Uncovering My Authentic Voice: Conversations with Iemajá

Oceanic Goddess Iemanjá

Oceanic Goddess Iemanjá

“Oi Mamâe, ‘ta bonita hoje você!”

“Bom dia, minha filha, ‘tava esperando-a.”

My salutations to my Oceanic Mother Iemanjá go something like this every day. As I approach her blue majesty, I am overcome by a sense of reverence and beauty, and it is then when I feel a strong urge to communicate my love to her. I talk to her in Portuguese, as I was introduced to her in Brazil, as a teenager, when my family and I vacationed in our beach house in Florianopolis.

“’ce si lembra, mamâe, do dia dois de fevereiro cuando eu conheci você na festa dos navegantes?”

“Eu lembro, minha filha, e sei que isse dia você ficou prendada de mim pra sempre…”

I sure did. Ever since I witnessed the celebrations for my mother Iemanjá on her day, February 2nd, o dia de Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes, honoring “Our Lady of Seafarers,” I became her true devotee. The fishermen’s homage to the bounty of the ocean–that opulent womb that sustains them daily– resonated deeply in me. I knew there was an ancestral memory activated when I saw the white-garbed participants, their colorful wooden barges ready to go out into sea, their offerings of flowers, fruits, candles, mirrors and other objects that a Mâe uses to adorn herself. Salve Rainha do Mar!

Dia 2 de fevereiro, Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes

Dia 2 de fevereiro, Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes

My current proximity to my beloved Oceanic Mother has helped me develop a close relationship with her. I bathe in her waters daily, I honor her with offerings on special occasions and I share with her the ruminations that haunt me in this transition…

“I have told you, Mamâe, that my intention in this new phase of my life, after letting go of so much baggage that was stunting my growth, is to fully express myself from my authentic voice, to travel and write…

Since I was a little girl, I loved to write. I think I was eight when I wrote my first poem to impress my mom after she had scolded me for something I had done. Writing has always been easy for me, and I was able to professionalize this skill as a professor and a scholar. My challenge right now is to be able to authentically integrate these skills with a more personal voice, that undercurrent that has been emerging silently every morning for decades, the voice that seeps through at the break of dawn, when everything is still dark and quiet. The voice of my journals, the secret voice that has been unheard until now, those whispers hushed since my youth, waiting patiently to be used as the raw material for the memoir I’ll write one day…

 I find it challenging now to professionalize in turn that intimate voice that expresses my vulnerability and my longings, that recovers the poet/mystic in me, a baroque voice with traces of my maternal Spanish, inspired by the lushness and magic of my native continent and its beautiful cultures and literatures.

How do I express the stirrings of my soul, my true identity with a voice that is my own? How do I transition from the need to quote authorities to validate my point of view, to just note the singing of the birds in the morning, the constant shrill of the cicadas on warm evenings, the music of falling green mangoes, the buzzing of the mosquitoes in my ear? How do I capture the cadence of the waves breaking on shore persistently, constantly, patiently?

How do I communicate this bursting of emotions, dreams and desires to my readers in an effective way? How do I stay true to myself while at the same time capturing their imagination?”

“Minha filha, o que voce perguntar, ‘ce ja sabe mesmo. I appreciate your questions, as I know they’re coming from a deep desire to be sincere, speaking clear words from your open heart. And I also know that the answers are within you.

Expressing ourselves is like breathing. As we rest in the assurance that who we are is enough, whatever we do or say will be an expression of our true self. It just requires our total self-acceptance and approval of what our intuition guides us to say or do. You might need to be reminded of that now.

For me, it’s just allowing our Grand Mother Moon to work through me, to let her changing energies to move me in that constant swelling and retreating that is the essence of her nature, of my nature. Just flowing with the contractions and expansions. It is also holding space for the currents that run deep within me to take their course. I’m a flexible container for all that life that manifests as the divine Ocean. It is enough for me to balance in a continuous aquatic flow of birth and regeneration, creating a viable place for all kinds of marine creatures to grow and prosper.

My breath is deep, and so should be yours. Deep and sincere. As you tap into that core, that pristine quarry within and turn your back to external distractions, you will confidently be speaking from your authentic voice.

You have consciously chosen to take the high road, minha Filha, and thus become entitled to see through the veil of this material reality. That takes work and sacrifice, making each and every moment of your existence sacred to honor what you are meant to see.

 It is my charge to you to release the fear, the doubt. Have the courage to go through the pains of birthing once again your beautiful texts of realities, images and concepts that will stir something very deep inside your readers. That’s your way of serving me. That is what you are summoned to do as an appointed Sirena.

Pay attention to what this place is teaching you and write “from the present,” as Jane suggested. Breathe the abundance of this generous nature, the life that pulsates continuously as birds and bugs and the intense greenery of the jungle. See how simple life is, how easy it is to celebrate it by just being in tune with its flows; how the monkeys delight in their roaring and the dutiful surfers just wait patiently to ride the right swell on my back. You yourself bask in my warm waters as you are embraced in my foam, diving into the breaks as the Divina Sereia that you are.

Write from that place of celebration and devotion. Breathe your words and they will be good enough to express yourself authentically. Now go do your work, Minha Filha, you have my blessings. Abençoadae é você.”

A Divina Sereia

A Divina Sereia

As Women, We Need to Re-Member…

three-faced Mayan Goddess Ix Chel

“My hands carry thousands of years worth of stories, medicine, healing and magic. The more I heal and hold space, the more I remember. The surges that come up for me in my midwifery journey heal the wounds, heal the trauma, heal the disconnections. As I step into my power more and more, I feel myself expanding, vibrating and connecting to the cosmos and ancestors on so many levels. It’s truly a surreal experience and no midwifery program can teach me to be a traditional midwife because it’s already in my veins, in my blood, in my hair, in my heart, in my breath, in my WHOLE being.”                                                                                         María Rivera, midwife apprentice and seer

What is it that, as women, we still remember? What is it that we have chosen to forget just to keep us safe? In this International Women’s Day I’d like to ponder on the power that we, as women, are reclaiming and still need to fully get in touch with within our own selves in order to effect a quantum leap of consciousness towards a more evolved humanity. I know we have the courage and determination to go deep into that ancestral pain and extract, with the aid of fish bones and spines, the pearls of wisdom that we have knowingly concealed.

Surrounded by so many brujas, fairies, doula and midwife-to-be friends, as a grandmother and as a Midlife Midwife myself, I am very in tune with the magical powers we carry within us that prompt us to move forward in each stage of our lives, helping us to rebirth ourselves like a Phoenix rising from its own ashes. I know we have everything it takes for us to be healthy, fulfilled and empowered and to support others in their own coming to life. It’s just a question of unplugging from the disempowering dissonance of the external noise and paying attention, simply tuning into our ancestral wisdom, the wisdom we carry in our bodies, as Maria consciously discovered.

“It’s safe for me to be powerful” has been an affirmation I’ve been repeating constantly for some time now, after an incredibly insightful energy healing session with sister midwife Karen Clothier, in which I viscerally got in touch with the pain and the terror of being punished by death for the powers I had wielded in some remote incarnation. We women still carry in our DNA the collective memory of our ancestors’ holocaust during the Inquisition and far beyond for just exercising our natural womanly powers to hold the tribe together, for healing and love. Quite threatening for a patriarchal paradigm where war and the use of utilitarian reason ruled!

We are indeed the survivors of that holocaust, and the more we are able to re-member, feel deeply, embody, forgive and then move beyond that identification with victimhood, will we allow ourselves to plunge into the rich quarries of accumulated knowledge and lived experiences stored in our cells. As we reclaim our authentic selves by recovering and healing the memories, we heal individually and necessarily participate in the collective raising of the planetary consciousness.

I feel very close to Mayan Moon Goddess Ix Chel, the three-faced deity of water, weaving and childbirth. In her representations as the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone, she covers the three stages of women’s lives. As the Crone, she is an old midwife, the experienced elderly woman who supports mothers in childbirth, and the caretaker of children. My visit to her sanctuary in Cozumel, accompanied by a group of enlightened bruja-friends in a journey where we traced Mayan goddesses’ marks in the beaten path of the Yucatan, is still warm in my heart. This experience opened up a deep yearning to stay close to women’s circles, ceremony and devotion as a means to continue my evolution as a vessel and channel for the mystery of life.

Thank you, Sisters, for walking this path together, and for the courage to re-member and heal.

Why Do I Cleanse Periodically?

probiotics cropped II

I have been experimenting with raw food and detoxing for the past sixteen years. This intentional practice has allowed me to reconnect with my body and food. In doing so, I have a renewed connection with the wisdom of nature and actually, Life. In addition to preparing my own food, green juices and smoothies daily, I have cultivated my own wheatgrass, sprouted grains, beans and nuts, fermented kombucha and rejuvelac and tended my little veggie garden. I detoxify my body, mind and spirit periodically because I believe in keeping autonomy over my body and physical, mental and spiritual aliveness. An empowering DIY health practice!

I understand that one of the most effective ways we are controlled by external forces is by means of our bodies: through the consumption of addictive commercial foods and the luring of the medical industrial complex to make us believe that we need “experts” and meds to regulate our wellbeing . We consume fast food because it’s cheaper and easier (is it really?). And, when we don’t feel well, we look for a quick fix and take a pill or whatever medicine we can lay hands on. This comes from a belief that, in order to feel better, we need to find external sources that will do the trick.

Actually, our bodies have the potential to heal themselves given the right conditions. Those are: the moderate ingestion of healthy, nutritious—hopefully– organic live foods, locally grown and prepared with love. Also, to make time for ourselves, to contemplate the wonders of the Universe and our role in it, to look within and remember that we are an irreplaceable particle of nature and Life, of the amazing beauty of our planet Earth, Pachamama, and indeed, of the Cosmos itself. Other healing practices are the daily movement of our bodies through exercise, dance, yoga, walking, swimming, running; to breathe deeply and consciously, to laugh and sing. And to seasonally detox from physical, mental and emotional toxins that clutter our awesome physical and energetic systems.

Practicing periodic cleanses helps us to release continually what is not in alignment with Life. It helps us to stay clean, clear, ready to do the work from a place of knowing that we are true to ourselves and the laws of Nature. Cleanses are more than eliminating the backed-up clutter that clog our digestive system, they are a way to become lighter, allowing us to be more in tune with an active intuition that channels continuous guidance from a universal intelligence whose signals sometimes get blurred by the toxins of our addictions, distractions, fears.

To jumpstart the new beginnings that the Spring season offers us, a cleanse is such a perfect way to really connect with ourselves as channels of cosmic downloads that are intensifying exponentially in these momentous times. Let’s get clear and operate from our epiphanies in order to start this season with power and clarity!

To support you in the process, come join us in the Spring Equinox Cleanse, starting March 21, 2018! Please email me for more information info@sirenapellarolo.com. Happy release!

YES EQUALS YES!

Paloma and I getting ready for the New Year's cleanse orientation at Goldensol yoga studio, Los Feliz.

Paloma and I getting ready for the New Year’s cleanse orientation at Goldensol yoga studio, Los Feliz.

Yesterday I offered a one week cleanse orientation at Goldensol, a new yoga studio in Los Feliz. As my daughter Paloma and I were unloading the car in the parking lot, we were welcomed by a mysterious sign that said YES EQUALS YES. Interesting! I kept thinking about this affirmation as I prepared the table with the food and the equipment I would use to prepare the green veggie juices and smoothie recipes I would demo during the workshop. YES EQUALS YES. What a way to affirm a desire!

During the class, this affirmation kept dancing in my consciousness as I witnessed the ganas, the excitement of the participants, who were looking for natural ways to reverse some health conditions as I shared how easy it is to use food as medicine in a simple and effective way. Their enthusiasm pushed me forward and I knew they were doubly affirming their celebration of life as they discovered effective tools to improve their health in the delicious drinks.

YES EQUALS YES when we are ready to make a major shift in our lives, step into our power and arrive at decisions out of the wisdom of our hearts. YES MEANS YES when we let go of negativity to dive full-on into what we know is going to be supportive of our growth and unfoldment. YES EQUALS YES when we take that leap of faith and embark in enterprises that seem scary and hard at the beginning. YES MEANS YES when we affirm life over fear, insecurities, hesitations, no matter what the challenges are, no matter what others say, no matter if it’s going to work or not.

What are YOU saying YES to today?

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Release, Activate and Transform: A Four Week Intensive Health Group Coaching Program

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What:    A four session intensive group coaching program series to learn how to deal with weight gain, cravings, food allergies, digestive issues and low energy.

Why:     To receive personalized professional attention, support, guidance and acommunity of peers during the process.

When:   Tuesdays February 4, 11, 18, 25, 6:00pm to 7:15pm

 Where: From the convenience of your home, call in and join the interactive teleconference.

During the course of this four session program, you will

  • Set and accomplish health goals
  • Reconnect with your body and feelings
  • Develop a personalized diet according to your body type that sustains and pleases you
  • Explore new foods
  • Identify and by-pass emotional areas that trigger emotional eating.
  • Find mastery over food cravings through healthy alternatives and mindful eating
  • Increase energy and vitality
  • Feel better in your body, mind and spirit
  • Improve personal relationships with yourself, others and nature
  • Receive the support of an experienced professional and a community of peers

Bonus:  preliminary individual health phone consultation, a closed Facebook group for daily check-ins, recordings of the sessions, hand-outs, individual recommendations, support from a buddy system.

Cost for the 4 sessions:                                         250$    

Payment by February 2:                                       225$

PayPal payment at: www.vivamivida.com

For more info: sirena@vivamivida.com

Sirena Pellarolo, Ph.D. believes in autonomous and vibrantly healthy individuals and communities. As a holistic healer, she models for her clients how to courageously step center-stage in their lives by unleashing their unique personal power, creative self-expression and overall wellbeing. Her bilingual programs inspire individuals to reconnect with their bodies, minds and spirits by going back to the basics of a healthy lifestyle: a personalized nutrient-rich diet, energizing physical movement and a meaningful spiritual practice. The seasonal community cleanses and raw food preparation classes that she has been hosting for several years offer a Do It Yourself hands-on approach to healing through nutrient-dense, plant-based choices. Sirena specializes in weight management for women in their menopause years. She is currently working on a manuscript that captures this experience titled “Detoxing Our Communities: Using Food As Medicine for a Quantum Grassroots Transformation.”

www.vivamivida.com

http://livefoods4life.com/

https://soundcloud.com/sirena-pellarolo

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A Hearty Quinoa and Vegetable Dish For the Cooler Season

I know that quinoa–that incredible protein-rich/ gluten-free ancient seed from the Andes–, has become so popular among health observing eaters around the world, that it has increased its status in the global market as a priced commodity. So much so, that the ancestral consumers of the seed have a hard time affording to pay for it in their own country. I am aware of this, and hope that the cultivation of quinoa will become as widespread as its consumption, so that the original peoples from the Andean Altiplano are able to go back to their ancestral diet in a sustainable way. In fact, when I visited the Learning Garden in Venice Beach, CA some weeks ago, I was very happy to see that David King,  its Master Gardener, had some seeds of quinoa that he was planning to plant in the land. Hopefully, they will yield enough food to sustain the garden community.

For now, and aware of this controversy, I would like to share with you the delicious quinoa and veggie recipe I use for these cold nights.

quinoa plate

Ingredients

2 cups of white quinoa (could be other colors) soaked for at least 6 hours

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 white onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 cup of diced white mushrooms

1 red bell pepper

1 cup diced eggplant (in season)

½ cup chopped cilantro

Dulse flakes

Two tablespoons of miso paste

Braggs aminoacids

A dash of turmeric

1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast

Instructions

As any other seed, grain, bean or nut, I soak quinoa before I cook it. Soaking it in water helps unleash its life force as it neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors that are hard on our digestion. It makes it easier and quicker to cook.

Put the oil in a wok and stir fry the onions, garlic, mushrooms, bell peppers, eggplant. Add water if you need to make some juice and cover until the veggies are almost cooked. Pour the soaked quinoa and mix in with the veggies. Add the dulse flakes, the miso paste and the chopped cilantro, the turmeric, nutritional yeast and sprinkle it with Braggs. You will notice that the soaked quinoa cooks very quickly and, as soon as the water is consumed, turn off the stove and cover the wok. Enjoy with some vegan parmesan. Yummie!

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Deliciously simple vegetable soup recipe/ Simple y deliciosa sopa de vegetales

Instructions in Spanish below

Simple veggie soup

This simple recipe is based on seasonal plant-based ingredients. The soup is delicious and it satisfies us during the Fall days. As it is made with simple ingredients that do not include fats or processed foods, it is very easy to digest, and perfect for a light supper on a cold day.

-DSC_1018sm1 big white or yellow onion
1 garlic clove
5 fine slices of ginger
1 diced jalapeño
2 carrots
2 diced yams
half a squash
a bunch of parsely
a bunch of spinach
3 celery sticks
1 sliced red bell pepper
a handful of dulse or nori flakes
a big spoonful of miso paste
a teaspoon of cumin
cayenne pepper
turmeric
filtered water

 

Instructions

Fill up a big pot with filtered water and bring it to a boil, as you add the hard root vegetables, that take longer to cook: yams, squash, ginger, carrots. Continue to add the rest of the veggies and the seaweed for seasoning, that give a delicious salty flavor to soups with the added benefit of the sea minerals. Cover until it boils. Add now the miso paste and the spices. Cook for 5 minutes and keep covered. Enjoy!

 

Sopa de vegetales

Esta simple receta está basada en ingredientes de la temporada, privilegiando el origen vegetal. La sopa es deliciosa, y nos satisface durante los primeros fríos del otoño. Ayudan a la digestión, porque los ingredients son simples y no incluye grasas o productos procesados. Nos da energía y felicidad.

Ingredientes

-DSC_1033sm1 cebolla blanca o amarilla grande
1 diente de ajo
5 rodajas finas de jengibre
1 jalapeño picado
2 zanahorias cortadas en rodajas
2 camotes cortados en cuadraditos
Media calabaza cortada en cuadritos
1 atado de perejil
1 atado de espinaca
3 apios
1 chile dulce rojo cortado en rodajas1 puñado de copos de dulse or nori (o sal de mar a gusto)
1 cucharada de miso
1 cucharadita de comino
Pimienta de cayena a gusto
Agua filtrada

 

Preparación:
Llenar una olla grande con agua filtrada y poner a hervir en la estufa. Agregar los vegetales duros, que llevan más tiempo de cocción: los camotes, la calabaza, el jengibre, las zanahorias. Continuar agregando el resto de los vegetales. Agregar el dulce o el nori (o la sal de mar) y cubrir con una tapa hasta que hierva. Cuando hierve, agregar el miso y las especies. Dejar cocinar por unos 5 minutos más y dejar tapado.

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My interview for the San Diego Veg Festival

At wonderful veg cafe Casa de Luz, with organizers extraordinaires Linda Le and Elza Angulo

At wonderful veg cafe Casa de Luz, with organizers extraordinaires Linda Le and Elza Angulo

Last weekend I was invited to be a guest demo speaker for the second annual San Diego Veg Festival. I was asked to share my experience as a raw food educator and holistic healer, and it was a great opportunity to meet people ready to recover their health by choosing healthier food options. Here’s the interview:

  1. 1.      What do you enjoy most about your career in the veg community?

I enjoy the fact that it’s growing so fast. More and more people are getting into a plant-based diet and becoming much more aware of the issues related to the eating of animal products. In my own area of raw food, I see people experimenting with green juices and smoothies daily, and seeing the incredibly positive effects that these have in their health. I feel there is a change in consciousness in many areas, and food is one of them. People realize that to change the world, we need to change individually—as members of a larger community—and one of the ways is by paying attention to how we fuel our bodies, that is in accordance with a sustainable way of preserving our planet. Moreover, as a food justice activist, I believe in autonomous and vibrantly healthy individuals and communities, and that our bodies are the ultimate site of self-determination. So, in order to become really autonomous, the first thing we need to do is decolonize our bodies from commercial, processed food and other substances that keep us lethargic and lacking in energy.

  1. 2.      What is one thing you wish someone had told you before becoming a vegan/vegetarian?

Fortunately, I started exploring a raw food diet and cleansing in January 2002, when I participated in a program called The 21 Day Detox, led in Los Angeles by two amazing individuals, both naturopaths, Richard D’Andrea, M.D., and John Woods. I learnt so much from them, that I think they prepared me very well to go on my own journey safely. That’s why I have taken it to heart to teach other people how to develop personalized cleanses that are effective and safe. I felt the duty to share my experience with the Chicano/a Latino/a communities with whom I interact daily, as there is a lot of chronic disease and obesity in these communities due to a less than optimal diet resulting from the lack of good fresh produce in the “food deserts” where many of these people reside.

  1. 3.      What caused you to want to become veg friendly?

I was raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the ingestion of meat is overwhelming. When I arrived in this country in 1988 to pursue a doctoral program, luckily, I started eating much less meat because I felt it didn’t taste as good as back home. I also come from a history of emotional eating, so the idea of exploring a raw food diet and periodic detoxing was very appealing to me. It happened right at a time in my life when my spiritual practices were becoming much deeper, and it was natural for me to change my diet to support that process.

  1. 4.      Tell us more about your business? How can we get connected?

After years of hosting seasonal community cleanses and raw food preparation classes, I decided to retire from my position as a college professor and work full-time in the area of health. I became certified as a holistic health coach and have been growing my practice since late 2011. I am using everything I learnt in my own journey to support post-menopausal women to recover their power over their bodies, and debunk disempowering beliefs about aging. As a holistic healer, I model for my clients how to courageously step center-stage in their lives by unleashing their unique personal power, creative self-expression and overall wellbeing. I offer bilingual programs that inspire individuals to reconnect with their bodies, minds and spirits by going back to the basics of a healthy lifestyle: a personalized nutrient-rich diet, energizing physical movement and a meaningful spiritual practice. I specialize in weight management for women in their prime through life-changing programs that include DIY detoxifications, live foods and powerful transformational techniques. I also offer wellness seminars in English and Spanish.

I have a blog that focuses on live foods and detoxifications, http://livefoods4life.com/, and my holistic healing website is www.vivamivida.com.

  1. 5.      What other activities are you involved with in San Diego?

Every six months I spend a week doing a deep detox at the Optimum Health Institute in Lemon Grove, an amazing institution that firmly believes in the power of food as medicine. They follow Anne Wigmore’s principles of using the healing power of live food (sprouting, fermenting, juicing, lots of wheatgrass) to restore health. Every Friday morning, guests have the opportunity to share to the community their testimonials about healing with the power of plants. I have seen time and again hundreds of cases of individuals with “incurable diseases”–as defined by the traditional medical industrial complex–, make a 100% recovery and regain their health and vitality by sticking to this type of diet. Everything that I’ve learnt at OHI I share with the participants of my workshops and cleanses. I am looking forward to continue to collaborate with the San Diego Veg community in spreading this information to the public.

  1. 6.      What tips do you have for those wanting to stay on a veg-friendly path?

I would invite individuals to consider practicing a plant-based diet. I have seen many vegetarians and vegans who eat a lot of processed food, fake meats, etc. I think that the power of being on a veg-friendly path is to get acquainted with the amazing power of plants. That’s the natural fuel that our bodies need. And, if some “slips” happen, to just recommit and continue on the path. There are so many different varieties, flavors, textures, ways of preparing plants, that there is no way that we would feel deprived (not even in the intake of protein!). Also, I would suggest that individuals explore and pay close attention to their ancestral diet. According to the principle of “bio-individuality,” the great diversity of body types demand different types of diets.  Usually, whatever our ancestors ate, our bodies do well with. We can always modify those traditional dishes with choices that are more congruent with the diet that we choose now.

  1. 7.      What are your favorite veg dishes?

I like very simple flavors, and I eat mostly what I prepare at home. I love greens, and I prepare them in juices and smoothies, salads and wraps. I always tell the participants of my food preparation workshops that I am not that interested in gourmet raw food, that my diet mostly responds to the requirements of a “colon boot camp.” I’m interested mainly in food that makes me feel vibrant and healthy and that keeps my body clean. That’s why I am very much into fermentation and sprouting. I always sprout my beans, grains and nuts, and if I happen to prepare a cooked quinoa dish (my favorite grain/seed), I will sprout it for a couple of days first, so that the life force and enzymatic power gets unleashed and becomes more digestible and nutritious.

8. What advice do you have for those that are interested or curious about being a vegetarian/vegan?

I usually suggest to my clients to start slowly, adding veggies and fruits into their diet. The best way to do that is with green juices and smoothies. I have seen time and again that as people start to add these delicious and nutrient rich drinks into their diet, their taste buds get used to the natural flavors, they start to crave veggies and fruits due to the fact that they feel much better eating clean, and slowly, their diet starts transforming completely. This is a wonderful way to jump start a journey towards a plant-based diet. Enjoy the process, and don’t become too dogmatic, just find pleasure in your new choices!

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Are you looking for the Fountain of Youth? Exercise daily!

So honored to have met amazing 64 year old marathon swimmer Diana Nyad at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, where I swim every week! Her incredible feat of swimming from Cuba to the Florida keys is an accomplishment that proves once again that our bodies--against popular beliefs--are ready to do whatever our minds decide they are capable of doing. Such an inspiration for women my age and beyond!!!

So honored to have met amazing 64 year old marathon swimmer Diana Nyad at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, where I swim every week! Her incredible feat of swimming from Cuba to the Florida keys is an accomplishment that proves once again that our bodies–against popular beliefs–are ready to do whatever our minds decide they are capable of doing. Such an inspiration for women my age and beyond!!!

Lately I’ve been watching closely how women my age and beyond are staying active and some of them, amazingly young-looking and vibrantly healthy and energetic. I saw a picture of Raquel Welch recently, who at 72 looked hotter in a leopard printed dress than Heidi Klum, who wore the same one. I’ve seen pictures of 79 year old Sophia Loren, who looks really stunning and still sexy. And of course, there is exercise guru Jane Fonda, who has been able to keep her body youthful and strong at 76, and recently released some of her secrets on a yoga DVD for women in their “prime time.” It seems that, as women who take care of themselves approach their seventh decade, they are pushing back the expected prime age for women way beyond the 50s.

Fonda confesses that as she was researching for her last book, titled Prime Time, she found in many of her sources that “staying physically active is just about the #1 factor in whether you have a good Third Act or not.” As we age, exercise keeps us healthy; she further asserts, “[a]ctivity strengthens the heart and bones, improves circulation, reduces obesity, thickens the skin and can help with depression because of the endorphins released into the system. Endorphins are brain chemicals that give relief from pain, enhance the immune system, reduce stress and bring us a sense of well-being.”

Another amazing icon mentioned above who has aged divinely is 60’s bombshell Sophia Loren, who, at her prime age of 79, believes firmly in the power of the mind to stay youthful “There IS a Fountain of Youth. It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age,” she affirms.

Exercise may be the closest thing to the Fountain of Youth. Not only does regular activity strengthen your muscles and improve heart and lung function, but it can also reduce your risk of major diseases, stimulate the growth of new brain cells, and even add years to your life. Studies show just 30 minutes of physical activity on most days is all that’s required to reap big benefits.

The range of health bonuses now attributed to exercise has surprised even doctors. Research suggests that workouts may do the following:

  1. Keep you young. Workouts such as brisk walking or cycling boost the amount of oxygen consumed during exercise. Improving your aerobic capacity by just 15 to 25 percent would be like shaving 10 to 20 years off your age. Aerobic exercise may also stimulate the growth of new brain cells in older adults.
  1. Reduce infections. Moderate workouts temporarily rev-up the immune system by increasing the aggressiveness or capacity of immune cells. That may explain why people who exercise catch fewer colds.
  1. Prevent heart attacks. Not only does exercise raise “good” HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure, but new research shows it reduces arterial inflammation, another risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
  1. Ease asthma. New evidence shows that upper-body and breathing exercises can reduce the need to use an inhaler in mild cases of asthma.
  1. Control blood sugar. Exercise helps maintain a healthy blood-sugar level by increasing the cells’ sensitivity to insulin and by controlling weight. Regular brisk walking can significantly cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  1. Protect against cancer. Exercise may reduce the risk of colon-cancer by speeding waste through the gut and lowering the insulin level. It may also protect against breast and prostate cancer by regulating hormone levels.
  1. Combat stress. Regular aerobic exercise lowers levels of stress hormones. For many people, exercise helps relieve depression as effectively as antidepressant medication.
  1. Relieve hot flashes. Increasing fitness by walking or practicing yoga enhances mood and reduces some menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats.
  1. Protect men’s health. Pelvic exercises help prevent erectile dysfunction and possibly benign prostate enlargement, a common cause of urinary problems.
  1. Prolong life. Studies lasting many years have consistently shown that being active cuts the risk of premature death by about 50 percent for men and women.

So, what are you waiting for? Get off the computer, and go out to play!

But please stay tuned! Coming up a special empowerment workshop for women in their prime Life is not over at 50, ladies! More info coming up soon!

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