Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Overcoming Winter Skin Drought

Ever get cracked and dry skin on your hands, arms, or legs? Does your skin look like a desert? Do you experience itching, redness, or rawness?

Yowzas, I hear ya. California air gets SUPER DRY come November, and this year I really had to kick my butt into gear and take extra care of my skin.

Plus if you have any skin conditions such as eczema or psorasis, the cold dry air could exacerbate your breakouts.

Emphasis on "could." I truly believe that if you feed your skin proper nourishment both internally and externally, that you can have radiant skin all year long, no matter what nature brings.

Firstly, are you getting enough water? Most people definitely aren't getting the recommended 8-10 glasses a day. And with dry weather and exercise, you're gonna need more. So pump up the H20.

Second, are you getting enough healthy fats in your diet? Low-fat diets and overconsumption of toxic fats (transfats in fast food and processed goods) are equally bad for your skin and mood. Stick with olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocadoes, and best of all, coconut oil. It's saturated fats are medium chain fatty acids, and very easily utilized by the body for energy and repairs, NOT stored as fat and NOT harmful.

And remember, high allergy foods such as dairy, gluten, sugar, and soy can stress out your body, and cause internal and external inflammtion. So belly aches, skin rashes, breakouts, redness, itching...try eating more veggies, healthy fats, and protein, and cut out or reduce dairy and grains.

Thirdly, are you getting enough sleep and relaxation? Lack of sleep and excess stress can throw off your hormones and deplete your body of nutrients, which means you can look ugly and dried up if you don't take care of yourself. It ain't worth stressing over, believe me.

And lastly, are you taking care of your skin externally? What kind of lotions or creams are you using, if any? Most products have alcohol as one of the first ingredients, which means it's just going to dry out your skin. And most products have parabens, which have been linked to cancer. If you're going to use a skin care product, try to get one without alcohol or chemicals. Almond, joboba, and olive oils are fantastic, as well as shea butter. But the king of the oils? Coconut oil!! As mentioned before, it's medium chain fatty acids are rapidly absorbed by the body, and will moisturize and firm up your skin in no time at all!

Massage oils or lotions into skin after showering and toweling off. Your pores will be open, making the oil more easily absorbed, and your skin will be damp, making it easier to spread the lotion/oil.

Check out this article online that I was interviewed for. It talks about taking care of the skin, particularly for those with eczema.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday gift for you!!!

Hi there!

Just wanted to reach out to you, and make sure you know that you deserve the absolute best when it comes to your health and happiness.

I'm meeting with clients and teaching yoga today,
but before I get going, I wanted to share with you
this amazing opportunity to help you
feel absolutely incredible...as early as NEXT week.

During the holidays, we need more support.
We work extra hard to clean, cook, and have enough money to shop and buy gifts, all to show our love and our appreciation for our loved ones. But if we don't feel good about ourselves, and we're not happy with our bodies, our health, or life in general, we miss out on so much of what the holidays can offer.
I know for me, there were a number of years where I "missed out" on the holidays. Either because:
I was beating myself up for not looking perfect in that holiday dress.
Or I was so worried about gaining weight from the holiday food that I would get stressed, cranky, and end up eating everything in sight.
Or my skin was so broken out, that I would make everyone late while I obsessed over my makeup application, and was extremely self-conscious of my face, even around relatives. It was miserable and I was burning inside.

And the thing is, if I knew then what I know now, I could have saved myself so much time, energy, and money, and had a much happier holiday season. I would have been a better, healthier person, and much more pleasant for everyone else around me.

Now that I feel absolutely amazing no matter what time of year, I'm available to coach YOU to do and feel the same.
All you need are the handful of simple tricks that I learned over the years to feel the difference in no time at all.

Which is why I am now offering a wonderful holiday gift for my readers!


2 private 45-minute "body breakthrough" sessions with Michelle ($400 value)

1 copy of the Revamp Your Body in 21 Days Detox, for you to keep on file and complete whenever is convenient for you in 2012. ($97 value)

1 BodyCare gift package, a box of the best quality nutrition and skin care products hand-picked by Michelle, delivered to your doorstep ($150 value)

Your holiday gift package rate: $197

Regular value: $647

Reserve your spot TODAY! There are only 20 spots available!

Call 310-413-3847 or email michelle@nutrabrilliance.com to reserve.

It is my mission to help you feel and look your absolute best. Don't let 2012 be another year you missed out and put yourself on the back burner.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy at the holidays

It’s the holidays. Do you feel joyful? Stressed? How about both? For many people, the holidays are the toughest time of the year, with extra activities, mile-long to-do lists, and constant entertaining high on the roster of stressors. So how do we stay sane and healthy during this crazy, zany time of year?

The first thing we need to do is check out how many chemicals we’re taking in. When we say “chemicals”, we mean any substance (like refined white sugar, caffeine or alcohol) that gives you a short burst of energy, and then a subsequent energy crash. And it’s important to note that we don’t just experience a physical roller coaster ride on these chemicals. Large fluctuations in our blood sugar levels drastically affect our moods as well. Have you ever felt yourself getting irritable as your coffee high wears off? Do you feel significantly juiced up after eating a bag of peanut M&Ms? If so, you’re riding the chemical roller coaster.

Now, add incredible amounts of holiday stress together with incredible amounts of chemicals, and you’ve got the proverbial perfect storm. No wonder we all end up with the flu in January!

This holiday season, focus on adding naturally sweet foods to your diet regularly. Root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, butternut squash, and pumpkin have lots of fiber, minerals, vitamins, and tend to have a calming effect on the body.

If you are making baked goods, use the highest-quality, organic ingredients available and substitute natural sweeteners for refined white sugar. For your favorite holiday baked goods, try substituting molasses, maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, barley malt, date sugar or raw honey.

And just to emphasize those root vegetables I mentioned, let's take a look at pumpkin as an example of what these bad boys can do for you. Pumpkin isn't just for Halloween decorations or Thanksgiving pie, after all!

Food Focus: Pumpkin

A staple around the holidays, let’s explore the nutritional powerhouse that is pumpkin. A member of the Cucurbita family, including squash and cucumbers, pumpkin its name from the Greek word "pepon" for large melon. Seeds (pepitas) from related plants have been found in Mexico, dating back over 7000 years to 5500 B.C.

Pumpkins are chock full of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Research shows that people who eat a diet rich in beta-carotene are less likely to develop certain cancers. Pumpkins are also loaded with potassium, zinc and are high in fiber.

Pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses as well, and can be beneficial for people with kidney, prostate and gallbladder problems. They also help remove parasites from the intestines, and are a natural anti-inflammatory. Pumpkin seeds are high in protein, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper and essential fatty acids. All these nutrients are particularly helpful around the holidays.

Today I have 2 recipes for you! Yee-ha!

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie
From “Get The Sugar Out” by Ann Louise Gittleman

Serves 8-10 people

1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
1 ½ c pumpkin puree
1 cup milk (dairy, soy, rice or almond)
3 eggs, beaten
¼ c honey
1 ½ tbsp molasses
1 tsp natural vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Add seasonings to the pumpkin puree.
2. In a large bowl, mix milk and eggs, then stir in pumpkin mixture, honey, molasses and vanilla.
3. Pour filling into store-bought whole wheat crust*.
4. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 50 minutes longer.
5. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

Recipe: Roasted Root Veggies

6 carrots, peeled and trimmed
3 large parsnips, peeled, trimmed, and cut diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices
2 medium onions, trimmed, peeled and halved, each 1/2 cut into quarters
2 large beets, peeled and cut into thick wedges
1 celery root, trimmed and halved, halves cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices
1 whole head garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled
2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, sage, or thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put all the vegetables and the herb sprigs in a large baking dish. Season well with salt and black pepper, drizzle generously with olive oil, and toss them with your hands to coat them evenly.
Put the baking dish in the preheated oven and cook, stirring the vegetables occasionally, until they are tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Serve the vegetables from their baking dish or transfer them to a platter to accompany a roasted main course.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Food Gift Ideas

I sent this out in my latest newsletter and forgot to post to the blog. Enjoy!

Marinated Goat Cheese Jars from http://www.countryliving.com/

· 1 (8-ounce) goat cheese log
· 1 red bird's-eye chile
· 2 strip(s) lemon zest, pared from 1 lemon
· 2 bay leaves
· 1 sprig(s) fresh oregano
· 1/2 teaspoon(s) fennel seeds
· 2 clove(s) garlic, halved
· 2 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil

Cut goat cheese log into 4 equal pieces; form into balls. Pack all 4 balls in a sterilized wide-necked jar. Cut chile in half, through the stalk. Add chile, lemon zest, bay leaves, oregano, fennel seeds, garlic to jar. Pour in olive oil to cover cheese. Seal jar and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours.

Citrus-Marinated Olives from http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/

2 lemons
1 orange
6 clove(s) garlic
1/4 cup(s) extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon(s) dried thyme
2 pound(s) assorted brine-cured olives, drained

From each lemon, cut three 3/4-inch-wide strips peel; place in 1-quart saucepan. Grate any remaining peel from lemons, and place in large bowl.
From orange, cut three 3/4-inch-wide strips peel and add to saucepan. Grate any remaining peel from orange, and add to lemon peel in bowl. Peel garlic and cut each clove in half; crush with side of chef's knife.
Add garlic, oil, and thyme to saucepan, and heat on low until hot but not smoking, about 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 10 minutes.
Place olives in bowl with grated peels. Pour oil mixture over olive mixture, and toss to coat well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate olives at least 24 hours to allow flavors to develop, stirring occasionally. (Or place olives in large self-sealing plastic bag, turning to coat olives well. Seal bag, pressing out excess air. Place bag on plate and refrigerate olives, turning bag occasionally.)
Spoon olives into tightly sealed containers or jars for gift giving. Store in refrigerator up to 1 month.

Chili Lime Peanuts

6 tablespoons lime juice
6 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 cups unsalted cocktail peanuts

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 250°F. Whisk lime juice, chili powder, salt and cayenne in a large bowl.
Add peanuts; toss to coat.
Divide between 2 large rimmed baking sheets; spread in an even layer.Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until dry, about 45 minutes.
Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Holiday Spiced Pecans

1 pound pecan halves
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon a pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spread pecans on a large baking sheet. Roast until fragrant, about 12 minutes. Watch carefully so they don’t burn.
Combine brown sugar, salt, thyme, rosemary, pepper and cayenne in a small bowl. Transfer the roasted pecans to a large bowl, drizzle with oil and toss well to coat completely. Sprinkle with the spice mixture and toss again.
Serve warm or let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Choco-Nut Bark

2 cups semisweet, bittersweet or milk chocolate chips, melted
1 1/2 cups assorted nuts, such as hazelnuts, almonds and cashews, plus more for garnish

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. (Take care to avoid wrinkles.) Combine melted chocolate and nuts in a medium bowl.
Scrape the mixture onto the foil and spread it into an approximate 12-by-9-inch rectangle.
Sprinkle with additional finely chopped nuts, if desired.
Refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the bark and foil to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

Hope you like these recipes/ideas! Let me know how they turn out! I'm planning on making them as soon as I can!

Healthy hangover tips

Last week a reader sent me an email asking,

"What are some nutritious answers to the hangover? What to eat before, during, after..."

GREAT question. I jumped all over this one.

When you've indulged in one, two, or a LOT too many, you've usually got a big headache waiting for you the next morning. Even when you ate greasy diner food after the bar, you still feel crappy in the morning. Why?

Alcohol is a dieuretic. It causes your body to take water from different areas and deposit the water in your bladder. Also, heavy drinking can affect nearly every system in your body for up to 24 hours! And in this process, you also lose important vitamins and minerals such as B6, magnesium, and potassium.

One of the biggest storehouses of water in your body is your brain. So when you wake up with that big headache, your brain is screaming out of thirst. Also, if you had wine or sugary cocktails, your brain and your muscles hate you for the fluctation of blood sugar levels. Up with the drinks, crashing down by morning.

Your best defense is as follows:

1. Always eat a hearty meal BEFORE drinking. This will coat the stomach and prevent the alcohol from being readily digested and absorbed. This works better than eating a big meal before bedtime. Food isn't going to just soak up all the alcohol you drank because the drinks will have already gone in your system, and it will be too late.

2. Drink tons of water before, during, and after drinking. For an extra bonus, also drink coconut water which is full of electrolytes such as potassium, and doesn't contain nearly as much sugar as Gatorade.

3. The morning and day after, eat plenty of foods that are high in the vitamins and minerals that alcohol usually depletes. So eating bananas, tuna, nuts, and beans will replenish your B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium. Also try eggs, which have cysteine, an amino acid that breaks down the acetaldehyde (from the alcohol you drank) in your liver.

4. You can also try taking B vitamins, or even better, the supplement chlorella. It is a blue-green algae that is extremely detoxifying, and will help remove toxins from your intestines and liver. Also high in B vitamins and protein, it will boost your energy and combat sugar cravings. And milk thistle is another good supplement for detoxing the liver.

5. If you're hungry after the partying, make sure to have a small snack at the end of the night to help with the blood sugar levels. I know everyone usually goes for pizza or diner food, but even just a banana with peanut butter or a bowl of cereal would help. Something with fiber and lots of nutrition.

Action step: Look at your calendar and see what social events are coming up. Will there be alcohol? What tips from above can you implement to make sure you wake up refreshed the morning after?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Holiday Eating Tips & Rituals

My high school boyfriend once told me that he and his sister came up with an excellent strategy for Thanksgiving dinner:

They knew that it takes the brain 15 minutes to register that the belly is full after a meal. So, they would stuff themselves silly, eat as much as they could in 15 minutes, then run to the couch and lie on their left side until they passed out.

That it just simply madness!!! And he wondered why his stomach hurt so much for days afterwards, why they put on weight...

There is NO REASON why you should associate the holidays with weight gain or belly issues. Holidays are about seeing the people you love, not the food! There are ways you can try and like anything and everything without pain or shame!

Here are a few tips for enjoying the holidays guilt-free:

1. Just a reminder, make the day/evening about the people, not the food!

-sit down with Grandma and chat for an extra 30 minutes then you usually would.
-find someone you don't know at the party and find something you have in common.
-reminisce about good times with friends and family.

These conversations are way more significant than parking yourself in front of the cookies. Food=short-term gratification, and you will cherish the laughs and talks you had with your company for years to come.

2. Be prepared, and never show up on an empty stomach.

-DO NOT skip meals the day of the party or holiday dinner. You will show up ravenous and willing to eat anything and everything. Plus you slow down your metabolism when you skip meals, and your body will happily store your big meal as fat.
-if you suspect there will be limited healthy options at the event, eat a little something before with protein or fat. And for extra bonus points, bring your own dish that you know is nourishing and delicious.

3. Eat small and slowly.

-Okay, so let's say you just have to have that piece of pumpkin pie. Doesn't mean you need to eat the whole pie! Cut a piece, sit down, and pay attention to your food. How does it smell? Take a bite and CHEW it thoroughly, savoring the taste. (the more you chew, the more saliva will be secreted, which means more enzymes to break down the food, which means the easier it will be to digest whatever you're eating!!!)

-Take breaths in between bites. Notice how you feel after a few morsels. Savor every piece, and you may notice you don't need the whole thing. Take your time.

4. Create a holiday eating ritual with loved ones.

-your meal companions will most likely share in your desire to relish the moment of being together for a delicious feast. Ask them to sit with you, pause, and appreciate the food and the occasion together.

This is a great holiday ritual that I shared on my blog two years ago. It's such a simple yet powerful act, love it!

At dinner tonight or on Thanksgiving, pass around an orange or clementine.

Have each person peel off a portion of the rind and share one thing they’d like to “peel away” from their life.

Then have each person eat a section of the orange while
sharing one new wish or intention for the winter.

Put the orange rinds (along with some cloves or cinnamon sticks) in a pot of simmering water on the stove.

Your house will smell deliciously yummy all night.

What a fabulous idea! Beautiful to do either at Thanksgiving or other holiday dinners.

Action step: Write down 3 ways you can make this holiday season much healthier and happier than years past.

Can you think of something you'd like to "peel away" from your life?

If you could wish for anything or set one big goal, what would you like to manifest in your life?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Big & Beefy Mistake

Lucky for me, I grew up with a mother who was quite vigilant about nutrition. We had super healthy, home-cooked meals almost every night, and painfully waited in supermarkets as Mom read every single label and ingredient of the foods she bought. She lectured about the dangers of sugar, partially hydrogenated oils, and soda, and made me sit at the dinner table until I finished my spinach.

I grew to have a ridiculous knowledge of food and how to read labels. I remember sitting in my freshman dorm room, lecturing a friend about why grapefruits are healthy and why she shouldn’t have thrown away the white layer between the skin and the fruit (btw it’s called pectin, and its good fiber that lowers your cholesterol and flushes fat out of your body. Just fyi.) At some points in my life I rebelled and ate whatever I want, and other times I ate so pure my blood was probably green from all the vegetables I consumed. My friends were concerned.

Now I strike a healthy balance, but my food label reading habits have yet to die hard. But read on, my friend, and learn about my shocking mistake that humbled me to pieces.

Over the last year, I’ve visited quite a few Mexican restaurants with my boyfriend and his family. Growing up in Connecticut, I wasn’t exposed to many authentic Mexican places. But here in Los Angeles, there are taco stands and restaurants everywhere. Literally everywhere. And everyone loves them, so I figured I ought to give them a shot.

I’m cool with guacamole, salad, chicken, chips, and salsa, but other things on the menu are questionable. I found out “carnitas” means pork, and “asada” means beef, so I mostly steer clear of those. One time my boyfriend ordered “menudo” soup, and leaned in with his spoon to give me a taste. I asked what it was, and after I put the wretched thing in my mouth, he told me it was beef stomach. Ew!

So after that experience, you would think I would be more careful with what I ordered the next time we went for Mexican. The family all sat laughing and happily telling their orders to the waitress. I couldn’t decide, but I wanted to know what “chorizo” was. The restaurant served chorizo with scrambled eggs in tacos and salads. I can’t remember who, but someone told me it was like seasoned chicken. I might have heard them wrong. But the next two times I went there, I innocently ordered chorizo and eggs over a big tostada salad. It was delicious.

Flash forward to a few weekends ago, when we were standing at the meat section of the grocery store. We saw packaged chorizo, and gleefully decided to make our own chorizo and eggs for breakfast the next morning. I grabbed it without even thinking, and he cooked it up the next day.

The next day, I decided it was my turn to cook breakfast, so he jumped in the shower as I began to chop the onions. When I pulled the chorizo out of the refrigerator, it suddenly dawned on me that I didn’t even know what chorizo truly was. My worry set in when I saw that it came in a clear tubing like sausage. Almost shaking, I flipped over the package and read the ingredients.

Beef [Salivary Glands, Lymph Nodes, Fat (Cheek And Tongue)], Chorizo Seasoning (Paprika, Salt, Spices, Mustard, Garlic Powder), Vinegar, Textured Soy Flour, Sodium Nitrite”

Oh. My. God.

I quickly threw the chorizo and eggs into the pan, holding my breath and looking away as I stirred, and flopped everything onto a plate for my boyfriend. Suddenly I was SO NOT hungry.

How could I, a holistic nutritionist who grew up with the food label nazi, have not been diligent about researching this chorizo, or at least reading the label before it was placed in my shopping cart?

So consider this for just a moment. How many things are you putting in your shopping cart that you didn’t bother to read the label? And if you do read the label, are you okay with putting less than mediocre ingredients in your body? If there are words you don’t understand, chances are it’s a chemical that is terrible for you. Or maybe there are weird animal parts, or toxic flours (soy and wheat), or added sugars.

As for me, I’m thinking of eating greens and doing a colon detox for the next few months until I feel better about this chorizo incident. Yuck. Oh well, we all make mistakes.

Except I certainly will not make the same one twice, and I hope you don’t either.

Action item: Go through your cupboards, fridge, and pantry, and check all the labels of the food you eat. If there are any ingredients that you can’t pronounce or you don’t recognize, pitch the product. The less ingredients you put into your belly, the easier you’ll be able to digest the food, assimilate the nutrients, have energy, and burn fat!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Love those lemons!

I always recommend my clients drink warm water with organic lemon juice, first thing in the morning when they wake. This stimulates the liver and digestive system to clean out what was processed and detoxified overnight. Plus, you get a straight shot of Vitamin C to boost your immune system, beautify your skin, and freshen your breath!

Check out more uses for lemon:

Antibiotic - Lemon is an effective infection fighter, since it's ridiculously high Vitamin C content boosts your immune system triplefold. For sore throats, gargle a mixture of half water and half lemon juice. During the wintertime, drink the solution to fight fevers, colds, and the flu.

Digestive aid - Lemon in warm water alleviates heartburn, bloating, gas, constipation, and nausea. Also, since lemon is a blood purifier and liver cleanser, it will help your liver produce more bile and therefore help you digest food better.

Weight loss - Pour lemon juice on a greasy stove and you'll see how quickly it dissipates the fat. Same thing in your body. Goes into your fat stores and blasts away!

Gorgeous skin - Going back to the high vitamin C content, this little fruit can help your skin radiate and glow! Watch your wrinkles, lines, freckles, warts, and moles disappear!

Normal blood pressure - Most of us eat restaurant and processed foods that are high in sodium, and can increase your blood pressure. Lemon juice is chock full of potassium, which will equalize your blood pressure and help you feel more relaxed.

And these are just a few of the amazing benefits!! Go crazy, enjoy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Insane in the membrane

I've been stuck in my own brain. Literally trapped. And now I feel silly and selfish.

We yoga teachers talk about being present, moving out of our swirling thoughts about the past and future, worries, destructive fears, comparing ourselves to others in the room. But the thing is, we have those thoughts ourselves. Often we tell our students what we need to hear ourselves the most. And this is why we must return to the mat, each day, even if it's just for five minutes.

When a yoga practitioner unfolds his or her mat, they look forward to the opportunity to sweat and stretch through the poses. Some may just desire a good workout or to be more flexible. But the "asanas" were originally designed to exhaust and open our bodies, so we can sit still, relax, and quiet the mind for meditation. On the mat we finally find a safe place to release what we call our "monkey mind."

This phrase describes the constant chatter in our heads that tells us we're not good enough, runs through our busy schedule backwards and forwards, calculates our finances, and obsesses over relationship woes.

And this is where I've been, stuck in my monkey mind and worrying about what others do, say, and think about my life and the decisions I make.

However, as the wise ones have told me, at the end of the day, we are the only ones responsible for the outcome of our lives. There is no point of obsessing over yesterday, or worrying about tomorrow. And if we brood over our mind's obsessions, we miss everything that's going on around us in the present.

Today is a gift. It is a blessing to be alive with a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes on my back, and so many people who care about me. If I project my worries and fears on other people, or create a story in my head about how or who they are, they won't have half a chance to teach me an important lesson I might need to learn. Or I might miss out on the most amazing opportunity of my life, just because I think I know everything about how something is.

So I shall keep returning to my mat each day to get out of my head and back into the world around me. And at the same time, just focus on me and being the best person I can be. I'm here to make a huge impact on the world, not to live in the little shoebox of my insecurities, fears, and regrets.

What about you?

How could you better serve the world if you spent less time in your head and more time in your heart and surroundings?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ask and you shall receive!


No, I didn't forget about you, so hopefully you didn't forget about me.

It's been another whirlwind these past couple months. My astronomy geek friends tell me we had a series of eclipses this spring that propelled events forward in an accelerated fashion. It was definitely a time to be careful what you wished for!

My career keeps evolving right when I ask for it. Whether it be God, the Universe, or whatever you believe in, some force shows up for me when I get really clear about what it is I want.

I asked for more time and flexibility to do the things I love (coach nutrition clients, teach yoga, do yoga, be outside in the sun more often, see my family more often). I was full-time at a corporate job, wishing to pursue my passions full-time.

A week later, I received an email and was offered an incredible opportunity. And now I am working part-time for Chevron as the nutrition counselor and yoga teacher for their L.A. refinery! Three days a week at Chevron, and the rest of the time to focus on my business, taking care of myself, seeing my friends and family, feeling the sun on my skin...it's amazing!

Now I have the time and energy to focus on YOU, and dedicate my full attention to spreading the word about how a healthy diet and lifestyle can change your life in so many ways you could never imagine.

I am a firm believer in "Ask and you shall receive!" All you need to do is get really, very clear on what it is you want. Then write it down, and keep that goal or desire at the forefront of your mind as often as possible. Your conscious and subconscious minds will work together to find a solution, or they may connect to the higher power (if you believe in such a thing) and bring it to you with ease.

All you need to do is believe that it is possible, and that you can be, do, or have anything you want. You deserve it!

So stay tuned, more to come. You'll be hearing from me more often again.

And you'll notice there's a new business name at the top there. Tell me what you think, it's just something I'm playing with.

And check out the new website: http://www.nutrabrilliance.com/. Still a work in progress, but aren't we all??

Friday, July 8, 2011

Body judgment.

I was sitting on the plane next to a couple who were returning from a trip to Barcelona. I overheard the girl say she was hungry, and she pulled out a granola bar. Her boyfriend looked at her with dismay, and said, "Oh honey, we're back in L.A. now. You can't eat that, you have to look good again!"

As soon as he went to the bathroom, she snarfed the granola bar and a couple other things, then hid the wrappers in her backpack, looking behind her with apprehension. He sat back down, and she turned toward the window.

I literally felt my blood boil, and I wanted to slap the man across the face. The poor girl was already quite thin, and here she was hiding a small snack from her boyfriend who obviously had issues with physical appearance. It's bad enough to get the subliminal messages from the media, with stick-figure models and actresses on the cover of magazines, telling us we need to be thinner to be beautiful and successful. But to have your own boyfriend in your face about it???

Girls, if you're with a guy or friend who makes negative comments about your appearance or eating habits, beware. It's one thing if you're morbidly obese and they're trying to help you. But if you are healthy and happy, and your man is making you feel self-conscious and shitty, GET OUT OF THERE!

No matter what you've got or what size your jeans, you've got to rock what you have, and you need to be with someone who loves and appreciates you for who you are. Never let anyone make you feel bad about your body, and keep setting the intention for having the important people in your life love and respect you as a package, not just for your looks or waist measurement.

Just had to get that off my chest. After years of body drama, it feels so good to be confident in my own skin, and love my body the way it is. If you take care of it and love yourself, you'll see miraculous changes and people will look at you differently. Living a healthy lifestyle and having confidence wonders :-)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Afraid of committment?

When it comes to your health and happiness, are you stumbling, backtracking, making excuses, frustrated, or feeling hopeless? Maybe you think you've made a decision to take care of yourself, but have you really made a committment?

Committing to something is scary. I myself am often terrified of committing to something. Why? Because I'm afraid I'll fail, or that I'll be stuck in something I don't want to do anymore in the future.

Well guess what. You'll never get anywhere in life, nor will you accomplish your big hairy dreams, if you don't COMMITT. If you aren't prepared to do whatever it takes, you're seriously selling yourself short, and you won't go nearly as far as you are capable of. And if you aren't crystal clear and specific in your purpose (which occurs by being committed), there will be much more room for obstacles to come your way.

My personal mantra these days has been, "Feel the fear, and do it anyway!!" After all, fear is just our bodies' way of protecting us. It is a survival mechanism. Our body is very smart, and wants to protect us. Thus why it always seems easier and nicer to sit on the couch in our warm living rooms than go to the gym and sweat it out. Or why your stomach drops just thinking about jumping off a cliff.

But when you have a goal, and you make a committed decision to achieve that goal (or feel better, or spend more time with your kids, whatever), you can tell your body, "Thank you for trying to protect me. But I'm gonna do this anyway." And now you can be in control and go for the big stuff.

"There is a corollary element that must go hand in hand with the decision...and that is commitment. IT MUST BE A COMMITTED DECISION. Most of us have weak decision-making muscles...we do not even recognize what it means to make a real decision. We fail to realize the force of change, a truly congruent, committed decision makes.

Part of our problem is that we use the term decision so loosely that it has come to describe our wishes, not our commitments. Instead of making decisions, we state our preferences.

The word decision comes from the Latin roots, de, meaning "from" and caedere, meaning "to cut"...therefore a decision means cutting from any other possibility. A TRUE DECISION, then, means you are committed to achieving a result, and then cutting yourself off from any other possibility." -Dr. Carole N. Hildebrand

What's holding you back? Are you truly COMMITTED to making a change, feeling better, losing weight, feeling happy, taking that dream trip?

Email me at michelle_lee_butler@yahoo.com and tell what's new and good, what's preventing you from success, and how I can help you.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cleansing all of You

As we are living Beings on a breathing Planet, we cannot help but connect to the Seasons; Lunar and Solar cycles; and the Planet’s elements of Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Space that occur within and around us at all times. Energetically, we have recently transitioned from Winter to Spring, hibernation to awakening, whether we are consciously connected to this process or not. Our Body, Mind, Spirit and Soul have their individual blueprints as well as an interconnectedness to move our whole Self toward Harmony with Community and all of Life.

Cleansing is the first step in this process of transformation. Nutritional cleanses address detoxification and rejuvenation of our physical Self. In addition to physical cleanses, I invite the opportunity to allow the cleansing process to move through our subtle layers of Self: Mind, Spirit and Soul.

When we move the cleansing process to the less physical aspects of Self, we become more connected to our authentic Self. Can we let go of imposing thoughts and energetic holdings that are no longer nourishing? Ever wonder why we feel so peaceful after a massage? Massage allows our muscles to release energetic blocks that manifest in the form of knots and allow Prana/Chi/Life Force to flow more fluidly. Massage is a great tool for reflecting and becoming aware of where we are not allowing energy to flow physically in our Body and possibly in our Life.

Similarly, how great do you feel after taking a Yoga class? Our Yoga teachers guide us to regain the reigns of our Mind through Intention, Breath and Body movements. We go back to those great teachers and classes because we value the importance of cleansing the Body as well as the Mind and Spirit. There are many activities we do that have awakening potential. The more we cleanse our whole Self, the more every experience is a transformational tool toward Nourishment and Harmony.

I invite you to continue the cleansing process. Explore the more subtler aspects of You:

* Sit, Be, Breathe. Maybe this starts as a forced task, to sit, be still and just breathe for a few minutes a day. The more this is repeated the less force you will put in and the more flow you will receive.

* Play. Allow yourself to enjoy the simple pleasures in Life. Once a week (or more), do an activity just for you because it is Fun and you Love doing/seeing/feeling, this experience!

* Visualize. Before you go to bed (or before you get out of bed in the morning), close your eyes and go inside and Smile at every part of You: head to toe, muscles/tendon/ligaments, root to crown Chakra, every cell and all of the water and space that makes up You.

* Feel. Take a deep breath in and exhale with your mouth open as many times that feels appropriate, repeat often. Feel for any places of holding or tension and allow this stagnant Energy to release on each exhale, Invite fresh Energy to refill all aspects of You.

Christy Evans, M.S., CCC-SLP, 500-RYT


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Loving here+ now.

I'm writing today to address something that keeps me up at night.

I don't know about you and the way you think or were brought up, but in my family, A's in school, going to college, getting a well-paying job, success, and wealth were revered. My parents constantly lectured me to be the best I can be.

This is also prevalent in our society. Work hard, make money, buy expensive stuff, make money, buy a car, make more money, buy a house, show your stuff off to your friends, make more money, go go go until you physically or mentally cannot, so that someday, maybe you can retire.

We are programmed to want it all. Look at the messages the media sends us. All over TV and magazines, we see people who drive the nicest cars, wear the nicest clothes, have the biggest house...all these commercials in the midst of a time where people are struggling to afford gas for their car. Some sweat and bleed to make it happen for themselves while others always struggle just to get by, and still others just sit back and hope someday their fantasies will come true when they hit the lotto.

With all this confusion, turmoil, and mixed messaging, I sometimes wonder what true success means, what true happiness is.

I know people who are wealthy and extremely unhappy with their lives, or who spent their health to get their wealth only to spend their wealth to get back their health. I know people who are broke who radiate health, and absolutely love life. Is there a middle ground? Can we have it all and be healthy and happy?

I lay awake each night thinking about where other people are in life, what they have, how much money they make, and compare myself to them. Sometimes I wonder, when am I ever going to really make it? When am I ever going to get my parents' approval? When will I feel successful?

But then I remember: You'll never truly be successful or happy unless you APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE. Practicing gratitude for the things and people you do have in your life is SO important. The tragedy in Japan taught us that your life can change in an instant. Life is short. I don't lie awake at night worrying quite as long anymore, because each and every time a negative thought pops into my head, I think about all the amazing things that are happening in my life:

My family, boyfriend, friends, job, and health are all incredible. I LOVE living in Southern California. I LOVE music, singing, dancing, playing the piano, laughing, road trips, exercising, yoga, hugging, kissing, cuddling...these are all simple things that life has bestowed on me. So many people love and support me, I'm truly blessed. I've been so busy worrying about the future, I forgot about all the things sitting right in front of me.

Cherish every moment. Life is always changing, nothing is certain or permanent.

Just a thought I needed to get out there...

What are you grateful for that keeps you grounded when you start stressing about life?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Work? What work?

I am plumb exhausted and blissed out, all at the same time.

Working in sales at Equinox, I spend the last day of the month working 12+ hour days. Today we got in at 9 AM and I left at 10 PM. We work hard and long, but I'll tell you something: I don't care.

I absolutely love my job. Every single day, whether it's an interaction with a member, a long conversation with a guest who is unhappy with their body, or laughs with my coworkers, I walk in and out of those doors with a smile on my face. I act as a proponent of health. I inspire people to take better care of themselves and exercise.

This is much like my health counseling practice. I inspire people to take of themselves, only the emphasis is on nutrition. Both Equinox and my group detoxes nourish me on physical, mental, and emotional levels. I feel lighter, happier, and freer than I have in years.

And isn't that the goal in life? To find work that you love so much that it doesn't seem like work? I remember dreading to get out of bed for other jobs. But now, though sometimes I do hit the snooze button to sleep a little bit longer, I bounce out of bed and hurry out the door. My passion is for health and wellness, so it makes sense why I can't wait for work. Plus, when you have an incredible team of coworkers, it definitely helps.

What's your passion? Do you love what you do and where you work? It could be having a huge positive or negative impact on your life and health, depending on what's going on. Share.

Friday, March 11, 2011

I'm back!!

Hey ya'll!!!

Ahhh I'm so glad to be back. It's been an interesting last few months...okay maybe 9 months...something like that. Anyway, there's nothing wrong with taking time for yourself to decompress, reassess, work on your own life. As long as you regroup, recharge, and press on!!

So where have I been? After working for and by myself for some time, I grew quite lonely and in need of a team environment. Plus I wanted more sales experience, a competitive atmosphere, and to learn more about exercise and fitness. Thus, I delved into a position with Equinox Fitness Clubs with zest and fever. It's been a BLAST! Everyone knows we're the best health club in America. Check out http://www.equinox.com for more info, I sell it day and night already :-)

ALSO, new and wonderful addition to my life. I met an amazing man last year, and we've been officially together for over 6 months! He is an absolutely incredible person, and I feel so lucky, grateful, HAPPY, and blessed.

And now I'm itching to ease my way back into my blog, my business, and helping you and everyone else out there to live a healthy, happy, and energized life. I'm kicking it off with my first cleanse of the year. Check out http://www.yogimichelle.com under Detox and get ready to change your body, and perhaps even your life! You will feel amazing, so read through the testimonials to feel even better and excited!

Please keep me posted on what's new and good in your life, and I look forward to sharing more with you soon!