Slow Food

Remember last week’s blog post when I talked about stress, the effects of stress on our body, and the difference between life stress and self-chosen stress? 

If not click this link to read all about it!

This week I want to talk about one self-chosen stressor in particular.  It’s insidious in our culture, and most of us are not even aware that it is a stressor!  

Are you a fast eater, a slow eater, or a moderately paced eater?

Ninety percent of people asked this question answered, “fast”.  And guess what?  Human biology interprets eating fast as being stressed.

Remember, we saw that constant low-level stress causes increased insulin, and increased cortisol which can lead to:

  • weight gain
  • inability to lose weight
  • inability to build muscle
  • decreased calorie burning
  • increased fat deposits at midsection
  • increased inflammation
  • gut microbiome die off
  • nutrient wasting
  • decreased energy
  • appetite deregulation
  • desensitivity to pleasure
  • decreased metabolism
  • decreased Thyroid function 
  • decreased oxygen uptake
  • poor sleep

Imagine how this affects us if we have a weight challenge, or body transformation goal!  Even if we are not pursuing a food and body goal, none of these optimizes our health.  It makes complete sense that we want to reduce stress whenever possible. 

If you answered that you are a “fast” or even “moderately paced” eater, then you have now identified a stressor that you can choose to get rid of!  Reducing stress always has positive benefits, so why wouldn’t we put some effort into slowing down with our food?

The main reason is because eating fast is a habit. 

Generally, until someone asks us this question, we never even consider our eating speed.  In fact part of the problem is that many of us never even consider our food! 

We may skip breakfast or grab a pastry at the coffee shop, then eat lunch at the desk or running between clients, then grab some take out on the way home for dinner.  If any of these behaviors sound familiar, then you have a golden opportunity to release some of the stress that you carry!

(Slowing down with food is also a first step in releasing patterns of bingeing, after-dinner eating, and overeating.)

If you are interested in trying to break the habit of eating fast, you have much to gain!  So what do you have to lose (besides stress)? 

Here are some other symptoms caused or exacerbated by fast eating which can also diminish or go away completely:

Eating fast is a habit.  Eating more slowly requires some effort because we are creating a new habit, and new habits take time. This is NOT about counting bites. This is about relaxing with food and increasing pleasure! This is about enjoying our mealtimes and boosting happiness. This is about being present, becoming aware & listening to our body.

Fast eating is a habit.

Slow eating is a habit worth cultivating.

Grow on!

If you want to release the stress of fast eating, start by coming to your meals in as relaxed a state as you can.  Try to eat somewhere quiet when possible, or at the very least not in an environment that feels stressful.  Don’t watch the news, and incorporate some music that relaxes you if that appeals to you.

Before you begin to eat, take two or three grounding breaths.  Allow your heart rate to calm, then turn your attention to your meal.  Be present with your food.  Savor the flavor.  Explore the textures on your tongue.  Really enjoy the relaxed time with your food.  Food is meant to be a satisfying pleasure.

If you are eating food you do not enjoy, ask yourself, “why?”.  Food is meant to nourish body, mind and spirit, and we absorb far more nourishment from food we enjoy than from food we do not enjoy.

If you generally take 5 minutes for your meal, try to make it last 10 or 15 minutes.  If you generally eat in 15 minutes, try to stretch that out to half an hour.

I hear you!  

Life is busy.  Sometimes, unfortunately, we might actually have only five minutes to eat.  We can still approach our meal in a more relaxed and calm manner.  If you truly only have a short time, make that time count.  Breathe deeply and relax.  Taste what you are eating.  Be present to the flavor and texture. 


Find lots more information on the benefits of slowing down when we eat in this fabulous book by Marc David, the founder for the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Fruit Fear

Aloha Everyone!

Jeremy and I are in Hawaii this week and I am LOVING all the fresh fruit! This is our third day and we’ve hit two farmers’ markets so far, with plans to hit at least two more!

I have heard more than one client say that they avoid fruit because it so high in sugar, to which I always reply,

Hold on a minute!

The sugar in fruit comes packaged with fiber, vitamins, and micronutrients VITAL to our well-being! We actually hurt our health if we avoid fruit.

I can’t explain it nearly as well as my food guru, Anthony William. He’s already written a highly informative blog complete with a 60 minute recording of his radio show, and since I am on vacation enjoying lots of beautiful fresh fruits, I’ll send you over to grow your wisdom on Anthony’s blog this morning.

Click here forAnthony’s blog about the importance of eating fruit!


Liver Cleanse Grocery Lists

Planning and Preparation are Key!

If you want to do the Medical Medium Liver Cleanse, then I want you to succeed!  Organization is one of my Divine gifts, so I am providing this list in the hopes that it helps you get organized and prepared for the cleanse.

Remember that the first 3 days have options, so if your options are different from mine, then your grocery list will need to be modified accordingly.

Dragonfruit Powder

Dragonfruit can be found in some grocery stores like Berkeley Bowl, though I have seen it infrequently and it’s always quite expensive.  It is available in some freezer sections, though nearly as infrequently.  The powder seems the easiest form to get your hands on in enough quantity for this cleanse.  One 3.5 ounce bag is required for each person on the cleanse.  Amazon carries it, but iHerb has it cheaper at this link and you save more if you buy 2 of them.  Spend more than $20 and get free 2 day shipping.

Order the dragonfruit before you start the cleanse to be sure you have it delivered before day four.

If you need these items for the optional detox smoothie on my menu plan, they are available on Amazon or at Sprouts:

Barley grass juice powder
Hawaiian Spirulina
Atlantic Dulse

A word about smoothie recipes

The Liver Rescue Smoothie says 1-2 servings and the Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie says 1 serving.  I treat both recipes as 2 smoothies because I have a single serve blender and half a recipe is all that fits.

I drank 2 LR smoothies on each of days 4 to 7, but those are each half sized servings, so if you find you are still hungry, you can have up to 2 more smoothies using the same recipe.

My Grocery Lists

I hope these lists are a helpful resource! Click on each one to read and download.

I have my lists organized by days and also by stores based on preferred quality and price.  On the first cleanse I bought all of the items for days 1 to 3 and found I had some stuff left over simply because I did not eat as much of some of the produce as I purchased.  So check your supplies on hand before purchasing more for the subsequent days.

One potato is required on day 7 (or squash or sweet potato) and I simply added it to my list for the first 3 days so I don’t have “one potato” to hunt down on my third trip to the store.  I’m efficient like that.

Each list is per person.

Day 1-3

Day 4-6

Day 7-9

Yep.  It’s a LOT of food! 

Please let me know if you ave questions or need any support as you prepare for the cleanse!

Liver Cleanse with Cyndi & Friends ~ Coming SOON

If you read about my recent experience with the Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse, or 369 Liver Cleanse, you already know that I found my own results to be miraculously beneficial. 

Jeremy joined me on the cleanse and his results were far less dramatic than my own.  We can safely assume that his liver was far less toxic than my own.  When asked about his own results Jeremy said he felt lighter.  While it’s true that weight loss was a side effect of this cleanse (we each lost about 5-6 pounds over the 9 days), it was not the goal.  A cleaner, healthier, more optimally functioning liver was the goal and I feel very excited that I achieved that goal, as evidenced by the health improvements I feel.

I felt SO freaking good coming off the cleanse it was almost like a high. The inflammation in my low back and right hip that frequently keep me off work vanished.  The symptoms of facial paralysis decreased.  The hot flashes that had been soaking my sheets three or four times a night disappeared. Increased energy was a big benefit I gained from this cleanse as well as improved sleep quality.  The symptoms of SIBO that had begun to reappear are gone!

SIBO Backstory ~

I was diagnosed with SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth) 2 years ago.  The symptoms are intensely painful and nauseating and kept me off work for six weeks in early 2017.  The day we left for our three-week European vacation I was so sick I almost stayed home.  I lost 10 pounds on the first 6 days of our trip.  I thought the symptoms were from eating allergy foods, but after reading Liver Rescue by Anthony William, I became convinced that SIBO is a symptom of a toxic and stressed liver.  This was the reason I decided to do this particular cleanse this spring as opposed to cleanses I have used in past years.

I felt SO much better after the cleanse, I want to do it again!

I actually woke up two mornings after the cleanse with the idea in my head that I wanted to bring the healing, energizing benefits of this cleanse to exotic locations across the globe and host cleanse retreats!  I can combine my passion for helping people energize their lives, with my passion for planning travel, and my new found passion of energizing through cleanse.

My very next thought was that I want to do it again!  I got these amazing results from deep cleaning, nourishing & hydrating my liver once.  How many more results will I get on another cleanse?  The experiment is too intoxicating NOT to try, so I am doing the cleanse again beginning May 16.  Jeremy has no intention of undertaking this cleanse again until next spring, but I am lucky that he is willing to undertake a modified version of the cleanse and help me with food prep. His support is a huge blessing for me.

Supporting Others

Of course I have been touting the cleanse and the book from whence it came to anyone who will listen.  Currently four of my clients and two of their husbands have bought the book and are preparing to undertake the cleanse!  I am thrilled for them and can’t wait to see what benefits THEY reap from the cleanse.

To support them in their efforts, I have decided to run a 15 day cleanse support group for this 9-day cleanse!

Why 15 Days of Support for a Nine Day Cleanse? 

Because we don’t all live on the same schedule.  It is truly beneficial to rest as much as you can on day nine as your liver is busy taking out the toxins.  My days off are Thursday and Friday, so I plan to start my cleanse on a Thursday and end on a Friday.  For those working Monday to Friday it will make more sense to start on Saturday and end on a Sunday.  One of my clients who plans to do this cleanse is attending a wedding on the 18th, so she naturally wants to start after that occasion.

I plan to start the support sessions on May 15, start my cleanse the 16th, end on the 24th and continue the support through the 29th.

Anyone else wanna play?

  • If you have done at least one cleanse of any type in the past,
  • If you have wanted to reduce or eliminate inflammatory foods,
  • If you have liver or gall bladder issues,
  • If you have/had SIBO, eczema, psoriasis, diabetes, adrenal stress, fatigue, weight issues,

I invite you to join us in our nine-day healing adventure!

We’re going by the book, so buy the book!

I will not attempt to explain the cleanse to you!  It takes Anthony nearly 500 pages to do that in Liver Rescue, and you really need to read it to understand WHY you are undertaking the cleanse, why it is important to YOU in particular based on your own health and experience. You need to be mentally and physically prepared to take on a restrictive regimen for nine days.  The book includes over a dozen healing recipes and eight meditations to help you focus on the purpose of the cleanse, which is to help the liver release years of stored toxins.

You must have the book to attempt the cleanse.  It contains the guidelines and immeasurable wealth of knowledge that you will need to refer to throughout the nine days and beyond.  What I hope to add to this experience for you is help with planning & preparation before and during the cleanse, knowledge of what you might expect during each phase, as well as support and inspiration throughout the process.  I’ll let you know each day what is going on with me, and what feedback I am getting from other participants about what’s going on for them.

It is truly, deeply helpful to know that you are not alone in this journey because it is challenging.  Most of us eat whatever we choose to eat whenever we choose to eat.  Much of that is based in habit, and making decisions when hunger strikes rather than planning ahead.  Preparation time for the cleanse foods takes planning ahead especially if you need to bring these foods to work with you and be ready to leave early.  That may mean getting up an hour early to prepare.

Planning ahead is key!

Organization is one of my superpowers, so as I prepared to do this 369 liver cleanse back in April, I put it all on paper!  I had created 3 grocery lists for each of the three phases of the cleanse a full week before Day 1 arrived.  Jeremy and I had a nine-day menu written prior to making the grocery lists.  This is something I can help with and plan to provide.

Participation is Free

I see myself leading these cleanse retreats in places like Hawaii and Fiji and Bora Bora in the future.  Won’t it be delightful to go somewhere relaxing where you can distract yourself swimming with dolphins or relaxing in a hammock overlooking the palm dotted white-sand beaches, while someone prepares your daily cleanse foods for you!

image from Google

But for this first support group, participants are supplying their own location, activities schedule, and food prep.

And this is all SO fresh in my head I don’t even know yet how I want to provide the support!  I am considering creating videos to update the support group daily, but currently do not have the tech savvy, so may end up writing the daily updates.  Either way – video or written text – the best way to make the information accessible is to post it here in my Empowerment Center.  – In case you hadn’t noticed, I have rebranded my blog as an empowerment center because I expect it to be a valuable resource for people to refer to when empowering themselves to energize their lives!

It’s also possible that video conference calls may work, but I am not sure of details on that yet.  Since the group is so small, I will provide daily support by text or email any time someone reaches out.  If you have questions, I will do my best to find the answers for us.  If you feel extra challenged one day, I’ll do whatever I can to listen and support you through the challenges.  Just reach out to me.  I’m here for you! 

I want you to succeed, and feel powerful in your ability to transform your health.

I still run a full-time massage practice and have coaching clients and iPEC classes, so this is fresh, new, untested water and the whole thing depends on the feedback of participants to help me create what’s needed to support them.

So this inaugural session of my guided cleanse is free if you want to join our small group of adventurous souls and release the toxins your liver may be holding. The only thing i ask in return is your honest feedback about your experience and challenges, any detox symptoms you may experience, benefits gained, and thoughts on what I can do to better support the NEXT cleanse group I lead!

For me the rewards of detoxing my liver far outweighed the challenges, and by the time it got challenging at all, I was halfway to the finish line!

Even if you don’t have time in your schedule in May that works for you to try the cleanse, you can follow along to get motivation to try it later, or inspiration to stick with a different cleanse that may resonate for you.

Hydrate for Transformation

I begin today’s post with a quote from page 43 of You Are a Badass Every Day, by Jen Sincero:

“Considering the fact that the majority of your body is made up of water; and considering the fact that the better care you take of your body, the more energy you have; and considering the fact that it takes a whole lot of energy to transform your life, drinking a buttload of water seems like a pretty reasonable request to me.”  

Considering the fact that my mission is to empower people to become energized to transform their lives, and considering the fact that hydration is such a crucial factor, I would be remiss not to mention this essential element in my empowerment blog.

Why is hydration so important?

Approximately sixty percent of the adult human body is made of water.  According to the USGS, the percentage climbs to 75 to 85% for our brain, heart, and lungs.  

Our bodies require a steady supply of water to help:

  • aid digestion
  • keep membranes moist
  • cell reproduction (growth & healing)
  • remove toxins
  • maintain joint mobility
  • shock absorption 
  • produce hormones
  • communications between brain and body
  • regulate body temperature
  • deliver oxygen to our organs

And as if that weren’t enough, it’s also the magic ingredient in body transformation!

Magic weight loss elixir!

If you’re one of the millions of people on the planet trying to improve your body composition, water is the magic elixir for weight loss.  Its magic power lies not just in helping you feel full – which it does, especially if you are wisely getting lots of water in the food you eat by way of fruits and veggies – but because proper hydration helps your body convert food into energy in the most optimal way.  Dehydration actually causes cravings for calorie-dense foods.  (Staying hydrated = fewer cravings!)

Foods that help hydrate include cucumbers, apples, melons, leafy greens, celery, radishes.  More info at this link. Try adding lemon juice or melons to your water for increased hydration. More info at this link.

Proper hydration is a vital piece of self care.

How much water to hydrate life transformation?

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:

  • About 15.5 cups (124 oz) of fluids for men
  • About 11.5 cups (92 oz) of fluids a day for women

For more about factors that influence hydration needs, click this link.

This having been said, you and your naturopath, or medical doctor, may decide you need more or less than this amount.  Listen to your body!  That’s the practice at the root of adequate hydration.  When I was healing from the intestinal symptoms caused by eating foods I was allergic to, my naturopath had me drinking 120 ounces a day.  I had to pay attention to how much I drank through the day, but in terms of health improvements, it doesn’t get much easier than increasing water intake!

I have this sticker on my water bottle that I carried across Europe for three weeks reminding me of the importance of hydration.
Hydrate or Die.

Hydration is extremely important and often overlooked.  If you are on the path of transforming your life, then drinking a buttload of water seems like a very reasonable request indeed.

Plus, its an EASY step in the right direction!

Why Do a Spring Cleanse?

I just completed a nine-day liver detox cleanse designed by Anthony William, Medical Medium.  Many people have asked why I did it, so here we go!

Reasons to cleanse

Over the past three decades, I have undertaken more than a dozen cleanses for various reasons.  In my 20s I actually thought it was OK to fast for a week!  Thank goodness I have grown wiser with the years.  As I look back now I realize my first fasting ‘cleanses’ were a desperate attempt to control foods over which I felt powerless.  Dairy, fats, and sugar have long held sway in my psyche, so those first cleanses were an attempt to prove to myself that I could, at least temporarily, control my eating compulsions.

One of my favorite reasons for cleansing remains that it reminds me how FEW very clean calories I can live on.  I’m not saying I want to live with my food categories & calories restricted to the limit, but it helps me see where my current excesses lie, and where I can comfortably shift my options in other areas, and what healthy improvements I might want to incorporate regularly.

Another reason I have done cleanses over the years is that it’s a great way to kick start a weight loss plan.  You get the benefits of eating healthy food, dropping the first few pounds rapidly, and shrinking your appetite to set yourself up for being comfortable eating smaller meals moving forward.

Breaking the addiction cycle is a great reason to cleanse, and physical cravings usually diminish in as little as three to seven days.  Staying away from the addictive foods longer is recommended to sustain diminished psychological cravings.  

Nowadays when I cleanse, it’s for the health benefits.  This particular cleanse was designed to help the liver release toxins that it may have been holding onto for years.  According to Anthony William, SIBO, the small intestine bacterial overgrowth that had me so sick two years ago, is caused by an overworked and stressed out liver!  I had no idea.

What was this cleanse like?

This cleanse was nine days divided into three segments.  The first three days was pretty easy and not that different from how we normally eat, but with less fats. The day started all nine days with lemon water and celery juice. One day we ate lentil tacos for lunch, and salmon with salad for dinner.

lentil tacos

The next three days was a lot more monotonous than I am used to.  Blueberry dragon fruit smoothies are delicious, but the steamed asparagus and brussels sprouts twice a day with a huge salad, three days in a row was almost more than I could swallow.  Then on days seven and eight, we got asparagus and brussels sprouts for dinner, but at least there was delicious spinach soup with cucumbers to mix it up at lunchtime.

blending spinach soup

I’m not being facetious, I really liked the soup! 
Alongside the cucumbers, it was quite refreshing.

spinach soup with cucumbers & apple

I should also mention that we were eating two to five apples a day, along with 16 to 32 ounces of celery juice, and drinking lemon water like fiends.  Then on day nine it’s liquids only.  That was actually a relief since I didn’t have to eat any more brussels sprouts.  I mean, I learned to LIKE brussels sprouts, but I don’t LOVE them like they were blueberries or mangoes.  Apparently they are REALLY great for your liver.  I had no idea!

Challenges of the Cleanse

The biggest challenges for me came on days three to six when I felt the food choices were monotonous, and I was having some depleting detox symptoms.  Physical cravings for fat were highest on these days also.  Other than that, it was pretty easy.  I like to think of the cleanse as a prescription of food for a short period of time to get a desired result.  That helps me get through.

Thinking about all the desired benefits also helps a great deal!

Benefits of the Cleanse. 

Of course, not all the benefits are obvious.  Anthony William says that the toxic buildup in my liver has diminished and I believe that is true, but I have no way to measure that result.

Benefits I observed, however FAR outweigh those few minor challenges I mentioned!  My body FEELS so much better!  The inflammation that seems a constant companion reduced noticeably and dramatically.  Since the cleanse I have a noticeable decrease in pain in my hips and low back.  I have noticeable improvement in facial paralysis symptoms that have slowly been dissipating over the last three years.  My hot flashes before the cleanse were a 12 on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the worst).  Now after the cleanse they are reduced to a 1 or 2 on that same scale.  The night sweats are gone.  My skin is clear, and my sleep quality is greatly improved!

Cyndi circa 2006, photo by donnio

All of that from a nine-day cleanse!

Reduced inflammation in my back means I miss less work as a massage therapist so I earn more pay.

Decreased paralysis of facial muscles means my eye droops less, and my smile is less lopsided.

These two improvements alone are making me take a long hard look at making some of these eating habits permanent, or possibly doing a mini cleanse more frequently.  I like the results I got and I want to make these improvements a regular part of my life.

Elimination Diet

If you are truly interested in finding out how different foods affect your own life, you can go one step further and try an elimination diet.  This is a slightly longer type of cleanse that will give all of the benefits I described above, but with the added benefit of figuring out which foods have the most ill effects on you personally, not just how they affect people in general.  This is very beneficial to find out if you have allergies to any foods.  Allergy foods cause symptoms like skin rashes, headaches, digestion problems, and many more.

For a closer look at the elimination diet click this link.  

I highly recommend that everyone undertake some type of cleanse for at least a week to see how it makes you FEEL.  You might be decidedly surprised to find out which symptoms or conditions improve or disappear! 

Special thanks to my partner in crime!

My partner, Jeremy did the cleanse with me and I could NOT have succeeded without his help! 

The chopping alone is a three person job, not to mention the moral support of having someone along for the ride and the added benefit of NOT having someone else in the house eating stuff I am trying to avoid! 

Thanks Jer!  I truly appreciate your support!

Apple Pie to Die for!

(But it’s HEALTHY, so you don’t have to!)

I LOVE pie, but on a list of my faves, apple pie has always been near the bottom. Until now! NOW, I am allergic to wheat and sugar and dairy, so what use could I have for apple pie?

Enter Medical Medium!

If you have not heard about Anthony William yet, check out his wealth of information at THIS LINK. Anthony is a medium and gets his nutritional information directly from Source. If that’s too woo woo for you, you’re still gonna want to try his pie!

Deep-Dish Apple Pie

Crust –
3 cups walnuts
4 cups dates
1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
1⁄2 teaspoon of sea salt

Filling –
10 apples
2 cups dates
2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons coconut milk 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the crust, place the walnuts, 4 cups of the dates, the shredded coconut, rosemary leaves and sea salt into the food processor and process until combined.

Press the crust mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a springform cake pan and place the crust in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Very thinly slice the apples using a mandoline or knife, should yield approximately 8 cups of apple slices. Place the apple slices into a medium bowl.

Blend together the remaining 2 cups of dates, lemon juice, honey, coconut milk, cinnamon and vanilla until smoothly combined into a “caramel sauce”.

Pour the “caramel sauce” over the apple slices. Toss the apple slices gently to combine. Place apple filling in the fridge to soak for 30 minutes or overnight.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop the apple slices into the pie, allowing excess moisture to drain away. Fill the pie to the top of the crust with apples and then press down gently to make sure the pie is tightly packed.

I first made this pie last year and it blew my mind that a dessert can be this delicious and not break any of my current eating rules! I am making a turkey dinner for some friends tonight and this is going to top our special meal perfectly!

I took these photos when I made this pie the first time, and the recipe is HUGE, so I pressed it into a 9×13 pan. Now I cut the recipe in half and it fits in a standard pie plate. It’s worth mentioning that the crust recipe makes a nice dessert sprinkle on top of fresh fruit!

That’s the filling bit in the food processor, minus the honeycrisps.

Then you have your sous chef thinly slice all those apples, add the caramel sauce, and…

Voilà! Lots of prep time involved with this pie, but it’s raw, so there’s no bake time.

OMG! I just had a thought. I bet this would be next-level amazing if we top it with cashew cream! Stupendous!

Link to Recipe << Here is the link to the recipe again.

Have a delicious weekend my friends!

Want help energizing your life? Schedule a free empowerment session with me. 707-515-8324

The Cream in My Coffee

In February, 2017 I developed intestinal symptoms that sent me in search of a naturopath to find out what was wrong with me.  Dr. Sara Thyr in Petaluma diagnosed my food allergies.  Dairy, wheat and cane sugar were the biggies.  I learned that all kinds of ill things can happen to your intestines, liver, vertebral discs, immune system, and overall general health when you eat loads of the stuff that you are allergic to. 

I have always possessed an over-zealous passion for cheese!  Another word for it would be addiction.  When I was a child, my mother mused that I must have been a mouse in another life.  Before I found out about my allergies, wheat and dairy pretty much made up my diet with an occasional salad thrown in.  Bagel with cream cheese and sausage for breakfast, quesadilla or tacos for lunch, with pizza & salad at dinner sounds like HEAVEN to me!

So it was no small task to remove dairy wheat and sugar from my diet.

At first, I was absolutely miserable about the situation as anyone would be when told she has to give up her drug of choice.  However in my case, the cost to benefit ratio was obvious because as I gave up my allergy foods, my symptoms disappeared quickly, and my symptoms had been significant.  Getting rid of them benefited my health, and my life, and increased my ability to continue supporting myself as a massage therapist. So I gave up sugar, wheat, and dairy and instantly began to feel better.

What’s one little cheat?

For awhile I gave up coffee because for me, coffee without cream isn’t worth a cup of beans.  I learned to enjoy herbal teas, but I really LOVE just one cup of coffee in the morning!  So after I had been symptom-free for awhile, it seemed like a tiny, insignificant cheat to treat myself once in awhile to a delicious cup of creamy coffee. 
I carefully measured my cheat so I could say I was ‘completely OFF dairy, except for this tiny amount.’

Of course, over time the occasional treat became my daily habit again.

“Just one cheat a day won’t hurt!  It’s so tiny and insignificant, and lovely,” I rationalized.

Allergy foods are insidious.

But the thing about allergy foods is that a tiny bit in your system sets up CRAVINGS for MORE! Because here’s a fun fact: we are usually addicted to the foods we are allergic to!  Follow this link to read an article about the correlation between food allergies and addiction.

The cream in my coffee was the one thing I felt I simply could NOT, would not give up forever.  But putting that small dose of cream in me first thing in the day set me up to crave more, and soon I was allowing small wheat cheats (with REALLY great reasons) and a little sugar here and there (because I deserve some sweetness, right?).  Bottom line was, the cream in my coffee was setting me up for failure and I seemed unwilling to let it go anyway. Can you relate?

Then one day I was talking to my awesome life coach about it. She’s vegan and recommended her favorite cashew cream in a brand I hadn’t tried.  Since giving up coffee seemed like the only other, horrible option, I decided to try it.

With my coach’s inspiration, I started thinking.

Google found a simple recipe that called for vegetable broth.  Since that didn’t seem like something I wanted in my coffee, I tried adding water.  My first batch turned out surprisingly acceptable, but not creamy enough, and the food processor left the nuts coarse, so I had a small beach in my cup at the end.  In the second batch I used nut milk instead of water and the blender instead of the food processor.  MIND BLOWN!

I blended up the most amazing substitute for half & half!  Like, SERIOUSLY credible replacement for hardcore dairy addict!s  Not only was it a credible replacement for cream, it was AMAZING. It was delicious! It was coffee lover’s nirvana.

Can you tell which is cashew cream and which is half & half?

Soak 3/4 cup cashews in filtered water for three hours or longer (the longer they soak, the creamier it is), then drain, put them in a blender and add 1 cup of nut milk. That’s it! Pulverize until creamy and you’re done. So super simple, and I can’t even convey the JOY, satisfaction, and pleasure of my morning coffee with no effects of dairy, and no cheater’s guilt! This was the bridge that sealed my commitment to living dairy-free!

Life changing. 

I am not claiming to have invented cashew cream, I am simply extolling the virtues of having discovered that there is life beyond dairy! I went from “NOTHING can replace the cream in my coffee!” to a cashew cream convert in two cups.

Changing what we eat for health reasons can FEEL like we have no choice. But having no choice makes us feel powerless! We do have choice. We always have choice! We choose to honor our body’s individual nutritional needs, or we choose the suffering, inflammation, and health problems that come with eating allergy foods.

Follow this link to an elimination diet to discover which foods cause your inflammation and allergy symptoms, or talk to your naturopath, or call mine! Dr.Sarah Thyr is AWESOME!

Whatever YOUR must-have, ‘can’t ever give it up’ item is, I’m willing to bet you can find something you enjoy just as much when you decide to get passionate about your healthy intentions.

What do you have to lose?

Want help energizing your life? Schedule a free empowerment session with me. 707-515-8324