Category Archives: health & vitality

May I Be Frank

may i be frank ferrante movie

I know, I know… I often recommend documentaries on Sunday Is For Lovers. But if I could have an ongoing list, I’d place the documentary May I Be Frank near the top. Not because it’s high-quality, mind-blowing or super-unique, but because it has the most heart. I rarely get choked-up while watching films, and this film had me on the verge of tears. It’s about a guy named Frank Ferrante that goes through a transformation. I’m not going to say anymore than that. I’m just going to say that…. (did I just say I wasn’t going to say anymore?) ….he completely changes his life on every level; physically, spiritually and emotionally. I think the footage from the film is from 2005, and if you see him today, he looks amazing and his energy is so inviting and wonderful. He is still on the path of transformation, and he is still inspiring others along the way. It’s people like Frank that make me feel madly in-love with life. It’s people like Frank that generously show others what is possible. I’m so grateful for him, and for all the others that helped in recording and sharing his journey.

FRANK BEFORE:

FRANK AFTER:

Another film that you could watch, that would follow May I Be Frank beautifully is, Hungry For Change. The poster/artwork for the film is a terrible choice, but the film itself is excellent. It’s not as ‘entertaining’ as May I Be Frank, but it is informative, and Frank Ferrante is in it, along with a few other faces you might recognize.

PS! Both May I Be Frank and Hungry For Change can be found everywhere. They are online for free from various websites, they are also on Netflix, Amazon, and lots of other movie outlets.

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What If You Stopped Going Outside?

what if you didn't go outside

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Empowered by One Change

sarah+britton+vegetarian

“What does one change look like? What is one thing you can do today to improve your health?”, said Sarah Britton (holistic nutritionist, chef & blogger) during her TedTalk in Amsterdam.

I would like to change that to: What is one thing you can do today to improve your life?

Sarah is one example how one change can not only positively impact one life, but many lives (see video embedded below and link posted above.) Every one of us has the DAILY OPPORTUNITY to make a change in our lives — and as a result, change many lives. The world is in the state it is in because of the choices we have made. Do we want to keep choosing in that direction, or do we want to choose something different? The same goes for our individual lives. Do we want to keep them as they are, or do we want to create something better? If I told you that 15 years from now, your life would be EXACTLY as it is, every single part of it the same. sarah+britton+green+smoothieWould you be super happy, or would you feel some disappointment? If you wouldn’t be filled to the brim with joy about it, it means there is room for change. It means that you could feel better, and those around you could too. And if you have the opportunity to create something new on a daily basis, why not accept the opportunity with open arms, and celebrate it with a little courage & gratitude? What would your life look like if you did? What would the world look like if you did?

“With every bite of food we take, we are voting for the way we will look, for the way we will think, and if course the way we will feel. Our food becomes us. Literally.”  – Sarah Britton

I would like to change that to: With every choice we make, we are voting for the way we will look, for the way we will think, and if course the way we will feel. Our life choices become us (creating our self, our life and our world). Literally.

[Photos by Sarah Britton, even better pics on her My New Roots blog. She’s a great photographer! You can also find her on Facebook & Twitter.]

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You Can’t Handle the Truth! GMOs & SOBs & Everyone in Between.

gmo_food_study

When I hear about the GMO controversy, my first thought is of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men. (See video clip.) To learn more about GMOs, watch Genetic Roulette, watch Seeds of Death, and listen to Jeffrey M. Smith’s research. (Please, don’t be a flake. If you haven’t already, watch the free full-movie links above. Your health is important. Got allergies, skin issues, digestive issues, reproductive issues? Click & watch the links!)

Over the last year I’ve been trying to reduce my food costs. I’ve been buying produce from a local store that is pretty inexpensive. Offering the cheapest prices in our area. But I had some reservations about it over the last two months and I stopped. I decided to go back to buying home grown local (upstate New York) or certified organic produce, that are higher in quality — and of course, higher in price. Much higher.

gmo foodsThe reason I decided to pay more, and buy better quality, is because I think the ‘cheap shop’ is selling GMO produce, and produce shipped here from overseas (as far away as China), and produce that is gown in soil that is void of minerals. The fruits & veggies are huge, they lack diversity in color & shape (very uniform), and you have to eat a lot of them to get strong flavors. The shop carries no organic or local produce. None. I just had a gut feeling that this ‘cheap food’ was coming with a hidden higher cost — my health and the health of the planet.

Right now I am buying much less fruits & veggies — but I am buying higher quality & more seasonal produce, and produce from local shops & farmers markets that cater to small farms, local growers & organic companies. I am also looking for more heirloom & wild foods when I shop in stores. I’ve noticed that heirloom & wild foods shape & color have more much diversity, intensity & beauty. They are also more tasty & satiating. Same goes for the small organic farm or local garden produce. The produce may be smaller in size and a not as perfect (or plastic) looking, but after eating it, I notice that it’s way more satisfying. I need less of those foods to feel full, content, nourished & happy. Try it. Eat some wild foods, or rich soil local garden foods — then try the same food cheaply mass-produced and sold in abundance. Which feels & tastes better? Which satisfies you longer?)

Another thing I started doing, was I started growing my own food, at home! In my New York City apartment (luckily it’s large enough to do this. But if I had a balcony, courtyard or backyard, I would prefer growing food outside.) This has been very exciting. I’ve dedicated quite a bit of space to the project, and it seems to be working out well.

Growing my own food (mixed greens, various tomatoes, etc.) has brought me even closer to how important it is to know how your food is being grown, and what is in it. This city micro-garden I am developing now, is the training wheels for when I move to the country. I’m learning a lot! And for the first time, I’m gardening and putting my hands in the soil — even though I live in a big city — and it feels great!

gmo cornIf you want to know how to make sure you aren’t buying & eating GMO foods (which isn’t easy), there is a great site that gives some helpful tips; How to Avoid Genetically Modified Foods, on WikiHow.

My best advice is to steer clear the best you can of all and any GMO foods (check out the link above so you know what to look for). Try to buy 100% Organic (it must say 100%), and buy local when you can. Buy heirloom or wild (look for those words on the label) varieties of food. Avoid eating fruits without seeds (like seedless citrus, grapes or watermelons — as someone that has eaten a lot of fruit over the years, I can tell you firsthand that these fruits aren’t ideal or healthy.) You can also learn to forage wild edible plants in nature.

And grow your own food! Even if you start out small, do it. Go for it! Grow what you can. If all you have room for is kitchen herbs, grow them! If you can grow some vegetables outside, try raised beds. It’s a method anyone can do. You can put them over pavement, pesticide permeated grass, chemical treated wood, or any surface that isn’t conducive to gardening. John Kohler is a good person to look to for gardening advice & ‘how to’ tips.

Whatever you do — do something! Don’t be a consumer zombie. Learn what is in your food & avoid GMOs. Learn what fuels you best and gives you the most energy. Learn what give you the most radiance, clear thinking & optimum health. Learn what is best for the sustainability of the planet and all living beings that depend on it for survival. Learn how to grow your own food. Then share what you have learned with others. :)

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Meditation Sessions, Singing Bowls & Indoor Gardens — Can You Dig It?!

singing bowls meditation

Oooo, sorry for the delay on today’s blog post. I had a busy week, then spent my usual writing day (every Saturday) traveling to New Paltz. (Had a great time in New Paltz, got some sun & got some new seeds for my garden project!)

So here I am writing the blog post. Not sure what to chat about today, so I’ll just tell you what I’ve been into lately. Over the spring season I’ve been super inspired by singing bowls. Something about them just clicked for me. They feel right. Crystal bowls & Tibetan/Himalayan bowls resonate with me so greatly. There is no way I can explain it, no way I can put it into words. You’ll have to give them a listen and see if they resonate with you too. (To check them out, listen to Tibetan bowls here & crystal bowls here.)

healing gardenThis summer I am planning on putting three (well, more like four or more) things together for the most blissful-experiential-fun-educational summer ever! I’ve already put a little program together for myself, and I’m transitioning into it little by little as summer slowly rolls in. Here is the general outline: I’m going to meditate daily with my singing bowl (I have an antique bowl that I really love, bought from Temple Sounds); I’m growing an edible garden in a sunny-breezy room indoors (lettuces, tomatoes, herbs, strawberries, green beans — the works); I’m having fun with my own energy by moving my body & voice (taking fun dance classes & figuring out overtone singing). That is the general idea (along with a few other creative projects), and I’ll be turning up the volume/intensity on everything as the summer rolls in.

The plan is to really experience life: light & sound & color & energy (all the same really, just various vibrations). I want to connect with it (with life, with myself, with energy) on a deeper more intimate level, and do it on a daily basis in a mindful way. I also want to powerfully choose & surround myself with high-vibrations that really resonate with me. Of course this kind of energy is always within us and around us, but it’s usually drowned out by the chaos & noise, or unseen/not felt because of our constant ‘tuning out.’ It’s not often that we connect with what truly works for us in a healing & energizing way. We also rarely get silent or still, rarely tapping in & allowing ourselves to be moved consciously (mindfully, with full feeling).

In our very busy day-to-day lives, it’s easy to fall mindlessly into autopilot and forget about connecting to our deeper selves & to the deeper subtleties in life. That’s why I want to make going deep & ‘tuning in’ a daily habit. With time & practice, I imagine that my life would be more in tune. I would be more in tune with myself & others, more in tune with nature, more in tune with life itself.

singing bowls sound healingIn the past two weeks of transitioning into the program I have felt a super-healing difference in my overall well-being. It’s only been a short time, but adding sacred sounds from a singing bowl to my morning meditation; playing around with my voice & having fun with overtones; moving via yoga & dance, feeling the group energy in class or feeling the quiet energy at home when I practice alone; getting my hands in the rich black organic soil & watching things sprout & grow in the sun — what a difference — what a joy! It’s brought so much light/energy/color to my life. It feels like I’m adding more life to my life! As crazy as that sounds, it’s true.

I’m so excited to see what the summer will bring as I continue to make all these things a routine or daily habit. Life is so exciting when you get excited about it! Follow what inspires you. See where it leads. Decide what you want to explore this summer, and have fun watching it evolve. Watch yourself heal & grow & bloom in the process. Does that sound exciting or what?!

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What Is The Woodstock Fruit Festival?

adventurous quote

I want to introduce you to the Woodstock Fruit Festival. I’ve never attended, but I do know many people personally that run the event (owners, speakers, chefs, volunteers, fruit vendor, etc.). I can personally say that everyone that works to make the festival happen is inspiring & wonderful. Just really good people trying to be of service & make a difference in the world.

Embedded in this post, is a full movie that was made of the festival….

In terms of the health benefits they share in the film (saying that a fruit based diet, or a diet consisting of mostly fruits & vegetables, helps to transform people’s health & lives), I can say from personal experience that this is true. You can view a past post I wrote some time ago, if you would like to read more about that. All of my meals are animal-free, plant-based, & mostly raw/uncooked. During the colder months, I do not eat as fruity I do in the summer, but all year I do eat plenty of fruit, along with an abundance of leafy greens & herbs. Every other food I eat (seaweed, nuts, seeds, legumes, sprouts, etc.) is centered around fruits & vegetables.

If you have allergies, low-energy, fatigue, skin issues, constipation, digestion problems, cloudy thinking, arthritic joints, depression, or anything else that is causing you discomfort or pain, consider changing your diet to a cleaner one. One that takes less effort from the body to digest & assimilate; one that gives the body the nutrition & hydration it needs, as well as the space/time/energy it needs in order to heal.

Along with diet, I find that there are other things that are vital to health, & equally important. Below are the 7 keys to health (not in any particular order). All of these need to be in place & given priority in our lives:
Proper Diet
Adequate Sleep
Clean Water
Mental Poise
Sufficient Exercise
Daily Sunshine
Fresh Air

Since the year is coming to a close, I highly recommend celebrating it by ending the year in a refreshing, cleansing, uplifting, rejuvenating way. Then try starting the new year off in the same manner. After that, try to maintain that feeling by creating the best daily routine & environment possible for yourself, in order for you to thrive. Love yourself. Take care of your inside, as well as your outside. Allow yourself to have all that you need in order to shine & to feel good (in a lasting way). Invest in yourself. Go out on a limb. Take a chance. You’ll be glad you did.

…And no worries about getting everything ‘just right’ or perfect. It will never happen. This is a life long journey. There will always be tweaks & changes, along with new goals, or phases of your life that call for different things to be the focus for a while. Just enjoy the process. See every stage as perfect, just the way it is. Learn from all of it. Appreciate it all. Have fun exploring. Feel like a kid again. Be adventurous. Try something new. Everyday is an opportunity to rediscover yourself — an opportunity to rediscover life, in all of its abundance & natural beauty.

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TAKE YOUR TIME

Life can be so simple & so amazing. I started a new practice lately, I try to get to work at least 30 – 45 minutes early. Sometimes I slowly walk around the neighborhood; sometimes I sit & people watch outside; sometimes I have lunch nearby; sometimes I do absolutely nothing. It feels so good. I just use the 30 minutes as a bit of meditative time: time to get present — time to get real.

Not rushing, just enjoying the moment; the many moments that make up each day. In the past I would always be in a rush to get somewhere or do something. The present moment never seemed as good as the next. My whole day, everyday, was either about maximizing my time, or feeling guilty for not maximizing my time. And I have to honestly say, a lot of that was a waste of time & a waste of life. It truly did not make a difference in my level of happiness or satisfaction. Everything seemed difficult or challenging. Like I had to fight to accommodate things, or fight to make things happen. Not an all-out fight, just push myself a bit, struggle a little, & over-think a lot (a lot, a lot). A struggle to make things the way I wanted them to be, versus seeing how they are. Simply seeing the beauty in life without having to make it a story about me. The story of what I want (or what I think I need) & how everyone & everything fits into that story.

The value & satisfaction in enjoying the elements, the route, the people, the process of each day, as it is — is tremendous! Its worth is more than most can imagine. But just imagine missing it, not being present to any of it. Imagine living day-to-day without moments of beingness; without a moment to reflect; without a moment to take your time; without a moment to see the perfection & the beauty that is always there; without a moment to have some meaningless fun; without a moment to truly relax; without a moment to simply be yourself. This is the reality that many of us live, not just for a day, but for years, or for a lifetime. Life can be effortless & enjoyable with only a shift in perspective: seeing that outcome is not more remarkable than the process; seeing that the destination is not more gratifying than the journey; seeing that the future is not more important than this moment.

Below are a few videos that I found inspiring. I love how these men are taking the time to celebrate life. And notice that all it really takes is a man being simple: walking, biking, running — nothing out of the ordinary happening — just another day to do something ordinary that feels absolutely extraordinary. When one is present, there is an aliveness. This aliveness is what life is all about. This is the simplicity, the satisfaction, the happiness that is always at our fingertips. How ironic that there is nothing to do, nothing to rush to in order to receive it. It’s right here, right now. It’s hidden in plain sight. It’s right under our nose.

[Videos by Owen Fox, Tim VanOrden, & Dan McDonald.]

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