LIVING WELL

Two Words that Help me succeed: Part 2 of 3

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In the last post, I talked about the TWO WORDS that help me succeed, in everything. They are the two words that keep me together, the two words that if I ignore… I get in trouble.

The two words are: SHOW UP.

Showing up is what we all need to do to keep it together, right? It’s kind of all we need to do, period.

Today, I want to talk about showing up for our soul.

 

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The soul is a strange being… such an ethereal concept, and yet it’s such an important part of all of us. The soul makes itself known subconsciously and spontaneously. It is often felt when it is absent. For instance, when we get too busy with projects, to-do lists, obligations, and life stuff… the soul gets scared and it goes away.

That’s when we start to feel uneven. The feelings of being ‘out of balance’ and ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘insane’ become forefront and, truthfully, traumatic.We feel out of sorts and crazy. We wonder what is happening to our wellbeing. We often seek ways to return to balance, and harmony (using quick-fix ways like food, and medication).

In my opinion, this is when we are not showing up for our soul. It’s when our soul is sick, or absent.

Imagine yourself being made of two parts: the body, and the soul. The body is usually anchored down onto earth (thanks to gravity). But the soul is unanchored, and can easily float away. Ideally, they reside together in harmony, both anchored, both nurtured. When we spend long enough time ignoring the soul, it will leave the body and scatter around us (or elsewhere). That’s when we feel unbalanced. It’s hard to pinpoint where the soul goes, but basically, we just need to bring it back into the body, anchor it down to restore overall health and harmony.

Everyone needs a little something different to anchor their souls. For me, I feel it best when I do these things… when I show up for my soul in these ways:

 

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1. Connecting with another human being. 

Humans are wired for connection, especially the physical one. When we spend time with another human being (preferably someone with whom you enjoy spending time), sharing an experience, time, and stories, the human soul is nourished. We crave this connection more than we know it. I believe this is part of why social media runs the world today: it’s an easy way to ‘feel connected’ with the rest of humanity. But be careful… a lot of these ‘connections’ can be/ are false. It’s best to call up someone, go for a walk, and enjoy their company. That one-on-one, face-to-face connection is one of the best medications for the soul.

 

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2. Being in nature.

We are part of the animal kingdom! We are part of nature. It’s hard to remember this fact when our conscious brain is so busy being logical, planning ahead, solving problems. But when the soul needs to be anchored, there is almost nothing better than stepping out into nature, touch the soil or the sand, see the trees and the water. When I feel uneasy about life, being in nature is a total quick reset. I often feel better right away… like something realigned. It’s simply because I show up for the soul when I am in nature.

 

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3. Being inspired.

This one is a much more open-ended way of showing up for the soul, but I can’t live without it. Being inspired triggers the subconscious part of the brain where lies our creativity and spirituality. Being inspired propels us forward, giving us reasons to live, giving us reasons to LOVE living.

I find myself inspired by little things and big things. Usually it happens when I am not actually looking for inspiration. This type of showing up for the soul is a spontaneous one, but one to pause for and live for.

I find myself inspired by books, by art, by people’s stories. I find myself inspired by the way the sunlight touches a flower. I find myself inspired by the way someone is living their life. I find myself inspired by my children and how they see and live in the world. They are small moments, really, that spark joy or love inside of me. And that’s when I know that I am showing for my soul.

The health of our soul is detrimental to our overall health. I see it in my patients who are suffering from their sick souls even though their bodies are operating just fine. Find time today to show up for your soul and see a difference it makes in your life.

 

The Two Words That Help Me Succeed: Part 1 of 3

cosmos1Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend who asked me simply:  “What do you do?”.

What she meant was, what do I do to keep it together (or not). What do I do daily, weekly, monthly to make life work. We were walking, so I was thinking out loud as I answered. As I was starting to tell her about my daily routines, expectations I have for myself and others and such, it dawned on me that at the end of the day, there are only two words that simply sum up my answer.

Show Up.

 

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I show up. Or really, I try to show up, for everything.

When I show up, everything falls into place. And that’s how I make it work in this crazy, hectic, wonderfully extraordinary life.

The more I pondered about these two words, the more I realized that there are so many aspects of this showing up business. Today, I want to touch on the importance of showing up for health.

Showing up for health means that you prioritize things that make your life healthier. It means that you are committed to making healthy choices for yourself with food, activity, and rest: the three pillars of health in my new weight-release program, TRANSFORM.

 

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Let’s break it down.

What does it mean to show up for food?

We all know that we need to ‘eat healthy,’ right? If you followed my Clean Eating Reset program in late October, you may have experienced what it feels like to reset your metabolism by choosing real foods, eating less sugar, and less processed foods for your meals.

Showing up for food means making good choices most of the time for your body – making food a priority by not listening to the cravings. Showing up for food means staying committed to feeding your body with good fuel and nutrients, and not using food to numb your emotional needs.

 

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What does it mean to show up for activity?

Our body is like a machine that relies on daily activities for efficiency. Showing up for activity means taking care of this machine (the only one you have) so that it works properly. It does not at all mean you have to be a runner, or a yogi, do a cross-fit program or take spin classes. You should find activities that you enjoy and make it part of your life. If that means walking the dog daily (like I do), that is showing up for activity (for yourself, and your pet who will love you even more).

 

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Showing up for rest means making sure that you allow your body to relax and restore. It means quieting the mind as well as the body. It is finding the YIN within the YANG.

Showing up for rest means getting enough sleep, sure, but it also means saying no to too much chaos in life. I see too many people whose only true rest is on my acupuncture table, once a week. That is not nearly enough time for the body and the mind to be still (but better than nothing!). Showing up for rest means finding time in each day to allow your mind and body to connect and give yourself permission to just be.

How are you showing up for your health?

Next week, we will talk about how showing up for your soul will transform your life.

 

 

Clean Eating Reset

tomatoes2It’s that time again – a week to reset and recharge by eating clean foods.

What does that mean?

Eating Clean might be a buzz phrase, and it might mean different things to different people.

At Bexley Acupuncture and Wellness, it means these seven words: Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants. 

 

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It means eating whole, real foods while decreasing or eliminating sugar, and processed foods. Eating this way will give our metabolism a rest from the high and low blood sugar fluctuations as well as our energy levels. Most people will notice that they sleep better, feel lighter, and become more mindful about what they put into their body.

You can read more about the background of my Clean Eating Challenge from the first round we had last year here.

I am always looking to make these Clean Eating weeks more productive and successful. After conducting my first TRANSFORM weight release program beta group, it is clear to me that I don’t want to stick to the term ‘challenge’ so much. It’s not harmful, of course, to have a challenge, or be challenged (we all need a little fire under us bums sometimes). But mentally, it’s more sustainable to decrease the usage of terms that have a beginning and and ending.

So I am going to switch from Challenge to Reset. We live busy lives, and we all can use a bit of resetting every now and then, right?

 

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The Clean Eating Reset week is this coming week, October 26 – November 1.

Yes, I am cruel to run it over Halloween. It’s partly coincidental, and partly intentional… Arguably, Halloween week is the most challenging week of the year to say NO to sweets… sweets we do NOT need.

If you want to join, sign up NOW, and you will get the support throughout the week.

If you are reading this after October 26, and want to participate in future Clean Eating Reset weeks, you can still sign up here, and you will be notified about future Clean Eating Resets!

Have a wonderful week!

Kit

 

How hypnosis can help you lose weight

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Have you been on some kind of diet, a detox or a cleanse, and when you are not ‘supposed to’ eat something, all you want is that very thing?

A little voice inside your head says, “Oh, why bother? I will be good tomorrow.” Or, “Just this one time, and that’s it.”

That little voice comes from your subconscious mind — a vast territory in our brain that hangs on to most of our past memories, emotions, traumas, feelings and more. It likes to be helpful, but oh so irrational. We have a terrible time telling it to shut up.

This is where hypnosis comes in. Hypnosis can tame that voice.

Hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation. In this meditative state, we can access the subconscious mind much more readily. We can ‘talk’ to it, ‘listen’ to it, and give it new suggestions. You can think of it as taming a new puppy, and training it at the same time. While the puppy is calm and collected and content, it will learn new ways of doing and being without going back to old bad behaviors.

 

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Our subconscious enjoys old repeated patterns or long-term habits because it does not have to do much work that way. So when in doubt, it will revert and rely on old patterns, no matter how good or bad they are.

For instance, you may have a habit of eating in front of the TV, or computer. It may ease your anxiety, or calm and reward you in some way. So each time you are about to sit down to watch TV, or work on the computer, you must have something to eat. The subconscious registers that as a habit… and it will want you to repeat this habit each time that you do these activities. It does not know what you choose to eat, or how much. It just knows that its job is to signal the pattern to you to replicate.

The problem with this pattern is:

  1. You are mindlessly eating.
  2. You are in a trance (because your eyes are fixated on one thing), and it’s hard to stop.
  3. You will most likely overeat.
  4. You will most likely feel bad that you just overate.

And yet, the pattern continues, over and over and over again.

As a tool, hypnosis can stop the old pattern by understanding why you have this habit in the first place. We will then reverse the old conclusions, and give your subconscious new, healthier choices. After each session, you will feel empowered and relieved that you don’t ever have to be a slave to your subconscious any longer.

As a result, you will make healthier choices around eating. You will lose the unwanted weight.

 

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For more information about my weight release program, TRANSFORM, you can go here. The program is offered in group sessions, or privately.

If you want to stay up to date on the next group session (January, 2016), sign up below.

3 Rules Acupuncturists Live by

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I want to let you all in on acupuncturists’ secrets to staying healthy.

Mind you, we do get sick, of course. We are humans after all. But there are a few things we learned while becoming Chinese Medicine practitioners that do help keep us stronger during the cold-flu seasons.

These are nothing earth shattering. They are actually common sense rules that we sometimes forget.

  1. We say no to ice.

Cold is a major invader to our immune system, especially our digestive system. Drinking iced beverages, especially on a cold day, is like being a bully to our stomach and intestines. It is best to drink warm liquids, and never put ice in anything.

As for injuries, ice works well in an acute situation, to stop the inflammation. After 24 hours or so of an injury, however, we say no to ice. It’s an ongoing debate with other healthcare providers, but when in doubt, acupuncturists prefer warmth, and heat for healing.

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2. We cover our necks. 

The neck is the gate for all external invasions to enter our body system. Exterior cold temperatures, or cold air can truly take our immunity down. Have you gotten sick after being too cold outdoors? It is wise to keep our neck covered when the temperatures fall, so we are less likely to be defeated buy the cold invasion.

Cold can also contract our muscles, causing stiff neck or shoulders if we are exposed to cold air while sleeping. Acupuncturists know this, and we never sleep near an open window, or a blowing fan.

 

 

  IMG_54563. We get adequate rest.

Evening time is yin time… Yin is the quiet, the solitude, the rest. Without yin, there is no yang… So without rest, there can be no activity (or not a very good one). If we want to be the best at what we do (help you all feel better), we must go inward and rest.

Try these not-so-secret rules we live by, and see if it helps you stay healthy this season!

In good health,

Kit

Morning Routine to combat the overwhelm

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I used to be a snoozer – you know, someone who presses the snooze button on the alarm clock when it’s time to wake up?

Each day that I did that (it used to be everyday!), I would wake up feeling less than happy with myself. The mornings would feel rushed, and the day would feel the same way. Even though I knew that I operated best in the morning, I did not give myself permission to optimize that gift.

That all changed one day, overnight, a year ago.

I was chatting with a patient, a fellow morning-person, a fellow morning-walker. I was lamenting how I wish I could wake up earlier so that I could get more things done, walk longer, feel more prepared for the day. I told her about my snoozing-habit.

She didn’t have empathy for me, at all, actually. Instead she said:

“Kit, it’s really easy!”

“Really? What do you mean?” I inquired.

“You just move your alarm clock far away, so that you have to get out of bed. If you do that, you probably won’t snooze it!”

My mind was blown. How did I not know to do this before?

As they say, the rest is history.

 

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Literally, that ONE advice changed my life (and I have told her this!). I started that very evening, putting my alarm on my dresser which is a few steps away from my bed. I set it for 5am, and boom, at 5am the next day, it rang and I got out of bed to turn it off. It made me feel so empowered, this little thing that I did! I had an extra hour or so that morning, and I felt like I conquered the world!

Since then I have added to this morning routine, and I have to say that my life is so much better for it. I wake up even earlier now, and I get even more productive, and focused. I start each day feeling already accomplished, and well-planned. Here’s a sample of my morning routine:

 

1. Wake up early

2. I drink a glass of room temperature water with lemon juice.

3. I write in my journal (a list of 5 things I am grateful for, I call it my ‘Gratitude Five’)

4. I create my Task list for the morning, prioritizing what needs to get done first (lunches, laundry, dishes, sometimes if I have time, I make dinners, too!)

5. Exercise for 10-20 minutes (this depends on my mood. Sometimes it’s simple yoga, sometimes it’s cardio, and sometimes it’s weights. I do it all at home.)

6. Walk the dog for 20-30 minutes.

7. I come home to wake up my children, and ‘start’ my day.

 

 

Without realizing it, what I end up accomplishing each day with my morning routine can be thought of as :

Gratitude (the journal), Clarity (the Task List), Self-care (lemon water and exercise), and Family (all those chores!). And it all happens before 7am!

I am convinced that because of my morning routine, I am able to focus on both my personal and professional life with as little sense of overwhelm and stress as possible. Some days are harder than others, of course, but I make sure to show up daily. Each day that I don’t snooze the alarm, I am a happier, more productive person. And that is a wonderful pay-off!

What is the ONE thing that can help you feel less overwhelmed? I want to hear it!

Best wishes,

Kit

 

Debunking Hypnosis Myths

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Even more than acupuncture, when you hear about hypnosis, you cringe a little, right? Maybe even a lot.

You are not alone! That’s perfectly normal response.

We get creeped out by the ‘unknown’. Worst yet, we get creeped out feeling like we are completely out of control. This is because for most people, their only exposure to hypnosis is ‘stage hypnosis’ where a stage hypnotist seems to have all the control buttons. He snaps, and people on stage respond by going into a deep trance, and doing whatever the hypnotist tells them to do. Totally creepy.

The truth is, that is pure entertainment. There is a small amount of reality to it, but a small one. Usually, these situations are perfectly staged. The people are perfectly chosen, and perhaps even paid to perform.

 

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Hypnosis, in truth, is not too different from relaxation, or meditation. When used as a therapeutic modality, hypnosis is a state of relaxation with intentional guided suggestions.

Everyone can be hypnotized. In fact, we perform self hypnosis throughout the day.

For instance, if you listen to music while driving, reading while eating, painting or sewing while daydreaming… You are most likely in a trance for part, or all of that time. Eye-fixation is a very effective way of going into a trance… which really is just a relaxed state of being.

During this state of relaxation, the subconscious becomes dominant; this is where long term patterns, habits, memories are kept and operated. We are much more suggestible in the subconscious realm, and that is how hypnosis can help take away old negative thoughts, habits, or patterns, while creating new, long-lasting positive ones.

 

What is Hypnotherapy?

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After practicing acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for over 10 years, I know its benefits and limitations pretty well. Acupuncture is wonderful, sometimes even miraculous, for so many conditions. I love it for its simplicity, its efficacy, and versatility. But like anything else in this world, it is not perfect. It can address most physical ailments well; it can even improve psychological imbalances. There comes a time, however, when it needs a better mate for an even better dance.

 

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That’s when hypnotherapy comes in. While acupuncture addresses the physical being (moving the Qi, resolving stagnations), hypnotherapy works on the unconscious part of the mind that helps with emotional release, and reverse mental limitations, and negative tendencies that inhibit growth and the ability to move on in life.

The two modalities together create a harmonious, perfect pairing. They compliment each other, and help bring about the best possible outcome.

I am so excited to bring this combination to my practice!

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I was trained and will be certified in Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy this month. At first glance, if you don’t know much about hypnotherapy, you may be turned-off by the idea of people on stage being induced into a trance-like state and losing all of their control.

In reality, that is far from what hypnotherapy is about. The trance-like state is something that we experience daily, most of the time, unconsciously. Have you ever driven somewhere, get there, and forget about the whole experience of driving there? That’s a good example of being in a trance-like state. Hypnotic trance is simply the simple shifting back and forth between the conscious and sub-conscious mind.

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During a session, you will be completely in control, and conscious of your surroundings. The only difference is that we will be communicating more with the 90% of your mind. That’s where we can tap into shifting negative thoughts into positive ones, changing bad behaviors and thought tendencies, and creating long lasting change.

I think of it as a guided, intentional meditation.

Because acupuncture already induces relaxation, and a re-balancing of your energy fields, when combined with hypnotherapy, the results are profound. We are literally connecting the mind and body in one single treatment! Many people have commented on how after one session of Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy, they feel better than 10-20 session of talk therapy.

Some conditions that Hypno-Acupuncture sessions can help:

Anxiety

Chronic pain

Weight management

Smoking cessation

and any sense of ‘being stuck’ in bad habits or routines.

Together, we can connect and transform your mind and body, so that you will feel and live better, naturally.

Best wishes,

Kit

 

Why we should do yoga everyday

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After hosting the second Yoga-Acupuncture Workshop at the Bexley Public Library last weekend with Jenna Long, I have been thinking a lot about how beneficial yoga is for all of us.

To be clear, I am no yogi. I don’t put on yoga pants, and go take yoga classes (I have in the past, but I have to adjust my routine according to life schedules). But I practice some form of yoga daily, in the comfort of my own home. The only things I have in common with ‘real’ yogis are my yoga mat, and a firm belief that connecting my breath with my body, even for a few minutes a day, can bring about so many healthy benefits.

For beginners, the thought of practicing yoga can be overwhelming, or even scary. Yoga’s popularity in the West has made it feel unattainable unless you are young, super flexible, and athletic. The truth is that yoga can be anything you make it to be, for anyone, no pre-requisites needed. The essence of yoga, I believe, is more focused in the breathing. If you allow me, instead of ‘yoga’, I may even call it ‘stretching while focusing on your breath.’ But that’s a mouthful.

There are countless forms of yoga these days… from ashatanga, to bikram, to hatha, and the list goes on. At the end of the day, however, all yoga involves some form of stretching your muscles while breathing, and being present.

So why is stretching while focusing on your breath good for you? Here are a few reasons:

1. It brings you back to the present moment. You are forced to think about where you are, and what your body is doing without being distracted.

2. You are increasing your circulation with each stretch of your muscles, moving Qi and Blood – your vital forces – concurrently to keep you healthy.

3. Your body weight creates a wonderful strength training session without needing hand weights, or adding extra bulk.

4. It relaxes your mind, and body, hence decreasing stress and anxiety.

5. Convenience: it can be done almost anywhere, at any time. You don’t even need a mat: you just need your body, and your breath (and we all have that, right?).

If you are new to yoga, I recommend that you start slowly and gently. There are plenty of YouTube channels and apps that have free videos to help guide you through simple poses or routines. It may take a few times to find something that you like (type in ‘yoga for beginners). Here is one option to get you started.

For non-beginners who don’t always have time for a yoga class (like me), try this, or this at home. It could be the best 30 minutes of your day!

 

 

Clean Eating Challenge – April 2015

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It’s Spring! It’s time for Spring-cleaning, inside and out.

I am hosting the 4th Bexley Acupuncture Clean Eating Challenge next week (April 13-20). Some of you have joined this free Challenge before, and some of you have been thinking about it. Right? If you are intrigued and would like to learn more (and receive the free guidelines), drop me an email! It’s fun to be part of this inspiring group of people who are committed to changing their diet and lifestyle for their well-being.

Go to Bexley Acupuncture website, and click on Contact Us. It will take you to a page where you can send me a message!

Now, for the Challenge itself.

I posted this for our first Challenge last July. The guidelines and thoughts behind the Cleanse remain the same. This time around, I am also adding the ‘Cleanse’ component for those who would also like to lose a few pounds during the Challenge (it has to do with a delicious GREEN SOUP, a recipe that comes with the free guidelines).

Below is the main idea behind the Challenge, and my own interpretation of ‘Clean Eating.’  Enjoy!

 

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CLEAN EATING CHALLENGE 

7 words for 7 days.

EAT FOOD. NOT TOO MUCH. MOSTLY PLANTS.

To be clear : this is not a cleanse, a detox, or a weight loss plan.

It is simply a way to eliminate (or significantly reduce) processed sugar, and processed foods from our diet for a week. We will eat healthier, and feel better (and some of us may end up shedding a few pounds). I have been wanting to do this for a while, and I hope that some of you will join me (because it is easier to do it as a group – accountability is the key to success!).

You probably know the benefits of eating less sugar, less processed foods, and to eat more wholesome, organic, real foods, yes? If not, watch this video. Dr. Andrew Weil did a wonderful job explaining why REAL FOOD is our best food choice.

There are many ways to ‘eat clean’, and you will find all kinds of books, websites, blogs, diets, and other things about it. For me, I was most inspired by Michael Pollan’s book: FOOD RULES. After spending a lot of time thinking about what he should actually eat (in this complicated food world), he decided, besides simplifying to the 7 words, on a list of 64 rules.

I am not a huge fan of (strict) rules, and can’t abide by a few, let alone 64. I want it to be the least complicated possible.

So for the purpose of our week long challenge, I narrowed the food rules down to 17. That’s still too many, really, but they all seem quite important if we want to eat healthier, and feel better about what we put into our mouths and bodies. And after all, there is a reason we are calling this a ‘challenge’, right?

Here’s my adapted version of Michael Pollan’s FOOD RULES:

  1. Don’t eat anything that your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
  2. Avoid products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry.
  3. Avoid food products that contain high-fructose corn syrup.
  4. Avoid foods that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) listed among the top three ingredients.
  5. Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients.
  6. Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third grader cannot pronounce.
  7. Avoid food products with the word “lite”, “low-fat”, or “non-fat” in their names.
  8. Avoid foods  you see advertised on television.
  9. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.
  10. Eat only foods that will eventually rot.
  11. Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature.
  12. Get out of the supermarket whenever you can.
  13. Buy your snacks at the farmers’ market.
  14. Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans.
  15. Don’t ingest foods made in places where everyone is required to wear a surgical cap.
  16. If it came from a  plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.
  17. It’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language (Think Big Mac, Cheetos, or Pringles).

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Again, if you are interested in joining the group, please let me know!

Once I hear from you, I will:

  • Send you an email with a FREE guideline to the Challenge, complete with the Dos and the Don’ts (and the Green Soup recipe!). This is the guideline that I designed, and will be following personally. It’s pretty straight forward, and completely doable!
  • Invite you to the Private Facebook Group especially made for this Challenge. This is where we can keep each other in check, inspired, ask questions, share recipes and so much more.
  • Give you access to the Secret Pinterest Group where you will find all kinds of culinary inspirations during the Challenge.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  I look forward to connecting with many of you.

In good health,

Kit

NOTE: The advice shared in this document has not been evaluated by the FDA. The methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical care. Seek medical advice if you are under medical care for serious medical conditions, pregnant, breast feeding, or postpartum.