Wheat: An Overview (Then, Now, and What It Means)


I’ve been reading the book Wheat Belly and have been thinking about how the agricultural evolutions during the last decade have contributed to the state of health/weight in America. AND how I could break it down to share with our readers.

Then, this morning, I received an email from Hungry for Change with a link to this page describing almost exactly what i’ve been reading; it felt too serendipitous not to share!

Check it out!

Saying “Sorry. No. And Thank You” with Meaning.


Borrowed from the delightful Kris Carr, here is a few though on how to say what you mean and mean what you say!
Sorry. No. Thank you …
January 28, 2013
I have a deep-rooted calling to feel happy. To love the skin I’m in and to embrace all the nooks and crannies that make me, me. I need peace of mind like I need oxygen. I need unstructured time like I need water. Consistent contentment and less stress probably boost my immune system more than green juice.

And yet I often get lost in my to-do list, complain about too many commitments and align myself with people who give me more headaches than joy. I’ve caught myself saying things like, “once I’m over this hump I’ll have more breathing room.” But here’s the thing about humps, there’s always another one on the next hillside. And humps hump. Yes, you read that correctly. They breed like rabbits!

I don’t know about you, but I suspect that sometimes my mouth moves before my brain has time to think. And as we all know, words are powerful. So as part of my peace-of-mind plan, I’ve decided to examine my language. Especially the use of the following words: Sorry. No. Thank you. Harmless, helpful words, right? Yet their overuse/misuse can slowly drain our self-worth and damage our relationships, while at the same time watering down their meanings. Consciousness takes practice, so let’s dive in.

There are right times to be sincerely sorry, but there are also wrong times. When I give someone a meaningful sorry, we both feel better. That’s true heart medicine, a 1000-mg dose. I do my very best to apologize when I’m wrong, but I often catch myself saying sorry for no reason at all.

I say sorry (even though I don’t need to) when …

I turn unwanted offers down (telemarketers, I’m talkin’ to you!)
I ask for what I need.
I stand up for myself.
Sorry slip-up flashback: When my new website launched, a disgruntled reader let me know that she didn’t like the design or my smile. In her mind, my site was too flashy, and I had no business running ads for my own books (perhaps she works for free, but I can’t). As for my smile, it was way too big and therefore not authentic. Naturally I was hurt and pissed! Unnaturally I responded with something like “I’m sorry you feel that way, I am proud of my new website and the work I do.” While I’ve always responded to negativity by either ignoring it or blasting it with a fire hose of sunshine, did I have to say sorry? No. Was I sorry? Heck NO. No need to apologize.

Sorry isn’t a band-aid or a replacement for a backbone. Sorry isn’t a “safe word” or a way to keep the peace at the sacrifice of your well-being.

There’s a difference between true remorse and a fear of being judged. Sweet friend, don’t say sorry if there’s nothing to be sorry for. Because, I don’t know about you, but when I mindlessly vomit apologies, I’m often left feeling like a powerless doormat. Yuck. Get off the floor.

Instead of saying no when I need to, I turn my life into a constipated pretzel through a knee-jerk “yes” response.

I say yes when I should say no because …

I hate to let people down.
I underestimate how long projects will take, and I fail to prioritize my time.
I forget that my needs matter — that I matter as much as the other person.
Naughty no-no flashback: Once upon a time, I agreed to a speaking engagement on a cruise ship. Sounds breezy, right? Not for me. I get extreme vertigo on big boats that can last for months afterwards. So why on earth did I say yes? Several reasons, but mostly because the folks asking me were painfully pushy. They were strong about what they wanted, but was I? I wiggled. I put the answer off as long as I could but eventually caved and said “yes.” I immediately started to panic. How would I get through ten days of physical pain? Answer: I couldn’t! A month later I finally mustered a “no” and pulled out of the gig. Of course, by waiting I caused undue stress for all. If I had been upfront and able to put my needs first, I would have saved us both a lot of grief. Lesson learned.

Saying yes can feel good, and often comes from a positive place. It means we care about other people, want to do good things and spread happiness in the world. It means we’re optimistic and believe in our abilities. Sadly, though, few of us can make every dream match the reality of only 24 hours in a day. As my brilliant bestie Marie Forleo reminded us recently, get on the “No Train,” choo choo! While this may seem like obvious advice, how often are we consistent No Train conductors?

Think about my example. You can’t always “yes” your way out of a problem. Mindlessly agreeing may temporarily avoid discomfort, but it’s often short-sighted and even lazy. Instead of setting a boundary, we slip into “yes” amnesia, forgetting we’ve been here before. In this delusional state, there’s unlimited time, superhuman energy and a gaggle of soul-nannies who keep us fed, bathed and exercised. Sober up! Splash yourself with cold water and (gently) slap your cheek. If you’re worried about scarcity, let that go. Offers and opportunities will continue. Every unwanted “yes” takes you one step further from freedom, well-being and time with yourself and loved ones.

Thank you.
Gratitude is one of the holiest ways to honor and connect with yourself and others. Saying thank you for a generous gift is gracious, repeatedly gushing thanks because you feel guilty or undeserving is not.

I say thank you too much because …

I don’t feel worthy.
Love may never come again.
I don’t want to seem under appreciative.
Thank-less thank you flashback: During my actor-dancer period, I needed a loan to get through a rough patch. I borrowed the cash from a friend, and I insisted on a monthly payment plan. I was truly grateful. I always sent her my checks on time with a gushing note as an expression of thanks. But I had a burning feeling that it was never enough. Years later we had a falling out for a different reason. And what do you think she hit me with? “You never appreciated the money I lent you.” I could have written a personalized thank you across the sky (with my blood), and it still wouldn’t have been enough. One “thank you” or a thousand made no difference. Clearly something much bigger was going on, and that something had nothing to do with me.

A heartfelt thank you is polite and loving. Becoming a thank you Pez dispenser is just plain toxic. No one should hold you captive emotionally or treat you like a mooch. If you find yourself saying “thank you” too much that might mean someone is making you feel inadequate, and it’s time to re-examine the balance in your relationship. Perhaps they don’t deserve you. Look beyond your compulsion to say thank you and address the real issue or elegantly remove yourself from the drama. Bon Voyage!

Wrapping it all up: There’s a fine line between healthy and unhealthy use of language. It’s part of our spiritual journey to find our tipping points and gently adjust them. When I get clear on the why’s behind my sorry’s, no’s and thank you’s, I get clear on who and what needs to be embraced or released. I make room for more living and less second-guessing, more truth and less explaining, more relief and less regret.

Am I ready to live in that space more often?


The Morning After: Thanksgiving


It’s happened to everyone: that guilt that creeps in the morning after we do something “bad.” Let’s face it: this time of year, it’s usually to do with too many cookies, potatoes, pies, or just servings!

The simple fact is, letting yourself get wrapped up in the feelings of regret over falling off the wagon will get you nowhere. Might as well just accept your moment of indulgence and move on. Here are some suggestions about how to make it up to your body after a day of too much food!

Here’s a list of 7 tips from Holli Thompson to get things moving back in the right direction:

Bloated, full around the middle, sluggish, foggy brained, and downright stuffed?

1) Don’t starve yourself. Seriously reducing calories the day after a large feast will slow your metabolism, and that’s the day you need that metabolism to be working at full capacity.

2) Eat healthy whole foods, high quality proteins, and lots of vegetables to keep your system working all day and burning efficiently. (HHF adds FIBER FIBER and more FIBER to this– super important to keeping things working well in your digestive system!)

3) Avoid processed foods, especially those with gluten. Processed foods will add to the bloat today. Avoid bread, pasta, and cracker type foods, and go for salads, vegetables, grass fed meats or legumes and whole grains.

4) Avoid salt and salty foods; that might mean avoiding restaurants because most restaurants over-salt their food. This is a great day for a home cooked veggie stir-fry, or a pureed vegetable soup. (check out the recipes posted in this blog for some)

5) Drink lots of water to help flush the salt out of your system and to keep you satisfied. Many times when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually thirsty. Fill your water bottles this morning, add some lemon and stevia for a light lemonade, and indulge in this all day. Flush, flush, flush.

6) Move your body today, go for a long walk or hike or bike ride.. Get some fresh air, and smile while you do. This will help to increase your metabolism too.

7) Don’t stress it- studies show that stress actually leads to weight gain. It’s a Holiday, and it’s all ok.

Besides, remember this post about the 80/20 rule? Treat this as the 20% and move on with your healthy, beautiful, radiant life.

The Ever-Controversial Aspartame:


I happened upon this article about aspartame by Food Matters, and thought it was worth sharing. Aspartame is one of the most-argued-about substances when it comes to the general public. What do you think about it? Do you believe all the arguments against it? Do you consume it anyway?

From Food Matters:

Aspartame, more commonly known as NutraSweet or Equal, is one of the most toxic substances being consumed today. The artificial sweetener, currently used in over 4,000 products worldwide, entertains a sordid past and has been one of the most tested and debated food additives in the history of the FDA. While the manufacturer maintains that aspartame is not a danger to your health, the scientific studies don’t necessarily agree. The FDA has approved the product for mass consumption, in spite of overwhelming evidence that aspartame can have neurotoxic, metabolic, allergenic and carcinogenic effects. When you question how such a substance has not been banned, one simply needs to look at the billions of dollars generated by the sale of aspartame each year. In light of the staggering number of dollar signs involved, it’s easy to see that the artificial sweetener industry has reached Big Tobacco status. With so much money at stake, the truth suffers almost as much as the health of the consumers, while the shareholders’ wealth continues to grow exponentially.

The Ingredients
In 1965, James Schlatter, a chemist for G.D. Searle, was developing an anti-ulcer drug when he accidentally stumbled upon aspartame. Made up of aspartic acid (40%), phenylalanine (50%) and methanol (10%), aspartame is 200 times sweeter than natural sugar.

Aspartic Acid
Aspartate is a neurotransmitter in the brain, facilitating information from one neuron to another. Too much aspartate allows an influx of calcium into the brain cells, triggering an excessive amount of free radicals which kill the cells. Aspartate is referred to as an “excitotoxin” because of the nerve cell damage that it causes. Many chronic illnesses have been attributed to long term excitotoxin exposure, including multiple sclerosis, ALS, memory loss, hormonal problems, hearing loss, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, hypoglycemia, dementia, brain lesions and neuroendocrine disorders.

In 1971, Dr. John Olney, neuroscientist and one of the world’s foremost experts on excitotoxins, informed G.D. Searle that his research had revealed that aspartic acid caused holes in the brains of mice. Searle did not inform the FDA of these findings until after aspartame’s approval in 1981. This would prove to be one event in a startling pattern of lies and deception.

Phenylalanine is an amino acid normally found in the brain. Human testing has shown phenylalanine levels in the blood are increased significantly in those who chronically use aspartame. Excessive levels of phenylalanine in the brain can cause the levels of serotonin to decrease, which can lead to depression, schizophrenia and make one more susceptible to seizures.

Studies conducted on rats by G.D. Searle found phenylalanine to be safe for humans. However, Louis J. Elsas, II, M.D., Director of Medical Genetics and Professor of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine told the U.S. Senate in 1987 that, “Normal humans do not metabolize phenylalanine as efficiently as do lower species such as rodents and thus most of the previous studies on aspartame effects on rodents are irrelevant.” Unfortunately, this fell on deaf ears and failed to garner additional testing.

By far, the most controversial ingredient in aspartame is methanol (aka wood alcohol). An EPA assessment of methanol states that it is “considered a cumulative poison due to the low rate of excretion once it is absorbed. In the body, methanol is oxidated to formaldehyde and formic acid; both of these metabolites are toxic.” This oxidation occurs when methanol reaches 86 degrees F (30 degrees C).

A product broken down from aspartate is a known carcinogen and causes retinal damage, birth defects and interferes with DNA replications. The EPA recommends a consumption limit of 7.8 mg/day. A 1 Liter aspartame sweetened beverage contains about 56 mg of methanol, seven times the EPA limit. The most common maladies related to methanol poisoning are vision problems including misty vision, progressive contraction of visual fields, blurring of vision, obscuration of vision, retinal damage and blindness.

Source: http://www.naturalnews.com

Inspiration Is Everywhere!!!


A friend of mine posted this on my wall yesterday.

I love dogs and am a huge advocate of taking the time to learn things from them. I love the lessons that this woman mentions, but there are so many more!

This doesn’t necessarily deal with nutrition, but I think that a whole mind is a great place to start for a whole body!!!

(ps– the adorable baby at the top is my mom’s little muffin named Ondie Lai Lai!!!)

What to Feed Your Pet: Doggy McDonalds?


It’s a no brainier to think about the foods that you’re putting into your body; balanced meals, quality ingredients, high in nutritional value, low in preservatives and chemicals. What about what you’re feeding your pet?

Unfortunately, pet food companies do as much “health washing” as companies marketing to people. Health washing is the practice of using words and packaging that do not carry much value given that they are not specifically regulated (check out this post about decoding labels in the grocery store). Foods that seem colorful and nutritious are, in reality, full of dyes and preservatives! Just say no!

After a bit of researching, I found this article on yahoo — the BEST way to feed your pet is to make it yourself! Use quality ingredients and give your pet exactly what they need!

“Due to contaminated dog food scares recently, dog owners have become more concerned about the type of dog food they feed their pets. Because natural dog foods are just as easy to obtain as traditional commercial products and have healthier ingredients, they have become the product of choice.
As dogs require high amounts of protein in their diets the best natural dog food is made from a quality meat source. The freshest meat can be bought from a local butcher or meat processor. They can grind the meat for you and a bulk discount may even be available at these suppliers.

Always use good types of meat as the main ingredient when making natural dog food. Examples are roast, boneless steak, beef heart and liver, stewing meat and lean beef. Other meats you can use would be lamb or chicken parts that are boneless and skinless. Make sure the meat you are using is of high quality so that the food you be making is not only natural but of the highest quality.

Another key ingredient of your natural dog food will be vegetables. The best vegetables may include broccoli, sweet potatoes, yams, beets, parsnips, carrots, zucchini, cucumber, pumpkin and squash. Select the freshest vegetables as these will contain the nutrients essential to your pets health. Some vegetables can cause damage to the cells or cause digestive problems in your pet. Some of these include tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, chard, onions, garlic, peas, spinach, beet greens and beans.

Do not over feed your dog. Take your dog’s weight and activity level into consideration when determining how much to feed them each day. You should try to feed them the same amount of food at the same time every day. Establishing a routine is good for your pet.

You can find many nutritious natural dog food recipes on the internet to use to prepare your dog’s food. Eliminating the fillers and preservatives and controlling the ingredients will improve your dog’s health. The highly nutritional natural minerals, enzymes and vitamins a pet will get from home cooked natural dog food with natural ingredients can’t be matched by a pre-cooked processed pellet of kibble. Your pet will get all natural human quality ingredients and the food you prepare won’t contain artificial flavors or preservatives.”

Of course, if you don’t have the time/resources, there are some very good quality dry/wet foods. Just make sure to research what you’re feeding them! Read the ingredients and decide whether it’s something you really want a member of your family to be eating!


Go to India with Vedic Odyssey!

Two years ago, I embarked upon a life-altering journey through India with Vedic Odyssey. I am now partnering Vedic Odyssey to provide travelers with great information on how to use Indian cuisine and spices to improve their health for their February culinary tour! Should you join them, the booklet you receive will be chock-full of resources written by yours truly!

I cannot recommend this adventure highly enough! If you have ever considered going to India, this is THE best way to do it! It’s all-inclusive, so just show up and and enjoy the journey:

– Visit and meditate in some of the most sacred temples in India.
– Learn about Hinduism and meditation practice.
– Eat delicious vegetarian meals.
– Take cooking classes in local homes, residence of India’s best chefs
– Explore markets, villages and farms
– Visit local artisans such as sari weavers and sculpture casters.
– And much more!

Dandipani takes you places most westerners cannot go, and makes the travel between locations seamless (which, in India, is an awesome feat!).

If you’d like to hear more from me and about my experience traveling with Vedic Odyssey, email me at monica@hhfusion.com. Otherwise, click here for more information.


Most Adults Will Be Obese by 2030

A study by Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania predicts that most adults in the U.S. will be overweight or obese by 2030, raising related health care spending to as much as $956.9 billion. This study was published in 2008, projecting 86% of adults to be obese by 2030. As of 2010, 44.2% of males in the U.S. were obese and 48.3 of females in the U.S. were obese according to the World Health Organization (WHO). We will surpass the projection of the study if the number of obese adults continues to grow as rapidly as it has in recent years.

How do you know if you are obese?

  • a BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight
  • a BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obesity.

(Calculate your BMI here)

Facts About Obesity*:

  • Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
  • In 2008, 1.5 billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight. Of these over 200 million men and nearly 300 million women were obese.
  • 65% of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • Nearly 43 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2010.
  • At least 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese.
  •  44% of the diabetes burden, 23% of the ischaemic heart disease burden, and 7%-41% of certain cancer burdens are attributable to overweight and obesity.
  • Overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for global deaths.
  • Obesity is preventable.

* found at http://www.who.org

One of the best places to get facts on worldwide obesity is from the World Health Organization. I love their interactive map, however unnerving it might be. Here are some facts I pulled from the WHO Map: In 2010, males in the U.S. were 80.5% overweight, and 44.2% obese (followed by Brazil at 37.4%, everywhere else in the world was below 35%); Females in the U.S. in 2010 were 76.7% overweight, and 48.3% obese. These numbers are expected to continue to increase.

What do I do first if I am overweight or obese?

Your first step is to acknowledge that you are overweight/obese, and to be proud that you are accepting responsibility and making the choice to do something about it! Beyond that, follow this blog (enter your email on the right under “Keep Up with Us Via Email”). Over the next few weeks we will be focusing on simple, attainable steps to dropping your weight and improving your overall health!

If you would like a Free Health Consultation to see if our coaching services meet your needs, please fill out the form below and we will contact you asap.