Getting clear on your desires for 2014

It’s getting close again…

The end of the year.

And it’s time to look back, take stock, and celebrate!

2013 was filled to the brim with awesome-sauce for me…and some really tough stuff, too. You probably feel the same. And while I love to plan, plot, and vision, I feel the need to do things differently as 2014 gets closer…

Instead of committing to a long list of “to-dos” for 2014, I’m getting cozy with the idea of how I want to feel. What physical and emotional experiences do I want to feel in my life, my body, my business, my relationships?

 

Doesn’t that sound more fun, more real, and more authentic than a bunch of goals?

 

I’ve been tuning in to how my body talks to me about what I should feed it, how I should move it, when she needs rest, and more…you know, listening to my cravings and asking what they really mean.

 

Sometimes she asks for sleep, sometimes, water, greens, bread, and sometimes meat. Sometimes she asks for some juicy one-one time with my man.

 

And the more I listen to my cravings, the more I give my body what she truly wants, the better I feel, the bigger my capacity for living gets, and the more fun I have.

 

I didn’t get here on my own. I’ve been reading and listening to other experts who study desire, cravings, neuroscience, visioning, and more to learn more about my experience of my body and my truth.

 

One of those experts is Danielle LaPorte. Her book The Desire Map has been revolutionary for me, as it takes a new approach to identifying, connecting with and launching your desires.

 

The Desire Map is a two-part book: the first part teaches Danielle’s message of desire’s true divine nature, and convinces the reader that giving your desires their due is a grand idea. The second part is a juicy workbook that asks you the questions you didn’t know you needed to ask, but are so glad to answer.

 

After reading and writing about my core desired feelings, as Danielle has defined these basic desires, I feel deeply tapped into my self. My truth. I feel present and clear.

 

And I think that’s what a coach and guide really needs to feel – clear, present, focused and authentic.

 

Not only that, a coach and writer needs to understand their desires in order to help others learn to listen to their bodies.

 

What do you need? What do you want? What really lights you up?

 

Can you imagine what the world would be like if every person you knew was in touch with their feelings and desires? And held their desires as good and their bodies wise?

 

Here’s a look at my own desires:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do they resonate with you? Do you want to explore your own cravings? What are you doing to create more of those feelings in your life today?

If this resonated with you, and you’re looking for a new way to get in touch with your desires and love them as your best guides, go order your copy of Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map. 

xo,

Alex

 

Do you act how you want to feel?

I hope your autumn is cozy and bright. The last two months have been incredible. I’ve been writing my next book, preparing for my first TedX talk, and have partnered with three amazing organizations for my big spring program (more on that later).

 

While this is all going on, I’ve been working with my fabulous team to get ready for the 28-Day Enlighten Challenge, which starts Friday, November 29th – if you haven’t joined yet, you can sign up here for free:

 

I’ve been working hard to get my message about using our cravings to create the body and life we want, so I’m not telling you all this to brag…

 

I just want you to ask yourself: are you acting the way you want to feel?

 

See, I want to feel light, energized, connected, and like my work matters – every day. And my work, play and relationships are all geared toward helping me stay in that zone.

 

You may be close to how you want to feel, or you may be a mile off. Wherever you are now, I want you to have the basic recipe for creating a live, and body, that feels amazing and true for you:

 

1.   Ask your body what you really want: In every cleanse or detox program I teach, the question of cravings comes up. People want to know why they always reach for sugar or fatty snacks, when they’re trying so hard to “eat right.” So I always ask this: how does your body feel now, and how do you want to feel? After a minute, they always say “I’m tired,” or “I’m thirsty,” or “I’m so stressed out at work right now.” See, we’ve gotten into the habit of using food to solve our problems, but it doesn’t really give our body what she’s asking for. So I want you to write down how you want to feel from the moment you wake up, through your day, to the moment you close your eyes at night. This might take some time, but it really helps you see what you need.

 

2.   Get your girls in on it: I used to try to do everything myself. I had a “I can do it!” or even more accurate, “I should do this on my own” kind of attitude. But then I had a kid…and a divorce… and a business to run. I realized my DIY habits didn’t have to mean “Do It Alone” and I started asking for help.

 And the more I asked my friends to help out, join in,  or just come along, the more fun I had and the more my life opened up. And the more I felt supported, the more strong and energized I felt.

 So look at where you’re turning down help. I’m sure there is some place in your life where someone has offered their energy or time, and you’ve said no. Can you invite that person back in? And make it fun to do it together? I’ll bet you can think of at least one…

 

3.   Keep it simple: You can’t think your way into feeling good, you have to feel your way into it. Start with what you’re doing right now. Sit up straight. Stretch your neck and back for 1 minute. Take 10 deep breaths.

Most of the women I work with are so stressed and multi-tasking, they can’t feel calm even when it’s time to go to bed. By keeping it simple through the day, your life will feel more manageable and less overwhelming. This will help you eat exactly what and how much is right for you to feel lighter.  

 

4.   See the small gifts & give them to yourself daily: Keeping it simple is making life feel lighter already, and you’ll have space to look around and see how your life is set up to support you…or not.

 

When you manage one thing at a time, you have energy to make your life an art project that feels like a dream to live inside of. So do something small every day that feels like a gift to yourself. I like to take a walk around the block and get a cup of tea at my favorite café, sit and enjoy a beautiful piece of fruit, listen to a favorite song, snag a nap when I need one.

 

These small things have helped me create a life, and a body, that I love. But you may not know where to start – like, which small thing should you do first? What’s really going to help you feel light?

 

I’ve made this easy for ya…

 

My 28-Day Enlighten Challenge is going to help you make the kind of life, body and energy you want. Small gifts, tiny changes, daily.

 

You’ll be happily surprised with how easy and good you feel when we get started. And the first day is Friday, November 29th, so it’s time to sign up!

 

Go here to sign up for the free Enlighten Challenge:

In the comments below I want to know, how do you want to feel and what can you do now to feel that way?

Can’t wait to hear from you on the blog, and play with you in the challenge starting next Friday! 

Xo, 

Alex

Do you really want to know what’s wrong? Functional Medicine has the answers

 

When I first got sick at the age of 25, the first doctor I went to gave me pain killers and antidepressants. After being in his office for 5 minutes, I had two powerful prescriptions for drugs that might help the symptoms I was suffering, but wouldn’t solve the root of the problem.

 

So I found another doctor who would help me heal my body. That doctor had a different approach, called functional medicine.

 

What a difference! The second doctor spent an hour with me talking about my diet, family history, lifestyle, and more. By the time I was diagnosed with food-based illnesses, I knew that this doctor had taken the time to understand all of the factors that were causing my illness.

 

Here’s why you should know about functional medicine (FM):

 

  • FM tries to heal the root causes of disease rather than just treating symptoms
  • FM brings the patient and practitioner into partnership, rather than a “top-down” doctor-tells-patient-what-to-do model.
  • FM treats the whole person and body as a system, rather than looking at one organ 
  • FM doctors spend more time with patients listening to stories, and looking at lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors that can play a part in illness

 

 

The old system isn’t working. Most modern medicine is structured in an acute-care model to fix trauma and short-term illnesses. If I break my arm, I’ll go to the emergency room.

 

But we are facing more complex problems than a broken arm. Obesity, heart disease and many cancers need a holistic approach. Most doctors are now specialists with a focus on their particular sliver of medicine. Most of us need doctors with a broader understanding of the complex interactions of genetics, lifestyle and environmental toxicity to help us truly heal.

 

By integrating the best, proven practices from both modern “Western” medicine and “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, Functional Medicine doctors will treat the whole person with nutrition, exercise, drugs, botanical medicines, supplements, detoxification programs, and stress-management techniques.

 

In short, you get more tools to truly heal from a FM doctor, and you get a partner.

 

To help you find a Functional Medicine doctor who can work with you, check out Revive Primary Care. This new service will pair you with a proven practitioner in your area so you can begin truly healing your chronic illness.

 

I’m honored to support Revive Primary Care’s mission to help grow the awareness of FM, as well as help more people get the care that will truly heal their lives.

 

 

How much will you take? Are pleasure and power dangerous for women?

Over the years I’ve come to believe that women’s capacity for joy and pleasure is smaller than our capacity for difficulty and pain. We can handle the daily tribulations of life’s stress, suffering and dragging under the weight of the pressure of work, family, caring for others, and “going without” until our martyr mindset crushes us.

 

But how much pleasure, joy, fun, freedom, power, and self-care can you take? When was the last time you had pure, unadulterated pleasure, at a long stretch, guilt-free, just for you? Something that didn’t involve chocolate cake or a bottle of wine, that is.

 

We try. We give ourselves a semi-annual spa day, splurging on a pedicure and lunch out with a trusted friend. But after those two hours are through, we’re right back into begrudgingly serving, rushing, going, doing, doing, doing.

 

Why is it so challenging for women to own our capacity for pleasure? 

 

It begins with our birth. From young years girls are told to do for others more than they do for themselves. While third-wave feminism and the realities of the global marketplace have brought more and more women into medical, business and law schools, we are still brought up as the caretakers, and perhaps our natural evolution as a species makes women slightly better at the childrearing and home keeping skills.

 

Taught to care for others first, putting our needs last, we feel incredible guilt and no agency around claiming what we desire. Being labeled as smart and powerful is still second place to being considered pretty or popular. 

 

Are we masochistic? No. I believe we are afraid. Afraid of being singled-out, cast out, put in the spotlight of shame. Afraid of being labeled selfish, a bitch, or unfeminine in any way. And I believe that fear is very old, and very deep rooted in our cultural psyche.

 

Somehow, along the way, being known as a powerful woman changed into something else, someone less demanding for herself.

Witch

 

Perhaps it began with the great witch trials in Europe in the 1500-1700s. Tens of thousands of independent women, healers and midwives, were tortured and burned for their power and position.

 

Before the witch trials, women held a special place and power as healers and midwives, dispensers of natural medicine and knowledge. We were respected individuals who provided valuable services to the community.

 

Are we still afraid that we might be burned at the stake for taking a place in the sun? For demanding the freedom to take our pleasures where we may? I believe our culture was branded with fear from those hundreds of years of terror.

 

It’s no wonder women have been afraid to assert their rights to power, knowledge, and pleasure all these years. In her classic history Witches, Midwives & Nurses,  Barbara Erhrenriech shows the early European history of women as healers, and practitioners of all medical knowledge.

 

After the witch-hunts wiped out the female medical experts, known as witches and midwives, the male-dominated medical and religious systems were able to take complete control over the physical and spiritual well-being of Europe and the American colonies.  

 

Women became beholden to “experts” and doctors, and lost touch with their power as healers, medicine makers, and respected members of the culture. Women who knew too much were cast out, and the female body became subject to dangerous, and unnecessary medical practices including ill-conceived hysterectomies, heavily-medicated childbirth, and barely tested contraceptives.

 

Being a woman became a disease.

 

Not only did we lose the power of being the medicine women of our clans and villages, we weren’t trusted to know anything about our bodies, or to participate in our own care. Natural childbirth not only fell out of fashion, but women who wanted to birth at home, or stand or squat rather than be forced to lay down to make delivery easier for the doctor were treated as unreasonable and uncooperative.

 

As much as things change, they stay the same.

 

The medical profession is no longer at the 90/10 ratio of men to women, as it was in the 1970s. In fact, it’s almost evenly 50/50. Still, women remain afraid of their bodies, and sure that there is something inherently wrong with our natural state of being. We will never be perfect – far from it. We can never be good enough. And the roots of these beliefs are ancient and pervasive, encoded in our cultural memories.

 

We women have been active participants in the human history of medicine. There is an old, institutionalized sexism at play here, but it’s barely understood or acknowledged. Knowing the history of the present moment gives us a deeper awareness of possibility. If you knew you came from a line of midwives and healers, would you be more apt to trust your intuition, body, and opinion when it came to matters of your own health?

 

We simply need to see how history has played out in the modern marketing, messaging and entertainment around us that we consume, get clear that the icons of femininity aren’t all that’s true, and that we are perfect. Our bodies are strong, magnificent, and capable of powerful healing. And we women have the right and power to trust our own inner wisdom, heal our bodies and live any way that feels good and pleasurable.

 

What do you think about all this? Leave your comments and questions below…

The Accidental Muffin

Gluten-Free, Vegan Ginger-Date-Cherry Muffins

 

OMGFM.

(That’s Oh My, Gluten-Free Muffins for everyone who’s not in my head)

Gluten-Free, vegan, ginger-date-cherry muffins

We hosted a brunch last week in our little Brooklyn apartment last weekend. In case you didn’t know, brunch is my favorite meal. If you look back through my recipes I’ll bet you’ll find that 90% are brunch related.

Why do I love brunch so much? Because you can have anything you want and it’s all perfectly acceptable brunch fare. Sweet, savory, raw, paleo, and vegan dishes all happily co-habitate the table and everyone gets the taste combinations they desire. 

Plus, it’s the only meal where drinking alcohol before noon is totally acceptable.

So last weekend I declared that I would bake. Then I forgot to look up a new recipe to test out. I got to the cupboard at 10am on Sunday morning and decided to wing it. I discovered some bits and pieces of dried fruits that were too small for a fruit cake, but once combined became the perfect amount for a dozen muffins. 

Sometimes forgetfulness is the mother of tasty invention, and this is a great example of a lemon situation turning into delicious lemonade.

Except it was muffins. 

Ginger-Date-Cherry Muffins (Gluten-free & vegan) 

 Yield: 10-12 muffins

½ cup dried fruit (mind was a combo of candied ginger, Medjool dates and dried cherries)

2 tablespoons hot water

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 cup almond meal

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

¼ cup Sucanat sugar

1/3 cup melted coconut oil + 2 extra teaspoons for oiling muffin tins

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

 Gluten-Free, vegan, ginger-date-cherry muffinsGluten-Free, vegan, ginger-date-cherry muffins

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Drip 1-2 drops of coconut oil into each hole in a muffin tin. Use your fingers to lightly oil all around each hole. Set aside.
  3. Chop the dried fruit into 1/4-inch pieces and combine in a small bowl. Drizzle hot water over top and set the bowl aside.
  4. Combine the flour, almond meal, salt , baking powder, and sugar to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine
  5. Measure the coconut oil and vanilla extra and combine with the water and fruit. Pour into the dry mix and stir until just combined.
  6. Using a medium ice cream scooper, scoop even amounts into each muffin hole.
  7. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating after 7 minutes.
  8. Serve hot or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Not that ours lasted through the afternoon…

 

Xox,

Alex

 

 

End Stomach Bloating Video

How to end stomach bloating…forever

I had a beautiful autumn weekend in Pennsylvania Dutch country – Amish buggies, classic car shows and we even tried some homemade cider donuts! I loved that they were small, not very sweet, and freshly made.

Cider & Donut

 

Now, I don’t eat these foods a lot – they’re a sometimes food, as my son calls them. If I eat too much sugar or gluten, my body starts to rebel. I’ll get bloated and tired. But I know what to do to avoid getting bloated, and how to stop it if it happens.

I get this question a lot – in fact it’s one of the top concerns for my clients and readers:

“I’m bloated and I’ve tried everything – what can I do?”

That’s what my friend Rebekah wanted to know, so I made a special video with my top tips on how to end stomach bloat. Watch it HERE:

 

In my short & sweet video you’ll discover:

  • Which toxic 7 foods cause MOST stomach bloat that you can cut out
  • Which condiment you can add to your meals to stop the bloat before it starts
  • HOW you’re eating may cause the bloat, and how to do it better
  • My favorite tool for ending stomach pain at home or work
    Use a hot water bottle after meals
  • AND my top supplement trick – and how you may have been doing it wrong all these years

If you like the video, please share the link with your friends!

XO,

Alex

 

When “Healthy” Food Isn’t: The Truth About ULTRA Processed Foods

A reader asked me about veggie burgers and faux-meats on Facebook. “Are these healthy?”
My answer is getting a lot of attention, and may make you question your Whole Foods’ purchases:

6 Energy & Healthy Must-Haves For Working Moms

Working mom-hood can suck.

Don’t get me wrong:

My son is the best kid I could have asked for, I love my career helping others feel well in their bodies, and I love my life: working from home 75% of the time totally helps me maintain my health.

I don’t usually complain about exhaustion and overwhelm, because honestly I feel pretty good most of the time, and my health is my top priority. But here’s what I’m feeling today:

Teaching a tele-class until 10pm pushed my adrenal glands to the max last night. After a welcome-home roll in the hay with my partner at 11 (totally worth it), I finally fell asleep about midnight; only to be woken up by my 6-year old son who sneezed in my face after padding into our room at 3am.

My 6:30am alarm was pre-empted by my early rising boy who poked me awake at 6 to ask if he had to go to school today.

So, yeah. I’m tired.

And most working moms can relate. We get pulled in several directions throughout the day, and our best efforts to maintain balance are often thwarted by a kid who needs to stay home sick, an opportunity to grow our business that requires late nights, or that networking event that could bring us the next big client.

How can a working mom keep her wits about her, and stay focused through the day?

In my 20s I would have powered through days like these with alternating hits of caffeine and sugar. Of course in my 20s I wouldn’t be tired because of teaching and my 6 year old, I would have been out all night barhopping.

These days I do my best to stay healthy, one bite at a time, and I know my old habits of a 2pm double mocha with whipped cream and a Mounds Bar after lunch aren’t going to cut it. Those old habits worked against me:

 

  • I’ll break out with acne on my back and jaw line, which is oh-so attractive
  • I’ll feel even more run down by 3:30pm
  • I’ll have a harder time falling asleep and waking up, leading to more caffeine and more sugar the next day – a slippery slope

 

So I’m going to use specific energizing foods and techniques that I know will help my body and brain get through the day:

 

  1. Water. Yes, it’s boring, but fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration. Just a 2% water loss effects mental functioning, and I don’t need any help in that department today. Plus, it’s free.
  2. Green Tea. Yes, it’s caffeine, but it doesn’t give me (or many other people) the same jittery feeling as coffee. Plus, the polyphenols in green tea (aka antioxidants) known as ECGC, boost metabolism and promote fast fat loss, while the theanine provides calm for a long, stressful day.
  3. Green Juice. Mega doses of chlorophyll and vitamins in a fresh green juice are going to boost my energy just a tad.
  4. Lunch. A mega-salad and some lean and clean protein. Today will be shredded baby kale with arugula tossed with olive oil and a bit of ume vinegar, some marinated chickpeas and smoked wild Alaskan salmon. The greens give me uplifting energy and the fish provides a solid protein.
  5. Walk. I’ll have a 20-minute break in between clients and I’m heading outside. Instead of checking out Facebook or sending 5 more emails, I’m getting out for some fresh air. Moving in and looking at nature are naturally energizing. True, it’s Brooklyn so there aren’t rolling hills and forest paths to wander, but a tree grows here. If you work in an office where long breaks are frowned upon, take a 5-minute walk outside and take the stairs to get there. Every little bit helps!
  6. Napping. Never underestimate the power of the power nap. If you find yourself craving caffeine or sugar at 3pm, head to your car or sneak under your desk at 3:30pm for 15 minutes. The benefits of a 5-10 minute nap are amazing, and you’ll be surprised at your productivity and focus after.

No, I won’t be able to make up for the lost sleep with some pressed vegetables in a glass, but fueling my body with nutrients it needs rather than caffeine and sugar that will ultimately deplete me is my long-term strategy for health.

Tomorrow I will sleep in a bit while my son gets his weekend screen-time fix. Ultimately my goal is to continue to replenish my energy so that I can have a full weekend with my son.

That’s what this is all about really. Choosing foods on a daily basis that allow me to have the energy and life I want – full, big, varied, fun and productive. I can’t anticipate perfectly what energy-drains will show up, but I stay in touch with my body and want “she” needs. All of us need to keep listening to our physical bodies and what they need, and it’s usually pretty simple: adequate rest, invigorating movement, sex, great food with deep nutrition, play, hydration, engagement, and passion.

And in the end, eating for energy allows me to devote more fun and love to my son. Even though he wakes me up early, he’s the best thing in my life.

Keep the greens handy, get to bed, and keep going with your life.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your healthy picnic or BBQ plan this holiday weekend?

Fail to plan,
and you’re planning to fail!

Real Food Is Sexy!

Real Food Is Sexy!

Perfectly ripe berries and fruit are my snack of choice any season.

There is something romantic, bawdy, intoxicating about fresh, warm, dripping fruit.

Real Food Is Sexy

Fruit is sex.