Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Lately it seems as if the media is flooding us with stories of fear, lack and trepidation. With all of this negativity, it can be hard to access your own sense of inner peace. This week, try to carve out some time for yourself and begin your day from a place of serenity and peace. Here is a great meditation and breakfast smoothie recipe to get you started.

Choose a meditation space where you will not be interrupted. This place should be away from distractions such as the telephone, computer and doorbell. Find a space in your home for a place that feels peaceful and serene. Ideally this area will be free of clutter and should not be associated with stressful triggers such as work problems or traumatic events. It is important for you to be able to feel as relaxed as possible when you enter your meditative process. Many people choose to meditate outside in nature. For others the only quiet place they can access is their bathroom. You may want to create a meditation table or altar to inspire you. Your meditation altar can include pictures of loved ones, statues, religious relics or other treasured items to enhance your time of inner reflection. There is no right or wrong place to meditate and become one with your spirit.

There are many different types of meditation. Some meditations involve the use of a mantras or repeated words or phrases. Other meditations encourage you to visualize various images in your mind’s eye. Walking meditations are yet another way to bask in a sense of limitless peace. Each chapter in this book will feature a different meditation technique. Experiment with all the various techniques and decide for yourself which one works best for you.

The following exercise is a simple, introductory meditation.

Sit in the floor, in your bed, or on a pillow with your legs crossed. Alternatively, you can to sit on a chair with both feet placed flatly on the floor in front of you. Sit with your back straight and envision each vertebra stacking one on top of the other, bone by bone. Place your hands on your knees with your palms facing up. You may choose to keep your eyes open, gazing at a fixed point in the room. Or, if you want to, you can meditate with your eyes closed.

As you begin your meditation say aloud or to yourself “I am totally relaxed, surrounded by peace and goodness”

State your intention for this meditation. Choose an intention that feels right for you and meets your needs on that particular day. Some examples of intentions are “I dedicate this meditation to creating a healthy body.” “I devote this meditation to world peace.” “” I dedicate this meditation to letting go of negative feelings and replacing them with peace and joy.”

Focus on your breathing. Slowly breathe in and out through your nose. Allow your whole body to relax. Let go of any tension you feel in your muscles. Gently let go of any stressful thoughts or worries.

Visualize a blank television screen in your mind’s eye. Allow all of your thoughts to disappear. When your mind starts forming thoughts, words or pictures gently notice these thought forms and bring your focus back to the blank television screen.

Experience all of your senses fully. If you are feeling tired or restless, notice these feelings and sensations and give yourself permission to experience them. Do not resist or judge anything. Focus on breathing in and out and allowing everything to be as it is in this moment.

If you distracted by outside noises such as sirens, telephones or rain, simply notice these distractions and let them go. Having thoughts arise during meditation is as natural as breathing. Welcome the thoughts and then quietly let them go as you surrender to silence. Focus on breathing in and breathing out. Continue this practice for twenty minutes. You may choose to meditate for as long as you desire. At the end of the mediation session, take several long, deep breaths. Feel a sense of gratitude and appreciation for this time of inner reflection.

Serenity Smoothie

1 cup skim milk
1 cup nonfat yogurt
1 large banana, frozen
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
4 large strawberries, hulled
1/4 small cantaloupe, diced
2 tablespoons organic honey

1 tablespoon flax seed oil

1. In blender, combine milk, yogurt, banana, blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, flax seed oil and honey.

2. Puree on high speed until thoroughly blended. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Happy New Year! We wish you a peaceful and joyous 2009! Here's an easy to prepare and delicious gourmet recipe that we hope will jump start your healthy eating goals. Whatever your new year's resolution or lack thereof, remember to be kind and gentle with yourself today (and everyday).

Mike’s Bean Salad with Red Peppers and Feta Cheese

Yield: 6 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Serving size: 1 cup

Each serving has:

431 calories
55 g carbohydrates
15 g fat
16 g fiber
22 g protein

1 cup canned dark red kidney beans, rinsed
1 cup white beans, rinsed
1 cup light red beans, rinsed
2 medium red bell peppers, diced
[1/2] cup canned whole sweet corn, drained
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped fine
1 medium red onion, diced
1 ounce fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
[1/4] teaspoon cumin powder
to taste salt and white pepper
4 whole leaves red leaf lettuce, washed

1. Combine the beans, red peppers, cilantro, garlic, cumin powder, onion, vinegar, olive oil and corn in a large bowl and toss well.

2. Let stand in refrigerator covered for at least one hour before serving.

3. Drain excess liquid from salad.

4. Divide the salad among 4 portions and serve on top of bed of red leaf lettuce. Top each serving with crumbled feta cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.