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Archive for the ‘healthy bliss’ Category

sisters on the beach

Playing with my "sisters" during our photo shoot

About one month ago I took a BIG leap.

I mean big.

In one of the worst economic times since the great depression, I have continued to pour my heart and soul into a business I love.

And you know what?

We’re growing.

How can it be that businesses small and large are folding all over the place, yet a holistic health business can prosper?

Well, it comes back to that big leap.

About 2 months ago, I followed my heart and my passion and invested in a program that I knew would support me and my business in ways I could not even imagine.

Now, my rational self said,

“Are you crazy???”

“How much do you want to spend on this program?”

“Where will you get the money?”

And on and on . . .

But you know what I did?

I got out of my own way.

I allowed my intuition to guide me, and allowed my trust that everything works out perfectly to push me forward.

So I said “yes” to myself and to my vision even in the face of what seemed like a crazy decision . . .

And I am so glad I did.

You see the program has only just begun, and I have already received transformation and value like I never could have imagined. My energy is better, my body seems to be growing younger, my relationships have improved and my business is thriving.

That is the beauty of jumping in when you hear the calling; of following your gut instinct or  your heart; of making YOU important – no matter what your doubt demons or other people say.

Because the truth is, unconsciously they may not want you to grow or be successful or get healthy. If you stay as you are, even if you are unhappy, that is what is comfortable to others (and to you).

So, I am here to give you that gentle nudge and say

“If not now, when?”

“If not you, who?”

Life is too short to play small.

Life is too short to not taste the nectar that exists just outside your comfort zone.

I may not be an economist or expert investor, but I can confidently say that the absolute BEST investment you can ever make is in  YOU.

There is no joy in a body that is sick.

Wealth cannot be fully enjoyed in a state of illness or pain.

It is literally impossible to live your passion when you don’t have enough energy to just get through the day . . .

I often see the trepidation in my prospective clients eyes, and I have had that same trepidation myself, but I have never had a client turn around and say to me “God, I wish I hadn’t invested in myself, what a waste.”

Quite the opposite. They usually gush that they would have paid any amount to achieve the health, clarity and joy they reach at the end of their programs.

Likewise, the more I am willing to invest in myself, the more I see flow to me in return.

When you have health, when you glow, when you are out of pain, when you have energy, when your moods are balanced, when your skin and eyes are clear and bright, when you have body confidence . . . you literally attract better relationships, opportunities, career possibilities and resources.

I am a true believer in the law of attraction as I witness how it works in my own life and the lives of others.

Be what you want before it is actually manifest, and it will come quickly.

It takes faith, but it works.

Connecting to my "true self" in Santa Monica

Because of my “big leap” I found my true self while on retreat with 9 other powerful women and our very powerful “leader”, Rose Cole.

Nothing is more valuable than this.

As powerful women in this program we have been “upping our game” with holistic nutrition, personal exploration, cleansing and more.

All in the name of shining our light in the brightest way possible to be of service in a bigger way.

I can’t tell you how amazing the experience of real investment has been, but I wanted to share a bit about this with you in order to show  you that anything IS possible . . .

That you ARE worth it . . .

That you have a bright light to shine . . .

You just need to start honoring your body as the temple that it is.

Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself, after all, you are really all you have.

If you feel ready to take a big leap and invest in your future in a big way, I invite you to apply for one of just 3 spots available through the rest of the year for my Private Platinum Health Coaching Retreat. This intensive is by application only. You get to spend an entire day with a holistic health pro (that’s me!) to unlock your unique radiant body code, and get all the tools to look (and feel) younger, experience abundant energy, shed excess weight and jump start your get-healthy journey to results that really last.

Learn more and download your application here.

with love and healthy inspiration,

Ana

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Just in the nick of time to celebrate National Yoga Awareness Month . . .

Enjoy this simple yoga pose to tone your belly, energize your mind, open your lungs, cleanse your body, lengthen your spine . . . And so much MORE!

xox Ana

Ready to get your fall detox on?

Join my proven 14-day online Total Body Reboot & Cleanse and be on your way to an energized, vibrant and younger looking you!

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Click here for BlissBody Transformation Program details.

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Hmm, sexy foods, quite an intriguing concept really. Foods that are sexy and foods that can make us feel and look sexy are interestingly often one and the same. In honor of the arrival of summer, which is the most playful and sexiest of seasons, I thought I would explore our sexuality through the avenue of food. Sexy foods are nutrient-dense foods, often high in vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Not only will sexy foods feed your hormones, but nutrient dense foods support a healthy weight as well. So the outcome is both looking and feeling sexy.
One note: if you do intend to apply these foods to your diet in the name of sexy, remember that overeating even the best of foods never feels sexy. So, enjoy these items in slow, relaxed and measured doses for best results. Better still; have them fed to you by a significant other. (wink, wink)

Almonds – high in vitamin E and essential fatty acids both of which a vital to sex hormones. Conversely, bad fats are deadening to sexuality. How sexy do you really feel after a double bacon cheeseburger with fries?

Asparagus – Yes, this vegetable is visually suggestive, but its nutritional profile is what gives it high marks. Among many other vitality-giving nutrients, this springtime favorite is very high in vitamin E, thought to be the “sex vitamin”.

Avocado – Besides being richly indulgent, this fruit helps boost both male and female libido. Avocados are also high in folic acid and B6, which help boost sexual energy and regulate hormones respectively.

Banana – Here again we have the visual suggestion, but it is the enzyme bromelain and the B-vitamins, which are especially beneficial to sexual health and energy.

Basil – Who doesn’t love basil? Besides inducing a sense of well-being and lifting mood, basil stimulates circulation, increases fertility and boosts sex drive.

Bee Pollen – In nature, pollen’s role is to fertilize. This super food from the bee world has energy giving properties, is high in B-vitamins and contains all essential amino acids. It is thought to most benefit male sexual health.

Berries – Berries are one of our most potent plant foods. They are lower in sugar than many other fruits and pack a load of nutrition into each tiny package. There is also something very seductive about a deep red, ripe berry. A wonderful food to be slowly savored and shared.

Click here for a delightfully rich chocolate pudding with fresh berries

Cardamom – A common aromatic spice used in Indian cuisine, cardamom helps increase circulation and is viewed by some cultures as a powerful aphrodisiac. Try combining with chocolate and maca for a dip for your berries!

Celery – A seemingly unlikely sexy food, celery helps boost the production of a powerful substance known as androsterone – an odorless hormone released through male perspiration that is attractive to women.

Chilies – Chilies boost circulation, increase sensitivity in nerve endings and contain capsaicin, a substance that triggers the release of feel-good endorphins.

Chocolate – Ahhh, chocolate. Most of us treat this food as a guilty pleasure, but it is really the highly processed, overly sweetened and highly denatured variety we need to be wary of. The minerals in raw chocolate (especially magnesium) provide necessary nutrition and promote a sense of relaxed well-being, while theobromine (a stimulating alkaloid similar to caffeine) gives a heart-centered buzz. Chocolate also helps the brain produce feel-good serotonin. Try raw or at least dark chocolate for best effects. You can get raw chocolate at most natural food stores or click here.

Garlic – Not only will it keep your immune system strong, but garlic also contains high levels of allicin a compound that can improve blood flow to the sexual organs.

Goji Berries – These super berries from Asia are best consumed dried, as that is closest to their original form. They contain all essential amino acids and help boost libido in both men and women by increasing testosterone. Find goji berries at  your natural food store or click here.

Figs – There is really nothing quite like a perfectly ripe, lusciously sweet fig. Figs are another plant food high in amino acids, which is helpful in increasing sexual stamina and libido.

Maca – A lesser-known tuber from Central America, maca is gaining some notoriety as a wonderful adaptogenic and tonic food. It has been shown to increase sperm counts and testosterone in men, while supporting sexual desire in women. Fun stuff, really!

Oysters – Oysters are a classic aphrodisiac, and for good reason: they are phenomenally high in zinc. Low levels of zinc are associated with sexual dysfunction in both men and women, along with a host of other problems. Try these on the half-shell with a side of omega-3 rich caviar and you are well on your way to a sexy meal.

Pumpkin Seeds – The plant world’s answer to the zinc-rich oyster, these delicious seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, critical to sexual and hormonal health. A wonderful regular addition to the diet, as most of us are not indulging in oysters on a regular basis.

Food is something we do every day, multiple times a day, so why not make it fun. Nutrition does not need to be heady and dry, in fact, as we see now it can be down right sexy!

Enjoy your sexy foods in good company.

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Pura Vida

According to Wikipedia:

Pura Vida (POO-rah VEE-dah), used by Costa Ricans since 1956 [1], literally translated means “Pure Life.” Contextually, it means “Full of Life” “Purified life”, “This is living!”, “Going great!” It is used as a greeting, a farewell, and to express satisfaction. The expression was taken from the mexican movie “Pura Vida!”, which came out on February 29th 1956 (director: Gilberto Martínez Solares).

Some foreigners view the phrase as an expression of a leisurely lifestyle, of disregard for time and wanton friendliness. However, Costa Ricans use the phrase to express a philosophy of strong community, perseverance, good spirits, enjoying life slowly, celebrating good fortune, whether small or large.”

My purely Costa Rican experience began with the 2 plus hour taxi to the first destination, Playa Guiones in Nosara. The taxi driver, who spoke decent English, was eager to teach us some Spanish. Our first phrase was “pura vida“.

“When someone asks you how your trip was, say “pura vida””, he smiled. “When they ask you how your day is, say “pura vida”. When you wake up in to the sunrise, “pura vida”. When you watch the sunset over the ocean, “pura vida”.” Well, you get the picture. Pura vida is the way of life, and this way of life rubs off very easily.

We then continued to go over favorite foods – pina, aguacate – and  few lovely poetic phrases, but “pura vida” was what really struck a cord. Ahhh, enjoyment of and savoring of a natural way of being.

So many Costa Ricans (native and transplants) just oozed with genuine love of living and all living things. Environmental concern, fresh organic foods, connecting with nature and community are just part of life there.

The literal translation of pura vida – pure life – is what I look to create. This is not in the monastic sense, but in the sense of living with clarity, sincerity, joy, health and abundance of spirit, all of which leads to manifesting the right people, paths and experiences.

My trip seemed to be blessed with such people, places and experiences from the exhileration of surfing and ziplining to the simple majesty of the sun setting over the ocean. One seemed more inclined to live by the sun. Most of my companions and I were ready to quite by 9pm and ready to rise as the sun did, at 5:30am. And, of course if the sun did not wake you, then the howler monkeys surely would! Their eerie low roar became comforting and something I looked forward to.

On one afternoon I ended up scheduling a massage with a woman who did something called “harmonic healing”. This was a combination of several massage techniques coupled with sound. She began by whispering the words “inner grace” several times, then proceeded to make mesmerizing tonal sounds through out the rest of the session. Such a powerful experience to have the someone really draw you in towards this inner grace.

What I found myself enveloped in was a sense of peace, a joy of life and calm and serenity that I vowed would follow me back to my home in California. I write this to allow each one of you to follow your hearts and pursue your personal pura vida. Better yet, allow it to find you.

Allow kindness to be your default.

Meditate on the beauty that surounds.

Swim in the ocean.

Swing from the trees.

Listen to the animals.

Chant from the mountain tops.

Do something that scares you.

Wake up early to watch the sun’s rays bless us with another day of life on this planet.

Physically or energetically hug your fellow humans.

Talk to the plants.

Tread lightly and give abundantly.

Share your gifts.

Namaste,

Ana

p.s. To savor some deliciously pure creations a la Costa Rica, please see my newest blog Blended Bliss.

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With just a week to go until we reach the spring equinox, the air seems to be filled with a sort of pent up anticipation for what the sights, scents and longer days of spring will deliver. You may notice that awkward phase of lingering winter stagnation mixed with boyant spring lightness. You may be feeling ready to shed some layers, be they physical, emotional or mental. As always, I invite you to set big goals, but remember to take small steps in working towards health, balance and feeling your best.

I am currently on the east coast visiting family and spending considerable time with my stepfather who has just had a stroke. He is certainly recovering with aggressive therapy, but the road will be long and full of hard work. He will get there by taking one step at a time. For me this has been teaching (or reminding) me of both the preciousness of self-care to maintain personal health, and the importance of taking one step at a time even when goals may seem too large to be real.  It is so important to see that grand vision, but stay present with today’s action steps.

I am, of course, a huge believer in prevention. In feeding our bodies fresh, delicious foods appropriate for each individual; moving our bodies as they were intended to move; and just generally being proactive in creating a life that feeds and nourishes in every aspect. We are not here to be lived by life, but to live our lives to the fullest. This includes diving to the darkest depths and rising to the highest highs, and then beginning to find our middle ground where the pendulum begins to swing less extremely.

Spring has traditionally signaled a natural urge to cleanse or purge. Perhaps we clean house, clean our bodies, or feel compelled to make a fresh start in other ways. With the Devana Spring Cleanse Workshop coming up in just a few weeks, I thought it could be nice to offer some small steps to begin moving in the direction of the larger goal. Below are some ideas to begin to infuse a little detox into each day without being too overwhelming. I hope you can all join us for this year’s cleanse whether you come in person or participate online.

Daily Detox
1.    Choose organic. Choosing organic as much as possible is a sure fire way to minimize exposure to the many toxic chemicals that can be used in conventional farming. The higher nutrient content that is in organic produce also assists the body more effectively in its daily detoxification processes. Now sometimes organic just is not available, which means simply staying informed and getting a little savvy. Perhaps you can buy locally grown without pesticides. Or if you do buy conventional, be sure to stay away from these 12 most pesticide laden vegetables and fruits: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, lettuce, imported grapes, pears, spinach and potatoes.
2.    Get your greens! Dark leafy greens are loaded with cleansing antioxidants and toxic cleaning chlorophyll. Cruciferous vegetables stimulate the production of the detox enzyme glutathione-s-tansferases (GST), which binds to heavy metals, solvents, and pesticides, and eliminates them through stool. If getting these in daily still proves a challenge, try incorporating a green food supplement like Greens First (http://GreensFirst.com/4550). Although not a replacement for the real deal, it is loaded with beneficial antioxidants, vitamins and minerals making it a wonderful “food-based supplement” that can benefit even those eating their greens.
3.    Pre-digest” your food. Our bodies work hard to break down the foods that we introduce into our systems day in and day out. When we blend or juice our food, these processes help break down the nutrients to make them more available. The result is more energy for other things! Remember though, that you should still chew even this liquefied food so that your digestive system understands this is food, not drink. (For a great offer on a Vita-Mix 5200 see my recommended products page.)
4.    Nourish your liver. In Chinese medicine, the liver gets the focus in the springtime, meaning we need to give this hard-working organ extra attention and care at this time. There are certain food and herbs that can be used to gently and effectively cleanse and boost the liver. Foods and herbs to try include: Artichoke and artichoke leaf herb, dandelion root and leaf, green tea (as a beverage or supplement), milk thistle seed, and turmeric root.
5.    Cleansing morning beverage. A simple ritual to try is 6-8 oz. lemon water in the morning. You can have it warm or room temperature. With stevia or straight. Lemon water in the morning gently stimulates digestion and elimination and helps alkalize the body. Be sure to rinse or brush your teeth after, because it can be a little acidic on tooth enamel.

These are just a sampling of easy and proactive ways to support you body in what it wants and needs to do. Remember to set your goals, get support, then step one foot in front of the other.

Blessings and Love!

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Most people find that they may suffer from the occasional “funk” or bad mood. For others this funk can root deeper and present itself as mild to severe depression. All of us feel sad or anxious at times, and truth is this is fairly normal as long as it is not a long-term condition. There are so many factors that contribute to our mood and outlook, but often just by seeking balance through nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, attitude, choosing social and media environments, and taking appropriate natural supplements even the more chronic conditions may be healed.
There was a time in my own life when I believed that I had a “problem” with depression. I was not happy with myself, had a very bleak outlook on life, cried a lot, and often felt like I just did not belong. . . anywhere. At the time, antidepressants where not being passed out like candy as they are now, so I managed to avoid going down that path. Instead, I began to make changes – small changes, over time. A few years passed and all of a sudden I realized I was no longer depressed! I still had my “off” days, but I was balanced and motivated. I focused on all the good things in life and could function at a social level. What this taught me was that our symptoms are a wake up call, not something to be covered with a Band Aid.
Scientists are now uncovering some of the root causes of depression and much of this is pointing to deficiencies that lead to cell atrophy in the brain. So, although a prescription may help the symptoms, it comes with side effects and does not address the root issue. Below are some simple, safe and effective dietary and lifestyle strategies to help boost your mood and let you feel your inner glow.

1.    Breakfast for the brain. What are you feeding yourself after your nighttime fast? This is a critical time for giving the body’s cells some real food. Processed white flour, sugar, coffee or nothing at all can lead to mood and brain crashes within a few hours. It is important to go for unprocessed or complex carbohydrates and some form of protein. These provide fuel for the brain and stabilize mood as well as provide the building blocks for feel good chemical messengers, like serotonin. Experiment with what works for you. For some, a large breakfast of an organic egg omelet (make sure you eat the yolk as it is what contains mood-boosting EFA’s) or hearty steel cut oats may fit the bill. For others a smoothie with a high quality protein powder works. Not the breakfast eating type? Try a scoop of green powder and a scoop of protein in water and shake. I like Dream Protein and Greens First http://GreensFirst.com/4550. They taste really good and contain very high quality ingredients that mix well in just water.
2.    Get some rays. By going outside and exposing ourselves to sunlight we not only promote the body’s production of the brain food vitamin D, but also lack of sunlight will not signal the production of the correct levels of melatonin in the body. Try taking a daily 20-minute walk in the morning or early afternoon to reset the body’s production of melatonin so it increases, as it should, in the evening.
3.    Eat fat. Regular consumption of the right kinds of fats is critical to mood health. This was clearly demonstrated in a study by Anita S. Wells, MD, of the University of Sheffield, England. Wells asked 20 healthy men and women to eat high- and low-fat diets for several weeks. People following the low-fat diet developed greater feelings of depression, dejection, and anger. In contrast, those eating high-fat diets had improvements in mood. Now this study did not make a distinction between types of fats, but there is extensive research in support of consuming omega 3’s in particular. One study found that people who eat fish or seafood (our best source of dietary omega 3’s) less than once a week are one-third more likely to experience mild to severe depression. Although I feel strongly about getting as much of your nutrition from food, with our seafood populations being threatened by over fishing and pollution, this is one instance where proper supplementation is critical. A marine source of omega 3’s will give you the most usable form, but it is becoming evident that fish and krill oil are not our best choices environmentally and therapeutically. Please click the link to learn about your best choice for omega 3 supplementation: http://www.naturalnews.com/moxxor_health_benefits.asp?ID=ana.  Other good food fats to include are avocados, cold-processed coconut oil, raw nuts and seeds and olives and their oil.
4.    Get your B’s. B vitamins, particularly folate and B12 play a key role in regulating mood. If you choose refined flour products over folate-rich fresh leafy green vegetables you are most likely deficient in this key nutrient. Be sure to have a significant portion of your vegetables raw or lightly cooked for the highest nutritent value. Other fresh vegetables and whole grains like brown rice and quinoa are also good sources of B vitamins. Because it has been found that adults lacking adequate B12 are 70% more likely to suffer from depression, it is vital that you incorporate organic eggs, spirulina, lean red meat, fermented dairy and fermented vegetables in the diet. You may need to supplement.
5.    Move your body regularly. Evidence shows that people who exercise on a regular basis tend to be less depressed and anxious. This seems to be because of the ability of exercise to regulate neurotransmitter function much like an antidepressant, but without the side effects. The key to reaping these benefits, say experts, is to do it regularly and often. So, get a buddy, put it on your calendar and find what form of exercise inspires you.
6.    Choose positivity. This can take some practice, but it is so very important. Surround yourself with other positive people whenever possible, turn off the news, read and recite positive affirmations and pencil in something joyful into every day. Be sure to see a positive mindset as a journey rather than some unattainable destination.
7.    Oils to the rescue. Good quality, therapeutic grade essential oils can be an invaluable tool because their effects can be immediate. High-grade essential oils (Young Living is the brand I know, love and use http://vibrant-health.younglivingworld.com) go directly to the limbic system of the brain. Because this is the most basic part of the brain, we do not need to think or process this information, just simply absorb it. Our sense of smell has a profound affect on our state of mind and emotions. Some of my favorite Young Living mood boosting oils include: Joy, Valor, Bergamot, Jasmine, Lemon, Frankincense, Passion and Hope. Use these in a cold-air diffuser, apply them to your feet, temples or wrists, add a few drops to massage oil or body lotion, the applications are endless!

Go ahead and give some of these suggestions a try and see if the corners of your mouth don’t begin to curl up.

Affirmation from Louise Hay:

“Today I begin a new habit of really loving and caring for myself.”

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