Positivity + Pumpkin Soup – a recipe for happiness

Feeling good…

not just about yourself, but about the world and people around you and how you feel in your body - isn’t that the big goal?

That’s why I love to cook, especially for other people, and that’s why I’ve been studying positive psychology.

It’s all about what helps us flourish – not just feel “fine.”

What I’ve learned so far may not seem totally earth shaking to you, but it has made me think hard about what I do with my time, and why.

And it’s all coming down to one thing:

Other People Matter.

Happiness and contentment aren’t about how much money you make. In fact, after our basic needs are covered (in the USofA, that’s about $50-60K a year), we don’t feel a lot happier when we make more money. We just think more money, more stuff, or having the right stuff will make us feel better about ourselves.

The one thing that makes us happy, if you’re rich or poor?

Having strong, connected relationships. Having people you can share your wins and your troubles with.

In short: we crave connection. We crave being with other people who love us. It’s a basic human need.

Well, one of my favorite things to do with other people is share good, delicious, healthy food. Making it together, talking while we cook, planning the meal, and savoring the delicious aromas and flavors – that is jus what life is all about.

So I want to share my new favorite recipe with you – a pumpkin soup, baked right in the pumpkin.

Pumpkins are wonderfully round, sweet, and immediately make me feel cozy.

They’re also super healthy! The health benefits of pumpkins or winter squash are long:

Considered an energetic tonic and a warming food, pumpkins and winter squash are medicinal for the spleen, stomach, large intestines and lungs. It improves energy and blood circulation, and is high in beta-carotene, which is good for eye health. Rich in vitamins A, C and potassium + magnesium, pumpkins are high in carotenoids and have anti-carcinogenic properties.

So this recipe is healthy, easy, fun to make, and really fun to eat with someone you love. Go be happy, love.

Pumpkin Soup Baked In A Pumpkin

For this pumpkin soup recipe, you’ll need:

1 pumpkin (edible and sweet)

2-3 tablespoons grass-fed butter, olive oil or coconut oil

1 yellow onion

2-3 cups stock or broth (vegan, chicken, etc)

salt and pepper
pumpkin

The pumpkin I was growing in my back yard was carried off by what I can only assume was a whole gang of New York City squirrels – so I had to buy one from the local farmers’ market.

I chose a 3 lb. “Sugar Pie,” which is sweeter than the standard carving pumpkin you see around Halloween. Preheat the oven to 350F.

cut pumpkin

Carve the top of the pumpkin just like you would for a jack-o-lantern. Scoop out the seeds and stringy guts, and save the seeds to salt and bake later.

Do not leave the pumpkin seeds baking for too long while you talk on the phone to a friend like I did. Please set a timer.

buttered pumpkin

Use 1-2 Tablespoons real butter, ghee, or coconut oil to coat the inside and outside of the pumpkin. Scatter a couple pinches of salt around the inside, and don’t forget the bottom of the pumpkin lid!

onions

 

Chop a yellow onion into large dice.

You could do this step first, and carve the pumpkin while the onions are cooking to save time.

cook onions

Brown the onions over medium heat for 8-10 minutes with 1 Tablespoon butter, ghee or coconut oil.

fill pumpkin onions

Fill the pumpkin with cooked onions.

 

fill pumpkin stock

Pour home made vegetable or chicken broth (or stock) over the onions, filling up the pumpkin to about 1-inch from the top.

If the broth is unsalted, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir well.

top pumpkin

Place the pumpkin lid back on, and place the entire pumpkin into the oven.

Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, checking to test for doneness. You’ll want the inside of the pumpkin to be spoon-ably soft.


baked pumpkin

 

Remove from the oven and gently remove the top.

Use a towel to grasp the stem, as the pumpkin will emit hot steam when you open it. Have your spoons at the ready…

spoonable pumpkin

 

Eat that soup straight from the pumpkin!

I like placing it on the table amongst the family and allowing everyone to take a spoonful from the pumpkin before scooping servings out to individual bowls.

There’s just something really fun about eating soup directly from a pumpkin.

Make sure that everyone gets a bowl-full of stock, onions and cooked chunks of sweet pumpkin.

Enjoy!

We CHEERED her last night – now it’s your turn

Is it your turn to share your big win?

I love the live calls in my Cravings Cleanse program.
We get to hear each other, talk, share, and come together.

And last night’s call was the BEST. Ever.

See, I’m about to start a certification program in Positive Psychology (life-long learner, anyone?) and I went to a talk given by my soon-to-be-teacher this weekend.

She told us that most of us have someone we can turn to when things are tough, when things go wrong…

But few of us have people we can go to when things are GOOD.

friends

And when we have a tribe of cheerleaders who will happily support us when things are AWESOME, we are much more likely to be happy and healthy.

So I want to share with you what my amazing Cravings Cleanse women shared on our call last night –

It was so cool, with happy tears in our eyes, to CHEER each other:

“Something is working – I’m down to a size 14 and I haven’t stepped on a scale yet. I’m feeling teary…”
~ A, New York

“This cleanse and eating this way that really helps me to rid myself of bloating. This has been such a help in making me feel healthier…”
~ Dana, New York

“Thank you – I get so much from these calls and hearing everyone talk about the same things I am feeling. I feel very lucky to be with this group.”
~ Kathy, Rhode Island

“I really do feel like eating healthier now!
This cleanse is really showing me how to be super kind mama to myself!”
~ Eileen, California

“I just feel SO much better in this cleanse!
No more gas, the bloating is gone – the cravings are gone!
I didn’t even want the junk food in front of me because it didn’t feel good.
I’m feeling really satisfied with the shakes! They taste so you can actually add a lot of greens and it still tastes really good.
I’m learning and FEELING which foods make my body feel and WORK well!
All the little tricks you’re teaching are really helping – I’m feeling really good about this program. I’m so grateful for the group – the great energy of the posts and the support.”
~ Sara, New Mexico

“My ankles and wrists are getting smaller – it’s really amazing.
I’m having an easier time feeling well, even in the midst of all my moving, unpacking, the crazy life, I’m sticking with the program.
I feel good, I’m comfortable, and I’m not craving, I’m listening to my body, I’m trusting it, I’m even exercising!
~ A, New York

This is what I want for you.
To feel well in your body…
To be free of the annoying cravings and negative thoughts…
To want to treat yourself really well – and do it…
To be cheered, seen, and appreciated for all you are.

The final Cravings Cleanse live program of 2014 starts next Tuesday, 9/23 at 12pm Eastern.

The calls are all recorded, and you do the steps at your own pace, while we come together for live coaching and support.

Click here to join us now if you’re ready for massive love, powerful shifts in your body, and a new relationship with pleasure, and food.

Xo,
Alex

P.S. The Bring-A-Friend offer is good until Saturday! Click here to join now and you can bring a friend for only $10.

Why I care about resilience & you should too (and how to grow it)

Ever go through one of those stretches of time when life seems to be giving you about as much as you can possibly handle, if not more?

 

Yeah, me too.

 

This has been a roller coaster of a year for me, and I’ve been hearing from some of you that your lives have felt out-of-control or more than you can handle.

 

Often it feels like it comes all at once.

 

Just to give you some details:

 

-       I got my next book deal from a major publisher (good)

-       My mom got diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer (bad)

-       My partner published his own book (good)

-       My son was diagnosed with extreme dyslexia (bad)

-       My mom died (horrible)

-       My dear friend and mentor got diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer (WTF? Horrible)

-       My son learned to swim and ride a bike (amazing)

-       My friend died from cancer, and two more friends were diagnosed (tears & breakdown)

 

So, yes. Life is a roller coaster, and the ups and downs, “awful” and “awesome” are unknowable and unpredictable.

 

The truth is, we can’t control a lot of what happens in life, yet we do have the power to react to it in ways that move us forward, strengthen us, and bring us closer to those we love.

 

I know that resilience, the ability to bend without breaking, to stay strong and make it through the storm even though the winds toss your hair and make you feel scared, is a skill you can learn, a strength you can practice.

 

To grow and protect your well-being, you need the ability to bounce back.

To get through trauma and drama without breaking, you need to practice.

To live through major challenges and thrive, not just survive, requires health, support, community, and hope.

 

And it isn’t just something you need for major tests in life, we need resilience to get through every day.

 

If you’re in stress mode all day long, it depletes your willpower, hope, and  patience. Multi-tasking, social media addiction, sugar binges, and a lack of relaxing, pleasurable movement keep us far from resilient.

 

And when we don’t feed our bodies and support our health with the foods we need, our capacity for resilience is diminished.

 

That’s why I teach my clients about skilled resilience:

 

The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties (toughness), while performing well with training, experience and knowledge.

 

Skilled resilience means eating the right foods (most of the time), moving my body so she stays strong and flexible, finding pleasure and joy every day, staying connected with the friends and family who support me, staying open to the wonders in life that keep me hopeful and excited to be alive.

 

I couldn’t have weathered this storm of grief in the last year without the skilled resilience I’ve learned and honed over the past decade.

 

And my clients tell me that the training they learn through my cleanse programs gives them the experience and knowledge to give their bodies exactly what they need to maintain their center, their balance, their truth.

 

My client Sandi experienced a rough patch and needed support to get back to feeling good in her body:

 

-       her dad died

-       her boyfriend left

-       her job got super stressful

-       her commute got longer

-       she wanted sugar, fat and salt all day long and was feeling exhausted and impatient

 

When I started working with Sandi, we started with the most important guiding question I can ask anyone:

 

How do you want to feel?

 

Once we defined that Sandi wanted to feel calm, free, and strong, we were able to look at her food choices in a new way. It wasn’t about “eat this – it has fewer calories” – she could look at a menu and choose a food because it would help her feel calm, free and strong. Once she understood her cravings type, she could make the perfect food choices based on how she was feeling and how she wanted to feel later.

 

This was a totally new way of choosing food, and it began her on her journey to a body she loves, with energy to spare.

 

Learning to tune into her body’s needs, her soul-filled desires for calm and strength, allowed Sandi to listen to her body in a new way.

 

This is one of the most powerful aspects of skilled resilience.

 

It’s a practice of awareness, a daily inquiry into what will help you feel the way you want to feel, while honoring what’s true without judging what you see.

 

It may seem simple, but it isn’t always easy.

 

In the coming weeks I’ll be talking more about cravings, what they can teach you, and how to develop your own resiliency with grace and strength.

 

I’ll also be announcing my next group program soon (It’s called the Cravings Cleanse) – and it will draw together all of my best lessons, experiments, tools, resources, and community to help you act and move towards building your own resiliency with grace and strength.

 

I want to hear from you: In the comments below, tell me what skills you know you already have that help you stay resilient. You may not have thought you had the tools, but I’ll bet if you really look, you could tell a tale of how you’ve weathered storms and come out stronger in the end.

You could also share what ONE thing you know you could be doing differently to help grow your resilience:

 

 

Reveal Yourself, Discover Your Self

Attention: This book has shifted me profoundly, and may cause the same for you…

When I met Meggan Watterson through mutual friends I was struck by her presence and her inquisitive listening. Not knowing anything about her, I was compelled to keep talking with her, and loved being around her. She just emanates real. We hung out at a few parties and talked mostly about our little boys.

It wasn’t until I got a copy of her book to review REVEAL that those feelings made sense. Meggan is a modern-day spiritual pilgrim and guide – and her story is truly inspiring.

Anyone who walks out of their Sunday School at the age of ten because she knew something was missing in the lessons has my ear…thus began her lifelong search for the divine feminine.

Now a Harvard-trained theologian, and creator of the Reveal event in New York City, Watterson spent her young adult-hood visiting sacred sites of Black Madonnas in Europe, which brought about her own spiritual revelation.

She discovered that being spiritual meant accepting her body as sacred.

And that the voice from her soul was a deep, profound love of self that she had never known in a feminine-absent religious upbringing.

Reveal is laced with entertaining stories of her awakening, as well as ancient tales of the divine feminine from various religions that I had not heard of before.

Meggan encourages us, through her brave honesty, to explore our spirituality by stripping down to the truth of who we really are.

Reveal spoke to me in a deep, loving way.

I asked Meggan about how she learned to listen to her body in order to discover her spiritual truth:

Alex:

Through your spiritual journey, your true self/soul spoke a truth to you for the first time – that your body is sacred. What sensations did you feel?

Meggan:

“I felt a sense of being home- if that makes sense. The home though wasn’t external to me- it was this being fully present- fully aware of being embodied- and I felt like I had found the place I had been searching for. I also felt warmth- the way people describe whisky sliding down the throat and into the bloodstream. I’ve never had the stuff myself but it felt like warm honey was suffusing my entire body- relaxing every muscle and letting me know physically what the word surrender feels like.”

Alex:

How did you learn to listen to your body, and are you still learning?

Meggan:

“I learned to listen to my body the hard way- by experiencing again and again what happens when I do not. Smile. After a while it gets old, or the inner-teenager gets bored of the rebellion and the awareness comes that the body has wisdom the mind cannot fathom. For me it started with an awareness and a respect for my body when pain or illness arises. I listen to what it’s communicating about me- my lifestyle- my stress levels. And yes, listening to my body is an ongoing spiritual practice- one that takes patience and commitment. And one that yields the most exquisite moments of bliss and alignment as well.”

Meggan’s honest journey inspired me to look at my fears about my own body – that I’m aging, that I was somehow bad or a failure for leaving my vegan diet, and that because I’m a mom I’m no longer attractive somehow. These fears are mostly managed, but the “inner critic” still lurks, and powerful connections help me keep them at bay.

I’m just one of countless women who longs for a deeper connection with spirituality, religion, the Universe, and other women that encourage embodiment rather than denying our true selves. No matter where you are in the search for connection or spectrum of spirituality, Meggan’s story is about the craving in all of us to drop the heavy burdens and shed the extra stuff, the shoulds, that hold us back.

Meggan Waterson, Alex Jamieson, Terri Cole & Kate Northru

Click Here to order your copy of Reveal today.

*I got this book for free to review, and I’m psyched I did! I would have spent money on it – and will buy more copies to give to my clients and friends.

 

How My Celebrity Friends Handle Their Cravings…And Their Lives

I love getting inspired by friends who aim higher!

These women inspire me. They’re my friends, guides and creative partners.

When I first started hanging out with JJ Virgin, one of my crave catalysts profiled below, she told me “Hey! Rising tides lift all boats – let’s help each other!”

These women are supportive, playful, powerful and they have cravings.

Cravings for food that they listen to and use to give themselves what they really need and want – at dinner and in life.

I’ve listened to these women when they’ve shared their stories of overcoming health and body challenges with the best diet for their individual diet – in the moment.

Some of them grew famous with one diet and one way of eating and cooking, and evolved as their bodies told them they needed something different.

They inspire me because they didn’t beat themselves up for their cravings…

They don’t make their bodies wrong…

They know how to listen to their cravings and give themselves what they really need…the good stuff…in life and at lunch.

 

How did you first begin to handle your cravings in order to create the life and body you craved?

 

Cynthia Pasquella: Cookbook Author & TV Nutrition Expert

 

“I got comfortable being uncomfortable – it’s when the bigger reasons behind my cravings started coming through that allowed me to finally heal my body and my relationship with food.”

 

Kate Northrup: Author & GlimpseTV Host

 

“I learned about the glycemic index and I started eating a low-glycemic diet that didn’t spike my blood sugar. Then the cravings more or less went away because they were being caused by blood sugar spikes and lows.”

 

Jessica Ortner: Host & Producer, The Tapping Solution

 

“I first began handling my cravings by letting go of the idea that I needed more “willpower”, instead I began looking closely and addressing the emotions I felt when I had the craving and my desire to turn to food for comfort.” 

 

Candice Kumai: Top Chef, Cookbook Author & TV Host

 

“Cravings! Something I’ve been taught to squash since I was a child. Being raised with an incredibly empowering and health-conscious Japanese mother meant learning to create balance early in life. My Mother taught my sister and I to eat, only when you are hungry. Stop, when you are full. I know, this sounds like the obvious; but so many of us fall-short when it comes to just passing on that last course or just one more cocktail. In a world where “more is more,” let’s think about being a minimalist. Where “less is more.”

 

Nitika Chopra: TV Host & Founder “YourBellaLife.com”

 

“I went straight to the science of my body.  Some times all the praying, wishing and surrendering in the world isn’t going to make you not want to eat that insanely good piece of gluten free chocolate cake, but when I got to understanding what it does to my immune system to eat sugar (which has always been my greatest craving) it made the journey of releasing the hold that food had on me so much less painful.”

  

Andrea Beaman: TV Host & Cookbook Author

 

“The first thing I did to handle my cravings was to recognize that they had nothing to do with physical food. My cravings stemmed from emotions that I wasn’t letting myself feel. Caving into my food cravings, specifically sugar and chocolate, was a way of suppressing my desire to love and be loved. Once I got clear on that, the cravings were still there, but I began feeding them properly. I would call a friend when I was lonely, or I would make a date and visit my nephews when I wanted to play. I was, and always will be, surrounded by love and the ability to love.”

 

 

What one thing would you recommend women do/create/have (that worked/works for you) in order to cure their sabotaging food cravings?

 

JJ Virgin: #1 New York Times Best Seller “The Virgin Diet”

 

“Eat a protein rich breakfast.  If you start the day with a high carb breakfast or worse yet, no breakfast, you set yourself up for a day full of cravings  Protein is very satiating and helps stabilize blood sugar, especially when combined with fiber and healthy fats. My top recommendation is to start the day with a healthy meal replacement shake – I use a high quality vegan protein blend, unsweetened coconut or almond milk, chia seeds, kale or spinach and berries.”  

 

Nisha Moodley: Founder of “Fierce, Fabulous & Free

 

“For most women, there’s something deeper that we’re really craving: connection.  Make a gentle effort to cultivate sisterhood in your life — you’ll satisfy your strong cravings for connection, building a solid sisterhood of support to celebrate your life’s highs and soothe your life’s lows.”

 

Jenny Sansouci: Founder of HealthyCrush.com

 

“What works for me is to remember how certain foods make me feel. For instance, I know that sugar makes me feel depressed and too much coffee gives me anxiety, so in the interest of wanting to feel great, I tend to stay away from them. I don’t have time to feel crappy. I still give into cravings, I just try to do it in the nicest way possible – I find healthier alternatives. For instance, I’m a bit of a caffeine junkie, but I stick to yerba mate tea instead of coffee, which has some caffeine but lots of antioxidants, and doesn’t make me feel jittery. Instead of eating processed chocolate that’s full of milk and sugar, I go for raw chocolate.”

 

These women are at the forefront of a healing, creative, supportive movement to help millions of people end their battle with their bodies, cure their sabotaging food cravings and get the life and body they truly crave.

 

They’re doing them right. Giving themselves the authentic energy, real food and permission to be themselves every day, in every way. They’re building the lives and health they crave.

 

Tell me what these women have inspired in you in the comment section here.

 

Did this article speak to you?

Get my free 4 video Cravings Cure mini-series to get your next steps:

 

 

11 Genius Tips For Loving Your Life & Body

Sometimes a small act can create big changes in your life.

Eat a simple food for breakfast that gives you energy instead of zapping it away? The rest of the day will  transform.

What small change might transform your life?

Choose one or two from the list below — I promise that all of them will make a world of difference.

I made this list after asking some Facebook friends and on Twitter: “What’s your best tip that has made your life better and healthier?”

The result was a great list of genius ideas. Thank you, friends.

Enjoy the passing of 2012.

Bring on 2013!

 

1. “Live a story free life – not fantasy, wish fulfillment, be in your life not what was, or might be. There is a unified energy to things. Have an appreciation for your whole life.”


~ Annie Fox, homeopath and host of Anniefoxshow.com

 

2. “Start the day with a Shake!  Blend a high quality vegan protein powder, unsweetened almond or coconut milk, freshly ground flaxseeds or chia seeds, organic berries & greens for steady sustained energy, great focus and improved fat burning.”

 

~ JJ Virgin, Celebrity Nutrition & Fitness Expert, New York Times Bestselling Author,  The Virgin Diet 

 

3. “Eating low nutrient foods fuels overeating behavior, flood your cells with nutrients to beat food addictions”

 

~ Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live and Super Immunity

 

4. “Your life will transform the moment you allow yourself to be kind to yourself in your thoughts.”

 

~  Ariel & Shya Kane, my personal coaches and authors of

How To Have A Match Made In Heaven

 

5. “I’m all about Gut Rebuilding so the #1 thing I’d recommend (besides laughing and dancing) is to eat raw-unpasteurized sauerkraut everyday for the natural probiotics and digestion-boosting powers!”

 

~ Summer Bock, fermentationist, gut health coach, and founder of OlyKraut

 

6. “Turn off your phone and shutdown the computer. These days it’s way too easy to get sucked into technology and loose track of time. We can spend hours on social media, Internet shopping or seeking some other kind of online simulation. Try to take a technology break at least once a day. During this break take a walk around your neighborhood, write in your journal or dance around your house. Lay low on the technology and recharge your spirit.”

 

~ Gabrielle Bernstein author of May Cause Miracles  http://gabbyb.tv/may-cause-miracles-earlybird

 

7. Learn to tell the difference between biological hunger and emotional hunger, cut down your sugar, and stay hydrated. (reader and past client)

 

 ~ Melissa Schumi Jones, Facebook friend and past client

 

8. “Follow Alex’s plan in The Great American Detox. Worked for me, I recommend it to everyone who wants to do something about their weight and eat healthier.”

 

~ Thanks Suzieann Harts! Reader and Facebook fan

 

9. “Eat more whole plant foods.”

~ Angela Wortley, Facebook fan

 

10. “Cut down or eliminate sugar and dairy as much as possible! This is super hard for me but I feel a lot better when I follow this rule.”

 

~Jenni Dillard, Facebook fan

 

11. “Get a strong support system, a diet buddy. All of the above are great but I have found having someone to cheer with me through the victories and support me through the tough spots makes all the difference in the world.”

 

~ Sarah Cornsnake, Facebook fan

 

12. “Start small. Set realistic goals. Know right off the bat that it’s going to be a long road.”

 

         ~ Samantha, @Yogitastic

  

And finally, my own thought:

 

If your goal is happiness, it’s time to focus on the inner game. Stuff like making a difference or contribution to your community, developing richer relationships, personal growth, and making a contribution. You’ve probably seen the Reality-TV outer goals of getting rich, looking “hot,” and being famous that our culture is obsessed with are not your path to fulfillment and joy. Listen to your soul – and connect with the highest version of yourself. It is possible to express that in every moment. And have some FUN with it all.

 

Without the fun, you can’t really enjoy the ride.

 

Enjoy the passing of 2012!

Let’s get ready to ROCK 2013!

 

XO,

Alex

 

P.S. I’ll be offering my most popular program, the 5-Week Rapid Refresh & Reboot again in February!

This program has sold out for the last 2 years, so if you’re ready to take a leap, go ahead and sign up now:

http://alexandrajamieson.com/reboot/

 

The Gratitude Game

You might not feel thankful for what you have right now -

Maybe you’re stuck in a repetitive cycle of

“I don’t like my body – it’s feeling tired, and pained, and I don’t like how I feel.”

or

“Why can’t I lose those last 10 pounds?”

or even

“Why is my body always doing stupid thing like craving sugar?!”

I’ve been in that head space before – thinking myself in circles about what I’m eating, how my body doesn’t feel the way I think it should, and how there are so many women who are better looking than me – that they’ve figured it out, and I don’t have a clue.

The good news is, you’re not alone – welcome to the human race!

Your brain is often working against your hopeful, happy goals of peace, health and abundance, while your body is just trying to keep up with the daily grind, metabolizing your food, breathing, circulating, moving, standing, and all the other million actions it must undertake on a daily basis – it does so much stuff you don’t even know about, and here you are beating up on it for not fitting into a size 2 dress!

I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong or bad – because you’re not.

The cool thing is, you can start to play a different game with your mind and body, which may actually help you start to feel calm, lose weight, and feel amazing.

It’s called The Gratitude Game.

The rules are simple:

1. When you catch your reflection in the mirror, say “Wow! My body is amazing! I’ve been breathing and my heart has been beating all day without me even thinking about it!”

2. When you find yourself tired at your desk, with your eyes feeling heavy, and just wanting to go home to a big bag of potato chips, stretch your arms up long over your head, feel your sides stretching, and think “Thank you body! You are getting so much work done today!”

3. When you get home and put your finally put your feet up after a long day, place your hand on your stomach and breath deeply down into your gut. Imagine a warm, pink light glowing inside you, from that place of creativity, power, and productivity that is your gut and lower belly. Feel the love and gratitude that you have for being alive – because this moment is all there is.

Just you and your amazing body.

 

Alex Answers: Late Night Eating – What To Eat? How To Stop It?

This theme of “late night eating sabotage” is so common, and is so in line with my upcoming Delicious Detox program, that I thought I should share this juicy information so everyone can use it, not just my new members.

This question came from Rachel:

“For about 7 months, I’ve been eating a vegan, whole foods diet. And I love it. I’m also counting calories as well. I’ve lost 20 pounds and feel great as I’ve reached my goal weight.  But now things are getting more difficult. I feel like all day, I do great health wise. I eat a green smoothie for breakfast, a healthy lunch, lots of fruit, a healthy dinner…

But then…I don’t know what happens, but I go crazy and end up splurging on dessert, then raiding the pantry at night. Before, I could easily eat 1200-1300 calories a day and feel great. Now, I’m finding it hard to stay under 2,000 calories!

I don’t know if you have any advice for this problem, or maybe a recipe for some low-cal vegan nighttime snacks…”

Alex Answers:

Rachel, this is such an awesome topic. Late night eating can be a tough habit to break. You’ve spent a busy day working, being responsible, eating the “right” foods, commuting, planning your meals for the next day, and cleaning up your house, now you just want to chill and de-stress…

And just as you’re about to get comfortable with the TV, boy/girlfriend, or magazine, your cravings start coming up.

NO! You scream at yourself furiously.

I’ve been so good!

Don’t crave that chocolate/cheese/potato chips/glass of wine…you’ll ruin all the hard work from today and feel lousy about yourself!

But I WANT it! I deserve it! Gimme.

The judgement and self-loathing start to pile on and your hard-earned relaxation time is now a frustrating, stressful wrestling match of the mind.

How can you end that nightly civil war so you don’t end up in front of the fridge or cupboard searching for fatty, sugary snacks?

Let’s take a step back and take stock:

Ask yourself: Am I really hungry?

What is my body feeling right now? Am I thirsty? Am I just tired? Do I need a hug, hot shower, massage from my boy/girlfriend? Do I need to tell my wife or husband something that’s been on my mind and won’t rest? Am I craving intimacy and feel lonely at the end of the day because no one’s here? Did I have a fight at work or phone call with a family member that set me off today?

Maybe I need a nice half-hour with my vibrator and some good lube instead of a chocolate bar…believe me, I’ve been there.

Your cravings are telling you something. Listen to your body. Notice the physical sensations that are rising up and where they’re possibly coming from.

Listen to how your body responds to the stimulation of your life. Once you start feeling the sensations your body has stored from the day, you may find your cravings go away on their own.

Another good way to end the late-night-eating-sabotage cycle is to get rid of your TV for a week…or longer. It will totally shake up your evening routine and your nights will have more room for self-care and true relaxation.

Yes, you might be hungry from a long day of work, and sometime a late night snack is exactly what you need. So I’m going to share my top 5 late night snacks that fall in the category of “Totally Awesome Delicious Detox Snacks:”

  1. Frozen grapes or blueberries for a sweet tooth
  2. Light air popped popcorn or plain popcorn popped in paper bag in microwave, drizzled with olive oil and a tiny bit of salt
  3. Raw sauerkraut – it will knock your sweet craving right out!
  4. Fruit “ice cream” – peel a banana, freeze, blend in a food processor with nuts, berries or raisins and serve
  5. A few raw nuts with a plump, juicy Medjool date

Here’s what you can do now:

If you have specific questions I’d love to hear what you’re struggling with – ask right here or leave a comment. For a forum to share your issues with like-minded people working to change their lives, apply to my 8-Week Delicious Detox Tele-Course. There are only 7 Premium All-Access memberships left, so take a look soon.

 

 

 

 

May = National Masturbation Month & Our Bodies, Ourselves Turns 40!

May is Rockin’!

Masturbation has been marked a taboo act by most religions and our Puritanical culture, but it’s still the second most common sexual act amongst humans. Heck, other animals enjoy self-pleasuring too! I’ve seen my cat and my friends’ dogs get down with no shame whatsoever, so maybe we can take a hint from Fluffy and Fido and celebrate that May is National Masturbation Month.

Masturbation is so perfectly natural, yet so maligned. I’m happy to report that masturbation can actually be considered part of your health care regime:

Women report a decrease in menstrual cramps and bloating when masturbating, can increase their resistance to yeast infection, and build their pelvic floor muscles which can improve orgasms. For men, masturbation has been documented to improve their immune system and makes for a healthier prostate. Masturbation is also a great form of stress relief, releases endorphins, and burns calories (see my FitBit video here).

How did this fantastic holiday get started?

Back in 1994, the U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders caused a public furor when endorsed masturbation as a safe way to discourage early sexual activity. In response to an audience member’s question about masturbation at the United Nations’ World AIDS Day, Elders said “I think it is something that is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught.”

For that simple statement, the torches were lit and Elders was forced to resign. So much for the first black woman Surgeon General…

The good folks at Good Vibrations, a sex-positive and female oriented sex store in San Francisco, (and, by the way, the place where I bought my first vibrator) decided to get a public debate going about the positive aspects of masturbation for men and women. Hence, National Masturbation Month was born.

(If you’re looking for a good hands-on experience to find your own sex toys in a non-creepy environment and don’t live in San Francisco, you can also visit Toys in Babeland in New York City and Seattle, or go to their website here.)

This May is also the 40th anniversary of the publication of Our Bodies, Ourselves, the seminal reference book on healthy sexuality for women.

Our Bodies Ourselves - National Masturbation Month

This book was devoured by young women (and probably a lot of young men, too!) the world over who were hungry for straight talk and information about their bodies, hormones, emotions, and sexuality. If you haven’t read the book, or you know a woman who is exploring her own sexuality, pick up a copy here!

I’ll be attending a special party next week hosted by Belisa Vranich, nationally recognized “sexpert” and psychologist, to celebrate the authors and publication of Our Bodies, Ourselves here in New York City. I’ll be sure to post some photos!

Finally, if you’re curious about discovering true physical intimacy with others or yourself, you simply MUST listen to this week’s podcast from Ariel & Shya Kane titled “Let’s Get Physical!”

being here with ariel & shya kane: let's get physical

The Kane’s wonderful internet radio show Being Here will “support you in dissolving those old limiting ideas and inhibitions so that you can be free and natural with yourself and/or your partner.”

Win The Healing Power of Creativity With Karen Benke’s Book Rip The Page

I’m always looking for different sources of inspiration, especially when it comes to writing and other ways to express my creativity. I haven’t always considered myself an artist, and I know most of my clients think they’re “not very creative, but used to be.”

As far as I can tell, every human being has creativity hardwired into their minds and bodies. It’s creativity that gets you through challenging days, helps you cook meals from scratch, develops your sense of humor, and inspires you to plant a new garden every year. Did you paint your own bathroom? That’s creativity. Have you ever made up a limerick or funny poem for your kid? That’s artistry.

Creativity not only allows the individual to express themselves, it can create energy within the person. Energy to take on a new exercise program, vitality and courage to cook more at home. In these ways, expressing your creativity can actually be life saving.

Karen Benke’s newest book Rip The Page invites the reader to explore their creativity through fun, freeing writing activities that can be done alone or with other people. Each section is full of ideas, and encourages the user to uncover their own story. I found myself expressing myself in new ways and getting a little sassy with my writing because the book got me out of my old habits.

Karen was a client of mine years ago, and I found her creativity to be inspiring and heart warming – so thank you Karen! This book is a real gift for me, and I can’t wait to use it with my son.

Karen and her publisher Shambhala have graciously agreed to give away a signed copy of Rip The Page to one lucky reader!

Leave a comment here on my blog by 3/10, and you could be the big winner!