Archive for February 2011

Adding Protein to Your Diet:Luna bars   Leave a comment

Anyone who knows me knows I love Luna bars.  I could be a spokesperson for them.  They are about 180 calories with 10 grams of protein.  A perfect snack or breakfast.   They are 100% natural,, almost all organic,  no high fructose syrup. They come in a variety of flavors.  My favorite are  White Chocolate Macadamia, Nutz Over Chocolate and Caramel Nut Brownie.  Some of the newer bars are gluten-free. They’re very reasonably priced, usually around $1, found almost everywhere,  Target, Wal-mart, Safeway, Giant, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, etc.

Part of the profits go to fund breast cancer, healthy homes and LunaFest (short films about women by women).  You can give a “shout out” to someone on their website and maybe you’ll get your saying printed on one of the bars.

Check them out…….



Posted February 25, 2011 by Sunflower in Natural

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Boosting Your Metabolism   1 comment

Increase Your Metabolism

 The best resource I have found for information on boosting your metabolism comes from the book

Flip the Switch by Robert K. Cooper. Below is a summary:

 Click on book for more info


1.    Eat the proper foods –high fiber, whole grains, lean meats, low sugar,  low salt, low fat

2.     Eating frequently , 3 meals, esp. breakfast,  2 snacks

3.     Slow down your eating, digestion begins in the mouth 

  •  Put your fork down after each bite
  •  Take at least 20 minutes to eat
  •  Seek healthy foods that stimulate your sight, smell and taste

 4.     Add hot spices to your diet like cayenne pepper, jalepeno, scotch bonnet peppers

 5.     Add vinegar to your diet, apple cider vinegar is great

 6.     Sip cool or ice water

 7.     Expose yourself to the sun as early in the day as possible

 8.      Sleep well

  •  Cool room
  •  Establish a routine
  •  Don’t go to bed hungry – protein snack –turkey, low carb yogurt, cottage cheese
  •  15-20 min stretching & flexibility
  •   Human Growth Hormone is secreted 1hr after falling asleep
  •   Critical healing period is between 12MN-3am

 9.     Green Tea—increases metabolism by 35%

  •  Drink one cup before each meal

 10.  Breathe deeply—increases oxygen

11.    Protein shakes—protein increases glucagon, will burn 40% more than with carbs alone

           *Try Balance Complete

12.   Eat protein at every meal.

13.    Eat starches early in the day—Insulin has a circadian rhythm, peaks early in the day

14.     Fish oil—improves efficiency of Leptin

15.    Do not skip meals – increases Ghrelin, a hormone  which creates a voracious appetite

16.    Pay attention to when your body needs a break during the day i.e. get up and move around or stretch

17.   Have your biggest meal at lunchtime

18.   Have an early dinner around 5:30pm or 6pm.  The later the dinner the less caloric intake you should have.

19.  Limit each meal to no more than 600  calories.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 20.   Get moving 

          *Exercise builds muscle and muscle burns fat

  •  20 min aerobic activity 3-4X week
  •  Muscle tone-ups anytime throughout the day
  •  Core strength training for Abs & legs twice a week,
  •  Upper body strength twice a week
  •  Balance & Flexibility twice a week 

       21. Physical activity 30 min after eating while digestion is still taking place  will burn Carbs that otherwise will be stored.

  • Take the stairs, park farther away, stretch or walk during lunch
  • Pushups within an hour of getting up or go up and and down stairs or deep knee bends. Best if done before breakfast. 
  • Fat will be used as fuel vs. Glucagon which is stored in the liver. 

 22. Manage Stress – stress depletes your reserve of Dopamine and Serotonin

23. Proper vitamin and mineral intake

24. Drink plenty of water


 Burn It Up

Posted February 24, 2011 by Sunflower in Weight Loss

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More on Meditation for Beginners: Silence, Quiet & Solitude   Leave a comment

I am a thinker.  I think more than I talk.  My mind is going all the time,   ideas,  dreams, fantasies, conversations,  thoughts, thoughts and more thoughts.  Not thinking has  never appealed to me. I’ve always wished I had more time to think.  I never dreamed I would enjoy just sitting, focusing my attention on God and not paying any attention to my thoughts.  Meditation is that to me.  A time to be still, silent, alone with God.  Let him have his time with me uninterrupted by my constant stream of thoughts.  It’s a discipline like any other and it takes practice. 

I have different ways of meditating.  Sometimes in the shower, I call it my water meditation.  Sometimes in the car, driving meditation, candle meditation, where I stare at the flame on a candle,  and then other times just sitting.  I make myself a receptacle.   If I’m sitting I start by putting an essential oil in my palm, breathing it in and taking a few seconds to bring attention to my breathing.  I take 3 very slow, deep breath with a pause in between.  I feel myself relax.  Then allow my mind to go blank, no thoughts.  All the while I’m listening to relaxing music.  I find that this helps me to keep my mind from wandering.  Sometimes  I do visualization and sometimes just a clear mind. In a crazy mixed up world,  meditation is a wonderful way to keep me sane.

Go placidly amid

the noise and haste,

and remember what peace

there may be in silence.


Posted February 23, 2011 by Sunflower in Meditation, Spirituality

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Book Review: Can We Live 150 years? by Mikhail Tombak   Leave a comment

When I first heard the title of this book I thought “who would want to live 150 years?”.   Dr. Tombak proposes that we CAN live 150 years based on the way we live.  Full health depends on living in harmony with nature. There’s a complete cycle of energy that last 7 years and it cycles every 22 years (22 X ~7=150). 

He proposes there’s 5 main factors to ill health

  • Neglected spine
  • Incorrect breathing
  • Incorrect diet
  • Lack of internal body hygiene
  • Inability to lead a blissful life

*Respect the basic principles by which our bodies function

Two of my most favorite topics in the book are therapeutic baths and using heat & cold. Therapeutic baths use herbs like sage flowers, chamomile flowers or spruce branches that have soaked in water for a couple of hours and adding them to your bath. Plan to soak for 15-25 minutes.  The other is warm water alternating with cold water showers.  They are helpful for preventing colds.  I swear it helped me tolerate cold weather better.

He is a big fan of fresh vegetable and fruit juices.  He has several recipes with conditions that each recipe is good for.

One of the more interesting sections is on consuming lemons.  He has a formula for consuming 30 lemons in 10 days! He recommends drinking the straight lemon juice, not diluted unless absolutely necessary.  You may mix with honey.

Taking care of oneself is a big theme of this book.   He believes in the role of doctors but encourages people to know how to care for themselves.  And thus he has a ton of folk medicine remedies for a multitude of conditions. Some are strange like eggshell therapy but many are quite believable and doable.

Overall I liked the book.  I found some of the remedies to be a bit daring but he has great ideas about using positivity to live longer.  I can’t say I want to live 150 years but however long I live I want to live well.



 Available at, click on the book for more info

Posted February 22, 2011 by Sunflower in Books, Natural, Wellness

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Meditation for Beginners   Leave a comment

I am a beginner in meditation.  My quest began in 2009 by  reading about it.  In 2010 I made a decision to try it out. So far it has been one of the highlights of my spiritual journey. 

 Just mentioning meditation,  the 1st thought to comes to mind is someone sitting  indian style with their index finger and thumb touching in a circle, humming “om” over and over again.  That’s more associated with eastern meditation by Buddhists and Hindus although more and more westerners practice meditation this way.

For me meditation is a call to be silent, listening for God’s still voice.  It’s different from prayer when I’m doing more talking and much less listening.  Meditation is a time of discipline, to just sit, be still and listen.  I imagine that God and I are either sitting or walking hand in hand.  We smile at each other.   I have his full attention.  I feel happy, loved, peaceful  and secure.   I’m in his presence.

I start by putting a few drops of an essential oil in my palms, rub together, cup my hands together and breathe in slowly three times. I sit,  sometimes with palms open (receiving position).  I don’t chant a mantra or say a phrase over and over again in my mind, just sit in  silence. I listen to relaxing music which keeps my mind from wondering all over the place.  I like to do it 1st thing in the morning and before going to bed as a way to start and end my day. 

Two books that have been the most influential are Christian Meditation by James Finley and Centering Prayer by M. Basil Pennington.  I continue to read them over and over again for inspiration. My newest book is a book of prayers that I read before I start meditating,  Marianne Williamson’s Illuminata.  It took a while to find a way what works for me.  I still working on lengthening the time I meditate and keeping my mind centered.  It’s a challenge but so very worth it.

More on meditation in blogs to come…….


Posted February 18, 2011 by Sunflower in Meditation, Spirituality

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How to Sleep   Leave a comment

Sleep is better than gold!!  It can’t be bought, stored up or borrowed.  It’s precious. 

Humans have a natural circadian rhythm.  We were made to sleep at night and be awake during the day.   One of the roles of the hormone cortisol is to wake us up. It peaks about an hour before sunrise and falls in the evening when the sun goes down.

 How can you improve your sleep and wake up feeling refreshed?

  • go to bed as early as you can and wake up as early as you can, keep in rhythm with daylight and nightfall
  • get sunlight into your eyes as soon as possible, step outside for a few minutes before you leave the house, open all the curtains, blinds or shades, turn on the lights in your house
  • do the reverse at night, keep lights low and noise low
  • make your bedroom as dark as possible, comfortable room temperature
  • stop eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime
  • stay hydrated during the day, 
  • practice living in the here and now, leave work problems at work, they don’t pay you when you get home so don’t give them  any more of your time
  • 30 minutes before bed, have a routine, listen to relaxing music, take a warm bath, read, write a letter,  but no tv or internet
  • try aromatherapy oils  like Lavender, Peace & Calming® or Valerian

When needed take a natural supplement like Melatonin (short term), Valerian Root with passion flower,  Sleepesssence™ or herbal teas,  Kava Stress from Yogi™ or  SleepyTime from Celestial Seasonings®.

The National Sleep Foundation has more great  tips for getting a good night’s sleep. And Lights Out is one of the most informative books on sleep and how it relates to health conditions like diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.



  Sleep in peace

Posted February 17, 2011 by Sunflower in Healing, Health, Natural, Wellness, Women

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Drink more water   Leave a comment

Our bodies are ~70% water just like the earth. And we all know that drinking water is vital to our health and well being. Not just any fluid can replace water.  But some people find the taste of water very bland and boring, making it almost impossible  to get in 8-10 glasses a day.   How can you add  flavor to water and make it more enjoyable?

 Here’s some helpful suggestions:

  • add fresh lemon or mint (try it hot or cold)
  • try essential oils of lemon, peppermint, orange or grapefruit (1 drop is plenty)
  • herbal teas, hot or cold (Chai and Yogi Women’s Energy Tea are two of my favorites)
  • Sassy Water (cucumber, mint, ginger, lemon, let sit overnight)
  • dilute concentrated unsweetened cranberry juice & add a natural sweetener (stevia, honey, agave, or maple syrup)
  • eat high water content fruits i.e. melons, berries, citrus fruits
  • hot or cold soups (broth based, low sodium)
  • freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juices


When to drink water:  before meals, before  exercise,  first thing in the morning  and any time you’re thirsty.  

*Cleansing glass of water –Add fresh lemon to first glass of water for the day, helps to break up mucus from the night before.

*Take a 32 oz container to work and fill again in the afternoon.

Increasing your water intake will provide  so many health benefits. You’ll find you have more energy, sleep better,  boost your immunity and improve the  condition of your skin.  Dr. Batmanghelidj, M.D.   wrote a very informative book on the disease prevention and health benefits of water, You’re Not Hungry, You’re Thirsty. 

Drink water for improved health!!!

Posted February 14, 2011 by Sunflower in Natural

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