Sunday, November 15, 2015

Love: Either Everyone's In OR Everyone's Out

This past week I was annoyed with someone, and it felt totally justifiable. I kind of suppressed it, pushed it to the back of my mind, and carried on with life. Then, at the end of the week, I had noticed I had been more edgy than is typical for me. I realized, that one annoyance, that one grievance, had spilled out across my whole life. 

After the tragedy that occurred in Paris on Friday the 13th, I took pause and could see that by holding this one person outside of Love I was holding everyone outside of it. That I was listening to MY inner terrorist instead of the voice for Love.

We are each one of us a Soul. Created by one Source. Some call it God, others Universe, The All Knowing, Allah, Goddess, all different names for the same thing: Love. Which created us in its image. Though, we were also given free will. The choice between, within ourselves, listening to the thoughts in our minds of either the inner terrorist or Love. Each of these thought systems are mutually exclusive. We move back and forth between them throughout our lives.

Most of us walk around not realizing we have a choice. Even those of us who have learned we have a choice still forget. When we become aware of the choice, we begin to gain our power and can learn to listen only to the thoughts of Love.

In A Course In Miracles Jesus says, "To hold a grievance is to forget who you are" (Lesson 68).

Buddha says, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of harming another; you end up getting burned."

We are not guilty, shameful or bad for it. Though we do experience suffering within ourselves.

For me the first step is SEEING it. Then I pray. Give it over. Am willing to see differently, and let it go. Feeling guilty or shameful is more of the same; its still coming from the mind of the inner terrorist. This is a time to relax, spend some time in nature, read a book, take a bubble bath, watch a funny movie, and allow our mind to get tuned back into those thoughts of Love. Trust that everything will unfold for the best. It always does.

<3 Kelly

Monday, November 2, 2015

Harvard's Third Annual 'Food Is Medicine' Symposium

Thursday, October 29, I attended the Food Is Medicine event hosted by The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School, the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, and Community Servings. They had guests from three different areas of the health and food industry speak  about innovations pertaining to Food Is Medicine. The three areas were The Role of Retailers in the Food Is Medicine movement, How the Healthcare System is Integrating Nutrition Programs to Improve Population Health and Make the Case for Food Is Medicine with Data and Cutting Edge Research

What struck me is that each presenter spoke about their area in the movement with great enthusiasm. It was apparent to see their excitement about being able to truly help, heal and serve people with the power of wholesome food. Though they had a shared passion, it was equally interesting to see how these people were making change for the same big picture movement, but coming at the issue from different angles.

Annika Nielsen spoke about a pilot store in a low income area outside of Boston called Daily Table. Using donated foods, fresh produce and prepared meals they have been able to provide extremely low cost, healthy meals to low income and food stamp using citizens. Low income families are generally unable to afford healthy food, if any food at all. Having this option allows them to use food to prevent illnesses that run rampant in individuals who live at this socioeconomic status. Nielsen spoke of individuals coming in, tears in their eyes, so grateful to be able to afford this healthy food.

David Waters of Community Servings is coming from a post-diagnosis perspective. After individuals are diagnosed with an illness (the company was started exclusively serving those with HIV and has now expanded) wholesome meals are delivered to them, made specifically to target their health needs.    These food health programs are being shown to not only be incredibly effective, but also much more cost effective than hospital visits and medication. Walters said with the cost of one hospital visit an individual can be fed for months instead.

Jody Adams, Chef and member of Board of Directors for Partners in Health, spoke about her experience, and her story effected me the most. She was involved in not only raising money to build hospitals in Haiti, but she went down and first hand taught the Hospital chefs how to cook wholesome foods for the patients. They said patients would come in sick, and after eating their food would get better and not want to leave. Adams said patients in these hospitals are eating better than patients in hospitals in the Boston area (not that there is a high standard, hospital food here is appalling). More than just being a hospital, they have programs there to help people with their homes, food, education and have found that helping people in these areas has helped to improve health across the board.

These are just three of the speakers that presented to a very full room of eager participants. Overall I very pleased that the concept of Food being Medicine is catching on. That Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine's, prescription is being put into action in the modern world. I walked out of the door with a feeling that this is just the front of the wave, and I can't wait to see where it goes.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Jackie Kennedy Created the Historic White House

Most people think of the White House as synonymous with American History. A place teaming with Presidential artifacts. What most people don't realize is that is was First Lady Jackie Kennedy, wife of President John F. Kennedy, who made it this way. 

When Jackie was young she went on a tour of the White House and was disappointed with how disorganized it was. This is because no one had ever taken the time to put care into the White House as a National Monument. Each First Lady knew this would only be a temporary home, so they would re-decorate to their taste. Then, when the next First Lady moved in, the previous First Lady's decorations would be put into storage so she could decorate to her own tastes. This created a very disheveled effect.

As just 31 years old Jackie Kennedy moved into the White House and set forth to change all of this. She founded the Fine Arts Committee of the White House, and  took action to bring Presidential History to the American Capitol. From around the nation the team she created collected artifacts that belonged to previous Presidents: furniture, candlesticks, portraits, paintings, etc. Rooms were restored and designed after previous Presidents, such as the Abraham Lincoln bedroom. She even modeled how she would host dinners after Thomas Jefferson; many small round tables to create intimacy among dinner guests in place of one large table. On Valentines Day 1962 Jackie Kennedy hosted a nationally televised tour of the White House, and won an Emmy for the production. In this tour she showed how the first White House Tour Guide had been created, so visitors to the White House could learn about and appreciate what they would see.

Not only did Jackie bring historic greatness by immortalizing past Presidents, she transformed the role of the White House. She invited musicians, artists, and writers to perform at the White House. Jackie Kennedy even managed to have the famous French Icon, The Mona Lisa, displayed in the White House. She created a new environment which combined arts and diplomacy in a way that had never previously been done. 

Since Jackie it has become a tradition for the First Lady to take up a cause of her own. It has also become standard to have arts and culture in the White House. At such a young age, and only a short time in the White House, Jackie left more of a mark on this Nation than the majority of First Ladies before and after her. 


Below is Jackie's Emmy winning White House Tour

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Avoid Being a Slave to Our (even good) Habits

Im a big advocate for Self Love. In fact I am a firm believer that without Self Love we can't truly love
others. There isn't one blueprint for it, generally it is moving away from habits that are detrimental to ourselves, and moving into loving, nurturing habits. In our minds moving away from a place of shame, and into an experience of innocence.
My sister Robin and I after our first half marathon

For me Self Love looks like eating an organic, plant powered, whole foods diet. Making and using the most natural, luxurious, personal care items such as lip balms, deodorant, body butters, etc. Drinking an abundance of clean water on the daily. Meditating (Wayne Dyer's "Ahh" meditation is amazing). Expressing my creative nature via art, knitting, music. Exercising, nourishing my body and spirit.

Though these things are all wonderful and great, it is also important to not make a God out of them. To still be able to be centered and connected to that light that is within each of us even if we can't go through the motions of these activities.

For example, about a month ago I hurt my back. An old injury I received years ago got tweaked just the right way so that I was unable to run, or even walk for that matter. I LOVE to run. It is my go to happy place. It helps me free my mind and get clarity. It is meditation in motion. It keeps my booty firm. Keeps the endorphins bumpin. Its a fun challenge, and a joy.

No mas.

In the past this would have been material for major bumming out. Anxiety even.

Instead I made a choice. Yes, I love to run, and yes I feel happy when I run. I remembered that though this is true, running isn't my sole connection to that light source within me. It is a helpful tool, but not a necessity. That life is about ebbing and flowing and this is just going to be my time to ebb with running. Have patience and know that this is a time for rest.

Life is all about change, and being able to stay connected to that light, happy place through these changes is freedom. Its a balance of taking the best care of ourselves possible in each moment we find ourselves; sometimes Self Love is chilling out on those (even good) habits.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Why Consider Using a Menstrual Cup?

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When I was a teenager I used pads and tampons just like every other girl in middle school. Hiding tampons in my pocket, or up my sleeve, while slipping into the girls room. Somewhere around age 13 I learned that they use CHLORINE to bleach feminine products, along with other harsh chemicals. I was in shock. I knew even as a young girl that one day I would want to have kids, and in no way was I going to gamble with my fertility by letting the most vulnerable part of my body be regularly bombarded with chemicals. So, I switched to organic tampons and pads.

Fast forward years later, after switching to a whole foods organic diet and getting connected with the natural minded crowd, I started hearing about this thing called a "menstrual cup." It is a rubber like cup that you insert while menstruating, empty out as needed, then clean, store and reuse for years.

This is one of those things I danced around for years. Intrigued, but also a little weirded out.

I learned more. About menstrual products and applicators ending up in landfills. How for a woman .5% of her personal landfill use is from feminine products. That over the 38 years a woman menstruates, 62,415 pounds of landfill trash is generated. I started to like the idea of doing my part in my little corner of the world to decrease this number, and help preserve the environment.

Then, being in my starving college years, I looked at cost. I figured out that within a few months I would break even with the investment, and be saving money. That was also an appealing prospect.

In 2012 I watched the video below, and she explained it so simply that I finally went out and got my own- and never looked back. It took a couple of cycles to really get used to it. It is so convenient, easy, comfortable, cost effective, environmentally sound and natural. Plus, no toxic shock syndrome risk! Who knew that one little change could make such a big difference?

I cannot express how much I love it. Not only that, every woman I have encountered who has made the switch loves it too. These aren't exclusively women from the deodorant making, oil pulling, organic eating crowd. Just everyday chicks reaping the menstrual cup benefits.

So for your health, the environment, and your wallet, take the time to consider making the switch yourself.

<3 Kelly

Monday, September 14, 2015

Mind Watching - A Family Affair

Reverend Lee Catalano

The most powerful thing I have ever learned in my life is that there are two very distinct realities happening in the mind.  You can call them light/dark...ego/christ….negative/positive...whatever you call it ...the single most important thing you can learn is to recognize it inside yourself.
At 28 I opened up A Course in Miracles and what a relief to discover life was coming from me and not happening to me.  Everything I was and am experiencing is coming from my thoughts.

My kids now 30, 26 and 12 would agree that the single most important thing that I have passed on to them is “mind watching.”  My daughter Robin says “When I am feeling down the most important thing that I can do is extend myself to others.”  This is a very powerful statement if you look at it more closely.  I have observed Robin watch her mind and offer only words that are filled with innocence and acceptance to others.  In turn she is one of the most consistently happy people I have ever known.

When our thoughts are filled with resentment...self abasement and is important to learn to do or say NOTHING.

My little son Cavan understood the concept of “pain body” and changing his mind at 3 years old.  He was able to spend 3 minutes in his room and turn himself around.  According to Eckhart Tolle pain body is an energy force inside each of us that is fed by negative thinking and emotion.  We can learn with focus and determination to dissolve it within ourselves.  Acting from a mindset of pain body leads to an experience of more pain body.  This is right in step with Jesus telling us to choose from a  place of innocence with the Holy Spirit.  We also see it written in Abraham’s words telling us not to do or say anything when out of the Vortex.

Mind watching means that you keep to yourself...don’t tell sad stories for the sake of telling them and wait for it to pass.  Jesus teaches us “this too shall pass.” He was speaking of a low state of mind.  He doesn’t need for us to do or say anything...we just need to be kind to ourselves and allow it to pass.  

When we are feeling out of the Vortex of happiness and innocence around here some of the things we do to remember are ...this too shall pass, meditate, listen to inspiration, take a nap, take a hot bath, exercise, make healthy food, watch an uplifting movie, do something for someone else. 

Most of all don’t do anything self speak harsh words...or indulge in addictions and NEVER get down on yourself for needing some self LOVE….Self Love is the Love of God and it is your inheritance from Heaven!

Love The Revie xo

AKA Lee Catalano

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Whole Food Meal Ideas!

I genuinely feel like there is nothing I can't eat. Which is ironic, because I do happen to have things that I don't eat, I just never feel deprived. Personally I do not eat white sugar, am gluten free, vegetarian and lean away from dairy and eggs.

When we learn about eating whole foods, or staying away from processed foods, often we can initially feel overwhelmed. I literally have people ask me "what do you eat?!" It really isn't hard, its just a matter of starting the habit. Every now and then I like to post a day of eating to give simple meal ideas.

<3 Kelly

Organic Bananas 
gluten free toast with coconut oil and raw honey

organic salad, organic garden tomatoes,
organic ground flax (for omega-3's!) and dressing
Organic Baked Beans

Treat (not a whole food!)
Gluten free waffles, coconut butter,
 organic coconut sugar and organic agave maple syrup

Thursday, August 27, 2015

President John F. Kennedy's American University Speech, June 10, 1963

At the time of John F. Kennedy's American University Speech the cold war was right on the brink of turning hot. Both the democratic United States and communist Soviet Union, two of the worlds leading powers, had nuclear weapons. Both Nikita Khrushchev (the Soviet Premier) and President Kennedy knew that the unleashing of nuclear war would mean certain death for all life on earth. While both men were surrounded by advisors pushing them to the brink, they had secretly been communicating through letters to bring an end to the Cold War. Not to win or lose, but put aside their need of victory to bring peace. These men, who began as adversaries, earned great respect for their counterpart throughout the course of their exchanges. While their ideals had changed to bring peace, they were both concerned the matter had gotten too far out of their hands to reel the issue back in. This speech that Kennedy made, strategically at the same time the Soviet council would be meeting, was a clear and international declaration of peace. In response Khrushchev had the speech printed out and dispersed throughout Russia, so all citizens could read the worlds of the American President. Khrushchev and Kennedy would then both go on to sign the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty on August 5, 1963 which "prohibited the testing of nuclear weapons in outer space, underwater or in the atmosphere." This speech is a beautiful demonstration of diplomacy, and peaceful politics in action.

Five months later President John F. Kennedy would be assassinated. Though this huge step banning nuclear testing had been accomplished, the cold war would continue on for three more decades. Many historians have speculated that this would not have been the case, that the Cold War would not have continued on, if Kennedy had lived to serve his full term as President.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Healing Anxiety Naturally

Let me start this post by saying that I am not a doctor or a certified mental health specialist. I am writing this post from the perspective of someone who used to suffer from intense, chronic, anxiety and no longer does.

20 years old- anxiety consumed night
out dancing salsa
So why natural? I grew up in a holistic minded household. My mom fed us organics and we took homeopathic remedies when we got sick (and would recover from our colds more quickly than our friends).  My mother also healed from agoraphobia (even worse then anxiety; she suffered from a case so terrible she couldn't even leave her house) naturally in her mid twenties, a condition that the majority of those who suffer never come out of.  In addition to this I researched antidepressants and felt strongly that the negative effects greatly out weigh the possible beneficial effects. The thing about medication is there are not "side effects." There are only effects of taking the medicine. Only marketing puts forth their desired result, and state anything else is a "possible side effect." I did not want to be numbed out and I did not want to risk my symptoms getting worse. My wish for anyone on the path to healing mental health, or anything for that matter, is to research any medication a doctor is wanting to prescribe to them and make an independent, educated decision on whether or not this is a good fit for them.

My tango with anxiety started when I was 17 years old. I moved to a new high school for my senior year of high school, I thought it would be an adventure. Keep my old friends, and make new ones. Something about that time period, the huge change, my age, everything, knocked me into anxiety. It was so terrible. I woke up every single day feeling like I was under water. Being around people that I knew intellectually I loved, and loved me, but feeling miles and miles away from them. Being in the middle of a festive party and feeling emotionally dead. Feeling a continuos tightness in my chest, like a hand was gripping my heart. On top of these symptoms, and maybe even worse then them, is I felt so shameful. I felt like SUCH a freak for having anxiety. Everyone else was walking around living life, what was wrong with me??

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The road to healing was not a straight shot for me. There was a lot of two steps forward one step back. I held onto the advice my mom gave me like a life preserver. She had a psychiatrist teach her that it is impossible to be depressed when you do one hour of cardio every day. My mom also gave up white sugar and white flour during her healing time, which I just wasn't ready to implement yet. I did the cardio but was still very addicted to white sugar. I even read a great book "Sugar Blues" which opened my mind to the effect white sugar has on our mental health. White sugar was one of those things that I quit several times before I actually quit for good.

I also delved into mindfulness. Reading spiritual teachings, and working to apply them in my everyday life. Learning about the power of our minds and thinking to create our lives. In the depths of what felt like endless anxiety I just had this kernel of hope, one I borrowed from my mom. She had told me that in her twenties she knew that if just ONE person had healed from this, then she could too. I adopted that and took that stance myself.

Right after turning 22 (and living with anxiety for 5 solid years) I had had enough. Something had to give. I was in the depths of desperation. I had been living in an internal hell for years. Though, on the outside I had appeared to be a typical girl. I went to class, had had boyfriends, worked with other people, had people tell me what I lovely young woman I was- but I knew I had been hiding.  I finally gave up white sugar. I also gave up eating meat. I had already been gluten free for a few years. I started eating organic WHOLE FOODS. Real food. I would over time start to enjoy running. This dietary lifestyle change is when things started cooking with oil.

Shortly after changing my diet and lifestyle I discovered that my school's health insurance included mental health. I went right over and signed up for therapy. As a requirement I had to have one meeting with a psychiatrist (the one who doles out the meds). I told her about all the changes I have made, and all the research I had done. I will never forget what she said. She looked right at me and said, "you will not be able to heal from anxiety without medication. Especially eating a vegetarian diet. You need the omega-3's, which is impossible to get without eating meat and fish." At that moment I felt so validated by my hesitation to trust the medical society. This was a Harvard doctor, speaking with total authority, and completely wrong. I knew that there are an abundance of plant based omega-3 sources. I very graciously left her office, without saying anything, but also never returning to her.  Though I DID meet with the therapist once a month for a year, and it was one of the best experiences. Just being able to say all of my fears, terrors and anxieties to a neutral person was so freeing.

Which leads to another important part of healing from anxiety. Embracing and accepting it. In the depths of anxiety I felt like a total freak, once I started climbing out of it I could see that I was not so unique. Every single person walking this planet suffers from anxiety to varying degrees. Thats why we come home and drink a few glasses of wine, eat that bowl of ice cream, juggle a few lovers, smoke that joint, etc. Everyone is managing anxiety. When we stop fearing it, it loses its grip.

26 years old - happy day, spontaneously
getting matching tattoos with friends
These days, after walking down this winding road to wellness, I am a completely different person. I genuinely love life. I have a consistent feeling of well being. I thoroughly enjoy and am present spending time with friends and family. I get excited about the simple things in life. In place of a tightness in my chest and impending feeling of doom there is this sense of, "everything is always working out for me." Always evolving, changing and growing.

Occasionally I will wake up with anxiety, and luckily now it is such a foreign feeling for me. I even think, "wow, I can't believe I used to feel this every day!" What helps me the most now when those moments happen is to welcome it, remember "this too shall pass," and not let it effect how I live my life. I will even think, "okay, Im just gunna do what I need to do. Im gunna be kind to the people around me. And anxiety is just gunna have to come along for the ride I guess." Then, next thing I know, quickly the feeling has passed.

So, in summary, here are the things that helped me the most to heal from chronic anxiety:

-running (one hour each day of any cardio will do)
-practicing mindful meditations (Louis Hay has great meditations on YouTube)
-giving up eating white sugar
-giving up eating white flour (I went gluten free)
-giving up eating meat
-and when I am feeling off, taking it easy on myself
-positive self talk

We each have our own individual path. Not everyone's story of anxiety is the same as mine, so everyone's process will vary. I am not writing this post from a place of authority. I am writing as an imperfect, evolving, messy human being saying that I have been there. I have been in that place of tremendous, constant, mental suffering and I am not there anymore! Like my mom told herself in her mid twenties, and I told myself in the depths of mental hell,  "if one person has healed from this, I can too." So, I guess I am that person here to say that if I did it, you can do it too.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Shampoo Less for Beautiful Hair

The other morning I took pause on my "shampoo day" and thought, "I can't believe I used to do this every day." Yes, I used to absolutely have to shampoo my hair every single day. It looked extremely oily if I did not. Now I've come to a place where I can shampoo every three days, and get away with it! Though I envy those who can go five or more days no shampoo, I am proud of how far I have come in this no shampoo path, and my hair has really shown the benefits.

Over five years ago was the first time this shampoo less for beautiful hair concept was even introduced to me. A beautiful young woman from Tunisia, named Ines, came to live with my family while she went to school in Boston. Ines had the most beautiful hair I had ever seen. What I learned from living with her was that she only washed her hair every four days. I did not make the connection at the time that I too could benefit from shampooing less, I just figured it was genetic.

Then over the years I noticed a pattern. I started to notice that the women I met with the most beautiful hair had something in common: they did not wash their hair every day.  So I started researching and learning that this was a thing. That first of all standard shampoos are full of chemicals that damage our hair. Then second that shampooing our hair daily strips it of its natural oils and dries it out leaving it unable to thrive and be healthy. I also heard from friends, and read online, that there is a transition period when training our hair to be washed less, that it will be oily at first. When our hair is stripped of its natural oils, our body works over time to produce plenty of oil to replenish our hair. It takes a while for our bodies to chill and adjust to not having to over compensate.

I flirted with this shampoo less concept for years, and just couldn't do it. Was overwhelmed by these women who could go days without shampooing and still look great. Then, I had an epiphany. That if I just did every other day that would be 180 days in the year that I am not shampooing. When I thought of it like that I felt like it was a big difference. I took the leap January 2013 and never looked back. 

Today my hair routine is:

Day 1: Shampoo and Condition (with natural shampoo and conditioner)
comb hair with wide tooth comb
blow dry top section of hair with big round brush

Day 2: Brush hair with a paddle brush
either wear half up, in braid or some up-do

Day 3: Brush hair with paddle brush
Use dry shampoo on roots
wear in up-do
(here is a link to some dirty hair day style inspiration!)

Note: I do shower every day, I just don't wash my hair every day.  

I have noticed that my hair is healthier and shinier then it has ever been. When my  hair was long before it was ALWAYS in a tangle, and it looked pretty dull. Now it is shiny, smooth and healthy. It is a completely different head of hair. Though part of this is adopting a wholesome, organic diet, I have seen an even greater improvement since stepping away from over washing. 

<3 Kelly

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tips for an Effortlessly Healthy Vacation

It can be very easy to let our diet go to hell when traveling. Let me clarify, by diet I dont mean some meal constricting "plan," I'm talking about the original meaning "a days journey." Our general lifestyle. Personally, I am gluten free, meat free and white sugar free, and consume a mostly whole foods diet.

On vacation I have done it all. I have used vacation time to punish myself with food, and I have also used vacation time to stress out, over analyze and anal retentive plan out food. Which is just the flip side of the same punishment. Then usually Ive ended up WAY over indulging after being so constricted. Just a guilty undertone that cuts into vacation fun.
I dont know exactly when it happened but I have completely changed about it. I dont think about food before going away hardly at all. I pack some granola bars, some powdered organic wheat grass and figure "hey, I can live off of this for a couple of weeks." Then let it go. Ironically I've started eating healthier then ever when adventuring. Fruits, veggies, plenty of water mixed with some cape cod potato chips, an occasional gluten free beer and some organically sweetened treats ("Grab 'n Go" in Provincetown, Ma makes the BEST non dairy organically sweetened soft serve ever- I enjoyed one every single day I was there).

"Grab 'n Go" chocolate peanut butter soft serve <3

Overall it's about finding that middle ground. Having some fun treats, while also taking care of ourselves enough that we still feel good to enjoy our vacation. Hold the guilt and serve up a whole lotta good times.

<3 Kelly

Friday, July 24, 2015

Beautiful Hair and Skin Routine!

Coconut Oil Spray and Indian Healing Clay
Im all in when it comes to natural beauty routines. Here is one that I heard about and started doing weekly. Coconut oil hair mask. Wow, it has made a difference! It has also  just become even easier with a new hack I learned on Pinterest: using SPRAY coconut oil instead of coconut oil from a jar (Im also really loving using it as a skin moisturizer too!).

So once a week I slather my hair with coconut oil, put it up over night, wake up and shampoo it out (I have to shampoo twice to wash it all out). I don't know about you, but I have continuously heard about the importance of deep conditioning hair to keep it healthy, strong and shiny. The only thing is, most store bought conditioning treatments are loaded with unnecessary chemicals that actually cause damage in the long run. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is as natural as it gets.

Benefits of Coconut Oil use for hair include:

-stimulates hair growth (especially if we massage our scalp for a few minutes while applying)
-adds luster, shine and softness to hair
-prevents protein loss in both damaged and healthy hair
-cooling effect for those with scalps that sweat excessively
-heals dandruff
-nourishes dry hair and minimizes dry ends
-slows down/ prevents hair loss

All of this from a totally natural, organic, nourishing source!

While my hair soaks in this healing nectar, my face gets some loving of its own. I mix equal parts bentonite clay with organic raw apple cider vinegar, and apply it all over my face. This mixture is amazing. It dries out so intensely that I can't even use expression (which is why I look so serious in the above picture). The bottle says to leave it on for 20 minutes, but I tend to go rogue, leaving it on for 1-1.5 hours while I putter around and get things done.

Bentonite Clay is amazing for the skin, as is apple cider vinegar. Combined these two are my super hero savior. They work together to draw out impurities, shrink pores, and the morning after doing this my skin always looks radiant, and any emerging blemishes dry right up and  disappear.

Just a simple, inexpensive, at home spa. My hair is healthier, stronger and shinier then it has ever been, and my complexion is continuously becoming consistently clear and even. A big part of this is eating a nourishing, healthy diet (all beauty and health starts at the end of our fork), though simple, natural routines like these really give things an ample boost.

<3 Kelly

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Reasons to Switch to a Fluoride-Free Toothpaste!

Fluoride toothpaste is the standard in the United States. Dentists promote its benefits (because that is what they are taught in school) and drug stores have shelves filled with the stuff. Though some proclaim there are benefits for the teethe when used (which there may be, I will not make a strict statement on that point) it is undeniable the the OTHER effects far outweigh any possible benefits.

First of all, the "recommended" amount of fluoride is VERY minimal. Think the size of a pea, cut in half. That is the recommended amount of fluoride toothpaste to be used. Most people are using ten times that amount, twice a day. Plus (another thing to avoid) public drinking water is fluorinated. Even by the official "recommended" amount, people are being WAY over fluorinated.

Now to the effects that are not advertised by dentists and public health workers. Dental Fluorosis is becoming extremely common. Teethe become over fluorinated, the enamel is weakened, and the teethe become discolored (so instead of benefiting teethe it actually harms them). It has been shown to damage bones and brain, which leads to a lower IQ. What got me off of fluoride, years ago, was learning that Hilter had fluoride added to the drinking water in the concentration camps, which made the people apathetic and compliant.In addition to harming our bodies and minds, it is also extremely harmful to the environment. Most of the fluorinated water goes right down the drain and back into the environment wreaking havoc. Plus, the United States is the only developed country to add fluoride to its drinking supply, if it is so great why is it not being consumed world wide?

Instead of just going with the main stream, or taking my word for it, take a minute to look into it. Below is a link to a short three minute video that will get you started.

here is another short (nine minute) video

Thankfully there is a very simple solution. Switch to a fluoride-free toothpaste and drink clean, fluoride-free water. Above is a picture of, and link to, my favorite toothpaste. This is the toothpaste that my holistic, fluoride-free dentist recommends!

It is the little things that we do every single day that have the greatest effect on our health. 


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Is Your Eyeliner Routine Causing Wrinkles?

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My makeup routine is pretty simple: eyeliner and mascara. A healthy, organic, natural minded friend really rained on my parade when she let me in on a beauty secret: that applying eyeliner everyday creates wrinkles. The way we have to hold our eyelid to apply the eyeliner pencil in a straight line. This motion, performed daily, is an invitation for wrinkles.

Then, I made a wonderful discovery. Applying eyeliner with an eyeliner brush! No need to even touch my eyelids, the brush does all the work, and gently.

Not only that, I have discovered that I like the way it comes out even better then I did with a pencil. Plus, this container of  eyeliner gel lasts for months, where before I was having to purchase a new eyeliner pencil every few weeks. Which means I am saving money!

Buy Here!
Its a win/win/win situation. This method  preserves the youthful smoothness around the eyes, looks great when applied, and it saves money!

Also, it is essential to pick naturally derived beauty products. Especially when it is an item used daily. Everything we put on our skin gets absorbed right into our bloodstream, which goes right into our cells. This specific eyeliner is mineral based and cruelty free!

Don't take my word for it, give it a try yourself!


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"Us vs. Them" Choose Peace instead of Conflict

This past Sunday at church the minister spoke the most amazing truth in context to gay rights. He spoke about how many people are thrilled, and now say that they need to work against "the forces of evil" who are trying to undo the right for all to marry.

He pointed out something very eye opening. That those who are working to undo gay marriage ALSO believe they are working against "the forces of evil."

This is a perpetual rock fight of "us vs. them" found in many contexts of life. We are the good guys, they are the bad guys, and we just keep throwing rocks at each other.

The minister said that God created us like a bouquet of flowers. There is a variety; roses, lilies, violets, daisies, baby's breath, etc. We have different views and ways of seeing each other.

That its time to be the first one to lower those rocks. To Love.

Mind you, the minister is himself a gay man.

This sermon has really stuck with me while I have been going about my everyday life. That very night after church I started to feel frustrated when the neighbors were partying loud, late into the night, right outside my window when I had to wake up early the next morning for work. Then I though, there it is already, "us vs. them." A chance to lower those rocks.

I just started reading a book, JFK and the Unthinkable: Why he died and why it matters by James Douglas. Right in the preface he speaks about  the Cuban Missile crisis and what saved this world from nuclear war was JFK reaching out to Khrushchev (the Communist USSR leader, who placed the nuclear weapons in Cuba) for peaceful resolution. How instead of seeing each other as forces of  "evil", they were able to humanize, and even respect each other, which lead to peaceful resolution.

President John F. Kennedy made the choice to be the first to lower those rocks of hate. It literally saved the world.

So, I want to be vigilant to do my part in putting down those rocks, and bringing more peace and understanding to the world.

<3 Kelly

Monday, June 29, 2015

6 Reasons to Read a Book this Summer

Books on my 2015 Summer Reading List

Summer is my favorite time to do some reading. Though I generally have something I'm either working on reading or waiting to go, there is just something extra special about reading in the summer. Lazing in the sunshine, relaxing on the beach, and filling our minds with screen free goodness.

Here are some top reasons to read a book (entertainment and education aside) THIS summer:

1) Improves focus and concentration

2) Develop verbal abilities and expand vocabulary

3) Reduces stress and lowers heart rate

4) Improves memory, and keeps the mind sharp

5) Reading before bed can help us fall asleep

6) Reading is sexy. It increased intelligence and enhances an individuals knowledge and appeal

***tip for finding a book you love:
Type in title of a book you have already enjoyed at, and related titles will pop up. This tip has kept me in endless book series, all of which I have loved.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Why I'm No Longer a "Vegan"

Over a year ago my family and I switched to the term "plant powered" instead of "vegan" because it is inclusive. Every single person is plant powered to varying degrees. When I first went vegan, January of 2011, I was very vocal about it. I was shocked about what I had learned and thought I had uncovered the secret to the holy grail. That naturally everyone would feel the same as me and want to know. Oh man, that fire burned for a long while.

Then, over time, I realized that nope, most people don't want to know. Not only that, people who may want to know will resist it if they feel like it is being shoved down their throat. I certainly would have. I was a typical carnivorous young woman, and if someone, unsolicited, started preaching about health and animal cruelty I probably would have ordered up another slice of pepperoni pizza.

This world already  has so many tools for division, and I want to do my best to break down these walls in my own life. Not only are there vegans vs all animal product eaters, there is even angst within the health foods movement.  There are the paleo's vs. vegans. Vegans vs. vegetarians. Raw vegans vs. starch solution vegans. Low fat vegans vs. high fat. Starch vs grain free....and the list goes on. Beyonce embraces a vegan diet, and instead of applauding and highlighting the positive, she is trashed and called out for being a "fake" vegan because she wears leather. It is just guilt ridden repellent.

Personally I feel there are basic parameters that lead to a solid diet, which allows us to live healthier and strong. That a diet for optimal health and happiness is:

-Rich in whole foods (not processed franken food that can live endlessly on a shelf)
-That there should be as many organic food choices as possible (genetically modified foods are taking over the market, and the best way to vote for our health is via what we buy)
-Drink an abundance of clean water (and stay away from sugary drinks)
-Fruits and vegetables are a regular staple

For a comprehensive, detailed, list check out this website here: Raw Foods World Whole Foods List

I don't happen to eat meat. That's how I feel the best. I also stay away from dairy and eggs for the most part, but occasionally they slip into my diet. I absolutely leave out white sugar and gluten. Eating this way is how I personally feel the best. I have done it for so long that it is second nature to me now.

Jesus taught of unconditional love and kindness. Though I thought I was doing my part by preaching the vegan bible, I have since realized that's not where its at. Though I post about health and diet on social media, personally, what anyone is eating or not eating is none of my business. I really don't care. I refuse to put up a division, cause animosity, between myself and another individual based on what's at the end of our forks.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

How to Start Eating Healthy? Add a Little Green

When we are out of the habit of it, eating healthy can seem overwhelming. When in a momentum of processed foods and sugary drinks it can be a challenge to slow that momentum down and move in a healthier direction. What to cut out (sugar, gluten, meat, dairy, grains, fats, etc)? And what to leave in? A lot of people ask, what will I eat??

My number on tip is to ADD IN something green. Dont worry about changing anything else. Whether its a green smoothie, juice or a salad. Just make your goal to eat one green thing everyday. As your body adjusts to this new habit and feeling good, you will NATURALLY crave more nutrient dense foods. 

Baby steps. Be kind to yourself. The path of health and vitality is at your feet.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

This Too Shall Pass

I would classify myself as a spiritual junkie. Daily I take the time to listen to spiritual talks (big fan of Abraham Hicks), fall asleep to meditations (Louise Hay), read inspirational quotes on the daily (bible, Buddha, a course in miracles, etc) and do the best to apply what Im hearing in my daily life.
Though, sometimes its easier than other times. Sometimes we get a little "trapped" in a less than stellar feeling place.
This is when I just keep the faith. That little voice in the back of my head that says "this too shall pass." And guess what? It always does! 
That's the time to take it easy on ourselves. Do the best we can with self love. And if we slip up, and maybe act not so nice, still be easy on ourselves. We are doing our best.
It is so important to remember, even if our eyes aren't showing us yet, that everything is working out in our favor. When we remember this, it always does.

<3 Kelly

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Carrot Juice as Sun Protection?

Simple tip I've just started implementing again as the summer and warm weather approaches: drinking fresh pressed carrot juice daily to protect my skin from sunburn. I have posted before about how poisonous sunscreen is (read blog post HERE). This is a natural sunscreen alternative that I not only have had great success with, but I have had friends tell me that they tried it as well and how wonderfully it worked for them.

my Breville juicer!
My mom did this when I was a child. She drank carrot juice every day and would sit out on the beach next to my Sicilian step-father, no sunscreen, and her Irish skin never got burned. I have been implementing this the last few summer, no burns. Then this year, after being so sun burn free, I thought I was okay to sit in the sun for a couple hours on one of the first warm days (without being in a juicing habit) and burned so bad it turned into a rash. Started firing up that juicer right away!

The beta carotene creates a protective layer under the skin, it actually makes you look a little tan (I call is the "carrot glow"). The past few summers the only time I have used sunscreen is when I have been spending an entire day at the beach, then I would use mineral based or homemade sunscreen.

The method is super simple. Just 5 organic carrots per day. Sometimes I will add an apple and or green vegetable (cucumber, kale, celery). Just a little bit, with the daily consistency, does the trick. And it is just an extra 10 minutes a day from pulling out the juicer, juicing, to cleaning it after. So worth it!

Don't take my word for it, give it a try yourself!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Go Underwire Free for the love of your Boobies

Three years ago I learned three simple things a lady can do in her everyday life to keep her boobies healthy.

1. Step away from circulation constricting underwire bras
2. Switch to a NATURAL deodorant (here is my favorite, and it works better than any conventional deodorant I have ever used: DEODORANT )
3. Eat a diet rich in organic whole foods

Pretty darn simple. No need to be in fear for our lady parts when making healthy choices can be so easy.

When I first learned this I immediately dedicated myself to being Underwire-free, though I had great insecurities. I was an Underwire push up bra junkie. Plus, no one was selling them, so I would go to the juniors department in Target and buy their bralettes. 

Fortunately they have now become in style, and can be found all over the place in various grown up fabrics, prints and styles! 

Even more awesome is the hack I just learned via Pinterest. That any Underwire can be removed from any bra, making it an Underwire free bra. Wow!  My old bras that have been collecting dust can come out of hiding!

Just cut a small hole, and pull the Underwire out just as pictured above. Super simple!

It is these everyday, seemingly small, choices that have the greatest impact on our health.

<3 Kelly

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

FoMu: BEST ice cream

It is true that dairy free does not mean a life without ice cream. Stores such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes are  packed with ice creams created with decadent almond/soy/coconut milk and sweetened with organic sugar.

Though, sometimes a girl wants to be able to go out and order a strawberry ice cream with chocolate jimmies in a cone. Then walk down the sidewalk or sit on a bench eating it. FoMu in Allston, Ma offers exactly this!

What stands out for me is that unlike many ice cream shoppes that are starting to offer dairy free options, this place uses ORGaNIC sweeteners!! (white sugar is one of my never eat items. I fought too hard to get out of anxiety to flirt with that devil).

PLUS more places around the city are starting to serve up their ice cream. Yay!

Here is the link to the website where you can read more about their ice cream, and find the closest place to you to give it a try this spring and summer.

Bonus, an amazing plant based restaurant, Root, is two doors down from the original FoMu Shoppe.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Harvard on the front of the Health Tide

Harvard's "Healthy Eating Plate" 
Since returning to school after two years off to pursue my masters degree, I have been put back into the Harvard mix of things. I am very happy to see, in just a few months, a number of lectures pertaining to health and the environment. Already I have attended "Just Food? Forum on Justice in the Food System" hosted by Harvard Food Law Society and "Food in the Age of Sustainability" hosted by Harvard's School of Public Health. In addition to those, other events I have been unable to attend have been happening including "Green Exchange: Beauty Industry" about the toxicity in beauty products hosted by Harvard Extension Environmental Club as well as a vegan protein food tasting hosted by Harvard food services. There is definitely an awaking happening on campus.

Just two years ago I was an anomaly with my mason jar filled with green smoothie, and now I'm seeing other people walking around with them as well. Plus, a new juice bar is opening right in the heart of Harvard Square!

It is very cool to be in the presence of some of the brightest people in the world, focusing their energy on food in order to resolve our health crisis, preserve the environment, and feed the people of this planet. Talking openly about how government representatives aren't making the laws, corporations  are. About cross pollination between big corporation and government.  Discussing issues of obesity, hunger, the unnaturally low cost of fast food items such as McDonalds because of GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES that make it cheaper to make, and sell, this unhealthy food items. People talking about educating others on health while simultaneously working to change policy. Showing examples from other countries that were in an impoverished state, and the local government implemented laws that created an environment in which ALL people now have access to affordable, nutritious food (this happened in Brazil). I even attended a lecture that focused specifically on veganism.

It is thrilling and exciting to see the seeds of change being planted and tended to.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Eat Real Food

It is healthier to be a whole foods meat eater than a junk food vegan. Okay, I went there. There are those who may be pissed off or shocked by me saying it, but its true.

Just a few short years ago, after going plant powered and experiencing amazing results I thought what I was doing was THE WAY. I had experienced amazing results myself, seen them in family members, done thorough research and read testimonial after testimonial online.

Now I have learned, from meeting different people and researching in different directions, that there are more than one path. ONE thing that is consistent is EATING REAL FOOD.

Meaning, stay away from processed, genetically modified, sugar laden, poison "food" and get into organic whole foods. Foods that aren't highly processed (or not processed at all).

Some bodies do better on high fat, others on low fat, some on no grains, some on high starch, some raw vegan, some paleo, some vegan, some macrobiotic. Find out whatever feels best for you, and do it.

A great tool is this food list made by "The Raw Foods World" (completely vegan raw food eating family/ health food pioneers and business owners~an aside, they sell the best organic maca) who talk about how you can still have good health eating cooked food, and even meat! Here is their comprehensive list, that can easily be brought to the grocery store as a new shopping list:

Personally, I will not be consuming meat for both moral reasons (if I couldn't process the meat myself definitely don't feel right eating it) , as well as sustainability reasons (did you know it takes 2,500 GALLONS of water to produce 1 pound of beef?!). 

For our health, and the preservation of our resources, collectively we need to get back to the basics of whole, real, organic foods. To read more about the importance of organics check out my post here: "Why Organic?"

Live Long and Prosper,

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Harvard's "Food System Challenge"

Martha Minow, Harvard Law School Dean
I was walking through Harvard Law School, and flipped open to something in their "Harvard Law Bulletin" that greatly pleased me. In the tradition of Harvard-wide challenges, this year Harvard Law School (HLS) sponsored the event for the first time putting forth the "Deans' Food System Challenge." Martha Minnow, Dean of the Law School, called for proposals for, "making the food system healthier, more sustainable and more equitable, both in the United States and around the world" (HLS Bulletin vol. 66 num. 1 p. 11).

Each team has been asked to address one of four topics:
1) food production
2) distribution and markets
3) improving our diet
4) reducing food waste

Come April finalists will be chosen and receive $5,000 to put towards their proposal. In May $50,000 will be distributed between one winner, and up to four runner ups, in order to put their proposals into action. 

Herbs for HUDS
individuals picking herbs from Harvard Community Garden
This challenge came in collaboration with Harvard's Food Law and Policy Clinic. I am very excited to see what initiatives come out of this challenge. Equally as pleased to see some of the most brilliant minds shining a light, and looking for resolution, for a fundamental  issue facing society today.

I will follow up with the winners as they are revealed. 

Here is to better food, better health, and overall better well being. 


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Simple Meal Ideas

Frequently I am asked, "what do you eat?" And my answer in short it, "a lot of things." I dont feel deprived or like I am missing anything at all. Some people genuinely have asked me for food lists and such so here is just an example of one day of eating. Just to give some ideas.

As a basis I eat a diet free of gluten, refined sugar and meat. I mainly stay away from dairy and eggs as well, but once in a while they get into my diet. I also never count calories. Im a firm believer that when we feed our body wholesome real food, it takes care of the rest. Sometimes I eat more than this, some days less. These are just some food ideas.

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daily morning shake (will make a post about that later) organic ripe bananas, larabar

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organic salad, gluten free toast

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organic gluten free pasta and dairy free cheese

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Daily: plenty of clean water. One Fiji and one Camelbak bottle full about 80 oz

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Daily Vitamins! Multivitamin, Probiotic and 2 hair, skin, nails vitamins

.......and thats it! Ill post again another day to give more gluten free/refined sugar free/ vegetarian meal ideas. 

<3 Kelly

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dry Brushing! Cheap and Easy Supermodel Beauty Secret

purchase cheap at whole foods or here
 So, super cheap and easy supermodel beauty secret is.....dry brushing! I first heard about dry brushing after switching to a plant powered diet several years ago. The raw foodies are really into it. Then I hear about it from paleo friends, wellness peers, yoga acquaintances and have heard supermodels (like Miranda Kerr) credit their glowing skin to this simple, cheap, routine. 

Some benefits I have picked up on over the years:

-stimulates the lymphatic system
the lymphatic system is in charge of eliminating waste on a cellular level with our bodies. there are hundreds of miles of these tiny tubes within our bodies. this process of waste elimination is known as "lymphatic drainage."

when our lymph system gets clogged it causes toxic waste buildup. which in turn causes illness and inflammation. 

how many times do we hear about the importance of exfoliation? very often. this is the best means to go about it because it is natural. no plastic beads from body washed being washed down the drain, polluting the water system. no harsh chemicals harming and drying out our skin. just one simple little brush, that can be used over and over. 

exfoliating is so important because it removed dead skin cells, and promotes cell renewal. which means soft, smooth, bright skin! yay!

-reduce cellulite 
dry brushing softens hard fat deposits below the kin and distributes fat deposits evenly. it also removes toxins that break down connective tissue, causing cellulite. if your REALLY looking to reduce cellulite, rebounding for twenty minutes a day will help work wonders too (read more here).

-improve digestion, kidney function and immune system
back to it clearing out the lymph system, these are some of the bodily functions that are positively effected by that.

-stretch mark prevention and reduction
i have read many testimonials from people who dry brushed during pregnancy and didnt get stretch marks. i also read women who had stretch marks, dry brushed and slathered on coconut oil, and greatly reduced the appearance of stretch marks. non-believers becoming believers.

basically dry brushing leads to smooth radiate skin and a healthy, balanced body!!

how to do it:
organic body butter
-starting at your feet, do long circular motions towards your heart
*always brush towards your heart, finally learned that is because lymph system follows that same path
-hop in the shower to wash off dead skin
-best to alternate between hot/cold water to stimulate blood circulation (personally, I have never tried it)
-slather on a natural moisturizer if desired! (my organic body butter is my favorite!)

*I use a dry face cloth on my face and neck

A personal note, dont be afraid of doing it wrong. Just give it a whirl. During the summer I would brush at night and follow by slathering on coconut oil head to toe (didnt know you were supposed to shower). Now I just take a quick ten minutes before jumping in the shower to brush, and Im loving the quick convenience of it. 

When I dry brush, my skin is super soft and smooth. Even during this extreme winter we are having here in Boston! (historically my legs have been very dry and itchy) Ive also found it to be invigorating, which is why I stopped brushing at night (would be up til 2 am after, full of energy).

Also, I bought my brush, that looks just like the brush pictured above, at whole foods years ago for less then $5, and its still going strong. Every now and then I just shampoo it, like I shampoo my hair, to get it super extra clean. Well worth the investment, just cant beat the price and results.