons mixed with God-knows-what-else) is what gives this tea its nice lemon-ey taste and smell.  I keep thinking about Lemon Fresh Pledge--the furniture polish!  I don't think I want this in MY body!

Natural Flavors..........
This is the most deceptive ingredient of all.  Natural flavoring is a common ingredient in almost every single processed, pre-packaged product you eat. But what IS it? 

So-called natural flavor is produced in laboratories to give flavor to processed foods that lose almost all flavor through the processes of freezing, dehydrating, and canning. It is made from infinitesimal amounts of chemicals, or more so a collection of gases.

So basically, they take their "finest tea leaves" , add water, a ton of sugar, citric acid and process until it becomes a tasteless liquid.  New flavor must be added back in again--flavor made from chemicals and a collection of gases in a laboratory.  Does this sound ALL NATURAL to you? 

 I really hate to burst your SNAPPLE bubble especially if you are addicted to this product and think it is healthy! Just because it says ALL NATURAL on the label doesn't always mean it's HEALTHY!!

Here is what I consider ALL NATURAL Iced Tea:
 tea leaves (loose or in tea bags)
 filtered water
raw cane sugar ( raw sugar is still SUGAR but less processed than white sugar) or honey
Freshly squeezed lemon juice

I am not suggesting you never again enjoy a SNAPPLE.  You might want to reconsider your afternoon sweet treat or dessert after dinner if you do drink a bottle of this tea, however.  Remember the 10.5 teaspoons of sugar? If you drink one or more of these daily, and don't adjust your diet, that could explain your extra weight-gain!

This bottle of SNAPPLE Iced Tea does have a couple of redeeming qualities. The bottle itself is made of glass (not plastic) and at the very bottom of the label is a little message reminding us to recycle!

And this is my Daily Cyn...........