Nutrition, Movement, Spirit, Perspective

Healthy Haven Step 14 - Practice the Way of Peace

     Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world,” so if you want a peaceful world, you need to live a peaceful life. I love how the religion of Buddhism maps out six ways of being in the world that will lead to a peaceful and meaningful life, and I try to keep these ways of being in the world in mind as I navigate through the days.

     The first is the practice of Meditation where you sit down with yourself as a simple, open, spacious being with pure potential. As you sit there, you put your awareness on your breathing and any time a thought arises, you simply note in your mind, ”Thinking,” and then return your awareness to your breath. As you continue to do this, you begin to have an experience of being alive beyond your thinking mind, as a sacred being sitting on sacred ground, and without thoughts to fuel your emotions, you are able to experience a deep sense of peace within you that you can then carry out into the world to share with others. Then, as you move about your day and evening, you can continually return your awareness to your breath and the present moment, becoming an active observer of feelings and emotions, cravings and desires, and simply let them go and return to your sacred, peaceful breathing and life experience.

     The second is the practice of Generosity. When you are being generous, you are opening a portal to the deep peace within you because being generous feels so good!! And there are so many wonderful ways to be generous - you can be generous with your time (listening to others, serving others, helping others), with your attention (listening to others, giving affection to others), with your understanding (being compassionate with an open mind), with dropping expectations (which brings great peace to others), with offering wisdom from your own life (sharing your sacred story and personal truth), with creating a safe haven for others (a place that is free from fear and judgement and violence), with not needing to always be right (and instead allowing for peaceful space to reign), with giving someone the benefit of the doubt (and practicing in forgiveness and patience), with being a great health example for others (to inspire others to their own greatest health by sharing health information and giving encouragement). Practicing generosity connects you with an inner energy that uplifts you and others and the entire environment in which you live; it is a complete win-win!!

     The third is the practice of Patience which is the antidote to aggression. When you are practicing patience, you are practicing in slowing down, taking a deep breath, opening your mind beyond your thoughts, pausing before you react in a habitual way, connecting with the peace within you and relaxing with the hot energy that feelings and emotions can cause within you. By being patient, you are able to act more wisely with greater thought given before taking any action or speaking any words and you are able to bear witness to the truth that no feeling is final - the hot energy will eventually dissipate and evolve into another inner feeling, opening a portal to a more peaceful inner experience.

     The fourth is the practice of Enthusiasm which is a self-cultivated inner energy that helps to fuel your life so that you are able to go forward with an open curiosity and zest for living. Living with a sense of enthusiasm uplifts you and others and the entire environment, just as the practice of generosity does. It is another win-win!! When you foster your own enthusiasm, you are fostering growth, creativity and youthfulness; you are strengthening your inner cheerleader that whispers in your ear all of the positives going on that can help to carry you through any situation. My father is a perfect example of an enthusiastic person who uplifts everyone around him. He was even once at a football game at Penn State where he was a supporter of the visiting football team and he began to get heckled by one Penn State school member saying, “Why did you come here? You are going to get so creamed!” And my father very kindly and enthusiastically responded, “Well, I heard what a beautiful campus you had here and so I was so excited to come here and check it out and it is so beautiful!” And the Penn State heckler just fell silent and looked at him, and the heckler’s friends began elbowing the heckler, saying, “Yeah… See! Now, come on and let’s go…” And they all just turned and walked away and all that remained was peace.

     The fifth practice is Discipline which helps provide us with structure so that we have support and strength for our training in meditation, generosity, patience and enthusiasm. This is the discipline of feeding ourselves in a healthy way, moving our bodies every day, practicing self-love, self-nurturance, self-care and self-compassion. It is the discipline of remembering to return to gentleness in our speech and actions and thoughts, of seeing the beauty and richness in the simple things of life, of returning to our sacred ground. It is the discipline of continuing to open to life and not shut down, of clearing the mind to remember that the only thing constant in life is change and transformation. It is the discipline of remembering to put space in one’s life, to slow down and be silent and sacred and spacious, where only pure life aliveness can be experienced beyond all thought as this is where true peace resides.

     The sixth practice is Knowledge or Unconditional Wisdom which is the practice of listening to the innate wisdom that lives within us all that knows what is truly the right thing to do in any given situation for the highest good for all. It is the wisdom that is pre-thought, pre-belief and pre-conception. This wisdom tells us that it is best to be flexible and open in one’s life, that all is impermanent and changing so every moment is a precious happening that will never happen again in that exact way, and that our human lives are amazingly precious and sacred and should be treated as such. It is the wisdom that cuts through suffering because it sees that all is in process and that all is in perfect order just the way that it is. It is the wisdom that tells you to treat yourself in the healthiest way possible because you are a sacred, spiritual being with many gifts to offer the world. It is the wisdom that tells you that living a life of peace is of the highest order and will bring the greatest meaning to your life and the greatest of happiness. It is a silent, knowing wisdom that leads you on in a gentle, noble way to a life of great integrity and wonder.

     These six ways of being in the world are also called the Six Paramitas or the Six Ways of Compassionate Living or the Six Transcendent Activities or the Six Activities of the Servants of Peace. They all mean that these practices will help evolve and uplift and transform your entire life in the greatest of ways. Each practice takes us beyond our own fear of letting go, beyond aversion and attachment, beyond small thinking and small living. When you practice, you are helping evolve and uplift and transform the world and people around you in the most positive ways, and what could be any better than this for us all?
Peace and Love, Hilary

Healthy Haven Step 13 - Practice Visualization to create your Future Self

      With every choice we make and every thought that we think in the present moment, we are creating our future selves. We can ask ourselves before eating or drinking or taking on any new beliefs, “Will this help me cultivate a healthy future self?”  We can also use our thoughts to create a visualization of our future selves to become a guide for how we live our lives now.

     The word vision comes from the latin word visionem, meaning wisdom. When we are actively practicing visualization, we are using our inner wisdom to cultivate that which we wish to experience in our lives.

     Many individuals, such as scientists and scholars, have testified to this wisdom power of positive visualization. One of my greatest inspirations, Louise Hay, a successful author and influential book publisher who lived until her 90th year as a healthy and energetic woman, was a well-known spokesperson for the importance of affirmations and visualizations for creating your future self.

     Numerous professional athletes are also great practitioners of using vivid, highly detailed internal mind images to run-through their performances before taking any physical actions. Wimbledon Champion Billy Jean King actively used positive visualization to prepare for her tennis matches and strongly believed that this was what made athletes Champions; World Champion Golfer, Jack Nicklaus has been quoted as saying, “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head.”

     I’ve experienced this amazing power of visualization in my own life, as I can remember a time, over twenty years ago, when I was feeling unhealthy and needing to make change in my life. At that time, I began to create a vision of my future self in my mind of who I wanted to become - someone who was beautiful, strong, healthy and vital. Using this vision as my guide, I began to slowly replace unhealthy habits with healthy habits. As I continued to practice positive visualization, people and opportunities came into my life to assist me on my journey, and with each new day, I began to feel better, have clearer thoughts, and could see more and more how the practice of visualization truly did make a positive impact in my life.

     Today, I am a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and Certified Health Coach, continuing to grow and be amazed at the infinite possibilities before me. It is now with great excitement that I practice in the co-creation of my future self. I actively visualize how I want to look in my elder years, picturing the beautiful wrinkles on my face that have been created from years of laughing and living in joy; I also visualize how I want to feel, with an energy radiating out from my body that is full of love and compassion and gratitude. I vision myself continuing to grow and evolve, surrounded by wonderful friendships and community, and being a healing, positive, inspirational force in the world. I strongly encourage you to do the same!!


                       “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” – Buddha

Living in the Know

     I have come to believe that you are either Living in the Know, Thinking about Living in the Know, or Completely Unconscious of Living in the Know.

     We all, of course, begin in the completely unconscious realm.  This realm is when I did things like ride my bicycle as a kid to the nearby gas station and buy two chocolate candy bars and a coca-cola slurpee….. every single day….for years. Or later, in junior high, when I would bribe my sister and her boyfriend to drive me to Pizza Hut so that I could order a set of Breadstick’s with extra marinara sauce, a medium thin-n-crispy pepperoni pizza, and a large coca-cola, just for myself, thank you very much.

     These were the days pre-Internet and pre-Health Revolution, and I was eating these foods from a place of pure enjoyment with absolutely zero thoughts on how these foods were affecting my body and my health. The consideration and care was just not there.

     But as the years rolled on, the Knowing began to inch it’s way into my consciousness.  This Knowing was that the food substances I was putting into my mouth did indeed become who I was as a physical human being. And I really didn’t want to become candy bars and pepperoni pizza anymore. The romance was over.

     I would ponder about this Knowing for a long time, thinking about the possible different foods I could start eating that would be healthier for me.  But change is a very, very hard thing for me, so I would make just one very small change at a time, and then I would stay with that one small change for as long as I needed to….sometimes for years….before I felt ready to make one more change in a more positive and healthy direction. 

     I can now say that for the most part I am now fully Living in the Know, meaning I feed myself healthy, organic, whole plant foods most all of the time.  This way of eating nourishes me on an emotional, mental, spiritual and physical level, and I wouldn’t trade this for anything. But I am also aware that you only live once and so I also make sure to never deny myself something I really, really, want in the yumminess department.

     I love feeling good and I love eating foods that help me to feel good. I know that these feel-good foods are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts, with occasional eggs and Wild Alaskan Salmon, and, of course, dark chocolate. I eat these whole earth foods in a variety of ways with a variety of sauces and dressings to make this way of eating interesting and delicious for myself.

     I hope that you discover and come to Know the same…. Here’s to great health and joyous eating!!

Healthy Haven Step 12 - Remember that you are what you eat...

     There is a great intelligence that exists within all the whole foods grown from Mother Earth, and this intelligence is what has kept the human species alive and well over the years.

     Our ancestors knew that whole food possessed inherent energies and powers far greater than we could ever understand. They gave great respect to the foods in which they ate, understanding that the foods we consume merge with our inner bodies and become a part of who we are as a physical and energetic being.

     Through studying the plants closely to see what the plant’s roles were in nature, our ancestors hoped to understand how the food would function in the human body.  And Science would later prove many of their findings correct.

     Our ancestors believed that when we consumed raw leafy greens, for example, they would help to oxygenate our bodies as they are the respiratory of the plant world. And they were right! One of their functions in the body is to help clean our blood and oxygenate our system.

     Another example is root vegetables. Their role in nature is to help the earth absorb and assimilate nutrients, which is also the role of our own small intestines. It has been found that when we consume root vegetables, such as yams, sweet potatoes, beets, and carrots, one of their major roles is to help our small intestine function at optimal levels.

     The fact that every single thing that we eat must be broken down and then rebuilt into another substance before the cells of our bodies can use it properly needs to really be thought about before putting anything in our mouths. Whole foods made from Mother Earth have a way of communicating with the body that helps the body know how best to use them for healing and regeneration. This ability of the food and the body to communicate with one another creates a feeling of ease in the body and helps it to function at it’s best. When we eat packaged and processed food, we tamper with this intelligence, and the result is the creation of dis-ease in the body.

     Our bodies are made of the same material as the natural world. As the pioneer nutritionist, Hazel Parcels, puts it, “We are made up of all the elements of the earth. We have a fundamental relationship to every earth component, because we are in truth formed, flesh and blood and bone, from the soil of this planet….”

     To stay alive and grow, plant and animal life all depend on a constant supply of vitamins and minerals that originate in Mother Earth, so when looking at our own diets, we need to make sure we are getting a steady flow of these healthy nutrients.

     Some of the top vitamin and mineral foods that you can eat are fruits (especially avocados, apricots, prunes, raisins, figs, berries and dates), and vegetables, (especially dark leafy greens, onions, mushrooms), almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, white beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and squash seeds, oatmeal, quinoa, and buckwheat.

     The closer you can eat to real, whole foods the better off your health will be and the better you will feel. Try it out and see! LOVE

Healthy Haven Step 11 - Increase the amount of Vegetables that you eat in a day....

As we all know, if you want to improve your health, eat more vegetables!! It is best to consume them both raw and cooked and with lots of variety.  Here are ten great ways to do it….

1. Vertical Pizza - Pile leftover vegetables (grilled, steamed, marinated), or simply some fresh green salad, onto your favorite thin-crusted pizza.
2. Vegetable Noodles - Add increasing quantities of delicious cooked vegetables to your favorite pasta dish, with any kind of sauce. The best noodles to use are Soba (buckwheat) noodles, mung bean noodles, quinoa or spelt noodles. The goal: a one-to-one ratio of pasta and vegetables - or the vegetables may even edge out the noodles. Season it well with extra-virgin olive oil, herbs, garlic and nutritional yeast.
3. Vegetable Stuffed Potatoes - Hollow out (or mostly hollow out) a yam or sweet potato or squash and fill it with a generous amount of sauteed, steamed or grilled vegetables (freshly prepared or leftover). Top with herbs and spices of choice....
4. Vegetable Wraps - Dice up Bell Peppers, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, romaine lettuce and watercress...Season with salt and pepper, or Tamari Soy Sauce, or Avocado and Mustard....roll into a spelt or sprouted flour tortilla or lettuce wraps.
5. Egg Scrambles - Fold leftover vegetables into your scrambled eggs...Scramble some minced broccoli or chopped spinach directly into your eggs. Give the veggies a head start in a small amount of water in a skillet. When they turn softer, add the eggs and scramble.
6. The Very Tall Sandwich - Eat your Sandwich open-faced, and pile sprouted grain bread high with as many vegetables as you can (either leftover cooked or freshly chopped/sliced/torn raw).
7. Almost-Instant Vegetable Soup- Puree vegetables into soup....The best vegetables for this purpose are broccoli and spinach...Use one part broth to one part vegetables...Heat broth, add the vegetables, and let it come to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes. Let it stand for 5 minutes, then puree all or part to your liking in a stand-lender or with an immersion blender.
8. Dressed Vegetables - Toss any leftover cooked vegetables with your favorite salad dressing for an instant marinated side dish or appetizer that you can serve cold or at room temperature.
9. Dipped Vegetables - Raw Vegetables - baby carrots, celery sticks, bell pepper pieces, peeled broccoli stems, cauliflower florets - great snacks dipped in nut butter, or hummus, or with goat cheese and mustard, or spaghetti sauce.
10. Vegetable Juice - Invest in a juicer and drink some of your vegetables. Try a combination of carrot and celery juice in equal parts as a basic blend. You can add to this leafy greens, especially romaine, cucumbers, beets, bok choy, dandelion greens, zucchini.

Healthy Haven Step 10 - Have Healthy Snack or Easy Meal Ideas on hand....

Here is a great list of ideas for what you can eat when you need something quick or are on the road…..

My personal favorites are bananas, apples, pears, dried dates, dried figs, watermelon, peaches, nectarines and berries. Make them easily available for grabbing….a large bowl in the center of the counter filled with colorful fruit is great for this purpose, and the added bonus is that it looks beautiful!

Raw almonds, cashews, pistachios, pumpkins seeds, brazil nuts, and walnuts are also great to have on hand. You can make your own homemade trail mix by mixing diced dried fruits with these nuts and seeds, add some rolled oats and coconut flakes in there and take with you in a small traveling pouch. Putting the trail mix on coconut or goat milk yogurt is even better…

Bite size carrots are life savers for everyone. With almond butter, they are even better. You can also fill celery with almond or sunflower seed butter or pumpkin seed butter, put raisons on top and we are talking pure deliciousness…

Green cabbage leaves can be used for a wrap that holds slices of raw goat cheese with mustard and diced fresh herbs drizzled on top.

Vegetable and Sweet Potato soup made with diced carrots, celery, onion, green and red cabbage, and 1/2 inch chunks of sweet potato are amazingly hearty and filling and comforting to have in the middle of the day for kids as a lunch or a snack.

A bowl of oatmeal with almond milk, walnuts and raisons, drizzled with maple syrup is also amazingly satisfying…

My all time favorite is frozen bananas blended up with almond milk….adding a dash of liquid stevia and cinnamon makes it an all time tops.

Sprouted Grain Toast or Muffin or Bagel with either Organic Butter, or Avocado and Sea Salt, or Hummus, on top are easy and quick to make….

And don’t forget about simple hard boiled organic eggs with sea salt sprinkled on top….Yum!

Yam or Sweet Potato Baked Fries are sweet and yummy with ketchup and mustard…You can use the same method on beets, parsnips and turnips….

Make a Quinoa Pasta Salad by mixing cooked Quinoa Pasta noodles with chopped sweet red bell pepper, green onion, tomato, zucchini, cucumber, parsley w/ a dressing of lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, dash of sea salt and black pepper…..Put it in a to-go dish and go!


Healthy Haven Step 9 - Eat for a Healthy Microbiome

It is an amazing fact that there are microbes, which are tiny, single-cell organisms, within our bodies that outnumber our human cells 10 to 1. Each person’s microbiome consists of 10 to 100 trillion microbes that primarily live in our guts, but they also live on our skin, and in places like our mouths, nose and genitals. Every individual has a microbiome unique and distinct to them, just like their fingerprint, because the gut microbiome is constantly reacting to the world around and within you.

     A healthy community of microbes within our gut is of the utmost importance because they help to break down food, help sugar and fat metabolism, help absorb vitamins and minerals, help ward off infections, produce B-complex vitamins, and create a strong immune system.

     Many people are not aware that 60 percent of your immune receptors are in your colon and another 15 percent are in the lower part of the small intestine. That means that 75 percent of your body’s immune system is at the mercy of the goings-on in your gut! If this same community of microbes is out of wack, it can lead to intestinal permeability, otherwise known as leaky gut, which causes inflammation in the body, a condition linked to such conditions as autoimmune diseases, allergies, Crohn’s disease and more. In a healthy colon, there is almost countless numbers of friendly bacteria, or probiotics, that help these immune system receptor cells do their defensive jobs. Probiotics inhabit the walls of the gut, fortifying them, forming a protective barrier that makes it harder for pathogenic bugs like E. coli and salmonella to take root.

     You acquire your first microbes when you come through the vaginal canal upon birth, and then breast milk gives another healthy dose. Later, the foods that you eat have a huge impact on creating a healthy microbiome. The key here is to stop eating simple white sugars and processed grains, as these feed the yeast and fungus that can crowd out the beneficial bacteria your body needs, and pack your diet with microbiome-nourishing foods like jicama, apples, pears, cauliflower, dandelion greens, sweet potatoes, bananas, broccoli, berries, cherries, onions, garlic, asparagus, jerusalem artichokes and leeks. Fiber is a powerhouse microbiome supporter so eat chia, flax, and hemp seeds, as well as legumes. They’ll provide the fuel for friendly flora in your gut to ferment into healing compounds that strengthen the entire microbiome.

Here’s to a Healthy Microbiome!

Healthy Haven Step 8 - Keep your Lymph Flowing and Healthy

The Blood and the Lymph are the two major fluids that run throughout your body, carrying nutrients and oxygen to each and every cell. The Lymph is a colorless fluid that also has the very important role of removing the body’s waste products from the body. The Lymph does this by bathing the body’s tissues and becoming the medium for the waste that can then be drained from the intercellular spaces to the bloodstream for further removal from the body.

For a healthy and youthful body, it is crucial that this Lymph is able to move easily through the lymphatic pathways, without any congestion or obstruction. In this article, I will share some of the best ways you can help keep your Lymph flowing seamlessly through the body, so that your body is able to remove waste efficiently and effectively.

Unlike the Cardiovascular System, which uses the Heart as a pump to keep the Blood moving and circulating, the Lymphatic System does not have an organ designated for pumping. The movement of Lymph depends upon the contraction of the surrounding muscles to move it through the body, so this makes physical body movement a vital key for helping keep the Lymph healthy and flowing.

The physical activity that has been found to be the most effective in moving Lymph is the simple act of jumping up and down vertically. This up and down motion stimulates the millions of one-way valves in the system, as Lymph moves only in one direction through the body’s lymphatic vessels. This up and down jumping is best done while jumping on a Rebounder (mini-trampoline), jumping rope or dancing aerobically up and down. At the minimum, you would want to jump every day for at least twenty minutes, building up to more time as you become stronger.

Yoga is also very beneficial for keeping the Lymph clear and flowing, as the tensing and relaxing of the body’s muscles while transitioning from pose to pose and then holding the various poses, acts as an internal pump for the Lymph. The Twisting Positions and the Inversions are particularly effective for moving Lymph.

Yoga also incorporates conscious Deep Breathing (pranayama) within it’s practice which allows for the lungs to act as the pump for the Lymph. This deep breathing induces a more peaceful and relaxed inner state, which in turn cultivates a more alkalinized inner environment, which the Lymph needs to flow at it’s greatest ease.

Lymphatic Massage is also something that can be sought out for helping stimulate Lymph flow and for opening up the lymphatic pathways. During this type of massage, the practitioner uses gentle movements on the surface of the skin where Lymph is located, all in the direction that the Lymph naturally flows in the body.

Dry Skin Brushing also has this same Lymph flow stimulating effect, and it is something that you can do yourself just before getting into the shower. Using a long-handled bath brush with soft, natural-fibre bristles on dry skin, and with long or circular strokes, brush the skin in upward motions from the feet to the torso and then from the fingers to the chest, in the same direction as the Lymph flows, towards the heart. This will also serve as an exfoliating process, removing the dead skin that you are continually shedding every day, thus opening up the pores so that they can breathe more freely.

The Way that you Eat is definitely important in the health of the Lymph fluid, with Fruits and Vegetables being at the top of the list. Those that are Red and Green in color are especially important, such as, berries, cherries, pomegranates, beets and cranberries, dark leafy greens, kale, broccoli and green cabbage. Studies have also shown that one of the main causes of Lymph congestion is the intake of dairy products, meat products and those foods that contain flour and/or gluten, such as breads, cereals, crackers and donuts (etc.). Many people find that when they stop eating these foods they feel much better, with more youthful energy.

Dehydration is another common cause of lymph congestion. The simple act of sipping hot water throughout the day is a great Lymph cleanser, ensuring that there is a pure, flowing fluid flushing it along.

I am a personal practitioner of the Healthy Lymph Practices mentioned above. I can say with absolute certainty that they help keep me in a Pristine Healthy Inner State of Being. Because of these Healthy Lymph Practices, I am able to experience Life with great Vitality and Sense of Well-Being, and this is absolutely priceless to me.

Healthy Haven Step 7 - Say these Five Transformational Phrases often to yourself....

I Am Loved

I Am Worthy

I Am Brave

I Am Beautiful

I Am Healthy

1. I am Loved

I once read that Albert Einstein thought one of the most important decisions a human being can make in their lives is whether they choose to believe that they live in a loving universe or a hostile universe.

The belief's that we hold and the words that we speak to ourselves create the world in which we live, and they are completely up for our choosing. If we choose to believe that we live in a loving universe and that we are loved, then this will be the energy that we tune in to and feel as our reality. This coming to know such unconditional love can be a grounding and guiding force in our lives, helping to balance and stabilize us in an ever-changing world.

2. I am Worthy

The preciousness of our human birth makes each of us a worthy human being, capable of love and basic goodness. We are each a part of this amazing universe that is so extremely intelligent and worthy. And we have all been made so unique, with each of us carrying something originally wonderful to share with the world.

When we repeat and contemplate the truth of the Mantra, “I Am Worthy,” to ourselves often in our lives, we bring ourselves into a place of inner peace and clarity, because we are no longer viewing the challenges that arise as a type of failure or defeat that equate with a sense of unworthiness; we are able to, instead, see challenges as opportunities for growth and wisdom building.  

3. I am Brave

Being a human being takes bravery. We all have so much to learn and so much growth to do, with change happening all of the time within us and around us. It takes bravery to risk being vulnerable, to feel and acknowledge our fears and to open ourselves up to others. 

When you say the words, “I Am Brave” to yourself, you are acknowledging that you feel fear at times in your life, but that you are persevering anyway.  This acknowledgement helps to empower you with a sense of awareness of the deep strength that you find within you when you discovery your inner bravery.  

I once read a quote by the famous actress Patricia Arquette that said, “More than I wanted to be an actor or a midwife, I wanted to be a brave person. So I decided that every day for a year I would do something toward acting…I told myself that every time I got negative feedback, it was a win, because it meant that I was being brave, which is what I wanted to be most of all.”

4. I am Beautiful

Beauty is an energetic that can be felt and seen by ourselves and others. Beauty is love in it’s grace. It is created in a human being when they embody beautiful human qualities; such as, love, warmth, gentleness, calmness, openness, compassion, kindness and acceptance.

When we are around people who exude these qualities, we see them as beautiful. And when we also embody these qualities, all those who come into and experience our presence will deem us to be a beautiful human being, as well.  Saying "I Am Beautiful" to yourself often, can be a gentle reminder to put energy into cultivating these qualities within you.

When you feel beautiful to yourself, you see the world around you in a more beautiful way, making the world a more beautiful place.

5. I am Healthy.

The simple act of saying these words to yourself will begin the process of moving your body into a healthier state, for your body believes whatever it is you tell it. When you say, “I am Healthy,” the body will begin creating a healthier body because that is what it now believes that it is…

And when you really practice saying, “I am Healthy,” to yourself throughout the day and the evening, you will find that you also begin to naturally ask yourself before you do something, “Is this what a healthy person would do, eat, say, think?” And step by step, you begin to make healthier and healthier changes.

The prolific lecturer and teacher, Louise Hay, sums it all up beautifully,

“What we think about ourselves becomes the truth for us. I believe that everyone, myself included, is responsible for everything in our lives, the best and the worst. Every thought we think is creating our future. Each one of us creates our experiences by our thoughts and our feelings. The thoughts we think and the words we speak create our experiences.

No person, no place, and no thing has any power over us, for “we” are the only thinkers in it. When we create peace and harmony and balance in our minds, we will find it in our lives.”


Healthy Haven Step 6 - Eat the Colors of the Rainbow

Fruits and Vegetables are thought to be healthy because of the vitamins, minerals, water and fiber that they contain. Although this is true, it is only partially true. In the last few decades, scientists have discovered a new category of protective compounds that Fruits and Vegetables have within them, called ‘Phytochemicals’ (“Phyto” meaning “Plant”). Phytochemicals are found in all plant foods (such as Legumes and Whole Grains), but they are found most abundantly in Fruits and Vegetables.

     There are thousands of different Phytochemicals and they all have their own unique functions within the plant; some regulate the growth of the plant, some help to protect the plant from germs, fungi and insects, and others give the plants their flavor, color and texture, for example. And it is these same Phytochemicals that have also been found to have many various healing functions within the human body, after we consume the food.

     Many Phytochemicals are strong antioxidants, which help protect our bodies from Free Radicals. Free Radicals can be either generated in the human body during the normal functioning of the bodies processes (like during the burning of sugars for energy and the release of digestive enzymes to break down food), or when our bodies interact with pollution (such as car exhaust, heavy metals and cigarette smoke), and also when the body breaks down certain medicines. Free Radicals are known to cause disease and aging in the body, so having a daily intake of Phytochemicals can help to keep our bodies protected from damage.

     Some Phytochemicals have potent Anti-Cancer activity, blocking cell division and helping to rid our bodies of carcinogens. Other Phytochemicals protect us against Heart Disease by reducing cholesterol production, blood pressure, blood clot formation, and damage to blood vessel walls. Many Phytochemicals also have powerful Anti-Inflammatory qualities, while others are Immunity Enhancing.

     Each Color of Fruit and Vegetable represents a different class of Phytochemicals, so it is important to eat a wide range of colorful plant food to ensure you are receiving the full spectrum of Phytochemicals and all of their various functions.

     There are certain foods known to have the highest amounts of Phytochemicals, and these are dark leafy greens (Kale, Collards, and Spinach), cruciferous vegetables (especially broccoli), garlic, tomatoes, blueberries, and citrus fruits. So make sure to stock up on these foods….

     You should also aim to eat at least one food from each of the following Color Groups every day to ensure you are getting a wide range of phytochemicals. Here are the Colors with some Fruit and Vegetable examples….   

Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Green Cabbage, Kale, Spinach, Leafy Greens, Peas, Beans, Green Bell Pepper, Kiwi, Honeydew Melon, Swiss Chard, Collard Greens, Bok Choy, Artichokes, Asparagus

Avocado, Spinach, Mustard Greens, Green Beans and Collard Greens

Squash, Mangoes, Apricots, Carrots, Pumpkins, Cantaloupe, Yams

Citrus fruit juices, Grapefruit, Oranges, Tangerines, Cantaloupe, Peach, Lemons, Spaghetti Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Pineapples

Tomatoes, Watermelon, Red Cabbage, Strawberries, Red Bell Pepper

Cherries, Berries, Grapes, Beets, Red Wine, Raisins

Apples, Pears, Bananas, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Mushroom

Garlic, Onion, Leeks