All posts by Kit

Clean Eating Reset: 7 Tips for Eating Real Food

The Pre-Holiday Reset is starting this Monday, November 13.

 

It’s a mini – Reset, just for five days, as I know how busy this time of year can be for us all.

 

The main theme for the Reset is to eat real food for 5 days.

 

 

Here are 7 tips for people who have not done the Reset with me before, and who may want to do this on their own, at any time.

1.When in doubt, go for food not in boxes, or packages. Go for food with no labels!

Usually this means that you are buying foods that have not been altered, manufactured or enhanced.

2. Go for single-ingredient foods

It is more likely that you are eating something in the form closest to nature. Grains, for instance, may come in a package, but it’s just its own ingredient.

3. Eat foods that will eventually rot 

If it rots, it’s real! These are either plants, or animal products that  have not been altered enough to stay on the shelf indefinitely.

4. Choose fats that occur in nature 

Fats are fuel. Choose natural fats like coconut, olive oil, avocado, butter, nuts and seeds.

5. Avoid food-like products that were made in a plant

Again, anything that does not spoil or rot will have most likely been produced in a factory. Products that have ingredients we can’t pronounce are food-like products and should really not be consumed.

6. Avoid anything with added sugar 

Most packaged and processed foods including beverages will be loaded with added sugar. We end up consuming way more sugar than necessary which results in diseases and weight gain.

7. Cook your own food whenever you can

Needless to say, eating real food usually requires SOME cooking of the food. It does not have to be complicated all. Cooking your own food is always always always the best way to nourish yourself and your family.

 

It’s not too late to join our next Reset. It’s free, it’s full of support and 100% good for you.

 

Pre-Holiday Clean Eating Reset : Eat Clean and Stay Lean

Happy November and happy pre-holiday festivities!

 

Festivities and food go together, don’t they?

 

Are you already a little bit anxious about all the eating that will take place these next many weeks?

 

Do you feel out of control during holiday gatherings? Do you tend to gain a few unwanted pounds (or more)?

 

Join my mini Clean Eating Reset to set the mind in the right place so that you embark on the holidays feeling clean and lean.

 

We will eat real food, learn some mind tricks, and reset our taste buds and metabolism.

 

It is always FREE to be part of this challenge. 

 

Click HERE to join the group and I will show you how easy it is to conquer the holidays without gaining weight and feeling out of control.

 

 

Why should we “Eat Clean”: some facts from FOOD RULES

Food Rules is a little book written by journalist, Michael Pollan. It’s a little book that could because it single- handedly inspired me to start a “Clean Eating Challenge” a couple of years ago.

 

I am not a big rule follower, especially when it comes to food. I enjoy food (a lot), and want to have freedom around what I eat (as in, please don’t tell me what to eat).

 

So the name of this book did not catch my attention at first.

 

But a good friend who equally loves and appreciates food told me to, “read it, it will change your life.”

 

Pollan begins the book by acknowledging that there is a lot of noise in the food and health world about what foods we should or should not eat. It was getting confusing and frustrating for him. Being a curious researcher and a food lover, he set out to figure it out to answers to his one question: What should we eat?

 

If we have one life to live on this planet earth, what and how should we feed our body so that we can keep it going as well as possible while enjoying this one life?

 

I love his suggestions, and his 64 “rules” that helped Pollan answer his simple beginning question.

 

Before we go into the rules, it’s important to address the 3 facts that Pollan believes we need to acknowledge before building our own thinking and planning around what we should eat to make the most of this one life, and all the wonderful foods out there.

 

Fact 1: “Populations that eat a so-called Western diet – generally defined as a diet consisting of lots of processed foods and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of refined grains, lot of everything except vegetables, fruits, and whole grains – invariably suffer from high rates of the so-called Western diseases: obesity, type 2 diabetes, 80 percent of all cardiovascular disease, and more than a third of all cancers can be linked to this diet.” 

 

Fact 2: “Populations eating remarkably wide range of traditional diets generally don’t suffer from these chronic diseases. These diets run the gamut from ones very high in fat (the Inuit in Greenland subsist largely on seal blubber) to ones high in carbohydrate (Central American Indians subsist largely on maize and beans) to ones very high in protein (Masai tribesmen in Africa subsist chiefly on cattle good, meat, and milk), to cite three rather extreme examples. What this suggests is that there is no single ideal human diet but that the human omnivore is exquisitely adapted to a wide range of different foods and a variety of different diets, except for one: Western diet that most of us now are eating (a diet that makes people sick).”

 

Fact 3: “People who get off the Western diet see dramatic improvements in their health. We have good research to suggest that the effects of the Western diet can be rolled back, and relatively quickly.”

 

With these facts that Pollan can prove with multitude of research and studies, he confidently sums up the answer to “What should we eat?” into seven words:

 

 

Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.

 

 

 

Needless to say, after reading this little book, I am convinced that these three facts are indeed true. Even though I don’t love following ‘rules,’ the ones that Pollan suggests in the book are mostly very enticing. And because I have, for a past years, been following most of them, I can attest them to be valid and effective. I still get to love and enjoy food whilst making the most of it to maximize my health and wellbeing.

 

That’s exactly what we will do during our Clean Eating Reset starting on September 11!

 

In my next posts, I will dig deeper into the “rules” in this little book, so that we can digest (pun intended) them in small bites.

 

In the mean time, if you want to join me in this “challenge,” go ahead and sign up right here.

Join my Free Clean Eating Reset: September 11-17, 2017

It’s been a couple of years since I started the very first Clean Eating Reset Challenge. That was when the term “Clean Eating” started circulating in the health and wellness world.

It’s still a loaded term. Depending on who you talk to, ‘clean eating’ can mean different things.

To be clear, “Clean Eating” for me does not mean anti “Dirty Eating” or “Bad foods.”

The term Clean Eating for me means eating foods closest to their original forms. It means eating mostly unprocessed, unrefined, natural foods, preferably cooked by you.

I was first inspired to offer this ‘challenge’ after reading FOOD RULES, the little book by Michael Pollan.

In it, he offers 64 rules as his secrets to eating well.

Some of these rules include:

• Avoid food products containing ingredients that third graders cannot pronounce

• Avoid food products that have sugar as the top three ingredients

• Avoid food products that contain high fructose corn syrup

• Eat your colors

• Eat foods that will eventually rot

• Eat animals that have themselves eaten well

• Eat mostly plants, especially leaves

….

…..

 

The list goes on.

As you can see, the “rules” aim to help us become more mindful of our food choices. These choices help us live  and feel better while hopefully improving the planet along the way.

As it turns out, eating this way allows our body to heal itself as well. I have so many people tell me that their nagging symptoms (from headaches, to digestive issues, to sleep, to arthritic pain) improve or disappear after they joined my Clean Eating Reset.

Here are some words from past Reset participants:

I did the Clean Eating Challenge. This was excellent advice. By doing that, it put me in the right mindset and lo and behold I lost 3 1/2lbs! My goal was to start eating mindfully and not gorging myself on unhealthy snacks. I didn’t want to never eat them again. The lack of interest in my number one craving and the ability to sense when I am full and to stop eating and save it for later are the two main things that have stayed with me. I have stepped up my exercise and have lost a total of 13#. And I look and feel so much better. I am so happy with my success and how the program has made me a healthier person.”

“While I was doing the Reset, I had more energy and in general, felt better.  Since the challenge, I have been more aware of my eating habits.  I am now able to take what I learned and apply to my daily living.”

“Participating in Kit’s last Clean Eating Reset helped me to stay the course with my healthy eating habits. It was also nice to know that there was a community of people who want the same for their life. It’s more fun to do this with a group of people than doing it alone.” 

The Reset is a one week long challenge, and is always free to anyone. The community grows each time, and we support each other in a gentle and encouraging ways.

The next week of Clean Eating Reset is from September 11 – 17. If you feel that you can benefit from learning about eating and cooking real, unprocessed foods, and improving your health naturally, this is the place for you.

More information can be found here!

And if you are ready to join, sign up and join for free right here! 

I look forward to seeing you in the community!

 

 

 

 

Our thoughts lead us to everything we feel and do: “I think, therefore I am.”

I have been obsessed with thought-work of late. It’s fascinating to watch our own mind, and observe how we react or respond to what goes on in there.

I know this on an intellectual level (there are hundreds and thousands of books on this topic alone). I also know this professionally as I see it all the time as a healthcare practitioner. When it comes to pain or illness, for instance, how we think about what we are dealing with can either help us heal, or make the condition worse. I am reminded often of how powerful the mind can be.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I got to experience this thought work personally, and I wanted to share that with you.

A couple of months ago, I decided to finally get Lasik procedure for my eyes. Since I was 10 years old, I heavily relied on glasses and contact lenses to see anything at all: I was drastically near-sighted.

It may sounds silly, but the main reason I delayed Lasik was because you are obligated to wear glasses for 1-2 weeks, or more, ahead of time. And I hated wearing glasses.

Long story short, I took a plunge, and made an appointment for the procedure on August 3. I was ordered to wear glasses only for at least 7 days before the procedure.

My brain wanted to protest: it was mad at me. I wanted an exception from the doctor and bartered for fewer days. But no such luck.

Intellectually I knew it was not a big deal: so many people wear glasses daily and they are just fine! They are happy, even! They are functional and are able to do anything and everything with just glasses on.

But I did not want to do it. My brain believed that I would have trouble moving through the days with glasses on my face. What about exercising? What if it rained. Seriously, I was being so juvenile about all of it.

But the appointment was set. I was committed. It was now or never.

I was so committed and wanted to it go smoothly that I circled the first day of wearing glasses NINE days before the procedure date, instead of the mandatory SEVEN.

I watched my thoughts about it. The brain wanted to freak out, of course… two extra days of misery! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? YOU ARE INSANE. YOU WILL BE SO MISERABLE.

But the incentive was a big one: I wanted the procedure to go smoothly (apparently sometimes if the eyes are not ready for Lasik, they won’t do it), and I really wanted it to work. And I was not going to not have it done now.

The day on that calendar came. I longingly looked at my contact lenses in the morning as I got ready for the day. I started wearing glasses full time.

It was not comfortable, of course. I hated having them on my face all day long. My brain freaked out and wanted to go back to the contacts. I hated it when the glasses fogged up, or if I sweat and they want to fall off my face. I did not see as well wearing them, and felt nauseous on occasion. I could go on about the misery. I just wanted to take them off and put back on my contact lenses.

But I didn’t. I didn’t because my thoughts about the situation was different. Instead of resisting wearing glasses, I accepted wearing glasses.

I accepted despite the discomfort.

I accepted because I had a goal I wanted and needed to achieve.

I accepted and I showed up for myself.

For nine days, I did everything in my glasses: exercised, cooked, did yoga, drove, traveled across the globe, explored a new city, met new people… I lived in my glasses like I had never done in my life. I did not enjoy a moment of it, but I stayed committed because I had a strong incentive.

And today, I can say that it was all worth it. I said goodbye to the glasses that I did not enjoy and had the procedure without trouble (they even complimented me for wearing glasses for more days than necessary). I now enjoy a new vision without needing glasses, or contacts.

Shifting my thoughts about wearing glasses from a negative, resistant place to an accepting, neutral place made the nine days go by with much less drama. I experienced the discomfort, sure, but I also was rewarded by something pretty darn amazing on the other side.

So, Descarte’s famous phrase: “Cogito ergo sum, or I think therefore I am,” resonates now more than ever.

What about you?

What thoughts are keeping you from achieving your goals?

How can you reframe your thoughts to change your outcome?

It might be much easier than you think!

 

The Importance of Planning Ahead of Time

If I told you that you have to get on a direct flight that will last 15.5 hours, plus two other shorter flights before and after, how would you react?

If I were you, I would no doubt freak out. And if I could, I would politely excuse myself and do everything I can to not have to be on those planes!

 

 Mangoes on tree

 

But what if that is the only way you can visit your family who you only see once a year, maybe, if you are lucky?

There is a valid reason why one would panic to think about such a torturous experience. I have lived through it enough times to tell you that there is nothing fun about it. The cramped, ever narrowing coach seat makes the long haul flights even worse regardless of the increased options of movies and entertainment in front of you (the food, as a side note, has not and will not improve).

I have a secret weapon to this insanity.

I tell my brain ahead of time that it will be okay. I will make it. I will survive. And it will all be worth it.

I plan on being uncomfortable.

Planning ahead works for everything that requires patience and discomfort, from these long flights, to getting a degree, to losing weight.

It boils down to how we manage our brain ahead of time. 

I will talk more about this in future posts as there is much to be discussed! For the time being, I will just mention that there are two very important parts of the brain that come into play during these times: the conscious and the subconscious. 

The subconscious brain is the more prevalent because it’s the part the brain that has to do with our survival. It is always ready to take charge in order to keep us alive.

If the subconscious brain feels uncomfortable (whether it’s the last 3 hours of the 15 hour flight, or if you are choosing to forego that brownie), it will react in unreasonable manners to keep us comfortable. But if we had planned ahead that we would be uncomfortable, and that it would be okay (this uses the conscious part of the brain), the likelihood of us responding (peacefully) instead of reacting negatively to the situation is so much greater.

 

Yoga cottage 

 

That’s what happened to me a few days ago while I journeyed half the way across the world to get back to Thailand to see my family: I planned ahead. I planned on what to read, what to write, what to listen to. I also planned to be really uncomfortable, and bored, and miserably achy.

As it turned out, the longest flight of all (15+ hours) went rather uneventfully. I may have even spent a moment (once it was all over) saying to myself: “Well, that was not all that bad!”

Using the brain to our advantage is a great way to use a tool that we already have.

Try it… plan on being uncomfortable for something in your near future.

It may just blow your mind!

 

 

 

Real food recipe: Arugula and Parsley Pesto

The garden is exploding right now, and I love it!

We have lots of greens growing: kale, chard, cilantro, parsley, arugula and basil. I just walk out the door to gather dinner ingredients these days which makes me super happy.

One of the things I make all the time with our greens is pesto. And it’s funny because I hardly ever make it the traditional way with basil. Sometimes I combine whatever I have together, like today. Arugula and parsley make a divine pesto combination.

 

 

My kids like their pesto over pasta (of course) while I just use it like dressing or sauce and pour it on just about anything.

Here’s the rough simple recipe (adjust as desired):

Ingredients:
  • A big bunch of fresh arugula and parsley leaves, washed and drained (about 2-3 cups)
  • Handful of nuts (we like tamari almonds, or walnuts)
  • One or two cloves of garlic (depending on how garlicky you like it)
  • A good amount of grated Parmesan Cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (2-3 tablespoons)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Water (enough to make it to the consistency you’d like)
I generally start with the nuts, cheese and garlic in the food processor, and mix that well.  Add olive oil and water so you get a consistency of a thick soup.  Add the green leaves next, then salt and pepper to taste, and squeeze in lemon juice at the end.
Taste as you go. You can tweak it with less or more of each ingredient, depending on your liking. Enjoy!

 

No Sugar Challenge: Help The Hunger Project help the Hungry

Earlier this year, my friend and colleague Annabel Boys and I created the Sweet Charity Sugar Challenge. It came out of a little conversation we had around the holidays when we wanted to challenge each other to a few months of eating healthier with no added or processed sugar.

We did it, we went three months in 2017 without sugar. We also managed to include several courageous souls to challenge themselves as well, while giving something to a good cause.

Sweet Charity Challenge was able to raise almost $10,000 to benefit United World Schools in three months time!

During that period, The Hunger Project reached out to us because they were intrigued at what we were doing. They thought it was such a good idea to challenge ourselves toward better health, while helping better the world.

 

 

With World Hunger Day approaching, they wanted us to help them launch a fundraising campaign.

So here we are, two days from the date, Annabel and I have teamed up with them to launch the No Sugar Challenge!

It’s quite simple to join: you pledge to give up sugar for one week while fundraising for The Hunger Project to help end world hunger.

It’s giving up something small (but so beneficial for you) while giving away something BIG.

I have set up an easy way for you to donate and join!

Why give up sugar, even for a week, you ask?

If you have not heard, sugar is a major culprit to all kinds of conditions. From obesity, to diabetes, to heart disease, to name a few. Sugar is as addictive as cocaine, so it’s no wonder we are consuming so much of it without even realizing.

The World Health Organization recommends that we have no more than 25g of sugar per day. In the US, an average adult consumes 4-5 times that amount, up to 100-130g of sugar a day!

Sugar is found in most processed and packaged foods. Sugar is found in most of our meals. It’s no wonder we are getting bigger, and sicker by the day.

You will find that with less sugar in your diet, you will feel lighter, have more energy, sleep better, and possibly lose those extra pounds that have been hanging around.

Annabel and I will be their consultants/ coaches throughout the No Sugar Challenge. We have set up a Facebook group to help support the community and will be there daily! Once you pledge, you will enter the community!

 

Won’t you join us in helping the Hunger Project realize their goals?

To learn more about The Hunger Project, you can check out their website here.

To learn more about the No Sugar Challenge or to join, please click here!

 

Question: Will Acupuncture Work If I Don’t Believe In It?

In my 15 years of practice, I have answered many questions about acupuncture:

How does it work?

When should I come back?

Will it hurt?

 

 

These are common and valid questions, especially from people who had not experienced it before.

The question that I get sometimes that I actually love to answer is this:

“If I don’t believe in it, will it still work for me?”

My short answer is: Maybe?

Here’s the thing: acupuncture is not for everyone, just like how pharmaceuticals or physical therapy, or any other medical interventions are not for everyone. Sometimes you have to spend time and energy to figure out what works best for you.

Acupuncture is a wonderful tool and an effective modality, for those who respond well to it. 

But do you have to BELIEVE in it for it to work?

No.

I have had a fair share of new patients who walk in (usually reluctantly) with a skeptical mind about the new experience they were about to have. I have had people who explicitly tell me that they don’t think it will work, but their wives or husbands or mothers encouraged them to try.

 

 

Because acupuncture accesses your own healing potential, it all depends on your body’s receptivity to this particular modality. I have had skeptics walking in with excruciating pain who walk out with none (and at that point, they are no longer skeptics). I have also had believers who want to feel better so badly, but they feel no change after several treatments.

Bottom line is this: it really depends on your body, and whether or not it’s ready to receive the treatment. When it is, there is almost nothing that will stop it from succeeding (not even your mind!).

The best thing to do is to give it a try, and watch what happens.

The Power of Knowing Our Tendency: How it has changed how I do things.

It was a life-changing moment after I took the personality quiz created by Gretchen Rubin.

For so long, I knew that I showed up so much better and more consistently if I had to show up for other people.I am more successful in a classroom or group situations; I show up on time to appointments and meetings; I work hard to ‘be there’ for others.

When it comes to showing up just for me, it was 50/50, or more like 80/20, which always frustrated me. Why can I not do what I want to do for myself? Why can I do it for others?

There are, of course, many reasons for this.

I was glad to have found one of the reasons, through Gretchen Rubin’s work: Better than Before.

According to Gretchen, there are four personality types when it comes to expectations: Upholders, Obligers, Questioners, and Rebels. (She’s actually coming out with a brand new book all about these tendencies.)

Most people fall in to the Obliger category : I am one of them.

An Obliger’s tendency is to meet outer expectations: other people’s expectation of you. We are more likely to show up for others, and we have a hard time meeting inner expectations. Bingo!

Having this knowledge, I now plan and strategize my life in a much more productive way.

If I have a goal to achieve or succeed in something (from exercising, to eating well, to daily mindful practices), I now seek outer accountability for better success.

For instance, I am now working with coaches to help with personal and professional goals. I work out with a trainer to help me get stronger. I sign up for a class when I want to learn about something new. I announce to friends and family (and the world), and get them involved, if I am doing some kind of challenge (oh, hello, Clean Eating Reset & Sweet Charity Sugar Challenge). I even have an accountability partner! It all works so much better because I know my tendency!

Doing it this way keeps me accountable and helps me succeed. I show up. I achieve my goals. It’s that simple!

What about you? Take the quiz and find out – it may change the way you go about life in the most positive ways!